Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mr Bean on Holiday

It's half-term week and of course we have builder in to put in new cupboard/desk/etc to maximize a small room for our son. He's outgrown his room (again) and at last I have agreed to built-in furniture because, well, we don't really have a choice.

Also, having worked through Scott Joplin's The Entertainer on the back of his piano book all by himself, we asked if he would like a treat and he -- surprise, surprise -- asked to go to see Mr Bean at the cinema.

This was the boy who has refused to go near a cinema because of the loud noise level there for years. Then another parent from school took him, with cotton wool balls as ear plugs, and he now seems to be more open to the cinema.

I too was pleasantly surprised that the sound level was not as high as I remember it. Either that or my hearing has gone very bad.

Or maybe enought sensible people have complained and the management did something about it. Or maybe the Health and Safety people called round and told the cinema off. Or, I don't know. I don't care.

The thing that puzzled us was children have to pay £1.50 but an accompanying adult goes free.

There must be a catch somewhere. Ah! The popcorn is £4!

Also, we now buy tickets either from machines or the young people who serve food. No counters dedicated to selling tickets any more!

When we got into the cinema I was amazed to see the number of people, young and their parents, coming in with what appeared to be a very long (like a foot-long) hot dog with ketchup on the top, or people with tacos and gooey-stuff that I wouldn't think of as cinema food.

It was a 10.30am!

Any way, I've concluded that we live in a different world from many people.

We eat our breakfast and other meals seated at the table. Never in front of the TV, and certainly not in a cinema. Where have we gone wrong?

It was a milestone for us: son going to the cinema for the first time with his own parent!

Most importantly, son enjoyed the film.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It hurts, Mummy, it hurts!

Wednesday afternoon, just before pick-up time, I had a call from son's school.

"He's complaining of pain in his ear. Could you please come to pick him up now instead of after 'Late Class'?"

I was down at the school in about four minutes. Son was obviously distressed.

Checked with the teacher that he had not been stressed by anything else.

"No, they've been watching the Middle School play."

It was a miracle when I actually managed to get an appointment to see the GP in under an hour's time. So it was a quick snack and we walked to the clinic.

I chose to walk even though son wanted me to drive. I knew the traffic at 4 pm will be horrendous round the school which we have to pass to get to the clinic.

As we walked past the school we could see that cars were at a complete standstill. We would have been very stuck in the car between the 4x4s and Benzes and BMWs, because it is pick-up time at this private school.

We got to the GP and son was seen to quite quickly, but the walk back was horrendous as he was in quite a lot of pain. We also had to stop at the pharmacy at one of the supermarket chains to fill the prescription (only because it was en route).

The drawback of not driving was that son had to suffer quite a lot longer till we got home. Ear drops in and he was shouting for a good few minutes. The ibuprofen for children in our house has gone past its expiry date, and so I had to make a phone call for husband to stop by a pharmacy on his way home.

Son was shouting in pain in the background as we spoke.

It was Blue Peter to the rescue as he really wanted to see what the presenters were up to. Husband got home a little earlier than usual. We gave son his first dose of 'hair gel' -- as that was what the ibuprofen looks like and he was soon asleep, in our bed.

We had a quiet dinner, recounting the day's events and realized how blessed we were in that the ear-ache happened today and not the day before.

Tuesday was son's special day -- playing at his first piano concert at the school to parents and others. He had played just before Christmas to the 'big boys' at 'big boys assembly'. But this concert was for parents.

Last year I took him to the very same school piano concert showcasing all the boys who were learning piano at school. Son decided that he would be performing at the next concert, that is, at this year's concert.

And so he did, playing Sarabanda, one of the Grade 1 exam pieces (not Mini Rag as noted in the last post). It's another one of those milestones. Had he been afflicted by ear-ache just 24 hours earlier, we would have taken him out of the concert.

As it was, he enjoyed performing to a very appreciative audience, and then enjoyed a wide variety of crisps that was laid out at refreshments, that sort of junk food that does not usually cross our front door.

Tonight, Daddy had to climb into son's bed. I readied myself with water and a supply of biscuits as I knew son would wake and wish to have something to eat.

While he slept I was also able to put in another dose of ear drops. No screaming and shouting this time although he did stir. Ah ....

Half an hour past midnight, a voice interrupted my sleeplessness, "Is it time for dinner yet?"

He was looking much better. He had a drink, a wee, a couple of biscuits and more 'hair gel' and I tried to get him back to sleep.

"I don't remember the last time we were able to talk like this before going to bed," I said. "O, yes! when we were at Uncle YK's place. We were in Singapore without Daddy."

"OOO, yes," he replied, "I remember that. It's a bit like having a midnight feast this time."

We carried on talking for a while. Whether he was going to school the next day was a prime topic. Then it was lights out.

"You can keep on talking, but I might not reply as I need some sleep now," I said.

We all slept rather well. The next morning, son was back at school, much to the surprise of his teachers.

That's three special blessings: (1) not falling ill till after the concert, (2) getting a GP appointment without my getting stressed, and (3) sufficient recovery for him to enjoy school the following day.

God is good!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


On the positive side, his piano is progressing well and he will be presented for his Grade 1 Exam in mid-June.

His instructor said, apparently, that at the way he's been playing his exam pieces (there are three), he would score about 23 out of 30 for each. But he wants son to get up to 27 or 28, and he is capable of 29.

There are still the scales, appreggios, broken chords, singing and sight-reading to worry about.

Meanwhile he is more interested in the concert he would play at school just before half-term and he has chosen to play Mini Rag, his favourite exam piece.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Swimming again

Apparently tears in the pool again.

Under a new instructor and has been doing well. But felt that he was not good enough at breast stroke while "all the others could do it"!

This was the first time they were doing the breast stroke in any case.

Nonsense! we said. Mum's been trying to learn the breast stroke since she was nine and she has still to master it.

After much talking, "Yah, yah, I know. I'm trying to be perfect again."

I hope next Friday is going to be better.

I don't know what I need to do to get son to understand that he does not need to be perfect the first time around.

Or that most normal people need to put in loads and loads of practice at any one task to be good at it.

Any advice welcome.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Who messed up my washing?

Or boys who know their recycling

As I wrote to my customers in our occasional newsletter:

"For the first time in a while I had a load of washing plastered in shredded paper. My son quickly owned up. Well, it was his seventh birthday and we had taken him and his best friend to a theme park. Every time they were given something to eat and drink they examined the containers to look for the 'recyclable' sign.

"They are studying recycling in their Science topic this term. These little boys can now tell me, 'It says PET and a number one, so it can be recycled.' Not bad.

"They kept collecting containers to take to the school for their sorting exercise. At some point, son decided to keep the 'recyclable' serviette that was wrapped round his ice-cream cone.

"It was my fault really for not checking those pockets."

The truth is I take for granted that only cloth hankies are used in this house that I've become quite lax (is that the right word) in checking pockets these days.

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