Sunday, May 31, 2009

And Then It Was This One's Turn

She's 9 now. And she really doesn't give a shit what her hair looks like, alright. So don't even ask her to comb it or something. She'll only sneer at you, and tell you to take the god damn picture already!

But look! She's smiling!

For those of you who were so concerned about how serious she looked on 17. mai: rest assured, she does smile.  All it takes is a pile of presents, and certain knowledge that the one she's holding is the Pokeman game she's been hinting at ever since the missing Nintendo DS resurfaced.

Her party was loud and largely uneventful.  She got 350 more kroner towards replacing the ipod she lost earlier this spring.  That makes just over 600 kroner she's saved up now--over half of the total price she needs.  I'm inclined to help her out with the rest of it, so she'll have it to listen to on the plane trip home to Salt Lake in a few weeks.  Mister is being a hard ass, though. 

Sorry, Baby Girl.  Not my fault.....this time.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Somebody Had A Birthday Today

When I asked her who she'd like to invite to her birthday party she said, "Andreas. And my friends. But NOT the babies. I hate the babies."

"Okay. So what about Victoria?"

"Ummmm, no."

"Okay. What about Mariel?"

"She's a baby."

"Oh. I thought you liked to play with her."

"Sometimes. But she's a baby."

"Oh. Okay. Well, what about Charlotte?"

"Diaper baby."

"Who do you play with at barnehage Missy?"

"Andreas. And sometimes Victoria and Mariel."

"But you don't want them to come to your birthday party?"

"Just Andreas."


"I don't like babies, Mom."


In the end, we (or rather, I) decided not to bother with a party. We had this conversation at least a dozen different times over the past month. Sometimes she wanted Victoria but not Mariel. Sometimes she wanted Mariel but only grudgingly allowed for Victoria. Andreas was the only constant; I wasn't about to throw a party just for Missy and Andreas.

I know weird when my own flesh and blood trips gaily upon it. And this is it. I mean, I know for a fact that Missy likes, or at least plays happily with these girls everyday. Yet, somehow they're not her 'friends'. Her 'friends' are the older girls who toted her around like a designer handbag last year. The ones who moved on to 1st grade. I'm not sure how they would have felt about being invited to a 'baby' birthday party. I'm not sure how they felt about it last year. They came, but they hardly seemed to enjoy themselves. Missy's party last year was a bit of a flop, and I wasn't exacly keen to try again this year, especially with her being so cagey about the guest list. So we (or rather, I) simply didn't.

She didn't seem to mind over much. It was a busy day. She got to open her presents first thing this morning. Then she went to barnehage where they ate the chocolate cake and cookies that I slaved over all day yesterday. This afternoon was the opening of Elder Miss's art show (more on that tomorrow) so we were in town all afternoon and evening. Farmor came, both for the art show and Missy's birthday. We went out for pizza. She got ice cream after dinner. Then she came home and had a temper tantrum because it was way past bedtime and I wouldn't let her stay up to play with her new toys.

We may yet have to deal with her wrath over being denied a party. Sunday is Elder Miss's birthday, and she's got a big bbq bash planned. When Missy is confronted with all of EM's friends showing up at the house in their pretty party frocks, she may yet go, "Hey, wait just a God Damn minute here!...."

Seriously, Little Miss, it doesn't mean I love you any less. I just can't fucking figure you out!

Happy Birthday, Lovie!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Sunday was the very day of all Norwegian days.

I went back and had a look at what I had to say about 17. Mai last year, just to sort of review how much you all (as my devoted and faithful readers family) should already know about it, and/or what I'd need to add to explain the following few pictures.

Turns out, I had quite a bit to say about ye ol' 17. Mai last year.

None of it good.

Was last year a particularly bad year for me?  I mean, sheesh! 

I think the deal with me and 17. Mai is this:  I liked it a whole lot better when we were spending it in town every year.  Sure enough, I bitched and moaned back then about the hassle of getting all dressed up, and the challenge of getting into the city with all the normal roads closed, and then the headache of finding a parking place, and on and on and on.  But at least once we were in town there was enough pomp and circumstance to mark the day as an event! proper. 

But see, 17. Mai is meant to be celebrated as locally as possible.  Now that we have kids, this means that we're obliged to celebrate the day at their school.  Well--to be clear--we're not 'obliged' as in there's a law saying we absolutely have to be there.  But that's where the local community gathers.  The parent committee (the one  from which I ran so cowardly) goes to great pains to organize games and speeches and refreshments.  And it's built up so that the kids want to go there.  They want to march in the parade with their class.  They'd be disappointed if we tried to take them anywhere else.

And so we go.  This is one of the ways in which I'm actually a reasonably good mother--self-sacrificing and all that.  But it doesn't mean that I can't bitch about it on my blog a bit.  Right?

My beef with the school celebration is nothing more than it all feels a little anti-climatic.  Here I am all dressed up in hose and everything, and......well......meh.  That's it.  Just, meh. 

There are cannons first thing in the morning, and a few more just after the national song.  I mentioned to Mister that there should be more cannons.  Cannons are cool.  Nothing says CELEBRATE YOUR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION! like three or four good volleys of cannon fire.  But after having just finished watching the John Adams mini-series, Mister was doubtful. "Nah," he said, "Norway didn't have to fight hard enough to deserve more cannons."

Meh.  He's right.

But the weather was good; we must always be grateful for nice weather on 17. Mai.  And I do enjoy gawking at the bunads every year.  My sainted  mother-in-law is going to make one for me, so we were looking with an extra critical eye this year as I have to pick out which one I want.

I give you a random sampling of pictures.  I was playing with the white balance on my camera.  I don't think I had it quite right, so a lot of what I took feels a little washed out to me.  And the focus was all messed up for the first half of the day.  I still like my new camera, but my God is there ever too much to have to think about!  Sometimes--don't tell Mister--but sometimes, I long for my simple point and shoot.....

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In-house Memo

The kids have learned that there are certain times when Mommy is absolutely, positively NOT to be disturbed by anything so aggrevatingly irksome as their dulcet little voices raised in dubious need of my urgent attention.

When Mommy's on the phone, for example. Or, when Mommy has a migraine. And, most especially, when Mommy is listening to the 'Wait, Wait...' podcast while she's making dinner.

Seriously. Don't even ask. It's only going to piss her off, and cause her to reject any request or query on general principle.

EM has learned to get around this mountain by shoving little notes in my face, and flapping them under my nose until I'm forced to acknowledge them or sneeze undaintily. Tiny little missives scribbled on tiny little squares of torn paper:

"Can I have a apel?"

"Can I go to Selinas hous?"

"Wher did you put my Nintendo this time?"

Her spelling is consistently dreadful, but she gets her point across.

So how proud was I tonight when, for the very first time, Boy followed her example?

Hear that, doubting Teacher lady? Not only can Boy read, but he WRITES too! Ha! I've got the proof of it right here....



Posted by Picasa

So here's your riddle for the weekend:

What does Boy want?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen

....the Nintendo ....

has resurfaced.

Holy Shit!

In a closet.  In EM's room.  Hiding with Mister's fishing poles.

From its position, way the hell up top there, it is all too conceivably possible that I'm the one who put it there.


On the other hand, EM has this habit of hiding her stuff from Missy when she sees Missy playing with it.  EM could have put it there too.

Neither one of us can remember.

Life is funny that way.

Friday, May 08, 2009


I'm bored with my blog.  I want a new blog.  A better blog.

This isn't it either, but it's going to have to do for now.  I spent two god-awful hours last night trying to get that picture saved in a way that I could load it onto Blogger.  Now that it's finally here, I ain't dumpin' it yet!  Is anyone else suddenly having trouble uploading pictures into Blogger?  I keep getting an error message.  I have to go through Picasa first.  Anyone else?

So we're in a bit of a low as far as spring weather goes.  Cold, windy, grey, wet.  I'm not happy about it.  Now that I'm finally done studying for that infernal norsk test and have time to take long, slow runs through the woods, it's far too cold and windy to enjoy it.  Typical. 

I think it may have affected my general mood.  Can you tell? 

That, and the conference I had with Boy's teacher yesterday.  Anyone remember the last conference I had with her?  The one where she told me he was emotionally immature, and that there was no point pushing any sort of academic agenda on him because, I don't know, he might break down in a puddle of tears in the face of 2+2=? or some such horror. 

She was happy to report that he was way over that.  He's come a long way, she said, done a lot of growing up in the past few months.  I think she may have believed herself personally responsible for this miracle of maturation.

That's unkind of me.  She does spend a large chunck of time with him everyday.  Clearly her influence is important.  Her contribution should be respected.  It's just that....GAH!....she was so fucking smug! 

I want to like her.  I keep trying to like her.  She's going to be his teacher for the next three years.  It would be advantageous to my peace of mind if could bring myself to believe that this was a good thing.  Right?

She went on to tell me that she had recently run through a set of standardized tests with him.  These are brand new, she said, they never used to test first graders to track their progress.  I got the sense she thought this was a bad thing.  Anyway, she said, he did really well.  Really, really well.  She made no secret of the fact that she was surprised at how very well he actually did.  So very, very surprising, she said, given where he started.  Both his reading readiness and number recognition are way above average.

Rather than being comforted by these results, I allowed myself a moment of prickly pique (or, maybe something slightly more than a 'moment').  I've already elaborated on the glacial slowness of the early Norwegian curriculum, so I'll spare you my thoughts on the matter of continuing to speak in terms of 'reading readiness' and 'number recognition' for FIRST GRADERS.  They've be ready for two flippin' years!  Teach them something already!


What really pissed me off about the whole thing was, again, how surprised she was.  The way she kept saying how impressive it was, and how surprising, and how simply grand that he had managed to read all her damn three letter words and count all her stupid circles and stars (all of which, by the by, he could have easily managed in September, except for the fact that he's cautious and shy and takes a good long time to warm up to a new teacher and school, so yes, in the beginning maybe he did choose to cry a bit rather than answer a simple question) only confirmed to me that I was right last fall when I predicted she had totally written him off as a lost cause.  If she had been paying more attention to him over the past five months, would she really have been so fucking surprised to find out last week that he can read?

And then, and THEN, after the bull shit test results, she went into this whole thing about his compromised language skills.  About how important it is that we (his parents, "Or, in this case," she amended, "Perhaps his father, because you can't help him much here, can you now") stress correct speech and pronounciation at home blah blah blah, because he's still very weak in this area. 

She was specifically adament about needing to work on his grasp of certain prepositional phrases, and as proof of this she produced a large drawing that he had done in class.  This too had been a sort of test about how well he could understand and follow directions.  They all had to draw exactly what the teacher told them to draw, starting with a circle or a ball in the very center of the page.  Which Boy had done.  Then lines going from the ball to the top and the bottom of the paper, then out to each side.  Done.  Then lines going out to each corner.  Which he hadn't managed exactly, but there were diagonal lines radiating out from the ball.  She looked at me pointedly and said, "He clearly does not know what a corner is."

Orrrrr, perhaps, I don't know, but just maybe he still lacks the fine-motor and hand-eye coordination to get a straight line to go diagonally ANYWHERE!  Bitch.

From there they had to draw a house, with a door and a window and a chimey with smoke, and then a tree with five apples, then a cat, and on and on and on.  Boy had done most of all of this.  Even as she was showing me the picture and explaining the cues he had been given, I could tell she began to realize that oh yeah, wait,  no, yeah.  Most of this is right.  Okay but still, see, he didn't put the chimney "on the roof".  And he missed the apples "under the tree".  Oh but look at that, he got the cat "to the left of the house".

Whatever.  The picture proves nothing to me but a short attention span.  Boy's got that in spades.  If she wants to parse spoken language skills, fine I'll grant her that he struggles with vocabulary and diction.  But he's bilingual.  That's going to be an ongoing problem.  I fucking DARE you to suggest that I should stop speaking English to him at home.  Go ahead, bitch.  Make. My. Day.

Alas.  She did not.

She did suggest that maybe it would be benficial for him to spend some time with the school's 'spesialpedagog', which is basically, you know...special ed.  I'd be all miffed and offended at this too, except, as long as it falls under the guise of helping him catch up with his language skills, it kind of makes sense to me.  And oddly, I've been hinting around this possibility (I tried hard to call in speech pathology, rather than special ed though) to EM's teachers for the past year now because her spoken language skills are just as bad, if not worse, than Boy's.  EM's teachers have never been that much bothered by it.  They say give her time, she'll catch up.

Heh, I feel so much better after having written all that.  Mister has been in Austria all week, so he wasn't home to get an ear full of my supreme indignation just after this all happened.  I hadn't realized how badly I needed to unload. 

If you made it this far, thanks for listening.  Next time I'll say something funny.  Promise.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Puddy Tat

See? She's got a little heart shaped patch of grey right on her chest. That's because she's a widdle biddy bundle of cuddles and wuvs. Oh yes she is!

Every breeder is required to assign a name to their kittens to put on the official birth certificate.  The future owner is in no way obliged to use this name.  It's purely a records thing.  Puss, for example, was offically dubbed Lucius Maximus Aurelian.  His breeder, it seems, favored such absurdly inflated Latin names for all of his kittens.  Puss, of course, was just Puss to us, but we did sometimes refer to him affectionately as Pussifus Lucifus when we wanted to pump up his ego after catching a mouse or the occasional butterfly.

This new breeder we're dealing with has a similar sort of pretention.  Apparently, she likes her gossip rags, because she names all of her kittens after celebrities of varying degrees of prestige and notoriety.  The two surviving sisters from her latest litter were summarily named Cindy Crowford and Cheena Easton (a very large [sic] in both instances).  I have no idea whether the misspelling is a deliberate part of the pretention.  Whether it's considered indelicate, or perhaps illegal to name a cat directly after a living, breathing b-lister.  Or whether she simply fucked it up (twice).  But those are the names they were given.

Cindy Crowford is the name of Little Miss Grey-Heart-On-Her-Chest.

I think Cindy is a perfectly daft name for a cat.  And I had every intension of coming up with a better, hipper, altogether more suitable sort of name once she came home to us.  Roxy, for example.  As in Roxy Hart. As in perfect for a cat with a grey heart on her chest.  No?


The breeder has been forwarding pictures to us every week, and every damn picture has the name Cindy attacted to it.  At some point Elder Miss read this name, said it out loud, then asked Boy if he didn't think that Cindy was just the sweetest name ever for a cat with a grey heart on her chest.  Boy swooned, and instantly agreed that yes, actually he did in fact think Cindy was definitely the sweetest name ever for our new cat with the grey heart on her chest.

Fait accompli.

I still think Roxy would be much better but the children keep asking to see pictures of Cindy Lou Who.  And when is Cindy coming home?  And can Cindy sleep in my bed?  No, my bed!  No mine!  And so on and so forth, to the point where I think it's gone rather too far to try to unwind it all now.

Cindy it is, and ever shall be.

Cheena's new owners were smart and requested a name change right away.  Cheena was rechristened Stella, which is a pretty great name, if you ask me, and would have gone splendidly with Roxy.  But I didn't know about the grey heart on the chest until just last week.  How was I supposed to think Roxy Hart before I knew about the grey heart on her chest?


I'm going to Rygge in June to pick up both kittens.  By happy coincidence, Stella's new owners live in Bergen too, and have graciously offered to baby-sit Cindy Lou Who Who'd Make a Much Better Roxy while we're in Salt Lake for the summer.

I can't wait to get my hands on her.  It's going to be hard not to be able to bring her home right away, but it really was very nice of these perfect strangers to offer to take care of her all summer.  It just seemed kind of cruel to uproot her from her mother and sister once, only to hand her back to her sister two weeks later, then drag her away once more two months after that.  So we worked it out this way so that she's moved as few times as possible.

That way too, I've got a whole summer to keep trying to slip Roxy in under the kid's radar.

Roxy Roxy Roxy Roxy Roxy

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 02, 2009

This One's For Uncle Mark

Last year on his blog, Uncle Mark admitted (somewhat abashedly) that he's in the habit of crawling across his lawn on his hands and knees hunting dandylions to pull out at the root. In his comments section I explained that dandylions have a revered status here in Norway as glorious harbingers of inpending summer. It's considered curmudgeonly and unkind to even consider mowing your lawn in early spring before the dandylions have gone to seed.
'Tis the season, folks.
This is a view towards our neighbor's house. Our own lawn doesn't have many wildflowers in it yet, because it's only been in for a year or two. The kids spend hours over in Mailynn's yard picking countless handfuls of løvetann (dandylion på norsk) and engkarse (the purple ones, no idea what they are på engelsk, but they go hand in hand with the løvetann, it's not uncommon to see entire fields turned all purple and spotty yellow this time of year). It can be hard to find a drinking glass in my house in early May because they're all sitting on my kitchen counter stuffed full of ragged bouquets of....well....weeds, basically.
This is the view towards our own house and yard. Mailynn (our neighbor) has always been very kind about waiting as long as possible about mowing her lawn so my kids can keep having their fun. She usually leaves the patch surrounding this fallen log to basically go to seed until mid-June or so. After my 267th bouquet of the year, I usually find myself wishing she would stop being quite so thoughtful.
This is a view of happy, rumpled children in their natural habitat. I pulled two ticks off Missy after this one sunny day of play (that last bit was for Grandma Gae, she's got a thing for ticks).
Posted by Picasa


If there's anyone out there who knows what engkarse is in English, I'd be mighty grateful if you'd let me know. Every year the kids ask, and every year I have to say, "Hell, I don't know." It's making me look bad here, people! Help me out.
Posted by Picasa