Thursday, June 25, 2015


Amaia: I would really love it if you could find Gruffalo dressing-up costumes for me and daddy. I could sit on his knee and we could play 'The Gruffalo's Child' together!

This was Amaia's request this morning. What a sweet image that brings to mind!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Changing technology

Discussing Jurassic Park over lunch, I asked Léon if he had seen it when he was little:

'I'm sure we used to have it but it was on one of those weird, black cuboid tape thingies'.

My nine year old doesn't know the word for a VHS video cassette! OMG I feel so old suddenly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A not very sporty girl

Growing up I hated school sports. I didn't mind the term when you had to do Scottish dancing but other than that I dreaded PE. I was always the last to be picked when the class team leaders were picking two teams for rounders or similar. I couldn't run or hurdle or high jump or long jump. You name it, I was mediocre at it. So sports day was not the highlight of my year. We were made to walk a mile to the sports'ground before starting. I enjoyed that bit, it was just the sports themselves I hated. I won two races growing up. In fact I would go as far as to say I came last in every other race I took part in over the seven years of primary school. The two races I won were the 1972 Bunny Hop race, where I was the only child not to be disqualified. I was four years old and I actually did bunny hop. The others, who were all more competitive than me, ran and were disqualified! So I won by being the only contestant still in the race at the finishing line! In 1977 I won the Walking Race at Bellahouston Sports track - I bet you can guess how I managed that one too! Yes, everyone else was disqualified for, running! So sports day always left me feeling depressed and inadequate. 

When I had Marcel and Charlotte I was surprised to find they won races, and even reached finals. They weren't the most sporty kids in school but were definitely in the top 15% so they did not stand out as diabolical. Léon isn't really a ball games kind of guy - it must be the glasses - but he too is fast and rarely last. Then came Anna. Anna has my sporting ability and Thomas's rolled into one, coupled with a vaguely Nordic Weltschmerz when it comes to her sporting ability. She looked utterly miserable yesterday as she came last in the sprinting and last in the egg and spoon race. Like me, there was no question of her cheating so every time the potato dropped she stopped and carefully balanced it again as others shot past her holding it on with a thumb. 

In the afternoon she was asked by her teacher to draw her favourite moment of sports day and it just broke my heart, wee soul... She's captured exactly how I used to feel about sports day, and it's only made worse by her labeling of herself in last place with a sad little smile and her putting on of a brave face in the title: I liked the egg and spoon race!

Monday, June 15, 2015

How cute is this little girl?

Lily Hamster

The joys of parenting

Glasgow Tall Ship

He must think my head buttons up the back! There I was this morning sitting on the downstairs loo (TMI) when I heard this conversation:

Anna: Léon, could you pass me the Frosties?
Anna: Léon, could you pass me the Frosties?
Anna: Léééééon, could you pass me the Frosties?
Anna: Léééééon, Léééééon, Léééééon Waaaaaaaah, could you pass me the Frosties? Waaaaaaaaah!

I go through. Anna is sitting on the near side of the table holding a bowl and a spoon. Léon is sitting on the far side of the table eating a bowl of Frosties, grinning. The packet of Frosties is on the chair beside Léon, pushed as far as humanly possible from Anna's reach.

Me: Why are you hiding the Frosties?
Léon: (innocently) Oh these? How was I supposed to know she wanted them?

Honestly! What perverse pleasure do little people get out of winding at 8-15am? And how thick does he think I am?! I'm an older sibling too, for crying out loud! Wouldn't it be nice to get a day off from parenting just once in a while? - sigh :-(

The dos and don'ts of granny-shoving


Amaia's been learning traditional Scottish songs at nursery this term. We've had Donald where's yer troosers, Ally Bally, Three Craws and this morning she came out with Ye canny shove yer granny aff a bus.

Ye canny shove yer granny aff a bus
Naw ye canny shove yer granny aff a bus
Naw ye canny shove yer granny
Cause she's yer mammy's mammy
Ye canny shove yer granny aff a bus

Ye can shove yer other granny aff a bus PUSH PUSH
Ye can shove yer other granny aff a bus PUSH PUSH
Ye can shove yer other granny
Cause she's just yer daddy's mammy 
Shove yer other granny aff a bus PUSH PUSH etc

While they may have managed to get the Scots lesson involved in the song, I'm not sure she has analysed it morally!
Amaia: (sings the song): So I can't shove Granny off a bus but I am allowed to shove Farmor off one, is that right?
Me: Yeah, well, that's what the song says.
Amaia: I don't think that's right!
Me: I know pet, it's just not nice, is it?
Amaia (vaguely puzzled): No, I didn't mean that - I mean Farmor lives in Italy so I don't see her often and even when I do go over, I can't remember ever being on a bus with her, so I'm not sure when I'd manage to shove her off one!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

A different Denmark

Anna in CopenhagenThe girls in their pink buggy the day before it died

Here's a photo of Anna the last time she was in Copenhagen. She had just turned two! She has spent five days in Denmark since then (Århus in February of 2013). A week at two and five days at five is probably not enough to give her a real sense of what Denmark is like as I mentioned recently. This is having rather amusing consequences (though I suspect it might lead to disappointment if we ever manage to rustle up the £1500 it costs to fly over when your family is this size!)...

We were at school yesterday for a parents' meeting with her teacher. While waiting for our turn we were leafing through her classwork when I came across a story she had written for her teacher. It was the story of a Danish child who lived in Copenhagen and who'd taken a boat trip out into the harbour. Swept away to sea by a storm, she found herself shipwrecked on an island (presumably Bornholm from her description of the trip). The girl then spent ten years waiting to be rescued but survived completely alone by climbing the local palm trees and eating copious amounts of coconut flesh! I suspect the climate may disappoint little Anna if we manage to get there in reality - I certainly don't remember eating too many home-grown coconuts any time I've been over!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Oh, the imagination!

Glasgow Tall Ship

I'm working this evening so I ask the four kids who are home if they can entertain themselves. Léon heads for the PS3, Charlotte disappears upstairs. I assume Anna and Amaia are playing with dolls or something similar. I get up to pass through the dining room to get a coffee and Anna is sitting blindfolded at the table. Amaia is sitting in front of her with a dozen teaspoons, a jar of nutella, a jar of jam, some olives, some sugar, mustard, some spices, a tomato, a pear and a bottle of soy sauce. 'What on earth are you two up to?' I ask. Amaia replies that she's invented a 'guess the taste' game. Anna is either very brave or highly gullible! I'd never have trusted my little brother to spoon things into me blindfolded as a child - I'd have been afraid of tadpoles or similar!