Friday, 26 July 2013

What did he say?

A novelty approach to Number One Son’s speech development is by his peers who ask me to tell them which language he is speaking and what he says. Of course, I have to say that, actually, he is speaking English, which they are quite surprised of. After all, I am pretty good in telling him off in Finnish, which they can definitely hear is a foreign language. And no, most of the time I do not have a clue what he is saying. There is some hope, since he is pronouncing some words and expressions better. For example, ‘ice cream van’ is the new favourite every time he hears the easily recognisable jingle. However, if he says ‘pain’, most of the time he means ‘train’. Thus, it is easy to see why it is difficult for everybody to understand him and why there is confusion.

However, he wants to discourse, which is more than this time last year, so it is definitively progress. Next week I have an appointment with his speech therapist. I am not sure what will happen. It may be a first of the sessions to improve his pronunciation. It may be the proper referral session, so his support at school will be official. Or it may be a routine assessment. I will see.

I think, if the weather is good, we will go and see steam trains again. We did use the Great Central Railway’s family offer and rode the train on a discounted fare. Number One Son wanted to go to the children’s rides temporarily set up at the Rothley station and drive Thomas on the Garden Railway. I was not sure how well he will take to the instructions, but afterwards I thought I may be downgrading his ability and have to go and give him an opportunity. In this way I can also span the fun across multiple days!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Lost to a TV programme

In the short term Number One Son’s life will be defined by the parents who will take turns in being away. Archaeologist Husband is half-way through his first stay abroad, wondering if he will get to visit the second project he is involved with over the weekend. He will soon after returning fly for another stint, that time for a week only, for an interesting training project.

Nowadays, families are blessed to have Skype in their use; parents can keep in touch with their children in another country and hear what has happened home and away. It is unbelievable that it was only twenty years ago, when one did not even have mobile phones, but had to call from abroad using telephone call cards in public phones. Now one only needs a computer linked in Internet in both ends and one can discuss with video. Hearing the cicadas and all.

So far so good until last night when Number One Son was extremely tired and the time slot for Daddy’s Skype call coincided with a children’s programme that had already started and that is part of Number One Son’s bedtime routine. After a couple of minutes listening to the screams ‘No Dad’, ‘No Dad’ and after exchanging the quickest of the countdowns of daily happenings, he threw his towel to the rink and we finished the call. And the silence fell, when the children’s programme was resumed. Lost to a children's programmes. The juniors do have their priorities.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

'Graduation ceremony'

Americanisation of European culture continues. This is not only a phenomenon in Britain or Finland, but concerns other countries as well. However, here at home we and some other parents were slightly dismayed when we were informed that the children starting reception class this autumn will have a graduation ceremony. Graduating from what? Preschool? They also had a photo taken with a home-made paper gown and a board. More Mid-western high school than Oxbridge college I say...

We and the other parent we talked to had decided not to air our doubts, because after all the whole occasion was for the children. This was an extra occasion for seeing all parents in one place. In the end it turned out that it was quite simple. Their names were read in the alphabetical order of their first names and they went to receive a ‘certificate’, which was more of a ‘thank you for having been here’ variety. Then we all had a picnic in the baby room (where the babies were was a mystery – probably where the preschoolers normally are). Predictably, the white shirt had not survived to the occasion after lunch, so Number One Son’s ‘best party clothes’ were not as supreme as in the morning...

Sadly, we had to be bad parents and leave Number One Son in the nursery after the event that was on a Friday after lunch, since we had errands to run. I was advised against taking Alex to a cook shop, and boy, Archaeologist Husband was correct! After house move one needs surprising items and while looking for spice racks is quite safe, when it is done in an environment where you have pottery items, large knives and glasses, it would be a nightmare. Luckily, the birthday parties during the sunniest weekend in memory wiped any bad feelings from part of Number One Son.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


I and Archaeologist Husband were worried how Number One Son would take the new house. We should not have been! He really enjoys the fact that the staircase is with angles, so we could get rid of the baby gates and he can get to the toilet when he wants to in the morning. He can now freely climb the stairs and move between upstairs and downstairs.

His room is not filled with our chest of drawers and wardrobe, but has only his toys inside. We will need some more furniture, but that will not be a problem. Sooner or later, when the time and money matters allow, the piles of clothes will vanish.

We now have a garden that does not have the right of way of two different neighbours. The lawn is not in shadows most of the day, but draws full sunshine facing south. It also has a spacious patio area next to the kitchen in the shade.

Number One Son was upset by the emptiness of our previous home, when I showed it to him on the moving day after it had been emptied and cleaned. I hoped to give him closure with the old place and a sense of not belonging there anymore. His little shouts of ‘hempty’, ‘hempty’, while moving from one empty room to another were slightly heartbreaking, but afterwards when we have tried to fetch any post, he has just wanted to go home from the empty house. He also enjoys his longer walk to the nursery with passing cats, alley ways and interesting cars and trailers.