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.
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 !
S. actually asking to learn to read Arabic so his Dad taking on a bit of responsibilty for this as he’s obviously better at this than me. S. actually getting the idea and really enthusiastic although it’s just pages of short words, no pictures etc.
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 !
Have had trouble logging on recently as I'd forgotten my username, can't blame pregnancy any more for memory loss, so let's go with chronic tiredness as the excuse...
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.
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..
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.
to my world with 4 boys (13, 11,8, 3 years old) and my 5 year old daughter. We are doing our best to learn in the 'school of life' in English, but due to bureaucratic nightmares, education in Swedish is mostly conventional. Any (constructive) comments most welcome..