Thursday, April 26, 2012

William's update at 2 years old

Just a quick update on the previous post:


At his 2 year check up last week, William was 86cm tall, weighed 12,390 kg and was shown to be healthy and happy, curious and persistent. 
He understands absolutely everything we say in both English and French and has about 20 words under his belt but is making good progress now that his ears are unblocked and that we have finally found a product that helps them stay clear! Also this is considered as being ok for a boy growing up in a bilingual family environment so no worries as long as he keeps progressing with his speech.

His motor skills are great and he loves wearing a hat (this is very unusual as most kids rip them off first chance they get in my experience). He has also started taking an interest in his clothes and is very stubborn about wearing his dinosaur socks or his car t-shirt when that's what he wants to wear. He also loooves yogurt and tomatoes, cheese and chocolate cake. 

His vocab currently includes:
  1. egg
  2. come
  3. Maammy
  4. Aaamma (Emma)
  5. Papa
  6. no
  7. haan (which uses to mean yes)
  8. up
  9. take
  10. coco (chocolate)
  11. cake (he loves!)
  12. caca
  13. pipi
  14. baa (bath)
  15. baike (bike)
  16. choo choo
  17. train
  18. car
  19. grrr (for the lion)
  20. shushu (shoes)
  21. ko (from the French "encore" - more) 
  22. draauuw (draw) 
  23. cheese
  24. house (which he sometimes pronounces as "how" but only sometimes)
All the important stuff right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

William's 2nd birthday

Today William turned 2. So he got 2 cakes (one to enjoy with his kindergarden friends and one with Emma and her friends as well as some Frenchies after school), 2 birthday songs and 2 presents (from us parents plus he got some others from extended family and friends). He also had 2 family members (Emma and me) to celebrate with as Daddy is traveling. 

It was a great day and I think he had a lot of fun. 

Here are some pics of this day when he turned 2. 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is it possible ...?

Is it possible to have separation anxiety from your pajama?

William has the hardest time getting out of it in the mornings and gets really upset when it's time to take it off and dress for the day.

Here he is at breakfast with his beloved hoodie.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2nd day in Vienna

Ok, I had no time to do day 1 in Vienna (yet) but hopefully it will suffice to say that we had a great time - although it stirred up a lot - and that I felt right at home nearly as if I had never left.
The afternoon was spent at Kutschkermarkt parc with a bunch of Emma's old kindergarden mates and their Mums and a bottle of Prosecco. Perfect.

So today, as planned by the weather forecast, it rained. A lot. And luckily the kids were all geared up for it.

Steph and Will walking in the rain

 But it did mean that playing in the park was out. So, also as planned, we headed over to Emma and Will's old kindergarden, (leaving Will out of it due to an outbreak of chicken pox which he has not been vaccinated against) and Emma and I even managed a quick coffee and juice at the new Kutschkermarkt café; the Himmelblau.

Coffee and orange juice with Emma

Since the beginning of the trip, Emma had asked about when we would go to her kindergarden to see Lisa (her teacher) and her friends and where her school bag was... I was beginning to fear that she really thought we were back to stay. ;-( 
As we neared the Kindergarden (we took the tram) Emma recognized the area more and more and started asking where her coat hanger was and telling me she needed to leave her shoes on the shelf (not the case at her school in Athens). Again, I explained we would just be visiting for the morning and that her "school" was now in Athens. Oh. 
Also, she occasionally mentioned she did not remember "Deutsch".

As soon as we rang the bell we heard a resounding "EMMMA!!!" and as the door opened many voices and hands reached out for Emma's hand and hair and as we tried to remove her coat and shoes Emma yelled at me that she could do it alone and then broke into tears. Luckily within 2 minutes she calmed down and we entered her old class-room.  (**On a personal note: 1) it was so nice to see kids dressed in all different colours and styles - I really dislike uniforms!!! 2) it was wonderful to see her play so hard. At her new kindergarten in Athens, it is much more like a school and playtime is restricted to recess and end of the day. She has learned a lot, but she is only still 4 and I have found that she is much happier after a day of play than after a day of work - who isn't?! 3) Despite the overwhelming nature of this whole trip I found Emma handled her emotions really well.)

Emma and her friend Carrie in the doll's corner

After a few minutes during which she clung to me and stared wide eyed around her, she  ate her muffin (the special breakfast the children had prepared in honor of her visit) and started playing with her old friend Carrie (who speaks English fluently) and others. At the end of the morning she was totally at home prancing around the class-room giving orders and laughing and absolutely refusing to leave.

 Emma placing the drawings she received from her friends in her plastic bag
The only way I managed to get her out of there was by telling her that we would meet them again in the park tomorrow (weather permitting) and reminding her that we would be visiting Isabella at her home in the afternoon. 

After a good nap at the hotel, off we went. Emma and Isa played as they had only six months ago despite Emma not saying much in German but the friendship, yelps of joy, easter eggs, dressing up and gummi bärli's made it a magical moment for her.  

I can't tell you how I wished we could stay. 

Anyway,  tomorrow is another day, and right now I am determined to live each one intensely and I'll think more about our country of residence when the holiday is over.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First hols of the year...

After a lovely long week-end visit from our youngest Grand-parents for Catholic Easter we are now heading off to Vienna for a short week with the kids.

the four of them testing our new sand-bench
Emma and Pata taking a break in the shade at the bicycle park
It was great; I loved watching the kids enjoy every second of having their grand-parents here - I wish it was something that expat life allowed more of - and the change of schedule to the sunny summer rhythm with drinks, food, restaurants, beach walks, bike rides and visits to the touristy side of Athens means we got an early start to our first holidays (this year) too.

I cannot believe it has been 6 months since we left Vienna. I am eager to be there again, to walk down its streets, taste the food at our habitual market, a coffee at our usual coffee shops and see familiar faces. I am also interested to see how it makes us feel vis à vis to living in Greece. Will we feel saddened? or on the contrary will our visits highlight the positive sides to our life here now ? or both? 
I am glad we stuck to our expat rule of plunging into the new life for the first six months but now I am eager to catch the plane and go. 

I am also eager to see how traveling and staying in a hotel goes with nearly 5 year old Emma and nearly 2 year old William (his last flights without a seat!) ... after a week-end stint to Budapest with a nearly 2 year old Emma we totally dropped the idea as it was far more exhausting and frustrating than staying home!

More soon...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Emma's new bike

Last week-end we bought Emma her first bike with pedals (until now she has been using a balance bike, like the one Will is on in the pics). It was a bit scary for her to actually pedal instead of having her feet on the ground...

She made progress quite quickly once she stopped freaking out every second. The hardest thing about Emma and novelty is her negative approach to things (even things she is clearly good at!). It's really hard to keep praising and encouraging someone who is constantly saying they can't, will not, aren't able, don't know, etc. I wonder if there is another way to encourage her while feeling less annoyed at her attitude. When she was the only child, it was feasible to stop the activity at hand of sit down, talk it out and have an ice-cream or whatever but now that she is no longer an only child, it's unjust to stop everybody's fun because of her -and sometimes simply impossible of dangerous because William is too small to be left alone and I can't carry two bikes and two kids.  :-(

Emma is a bit of a diesel, when she gets the hang of things, nothing can stop her, but until she gets there... wow, the cows have come home. I find it hard as a parent to want to give her the extra time and attention when she has ruined 4 meals in a row because she won't eat or has taken ages to finish when I have to get William to bed. Also, and it's unfortunate, but the praise and encouragements don't always work - in fact sometimes shouting or a threat are much more effective with her but they make me feel like crap. I just don't understand why we have to get to the shouting/punishing/sending her away from table for her to react. And when others are around she sometimes is just another person; full of beans, positive and not the least bit whiny. I guess she's testing me and looking for boundaries but, but, but BUTTT ... AGHHH! 

Guess I just need to hang on to the idea that it's a phase and that it will pass. Soon I hope.