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!