February, 2009

Nina is now 4! The day itself was a city-wide snow day, which was a lovely gift in itself as it meant the whole family was home to share Nina's special day. Thanks to all who thought of her and to those who sent along many wonderful presents. Nina's party happened the Sunday after her birthday. It was a yoga party and was greatly enjoyed by all twenty kids who attended. Nina did have a few incidences of ear pain but was able to get past it thanks to the excitement of the party. She then got to open lots and lots of presents. She was very keen to make the room name plate that she got but had to wait until the following day. It is a plaster name plate so the process took a couple days but she now has a bright name plate hanging proudly on the door of her room.
Sam has started a ball skills class through an organization for kids on the spectrum and it has been a smashing success. He is now identifying himself as a footballer in the same way he has become a cyclist and a tennis player. We are very happy about this as football is intrinsic to the world of primary school boys in England. Sam has become especially interested in the role of the referee and has learned the referee symbols for many common offences. Last night Sam and Nina each made themselves a referee flag and Nina got to be the head referee so wore H's running watch and a football whistle for much of the evening.
Going back in time a bit, we were very lucky to have Uncle Jeff come to visit at the start of the New Year. He got to come along to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Center in quaint Great Missenden. Nina was a bit nervous about some parts of the museum, but volunteered to play one of the stepsisters in a reading of Dahlís version of Cinderella at the story center. We were all very impressed by her interpretation of the role. Sam loved the entire museum, and we all enjoyed a good lunch at Cafť Twit. There was a playground nearby with a zipcord that we spent a fun half-hour in before driving back to London.
The Sunday Jeff was here was my Sunday to volunteer at church, so HŚkan, Jeff, and the kids headed in to the Tate Gallery of Modern Art. They all had a great time, despite the cold temps. It was also fun to have Uncle Jeff in town as it meant we got to go out as grown-ups. The kids miss Uncle Jeff and have decided that he is the long horn at the end of the Beethovenís Wig version of the Moonlight Sonata, thus we are thinking about Jeff every time we get in the car, as that is far and away their favorite track on their favorite CD of the moment.
Ninaís ears have continued to be problematic, but following a chat with her gymnastics coach, I have now taken her off cowsí milk as a drink, although we are still giving her cheese. That seems to have helped already, so we will try to continue that. Nina is very into asking questions right now, which is exciting, as she is clearly beginning to think more for herself.
We had a very good meeting with Mr. Smith and Ms. Randall, Samís teacher and LSA, that resulted in some concrete ideas to help Sam be more positive at school. After kind of a rocky stretch, things seem to have turned around, and Sam now seems much happier.
It is February half-term right now, and yesterday I took the kids to Palewell Park in the morning. They each brought their backpacks, ropes, and helmets, so that they could practice for Mt. Everest on the spiderweb climbing frame at the park. It is moments like those, and like today, when they got a long ride in the top front seat of a double-decker bus (we had to go into London to renew Samís Swedish passport), that my love for our wonderful children bubbles up and spills over.