May 6, 2009

Ausflug jitters

Today K's Kindergarten is taking the older kids on a 3 day sleepover at a farm. It's called an 'Ausflug' in German, which means 'fly away.' K has been very excited about it and as near as I can tell, she's the only kid who doesn't have any heebie jeebies about sleeping away from home.

I've been more worried than she is. Not about the trip per se, I'm down with that.

But there's the ride home. She's driving home with another mom, which Ralf arranged but didn't' confirm. He doesn't believe that confirmation is necessary when he arranges something. I've seen this other mom several times this week but instead of simply asking her if she's still planning to bring K home Friday, I avoided the topic because I'm not sure whether to call her 'Sie' (formal) or 'Du' (informal).

I usually try to let the Germans take the lead on this but they are incredibly resourceful about avoiding the use of 'you' in conversation until the manner of address is clarified so most of the conversations with people I don't know that well end up being pretty stilted.

I'm not kidding. I have actually had this conversation, although not with Til Schweiger. I know I should just get over myself but I don't like to make grammatical mistakes.

Shocking, I know.

Anyway, instead of doing what any normal person would do and confirming K's ride home with this mom I instead asked one of K's teachers (who is definitely 'Sie') if the teachers would please make sure the kids all have rides home. She said, no, the parents had to arrange that.

At this point a rather long discussion ensued about how I expect teachers to not just jump in the car and head for home until all children are safely on their way while her eyes tracked around hopefully in search of a colleague to pass me off on.

Another worry has been K's anti-tick cream. Ralf was bitten by a tick when he was a kid and almost died so it's a sensitive topic. We did the FMSE vaccination and I packed tick repellant in K's bag. However, that stuff's poison and I don't want her and her 5-year-old posse playing with the stuff so I reminded her at least five times this morning to ask Miss Vanessa to help her with the tick cream.

Eyes glazed over with confusion, she nodded and said, 'OK, mommy.'

That wasn't quite enough commitment for me so I also asked Ralf about twenty times to speak with Miss Vanessa about this personally, which he promptly agreed to do without any snarky comments about annoyingly paranoid moms.

So far I've only been moderately (or, if you're Ralf or that teacher, extremely) irritating, but now I have a confession to make.

Here it is: K threw up last night. Twice. And I still sent her on the trip.

She had no fever, got herself dressed with no fuss and ate a reasonable excuse for breakfast and I figured that even if she has something, she probably got it from one of the other kids anyway.


If another mom sent her barfing offspring on a trip with my child they would probably find themselves on the wrong end of one of my rants (if I could get past whether to call them 'Sie' or 'Du'). I know that. But I just couldn't keep her home after so much build up and anticipation when she seemed perfectly fine this morning.

And believe me, I watched her like a hawk all morning and felt her forehead about fifty times.

Just out of curiosity, would you have done?


  1. Well, my older child is a barfin' phenom, so I would definitely have sent her. The younger has never thrown up (ok, 1x in her life) so I would actually think a bit. Though with no fever or other symptoms, I might still send her.
    But I would have checked that return ride because I actually make poor THing1 use a carseat and it would matter to me. I also think others should have the same slack to FU as I and I believe in always confirming because I have screwed things up in my life (showed up for a wedding a day late... who knew people get married on the Sabbath?). As for Sie and Du, I have been yelled at in Kita for using Sie (was told that it's form to use Du and I should have known that how?), so I just thrust forward with whatever I want. It's not a grammatical error, it's an etiquette error and on that my German husband still has problems with, so I just don't care. the brashness of the Auslander:).
    The Ausflug sounds so cool!

  2. If there's no fever or stomach pain, then it's probably nothing since she only threw up twice. I would have done the same.

    Don't worry HPH!! She'll have a great time.

  3. Well, I am sure that if it is something they will call you to fetch her and these bugs can come outta nowhere! As for the Sie and du - I would wing it. When I am in Germany everybody is Sie unless they correct me with "du" or refer to me as du then I take it from there.

  4. I'm not a mom and can't give advice, but I do know that memories of a field trip last a lot longer than a little case of the pukes. I say good call!

  5. Is the swine flu over there yet?

    And that's so weird about the usage, or lack of usage, about you. Very weird indeed.

  6. Well I definitely make it more of a problem than it needs to be. But it can get ambiguous with someone your own age that you see a lot and are friendly with, esp. if you can't remember whether you used 'Du' in the past or not. If so, switching to 'Sie' is a bit rude. If not, using 'Du' without being invited is rude. And yes, there are a few cases of Schweingrippe (swine flu) here but it's not setting the Thames on fire.

  7. On the Sie and Du thing, won't they cut you some slack since you're American? Those folks sound tough!

    Re the trip you totally did the right thing. Relax.

  8. Tough call. Nothing makes me angrier than finding out that a sick kid was sent to school or attended a party. But that's because one sick kid in our family very quickly multiplies to 3--that's one of the downsides of triplets. BUT--with no fever, aches, or other complaints, it could have been something she ate or even nerves! I probably would have sent her in the end too.

    Clueless on the etiquette thing... sorry!

  9. I've been considering this all day...

    I'm not 100% certain of myself here, but I think I would've kept her home for the day, and if she was fine, I'd drive her to the farm myself at some point.

  10. sometimes there really is something called the 24 hour flu. Honestly, I'd have done the same

  11. Oh my - the Institute for Infectious Diseases is BIG over here and NO kid is allowed to go anywhere near the others at kindergarten, and definitely not on an outing, until 48 hrs after the kids last puked.

    Even if they only puke once and seem OK, they can still pass on that bug to countless others... I've been brainwashed here in Sweden, so the answer is: Sorry, kid has to stay at home... (Otherwise the school and other parents would be descending on me like a pack of ticks!)

  12. So the Germans are actually a tad more relaxed than somebody. ;-) I've seen some pretty sick looking kids at Kindergarten here.

  13. We get lots of letters, plus we actually have to sign a letter promising NOT to send our kids to pre-school if they are sick... Tough rules over here.

  14. I'd say I definitely would've sent her. I've made tha call more than once, and I usually get burned. I think last time I sent my 5 year old to school and she ended up cleaning her own puke up from the bus floor with tissues. Murphy's law, I say.
    Also, I was a total basket case sending my oldest to camp when he was around 7. God that was horrible! Until we picked him up and he said he had fun.


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