Monday, 30 November 2009

Bacon fever

Just over two weeks ago we managed to get jabs for the kids for the swine flu. There has been mild hysteria here as the number of confirmed cases has been rising in Autumn (when it's traditional for flu outbreaks and magsjuka (vomitting & diahorrea)).

This has been compounded by the risk groups getting the jabs first (quite rightly) and then it being opened up to children - but the demand vastly exceeded supply. So we'd been to the local clinic a couple of times in the previous week - too late as the stocks had run out.

Anyway the other Friday a local clinic had 8-10am and 1-3pm slots. Turning up a little after 9 was hopeless as stocks had already been allocated to those queing - I found out from a work colleague who'd turned up at 7:50 that the stocks had been allocated already then!

So we returned at 12:10 - and I was no 27 in the queue already! It was a cold afternoon and I wasn't properly dressed. The kids and mum turned up about 10 minutes later - then we were a group that were improperly dressed - with a miserable wait ahead of us!

Eventually the doors opened at 12:50 and we were allocated tickets to return at 1:30 - at least we'd got them - the queue behind us was already very long! We could go and get a coffee and hope that my feet de-frosted.

The jabs went well - although an unpleasant shock for Emily. About 2-3 hours later Alice was showing symptoms of effects - a fever over 39c and aches and pains everywhere. We gave her some painkillers around bedtime and that did the trick for a night's sleep - within about 20 hours she was back to herself again.

Emily's reaction to the shot was the opposite - it was as though she'd had an adrenalin shot and was rushing about at full speed!

We had a mild version compared to a work colleague. They had both their daughters vaccinated and one daughter had the symptoms for a week - high fever and vomitting. Talk about luck...

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Truth Hurts!

You have to be careful what you say in front of 4-5 year-olds!

Recently we'd made a comment about a neighbours driving - they were using the car bumpers "liberally" to get out of a parking space.

Well a couple of weeks later mum, Alice and Emily met the neighbour in the street. It's always a friendly chat about things going on in the neighbourhood and how Alice and Emily are getting on at nursery.

However, today Alice a question in mind: "Why are you so bad at parking?"

Now it was time for mum to pay close attention to something Emily was doing and let Alice handle that conversation herself... In good humour the neighbour accepted the observations and everyone are still friends!

But now we know we have to be extra careful what we're saying in front of Alice!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Swedish Father's Day

No not a day only for Swedish fathers, but a "father's day" in Sweden.

This year it was in danger of going by unnoticed - I didn't do any prompting (partly because it wasn't marked in the calendar.)

The adverts surfaced a few days before and then on Saturday mum and Alice where going out "shopping" - mainly for sweets for Alice. But before going Alice asked my what I wanted for father's day. I said I didn't or mind.

Then Alice saw "an opportunity and she took it" (a la "Flushed Away")

A: Would you like an animal?
Me: What sort of animal?

A: A cat maybe?
Me: No (laughing)

A: A dog then?
Me: No

A: Mmm, maybe a horse?
Me: ha ha ha

So, the mind-washing continues!

Alice really wants a cat (or a dog, or anything big enough to survive a lot of clapping and hugging...) She doesn't miss an opportunity - but now she's making it look like it's something for me! What a mind for a soon-to-be-5yro!

Well fathers day arrived and in trooped mum and the kids to wake me up with a song - except there is no father's day song - so Alice was singing "happy birthday" in Swedish!

I got a really nice handmade ghost from Alice, a comb(!) a very nice cream-and-rhubarb-and-banana home-made cake and a card that Alice picked:-

O, the brain-washing continues!!!! Drip, drip, drip,...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Confusing Animals

The other day we saw a neighbour who was out walking the dog. A big dog. We went over the talk and for Alice to pat the dog. In the meantime Emily kept saying, "Meow."

C for Camel
Image by jACK TWO via Flickr

Alice likes camels. She's ridden them on two different occasions - the two-humped variety (Bactarian?) This is very handy for kids - they slot nicely between the humps as a type of protection - sort of ready-made air-bags!

She also likes zebras - because they're stripy. Emily gets zebras correct - making a neighing sound. But Alice confuses zebras and camels - just at the moment if you show her a zebra she'll call it a camel.

Latest addition to the vocabulary for Alice: Optopus

All this confusion is probably not helped by learning them in two languages!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Alice has now got into the age where she's interested in the "traditions" associated with halloween.

It started a couple of weeks ago when the big pumpkins started appearing in the shops. "Can we get one..." We'd never carved a pumpkin but thought "why not".

When I was little we carved out swedes - but that's another story...

On Friday Bollibompa (kids tv program) did a special on pumpkin carving, pies, halloween etc. Alice spotted two recipes on there and re-told them about how to make pumpkin crisps and roast the pumpkin seeds - sprinkle with salt and oil and put in the oven. I was impressed by the attention to detail...

Then there was the trick-or-treat requests...

So we bought a pumpkin the weekend before without really knowing what to do with it. A bit of "interwebbing" gave a few tips - one being about how to stop it drying out. We didn't have anything for that so we delayed the carving - which was a good tip.

Mum did the carving out on Friday evening. A good job to produce a suitably spooky look:

Kiss or Treat
Alice wanted to go trick-or-treating. I think this was something being discussed by the kids at nursery.

In swedish "trick or treat" is "Buss eller Godis" - literally "Trick or sweets". Alice had misheard this or mis-pronounced this as "Puss eller godis" - literally "Kiss or Sweets" - which sounded much funnier...

Anyway, there had been a lot of requests from Alice to do this and neither me or mum were very keen on doing this - too tired after a full day on Saturday.

Just as the discussion had finished there was a knock on the door. Two nursery friends and a mum were trick-or-treating and wanted to see if Alice would join in.


Well I've never seen her do a change of clothes so quickly. Within seconds a sleeping beauty dress was on (to match the other two girls) and she was ready for the off.

About an hour later a very happy girl returned with a load of sweets! A happy ending to the day.

Tired Pumpkin

The pumpkin dried out within a couple of days and started looking tired (or maybe more angry):-

Until next year...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Joke Telling

Alice told a joke the other day, which I thought was really impressive.

It was one she'd heard on kids tv, but it illustrated a few development points.

  • Being able to remember a story
  • Re-tell a story in a funny way - building-up to the punchline
  • Demonstrating a sense of humour

It make me chuckle. What was the joke?

If was a Bellman joke:
A Frenchman, Russian and Bellman were on a farm and wanted to see how long they could be in with the pigs.
The Frenchman went into a pig sty and came out after a couple of minutes, "Aw, the pig farted on me!"
Next the Russian went in, but came out after 10 minutes, "Aw, the pig farted on me!"
Then it was Bellman's turn. He went into the pig sty. After 2 hours the pig came out, "Aw, Bellman farted on me!"

Ha, ha...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Pippi Obsession!

Emily's latest obsession is Pippi Långstrump (longstocking).

Any Pippi mention or sighting usually triggers it - she will start bouncy up and down and saying "pippi" - this means she wants you to sing Pippi's song. The singing has to happen and then she bounces up and down in time to the song.

She has one item of Pippi clothing (a top) and two pippi dolls (inheritted from Alice) - there are several Pippi DVD's and a couple of books that can also trigger the demand for singing.

Well the Pippi top is a favourite item of clothing and when she's at nursery she'll apparently walk around pointing to the pippi picture on her top saying, "pippi."

This is a trick because people responding to this and maybe even (foolishly) singing are going to get a lot of visits from Emily!

One of the staff said the other day that she'd had to sing the song more than 20 times - when Emily had the top on. One of the other staff brought a pippi doll in for Emily - so now she has a prop and a prompt for when she's not wearing the pippi top. She also mentioned (jokingly) that she'd be glad when the top was too dirty to be worn.

Well, this weekend we've added to the obsession and potential torment. Emily has now got some pippi tights, 2 more pippi tops and a pair of pippi gloves. Can't wait to see the faces of the staff at nursery!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

When The Bedtime Story Bites Back!

During the week the bedtime routine can be tough! The kids have had a full day of running about in dagis whilst mum & dad have leaving/picking-up from dagis - with the early work start and late work finish that brings.

So, this whole routine occasionally takes its toll on us all. Today was no exception!

It was my turn to read a bedtime story to Alice. Emily had her own story with mum. I was very tired, so the two books we'd picked to read could be a challenge - especially as I was lying down with my head on a pillow whilst reading.

I generally put some effort into the characters for the stories - this makes it more interesting all round.

First book, Alfons Åberg (or Alfie Atkins in English) bedtime - story of a 4year-old not wanting to go to sleep and trying several different tricks to stay awake whilst his father was getting more and more tired, link. Exactly like tonight, as Alice was delaying as long as possible getting into bed and then settling down...

Anyway, this is a very nice story - quite soothing and usually does the trick about nearly inducing sleep - if we start with this book there's sometimes no need for a second. Well on this occasion it did it's best to induce sleep into me!

Alice recognises the symptoms - the pauses between sentences or pages get longer - then it's a reminder, "pappa!" So she's as much to do with us getting to the end of the story as I am.

Well, we made it through the first then it was time for the second choice: Julia Donaldson's "The Smartest Giant in Town" - another favourite. This was a struggle for me - Alice was having to work to get us to the end of the book - I was in danger of falling into a deep sleep mid-way through!

So, we made it through two books. Reading light out. Alice wasn't sleepy enough yet... But that's the last I remember - after a few minutes I'd drifted off to the land of nod - to wake up a couple of hours later.

Just like in the Alfie Atkins story - where Alfie finally decides to go to sleep because his daddy falls asleep first - Alice usually gives up and goes to sleep when I've dropped off...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Over the past few weeks I've been going out with Alice to try and learn to ride. I took the stabilisers off and attached a support handle.

First Time
I wasn't quite sure what approach to take. Attention spans aren't great at that age and distractions are many. So I decided to go to basics. This meant not letting Alice fall and talking about problems and how to correct. Needless to say, after about 20 minutes she'd had enough and wasn't talking to me!

Second Time
After the first occasion it took a while to coax her out onto the bike again. So there was about a 2 week gap to the next time. This time I was making sure she didn't fall and let her get used to the balance. However, there were still things to work on with starting, stopping and steering. Much better result in terms of self-confidence.

In the meantime I'd been taking her to nursery on the scooter and really encouraging her to practice on the balance - go as far as she could at different speeds without any feet on the floor.

Third Time
Last weekend was the third time out. She was out with "brorbror" and apparently went very well - being able to stop on her own.

Fourth Time
Today was a good day. I hardly held the bike at all. She was telling me to let go when I wasn't even holding. Starting, stopping and balance were all good. We practised going in a circle slowly. Just need a bit more practice on steering and concentration. But it was a good day.

Now she needs a bigger bike. Maybe I can use that instead of a cat that she wants...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Close Encounters!

Last week we had an outing to Skansen. The second time in two weeks.

We had a full afternoon of looking at different animals - cats, pigs, goats, elk, bears, seal and otters before we were getting peckish and thoughts were turning to food. So, off we headed to one of the restaurants that was a 10 minute hike.

But Alice was lagging behind. When I asked her what she was doing she said se was collecting nuts (acorns) for the squirrels and that if we saw a squirrel we should let her know.

Red Squirrels
There are quite a few red squirrels at Skansen - and if you're lucky you can see one fairly close.

Early in the summer we had visited Skansen and a squirrel approached within 5 metres of platform near the bear enclosure. Alice managed to go forward and tempt it to her - but half-lunging to give it a hug. So, after that occasion she believes that squirrels like her.

After a few minutes walking we saw a squirrel near the path ahead. Alice headed forward with her acorns and crounched down calmly and held them out. We kept our distance to see what would happen.

Feeding Time
We were surprised to see it come forward, take an acorn from her palm and start eating there in front of her. Maybe it was the same one that had been half hugged by Alice earlier in the summer - and so had some sort of bond with her.

We watched this spectical for about five minutes (myself trying to take a few pictures) before Alice got impatient and went for the hug/stroke. This got the little fella skittish - gave Alice a little scratch and off it went.

Exercise Time
But Alice still had a couple of acorns... So the little fella was coaxed out again.

By this time the squirrel was a bit more jumpy - and so was Alice. So, whilst Alice got half a stroke of the squirrel, in its jumpy state it was Emily who got the real close-up!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Doubting Daughter!

Alice was very pleased to get her old pillow case to take home, here, from nursery. I think she had forgotten that we'd prepared it for her 3 years ago.

This forgotten pillow case probably contributed to here reaction when she saw the pillow case done for Emily (here):-
Alice: Did you do that?

Me: Yes.

Alice: Are you tricking me?

Me: No.

Alice: Are you sure?

Me: Yes. (laughing - which didn't help!)

The idea of being "tricked" is a phase she's going through now - pretty much a continuation from the April fools jokes, here.

At least, I hope it's just a phase....

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Pillow Case done!

Emily is currently going through her familiarisation (in-schooling) with dagis (nursery) and today she will sleep there for the first time (maybe!)

All the kids have personalized pillows/pillow covers and so we made one for Emily. When Alice was sleeping at dagis her pillow cover was of Mumin Mamma, here. Emily also likes mumin - and Pippi (långstrump/longstocking) and Upsy Daisy.

In the end I went for Upsy Daisy:-

She's had it at home for a few days now - calling it 'Daisy'. I'm waiting to see how it goes today - on standby in case I need to go in.

Nervous Kids
The dagis has some blueprints on the walls from when the building was put up in the 40's. The blueprint shows different rooms for the children, a kitchen, bathroom and store rooms.

However, it was another room that caught my eye - a separate room marked on the plans as being for "nervous children"!

I've seen a couple of candidates for that title in the past - but they're cared for differently these days!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Just like big sis

Day three of Emily's intro to dagis (nursery) and I'm trying to get us all organised so that we're there in good time. I want to get there so that we have a little time with Alice there instead of just dumping her and rushing off...

Getting Ready
The getting ready routine in the household is usually "last-minute". Not quite the smooth "just-in-time" approach of Toyota, but more a panic-striken attempt to beat the clock (there's probably some comic game-show analogy there...)

We're also not used to using the clock - we've never really been in a rush for Alice to get to dagis - unless there was some outing or activity starting at a certain time. So changing that around has been a shock to the system - for all of us.

The "just-in-time" approach means breakfast, tv, teeth-brushing, getting dressed and out of the door. Ideally the tv time should be as little as possible to minimise a tv-coma effect - easier said than done if I need to do some extra preparation...

I would ideally like to organise the clothes the previous night but as we're soon moving into autumn there can be more variation in the weather. So everything starts with checking the thermoter for the outside temperature. Alice will always want to wear the minimum amount of clothes but the thermometer will indicate whether she'll start out in a summer dress, 3/4 length trousers, rain gear, sandals, trainers, wellies, socks or no-socks etc, etc.

Beat the clock
Getting clothes organised for both and teeth brushed.... I start brushing my teeth and give a brush to Emily (not so much brushing for Emily but getting a little bit of flouride on the teeth is the aim). Emily wanders off.

Alice pops her head around the bathroom door to ask a question.


She's drawn in biro all over her face.... Ok she'll have to go like that. I finish brushing my teeth and fetch the clothes I'd picked out for Emily and return.


Emily has found a blue marker pen that Alice had been using - Alice didn't notice due to a tv-induced coma... Blue ink in the face and all down both legs!

I manage to get most ink off the face - but she still has a blue tinge. Too much ink on the legs - and I'd manage to pick shorts for today! Oh well, we're out of time so we have to go.

Proshers at workImage via Wikipedia

So I turn up to dagis with Alice sporting a biro beard, moustache and glasses and Emily, who as a look of a smurf about her....

I'm not sure if I was getting sympathy, pity or "just another hopeless dad..." judgement from the people I met...

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Getting back to reality

Alice started nursery again last week. Emily started "in-schooling" this week. Discussing this with one of the teachers last week it was mentioned that it will soon be "back to reality" time for me - returning to work... Mixed feelings...

This is the process of familiarisation for the children, to get used to the new environment, people, routines and the parents disappearing. Each nursery has their own way of doing it - some taking 2-3 days and some taking 2-3 weeks.

Emily's nursery will take about 2 weeks (maybe slightly more or less, depending on progress.) The routine is a gradual introduction - we'll be there no more than 1 hour per day for the first week. Then it will gradually step up so that by the end of the second week Emily can hopefully be there the whole day.

Tuesday 25-08-09
Today was Emily's first day - just 30 minutes - enough for her to get a taste of things and for me to get the schedule for the next 2 weeks - the expected time it will take before she's there without me.

It was just her, some of the teachers and me for the first day. The other children and parents will be together from the second day.

It started very quietly - at first just sitting on my knee and didn't want to do anything.

My thoughts beforehand had been that it would be easier for Emily than it had been for Alice because she was already familiar with parts of nursery. But, of course, that's being familiar with Alice's parts of nursery - Emily is in a different department and so nearly everything is new.

It is familiar for me - being the department that Alice started in - called Tromben, meaning tornado - quite apt for the way the children can be... The other departments are Stormen (Storm), Orkanen (Hurricane) and Virvelvinden (Whirlwind) - Alice's current department -
again very fitting!

Emily was coaxed into life by a toy sheep and then a fish tank - empty as the fish hadn't arrived. After a while she got a bit more lively but still being a little subdued compared to her normal self - could have been tired (she slept for 2.5 hours after lunch.)

It was only as we were leaving (her saying "hej då" (bye) in a very sweet voice) that we saw another room full of plastic cutlery and plates that she dived in and wanted to play.

Pillow Case
On Monday Alice's pillow case (right) was returned - she hasn't used it in a long time at nursery
and now she's just started the final year. The pillow case is for their sleeping - something made by the parents usually with things that the children will relate to.

Alice was a big mumin fan when she was smaller, hence the design on the pillow case. I did a few practice drawings and this picture of mumin mamma was fairly straightforward - and it was popular.

Mumin is still on in the household now and again. Emily is picking up the theme tune - occasionally singing along to the "ma-mamma-ma, pa-pa-pappa...". Now mentioning mumin to Emily triggers the singing...

Now it will be time to make one for Emily. It's either going to be Upsy Daisy (or 'daisy' as Emily says) or Pippi Långstrump. Daisy is easier, so we'll see....

Wednesday 26-08-09
Second day and an hour for Emily. Five new children all together with 6 parents sat around a small table trying to be "passive" - boring to the kids, so that they get involved with the toys and teachers. We didn't succeed in being passive all of the time.

Emily wanted to sit with me quite a bit in the beginning - again everything new (children and parents) and this is to be expected.

This is the third time I've done the in-schooling but I don't think of myself as an expert. I'm preparing myself that this time will be different from the other times - children are unpredictable...

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Summer of Swimming

A long holiday for all of us. Lots of travelling and lots of swimming - indoor pools, outdoor pools, in lakes, in a red sea and in a delta next to nudists!


Kolmarden Dolphin Show Sweden 2004Image via Wikipedia

Started the holiday here - a day out.

We usually fit in a couple of trips - just one so far - it's the wasp season now (August), so advisable to stay away.

This was where Alice enountered "large mice". Both Alice and Emily did some bathing.


SöderbysjönImage by elisabet.s via Flickr

We had a few days in Stockholm. These mainly focused around bathing - in lakes and swimming pools.

We cycled out to a lake to bathe with some ducks (in söderbysjön - right) - hadn't bathed there for a couple of years. Emily was a bit shy of the water whilst Alice was wanting to go further and further after flowers from water lillies. Must get her into swimming lessons soon!

Another popular trip was to Eriksdalsbadet and the water slides and indoor whirlpools. Water slides and sore feet -> tender.

Off to see the family in the UK. Alice had a few concerns about how advanced they were in the UK, here. It was here that a few English phrases started flowing.

A real hit for Alice for Temple Newsam - or really it's home farm. Whilst Alice and Emily have been to see animals before they've never been given a bag of food (grass pellets) to feed the sheep. So Alice was very popular with the sheep (whilst the food lasted) - and she loved it.

It was also here that Alice discovered hair flatteners - having flat hair for a day. Queue request next birthday!

This was Emily's first time on a plane - and it went fairly smoothly. Alice liked the sweets that we had with us for the plane!


Villa Villekulla / Villa Kunterbunt from the p...Image via Wikipedia

No rest from returning from the UK. Ferry to Gotland. We hired a
caravan by a favourite beach, Sandviken.

Lots of rain when we got there but we got a few days of warm sunshine.

We had two days in Kneippbyn - home to Pippi Longstocking's (Pippi Långstrump) house (right) - Villa Villekulla - and the connected waterland.

There was plenty of time in the pools and on the rides.

More Bathing.

HellasgårdenImage by Niklas Jakobsen via Flickr

We had a trip to Hellasgården (right) - a place where we could bathe in a kid-friendly spot with a little beach and still be surrounded by the wildlife.

But remember to respect the wildlife! I remember being there a few years ago and seeing a father show-off to his son - how to catch a crayfish. Well the crayfish caught him - the father jumping up out
of the water with a crayfish clasping to his index finger.

Emily loved the ducks - herself waddling after them - trying to catch them. The toy dinghy was launched for the first time - although Emily preferred sitting in it on dry land - or just dragging it around.

Alice was swimming well with her arm puffs - with some other girls. After a while they wanted to take their arm rings off. Then Alice tried the breast stroke - and sank like a stone. Got over-confident with the arm rings - time for swimming lessons!

Then it was off up to the stuga, here.

We were there for a few weeks and did quite a lot. As well as Alice engaging with the neighbours, there were quite a few other things happening.

There was the obligatory trip to the local baths - once Alice discovered it had a waterslide! Alice even learnt to doggy-paddle.

In Search of Cheese
We'd heard of a local place that made their own feta cheese and brie and they were open late in the evenings. So one evening off we went - it all sounded so easy - bu we were driving around the countryside for 2 hours - lots of small roads - before finding the place, here. Then it was closed - it was only open late on Wednesdays!

Monday. We had an outing to see an am-dram production of children's sagas, here, at the dead falls (döda fallet). One of the stars of the show (at least for us) was our pram!

Back to the cheese
Wednesday came. Off to try again. This time we got updated local instructions meaning that we got there in no time. Rotsjögård - no mobile reception here. They had a cafe and a boutique. However, as soon as we got out of the car Alice and Emily were off to see the goats.

In the cafe we were able to buy some very nice cakes but also some food pellets for the goats. Hurrah!

This was great news for Alice - she could feed the goats and show Emily how to do it.

After a coffee and cake I checked up on the goat feeding. Alice was very
popular with the goats. She was sharing the pellets with Emily so that she could join in.

However, Emily wasn't paying close attention to what Alice was doing and so she was stopping them in her mouth. That's when I jumped in....

We stocked-up on a few varieties of cheese before heading off.

To Paint a House
The stuga needed painting. A grey was chosen - it had sparkly bits in it making it resemble a form of nail varnish. All visitors were roped in to help paint. I did the least on the main house as I was making a more child-friendly track down to the water.

I painted the small building - it was whilst cleaning up the brushes afterwards that I managed to get covered in a lot of paintbrush water - with its nice glittery grey colour. I was the glitter man - or was it glimmer man?

Sea Bathing
The neighbours told us about a local cove by the sea with very good bathing for kids, Åvike.

A circular cove with very shallow water fed by two iron-rich streams. This gave the clear water a red tinge - surreal. So we could say we swam in the red sea. Alice was crazy about bathing, as usual, Emily less so.

We returned a couple of days later with sausages and bbq to have supper on the beach and a swim, Emily flavouring her sausages with sand!

We also went sea bathing at the Indalsälven delta.

This is a nature reservation near the airport and interestingly enough
has a nudist beach - is it ethical tohave a nudist beach under a flight path?

However, on the afternoon we were there no planes flew over and the sea was incredibly warm - must've been well over 24c.

It being a delta meant that we had to cross a couple of rope bridges to get there - great fun but no good for the sea legs!

The High Coast (Höga Kusten)
We visited the other stuga for a couple of nights. We were trying to time it with decent weather and didn't do too badly. This was back to basics time for Alice - no electricity and so no tv!

We took several dips in the the bay. Alice discovered a colony of small frogs. These were great to just "go off and visit" - we didn't forget to say goodbye to them before leaving.

On the way back we took a tourist route (southern high coast tourist route) - very picturesque.

Bönhamn rocksImage by Xesc via Flickr

Stopped off for lunch at an old fishing village, Bönhamn. But it seemed like it was shut!

Luckily we had sandwiches - so it was a picnic by the sea.

Alice had a dip in the sea - a bit cool! I bumped into a group of Spanish hippies looking for "water without gas" - but the place was shut...

Driving further south we stopped off at another nature reserve that contained a popular bathing spot, Rotsidan, unusual for its red rocks. No bathing there - we dipped our feet and the water was extremely cold. We managed to lose mum in the forest trail to the sea...

Beaver Search
There had been various sightings of our local beavers. Alice wanted to go out and see them. So the last night before returning to Stockholm we took the canoe out in search, here.

"Can we go home now?"
This was the recurring question for the last 10 days that we were away from home.

For Alice the novelty had worn off. Country life was boring. She wanted to be back in the big city - indoor swimming pools, waterslides and cable tv!

Every day that seemingly had another delay to our departure date or addition to the itinerary was another disappointment.

Heading Home
We overnighted by the lake and then returned to Stockholm, making a petrol stop at the

Dragon Gate, Älvkarleby, SwedenImage via Wikipedia

Dragon's Gate. A very unusual "motorway stop".

This is a Chinese-built, Chinese-run restaurant and museum.

We stopped there late so didn't see the museum - but it apparently has 200 life-size terracotta warriors. Not bad for a motorway stop!

Maybe next time we'll have a closer look...

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Monday, 24 August 2009

Beaver search

The last night at the stuga Alice and I went out to try and see the local beaver.

It was approaching 8pm - perfect time for beaver watching - sun is on the way down but still plenty of visibility, quiet on the water and this is idle for beavers - they can get out and do their thing without disturbance.

A fleece, life jacket, hat and binoculars for Alice - so she looked the part for an adventure. A hat and binoculars for me and we were ready. Just collect the oars and off to launch the canoe.

The canoe was parked on the hillside and so launch was fairly easy - just point downhill and let slowly into the water.

As it entered the water I noticed a bit of water coming in at the front. The canoe wasn't ideal for Alice and myself - slightly unruly and not easy to distribute the weight well - launching into a cross-wind didn't help. Hmm, maybe I should have put on a life jacket as well.

The Search
Alice "helped" with the paddling - which sometimes seemed like we were counter-acting each other. After 5-10 minutes paddling we were about 50 metres from the beaver's lodge. All stop.

Then we saw it - head out of the water, doing a breast stroke - or whatever the beaver-equivalent is. We paddled gently and drifted nearer to get a better look.

"Quiet" Observation
Time for binoculars. Alice's pair were by her feet under the seat. It wasn't easy for her to get them - being trussed-up like a turkey in her life jacket.

The combination of her trying to get the binoculars, rocking the canoe, us turning into a cross-wind, me trying to steady the canoe and stop us tipping over meant that the beaver was gone.

The whispering at the top of our voices probably didn't help either!

It had had enough of our laurel-n-hardy attempts at nature watching and swam off - probably to somewhere quieter! Alice saw it splash its tail as it went. Obviously in disgust!

We circled around and drifted further out but the beaver didn't reappear. Time to head home.

At least we got back dry!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

"There's your pram!"

A couple of weeks ago we had an outing to Döda Fallet (the dead falls) to see an outdoor performance of children's tales.

The performance (from a local am-dram group) included several classic tales as well as some new ones:

Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, The Three Little Pigs, The Boy and the Trolls, The Gruffalo (pictured), Gnällmåns and The Gruffalo's Child.

Döda fallet
The döda fallet is a site of natural wonder but also has an open-air theatre, with a unique feature in Sweden that we were to discover later....

It was about a 90 minute drive by some of the smaller roads in the area - rain and drizzle all the way - not boding well for an open-air performance. But, by the time we got there most of the rain had blown over and the sun was creeping out.

A bite to eat then off to find where to sit. We had Emily in a pram when we got to the seating platform. So we parked the pram next to the platform and then walked up the stairs to look for some seats - a lot of people were there.

Small World
Part way up we spotted Marlon, a nursery friend of Alice, up near the back. We made our way there - Alice now leading the way - surprised to meet him in the middle of "nowhere", 560km from their nursery!

We sat by Marlon (and his grandparents) and so they were both happy.

Scene Re-Arrangement
A few minutes before the start someone came along and moved the pram. From the base of the platform to behind a prop of a castle. Strange? Were they short of a prop for the tale????

Then we were off. The narrator came on and the performance started. Off to the first tale - literally! The whole seating platform revolved to the first stage scene. Yes, it was the only revolving auditorium in Sweden. That explained the pram being moved!

Marlon, like Alice, is a bit of a character.

The piece of stage scene didn't hide the pram completely (pictured) - or it had been moved so that the actors could move behind it. But now the pram was part of the performance.

Whenever we revolved to the scene where the pram was Marlon would shout out, "There's your pram!" Again and again.

At the interval we wondered about moving the pram, but no - it was now part of the scenery!

Journey Back
We took a different route for the journey back, driving along the Indalsälven - just like driving through the Alps!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Birthday preparations... T-minus 5 months!

After returning from Gotland Alice started her birthday preparartions. Only 5 months to go (at the time)!

She started telling us (in detail) about the preparations.

Alice is going to start making the invites for everyone - to be ready in time.

Presents are to be given to her in bed. She wants to be woken up by everyone singing "happy birthday". Then there is to be a single-file of people to give the presents. Mum and dad to organise crowd control.

Cake in bed.

The cards/tickets that Alice will make are to be presented to Mum & Dad. Mum & Dad will have buckets to collect all the tickets.

The attention to detail is great. We better get cracking with the preparations...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

June-July Developments

Emily passed the 17 month mark a couple of weeks ago and it's a good time to look at what's new.

Her imitation skills have developed.

She has a witches cackle now - courtesy of Alice. I'm not sure where this laugh originated for Alice but Emily is now doing it.

She occasionally imitates other types of laugh and sources of exasperation (courtesy of big sister.)

Nappies. Recently when she's filled a nappy she has started taking them off. This leads to a couple of interesting situations - usually one parent holding her at arms length and shouting for help.

She is very good at putting the right shoe on each foot without help - but also has a very good knack of losing/hiding one of the shoes - so this skill can't always be demonstrated.

She can almost say Alice - although it sometimes sounds similar to "alla" or "lala".

"Bajs" & "All gone" are slipping into the vernacular. If she doesn't say "all gone" she usually just stands up in her chair with a "Come and get me, I've finished eating" look.

Nodding & Head-Shaking
Sometimes this is uncannily in-synch with the conversation - usually the right response to the question - "do you want some ...?", " do you want anymore?", "have you finished?" etc, etc.

Although the other day when I gave her a choice between two things to eat she nodded at both - but then sometimes she does have a good apetite!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Life by the lake

At this stage of the holiday we've uprooted to the cottage by the lake.

This means a very laid back and sedate life. Maybe sometimes too sedate for Alice. She wants action - which is normally ok - but we've had a lot of rain the last few days and this has limited the opportunities.

"I saw the opportunity and I took it.."
Alice is an opportunist. She has taken to visiting the neighbours. "Off to visit Hasse" as she runs out of the door. On the last occasion this was to go and help wash down a new flag pole.

Talking to the neighbours has been initiated by Alice from which we've learnt about the number of beavers in the lake (16 between ours and the neighbouring lake - maybe justifying it as the local town's symbol), a wolf spotting and being invited to share a raft in boat bingo around the

A European BeaverImage via Wikipedia


This was a lot more beavers than we have seen. There is a beaver dam just a few hundred yards from us so we'll have to explore again when the weather improves.

During a recent visit to the neighbours a bowl of sweets came out. Alice, alert as ever, asked if she could take it home and bring it back when it was empty!

There has been one dry/sunny day in the last week - so that was the only day for bathing in the lake. With the current rain continuing, Alice is understandably wanting to go and visit someone whenever it's raining.

The newly-built sandpit has not had any visitors - no one wants to be sitting out in a rainy sandpit...

So, fingers crossed for better weather.

Helping the neighbours
In the meantime the neighbours are going to get a lot of attention from Alice. This evening Alice made a date to help with the flagpole tomorrow.

"I'll come across as soon as I wake up and get dressed," was her assurance.

"Not too early! We have to have breakfast and read the paper first."

As she's leaving she confides, "I'll come alone." I.e. I'll leave the family behind so they won't get in the way. Not bad for a 4 year old!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Kids parties and big slides

The other week Alice had a birthday party to attend. It was at an indoor adventure playground. A great event that all the kids loved.

It was a hot day so everyone was dressed in shorts and sandals. Well there was one part of the adventure playground that the kids were not trying on their own. The vertical drop slide - well they were 4 year old. So, the parents were being coaxed into action to go down the slide with the kids.

Mum wasn't having any of it, so I was volunteered. I thought yep why not - I hadn't done one before...

Helen rushes past on the vertical drop slideImage by Michael Coleman via Flickr

When we were at the top I could see why a 4 year old might be reluctant to throw themselves over the edge - this is part of their education in the past 4 years - don't cross roads without an adult, don't jump into deep water without an adult nearby - and now - it was quite natural to not throw yourself down a vertical slide without an adult!

I sat at the top with Alice on my lap, we did a count to 3 and off we went. The momentary free-fall (maybe I pushed off too hard) was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. Then contact with the slide. All good so far.

But, there were 3 points of contact on the slide - bum and 2 heels. Bare heels! Normally that wouldn't be so bad, but I had the weight of Alice to support - no amount of only-bum-balancing was going to work. Arrghhhhh...

Alice loved the slide - appropriate scream was attached - I could've let one out but for different reasons.

At the bottom I had 2 very warm heels. On closer inspection they were also very shiny and painful to walk on.

Then I looked at the other parents that had been down the slide - I could tell the ones that must've done it before - yes, they had socks on!

Later in the week we went to a swimming baths which had a couple of water slides, one tame and one faster.

Well the tame one was OK for us to go down together - this meant we went at reduced speed, although we did get stuck in some troughs. After a few goes of this - where we had to get by by bum-shuffling and pulling with the ankles - I noticed a few under-used muscles in my legs!
Not so bad, but to have a little rest we tried the bigger, faster slide - Alice was eager and it would give those newly discovered muscles a rest.

It was big and fast and good fun - almost. My tender heels hadn't quite recovered and no amount of water cushioning was going to help when I was supporting Alice on my lap.

Well, they would probably object to someone on the water slide with woolly socks!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

"I'm looking at the big mouse."

Kids are small. They don't have perspective sorted out.

Recently when we visited Kolmården, a wild-life park, we were looking at all sorts of animals. Alice got to ride on a camel, see a dolphin show, do a bungy-trampoline thing and go on a rollercoaster. There were plenty of memorable incidents, but one that comes to mind was soon after riding the camel.

Alice was away at a compound looking on intently. I approached and asked what she was looking at. "I'm looking at the big mouse."

Photo of a Capybara, formatted (and sized) as ...Image via Wikipedia

Yes, this was the sort of mouse that you'd struggle lifting up with both arms. It was a capybara...

Hopefully, perspective develops a bit - otherwise I'm very scared about the types of cats and dogs she wants as a pet!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Worried about blighty...

We're preparing for a trip over to the UK.

Alice is very excited about this, but she has some worries. In the last couple of days she's asked some telling questions:-

- Do they have sweets in England?

Try to ration this to Saturdays.

- Do they have ice cream in England?

Usually rationed to Fridays/weekends/holidays.

- Can you bathe there?

Just about every day at the minute.

A nice reflection on her priorities.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Last weekend we were away in the country for midsummer. We squeezed in most of the traditions - collection of midsummer flowers, midsummer celebration and biting insects!


Emily is getting more used to water games. She was dying to get into the lake, cold as it was - of course, she got her way. So we set up a little water for her on the grass closer to the house - a bath tub filled with lukewarm water.

Her hands were straight in there for a bit of splashing. Quickly followed by the rest of her - fully clothed. She was happy to sit there - in the sunshine fully clothed.

It's amazing how much water nappies absorb - when it came off it had grown to 5 times the size and weighed quite an amount!


It wasn't too bad for biting insects. Emily got a couple of bites without any big reaction. Alice got a few around the midriff which started swelling and we tackled with balsam.

I had a couple - one on the arm that swelled up giving me a new temporary muscle. Then one on the bum - a mozzie had hidden in the toilet - again a swelled-up reaction...

I seem to react the worst to mosquito, horse fly and gnat bites in the family (it gets

{{Potd/2005-02-1 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

me quite irritated too - another strong reaction.)

There is a suggestion that I'm comparable with the fete of the Iceland horse. -->

The Iceland horses that are brought to Sweden suffer badly from the climate (too warm?) But the ones that are born here do much better. So maybe that's why I'm the odd one out in the family.

My bites were near the elbow and the bum. So I guess I now know the difference between the 2 after all these year ;-)

Swellings have faided now, but I have a sense of solidarity with the Iceland horse...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

16m developments

Emily has just passed the 16 month old mark. Now's a good time to jot down a few notes on her latest "learnings".

In the last couple of weeks she's started taking me to where I'm needed - coming up and grabbing my little finger or trouser leg and pulling me in the direction I'm needed. It's usually to read a book.

The current vocabulary consists of "Hello" (used in an echo manner - to check for response), "Mamma", "Pappa", "Nej" (used in disagreement - when she doesn't want to do something), "Quack Quack" (used for a variety of animals - but mainly ducks/birds) and "Cuckliecoo/cock-a-doodle-doo" (used with cockerels and also in a form of "geronimo - here goes!").

She's just started doing something to get a humourous response. It started with her laughing at burping - something Alice is good at - a few weeks ago. But now she imitates it herself - but in a pre-meditated audience capture. She'll call out 'pappa' and when I look around she'll do a half-burp/half-growl - which brings a laugh from me (if only because it's so pre-meditated.) The laughing triggers a bit of repetition...

So, to me it's fascinating how she's now 'performing' for laughs...

Monday was a very sunny day. During a pre-lunch walk she discovered her shadow. She started following it for a bit then stopped. She did a 180 to see who was behind - no one. Then she glanced back over her shoulder - the shadow was now behind her - it hadn't changed direction. About turn, and carry on following...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Flowers for Mamma, Pappa & Emily

Yesterday was another day at home for Alice. She had a sore throat and there was no need for me to send her to nursery.

I did have big plans about going off to an electronics store looking for a DVD player, but that got vetoed. Alice wanted to go play in a park. If Emily could speak in sentences she would no doubt agree. Fair enough, park it is.

But now the morning preparations had dragged on so we decided to start off with lunch. Off to MacD's for some lunch including ice cream - yeah, my browny points are rising! Even though Emily didn't eat so much she still managed to do a little bit of artwork with the food - I anticipated this and covered her and the surrounding area in plastic bibs...

After lunch we headed off to a park - one that we don't visit so often. We had a good couple of hours there - it took a while to get there as Emily was keen to walk and explore on the way.

The park - called "The Big Boat Park" by the kids - has a big range of different equipment - swings, slides, climbing frames, plank-walks and sandpits for both the younger and older children. Alice took the opportunity to rest (we'd been telling her she needed to rest to get better) on a lie-down swing - happily sitting there eating an apple for 20 minutes.

On the way back Alice picked some flowers - for mamma, pappa and a little one for Emily.

At this time of year, midsummer, picking flowers is something everyone does - whether it's for the majstång, some other midsummer ritual or just decoration.

Emily saw them and wanted to have a look. We know that Emily's investigations of flowers can be a little destructive (and Alice knows this too), so Alice was reluctant.

However, Alice didn't want to carry them the whole way home so they got put into the pram - in the carriage under the seat. Well, Emily obviously didn't forget about them and leaned over. It was too late before I saw that she'd got them.

I suppose there's something about having what you're not allowed to have...

There was no point trying to get them back without starting a struggle and risking some sort of fall out between sisters...

The rest of the journey home was spent with me trying to shade Emily from Alice - so Alice didn't what she had - a couple of slowly dismembered flowers. I managed to get rid of the discarded petals without being seen.

When all evidence was disposed of I lifted the pram hood back to usual height - there was Emily with pollen on her cheeks...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Plums and Locks of Hair

Today Alice was at home, so we had a long breakfast. Part of it being fruit - and plums in particular. Both her and Emily had had one for breakf

plum stoneImage by aesop via Flickr

ast and Alice took another.

Breakfast TV is quite absorbing for Alice. Sometimes she can almost go into a trance watching it, not really paying attention to what's happening around or being said.

Well, I think this must've been the case...

Then came the news. The plum stone had been swallowed. Oops. Trying to hide slightly shocked looks we asked if it went down whole or in bits. Whole.

Well they weren't huge plums, but I guess we'll have to listen out for any screams from the bathroom over the next day or so...

Later in the day when we were eating plums again Alice asked for them halved and de-stoned!

In the afternoon whilst I was preparing tea, Alice and Emily were playing together in Alice's room. Then in comes Alice - both hands behind her back - wanting me to open the door to for the rubbish bin. I do so and out comes a hand with a clump of hair in it.

Me: "Where did that come from?"
Alice: "I found it on the floor."

I see the other hand holding a pair of scissors! Then in comes Emily. Yes, of course I'm getting suspicious.

I began secretly examining both Alice's and Emily's hair for any patches missing. Emily's looked a bit strange in one area - but it could also be food she's rubbed in there from a previous snack!

Well, Alice was probably telling the truth - that she found in on the floor - but whether it was a result of discovery or haircutting I can't tell...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Raindrops keep falling...

Pram trouble
It was sunny the other day - after a week of torrential rain. Getting ready to go out. I was having a bit of trouble arranging the cover of the pram. It wasn't moving properly. On closer inspection there was a big bow/dent in the metal frame.

I went through a few seconds of internal chuntering about who'd done this and when. I could think of when Alice might've been sat on it... I straightened it out as best I could then we set off. After dropping Alice off at nursery it came to me...

The previous week had been very rainy. Glorious sunshine on the Monday followed by incessant rain every day afterwards. On of those weeks when I discover my waterproof jacket needs re-waterproofing!

Disappearing Pram
Emily was eager to get out into the rain - she had her rain gear on so why not?

SlugImage by Marj Joly via Flickr

Some different bits of wildlife come into show when it's raining.

She was inspecting big juicy slugs. She's still at the age where taste is a big part of the inspection routine, so I was having to keep a close eye on the poor slug.

In the course of a cross-path detour to inspect something Emily fell over - almost theatrically. I could hear from the cry that it hurt so rushed over.

After a little while everything was ok and we could carry on. But wait! The pram was gone and no where to be seen. Ooops. We were, of course, on a slope - quite a steep one!

A bit down the slope I caught sight of it - off through the undergrowth and planted against a tree. It looks like it came down at quite a pace, continuing off-road for a bit - in a pleasingly straight line - wheels in good balance. A bit of a bruise on the tree and the bent hood frame on the pram.

Lesson learnt: Always apply the brake on a slope!

At the bottom of the slope we continued our exploring...

Emily discovers puddles!

Yes, another puddle that couldn't escape investigation.

It was on one of these days that Emily was out exploring in her rain gear - inherited from Alice. Slightly big and with new wellingtons that are maybe a touch on the large side. So, walking can be tricky...

Well the investigation of puddles started tenatively. A few delicate steps into the puddle - ah, you can stand in these things! A few more steps and out the other side. Turnaround and let's do that again...

This went on for a few goes until she was taking run-ups at the puddles! After a bit of this the slighty-oversized wellingtons decided to join in the fun - splash! Yes, I had a prostrate daughter in a puddle with a dislodged welly - and she wasn't happy about it.

Dad to rescue - Emily suitably tired, wet and happy.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Charlie bit me!

New tooth time!

Emily has a new tooth (molar) coming through - one on each side at the bottom now. We get to know about new teeth in a couple of different ways.
  • Catch a glimpse of one when Emily is laughing.
  • Feel something different as she is gnawing on your arm, finger or leg (obviously wanting to try it out!)
Well, mum had seen a new one. So that's how I knew even if I hadn't seen it.

I was sat with Alice and Emily and we'd been joking about teeth which reminded me of the new tooth. I wanted to have a look.

In went a finger. Emily was game, giving it a gentle playful nibble. But when it had been there a bit more than she wanted I got a harder nip. Ouch! And we all laughed about it.

Well, then Alice wanted to feel the new tooth. In went the finger and she too got a little nip. But kids like to (or need to) repeat things. So Alice did the same thing a couple of more times.

Emily enjoyed the game, but had obviously got bored or just wanted to take it to a new level - transforming into mini-rottweiler. Holding on and bring tears to Alice.

End of game.

I couldn't help being reminded about the famous video of the similar playful game - here!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Falling off the tightrope...

Haircut time again. I knew this as I'd been reminded that I needed a haircut. "Do I?" Well, Alice needs one so can you go and have one and take her as well...

Buoyed-up by my previous success, I thought "no problemo". So onto the bike we hopped and set off into town. We made a detour to vote at the euro elections and then found a steep hill we could cycle down - as Alice likes the speed!

When we got to the hairdressers they were closed :-(

As Alice wanted the loo we popped over the road into a shopping centre. There we also found a very good children's clothes shop - where we picked out a few things and Alice tried them on - in a changing room with 2 draw-round curtains that didn't meet in the middle!

Anyway, we were both happy with the result but Alice still wanted to get her hair cut.

So, off we went to see if they had just been shut for lunch. Result! They were open. I went first then followed by Alice. I gave the instructions that it just needed a small trim all over - we agreed on 1cm - and off the fellow set to work.

All happy with the result, off we went to meet mum and Emily.

a 1942 German helmetImage via Wikipedia

Mum wasn't happy - so I took a closer look and true enough the hairstyle reminded me of the picture to the right.

Oh dear.

Later Alice started to feel it was a bit shorter than she wanted.

Oh dear. Looks like I fell off the tightrope this time...

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Chickenpox time!

Couple of weeks ago. After nearly two weeks of waiting it arrived. First we noticed the outbreak on Emily, then Alice.

We stocked up on films, ice cream and all types of anti-itching lotions for the duration.

I was under orders from Alice that there's to be no tickling until she's better...

Many different lotions were tried (some quackier than others - potato flour?)

The actual week and a bit of illness was a tough one for all - but especially for the kids.

Alice got it pretty bad - and suffered from a couple of days of high fever. On her return to nursery the teachers said she was the worst case they'd seen in all their years...

Well, at least that illness is out of the way now and luckily they both got it at the same time.

I'm still under tickling quarantine though...

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Multi-tasking breakdown!

I thought I could multi-task but kids have a way of sometimes breaking down those assumptions...

Take a look at these two photos. Let's call them exhibit A and B - on the left and right respectively.

Exhibit A is a bottle of shower gel and a some moisturising lotion. Exhibit B is a Pippi Lånstrump (Longstocking) doll.

Yesterday was like any other school day around breakfast - trying to fit in the odd chore whilst ensuring all are getting fed, dressed and generally being happy. So, when Alice and Emily settled down to watch a little children's TV I decided to nip in for a quick shower.

Just after getting into the shower Emily comes into the bathroom to check what's going on. She has the doll, holding it out and gesturing. This is a request/demand. It means she wants a song. So I give a couple of verses of pippi långstrump whilst getting the shower gel.

Multi-tasking breakdown!

After giving the song a couple of times Emily wants more. But then I realise that I'm not getting the usual soapy lather from the shower gel -> Exhibit A. Yes, of course I've somehow picked up the moisturising lotion during the singing and rubbed copious amounts into my hair!

This reminds me of a story when I was supposed to give Alice a bath before they were having their photo taken at nursery. For one reason or another the shampoo got missed and the hair washing was done with the bath water - which contained baby oil. So the photos that year were with lank and greasy hair. Good photos, although I was taken off pre-photo bathtime duty the year after!

So then I was trying to wash the moisturising lotion out of my hair. Emily had grown impatient with the pause... I caught her with the toilet lid open and Pippi about to be dropped into the bowl - I don't know if this was a threat or just some opportunist behaviour. My semi-shriek saved the day and I continued the singing whilst trying to get the moisturiser out of my hair.

Multi-tasker again!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Who lives in a house like this?

Just a regular everyday morning. We're all having a breakfast of turkish yoghurt, walnuts and honey. All enjoying it - especially Emily who has decided that it must some sort of combined face cream and hair mousse - you get the picture....

Then I get a phone call - "look out of the window at Globen." Globen is our local spherical building - doesn't everyone have one? Well I take a look, then call for Alice to check it out.

Something different, but I can't quite work out what.

Let's take a closer look....

Ah yes, the neighbours have left all their windows shut. Their cat won't be able to get back in....

Now breakfast is finished and Emily has finshed her facial and hair treatment. Just another regular day.

Title of the post? That was a bit of Lloyd Grossman nostalgia....

Monday, 18 May 2009

Dummies for the kittens...

Traditions are good to keep going. The other weekend we made our first trip of the year to Skansen. There were two reasons, (1) to give Alice's old dummies to the new baby animals and (2) to see the new baby bears.

The Climbing Frame
Limbering up

One of the rituals about visiting Skansen is that Alice enjoys warming up on the climbing frame. This is about 14ft/4.5m tall and she gets up to the top without any trouble.

That's progress. It was only just over 1 year ago that she climbed this and got stuck near the top. Well it was down to me to go up and fetch her - a bit tricky higher up as it's only designed for children.

Emily is following in Alice's footsteps so I'm just wondering how long before I need to fetch her.


There's a small children's zoo in Skansen - this has kittens, rabbits, chicken, kid goats and guinea pigs. Some can be petted. Well, there's a tradition of handing over dummies to the newborn animals.

The Wishing Well for Dummies
It's partly a transition for kids - they've done with their dummies and now they're handing them over to the animals that might need them. 

Quite a good idea and a talking point for children to discuss when they want to stop using them.

Alice made a present, tied up with a ribbon, for the kittens. 

The package was placed in the wishing well - with the hundreds of other dummies.

Alice hasn't used a dummy in a long time, but then we haven't been to Skansen in a long time either.


It was a glorious day. The seals were a favorite, the new born brown bears (out of hibernation in the last month) looked very cuddly, the moose looked lethargic and  the bison huge and hairy. All very photogenic.

However, the animal that got the most interaction from Alice was a squirrel. 

{{Potd/2008-04-27 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

Near the bear enclosure a semi-tame red squirrel came by to look at the people. Alice offered her hand and it came up to her for a sniff, retreating when there was no food on show. 

This was interpretted as a game of tag. The transition from semi-tame, semi-calm to semi-scared-witless squirrel was very quick. 

It was a close thing but it did manage to get away in the end!

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