Monday, 20 May 2013

Penelope turns 8

Last Wednesday it was Penelope's eighth birthday. She was very spoilt and received many lovely cards and gifts both from France, family in Australia and New Zealand - so thank you all!

As it is just a half day of school in France on Wednesdays we decided to take Penelope out for birthday lunch. We went to a great restaurant called hippopotamus with the highlight being the waiter bringing out Penelope's ice cream with sparklers in it!

After lunch James took Hannah and Jasper home and I took Penelope to the mall to get her main birthday present - her ears pierced! The whole process took quite a while as she has such little earlobes that it took some time to find exactly the right place for the hole. Eventually though they were ready and with one lady on either side they counted down and did both ears at the same time. Poor old Pen got a bit of a shock as to how much it hurt but at least it was all over in one go!

That night she was a very happy girl with pierced ears sitting in her birthday princess tent from Ikea!

On Saturday we had her party and she decided she would like to invite her whole class plus two friends in year 4 and a friend from Church. It happened to be a long weekend so only about half her class could come which was good really otherwise it would have been very busy! She has been planning her party for months and had a notebook with all the details in it from who was invited to what games we were playing and also what are jobs was. Mine was to organise everything, James was the DJ and props, Jasper was games and Hannah was just to have fun. The whole disco party theme was a bit thwarted by the fact Penelope broke her foot but she was determined that this would not stop her and party was to go on as planned.

Despite the fact it was raining and the kids could not get outside we all had a great time, although poor wee Hannah did find it a bit stressful with so many noisy boys. We all were very busy but Penelope had a great time. She ended up having a friend stay the night as her mum went into labour just before the party!

She got so many lovely gifts from her new friends and has spent the rest of the weekend making perfume, designing t-shirts, making lego, doing stamps and wearing all her new accessories. Hannah's favourite present that Pen got though was a microphone and stand and Pen has been very kind at sharing!

She was also lucky enough to be invited to a slumber party last night so got to wear some of her new things plus take her new fav soft toy - a big purple unicorn. She had a great time at Poppy's party and is so lucky to have found such a lovely group of friends. Needless to say though she is very tired tonight!

Otherwise we have had a very restful weekend and yesterday after we dropped Pen at Poppy's took the opportunity to go for a walk in the local forest. This morning James went for a bike ride with a friend from Church and I had a restful morning reading my book while Hannah sang into the microphone and Jasper played on the iPad.

My two handsome men after getting their hair cut.

Toasting marshmallows on the barbecue - you can buy smurf marshmallows in France - such fun!

In other news James, Hannah and I went to the MDPH (French special education services) on Friday. The meeting went well and they have referred Hannah on to a school which provides schooling for new arrivals to France called a CLIN. We have a meeting with them next Tuesday, so hopefully they will be able to offer her a place for September. They have also given us phone numbers for other services we can access.

The most frustrating part of the meeting was finding out that they are actually very happy to work with IST (the international school) and provide services and funding for Hannah to be in the school. They said that Hannah is not the first child with a disability who has been discriminated against by IST. If the school just took a bit of time to get the supports in place and utilise the services that are available to them it could have all turned out so differently. We had been told by IST that they did not have any supports available to them so to find out that this is false is very frustrating. It is not just Hannah it is affecting but all the children with disabilities who enrol at IST.

So anyway Hannah is not allowed at IST this week because there is school wide testing going on - I am unsure why an alternative programme can not be provided for her by her teacher. I had asked if she could go to school on Tuesday afternoon as there is no testing as her class do PE and art. The teacher had said yes, but then emailed me back and told me that the Principal had said that no Hannah was not allowed at school on Tuesday afternoon. So instead Hannah's lovely new TA will come to our home and do homeschooling with her here, which although is not ideal will be fine. Hannah should be back to school Friday though which is great as I am off to London to meet my Mum and spend the weekend with her then bring her back to Toulouse on Sunday - yah can't wait!!
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