Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Found cable..

but then DH had to find the program to let me upload the photos to the computer, so I was going to have an early night but 'don't put off til tomorrow..' etc etc

So here are the tomato plants, mainly for my mum's benefit so she can feel happy her British tomatoes are way ahead..There are some on there, honest. Bought some organic food for them, smelt like Marmite, so may be cheaper just to use that? Then search on internet brought out conflicting views on healthiness of Yeast Extract. Apparently it's just like MSG?? And then that led to finding out about Sodium Laurel Sulphate (something like that?) in soaps, bubble baths. Oh ignorance can be bliss?

Plus the satellite dish is never far away so we can keep up with some UK tv, but takes up too much space.

Biryani, mashAllah, managing to water the plants. This is the 3rd attempt, the 1st went the wrong side of the pot, the second she overcompensated and the water went all over her clothes!

One of the kids took this of the ice hockey match, S always wants to be Finland!
Imaginary conversation between my son and Fox news reporter:
'Are you Muslim or are you Swedish?'
' Muslim and I might consider Suomi as long as they keep their nice shirt colours'

A glance on the usual state of my floors, Swedish dictionary cast aside,pants (hopefully clean) and chuppels (a pair, a rarity) found all over the shop(flip flops in English).

Planes kindly folded by DH, we used them to learn the 'n' sound with jolly phonics in the English lesson, then they decided they wanted me to be the target, lets move on to 'c' shall we?

Oh and we had a drama as whilst I was writing the homework in their books, they set off the microwave in the hall/kitchen of the room we borrow. The one of them came in shouting 'Eld eld' (Fire fire) I thought for a moment it was a joke as it was the same boys who enjoy a good imaginary (and real) police chase and now it was the fire brigades turn. But then I quickly thought to take them seriously and the microwave was on fire! I managed to put it out with a damp towel (remembering to remove the plug first, brain still functioning slightly). The following lesson the tap was turned on rapidly and a big knife found on the draining board, have to keep all 4 eyes on them, oh boys!!

S is sleeping over at his best friend's tonight, his first time away without me. I was shocked he wanted to as he'd said recently he wouldn't ever want to. DH thinks he's spurred on by M who stayed over at a friends last night. It was very peaceful and felt strange, in fact I missed him a lot and kept thinking how awful it would be if this was permanent, keep thinking what my child would be doing if he was here. Madeline McCann story influence I think. Where is she???

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pictures to follow inshaAllah

I can't find the wire, must have got lost in the great computer change-over.
Oh yes, did I mention rain, Alhamdulillah it’s continued here too but not as bad as in the UK. So wondering if tomato plants are getting enough warmth to increase and ripen the fruits? DH wonders at my fascination with my plants, but these are the first proper success I’ve had with gardening, be it on a balcony. Most plants I have had tend to shrivel and die (as I forget to water them) except of course the cacti. If you look back at March archives (as if u have time) you’ll see there has been a lot of growth, despite various acts of sabotage when they were used as a punch-bag during strops. Maybe because actually it was S who planted them and it was my neighbours who had cared for them while I was away when the first flowers appeared, that they’re a success, no, of course all life comes from Allah swt and all praise is due to Him. DH thinks these will be very expensive tomatoes, if and when they finally reach the plate. So far we’re looking at about £1.50 each but it’s early days yet (cost of compost and big pot, rest of pots recycled from plastic section of recycling room, water, not metered so already paid for) and if I repeat this in years to come of course the costs go down. Anyway, it’s not to save money, it’s the satisfaction, the good feeling of tending something small to something bearing fruit (hey this is a metaphor I’ve heard before). Oh and so I have an excuse to escape the war disaster zone otherwise known as my flat. Haven’t got an allotment (yet) but could be good….
I have ‘taught’ 3 English lessons so far, and have come across the usual playing-up-cos -my mums-the-teacher-situation. Any suggestions? Problem is M is a bit ahead of the others and wants to say all the answers etc. Anyhow it’s getting me a bit focussed on the reading and cursive writing..
They’ve been playing with the ice hockey table, going to the park on the one sunny day to find they were cleaning out the man-made moat they can normally swim in. Did I forget to mention saying ‘I’m bored’ on numerous occasions?
Me and a sister came to the conclusion that to be realistic, any form of serious cleaning, tidying up can only be achieved after the holidays are over, but what if I was home-educating, how is sanity preserved? By a trip of lil’uns to Pakistan I expect but still this has yet to be organised.
DH is now officially off on ‘Parental leave’ at 80-odd% pay (can’t quite remember but it’s enough to get by on). One black-out blind has been installed in boy’s room so they don’t wake up with the birds (well actually S should be for Fajr but that’s another story), Biryani’s awaits, owing to the cloudy weather the light going through the normal blinds is not so much as usual so I’m not nagging (yet). One new bicycle has been purchased today awaiting construction as DH decided S must learn to ride a bike, a rite of passage I spose. Have put it off as it’s been hard for me to teach them myself with the other kids around, DH away. One time when S was about 5, I did take him out, I was heavily pregnant and he just cycled off into the distanced and I literally could not run after him.
Now they’ve rung me up to say they’re sitting in a long queue for a free car-wash promotion, now let’s see if a bike is cycled today (I do hope so). Oh a clap of thunder, maybe they don’t need a car wash after all!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Busy with friends and neighbours (well wouldn't call the latter a friend)

Never seeming to get a chance to go on the computer, it's taken up by someone else, or else I'm too tired and have to make sure I get my head down. Well so much for all this talk of blog safety, the thing that happened the other day could have happend even if I had no computer at all. I got someone ringing my doorbell asking to come in, claiming to be a relative. It was a Danish lady who I think lives nearby, but I think she may have forgotten to take her medication. I thought it may be the Jehovah's witnesses again as they always seem to pick me out, but then i thought twice about going down to get them off my back and just switched the ringer off. Then someone else must have let her into the building and she knocked at my door. As I have a peephole I could see she was sporting merely a towel and she had cuts on her body. Alhamdulillah a sister was visiting who speaks both Swedish and Danish and she phoned the police and kept her calm by talking through the letter box. This went on for 2 hours!! I talked a little to her in English as she understood, but she couldn't remember anything apparently, neither her surname nor address. She's had a Muslim(?) partner and turned out to know a little about islam. When the police finally arrived, it must have been a sight for the tall, fair-haired officer who we opened the door to, one niqabi and one hijabi with 7 kids standing in semi-fear at the doorway! (DH was away so don't know how I'd have handled it alone) The boys were certainly impressed by the policeman's gun and radio. It was funny to see the kids' faces when I told them I was really phoning the police to come, after they regularly play make believe games involving cops and robbers. Finally the officersgot her to come with them to the hospital.
Back to the more humdrum stuff, have revisited sleep 'training' with Biryani once DH had gone to Cameroon. All the books recommend you have a helping hand when doing this, but I find its one less thing to worry about that her crying wakes him as well as the neighbours, so best done when he's tucked up in some nice hotel king-size well out of earshot. In fact it didn't really take much to get back on track, just an earlier bedtime, and me not sleeping next to the cot and waking with every mumble she makes. It does seem to go against instincts, and I'm all for bedsharing when you're feeding all night, but at 14 months she really shouldn't need a drink every 3 hours and she tended to scoot around the bed, finally resting at right angles to me, leaving me perched on the edge getting a sore neck. I suppose if you're living somewhere where snakes and insects are a real threat then I'd rather have them close at hand, but for my sanity I have to sleep away from the cot when I can.

I realised that the trip away must have been so tiring for the dear girl, grabbing naps during car journeys and having to sleep in many new places, hardly getting enough sleep for over a week. So that's why surprisingly to some, early bedtimes do help. They haven't got 'wired' yet so can sleep better.
Have progressed to having looked after 5 boys and one girl single handedly the other day ( and night!) Getting some idea of what a sister I've heard of with 5 boys has to cope with on a daily basis. So have had various combinations of kids friends staying over, which is also quite tiring, but the 'I'm bored' phrase has popped out and so I thought they deserve to have their friend's stay over. Most of the time it does actually keep them more occupied, although more kids does increase the probability of more arguments etc...
Activity wise, hmm well they made some homemade space-themed jigsaw puzzles by sticking their pictures on card and cutting them out. I still cannot remember the order of the planets despite the numerous times we cover this topic, space rocks do not do interest me however hard I try.
Today I took the first 'English' class with M and his 2 friends who inshaAllah are moving to the UK soon. Well M had suggested me doing this several months ago, but today due to the incorrect side of the bed being used maybe he didn't want to go. After dragging him there thinking he'd be fine once we started the activities, but no, disruption and tears, but did manage to get some stuff done with the other 2. Going through the jolly phonics sounds, using joined-up writing style (cursive? can't remember name in English ('skrivstil' if that means anything in Danska) Oh and M called centigrade, 'centigrees' yesterday, quite apt.
H, I'll try to put on the other selective mutism blog.
Biryani has taken a few steps, but still feels safer crawling.

Anyhow here's a summary, entitled 'My children's ideal career path'

S - still Lego builder
M - Blue Peter presenter, esp the craft section
H - milk quality control Officer
Biryani - Mt Everest guide (As we have no stairs, tables, worktops are all fair game)

Also one excellent book I'm reading, which I'd recommend to anyone having kids, 'How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk', Adele Faber
Everything in it is so sensible with lots of cartoons and practical examples. As always with US 'self-help' books they expect you to put pen to paper and note down your 'answers' but maybe I'll leave that fora second reading. It's useful for talking to anyone not just kids, and I got vague reminiscences of my 'listening skills' on the counselling course we had in the first year of my degree (19 year olds maybe a little naive for learning how to be counsellors methinks), we were just lying on the floor after having had very little sleep listening to the lecturer telling us to picture a scene wher we felt relaxed zzz.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I am back..

but had some sort of virus/ exhaustion from trip to UK combination that have been doing the bare essentials recently.

Here's some photos from the trip:

Dartford bridge, and substantial traffic, which in fact was relatively light compared to some parts of the motorway, that's what too long in Sweden does to you. Admittedly it was mostly moving but bumper to bumper gets me very worried. People do drive like that here sometimes but why,when ther's so much spaaaace? More grey clouds, weather rainy throughout trip, Alhamdulillah.

View over London from bridge. Went over 2 toll bridges during trip, but still felt cheap compared to Ă–resund bridge.

A glimpse of blue sky above the clouds courtesy of Easy-Jet, and what beautiful clouds, mashaAllah.

I think there might be some more interesting pics on DH's camera but whether they'll evr make it to the blog is another matter. Anyhow the trip was not for sightseeing but to visit friends and family, so of course for the sake of anonymity they won't be on here..

My Mum managed to help M to read some of the small books in her reading scheme, they climbed a Welsh mountain and nearly got blown off it (while I tucked up in bed for the afternoon). Biryani found a love for stairs, which meant someone was on constant baby-watch in houses without stair-gates. Saw babies and children all growing up fast, mashaAllah.

Had the biggest family room ever in one hotel, I mean to have floor space left after all of us must mean it was large.

As for today, have been trying to peel boys and their friend away from flickering screens to no avail. Weather still rainy, and even when I took them to the main library, they headed straight to the computers there. What about books, literature, the written word on paper?. I do think these machines should have restricted access in libraries but maybe I'm old-fashioned, maybe eveything will be on-line and bookcase manufacturers will be out of a job (I hope not). Still you're reading this on the screen...

Kids had a bit of a run-about in the park where there were some very hungry ducks, geese and mosquitos. (Yes I was in charge of 4 boys and a baby, the part-time single-mom)