• Parenting

    When your child gets lost…

    It is one of those moments when time stays still. You look up from what you are doing and notice that your child is not there. He was there just a minute ago, you look around wondering where he is. He cannot be far. Maybe he is a bolter, an escapologist and you are used to this. Maybe this is the first time that he has done this. Either way, your heart starts beating faster as you search for his familiar face. You try to remember what he was wearing – was it the red or the blue tshirt? How can you not recall this? Shouting his name you start…

  • Parenting

    Do the children of writers have a right to privacy?

    This morning on Twitter, the writer Jenny Colgan linked to this story in the Daily Mail. Supposedly an article on how even young girls suffer from self-doubt and trying to live up to an unreachable beauty ideal, the author tells of finding her six year old daughter’s diary and reading it. She finds to her horror that the diary is full of self-critical observations. She admits that it is wrong to read her daughter’s diary, completely missing the much larger betrayal of writing about her daughter’s intimate feelings and fears, then publishing it in a nationwide newspaper. Great way to boost your daughter’s self-esteem – write it up for all…

  • Parenting

    Legal Access for Grandparents – Good or Bad?

    According to today’s press, the legal rights of grandparents may be strengthened in the future. The Telegraph reports that the commission set up to review family law is recommending sweeping changes. One of these is that grandparents will be allowed to apply to the courts for access to their grandchildren. Not that they will automatically be granted access, but that they can apply for access without going through the lengthy and costly process of asking the courts for permission to do so. This would be similar to the legal situation of step-parents, who lived with a child for longer than 3 years and are able to apply for a contact order to…

  • Parenting

    Feverish Child – What To Do?

    First. Don’t panic. The first time that my daughter had a high temperature, she was only 12 weeks old. We hotfooted it to A&E as it was clear that she was quite ill, she was breathing erratically and burning hot. The nurse took her temperature, and gave me a bollocking for not giving my daughter paracetamol to bring the fever down. It was my first child, I did not even have medicines at home – no one had thought to tell me that this would be a good idea. It turned out that she has a nasty urinary infection and she was admitted to hospital for a course of antibiotics.…

  • Parenting

    Do you have a Lego-Whoosher?

    Ok. It is half-term. He is bored as his sister has been ill this week so we have been stuck at home. My son is a Lego-Whoosher. First, he builds a lego airplane, that I dutifully praise. Then he “flies” it around the room, whoooshing around corners, letting it climb into the sky (aided by him standing on the couch) then divebomb towards the long suffering dog. Swooping low over the living room floor, the stealth lego plane soars again before discharging a load of bombs on the pilot’s sister. Whoooooooooooosh, brrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, ssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, boomboomboombooomboom, crasssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, brrrrrchhhhhhhhhhhhhh. According to Twitter friends this is normal behaviour for a 6 year old boy…

  • Parenting

    Are Mums Better Parents Than Dads?

    Or is it a myth? Do we women have “mother’s instinct” that makes us better parents, are we more able to anticipate the wishes and problems that our children may have?  Are men just as capable – if given the chance?  Obviously, it is an incredible generalisation because there are good fathers and bad fathers, good mothers and bad mothers, but what do you think? Often I will read or hear from friends statements such as, “Oh, I could not leave my husband in charge all weekend – he would not cope”. I even know families where the husband, “doesn’t do nappies”, as if there is a skill involved.  It…

  • Parenting

    Home Alone – Bringing up independent and confident children

    There was a shocking story in the news this week – about a woman who left her 14 year old in charge of her 3 year old while she popped out for 30 minutes. There was no “incident” but she was cautioned for “cruelty” and automatically banned from working with children younger than 10 years old or vulnerable adults. The woman lost her job as a nurse, she was basically unemployable in her field. Last week she had the ban lifted. This is not an isolated case. As reported in the Sunday Times (behind the Paywall), it is an example of the problems being caused by rulings of the Independant Safeguarding…

  • Parenting

    “I have Bless You on my Cardigan”

    When my daughter was about two years old, she had a bad cold. After several days of sneezing and snot, she was grumpy and irritable. She sneezed noisily then started sobbing. It took me a moment before I understood why she was so upset. She wailed, “I have BLESS YOU on my cardigan!” In a two year old’s mind it is a logical conclusion. Every time she had sneezed, I had exclaimed, “Oh, bless you” and wiped her nose. She thought that bless you was the word for the slimy green stuff that is expelled when one sneezes. Since then, snot is called Bless You in our house. Just as the evening…

  • Parenting

    PAPA! PAPA! TOBEN!

    This cry rang through my house just moments ago. Toben is a German word and means to play, roughhouse, romp – in our house it means that the children and their father chase, tickle, shout, scream, laugh and cavort. There does not seem to be a single English word that expresses exactly what toben is so we always use the German word. Since our daughter was a toddler, “toben” was part of our bedtime routine. Contrary to all sensible advice on websites and in parenting books, my husband would race about, throw our daughter in the air, tickle and generally cause much hilarity. The children would sleep so well afterwards, we felt that…

  • Parenting

    Exiting the Mummy Cocoon

    We had a Halloween Party yesterday and when speaking to the other mothers we discovered something that we all had in common. Approximately 2 – 3 years after the birth of our children we emerged from what I like to term The Mummy Cocoon. Yawning and stretching, we stick our heads out of the comfort zone and notice with a shock that the world as we knew it is still there. But we no longer fit in the same place as we did pre-children. When we have small children, our whole life is consumed by them. When (if) they sleep, if they sleep through the night, if they are sleeping…

  • Parenting

    Would you post a picture of your Mummy Tummy on the Internet?

    Urgh. Am I the only one who hates the “Mummy” tag? Slummymummy, Yummymummy, Mummyblogger and now Mummytummy. The Mummytummy discussion is hot at the moment, due to the magic cream that supposedly gets rid of the post-natal bulge. There are websites that encourage their users to post photos of their midriffs to show that they are proud of their Mummytummy as it shows that they have given birth to their children. While I agree that the media obsession with the latest sleb to slim down to pre-baby weight just after the birth is horrible, I am not going to be posting a pic of my tummy anytime soon. It is…

  • Parenting

    How To Survive The Summer Holidays without resorting to G&Ts at 10am

    When you have two small children, the Argh-Factor can be rather high. Especially during the summer holidays. I will admit to being a bit spoilt, during term-time I have a lot of freedom to do what I want. This does mean that I sometimes find it a bit hard-going when they are home for the summer. We have almost 8 weeks school holidays and the children just never stop. Constant noise, bickering, yelling, singing, dancing, show-rehearsing, dog-annoying, yogurt-on-the-floor-spilling. The only thing that helps is keeping them occupied and I am very grateful that the weather has been great so far and we can get out of the house. Even just…

  • Parenting

    Riding into a new phase of life

    Recently I sold my Mummy Bike. It was bought when my son was just over a year, complete with bike seat and basket. At that time we were living in a small town not far from the Dutch border so the sturdy frame, big wheels and huge handlebar were more important that the weight of the bike. Particularly as we had no hills to climb, I could cruise along nicely. Since moving to Geneva I had only used the bike a couple of times and it was so damn heavy. We had a trip last year to Lac d’Annecy which was fun and not too hard going (except getting the…

  • Parenting

    Happy Mothering Sunday

    It is Mothering Sunday today, although we are not really celebrating it. Having spent the last 18 years abroad, all of my Mother’s Days have been celebrated on a different day. It is getting very complicated now as UK celebrate on one day, the Swiss and the Germans on another and the French on yet another day. So it happens that I can be wandering around a town centre and am struck by the cards and signs in the shop windows advertising the approaching Mother’s Day. At which point I fall into a short-lived panic that I have forgotten before realising that it is the wrong country. My mum should…

  • Parenting

    Homework – and why parents should get a free bottle of wine with their children’s homework assignments

    We did homework today. Les doigts de pieds s’appellent: a. les oreilles b. les orteils DD: I don’t understand ME: what are the doigts? DD: fingers ME: good. What are the pieds? DD: feet. ME: Ok, what are the fingers of the toes? DD: ME: at the end of your hands you have? DD: fingers ME: and at the end of your feet? DD: ummmm ME: look, fingers on the hands. and what is on the feet? DD: I don’t knoooooooooooooow ME: LOOK AT MY HANDS – THERE ARE FINGERS ON THE END. WHAT IS ON THE END OF MY FEET. LOOK AT MY BLOODY FEET DS: (shouts from the…

  • Parenting

    Creativity in education

    While reading this blog I stumbled across a speech by Sir Ken Robinson that I first heard a few years ago at a conference. The audience at the conference, teachers of English as a foreign language, were mesmerised and inspired by Sir Ken. I must remember to listen to the speech once a year to keep it fresh in my mind.

  • Parenting

    Kind old ladies, aren’t they just lovely?

    I recently took the children to Manor in Vesenaz to buy a comic each. They hummed and hawed and the old lady who works in the newsagent came over. I was worried that she would be annoyed at them taking so long and looking at all the comics. She started to chat to my daughter about what kind of comic she liked and if she liked Barbie. I listened fascinated as I always do when my children speak French, I cannot believe how fast they have learnt. When we were leaving my daughter asked for sweets and I said that since we had already bought comics, we would buy sweeties…

  • Parenting

    You Can’t Take them Anywhere

    Son caught in the act by daughter using my mobile phone. Yesterday we were invited to husband’s colleagues house for Kaffee und Kuchen and in that time DS managed to terrorise our dog, draw on their glass coffee table with felt tip pens (wiped off luckily) and then finally hid the key of the loo. Soon the colleagues and I were outside in the neighbours’ garden, searching the hedge where he told us that he had hidden in, while husband tried to get son to tell us exactly where he had hidden the key. I was on my tummy on the ground searching the undergrowth when daughter told me that he…

  • Parenting

    Wackelzahnkinder

    As I have posted, DD was soooo excited to finally be a Wackelzahnkind. She spent ages wobbling it back and forth, hoping it would fall out. We went out for a meal with Oma and Opa when the visited and when DD bit on a bit of pizza she said that her tooth was really sore. She stuck to the spaghetti bolognese after that, but was very happy to note that her mouth was bleeding. On our way home in the car, DD gave a shout, “MEIN WACKELZAHN IST DRAUSSEN!” and proudly showed off her tooth and the resulting gap. She was even more excited to realise a day or…

  • Parenting

    Shameless Mummy-Boast

    DD had the results of her first test in school, Evaluation de Mathematique. We were delighted to see that she got 37 out of a possible 41 points. Considering that she has only been at the school for a month and the lessons are in French, that is absolutely fantastic and we are very proud of her.

  • Parenting

    DD hat ein Wackelzahn…

    … endlich! In Germany the wobbling of the first tooth tends to coincide with the start of school, so it is an important rite of passage. They call the pre-schoolers the “Die Wackelzahnkinder”. DD has been waiting (im)patiently for aaaaages, as many of her friends in Kindergarten already had lost teeth. Even S. who is a year younger had a Wackelzahn. It was most upsetting. Recently she began complaining that her mouth was sore and after some investigation we discovered that one tooth is wobbly. She was so pleased. Since then the questions have ranged from, “can I eat this apple or will it make my Wackelzahn fall out?” to…