So we have the possibility of Prague on the horizon. The family is interested in exchanging but would need a local university to “invite” the father, who will be on sabbatical too, to come here under its umbrella. Thus far, one local economics department has turned him down. He doesn’t require any pay–just the invitation so that he can more easily get a long-term visa. In return, they are willing to help me get just such an invitation from a Czech university. Thus, if we can convince administrators to sponsor invitations, then the Prague plan will be a go. If not, our family will turn to Plan C, which may entail us eying Eurail passes and autonomous choices.
While we exchange emails across the ocean, here at home Paco has had a tough week at swimming lessons. Having just been moved up to the next level (The Minnows!), he went to his first lesson Tuesday night and came out feeling woeful and non-talkative. Only after much hand holding and an hour at home did he finally burst into the kind of shuddering sobs where speech is hard to choke out. It seems that his swim teacher (who has been warned before that he needs to drop the macho energy when poolside) gave Paco the cue of “Go” to start a lap…and when Paco took a second to adjust his swim cap (ear infections and all) and goggles, the teacher then hollered, “I. SAID. GO!” For a sensitive kid like our Paco, that was devastating. He soldiered through the class before coming home to sob and sob. Because I was just that kind of kid myself, feeling sick in the gut at any minor correction, I was all over making it better. Put another way: YOU DON’T YELL AT MY KID, BUCKO, OR I WILL SHOVE A SCREAM DOWN YOUR THROAT THAT WILL ECHO ‘TIL SUNDAY. Starting next week, he’ll swim with a different group and a trusted teacher. Harrumph.
Then last night, Girl spent her pre-bedtime hour sobbing and sobbing because, as she put it “I was mad at you and Dad because I was angry with myself, and I didn’t want to be mad at myself, so I decided to be mad at you.” My head spinning a bit, I lobbed a few questions and discovered it all comes down to the fact that she doesn’t have a best friend, and because she hangs with a group of seven girls, when they all pair off, she is the seventh, left hanging on the line when it’s time to choose partners in the classroom. I offered her inadequate words like “that just sucks” and “friendships between girls are always painful, but I can promise you they will change and