Emily and Phoebe

Sunday, September 21, 2008

English lessons

While Emily's spoken English is excellent, far better than I ever hoped or imagined it would be, her reading is a bit uncertain and even though she's been doing English for a year at school, her writing is pretty basic. Now that so many of her friends have started going to language school, I think there's a real possibility that some of them could actually overtake her in some areas, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but would probably make her feel bad (especially if other kids start to make fun of her for not knowing English as "well" as they do).

I am therefore trying to persuade her that we should start doing English lessons together. This is a prospect which, it has to be said, does not leave either of us jumping for joy. Emily because she obviously doesn't want to spend more time than at present doing "homework", and me because I can see arguments and resentment ahead (she has a slight tendency to lose her temper with me on the rare ocasions that I am brave enough to help her with her schoolwork).

So anyway, she doesn't seem especially keen, but on the other hand she does want to learn how to do joined-up handwriting, so maybe that's a way in to English lessons...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Film review

The weather forecast for the weekend was for rain, rain, more rain and then some torrential rain on top of that. In the end, it was cloudy, damp, a bit soggy underfoot (like an English summer's day, as the children never tire of hearing me describe it), but very far from what had been forecast and certainly nothing to spoil anyone's weekend.

On Saturday morning, though, when we were deciding how to spend the day, the forecast looked like being correct: it was raining, things were definitely wet, and looked like getting wetter, so we decided to go to see the wonderful new Disney/Pixar film Wall-E on Saturday. Is it Pixar's best yet? Well, it really may be. We're all big fans of Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo, but this one definitely raises the bar. And it's great for kids and adults too: funny, profound and moving - it brought an actual tear to Emily's eye at one point. Highly recommended!

The hilarious short film that accompanies Wall-E features a rabbit with the exact same facial expressions as Phoebe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something's cooking...

Banana cake, to be precise, coutesy of Emily and Phoebe. Well done girls!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun & games

"If you two can agree together without anyone crying to get their own way [hard stare at Phoebe] or storming off in a huff [hard stare at Emily] then today I will play absolutely any game you like."

[Whispers and giggles]

"As long as it's not something silly like tying daddy to a chair and throwing rotten eggs at him."

"Da-aad. You're so mean!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back to school

Well, that's the summer vacation over for another year but I think the girls are happy to be back at school. Emily said today she wished it wasn't Saturday tomorrow because she wanted to see all her friends again.

The agiasmos (blessing) yesterday was more entertaining than usual, the priest hamming it up like a pantomime villain and spraying all the kids and staff with holy water. The downside was that we had to listen to the usual speeches (by those present and on behalf of the Minister of Education. The Minister proudly announced that this year all the textbooks have been delivered to all the schools so that they are ready for the children on the first day of term. This might be something worth boasting about if it were actually true.

Phoebe then got a bit tearful last night because she was afraid that she might get knocked over in the playground by the bigger children (a not unreasonable worry, this, as she is by quite some way the smallest child in the school). She fell asleep quickly enough after I'd read to her, but I asked Emily to keep an eye on her today to make sure she doesn't spend every break cowering in a corner.

Then this morning in assembly, the head teacher actually warned the bigger kids not to go charging around the playground like buffalo and to watch out for the first-years. OK, he didn't actually call them buffalo, but he did point out that some of the fifth- and sixth-years are three times the size of the little ones (and more, in Phoebe's case). This might make her feel a little bit safer (though it is probably too much to hope that it will actually have any effect).

UPDATE: After school today Phoebe said that break was boring because the teachers didn't let anyone run around!

Monday, September 08, 2008


We've been playing so much Monopoly lately that Phoebe has become quite expert at adding up dice rolls, finding out how much she's owed when someone lands on her property and even calculating how much change to give. Hurrah! My daughter is a mathematical genius! Oddly, though, whenever she is set to land on someone else's property her counting goes all to pieces and she lands on a safe square by mistake...

Friday, September 05, 2008

After school

With school finishing early afternoon, kids in Greece have lots of time to do extra languages, music, sport, dance or pretty much anythig they like. Emily has been going to Art Class for the last four years and doing tennis for the last two. Last year she was joined by Phoebe at both of them (officially at Art, in a special brothers ands sisters class and unofficially at tennis, where the Blonde Peril basically just picked up a racquet and joined in and the teacher was so bemused at this little girl with a big sense of entitlement that she allowed her to stay).

Anyway, this year Emily wants to start doing a language and Phoebe wants to do Tai-Kwon-Do, so we'll have to look round and see what we can find - and whether it's possible to fit everything they want to do into their schedules...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tooth number 2

Phoebe had been fretting about a loose tooth, worrying that its wobbliness might compromise her enjoyment of her special name-day lunch (Goody's). She had spent the last couple of days begging us all (including Emily) to pull it out for her and becoming increasingly irate when we refused. ("It'll come out in its own time, darling. Otherwise it'll hurt and there'll be lots of blood." "I don't care!!!" etc etc). Anyway, in the end it came out in the middle of lunch and she proudly showed it to everyone. (A name day and her first tooth lost in Greece - such excitement!) But then of course she forgot where she'd put it and then she found it again but refused to put it under her pillow (maybe she was afraid the tooth fairy would come while she was at the cinema - yes, I'm afraid we really did pay real cash money to see Mamma Mia again) and said that she wanted to leave it on her bed so I told her that she'd have to remember to put it under her pillow when we got back but of course she was tired and crawled into bed and fell asleep the instant I'd read to her and I forgot all about it until I was drinking my coffee this morning and remembered that we hadn't done the tooth/pillow thing and so I crept into the girls' bedroom thinking "How on Earth am I going to find a tiny tiny tooth in the dark without waking Phoebe up and if she does wake up will she be so sleep-befuddled that she thinks I'm a rather large (and butch, obviously) fairy and then I saw that she had her hand under her pillow and I thought "Oh come on, surely she didn't remember all by herself in the middle of the night" and I lifted up her pillow and there was the tooth and I breathed a sigh of relief and left a coin and snuck off to write this.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

More shopping

Today we nip off to our local school supplies store to buy coloued pencils for Emily (she's down to her last hundred or so) and a Spiderman pen for Phoebe (indispensible, apparently, to start primary school).

Meanwhile, tomorrow is Phoebe's name-day. She says she wants to go to the park in the morning, to Goody's for lunch and to Mamma Mia in the evening. Possibly this is too much excitement for one small girl. (Plus life is surely too short to hear Pierce Brosnan sing again...)

Monday, September 01, 2008

We're back!

Which means of course, with ten days or so to go until school begins, that it is time to go out shopping for the heaps o' stuff that the girls will need for the new term (Emily becames a fourth-grader and Phoebe starts primary school). First on the list are new trainers. To be honest, their current ones are probably good for a few more months - especially if we cut off the ends to make a bit more room for cramped tootsies (the open-toed look is very in this year) and I superglue the soles back on - but ah, what the heck.

Sometimes I worry that I'm spoiling them...