Sunday, 10 April 2016

Magna Carta did not impress him much

In the British Library

This week started with a movie on a slight grey morning. Similarly to the whole second Easter Holiday week, the weather seemed to change with a drop of a hat and we had both sun and rain in equal measures. The movie we went to see was The Minions. I know we were there way after the first night, but I prefer to go to the Kids showings in Odeon, since Number One Son is still a little bit unpredictable entity, when it comes to the movies. He says that the slightest thing makes him scared, wants to go to toilet in between and hides behind the chair at points - you do not want to pay £10 per head for such an unreliable experience. In the morning shows you get to the premium chairs and if Number One Son decided to walk away, it is not a big dent to the budget. In the end, the Minions found Gru, so Number One Son was very happy of the experience.

In the movies

After a leisurely Tuesday spent watching videos, playing Minecraft and running in the park, it was time for the big trip of this holiday. Taking train to London is ridiculously expensive from Leicester - even one MP has now noticed and started to wonder this - but I bit the bullet. With a off-peak ticket you do not manage to stay for too long, unless you are prepared to wait until after 7 pm. I decided against this, since it is rather late with a small boy who may become extremely tired in the late afternoon. Thus, it was a trip to McDonalds (a must every time - Happy Meals bring toys) and then a couple of hours before the return. We even managed some time in the park at Russell Square. Scaring pigeons. That essential activity the small boys and girls do.

Scaring pigeons at Russell Square

I had pencilled in a light railway trip by Canary Wharf to see planes at the City airport, but to my surprise Number One Son chose the British Museum. On the way we poped in in the British Library, but the only thing to vaguely interest him were the computers giving information on the highlights of the collections. Magna Carta - not really appealing. King Cnut's law collection - nada. Medieval bibles or anything to do with Lindisfarne - could not care less. Not even the 'Alice in Wonderland' exhibition impress him much.

The fake crystal skull

The visit to the British Museum was a bit in a Japanese style. We walked to see a couple of highlights and I took some poses at the main attractions, where I could get him remotely interested. The crystal skull amused him for a couple of seconds, Rosetta stone much less, Parthenon friezes got his approval, but going around to see anything else than a half man, half hors: what a drag! It all looks better in the photographs.

Rosetta Stone? We have a photo...

I must admit he was highly interested in something. You know the Hellenistic statue with a young woman and a slipper? Yes, Alex was very delighted and giggly when seeing a marble-white naked bum. I made the matters even more interesting by pointing out that a male Hellenistic statue had his wi**y still intact. Little boys and giggly bits. How to get children engaged in the past! And this was no museum for poo stories...

OKing the marbles

The week finished with some rides in the Leicester city centre. Together with my belated admission that yes, we have to buy some trousers to Number One Son, since all are either too small, too big or totally ripped. I managed to keep us away from McDonalds until it was the ice cream and coffee time.

It is the end of the holidays

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Birthday Party Number Two and Other Adventures

Ninja Turtle after the second party

What do bad mothers do? They spend far too much time flipping through smart phones, they keep one eye on the work even if it is supposed to be family time and they land with work tasks on their lap during the afore mentioned family time. However, even if I was fretting about it before hand and making Archaeologist Husband irritated, I managed to concentrate most of it to one day and attend Number One Son's second birthday party and spend time with in-laws and Number One Son in the Space Centre (although memo to self - no Frankfurter hot-dogs never again). We also managed to get smokey on a sunny Saturday afternoon in friends' barbecue cum bonfire.

What a £1 can buy

I also managed to run errands that were masked as an educational trip to the museum. Number One Son is also learning to manage his pocket money and we paid a visit to the Pound shop. Where else would you spend £1 pocket money? We couldn't avoid an obligatory lunch in McDonalds. Not to mention the coffee break in the same venue. I am definitely passing my thrifty ways to the next generation...

The trip to the Space Centre has to be renewed at some point. We did not particularly feel like queueing, so we looked at different exhibits and Number One Son could fulfil his photogenic needs by making a weather person video in a dedicated pod. Not that he stayed in one place and tried to mimic any weather persons, but enjoyed a run and seeing himself on a screen.

Constructive in the Museum

Unfortunately, weather was against us on Saturday morning, when we tried a walk to Bradgate Park. Plenty of rain over the recent days in between sunshine meant that there was a point when crossing a field began to feel like a sinking exercise. Sometimes it is more civilised to walk on a pavement...

Another holiday week ahead. We will try to see some of the delights of London and explore Minions.

We like public transport

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Birthday Party Number One

Time has flown so quickly that I missed my last week’s blog as well. I was in Rome and during the conference I made the shortest and the most occasional of skyping to home, so I thought it was not worth it to write a couple of lines on how I was in different events in the evenings and travelling between places.

It is a big day today. Not only does my blog change it name from Two Archaeologists and a Toddler to Two Archaeologists and a Tweenie, but most importantly, it is Number One Son’s seventh birthday. One has to consider those baby and toddler years the past and the quickly sprigging lad as the present. Little by little Cbeebies has been swapped to Transformers and Ninja Turtles. We still have some baby toys around, but soon it is time for the one last clear out.

Main organising committee

Naturally, when I finally arrived back home – and it was already into Good Friday – it was clear that I had picked up a cold along the way. Luckily, the birthday party had been fully organised this time by Archaeologist Husband, so I could keep Number One Son fed and oversee him playing in the sunny garden, while Archaeologist Husband shot for the last decorations and foodstuffs. It was not going to be one party but two, since so many children on Number One Son’s class are born around this time so another party inevitably clashed with his. In addition, some people are away for the holidays, so a mid-week party was a preferred solution for Number One Son. He really is making his own decisions now.

The parties are in our house, so having two actually seems to work well. Both have a handful of kids and during the first one the house did not get trashed. The children also could run around in our tiny garden, so there were happy faces all around. The start of the party was a bit muted affair, since many children did not know each other. But after some egg hunt in the house and Minecraft battles in the garden, it all looked to go alright.

Now Number One Son is indulging with his birthday presents. It is apparently the best day ever – with the BBC online shop closing, Archaeologist Husband had really emptied their Dr Who selection. Number One Son got some Angry Birds and Ninja Turtles as well. A happy day.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Making his own plans

It seems that Number One Son has reached another milestone. Not only Nice Speech Therapist says that he is now ready to be discharged to be monitored by the school (he has made good progress lately, even if he is still clearly behind the others) but he has started to make his own plans and ask for different things. He used his pocket money on Saturday in the community library in order to buy two soft toys. When he heard that I had gone swimming in Stockholm on Saturday, he instantly wanted to swim again himself - and Archaeologist Husband had to take him yesterday. Now Number One Son wants to go every Sunday. I have to check those times for holiday swimming schools. He is now ready for that.

We have proceeded in restoring the skyping schedule from the time of my previous stay in Stockholm. We now have more parent discussion time after Number One Son's bed time and have time to chat as well. Luckily, Easter is almost here, but this week's conference will disrupt any patterns we have had and any skyping will be at unusually ear;u times and trying to find a wifi network to live skype away from hotels or institutes. Luckily there is Sunday evening.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Asking, asking - around Mothers Day

Number One Son by me

This year I managed to be at home on the Mothers' Day, but sadly it was more coincidental than being deliberately planned by me. As I have pointed out before, the British Mothers' Day manages to surprise me every year. Luckily, this year work matters, mainly a series of meetings in London, lured me back in time. I must say I was extremely delighted when I realised that I manage to be home both for the Mothers' Day and the International Women's Day tomorrow on March 8.

I did get something unusual for my Mothering Sunday: a bouquet of flowers. Being married to a Green Party member means that Archaeologist Husband does not buy roses or other cut flowers out of principle. Even if I appreciate his conviction and like his principles, I must say a potted rose does not have the same effect. However, this year he melted in front of Number One Son who thought that Mummy definitely would like to have a bouquet. He even managed to get the colour right - blue. But I still did not manage to get those roses...

This Mothering Sunday the lunch was a muted affair due to Number One Best Man being in town and heading to our house for an evening take away. Then, I did lose once again to Minecraft, but we did have a Mother and Son mutual photographing session and a trip to the local park (and to the said take away to get a menu). What is really striking me now, is the way Number One Son has hit the questioning phase. 'What are lemons made of?' 'Do cats have bones?' 'Do brains have eyes?' The flow of questions is continuous - and yes - it feels good after all those years when the communication was minimal and one-worded and the next phase when the verbs where lacking. The questions may be sometimes hard or impossible to answer, but at least we are having a proper discussion.

Me by Number One Son

Saturday, 27 February 2016

'I miss Mummy so much'

Now when I am not staying in the Youth Hostel any more in Stockholm, I have managed to get back into the old routine. When I do not have some other event - and this week there has been slightly more than usually - I have resumed my evening Skyping habit. I have even started to read Number One Son his bedtime story again, the habit that was distrupted by the stays in the Youth Hostel and slightly earlier skyping times. Having a reliable wifi and a fully working external web camera help as well. Now we are reading about a two small school girls and how one of them is starting to skip school after bullying.

Now when Number One Son is getting bigger, he is also getting more vocal about the way he misses me. He just made his feelings known some minutes ago. Luckily, by coincidence, I will manage to be home for the UK Mothering Day, even if its very existence manages to surprise me every year. The Finnish May Mothers' Day is so engrained to my unconscious, I normally only notice during the very weekend. This year I was a bit early with my realisation, which was turned to a slight irritation, when I noticed that a conference I will be hopping in to and out from at Leicester will be during the same weekend. Not all archaeologists are women or mothers, but it would be nice if somebody noticed these things. It is quite clear that the two-day conference in my case will be a one-day one. In addition, since Archaeologist Husband's Best Man is coming to the conference as well, I can already see from my crystal ball that the 'Ulla Rajala' in the wine reception will have a loud Hawaiian shirt and a stubble beard...

It may even be that the Mothering Day Lunch may be eaten in the city with Best Man joining us or being saluted before he heads back to the south coast.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Dinos and dinners

Cupcakes in the village

Since I am again the away parent, the half-term holiday is naturally my responsibility. Especially, because after a long, almost scary draught in the contract front, Archaeologist Husband suddenly gets contracts from left, right and centre. Suddenly we can breathe more freely – at least for a moment. The EU referendum has now been set for June 23 and we wives in today’s Finnish Saturday school did realise that none of us is actually a British national. The one of us who has been in the country the longest is the one the most vocal about the fact that we cannot vote about our families’ futures. It did not matter before in UK, but now for party political reasons, life has been suddenly made uncertain for many settled couples and our children.

The week starts with chores that have to be done. The cat needs her stabs, so Archaeologist Husband and Number One Son head to the vet’s practice. I have my annual dentist’s appointment and get suggested an electric tooth brush (my technique while busy and stressed leaves things to be wished for). On Tuesday I drag Number One Son to the barber’s – avoiding the mad rush of all parents on Friday. I begin to get an idea what I should be asking for, but I still give blank looks when they ask how I want it. ‘Short’ is not apparently giving them enough directions. Number One Son hates barber trips, so I chose a sunny day when I had promised to take him to the local cafe for a cup cake and a juice. Now he suddenly declares undying love for all things barbery.

Bird box screws need screwing

On Tuesday afternoon we head to the community library (local councils want to cut all statutory services to the bone and shed all non-statutory ones as far as possible) for some bird box making. A nice idea, but perhaps not for five- and six-year olds. The teens do not usually come to these events – if they do bird boxes, it is in the scouts, guides or some nature youth club. Getting screws to bite into wood takes some force, so it was good a granddad could be loaned for a moment. Some other granddads did resort using electric tools in the end...

Sweets in the movies

On Wednesday it was bucketing down, so naturally I was driving up the wet and misty M1. We headed to IKEA to fulfil some Swedish meatball and cake needs – but not by Number One Son. He was quite happy with his chicken bits and jelly, not some Scandinavian fare. However, he was delighted that there was a single slot to the play area when we arrived. He got half an hour in a ball pit before checking bedroom furniture. He really begins to be a tweenie. We have now made notes for his new chair and chosen some wardrobe and drawer units that will be purchased later in the spring.

Also playdates with friends

The latter part of the week was dedicated to dinosaurs. Not only had we realised that there were new episodes for ‘Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures’, renamed as ‘Prehistoric Adventures’, but Number One Son wanted to see The Good Dinosaur, a Pixar movie on a cheap morning show. These are safer when his behaviour in the movies is uncertain and he could walk out at any moment. So cheap and cheerful it is – with added sweets or popcorn. He did have an emotional treat, but I had to bite my tongue not to slag the movie when he was hearing. Farming dinosaurs? Maize? Chicken? Cowboy character dinos? Oh my... Nice computer animation, though, pity the Americanization of a traditional getting lost and coming back story. But this movie ended up having the traditional single parent story line. Pixar only seems to do traditional families in The Incredibles (we have not seen Inside Out, yet).

Exploring in the New Walk Museum

On Friday it was a trip to the city centre. Nominally, to go to do a dino door hanger in the New Walk Museum, as we did, but also for me to run some bank errands plus head to the McDonalds for our traditional half-term Happy Meals. I got a Hello Kitty Supergirl watch. So how was your week?

Hello Kitty!