Thursday, July 31, 2008

Naps and reading

I haven't been very good at falling asleep for a nap recently, as much as I try, but then trying to sleep often brings about the opposite effect. In fact I probably do go into a stage of sleep for a few minutes that I read about once, where you think you haven't been asleep, but when a baby cries/ child beckons you realise you were actually sleeping as you suddenly awaken. Anyhow this thing about 'sleep when your baby sleeps' is really only applicable to your first child, and then if you are good at power napping/ short cat napping. So anyhow the result was that yesterday evening I was pretty tired Alhamdulillah, and it was the first day DH had been away since the baby was born. DH has been taking charge in the main for getting the older ones to bed, and staying up with Biryani (who ends up having a late nap which powers her up till midnight and beyond). They were reluctant to get ready for bed but I certainly wasn't in the mood for mucking about. Eventually I think nearly all teeth had been brushed and maghrib prayed. M decided he wanted to stay up for Isha. As it was only about 20 mins away I agreed, and then we all sat down on the sofa and had actually a really fun and quite interesting time. M read most of a Swedish library book he'd chosen to do a review on. Then H wanted to continue with his Peter and Jane book. In between Biryani tried to elicit some story telling from me, and then I challenged M to read some of a harder Peter and Jane book. The fun part was that M (who has always been a bit of a clown) decided to read it in a funny voice (something akin to an Irish accent) and change, not always deliberately, some of the words. So for example, Jane became Janie, and also James Bond. It had me and H in fits anyhow. The interesting thing was I noticed M's reading in Swedish was more hesitant/ errors. He still has to sound out most of the words even if it's repeated in the next sentence. He also decoded a couple of the peculiar Swedish vowels incorrectly quite often. Whereas his reading in English was much more fluent and accurate than the last time I heard him read a book out loud (quite a few weeks ago). Maybe it was because he hadn't done any Swedish reading for a few weeks and also hasn't been speaking it for over a week. But it was around this age I think that S clicked with his English reading (as far as I recall, (I'll maybe check my archives) so I hope it's the same for M. M announced that reading English is easier than Swedish, when in fact it's much less phonetic. However his spoken/ comprehension ability must be better in English and must be making it easier by using the context of the text?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The weather is warm, the sea is inviting..

Hz is in his 4rd week now, and is definitely a boy, i.e. more demanding! This heat is not for him and is only happy if I am holding him, the car seat being to insulating I think. But mashAllah, it does feel that there is a difference between day and night, and I haven’t found myself pacing up and down at 2 a.m. (yet!) DH is back off to London for a few days so will have the big ones to think about more as DH has been keeping them busy recently. H has got a new bike without stabilisers which he has already mastered. He’s been practising the balancing aspect at nursery on these special little 2 wheeled bikes with no pedals they recently acquired.
H has also been asking (again at around 10.30 p.m.) to start reading books and chose (yes, chose!) a Peter and Jane ladybird book. After I had directed him from book 4 to book 1 (which he was relieved to find had only a few words per page) he started the book and tried really hard, and went through 1a and 1b. He needs a lot of guidance but I'll help him as much as he asks, as he is only almost 5. Biryani got hold of a book and has already picked up she needs to point at a word and say 'Peter' and 'Jane' mashAllah , v cute.
I also managed to locate the free ‘water activity’ centre which is by the sea fairly near home. So they first tried the extended boots and caught some shrimps and a few other bits of marine life. S now wants to get an aquarium, but I just can’t think where we could put it (lack of space plus younger ones would not be able to resist). Then yesterday they went back to be a little more adventurous and try snorkelling for the first time. They were able to borrow wet suits and masks etc and actually enjoyed it. S was interviewed by a local paper journalist while he was there and his besnorkled picture made it into today’s local paper!

Also they’ve been getting v enthusiastic about a money-making activity, which when I originally suggested, and had rejected as it was too ‘embarrassing’. But when they found it was so easy pickings they’ve now become local bottle recyclers. By the beach so many people leave their empty bottles, most of which give you about 20p deposit back. They’ve made quite a few kronor for only a few hours ‘work’ (cycling around the beach area) and hopefully done a little for the environment at the same time. People are just too well-off here that they can’t be bothered to take home their rubbish. That’s probably why they’re actually increasing the amount of deposit you have to pay on each bottle soon in Sweden.

And to leave on what could be a sad note, we received the letter from the appeal court that our home ed application has been rejected by them as well. It was not a surprise. I only skim read the lengthy documents they sent me, but I noticed they were not happy I had given almost the same application for both children despite them being different ages (although I’d included the age-level appropriate goals for each of them).It just seems like they’re basically agreeing with the guy who made the original decision that I can’t provide an equivalent of school especially the social training *pulls out hair* But actually I’m calm about it because in fact S has told me a couple of times he’s actually prepared to return to school and that ‘I don’t need to argue with them any more’. M already changed his mind that he wants to go back to school at the beginning of the holidays. It was going to be a strange dilemma if they had given the permission and then the boys didn’t want to be home-educated (although after a couple of weeks back at school I expect their enthusiasm for institutionalisation will have waned). But I have been aware I must not be doing this for me, but for them to achieve the best in their education, for Allah’s sake. This must be what is best for us at this moment in time and must remember, nothing stays the same.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

was a bit ambitious today..

S had his friend over for a long weekend and they managed to get creative on
one of the days and build a lego theme park inspired by recent trips I think, plus we'd recently received the lego magazine which had a picture of a ferris wheel that some children had sent in)

Now the friend has gone home the 'I'm bored' came out so I dared to let the poster paints out the box, and also let S bake a cake. Altogether a bit much when you've got a 2 week old baby, but alhamdulillah, the house is intact (bar a slightly grey (after scrubbing) kitchen wall that Biryani decided to start painting black (reminded me of one of my sister's student housemates who decided to paint his walls black one day). The textured wallpaper has to go from the kitchen..

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some pics, from pre- baby and post...

I thought I'd lost this picture, I took a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful evening, which also revealed how we are lliving under a flight path, so when the weather's right there are many white/ pink edged streaks across the sky.

Some 'armour' we fashioned out of foil and cardboard, which needless to say did not perform it's intended function too well and H was not highly impressed. Shall have to think about this one more carefully. Anyhow the nieghbour downstairs will be glad I was not so successful as she was rather fed up with their gladiator re-enactment game and came and complained about the noise :( I was thinking it wasn't as noisy as some their other 'chasing' type games - yes , we need a house, or a ground floor flat...inshaAllah.

Now I've been meaning to take a picture of these beautiful hollihocks which adorn so many of the pavement edges around where we live. I finally managed to remember to take my camera with me on our 'get the labour going' stroll (this was obviously when contractions were about 8- 10 minutes apart....)

POST-BABY: need I say more..

and my 'should-be' sponsors:

and my new (I use this term loosely as I actually bought it when pregnant with Biryani, but it's been left in the cellar waiting for someone to install it ) work-top, and I am ever so grateful to DH for getting onto the phone and getting it sorted pretty quick for this baby, plus I have shelves, shelves rather than everything stuffed in a cardboard box. (It doesn't take much to please me..) I just need to get some matching storage boxes, but can't face IKEA right now..

and H's view of breakfast (rye flour pancakes), he just loves taking pictures
and the worksheet I mustered up for H which he wanted to do at 10.30 p.m. the night before but I just did not have the energy. So I did it the next morning (after he reminded me)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

and he's arrived!

alhamdulillah, baby #5 has arrived safe and sound, weighing about 9 lb and has also got 'H' as the first letter of his name, so will be using Hz as abbreviation (if he likes physics then so be it!)
He's beena reminder of how the boys were, in terms of using up nappies/ clothes etc Biryani was just a brief interlude from this, but I'm still loving it,and I think I'm over all the tearful bit (why am I crying, I am so happy ?!?).
the other kids are well chuffed, esp H, who wants to hold him so much. maybe he's glad to finally not be the youngest boy...
Posts likely to be short for a while for obvious reasons (although lots to write).

Monday, July 07, 2008

Things look to be kicking off now, let's see if I can write a quick post in less tha 10 minutes as this seems to be the space between contractions now. It's going to be strange if baby born tonight as he/she'll have the same birthday as me. Anyhow may be another false start, I mean I don't think I should be able to type a post during labour really?! I remember a midwife for my first baby told me I couldn't be in labour as I was smiling and laughing (little did she know!)
H has taken it upon himself to want to learn to read some more words today. Normally not much interest but he was proud of himself for sounding out and reading 'vet' in an 'abc' book, and so he wanted to continue with the magnetic fridge letters. I really don't want to dampen his enthusiasm, but if things progress I'll have to leave this for a few days!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Colours everywhere

The pleasant view I get from a bench near my flat. The housing association has bought some rather tasteful new garden furniture too. My camera couldn't qute capture the vibrancy of the left hand side purple flowers, but they are amazing mashAllah.

Some luscious looking green plants which I think will have white flowers soon, any plant experts out there know their name?

and a new activity to keep eager artists busy, 'sidewalk chalks' which are v popular here in Sweden. Yes you are allowed to draw on the pavement dear daughter (I'm assuming!?!) Normally all she hears from me is 'Draw on PAPER' as she is especially keen on drawing on the pictures in books. It must be confusing for her as she is handed colouring books with no ensuing reprimands.Horizon a bit wonky, I'm not so good at bending down nowadays (due to stomach), well that's my excuse anyway..
and the boys had a go too
It hasn't rained since Sunday (when we did this) so the pavement out the back is still colourfully displaying their work.

Have to go soon as DH's flight has landed and due to pick him up. Contractions have been coming now and again but have been staving them off with the thought that I still have to hand in my appeal and send a copy registered post too. I would have done it today but needs DH's signature. I don't want to risk it being made invalid without it (or pp ing it) and don't feel comfortable faking his. The hand in date could be Monday, although I rang to try and confirm, but the lady I needed to talk to was on holiday til Monday. Her colleague said it should be a bit later than that as I didn't actually receive the decision in writing till a week later than the meeting. However I don't want to give them any chance to reject the appeal. It would seem silly not to get permission just because I missed a deadline. So no proper contractions please until I've been to the Post Office in the morning. (I resisted going out today for a stroll even though beautiful weather as don't want to get things going) .