I’ve been missing in action.
Well, not when I say action, I mean spending my spare time writing another blog. I know. How unforgivable of me. It’s here if anyone is interested!
Things are really great for us in Sweden. I have not had one moment’s regret since coming back almost a year ago. Yes, there have been the odd twinges of annoyance: when H’s parents over-step the mark (which have been surprisingly few and far between); quirky, infuriating Swedish rules (how a British person can’t use her passport as a proof of ID if it is more than eight years old); and appalling customer service (“oh, I’m sorry….the person you want is off to a meeting in 30 minutes, so she won’t take your phone call. Call back next Monday”). Other than that, it’s been just fab!
My kids are very settled at school, especially my seven year old. Every day I pick him up, he’s with a different child, and they are queuing up to come and play. It’s very reassuring. He’s just had his first party in Sweden, and it was a big hit; other than the fact the Swedish kids don’t much care for chocolate birthday cake (home-made, too). We also found several (okay then, most) of his friends rather odd. There were very little manners between them, and they spoke in a way to us that I wouldn’t ever want my kids to speak to adults. I think a big problem these days, and not just in Sweden, I might add, is parents being afraid to be parents; they are so terrified of making their child cross, or sad, that they are failing to lay down rules, and ultimately, respect towards others is sadly lacking. Sweden was berated a while back for being “helicopter parents”: always hovering, and never allowing their kids to be just kids. I have seen that over-protective parent thing a lot here in Sweden. I’m a protective parent, believe me, but there are times when you need to let your little boy jump from that tree, or let him walk to the playground two minutes away from your house. I am not saying this is okay for every family, or every area; but we live in such a quite, peaceful village, and sometimes you just have to let your kids gain a bit of independence.
My nine year old is slightly different: he is undergoing evaluation for ADD/ADHD, after the school noticed that his attention and concentration were a little off. We’d noticed it at home, obviously, but had always been reassured by his school in the UK that he was a model student. Sadly, it seems that his “model behaviour” was actually him just sitting back, right under the radar. We had a lot of beef with his school, and we are trying to be diplomatic and bear in mind that in the UK, he had one teacher and a part time assistant for 30 pupils; in Sweden, he has two full time class teachers and an assistant for 18 kids, plus he has two special teachers for maths and Swedish. The important thing is that they are on the ball here, and we are now aware of it, so hopefully we’ll have some answers, and a confirmed diagnosis. He’s always been such a sensitive little boy, and I’ve been reading a lot about Highly Sensitive People (I am one, myself); he really does fit the criteria for that, too. So, his time at school is not as easy his boisterous younger brother. He has one best friend, and doesn’t seem very interesting in making any others. Some of the kids seem a bit mean in his class, but I can’t determine whether that is just a mix of him being very sensitive, and them being nine year olds, or something more. But, generally, he seems very happy, which makes us very happy!
There just isn’t the same feeling of stress here. Yes, it is confusing to know whether they need indoor our outdoor PE shoes (yes, the have two separate pairs), and some things are simply done differently, but on the whole, everything feels a lot calmer and relaxed. I am sat in my garden as I type, and all I can hear are chirping birds. It’s bliss!
I am also on a health kick – detoxing today, as I write! Man, it’s tough, but I feel it’s a necessary evil. The first time I did it (a few months ago), I went from eating a full-fat, crap diet to a complete detox. I nearly killed myself! I have never felt so ill in my life! This time around, my diet is so much better: I make my own bread; rarely eat anything processed (instead, preferring to cook all meals from scratch), and have kicked all the junk food (which has become surprisingly easy over time). I have even got into the spirit of all things Swedish, and started running. They all do it here, so if you can’t beat them….This I would never, not in a million years, have done in the UK. I am nearer to 50 than 40, and I think people in England would have found the sight of me puffing down the street beyond hilarious!
So, that’s a little update from me! I guess you could say I am happy, and so is my family. And that’s all we wish for, isn’t it?