The Kids Are All Right

Posing with an Olympic mascot

They are, really. They’re settled in to their new schools and happy, which is the biggest relief imaginable for their parents. They’ve changed so much in the past year, not only getting taller, but also sounding different, using new vocabulary, trying new things.

James started coming home from school last year saying things like, “Cheese sandwiches are really quite good, you know,” in a British accent, or “This works quite well, actually” (he now sounds like a Brit 100% of the time–can’t remember how to speak like an American). When you say something to him he doesn’t quite hear, he says, “Pardon?” like a proper Brit (unlike his sister, who is still quite determinedly American and still says “WHAT??”). He has learned to love Nutella on croissants, thanks to our Paris trip, and both children expect that biscuits (cookies) are a natural part of everyday British life, despite my attempts to tell them that no, biscuits are a treat, not a daily occurrence. (“But all my friends at school have biscuits with their lunch every day!!”)

Last year James learned that most Brits pronounce the letter “H” as “haitch”–why, we don’t know. That’s how he pronounces it now, though it drives me crazy. His sister refuses to pick up the accent except when she is talking to her friends here, then she puts the accent on, “So it’s easier for them to understand me.” She hasn’t picked up the politeness of her friends, who will reply, when I ask them how they are, “Very well, thank you.” I’m hoping one day the politeness will rub off.

Charlotte came home from school last week and told us “I learned how to draw a wine bottle really well in art class today!” Not something she would’ve come home from her school in Ohio saying! (They were learning to draw a still life in art class, before you start to worry.)

They love living on a farm, in an old barn, despite the spiders. James can’t wait for the farmer to get cows (there are only sheep and horses right now; the sheep will lamb in March and sometime after that will be sold, I think, and replaced with cows). He loves cows, though he believes that “American cows are better than English cows.” Why, I don’t know. Charlotte is a bit less excited about livestock and is convinced one of the horses will jump a fence, charge her, and run her down. (She is her father’s daughter.)

Even so, James did say the other day, “I think America is better.” Just because. And though we are much more settled, much happier now, and though I can (almost) see our future here, most of the time I’d have to agree.

2 thoughts on “The Kids Are All Right

  1. Kate

    Okay – for my Expert in All Things Language – one that has always left me unsure – when someone asks how you are, shouldn’t you use “good” or “bad” (adjectives) rather than “well” or “poor” (adverbs)? Or can well & poor also work as adjectives? It always bothers me when people use well, but it’s so common that I’m not very confident of my English class memories… Help!


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