Monday, December 11, 2017

Sweet Anna



Anna's choir is singing in shopping centres and at school show performance nights over the next two weeks. She's learnt a dozen Christmas songs, including the one above (which is actually called 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, rather than alot like Christmas - hee hee - just check out my favourite point of reference on the 'alot'...) 

Anyway, taking her to bed the other night, she asked if she could sing me it, which she did until she got to the line 'And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again!' (at 1:01). She stopped, as if realising what it implied for the first time ever, lip trembling and spat out 'Omg, is that true?' I assured her it wasn't, and I meant it. I never long for my kids to go back to school after holidays; yes, I long for an evening off occasionally, or a week where evenings are not spent predominantly on homework, but they are only little once, and having a 20 year old too, I know that all too soon, 'Mom and dad' will be left home alone with their memories, while the kids are somewhere new making their own lives, so no, I genuinely don't wish for school to start again (especially not on a dark, freezing scrape-the-car Scottish January morning!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

My hamster-wheel existence



8-30 Take 3,4,5 to school, running late and ranting, return home.
10-15 School phones to say Léon is wanting to come home as he feels under the weather - cold, throbbing broken arm, temperature. Pick him up, return home. Get a long and philosophical conversation about how he wants to grow up to be a phonetician (is that normal when you are 12?!)
10-45 Charlotte needs dropped in Glasgow to sit her LNAT exam, return home, with Léon recounting more about phonetics in my ear while I drive.
11-15 Primary open day for an hour: cut, glue, glitter, colour in, melt in the heat of two overcrowded classrooms, return home.
1-00 Gulp down some leftover chilli, then work for one hour uninterrupted 🎆(glued Léon in front of a Danish movie).
2-30 Pick Charlotte up from train after LNAT, return home. Get a blow by blow account of the exam  which was much harder than all practice runs, rant, rant, rant.
3-00 Pick up Anna from school, return home. Get a blow by blow account of p6 activities and how thrilling and wonderful everything about December is.
4-00 Pick up Amaia from baking club, return home. Get a blow by blow account of baking club and how she'll just 'die' if she doesn't get into it again next term, especially with her best friends Ameya and Sophie.
5-09 Drink a (cold) cup of coffee I've been trying to reach for over an hour.

I'm half waiting on Marcel to phone and say he has a sudden desire to visit the family at short notice and needs picking up on the moon or somewhere even less convenient.

I refuse to go shopping for dinner - if we have no food, we're not eating. So there!😝

And I wonder why I never get time for the day job! I'm meant to do at least 5 hours Italian today. I need a 30hr day. Sigh

Thought-provoking

Friday, December 01, 2017

Fractured wrist


I knew as I reached the top of the hill (that the high school stands on) that something was amiss. Léon and Charlotte were standing by the roadside as they always do on a Friday, waiting for me. They were smiling, talking and joking together but I noticed immediately that while Léon was only holding his schoolbag in his right hand, Charlotte was holding both her schoolbag and Léon's PE kit bag -- that's odd, I thought. I pulled up and they got in. 'Oh by the way mum, I think I've broken my arm', Léon joked. 'Seriously? What? When?' So then I got the proof once again that he is a bit of a space cadet...

The story seems to be that he was standing in the busy Maths corridor holding his phone to check a message, between classes (which Charlotte assures me you're not allowed to do!), when an s5 kid, who was rushing to class, tripped over his own shoe and went flying smack into Léon's arm and thumped him against a wall, quickly apologising and carrying on his way, as did Léon, who hadn't realised the enormity of what had just happened. When was this? 10am!!!! He said the pain kicked in half an hour later so he asked his PE teacher if he could be excused from his social dancing class and sit and watch, after that it didn't occur to him to go to the medical room, have anyone call me or even ask a teacher what the best plan of action was... It was my left hand and I'm right handed so I didn't think breaking your arm was a reason to ask to go home! Give me strength!

So I dropped off the girls and went to the Vicky where they confirmed he had a 'buckle fracture' which would probably take three weeks to heal.

At first his main worry was that they might make him sit out social dancing and he didn't want to miss the opportunity to 'get the girls' sympathy!' (like brother, like brother 😉). It turns out they are trialling putting splints rather than plaster casts on them as they are short lived and not too dire, but I expect that isn't the best situation to be in with fifteen days to go to his orchestra Xmas performance - he'll be the first one-handed first violin in the junior orchestra's history - sigh. Mind you it apparently holds his wrist in 'waltz position' so he's pleased!

To cap it all, we don't even get the benefit of a long lie for the first time in five years of Saturday school when he misses his lesson tomorrow as it's the primary school winter gala day and Anna's choir is performing at that!

Cosy reading and baking pizza




Isn't this just the sweetest idea for a Friday afternoon in December? The p6 teachers decided to let the kids bring in pillows and blankets and build dens under their school desks, then they got to change into their onesies and read their books with their friends. Lovely to see (half of) Anna with three of her best friends Inishka, Marie-Liang,  and Akshara in this tweet from school.💜

After discovering the tweet of den day, I looked through this week's school tweets and found little Amaia at baking club making pizza too and really enjoying it. Cute!






New word

A great new word that I think will need to enter the general family vocab forthwith...

Amaia to Léon: 'Oh stop being sooo kiddish!' 🤣

Large families

It's funny how you become public property when you step outside the norm...

A friend (who also has five kids) posted this on Facebook today and I can really relate to it. Strangers have actually asked me every single one of these questions, unprompted - in the street, in a supermarket, at the school gate!! They did omit two extras that I've been asked; was it an accident? and were you having a midlife crisis? (and that was when I got pregnant with Léon (no 3) at a mere 37!!)

The one about daycare is actually the one I've been asked most often in recent years - well, to be honest it is usually phased something like: 'I've seen you at the school, you're a childminder, aren't you?' but that's the same idea, no?! Though you'd be surprised quite how often I've been asked if I'm Catholic or if I know what is causing them, no, seriously!

Anyway, for my friends with too many kids, enjoy... and for those with a normal family - this is what you missed out on!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It didn't drive like that in my day!


When I came back from living in Italy in 1986, I was desperate for a Fiat 500 (as you may have guessed by now). They were too old to be readily available (in a decent state), yet too new to be collectors' items yet. The majority of them were beaten and bashed and in a complete state, so I decided that as I wanted to buy a newish (and reliable (that turned out to be a joke)) vehicle, I opted for a more sensible two-year-old Fiat 126.













It coughed and spluttered. It had a top speed of 68mph (110kph)... I managed 70 in it once, (fully-loaded, downhill with a tail wind, I think!) It had a 4 speed gear box and a manual choke. It had the engine in the boot and the boot in the bonnet (opening the opposite way to a normal bonnet, like the old Saabs did in their day). I loved it because it was my first car, but it definitely didn't drive like the one in that video! What fun I could have had if mine had had a souped-up engine like that one!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Parenting a space cadet

I sometimes wonder if you need the patience of a saint to be mother to a 12 year old boy, or maybe  just a good sense of humour. I made chilli con carne yesterday and then popped out to pick Léon up from debating at school at six. On my way home I realised I needed some shopping so told him the only way dinner could be ready for seven was if I dropped him at home and popped straight to Aldi for 15 minutes. He cooks dinner at least once a week so it wasn't that he isn't capable in the kitchen, he's just lacking somewhat in the memory-span department. I emphasised how important it was to the point where he impressed me by taking out his phone and writing himself a note on it. The instructions weren't hard - Put four portions of rice in the rice cooker and press on, then relight the gas under the chilli, but quite low just to keep it warm. What could possibly go wrong? I dropped him at 6:10 and was back by 6:30. I walked in. The chilli was on (a little too high but on at least). The rice was in the rice cooker, with water (no salt), plugged in but no lights on. Léon, Anna and Amaia were happily microwaving three hot chocolates complete with mini-marshmallows, all jolly and happy. 'What was the most important thing I asked you to do, the only thing I absolutely needed you to do?' I asked 'Put on the rice', he replied proudly. 'And is it on?' I asked more tentatively... 'Well it's in the rice cooker, oh it's not on! - one out of two isn't bad, is it?' We ate half an hour late! But hey, at least they had hot chocolate!



Fast forward a few hours. After violin practice, he was last seen heading to his room with his violin carefully strapped on his back, pity he forgot to close the case, and thank goodness for that tiny little Velcro strap round its neck. He spent most of this evening trying to track down the neck rest for it which had dropped out the case as it wasn't Velcroed down... turned out to be in the cupboard with the school juices, where it had dropped out when he had been making his lunch last night while apparently wearing his violin.

Wonder what he'll forget tomorrow!