Last observation day


Yesterday was Sara’s last observation day of the year at kindy. After watching the kids do an activity in the classroom, there was going to be a little classroom parting ceremony and everyone had ordered bentos to eat lunch together. This was Sara’s teacher’s first year teaching. I had a feeling she might get a little emotional, and considering how hormonal I am, I thought I might cry too, so I made sure to put a package of tissues in my bag.

While the kiddies played outside the parents did some classroom spruce up, washing windows and stuff. I had intended on helping, but every single mother who passed me could not help but comment on my tummy. I was stopped by every mother I know in the halls wherever I went. Part of the reason is because I don’t do the kindy drop-off or pick-up anymore. Akinori has been doing it every day for the last several weeks. I take Amelie in the morning and he takes Sara. We got into the habit of doing it that way because the parking lot is a good walk from the kindy gates and when it was still the height of winter, the streets were so slippery and icy, it was dangerous enough if you weren’t pregnant. And then add dragging Amelie along that path in the evenings to pick Sara and up and it was just a nightmare. So all the moms were quite excited to see me and my amazing tummy. Lots of rubs and pats and at the end of the day I thought I might need to disinfect myself I was touched by so many freaking people!

We then went back to the classroom to watch the kids draw a picture that they then cut out and pasted into a card that they had pre-made to give all the moms to say thank you for making bentos all year. At least that’s what Sara’s card said. And all the while Akinori was going on about how good every other kid was at drawing, and how we need to encourage Sara to draw more at home. She certainly was not the worst artist of the bunch, nor the best. Why he can’t he just be happy with where she is in her development? She draws so much better now than she did in the beginning of the year, or even 6 months ago. She’s developing like a normal little girl. Am I the only mother who doesn’t think it’s necessary to push their child to do stuff? It’s not like we don’t allow her to draw at home. When she wants to draw, I give her the crayons and she has coloring books and drawing pads to do with as she pleases. He’s such a perfectionist when it comes to that kind of stuff it drives me mad, and I think it ends up being really discouraging for her.

Once the kids presented their cards to their moms, the kids and the teacher all went to the auditorium and the kids watched a movie while the parents decorated the classroom for the party, and had a brief PTA type meeting. Then Sara’s teacher came back alone and said her spiel, and she warned us in the beginning that after she said her piece, she was going to go around the classroom asking everyone to say something. She did get a bit teary, but the tears really came when she announced that one of the boys would be moving at the end of the month and asked his mother to speak, and the mother just lost it as she was speaking. Cue tissues.

I managed to pull it together for my bit. I didn’t want it to be all sad and weepy, so I made sure to say some things that I thought would get a laugh like “In the beginning of the year, Sara came home every day saying she was afraid of A-kun’s eyes, and now they’re the best of friends. And she’s had her first romance this year.” I thought it was great. All the moms laughed and were able to take a break from the crying. Of course at the very end I did cry because I looked right at Sara’s teacher to thank her for everything throughout the year and told her how much Sara absolutely adored her. God, I’m starting to tear up again as I type this. The thing is all of the mothers of the kids in Sara’s class get along really well. It’s so not at all like the horror stories you hear about Japanese kindergarten moms. And our kids actually all love each other. Sara says all the time that she wants to stay in her class this year, with all of her classmates, and her teacher forever, and every other mother said basically the same thing. One mom said she asks her son who is best friend is, and he answers with everyone’s name, and when she asks him to choose just one he gets upset because he likes all of his classmates the best. Sara is the same (except for her little boyfriend who is special of course). So yeah, good thing I had tissues.

Of course, all of the other fathers who were in attendance, maybe 5? were way more clued in than my space cadet husband, and when the moms sat down in the little chairs in a circle, all of the other dads disappeared. Only my clueless husband stuck around in the back. Granted Amelie had fallen asleep and he was stuck holding her, but there were at least 3 other younger siblings in attendance with dads, and the dads all whisked them away and took them elsewhere while this was going on. So Akinori got to witness all of the blubbering and in the car on the way home he tells me that I shouldn’t have called A-kun by his name, and even though I turned the comment into a positive comment in the end, I should have left his name out. No one else mentioned any names besides their own child’s, and I shouldn’t have either. I was so fucking pissed! I knew he would have some sort of critique to give of my comments. Let him fucking do the public speaking in Japanese then. I was tempted to tell him he should have taken the hint and left the room like all the other dads, because although I mentioned A-kun by name, I may have made 1 mother feel uncomfortable, his presence probably made 19 mothers feel uncomfortable. I ended up texting A-kun’s mom afterward apologize anyway, just to make sure, and she even told me she wasn’t bothered by anything I said. We’re all friends and Akinori just doesn’t get that because he never sees me interact with them on an every day basis. Jerk!

All the kids came back from their movie, we ate our bentos, the kids sang a song, they took photos with their teacher and then we were done. It took forever though. Sara and Amelie were both overtired and I was so ready for a nap. Akinori had to go to work, and after much screaming and yelling I finally got Sara to lie down and she was asleep in 3 seconds. Amelie on the other hand had had a power nap in Akinori’s arms an hour or two earlier and was not quite ready to settle down. She didn’t mind being held though, so I set up the iPad for her to watch a movie while I cuddled her and I fell asleep. I don’t know how much later I woke up, but Amelie was asleep, so I went back to sleep too. Everyone slept until Akinori came home from work. The perfect way to spend the afternoon!

I can’t believe the new school year is starting in 3 weeks! There are about 56 forms that need filling out before that happens, and I am so disorganized right now I don’t know how that’s all going to get done. Tomorrow we have to take Amelie to the big university hospital in Matsumoto for her annual arm check, and Tuesday she has an appointment for her annual leg check. I planned on sending her to daycare after her appointment on Tuesday, because I really need some time to get stuff done and it’s too hard if she’s home with me, but I guess we’ll see what time we finish on Tuesday. Hopefully early!

In pregnancy news there’s not much to report except that my hands have started swelling. My engagement ring is actually way too big for my finger and it never sits right, but my fingers are so swollen I can barely get the ring off now. My feet aren’t so bad, and I plan on checking my blood pressure tomorrow when we take Amelie to the dr. so I can just check and make sure ahead of time I won’t be threatened with hospitalization at my next appointment. At any rate, the boys are super genki pushing each other and I think Baby B is trying to flip himself back down as is bum is often sticking way out my side. I’m excited to have appointments once a week now though. I’m loving that I don’t have to wait 2 whole weeks to find out how my boys are doing.

Must wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to get out of the house and to the hospital on time so off to bed now!


About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

2 responses »

  1. Somehow the mums all managed to hold it together at our end of year PTA thing – unlike last year where I burst in to tears because the teachers had been so good dealing with the kids coming and going back to NZ with me. All the women after me also cried – like tear dominos. Your observation day sounds so full on and packed full of stuff!! And I totally agree – doing this kind of stuff in Japanese and being the only foreigner is hard and husbands should shut the fuck up unless we say something totally inappropriate – which I doubt we would do. As PTA rep for the kinder and the first grade at primary school I am sure I will have a lot of aisatsu and shit to do this year. Fortunately I think there is only one event that hub will also be at.
    Good luck with the various checkups.
    And yes, having an afternoon of snuggles yesterday sounds nice.

    • I had lunch with a mom from another class today and she said that all the mothers in her kid’s class cried too. It was definitely a full on day, and it started at 10 and ended at 1:30! Tomorrow and the next day are all rushed and ceremonies again and then the new school year starts. I am starting to hope I get hospitalized sooner rather than later so I don’t have to deal with anymore of this stuff! Good luck with all of your aisatsu! And fingers crossed your husband is more polite to you than mine is to me!

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