Thursday, 8 July 2010

Emily and the hare!

In the playground yesterday. Emily on the swings, Alice climbing. Alice sees a hare run across the playground.

Off like a shot!

The hare that is!

And Emily!

Never been seen to run so fast before - she's doing a Michael Johnson - belly out, shoulders back and arms by the sides. The hare is going to be in trouble!

There's no shout of geronimo, but a cry does go out from Emily: "MINE"

Well the hare gets the message and legs it. Eventually Emily gives up. So, there follows the usual de-brief/chat.

"Aw, did you want to stroke it?"

Emily: "Eat it!"

Huh?! Ok, a bit of post-chase adrenelein stil flowing through the system there! Hopefully!!"

Monday, 17 May 2010


The other week I'd been taking the kids and picking them up from nursery a lot. Thursday we were going to be home-alone as mum was working late and wouldn't be home before the kids were in bed.

So I'd primed them that we'd maybe do something a little different after I collected them - maybe a "surprise".
Of course, Alice was asking what this going to be - I said we'd talk about it when we came out of dagis - otherwise it would be a session of Alice telling all the other kids what we were going to do - then it would take a lot longer to get out.

Anyway, after we'd got out of dagis I asked Alice and Emily if they wanted to go eat a hamburger and maybe have an ice cream (even though it wasn't ice cream day!)

Reality check
Alice asked, "Is that the surprise?"
Me, "Er, yes. Is it ok?"
Alice, "Yes."

As we were driving Alice said that, "Going out for a hamburger isn't really a surprise pappa". "Ok, what is then?", "Maybe a cat or a dog would a surprise, or a few small animals."

Aha, back to the favourite topic of requests!

We successfully ate hamburgers but they had no ice cream. Then I had a brainwave. "Why don't we take the car for a wash and eat ice cream whilst we sit in the car wash?" Alice has always liked the car wash and Emily would be fascinated.

"Well, ok, but we have to buy the ice cream first!". "Deal."

So off we went to buy ice cream and sit in a car wash. There we were, sat in the car wash eating ice cream. t started off gently - then the big brushes came into view. This upset Emily - she wasn't happy - crying, ice cream flying about and we were stuck inside a carwash.

An extra long car wash!

The sales assistant had offered a discount on the luxury wash - so I got the longer wash - thought it was a good idea to give the car a really good clean after a long winter. The best ideas of mice and men....

Emily finally calmed down and we got out of there. The car was very clean on the outside.

Shame about the inside.....

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Rubber Balls

I was on a course this week - very interesting and insightful. As part of it I was "volunteered" into an exercise in front of the class where the teacher was a difficult customer.

Basically, my work was to get as much information about a rubber ball -which then turned into two rubber balls. I did ok and my reward was my own pair of rubber balls. [The two balls had different properties - one was bouncy and one wasn't!]

But then came a great tip from the teacher - that I could use them to be "good" dad or "bad" dad.

So, off I went.

That evening I then got one ball (non-bouncy) and asked Alice to help - "I couldn't get it to bounce" and promptly demonstrated it not bouncing. I then handed her the bouncy ball and asked if she could help.

She successfully demonstrated how you bounce a ball. Hmm...

I took it back - switching balls in my hand - no luck.

Alice demonstrated how to bounce the ball. Then Emily joined in, "me too" - she wanted a go. She successfully bounced the ball.

So we had a couple of cycles of the kids bouncing the balls and me failing. Ok, let's try mum. No, she couldn't bounce the ball either.

It was really cool observing Alice and the different conclusions she was making and how she was arriving at them...

"No, not like that, like this..."

"You're dropping the ball from the wrong height..."

"Try dropping it like this..." (holding the ball in a certain way...)

"Dad, you know only kids can do this!"

Well, it didn't exactly live up to a "good dad" scenario, more a "useless dad" scenario but good fun anyway.

Next time I might reverse the balls - but I can almost see the frustration now!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Love hurts

Emily went through a phase of biting - it end a few weeks ago now. Sometimes it was playful, sometimes frustration and sometimes unknown... I've read somewhere that it's supposed to be a sign of affection - but that's one show of affection I'm not keen to encourage.

Well, maybe it was sisterly affection but we'd occasionally hear a scream from Alice - just after Emily had sunk her teeth into her. Half sisterly love and half frustration at being kept out of a game I suspect.

Well, this behaviour has disappeared now. But the sisterly "tough love" does continue, sometimes with a dry observational element...

The other week Emily was crying - combination of tiredness and mealtime. At the same time that I was going to try and get something for her to nibble on, Alice walked through the doorway carrying a small plastic chair - she was tidying away.

However, in her effort to hold the chair aloft and avoid Emily she managed to have a direct hit between chair leg and Emily's forehead. This didn't improve Emily's humour. Alice checked there was no harm done and I said I'd take care of Emily.

Then as Alice left she made the observation, "lucky that Emily was already crying." Yes, from a child's perspective, the situation wasn't any worse... Tough love, indeed!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Nursery personnel are made of tough stuff!

I saw an article this week in the local paper about a girl who'd intervened when a father was beating his son on the tube (it's illegal to beat/slap children in Sweden.)

I read the article in admiration and thought I recognised her - she's a hairdresser (that's not how I recognise her - I'm faithful to my middle-eastern barber!) It clicked a couple of days later when we were talking about it - "it looks a bit like that girl from dagis (nursery) who left a couple of years ago to become a hairdresser. No? Really?"

So, the question was asked on Friday - yes it was Maria that used to work there.

When she eventually intervened physically (earlier verbal prompts had resulted in the father pushing her about) she held him in a neck lock with her left hand whilst calling the police with her right hand.

When the two police arrived they had trouble holding the man, wrestling with him before eventually holding him against a wall.

I'm not suggesting that her ability to control a fully grown man with one hand came from her previous nursery work - but I wouldn't be surprised. They're made of tough stuff - especially mentally - our local dagis personnel!

Bravo Maria for intervening - you deserve all the kind words being written about you!

A fanclub started on facebook - a link to an English version of the story is here.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

First fall of the season!

During the Christmas break Alice got a new pair of ice skates. We were out one day trying them at a local sports ground. Unfortunately, the temperature that day was -12c and not conducive to good moods all round.

So Alice's first time on skates this season was a miserable affair from her point of view! Not-quite-standing-up was about the limit of achievement that day. It didn't help that the ice wasn't so good either - even yours truly had trouble standing up in my långfärdskriskor!

Well last week we managed to coax Alice out onto one of the nearby frozen lakes - we all had our skates and a little sledge for Emily. We were on the ice for about 90 minutes and Alice was "walking" in her skates unaided. A real big step forward

So, on to this weekend. This time we were better planned for heading out onto the lake. Thermos with hot chocolate, sandwhiches, chocolate bar and raissons - lots of sugar to keep moral up. We also took the pushchair for Emily.

Emily sat in the pushchair and soon fell asleep. This was my cue to skate off around the lake with her - about a 3.5km circuit. In the meantime Alice and mum could have a little more practice time in an area set aside in the middle of the lake.

Boy was I tired when I got back - tricky getting up good momentum to push the pushchair and see the cracks in the ice to avoid in time. But I got back without incident - tired and sweaty after what seemed like an age!

Then it was mums turn to do a lap of the lake - just with poles - and looking a lot more professional.

In the meantime Alice had managed to get going - now propelling herself forward with one foot. A huge difference from a couple of weeks ago. We were joking that it wouldn't be long before she was better than me - something that triggered constant questioning "Am I better than you yet?" It won't take long at that rate of improvement!

What was really great to see was that Alice had a really great attitude - falling a lot (which is half the fun for her) and not getting about as quickly as she'd like - but not getting frustrated and just persevering - and boy was it paying off.

Just as we were cheering mums return she decided to start the competition for best fall! She fell in what can only be described as an imitation of a Mexican cliff diver executing a wonderful swallow-dive!

Well her return was my trigger to do another lap - before the sweat on my back turned to ice. I got up onto tired legs and set off - soon registering my own competition entry for best fall - a cross between Robin Cousins and CoCo the clown!

I knew it was a good fall as it started Alice laughing. It also registered more questions from passers-by asking if I was alright - so I think I won round one of the spectacular fall competition!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Animal Protection!

It was bedtime. The whole getting-ready-for-bed routine was in full flow.

This not only means brushing teeth, pyjamas and bed preparation, but also that Alice and Emily are expending as much energy as possible before they need to settle down for bed!

So Alice and Emily were jumping on and off the bed when I heard a shout. Alice ran into the kitchen to get a cup and a piece of kitchen towel shouting, "Don't hurt it, we must catch it!"

Hmm, ok, everything's under control, no need to panic!

Then a couple of minutes later she returns with the cup and paper over the top. Inside the cup is a small ladybird type thing and Alice is adamant that we can't harm it.

She wants to let it go outside. I look at the thermometer on the kitchen window and the temperature outside is currently -15.8c. Hmm, it's a bit cold. What about the balcony...

The little fella is released on the balcony with some of the plants that are struggling through the winter (about -10c there right now). See you in the spring buddy.

Alice was happy though and said that we'd found him a new home with the plants and that "it was cosy" for it!


Ah yes, I'd almost forgotten to write this story! But I have to finish it...

It was the end of November, a dark day in a dark month - not much daylight. Everyone was sluggish getting out of bed and ready for nursery and work. I'd overslept and the kids had overslept and it was an "activity" day for both Alice and Emily at nursery. This means they need to be there at a set time to begin some group activity.

Well, I was struggling to get Alice awake and out of bed. She finally began to wake up and I returned to the kitchen to finish breakfast with Emily.

Up Alice popped and locked herself in the bathroom. Nothing so surprising there.

But when she came out it was like an assault on the nostrils. Now I was awake!

Yes, she'd gone through the cabinets and decided to try on the perfume - I don't if it was the amount or mixture that caught me offguard, but it had an effect!

PerfumesImage by ozgurmulazimoglu via Flickr

Well, no time to waste a quick breakfast and then out to nursery.

I explained to the teachers about the experimentation - it didn't seem to be any surprise to them (I don't know if it was Alice or the perfume-trying behaviour that was unsurprising...)

Well, they took it in their stride and the day began.

After leaving Emily I then went to work.

That evening Alice returned home in a complete change of clothes. It turned out that one of the teachers had an asthma sensitivity and they thought the "stink" was likely to bring on some attack. So Alice was stripped and showered down and the clothes were wrapped in a plastic bag...

Hmm, so much for perfume experimentation. No harm done (to anyone) in the end and Alice has learnt to not pile on the perfume before going to nursery...