Sunday, 23 February 2014

Half-term thoughts

Suddenly the half-term is over and I am back in Stockholm. The 11 and half hour trip from door to door reminded me why I am not flying back home for a long weekend every week. It makes definitely more sense to stay for a slightly longer period, concentrate on work and then spend more time with family over a week or more taking part into all the routines. Nevertheless, this time it was half-term and I took the baton from Archaeologist Husband and took main responsibility over the 'entertainment'. Naturally, the modern angst of parenting nowadays involves trying to make a half/term an 'experience' for your child, as fun, entertaining and educational as possible.

Because of the long periods of time I am a Skype Mom, I decided against a train trip to London. This would have been the last chance to get Number One Son to London for free, but it did not seem to make sense to concentrate on getting from A to B in a huge city when a slice of chocolate tart in Leicester seemed to be enough. It was more about being together than being highly active. Thus, the highlights included the slumming up in the corner playing Angry Birds during my annual dentist check-up, a car trip to Aldi and choosing jeans in Tesco. In reality, the more 'educational' - or fun - content of the week included a trip to swim in the local swimming pool during an hour that was one of the last ever Aquatots visits, bus trip to the city centre for the chocolate tart and main library and a play date with Number One Friend who is still in the nursery.

Number One Son's speech is getting better and he is now repeating all kinds of words I mouth. 'Water pipe' was a hit when going to the play date where the workmen are making speed bumps along the local drive-through road. This was probably the main educational content of the week. If one does not count the hugs and the kisses that are invaluable and memorable for a Skype Mom.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Birthday party panic?

After ‘Skype’ Mom’s stay in Rome, the half-term is looming ahead. I and Archaeologist Husband were due to plan Number One Son’s birthday party already at the beginning of January, since we need to pencil in various family and work occasions and travel. The problem this year is that the Roman Archaeology Conference is during the weekend that would be the most natural for a birthday party, so we have to do the birthday earlier. Since I will literally fly in for the party, it could be the wisest to book one of those play area birthdays that come with ready-made food. This would give Number One Son’s friends a possibility to run around properly.

Archaeologist Husband would like to go for a home birthday and do one of his famous chocolate cakes. This would be an extremely easy and definitely cheaper option, but would give little boys and girls a limited opportunity to run around in our small garden. It is bigger than in the previous house, but it still will be full with about five children with very few placed to run to. The time for the definite decisions is coming nearer and not all of the play centres seem very appealing with strange rules about how many adults can go to help and accompany the children to the munch time. In addition, sometimes you have to come with a cake, but it has to be a bought one with receipt for hygiene and food safety reasons. Tricky.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Skype Mom travels again

It does not really matter where one is when one skypes. It seems that the light in the ceiling is always shining to the eyes of the receiver and requires changing and you are sitting in a darkish room reading a fairytale. Stockholm looks like Finland looks like Rome. This is not helped by the fact that I have a room with the windows very low next to the floor level, so I have to have a light on even during the day.

Nevertheless, for a distant parent the regularity of contact is the most important thing. It is not the child’s fault that you have to work away and you have to show your child that you care. This week I will have two social evenings in a row, which means that I cannot book or plan anything more before Saturday. Number One Son will need a couple of nights of regular good night story before any thought of another evening in a restaurant. In addition, I cannot be impulsive and attend an opening of an art exhibition I just spotted, but do the thing I promised today. Nevertheless, Saturday will be my last evening, so it would be nice to have a meal in town. People have lauded the artichokes this season and I feel tempted.

The tiredness in the eyes of Archaeologist Husband keeps me concentrated in work. One cannot be frivolous when the other half is carrying the can and taking the responsibility of any everyday activities. Luckily, it is not long until the half-term when I will be doing my share. And be nagged about the housework...