Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Short Life of Shakira the School Hamster.

On Monday, a hamster appeared in Dylan's classroom.

Dylan loved the hamster; the hamster loved Dylan.

Rachel didn't love the hamster, but Rachel did love Dylan. Most of the time. So, when Dylan asked to take Shakira (for that was the little rodent's name) home for the weekend - "Please, mummy, please. It would be the best birthday present ever" - Rachel reluctantly agreed.

On Wednesday, Mrs Thompson asked Rachel to pop into the classroom for a chat. Usually, chats with Mrs Thompson revolve around Dylan's 'different learning style' (teacher-speak for him not doing what he's told, unless what he's told is: "go and play on the computer" ).

However, this chat was different. Sadly, this chat was about Shakira's recent trip to hamster heaven.

Usually, Rachel would have told the kids the truth about Shakira's sad demise. However, the teacher didn't want the class to know that the hamster had carked it. So, Mrs Thompson had invented a story about the hamster missing his mummy and going back to live with her.

Rachel went home to share the bad news with Dylan:

Rachel: Dylan I've got some bad news
Dylan: Can I have a biscuit?
Rachel: In a minute. I've got some bad news. It's about Shakira the hamster.
Dylan: Can I have a biscuit?
Rachel: Say 'please'. Now, about the hamster.
Dylan: Can I have a biscuit please.
Rachel: Yeah, in a minute. When I've told you about the hamster. Dylan, I'm afraid Shakira won't be coming home with us this weekend (waits for explosion)
Dylan: Why?
Rachel: Shakira misses her mummy and wants to go and visit her instead (waits for melt down)
Dylan: How do you know?
Rachel: Huh?
Dylan: How do you know Shakira misses her mummy?
Rachel: Um...
Dylan: Did the hamster tell you with its head? (forgets the biscuit in his fascination about inter-species communication)
Rachel: No
Dylan: looks like he might cry.
Rachel: But do you know what? It did tell Mrs Thompson. Yes, Mrs Thompson can talk to hamsters. Why don't you ask her all about it tomorrow.
Dylan: Okay. Can I have a biscuit now?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sundown Adventureland

We came back to the UK for August, which was great - but cold.

One morning we woke up and the sun was shining. To celebrate we decided to take a trip to Sundown Adventureland.

We loaded the kids in the car, and took Aunty Katy, Harriet and baby Francesca along for the ride.

We arrived at the Adventureland, to find that Francesca had filled her nappy. And the car seat. And the back seat of the car.

Then came the wasps. While Katy struggled to change the poo-baby in the car boot, the rest of us fought off the wasps. Some fought harder than others, and Jodie got stung.

Finally, we were ready to go. Unfortunately the entrance was easily identified by the queue of at least two hundred people waiting to get in. Every so often a small child in the queue would scream in pain, which helped everyone else work out where the wasps were.

Mark smiled smugly and pointed to a second entrance marked ‘pre-paid tickets’ and reminded us that he had bought the tickets on-line before we set off. So we marched up to the window, smiling sympathetically at the people in the queue.

MARK: Hello. As you’ll see, we have tickets already.

WOMAN IN KIOSK: Hello. As you’ll see, these tickets are for tomorrow.

RACHEL, JODIE, DYLAN, KATY, HARRIET, FRANCESCA (if she could speak): Aaarghghgh

MARK: There must be some mistake.

WOMAN IN KIOSK: Well, there’s the date (pointing to large date)

MARK: Hmmm

WOMAN IN KIOSK: So, if you’d like to go and join the queue…

Rachel launched into a long rant that included baby poo, wasps, idiot husbands, screaming kids and just enough insanity for the woman in the kiosk to wave everybody through.

After that, things got much better. Dylan brightened up when he saw the tractors ( "Like Farmville").

Mark brightened up when he found loads of silly posters to stick his head through ( "Take my picture! Take my picture! Hey Dylan come here, then mummy might take a picture" )

Rachel had visions of the past...

And the future...

And Katy went off to re-fill Francesca. They'd been gone a while, so Rachel went to look for them, and found Katy breast feeding next to this sign.

It's been a while....

A few people have pointed out that it's been a while since the last blog appeared.

There are a few reasons for this.

1) we've been a bit busy.

2) Mark broke the camera, so the pictures we took were crap

3) Mark lost the camera, so the pictures we took were non-existent

4) Rachel's writing job got busy, then she started writing the next Harry Potter (except it doesn't have Harry Potter in it, and no one wants to publish it). So the thought of writing for fun didn't seem much, well, fun.

Still, it's nice to be missed. So, we'll try and remember what we've been up to...

We stayed in Dubai for the first half of the summer holidays. It was hot. Temperatures around 50 degrees and humidity over 75%.

Far too hot to entertain the kids. So we decided to let someone else do it for us. Dylan loves collecting flyers. Most of them just mess up the car, but he found one advertising a summer 'Sport' camp.

So off went Dylan and Jodie (who has changed the spelling of her name. Next month, J Diddy).

They originally went for a week. But they liked it so much they stayed for three.

The main objective was to get couch-potato Dylan to do some activity. For the first week it worked. The happy campers did 5 activities a day, made up from: Climbing, Football, Swimming, Tennis, Dodgeball, Basketball, Games and ICT.

The more observant of you may have noticed the odd-'sport'-out.

In the second week, Dylan realised that if he kicked up enough fuss they would let him swap dodgeball ( "People throw balls at me and I don't like it" ) for that great team sport - ICT. By the third week, Dylan had managed to wangle 5 session of ICT a day.

Sport camp was over. We took off our flip flops and boarded the plane.