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!?