It’s raining and still a little light at 10pm. I’m sitting in my office room, which has been recently cleared of more than a hundred exam papers, and is calm, white, inviting. Today was my last day at work at the barnehage for a while. Summer holidays start tomorrow, and then I have six months leave in order to take up a full-time temporary post at the University College in my town. I’m excited and a little nervous. Before my summer holidays start for real, I need to finish off a very important job application, due Monday, but here I am, writing on my blog instead.
I felt a little strange at work today, because I didn’t know whether I was saying goodbye or not. The afternoon was warm with a threat of rain so the kids wore their rain trousers and boots and peddled madly on the tricycles and bounced on the bouncy balls and splashed in the puddles and dug in the sand. There are two job applications in the works, and if either of them comes through (far from a certainty) I won’t be coming back to work in the barnehage. I’ve been away a lot this semester, due largely (though not entirely) to my teaching commitments, so I felt less in tune with the place than I would have liked. In any case, I have good friends there, and Felix will continue to go there, so I’ll maintain a connection with the staff and the children. Several of the children in my class have just turned four, and I’ve been working with them for three years. To see them grow up from babies to chatty, clever little people who can write their own names in the role book is quite extraordinary.
Michael has been away this week but it is much less exhausting being alone with Felix now he is a little older. Can’t wait to spend more time with my little man throughout July. He’s so incredibly entertaining at the moment, and loves acting out scenes from his favourite Thomas the Tank Engine stories with his trains and buses, complete with snippets of dialogue and renditions of the theme song.
Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful Kate Shrewsday, who is a regular commenter here. She’s in the running to become a Penguin Wayfarer – wandering the UK and sharing her experiences – but she needs your votes to get there! She’s already in the top twenty and is just hovering in 10-11th place – she needs to be in the top ten to get through to the next stage. Voting closes today and only takes a minute – click HERE and vote for the only Kate on the page. Thank you thank you thank you!
Update: Thanks everyone who voted! Kate steamed into the top ten, finishing in second place, but didn’t end up winning. You can see the winning entry, Sarah Thomas, here. It looks like her ramblings will provide some lovely viewing and reading over the next two months. (And we’ll just have to keep reading Kate Shrewsday’s stories on her own blog.)
Lovely Felix, I’m so behind on these monthly letters that I don’t know where to start! Which means I haven’t. When you turned two I decided to cut back to every three months, and then didn’t even write one. But right now (as always, I guess) you are funny and cheeky and clever. This week you stopped wearing diapers except for sleeping, which has made me so proud! You’ve done brilliantly. And last night, when we were out in the playground in the centre of town just before bed time, you climbed up the climbing wall to get into the play structure all by yourself. I’d tried to teach you how to do this a few weeks ago, but hadn’t tried again, and suddenly you just did it! For a year I’ve been helping you up there.
Since we arrived back in Norway after Christmas, you’ve really got into singing songs. To start with they were fairly tuneless numbers despite the words being right, but for two or three months you’ve mastered the tunes as well. This year you’ve really loved music in the barnehage, which is a big change from last year when you were scared of the music teacher. These days you even make up your own songs while riding in the car or entertaining yourself in the cot in the morning. Once I came in to pick you up and you said – ‘singing a song about a funny thing!’
You’re obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine right now, and especially his friend Gordon. You still love planes and you like to ask us – ‘what’s this one called’ if you don’t know the word for something. You are a cheeky little monster and love wordplay (your father is right on board with this one). You have invented a word that sounds like ‘hoot’, and inject it into songs and stories to get a laugh. ‘Baa baa black sheep have you any – HOOT!’ (cue helpless laughter).
It’s sometimes a bit of an effort to convince you to leave places (whether home or out) but we usually talk you around in the end. You have strong ideas about everything but like to listen to our explanations of things too (and parrot them back to us). ‘This one just for grown ups. When I’m a bit bigger I can have wine and beer and coffee…’ You’ve also learnt to say ‘I want it now‘, which is getting a fair bit of airplay at the moment. We don’t always oblige, but we love you to bits.