Thursday, March 29, 2007

Busy and very tired,but that's life..

I finally decided to accompany S. and his class to SkryllegÄrden. I was umming and erring as I am so behind with house stuff (the silverfish are forming some sort of colony under the washing pile) plus I didn't know if the baby car seat would fit in the coach. In the end I took my own car and I thought this may be the last time S actually wants me to come with him on something like this (i.e. in front of his classmates) He was almost begging me to come. It was a nice 5km walk in the forest and nicely polished off with the (extortionate) ice-creams.
The coach arrives..A huge teepee that had a fire inside for cooking.. S and his class setting off with great gusto for a walk in skogen (the forest). S's teacher was holding the walking sticks many use to increase arm exercise whilst walking in Sweden. (Not for keeping the little bods in order of course . They were helpful for pointing out bits of wildlife, flowers etc).
A beautiful glade mashaAllah. S wants to live somewhere like this, me too... Some of the kids made their own walking sticks, v. Swedish.. The girls were very happy to push the buggy for me, I felt I could have made a killing , 10 kronors a go....... Got a little bit of help from S. and also gained a life skill, potato peeling. He wanted to peel off a bad bit from one of them but I kindly advised him that there'd be very little potato left to eat so it'd be better to cut it with a knife.

Last lesson with hemsprÄk(home language) Canadian English teacher. He gave them a cookie and a paper helicopter which he warned against using outside in the wind but M found it quite fun to launch it from the climbing frame and keep me on my toes recovering it for him for re-launch. Like his Arabic, he was reciting the story they had obviously been reading today in a Canadian accent, oh my little parrot!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I couldn't sleep..

but I'm still too fuzzy-headed to write properly so here's some photos
M's 'teach-yourself' workbook. He talks to himself like a teacher, writes out some work, does it, then praises himself. He's also been reciting his Arabic and Islamologi lessons, so we get to hear the surahs but also the way the teacher starts them off:
, 'One, two, three,... BismillahiRahmanir Rahim..' and so on.
M, for when you're older note 'nangnang under the book.'!!

Well S complained of being bored and as it was around 4 pm, all I could come up with was cutting up some magazines and adding speech bubbles (this is for a v reluctant writer), little did I know this would start him off on his amateur career as an 'author', which he has professed to be (only a hobby mind, surgeon status still on the horizon). As a result he made numerous 'rull'books (scrolls?), containing a picture on which he's based a short story. I've been told to ask permission before reading them, they're now in the draw. (middle thinking bubble below is my attempt)

Tomato seeds suddenly sprouted, despite having been put on the balcony by someone and hence began to get frazzled. I managed to rescue them just in time..

I worked out hyperlinks (at last)

I have much to write, but I have to catch up on some sleep (details probably on another post), but I know if I don't put these links now, I'll most probably never get round to it..

Swedish house-buying madness

Swedish Education System to introduce grading at younger age?!, oh no here we go.....

Friday, March 23, 2007

I found the cable for the camera

Finally baked the bread (looks better than it tasted, too heavy and doughy but ok toasted) However looked quite arty with pomengranates and garlic.

Results of Hafsah's morning activities, piles of mess..

Beautiful dress, kindly donated by a sister, and no, I don't know how to rotate the photos! (yet)

The wall did have tiles before they decided to drop off the wall. Let's pray for a nice 'after' picture, builder due Monday..

Shiny sink

err March musings.

Finally got round to revisiting the 'flylady' website. It's been in my 'favorites' under 'home management' (!)for ages but things to do etc.. Anyhow decided I have to get on with sorting this mess-of-a-flat out, if we want to sell it, as well as feel sane. I don't feel so able to help my kids learn in this cluttered environmnet and I feel really sorry for them, even if most of the 'stuff' is theirs. So my sink is sparkly clean, even DH noticed when he came home for lunch. Let's see how long it lasts. Finally got round to putting the mirror back up in the hall which has been down since the wall was redecorated a couple of years ago. Now I should be able to adjust my hijab before leaving the house without having to dodge the toilet rolls and toothpaste in the bathroom. Also it's usually one of those things recommended by the likes of Anne Maurice to increase the sense of 'space', hmm. Well, as I rarely get involved in anything related to DIY, this wasn't as easy a task as I'd imagined. The mirror just wouldn't hang straight on the hook, although the hook seemed ok. Three hooks later, lots of small holes in the wall, and I realised, with the aid of a spirit level that the walls aren't completely level. Therefore a lump of blu-tak behind the frame seemed to give an adequate adjustment (hope DH doesn't get round to reading this). H's comment on this as he observed my increasing frustration was ' I know why (you can't do it), cos' it's for mans' Yes a 3 year old who certainly wouldn't get an admission to that feminist nursery I once mentioned. The the young man expected me to construct him a tent out of the usual chairs and sheet combination, the cheek of it!
H is full of self-assurance, as can be heard from this discussion which went something along the lines of:
H 'I hold it'
me 'you held it'
H 'hold, held, you never say it right!'

Managed to cover animate vs animate objects a bit in the following conversation..
H 'I shouldn' eat food, then no poos'
(Do I really seem so fed up wiping bums?)
me' You have to have food for energy and to grow, like a car has petrol to drink'
H ' Why it doesn't have food?'
me 'Cars don't have to grow'
H 'Why cars don't have to grow?'
and so the explanation began...

S asking about why the sky is blue (I'm sure we've had that one before, it's it dust in the atmosphere) thus 'What's spacedust?'

Hafsah's now able to roll onto tummy and then up to knees and then sit. This makes nappy changing and sleeping in cot more challenging. They have to learn how to lie down again if they want to sleep. I think she can just about do this. She was going round lying down her head as a game on any soft patch she could find the other day, I remember H was the same.
She's managing to do some early choice-making, shaking her head for 'no' and shaking arms for 'yes'. is this a good thing, how much does an 11 month old baby really know what's best for her ? Not her eye drops at least which she's had for a nasty eye infection, but they've worked!
I'm getting annoyed buying white board markers, that get destroyed within hours. Hafsah seems to have a penchant for sucking them, it can't be good for her. Unless I stand over them and put the lids on every moment they're put on the floor, it's difficult.
A new 'word' (communication) is she smacks her lips together if she wants to eat something. She also likes to blow half-raspberries, esp with food in the mouth, spraying food everywhere aah!
M has been speaking a little Swenglish again, trying to say 'which' ('vilket in Swedish) came out as 'wilket'

Friday, March 16, 2007

Not an A star, but who cares!

Hafsah's had her 10 month assessment at the health visitor's and she passed the peek-aboo (titt-ut in Swedish, for real!), banging 2 bricks together after a demo from kind HV (has done herself for ages now) and understanding language. ('Not in your mouth' gets an immediate response as all manner of things are regurgitated) but fell down (excuse the pun) on the pulling up to stand aspect. Of course it's nothing really worrying but I felt I could detect a slight look of disappointment in the nurse's face Well Hafsah's a super crawler now mashAllah and so still feels like a 'baby' unlike her brothers who were almost running at this age. She does like to crawl up to me, holds on to my trousers and pull up on her knees, look lovingly at me as if to say ' You know you want to pick me up, don't you?, don't worry about that little twinge in the lower back...).
She's started 'showing' me toys etc and even 'giving' them to me now. She's continuing to invent her own baby sign language, ignoring my own Makaton attempts, so shaking both arms up and down means 'again'. This was used to great effect whilst playing 'round and round the garden' and my rendition of 'this little piggy went to market ' We substitute teletubbies for pigs and ice-cream for roast beef, don't quite like my little ones toes representing carnivorous hogs somehow, but hey that's just me... By the way she has no idea what teletubbies are either as we don't get the Beeb here.
Oh and here's a good web-site for maths/ problem-solving based on the cyberchase cartoon (one of the few worth watching on satellite channel POP)
My 6 year old finds it quite challenging but can do with help and my 8 year finds it quite easy so probably safe to say ideal for a 7 year old?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A career in materials science?.

Sunday was taken up with scouts, and on the way back we went and had a quick view of a property in the area where we first lived when we came to Sweden which was for sale. Here they have a viewing system whereby the house is available to view initially only at the date and time specified by the agents, so you end up nosing around flats along with 4 or 5 other prospective buyers. Also there is a bidding system here which is quite different to the English way of doing things. Well, it had 5 (small) bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge living room and dining room as well as 2 hall spaces which could fit desks, all for the similar price of our 2 bed flat. Yes, sounds great, but location is the prob, although it’s near to the station and a new shopping centre is being built, DH doesn’t want to consider it because it is also near to the prison, so the search goes on..
S and M continue with swimming classes, with S doing front crawl now which I could never quite get the hang of, (co-ordinating breathing and putting face in the water never a strong point for me).
H is growing up, getting more lanky like a boy rather than a baby. This evening some very cute discussions (while I was washing up), also making me feel my consumption of salmon since I’ve been in Sweden and so throughout my pregnancy etc have helped those little brain cells.(He also loves the stuff, especially with ketchup).

H ‘What are chairs made of?’
I discuss the various possible materials…
H ‘What’s boxes made of?’
Me: as above
H ‘What’s sand made of?’ (He’s asked me a few days ago what glass was mad of so I guessed this was where the idea came from.)
I talked about ground up rocks by the sea
H ‘What’s rocks made of?’
Me: v briefly discussed sedimentary and lava, (my own knowledge all thanks to S’s earlier interest where we looked up about this in some books- go home-ed, go)
H ’What’s snow made of?’ (Throughout this conversation he’d been ‘playing’ with the flour we’d used to roll out pizza, and he was trying to convince me it was snow he was decorating the kitchen with…aah!)
Me : Ice, which ironically must have reflected the look on my face when I turned round and saw the mess.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Life still went on..

Now I’ve got that off my chest, here’s some bits and pieces about the kids.
Hafsah’s started whole-hand pointing, especially interested in the light in her room. As well as the TV (oh no). She actually said ‘da’ as she pointed to the light, are these words coming out of my little one’s mouth?!! Any sort of rhythm/ music she hears, the back starts bouncing and arms waved up and down, another M aaah! When I asked her where her dad was, she turned to look to the front door, it was sooo cute.
Favourite toys just now: nappy changing box, especially emptying out the cotton buds and pretending to smoke with them, does make one seem rather stylish, not? Carrying on the bathroom effect, we have the rapid unrolling of toilet-rolls, except with not quite the same beauty as the Andrex adverts as we just have grey recycled stuff here (comes as standard, you either have grey or white, and with the latter may your conscience be forgiven). On the hall front, we have emptying the recycling box (we’re very green here in Scandinavia you know), and then the gloves and hats from the rack, all jolly good fun to be had, and keeps mum busy as well for a good ten minutes while she clears up all that mess, everyone’s a winner, no boredom in this house.
Did I also mention the funny neck business when she eats yoghurts? Her double chin squashes over her neck which then disappears as she swallows, it’s hard to explain but looks very funny. I can feel a little madam developing now. This age of 10 months is my favourite with babies, they’re mobile, they sleep (mostly) and do not answer back. However if she wants a breastfeed or wants to sleep she refuses to sit, but pushes herself into a lying position.

Hoping the boys are not losing too much of their English skills, H showed me today he could hop but said he was ‘jumping on one leg’ this is the literal translation of how they say it in Swedish. When I said to the others to ‘hop’ they jumped.. ‘Hopp’ means jump in Swedish, so had to re explain this!
The kids never made it to school today as although we now have 2 cars, both have some affliction which renders them either unsafe or illegal or both. Tried to get them to do something educational, but after requests to write a story (S had started one yesterday but had given up for some reason) we went back to our rendition of ‘Countdown’ using the scrabble letters and the white board. I did not have a ticking clock so had to sort of make that up with my tongue. Anyhow they quite enjoyed this, and I think M managed to get an obscure word by chance (as his limits to spelling are dog, cat, ox and a few more common words). S got ‘quean’ which I guessed would happen as we had only one ‘e’ and it turned out to mean an impudent girl derived from Old Norse. As it turns out Swedish for woman is ‘kvinna’ the ‘kv’ a bit like the ‘kw’ in queen/ quean. Well you learn something every day.
Other questions from S were how did people discover how to make bread (after we’d made pizza).
M made a tiny tot house as inspired by CBeebies website, clever him had saved a box from the clutches of the recycling bins…..

a post-viral rantette

Well the cold progressed into what I would call flu, shivering and then waking up sweating, and the nose front had got through much more than the average amount of kitchen roll. (Did I mention boxes of tissues are not quite so common here and are much more expensive when you do get hold of them?). So had about 3 days where I was dragging myself from my bed to do whichever child’s bidding and back again. It’s especially harder for the younger ones to understand how come mum can’t be her usual ‘helpful’ self, and is just groaning between the blows into the ever-increasing mountain of tissues. The 2 weeks DH has been away have been some of the longest I can remember. Poor kids, bouncing off the walls as I had no energy to take them out. I mean if I was seeing black spots in front of my eyes just getting to the bathroom then a trip to the Post office would probably end in me flat out on the pavement.. (Dear mum had posted me some gravy granules so I can have a proper roast dinner).
Anyhow I think the road to recovery is almost in sight, although there are still road works ahead, trying to flush this virus/bacteria or whatever it is out of my system and regain my strength. Alhamdulillah, from hearing about other flu victims I seem to have come off lightly.Now for the real moan, it’s that time of year again for Swedish tax returns, and I was dreading having to calculate everything myself, but somehow DH’s company have kindly authorised PWC to do it again. Still, I have to sort out all the boring info for them to calculate it. The UK authorities have very benevolently decided I no longer make enough profit to warrant any more tax returns. The fact that they give a personal allowance before they start taxing you seems to have helped a lot. From the Swedish side who volunteer no such reasonableness, brings me to ponder if it would it be better just to leave the flats empty?! Or better sell them (which is what I really want to do and would remove quite a few headaches, I’m telling you), but then there would be capital gains tax, but we’re living in a post-socialist country. Hmm, so how come I see so many 1 or 2 year old Volvos driving round , oh yes, tax relief on interest, just to make sure the capitalism gets a look in too, and the world continues to run on thin air, i.e. riba (usury).