Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009: Literally, Freezing Your A** Off

March 17, 2009:  I totally forgot about the field trip I was signed up to escort Grace and Mia's class today. When I arrived to drop the girls off at school and saw a bunch of mom's gathering, I quickly had a clue that something was amiss.  This field trip, like Ella's, was going to William the Conqueror's castle via walking.  Thank goodness I had dressed warmly and worn comfortable shoes!  The only thing that made me think maybe the field trip wasn't today were the high heeled shoes and boots and the no-sock shoe wearers among the mommy group.  But I was wrong.  It was just that they were fashionable women, no matter the task and consequences, and I was a very common-sense dresser from Colorado.

Before leaving for the field trip, all of the children were asked to go to the potty.   And THIS is when I solved a large part of the potty problem that Grace has been having.  I hadn't realized that the only potties available to most of the classes at this school were the five that are outside.  OUTSIDE!  There is a row of toilets, think Joe's on Weed Street in Chicago, but outside.  No heat, tiny potties that must be absolutely excrutiating to sit on in the midst of winter.  I guess I had thought that the classrooms had potties attached to them and the outside toilets were for when the kids were outside for recess.  But not so!  So when I asked Grace and Mia to use the toilet before we left for the field trip, they told me they didn't want to go because they were cold and smelly.  I made them go anyway, but I can imagine that they probably go as little as possible throughout the day to avoid these potties.  The teachers probably don't make sure that each of them go due to so many students in the class.  Therefore, I would bet that Grace is peeing her bed during nap time because she holds it in and then just can't anymore.  She just woke up from her nap here at home and once again, she woke up dry.

So, the question becomes, how do I tell the teacher that the girls probably are not going to the bathroom because they are freezing cold and smelly?  I don't want to sound offensive.  But I truly think that if they take an extra few minutes to ensure that Grace and Mia sit down and go potty before naps (and hopefully at other times throughout the day) that the potty accidents will stop.  Imagine it being the dead of winter and having to step outside of your house to use an outdoor potty that is attached to your garage, but not enclosed, just with three walls and a door that swings open and shut.  Ugh. I feel badly for Grace and Mia and Ella about this potty situation.  If you are not used to this set-up (which clearly from the looks of the other kids in their classes, they are use to this), it would be hard to do so quickly.  I don't even like our inside potty's in the apartment because I think they are cold!  No wonder the girls have stopped complaining about our bathrooms the past few weeks.

The field trip was...uneventful.  At 9 am, myself and 8 other moms and two teachers escorted a class of 24 students, ages 3 and 4, to the castle, walked around the grounds for about 15 minutes, and then let them play at the park for 1 hour.  No guide, information, presentation.  It was odd. Then around 11 am we walked back to the school.  It is possible that the field trip got derailed for some reason, but since I don't understand a lot of what is said I have no idea.  I did get a chance to chat with a few mom's (in French) and every chance to do that is really nice.

I tried to get a trash can, again, today from the city of Caen.  I keep getting referred to this "free" number no matter what I try to do, and the kind people don't speak english and I can't understand what they are asking me.  We finally got a trash can last week so I thought I made a breakthrough. But the next day, it was gone.  Stolen, taken-back, who knows?  I had a few conversations today with which maybe one of them will end up in us having a trash can soon.  Until then, we continue to secretly throw our trash in the bins next door at the movie theatre.  I got a nasty look from the movie theatre guy this morning as I was about to toss some trash in his bins, so I will have to be even sneakier now!

In a while we'll pick up Ella and Mia from school.  It is a nice day outside so hopefully we'll stop off at the park and run around for a while.  Andrew is still in Krakow, Poland for work and returns tomorrow.  Wednesday is here, again!

Pictured above: Mia and some classmates on their field trip.


  1. I will wait awhile to skype you as you are probably in the park - I remember those toilets and had an ugly feeling they were the only ones - hang in there!!

  2. I guess things don't change much. Our school toilets were in the courtyards, but they had no seats. They were the Turkish toilets with 2 spots for your feet, and a big hole in the middle. Bring your own paper. Somehow, I survived...

  3. So the toilet seats are missing, but there is at least a pot to balance on. We did encounter a turkish one the other day at Gold Beach - Grace thought it was a hoot. Fortunately, I really did bring my own paper just in case. Oh Remy, you must love modern-day plumbing - or does Maryann find you squatting outside in cold weather?