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Friday, April 17, 2015

Thanks, kids

You can always rely on your kids to put you in your place.

I'm working on an Italian dictionary project this morning, so I leave various editions open on the dining room table with my laptop, as I go to arrange the little ones' breakfast. I come back to Anna looking proudly at the contributors' page of one of them and hear her say 'Look Amaia, that's mummy's name. She helped write it!' Awwwh, my kids see there's more to me than bum-wiping, at last. But as I come in Léon looks up at me and says 'That's really impressive mummy... But you do know no one ever reads that page, don't you?' Thanks, kiddo, that's me back in my place!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Marrying mum and dad

I am so relieved I am already married...

Anna and Amaia have been off school for ten days on holiday and have discovered a particularly hideous programme on CBBC called 'Marrying Mum and Dad'. I haven't actually seen a full episode but have walked in on them sitting almost teary-eyed at the beauty of the weddings involved. I may be wrong but as far as I can see, the format is: Mum and dad aren't married, but have kids around primary school age so the kids are tasked with arranging a themed surprise wedding for their parents. 

Can you imagine anything more terrifying than having, in my case, a seven year old and a five year old choosing what we'd wear, where we'd marry and all the entertainment?! In case you are in any doubt about this being a good idea, the episode I walked in on (where both my girls were looking very impressed and touched) consisted of the parents being dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz, the kids dressed as the lion, the tin man, etc and someone else (the person conducting the ceremony?) as the Wicked Witch of the West! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Six-headed daffodil!

We managed to grow this in the garden. It is obviously from the daffodil family and has no less than six heads on the one stem! Isn't it pretty? And better still I got it in a reduced bag of bulbs from the bargain store. I am feeling rather pleased with myself!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Subsidized student accomodation

Why is student accommodation prohibitively expensive in Scotland? I remember when I lived on campus at Konstanz uni, paying about 25% of what I would have paid here for my room there.

My boy is nearly 18 and desperate to move out of our home and spread his wings. He's been accepted for Law at both Glasgow and Edinburgh unis. He currently debating whether he should narrow that choice down to just Glasgow as that is only a two hour round-trip every day to and from our house (costing £6-50 a day) because realistically where is he going to find £130 a week for a student room on campus? Given his course is 5 years long, running up a bill of £28100 in accommodation (before you start calculating books, travel and the rest) is madness. Of course, if we lived further away, he'd be forced to take on that debt, just as English kids have no choice but to take on the crazy debt their student fees incur, but when it is optional, it really is hard to justify burdening your future by starting out in life with such a huge millstone round your neck.

At the moment, over and above his school work, he is working afternoons in a café and evenings in a restaurant to try to build up some cash to move out, and he's lucky to have found a job paying £5-90 an hour (his friends are working for £3-79). But I wonder how realistic continuing that will be once he's studying too. He certainly won't be able to continue working 30hrs/wk. Working with those figures, he'll only be able to move out if he manages to work 900 hours every summer for the next five years (which is approximately 75hrs/wk!), or if he takes on huge student loans.

It's such a shame. I know he'd have a much better time living at uni than squashed in our wee house with the six of us, especially as we have one bedroom too few. I guess, if I am being realistic, the time has come to consider losing our TV room, and creating a room for Léon.

Oh to live in different times, or in a different place! :-(


Braces are starting to stress me out and I've never even had any!

Marcel had braces for three years and simply got on with it. Afterwards, they took them out and he started wearing a retainer instead. Everything was sorted, nothing went wrong.

So when Lots got braces two years ago, I was not prepared for the drama involved. From the first few weeks of tears and not eating as she sat crunching painkillers, to the braces popping off and needing repaired over and over, to her gagging and struggling every time they made a mould of her teeth, to her refusing solid food two days a month every time they were tightened and so on.

This week they finally took them off and I sighed a huge sigh of relief... too soon. Thirty-six hours on and the retainers (that she has to wear 24/7 for the first three months) have shredded her tongue and gums, she's fiddling with the bottom retainer and claiming she can't keep it in for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I can see her green eyes shining with preparatory tears once again. At home she stuffs her cheeks full of cotton wool and looks like a demented hamster to stop them rubbing against her jaw.

I am slowly concluding that Charlotte's inner mouth is much more sensitive than Marcel's - well either that or she's a drama queen and he's a trouper. Either way, I am stressed to breaking point with her following me around on the verge of tears hoping 'mummy can make it all better' - sigh!

I can already see Léon is going to need them too. I'm just not sure my nerves can take another three years of this...