8 months

8.01

My dear you are ridiculously cute right now. This week you have learnt to clap and cut your third tooth. You are very pleased about participating in meal times. You keep a close eye on your siblings, especially when they are up to mischief. I think you are taking notes.

8.2

You are closer and closer to crawling – you’ve started rocking back and forth on hands and knees, and backing yourself into all sorts of corners.

8.3

The first time you saw my Mum on skype since we came back from Australia you cried and cried (just like the first time you ever saw her on skype, in September), but you got used to it quickly and now you’re always so happy to see her.

8.4

You have a pretty exciting life with these guys around. Michael has started carrying you around upside down, which you think is brilliant, though I’ve had to make it very clear to Felix that it’s not ok for him to do that too!

8.58.6

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Learning to Read

Felix is learning to read now – he’s been at school for half a year and since Christmas he’s been able to decode words we have started reading together for practice.

I wasn’t sure what to read with him to begin with, and had a scout around bookshops in Australia. He loves a phonics workbook, so we’ve been working through a couple of those. I got hold of some Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton books with titles like ‘Ed and Ted and Ted’s Dog Fred’, and they’ve been great – lots of repetition and very silly. And my Grandma gave Felix Sally Rippin’s ‘Hey Jack! That’s Another Big Book’ for Christmas, which is just brilliant – Felix relates well to the characters and situations, and enjoys reading such a big, serious looking book. I told him we should wait half a year or so to read it, but he was adamant that we start now, and he’s doing really well, as long as I help him with some of the unfamiliar words. There are a lot of words to learn! He’s learning to read in two languages at once, which complicates matters further…

I’ve ordered some Julia Donaldson phonics readers, and some National Geographic level 1 readers, but they haven’t come yet. His school doesn’t give homework, so I’ve had to find things myself.

I feel a bit guilty for not pushing him harder to learn the alphabet when he was younger, so Antonia will shortly find herself to be drowning in alphabet books. She can already recognise quite a few of the letters.

It’s not my natural inclination to ‘teach’ children lots of things – I prefer to observe and see what they come up with, but I’m starting to see that I need to be involved in this. So far I make sure I listen to him read a couple of pages every day, and then try a little bit to help him learn some of the common words at other times… But really I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks, since we came back from Australia, so we’re right at the beginning and there’s lots for both of us to learn. I wonder if I should be listening to him read in Norwegian as well?? He spends a lot more time on that at school. We’ll see…

A year in books

Last year I posted a plea for recommendations for books to read aloud to Felix, the response to which you can read here. I ordered a great swathe of them, we found a few at the library, and collected a few more as the year went by. We read:

Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

The BFG

James and the Giant Peach

George’s Marvellous Medicine

J.K. Rowling : The Harry Potter series, right up to the middle of book 5. Michael read these to Felix, and I was worried they would get too intense for him, but he did so well! I was inspired to read them all to keep up with them both (I had never gotten around to it earlier), and what a revelation that was. So. Much. Fun. Michael read them to him all through the summer holidays, but once Felix started school the intensity was a bit much, so we’ve put them aside for now.

Milly Molly Mandy. I got a big book of collected stories. Felix quite liked them but to be honest as adults we found them a bit boring… Antonia might get into them soon I guess.

Tashi. Antonia and Felix both loved this – I got The Big Book of Tashi which contained quite a few stories – I think I’ll get hold of the next one, too.

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Longstocking (Soooo good.)

Pippi and the South Seas

Pippi goes Abroad

Emil’s Clever Pig (Felix and I just adored Emil – must get hold of the others)

Karlson on the Roof

Lotta’s Bike

Lotta says No, and I think one more Lotta book. (Antonia and I loved these too. I recognise Antonia in Lotta!)

The 13 story treehouse and sequels. Felix thinks these are the best thing ever.

Laura Ingills Wilder: The Little House in the Big Woods

Farmer Boy

The House at Plum Creek (we’re half way through this one – Felix couldn’t find The Little House on the Prairie but I’ve located it now so we’ll read that next) These are great to read aloud. Just mesmerising.

There were probably a few more. Michael has done the bulk of the reading, but I’ve now instigated a ‘taking turns’ bedtime rule, so we alternate reading to Felix and Antonia. Which is nice.