Sunday, December 23, 2012

Season Greetings 2012

Season’s greetings to you all. 

It's the Night Before the Night Before which was always the beginning of the Christmas excitement when we were kids. Hope you're all ready for the craziness that comes with family, food and festive fun. I hope you’re not up to your elbows in snow like we are here in Finland. The snow started in early December with a big blizzard and hasn’t let up since. I hope all of our friends and family are well. 

In January, Foo, who’s 4, was assessed by an Occupational Therapist and we finally began to understand that he has problems with sensory processing, sometimes he gets too much information from his senses to cope with and other times he doesn’t get enough. He’s now seeing a great OT once a week and we can see the benefits daily. He’s a much happier boy than he was this time last year and now that I understand why he does what he does I can help him cope with it. 

He started at a great Finnish nursery in August. It’s a specialist mixed unit, so 10 children, some with special needs, others without. They use a mix of sign language, pictures, Finnish and English with Foo so he is learning Finnish very quickly. He already understands most of what they say to him and can say quite a bit. I’ve taken to asking him questions if I don’t know a word.

I’ve been trying to study Finnish more this year and I’m starting to be able to speak a bit, but I still don’t feel like I have a grip on the basics of the language because I haven’t been able to get into a proper class, just phrase classes, so I have big gaps in my grasp of the grammar and huge holes in my vocabulary.

Mousie Magoo is back at his English nursery and in the Kindergarten class this year, so he’s learning to read and write. He’s six and I’m sure this seems very late to most people, but if he was in a Finnish nursery they wouldn’t even be teaching him until he started proper school next year. He’s starting to pick things up but they’re taking a very relaxed approach which I like. He’s keen and we work a bit at home but he doesn’t like Mum and Dad teaching him. We’re looking at international schools for him for next August, hopefully one that follows the Finnish system, but we have to fight to get into them because they are popular with the Finns as well as the expat community.

In April and August we went back to Scotland, just for a visit and then for The Chief’s sister’s wedding.  It was lovely seeing everyone, and the craziness of a Scottish family wedding is always a laugh. The boys all wore kilts and looked so handsome, but were rumpled before we even got in the church, but I managed to get them sorted for the ceremony and pictures. Bumptious was gorgeous in a little dress and was the star of the pre-dinner dancing, doing her own thing.

Over the summer we found out that The Chief had succeeded with the permanent job as a Business Analyst at the agency he works for. He started in November and has been really busy trying to do the handover from his previous role while starting in his new position. In May we moved again, that’s 3 houses in 2 years. We’ll have to move again next summer, but I’m hoping that will be our last. Our new house is lovely, but a bit smaller than I’d like, the kids are currently sharing a room, but eventually I’d like to split them up. This house has a lovely, safe garden, but I’m finding it tiring to have to dig out the big front walk and the carpark every time it snows, which is every other day at the moment. Compromises, I guess.

Bumptious is 2.5 and a force of nature. She has become totally girly over the past few months. It started with loving to dance and then she needed ‘spinning dresses’ for dancing. Then she found a tiara and it became about princesses. Now her favourite colour is pink, she has to wear dresses almost everyday and she often changes outfits. Luckily we have the boys and their obsessions to leaven the girliness. She’s the Pink Ninja and is often seen doing her ninja moves in her outfits. She loves dancing to songs from shows the boys like to watch.

She and Foo play so well together, they disappear into a room and come up with some mad elaborate adventure that often involves their favourite programs. The boys like the same things, so it depends on their patience and mood whether they play nicely together. The three of them together are usually pretty good though it often descends into chaos for me.

My Mum came for a month-long visit in September. She stayed in our spare room amongst all the kids’ toys. She and I went on a boat cruise to St Petersburg, Russia, two nights on board and one day in the city. We went to the Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palaces. It was over the top gorgeous, gilt and marbles and precious stones everywhere. We didn’t really have time to see much else, but it’s definitely worth a repeat visit.

It was wonderful to have Mum over, just to have someone to talk to during the days besides kids and not having to struggle with Finnish is always good. We didn’t do too much; went back to Porvoo, took her to some of our favourite places. She was a huge help with watching the kids while we attended quite a few meetings for the boys’ schools and for doctor appointments. We missed her the minute she left.

I hope you all have a wonderful holidays that 2013 brings you lots of good news, health and happiness. 

Love from The Clan

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