First news first: I'm not phasing out this blog after all. There's just too much Estonian/American content and it will be covered here. I have been busy, and it's been hard to flesh out Freecession with content, but I still think the second blog is deserved. It will be a chillspace and no-smoking area with music and multimedia, some of it good, some of it just sentimental value for insiders...somewhere to go to escape. You can click the link to get there, or you can cross the outdoor beer courtyard and go up the steps to the loft. Are you visualizing all of this? Actually, it's a little known fact that all blogs have floor plans. They're required to have a kitchen and a WC. Ask all of the blogmasters at the blogs you read for a floor plan for navigational purposes.
Morgan had his first parent teacher conference today at the kindergarten. We went to the basement office. The room smelled like what I thought was fish food for an aquarium -- dense, oily, decomposed. "Dead rat," said the teacher, shrugging. It had been exterminated but the body could not be retrieved. All of the classrooms are on the upper stories, luckily. This was an inauspicious beginning but we got used to the smell in a few minutes and what followed was a pretty good brainstorming session/discussion.
We had filled in a thorough questionnaire and the kindergarten had written a page and a half on Morgan. It was clear we were talking about the same guy and the paperwork had not been mixed up. It seems he is a model student; if there is anything, he's a bit of a follower. At least he does not author any mischief himself. He is doing well in language and math. He is able to make change from a 25-kroon bill. That's really good for 3, I think, though he probably has forgotten the alphabet. He learned the letters at 2, and then was like, been there, done that, but before understanding that letters can be used to form words.
They are keeping a folder on him, like all the kids, which contains his artwork and a selection of interviews ("kids say the darnedest things" style). I noticed that he wants to grow up to be a "klaverijuht" he said in his most recent "interview". That means "piano-director" and is made up. So the exposure to the keyboard at home and the grand piano at Rohuneeme might be good. (Though he can't carry a tune, but we didn't discuss that.)
Oddly, the teachers failed to make eye contact with me. Even when I was talking, they weren't locking on to me. My wife says it was probably the converse of what we get from insurance companies and banks -- they automatically assume the husband is the one who calls the shots and that everything will be in his name. So they assume at the kindergarten that the woman is the child-rearer.
It is odd why Estonia is this way with gender roles, and why the disparity between male and female wages is the highest in Europe. You would think we are a rationalist, enlightened sort of place. After all, we had the Soviet occupation. Not that the Soviets really practiced what they preached about gender equality, but the occupation did leave a measurable mark in many ways. Estonia is the least religious country in the world, for example, according to a Gallup poll from earlier this year -- quite a ways under the non-post-Soviet Nordics.
Someone explain to me why this is -- the Nordics have the most sexually integrated political sphere anywhere and we're basically a Nordic country, and the Soviet influence should have at least a neutral effect on gender equality.