Tuesday, February 28, 2012


henry and greg, in from outdoor adventuring.

this morning we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of "fluffy" the lego alligator. well, william is anxiously awaiting fluffy's arrival and i am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my bike. at 11 a.m. william is sounding more and more desperate-- when are my legos going to come???!!! good question. they will come. no need to panic. soon the necessity of running errands at a steady 3.1 mph and doing battles with one box of star wars legos will be a distant memory. what william needs more than legos is a playmate. we are alright substitutes but we're too tall to get lost in the maze of a three year old's imagination. though there are children in our little neighborhood, there are a couple of obstacles to instant friendship. first, their parents operate under the danish system of fast hellos-and-see-you-laters. a whirlwind of a meet-and-greet. over before you, the american, realize it's even begun. second is the language barrier-- kids william's age do not yet speak english and william does not yet speak danish. i don't know how much of a barrier this really is for kids, because surely toys and play translate into any language, but we haven't reached the crucial step of getting two kids into the same play space to know-- possibly because we haven't yet pushed through or seen the natural crumbling of the first obstacle.
but, yesterday we did take the first step to getting william enrolled in kindergarten so he can soak up danish and make some friends. danish kindergarten is different from u.s. kindergarten. here, children ages 3-6 can be enrolled into kindergarten. there is no free (i.e. government/taxpayer funded) schooling until age 6, but the government does subsidize education for the younger ages. if it costs 10,000 kroners per month to have william in school full days, we are paying only 2,600 of that. roughly $500/month. for full days, that's a good deal (and it may even be cheaper than that). about half of what we would pay in the u.s. (even if he only attends half-days, apparently we have to pay for full days.) on top of that, the government gives us a quarterly subsidy for being the lucky begetter and begetteress of these children. after age 6, the children start school. i kept throwing around the word "school" during the application process and the woman who was helping me kept correcting me-- kindergarten now. school later. to apply we walked to town to the rådhuset (town hall), through a steady, cold drizzle. the first day i have worn my winter coat. not necessarily because other days weren't worthy of it, but because this was the first time i was not carrying henry in the ergo on my back. the plan had been to put both boys in the burley, but as soon as henry realized we were going outside and it was not in order to let him meander about freely, he melted down. he is so young and with the unfortunate luck of having been born in february, and hence having learned to walk in the middle of winter in a northern state and then moving to another northerly climate, he has not walk outside on his own very many times in his life. quite simply-- he lacks the proper footwear. so william rode in the burley and greg put henry in the ergo where he he screamed for about two blocks and then gave up and slept the entire rest of the trip. once at the rådhuset, william did not want to get out of the burley, so i went inside while greg walked the kids around. i met with a woman from the pladsanvisningen. i have no idea the pronunciation, but i can guarantee you, it sounds nothing like plad-san-vee-nin-gen, as you might think. i don't totally understand the bureaucracy of it all, but this office manages the waiting lists for kindergartens and daycares. this office places children in their kindergarten or daycare sites and you must give them a one-month's notice should you wish to unenroll your child. so, william and henry are now both on a waiting list, which is guaranteed to be not more than 3 months long. she asked how many children i had and when i said two she went up and got another application. i told her a couple of times that i may not need henry to be placed anywhere as i don't yet have a job and it could take some time before i find one, but i kept getting the feeling that she felt like i should or might as well (or something) have henry in some sort of daycare setting... maybe because i could, because the state was subsidizing my ability to. so i filled out an application for him because... i could, because the state was subsidizing my ability to, but most importantly because this will give him some exposure to the danish language, which i so desperately (but not desperately enough to have danish radio playing in the background all day long) want him to have, because when i tell people apologetically that i will learn danish they smile and say, "good luck with that." they are so fluent in english that they are comfortable with our sarcastic terms and their language is so hard to learn (or maybe just speak intelligibly) that they are probably not exaggerating when they say this to me. henry is going to have to learn because i'm going to need him to translate what people at the next table are talking about. oh, put that out of your mind. i'm not interested in eavesdropping.

well, our walk yesterday was nice. it was cold and it was rainy, and it was something we never would have done in madison. because of how henry feels about being contained outdoors these days, because of the weather. one of us would have gotten into the car and driven the three miles and back. even if we had said something like, "let's not to drive our car anymore" i know we would have taken one look at the weather and listened to henry howl for about three seconds before we'd say, "forget it. not this time." but here, without that option, we set out, we did it, and it worked. so that was a good feeling. and the only saving grace for my having eaten two-thirds of the carrot cake in the last two days.

here are a few pictures of the cemetery we walked through yesterday to give you some visuals:

østre kirkegaard cemetery:

in an arc.

all in a row.

i liked the font on this one. and that it gave occupations (as did others), was interesting. (at least the last name, not sure about the top or third one down. føldt is 'born'.)

here it is, close-up:

No comments: