Thursday, 30 May 2013

Finding their limits

Some teachers and commentators have lately called for adults to let children to find their limits and even to have small bruises in order to get an idea of the dangers and possibilities of the world. I have previously in my blog discussed the fact that I would love my son to do more rock climbing and enjoy nature fully – but I just cannot bare watching, since I am dead certain that the next step will lead to a fall down the nearest cliff. I was reminded of this feeling this Bank Holiday Monday.

It was a glorious day – not your average rain-washed Bank holiday. Unlike the every grey day afterwards. It was starting to be cooler and windier, but the sun was shining brightly and momentarily in a more covered spot one could feel the heat. Archaeological Husband had naturally fallen ill exactly the moment the long weekend started, so everything was slightly mooted and the farthest one would consider wandering was driving to Bradgate Park.

After taking Number One Son to the Finnish School on Saturday and to see dinosaurs on Sunday, it was time to have a walk in the park. When looking at Number One Son falling flat on his belly on the tarmac after trying to come down, a.k.a. unwillingly running down, a steepish slope, I realised how little he has actually faced the elements. This has not been helped by the longest winter ever. It is late May and it has been so cold. Number One Son insisted having his winter hat, scarf and gloves on one morning this week before heading to the nursery!

Nevertheless, in Bradgate Park I found a spot where I can let Number One Son to learn how to deal with the elements. A stream runs through the park and in one of the bends after the waterfall water is not too deep and the sides of the stream are not too high. It is a perfect spot to let Number One Son to take his shoes off and leaving his trousers behind (after they became wet) and paddling in the stream. At least he learnt that the stones in the rivers are slimy and it is easy to slip. Luckily, I had change for him with me, so I did not have to return to the car with a drenched son!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Not listening – no problem with ear hearing!

Now it has been scientifically proven that Number One has no problems with his hearing, so any moments of not hearing are totally related to his ‘selective listening’. Funnily enough, recently there was an article online in a Finnish newspaper about the children between about three and six years of age who ignore regularly their parents. Poor parents feel like talking to the walls, but it is apparently just a phase.

At least I and Archaeologist Husband have learnt to confiscate whatever toy Number One Son is fidgeting with at any moment, if he refuses to listen to our suggestions to go to bed, have lunch or fetch his shoes so we can go out from the house. If the toy is dear enough, we may be making progress to the right direction. Literately tempting our son towards the wanted direction.

Nothing is worse than a headstrong son. Firstly, you see your own stubbornness reflected on you. Secondly, you have to live with the consequences. Recently, I made a mistake to go one afternoon to a bookshop in the centre to use a book token. Sillily, I expected Number One Son to listen to the reason and follow me back to the parked car after our fleeting visit to the History and Children’s sections. No – I had to carry him in the end, since the paid time was almost up and the parking wardens have been lately more than active. Scarily so. Heading towards the museum and park way would have been more for his taste.

Nothing quite makes you feeling unsure as a parent as the passing police when you try to drag your screaming outspring pass their car...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A parent on the go

It is tough both for both parents when their child falls ill and the other parent is away. I got an advance notice what will lie ahead, when Number One Son suddenly fell ill, while I am travelling from one place to another in order to fulfil work and other commitments. One will happily attend a conference or work away when one knows that everything is fine and childcare will provide decent working hours for the other half.

Only the phone messages tell about the agony in the other end, while the other party tries to get ahead with the task in hand. When one does not see one’s child, there is no tangible idea how ill the child is and how deep is the unhappiness and possible sheer pain. A parent can only hope that the other party does not become too tired to cope in the short term.

The situation is not so bad when one can head to home in the evening and comfort the child and give the other parent a respite. However, if one has to run off the following days in order to keep the promised work commitments and the other half can only keep holding the 'baby', there will be guilt. Hopefully not blame, if the other half at home does not face too much of a loss of income.

Potentially, this situation will be lived as a long-distance reality in one season’s time. This thought is scary, but unfortunately, during these harsh economic times, one has to try to ‘bring in the bacon’. Of course, Archaeologist Husband may get his revenge when he will be working abroad during the summer and I will look after Number One Son.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The importance of support

After Number One Son started to misbehave in the nursery, we approached the speech therapy services and asked for more support. As a result we got a long extra home visit that has been really beneficial, since we got advice relevant to the current developmental phase Number One Son is going through. Archaeologist Husband was present during the visit as well, so we had intensive training into the correct strategies and the speech therapist could assess Number One Son’s speech properly.

Now we know to apply input modelling in order to improve his pronunciation and try to introduce more verbs – partly helped by the game cards found under his bed when cleaning up. Storing all the presents and keeping his room at least in some order means that you forget what he actually has. Now we can play with delightful Finnish animal cards. It is good to have relatives and ‘godless parents’ who remember Number One Son.

It seems that his developmental progress is the key element to the new gains. Now he happily repeats words and goes ‘mm-mmm’ with you. Six months ago this was a distant dream and I was getting frustrated explaining everything in two word simple sentences and supporting his English while trying to keep his passive Finnish skills intact. Now he even occasionally repeats a word of Finnish. Not often, but ‘Ei’, ‘No’ in Finnish comes quickly if he really does not want something.

What does this learning curve teach us? It shows that one has to keep asking for support and inform authorities of any negative changes. With the normal schedule of monitoring visits, the speech therapist would have realised the need for support well into the summer term, and Number One Son would have got improved help only by the time of the reception class entry. One now only wonders how the families shy to ‘cause trouble’ or insist for help are managing to get support is anybody’s guess. Same question was aired by another NCT mother, whose child has a joint condition that was only spotted after they asked their GP for a referral to a pediatrician after the child did not learn to walk properly.