It Has Happened. Eli Is Saying “Toh-mah-toe.”


Adaptation has come quickly, here in Highbury Terrace. Last Friday, I asked Eli if he was looking forward to school “tomorrow.” (Note: this is a tactic often used, and it ALWAYS seems to catch him out. Another favorite is asking him “what he did in school today” on Saturday night.) He replied, “Oh, yeah, it should be good.” I then pointed out, as I always do, that he would NOT in fact, be heading to school (unless he wanted to sit there alone, outside the closed school) and he replied, “Oh, MAN! I was looking forward to it.” This surprised us, a little, given that we think of Eli as being a little TOO easy going, and unlikely to have strong feelings on events and activities not of his own designation. I asked him what he was looking forward to– knowing that a few hours ago, I had asked him about “whether he had made friends with anyone in his class” and he had answered “Yeah, I was talking to some kids– one was named Daniel. I think. And another… might have started… with ‘C’…”– and therefore thinking it unlikely that companionship and fellow-feeling were going to be the big “draws” for him. But, no– he said he was looking forward to seeing his class. How odd. While he had days he had really looked forward to going to Acacia, he had attended there for so much longer… it seems he is finding things he likes here (and there at school, specifically).

Perhaps it is the occasional “floor show.” Eli calmly told us, after his first day, that there had been not ONE, but TWO fights. The descriptions were, in typical Eli fashion, quite vague (“Yeah… it was two girls… fighting about, I dunno, cards or something? You know, football cards? Maybe it was a boy and a girl… or a boy and a girl and a girl. Yeah. Maybe…”), but we were somewhat taken aback. It sounded like it was more shouting and squabbling than pushing and, I don’t know, STABBING. So that was good. I asked Eli if they were fighting over him (remember, central details like “what were they fighting about” are ALWAYS confused and/or difficult to remember), and he said “No. At least… I don’t THINK so…” So, perhaps, the thought that more of the “sweet science” might be on display had a hook for him. We will never know, as he could not elucidate the draw even then. It was good to know he was interested in going back, though, for WHATEVER reason.  (For more on his first day, see “Eli’s First Day of School“– and I should also say that the disturbances in his class at Laycock were NOT typical, and happened because his teacher was drawn unexpectedly from the room for a protracted period on the second day back from Christmas Holiday.)

Maybe he was just looking forward to riding that fascinating scooter. As we walk (or an adult walks and he “glides”… I’m not kidding. He calls it that.) to his school, we have the choice of walking for much of the way on the Highbury Fields border path (continuous asphalt, relatively recently paved, 6 foot or more wide), or on the other side of the street– British tiled pavements, also newish, 3 foot wide (in many areas much less); as seen in the background of almost every image here. Given the choice, he invariably chooses the pavements. Now, why, you may ask, would someone rolling along on 4 inch hard plastic wheels choose a surface with thousands of jarring seams & edges over asphalt with the occasional ripple due to tree growth? Wait for it… wait for it… he says the asphalt is (and I DIRECTLY quote him) “bumpier.”

Maybe it is this skewed interpretation of the world that has caused the immediate transposition of “football” for “soccer.” (Okay, we did coach him on that, a little, over the years– BUT STILL). The swap of “dinner” for “lunch.” The question “Are all shoes ‘trainers,’ or do some not train you to do anything? Like, do American shoes TRAIN you, or not?” The recurrent requests for biscuits. And today, the mention that they had “a tuna, a mashed poh-TAY-toe, and a salad of stick cucumber and toh-MAH-toes for ‘dinner’ at school.”

I like his idiosyncrasies, such as they have manifested so far.  (Like his use of exclamation points! At the end of every sentence! Or fragment thereof! In his book reports!) Hopefully, Finley will be allowed many opportunities to enjoy being here, even while at home with me– it would be great if she enjoyed it (and was as conscious of it) at least as much as he seems to be.

Sawyer is just going to be pissed, later, when she realizes she moved to a foreign country for a “broadening” experience when she wasn’t old enough to remember it. (And she IS already about as “broad” as she can be!)

Eli and Sawyer wearing SoCal team hats.

Photo courtesy Finley Dalley

3 Comments

Filed under Going To English School, In England

3 responses to “It Has Happened. Eli Is Saying “Toh-mah-toe.”

  1. natasha

    I love the picture, so adorable! Sawyer looks like a cabbage patch kid! Glad that Eli is enjoying school. I am sure that Finley is having a wonderful time ordering you around…oops I mean playing with you. ha! 🙂 What a great experience. Tell everyone hi!

  2. Stephen

    I’d like to acquire some quaint British-isms so I can converse with Eli, but the best I can come up with is “shiver me timbers.” That doesn’t count, does it?

  3. lannette huelson

    This picture of Sawyer is adorable….She looks like she could pass for the gerber baby! I also love the picture of Finley, it is so cute and you can so she her personality in that picture!!! And as always Eli looks like the awesome big brother that he is. What a beautiful family! Love you guys, Mom

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