Friday, December 31, 2004
Quickly browsing the web, I came across several people actually managing to find time to blog amidst the aftermath of the Tsunami disaster. Interesting to read actually.. but this is another topic.
But it made me remember I hadn't posted anything for a while solely with the lame excuse of being tired.
Anyway, S. has actually been able to read some of the basic reading scheme books, and is quite pleased with himself. M is trying to copy him as well !
H. now says 'mama', 'akbar' (Allahu Akbar God is Greater) and does sujud (prostration). He also loves his Quran computer (well it was for the other 2 actually but he uses it the most at the moment) and moves to the rhythmn of the surahs. He especially likes An Nas (mankind) and tries to say 'nas'.
Other words are 'up' used for all prepositions and indicates he wants to move somewhere needing help, even if its down off our bed. He flings his arms wide for a hug, and loves to give kisses. He is very able on his sit on car now and frequently chases his brothers on theirs miraculously round our small flat ! I think some of the child psychology books are only relevant to first children, as he tries to play with his big brothers, and does less of the typical 'parallel play'.
His newest thing is to do is say 'woof woof' for dogs (there are a lot round here unfortunately, I say this because of their pavement contributions and habits of scaring the living daylights out of M by chasing him. I also had to rewash a load of washing the other day as someone had probably washed their dog's blanket in the communal washing machine before I used it, leaving my clothes covered in hairs yuk. InshAllah we'll have our own machine soon ).
Anyway he likes a DK book with a picture of some puppies in it so as soon as I say dog or woof woof he runs off to get it and comes back saying the dog sound, with his lips sticking out amazingly far, I can't quite explain it.
S. still not reliable with the bedwetting issue and it can be a headache with washing, but he's grown out of the largest nappies just about. They don't have those special pants here, when I saw they are for up to age 11 in the UK my heart sunk. Can it really go on that long ? I hope it gets it sorted before H. is fully dry....
Gave S. his first spelling test which he got only one wrong, and he seemed quite excited by it, how long will this last ?!
Thursday, December 02, 2004
I have written some notes on a word document and this is, finally, the 3rd attempt. The computer keeps eating up my documents (I'm using a different computer which has new-fangled xp or something and I haven't got my head around it yet !) .
So I'm writing this directly on-line so let's hope Blog-spot does not disappear into the grave of cyber-space.
I had felt so bad the other day for having scolded S. for not picking up his pj's off the floor, which turned out to be his brother's. I quickly apologised and gave lavish praise for this act of tidiness. It reminded me as well, that maybe my underlying pessimism in expecting the boys to do anything I say (if it is not much fun for them), on which actually they can pick up, causes them to appear uncooperative. I have read somewhere to avoid saying 'OK?' at the end of requests, and I expect this includes such phrases as 'could you please?'. Politeness but firmness is what is needed and a belief in yourself that what you are asking is reasonably achievable. If you are asking them to do something but saying it in a way that implies a choice then of course they will take the easy option.
Another general bit of advice which I have had to learn through experience, is about the power of force of habit.
I think the autistic featuresof inflexibilty in routine are just am exagerration or extreme of normal childhood (and/or adult)behaviour. For example, as we only have fizzy drinks very occasionally as a treat, they do not demand them. However I am partial to a bit of cake with my tea and it is hard to eat it without being observed my children. So they seem to think it needs to be a regular constituent of the daily diet. I know I should cut down too but I do eat all my supper up as well !
Watching DVDs, computer games all become habits too easily. But I can see these things can be reversed as well. For example CBeebies which I have heard quotes as 'an evil force' by one journalist, was S's daily interest. Some of it was beneficial but it's constant availablity made saying 'no' tougher. Now we are in Sweden where the kids tv is generally useless, and of course in Swedish, they rarely watch it, (although M. would watch things in any language if you let him.We can get things in Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Chinese, Afrikaans thanks to the advent of satellite technology).
So I am glad to say TV viewing is much down on previous years in our house.
The point being once something is started it can be hard to stop it especially for children. That's why I am so happy H. has never seen an episode of teletubbies in his life !
H. made another milestone yesterday, he can now open the bathroom door. So now the key must be employed unless you want him to join you in the shower. The key would have been used normally but the kids tend to lock themselves in the bathroom which is another hassle as you search for the screwdriver to get them out. He also shuts it in an amusing way, by using his tummy, thrust out for that final push at the end of closing the door. In fact hardly anywhere is safe from him now as he regularly pulls a chair up to climb on tables, desks etc. They are foldable chairs so sometimes I have to fold them up just to have some peace of mind. H. has also followed in M's footsteps and discovered the power of screaming. I am doing my best to ignore it as this is the only way to stop it. The whole point of it is for attention as I can see his eyes twinkling if I look at him.
He now clearly indicates 'yes' by waving both arms aup and down simultaneously and going 'aah aaah' loudly. This especially relevant when he wants his milk.
Swedish being spoken a lot now by both S and M.. S. I think, does have a slight English accent in there, but sometimes it seems they haven't spoken English for half an hour or more.
Their grandmother is staying at the moment so Urdu is another language being heard and attempted in the house !
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Last year I was not fasting due to feeding H. and his dad was at work mostly during the fasts. However the request for him to refrain from getting us angry has not really had much effect !
He is noticing the older boys and some of the teachers are fasting at his school.
Something that made me smile the other day occurred after we’d had a ‘literacy 10 minutes’ using the magnetic fridge letters. S. can now read regular words using phonics (when he’s in the mood), up to about 6 letters long (he wanted to do longer and longer words, but it gets difficult to think of them). Then we talked about vowels, as he tends to spell things without them e.g. Muhammad ‘MHMD’and they are being problematic due to the irregular variety of sounds they make. Anyway at the end of this he asked me ‘shall I tell you how many bowels are in my name ?'
I couldn’t help but smirk ! ‘b’ and ‘v’ have often been muddled by both S and M !
M. being as independent as usual, but in a more positive way. Now he is realising his early rising is not to my pleasing, so he washed up and poured himself a cup of milk (lidded ‘anywayup’ cup, those lids are hard to put on). Also it is a bit ironic as these are designed for 6 months plus to drink out of !) He also makes himself cornflakes without any mess, I was very impressed.
His Swedish is really coming on (well Skånsk, the local dialect, which is akin to Geordie I think !), He sometimes seems to be talking this more than English, and mixes the two. To make a verb he pus an ‘a’ on the end e.g. put – ‘puta’ (should be sätta), and adds ‘et’on the end of nouns sometimes e.g. hat ‘hattet’ should be ‘mosa’ I think. The latter maybe influenced by his dad’s joking way of speaking Swedish ! He was 'reading' some simple books to himself in Swedish although they are in English, by describing the pictures, and partly remembering what I had read.
We go to the Muslim children’s activities on Saturday morning in Lund, and I was very proud of them as at the end the children stood and gave a quick presentation about Ramadan, and Muhammad tried to speak Swedish in front of everyone.
H. is responding to simple requests quite reliably now, e.g. shut the door, put that in the bin (although not such a good idea maybe as wanted things may end up mistakenly ‘posted’ in there !).
Also he loves to go out now and readily finds his shoes and socks if lying in the vicinity when asked. Now he gets upset when I go out without him, but I think he may be upset over not going out rather than missing me so much now. He did not cry when our builder came over for coffee last night.
He makes ‘brmming’ noises when on his sit-on car, and copies his brothers with gun type noises as well. He did just say something like 'car’ and his first word in Swedish was ‘gurka’ which means cucumber. ‘mama’ is still like ‘baba’, unless ’baba’ is his word for 'parent’ !
He is currently having a conversation on an old mobile phone talking about ‘aahs’ ! while I’m typing this !
He is still wanting to breastfeed a lot, and pulls on my top shouting ‘aah aah aah’ when he wants it. The other two stopped before they could communicate without crying.
He walked down all the stairs to the washing machine room, holding my hand the other day which was no mean feat. Unfortunately his stairs ability makes it harder for me to supervise and keep an eye on S. during swimming school as I am having to look after H. more. Previously there was an area I could contain him in because of the steps !
Winter is fast approaching and I am having a potential mini gloves crisis. Things just seem to get swallowed up by our flat, well specifically in all the mess ! I think I'm just going to buy some more and some stop stressing about it ! I wish the mess could somehow be lost too, but 1 of me against 4 males is usually a losing battle....
Monday, September 20, 2004
Having said that, some of my words of advice to S must have gone in and registered somewhere, because although, yes, there were some outbursts against other children yesterdayin the park, he did on the way home announce to me that he was going to hit a car with a stick but he had but had stopped himself. This shows what all the books say, that it is easy to encourage bad behaviour as that is what draws our attention, whereas good behaviour is not noticed. So here S was making me notice his good behaviour.
As goes for reading English he has agreed to try to learn with me. Vowel sounds seem to give a bit of difficulty, but he is getting the idea with CVC words, and has played some BBC games to practise this. He tried to write 'curry' today, and it came out as 'cre'. He said it was in a Scottish accent !
I took a look at his maths books at school and it was just colouring activities to practise counting, something he could do 2 years ago I think, except now his colouring is neater! So he has tried some of his maths sticker book from the UK. What a difference the two countries education system expect at this age ! The sums using double figure e.g. 29 add 32 are so much harder. However I think he could do them if he would just listen for a second to an explanation of how to do them. But his impulse control is such that he just wants to try himself, and then gets frustrated and angry because he can't do it. So we have to finish quickly as it all gets too negative.
M just loves nursery, he even asked me if he could go when he was off with a cold a few days ago and over the weekend. He is just so sociable, and in the park the other day a group of older children were messing about and he just kept trying to join in and imitate them in a bid to get to play with them.
H. I realise is not saying ‘ta ta’ as 'bye' but I think it his way of saying ‘KhudaHaafiz’.
He finds it amusing to shut his eyes voluntarily, and now covers his eyes with his hands to play ‘where’s the baby?’. A couple of weeks ago he would try but end up putting his hands over his ears or hair instead !. Sleeping has gone downhill a bit with his cold. I am also wondering how I will be able to wean him. He’s not keen on milk from a baby cup.
Monday, August 30, 2004
H. is now waking up when it is light (sometimes) which means the days suddenly seem separate and not merged into one. I think getting them all in to a routine when school started helped, but it is a relief at the weekend not to have to rush around first thing in the morning.
H. is now not so complacent if you want to remove an object from his hand which is inappropriate e.g. CD case. Loud protests follow.
M. had a go at ‘writing’, drawing himself a line and then scrawling along it, much as I do myself. He was able to tell me to select the racetrack with a ‘B’ in it when playing a spaceship computer game.
Now H and M (not the shop) are both asleep I’d better get my exercise and do the laundry (3 flights of stairs 8 times I think).
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
S.’s love of fires continues, and we tried to see how to make one without matches from the internet but it does look tricky. I think his dad is going to have a go this weekend, but keeping some matches on hand in case all fails. S. really wants to go camping but the weather is getting distinctly autumnal and a bit of planning is also required.
Today we read a bit from his space book and tried the suggested experiment about there being no air in space. This involved a candle, much to the kids delight. However as usual my experiments never seem to work as the book says. The candle went out before it was supposed to. I hope that doesn’t mean we have less oxygen in Sweden !?. S. consolingly told me , don’t worry that’s what experiments are for, to try things out to see if they work. (I think I must have used these words before to him ).I think I was more disappointed than he was !
M. drew a person for the first time a couple of days ago, just in time for his 4 year check up with the health visitor, which he managed to pass with flying colours. Surprisingly his height is only average (but Swedish average) and slightly above on the weight side.
H. copies his brothers with their intonation patterns (as in ‘Where’s the baby ?’) and screams etc. My ears feel like I’ve been talking on a mobile too long after all the high-pitched sounds they put up with.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
S. has now decided he does want to go to school to learn to read and write as well as learn Swedish. (I did try to let him know I would be there to help with reading etc. too !)
This is because he has also decided he wants to have three jobs when he grows up. 1. Doctor, as his Dad is encouraging him 2. Lego builder. 3. Space engineer. Being literate is of course a prerequisite for these professions.
He plans to have weekends off though. The thought of earning lots of money is very interesting to him, as his current pocket money obviously takes quite a while to accumulate into enough to buy what he wants.
He’s tried to do some maths in the sticker book his Granddad gave him today. He was ok at adding up in multiples of 2, 3, 4 etc. He didn’t want to follow my advice to use fingers, but wants to do it in his head. It was as if I could almost feel the heat from his overworking brain.
We watched a bit of the Olympics Opening ceremony, which for mine as well as his benefit could have done with a world map accompaniment so as to pinpoint the participating countries locations. I do feel sorry for Micronesia, the name somehow gives negative expectations to its team !
Swimming school has been quite a success, although I was hoping he would be able to do a bit of doggy paddle by the end of it. However he has learnt to go under water with his eyes open, swim on his back with a life jacket, and jump into deep water. I suppose they want them to feel confident first. He does know the movements for breast stroke in theory. So he is now eligible to do the ‘dolphin’ course next. M. is still afraid to even blow bubbles in the water so may be we’ll try again next year.
H. has learnt to give kisses on demand and helps tidy away the Lego, he thinks it’s a game !How long will it last ?!
S’s last day at nursery today, with a weekend off and then InshAllah starts six year class on Monday.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
He has always been astute at emptying containers, bags, bins etc but I have occasionally come across pots filled with bricks or toys and I think they are down to H.
He’s now keen at feeding himself, and gorges roast chicken like anything. ‘ba’ is a consistent ‘word’ for ‘more of that please’ and has started waving bye saying ‘ta ta’.
He also continues to imitate head shaking for ‘no’ and no waving his index finger as I do sometimes, but with a glint in his eye. ‘mama’ seems to have been used, when he’s in a lot of distress, like when he’s been left in the cot so I can actually sort out that dishwasher.
M. has drawn a ‘lady’ for the first time today, well it was something more than a scribble, and wrote ‘M’ ‘A’ ‘S’ ‘B’ Arabic ‘faa’ on the paper as well, I think inspired by his older brother.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
M. has a plaster cast on his leg as he woke up the other morning in a lot of pain and could hardly walk. After his dad took him from pillar to post, they decided it was a problem with the way his foot was growing, and a cast would give it a rest I think. It should be coming off on Monday. At least he hasn't been so enthusiastic about the swimming, as obviously he’s had to forgo the classes.
H. just today came round to being alone with his Uncle, the day he was leaving. He was in tears for the first few days, and when I had to leave him for a few minutes (e.g. when I had a shower) he got hysterical ! Any potential kidnapper will be returning him pretty sharpish if H. has anything to do with it !
He is now starting to learn how to get off furniture as well as on. There seems to be more and more things that I can only do effectively whilst H. is asleep and his nap time is likely to get less and less (e.g showering, emptying dishwasher, washing the floor..) This also includes using the computer so I’d better get on with some of the afore mentioned tasks !
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Due to the cooker (temporarily) packing up, I was checking our housing association’s website as they have a discounted shop for buying these sort of things. Here I noticed there was a free ‘simskola’ for residents. We have wanted them to learn to swim and thought it would be good as if they did not like it we won’t have paid anything. Anyhow getting something for free in Sweden is a novelty so not to be missed ! The bank charging 50 Kr for forgetting my pin number for example, or 150 Kr per problem at the GP’s.
So yesterday was M.’s first time in a swimming pool.
The swimming was eagerly awaited by both the bigger boys, but the pool was actually an outdoor one, and the weather is not so hot nowadays. M therefore had to brave the cold as well as the water. A friendly teacher coaxed him in and he stayed in for a good 10, 15 minutes. S was very brave and well behaved. He put his face in the water and did not object to holding hands in a circle with only little girls. He also used the polystyrene spaghetti shapes to try to swim. It’s every weekday for 3 weeks, I assume depending on the weather.
S. still v. enthusiastic about reading Arabic, and trying to teach M. yesterday mashAllah.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Well, what's been happening.. I dared to venture out in public with all three of them by myself, and I’m afraid I still get the feeling that in Sweden the idea that children should be seen and not heard persists. Nothing major happened, but on the bus back home it just seems so quiet, hardly anyone was talking to anyone else, so my two big ones playfully singing, talking excitedly and seat swapping made me feel self-conscious. I was checking the bus driver’s expression now and again, as once one got a bit annoyed by them. I’m usually more relaxed if it’s an immigrant driver as they probably see them as normal kids ! Maybe I’m paranoid…… By the way the Swedish word for immigrant is ‘invandare’, ironic as the Vikings were real invaders !!
Anyway back to the boys development. H. can now climb up on to beds, chairs, but not down yet, so leaves him looking a bit worried, as am I. I am expecting him to fall off any minute ! He has been pressing buttons of all types for a while now with his index finger. There are many red buttons for the timed lights in the corridors down to the cellar, so when we go he is quite happy. Cause and effect is therefore well established. Another interest are the tv remotes. He looks very confused if we have taken out the batteries to ease our frustration, and hence he can make no change to the TV channel, volume etc.
His walking is quite confident now and he hardly ever crawls, but his stranger anxiety is still there, two elderly people tried to smile and talk to him the other day but he gave them some stern looks, turned away, and tears. So my children are liked in Sweden, sometimes. One other quirky thing he does is to lie his head down and smile if he ever comes across a pillow or cushion lying around, as they do from various pillow fights that have happened.
We were watching 'you are what you eat' the other night, I thought quite educational, but as the lady said ´'zinc will boost your sex drive', I could sense the cogs going round for a few seconds and then S. said 'what's zinc will boost your sex drive?' After a moment's thought all I could come out with was 'I can't think how to explain it' which AlhammdulIllah he accepted as an answer , surprisingly. I have explained the mechanics of baby making in basic terms when asked, but beyond that I hope it will be a while until he persists on asking about that. But I must not assume 8.30 pm TV, beforethe watershed, is appropriate.
M. bought a lego set himself, happy to wait his turn in the queue, but on this same shopping trip he took himself to a computer games shop, giving me almost heart failure in the process as I couldn’t find him for 5 minutes. It was just by Grace of Allah I chose that particular shop to ask where the helpdesk would be and there he was, not a care in the world, deeply studying a computer game box . I thought he was improving in this area, but noone could say he lacks anything in the independence department, maybe the sense department though. Maybe he should take some lessons from H. as it's like he's been reading those separation anxiety sections in child psychology books .
M is now good at writing the letter M since my friend showed him a join the dot technique, so maybe all those Winnie the pooh dot to dotcomputer games have been of some benefit. He also drew an Arabic ‘bah’ on a giroslip whilst waiting in the bank. M's always been disinterested in drawing so I’m glad it doesn’t apply to letters. I’m preparing myself for his failure on the ‘draw a man test’ in his 4 year check up coming up, as I doubt he’ll even draw a head, let alone fingers or toes !
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Maybe he’s doing better at reading Arabic than English because he doesn’t know very much Arabic meanings at all (yet) so he can’t just guess. Also Arabic seems to stick to the rules unlike those erratic English vowels (and consonants) He was recognising a few words from Surahs (Sirat for example)
S. has finally got his prize X wing fighter lego set that he’s bought with some of the money he’d been given by Uncle and the rest for giving up sucking his thumb. He managed to stop straight away actually, anything is possible if the motivation is there, but still sucks st night. Next hurdle is nappies at night as well, but wait until settled in school, but how do you change unconscious behaviour !
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Anyway here's some of the stuff they've been up to over the last week or so.
S. discovered a new use for toasters; to practise 2 times table (if you have a small one) 4 times table if you have one like ours, a bit more advanced. i.e how many times would we have to use the toaster to get 6 pieces of toast etc.
On the subject of bread M. has been making toast Montesorri style so peanut butter and cream cheese a new combination this week, lots of protein at least...
On a trip to the park next to Ikea, tried to play pooh sticks but no flow in the river. Well it turned out to be a lake with a bridge over the narrow bit. Found the plant that inspired Velcro, name of this escaped me but answers on postcard (couchgrass?) S. wants to make a fire without matches as there are barbeque spots around the lake.
S. and I watched a Gunpowder plot programme which led to discussion of Christianity, catholics, a lot of it too complicated for now, but obviously interested in gunpowder and fireworks. I never was taught the religious background of this, in fact only realised it recently, so British catholics should actually hate nov 5 . Use of language now similar to todays' issues re: freedom fighters, terrorists, harbouring, intelligence, enemy within but I digress....
H. needing only 1 nap a day sometimes, too much excitement going on to stay asleep.
Friday, July 02, 2004
All these early(ish) starts getting them all ready to get one to nursery are a bore. They just can't get back into a early bedtime routine since the excitement of having guests last week, and with the Swedish sunset being around 10 pm it does not help, so grumpy faces in the morning when they have to be woken up.
S. read a word without prompting last night during his bedtime story, 'to' as 'toe' but then very logical as he knows'no'. So sort of explained magic 'e' and that there is a word 'too' that sounds like what he said.
I expect I was interupted mid-blogging by some child-induced catasrophe or other..
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Well one day of nice weather yesterday and now back to the usual rain. H. really loving making trill sounds, more like a burglar alarm than a mobile phone now !
S. thinking any of my suggestions for activities 'boring' but he decided himself to make a lego space ship and instructions and packaged it up in an old teabag box, giving it a label. Enjoyed listening to and reading along a bit with Dr Seuss 'Sam I am'. He just doesnt want to look at the letters just remember the words or guess from the first letter. Found a word 'for' on a Kit Kat piece and made it with magnetic letters and talked about the different spelling of 4, lots of future work there with English irregular spellings: there/their etc homo something or others I cant remember its been a long time since my speech therapy course !
Big tantrum about his new school in August, he just doesn't want to go, but how else will he learn Swedish?!
Surah learning coming on better than expected, I think it just needs regular practise a little every day.
M very tired walking home from nursery today but a large clap of thunder made him run v quickly with a glint of excitement in his eyes !
Watching old video of Paris trip and now M does admit it is him not baby H on the video.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Did the scanning in the supermarket and S. wanted to scan baby H. but he has no code to scan ! H.s started walking 2 days ago and S's first tooth came out. S. watching 'reach for the skies' as loves air, space travel. SO some history and science rolled in to one.
Yesterday tried to do some sight vocab with space type words, but still not so keen, but he does know some. He's interested in the length of words, e.g 'jet' is very short. Still feel he s the only child his age not reading but I know logically this cant be right. But I don't want people to blame it on the fact he's not at school. At least the Swedes think 7 is a good time to start, so no pressure from their part, mainly from myself..