Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
For 12 years I have been a member of Glasgow Jury's health club. No I am not a sporty health freak - I swim (very averagely), I sauna, I hang about in the jacuzzi, I think I did use the jogging machine twice, if that counts. I know all the staff, I know all the members, we've grown up and old together. They've had the delight of seeing me naked in the changing room, 9 months pregnant! I had Marcel not 24 hours after swimming in that pool. Both Marcel and Charlotte learned to swim there when they were four years old. But today I received a letter saying the health club and hotel had been bought over and would be closing down. How sad :-(
As a parent I currently wonder if my whole life is teeth?
Léon currently has six - two bottom, four top. For a week now he has crawled up and down the kitchen for half an hour every evening whining and stopping periodically to gnaw on a finger. His 9am wakenings too have switched to 5 or 6am this last week. I guess we are about to get two more incisors on the bottom.
Marcel has the opposite problem. He has all eight adult incisors. Unfortunately though his face isn't adult-sized so the outer two incisors on top are growing behind the middle ones meaning he can't brush the surface so can't keep them clean. So while Pudge moaned this afternoon about the teeth that were growing in, I took Marcel to the dentist to have his canine milk teeth removed to make room for his incisors to move out from behind the front teeth. Now as a parent who has nagged for 9 years that their child should brush his teeth several times daily, and not consume excessive amounts of sweets, I have to say I feel like a bit of a shit when I then say - well done, your teeth are healthy, sparkling white and cavity-free so today we'll get the dentist to pull them out anyway! :-( I, myself, have never had a tooth out or a dental injection so I didn't even know what I was taking him to but Marcel was very brave and didn't complain once, although I somehow got conned out of £2 for bravery he said!
All's well that ends well.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I don't understand my children! (Who does?) They are not the tidiest of little humans - Marcel is probably average, Charlotte on the other hand will need to study really hard at school because she'll need to earn enough to pay staff when she's older, she's the messiest child I ever met. She has an open empty toy box that you can't reach for the toys in front of it. She has an empty laundry basket you can only just see behind the pile of dirty clothes less than 5cm from it on the floor. On a good day I nag quietly (and get ignored). On a bad day I jump up and down and scream and shout and threaten (and get ignored).
But here's the thing - Léon has been spending the past month or two crawling around causing chaos. One day last week he took all the cds off the shelf in the library, Marcel walked by and spontaneously picked them up and put them back - I didn't ask him to, they didn't block his path, they didn't belong to him - Wow! He happliy cleared Léon's mess whereas his own is a different matter. However a more shocking thing was to happen at the weekend. Léon emptied the kitchen tins cupboard. Charlotte was playing outside and skipped in through the kitchen door. She saw the mess, skipped over and put all the tins away, unasked. Now she hadn't seen Marcel tidy the cds last week so she too has an innate sense that somehow cleaning Léon's mess is acceptable. This is a child who needs to be tortured for a week just to put a single sock in her own laundry basket.
Monday, August 28, 2006
As a small child, roughly 4, I remember Marcel becoming very distressed one day in a toyshop. He had seen a baseball-type bat in the window and wanted to buy it with some money he had saved. I said to him to go and ask the shop assistant to take it out of the window. He liked to talk to shop assistants and felt grown-up when I let him, but this time he collapsed in a heap of sobs. I couldn't understand his distress but he tried to explain to me that English wasn't specific enough and that if he asked for a bat, the woman wouldn't know if he wanted sports equipment or a nocturnal animal. It was inconceivable to his bilingual brain that a monolingual English speaker could deal with this ambiguity and still give him the correct thing. There was no convincing him that using the simple word bat would suffice. He went into a large description of the type of bat he meant. Sweet!
I guess he was 6 or even 7 before he realized that language differences like this were common and unproblematic.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
It's a sign of the times when the universe gets restructured and even poor little Pluto is made redundant.
I guess that's the thing about science - things are always changing. When I was a little girl my Gran used to tell me how at school she had learnt that we'd never split the atom and I used to laugh. I guess my kids will now be laughing at me when I say I learnt there were 9 planets in our solar system - how old-school is that!?
The other night I watched a documentary about the Airbus A380. When I was little I wanted to be an airline pilot. I'm not sure how I knew since I didn't go on a plane for the first time until I was 15, though I have made up for it since. Anyway, being a bit of a sad secret plane-spotter I enjoyed this look into the future of aviation. One bit did amaze me and that was the aircraft evacuation test. Apparently commercial aircraft only receive a license to fly if they can prove they can do an emergency evacuation in under 90 seconds. Airbus went Hamburg and took just under 900 volunteers - they were all put in the plane, the lights were turned off, obstacles and debris were placed in the aisles, 4 of the 8 doors were sealed shut and they were not told when the test would begin. They had to evacuate 900 people and all crew through 4 doors, my heart sank - I was never going to get a go on the A380 because it didn't stand a chance of passing this test! They showed the whole test filmed on infra-red camera and as all 900+ stood uninjured on the tarmac 78 seconds later, I sat in my seat totally dumbfounded.
Cool! Wonder where I'll fly to one day in that big bird :-)
He's so sweet sometimes. He's sitting here in front of our TV crying. The toy rattle he is playing with has rolled under the TV cabinet on which the DVD player etc sits. This cabinet is glass so he can see the rattle but every time he goes to pick it up his hand hits the glass and he bursts into tears - he has no concept of coming at it from beneath because he can see it through the glass. Awwwwh ;-)
Monday, August 21, 2006
Surely 10 months is too young to take the piss?! On Saturday Léon was on the patio in the garden, he picked up a stone and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him, he picked up a leaf and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him, he picked some soil out of a plantpot and put it in his mouth, I shouted at him - he crawled a few steps, he open his tiny hand, he picked something off the patio and put it in his mouth so I shouted at him again, he turned round smiled and opened his mouth, there was nothing in it this time, again he pretended to pick something up and put it in his mouth, again I shouted and again he laughed and showed me it had been a deliberate joke. This one is going to be a handful!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Today a jeep zoomed past my car in the fast lane of the motorway. On the back was a large red sticker that read 'Jesus is my airbag'. I was brought up in a family with no religion. From my earliest childhood I remember being taught astronomy, science etc and although religion was a topic we learned about at school, we weren't taught what we could believe, more what others believed. Religion always belonged to other people. I was an outsider and always would be. I smiled to myself as the jeep recklessly overtook me and I thought: it must be nice to have an airbag like that, it must make life just a tiny bit easier :-)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
In the future if we're banned from taking our cameras into the plane cabin, this is the kind of image we'll have to try to engrave on our memories instead of our computer hard disks. Why make the world a sadder place by giving in to these people?
This is the moon rising at 33000ft somewhere between Glasgow and Frankfurt - try describing that to someone who has never been on a plane.
Anyway my first thought was - hey I'll get my flight to NY in October cheap! My second thought was - shit they'll spend 3 hours checking me in in Frankfurt which'll be a pain with all 3 kids in tow. How wrong I was. I was not well equipped to fly with no hand luggage - I had a camera, a camcorder, a laptop and 2 ipods with me...so I packed for worst case scenario - the small things got wrapped up in clothes in my rucksack, the laptop was put in the case and I hoped my insurance would pay if someone stole them all! The camera is faulty at the moment so I was less than worried about it! I got to the check in and asked what had changed since Tuesday when I had flown to Germany. Nothing! was the reply. So I can take onboard my computer, my camera etc? Yes came the reply - and some juice and crisps for my kids? - again yes was the reply. Oh well. I caused chaos as I repacked my case and rucksack then checked them on and got on the flight home. This flight has a 45 min stopover in Prestwick before turning round and flying back to Frankfurt.
At the airport in Prestwick things were very different. Policemen were patrolling outnumbering passengers and carrying large machine guns. More stood in a ring round the perimeter fence and at the end of the runway. People were being handed clear poly bags for their passport and wallet and being told to check everything else into the hold. Large notices hung everywhere warning all food and drinks had to be consumed before entering the aircraft as they'd be confiscated. This was the same plane I had been on 10 minutes earlier with 5 electrical appliances, two bottles of coke and 3 bags of crisps!
Come on! These terrorists go to all lengths - they learn to fly 757s and crash them into buildings for goodness sake so what is the point in all the security in the UK - surely these guys will quickly work out they have to blow the plane up on their homeward journey and not the outbound flight! That way they even get to have a nice holiday before blowing themselves up! This is just laughably silly.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Marcel, needless to say, still hasn't got over France's loss. Because he had watched the 1998 final from his baby buggy and seen them win, in his head it was inevitable that his baby brother would have an identical experience to recount 8 years from now. Charlotte knew either could win and was quite philosophical, but to Marcel losing was inconceivable. So when he received money for his 9th birthday last week, he went out and bought the Play Station Game FIFA 2006 and has sat day and night ever since replaying the penalties and puzzling over why Trézéguet always manages to score when he, Marcel, is at the controls!
I guess disappointment is part of growing up - he probably felt the same that day as I did at 11 when I queued for hours with my Granny to buy tickets to see ABBA when they came to Glasgow only to be told they were sold out when I reached the front of the queue. I thought the world had come to an end!
Oh check this out too!