Happy New Year!



I would like to write a few words, a few as a good-bye to 2014, and a few to welcome the 2015.

2014 has been a good year, with quite a few changes, more inside of myself than outside, more about attitude and emotions and experiences and ways to live, than material changes. It has been intensely lived and enjoyed, the good and the hard.

I found in an email I wrote my goals for 2014:

– stop controlling and analysing everything that happens
– go with the flow, let things happen and/or fall into place at their own time and rhythm
– trust myself, trust life, trust others
– stop fighting life, stop controlling life
– love to love (not love to worry, or love to control or control love)
– make time for myself, make space for myself
– (re)learn to be myself and by myself
– understand that all this is not incompatible with being a mother

Some of them I have achieved, others I’ve tried, and some I’m far from reaching. I think these goals are still valid for 2015, I’d add one though:

– be creative (in love, and life, as a mother, as a professional, as a housekeeper, as a person, as a friend…).

I feel that social media has consumed too much of my time, and I want to go back to reading paperbacks, books from the beginning to the end, I want to cook more, learn to sew, do more arts and crafts projects with Aimar, see my friends over a cup of tea or sharing a walk in nature. I want real, tangible creativity, and less consumerism and lost time.

I want to welcome 2015 with positive energy and hope it brings good changes and happy surprises to us all!

As a final note, Aimar has learnt to cycle! Father Christmas brought him a flashy red bicycle and in two days he has learnt to use it, he needs some work on starting and using the brakes, but other than that he is off on two wheels. Yuhuuu!

Here is a photo of one of the beautiful sunsets we are blessed to enjoy from our home:

P1040707

Playing

When I ask Aimar how his day went, he usually answers: “I went to school, I played a lot a lot, and you came to pick me up.”

Before he has finished swallowing his meal, he will already be asking me “Mama, I can go to play please?”

When I tell him it’s bedtime, he will always negotiate “Mama, four more minutes y ya está”. And he will then start asking each and everyone at the table if they have finished eating and would like to play with him.

Playing is the centre of his world. And so it should be. He is a happy, active, fun three-year old. Playing is the most important activity of the day, what he does from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed. Playing includes reading books, imagining stories with his cars and planes, even his food sometimes become animated objects, dancing and imagining we are all in a concert, painting and drawing, taking a bath and making constructions of lighthouses, boats, airplanes and aircraft carriers with lego, dressing up, cooking imaginary food… Aimar plays, and he plays intensely. All day.

Education is so complicated sometimes… I also need him to understand that there are moments when we need to stop playing and get some things done, like eating, getting dressed, brushing teeth… Of course, all of these activitites can be fun, and so we try, but they are also things we have to do, every day, and we have to do them consciously and well. While we are finding the best balance, because life is, in general, all about balance, we keep on playing and laughing, and dancing, and creating and trying to live as fully as we can.FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

Aimar’s words

There are so many interesting comments, sentences, argumentation at home these days, that it is very difficult to keep track of them and even more to have a moment to sit and write them down. Here are a few from the last days:

Aimar likes music. A lot. He especially likes music that makes you want to dance, move your body and shake your head. He likes Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many, many other groups of the like. Usually we get into the car and two minutes later he is already asking for music please, and sometimes he even says which song he wants to listen to (most of them he has named himself like the “tractor song” for Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours). Anyway, we were walking along the Passeig Marítim in Barcelona some days ago, Aimar was riding his bike and suddenly he shouts “Red Hot Chili Peppers! Voy a poné en esta bici”.

He also particularly likes Pete Seeger. We found a concert he did years ago for children and have been listening to it for months now. I enjoy it better than really loud Red Hot Chili Peppers at 7am.

“Mama, where is Pete Seeger and his banjo? ” “In the sky baby.” “No mama, está aterrizado.”

Aimar is bored of going to school everyday the same way. Alberto usually takes him via different routes but I really don’t make much of an effort. This morning he insisted on going through the mountains as he calls one of the alternative routes. “No Aimar, we just cleaned the car and its raining, we are going the normal way”. “Vamos un ratito por la montaña, y despues, me vienes a buscar al cole y vamos a limpiar la furgo”. Good reasoning boy!

Most weekends we try to make some time to go to nature, walk in the woods behind our house. IMG_7397“Mira mama, number one!”

Where to begin?

I just checked and the last time I wrote was in February! I have to say I am a little bit sad that I cannot make the time to write more often. So many fun things happen all the time in our lives and I wanted to use this space so that they don’t all disappear with my bad memory.

Here are some random photos of the past months together with some random updates on our lives.

Bel i AimarAimar and I went on a night train all the way to Granada for Easter to visit Bel and Darrell. We had a wonderful time and I discovered how much I enjoy travelling with this little boy.MEnorcaphoto1

We spent five days in Menorca in May. Despite the water being a little bit too cold for swimming, we “fished water”, enjoyed the sand, the waves, the sun, the friends and flying.

IMG_7068 IMG_7069

Aimar loves water, muddy puddles and all. So this summer in Germany I bought him proper puddle jumping equipment: waterproof overalls and yellow rubber boots.

IMG_6952

The way he plays is continously evolving and now he plays with little people and trains, and babies that come out of his tummy, he goes shopping and asks me to write him shopping lists, he cooks food for us… but still loves vehicles above all else.

Aimar is learning letters these days, because he likes it, finds them interesting, so we respond to his curiosity. He now can distinguish: A, B, S, T, Y, M, N, I, G, R, U, E, P. He counts to ten in all three languages and sings his abcs in English.

I feel the terrible twos are gone, all the yes/no, the frustrations, the wanting but not wanting seems to have disappeared this summer. We can now (usually) discuss things, talk things over and not fight half as much.

Aimar is happy at school, has made new friends, loves his teacher and has not even once cried when I drop him off, on the contrary, he goes in and starts playing with his friends. I am so happy to see that our choice makes him happy.

The best news of all is that we now sleep through the night! Yes, I can officially say that we have a little boy that sleeps.

I hope to be back soon and write a proper post on Aimar and his ways these days.

Schools and cuteness

 

It’s Carnaval this week. So each day they have related activites at daycare. I am quite spoilt and sometimes recieve photos, like the one below, on my phone. Please excuse the bad quality of the photo and just focus on how much this picture evoques. This little boy has been discovering his changed look on the mirror and loving the experience!PC carnaval

And now for this toddler love… This is one if his friends at school. Aimar is well know around for being one that likes to kiss and hug his friends frequently. He has lately learnt that if not corresponded it is simply because the other boy/girl is not interested in that moment and to not take it personally. But he does get frustrated at times.Franci y AimarWe have officially entered the school decision this week. It is time to look at schoold and decide which one we think Aimar will fit in best, and which one is more in line with the way we want him to grow up. I think we have a very clear idea of our preferences, so keeping our fingers crossed that Aimar is able to get in next year.

I so wish I had the time to share all my ideas, the comments I hear, the worries and fears of friends on deciding a school… but for now, I have to keep the post short and get back to work.

A bit of everything

Well, well, it’s been a very long time since I last updated the blog. So many things have happened since then: three trips for me, Elfie and his chocolates came to our house for 25 days, Father Christmas came leaving presents for Aimar in three different houses, Aimar has begun to use verbs in his sentences and the three of us went to la Vall de Núria to have some fun with the snow. Where to begin then?

Travelling

Once again I’d like to talk about travelling and Aimar. Since he is one year old both Alberto and I have had to travel quite a bit for work. As with everything else, we always tell the truth and talk about it with normality with Aimar. So he is quite used to the idea of “Mama going on an airplane to work and coming back in a few days”. He even role plays the scene with his as the one going away (he takes a bag or something with him and comes back after a while and says “Aimar came back” all happy and smiling like I do). I also ask him what he wants to me to bring him back, I let him know what is going to happen while I’m gone, who he will be seeing a part from Papa and let him know that I always come back. I’ve seen all the reactions. The sadness when he understands I leave, the indifferent reaction and the anger. But lately he simply accepts it and lets me know what he wants me to bring him back. I also talk to his teachers at school and let them know what is happening at home so that he has their support as well.

So far the longest I have ever been away is 8 days, last year in March. But this time I will be away for 11 days, quite a lot for all of us. I feel comfortable with trips that last 2-5 days, even a week, but 11 days has been a bit of a challenge for me and I think for him and Alberto as well. I will see his reaction when I get back home in a couple of days and see how he feels when he sees me again. Can’t wait to give him a proper hug and listen to what he has to tell me. I have a yellow taxi and the book he wanted for him, a present from John and a sea shell from the beach.

Elfie and the chocolates

Last year we introduced a new tradition at home for Christmas. Elfie, a little elf, arrives at our house one night in early December and leaves a chocolate in our advent calendar house for each of the people sleeping in our home (visitors included!) until Father Christmas comes and leaves his presents for the family. This little Elf moves only at night and is found in a different place each morning. Aimar really enjoyed Elfie this year and especially the chocolates he left every morning (smarties).

Father Christmas

I could not find a children’s book that explained Father Christmas and what he does like I wanted, so we did our best to explain the story to him. He understood some parts but was clearly afraid of this big guy dressed in red and white and his long beard, so when we told him he was going to come Aimar always said “y se va” (and he leaves), meaning I like the part of the presents but I prefer him not to be around.

We had a wonderful Christmas, and very busy! We begin by celebrating Christmas Eve with Alberto’s side of the family, Christmas Day with Inca and Richard in our house, and Boxing Day with my mother’s side of the family in Girona. This last day is fun because we are over 20 people and there are a few children too. My youngest cousins are 7 and 3, and the three of them get on well.

The rest of the holidays we stayed at home and relaxed, enjoyed day trips, time together and for once just living day by day.

Verbs and words

So yes, Aimar has begun to use verbs in his sentences. It is fun to see you his language skills develop and how he mixes all three languages. He often uses English verbs in a sentence that is in Spanish, or vice versa.  For example: el coche can (the car can), Aimar have botas (Aimar has boots), or Aimar tiene umbrella (Aimar has an umbrella). He has also started to speak more and more English to me, so when we are alone he uses nearly all the words in English, while when he explains the same things to his father he does it in Spanish mostly. When I get back I’ll share some more of his ideas and expressions.

And here a photo dump of what we’ve been up too these days:photo bus

Happy on the bus.photo train xmas tree

Trains, always trains.
photo backhoeAt the park,photo granpa

Granpa walks.photo bath time

Special bath time.photo snow

Snow fun.photo snow fun papa

More snow fun.photo tea

Tea parties.photo 2

Playing lawn mowing.photo 1

Hikes.photo 4

Christmas tree decorating.photo 5

Motorbike rides.photo 3Making traffic jams.photo mamiMama love.

 

On flashcards, boots and potty training

SAMSUNG

[In the car dancing to his favourite song these days “Hey Ho” from Lumineers]

It’s been a while since I last wrote. I’ve had too many things on my mind lately, and too many things during my day as well.

Thankfully Aimar has been healthy, happy and super active as always. He enjoys daycare, although he has had to adapt to new classmates, a new teacher and new routines. We did feel some difficult days at the beginning but he seems to know where to stand and what to do when he needs a break from the “big boys” in his class (he goes to find his teacher from last year and helps her with her new class of babies!).

I am not a fan of flashcards, but I did buy a pack of flashcards with pictures (basic words), letter, numbers, shapes and colours last year. I used them for long drives, train rides, planes but lately we have been playing with them at home too. We hadn’t looked at them much since after the summer until a couple of weeks ago and I was very impressed to see that he knew nearly all the words, and 95% in English (see video below). I want to try it out with Alberto, and see if with him he says the words in Spanish. I find the process of acquiring language skills so fascinating!

He mixes languages often, but I do see that while he is with me, he answers more often in English and makes short sentences only in English. As soon as someone else appears in the context though he switches to a mix of Catalan and Spanish with some words in English. His pronunciation has improved a lot, although there are some words he still says the way he first began to speak like:

  • mena (music, in all three languages the same)
  • tete (tractor, in English, in Spanish he says “taató”)

He has also started to express feelings. He tells us when he is tired, when he wants to play, when people are happy and when somebody cries. This morning he told me all the names of the classmates he considers “nice”. I must say I agreed with his choices!

Aimar is reaching the stage where he wants to do everything on his own. He wants to get dressed, decide which sweater to wear, if to wear or not a hat when we go out… and then comes the issue with shoes. Oh my! I never thought shoes could be so important. His shoes come in categories, the ones that jump, the ones that make a noise, the ones that jump, the ones that run and the most special ones are boots to run with papa in the mountains. Slippers are useless to him. So everyday we have a number of conversations/negotiations on which shoes he wears. I only have two points that I consistently make: at home, he can wear whatever he wants as long as they are clean, but he has to wear something on his feet now that it’s cold. Outside, he can wear whatever he wants, but warm enough for the weather.

Aimar is officially potty trained. We still have some accidents, we still need to improve on some issues, but he is very happy with his Lightning McQueen underwear (although he says they are swimsuits) and keeping them dry and clean. Daycare and seeing many of his friends go through the process has helped quite a bit. He has done a great job with the transition though!