• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by muchado

  1. Thanks for the laugh, mlovett. I saw lots of people in the States wearing these Keep Calm t-shirts. They remind me when "life is good" t-shirts were trendy. I think they still are.

    I really appreciate the perspectives I have received here. However, after starting several conversations on TT, arguing my position on many of them, and receiving some useful suggestions, I have just come to the decision that this forum is not a good fit for me. I will muddle along with my American ways and find a way to survive in Germany till I live here but I think I am done with TT.




    Would you have the same worries about a 17- or 18year old female student?


    Yes, for the same reasons posted above.

    And now I am checking out of this thread. Thank you to those who gave me a logical explanation with useful suggestions.



    Sounds like he's currently studying to become a Kinderpfleger or an Erzieher*... and men are few and far between in this line of work. Why not ask him what he's studying? His studies will be attached to school and believe me they have to complete a lot of theory courses (and exams) before they're even allowed anywhere near kids. I've taught a few Erzieher-in-training (and yes, there were some guys) and it's incredible what they have to learn.

    The Kita stays in close contact with the school, so they are most likely keeping a strong eye on him. And yes, they do background checks. The poor bloke is probably more than aware that he will be watched much more closely than his fellow female students and it is really tough for guys to get into this line of work, just as robinson100 said.


    I wouldn't worry so much. I work with a male Erzieher too and the kids love him! Many of the boys find it easier to talk to him when there is a problem rather than one of the female Erziehers. If it still worries you, perhaps ask kiddo what s/he thinks of the new addition to the Kita. Kids are a lot quicker to pick up on character and how a person comes across compared to adults. If they say anything that concerns you, raise it with the Kita.


    *To be an Erzieher, students need at least a Realschulabschluss which is obtained after completing Klasse 10, which may explain his age.


    Extra info: My mother-in-law (who teaches Erzieher) has just told me that each student has to supply an extended background check before they're permitted to even start the course. This differs from a standard background check which only goes back three years. Even things which are 'taken off your record' remain on an extended background check. If there's an entry... no matter what for... you can't do the course. No loopholes, no way around it.


    Thank you for that. It was very helpful in calming some of my anxieties.

    To the others, please know that as a teacher I have worked with both genders all my adult life and my own favorite teachers were male. This doesn't have to do with gender as I wrote in my original post. It has to do with a very young person who may not have the emotional maturity to handle everything and yes, I do not want him involved in helping my kid to the restroom. If that's a prejudice, I am happy to have it.

    mlovett, thanks for the tip about talking to him and getting to know him. I am sure that will also help in easing my concerns. We have had the private parts discussion before and will need to reinforce it again and again as the kids get older.


    I am not against him choosing my own profession but more concerned as to whether and how he was being supervised, what training he has received since he is so young, etc. Please don't make this about something else. Most of the people I know in the States wouldn't even let a 6 yr. old near their 3 yr. olds so you don't know where I am coming from. It's not that easy to clear all cultural hurdles and especially when you are emotionally vulnerable as most parents are.



    The unsolicited advice on the street isn't a German thing, it's an old people thing. You can let it bother you or you can just smile, nod, and move on.


    Lingering goodbyes at kita (and at school, too) disrupt the routine and wind the kids up, and are therefore discouraged. My son's school - which is American-German, which means half the teachers are American - has a strict goodbye policy: when they're dropping their kids off and picking them up, there are red lines (literally) they aren't allowed to cross. Big signs at the entrances to the community spaces outside of the classroom clusters indicate the "kiss zone", which parents aren't supposed to pass if they don't have business with the teachers.


    As to criticism for staying away for a month for vacation, that's really stupid. But if you don't want to build up aggro between you and the staff, again I would just smile, nod, and ignore it. Things will get strict enough when the kids start 1st grade and Schulpflicht kicks in.


    Totally get it. Been there, done that as a teacher. However, this is a special circumstance. I know my child's anxiety levels are up the roof. I want to ease the transition for her. This is not a regular occurrence. This is happening for the first time and don't think it'll be a big issue as my daughter matures and gets older. We have been on vacation before and have not encountered such fear and resistance to attend K but this it's different and understandably, as a parent, I want to make this easier on everyone involved but especially my daughter.

    However, I have to disagree about comments coming from old people only. I know several within a 50 mile radius and no one gives me unsolicited comments. These are Germans. We know several older people (grandparents) from various ethnicities in the U.S. and no one gives me comments about my parenting. They compliment and they ask questions but they have never told me that I need to let go or should dress my kids a certain way.


    I agree that I shouldn't create any trouble with the staff and I don't want to as I genuinely like the teacher. But there are some instances where I feel I need to stand my ground. Easing her transition to K is one of them. My other solution is what mlovett wanted to do--take her out and keep her home. Not a good solution, I am sure.


  5. We just came back to our Kita after a long absence and noticed a very young male in the classroom. I was informed that he is the teen student teacher and will be with the kids twice a week for a year. Now, if I was to broach this subject with my friends back home, every radar would be on high alert and my friends would end up making me very anxious. As it is, this is sort of robbing my sleep because I don't know how to react to it because of the cultural differences. I know it's not supposed to be a big deal but for someone who has a daughter (although does gender really matter?), I am very apprehensive as to how much care this student will be doing. Will he be assisting in the bathroom? The lead teacher says no but if they need extra hands, yes.

    Please help me understand this because I am sure I will come across this situation again and again. And I don't want to have a hissy fit because a teenager is in-charge of my kids. Can parents say or do anything about it? I doubt it but just need some perspective.



    I just wanted to thank everyone who showed an interest and of course especially those who took part in my research. I recently defended my thesis and now have my Masters.


    My brief list of tips for German- English speaking mixed couples, based now on extensive reading, interviews and personal experience would be:


    Only speak English with your child, don't make any exceptions.

    Make English ideally your exclusive family language.

    Your partner should use BOTH German and English with your child, you can decide how much English and when seems appropriate.

    And very importantly, refuse to accept answers in German when you are conversing with your child. This may seem difficult but is only necessary for a limited period of time, at which point the child will no longer or very seldom attempt German with you. (Otherwise you may end up with a child who always speaks to you in German.)

    Learn German well enough to be able to continue conversations in English with your child that were started in German by your partner or in some other way initiated in German.

    Get your child access to monolingual English speakers e.g. have the grandparents come to stay if possible.


    Of course, for those doing something different which is working, keep going:)


    And enjoy, it's an amzingly cute thing to behold when little kids so easily switch isn't it, and if they can still do it when they're grown-up, the world is their oyster...


    thank you for those tips. We do most of the first few you listed. My spouse is reluctant to speak in German with the kids because he feels more comfortable in English. Go figure! And the kids get daily German doses from their grandparents who live next door as well as in KITA. I don't know if we're doing all the right things but my 3 yr. old speaks both languages even though English is her dominant language right now.


  7. We live in a small village but travel to the cities near us frequently. Most times, I have had pleasant exchanges with others while waiting in a line or just walking...

    In light of the recent thread about bilingualism, I realized that I actually get a lot of advice on how to raise my kids from non-family members. And I always take it with a grain of salt but lately, it's beginning to grate on me. Advice has ranged from language acquisition to why I shouldn't raise my kids bilingually to letting go of my insecurities regarding my kids. Recently, a KITA teacher, who has known us for 6 months, commented on how I was too lenient with my kids. We came back from a month long vacation from the US and she was not thrilled that we were gone this long and made a lot of nasty comments about it. Then, I suggested that I stay with my daughter for a couple of hours to ease her anxiety about returning to K and she told us that this was not possible. She has made it clear that she doesn't want me lingering for goodbyes either. Do people tend to give you advice about your own kids whether you asked or not? And how do you deal with it?

    Back home, only people who know us well give us advice or suggestions and only when asked so I am not at all used to this abrupt interruption in the way of doing things. I feel pressured. And I feel if I go against the Erziehen's advice, she will somehow take it out on my kid.


  8. I didn't write that I cared what others thought because I don't.

    Anyway, this is a beautiful post that my friend posted on FB and it resonates a lot with our everyday lives.



  9. I completely agree but I don't understand why people say such things to mothers in the trenches because it's not like we detest our children or think that they are taking us away from something more important. I don't think that way. Is it unimaginable to be completely in love with your children and watch them develop and still be bored by the monotony of it all...sometimes? After all, I am not just a mother even though that is the only way most people see me nowadays.


  10. OP, I could have written your post although I am not exactly bored because of lack of something to do but am more isolated. I have been reaching out and trying to find friends through my daughter's kindergarten but it's really hard. I have had so many phone calls and emails gone's discouraging.


    I never dreamed of being a SAHM like some mothers do, but am one. Now that I am one, I find that I am constantly learning on the job so there is no sense of accomplishment. While I love being a part of my children's lives, I would cherish just a weekend away for myself and for them to see that I am valuable to them. It's easy to start taking advantage of someone who's always around. And that leads to further erosion of self-worth and creates more isolation. I don't want to return to teaching (my former career) but I find that is the only option of a job available to me.

    So, no new advice but hang in there.


  11. Ok, so I am glad to be proven right. I haven't used softener in 5 years and never missed it. I smelled DH's clothes that used to be laundered by MIL and they smelled too perfumey and he couldn't wear them around our newborn till we knew whether she was allergic or not.

    I am skipping the softener but I still don't know what to do. I prefer using detergents without enzymes and optical brighteners and will keep hunting for the right solution and post here if I find it. Meanwhile, I'll take any suggestions.

    I've noted the washing soda suggestion and will get it asap. I do use Vollwaschmittel so that's not an issue. I've been reading up on the whole greying of white clothes so will try some things there. I used to enjoy doing laundry. Not so much anymore.


  12. Very hard. I use the amount suggested on the bottle for hard water. Nothing is getting that sweat out of those shirts. I don't use fabric softener because of the fragrance issues for the kids but should I add that for the under-shirts? Will that help? I gave a whole basket of laundry to MIL today because I am so embarrassed about not getting hubby's shirts clean enough.


  13. I use Ecover or Sodasan because they are enzyme free detergents. I switch up between liquid and detergent. I also add a cup of 5% vinegar to the end of the cycle. Occasionally, I add Oxi-Clean (Vanish?) to the pre-wash cycle.

    My husband's under-shirts are still coming out grey and still stink of sweat. I even soak them for 1-2 hours in Oxi-clean and it's still not doing the job. I wash between 40 and 60, depending on the tag.

    I figure the vinegar is doing the same thing as the anti-kalk tabs. Have never used them. I think my husband is getting fed up with his shirt. We don't have this problem with the other laundry because we don't sweat as much. I don't know. Any suggestions?

    I cannot use heavily fragranced anything and enzyme-free is better for the kids' clothes.




    I seldom hear good stories about wives/girlfriends moving close to their German inlaws. Especially living with them.


    Done both and survived it. Seriously, MIL and I have cultural clashes once in a blue moon. They live next door to us and have been very hands-off. Sometimes, I wish they were a little bit more involved but after reading TT'ers woes about MILs in Germany, I am happy with mine.


    If I were in your situation, OP, I would have really had a talk with my fiancé because he's the only one who can resolve this by standing up for you and your relationship. It seems like he's fending her off when you're around but something else is going on behind the scenes with his family.


  15. 1. Always take your thyroid medication. Never skip it.

    2. Eat bananas in the morning and drink lots of water with lime or lemon or something that helps you get rid of the heartburn.

    3. Don't overdo on the citrus fruits but lots of watermelon should do you good.

    4. Eat crackers and cheese at night to keep everything down.

    5. I used these pressure bands and they seemed to help and I have seen them in German Apothekes. Not everyone has success with them.

    6. Be as active as possible so you're not nursing your morning sickness.


  16. Buy anything Haba or by Plan Toys. Playmobil has some cute stuff for kids under 4. We own the Noah's Ark by Playmobil and it gets played every day.


    This is a huge hit and my kids love it. Of course, most German toys are available in the U.S. but they're a lot more expensive.



  17. I say, go for it. Money will come and go. You can't put money above your happiness and the joy you think this vacation will give your daughter. She will probably remember this experience for the rest of her life.

    I go back home annually and this year, I get to go twice. I do not work, am a SAHM, and am not rich. I sacrifice many material things so I can enjoy my trips home. Moreover, my kids are not yet school aged so we try to stay longer and go more often when they can build their relationships with extended family and with the language. My kids have no other English speaking friends but they do have me as the primary caretaker.

    Definitely go.



    Glad to know of this website...will take a look! Hoping they also carry items for cats, as like you, the idea of trekking home with a large bag of cat food is not my idea of fun!


    We order all our cat food and cat litter from zooplus. They ship things rightaway and we usually get them in 2-3 days. Sometimes, they have my favorite brand of cat food out of stock so it's a bummer to look around for it somewhere else. I also compare reviews etc. on


    I buy a lot of kids clothes from MiniBoden and they have a lot of coupons and promotions once you start buying from them. I also tried Vertbaudet (French) and their quality is like H&M but styles are way cuter. (Kids clothes again)


    I have to try Bon Prix. Marks and Spencer does ship to Germany.


    Anyone know where I can get organic body/hair oils online? Amazon has them but I'd prefer buying from a reputable small business.


  19. Thanks for this thread. We're going next week after months of trying to go on a holiday only to find out that Alsace has the same holidays. I am excited about the cheese and wine option. So thrilling to explore. We'll be going to Strasbourg. Any tips other than visit the Auchan store? What about Monoprix? That was my fav. when I lived in France.


  20. Thank you all. I have to admit that some of your answers are scaring me but I did ask for your experiences. It's just that I had only read negative things about the school system and how they are especially hard on foreigners regardless of whether you live here long term or not.

    Prosie, I would love a PM of your (positive and negative) experiences if you have the time or maybe they are already on TT?

    I am married to a product of the German school system and I am quite impressed. However, things have changed in the last 30 years and I am not hearing very good things about the schools now. I know the education is far superior to what I taught. I am more concerned about the delivery of that education through the teachers and administration.

    I have a relative who is about to enter the school system. The parents have been running around since Jan. getting him tested for all sorts of things so he can go to a special school. No ped. or education specialist can tell them what's wrong. However, he has several markers of autism or Aspergers. He is super smart so everyone just pretends he's going to be ok. His German parents think otherwise and are being unable to prove it. My kids are bright but they are toddlers so who knows what kind of learners they will be. I am very interested in them enjoying school and not stressing about it especially in elementary school. I have been there and done that.

    It seems that schools are their own entities. So, we will have to explore the school itself. Can you tour schools here or is that reserved for incoming students only or at open house?


  21. I have lived in Germany for two years now. I have read a lot on TT and become an avid listener to parents with school-aged children. More than half my posts on TT are about schools. So this is a very important topic and I am still not convinced that I have done enough research. Perhaps, I am overthinking it. My husband says that it's alwas the disgruntled customers who leave bad reviews and they outweigh those who are satisfied with the product because those people rarely leave reviews. I agree.

    I have read or heard very little from parents who actually LIKE the German school system. I have heard people who teach there or are married to people who teach in schools. They have nice things to say. I worked in the American public school system and I have nice things to say about it, as well.

    I am really looking for a parent's perspective. Could you tell me what you liked about the schools? Please avoid making general statements as "My son turned out fine and is now working for a big company..." etc. I believe that has to do with your excellent parenting skills too. Regardless, it's more useful for my research to have more specific examples rather than general statements.

    I'll start with kindergarten as that's been my only experience. (I know that it's not part of the school system).

    I like the German kindergarten because it allows more freeplay and interaction with kids of all ages. I like the concept that the younger kids can learn from the older ones. I like how they pair up to go on field trips and the older ones sort of looks out for the younger ones.


    Please share your experiences.