Saturday, June 28, 2008

We love whiteboards

I felt really demotivated to do anything today, but just lying in bed seemed to make me feel mentally worse, just thinking about negative stuff (appeal etc), feeling so big. Yesterday’s midwife check did in fact show that my size has suddenly zipped up on the graph, but like everything else is ‘normal’, which I should be grateful for. So my hunger and generally feeling like a whale out of water is not unfounded.
So anyway with Allah’s help I got up to have a cup of Roobibos and just got on with the ‘work’ I’ve started up with S and M this holiday. I’ve been procrastinating stuff like this, excuses such as waiting for permission to home ed, waiting to feel physically 100% etc have been whispered in my ear. So we’ve started going through Al Fatihah, making a mini book, which I hope we can incorporate later with something about Salat later on. I know the boys do see the prayer often as a chore, and not knowing what they are saying must contribute to this. So I’m hoping that this activity is including work on: Arabic reading, writing, tajweed, Arabic vocab, English vocab, English spelling/writing, and a bit of art/ craft. It’s certainly making me learn stuff..

H had his 6 year old friend over from daycare the other day, some socialisation (!). Well the boys learnt a new social skill from said friend, how to make a fart sound with your armpit!? The fact that it has to be slightly wet under the arm to work actually meant they were more than willing to take a shower. This is quite unusual as usually it takes a lot of persuasion to get them in, esp the hair washing bit. If I didn’t force them to take a bath I expect it wouldn’t happen until their mates started commenting on the smell.
In fact I worked out a simple way to reduce water in eyes during hair washing. Basically gravity is used by getting child to look up to the ceiling. You have to be quite quick though I think to avoid a stiff neck!

And Biryani was so pleased with herself mashaAllah at having completed all these puzzles herself

'I did it mama I did it!'

Now must go and make something to eat, just a small portion for me (I'll try)...

Friday, June 27, 2008

It is possible in Sweden

as shown by this video clip/ article. It's obviously in Swedish, but you can see the happiness in the family member's faces, especially the children and almost idyllic setting..

The girl having not had any 'social träning' is more than confident to answer the interviewer's questions..

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today's update

the last post was written last night, but I was too tired to upload it last night.
I found the membership cards actually quite easily.
Anyhow the main update is that I received the written decision about the home ed application, and have 3 weeks to appeal. In fact I think it's 3 weeks from the meeting date so have less time to get it in. I thought I'd have the whole summer to do this, but now with baby delivery looking ominous I've just got to get on with it. The written letter also put that they think it will be hard for me to provide the same opportunities and knowledge that they can get in school. When did he mention this in the meeting?!
If anyone has some up to date evidence about social skills development in children who are home educated versus school (obviously positive for home ed) then please paste the link, so I can have more evidence to back me up inshAllah.

blogger is acting strange or is it me?

It wants to underline all my text I've pasted next to my pictures, so decided to do pics on previous post
I’m hungry all the time, so have just tried to satisfy the need for food with a banana, instead of some chocolate. However Biryani decided she wanted half of it, so who am I to refuse. Chocolate seems extra appealing right now, but I’m highly aware of this ever expanding bump which I do not want to overfeed, and end up having to push out a 10 pounder.
I saw this article on Sky news and asked Suhayb if he could name any illegal drugs; he said ‘Beer’ LOL.
After too much time on the Xbox, I dragged them out to the library, despite the ominous looking clouds. I was motivated to go as soon a s I could by the fact I’d finally found the library ladybird book that has been lost for ages (The Billy Goats Gruff) and had to give it in asap to avoid a fine of about £13. The kind librarian explained the receipt I got when I handed it in that my fine was now 0 kronor. I think he was a student earning some extra money, some of the others may have given me a stern look, if not a lecture about bringing books back on time. Not that I don’t deserve it, but this book was genuinely lost, and has made me go through nearly every cubbyhole and box in the house. It’s amazing how many places there are to lose stuff in in such a small flat. I need something to get me to sort through and throw out stuff, so losing an item isn’t all bad. Now I have to find the housing association membership cards so the kids can get a discount at the funfair in a couple of weeks. I might just phone up and order some new ones but I can imagine there’ll be a charge. My mum always used to blame the ‘Borrowers’, I blame my disorganisation.
S wasn’t interested in taking out books, whilst the younger ones, esp H, gathered mountains of them. I found a few that could possibly interest S, of which only the factual were deemed worthy of taking out. M was motivated by the annual summer holiday thing of reading and writing 5 book reviews and then you get a free book as a prize. I can’t stop thinking as to whether it’s too much screens that has put them off reading, or if this was just going to happen anyway. In fact S has been making an effort to do other things this holidays, I think to show he’s not addicted (!) and persuade his Dad to let him buy a PSP.
The good bit about getting them out of the house is it gives some fresh air, exercise, and more of a chance to talk. M asked me if a man can have 2 wives in Sweden. I said it’s not officially allowed here. Then he asked about England. Then he went on to say it would be good to have 2 Daddies as they could help me more. I’m not sure where he got this idea from, but I assured him it would actually mean more work for me rather than a help;)
Biryani and H have been playing pretend cats and dogs while I type, with Biryani making some v cute noises as a cat and wanting to be led around the house wither comfort blanket used as a lead.
And now she’s been as frustrated with me as me wither. Firstly she was looking around sying ‘Where’s brush?’ repeatedly. There were 2 hairbrushes lying around and it was the situation where you point and look to wher something is but hte other person just can’t see the wood for the trees. But in fact she had seen them, and it was her toothbrush she was looking for. Now she wanted to have some yoghurts, but was v upset as I had separated 2 of them and she wanted them together. When I presented her with some other, unseparated ones they were hastily hurled onto the floor. It’s the ‘No!’ to everything age, however much they really want it. We don’t do compliance...

2 Verses I read yesterday that struck a chord with me.
2: 268 ‘Shaitan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahssha (sins) whereas Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.’
2:263 Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich and he is Most-Forbearing.’
The latter being particularly relevant just now, as the poor kids have been getting a bit too much sharpness from me lately, not helped by tiredness and general tension.
Anyhow, hospital bags pretty much packed, car seat sorted out and baby clothes in drawers ready. All that’s needed now is sabr and DH to come back inshAllah...
Too much of this...Do I detect dragging of feet (trip to library) and lots of books to peruse and inshAllah not lose.

S asked me to post these photos below, they are of a game he made, which he was proud of , and 'does not need batteries'

we had to buy some ice lollies (after a great deal of persuasion)as he needed more sticks ..

Sunday, June 22, 2008


for DH to return, and baby to come safely into the world inshAllah. Meanwhile I have had a bit of a head cold with that burning behind the eyes feeling you get if looking at the internet too long (but I don't think that's it as it's the same whether I use the computer or not!)
We went out to the park after supper last night, Maghrib isn't n until almost 10 pm so plenty of time. I had a nice photo of all the kids playinng, but can't locate the pixelator thingy on this new computer and so you'll have to look at these seagulls which inhabit our area, and appear to never sleep. Although we are near the sea it dosn't feel like it, no smell of salt water etc. But at 3 am when they're squawking away it's hard to forget.

Not sure wha these flowers are but pretty , mashAllah.
And today , despite the headache I baked this 'sockerkaka' for the first time with my new cake mould. Alhamdulillah it turned out OK and is proper comfort food. Despite the high proportion of sugar in it, it wasn't so sweet. Normally I bake when I have old fruit to use up, I'm like that, will only be inspired by ingredients that need using up, rather than going out and buying things for a recipe from scratch. DH says it stems from my student days. Is it something in me preparing for harder times? I do think we are so fortunate and take our lifestyles for granted. I watched the video on Kate's blog on the story of stuff. Wondering round the supermarket today as we had run out of a few things, and the huge trolley seeming empty. I could easily have filled it with stuff I don't really need,and the way our culture is its hard to resist, but I did. Yesterday I was clearing out a drawer (to try and make space for another little bod's clothes) and found some odd socks to throw a way. I already have a old sock to stick on my mop handles to get the cobwebs, so was going to bin them. Then I played around and in a minute or so made a little swadddled baby for Biryani to play with. It needs a lot of imagination but she actually has taken to it becoming quite protective of it. Actually it looks a bit like a worm in a ccoon. So any more ideas of what to do with odd socks?!
Managed to find my camera before cake was completely devoured.....

No it's not an amputated foot, it's a baby?!?!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


'Chill out Mum, I'm only just 2 (who'd have a speech therapist for a mother?!)'
These spongy shapes kept Biryani amused for a while. She knows that shapes are called 'circle, square,' etc ,numbers are 'four, five', letters' a,b, z' etc and colours 'yellow, pink'etc. Now whether she picks precisiely the right label for the concept is another matter. She usually plays it safe and calls any shape 'circle-square'.
So as I type a quasi-fight is going on between 2 younger boys, but is more disturbing as the sponges are being squeezed out and all manner of rude words are coming out in English (mainly with a Swedish accent), Swedish and Arabic. Meanwhile Biryani is happily repeating surah al-fatihah and counting up to 15 as she colours M's Bamse (a swedish cartoon bear) colouring book. A sponge will absorb whatever it's placed upon, not only pure water..
I have been doing final preparations for baby, Biryani has been transferred to the boy's room, and she actually slept in there without a fuss, and I think I slept better for it too. I've been having difficulty sleeping so well recently, particularly after praying Fajr, what with baby wriggling, ongoing stress, and hunger (I had a first breakfast at 4.30 am the other day, sun well up by then, so didn't feel so strange)

Monday, June 16, 2008

and the answer is...


:( they have refused on grounds that they cannot get the 'social träning' through home education. I really did not expect that to be their argument to say no. The decision had been delegated to the Utbildningschef, he had called me for a meeting to tell me in person before he sends it to me in writing. I asked if there was anything I could say to change his mind: no.
I questioned how all the kids in the UK and US who are home educated manage to develop socially , he replied something along the lines that as Sweden is different having 'skolplikten' , that although parents are v important in terms of their kids education, 'social träning' is what the schools are responsible for. I questioned how did the other children in Sweden get permission to be home educated. He concluded they must have had to appeal. Basically its his own opinion based on no evidence. I asked how would you measure 'social träning' and he admitted there was no precise way. No offence but who as a population are more socially at ease, Scandinavians or Americans?
This was where I had to hold my tongue and not say something along the lines that I will provide an equivalent to school social training, by making them sit in silence to do their work for at least 30 minutes at a time and then take them outside and teach them at least 3 newswear words every day, with or without correct explanation of their meanings. Then I will tease them for even trying to obey any rules we may have. Do I sound a tad angry, well now I suppose I have to go through the appeals process. I feel I have had my fair share of bureaucracy for one year ...
If they'd said it was due to my lack of Swedish ability I would've understood a bit better. In a way their arument for socialisation might be easier to contest in the appeals process ?!

So right now S is sleeping over at a friends' house, yesterday we were at the mosque with another 15 or so kids of various ages, having a whale of a time playing in the grounds. H and M are requesting to have friends over/ go to their house which I shall try to fufil. Do all children in Sweden lose some social skills in the long summer holidays?
Of course to be completely precise I will never be able to give exactly the same social experience as a school but this doesn't mean it can't be an equitable, if not superior. He seemed to think children can only get the social training to be grow up to be 'good people' through school. Maybe many Swedes do find it hard to make friends outside the school system, and that's why you often get strange looks when you try to start up a conversation with a stranger (or even your neighbour) here. They didn't like the idea that I am selecting which social circles they are mixing in, and they are not getting a random enough choice. So how many kids from our area are allowed by their parents to mix with those in the immigrant areas??

Friday, June 13, 2008

On the baby front...

nothing happening except lots of Braxton Hicks, and me now looking more curiously than usual, if not somewhat anxiously at the moon. All the boys were born during the last quarter and Biryani during the first. I read it's a bit of a myth it having anything to do with labour onset, although more false satrts to labours occur during the full moon. It does fascinate me how the moon has an effect on the tides. They do actually write down the full moon on the calendar they have in the maternity ward where they also mark how many girls and boys have been born that day. And Allah know best..

Also names, we really haven't thought of anything (that we can agree on) and as it gets to the fifth it does get harder. Any ideas?! I'm re reading a seerah book trying to get some inspiration as I feel having a good history behind a name is important.
Plus I'm rereading my Ina May Gaskin birth book, I don't think one can ever feel completely prepared for this amazing time in life. In fact though I'm much more apprehensive about the upcoming meeting than getting this baby in to the world!

Just found Windows Vista lets me publish straight from a Word document

I'm finding it hard to concentrate on much at the moment as I have finally been invited for a meeting with the 'Administration boss' about the home ed application. It's scheduled for Monday, so I have a few days to gather myself and read through all my paperwork again.

Today was the last day of the school year, where they have a very short day (1 and a half hours), basically present giving and awards and singing some songs about summer. So usually we don't attend as driving there and back hardly seems worth it. However M was v keen, but poor boy missed out on being the 'student of year' in his class. I think he had his hopes up, but he took it very well anyway! It's funny what children appreciate, they get a few moments of recognition and a hand-made small certificate. Also the child picked to read off the date, weather etc for that day gets to keep the torn off piece of paper having the previous day's date on. I noticed he was still grasping it tightly in his hand as we went out of the classroom as if it was a precious artefact, aww.. I do remember one day when M agreed to go to school with less of a fuss as it was his turn to do the calendar.

Biryani is student of the year at our place I think. She was still awake as I was drifting off to sleep the other night and Iwoke to hear her trying to recite the Darud which is ion the salat cd I finally found recently. I've been having it on in the car as the boys were still not 100% on everything. Now she's also v keen to repeat surah Al fatihah after me and she's now dropped off to sleep having tried to recite some of it to herself, mashAllah.

Here is a link to a website I have to further investigate, with books for older kids who have difficulty with reading, but do need age appropriate subject matter. It was recommended to me by my Mum as I may have to use something like this with M as reading is not coming on so fast ( I think mostly due to lack of regular practice). I was surprised that he is not into reading, as he's always been one to methodically flick through books, refusing to stop until he's looked at every page (tending to be at school run times).I suppose the computer is a likely culprit....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Baby still in, apparently feeding off my brain cells

The last week or so has been a bit hectic, and to be honest, tiring as having guests from the UK. The guests are not the problem but debating with the kids as to whether they could stay home in order to be with them (or to distract me from adult conversation) was. DH still away and advised me a bit too late that this shouldn’t have been even up for debate. But in the end it was decided by me not wanting to rush around to drop the kids off and have to pick them up from school. This was because the school bus had broken down on Tuesday, and kids didn’t get back till after 5 p.m. and school was’nt sure if they’d have a bus available all this week.
The weather has continued to be such that it seems a crime not to be out in it. I am actually looking out for some clouds in the sky, can you believe it after December’s continuous grey, but the heat is not comfortable now in my condition. Gosh re-reading this it is barely making sense to me, but this is the state of my brain right now.
All I want to think about is getting this baby out safely into the world, but there seems to be other things trying to take up mind space. Home Ed application, I should be chasing them up as haven’t heard back from them re meeting, but I have not been in the best of states to attend a meeting. DH is likely to still be away till near my due date, but then I’m wondering if anything will get sorted after the birth as most things shut down for the summer here (Alhamdulillah the midwifes do keep working although I think there are only the minimum of staff). I really would have liked everything sorted by now but I did leave it a bit late in the end.
So other main stress at the mo is how to deal with being like the mum to Kevin from Harry Enfield. The negativity gets me down and it appears sometimes ,as far as I can see, as imitated behaviour in the others. But Biryani is such a contrast. I start to get my hijab on and she bounds to the shoe rack saying ‘me come too!’
I was going to write something relatively coherent on private personal tuition amd how its seen as superior to parents doing it in the light of my need for home ed application but my moment of inspiration has gone, inshaAllah maybe it’ll return.
Oh Allah make my brain work and these sharp breath-taking Braxton hicks contractions ,and these all too frequent trips to the bathrooms,ease and give me sabr amin...