As of this Monday, Peter and Kenny are going to a summer camp run by the local community center, or Maison de Quartier. They'll be going there the next 3 weeks. It's convenient, I can walk them there in about 10 minutes, and from the community center they take a bus to the camp in Jussy, about 20 minutes away. They were a little apprehensive about going there, especially Kenny. But now they both say they love it, and can't wait to go in the morning.
Every day we need to put together their kit, which includes the obvious (sun hat, towel, bathing suit), but also a plastic plate, cup, spoon, and fork for lunch. Lunch is provided, but they need to bring the dishes, and also wash the dishes by themselves. So far the lunch has been spaghetti with bread and salad, ham with rice and green beans, and today shrimp kebab with rice. And dessert has been fruit salad, cookies (but only if you can find a piece of trash to pick up), and today ice cream, in the cups that they drink water from, so they needed to finish all their water. They definitely avoid all disposables.
So far I've been quite happy with the staff. They're all very friendly, engaging with the kids, and patient with my broken French. Today one of them explained to me that Peter started crying for some reason while they were off on a little hike in the woods, and they absolutely couldn't figure out what the problem was. She was speaking to me a little too quickly, so I had to ask her to slow down, but mostly I understand things. I finally got from Peter what the problem was, hours later, after bribing him with the promise of a lollipop. It turns out that during their hike in the woods, an insect had been flying around his eyes, and he tried to brush it away and either accidentally brushed it into his eye or touched his eye with his finger.
We saw some of the staff at the park next to our apartment, they were all puffing away with cigarettes. But smoking is just so much more common here that it's not seen as the big negative it would in the US. As long as they don't puff directly onto the kids, I'm fine.
Kenny really has been enjoying some of the games that they play involving tagging, and multiple teams. Today they played a game with two teams, where each player could be either a troll, a leprechaun, or some other character he couldn't translate. It involved a lot of running, bases, tagging people out and rescuing them again, which he really likes, so he was happy. He's still not talking at all, but they say that it's apparent he understands everything. I was also told that this morning, before Peter's incident with the insect in the eye, he had started talking quite a bit. So hopefully Kenny will start too.
Kenny told me that Peter is always being told by other kids, especially the older girls, how cute he is. He doesn't seem jealous, just amused. In any case, Kenny doesn't aspire to be cute, he wants to be cool.
Wednesdays is the field trip day. This week, they went on a field trip to a really huge pool in Lausanne, with tons of slides, and also the Museum of the Hand.
Today was the last day of summer camp. After pick-up, I went to get Kenny for dinner and found him sobbing on his bed. It turns out he was just so sad about summer camp ending! He talked about how much fun he had there, how nice all the counselors were, how fun the games were, how much fun it was to build the cabins (they let the kids build some cabins in the woods). And today, when they had a parade to the park with a paper mache dragon, he got to walk in front of the dragon, holding an orange cardboard flame.
I guess he did start talking to people, even though at one point he wasn't talking much, because he said that many of the counselors told him how well he spoke French.
Well, I'm glad it turned out so well. And the kids are both going to the Wednesday program (there's no school on Wednesday, so you have to figure out some other kind of childcare arrangement), which is also at the Maison de Quartier. I think they'll really enjoy it.
One more note - when I pick the kids up on Fridays, the counselors were all sitting around drinking beers. This doesn't bother me, but it's something that would really not happen in the US. Or only furtively.