I don't want to attack the large pile of laundry and the messy house just quite yet. If I clean everything up now, I'll have to do it all again on Thursday before Mom and Dad arrive. We took a bike ride to the local river to check the cherry blossoms and it looks like they'll be in their prime when Mom and Dad are here. L managed to kick his right sneaker into the river when kicking a stone into the water. J and M managed to fish it out with a stick before it floated away. N was grumpy because we didn't let her ride her own bike, but she's still alive and well so I think we made the right decision.
Today was the last day of the school year here and the girls brought home their report cards. They also brought home a trimester's worth of marked papers, art works, musical instruments and whatever else was in their desk. All year N has been reluctant to be seen or heard doing homework, even though the parents are expected to give her marks on her oral reading performance and math practice on a special mark sheet periodically. She announced each day that she had finished her homework, not mentioning the oral part and forged the parental marking portion. I hear her reading stories out loud to L and know that she's reading above level for her grade and that her class reads the work out loud at school several times, so I didn't bug her too much about not reciting.
My handwriting isn't so wonderful, so it wasn't difficult for her to write my name beside the excellent marks she gave herself each day, but her dates gave her away. The marksheet came home today with a load of other papers and I smiled to see she had done such a great job reading everyday from December 30th through December 44th.
Posted by Kathy on Thursday, March 24, 2005
The third day of the third month is a special day for girls. It isn't a national holiday like the fifth day of May, formerly a special day for boys, now Children's Day, but it has its own traditions. Families with girls get out their set of courtesan dolls with a prince and princess at the top of five or seven tiers of court musicians and maidens with all the paraphernalia of the ancient court. Families in tiny city apartments like ours usually get a smaller set, with only the prince and princess and a few accessories like plum trees or colorful stacks of rice cakes.
The shy 76 year old woman who lives on the third floor of our building approached me a few weeks ago, requesting permission to visit us on March third. She said that she wanted to celebrate Girls' day with us. She stops by a few times a month with snacks for the kids, but doesn't usually come inside. I told her we'd love to have her over and invited her for dinner so she could eat the traditional sushi dish that people eat on this day. Saying that she was a picky eater, she declined the dinner invitation and asked if 7:00 p.m. would be a good time to visit.
A few days later, I got our set of dolls out and on March 3rd I cleaned the house and had a nice sushi meal with the kids. We set out a bowl of tangerines to share with our visitor when she arrived. She rang the doorbell at 7:00 on the dot and I opened the door very slowly, to avoid knocking her over (J did knock her over on one occasion). She had a bag full of tangerines as a house gift, so, knowing that she had walked all the way to the fruit shop and back with her daypack with the goal of getting something nice for the children, I quickly asked J & M to take our bowl of tangerines into the back room. Fortunately, our visitor moved very slowly, carefully navigating every step in unfamiliar territory, looking down through her very thick glasses.
The children were happy to have a visitor and showed her our dolls and some of the 7-5-3 photos. She seemed to have a good time and was talking about other seasonal events she could contribute to, like providing rice dumplings for moon viewing in September.
Today I dusted the dolls off and returned them to their storage boxes, as displaying them too long after Girls' Day is unlucky. There are no such superstitions about the Boys' Day, so we'll get L's warrior armor and carp wind sock out sometime before Mom and Dad visit.
Posted by Kathy on Sunday, March 06, 2005