Friday, May 30, 2008

Not much action around here, understandably

Today I’ve had a bit more energy Alhamdulillah, I think because I had the kids at home rather than having to rush around as usual to get them to school on time. M woke up around 6 a.m. with a bad stomach ache and wretching , so once he’d got over this, I switched off my alarm and was able to have a lie in (till 8.50 am or so), give or take a few awakenings by other kids. Needless to say M recovered enough to eat some cake, play on the computer and play about in the park
And now I just had to take a pause from typing as Biryani had found a carelessly left-out biro, and used it to decorate my filing cabinet. It’s one of the few newish pieces of ‘furniture’ in the house and it is now blending in nicely with the rest of the scuffed, stained items that occupy my flat. Having young kids means having to reject the material side of things. I’m thinking of replacing the covers on the sofa, but am wondering if it will be more stressful as it will most likely get marks etc on it within a few days. The walls could do with a lick of paint (especially below the 5ft level), but again this is being put off as we do intend to move house inshaAllah, and we’d just have to do it again before we put the flat on the market. I was thinking about the way children’s hospital walls sometimes have a durable/ wipable plastic panels, but I think it’d look a bit clinical!
Anyhow, I’m just feeling too big to do much, and pondering over whether the Swedish method of calculation (measurements from the ultrasound) or UK (last menstrual cycle) is more likely to be ‘accurate’. If its the latter I only have about 3 weeks left, otherwise its 5..
MIL inshaAllah is arriving on Tuesday as are 2 doctor friends from the UK, so DH told me to hold out till then at least (as if it’s in my control!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

After 5 years in Sweden..

finally made it to my first 'loppis' (flea market/ car boot sale). They are usually too early in the morning for us, but this was a special kids one, and it was free to sell things. Otherwise the amount we'd make wouldn't be worth the normal 100 kr or rent for a space.
There were many people there mashAllah and it was a beautiful day to be out, I was glad I packed lots of water.
H went off with the camera and took a photo of a nearby stall.

The lady next to us had obviously immaculately ironed her baby clothes/ sheets to sell, and I heard her refusing hard bargains put up by the punters. Me on the other hand just wanted to rid myself of stuff so it was 2 kronors a go,and so some people looked pretty pleased with their bargains.
S, on theother hand mashAllah spent time sorting his marbles, and typed out a price list. He was pessimistic about selling anything but in the end he was pleased with his results.

and here is H's view of the world again, his transformer which he now wants to sell, alongside one of their other (unfortunately) favourite items, the Sky remote control..

and Biryani showing her real useful skill of peeling garlic skin off garlic cloves. I used to use a method I once saw on a cookery program, of putting them in the microwave for a few secs, which loosens the skin. However 2 year old fingers seem much more efficient and the garlic is not half cooked before you even start.

But it really is classic 'terrible twos' nowadays. Tantrums as she wants to do her own car seat belt ('Biryani do it!') 'No like it, lucky (Yucky)' if I try to feed her anything somewhat nutritious.

and as for potty training, well for some unknown reason she's just not been making it to the potty on time these last few days, and so trails of pee to clear up are driving me nuts. I had even started taking her out to the park without a nappy on, but now we're seemingly back a few months. She hasn't sensed something with all the minuture baby clothes drying on radiators has she?

As for me, stomach feels like it's reached capacity already, and there's at least a month to go inshaAllah. DH has to be in London quite a bit as sorting out flat for new tenants, and MIL hasn't managed to get a flight yet. So feeling a bit strange, it's always like that that a few weeks before I'm expecting the delivery there is some sort stuff going on, meaning putting one's feet up while sipping raspberry leaf tea is but a faint dream..

Friday, May 23, 2008

Animals have fur, we have bundles of clothes...

Up to my eyeballs in kids' clothes at the moment as I have been venturing into our cupboard in the cellar. I haven't come across much newborn neutral stuff yet, so it looks like a trip to the shops is required. Many mums love this part, selecting items for their newborns, but I am not the shopping type, and just want to be in and out of the shop asap. If I was on maternity leave with no other kids to think about maybe this would be more appealing. I am a bit silly like that, I'd rather make some bread than pop out ot the shop to buy some if we've run out, and yesterday I was even contemplating sewing some PJ trousers for S as he's growing out of nearly all of them and somehow he seems too old for the usual themed typed ones that you usually finding the shops for kids. What am I thinking of woman, you are just over a month or so off having a baby inshAllah!? M will on the other hand happily sleep in his clothes ready for the next day whereas S has to haveproper PJs, a T shirt and shorts will not do!
The 'I'm bored!' thing is getting a bit much again and general negativity, it feels like teenagerdom is coming closer already. That's what I'm hoping, that it's an age-thing..
We went to an indoor play centre the other day as the school was having it's 'melodifestival' singing and dancing competition, in the gymn which is right next to the mosque!!?
I'd left Biryani at home with my husband as she was due for a nap around the time she would go and the facilities are relatively limited for her age group (I wasn't planning on crawling through plastic tunnels after her as she followed her brothers in hot pursuit, finding herself unable to get back down again). So for the first half hour or so I kept looking around to check where she was, and then realised bringing a good book next time (I guess I'll have to visit this place again unless I can delegate to DH) would a good idea. Trying to get M off the bouncy castle (as DH had heard of someone being kicked and having their neck broken on one) when some of other kids decided that pressing an inflatable astronaut on M's face would be fun. My instincual reflexes came in, as all I could see were his legs sticking out, and found myself screaming like a mad woman at the kids as I bounded over to rescue him, my big stomach almost left behind me. It's amazing what the human body can do when full of adrenalin. M was OK, a little shaken, with a small cut (from a bouncy castle?!) .
So back to the plastic bags and one more cupboard in the cellar to go.
Still no response to my most recent correspondence with authorities on Home ed by the way. Maybe they're consulting their legal department..

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some photos, esp of interest for any Lego fans..

Biryani spent a good half hour wanting to be like her big bro', M, colouring in a worksheet.

'When will they get me my own desk?'

Recently going out on my balcony to put washing on the line made much more pleasant by wafts of lilac from the trees below, mashAllah.

and here's the lego, S's own lego transformers:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

and this is one of the main stories in Metro today, a professor thinks the long Swedish summer holidays (10 weeks) should be cut in half. Why? Then parents wouldn't have to find childcare for such a long time (or blow me, look after them themselves), and they would be more productive at work as they would get back into the work routine more quickly, and they would pay more tax to the government coffers working more. Well the government isn't looking interested in taking up his idea (not an obvious vote-winner I feel), but kind of sums up the priorities that some people here are thinking about..

Sunny out there but a bit of a cloud hanging over my head...

I haven’t been posting for a while as seem to have been so busy, at least in my mind, as received a letter in reply to my home ed application. At first I thought it was just a standard receipt type letter, but then read more closely and it was basically waffling on about the benefits of all the Swedish school system’s plans, goals and values etc and asking me for further information. For example, how do we think we will get the time to teach our kids (automatically assuming both parents work full-time). And asking for more details of exactly what we would be doing. This was the hardest question to answer (in terms of saying what they want to hear), and I got advice from someone who’s managed to get permission already and is in the know re all the rules regulations. He just said basically that this will be shown in the outcome which will they will see during the inspections. Other friends thought I needed to put more specifics in terms of a plan. However I haven’t sat down and made a detailed plan as this seems premature having not yet received permission. I hope in the end I have put something which gives an impression of knowing what I’m doing. They also want to have a meeting with me and DH *gulp* . Altogether it just feels like I’ve been doing re-takes of exams and have a final interview to contend with as well, so finding it hard to completely switch off until I get the green (or red) light for this home ed business. Then I can really feel like putting time and effort into preparations inshaAllah.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A bit of pessimism, or is it realism?

I thought I should consider the options if our home education application is turned down.
So I found myself looking up the International schools in the area. I was thinking that maybe the committee who makes the decision about the home ed might try and suggest they should attend one of these if I am concerned about their English. (International usually meaning that English is the main language of instruction.) I was thinking (and hoping) that these schools would have no places anyway so I could reject that idea, but I called the one which has no fees, and they said I can apply and it depends on our situation as to who gets the places (we are prioritized as we have come from an English-speaking country). This school is slightly nearer but will still mean a car drive every morning. The other main one is a private school (a rarity in Sweden) with fees in the region of thousands of pounds, which rules that out.
The problems with the kids’ current school are as follows: apparently lack of stimulating lessons my kids need and hence a struggle to get them to school, questionable behaviour of many of the kids. S has no firm friends in his class, made harder by the fact out of 17 only 3 other boys.
A 20 minute drive, plus they get tired of travelling home on the school bus as they have to take another boy to the other side of town home first.
Positives, they have Arabic and Islamic studies (but I am starting to wonder if this is not making their approach to Islam as positive as could be i.e. they are v reluctant to go to these lessons.)
They have halal food, and the school ‘understands’ issues relating to the religion e.g. not changing in front of others in P:E.
M’s 2 best friends are in his class (although he can see them outside school, no problems)
It has actually S who’s been more reluctant to go to school of late (although he does not need physically dragging to get him to the car) and regularly declares the boringness (must be a better word, tedium?) of attending. School has an ‘Open Day’ the weekend after this, so I can see what it’s like in the class, but to be honest, as it’s on a Saturday (many kids will not attend)and because obviously the teachers are prepared for observation by the parents, I don’t know how typical it will be. Anyhow what can I do to address this issue?. I have already explained S’s main interests to his teacher, but they have a curriculum to follow and I don’t believe I’m in a position to dictate their teaching methods. (More hands-on practical stuff would help S I think), and ideas I’vepreviously given to M’s teacher haven’t been taken on board as far as I can see.
I feel like I’m waffling a bit, but it always helps to write things down. I’m hoping and praying, that InshAllah a clear path for their education will emerge.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Some fiddling about....

and I can now upload photos alhamdulillah,so here are some pics of life over the last couple of months, oft taken from a 4 year old's view of the world.

H's pics from nursery where they get the paints out more often than I have done recently (you may recall kitchen bomb-site which I am not in the mood for again). I shall have to summon up the courage to get the poster paints out again..

My nice new tablecloth which remained intact for a few days but now has the usual pen marks, holes from 'accidents' with scissors and rips from enraged sons. I did like the coordination of flower colour, balloon and yoghurt pots. Petit Filous shares should be going up in value as they are still the staple diet.

and also a source of foot painting...

Biryani studiously reading herself a bedtime story.

The various plants from our park, now chopped and ready to make the perfume, as mentioned on a previous post..

DH saw this and said 'Who's house is this?' , a moment of Lego/ Duplo tidiness..

My kingdom for a .. new toaster, this one's timer is completely shot, the wires warped so you get an uneven burn, and it's always done its thing of popping too much if it's only one piece, this time it didn't land on the floor.

A day out on 'Earth Day' to a 'fritidhem' afterschool club which we are also allowed to use for scouts. Not sure if driving the gas guzzler there was part of the spirit of things. Above are the special fires in which they cooked organic salmon, and it was v nice with that sauce that is spelt something like 'tzaktiiiii'
The rabbits which had some little horse jumps to hop over.

M trying out this special bike, which I was disappointed can only be rented by handicapped people. I thought maybe it'd be suitable even if wearing a long skirt..

H's pomenagranate plants are growing strong, mashAllah

S has to watch a kid's science programme in Swedish as part of his 'TV- homework' He had observed them showing how they made a typical Swedish, well delicacy is a bit complimentary, sweet, called 'cocos toppar' . So quite a bit of excitement whisking egg whites and melting chocolate, and they did turn out qute similar. Only down point was we only had digestives as the bottom layer, wheras they normally have wafers on the bottom.

Today is a public holiday so the boys have spent a lot of time playing transformer battles with their own invented lego versions. There have been disputes as noone wants to be the 'bad guys'.

Lunch was provided by M and S who decided they wanted to make a falafel reataurant (they'd been out for a meal with Dad yesterday after school). They did quite well mashAllah, organising the production line and a tiny bit of writing taking the orders. They wanted to charge for the products but when I hinted they'd have to pay me as the supplier of the ingredients they changed their minds. They did get a tip from their Dad though.