Sunday, February 27, 2011

Swiss Fondue

We come to Switzerland - the French-speaking part - and the kids don't like the food. How can that be? David and I go crazy for the French bread... but the kids think the crust is too hard. David and I look forward to mornings at the bakery - pain au chocolat and chausson aux pommes... but the kids would really prefer Swedish cinnamon rolls.

But now, finally, finally - there's something here that at least one of the kids likes. Yes, Annika likes fondue (and raclette). So we will celebrate the fact that at least one of our children actually likes at least one dish from somewhere south of Malmö!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A String of Letters

and most of them NOS.

I haven't written so much about the difficulties Benjamin has been having lately... I guess I wasn't really sure where to start. But he hasn't really been happy, and wasn't making progress at his school. So after thorough investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, he now has a diagnosis, of sorts. But the letters all seem to roll together.

ADHD - is the first and clear winner. Or ADD since the H isn't so clear. This one we're all sure about, and his impulsivity, distractability and creativity make it a sure thing.

PDD-NOS (or GUS-UNS in Swedish) - for Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (and just to show that I know what it is here - Genomgripande Utvecklingsstörning - Utan Närmare Specifikation). This one we're less sure of, but it places him somewhere on the Autistic spectrum, closer to Aspergers, but not really... just imagine somewhere under a very large umbrella of social challenges. If you take his fantasy stories as a specific interest, then he probably falls out somewhere on the spectrum... but exactly where is a matter of debate.

Mood disorder - not otherwise specified - is the other part. He hasn't been truly happy for a long time, and hasn't found an interest in a while - other than TV. I wish it was easier - we have two children who are surprised at how wonderful their lives are, and one who is the opposite. What to do...

So somewhere in ADD-ADHD-PDD-NOS-land we have to find a way to enjoy our lives as a family. Some initial thoughts...
  • I have never been happier with my marriage and my husband. Every book I read has a chapter about marital relations, and though this is challenging, David's wisdom and willingness to see things from other perspectives... well, I can't imagine how lucky I am to have found him, and how thankful I am that he is my husband (13 years now).
  • Sweden's system takes some sorting out, and the motivations and goals are not at all like what I would imagine private practice to be. We're working on it.
  • Benjamin has changed school - hopefully for the better. Somehow, a school with 1:1 ratios should be fantastic. But he's still not reading, nor does he see the need.
  • We're working down the pharmaceutical chain - and I now know more brand names and active ingredients than I ever expected.
So wish us luck - it is bound to be a bumpy ride...

It's Just a Word...

Christopher's calm, first grade class has been in an uproar. Apparently, someone has written "Jävla unga" in the book of one of his classmates, a girl called T. And not once, but several times.

I had to ask Annika for a translation - to me, the words sound like something a cranky old man would say about noisy kids on the block -"Damn brats" or something like that. But no. It's worse. More like F*** Y*** in Swedish.

So you see, I can write the Swedish words in my blog with no problems, but don't dare to write the English. The English ones are more "loaded" for me, and the Swedish ones are just a string of letters.

So back to the class... At first, they thought it was the older kids coming in while the first graders were at recess. But the last 2-3 times, the writing has been - shall we say - different, and at a time when nobody else could have come in to the class. So who sits at T's table? You got it - Christopher. Could this possibly be my child? I did wonder... and then two things happened -

1) C wants to have a playdate. "Let's do something new" he says. "I want to play with T." Strange, since he never plays with girls.
2) And then C's teacher corners me today, to say that she thinks he is responsible, since he always turns his Js the wrong way, and since he has a kind of "flirty" relationship with T. Oh S***.

So now all of the parents are up in arms, the investigations are ongoing, and the teacher is still somewhat mystified. And my sweet little boy, the one who - truthfully - probably has no idea what the words mean... Will this follow him through his whole school career?

Do I really think he did it? I truthfully don't think so the first time... or the second. He was entirely too clueless to really come up with something like that. Maybe I'm naive, but I just can't see it. However, could he have done it later? I'm afraid so.... How to approach this topic...

And coming back to the words, Annika now has a blog - tha gleek hess - and in case you are wondering, no, it doesn't mean anything other than she likes Glee and horses (hence the name hess for häst in Swedish). So tonight she informs me that she is trying to write for a more adult audience, so she has decided to throw in the word "jävla" every so often to spark interest.

So F***. Are you more interested now? (and no, I still couldn't bring myself to write the word...)