Monday, 28 July 2014

More Holiday!

Riding a fire engine

Our two and half weeks is almost over, but it has included a lot of local enjoyment in the lovely sunny and warm weather. We have visited Queen's Park in Loughborough and rode in a local bus that passed all the lovely villages in Charnwood, such as Swithland and Woodhouse Eaves. The park has an aviary with colourful parrots and the best playground I have ever seen in the area. It also has the local Charnwood museum we could visit for free. There was a carousel in the main square and an ice cream van at the park gate. A perfect short-distance summer visit.

In the Queen's Park

We also went to the City Farm and created an animal mask with some of Number One Friends. I and Number One Son revisited Abbey Park, since there is always things to see and do.

Gorse Hill City Farm

Number One Son also participated in an archaeological community dig in Anstey, but he was more interested in the tree house and the paddling pool in our friends' garden. However, he got really excited about troweling worms. Archaeologist Husband was giving a lecture on Medieval brick and tile elsewhere for a community group, but he managed to meet us afterwards in a newly opened family pub in the village. Splendid end to a splendid day!

Digging worms

Monday, 21 July 2014


Sometimes one does not have to go far away or do really special things on a holiday. When one is a Skype Mom, then it is more important just spend some time together and explore things that are nearby and enjoyable when sun is shining.

A peacock in Abbey Park - with added chicken

This summer's novelty for me and Number One Son is having a fishing net. Something we do not do in Finland, since we actually go fishing and eat the catch. There a fishing net is many metres long and a sign of serious dedication to fishing. Here it is actually something I thought was a butterfly net and used by small children. Anyway, paddling is fun!

Paddling in Bradgate Park

Sunday, 13 July 2014

End of the term

It is not only the end of the school term and school year but it is an end of an era. Number One Son is not in the reception class any more: he will start Class 1 at the end of August. He has now started to take scooter to school, kicking his way with increasing speed that raises the hair of me and Archaeologist Husband. He may not read or write, but spiritliftingly he is not unique. I heard in the NCT coffee group about another boy who did not do those things at the end of the reception class. He successfully managed to learn them during the first proper year. He and his brother do not like drawing either - a feature Number One Son shares with them. Running and climbing - yes. Drawing with pens - no. Clearly, not all develop with the same speed nor have same interests, but the education system had problems in acknowledging that. Do not get me even started about the opinions of the current Minister of Education who does have little understanding of the early development and its diversity.

One should probably consider changing the name of the blog, since Number One Son is not a toddler any more. However, "Two archaeologists and a schoolboy" does not have the same air in it. One could of course use the developmental age of Number One Son as a guide: if he is about three and a half or four, he could go as a toddler one more year.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

I blame Dora the Explorer!

It is a sad feeling when you have to drop bilingual upbringing when you realise that your child has a speech difficulty. Naturally one has to make sure that the child learns at least one language properly and pronounces it correctly. However, I was hoping that three or three and half years of Finnish would have left more of a mark than a 'kiitos' (thank you) to a conductor in the local train near Helsinki. At least Number One Son still likes to watch Moomins in Finnish. However, lately he seems to have started speaking some Spanish...

They say that the language spoken by the mother is the most important. However, I am now mainly speaking to him in English. The main Finnish input is the daily bedtime story, which I duly read via Skype when here in Sweden. Nevertheless, Number One Son has developed a huge following on Dora the Explorer after Archaeologist Husband got us Netflix subcription. Repeating single Spanish words seems to be contagious. Now he is saying 'abre!' every time he wants something opened. I have lost hands down...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Support on Sports Day

This week we participated to the most British of those school traditions in England – Sports Day. I was slightly dreading it beforehand, since Number One Son has not reached the level where he can comfortably skip or do things with a hula-hoop. He is also easily distracted and becomes bored, so I was wondering, how it will turn out.

I should not have been worried. His group started with the things he was stronger at and he did try every single event. Even if he is not very good in throwing ball, he tried a cricket type activity that was not a great success. However, throwing bean bag was OK and he hit inside a hula-hoop ring every single time. It was only the nearest one, but he is only on the reception class. Their team seem to have reached the highest score in that activity.

He was as good as the other children of his age with the hockey stick, and he really did like to manoeuvre with a football. The groups were mixed and he was clearly twinned with the tallest, very gentle six-grader, who was cheering him up, high-fiving and helping when he started to linger off. Similarly, the teaching assistants and teachers were helping him to concentrate, and supported and guided him, when his concentration lapsed.

It was a joy to follow such team work. The atmosphere was lovely and the sun was shining almost all the time, so I and Archaeologist Husband were completely red on our faces at the end of the day. The activities finished with a picnic, so we three had sandwiches and fruit outside and then headed for a play date.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Midsummer sunshine

How can one feel guilty of Midsummer celebrations that do not really involve alcohol and happen in the middle of the day on Midsummer afternoon, not in the rowdier evening of the Midsummer Eve? The reason is the hot sunshine and real barbecue weather in Midlands in comparison with the rain and hail and almost freezing temperatures in Finland. It just felt so unfair that the Finnish family party in England was basking in sunshine. Nevertheless, the half-term week had been so dismal that we deserve some sunny weather.

The barbecue celebration allowed a visit to Eestimaja, the Estonian cultural club, that I had not visited before. A long time ago I and other Finns did frequent the Polish Club in Bristol, but this was a new experience. Sadly, I was driving and attending the party with Number One Son, so any Viru Valge was beyond the limits. Any way, 70 % version could have been lethal. I stuck in their lovely little bar to my standard Tonic Water with ice and lemon...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Father has to make his own cake – with Son

For this Father’s Day Archaeologist Husband got his card two weeks early. Luckily, I had noticed the Father’s’ Day’s cards in the supermarket, so I could pick up a suitable one that included a ‘Best Dad’ pin or similar. The card lauded the qualities of the father in comparison to million bucks/quids. Considering how marvellous job his does meticulously when I am working away, he deserves all the praise I can offer.

Not The Cake, but with Ganache - as the one baked (thanks, wikipedia)

It was heart-warming to hear that the school Number One Son goes to, had a similar Daddies’ event day as it had for Mummies. Archaeologist Husband had forgotten to tell me about the latter, since he felt sidelined when a special invitation letter had come from the school to the mothers: he did not remember it was before the Mother’s Day... Now he got his turn!

All the usual suspects where there: South African Dad, Congolese Dad, Carpenter Dad, Business Dad and others one has seen in different birthday parties and children’s events in the village. One feels for the kids who do not have father who comes around: some fathers just do not wish to have anything to do with their off-spring. However, even the best of mothers and fathers have to work, so you cannot have everybody there any way.

Somehow it is uplifting and sad that Number One Son and Archaeologist Husband were baking a cake yesterday. Uplifting, since it is an activity they both enjoy and like. Sad, since it is basically Archaeologist Husband’s Father’s Day cake. Although on one level he may be lucky and make a close escape, since I am not famous for my baking skills. In addition, Archaeologist Husbands chocolate and walnut cakes have been a success among the other mothers. Hmm, wait a minute – should I be a little bit worried...?