Monday, December 06, 2010

The complexities of life

Dr John asked us yesterday if someone could have two wives or two husbands by law. I replied that no, not by swiss law and inquired as to why he had asked that question. He said that he wants to marry E but she says that although she loves Dr John, she is going to marry N so Dr John thought he could solve the problem if they could both marry her.

So his parents proceeded to offer two different pieces of advice.
Chris Evan's? Play it cooler than N and she'll choose you.
Me? You have years until you have to solve this so I'd worry about it then.

I wonder what this says about our differing philosophies of life...

Friday, December 03, 2010

The 11 Book Challenge

After the success of the 10 book challenge, Dr John has asked to do another one.

So, I chose 4 books and he chose the rest and we discussed the suitability of all of them.  Dr John declared it an 11 book challenge as he couldn't cut it down to 10, which is my kind of dilemma!

So, we now have (with links to be added when I get time):

Usborne Spiders beginners book
The Musicians of Bremen
The Emperor and the Nightingale
Baba Yaga and the Flying Witch
Barn on Fire
The Ugly Duckling
Stories of Magical Animals
See Inside Ancient Rome
The Cuddliest Cuddle in the World
I am Learning All the Time
Commotion in the Ocean

No doubt, as before, the selection will change, but I don't think reading should be that rigid, should it?

The 10 Book Challenge - Complete!

Yes, the 10 book challenge is complete.  Dr John has really been motivated to read because of this (Okay, I realise that the 'prize' at the end was a huge factor, but still) and there has been a definite improvement in his reading.

Of course, Dr John wouldn't be Dr John if we hadn't had a lot of chopping and changing along the way, so not only did the prize change (he chose a lego advent calendar in the end, which we probably would've got him anyway, cheeky mummy!) but the 10 books too.

So he read:
The Leopard and the Sky God
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Michael Recycle
Green Eggs and Ham
Happy Hector
Lost and Found
The Little Red Hen
The Scaredy Cat
The Wish Fish
and The Gingerbread Man

A great selection of books, which all gave some challenges.  I'm very proud of my lad.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How do you have...

...two children, one 6 years old and the other 6 months old playing in the same room, when the 6 year old is playing with lego and all its associated small pieces, and the 6 month old is crawling and wanting to play with everything her big brother is playing with?

Pip is too young to learn to leave Dr John's things alone and of course his things hold so much more allure than her own, and to me it seems unfair that the onus is solely on Dr John to be careful with his things.

I know, I know, its hardly an earth stopping problem.  I just need other people to do my thinking for me at the moment :(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Approach

As I mentioned a little while ago, we have slightly changed our approach.  Whereas before, Dr John had a chart with space for 20 tasks that he had to complete in a week, now we have taken that and the responsibility away from him.  We have explained (and simplified it) that at school he would have to do 4 hours of work a day whereas at home he only has to do 1.  Sometimes the mere mention of school can send him in a spin, and so during those times when he is showing a reluctance to do anything we use the 4 or 1 question - do you want to do 4 hours of work or 1? For some reason it seems to work. And so, if any charts are going to be kept, it is privately by me. 
I have tried to create a rough idea of what we would like to achieve.

There is the 10 book challenge which is going really well and he is even asking if some books can go in the next challenge.  So far he is onto his sixth book, and I think is beginning to see the benefit of reading, finding out what is going to happen next etc.

He either does a page from his math calcul sticker book or does sums on his magnetic board, eg 57+66 ones which he makes up and ones that I do.  Interestingly we discovered a few days ago that he can read numbers up to 1000 but doesn't really know what order they come in ie that 200 comes after 199 etc. so we have been working a bit on that and we are going to put up a (very long!) number line around the apartment to help. 

He continues with his weekly lesson and we have got the flashcards out again for vocabulary competitions although we do need to move on a bit to sentences and conversation so I'm going to bring out a poster we did a while back with j'aime, je n'aime pas etc and develop that a bit more with some verbs too.

In the last few days he has asked to do some of the kits that we have had knocking about for ages so they will probably form the basis of our science work complemented by resources such as Magic School Bus, The Way Things Work and lots of the fab Usborne books that I sell :) There is also a body book that a friend has blogged about that I would like to get. Its so important that the resources are readily accessible and ready to go so that when he asks to do one we have everything we need, unlike the water filter column kit he wanted to do yesterday and we've had to put off as we didn't have everything we needed.  In the end we did a colour mixing kit (I need to put links in this blog!) which will continue using a Light and Colour book I have.  I also bought some undyed wool from my lovely friend at NZ Wools which will be a nice ending to that topic.

Dr John is showing a real interest in cooking so I will sit down with him and go through our cookbooks to find recipes he'd like to do. This may lead on to a bit of geography too, as we have a round the world cookbook and we can talk about food miles too.  Already he has written out a recipe for chocolate muffins he likes doing and hopefully from that he will see the value of practising his writing as I suspect that when we next come to it, he won't be able to read what he's written!

Writing is a bit of a sticking point. His letter formation isn't too bad as long as you don't mind capitals but at times the size and overall appearance render it illegible.  As he is a child that doesn't like sitting down and doing workbooks I have been at a bit of a loss as to what to do about it.  So I asked him. We agreed that his writing needs some work but that he doesn't like doing it. So I am going to make up a story and each day give him a sentence or two to write. It has to have capitals and small letters and basic punctuation in the right places or he has to do it again. In reality this may be tricky to implement, but to be honest the alternative (as I've set it out) is letter formation repetition so hopefully he will choose the more fruitful and less painful approach.  If it doesn't work, then maybe we'll use Handwriting Without Tears or Getty and Dubay, but I hope we don't have to.

No firm plans on this one.  We tend to talk about physical geography when we go for hikes.  A copout answer is that it naturally comes up in day to day life.  Hmmm.

This is an area that I need to work on not dismissing, particularly as it was the subject I was least interested in at school. We have The Story of the World (+ activity book) so I think we may just read through that. 

Dr John is starting to draw more. He has never been interested before. I really don't want him to think that anything he does is wrong so I will leave him to get on with it unless he wants help.
There is however a Picasso exhibition on in Zurich so we will visit that and do some support work too. (Hmm, I wonder if there is a Djeco Picasso kit....)

After that, I may use The Usborne Book of Art to study various works. 
I would also like to introduce him to the camera.  For a long time now, I personally have wanted to do a photo study on graffiti, so talking about that (and doing it!), coupled with visits to the camera museum in Vevey and the musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne should cover that. 

This takes many forms. We have a cd about Beethoven so we will listen to that frequently and discuss it and YouTube some performances of his works.  I have bought a music theory book so we can start that and a beginners piano book so that we can move away from my crude colour coded keys.  

Other Stuff
I have a poetry book, I Like This Poem, from my childhood that we can dip into.  The first poem is the witches spell from Macbeth so we can also read Macbeth, doing a bit of re-enactment with glove puppets, and some art work depicting the scenes too.

It may seem like this is very structured but really it is only for my benefit. I need to have a plan and things to hand when required and I think this is the best way of doing so. 
It was clearly illustrated to me last week that he doesn't work well with knowledge of a plan.  On Thursday we achieved a lot of different things, including his french lesson and yoga, just by me suggesting things to do, and he was happy to do so, so on Friday I thought that we should have a list of things we needed to do before we went ice skating.  Not everything got done, and there was a lot of tension flying around.

(A list for me also helps to focus ME when I am floundering due to sleep deprivation which is quite often at the moment thanks to my beautiful daughter ;) )

Friday, November 05, 2010

I wish I lived nearer Winterthur...

...because then we would be able to go to the fabulous technorama more often.  Its 300km away, so possibly doable in a very long day but not ideal.  
So on Thursday evening directly after yoga we set off in the van.  We got almost to Zurich before stopping for the night at a service stop.  Unfortunately, for me in particular, we were extremely close to the motorway and Pip woke up very frequently so I wasn't as refreshed as I could've been. 

After breakfast of croissants and coffee or hot chocolate (depending on your age) we drove on to the Technorama.  Every exhibit is hands on which means that you really can spend the entire day exploring the 3 floors (and the slightly out of place lame model train display in the basement) and still not do everything.  They also a few demonstrations of which we participated in two. 
The first was to do with forces and Dr John and Chris Evans went in a spinning seating area where they rolled balls to one another and tried to walk in a straight line amongst other things.  I was quite glad I was on Pip minding duty as spinning things really aren't my thing.  I get dizzy on a playground roundabout! 

The second demonstration was about gases, involving balloons, helium, carbon dioxide, oxygen and lots of bangs.  It was in German but they handed out brief explanations in English so I was able to let Dr John know what was going on.  

We had lunch in the cafeteria there, and left just before it closed.  As I say, I wish it was closer so we could go more often.  We then drove towards Zurich and stayed the night in another service station.  The next day we stopped off on our way to Zurich zoo as I was buying some fabric remnants from someone.  I got 2 large bags of fabric from her, and she very kindly gave me a craft book too.  Its in German, but has lots of pictures!  I find it so difficult to find reasonably priced fabric here in small prices.  I only make small things, bibs, blankets etc so don't need metres.  

Anyway, we made our way to the zoo.  It was raining so we started in the rainforest exhibit.  We saw lots of wonderful birds flying around our heads and occasionally there would be terrifying shrieks from the monkeys up in the roof.  Its a great set up in there as they do a little tour around it and take you on little paths and across rope bridges that
 you wouldn't otherwise be able to do.  On our tour we were joined by a French speaking family so the guide was speaking to us in English with Chris Evans translating a few words she didn't know from German and then I was translating it into French.  A great linguistic
 workout for me! 

After lunch looking into the rainforest we ventured outside.  Not so much fun due to the weather but we saw everything we wanted to, including spending a lot of time with the gorillas.  That evening we drove along the motorway a bit further, stopping at another service station before continuing home the next day.  A lovely weekend and leaving on Thursday evening meant that we were home by lunchtime on Sunday and it was completely relaxed with no rushing about.  And we got to spend another weekend in the camper which is always a bonus.  Roll on the time when we go away for another couple of months like we did 3 years ago.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The 10 Book Challenge

A couple of days ago we went to the English bookshop to get another Jack and Annie (Magic Tree House) book.

He saw a Star Wars Encyclopedia there that he desperately wanted, but didn't have enough money (he gets a certain amount a week) to buy it.
So I agreed that he could earn it.  And so, the 10 Book Challenge.

Chris Evans and I have chosen (with the agreement of Dr John) 10 books that he has to read to either of us.  Once he has done that, we will buy him the Stars Wars book.  We are roughly aiming for the challenge to be complete by Christmas (about 10 weeks away!) but not with loads of pressure.

The 10 books are:
The Runaway Pancake
The Wish Fish
The Little Red Hen
The Scaredy Cat

A nice mix of books I think.  Some easy, some not so.  Reading is something that Dr John doesn't have too many issues with, but I think this will add a bit of spice to things.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Clean Break

The start of a new school year brings with it new decisions.  What after school clubs should be done?
Enfantine which took place before drama was okay, but didn't really offer anything that I couldn't.  Drama for in my opinion the worse when the old teacher left and it turned into more of a movement class.  We stopped football when I got too pregnant as it was too much to get to on a bus, train and walk in 45 minutes.  And Dr John was still enjoying yoga and atelier.  

The biggest issue for me wrt his classes was that except for atelier, they were all in English.  So we had to have a balance between what Dr John wanted to do and what we thought would benefit him the most.  Drama had always been a favourite so I found a theatre class in French.  Atelier stayed (I'm not looking forward to his last day there) and instead of football he agreed to try rugby (its in French and a 15 minute bus ride from our house).  Yoga stayed too although there was a discussion about a local football class near our house instead of yoga but the lure of playing with his friends in the soft play afterwards was just too great.  

So quite a big shift towards French speaking classes but he really needs a bit of a kick to practice his oral skills.  So far it appears to be going great.  His atelier has commented that he is getting more involved with the other children which is also helped by there being no other Anglophones in the class.  We have changed French teachers as his previous one was no longer coming to our house after the birth of her baby and it was just too far for us to travel to her on public transport.  His new teacher is lovely.  She is a retired primary school teacher and takes such a relaxed approach to his lessons.  She refuses to speak English to him but they can often be heard giggling away.  A definite result!  

The theatre class he enjoys although the language is a slight issue but the teacher and another child translates in times of great need.  You can see the downside of not being fluent in French in rugby as he is always a bit behind as he has to watch what the others are doing.  He enjoys it though, particularly the full on tackling (at 6?! heart in mouth stuff!) and he took part in his first tournament a couple of weeks ago.  Its just a shame that he will miss several weeks after he fractured his hand in training!  I wasn't there as we are sharing pick ups with a neighbour whose son also goes but apparently the coach had said several times not to sit down between the exercises which Dr John kept doing, and right at the end of the session he did it again and coach tripped over him, standing on his hand!  
Of course being the crappy mother that I am I didn't take him to the hospital that day but 4 days later after he had played a match in his first tournament.  To be fair it wasn't that painful or swollen but he is now the proud owner of a cast.  Amusingly we had to get his cast replaced as he broke the first one!  I don't think the plaster guy at the hospital was too amused.
Still I can forgive a slightly abrupt manner as both times we were in and out of the hospital (xrays, plaster and everything) in less than 90 minutes.
He has the plaster on for 3 weeks, and then he can get back into the swing of things again.  He hasn't been too upset at the things he hasn't been able to do, but he will definitely be pleased to be able to climb in the park, do proper cooking, and lay in the bath for ages as he loves to do!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Villars to Le Diableret

One weekend we took the camper van to Le Diableret for Chris Evans and Dr Johns' mammoth walk.
They took the bus to Villars and then walked back. 
I'm going to leave Chris Evans to blog it, but I will say now that I am extremely proud of both of them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Holiday, part 2

We didn't stay with MIL this time, partly as the warden in her sheltered housing wasn't too happy at having the camper van parked in the car park overnight and partly because MIL lives in a very small 2 bed bungalow and we are now one extra.  So we were booked into a campsite called Thornton's Holt a few kms away.  We also got Chris Evans put onto MIL's car insurance so we could borrow her car for the week.  She is going through a tough time at the moment which means that she isn't comfortable using the car, so there was no problem with us using it.  Even though there is a good bus service into the city from the campsite, this was one instance where I was glad that we had a car. 

On Saturday we took a trip to a working inner city windmill and science centre.  It was free entry so I had no problem with buying a couple of bags of flour and a book about the original miller and scientist and mathematician, George Green.  The science centre was very small but well thought out, and the sort of place I could see us returning to regularly if we lived in the area each time we'd learnt the theory behind each principle demonstrated.
No idea what happened on Sunday, but on Monday we had planned it so that Chris Evans had a bottle of expressed milk and was going to take Dr John and Pip to the caves under the city whilst I went shopping for clothes but the cave tour was at 12 and Chris Evans thought it might prove a little tricky if Pip woke up in the middle of it, so they tried the castle but that is closed on Mondays so they came and met me for lunch.  At that point I'd only been to the market for some material and haberdashery and I also got a first piano book for Dr John and grade 1 and 2 pieces for me so I can see what level I'm at.  
I was grateful for their company in the afternoon as Dr John is a great clothes shopper, always picking great things for me, and Chris Evans isn't bad either.  They are both better than me at finding clothes anyway!  I hate clothes shopping.  So I came away pretty happy with a few sale pieces from Monsoon.  We then headed over to SIL and BIL's for a bbq.  BIL is Star Wars mad and is keen to indoctrinate Dr John with the ways of the force.  I'm not too sure how happy I am about that, but there doesn't seem much stopping it.

On Tuesday, Chris Evans and Dr John seemed to properly develop their colds, so it looked like we were going to be unable to take advantage of the heated swimming pool on the campsite.  We have tried formal swimming lessons before when Dr John was much smaller which were a disaster and we decided that maybe he would suit learning with us informally, but we have been so rubbish at going that maybe it is time to rethink that strategy although that would be another after school activity to try and fit in.  Anyway, on Tuesday we headed back into the city to attempt the caves again.  Underground is one of my least favourite places to be, so Pip and I went underwear shopping in M&S whilst the boys finally did the tour.  Dr John seemed to enjoy it and I got told various snippets about it although I think I will see if Chris Evans will blog it for any more detail than that!  That night Pip had caught the cold too so she just wanted to comfort feed all night so I didn't get much sleep.  

The next morning I was able to get an hour or so's extra sleep whilst the others went to the playground and in the afternoon while Dr John stayed with MIL, we took Pip to visit grandma (Chris Evans' grandma) who is staying in a respite care home while MIL sorts herself out.  Then back to the camper van via Morrisons to pick up a roast chicken and salad and a couple of other things to take back to Switzerland like spaghetti hoops and monster munch (good healthy stuff!) which we take back as a treat. 

Thursday saw us saying goodbye to MIL and making our way down to Dover.  We had booked passage on a ferry on Friday morning but when we arrived at the port at 5.45pm we thought we'd see if we could get on a ferry then and stay in Calais overnight rather than Dover.  We had to pay a bit extra as it was outside the 2 hour of our booking but figured that it was worth it as we could eat on the boat and wouldn't have to get up so early the next day (not really an issue for me, but always a bonus for Chris Evans!).  So, after my last fish and chips for a while we arrived in Calais.  By this point I was developing a sore throat and losing my voice so was glad that we quickly made our way to a camper van park by the beach and within a couple of kms of the docks and settled down for the night.  We awoke to a ticket on the windscreen for 7 Euros for the priviledge of staying the night, so paid that and went on our way.

6 & 60

The next day we walked into town and grabbed lunch in a local cafe.  Dr John had his first taste of a 'proper' sausage roll and wasn't too impressed, although did like the softness of the bread in his sandwich.  Its the little things.  We then went to Sainsbury's for things for Dr John's birthday bbq and got lost in it and apparently thats not even a big one!  You can tell we've been in Switzerland a long time!  

By the early evening, excitement had reached fever pitch.  After all, its not every day you turn 6.  Dr John shares a birthday with my mum too and it was going to be her 60th, so extra reason to get excited.  
The big day dawned.  With a not too early start celebrations commenced.  There was the general chaos of present opening during which Dr John received some lego, a James Bond dvd and secret spy stuff to satisfy his current career choices (lego mini figure creator, dvd producer and secret spy, all in one day - he's going to be a busy lad!) amongst other gifts.  Then everyone helped prepare for the party, only stopping for the early arrival of my sister and family and more presents (more lego).  Just about all my maternal aunts and uncles came which was nice to see them all together.  Dr John remembered a couple of them but to be fair he's only seen them a couple of times when he was very young. 

I would say that the party was a success.  Dr John had great fun playing with his cousin Suzanna*, who is 4 and also home educated, and there was a lot of chatting and eating and cooing over the baby.  The cakes, which I'd had to ice due to the original baker going on holiday, were extremely yummy and I think everyone went home happy.  My sister and her family stayed the night which was good fun, although I don't think we should've stayed up until 1am playing Lego Harry Potter on the Wii!  

The next day we pottered about playing and chatting and then we all went to a local pub for dinner which was lovely until an incident spoilt things and we went back to my parents rather abruptly.  A shame as it seemed to take the shine off our visit.  But thats families I guess. 

The next day, Thursday, Chris Evans and I went with Pip to the city to do some shopping (I was really overwhelmed by the size of everything and the number of people) whilst Dr John stayed with my parents and watched dvds and ran them ragged. Thursday evening was spent packing the van in preparation for our trip up to the midlands to visit MIL.

On the Way to the UK

On the way to 2 weeks in the UK we stopped at Le Musée de la Grande Guerre in Peronne. Did the pond walk which was so well signposted we (wrongly) assumed it was worth doing, but was literally walking round a large pond, not even with a path, and there was so much dog poo about.  
Then we went into the museum as soon as it opened as we didn't have much time to look around and get to the ferry before it left.  The recommended time to look around the museum was 2 hours and to be honest I'm not really sure where they got that figure from.  We only took 30 minutes and even taking into account that Dr John flits about a bit, on my own it wouldn't have taken 4 times as long.

We had a disaster in the gift shop.  Dr John picked up a cup to show it to me and dropped it.  I offered to pay but it was okay as it was covered on insurance.  I was almost upset by it as it was part of a set of two and I quite fancied the other half but didn't think Chris Evans would've been too happy about it! 

They had exhibits of the different costumes and equipment which was really interesting as everything was explained in good detail and was laid out on the floor (albeit recessed and alarmed!) so that even littlies could see everything.  It was really well arranged and Dr John was interested in a lot of it, especially the guns.  I think he's really reaching an age where he can appreciate exhibits more.  I still have to speed read the descriptions and summarise as he won't stay still long enough for me to read anything out but at least he will listen to some of it!

We arrived at the ferry 2 hours early and were allowed on an earlier crossing. Funnily enough my mum and dad were crossing the channel with P&O too (they had gone on a weekend coach trip to Paris) but if we had gone at the same time as them we wouldn't have made it to their house the same evening.  As it was their ferry was changed to 30 minutes earlier and we arrived at their house just over an hour before them.  Luckily they don't live any further away as Pip had just about reached her travelling limit.  At least Dr John was able to see his grandparents that evening as I think he would've been very upset if not.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Inbetweener

There was a week between the last Edukids session and our trip to the UK and it was a fairly relaxed week. I managed to get to the hairdresser after many months and Dr John and Chris Evans did some more training for a big hike they are planning by walking from Caux to Rochers de Naye and back again. Dr John had friends round to play on two separate occasions, one of which he managed to behave spectacularly badly and even though his friend wasn't perfect either, I was suitably embarrassed particularly as his friend's mum had cooked us a yummy Filipino dish called Adobo.

He also did some writing off his own back which helps reaffirm our decision that this year at least we will try and be as hands off as possible and allow his learning to be self directed. We also however had a two day stand off over the state of his room which eventually got tidied enough so that you don't break any bones trying to get to the bed, wardrobe or the window. Sigh. One step forward, etc.

Be Still These Voices in my Head

I don't really know how it came about but Dr John told me one day that he has voices in his head. He can certainly be a very angry little boy but also has an extreme imagination, loves stories and films and loves creating characters. Not a bus journey goes by without him asking 'who are you from made up world' or 'which bad guy are you in super hero land?'.

But voices in his head? Should I be concerned? Apparently they are voices that go very fast and he doesn't know really what they are saying but they only stop when he is angry or asleep. Hmm. Chris Evans says that he used to hear voices when he was a child but he thinks it was to do with his bilingualism, but by instinct I just don't think this is the case with Dr John. I just feel that maybe this and his tendency for a short fuse may be linked. I'm going to look into calming techniques for children, but anyone got any suggestions?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Working Break

Since getting Helga our camping van 18 months ago we have spent a couple of weeks at a campsite in the city where Chris Evans works. This means that he can be 'home' at 5pm rather than his usual 7pm and we get a week lounging around with a new city's attractions to explore.

One downside to this week was that it was so hot (33 degree hot) that we didn't want to go anywhere particularly with a small baby so we hung around the van trying to find some shade. We had some of Chris Evans' work colleagues for a bbq which was made tricky as someone forgot to pack the grill part of it. I also struggled a bit as small talk appears to have deserted me and they kept lapsing into German which I have a basic understanding of, but not really enough to hold a conversation.

The kids and I managed to go for a couple of small walks in the mornings and Chris Evans got home by about 430 to 5pm on most days so all in all it was a fun week, marred only by Dr John's inability to go to bed without a wailing and screaming fit most nights. Very wearing.

Chris Evans was also brave enough to go for a swim in the glacial waters of the river Aare which is fairly fast flowing and I would've loved to have also done, but I guess it will be several years before I can do so unless we could find someone to look after the children as I don't think I would be brave enough to do it on my own!


Apologies for the bombardment of posts that will be coming in the next couple of days.

Its what happens when you are up in the middle of the night with a phone that you can write posts on, but can't post on the internet, due to being on holiday in the UK (and therefore it would cost a fortune if I tried to do so).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Workshops, Classes, Camps

Summer is a busy time for us. It is a time when we join in with the school children on their holidays.

Anyway, we'd looked at all the possibilities and chosen 3 weeks. I feel a little bad that we didn't really involve Dr John in the decision making process but a lot of the time he would be quite happy to stay at home with his lego which we feel is something that can be done at any time and we need to make the most of our opportunities.

So the first week was mornings at the same place he has his drama class, Edukids. They were 'doing' Le Petit Prince. I'm not sure exactly that they went through the whole story but I have a copy in French so (note to self) it would probably be a good idea to follow up on that. They talked about future careers and Dr John wants to be a lego designer so we had a look on the lego website (one of his favourites) and found the lego creator application. Its a little tricky for him at the moment particularly in the 3d visualization but the promise of ordering one of his creations will be a spur I think.

The second week was the one he was most reluctant about. I'm always surprised when my outgoing little boy seems a little shy or sacred of doing something and I must remember to treat his feelings with the respect they deserve. Anyway, the second week was 9 to 530 at the place that he has been to his atelier for the past 4 years (hence my surprise at his reluctance to go). I explained though that he could ask them to phone me if he wanted to come home for whatever reason. I think his main issue was that it was such a long day and that he would be having lunch there.
Lunch. That they supplied lunch was a surprise. That it was a cooked lunch was an even bigger surprise. Very few schools in Switzerland have a canteen or anywhere to have lunch (children come home every day at lunchtime making it very difficult for the primary caregiver to work) . But this place, which I think is such a wonderful set up, provided them with things like lasagna. They even got Dr John to eat a piece of salad every day!

The theme for the week was 'Say it with Flowers' and to be honest I was a little unsure as to how much Dr John would actually get out of it as it was all in French. But as usual he surprised me. On Tuesday morning as we were on our way there he told me about boy seeds and girl seeds. It took me a while to realise that he was talking about what they had done the day before and that none of it was in English! Now, if he would just start speaking it...

They spent each day playing lots but also doing some craft and having what I guess you could call an 'educational' session. This is where he learnt about the boy and girl seeds - (in relation to flowers I hasten to add!) - but also tasted flowers, drank flower sirops and smelt flower perfumes.

He had such a great time that he wanted to know if he could go the next week, and when I explained that he'd have to wait until the autumn holidays he asked me to sign him up straight away! I would say thats a result! And all subsidized by the city council so approximately half the cost of the Edukids sessions which itself is cheaper than other places he's been to before. His favourite bit of the week? The face painting and chasing the girls...

After a break of a week in which we went away which I will blog separately he was back at Edukids for four days. The subject this week was 'The Magic of Science' which seemed to revolve around the senses. I say 'seemed' because I didn't really find out much about it partly I think because the previous session he had been to at the Vallée had been such a success. I had to giggle one day though as I was told that he and another boy had had an argument about colouring. This little boy was adamant that you MUST colour in within the lines and Dr John insisted that it didn't matter. A stand off ensued, which was only resolved by the teacher getting them to agree, albeit reluctantly, that they both had valid points and it was perfectly acceptable to colour in whichever way they chose. That's my boy!

All in all, he had a good time. We're learning all the time what type of things he likes, and I've learnt that I shouldn't be scared that he will struggle with anything in French.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

And in other news....

In May, 3 became 4.

Yes that's right, I gave birth to our daughter, Pip, (not her real name, her in utero one, but it seems to have stuck a bit) on the 22nd May.
Dr John is delighted. He really wanted a sister, and had the great honour of choosing her middle name.
We're all settling in nicely. A few issues with Dr John and me but I think they are slowly being ironed out.
I'm a little disappointed that none of our families have come to visit, but meh, you can't have everything!