Preparing for the summer break (a family update) – week 39

May 29, 2015

The school year is coming to an end! We only have two more weeks left before school holidays start and we will be travelling back to Europe for a few weeks. A good time to reflect a bit on the children.

Once we return to Tokyo in August, Lilo will already start her last year of primary school. Linus and Leonard will start their primary school preparation year – the last year of kindergarten. We have seen our children changing so much in this last year – it is truly amazing. They made new friends, they are confident, they are curious and passionate and most of the time they are a really good team all three of them.

I would never have expected the independence for the children possible in such a big city. Lilo is equipped with a cell phone that has an emergency button. Should she be in trouble, the phone gives an immediate signal to us and the police, sending her coordinates. Every time she uses her phone, the coordinates are sent to my phone and I know exactly where she is. So she can walk to and from school by herself, she goes to play in the park with friends and she walks to her friend’s houses in the neighbourhood all by herself.

Leonard asked for a family picture with his stuffies
Leonard asked for a family picture with his stuffies

I usually pick the boys up from school and we walk home together. If I need to stop by the supermarket, they usually go ahead without me, promising to cross streets carefully and to not race on their scooters. So far no accidents. Very often they have play dates and leave school with other parents. Such play dates can even be arranged without their knowledge, so that at pick-up time they learn that I am not coming. It does not disturb them in any way as a play date seems to be much more attractive than an afternoon with me.

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Last week they had their second but last session of Aikido for this term and Lilo received her yellow belt with certificate. She is now a registered member of the Aikikai foundation. All three did an amazing job during this parent watching day and even two of Lilo’s class mates came to watch her performance. Linus and Leonard are preparing for their yellow belt test in February. I put some pictures and videos below.

Everybody is already very excited about our trip to Europe. The children will see all of their grandparents, their friends in Basel, their uncles, their friends in Brittany, our friends from Brussels and Berlin, and we will finally visit the Eiffel tower! We have a great time ahead of us! Now I am preparing them on how to behave during the trip as we will do the long distance flights without Mark. We are dividing clear responsibilities for suitcases, toys etc as well as discussing responsible behaviour during flight and transit times.

It is definitely time to escape the humid heat here in Tokyo. Rain season is about to start and those high temperatures with the aggressive sun are exhausting. Poor Mark who will only be out of this heat for 3 weeks…..

Today’s fun fact:

In Europe we would be at the pool most days, but in Japan, going to a swimming pool with kids is no fun at all. It is not allowed to jump into the water, to dive or to splash water around. So what is the point in going to the pool with children? Until they start enjoying to swim laps, a Japanese pool is no place to be.

In addition, in most swimming pools you have to get out of the pool every hour for safety inspections and change of life guards. It is not always very clear what exactly those safety inspections are, but they are carried out thoroughly while everybody patiently waits outside.

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Leonard

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