Sunday, September 25, 2011

Silence is Golden

No matter how much you love your children, no matter how well behaved they've been, how lovely the day was together, how much you'll miss them when you tuck them into bed . . . 

there's something magical about the silence of the house after they've fallen asleep.

I wish I could say Isä and I do exciting things when the Weans are visiting the Land of Nod, where mice crawl into Foo's bed and Mousie dreams of everything turning into Octopods, GUPs and Octonauts, but we don't. We drop off into our own cyberspace worlds and sometimes barely resurface. It's nice not having to respond or entertain each other unless we want to.

During the weekend I've been updating the Weans' Memory Books, printing out pictures, writing out what they've been up to. It's strange looking back at the scan photos and shots of each child reaching milestones of sitting up, crawling, walking, first day at nursery that soon it will have been 5 years since the first little Nugget appeared on the scene and totally upended our lives. 

Before he arrived I dreamt that he would be born shouting 'Ta Dah!' with a flourish. It suits his personality, you always know where he is and what he's doing. He's not quite the showy front man, but he's definitely the Narrator of his own story, needing to be heard. 

But now even he is silent, blanketless, lying across his pillows most likely. With his brother snoring in the bunk below him and his sister curled into her Baba in milky sleep. 

And Isä is across the room playing some game and I have nothing to do but think about sleeping babies and imagine the cup of tea I will soon make. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Last of the Summer . . . Chocolate Cake

Autumn is upon us full blast. The weather is every which way, one day bucketing down for hours with a ferocity you expect from tropical climates, the next the sun is lazy, thick and warm around our shoulders. Yesterday we were given a taste of the reality of what is coming, a cold wind that ripped through our raincoats making me wonder where our gloves and hats were packed after the move.

So we're taking the chance to enjoy the back garden, explore a bit of our neighbourhood, get outside while the getting's good. And as always, I took too many photos.

Mousie pulled up some of his carrots, think they're the last of the season. I am surprised that one got as big as that as he's not a patient gardener and tends to harvest things way too soon. But he loves it, and they were his plants so I left him to it. 

I can't believe we've been here for over a year and have never bothered to search out the area's forest walks. They are gorgeous and 5 minutes away. People have mentioned them, but it just never occurred to us. I can see us trying to squeeze in as many rambles as we can before the snows cover everything.

Our first walk didn't last long though due to tantrums and a nettle sting. So I went back later by myself to take some photos for my class and found the local allotments. Heaven. 

Here are some photos that my teacher will probably not be interested in (No people!!) but that I love. 

After an hour of wandering around the allotments taking distant pictures of the few plot holders about working, I got up the nerve to ask a couple if I could take some pictures of them. I got chatting vaguely to the woman who had MS and couldn't really work the plot much while her husband, who obviously understood more than he let on, did all the work of harvesting and cleaning the veg. They were lovely to let me stand around and take photos of them pottering about. I promised I'd only use them for my class, but I don't think this one will be a problem. 

I'm not really bothered what my teacher thinks of the photos as the whole thing was a success to me: I got 2 hours on my own to do something I love in a place I love, I got a nice walk in the forest and when I got home there was cake and giggles . . . 

and three blondie bears in a bath.

The good life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Autumn's Golden Entrance

Autumn has definitely begun and I love it. Birch leaves fluttering down onto the pavements, fleeces on in the morning, off by 10am when the sun slants through the trees at a ridiculous golden angle. Rain falling with serious intent.

And the Foo is off to nursery. He had his first sessions this week and was a star. 

After a bumpy start for myself with what to do once we got there: do you just drop him off and go, hang about and settle him in or for the whole first session? Most Finnish mothers seemed to stay for the whole session, but I hadn't had breakfast, Bumpshie was starving for her second breakfast, so we ended up not going inside when they finished their hour playtime outside. Foo didn't mind me not hanging around, he was desperate to go in and play with the new toys. 

I hung around in the leikkiepuisto park for another 45 minutes just in case he got upset, or the staff's English wasn't up to dealing with one of his Janus-like tantrums. But everything went well. He did some colouring, played with the toys, ate his snack and was excited to see me when I came back which always makes you feel like you've done the right thing. Of course, the tantrum appeared when it was time to go. Another good sign, I guess.  

His teacher was worried that he didn't understand Finnish, but I reminded her that she needed to give only one command at a time and make sure he understood that (working with a bit of English as well) before moving on to the next. I know from how they deal with me that they just churn out this huge sentence in Finnish and expect you to follow it. Foo needs the slow breakdown of instructions even in English as a series of things to do confuses him. But I'm sure we'll get there.

So Day 2 and another wee tantrum when he discovered he had to stay outside for the first hour, the inside toys are just too cool. But when they went in and Bumpshie and I went home, he was great. He didn't want to do the craft, but was happy to play quietly on his own. He was a bit excited at snack time, but sat back down when asked. And the cuddly Foo side introduced himself to the teacher by sitting on her lap and stroking her face. So I think playgroup is a winner.

And I had 10 minutes to sit in the sun on my own and just listen to my own thoughts - ok, Bump was with me, but she was asleep. The only thing missing was my book which will be repacked in my bag for these golden moments. 


Clouded brow lifting,
he radiates sun laughter onto simple skies.
A rebirth of his broken song,
sparks of alphabets and stars
heralds a new day.

Joy jumping over grassy hillocks
with newborn colt steps,
oblivious that we’re all falling
head over heels below.

He presses his face into me
unable to suppress his emotions,
itching to bite out love.

When instinct goes awry,
his twin emerges
with one word to crack the world
into uncontrolled gestures.
He throws out bolts of frustration
to all poles, knocks us off our axis.

Our words fail to comfort,
his to explain.
Choices only offer barriers,
his wishes tying him in knots
until he is stumbling over
what we find second nature,
bruising everyone.

When the storm passes,
our skin slashed and shivering,
I have forgotten all
but the return of the sun
and it’s soft face in my palm.

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