Friday, 25 May 2012

Parental pressures and extra activities

I have found out that the musical education is mostly a private enterprise in England. Number One Son’s nursery is planning to start musical half-an-hour playing and dancing sessions on one day a week. This will be against extra payment and the children who are not taking part will be playing in another room. While I do understand that nurseries have to rise more revenue in this economic climate, the extra expense will present an extra dilemma for us, the parents.

I am not the only one who has asked another parent if their child is going to take part. Since Number One Son is developing at his own leisure, he wondered off during the taster session. He has never been interested in group singing sessions in any play group and he has only recently begun to have enough concentration for crafts. He does boogey to certain music on TV and this physical part and any dancing with his mates would appeal to him.

I am not sure Number One Son is ready for more formal musical learning experience – especially if he will wonder off and play on his own during the set time. I have also found that the set price is a sum I have been paying for 45 minutes or one hour with the council activities so it seems pricey. I think the other parents are feeling the same, too, since one parent asked me on Friday if Number One Son is going to attend.

I had to be honest and say that I will ask the following week if many of his friends will be attending. I do not want to leave him playing alone and being separated from his mates – even if they are in an age when they are more playing in the same room than playing together. However, there is no use paying if Number One Son was one of the few attending. His attention span is not enough for such an experience and if he wanders off the money will be spent for nothing. Archaeologist Husband wants Number One Son to learn an instrument and have musical education but it makes sense to wait until he definitely wants to do it himself and can express it unmistakably.

We parents have the pressure to do the best for our children and give them the best changes in the world. In the real world not all of us are wealthy and we have to consider how to use our money. When we are facing the situations like the one explained above, we are drawn by the financial realities and the need to consider how we spend our monies in the harsh economic climate on one hand and the wish to give our children fun, learning experiences and enjoyment.

How do we manage to solve this? If only a few attend, then the answer is easy – we will wait for a later time when Number One Son is clearly willing to take part in extra activities. If most of his friends take part, we probably have to pay the extra cost. Luckily, the other parents chose for me. The nursery may not be able to go ahead with the sessions, since the interest just was not there. I was not the only one hesitating

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The lack of exercise

The bad weather lately in Britain has resulted with Number One Son staying inside more than usual. For a small boy this is a problem since small boys have a lot of energy to burn and need all the exercise they can have. Even if we manage to keep the television shut and DVDs out of hand, playing inside in his room is not going to be enough. He needs to run and climb in order to sleep well.

Luckily, the last weekend was sunny and we had Finnish School on Saturday. Even if the teacher of the pre-school group said that this was the first time he sat properly down and did some arts and crafts, he ran and played with other children and managed to wear himself down. On Sunday I took Number One Son to the Abbey Park to see the Pet Corner and run through the Oval. Running around in the sun is the best activity for a growing male toddler and anyone likes the peak of a peacock. Nevertheless, the most exciting part of the day for Number One Son was handling and feeling sand in the play area. Cool, fine sand - one could mentally tick off that day's messy play!

After a day full of exercise Number One Son heads happily to bed with blurry eyes. If we lucky he falls asleep even before In the Night Garden finishes. After a rainy day inside with cartoons, cars and playdough Number One Son wants to wrestle in the evening and runs around in his room just before going to bed. After the bedtime story and the lights off he keeps calling Mummy and Archaeologist Husband standing at the baby gate of his room at the top of the stairs for a long while even if the black-out curtains have been drawn. This visible and audible difference in behaviour underlines the importance of ‘quality running time’.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Out for a night

We are very lucky since our neighbour is a nursery nurse and she does a fair share of babysitting. Recently we went out for the first time so early that Number One Son had not gone to bed, yet. We were anxious how the evening would pan out since Number One Son had recently been very volatile at bed times. He has just kept calling us from his room door and refusing to go back to his bed. However, Number One Son likes the neighbour and is known to have tried to enter their house on our way to the park.

When Number One Neighborough arrived Number One Son was looking visibly tired after an early bath. However, the sound of the voice of the neighbour refreshed Number One Son and he requested to join her downstairs. He chose his favourite movie and started to present the Cars to Number One Neighbour. Thus we could make our way to the Warwick Arts Centre.

It is Jack Dee with the panel! (photo from the

We headed to the recording of the Sorry, I haven’t a clue Radio4 programme. It turned out this series is the 40th anniversary tour and due to having been invited as part of Stratford-upon-Avon festival we heard an extensive amount of Bard related content together with games retracing the different events of 1972. Not to mention the jokes making the most of the fact that this Warwick is actually in Coventry. The panel was headed by Jack Dee and his style is just right for this type of ‘antipanel’ show. Even Mornington Crescent made sense this time around – with anagrams.

The house was full and the atmosphere was delighted. At one point the whole audience joined Barry in singing Harry Nilson’s version of ‘Living without you’, the song more recently warbled by Mariah Carey.

This night out was fabulous. Good company and I were not driving. This meant I could have a pint of beer at the interval. We just made it to the bar after queuing for a while. As Jack Dee said “thousand people were buying beer from three pensioners”.

When we got back home – later than we expected – Number One Son was happily sleeping. Admittedly, he had been asking for ‘Mama’ but I think this was a joint name for both of us. He misses his mummy but loves to play with his daddy.

Sunday, 6 May 2012


This was the fourth time I was away for work on a foreign work trip with Number Son in the care of Archaeologist Husband. This time they also have a birthday to go to; however, you can guess who had bought the present and the card in before hand... Some mothers seem to feel horrible when they leave their children behind but since none of my trips happened before Number One Son’s first birthday I do not feel any guilt. I do miss him but as an archaeologist has said, nowadays we go to the conferences to sleep. Short trips alone give me some quality time with the things I like and time to chat with my friends and acquaintances.

For some time Skype has made video telephone calls easy – if you consider finding the right WiFi network in a block of flats or watching pixels jumping up and down with a general shape of a child easy. Nevertheless, the child sees me and hears my voice. Anyway, Archaeologist Husband spends potentially more time abroad so I will get my quality time with Number One Son sooner or later.

A trip to Finland brings other responsibilities even if Number One Son is not travelling with me. I have to deliver photos of our son to different parties so that people like my mother and his godless-mothers are kept well-informed. I also have to stock Number One Son with Finnish book and find new items to his DVD collection. This time I only bought two books but I managed to find two different CDs from his favourite Norwegian cartoon character and a DVD from sympathetic Swedish cartoon makers so I definitely got a good catch. One could say that I even was slightly carried away. Naturally, I have to bring Finnish bread, coffee and chocolate back and in order to give Archaeologist Husband something to make him to cheer up I do buy his preferred liquorice vodka.

Just as a matter of luck, I was flying back on the May Day Eve with all the people getting ready for the big carnival with the first sights of silly dresses in city centre on my way to the coach station and the market place filled with sellers of colourful balloons, toys and snacks. Angry birds were the flavour of the month with different softtoy birds and pigs filling the airport shop. I decided against buying one since I have to get across London in the underground on my way back quite late in the night and I prefer not be dragging a big bird with me.

The return to home made me feel a little guilty, though, since Number One Son seems to have a more volatile period with a lot of tantrums and quickly temper. He really had missed me but as soon as I was back, his father was his favourite again.