Thursday, 30 April 2009

The new Fagin?

The last few days I've been in several shops - just myself and Emily. She has a certain gravitational pull - so people in the shops start conversations easily - or Emily says something that triggers a response and conversation.

This is all good fun. But yesterday I got another side of this.

We were in a shop and I was looking at a jacket and exchanged a few comments with the assistant. Then Emily started her thing...

She was off flirting, talking and waving. This then triggered a whole different response from the assistant. Suddenly dad is getting extra tips, discounts and offers of stock that's not even on display!

I feel like some born-again Fagin, exploiting my daughter to get some advantage - a little bit of metaphorical pick-pocketting. 

Oh well, which shop shall we try it out on tomorrow????

Oh, "you've got to pick a pocket or two......."

Walpurgis Wit

Today it's Walpurgis eve (or Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish) - a night of bonfires and fireworks - something Alice is looking forward to.

Last year, on a rainy bonfire night in a field somewhere whilst waiting for the fireworks, on trooped a band of young fellas. They were a group of fire-jugglers who all stripped to the waist before starting their act. 

They had varying degrees of success during the act (maybe because it was in a pitch-black field and so tricky to see the end of the batons.) But it was Alice's spontaneous reaction that was so typical of a 3 yr old, "Oh, look at those nakenfisar (nudies) over there!"

One year on, one year of added vocabulary and sophistication - so I can't wait for tonight's event and potential commentary... (provided that it still goes ahead - there's a chance of fire prohibitions due to it being very dry here the last 2 weeks.)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wakey, wakey! (part 2)

Yesterday Emily had a new tactic for a wake-up call. This time as there was no hair brush to hand (see Wakey, wakey!) she adopted some form of WWF approach!

This method involved throwing herself over me and at me - from one side to the other.  We don't watch wrestling so I don't know where she has learnt this - maybe it's genetic?

Well, I was employing the possum tactic/defence (play dead - or very asleep), but she saw round this and won the bout with a nice coup de grace - she ambled over and sat on my face. Well, a nappy that's been pee'd in all night strategically placed over the nose and mouth well get anyone moving....

Public Performer

On Saturday Alice had her last lesson in the term at theatre school - a way for the kids to express themselves. Alice seems to be a natural performer - whether in class or not, and she'll jump at any opportunity to be on stage. This willingness to perform outside class continued on Saturday...

After drama class we had a long day out - playground, lunch, shoe/hat shopping, museum and restaurant.

By early evening we were sat outside an Indian restaurant in the evening sun. Alice was playing on the path and chatting to passers-by. 

A couple of likely-looking fellows came along. Both were a little inebriated, had "all-weather-suntans" and were carrying violin cases. They were either musicians down on their luck or very badly dressed mafia members! 

Well, you don't have an appearance and accessories like that and get ignored by Alice!

Alice got talking to them - somewhere along the line Pippi was mentioned. Before you knew it she asked what was in the cases and if they could play something. 

So, there we were - sitting outside the restuarant and were entertained by a small impromptu performance of Pippi's theme tune on the violin accompanied by dancing from Alice.

This was rewarded with a small round of applause from the restaurant guests - Alice taking the bows (whether or not all the applause was for her). 

An encore was performed:- the rövarnas visa (accompanied by Alice's dancing), more applause.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fear of Heights - the Wii factor!

Children and cats have a lot in common. They learn and want to climb things, and they also find it difficult to get down from wherever they've climbed. 

Another similarity is that it's almost impossible to herd them - keep them in certain areas without fencing them off. Try asking a 1-2 year old to stay in an area of the room without any barricades and you might as well be talking to a cat. Well, I might have stumbled upon a temporary solution!

Emily is copying her sister by trying to climb anything and everything possible. This is just following after sister, which is great and is also very good for her balance - up to a point. I occasionally get the shouts for help when she's climbed up onto something that she hasn't worked out how to get down from (or even forgotten how to do it.)

The most common shout comes after she's climbed onto one of Alice's play chairs. These are less than knee-high, but Emily really does like to climb them -either to reach something like a tomato in the kitchen or just for the sake of it. But sometimes she "forgets" how to climb down - then comes the shout for help.

However, just the other day I discovered her new limit for her fear of heights. She had "climbed" onto the Wii Fit board (about 2 inches high) and had got stuck - when everyone had left the room there she remained and shouted for help to get down. 

I can't say I'll use this as a herding/control technique but it could be useful in case of emergency - at least until she works it out!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Language development of the little head-banger

Language Repetoire

Language development is very interesting. There's always a distinction between what the child/baby is saying and what the parent thinks they're trying to say.

Emily's vocabulary was extended about a week ago. She added "där"/"there" to her repertoire (which includes mamma, pappa and nej/no.) She uses the new word (accompanied by pointing into the air) when asked "Where is mamma/pappa/Alice/the light?" So, she gets the action right for the lamp!


You can read meaning into what Emily is saying - with a pinch of coincidence and chance. It might be that she's saying "kolla" ("check this out") when pointing at something new or unusual - that's possibly a bit of chance. 

However, the way she say's "mamma" as though to mean "oh, mum, what're you doing now?" in a very teenager tone has got to be a case for how we interpret it. But I like to think it's real.

Little headbanger?

Emily has many ways of catching attention - she has got big sister to compete with after all. One thing that's cropped up recently is that she walks into you with her forehead. Not so unusual you might think. 

Today she took it one step further - walking into a closed door with her forehead. The thud and look of pain when she turned around was all very real, but it did the trick - it stopped us talking and she got our full attention!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Obsession with Skånska (part 2)

You can't expect a child to speak certain phrases/rhymes differently without some pay-back can you?

A little while ago Alice's department had a temporary teacher brought in. Well, Alice took it upon herself to introduce the new teacher to the others - this in itself is great.

The new teacher was introduced to all and sundry. Then it was the turn for Alice's favourite teacher, "This is X, she's not Swedish. She's from Skåne."

She shoots, she scores!

Mystery accent

A distinctive Lindingö accent/lilt is developing in Alice for certain words. Strange, as that doesn't come from anyone in the family or anyone at nursery.

I must check the children's TV channel for suspects...

(Lindingö is a wealthier island in Stockholm)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Obsession with Skånska (part 1)


For the non-Swedish speakers in the audience.... Skåne is a large county in the southern tip of Sweden (where Brannagh's Wallander was set & filmed.) Skånska is the dialect of Swedish spoken there (can be quite difficult to understand for a non-Skåne person) - maybe similar to a Frenhman trying to understand a drunk Glaswegian reading Shakespeare!

Skånska in practice

Alice has a teacher from Skåne (very nice and not with a broad accent), so skånska plays a part in Alice's language education...

It all started with a pre-meal rhyme (Food on the table, hands on yer knees, bon appetite - I'm para-phrasing) said at nursery. Alice brought this home to our meal times - with a distinctive skånska pronunciation - just for the rhyme, not for general speech.

Well, skånska to pre-meal is ok, isn't it?

Wakey, wakey! (part 1)

Yes, I had a new wake-up call this morning. Emily has been learning what a brush is and how it's used.

She proceeded to brain me with a particularly hard-bristled version this morning. That has got to be showing signs of intelligence -  putting an everyday object to a new use. It had the desired effect - I promptly got up and made her breakfast.

"You can hug my dad on Friday!"

Ever felt like a pawn in a chess game well above you're league? This is the day I got an interesting insight into some child mentality...

Monday 20 April

I'm at dagis about to say my goodbyes to Alice for the day, when her friend asks if she can have a hug too. "No," says Alice. 

After a bit of verbal to 'n' fro the friend is sobbing inconsolebly to a teacher, Alice is happily playing and I leave (helplessly.) There was no gloating or malice in any of this - everything was just black and white.

Tuesday 21 April

Again goodbye hug to Alice. Friend steps in and asks Alice (not me!) if she can have a hug from me. "No," comes the reply. 

Friend (on the verge of tears) quite reasonably asks when she can have a hug from me. "On Friday." 

Friend walks away happily playing with Alice (satisfied with her answer), Pappa (me) walks away bemused.

Wednesday 22 April

On our way to dagis Alice reminds me that I can hug her friend on Friday. I still haven't worked out what my part in the deal is - except to dish out a hug on demand. I'm beginning to get the idea what cattle being herded must feel like.

Who knows what's in store on Friday? I wonder how many deals there are that I don't know about.

Yoof well-being

Unfortunate stats for the UK - but very good for Sweden:-

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Bling-Bling for the tooth fairy

Last Friday (17 April).

Out and about after dropping Alice off at dagis (nursery). A lovely sunny day. Emily is quite chatty today. I notice that her smile is more sparkly than usual - not easy when she only has a few teeth!
What can it be?

I have to stop and take a closer look. Emily's quite happy to let me have a look - thinks it's some sort of game sticking fingers into each others mouth. Now it's her turn - so my inspection is interrupted whilst she has a look in my mouth...

Yes, it's a silver sequin lodged between the tooth and gum of the front bottom tooth. Looks like it's more than half-way down. I'm getting a nice view every time she smiles or laughs - quite often.

Of course, it won't budge...

Just think that people pay good money for dental cosmetic add-ons and here Emily has sorted it out for herself. 

Well, after a bit of fretting and phone calls to dental folk it gets extracted a couple of days later - mum to the rescue with spoon and half the cutlery draw - no harm done. 

I'm glad to have Emily's lovely, even though slightly less glittery, smile back to normal.

Non-Euro Euro holiday spots

Some good ideas for Lithuania, Bulgaria & Croatia.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Finally Feather Free

After a weekend of "magsjuka" (throwing-up) in the household the covers and cushions on the sofa had to be washed. As the initial clean-up was done in haste this led to feathers getting just about everywhere... 

Like water they have a tendency to find their way into the smallest and least inaccessible areas only to re-emerge and cause trouble afterwards - inside and outside the washing machine, living room and balcony. They possess some magical property to hang around in the air until one set of cleaning is done and then "innocently" fall back to earth.

Two days of de-feathering and intensive hoovering. Let's hope we all stay healthy for a while!

I wonder if birds have the same amount of trouble keeping the nest clean.