Rockstar has a companion named Jo. Not an imaginary friend like the panda bear one of our friends’ sons has, an actual one – Jo is 16, tall, blonde and (I think) blue-eyed. They talk, man-to-man. It all started when, during the swine flu scare of last year kids were staying at home, and we advertised on adpost online in Hong Kong for fluent English and Putonghua speakers to come spend time with Rockstar so he wouldn’t be stuck at home all day with just our helper to talk to. And we brought him out and about every chance we could.
Intrepid Explorers at HK Wetland Park (where they met Mudskippers and Crabs)
We filled the house with art supplies, various Early Learning Center toys, and even life-Rockstar-sized cardboard houses and a convenience store you could paint.
Cardboard house. It’s a huge honor to be invited in (Note star struck look on Daddy’s face).
Jo was the youngest. There were also a Chinese International School graduate on her way to Oxford to study History and Political Science, and a highly-credentialed English teacher who sent us weekly updates about Rockstar’s phenomenal progress. Until we realized Rockstar’s “progress report” included things he could already do before meeting ms Teacher of the Year. (I hated her on sight. Every time I asked her a question about what she would be teaching Rockstar, she asked me back a question along the lines of whether I had bought new kindermusik tools. Never mind that our house was already filled with musical instruments. And til today Rockstar doesn’t like kindermusik activities very much. But at the time we couldn’t see the woods for her cv.)
More trips out. This is to HK Park with the Cactus Farm, Bird Aviary and Scary Fountains.
Yet another trip out at a park in Wanaka, New Zealand. Connoisseur-of-playground-equipment should be an actual job.
Inexplicably, Jo is Rockstar’s favorite. Jo, the least qualified of the lot who often shows up just to hang out and speak in perfect English to Rockstar. Still, we put up with Teacher of the Year until we caught on she was always about 15 minutes late, but left on the dot. When we mentioned it, we received a peevy text message about her professionalism. Then our helper remarked that of the 3 visitors, Jo was the only one who always insisted on clearing up their play area with Rockstar at the end of each session.
That’s how we ended up giving Jo Teacher of the Year’s slots too. Some lessons you don’t get from books. But Rockstar knew that all along.