Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthdays Deutschland style...

As most know, Baby Bird is now in kindergarten. The German kindergartens have a long window of one of the parents attending the kindergarten until the child is settled. In this case, they told me I have to come everyday for 2 weeks. In the US, at the 2 daycares we went to, parents were not welcome after a little bit on the first day!

I am actually having a lot of fun there believe it or not and I will actually miss this when I go to Deutsch Kurs in a few weeks. I am also speaking a lot of German and have taught the German teachers there many words. For example, if you really want to make a German sound ridiculous, ask them to say the word squirrel. (uhh...just don't make me say Eichhornchen!)

I am also learning a lot about German culture. For example, today was one of the girl's 5th birthday. You would think she was getting indoctrinated into a sorority but really she just turned 5. This started right away in the morning.
  1. They sang 3 songs to her about having a happy birthday. One was the English happy birthday. The other 2 were German happy birthday songs that I don't remember.The did all have the words Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag.
  2. All of the children got in a line behind one another and held each other's shoulders with Birthday Girl as the leader and played a Simon Says sort of game.
  3. They followed her into the dining room where it was fairly elaborately decorated with balloons, streamers, and a birthday train with large pillar candles in it.
  4. There were also sparklers (guess German children can be trusted with fireworks!) lit in a brötchen or roll. These eventually went out.
  5. All of the children received a brötchen with their choice of apricot jam or brie cheese.
  6. Then they ate weird German cheese cake which was not sweet at all and did not have a crust. It really did taste more like "cheese cake."
  7. Then she got 2 presents - a barbie and some Barbie accessories where she proudly proclaimed she had 3 barbies now!
  8. ****After the children were done eating, she went into the playroom where she took 5 unlit candles on a plate and walked around a cut-out sun on the ground. While she was doing this, one of the teachers was reading a story which I couldn't quite understand (maybe not because my German is bad but Baby Bird kept asking to play with trains) Sometimes she would stop and get one of her candles lit. This ended after 2 pages of a story and all candles lit!
  9. Then, they sang more songs to Birthday girl.
  10. Then they sang and played Pippi Longstrumpf which we Americans know as Pippi Longstocking. I don't know what the fascination with her is in Germany, but I see her everywhere. There is even a playground near us which is decorated in Pippi Longstrumpf.
Unfortunately I had to leave at this point to go to a meeting for 1 1/2 hours so I didn't see anymore of the Delta Dueutsche Gamma indoctrinating. But at the end, I heard they made her sign her name in Nutella to swear she was 5.

I also had to bring Baby Bird to the meeting. Why I couldn't leave him alone for less than 2 hours at HIS OWN DAYCARE, I am not sure!

Note: The meeting was a disaster due to the fact that Baby Bird laid on the ground whining for things just barely out of his reach. He was not having a good day and thus, I remember nothing out of this fairly important meeting

*** This was the strangest custom of all. I am not claiming ALL Germans do this but this seemed like the custom at my school!


C N Heidelberg said...

Sparklers, cool!!!
Regarding fire safety, I think it's a whole different thing here...at Christmas they have burning candles on the trees...!

Alice said...

Another fire safety issue - do you have any smoke detectors in your wohnung? We don't! (Though we brought a few with us unknowingly - the movers packed EVERYTHING.)

Bubba Joe's dad still hasn't set them up though ...

C N Heidelberg said...

Hey Yelli, Damon & I are meeting some US friends in Berlin on Sat Oct 18, any chance you are free/interested in hanging out that evening? My email is in my blogger profile so let me know! I'm asking G and Snooker too...I know it's kind of late notice though.

Yelli said...

@ CN - The sparklers were cool. I was just a little surprised that they were so close to 2-5 year olds!

@ Alice- I haven't even thought about it! I am going to go right now and check!

G in Berlin said...

Some of these customs are not universal... when Thing1 turned 5 in July, we had the crown and a present and then singing. Then handshaking and congratulating by all the little girls and boys. We had candles on the cake and no sprinklers...

Kathryn said...

Wow, other Americans in Berlin---hallo!!!! :O)
Which kindergarten is your child attending? I have two little ones going to the same kindergarten and one of my kids has a b-day coming up soon. I have to take the morning off from work to help with all these rituals they have! It's a big deal here. Add to that party planning, work...ahhhh!!

Where in Berlin are you and how long have you been here? I live in Kleinmachnow (just south of Zehlendorf). Would love to meet up sometime. I sent you my email address in the comment section of my blog :O)