Tag Archives: motherhood

how quickly children learn (languages)

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There are 4 non-Spanish children in Sky’s class. Two of them instantly become her best friends and both girls speak English (one also speaks Spanish as her second language and the other Catalans). Such a lucky situation, because their friendship improves Sky’s English (a lot!) and helps her through learning some Spanish and Catalans words. The teacher affirms that, and I notice it in many ways. Some days when she comes home from school she even answers me with “yes/no” or “si/no”, and I notice a slightly different “r”-sound in her pronounciation. Very English! Her Spanish also goes rapidly forward. Because I think she constantly hears (and uses) it at school. The other 22 children in her class speak Spanish, of course! Plus she gets extra Spanish lessons at school, together with other children from all classes who do not speak Spanish yet. I can’t measure it, but I think she actually understands a lot of Spanish (and Catalans) words now. Which is amazing!!!

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Three weeks ago one of the girls was celebrating her birthday. So we spent one lovely Sunday afternoon on a horse riding school, because both the girl and her mom ride horses. That was actually the first time I could “observe” Sky, how she behaved and talked with her friends. And wow!!! I can hardly put it in words, how amazed, proud, happy, moved I was…to hear her talking in English, just like that! She can do it, she does it, she has no problem with it…and she seems happy with all that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And when she doesn’t know how to say a word, she uses other words she knows or even mixes it up with Dutch, which is completely perfect. For example I heard her saying to her friend, pointing to the back of her helmet: “You have a ‘strik‘ on your ‘helm‘” (strik = Dutch for a bow). And the friend would reach to her helmet and felt the ‘strik‘, and she knew what that was, and they laughed together. So…so lovely…how children create their world without having to speak a certain language. Without expectation and prejudice… ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and the horse riding itself was also very fun. The instructions were in Spanish, but once again the children were all okay with that (fun learning!). At the photo below Sky was making a pirouette on the back of the horse! And the parents and friends came from all over the world, we had a truly international table, which made me so thankful to be part of it. Blessed!

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lost first baby tooth, yayyy!!!

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Yesterday was a special day. Not just because we had another “Paella Popular” (a part of the Festa Major, see my previous post. The Paella was cooked in a huge pan and we ate this yumminess together with around 200 other people). But mostly because the long awaited day has come for Sky: She lost her first baby tooth!!!
I said ‘long awaited’, because in her previous class in the Netherlands, all children have lost one or more teeth (and many started very early), only Sky didn’t. But actually, here in Spain, some children in her current class haven’t lost their teeth also. Genetic factor plays a role, maybe?

So the tooth has wiggled for about 4 days. During the lunch yesterday Sky said: “And now I will bite in this cucumber, maybe the tooth will then break.” She took a deep bite, and Joop saw (and heard) it all happening! First she ate the piece of cucumber she had in her mouth, then she spitted the tooth out.

We let her gargle with lots of water to rinse her gums, then I washed the tooth and we put it in her tooth box. She doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy anyway, she’s not going to put the tooth under her pillow, so we just gave her a coin for her piggy bank, haha!

Nice detail: I searched in this blog (lucky to have all memories written down here!) for her ‘first tooth’. It appears to be on October 11th, and the second one on October 31st. So exactly 6 years ago! And by the way that second tooth has started to wiggle too this morning. These are the first and the last pictures of her lovely little tooth:

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Additional story: Immediately after this, the second tooth next to it also started to wiggle. And only 12 days after the first lost, she lost her second baby tooth also! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s the picture:

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first day of school in Spain

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For many Spanish parents it’s a big relieve to walk their children to school again this morning, after 11 weeks (!!!) of summer holiday (compared to 6 weeks in the Netherlands). But for me, it feels so unreal how fast the past weeks gone by. We now live 6 weeks here in Spain, have been busy with so many things and have passed through many milestones in such a short period of time… but today marks a very important milestone in our life: The first day Sky goes to school in our new homeland. First time wearing a school uniform! She is really looking forward into it:

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This month the children are allowed to wear their sport uniforms because the weather is just still too warm for the “official” uniform, which is made of thick material. The ‘problem’ with uniforms is, that you have to put names on all of them, from the backpack to the swimming suit. That’s the advice I got from another mom and also from school. So we ordered a name-sticker which you can iron on the clothes (or sew on the bags). Like this:

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The school starts at 08.50 and will end at 16.35, all the same from Monday till Friday. Again, very different compared to her school in the Netherlands (08.30 – 15.00, and on Wednesday till 12.30). The long hours are compensated by having 2 hours long afternoon break (in NL 1 hour), including having lunch together at the big dining room. Sky is so curious what kind of meal she would get today! Actually I can check the monthly menu on the internal school website, but we have made an agreement that I will only check it when she has gone to school, haha…. (pstt, I have just take a look and all the menu seems delicious!! I think she will like most of them). This is the school dining room:

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Last week we had a parent’s meeting at school, where presentations were given both in general (we had a special English version in a different room) and in the children’s own classroom by the teachers themselves. Children were not allowed to join this meeting, so we had to arrange a sitter for Sky. The first time in her life she stayed at home with a sitter! (talking about milestones….) We’re lucky to find a Dutch sitter, an 18 years old girl who has lived here for about 5 years. Sky was all happy and enthousiast about her! This is a picture during the presentation in the class (which was all in Spanish, with occasionally some English summaries afterwards). As long as I know there are 3 non-Spanish children in the class, out of 23.

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And the last Friday before the school starts was an Open Day. Parents and children are allowed to come in the class and met the teachers. We got explanations and guided tour around the school. Such a good idea, especially for new students and parents like us. At least now Sky knows where the nearest toilet is and where she should go to fill in her water bottle. We also got to see the classes, the library, the dining room, the gym, the playground, the computer room and the music room:

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I have to admit I’m quite nervous today. I try to keep myself busy (like by writing this blog), but still I kept looking at the clock and thinking ‘What is she doing right now? Is she happy, not getting a headache from all the foreign languages spoken and the new children around her?” Oh my, I can’t wait to hear all her stories when I pick her up (or not, maybe she doesn’t feel like sharing them today. All okay). Tomorrow is a Catalonian Public Holiday (Diada Nacional de Catalunya), so happy with that. Then we have one day to take a rest from this impressive ‘first day’.

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worry

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Mothers are made to worry, especially when it comes to their little ones.

I’m worry if Sky would be okay with our big move. If she would like our new house here in Spain, with us busy settling things down and learning the language and everything new around us…

I’m worry, because she will soon enter a new school and learn 3 new languages at once. Three!!! Which means she will be in a new environment, with all new teachers and kids who all speak languages she does not understand yet. We try our best to teach her some English the past half year, but that’s so far from enough. At least, that’s my worry…

And she is such an observant girl. Not shy, like some people might think at first sight. She would not jump into anything before she’s comfortable enough with it. She needs to watch and understand the situation first, and it might take some times. Maybe she would not easily make friends in her new class… At least, that’s my worry…

I was reading her new school schedule and oh what a long day they will make at school. Much longer than the school days in the Netherlands, almost 2 hours longer! Wouldn’t she be too tired? And their lunch start at 13.20!! Oh my, that’s so late! At her previous school the kids would have lunch at 12 (and at home also)! And she’s such an eater, will get cranky when her tummy rumbles. Poor little girl… At least, that’s my worry…

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But then,

She has never complained ever since we’re here. She always has a big smile on her face, and keep telling me what a beautiful house (with a big garden!) and a pretty green surrounding we now have in Spain. She is so sweet and helpful (what have I done to deserve this kid!)

We take her everywhere, from arranging some legal things (city hall, police office, parking office, other offices…) till shopping for the necessary home appliances (internet/tv/phone office, car dealers, electronics, diy-stores, garden and plants, water filter, outdoor furnitures, more diy stuff…) and she enjoys it all. Everything. Each of them is an adventure, and every single one is just as exciting. Whether it’s about finding a delicious dessert in the supermarket or to get our health insurance done at the bank. Whether it’s about wandering around the weekly city market or to register ourself in the city hall.

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blog1And then,

We got our first playdate. With two other mothers with their daughters (in total 5 girls together with Sky, all about the same age and all will go to the same school). We met at the park, and the girls immediately played together like they have known each other for years. The moms had a blast too. But for me it’s so special to see how Sky seemed to be at her ease. How much fun she had although she might not understand all words said (almost all in English). How children can easily play together without having to worry.

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And moms like me…well, we are made to worry. It’s in our nature, I guess. But with all things happening these weeks, to watch and see how Sky smoothly and joyfully enjoying her days…it relieves my worries a bit. The big move still has to happen, when she really goes to school, in 10 days. But I believe we have set a solid base to hop on. Let’s continue from that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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her first piano exam and a concert!

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blog4Les piano pertama Sky adalah bulan Mei tahun lalu, dan di penghujung tahun dia menyelesaikan modul pertama yang namanya ‘les anak-anak’ (sekarang dia mengikuti modul les biasa/normal). Untuk menutup ‘les anak-anak’ itu dia berhak mengikuti ujian dan mendapat penilaian. Kalau les biasa aku selalu menemaninya di dalam ruang les, tapi saat ujian kemarin aku harus menunggu di gang. Tapi anaknya ternyata percaya diri. Waktu dijemput gurunya dia langsung masuk ke ruang ujian sendiri, mengapit map lagu pianonya di bawah lengan, hehe… Ada satu penguji asing, dan bersama guru pianonya mereka memberi penilaian, semacam raport. Untung aku boleh masuk ke ruangan untuk ikut mendengarkan. Nilai tertinggi, 9, tercantum di ketiga komponen penilaian: musikalitas, teknik/skill, dan daya usaha/effort. Plus kata-kata pujian dari kedua penguji. Anaknya senang dan bangga luar biasa…dan orang tuanya juga!!!

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Beberapa hari sesudah ujian, dia berpartisipasi dalam sebuah konser piano, untuk pertama kalinya bermain di depan publik. Bersama dengan 6 murid lain, mereka memberi konser di sebuah panti jompo. Ide yang sangat bagus, siang itu semua terlihat menikmati; baik dari kontak sosial dan perhatian yang diberikan, maupun dari variasi lagu-lagu yang dimainkan. Hari yang tidak akan terlupakan dan semoga bisa segera diulang lagi!

Video konsernya ada di bagian paling bawah ya.

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Haar eerste pianoles was in mei vorig jaar. Ze heeft inmiddels de zogenaamde ‘kindercursus’ afgerond (en gaat nu verder met de ‘normale les’) en mocht de cursus afsluiten door een tentamen te volgen en een rapport te krijgen. Tijdens de gewone les mag ik altijd aanwezig zijn, echter bij het tentamen niet, ik moest in de gang blijven wachten. Maar Sky vond het helemaal niet erg. Ze ging vol zelfvertrouwen zelf naar binnen toen de juf haar ophaalde, haar pianomap onder haar arm geklemd. Er was nog een andere pianoleraar bij en na afloop kreeg Sky een rapport (waar ik gelukkig weer bij mocht zijn). Een rapport waar op alle drie de onderdelen (muzikaliteit, vaardigheid en inzet) een 9 was gescoord, het hoogste cijfer. En een heleboel lovende woorden van beide examinatoren. Een super blij en trots kind…en ouders!!!

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Een paar dagen na het tentamen heeft ze haar eerste piano concert gegeven. Samen met 6 andere leerlingen, gaven ze een optreden in een verzorgingshuis. Een prachtig idee, een middag waar iedereen zichtbaar genoot; van de aandacht en van het gevarieerde programma. Om nooit te vergeten en zeker voor herhaling vatbaar!

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Het filmpje van haar optreden:

kids philosophy and climbing

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Sky: “Kenapa kita nggak pernah bertanya-tanya apakah kita sebetulnya betul-betul hidup?”

blog 5cAnak ini…dengannya kita bisa berdiskusi dan berfilosofi. “Dalam” kalau orang bilang, atau “jeru” dalam bahasa Jawa. Seru sih, tapi kadang bikin pusing juga, hehe…

Tentang bagaimana makhluk luar angkasa melihat ke kita (mungkin mereka menganggap hidup kita ini bukan hidup), tentang meninggal dunia (kapan kira-kira kamu bakal meninggal, mam?), tentang jatuh cinta, tentang berbagi makanan dengan mereka yang tidak punya makanan (kalau aku seorang koki, aku pasti akan membagi-bagi makanan buat orang-orang), tentang kapan seorang anak mulai boleh punya telepon sendiri, tentang kenapa anak sering tidak mendengar suara orang tuanya kalau sedang sibuk mengerjakan sesuatu (sungguh lho mam, bukannya aku nggak mau berbuat, tapi aku benar-benar nggak mendengar suaramu, sungguh!)
Ah, serunya. ๐Ÿ™‚

Di foto terlihat bagaimana akhir-akhir ini dia suka sekali memanjat-manjat dan bergelantungan. Makin canggih saja, dan makin bikin deg-degan. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Sky: “Waarom vragen we ons nooit af of wij eigenlijk echt leven?”

Dit kind…met haar kun je zรณ leuk gaan filosoferen. Diep, soms heel diep. Leuk, maar ik krijg er soms wel hoofdpijn van…hehe…

Over hoe ruimtewezens naar ons kijken (misschien vinden zij ons leven geen leven), over doodgaan (wanneer ga jij dood, denk jij, mama?), over verliefdheid, over eten delen met mensen die geen eten hebben (als ik een kok zou zijn, zou ik eten aan de zwervers geven), over wanneer een kind een mobiele telefoon zou mogen krijgen, over waarom een kind vaak zijn ouders’ stem niet hoort als hij met iets bezig is (echt waar hoor mam, het is niet dat ik het niet wil doen, maar ik hoor jou gewoon niet, echt niet!)
Heerlijk! ๐Ÿ™‚

Op de foto’s is te zien hoe zij de laatste tijd veel klim- en bewegingskunstjes onder de knie heeft gekregen. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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growing power

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Di tengah trotoar dia berhenti, turun dari skuter/otopetnya. Matanya memandangku lekat-lekat: “Mam, tadi di sekolah aku tiba-tiba merasa…bahwa aku kuat, bertenaga. Bahwa aku bisa ikut berlari, bisa meloncat lebih tinggi. Teman-temanku bisa berlari cepat sekali, tapi sekarang aku merasa bahwa aku juga bisa.”

Perasaan yang menyenangkan pasti, seperti yang kukatakan padanya. Seolah ingin membuktikan ucapannya, dia berhasil meraih palang di rumah panjatan di tempat bermain yang tadinya tidak bisa dia capai, biarpun dengan meloncat. Sekarang tiba-tiba bisa dijangkaunya, begitu saja.

Mungkin ini efek kejadian di pagi harinya juga. Pagi itu kami memberitahunya bahwa Ibu guru yakin dia boleh naik ke kelas 3 sesudah libur musim panas nanti (bulan Agustus). Sebetulnya kami (dia juga) sudah tahu sejak interview orang tua-guru bulan Februari lalu, tapi sekarang sudah betul-betul resmi. Dia senang, tapi juga merasa spannend/tegang. Kelas baru, dengan sebagian besar teman-teman baru, di mana dia kemungkinan besar adalah yang paling muda. Tapi minimal sudah ada kepastian, jadi dia bisa mempersiapkan diri, terutama secara mental. Kami orang tuanya juga ikut spannend, hehe… Penasaran sekali bagaimana dia nanti menjalani kelas barunya. Kita tidak bisa mengatur segala-galanya, tapi yang jelas kami berharap sepenuh hati semoga masa sekolahnya berkesan dan penuh kenangan indah. ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: Di Belanda resminya anak yang berumur 6 tahun sebelum atau saat libur musim panas boleh naik ke kelas 3, kalau sudah siap. Siap dalam arti si anak sudah bisa berkonsentrasi dan mengerjakan tugas secara mandiri. Karena di kelas 3 anak mulai belajar membaca, menulis dan berhitung. Terkadang ada pengecualian, kalau anak memang belum siap maka dia boleh duduk setahun lagi di kelas 2. Dan seperti Sky, kalau memang terbukti sudah siap secara fisik dan mental, maka boleh naik kelas walaupun dia baru saja berulang tahun ke-5.

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Midden op de stoep stopte ze, stapte van haar step af. Ze keek mij ernstig aan: “Mam, ik voelde vandaag op school ineens…dat ik kracht heb. Dat ik mee kan rennen. Dat ik hoger kan springen. Mijn vriendinnen kunnen snel rennen maar nu voel ik dat ik dat ook kan.”

Een heerlijk gevoel, lijkt mij, en dat heb ik ook tegen haar gezegd. Alsof zij dat wil bewijzen, hing ze kort daarna aan een rekstok bij de speeltuin waar ze tot voor kort niet kon reiken, ook niet door te springen. Nu wel, zomaar.

Misschien speelt ook een rol dat wij haar die ochtend vertelden dat zij, volgens haar juf, na de zomervakantie zeker naar groep 3 gaat. Dat weten wij (zij ook) eigenlijk sinds het laatste oudergesprek in februari, maar nu is het helemaal officieel. Zij vindt het leuk, maar ook spannend. Een nieuwe klas, met merendeel nieuwe kinderen, waar zij waarschijnlijk de jongste zal zijn. Maar nu er zekerheid is, kan zij zich voorbereiden op wat er komen zal. Wij vinden het ook spannend, super benieuwd hoe ze het straks gaat ervaren.ย Je hebt niet alles in de hand, maar we hopen van harte dat zij hele leuke en leerzame tijd zal beleven op school. ๐Ÿ™‚

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