Sunday, April 22, 2007

When I was Your Age...

Annika has a new favorite song - Cara Mia by Måns ??, an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. I have now heard it at least 47 times, and surely more to come. Technology is a wonderful thing - most of the time. When we can skip back to a favorite song again and again with a single push of a button? How easy it is. My memory is now full of favorite tracks (Cara Mia, track 2 on Absolute 54; Lion King, track 7 on Disney Hits; Puff the Magic Dragon, track 12 on Peter, Paul and Mommy - the threesome's current favorites).

Remember what it was like before?

Not wishing to date myself too much... My first stereo was a hand-me-down from my parents. It must have been the height of technology in 1950 - an all-in-one cabinet on spindly legs, with speaker-doors that opened out for that full 3-foot stereo effect. It had a record player that folded down, and a special attachment for 45 rpm records. I found out that a quarter balanced on the needle arm would cause it to repeat the record over and over (and over and over) again.

Of course my cousins had the portable version - the record player that folded into a tiny plastic suitcase. I guess we didn't think much about sound quality back then... The coolest thing of all was that if we jumped really hard on the floor next to the player, we could make the needle jump back to the beginning of the record.

I get the occasional e-mail about the changes in my lifetime. It is amazing to me that my children will probably never see a rotary dial phone, a vinyl record or an 8-track tape. They will never know life without computers, answering machines, mobile phones or portable music players. When I watch Annika dancing around the room with the remote control, replaying her song again and again with a simple push of a botton, I wonder what changes are in store for her.

The Silly Pirate (by Benjamin)

(as dictated to me)

One time a silly pirate was very funny. And he had two eye patches on his eyes.

And then do you know what happened? A little boy walked along and when he saw a bunny he said, “Stop!”

And then do you know what happened? It was very fun that a man just walked along with the boy and then the man started to cry and then because he didn’t see his boy, but they were holding hands but then he looked around and he saw his boy holding his hand and it was so fun.

And they were in the dungeon the whole time and then a big, big bomb went on to the boat because they were fighting and they were singing, “I iho hi o ho a wa mie o” and they were singing so loud!

Then it started a big bomb “Boom!” It was the Indians shooting at the pirates. The pirates were shooting at the Indians. Then they threw a humongous bomb and the pirate hurt himself and then one of the Indians said, “Sorry!”

And then they were super happy and they were friends with the Indians together.

The End

Thursday, April 19, 2007

SSL - Swedish as a Second Language (Your Tax Kronor at Work)

Just had Christopher's utvecklingssamtal, and all is great at dagis... well, almost. He loves going, has a great time with his friends, and plays hard all day. He has left some of the "trots-ålder" behavior behind, so he is more cooperative, and less prone to testing every limit. Happy, cute, extremely adept at coloring within the lines - the good news.

Of course, with the good comes the BUT... He says only a few simple words in Swedish (and his English is no great shakes, either). Progress was evident up until Christmas, but since then, he hasn't made any linguistic headway. Of course, he has clued in that his teachers understand when he speaks English, so he doesn't really have to try that hard to make himself understood in Swedish, and he plays a lot with Aleksander, who also speaks English. The dagis will request assistance for him (and others) next year - and we already have assistance for Benjamin (and others) in his group.

What is it about our boys? At 18 months, Annika ended up on the local radio station, saying her name and that her favorite radio station was "Mix Megapol". Christopher, if asked his name, answers "Cwiss" or "Cowboy" since - at nearly 4 years old! - he still can't say Christopher. Benjamin, despite hours of speech therapy exercises with pictures - "He helps her" or "He is carrying her" - turns to his friend and says, "Honom slog henne!", translated "Him hit she". Every Swedish sentence he utters begins with the subject "Honom" (him). I took consolation while potty training (late) that kids don't go to first grade in diapers. I will now try to gain consolation from the fact that by the age of 18, most people can master some semblance of grammatical correctness in their mother tongue.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More Skiing... and a Knee Brace

Another weekend of skiing - and an awesome time with the kids. The snow quality was marginal, kind of like skiing in a swimming pool at times, but the kids were troopers. David and I felt a little bit guilty for putting the kids in all-day ski school... but not too guilty. We enjoyed skiing together, something we haven't done in years, and the kids were happy. We generally skied until 1, had a leisurely lunch in the sun, and then relaxed on the balcony until it was time to pick up the kids. I asked Annika what she was working on, expecting "parallel" or "turns" in response. "Skiing backwards and taking jumps" was her response - at least they are having fun!

Of course, we had visions of family skiing holidays, when we all skied together. This year, Christopher is a bit too slow, and not safe for steep slopes. But next year may be the end of our vision - the last year when David and I can reasonably expect to keep up with our children. I'm afraid that after that, the kids will be waiting at the bottom, and when David and I arrive, panting and aching, they will say, "Come on, Mom and Dad - what took you so long? We're tired of waiting!"

Anyway, the whole long weekend went "swimmingly" except for one little blip - a fall Christopher took, on the last run (isn't it always?) of the third day. He twisted his knee, and was carried down. The next day, he refused to put any weight on it, and we took him in to the local emergency. Fortunately, 3-year-olds are still extremely flexible and not inclined to have ligament tears. He received a tiny leg brace (which hasn't slowed him down a bit - as proved by his trying to scale the passport control booth at the airport) which he actually wants to wear. Hopefully in a week...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Not Good with Locks...

After the boys' treasure chest experience, you would think we would be more careful with locks...

I bought Annika a bike lock on Saturday, with a 4-digit combination that she got to choose. She made much ado about secrecy, but told David (so he could help her set it) and then me (because she couldn't keep it a secret). Then she decided - somehow over the course of the evening - to try it out on Christopher's bed. She didn't get it closed all the way before she turned the dials... and now we can't get it open!

Looks like we'll have to disassemble the bed...