Sunday, 27 September 2015

Tooth fairy came

Try to take a photo of a tiny thing held by an excited child!

This week Number One Son has again passed one threshold. No, it was not the trip to the Scouts shop to buy the Beavers sweater (obligatory), but his first milk tooth became loose and dropped of by the end of the week. The trip to the Scouts shop was not to forget, since in a hurry, I just switched the Navigator on. I had a hazy idea that the shop was somewhere between Scudamore Road and Hinckley Road, but I did not know which road to take. The Navigator wanted me to take M1, no matter where I was. It turned out I had been about two junctions away before losing my confidence on the ring road...

The traditions passed my little people at school are strong. We had never talked about Tooth fairy at home, but as soon as the tooth became wobbly, Number One Son started to talk about the coin he will get. He may not remember what else happens in school afterwards, but moneywise, he is on the money.

I hate wobbly teeth. I did as a child, and I am not much help in discussing the matter. Luckily, the tooth dropped off over a painful breakfast. Nothing could be eaten before. In the evening I left the practical execution of the Toothfairiness to Archaeologist Husband who seemed to take the rains. I had thought that a pound was the standard, but he had other thoughts.

His coin of choice was 50 pence. This turned out to be an enlightened choice. Number One Son has not really paid attention to the nominal values of the coins before, but now there is at least one coin the shape of which is chiselled to his mind. he now promptly recognises his favourite coin he got from the Tooth fairy. He would have wanted to take the tiny tooth to the school to show His Teacher, but we did not want that. He would have only lost it. Now it became hard currency. If only there was this fairy...

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Meeting the teacher

This week's big family event for us parents was the Year 2 parents' information event in Number One Son's school. Luckily, Number One Son was in the after school club that afternoon, so we could listen to the presentation and discuss with His Teacher in peace. It all took place in his classroom so we could actually see that as well. I had had a short peep in when I had checked the timing of the meeting earlier during the week. The event was not on the class web site and we had misplaced the small slip that had come in Number One's book bag.

It is a bit scary that they start to test children so early. This year it will be the renewal of the phonics test, failed so spectacularly in Year 1 (zero marks leaves no grey area in the matter) and SATS in the spring. I am sure he will manage to do things in maths, but literacy may be a problem. However, one has to take it as it comes.

I and Archaeologist Husband waited until everybody else had gone. Since Archaeologist Husband took the main responsibility during Year 1 with me really coming back only in the last term, I had not realised that His Teacher had not seen Archaeologist Husband and was introduced to her for the first time. This shows that I have pulled my socks a bit now in the autumn. Well, all will be different in November.

It turned out that both parties wanted to know how Number One Son is doing at the beginning of the year. His answers when asked what he did at school are short ("Don't remember"), so we did cherish this moment to ask and hear. We were shown his cursive handwriting book. Oh boy, has he made progress! Clearly, he is making learning a neater way of writng letters, although sounding and reading takes its time. Happily, he likes His Teacher very much and does want to please her. We actually manage to use 'Your Teacher will be very disappointed' as a way to get him to do things properly. A very ensuring exchange at school.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Back to the Finnish School

It is not only the normal school and Beavers starting, now it is time to head to the Finnish Saturday School as well. However, I am not totally sure if it is more to the mother than to Number One Son. After all, he cannot really Finnish, since I had to start speak English full-time when his speech difficulty and its nature became apparent. I do like to chat and gossip with my fellow Finns, drink coffee and have lovely bakes some of the school members make. However, Number One Son was engaged in playing and chatting to one English dad present, so I had difficulties in dragging him away.

He does not grow up without a second language, since I read his bedtime story in Finnish when it is my turn. He has also nice Finnish picture books, including Richard Scarry style Mauri Kunnas books and of course the Moomin. We have some Donald Duck, the mainstay in Finnish childhoods, at home.

Even if he will not get the benefits the research is drumming up in bilingual upbringing, he will hear a foreign language regularly and grow up appreciating he cannot always understand what others speak without finding it odd. He has lately made developmental leaps that mean that he enjoys different play and crafting sessions more. I also wonder if one can start slowly teaching and learning some basic vocabulary in Finnish. Like different bank holidays and animal names. Thus, he would get more out of the Saturday School.

,p>At least my discussions at the school will be more and more interesting. One of the adult learners has finished with her undergraduate at Leicester in archaeology and now participating in the Charnwood Roots project and other digs on weekends. We can chat about local archaeology over Finnish coffee. A true plus!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

New starts: Year 2 and Beavers

It has been an exiting week for Number One Son with his first day with a new teacher in Year 2, starting in the Beavers in the village and attending his first political event. The last actually was a village fête where it was noticable that the Green stall had persons with children meeting the public. The age profile could not have been more different from the parish council as a whole as a glance to the parish council stand could prove.

We were first a little bit doubtful about the Beavers, since Number One Son could not fit to the Thursday group that would have included a leader with SEN experience. However, it turned out that there are a number of children who know Number One Son from the after school club. There were also several children from now-former NCT coffee group in the village. He will require some nudging into team work, but he seemed to have fun. And he was ready to go straight away back the following day (as his sense of time is not as fine as that of his peers).

A magician made the favorite toy for the kids

The Beavers would have performed in the fête as well. There were some children without the full uniform we assumed was the requirement, but by the time they started, Number One Son had been in the grounds already for three hours and had green face paint, so it would not have been very appropriate. He was also right in the middle of playing with his friends, so it would have been pointless to drag him anywhere. He will have time to do it next year.

The Ratby brass band in the fête

The current spending review however is bringing some worries to my mind. The Leicestershire County Council has already made noises that they may cut services to vulnerable adults and children. With Number One Son's speech improving, but clearly behind in communication and general maturity from his class mates and some new signs of potential reading trouble looming, will his problems be serious enough to merit proper support in the future? Will government see behind their policies and realise what it actually means if they cut local government spending? The suggestion to give all 8-year-olds a library card - potentially to a library that does not exist any more, is (wo)manned by non-professionals doing free what is a statutory service or have a library that is not buying in any books actually - shows that they do not understand the consequences of their own policies. One starts to wonder why we actually pay the government, if it does not want to serve the people with services.

The medieval corner in the fête