Thursday, September 26, 2013


I'm so proud of my big boy tonight. Here are the photos from the senior prize-giving where he came top in English and French.

Monday, September 23, 2013

There's a difference between...

Brita and Peter are visiting so the dinner table language is currently mainly Danish. Today Thomas was speaking rather animatedly about dieting to his father. He was saying something along the lines of There's a difference between a low carb diet and a protein-only diet... The differences were discussed at length. Charlotte looked awkward. I didn't pick up on it because I was following the conversation and I knew nothing dodgy had been said. This difference and that was underlined in a loud, jolly and animated fashion. Charlotte laughed nervously and whispered to me across the table: What are they saying about foreskin, mum? Although Lots can follow a usual Daddy to kiddie Danish discussion along the lines of 'Pass me the juice and we're having chicken with rice for dinner', she is less used to adult discussions and at the speed they were speaking, she was mishearing the Danish word for difference 'forskel' as 'foreskin'! I guess it must be confusing if you think all the adults at the table are shouting at each other about 'foreskin' in a somewhat blasé fashion over dinner!

Life's never dull in a multilingual, multicultural home!

Léon's eyes

Léon asks me sometimes what he should answer when people ask him what colour his eyes are. Imagine being nearly eight and not knowing how to answer that question... but to be honest, I'm not sure I know what to tell him! Let's analyse them: the upper half of his right eye is a mid blue colour and the outer half of his left one is definitely light blue. Each eye also has a dark blue circle all the way around but the bottom of his right eye is dark orange, and the inner portion of his left one is distinctly yellow, giving a slightly greenish hue. So what should he tick on a class survey that gives brown, blue and green as the only options? :-)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Future stand-up comic?

Amaia is at that delightful age where kids discover the concept of jokes - I don't mean the slap-stick that they all appreciate, even as babies, I mean telling a joke or pun and waiting for a reaction. It started six months ago when she learnt one joke:

Why did the mushroom go to the party?
Because he was a fun guy...

I'm not sure she understands it but she feels it necessary to begin every evening meal by telling us it quickly, with no pause before the punchline and then laughing loudly.

From there she developed on to writing her own material (sigh):
What happened when the carrot crossed the road?
It met a mushroom and they got dead!
(Hysterical laughter) (sigh!)

Tonight we have reached a new level...
Mummy sing me a song.
What song do you want?
Humpty Dumpy

So I started:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

And before I had a chance to sing the next line she sang:
But a passing zebra caught him,
so he was fine!

Then started crying with laughter at her own wit, slapping her thigh! She's definitely trying to be funny, even if she's not quite hit on the right formula as yet!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Shona and Marcel through the years!

I was watching Marcel and Shona (my old uni friend) the other night at dinner. They don't see a lot of each other as Shona lives in Cologne. Suddenly it struck me how little she's changed and how much he has since they were first photographed together in 1997! Sweet...

Monday, September 02, 2013

How Léon sees names

Léon came bouncing out of school the day Marcel changed his surname:

Léon: Hi mum! Lots says people are allowed to change their names.
Me: That's right. Marcel just changed his.
Léon: So what's he called now then?
Me: Marcel Buchanan. Charlotte says she's going to change hers too as soon as she's allowed to.
Léon: Well I don't think it would be fair to make me a Buchanan when I'm older.

Now this puzzled me given he's the only one of my big kids who has no memories of ever living with his father and none of us as a couple. Thomas has been his father all his life and the only family he's ever really known are the Buchanans.

Despite the fact that Marcel's change of name means a great deal to me (or perhaps because of that fact), I have tried to stay well and truly on the fence because I wanted it to be entirely his own choice, given the gravity of it. I gave him the pros and the cons without trying to influence him. So Léon's reaction to 'Buchanan' surprised me.

So the conversation continued:

Léon: My Danish is the best out of all of us. It's better than Anna's and Amaia's so if they are allowed a Widmann on the end of their Buchanan to show they are half Scottish and half Danish, then I should get one too. I definitely deserve the Widmann bit to show how good I am at Danish.

So it wasn't a longing to stay Gautier after all, more a perceived status symbol he attaches to the Widmann half of the girls' names! It seems to be only a matter of time before I have two 'wee' Buchanans and three wee-er Buchanan-Widmanns!

Phew, he had me worried there for a bit!

Sunday, September 01, 2013


I need to get my hands on some money...

They've only started making a seven seater Fiat 500!!!!

Wiser than adults

Sometimes it's the youngest eyes that see the clearest.

Thomas told me yesterday about a chat he'd had with Anna, our five year old.

Already, at such a tender age, she seems sadly to have sussed what is wrong with the current world and what is really important...

Thomas always speaks to the kids in Danish, so I'll just translate it as this isn't the key point.

Thomas: 'What do you want to be when you grow up Anna?'

Anna: 'I guess I need to become a pop star so I can go on something like Big Brother and make enough money to be able to retire and do something interesting that matters like become a scientist!'

What a crazy world we live in, if this is how the youth see it.