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.