Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fed up of seeing the toilet

We’ve had ’maginfluenza’, gastric flu, which severely debilitated me for a few days. I think I’ve lost a couple of kilos with it. Won’t go into the details as it might put you off your supper…
We had a happy Eid which started in the early hours of the morning as the kids were so excited about their pressies. They even made their own breakfast as I’d insisted they have that before any gift-opening. We didn’t attempt to make it for Eid prayer as DH is in Rome and I think S is too old to go in the ladies’ section really. So the morning turned our flat into a rival for legoland and afternoon we visited friends and the kids had a bit wild play session while us Mums tried to catch up with each other.

Hafsah’s still not crawling but moves her self around 360 degrees where she is sitting so any pillow I put behind her to save her bumping her head if she falls is now rendered useless. She' started waking around 5 am but I feed her then because if I let her cry it out it'll be time to get up by the time she settles so seems pointless.
House has, as usual, descended into chaos due to my illness. Normally its organised chaos but I think this time it is the real mccoy. I tried to have a quick look at houses with more space we could move to. I feel like it’d be simpler to move house than try to arrange everything to somehow fit in the limited space we have.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Something that made me chuckle...

'Which Advice Is Right?Read: 17 Pairs of Contradictory Proverbs

1. Look before you leap!Or is it . . He who hesitates is lost!
2. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!Or is it . . Don't beat your head against a brick wall!
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!Out of sight, out of mind!
4. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today!Or is it . . Don't cross the bridge until you come to it!
5. Two heads are better than one!Or is it . . Paddle your own canoe!
6. Haste makes waste!Or is it . . Time waits for no man!
7. You're never too old to learn!Or is it . . You can't teach an old dog new tricks!
8. A word to the wise is sufficient!Or is it . . Talk is cheap!
9. It's better to be safe than sorry!Or is it . . Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
10. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!Or is it . . Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!
11. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you!Or is it . . Nice guys finish last!
12. Hitch your wagon to a star!Or is it . . Don't bite off more than you can chew!
13. Many hands make light work!Or is it . . Too many cooks spoil the broth!
14. Never judge a book by its cover!Or is it . . Clothes make the man!
15. The squeaking wheel gets first grease!Or is it . . Silence is golden!
16. Birds of a feather flock together!Or is it . . Opposites attract!
17. The pen is mightier than the sword!Or is it . . Actions speak louder than words!
- J.Ba. & N.R.
For us as Muslims, the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad, peace be upon him, never offer advise in contradiction to themselves. The above lesson should teach us the value of our deen, Al Islam '

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I can hardly believe it!

Hafsah slept 12 hours or so last night and the night before it was around 11 hours.
I’ve worked out now if she has a nap after 3 hours awake for max 1.5 hours, then we seem to have the ideal routine. This means 2 naps a day and bed from around 7.30 pm. It’s weird, I feel I’m not seeing as much of her as before, which is probably true, but feel better knowing I can give her more quality time (yeah I normally hate that phrase, but I mean I’m in a better mood which she must sense). Let’s hope inshAllah the bubble doesn’t burst. I’m thinking ahead and trying to remember when they move down to one nap a day (that’s really why I’m writing all this stuff, for future reference).
Kids had a fun day off yesterday as it was ‘Lucia’ day. Hence we had Andy’s indoor play centre all to ourselves with another sister and her kids. So no queuing for the trampolines or lost children amongst the usual hectic atmosphere.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A complete U-turn!

After trying to convince myself that just going with the flow re Hafsah’s sleep patterns is OK, the combination of quite a few nights of being woken, every 2-3 hours, and giving in to a blatant marketing technique by a sleep expert, I decided to do something about the situation. I’d been getting marketing e-mails from an expert from Canada (Dana Obelman) giving ‘guaranteed success’ of your baby sleeping through the night. I could not believe it, and despite the ‘money-back guarantee’ had decided to leave it, as felt it was just going to be the usual let them cry type method. Anyway, after looking around the net about this lady’s credentials, and could find nothing untoward, decided to go for it, and so far I am glad I did. Hafsah has slept 8- 9 hours straight the last few nights, maybe a brief awakening. But also got the added bonus of her sleeping early (around 7.30 pm.). The amount of crying has been minimal and I now feel less helpless and slightly in control! The main points of the sleep plan seem to be: 1 Early bedtime after a set bedtime routine. 2. Repeat same phrase when time to sleep e.g. ‘sleep time’ 3.Make sure they have a comfort object e.g blankie, cuddly toy. 4.Leave to cry 10 mins if wake in night (or however long you decide, but stick to this time) and do not pick up if still crying after this time, but go and comfort by repeating phrase, stroke. (I never had to get to this point,) I was so shocked that there was an immediate effect. Maybe she has been so overtired she couldn’t sleep soundly. Also not letting her sleep after feeding so she is not using me as human dummy (I had to slip up on this today at scouts as she couldn’t settle with all the noise around.) Yes the downside to this program is that it assumes you are a first time parent with no other noisy kids around, or places to go when she should be having her scheduled nap!
Anyway after all this success so far, I still feel pretty wrecked as I still find it hard to sleep (I’m also over tired) and wake up wondering if she’s going to cry and if she’s OK, InshAllah this phase will soon be over.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A break from the routine

Today was filled with a bit of rushing about, but I wanted to take the kids to the station and on a train ride which would be special as it was XXXth anniversary of the XXX to XX line. So this would give a short trip on a different type of train. Unfortunately the much desired ‘double-decker’ train was sold out. S especially was disappointed, but reluctantly agreed to take another vintage train instead. I was trying to console him and we went to first take a look and some pics (I hope inshAllah I can figure out how to upload photos, I’ve been putting this off for ages) at the super duper double decker. Still S was a bit regretful, why hadn’t we come earlier etc. I am so glad in Islam we cannot say ‘if only..’ we have to be optimistic as well. So I tried to instil this in S. I tried to explain that his grandchildren inshAllah find this train ‘old-fashioned (as he was thinking the replacement train was). We waved the train off, with its passengers apparently thinking we were barmy as no one waved back! S commented later that no one looked happy to be on that train, the injustice of it! No dear, we’re living in Sweden. So then we got on what I thought was our train, which the kids were totally unimpressed with from the outside, but when we got inside via the v scary steps into the carriage, they were quite chuffed with the interior, with seats like armchairs. S said something along the lines of ‘You know you talked about ‘ or something, well I think this train is it’ No one seemed to know if this train would depart soon, until one train spotter said it was going nowhere! Hufff, I had to quickly get all of us out, back over the scary steep, big-gap steps of this well-over 60 year old train’s exit, so we could find our correct train. MashAllah, no complaints or moans from little ones, and we found our train on another platform, which was even more disappointing to them, but it had an easy step for the buggy to ascend, so I loved it.
Well this was one from the 50’s so tried to insert a little sense of history again into all of this, by saying their granddad would’ve been about their age when he could have travelled on this when it was brand spanking new, and it would’ve seemed great to him (?!) There was a speedometer in the section we sat, and we made it to 80 km/hr. I asked the conductor what some strange orange tools S had enquired about were (he said something about making it safe to deal with the electricity if it broke down, had taken a guess at jump-leads, so I was nearly right)
Then the highlight of the trip was the conductor’s James Bond impression as he calmly opened a door in the back of the carriage and walked across to the next carriage via the open air! I thought that was reserved for the beggars on the tube. S could hardly believe his eyes I think, and he had a good look out the back to see where the conductor had had to walk.
We got to our destination, safe and sound Alhamdulillah, and then saw a Swedish Thomas tank type train. Then tried to sort out a ticket back home, but had to find a toilet for H. Then found I didn’t have a 5 kronor coin, but a lady just came out so we managed to get in for free. It was either that or someone would’ve had to mop the floor with bleach. There ought to be free little people sized loos, like do I have time to go and change a note when I have a full-bladdered 3 year old demanding to go?
Got tickets and while we waited, saw Thomas depart with a whistle and lots of smoke. It was a multi-sensory experience I’ll say that. Then we took the standard train back that also goes to to a different country ‘no we can’t go there S, we haven’t got our passports’. That was very smooth and fast and we actually beat Thomas by a few minutes. The final modern train was voted the best (after the double-decker, though H wanted to go on the modern but slow local train, which I think stops at every station). So next time folks, book in advance or you may as well just take them on a normal train whenever you have time and save a few pennies too! Alhamdulillah, though, it was great to do something different, even though I was totally worn out from it all!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Hafsah slept 7 and a half hours. Well I think she did, but I woke up thinking it was 4 am but it was nearer 7 30 am. I have some suspicions maybe I fed her without waking up, as otherwise I thought I’d be reaching for the cabbage leaves. I mostly tend to have her sleep in bed with me as she ends up with me anyway, and it saves my back, picking her up out of the cot numerous times, plus she is a very nice cuddly hot water bottle!. I know this goes against current health warnings, but these fluctuate from year to year, whereas instincts seem more reliable. There was one time the other night when I woke up as I must have rolled on to her, and I was quite shocked to find she was in bed with me, but she didn’t stir as I quickly moved away from her, no harm done, just realised I must have been REALLY tired..
Anyway last night, was the same old routine of frequent wakings, me being too tired to think of doing anything but feed her, but at least now I ‘m more sure she doesn’t really need those nocturnal snacks.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A bit of a waffle involving geese, plates and anxiety

Realising the other side of being educated as a speech therapist, and partly home-educating, it’s difficult to just switch off and‘enjoy’ playing with my children. Always thinking in my mind, what are they learning, are they developing normally?! So this is something I aspire to do.
I was playing 'catch' with H and I told him to WATCH the ball as he invariably drops it. Then he took this so seriously, opening his eyes very wide (but still not really tracking where the ball was going!) His relationship with little sister still a bit love-hate, leaning more towards the hate side, ‘I’m going to destroy you’ was one phrase used, answered by a scream and she’s just recovering from a bitten finger. I know one of his favourite foods are fishfingers, but this is taking it too far. (actually just now he’s lovingly said to her ‘Is something wrong’ when she whinged a bit). He is so different in his sensitivity, has always been shy, but just checked out on the web about selective mutism and turns out its an ‘anxiety disorder’ which makes it sound worse than it is I think. He showed a slight sign of improvement as he spoke to me in English in front of his teacher the other day. He can speak Swedish (does a little at home and they say they try in English with him, but I think its not the language, but reluctance tot talk at nursery or to other non-family members that is the prob). I do know a sister whose son was the same and he did start talking at school once he was 5 or so. It’s amazing he’s the complete opposite at home, Mr Chatterbox ! Anyway still on sensitivity, th e other day I asked him to take a plate to the kitchen, and specially told him to put it on the table as I anticipated placing it in the sink would result in breakage. I saw him change his mind and attempt to put it on the worktop, but then it fell on the tiled floor and of course broke. He immediately burst into tears, crying inconsolably, and asking me to mend it with sticky tape. I managed to calm him down by recounting how I was always breaking stuff when I was young. Then I told him we wouldn’t mend it but bin it. He then kept apologising throughout the rest of the evening, and checking the plate in the bin a few times. He said ‘I’ll be careful when I’m bigger, on Sunday’.
Also he uses cute mispronunciation of ‘spaceship’ which he insists is correct: ‘skaceship’
Hafsah picking up small Hama beads, lego etc with nice pincer grip, oooh dangerous! Index finger poking of many things, a whole new world opening up of annoying parents by changing tv channels on remote etc on the horizon, poking nostrils and eyes. At night sometimes crying as if SO distressed, but a couple of nights in a row I was SO tired I actually managed to not be immediately woken by the cries and SLEEP through the wails, this is first for me as a mother who’s hormones seem to keep me sleeping so lightly, and not like a sloth in my student days. Last night she went into an excited screaming fest, me hoping the neighbours wouldn’t complain as it was past 10.30 pm. They were happy screams, but meant I had to rewind the program on the DVD player I was watching many times as I wanted to note down a book recommended by a sheikh on Islam channel’s Islamiqa. (Which reminds me, subtitles are not just for the hard-of-hearing, but also for parents with very vocal offspring, only prob, not all channels, programmes have them)
Autumn has come and almost dispapeared into Winter ina matter of weeks, the leaves were late falling I think this year, but now it’s getting chillier but still in plus area of the thermometer,which I must say, is a plus.. The geese are migrating South in their ‘V' shapes as I tried to point out to kids, although S did note some went into a letter ‘Y’. Obviously a bit of a fight for leadership there, not unlike the Labour Party.
Oh, a continuation of the ‘Saturday sweets topic’ the nurse at the dentist recommended this as well as DH bringing home a free bag of sweets from work (no he doesn’t work for Willy Wonka) called ‘Saturday sweets', it’s like almost compulsory to have sugar binge on this day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Islam -direct-marketing

S has been posing some interesting questions as well as doing some ’direct-dawah’ recently. The other week he was wondering why it is that so many children in his school use bad language. I sort of waffled on about the fact most come from a poorer background, their parents don’t tell them etc I was trying to puzzle it out myself as well, is it lack of education, class. I am still amazed that no foul words have accidentally popped out of his mouth, they still use the nursery type toilet talk if they want to be rude to their siblings and that’s as far as it goes. The children at school (and in the area as well as I have heard children round our way) use swear words without a real knowledge of what they really mean (often they are mispronounced English), they just know they offend. Anyhow, the flip side to the rubbish he is having to hear at school seems to be his growing Muslim identity and confidence. This combined with childhood honesty led him into his direct-dawah experience the other day with a sister’s MIL who does not practice. He was in a confident mood after having a good report in his parent-teacher meeting, and decide to let this lady know about islam and its requirements (in very fast Swedish I might add)! I think most of what he was saying was inspired by his islamologi lessons as I don’t remember explaining everything he came out with, and when I do it’s in a less direct way. Then last night as he was in a half-sleep as I came to put some clothes away in his room he asked me why a certain ‘muslim’ teacher in his school does not cover, he is very good at picking out inconsistencies mashAllah. Usually it is directed at the treatment he gets compared to his brothers.
So he did well in his development meeting, only needing to be brought on time in the morning (not unexpected!) and to practice reading more so he can be more fluent in this. I don’t think I mentioned he can now swim 200m and I got the letter today that he can go in the ‘crawl’ group for swimming next term, so I think we can say he can swim now! I just haven’t been to see him as it would be difficult with Hafsah. In his English reading he’s doing quite well and actually woke me from a nap to say he’d read a page of Charlie and the Chocolate factory himself. I was about to get angry at him for waking me up, but managed not to show it too much as he was obviously proud of himself. We had played hangman the other week with S and M and was quite a good way to encourage spelling, although M has to be content with spelling 3 letter words which I have to try not to guess!
Oh and another Swedish cultural observation, which I had heard of a while back which is letting kids have sweets on Saturdays. Well I was shocked to receive a leaflet from the dentists actually promoting this. I suppose it is instead of everyday, letting the teeth be continually exposed. Anyway I hope they would recommend a good brushing after the sugar session. H has another dentist appointment today as he has a small cavity, which S probably rightly pointed out, is because he bails (cries) so much when he doesn’t get what he wants. (‘bails’ a new piece of our family’s vocab derived from wails and bawl I think) I give in and give him m&m’s or whatever he craves, so again hands up ‘bad mum’ call the NSPCC. It’s probably also due to his milk and juice addiction. I try to make the juice very watered down, so sometimes it’s thrown by the wayside.
Managed to get kids passport birth certificate off in the post, so inshAllah will be able to get away from this place at some point soon. I’m thinking of booking something in the Gulf States over Xmas hols, but anticipating costs will prevent..
Hafsah still night-waking, yawn in both senses of the word, by the 4th night of just giving her water up till 230 am I gave up, as my body just said ‘NO; JUST BREASTFEED HER AND SLEEP)’ (instead of DH saying that, who was away).
Just done a ‘good mum’ task of whizzing up loads of different vegetable purees and freezing them. In fact the vegetarian selection of ready-made stuff is so limited here that I have to do it myself. I think she’ll be expecting porridge all the time otherwise.
Hs teacher seemed very shocked to hear him speaking English sentences (to me) the other day when picked him up. He’s still not speaking anything at nursery, Swedish nor English, just sign language.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not in the mood for this..

Just had to write something to get frustration out as DH away, but I couldn’t believe the impoliteness of nursery today. We were like maximum ten minutes late, it was completely quiet, and I wondered if anyone was in. They start breakfast at 8 am, and 2 teachers tried to suggest H does not join them and that we must be there at 8am if he wants breakfast. Well I take the criticism of being late, islamically it’s not on as well as definitely not in Swedish culture. But 10 or so children sitting there eating while my son is left out is also definitely not on, so I made sure he did join them. Also I thought meal times were a good chance to gain language skills (although not so sure as eating in silence) It’s the lack of flexibility that gets me, which I believe has to be factored in when dealing with children.(Will talk about our victory over Swedish inflexibility re Hafsah’s surname later). I take the point and I must try to be more punctual, which will mean setting my clocks even faster (unless maybe the batteries going on the kitchen clock and it is actually the right time now) It seemed like even my mobile clock was slow today as we arrived 8.30 am on the dot for S and M’s school but nearly everyone seemed to have begun their lessons so still felt like we were late!
So having a serious ‘shall I take him out of nursery’ moment, but then try to remember how difficult it was for the boys to make friends here until they grasped Swedish. If I change the nursery, who knows it may be just the same or worse, and H found it hard to settle in this nursery due to his shyness, The 2 nicest teachers have left and the remaining one has not been around for a while (I hope she’s just on holiday), and there is no clear leadership, there’s no one in charge of each nursery, just one lady who sits in the school office who I could contact but she seems too removed to talk to about these everyday matters. Du'a for- guidance-time I think!
Re the victory, managed to overturn the decision re Hafsah’s surname, as the tax authority wouldn’t let it be spelt as we wished. We got the British embassy involved and finally they realised someone in Stockholm had made a mistake! So it is possible to change things in Sweden, not easy, but ‘så är det’ ‘that’s the way it is’ does not always rule.
Other notables from Hafsah’s side, is she’s quite good at sitting up now, she suddenly feels more ‘solid’. Although I came across M and H’s baby books just now and she is about 1kg less in weight than they were t 6 months. She likes to bang the table with her hand, as well as splashing violently in the bath with hands and feet. Much to my disappointment, she quite liked the free sample I got of baby food, whereas she’s been spitting out my home-made savoury stuff. I think my creations were too lumpy, I don’t know how they get it so smooth. I mean, apparently it had broccoli in it, but I couldn’t see anything, no green at all! She’s also managed to suck properly and feed herself water wit her Avent magic cup, with the spill-proof bit on (which requires a fair amount of sucking power). Last night I remembered the technique of deciding not to breastfeed between a certain time (E.g. 11pm and 2.00pm and gradually extending it). The night before it had seemed to be every 1 or 2 hours! So when she woke at half midnight, I offered water which was stubbornly refused (it could have apple juice in there you missed your chance!) so I knew she wasn’t thirsty. She managed to sleep half an hour later, but woke around 330am and I fed her and then AGAIN at 5.30 am aah!
A couple of kids nicknames/phrases I’ve forgotten to note, Hafsah’s name is Biryani as her grandmother called her Hafsah rani, bari syani (Queen Hafsah, very wise) and as 'biryani' rhymes, has stuck. M also used to say to her ‘Hafsah you’re marBellous!’

Saturday, November 04, 2006

She's attached!

Try not to be boring, but still the sleep deprivation continues, and DH offered to take Hafsah and give her expressed milk last night as the previous night she’d woken 5 or 6 times and I was on the point of collapse. In the end she managed to sleep in nearly 4 hour blocks anyway and wouldn’t really show interest in milk in a feeder cup. Anyhow her cries managed to wake me even when I was sleeping in the other room and fed her around 2.30 am. She has the habit now of throwing her head back once she’s had enough and I’m trying to wind her, as if to say, now I want to sleep. I just don’t want any tummy pains to wake her in half an hour or so! So when the clock said 6.30 am and I thought it would be 4.30am I was pretty chuffed. I know that it’s about as good as a bottle-fed newborn but at least I felt like I had a brain!
The other day I had to take M to his Quran class on the bus (well it takes 2 buses, as right across town). Winter had really begun, with snow on the 1st November (kids got so excited, hang on it was still on the ground in April!) It was so cold, and M was very patient, and liked to count how many stops we had left. He also copied the recorded names of stops that come over the tannoy in a ‘proper’ Swedish accent (not Skånsk from round here). Came home and it must have been the longest I’d ever been away from Hafsah (almost 4 hours) and was she pleased to see me! She started flapping arms and legs and smiling and generally very happy, and when I went out the room to put my coat etc away she started whimpering. Ah, what it must be to be a working mum leaving them every day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congestion charge..

should be introduced in Malmö. No really if my nose was a city it would be called London and eucalyptus oil and kitchen roll would be the currency, approximately one sheet per 10 miles/ minutes.. So amazing how a cold can inhibit brain function, and I try to ignore it, and think Alhamdulillah I don’t have cancer or something. But oh for being tucked up in bed being brought marmite fingers and cups of tea. I do try to think of the people worse off when I’m generally being ungrateful (like now), the sisters in Iraq having to collect litter all day just to earn enough money to get some food for their children. I try to think how Allah has planned the world, and bacteria have to be part of it, otherwise we’d have piles of dead stuff around for a start. Anyhow I had a few seconds respite when I opened the dishwasher soon after it had just finished, how amazing, it washes my dishes and is a facial steamer at the same time! Allah is testing us all and I am just getting the SATS in terms of illnesses, some out there are doing their A-level physics.
On a different tack, in my quest to understand Swedish culture, and maybe some may say be ‘integrated’ I found by chance the English translation of ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren (the Enid Blyton of Sweden ?)
All children seem to know her, they sing songs, watch films have museums about her. So I stumbled upon this, trying to find an English book at a level suitable for S and M in my local library. In fact I’m quite enjoying it This book was written in the 1940’s as I can tell from some of the quotes but my children do actually recognise the stories which have been adapted into films shown now and again at nursery/ school and on the cartoon in American English on children’s channel POP. Knowing a little Swedish I can come across a few translation anomalies which give a slight chuckle but why do they always have to translates kronor into crowns? I suppose England did have crowns in the 40’s but now people do know the word kronor don’t they? But the funniest chapter so far has been ‘Pippi starts school’. Now if you put it in the context of it being 1940’s, Sweden where homeschooling is frowned upon, it made refreshing reading. She is nine year old girl who lives on her own with a horse and a monkey in a Swedish village. One day her friends try to persuade her to go to school. (The village residents have not managed to force her as she has superhuman strength and very forthright) In the end she decides herself, because she feels it’s unjust not to have the school holidays. When told to meet her friends to walk to school at 8 am she replies ‘no, no.. I can’t begin that early. And for that matter I think I’ll be riding to school’ When asked by the teacher what 7 and 5 make she replies ‘Well, if you don’t know, don’t think I’m going to work it out for you!’ At the end of the day she’s travelled the 7 seas with her father and has learnt a thing or two in the University of Life!
The other book I’m reading (for myself) is ‘In search of sleep’ by Bonny Reicher, which I got to back myself up, as I figure the only thing I can be sure to change abouth this sleep deprived era is my attitude. Things are a problem if you think they are. So I’m half way or so through it. So far most of it reflects a lot of my own thoughts e.g. can all children really sleep through by 6 months?, and interesting but unfortunately not detailed enough bit about physiology of sleep Controlled crying is a waste of time (I have apparently been trying to ‘Ferberize’ my kids in the past with this method) and one’s instincts to pick up, feed the baby are usually right. The other interesting bit I’ve read is that how we, society tend to associate you r baby sleeping through, meaning you are a ‘good’ parent and hence the converse is that if they aren’t I am in the wrong, so you get double guilt if you try to let them cry, and it fails. You are going against your instincts and not succeeding as a parent in the eyes of others as well. If any of this makes sense it’s a miracle as I was trying to stop Hafsah making a peep last night, hence fed her countless times, as H had slept from 5.30 pm and I didn’t want him to wake up at 4 am if he heard her crying. He would probably then require me getting up properly at this ridiculous hour. As it turned out he slept 14 hours, (with a quick wake up for milk at 9 pm). After many days of late bedtimes, he needed that!! (and he was just as bad a sleeper as Hafsah was as a baby, so maybe there’s hope!)
Hafsah likes me to put my cheek back and forth against her mouth while she makes a noise, and so it makes her sound like she’s saying ‘mama’ or ‘baba’ aah.. She was also sucking away on the lid on my bottle of water the other day and making it vibrate so I kept thinking my mobile was ringing!
Eid was fun (for the kids) as they went to pray, went to the indoor play centre, filled with loads of Muslim kids (as it was a school day) and then they got their Lego pressies which arrived just in time from eBay/ Amazon (a bit of a panic if Eid had been on Sunday !)
Personal note, buy Eid presents as much in advance as poss as always a high chance of me being too ill to face Toys r us, hate it anyway…..
They wore their nice new shalwarqameez that MIL , mashAllah so organised, had brought over with her in April. So all I had to do was exhume the ironing board for its twice yearly view of sunlight and find some elastic to thread in the trousers.
LOTS of sugar was eaten as well as the novelty of crisps (we hardly ever buy them here as they only have the big size packets).
Another unrelated oddity of Sweden that people on the Wright stuff would be amazed at as they were when apparently jewellers in the UK are to be asked to have height markers by the doors so that they don’t have to guess shoplifters’ heights, yes, I spotted them in our local supermarket ages ago, quite sensible if you ask me esp. as average height will be more than 6 ft I expect!!
Sorry if you were expecting to find some home-ed amazing achievements but we live. hope and make du’a ………

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The colds have continued and will InshAllah one day end, but now it’s become a way of life, blowing noses, administering calpol, cough medicine etc and feeling downright miserable. The whole family has been affected and it’s still barely autumn, with quite mild weather for the time of year (northern Sweden is in having minus something temps, but here is in the teens)
Trying to get through various boring bits of paperwork and came across a piece of paper which S’s teacher had written down for us about a fish that S had really enjoyed eating on a school trip to Sweden’s southernmost point earlier in the term. It was to a place called Smygehuk from a shop called Smyge Fisk & Rökeri and it was ‘horngädda’. Now for someone who’s repertoire of fish-eating goes as far as fishfingers or maybe the slightly larger pieces of breaded fish. I was shocked to discover, now I finally got round to looking it up, that he had eaten and ENJOYED pike !
Felt bad yesterday as M was asking me to find him some ‘work’ to do ie worksheets or something like that. Had found some on Curious George website but printer was so slow I gave up as needed to lie down,and let him play the online games instead. Any how he did end up doing a fairly brain-involved game which was basically digit span, where he had to remember the phone numbers asked by the Man with the Yellow hat and redial them. He did manage 3 ok but 4 was a bit more difficult.
H let the dental nurse and the dentist count his teeth at his first dentist appointment (somewhat reluctantly) He had by mistake said ‘Hej’ to the friendly nurse but then did his usual silent routine. He didn’t like the bright light, nor lying down on the chair but they found 19 and a half teeth and one has the beginning of a cary !! Not surprising due to his love of lollipops (and his weak-willed parents).
Hafsah is banging toys together when she has one in each hand and babbling ‘aba’ a bit. I am trying my own improvised baby signing which we shall see if it’s of any use.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Another bad week on the sleep front, and hence another bad week really. Hafsah has a cold and had been waking up 1- 2 hourly, a couple of better nights, maybe 4-5 hourly and now we’re back to an unsavoury average of 3 hourly. With my cotton-wool brain I’ve managed to order a book on the subject, but I’m not expecting miracles. Maybe just to understand why this is happening would help. My health visitor said to expect this throughout the first YEAR!! Well the other three were quite bad until then although I vaguely recall they got better around 8 months when they started moving (as in crawling, not changing their address which would most certainly give me a night’s sleep ) DH did try to have her with him and to offer water last week, but that didn’t go down too well. She would only stop crying if he held her and so every time he put her down she screamed, and also woke me up, trying to sleep in the other room with both doors shut. Result: 2 brain-dead parents instead of one. Then we gave in at around 2.30 am and I fed her, but then it was playtime according to Hafsah, so she’s not just using me as a dummy. She will fall asleep in the day without feeding for her naps. Now I am back at newborn stage where I just feed her and try to fall asleep during this and seem to feel slightly better for it, but yes I know I’m making future probs but I NEED SLEEP !!?.
Well when she is awake in the day she now flaps both arms simultaneously, has managed to grab my glasses a few times, and blows half raspberries with her bottom lip.

Other kids have somehow put up with my grumpiness, H still v keen on letters and have to spot all the letters on the drain covers etc on the way home from nursery, so far he knows: V, K, M, S, D, W; O, L, the last a bit unsure but was happy to hear it’s for llama which is one of his nicknames given by the kids (it slightly rhymes with his name). H also said a funny thing the other day as I was changing Hafsah’s nappy, which I paraphrase’ When will her willy grow?’

Have done the ‘worm hotel’ with the kids last week, but I think someone killed them by screwing the lid on the jar and depriving them of oxygen. There was one lying on the top not moving and it has already dissolved into the soil! There was one who was not as wriggly as the rest when we collected them so maybe he (or should I say she/he as they are hermaphrodite, we learnt) was on the way out anyway. They haven’t mixed the soil, sand and clay layers as well as expected, which maybe due to oxygen deprivation, or the swimming pool given to them by DH when he was trying to help keep the soil ‘moist’. Please don’t ring the RSPCA!?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

aah bless

Hafsah's fallen asleep in front of the Tarawih prayers, so shall rapidly escape to bed, night wa salamoaleykum

errrr my brain is imitating cotton wool

to join in my computer is also being v slow so not much is getting done, slowly. Have had some bad nights with Hafsah. I'm tryingnot to feed her every 2 hours /as she's demanding) I was not bothering to check the time before and just feeding her, but I decided enough is enough. She does fall asleep without feeding in the day quite well so I don't know why it's sucha problem at night. Basically I'm finding it hard to say/write much coherently. Have fiddled arounf with comments settings recently and must have disabled them or something, but hopefully things are back to normal. I don't really know what I'm doing technically withthis blog, like do I have time to read all the stuff about it ? MashAllah Hafsah's watching Taraweeh prayers on the tv. Ihaven't fasted I feel dizzy from exhaustion. Poor kids are getting the brunt of my tiredness as hub is away. Did try out the 'story bag' idea which M enjoyed and did get them quite excited.
That's it, I may start dribbling over the keyboard withtiredness..

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seemingly endless colds.

Every morning I’m waking, hoping to find my cold symptoms, and the kids’, to have disappeared. But no, the sniffs and coughs still persist, so I don’t know if it’s some post-viral infection or something, or maybe just the consequence of the children coming into contact with so many different children combined with my immune system being less than adequate due to sleep deprivation. I think I’ve been like this since M was born, every winter getting an ongoing cold. I remember asking my GP if she thought I had anything wrong with my immune system but she almost laughed it off, and after seeing that documentary about the boy in the bubble who had NO immunity, I realise I must have something working , Alhamdulillah, but not as much as pre-children when a cold would last a week tops.
H’s still very excited by initial letter names of family members’s names, he asked me today ‘What’s Dadi Hazoor’s (grandmother) colour?’ I was baffled for a few moments and then realised he was referring to the painting he’d done with me last week of the different letters in different colours. He also got v excited by ‘Countdown’ today which I switched on at a point where I just had to collapse on the sofa (throbbing head etc) and it was quite a productive time, H spotting all the letters he knows, M doing some exercise, running up and down until the clock stops ticking and doing a funny pose at the v. end, and S managed to spell a few words. In fact it was the first time I managed to think of a word that was the same as one of the contestant's ! (they must have been having an off day too with only a 6 letter word !)
M and S almost spurring each other on with Surah learning (and me as they are doing the ones I don’t know) I think S may be a bit concerned M will overtake him so InshAllah it will encourage him to practise.

Bits from the last blur of a week (Alhamdulillah for tillfällig föräldrepenning)

Have had some pretty bad nights with Hafsah, waking too often plus H also waking before crack of dawn, so DH able to take day off (one benefit of Swedish social security system) so I could sleep, as I also still have a bad cold. If the normal carer of the child is ill then the other parent can get 75% pay if they take the day off to care for him/ her. It was so strange to wake up at lunchtime, like the whole day had gone past.
The sun was out and Hafsah enjoyed sitting on the balcony (for a little while).
H taking away anything Hafsah may have in her hand and be interested in. A shame as her attention span for these things is so short any way. As Libby Purves wrote, she discards toys like a newspaper editor discarding lost cat stories. That is apart from bank statement envelopes which she loves, its that crackly plastic window I think. She does like to attempt to destroy any form of paperwork to hand, a new excuse for S if he forgets his homework maybe?! Everything is now going into the mouth, and also she’s in the habit of poking her tongue out a lot nowadays. H is getting used to his 3 min punishments on his bed, (Supernanny style). I mean get used to, as in he stays on the bed, and he does actually change his behaviour if threatened (oh ! should I have said ‘warned’)with this (sometimes).

Friday, September 08, 2006

Voices can’t be breaking surely?

8 Sep 2006

The boys and Hafsah are all still ill, although H is pretty much over his cough. S and M have funny squeaky voices which sound as if they’re going through puberty, but of course they just have an infection of some kind. I still have this general feeling of malaise, and probably the same thing as them overcast by tiredness. However Alhamdulillah she’s slept better these last two days. The older two both had v high temperatures for about 24 hours, but now they’re back in form, cajoling each other, just with strange voices. Hafsah has a slight cough, but otherwise OK.
She now enjoys ‘peek-a boo’ type games and her legs move rapidly back and forth when she’s excited about something. I was also pleased to see she’s a bit ahead according to the *what to expect in the first 12 months’ book. She turns to a voice very readily, when I’m replaying the video clips on my phone (sometimes breastfeeding gets a bit tedious) she pulls away when she hears DH’s voice come out of the phone. She’s normal motor wise, as one of the boys (I can’t remember which) wanted to see if she could sit up alone, and of course, no, she just flopped to the side. (I did catch her, don’t worry).
Yes, it’s just as well their voices are a little quieter than usual as DH had a chat with the Housing Association rep last night, and got out of him that there have been more moans about the noise eminating from our house. Well my ears' nerve cells have certainly been exposed to above- the safety- limit levels of noise on numerous occasions. I tell the boys, don’t be surprised if I’m saying ‘What?’ all the time when I’m old and they’ve grown up. They should use my sons screaming ability as a form of weaponry in the army, or as a torture device. No, a less aggressive use could be to crack all the glass in the recycling plant. I am exaggerating but my ears feel v strange after their screams, similar to having been on the mobile phone too long.
S had his first ‘hemspråk’ lesson. When I went to drop him off I expected to hear the familiar tones of English being spoken by the people waiting, but all I could hear was Swedish. Afterwards S said it was v v easy, just doing the alphabet, including ‘zee’ and seeing if they know the days of the week (?!). All the children seem to speak American English,as does the teacher. I doubt if all are fluent, as S said some didn’t know the days. S was one of the youngest as well. Well it remains to be seen if this will be of any use to him.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back to school, then back to home..

Nope, I haven’t started home educating, as much as I would like to, if I had the Swedish linguistic ability and enough patience. H has been home the last few days with cold/ croup and now S has been home with a high temperature and headache. M, the immune system king remains fine but it is difficult to persuade him to go to school if his brothers aren’t. Alhamdulillah it isn’t compulsory for his age (6) so I didn’t even bother to debate it with him, and just told the teachers he’s not coming.
So these past few days continue to be a blur due to Hafsah’s twice a night wakings, with a late 11 pm bedtime and early morning (6- 7 am) I make that waking less than every 4 hours which is just not on ! However tend to give in and feed her as her weight needs to go up a bit, but the words rod and back spring to mind.
H continues with his difficult phase, reminding me of the phrase from the children's book‘If you love a bear’ ‘ it’s not easy loving bears when they’re like that’ (when feeling cross). When I say to DH, if only he’d learn Swedish, I would take him out of nursery, he replies, probably correctly, ‘I don’t think you cope with that’ I think it’s the whole jealously, attention seeking business. Learning the concept of ‘no’ or ‘wait’ is just taking too long for me. He showed his true feelings the other day saying ‘I want Hafsah to died’ Then he and M went on to have a counter argument ‘I want YOU to die’, it was all a bit negative, with the strange thing that probably both of them esp. H have no real concept of death.

Other sort of educational stuff, M was very happy to write out the alphabet and then wanted to do the numbers. We had done undercase and caps in letters and then he wanted to know if there were big and little numbers too ! I said no, but I suppose you do have to write them a bit smaller in fractions, but not really relevant at this age.
Otherwise have been trying to sort out our wills, and learning how to get a bargain on eBay. (Always check Amazon first, it can be cheaper and much less hassle (shopping, not wills, although it wouldn't surprise me if you could get one done from there too!)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

IKEA madness

27 th August 2006

It was one of the rare times we have all 6 of us gone out to a shop, and IKEA should have been ideal with its crèche. However due to its size and the fact they put the restaurant right at the back so we have to trudge through the whole shop to satisfy the young hunger pangs, we had an escapee (again). M. decided jogging to the restaurant was a good idea but we could not keep up and hence got lost. DH had to get them to announce his disappearance over the tannoy, and eventually he was brought back by a Swedish couple to the information desk. I wasn’t in quite such a panic as in earlier years when this has happened (London, went for a stroll up the road aged 2 by himself – major worry, police called, and Bauhaus, age 3 (slightly less worries as in Sweden and a little older). Anyhow the crèche time is never enough to decide what you want, find the shelf its located and stand in the lengthy queues to pay. This is esp relevant when you are called on the tannoy to pick your child up early due to excessive ballpool ball-throwing (as has happened on previous occasions).
As Ikea did not have exactly what we wanted, the day after we tried Bauhaus, with a much smaller play area with no staffing, so fairly pointless as you have to stay with the kids. After approx 5-10 minutes we gave up, as at least 2 children at a time were crying and this is not conducive tio decision-making, made harder by the fact the stuff they had was useless. In the end our builder could not keep his appointment so it was of no matter we didn’t have everything he needed to do the work, it’s just put off until a lter date, hopefully when all young bodies are being supervised elsewhere. Moral of story, only fo shopping with kids when you know what you want and where in the stor eits located, and get in and out as quick as possible. This had to be ignored when we had to do shoes shopping which requires said children’s feet to be present for fitting. I shall not go into this as pulse will probably start to race, sweaty palms etc.
On a more positive note, M is enjoying his Quran and Arabic classes, and is happily reciting surahs to himself which I must say is better than the usual cartoon dialogues he manges to memorise. Driving back and forth to Rosengård (the muslim/ immigrant area) for school, and classes makes the children a captive audience where they are happy to listen to quran cds etc. At home its more difficult as there are other activities which raise the noise level and nothing would really go in.
Hafsah’s now enjoying playing with her feet. Weight gain again is not quite up to scratch so was recommended to start solids. I thought I’d got away with this till 6 months due to new guidelines, but no ,Skåne (the region we live in) still recommends 4 months. I hate all this pureeeing and mashing etc, all to be regurgitated and spat out, and it doesn’t even make them sleep better. In fact the honeymoon is well and truly over. I love the first couple of months where there is no choice but to feed them, and no silly meals to prepare. You also still have a small reserve of stamina for sleepless nights left. Now is the time when ‘sleeping through’ and ‘controlled crying’ is looming, when you are so tired you have to go to bed before your 3 year old. You know you don’t have the stamina to let your child ‘cry it out’. Anyhow was woken this morning by M tickling my feet, and hence a v grumpy mummy ensued.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

back to school

22 Aug 06
First day of school yesterday, and I really don’t feel happy about M’s new class. The kids seem ok,’There will be no playing , we will be doing WORK’ Allah y’alam if M will actually take to it or hate it. He does love to do workbooks etc, so may be he will, so I will give it a couple of weeks and see. Alhamdulillah there is another class that he could maybe change to, the one with the less academic kids (the ones who are probably more of a handful and want to play, they are only 6 years old for pete’s sake).
S’s new class where the teacher is very nice and only has 13 kids in. , so I am quitehopeful for this year.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Be grateful

Hafsah’s developing fast, sucking her fists and any other thing she can grab. Still likes to grab people’s hair. I thought it might be reflex action but actually does only happen when she’s awake, I tried it when she was sleeping. She can bring both hands together in the midline, and looks at any object she’s holding intently. Woe to anyone who tries to take away what she’s studying . As she has since very young, v happy to stare at ht eTV when on or will try to turn to its noise if you turn away from it, not auguring well eh?

M has started Quran and Arabic lessons. Probably could teach him this level myself, but some sort of routine is needed to keep us going with it. I am panicking quite a bit about S’s English and Arabic/ Quran.. He’s not seeming v self-motivated with academic stuff at the moment and I really hate teaching when the there’s no interest from the child’s part, seems to defeat the point of education. I suppose I still am in the habit of comparing him to other’s children, or to expected targets of certain age groups.
There’s probably much more I could write at the moment but I’ve managed to develop an intense backache and my first cold of the season over the last few days, so I feel to be frank, rough, Alhamdulillah. It’s always easy to take good health for granted. Someone told me a person who’s ill sees a healthy person it’s like as if the well one is wearing a crown..

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pillar to Post


Aaah! My entry under ’occupation’ on all these forms should be ’bureaucrat’s work provider’, Sweden still ceases to surprise me with its bureaucratic, rules and regulations (which they can break/ make mistakes about if they want, but oh no, you citizens must accept will be followed to the letter with NO flexibility (even if it is non-sensical to follow them).
Yes I am referring to how the first day of DH’s leave has had to be spent on the phone to the tax office (which also registers births to make sure those little babes pay their taxes). As we want Hafsah’s surname to be the same as her siblings (which is spelt differently to her parent’s surnames, which was in order to ease correct pronunciation, the number of times: ‘no my name is not Mrs ***’)
Now if you’re still following me, the Swedish tax office say they will only change if we get some form of evidence from British consulate, and British consulate say they can only issue a birth certificate with the same surname as given by the thus mentioned tax office, we are stuck in the middle, as well as in the country as cannot get passport without Swedish documents, unless we give in and call her by the original spelling. Anyway our last ditch hope is to appeal on the grounds that child number 3 was in exactly the same situation as Hafsah (i.e. born in Sweden) and then there were no problems. (One Swedish bureaucrat said they must have made a mistake last time!) The immigration department also made a mistake about my MIL’s visa fees and didn’t realise until the third time she got her visa extension.

Other stress yesterday was Hafsah’s ENT appointment. I don’t know if it was because she is a girl or what, but I just got all tearful and had to leave the room when the doctor was going to put the tube down her nose, so DH had to hold her while I ran off, seriously holding back the tears. In the end my DH said it wasn’t so bad. It was just they said she WILL cry and then I knew this was not going to pleasant for her Alhamdulillah it only seems to be that her epiglottis has some floppy tissue, but they had to check there were no tumours etc.
I had been sceptical as to whether I should let her go through the procedure and I did double check with the doctor if she really had to have this done. Afterwards I realised that it probably was a good idea as if a tumour had been missed, then it could have been v. dangerous.
Hafsah also had her Health visitor check recently with a different lady as the normal one was on holiday. It was vaccination time and she asked me at least three times if I agreed for her to have them, to the point where I was wondering if they were going to give her something controversial (like the MMR) but I knew that the other 3 had had them with no problems. I think it was down to my dodgy Swedish and she just wanted to check I had understood. She had to give the jab in her thigh and the health visitor was surprised at how strong her legs were, maybe down to the extra training she did when in the womb. She now also raises her head up quite steadily when on her tummy, as well as being stable enough to go front ways in the baby Bjorn sling now. She also has started examining her hands and often has her hand and arm in a sort of Highland fling position with little finger stretched right out. She is also getting a little extra training from M. who’s taught her the movements for prayers, and most recently how to do breastroke kick (with accompanying Swedish phrases) Finally Hafsah’s latest habit is to suck in her bottom lip, she really is a toothless wonder !
Sleeping pattern is sort of, sleeps around 10 pm wake around 3 or 4 and then again around 7 or 8 depending if another child has woken the house up. Did try to feed her before I went to bed so that she can go for longer but that means I don’t get my wake up call for Fajr so I think I’ll stick at her 10 ish pm feed and hope her maturing sleep patterns coincide with Fajr getting later and later as Autumn progresses. Anyhow I still have at least one other human alarm clock to request assistance on toilet, milk, juice supplies. ! I read today that it’s the first 4-5 hours of deep sleep which can keep you going. If they are disturbed, then you’re in trouble. I also read (I think in Penelope Leach) that its not the number of hours missed but the fact that your sleep pattern is disturbed (i.e. you are woken up when not ready for it) that makes you feel so zombified. I am starting to get sleep-obsessed again, but it is something that impacts on the rest of your day.

Picked the first 2 blackberries the other day (literally the first ones as all the rest were green or light pink) and it is a bit early for them at the nice little park nearby (lilla skogen = little wood). They were very tasty and I hope we can find more. H determined not to let me have a sit down and needed assistance on the bars which were different heights so he learnt ‘medium-sized’ today. H also has been saying recently ‘on Sunday’ = ‘another day’, not sure why he chose Sunday?
Went back to doing the dreaded clocks/telling the time. S hates it and I was trying to explain the potential usefulness of it. However when I thought about it, how necessary is it for him to know this right now, when he is still not yet independent and relies on me to get him to places on time (which he knows I’m not too good at- one thing to improve on) . So really we are just going over it because we have to as part of the curriculum before he starts class 3. The other confusing thing is the way time is described in Swedish, and I had to check my Swedish books myself. E.g. for half past 2 you say ‘halv 3’ i.e. half an hour before 3. twenty five to is equivalent of ‘5 before half past in Swedish. Most of the work we’re having to do for year 3 he finds quite boring ,either because he’s picked it up from general discussion, or because it just does not interest him. The problem is he has to learn the more specific vocabulary in Swedish. A few subjects can spark interest and I wish we had time to follow them up rather than just skim over the surface of many areas. E.g. the chapter on spring today did bring up some interesting questions about eggs hatching and how they keep warm etc, which had come up just the other day as S thought there must be a chick growing inside the eggs we get from the shop, or they could get growing if we warmed the egg up.
M is as always, can say his ‘s' quite well if reminded but difficult to generalise. H able to imitate M as in ‘yeth’ for ‘yes’ so I hope I don’t have two on my hands to ‘treat’..

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Finally I’ve witnessed it !

Yes Hafsah had managed to turn herself 180 degrees twice in the last few days whilst in her cot. Today I saw how she does it, she pushes and pushes off the sides of the cot, or the mattress with her feet as she bends her neck to what looks like excruciating lengths, and eventually ends up the opposite way round to the way I left her. At first I thought it might have been down to one of her brothers ‘playing’ with her, but nope, she did it herself. Well all that painful kicking in the womb was worth it.
I haven’t been out in a week, it’s still too hot, and I just can’t face it. I feel sweaty indoors, so what will it be like if I go with Hafsah stressing me out as she doesn’t seem to like this heat either? Sweat city I think. She wants to feed every hour and is very unsettled unless I feed her lying on the bed. Now I know why they actually think cloudy weather is ‘beautiful’ in Pakistan….
DH has taken the older two swimming again at ‘simskola’so there’s a bit of peace for a couple of hours a day, Alhamdulillah.
Today started the mammoth task of tidying up the kids' toys. It does only seem worth it when they are kept occupied with rediscovered toys they haven’t played with in months. Still only done half of it as slow progress with heat, and babe to attend to. Lego has been keeping the older two occupied for hours the last two days, managed to persuade S to do a bit of Arabic but wasn’t too keen when he could have been working on his fleet of star wars fighters..

Sunday, July 23, 2006

quite a long one..

Procrastination is one of biggest faults, hence the infrequent posts. I don’t know how people (with children anyway) get time to write one every day. Anyhow it would be pretty mundane if I managed to do this, i.e. got up ate breakfast , washed clothes cleaned up general mess (partially) changed nappies etc etc, please wake up…
So maybe my general summaries now and again can be more readable. Anyhow I think I’ll be glad of these to read in future years as I forget things from minute to minute let alone month to month or year to year.
So procrastination, yes, I’ve put off writing about it already in the above few lines, but I’m trying to do away with it, so whenever I think of something that needs doing, I do it. Otherwise it just keeps on bothering me every time I’m reminded of it and these negative thoughts are a complete waste of energy, e.g. that dirty kitchen window with ancient peanut butter finger prints had to go yesterday, despite the fact it’ll probably be replaced with similar marks of a jam nature within a few days (probably hours) One of the biggest excuses that comes in my mind is the fact that most tasks require more than a 5-10 minutes stretch of uninterupted time. So now I have to stop this typing as Hafsah’s whinging is turning into crying….not finishing anything my other failing…
Oh call the NSPCC she’d posseted down her top as was none too happy about that, not v lady-like to have cottage cheese on ones NEXT vest. She’s not liking this heat either (neither am I ) which makes it hard to put her in her car seat as it is so well insulated she gets way too hot. The only other safe place to put her when the kids are around (ie most of the time) is her cot but she gets bored in there if left too long as those symmetrical patterns I’ve put there to look at are quite interesting but not as much as people’s real smiling, talking faces. The other place that is safe is the sling but again that’s too well insulated for this weather, so the only place left is in my arms, which would be great if I didn’t have so much to do….
Anyway back to what this blog is supposed to be about (ie kids achievements not my failings) Hafsah’s smiling and giggling a lot now and likes being played, sung to. She knows when her milks coming and makes enthusiastic sounds and movements. She’s getting v strong in her legs as she manages to push herself down in her car seat (if belt is not on, bad mum) as if she wants to escape and crawl across the floor.
Trying to do the year 2 work with S most of which he finds uninspiring, and instead today he’s trying to reconstruct his X wing fighter with the incomplete instructions and lost pieces but its keeping him occupied and cogs turning in his head. Explaining the concept of auctions as trying to get some lego on ebay yesterday. Found it a bit of an anticlimax as was outbid on an item, so he’s got to save more pocket money.
Trying a bit of speech therapy with M with his ‘s’ ‘th’ sounds. It’s also affecting his Arabic pronunciation. So his ‘s’ is more like ‘th’ and ‘th’ like ‘f’. So tried some auditory discrimination asd recommended by mum and like me as a child ‘f’ and ‘th’ sounded the same to him. Anyway, he’s only 5 well nearly 6. ‘r’ is still like ‘w’ too. I expect he’ll mostly mature naturally and maybe peer pressure and reading will motivate him to change his ‘s’. He can do it, but similarly to what he looks like he doesn’t care how he sounds and it isn’t inhibiting his being understood.
Hafsah’s sleeping pretty well, sleeps around 11 pm, wakes 5 or 6 am, unlike the boys who last night went to sleep 11 pm (after having woke me around 830 that morning, and woke me 3 am having wet the bed and wanting milk subhanAllah the difference between boys and girls. The other day Hafsah had managed to keep her clothes clean for 24 hrs and then a young male managed to get weetabix on them for her in a few minutes. Having said that Hafsah’s behaving a bit more like the boys in the day with frequent feeds and poops but I think it may be due to the heat.
Funny comment from m the other day whilst I was changing Hafsah, ‘do you have to clean her every day?’
‘she’s a pet then?’
‘er no..’

Difficult questions to answer.
S was asking after discussing surah al kafirun
‘why does Allah let them do what he doesn’t like ?’
I answered somewhere along the lines of ‘because they are not guided by Allah’
He replies ‘why should they go to hell fire then?’
Hmm have to think this one through, hard to understand everything myself let alone explain at 8 year old level

Other query as a novice to girl-children, what to call ‘it’ ie boys is a willy. Hishaam spontaneously said it was her ‘not-willy’
All I can remember from childhood is the phrase ‘front bottom’
Sorry but as much of my life is spent around the changing mat, potty etc I’m down to toilet talk...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


5th July 2006-07-05

Today H and M went to nursery but I’ve decided to leave taking them until they are back at their usual nursery. During the summer holidays they put all the children requiring daycare in the area in one nursery as so many are off for the summer. I originally kept them at nursery during the hols as when S and M went like this 2 years ago they seemed to pick up more Swedish (the teacher who usually works the summer hols does not speak English), plus it gives me and S some time to do his year 2 work in a peaceful environment. For some reason M was not at all happy with this nursery’s routine of having a nap after lunch, and for those that can’t sleep (like himself) they listen to a story cd. I don’t know why he was so stressed out about it, but maybe there was a scary story or something, but kids do seem to get anxious over the strangest of things, and don’t want to talk about it. Well apparently M and H hatched a plan today to escape the nursery. M was helping H to open the gate to the pavement outside when H’s arm got stuck in the gaps in the gate, thus giving some pain and this must have alerted the staff to the escape attempt. I had thought that this nursery’s fences are quite low and I’m sure some of the more athletic 5 or 6 year olds could scale them.
Hafsah nearly laughed the other day to my rendition of hickory dickory dock. She did a couple of ‘hah’s so there’s a sense of humour in there! A lot of lipsmacking when hungry, just hope she makes it on the scales to 5 kg next time we go to the clinic. This is the first time I’ve had to worry like this about my baby’s weight. Have postponed the ENT appointment as well. Her breathing is sometimes noisy and other times OK.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

7weeks on.......

and if you're looking for something coherent, then try elsewhere...
Here are a few snippets of life with 4 kids and brain approaching simultaneous dementia, neurosis and the odd bit of psychosis thrown in for good measure. It’s not so bad really but I’m sure people who accuse single mothers of having children to get more benefits know nothing about real life…I’m a part-time one and it’s not easy…
Actually it’s not the kids in the day so muchas the sleep deprivation. Hafsah doesn’t wake up too many times at night, in fact she slept 7 hours the other night. But then you get woken up by the others early in the morning or during the night for some other liquid requirement or evacuation and the brain goes numb.So here' what I've managed to note recently..

Hishaam learning some phrases by rote and using in slightly the wrong way e.g. He said to me ‘Stop lying!’ when he heard me saying something he disagrees with and doesn’t want to hear e.g. ‘no cake for you’

Muhammad had a few funny comments recently: When I had mentioned I was desperate for the loo he said ‘Hold it in Mimi!’
He asked me what would happen to water if you left it, like milk turns to cheese. This was prompted by the cheese making factory Muhammad has down the side of his bed where he casts his anywayupcups with milk left in them when he’s finished with them. We are currently missing at least 2 cups and I dread to think what stages of development they are in.
SubhanAllah he just asked me to show him some pictures of Hafsah coming out from you no where when she was born, to which I replied I don’t have any, and he said ‘can you take some next time ! I just want to see’ Oh the innocent inquisitiveness of childhood….
Muhammad wanting to learn to count in tens, so using all ten fingers, enjoyed flashing them up as we counted up in tens. I was thinking that home ed/’unschooling style’ can often seem to get straight to the point of why we learn, e.g. pinball scores, computer game scores (I have to find some justification for letting them play ?!) or milometer in cars need to be understood via maths. But they can learn directly by talking about these practical examples, I think more effectively, than by learning in the abstract. So Muhammad starting to grasp bigger numbers (100s 1000s) when playing with Suhayb’s pinball game. Still would feel better if he'd completed some work book or other but then he'll not be doing this in swedish schools for at least a year or two.
I was trying to decide which I can feel less guilty about, letting them watch kids TV or playing computer games. The former at least keeps up their English skills (?! I read that in a book about bilingualism) and the latter does require some kind of skill, hand eye coordination and is not passive like TV. All I can say is sometimes I just HAVE to lie down and sleep and it seems the only way to stop them doing some serious harm to each other while I’m unconscious.

Suhayb was interested in making a sun dial with a stick in the sand in the park, and then we discussed how the shadow can be used to calculate Asr prayer time..

Had a slightly stressful time with Hafsah as the 6 week check with the doctor had us sent to the hospital for checks re her noisy breathing and the following day X rays which was distressing for her as she had to be held still while they took the pictures. In the end they found nothing untoward, but think it’s due to her having a soft windpipe and she should grow out of it. She’s also supposed to be checked at the ENT clinic which will involve having a tube down her nose and I tried to get out of this, hmm we’ll see… On the positive side Hafsah can now roll onto her left side so you cannot just leave her and guarantee she will be in the same spot 5 minutes later. The same goes to say for the boys who are still not bored with her, and try to pick her up and give me palpitations on a regular basis. Resort to carrying her in the sling to protect her but then they try to pull her legs off aaah. Snapping at them a bit, weird protective instinct seems almost to be a reflex action?
Oh yes and she's actually lost some weight last week, but th ehealth visiotr is not calling us back for another weighin for over 2 weeks, weird I thought she'd be more concerned. May be it's all the wriggling she does, as she seems to be feeding regularly enough ?! Or maybe it was her haircut which we finally got round to doing. She was getting a rash on her face and head with the heat, and DH didn't want to do as she's a girl, but now he's away it's done and that's it. Anyway lots of proper smiles to me and anyone else who pays her attention.

Have had to do some ‘proper’ home ed with Suhayb funnily enough put on me by school as he is skipping a class. So we have 8 weeks to do a years work. However he’s already done most of the maths. At least it keeps me up with my Swedish. So did ’geographi’ and telling the time ‘quarter to’ the other day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hafsah's progress and a whinge about last night

6 Jun 2006-06-06

Hafsah’s 5 weeks now and edging towards normality as regards nappy fillage (is that a real word ??) and vomiting. Normality as in what the other 3 were like. Still feel she sleeps slightly (emphasis on slightly) better than the others but then the 4 hours of semi darkness that constitute a June night here in Sweden may be giving me just an illusion of her sleeping through the night !!
Wind still a major part of her waking life so much so I’m surprised she doesn’t float up to the ceiling but now it's less silent but deadly and more the machine gun loud ones that vibrate the whole nappy ……… May be my diet of keema and chicken soup being slightly reduced is helping this as the 40 days are almost up and I am allowed a normal diet !
She just did a cute little noise, sort of like the coos you’d expect. Social smiling is increasing although the bathroom tiles get the same warm beams , they are nice and shiny and white !

Had a nightmare of a time getting the kids to bed last night (more than usual) . Somehow I think post traumatic stress has blanked it out of my memory as now, the morning after, I can’t really remember what all the fuss was about. But as I can recall if it wasn’t for my MIL protecting her, Hafsah could have been pretty badly damamged by the hurtling objects and jumping around children. I think I shall have to get a lock for the outside of my bedroom door so she can at leat be safe while I attend to the boys getting them into bed. Sometimes I just think, let their teeth have fillings and sleep in your dirty clothes, it seems such an effort just to get teeth brushed PJs on. Once that’s achieved then its usually downhill froim theron as a story calms them down, and sleep ensues. However my voice by that time is rather struggling to read after all the yelling I’ve had to do over the previous hour or so !

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hafsah has arrived !

28 may 2006-05-28

Alhamdulillah I had a healthy baby girl on April 28th 2006. The whole pregnancy was pretty tough so no posts for the whole of it subhanAllah !
Hafsah is 1 month old now and i should try to start up my blog again although its a bit slow going, typing one handedly while holding her with the other.

Actually though mashallah she has been the only one happy to lie in her carrycot, just looking around, and also at night . I was concerned about the recent ‘cotdeath’ concerns about bedsharing (which I’ve always done with the boys in the early days). But with Hafsah I can put her back in her cot when she's finished feeding, (or when I wake up which I suppose is not so safe). Its all very confusing with attachment theories and ‘cot’ death theories changing year on year.

Actually on the nappy side we don’t look like we'll be sponsored by Pampers as she doesn’t get through so many and I've been willing her to do a poo all week ! We finally got a pretty small excuse of one just now, but we’re both relieved (pardon the pun) as the health visitor's check is tomorrow and I think its been a week since the last dirty nappy. I didn’t want another issue of her being ‘underfed’ like 2 weeks ago when she hadn’t gained enough to satisfy my health visitor. I was instructed to wake her up (WAKE HER UP !?) every 2 and a half hours in the day. She’s been going every 4 hours like a bottle fed baby which I was quite happy with. I should also be happy about the nappy changing situation, but its just so different to the boys that it can't fail to be a bit perplexing !

She’s started smiling now and again the other day and although most are probably due to the usual suspect (i.e. wind which is pretty lethal, maybe due to my keema based diet, Pakistani style), she did a really cute one , smily eyes too this evening.

Hishaam had gone backwards a bit wanting feeding rather than doing it himself, wetting himself, which he rarely did before, and wanting me to lie down with him at bedtime. Boys boys boys!