Tag Archives: motherhood

About last Saturday, ear piercing and Xmas concert

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I forgot my key this morning. As usually we went out of the house together and Joop dropped Sky and I off nearby the school, on the way to his work. After making sure Sky was in her classroom I went home by train, and just in front of the gate of our house I realized I did not have my key with me.

So here I am, sipping a cup of ‘cafe con leche‘ at a cafe at the commercial centre, about 20 minutes walking from our home. Waiting for Joop to ride home during his lunch break to lend me his key. Writing a blog post to kill the time, about our weekend. Because last Saturday was one exciting day for Sky.

She had her ears pierced!!!

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She was never as sure as now. In the Netherlands she was one of the last girls in the class without earrings. One by one her girlfriends got theirs, but Sky wasn’t really eager to get one. Interested in, yes, but it’s not before we’re in Spain that she mentioned her will to get pierced. We waited till the approaching Christmas holiday. Because she won’t be allowed to swim for 3-4 weeks. Next week she will have to miss one swimming lesson at school, then followed by 2 weeks holiday. So in the new year everything will be just healed and well.

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Actually it goes really well already. She has got almost no pain. We could clean the ears, drip a bit of alcohol and turn the earrings around without any significant problems. And her excitement…it’s so amazing to see. How happy and proud she is. Beaming and glowing like a grown-up girl. And she is! Those small shiny things in her ears make her suddenly looks more mature…. Oh my mother’s heart…. ❀️

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Where in the Netherlands it’s usually the jewellery stores that do ears piercing, in Spain you will have to go to a Farmacia (a pharmacy/drugstore). We went to a big Farmacia nearby our house on Friday, but were asked to come back on Saturday morning, because the lady specialized in piercing children’s ears will be available by then. So we did, and we were very satisfied with the unbelievably proffesional and super friendly service.

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Sky was asked to choose which earrings she liked most; pink flowers it is. The lady drew two black dots on her earlobes and before we knew it she already punched one ear. One minute later the other one. So quick, and almost painless (according to Sky)! Mission completed and another milestone achieved!

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But the Saturday was not over yet. While Sky was still hyper-enthousiast about her new look, at 4 she had to be at school, wearing her full uniforms. For the grand rehearsal of the yearly Christmas concert! At 6 we, the parents and other guests, were welcomed at the school’s Auditorium. After some instrumental performances by senior students and music teachers, all the first grade students (well, not all, about two third of all students because participation is not obligatory), wearing Santa hats (so cute!) came onto the stage and performed the Christmas songs. 2 English songs, 2 in Spanish and 2 in Catalan. It was so entertaining. We had such a fun and memorable night.

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Watching her singing those songs, in 3 languages she barely knew 4 months ago… I was so moved. This whole adventure, we can’t be sure of anything. But one thing I’m sure of: it will bring many more beautiful moments like this in our path. πŸ™‚

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books without words

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Some of you might know that we are big fans of the library. Any kinds of library; big or small, with or without building… like this one, where we found a bilingual Pocahontas comic (English and Catalan). So cool!

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In the Netherlands we would visit the library at least once a week, often more. Somewhere last February we were featured in the library’s newsletter because Sky has borrowed (and read!) 1000 books, in her almost 6 years of age.

You would understand that now we moved to Spain, we are eager to continue this “hobby”. Last month we went to the Central Library (there are 3 in our city) and applied for a library card for Sky.

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She digged in the books immediately, and found some nice ones. But…our Spanish and Catalan are still so minimum, even the easiest children books cause us trouble to read. Not that we don’t try to, that’s for sure a fun way to learn new languages. But to have to look at the dictionary or do Google-translate on almost every sentence is a bit depressing. Bilingual books are a bliss. We borrowed some, and also English children books and fun dictionaries. And then, I noticed the section “comics”. Browsing through the colorful pictures, I got an idea. Let’s start from the very beginning again. From the love of books. Without languages, without words, without pressure. Try to make it super fun again. And it works, Sky grabs these books often and has pleasure “reading” them. I found a great serie of “el Petit Pelut” (originally Petit Poilu in French or Stoppeltje in Belgium), and then we found more fun books, without words.

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Trying to make library visit fun also includes joining the activities they organize. We attended a children theatre performance, by coincidence it’s in English! And will of course try to attend more in the future.

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The libraries in our city are not as big and sophisticated like we used to have in the Netherlands. But it’s also because we live in a smaller city. I think the libraries in Barcelona and other big cities would be wonderful too. Would love to visit them in the near future. One difference I noticed immediately is the children section. Our libraries have spaces dedicated for children books, of course. But while in the Netherlands it’s more or less allowed to “make noise” in the children section (well, children are children…), here it’s all quiet. We were really asked to lower our voice down. But once again, it’s maybe because the building is not that big. Noises will be heard across the whole library and would possibly disturb visitors in other sections too.

Above photo’s are from the Central Library, and below is a photo of the nearest library to our home, it’s quite pretty actually. Only the opening hours are a bit tricky. They only open for 3 mornings in a week, each for 3 hours. And 5 times a week at night.

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Well, we might not visit the libraries as much as we used to do, but it won’t slow us down in reading books. We access the Dutch children books through the library app (because Sky will still be a Dutch library member till she is 18, which also means she is allowed to use the app everywhere around the world). Sometimes we borrow books from our Dutch friends. And when our Spanish and Catalan are improved, we hope to be able to start reading local books too. Step by step. Poco a poco. A poc a poc. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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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… πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚ 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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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. πŸ™‚

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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: