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I do not want to see penises!

We decided that Pippa needed to be around other kids…maybe learn Portuguese and maybe make a friend. We took her to this pretty posh private school that offered swimming lessons to the public. I suited her up and took her to the pool at the school. It seemed like a simple thing. We were greeted by the teacher who said we just drop her off. I asked if we could watch the lesson. The answer was a big no. I was crushed. They wanted to know where all of her clothes to change into were. My answer was apparently shocking. I only brought her a robe to wear home with underwear. I intended on putting her directly in the car and driving the few miles home. The teacher looked like her head might explode.

So after being banished from the class, I lurked in the hallway. I left her alone, in a pool, without knowing safety procedures, in a co-ed swim class….I was feeling high anxiety. I freely and proudly admit, I stalk my kids. I need to know they are safe. I need to know that the instructor doesn’t suck. Pippa is a good swimmer, but still!  One added bonus…recently, since she seems to want to eat everything in sight, I am now fairly certain she is like a seal. She has a nicely distributed layer of body fat, which I like to call juice, that keeps her happily afloat.

Anyway, 45 minutes later Pippa is delivered to me in the hallway. She is in her robe with her hair blown dry. I have NEVER dried her hair before. I never blow dry my own hair, it is way out of my comfort zone.
They were so freaked out by her robe, that they had to make sure she didn’t get cold in her brain. Is that a thing? Apparently, it is in Portugal.

So, Pippa gets in the car and I ask her about the lesson. She said the kids couldn’t really swim and the teacher said she had to swim double the laps because she knew how to swim. (I did confirm this with the teacher after class…otherwise I probably wouldn’t have believed my clever scammer.)
Anyway, then she said she had to get changed with all the other kids. There were no change rooms, they all just got nudie in front of each other. She said she had to see two nasty looking penises and a few decent looking vaginas. However, overall she was not impressed.  She did not enjoy seeing body parts.  Nasty is the word she repeated over and over again.  Too nasty to return to swim class.  We tried.

Hello world…Maggie here.

Hi, my name is Maggie and I am 11 years old.  I love adventure and dancing. Dolphins are my favorite animal and Holland and Hawaii are my dream places.  I like photography and horses. I am a vegetarian.  My mom is CRAZY and she also is AWESOME.  Once a week I am going to add photos that I take. I hope you enjoy my pictures stay tuned for more.


See you later Portuguese school.

I had a lot of warning signs. Loads of them. Ferel looking kids beating the crap out of each other.  No teachers in the yard. No toys to play with. No climbing structures. Just a plain yard with cobble stones…as seen here…img_0005

What you don’t see are the jagged rocks that litter the back yard.   A parents worst nightmare.  Wait, it gets worse. There are 90 students in the school from first grade to fourth grade.  How many supervisors in the playground at recess and lunch time for all of these kids?  2.  That’s right, 2.

The teachers bail at lunchtime and recess.  When I would bring Pippa back after lunch, I would see the teachers returning from the bar/restaurant around the corner.  This is not America.  The teachers arrive at school when the bell rings.  Not a second before and often several minutes after the bell.  Pippa said some days they would be waiting outside for a long time before a teacher arrived.

Alright, back to playground supervision.  Two ladies are in charge of the kids.  They dress in candy striper uniforms.  Pink striped tops with white Peter Pan collars.  They have name tags on their uniforms.  One spoke English, one did not.

After Pippa’s fight, I went to the school with a translator to discuss the fight.   The candy striper who spoke English, Claudia, told me that she had encouraged my daughter to punch the boy, who was following her and hitting her, in  the stomach.   She said that once Pippa stood up for herself, the boy would stop picking on her.   I have never had anyone at my children’s previous schools encourage beat downs.     This was a definite first.

 Then I met with the director of the school. She said that indeed fighting was common.     Kids at her school learn to defend themselves without any teacher interaction. When things get excessively rough other students step in and inform the teachers.    She could tell that Pippa was not used to this kind of behavior.     She actually said she was surprised we lasted as long as we did.

Now…welcome to home school.

My first born…in love.

Maggie, my lovely 11 year old daughter, has fallen in love. She was my most resistant family member when we decided to move to Portugal. She was leaving Florida and the comforts of weekly Disney World trips behind. She was apprehensive. She was mad, but mostly she seemed scared. She is a true American girl. She lives for Chick-fil-A and trips to Target. She liked her friends and was very fearful that she wouldn’t fit in in this new culture. Guess what? She was wrong. Unlike poor Pippa, Maggie is attending an International Christian school in English. It follows a US curriculum and even gives her three days off for Thanksgiving. To top it all off, her class has a fellow Floridian. Score!
Then…our new house is a 10 minute walk to the mall. WHAT? Heaven for a preteen. So, Maggie has fallen in love. We knew it had to happen sometime. At least, it is with a whole nation and not some nasty pre-pubescent boy who smells terrible because he hasn’t figure out he needs deodorant yet.

It happened! Pippa’s first Portuguese beat down.

Since I negotiated with the school to pick my youngest child up at lunchtime, I have the opportunity to find out all of the happenings of the morning. Pippa was very excited to tell me about a man who visited the school and taught them about yo-yos. Seems like a pretty odd thing, but I was happy she was happy.
She really buried the lead of the morning though… Her first fight and the reason her brand-new pants were disgustingly dirty at the knees.  Apparently she was playing tag in the playground. She tagged a boy and he was not impressed. Mind you, this is the same boy that has been following her around every day at school. He is missing all of his front teeth and where his canine teeth are, he has gold fangs. I wish I could make this crap up. I would call the kid a stalker, but he seems a little young for that moniker.
Anyway, ‘fang boy’ decided to beat Pippa up. In her words, “he punched me in the heart and then kicked me in the vagina.” Horrified I asked her what she did. She said after she fell to the ground, hence her dirty knees, she punched him in the stomach.

Of course, or for course as Pippa puts it, there were no teachers present.  There never are.  Another kid stopped ‘fang boy’ and the helpers…more about them another day…made the boy apologize.  Pippa seems unfazed.  She did ask for more lunch time dessert to help mend her trauma.  Well played Pippa, well played.

Toilet Paper Not Provided

I would think that toilet paper would be provided at school. I guess I was wrong. Pippa mentioned that the bathroom doors don’t lock. She said that she is too short to hold the door shut with her feet. She also claims that seeing other people’s private parts is nasty. Especially, tinkleberries (AKA..penis). No locks, fine. I get that. They don’t want dumb kids to lock themselves in the stall. No TP…that is gross. After a few days of coming home with dirty underwear, I asked the teacher, in my broken Portuguese, why they had no TP.  Apparently, the kids must ask for it and the teacher dispenses it before bathroom breaks. Thanks for telling my kid before hand. Why you may ask? Portuguese kids cannot be trusted with toilet paper. If they can get their hands on it, they wet it and throw it on the roof. They clog the toilets and essentially trash the bathroom. Sounds like Mad Max. These kids are bad ass.

More beat downs.

Pippa: “I am not going back to school after lunch.”
Me: “Why?”
Pippa: “They put us in the basement with broken toys and naked dolls that are written all over. Kids actually fight over these lame toys. The teacher puts the fighters in head locks. The whole thing is creepy.”