Friday, April 27, 2007

Science in Slippers?, more like toothy Times Tables

Here's the view I get from my kitchen window, early in the morning just before I wake the kids. A moment of peace and tranquility, then the morning rush begins, and yet another argument for home education rears its sensible head. However early we seem to get up it's always last minute searching for matching socks (not always successful), arguments on the necessity of teeth-brushing (slightly stronger case now that M has witnessed one of S's molars being removed, the painful bit being the TWO injections, rather than the chisel cutting gum flesh and quite a bit of blood. Yes the calculation has been done as to how many injections required for all teeth to be removed (2 times table work you'd unlikely get in school), arguing over who's going to sit on the front seat etc etc. The days when they are home sometimes reveal the way it could be, reading whilst eating rice crispies, painting in pyjamas...
But on a school day, I really hate the early mornings. Transitions are always hardest, especially when getting children to change from something they're enjoying (fiddling with Lego in their PJ's) to something they'd rather not do (sit in class). Oh, but the peace when they've gone, I can't deny it, is bliss.

Here is not the most exciting picture but it shows the remains of the dirt-playing fest Hafsah was having on the balcony. She managed to get most of the clay powder (left over from the failed wormery) and bits of potting compost onto her clothes and hands, but thankfully she couldn't reach the clothes on the line. This warm weather is brilliant for getting on top of my laundry mountain. I mean making it smaller not actually climbing it! Thinking this time last year I was doing circuits round the block trying to get my labour going in the cold damp weather!
Oh yes the bucket was free of charge from the recycling bins, almost brand new thrown away by a builder I think. I also got some free plant pots the other day, which I was glad of as the tomato plants are getting big mashaAllah, and the extortionate prices they were charging for pots in the shops made my trip to the refuse room quite worthwhile. Look after pennies etc etc. I am not willing to fork out too much for plant stuff as most plants under my care wither and die, unless they are some tough cactus type thing...I'm giving you the highlights at the moment, are you still awake?!

M's construction of a masjid (mosque) out of the Jenga bricks dad brought back from Vietnam.
Oh look someones coming to pray, and some big , crawling monster is coming to destroy.

(S's just pointed out I need an object with 'destroy', oh he's teaching me transitive verbs now I see, well it somehow sounded right so I'm leaving it....)

Today H was home, and dad kindly made him a flag to wave when goal is scored in indoor football. H then proceeded to decorate it with his name, with letters in a random order, but I was pleasantly surprised he managed to write a capital 'A' independently,when he was supposed to be copying a lower case one out.
He's been dry at night now for over a week, which is good as I only have to buy one size of nappy, (have been having to have 2 sizes around for last 6 years). Saying that Hafsah fits quite nicely in her 3 year old brothers pull up pant nappies, too many Petit Filous if you ask me..
He wet the bed the other night, but the kind boy did not wake me up, but found himself some clean PJ's and slept in one of the other beds going spare, awww!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Some bits and pieces......

The guilty perpetrator of my vandalised jilbab owned up a while after the event. It was not the child I expected and he had owned up feeling bad that I might punish the usual suspect! I re emphasised the fact that I'm always more disappointed / angry if someone lies to me and that honesty is the most important thing. Having said that we had read 'The Gruffalo' recently and the mouse lying was instantly pointed out. I had a feeling he could be let off, as it was in order to stop him being eaten, but I did check this out and this is one of the exceptions in Islam to being allowed to lie, ( not just eaten of course, I mean if life or property is in serious danger).
Hafsah's really into pulling to standing now, such is the enthusiasm that I can barely do anything without the little arms grasping around my legs/chest/ shoulders (depending which position I'm already in). Subsequently if I wish to move anywhere, I have to carefully peel her away from me so she doesn't fall down. She also did a little coasting today, but I won't be surprised if she's a post-one year old walker. That's nice in a way as the beginning of walking seems to herald a step (excuse pun) away from babyhood.
She also put a toy phone to her ear as if she understands its use. What these young peeps must think we're doing blabbering away at a piece of plastic and staring at a screen half the day (I hope I don't spend that much time online!).

H continuing with his *What's that made of?' questioning. He asked me about the jug (plastic) in order for him to work out what his light sabre (in the other room) was made of, quite clever of him I thought.
S says he's been feeling 'very lucky' and then hastily added 'I don't mean by chance'!, as his dad gave him his old pocket PC. Good, he's taken in some stuff about tawheed, shirk etc. Well I have been happy they've managed without electronic games for quite a while now. The X box controllers are broken, the V smile batteries ran out (and adaptor burnt out) and the PC online games don't seem to be so appealing to the kids nowadays. So now I'm back to rationing of computer games although I've been quite lax so far due to novelty. Also he has tried to use it to do some spelling work.
Had some difficulties with finishing off learning tashahud today. He knows most of it but not quite right so wanted him to do this. A bit stressful and I softened it up with chocolate (for all of us) as I don't want him to resent learning things for his deen. There is a lot for kids to learn which is obviously easier at a younger age as they're like sponges. However some of the concepts and motivations are hard for children to grasp and I think they have to have some material here-and-now rewards.
S also did the BBC skillsswise(ta for link EF!) times tables and we printed out the certificates (he was v chuffed with these, shall have to use certificates more).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Be in this life as a traveller

M has come out with some funny things; 'It's not good being a girl, because when you grow up you have to do all the work. No one, mans don't help you.'
Enough said. I should be off to draw up a chores rota now.....

I think it's soon time to properly start teaching M to read, as he's trying to teach himself. The other day I overheard some self-talk (in his teacher voice) while he was playing with some scrabble letters,and S couldn't resist joining in;

M 'Shall we spell some words? C E F'
S 'keff'

S showed a bit of literal translation of Swedish to English the other day. We'd been reading Roald Dahls's *Matilda' which he actually finds interesting as she can do very hard sums. He said 'Matilda could 19 times 14', the 'could' being how you would say 'knew' in Swedish!

Have been trying to remind myself that we are in this world 'as a traveller' and that the material possessions are a test for us. Having anything of value around the house is pointless if you have kids. 2 windows have been broken in the last 6 weeks (only the inner pane of the double glazing so didn't have to rush to get them fixed, the latter is till covered with cardboard', once due to hurling of object in anger, another due to a test-out of a home-made catapult, which obviously passed in terms of power. My IKEA chest of drawers scraped with a shark tooth necklace, one of my bead necklaces broken during a dispute over who should have it, as I say 'don't pull it,it'll snap......'(it had survived being used as horses reins, which I allow as it means H can sit on my back pretending I'm a horse while I lie down getting some relief from my backache). Empty baby oil bottle found has made me worried, and there is still an oily mess around the box on top of the washing machine which I haven't yet dared to approach (nor had time). This morning I found one of my jilbabs had a rather neat rip in the bottom which probably meant someone had taken scissors to it, and I hadn't just tripped on some stairs or something and ripped it myself. No one would admit the crime though. I can usually get them to plead guilty if I promise I won't get cross. (They know I'm not allowed to lie).

H is pulling to stand quite confidently now mashaAllah and shouting 'mamama' quite often. Today she was letting the whole neighbourhood know about her lovely mum, but I hoped no one felt that maybe an abandoned child had been left stranded on the balcony, as she is rather loud!

Monday, April 09, 2007


I'd been thinking about the way us Mums (and sometimes Dads) are not given the appreciation they deserve. Of course all Praise is Allah, who made it possible for us to be in our situation. I want to send out a pat on the back,a hug, a virtual first class honours Bachelor's home edder certificate ,or whatever you feel happy with to all those mujahidas, striving to bring up their kids in the best way they can. There is so much negative stuff out there blaming parents for all the ills of the world, and little recognition of all the hard work done out there in the background, many not expecting anything back, but hoping any good they have done is sent forward and helps on the Day. Then I came across this link which echoed how I was thinking (pasted from your site EF!)

More bread attemps

The culmination of me lifting an increasingly heavy Hafsah, and putting in and strapping in kids in car means I have a sore back. I cannot contemplate going to the shops with all 4 kids, so S has been very responsible as now man of the house and gone to the corner shop a few times to buy essentials. They however only had hamburger bread left (due to bank holidays, which thankfully he didn't buy) so we baked some bread and this time it worked! Well I followed the instructions to the letter on the back of the flour packet, made sure the water was quite hot (as using dried yeast, anyone can enlighten me on pros and cons of dried vs fresh??) and S reminded me I have dough hooks for my mixing machine. It was slightly masochistic of me baking bread as I'm still trying to catch up fasts, but kids needed some sustenance.

Here's a 'menu' M made yesterday, with my help with the spelling (he can get the consonants as a rule but seems to find separating the vowels harder).
It shows what food we had left in the fridge, and to be honest, it wasn't something I'd like Gilllian whatshername to come and see ('You are what you eat' fame). In the end though this concept of choice was rather misguided by M as I could not cook everyone ´their own choice of meal. As I reminded them, 'this is not a restaurant!' ('This is not a hotel' was what I got as a child I recall)

Hafsah's pulling up on things to stand now and generally making the others a tad annoyed as she wants to join in the fun.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Another trip to the forest

We went out again to a forest with some sisters, this time 'bokskogen' beech forest. It was that or the indoor play centre which some other sisters had organised. I didn't reveal this latter option to my kids as it's the Easter hols. I only feel I can bear to go to these places if it's raining, and a school day so there are few other kids there. It was a beautiful day, got some exercise and also saved quite a few pennies.
One minor gripe, why do some people here feel it's their duty to make my kids like dogs? They maybe man's best friend in their eyes, but they can do damage, maybe not quite as much as mankind, but after one of my kids being chased by an Alsatian dog a while back and been told 'He's only playing' they are (understatement coming up) wary.Today for some reason, we were given a demonstration of the dog's ability to sit and stay maybe to show us how tame he was. Yes, until a child tries to poke it's eye out and pull its tail and I think you'll find its animal instinct is still there. You don't hear about children being mauled by cats or pet rabbits very often in the news do you? Dogs are fine if that's what you want, but keep them on leads outside , pick up their doings, and don't expect my kids to love them.
No, it was a lovely day, and managed the 7km walk this time, one kid only moaned right at the end, and there were lots of undulations, some very steep.
So here are some pics, including some 'Spring' nature ones (flowers, hazel catkins, burrs, a dead beetle, beech nuts, pine trees, silver birch and beech without their leaves (as yet), see what you can spot....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

diary gone AWOL

So here're some more pics, some not so up to date but still relevant. I was preparing myself for a massive typing session, but my diary/notebook thingy where I write down any notables is, I think, in my car boot (don't ask) , well I hope so.
M at his 'stable course' in a quaint horse farm. Photos of him actually riding didn't come out very well as it was very bad light inside the barn where they practiced, so didn't post.

H's 'draw-a-man' effort, one of his rare unabstract drawings. So he will inshaAllah pass his 4 year assessment then?!?..

Have been to science museum(again) with friends which the kids found more like an indoor adventure playground with the submarine, the wooden boats to scamper about on, and they managed to pay attention to me for about 20 seconds as I quickly tried to explain (in Swedish?!) why I have to wear glasses and how the eye works with useful visual aid they have in the museum.. I think the windy day whipped up their excitement and whether much was 'learnt' is questionable. We went out to the nearby open space where the great excitement of the day was two of the friend's ball being blown into the castle moat, of which one drifted too far to the other side to be rescued. Also saw some sheep nestling on the steep grassy hills by the castle, quite surprising to see.
Have started taking Hafsah to a playgroup (run by sisters), and took all kids yesterday as it was Easter hols. They painted some plaster paris vehicles which will be inshaAllah turned into fridge magnets next week (by which time the paint should have dried, it was rather copiously applied).
Have walked quite a lot this week and I have become quite exhausted, I AM UNFIT!!. Oh yeh I am so tired as H has been getting his false croup in the early hours, waking me and once Hafsah, plus the early sunrise wakes me up and I can't seem to get back to sleep. Doesn't help having DH busying away in Vietnam, but it keeps things afloat, financially (she says trying to look on the bright side).
Looks like my diary is obsolete, managed to get a bit written, alhamdulillah.