Saturday, 27 February 2016

'I miss Mummy so much'

Now when I am not staying in the Youth Hostel any more in Stockholm, I have managed to get back into the old routine. When I do not have some other event - and this week there has been slightly more than usually - I have resumed my evening Skyping habit. I have even started to read Number One Son his bedtime story again, the habit that was distrupted by the stays in the Youth Hostel and slightly earlier skyping times. Having a reliable wifi and a fully working external web camera help as well. Now we are reading about a two small school girls and how one of them is starting to skip school after bullying.

Now when Number One Son is getting bigger, he is also getting more vocal about the way he misses me. He just made his feelings known some minutes ago. Luckily, by coincidence, I will manage to be home for the UK Mothering Day, even if its very existence manages to surprise me every year. The Finnish May Mothers' Day is so engrained to my unconscious, I normally only notice during the very weekend. This year I was a bit early with my realisation, which was turned to a slight irritation, when I noticed that a conference I will be hopping in to and out from at Leicester will be during the same weekend. Not all archaeologists are women or mothers, but it would be nice if somebody noticed these things. It is quite clear that the two-day conference in my case will be a one-day one. In addition, since Archaeologist Husband's Best Man is coming to the conference as well, I can already see from my crystal ball that the 'Ulla Rajala' in the wine reception will have a loud Hawaiian shirt and a stubble beard...

It may even be that the Mothering Day Lunch may be eaten in the city with Best Man joining us or being saluted before he heads back to the south coast.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Dinos and dinners

Cupcakes in the village

Since I am again the away parent, the half-term holiday is naturally my responsibility. Especially, because after a long, almost scary draught in the contract front, Archaeologist Husband suddenly gets contracts from left, right and centre. Suddenly we can breathe more freely – at least for a moment. The EU referendum has now been set for June 23 and we wives in today’s Finnish Saturday school did realise that none of us is actually a British national. The one of us who has been in the country the longest is the one the most vocal about the fact that we cannot vote about our families’ futures. It did not matter before in UK, but now for party political reasons, life has been suddenly made uncertain for many settled couples and our children.

The week starts with chores that have to be done. The cat needs her stabs, so Archaeologist Husband and Number One Son head to the vet’s practice. I have my annual dentist’s appointment and get suggested an electric tooth brush (my technique while busy and stressed leaves things to be wished for). On Tuesday I drag Number One Son to the barber’s – avoiding the mad rush of all parents on Friday. I begin to get an idea what I should be asking for, but I still give blank looks when they ask how I want it. ‘Short’ is not apparently giving them enough directions. Number One Son hates barber trips, so I chose a sunny day when I had promised to take him to the local cafe for a cup cake and a juice. Now he suddenly declares undying love for all things barbery.

Bird box screws need screwing

On Tuesday afternoon we head to the community library (local councils want to cut all statutory services to the bone and shed all non-statutory ones as far as possible) for some bird box making. A nice idea, but perhaps not for five- and six-year olds. The teens do not usually come to these events – if they do bird boxes, it is in the scouts, guides or some nature youth club. Getting screws to bite into wood takes some force, so it was good a granddad could be loaned for a moment. Some other granddads did resort using electric tools in the end...

Sweets in the movies

On Wednesday it was bucketing down, so naturally I was driving up the wet and misty M1. We headed to IKEA to fulfil some Swedish meatball and cake needs – but not by Number One Son. He was quite happy with his chicken bits and jelly, not some Scandinavian fare. However, he was delighted that there was a single slot to the play area when we arrived. He got half an hour in a ball pit before checking bedroom furniture. He really begins to be a tweenie. We have now made notes for his new chair and chosen some wardrobe and drawer units that will be purchased later in the spring.

Also playdates with friends

The latter part of the week was dedicated to dinosaurs. Not only had we realised that there were new episodes for ‘Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures’, renamed as ‘Prehistoric Adventures’, but Number One Son wanted to see The Good Dinosaur, a Pixar movie on a cheap morning show. These are safer when his behaviour in the movies is uncertain and he could walk out at any moment. So cheap and cheerful it is – with added sweets or popcorn. He did have an emotional treat, but I had to bite my tongue not to slag the movie when he was hearing. Farming dinosaurs? Maize? Chicken? Cowboy character dinos? Oh my... Nice computer animation, though, pity the Americanization of a traditional getting lost and coming back story. But this movie ended up having the traditional single parent story line. Pixar only seems to do traditional families in The Incredibles (we have not seen Inside Out, yet).

Exploring in the New Walk Museum

On Friday it was a trip to the city centre. Nominally, to go to do a dino door hanger in the New Walk Museum, as we did, but also for me to run some bank errands plus head to the McDonalds for our traditional half-term Happy Meals. I got a Hello Kitty Supergirl watch. So how was your week?

Hello Kitty!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

After pancakes – they start Valentine early!

This week has been a normal one in relation to apologies. Even if I am at home, I could not make the parents’ evening, because I had already going to London. A slight bout of guilt, but Archaelogist Husband has been here all term, so he is the right person to talk about his homework and such issue. I have now the responsibility for the holiday project. In any case, Number One Teacher was happy to see me doing the school run again. Especially, because I had bought Number One a new decent winter coat. It is amazing what a difference a nice black coat with fake fur lining the hood makes in comparison to a light blue one that has that clear stained grey hue the old coats have.

This week Archaeologist Husband made us pancakes for the Pancake Day. Now we are in Lent, but since it is also the Valentine’s day, I think sticking to fish is unlikely to happen. Or did not happen, since I took Archaeologist Husband to our favourite [not cheapest] Italian, where I could show in precise and tangible terms, what he is worth to me. Plus the babysitter’s fee. We even managed to have a pop to our local where we exchanged the latest with the ex-neighbour. I do not like pink or overload of hearts, so celebrating your spouse is not only practical, it allows you to be romantic in your own terms. And there is space in the restaurant.

I have already in my earlier blogs touched the realisation that my son starts to be on the verge of tweenieship – even if he is not as mature as his peers. This week more than confirmed that notion. He now has ‘his best girl’ and he is ‘a best boy’ for a girl in her class. Number One Son got a letter telling how this girl feels about him – with a sensible amount of pink and hearts – and a bracelet. This meant that we needed to get a Valentine’s gift for the last school day before the half-term. I never foresaw that I will be helping my six-year-old doing this...

Now it is the beginning of the half-term, Archaeologist Husband is having a cold and Number One Son is sniffing all the time. I have been shivering for two days and peeking TV from under a blanket in the evenings. I can see where this is going!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

'Did I miss it'?

A Finnish schooler

This week I heard to my surprise that Number One Son had been extremely worried the Saturday earlier that he had missed the Finnish Saturday School in the East Midlands. This was something unheard of, but he has enjoyed lately his run arounds with a Favourite Girl and the little boys who come to the Saturday school. This week though, there was a disappointment. The Favourite Girl had decided to take up ice hockey - to follow Finnish cultural practices - and was in Coventry with her mother. It is now unclear if this will be a constant feature of Saturdays, but we will see. Luckily, there was a little boy of similar age to cause mayhem with.

This was a Saturday of cakes. The lady in the baking turn had come up with several lovely cakes and tarts with raspberries, strawberries and chocolate. Everybody was totally gobsmacked. Being not a good day, she could not even stay and enjoy her handywork but was rushing off leaving us marvelling the amount of cake.

It will be interesting to see how long this enthusiasm for the Finnish School lasts. The tweenie schoolers in their group did not look exactly as enthusiastic as the smaller ones who were drawing and crafting. Nevertheless, it is nice to know that both the Beavers and the Finnish School keep Number One Son happy. He also asked us to go swimming without prompting. It is truly amazing.

Monday, 1 February 2016


I have recently been really losing it. During our Skype sessions, I hardly get a look on when Number One Son is saying hello and running back to TV or computer, depending on which gadget Archaeologist Husband or Number One Son is calling or taking a call. I have seen Daleks roaming a Minecraft area while chatting on a mobile phone, spitting a flash of blond hair in a school uniform quickly running back and forth from the computer to the TV / tablet and been shown long shots of our cat (returned) instead of our son. Aren't modern communications wonderful?

Well, on the up side, I and Archaeologist Husband can chat more, even if it has been lately rather much on house improvements and different jobs coming and going. Although now when I have been paid again, I am supposed to get romantic again and take Archaeologist Husband out... These are no hints but disguised demands. He really likes his Italian food in our local restaurant. It has been voted the best in the East Midlands or Britain or something

Number One Son is not only running away from any skyping device but also starting increasingly finding the kind of things funny the little boys find funny. I have heard quite a lot of 'I am only joking' remark together with a lot of laughter. I have also taken to the habit of pulling faces in order to make him stop and pay some attention to my calls. On the other hand, last summer's infrequent comments about bums on some information boards on Roman baths have changed to the shows of a lot of naked torso when pyjama should go on. Luckily he still listens when I am reading in the evenings - when I have a possibility. The later bed times mean that due to the time difference I cannot always hang around to do skyping but have to do other matters. Or just be an old lady and go to sleep.