Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Baby

Here's Gretchen on October 31st. Her Halloween celebration at school was the previous Wednesday. She went as a fairy butterfly witch knight godzilla again. Never a dull moment.

Can't believe that she's turning four in a month. She seems so much older. If there was ever a sweeter child...except in the mornings.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sophomore Year

Gretchen has begun her second of four years of Taiwanese bilingual kindergarten education. This morning was the first time that she woke up with the chickens and rode to school with Daddy--and it was not a quiet morning in the Batt household. Eventually we got here and the crying trailed off and she was on her way.

The junior high school where I teach is linked by a bridge to the elementary school and it's multiple playgrounds. The two schools together probably have about 1000 students in total, and among the teachers who work with them, there are a handful that have children enrolled in the kindergarten 2km away, so the school has arranged a shuttle bus to take the kids from here to there. Up until this morning, Gretchen's beauty sleep has taken precedence.

Yesterday, though, Maggie drove her to school in the morning, and Gretchen rode the bus back at 4:30 and she Franklin and I had the evening to ourselves to do with what we would.  But first, the playground.

 There are three separate playgrounds at the school. This one is shaped like a pirate ship and is in a sort of an open atrium. About twenty-five meters behind this one, at the other end of the classroom buildings is another one build for slightly bigger kids.

There's hopscotch, swings, and monkey bars. Beyond there is a basketball court and a track. Gretchen wanted to go on the swings after awhile, so we decamped to the north and swung like crazy.

Some of my junior high school students were playing basketball, and some others were giggling and trying to get the attention of one of the boys on the court. This went on for awhile and didn't have the desired effect of making the boy come over and propose marriage.

The girls thought Gretchen and her brother were the cutest thing they'd ever seen. When Franklin stated calling "Daddy" looking for a push on the swing, one of the girls, a student of mine, started calling me Daddy. The sort of thing that makes a junior high school teacher immediately feel a little nervous.

She went on talking to me, sometimes in Chinese, which I tried my best to ignore, and sometimes in English, which I tried to encourage. At some point, I mistakenly answered a Chinese question and she called me "Bad Teacher" for speaking Chinese.

Gretchen was having none of it. She jumped up on the step between us and started wagging her finger in the girl's face and told her--repeatedly--that she was a Bad Student. And when it was time to go, Gretchen picked up her umbrella and shot the girl point blank.

Add this to the neck massages and butterfly kisses and I am the luckiest Dad in the world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma

Better late than never,right? Sorry, I ran out of time selecting photos for this and don't have time to label everything. The Girl is Gretchen, and the Boy is Franklin.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Short Walk with Gretchen Althea

Gretchen went with me to grab a cup of coffee today before we went to the hot springs. How did I get so lucky to have a girl this photogenic?

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Worn Out

After a long day of being Daddy's Favorite Daughter.

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One for the Folks Watching at Home

Having a restful day at home. Gretchen was sick last night with a fever of 39.6C.
Maggie was good and didn't panic and make me drive to the hospital at six in the morning. Gretchen's fever was gone by nine, but we took it easy today anyway.

Now Frank's teaching his sister how to play a math computer fame. Kindergarten kids being taught second grade math. Neither one of them know how to climb a tree yet, though.

The American Adventure is still fresh in everyone's mind. We look forward to going back next summer and maybe catching the Fourth of July, some baseball, and a BBQ sandwich the size of my head.

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Location:Section 2, GōngYì Rd,Nantun District,Taiwan

Monday, October 19, 2009

Preview of Coming Attractions

Oh. May until October is let's see...a bunch of months. Gretchen is the sweetest little girl any father could ever hope to have. Although she's not the fastest at de-shoeing. or unbagging her lunch kit in the evenings, and bath time is often a screamfest, she's a doll. Where Franklin is often aloof, Gretchen is affectionate, hugging me at the end of the day. She is always the first to share her cookies with me when she has some, and she has a gift for therapeutic massage.

When I lie down on the bed after coming home--just for a minute to let my legs remember what it means to be inactive--I tell her that my shoulder hurts, and she's all over it like FoxNews "reporters" on a Bidenism. One of the promises of having a little girl around the house was the neck rubs.

Yesterday, I told her that my stomach hurt, and unfortunately she took it as a cue to jam both fists into my abdomen with the same gusto with which she attacks my shoulders. I'm okay now.

But the big news this week is that Halloween is coming up. I'd hoped to organize the foreigners in the building into going around trick or treating in the neighborhood, but it turns out they won't be in town. We'll make do with what we've got, though. Maggie took the kids to pick out their costumes over the weekend, and Gretchen was very enthusiastic.

The basis of her costume is a bumble bee suit that was given to Franklin some time ago by Teacher Swim or Teacher Sandy, I can't remember. Gretchen decided that she needed wings, and the wings appeared. Then, on the outing to Toys R Us--for the finest in Halloween wear in all of Taichung--she found a battle axe and a pink witch's hat to complete the ensemble. I can't wait to see it all in action next Wednesday at the school Halloween party! Pictures to come.