Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another explosion in the suburbs..

Today was a day at home for M as another musically-orientated trip had been organised.
It was amazing how easy it is with just one school-age child and Biryani just to attend to now and again. He managed to do his maths, Swedish reading and we used his pattern he made the other day to make a mini heart pillow with the sewing machine and some old pyjama material.
Would have some photos but the camera is still lost and I’m a little worried as MIL (and me a little) has tidied up quite a lot and haven’t come across it. There are a few ‘hotspots’ as Flylady would call them, namely around the microwave and my bedroom. The latter being full of duvets and pillows as the 2 elder ones want to sleep in my room nowadays. Or maybe Biryani has wondered off with it somewhere and left in one of the overfilled cupboards/ wardrobes?
Anyway back to the sewing, am not the best at this, I blame on my school days, where sewing projects took what seemed like forever, with a sewing teacher who had a funny thing about discipline and a wooden ruler. In my secondary school it took me a whole year to finish a simple skirt wheras my Mum whizzes one up in an afternoon. So my question is how do you sew up the hole where you have stuffed in the stuffing so it looks OK rather than my rather unkempt hand-sewing attempt?
Then I had to have a nap which has kind of stopped the flow of things and I hope we can do his Swedish spellings soon.
S also has English spellings to learn which I feel a bit more pressure for him to get a good mark in ( as the other kids this is their 3rd language).
Well we just had a nappy explosion (she managed to gorge 2 satsumas yesterday as I had given her one and then MIL had granted her another, not realising she’d just had one).. The blast has involved S’s jacket which Biryani was sporting at the time as she thought it far more fetching than her T shirt. Alhamdulillah I have the washing machine (which was actually emptied of clothes) and some hot radiators so the jacket should be restored by the morning inshaAllah. I wonder what people with kids do when they have to use the oft-fully-booked communal machines and they’ve had a situation like this. Hand wash I suppose, or maybe they’re the ones that nick my turn that I’ve so diligently booked with my little ‘plopp’ key?

Friday, January 25, 2008

OK, I’ve just taken: paracetemol, iron tabs, folic acid tabs, and my nasal spray and hoping it clears the fog that is my brain right now. I don’t understand while I feel this way as I managed to grab over an hour’s nap this afternoon (maybe it was not the soundest of sleep as had recurring dream of trying to find a clean toilet, but all I could find were ones reminding me of school bogs).
M and H are happily occupying themselves with the alphabet biscuits I ummed and erred over buying yesterday. Alhamdulillah it wasn’t a waste of money as they are actually trying to make word with them rather than just scoffing them. M is teaching H and I find that the most satisfying thing as both are learning a lot without me doing anything (i.e. they want to learn)
H was actually able to sound out and spell a few simple words this morning as we were on google talk with his Dad. He (H) was finding the last letters a bit tricky, which I recall rightly from my training are often slightly unvoiced, so I assume have potential to be confusion, .e.g. dog, the 'g' is more like a 'k'.
Biryani is now fiddling with the phone as opposed to the monitor, and is dancing to the engaged type tone she’s getting for dialling an unknown number. Reminds me of M, who used to ‘sing’ the microwave signal (the beeps it makes when it’s finished).
Biryani’s vocab ever expanding. Star wars, being the main subject in the house, means she says words like ‘Dee two’ (R2D2)
‘Bacca’ Chewbacca
and ‘ky-walker’ Luke Skywalker.

She also calls her brothers: ‘Ayb’ (unfortunately means something not so good in Arabic), ‘Ahmond’ (like a northern ‘almond’)
and ‘naam’.
It sometimes feels like I have another little mum in the house as she calls out ‘Boys!’ often when I’m trying to beckon them to eat their supper.
M was v proud today as he was awarded ’veckans elev’ this week’s best student. And that was after this morning’s palaver over getting to school late as the week’s student wanted to take his time getting dressed. Well I assume the teacher blames the parents for latecomers, but however early I get up it doesn’t seem to make much difference when we arrive. Maybe making the clocks fast is necessary, it did help before, now the batteries in the clock are losing power we’re back to running a few minutes behind Swedish time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guilt city

Yesterday I finally made it to taking H to his ’gympa’ (gymnastics) session organised by nursery. He hadn’t been attending before, as he wasn’t so keen, and also the nursery were being stubborn about us having to meet at the nursery early in the morning. The hall they use for the session is actually in the school that I can practically see from my kitchen window so I thought it would be more sensible to meet them there. The special needs teacher and her supervisor seemed to think it was a useful session for H to attend, to help his Swedish comprehension, so pressed the nursery to be more flexible. However I doubt we’ll be attending again. I expected it to be forward rolls and jumping off things on to soft mats. However today was more the ‘musical movement type thing’ Biryani started screaming as loud Swedish children’s’ songs came on (including Pippi Longstocking) and I had to take her out. I was thinking to take H too but he looked quite happy running round with his hands on his ears! Well thankfully it didn’t go on too long and they did a running around ‘port starboard’ type game for the 2nd part. Although H did seem to willingly take part he came to me at the end with tearful eyes, and even the prospect of vegi sausages could not persuade him to go back to nursery with them. Anyhow to top it off many of the kids had the almost obligatory shower, absolutely no qualms running around starkers. There does seem to be a certain obsession with schools getting kids to shower after P.E. even if no sweat has been produced. Do they think we don’t teach personal hygiene at home? Or is it the lack of use of anti perspirants that make it necessary, I’m getting flippant here, but I can’t remember it being an issue at the schools I attended in the UK. I don’t think my primary school even had showers.
Teaching modesty is important for kids, although it’s been suggested to me (by a non Muslim of course) that maybe it could cause future hang-ups! When I read the Swedish news, so often it’s full of shocking stories, often involving kids. My kids are very reluctant to undress even for the doctor, when I was present, but I’d rather it be that way as I expect they’d scream blue murder if anyone else tried to get them to remove clothes.
H was typing a word document yesterday, with a great look of concentration in his eyes. O f course it was all gobbledy goop but once I showed him how to get the ‘=’ sign he made some sums, except they contained both letters and numbers! But I told him that when he gets bigger there will be sums like that. He also asked me why , if 4 plus 4 is 8 why 5 plus 5 is 10 and not 9 (he’s thinking 5 is only one more than 4?)
S and I had a bit of a row yesterday. He’s fed up with me not taking him anywhere as I’m ‘ill al the time’. This was one reason that I actually wasn’t in a hurry to have more kids as I do feel I’ve unable to give anything like 100% for a long time as either pregnant or breastfeeding since 2002. The other difficulty is that his best friend lives in a different town and we live a way from the school friends he might want to see as well. It is a fact I’ll have to accept, but finding interesting things to do gets harder with age. Biryani was fascinated by the water in her bath at around 6 months old. The wonder in her eyes made me think of how an adult might feel if they were suddenly in a bath full of flubber, or some other substance we’d never experienced. H is still highly entertained by just pottering in the playground. M was v excited last night about the prospect of making a weekly menu chart. But as we experience more it takes more to get us enthusiastic, I suppose that’s what drives us humans to discover more and more about the world Allah has benefited us with, and to make progress. It’s summoning up the energy to do activities that stretch and inspire a 9 year old’s imagination that’s difficult right now, esp without a dad to participate.
The worst bit was H was hiding in his bed and came to me, tearful again, saying in a croaky voice ‘I can’t speak’ I asked why, and it turned out my raised voice had scared him. I suppose it’s good in that it shows that I don’t do it too often so it was a shock for him, but those big brown watery eyes are the biggest guilt-inducers.
I had the first ultrasound scan yesterday too. I was hoping for a nice, kindly midwife, but as I heard my surname being called, no effort made to say my first name although it’s a common Swedish name, I realised I’d got the stern one. Another expectant Mum was called at the same time and was called by her whole name. I thought, well maybe this one is better technically at her job. I think I’d actually had her for a previous pregnancy scan. Once she realised I speak English she warmed up a little. So many countries in the world have this inferiority complex about their own language as if English is so ‘cool’. Nowadays I try to speak Swedish in order to practice but it gets so frustrating when they insist on speaking English with me and it limits my progress. There are times when I am grateful for others to be able to speak my language, e.g. when having to ring emergency services in a panic, my Swedish doesn’t come out so well then.
The other mother to be came out at the same time, with, I noticed, a 3-d picture as well as 2-d one, huh!
Anyway, Alhamdulilah everything’s ok and there’s only 1 in there as far as the midwife could tell. On the way back we happened to have run out of some vegetables. I was carrying them home I realised that the weight of them was 4kg, approximately what us pregnant ladies have to carry round in the last month or so. Wow, we have great stomach muscles, us mums, even if they don’t look like it!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Three of us not at our best..

I have finally got round to posting about the egg and chips game with H (and M). I did take some photos but the camera has disappeared in the mess somewhere. Anyhow they were much the same as on UmmRashid’s blog. At first H carefully arranged the eggs and chips, as if he was giving them out for supper (i.e. more chips than eggs), although each with 6 items. Then I reminded him of them each having to be different. For a minute or so he seemed baffled, but then it was just like seeing the light bulb above the head in cartoons, he realised what to do. He did just copy out the plates for his recording and thought just lines were a good way of showing chips (which certainly was).
Apart from that I have been mostly ferrying kids hither and thither and sleeping in between. I’m feeling like baby is having a growth spurt. I feel full v quickly when eating my meals, I suppose the room inside is reducing.
Spent most of Tuesday trying to find out why M’s leg had suddenly seized up and he couldn’t straighten it and thus could not walk. Poor boy, he was hopping everywhere. 3 departments later and no conclusion. Now he’s almost better, alhamdulillah so I guess it was just some sort of muscle spasm.
S’s been off 2 days with a stomach ache which seems to exist during school hours.
As well as the baby growing I think my exhaustion now is due to the early starts every morning for the school run. I’ve managed not to moan about it so far, but here it is. Yesterday I was looking in the bathroom mirror at my tired face and thinking if anything this is one reason to home educate. Even if we got up around the same time, the lack of pressure to be somewhere at a certain time and drive the car through the traffic (admittedly v calm compared to the UK) would not tire me out so much I think. People might say, 'But you have to learn to get somewhere on time, early in the morning when you get a job'. Well I did that for quite a while when I was working as well as in my school years and it’s still hard. When you have to do it , you do it, If your plane leaves at 6 am invariably you’ll make it. But until the sun gets up before 7 am I’m going to feel crud getting up in the dark.
And for what? The amount of work I’ve been given for them to complete when they've been off sick has only taken them about 15 minutes to complete. What do they do the rest of the time? Learn how to queue in an orderly line and how to put other people down maybe. S was called ‘Harry Potter’ on the bus last week. Not a particularly insulting comment, but S didn’t like it. It was apparently because he has dark hair and pale skin?? (he doesn’t wear glasses). Anyhow, I’ve been given official permission to keep M at home one morning next month when the class is going on a trip to the dance theatre which I thought was inappropriate.

Friday, January 11, 2008

and guess what H just said

'I wish the house could be more clean so we could find things'

Never a truer word said,I was contemplating tackling the bathroom today, but that went out the window,as my body's been shouting 'Lie down and sleeeep'

Managed to write a fair bit, despite having done v little (apart from lying in bed)

Have been on and off the paracetemol for a semi permanent headache, but alhamdulillah it’s not been flu, it’s been v commonplace recently.
Biryanis chattering away and sometimes using 2 words together. She was lying in bed the other night, gone 11pm, saying Mummy, Daddy to herself for a good ten minutes or so. I was puzzled as she either refers to me as Mama or Mimi, and her Dad is called Ba or Baba. Her grandmother who is staying wit us is called Dadi, from the Punjabi. So I thought, now she thinks her parents are me and her grandmother, her Dads been away that long. But the next day I remembered, she was just regurgitating a phrase from a Dora DVD, huh, not thinking about me at sleep time, but the bane of my life, Dora the Explorer.
Biryani also tries to count but manages to remember up to two, so it goes, one, two, two, two, two, a bit like in the Little Wombat story. M used to count by pointing at things and saying 2 2 2. But their minds are so absorbent, mashaAllah, I just told her the name of a circle, and a few minutes later she found the shape again and told me its name.
I watched the Make your child brilliant programme on Channel 5. I was a bit disappointed, but made me think of trying the kinaesthetic stuff more with S. He hates, well let’s say has a touch of enthusiasm once in a while, spelling, writing etc I can tell he just wants to get it over with asap, and the spelling does come unstuck if you go too fast. Also getting them to think things through more when writing stories is something he needs. If he writes a sentence I’m pleased. Lately it’s been speech bubbles for his cartoons, but it’s kind of limited. Now Biryani is imitating me saying Stop it! As she turn ff the monitor repeatedly, gotta go.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ice, and treasure..

Kids have been spending most of these chilly, grey days ’treasure hunting’ and re-constructing their Lego star wars mini figures. The parts have been hidden in various toy boxes and this morning there were oohs as I decided to check what was lurking under our sofa cushions. ‘Hold our breath, we’re going in…’
Missing arms and heads were quickly whisked away I was tempted to get the hoover out and remove all the remaining dust/ biscuit crumbs etc, but no, in my condition, the cushions were hastily replaced. None of my guests would ever check under there would they?! Last night I did start the mammoth task of trying to sort the ‘sets’ of toys back from the random combinations that occupy most of the plastic toy boxes we have. Yes, there is certain element of imagination and spontaneity in making up a game involving a plastic ring and a teddy bear. But being able to play the bingo game, for example, does require all the parts to avoid disappointment.
I had to go out today as had run out of milk. Nearly toppled over on the black ice. V surprised as normally Sweden v good at preparing for winter, In fact a homeowner is actually liable if someone falls over and breaks their neck on the pavement outside their house! The man with his mini tractor has just made an appearance and so should be a bit safer tomorrow. It was weird today in that it was minus something but raining, shouldn’t it be snow then?
On a different tack, it’s always been like this but have been particularly noticing it since Biryani has started saying small phrases, e.g. ‘Are you?’ for ‘Where are you?’
What I’m talking about is the inability to do anything without interruption if it takes more than a few minutes. So if I need the toilet, one of the two smaller ones will be pounding on the door, or saying the above phrase.
Trying to complete my daily aim of reading 3 pages of Quran went down to 3 verses yesterday. I know I should get up early and do such things (the latter) when I can concentrate but the hormones mean sleep is usually overwhelming.
But hey, this is life with children and these small irritations are easy to bear when you think of the joy they bring the majority of the time. Gosh that was a bit positive, alhamdulillah.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I've got bad at thinking of titles nowadays...

Lots of raised voices and arguments seem to be happening nowadays. Had friends over and had to try to control myself from chastising them too much in front of others. Muslim children, I idealise: respectful, obedient and rushing to find the prayer mat. Maybe I should get real and realise the child side is still dominant and that complete submission (to Allah) comes with age and guidance. How best to guide is where I'm stumbling..
Didn't bother trying to sleep to near on 1 a.m due to usual fireworks. As I was feeding Biryani to sleep I was wondering if I'd have a slightly smaller one to attend to this time next year, if I'd still be alive. These thoughts continued whilst I was in the bathroom and then remembering we should first be hoping that we can live till the morning. Then I noticed something.. see 10 months blog. That shook me a bit. I know we don't celebrate these New Year things etc, but living amongst it, it makes me realise how time passes over the course of 365 days, and that appreciating this time given is so necessary.