On June 1st, China celebrates "Children's Day", a day where children are celebrated and gifts are given to them. Since June 1st will be on a Sunday this year, Sophie's school put together a celebration today that involved waves of children getting up on stage at the local park and dancing to music. We were lucky that we were in only the third wave of children, as it was a crowded, busy morning!
When we got there, Sophie's teacher put lipstick on her so that she would be extra beautiful on stage. Yes, this same lipstick was shared amongst all the kids...
Their classroom bathroom, with the shin-high urinals, and the trough to squat over. Water flows from one end of the trough to the other. In a trough situation, you always want to be the furthest one upstream, for obvious reasons.
The chamber pot is also brought out during class at regular intervals to prevent accidents from the little ones.
We were told several days ago, "Make a costume out of old paper and plastic bags, and make a hat having something to do with a goat!" Well, we did our best. Here are some of Sophie's classmates, getting ready for the big show, in their costumes. RIGHT: Sophie says her friend's name is Xu Wo Ling,
LEFT: Sophie in her costume trying on her "goat-hat", and RIGHT: one of her friends all decked out, Sophie says her name is Jia Yi"
Sophie, practicing her dance moves with one of the boys, Ling Long.
After 30 minutes of pandemonium getting preschoolers into fragile recycled costumes, it was time for a walk to the park. Thank goodness Peter and Jack came, they were so helpful! Here are Peter and Jack carrying the camera gear and Sophie's goat hat, which at this point has been categorically rejected by Sophie.
Sitting in the crowd, receiving instructions in Chinese with the rest of the parents. Yeah, right. Thanks to Peter for taking the picture! I cajoled Sophie into wearing the goat-hat, VERY briefly.
Sophie waited in the wings with her teacher for her turn to go on stage.
The group that went on before us, who were supposed to be bakers...
Sophie waited for the bakers to perform...
... and here are the little bakers, dancing on stage.
Parents were very AGGRESSIVE getting to the stage to take a picture of their children. I gave Jack the video camera and told him to worm his way up to the stage, which he did very successfully. Crowds always part for Jack in China! Next,I worked on positioning myself strategically, so that I'd be able to rush the stage when it was Sophie's turn.
After studying how other parents did it, I said to myself, "Ready.... GO!" I flailed my arms and pushed other young mothers, fathers, ayis and grandmothers aside as I charged the stage, and... TOUCHDOWN! I dove down in front for a shot of my little girl on stage! When in Rome...!
Only 3 of the kids, including Sophie followed the teacher's cue to stand up, partially because it was so noisy and confusing!
Then, as the students were listening for their next cue, some fireworks exploded which shot pieces of paper into the air above their heads. Sophie grabbed her ears, and it was pretty much chaos after that. The fireworks definitely had not been a part of the rehearsal!
We stripped the costume off after being on stage, and the kids played for a bit. Sophie tried to limbo...
Jack demonstrated how to use some of the old people's exercise equipment.
Sophie and one of her classmates, hanging out after the show...
We were all pretty much exhausted after all of that excitement, and now school is over for the day. Oh look, it's only 9:30 am!