Friday, 23 August 2013

Beach lessons

It was marvellous to see how differently Number One Son responded to the seaside this year. Last year it was all about climbing the rocks and marvelling the rock pools whereas this year he wanted to direct the drainage, build sand castles and create moats. Archaeologist Husband ended up doing most of the digging whereas I was providing the water for the moat.

On the first beach day we did not arrive to St. Brelade’s Bay until in the afternoon just before the tide coming and thus the castle and the moat were destroyed by the tide. It was a spectacular view, with the first splash of advancing water pouring into the farthest side of the moat and not all waves reaching the moat, yet. Then, there were a series of serious splashes and suddenly the sides of the moat were collapsing and the castle structure melted to the water. For a moment it looked like Atlantis was going down.

This was nothing in comparison to the large castle a whole family was building nearby. It basically ate itself from inside after some efforts to keep the sides of the moats and banks repaired. In 15 minutes everybody understood more about the workings of tide than in multiple lessons in any class room.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Lasts and firsts

This is a scary and exiting time of life. Our little toddler is not so little any more and tomorrow will be the last day in the nursery. I have bought a card and chocolates for the staff and lollipops for the children to take home. Then in two weeks time it will be Number One Son’s first day in the reception class - first day at school. And after just two full school days I will take a flight in order to start a year-long contract abroad. Archaeologist Husband will take care of the normal everyday and I will be the parent who skypes in the evenings in order to read a goodnight story.

Many parents have asked me how I can do it, but I have put Number One Son – well – number one for four years while trying to build up a teaching portfolio and write up old things. Now I will have 12 months to make a big push and get things published with a proper salary that will keep us afloat. However, I have butterflies in my stomach and we will know how things will turn out after the first two weeks have passed. We will then know, if Number One Son will have taken to the school like a fish to water – or if he will be unsettled. Luckily, I will be back in September for a conference and then there will be a half-term in Sweden. After that it will be regular trips to home - or for Number One Son and Archaeologist Husband a trip to the north to see relatives at Easter and during the summer.

I suddenly realised that our Aquatots session I have done with Number One Son, since he was just three months old, was going to be our last. Similarly, a play session in the local Sure Start centre was the last one. Now it is the countdown until our short holiday in the south – around Brighton and in Jersey in order to see relatives. Then it will be the time for the ‘big school’.

Number One Son has suddenly grown tall, but his speech is still at the level of a two-and-half-year or three-year-old. One reason he cannot come with me is that he will have special support in his future primary school – just what he needs for the future.

Now he also has a clean haircut; Archaeologist Husband took Number One Son to the barbers for the very first time. We have been scared to take him before due to the communication gap, but now it was the time. Archaeologist Husband has been clipping his hair and the result has been ‘modernistic’ to put it politely. Most of the time his hair has been quite long. But now Number One Son is presentable for his Grandpa and Great-Nana. Barbers may feel like a small step, but it is a symbol for the things to come.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Patronising and out of touch

Even if I could not cut it as a stay home mom, I cannot understand how the treasurer can say that being a stay home mom (or dad) in Britain is 'a lifestyle choice'. In a country where childcare is extremely expensive many families where there are two children are in a situation where it does not necessarily make any sense for one parent to work, if one has to travel to work and the children are small. A millionaire can afford to make lifestyle choices when working does not actually create overcoming travel or other costs.

In addition, at least in the Nordic countries the conservatives normally are singing from the song book that emphasises the importance of the motherhood and encourages all mothers (yes, mothers only) to stay at home when the children are small. Not in Britain. In Britain the noble thing to do is to work in all circumstances. Well, the British conservatives as a party do not seem to resemble much the kind of conservatives you have here in the villages. They do not appreciate the countryside and peace. They do not deride wind farms, fracking, endless new planning permissions in order to build houses in greenfield sites in places where the road infrastructure is already struggling. They do not appreciate libraries, playgrounds or youth clubs. Apparently, they would be happy if the plebs just would work endlessly on zero-hour contracts...

Thursday, 1 August 2013

From things to action

The character of the speech therapist appointment became clear this week. Number One Son’s verbal communication skills, understanding and pronunciation were assessed. He did not perform as well as he sometimes does at home, but his problem areas were very clear. He is not very good with comparisons or negations and did always choose the alternative the speech therapist negated.

Number One Son communicates mostly with nouns. When the speech therapist tried to get him to say that a girl was cutting a cake, he just said “Cake” and pointed at it. When he was shown a baby crying he was repeating “baby, baby” enthusiastically. Thus, his grasp of verbs is poor and now we have to change the way we support his speech.

So far, it has all been about “red cars” and “black cats”. Now we have to emphasize action. It will be “cat running” or “boy playing football”. I have to start describing what he is doing – or what mummy or daddy are doing – so that it will all be related to his own life and physical action.

The unfortunate part with the appointment was that since it was in Coalville, I changed Number One Son’s nursery days. Naturally, it was pouring down and instead of having an active day at the Rothley station, we admired the iPlayer and the possibility of seeing ‘Sarah and Duck’ again and again and again and...