June, 2009

We had a busy May half-term. The first Saturday we had the S.s over for dinner—a lovely time was had by all, and the kids got to hear more Swedish, which is always a good thing. On both Monday and Thursday we got together with the N.s. On Thursday we looked after 3 of the 4 N. kids while their parents went to an important appointment. I must confess, I was very glad Håkan was able to come home early that night; they are fabulous kids but 5 kids between 3 and 7 is quite a handful. ;) We ended up taking them all to Palewell Park. The family stopped by to say goodbye on Friday—we will miss them all very much, and hope they’ll be able to return to London for a few months in the future.

Also on Friday, Grampy Dick and Grammy Betsey came over (they had arrived in London late Thursday night). They were enlisted straight away as babysitters—dropped them and the kids off at Bushy Park so I could get my hair cut. They proved quite capable and nobody missed me at all (a good thing). The kids were very happy to be at the park (it’s one of their faves) and were extremely happy to be soaking up all the grandparent contact. Sam especially enjoyed trying out his new American football with Grampy Dick, while Nina showed Grammy Betsey what a strong climber she is.

Saturday it was time to finally come through on Nina’s long-awaited reward for her latest happy face chart with a visit to the Tate Modern. Everybody enjoyed the Big Art and we even went through a few of the galleries. Nina was quite pleased with her meal at the Tate Café which was her primary reason for wanting to go to the Tate (the rest of us were quite pleased with our meals as well). We also got to walk over the Millenium Bridge twice. That evening we headed up to Palewell Park for more football, paddling in the paddling pool, and bike riding.

Sunday we went to Kew Gardens, and the kids experienced both the Xstrata Walkway and the glass houses for the first time (Nina actually climbed all 100 stairs of the Xstrata Walkway twice, and Sam went through the Evolution House three times). We wrapped up with Climbers and Creepers. We took the electric train around the park. It was very crowded, so we didn’t all get to sit together. When we got on after the Xstrata Walkway Nina and I sat in a carriage with a group of four Indian people and an English couple. Nina was talking about the evolution house timeline rather loudly, which amused the Indian folks and irritated the English folks, who were trying to listen to the guide’s commentary. When the Indian group started speaking to each other, Nina became curious: “What language is that?” she asked. “Kannada—it’s from India,” answered the mom. “So it’s not Hindu,” I said. “Do you know Hindu?” asked the mom. “No, just that it’s from India. Nina is interested in India because it’s close to Nepal, and she wants to climb Mount Everest.” At this all the Indian people nodded. “When you get to the top, will you call me?” said the mom. “Yes,” said Nina. We got to their stop shortly after, and the mom said, “Goodbye-- we’ll meet again probably in another life.” And we all probably will. :)

Nina is on antibiotics for tonsillitis (and Håkan is on antibiotics for probable chest infection). Sam, amazingly, seems to still be healthy which is a huge blessing.
The kids continue to be seriously enamored by Nigel Marvin's Walking with Sea Monsters video, with Sam acting it out with many pieces of Zoob equipment.