A little hen mother

I’ve been wondering what my 300th post on WordPress would be. Sure I have 23 drafts, waiting to be finished, thrown away or just edited. It should have been one of them, but I actually wanted a sunshine post to be my 300th! This morning, coming down the gravel road, from the pre-school, on my way home to rest, I noticed a pheasant mother run across the busy highway, that I was about to enter. I needed to make a right turn, but I slowed down to a standstill, to see what was going on because behind her, was a little brood of babies. She ran like a maniac over the road, like they always do, which always makes my husband ask me if we should have pheasant for dinner. Or I just shout out, “look, there’s dinner!”

Through the years, I ‘ve managed not to hit one of them though. I wouldn’t know how to cook a pheasant, nor could I eat something that I had killed! They are such pretty birds, even if the mother is not as pretty as the father. This is really pheasant country, around here, and for the life of me, I don’t know why they always have to run across the roads? Why not fly? Much safer! But this time, I understood why the mother ran, because these babies can not have been very old, nor capable of flying. So I sat there, in order to see what the babies were going to do, and the mother. She had disappeared in the high grass and in to the ditch, on the other side of the highway, and I silently wondered if she had even noticed that her babies were not right behind her, as planned. I did not have my window down, so I don’t know if she communicated with them at all BUT I saw the babies starting to run out behind her, halt and then run back to my side of the road. And they stood there, waiting, probably being scared, and suddenly this car roars by. They are supposed to drive 70 kilometers max, but it used to be a 90 road, and most people have continued to drive that speed, after the change. Those babies would have been flattened had they run out on the road. But somehow they felt that they should stay where they were and I stayed where I was, in order not to kill one by mistake. Good thing no parent was behind me, in a hurry to get to work.

Then another car was approaching fast, and I wondered if the babies would stay put? They had been apart from their mummy for a long time by now. They were good babies and stayed put. Finally there was silence, the mother appeared on the other side, out of the tall grass, and I could see the first little brave baby venturing over the road. Then came another brave little one and finally two of them ran right behind each other, to join the rest of the family. It was such a beautiful sight and it stayed with me all day. I was so happy they all got over safely and were not killed there in front of my eyes. I waited an extra minute, before I dared to turn, in case a little coward had waited for his mother to come fetch him. But I could tell that the mother had all her babies with her now, because they all ran together in to the tall grass and the ditch! (I wish I had taken a photo, but I was too engrossed in what I was watching! This one is from the internet. Makes me wonder, if the mother I saw, had lost part of her brood to road accidents? There was only four of them!)

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The whole scene so much reminded me of myself. Last time this scenario played out, was at Legoland, two weeks ago. I ran over the trafficated road, to get to the ticket booth queues, as quickly as possible. I thought the children had stayed with their dad, who always takes forever to get the pram out of the car and putting in the few necessary things we need to come with us. He always have to put on a hat, have a drink, eat a snack… I just don’t have the patience for it! But then I heard that the children were behind me, trapped  on the other side of the road, alone, with a now red light. So I called out “stay”, lifting my hand like all mothers do, to signal “stay put” and then when the light turned green, I called “run”. The alternative is to go fetch the child of course, but for the most part, it is safer to watch traffic with one eye, so noone drives against red light, because then you have to stop them somehow,  and  with the other eye keep an eye on the child, so it moves quickly and safely across the road. Complete bird behaviour, isn’t it? I did what the pheasant mother did this morning at Legoland! I guess that’s were hen mother comes from?

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To read or not to read “Ulysses”?

imageA couple of years ago, I heard about “Ulysses” in a book I was reading, by this woman, whom I will not name. I was reading her biographies, and since they were not worth the paper they were printed on, I will not speak of them further, except saying that this woman was sex-obsessed and she read the book which was basically forbidden in Britain. I will not say that this perked my interest in the book, but I did wonder what sort of book was “forbidden” in the late 1930s?

Then, shortly after this, I saw a book program on Swedish Television, which brought up the fact that “Ulysses” had finally been re-translated. The program followed the translator, on a tour to Ireland, where he showed how he had been able to translate difficult passages in the book, by looking at what the author had looked at. There was no other way, to describe things with the right Swedish words. What he showed was very pretty and he spoke very highly of the book. It did not really go together with the description of a naughty book, that the above mentioned woman gave!

Then, during a language program, hosted by Stephen Fry, he also went to Ireland, to discuss James Joyce language and his “great novel, Ulysses”. According to Stephen Fry, it is the only thing he would bring to a desolate island if he was shipwrecked, the only thing he could not live without. I must say that I felt confused by this stage. Is it that good? He did add in the program, that it is the book everyone talks about but noone has read. If it is so great, why has so few read it? Because it is naughty? Long? Because this book is LONG!

Out of curiosity, I went to the book shop in town, when the new translation came out, and it’s a brick! I opened the book and read a couple of sentences and thought, what is this? Loose sentences, meaning nothing. Hmmm! Maybe not my book after all. T. said that he had looked as well, at the English edition, and did not understand a thing, so we both agreed that IF I was to read 820 pages, it would have to be in Swedish. But I hesitated after that page I read at the bookshop, which did not make any sense at all.

Then, last week, I was watching “The Antique Road Trip”, a program I really like. And since they do not just shop antiques to sell at auctions, but visit local sites as well, once again I got to see sites from “Ulysses”. The antiques expert, was brought to this tower, featured in the book and got to see what James Joyce had seen. It has almost been two years since I last looked at the book, but once again, I looked at it. It is so expensive and does one really want to buy an expensive book, which one might hate or not be able to finish? The funniest thing was reading the reviews at the book site, I was on. I mean, just listen:

“… I don’t understand anything. Perhaps in ten years?” – Emma Svensson

“A book I have never read and which I am always reading. … I have always had a copy in my bookcase for when I feel like reading it. I doubt one can read it from cover to cover, I’ve never tried.  But I open it wherever, and read till I get tired of it, and put it back in the bookcase. Very entertaining.” – Johanna Hallberg

“I have been reading this book for 25 years. During the first 20, I tried to read it from cover to cover. I started it every summer. Now I have learned how one is supposed to read it. I open it wherever and start reading. I enjoy, I laugh and I am impressed. When I get tired of it, I quit.” – Henrik Fogelberg

I laughed at particularly the last two comments. But I still ask myself, is this a book for me? I am not sure I want to spend the next 25 years on it!

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Spectacles & Misery

There seems to be no end to my woes when it come to trying to get new eyeglasses. When I ordered my new glasses on the 4th June, no way did I anticipate all the hassle that I have encountered since. Not only being not too happy about the frames themselves, since I did not really have anything to choose from, but not being able to look out through them either, without getting terribly dizzy and motion sick, it’s as bad as it can get. I went to another branch to have them looked at and after having a new examination of my eyes, the first glasses were deemed to be wrong for my eyes. The lens part that is. A new “cut” was ordered, we went to Denmark and when there, we received a text message that they were at the shop, ready to be fetched. It took a week before we could get in to town to fetch them, and lo and behold…

I still could not behold! I looked through the glasses and got dizzy. The young woman in the shop, which was full of people, told me that she could not do anything right then and there. I had to go home, but NOT wearing them since that would have been too risky, and then put them on at home to see if I can get used to them. I did what she ordered and let’s say, it did not feel good. I have tried to put them on, from time to time the last couple of days, but there is no point. If I push them up where they should sit, but where they will not stay, then I can look forward. Say, sit in my armchair and watch TV. But if I let my eyes wander to the side, to look at a book beside the TV, then I feel motion sick because things are not in focus. If I sit in the armchair and look at the book-case, at the other end of the living room, then I feel like I am cross-eyed. Well, I am! But glasses should prevent this from happening. And I can not see my nose, so it is not that bad with the glasses but close to it.

Worse, if I decide to turn my head over to look at the pillow on the sofa beside the arm-chair, then it takes two-three seconds before my eyes adjust and can see clearly again through the glasses. I could not sleep properly last night, nor nap properly this morning, even though I was exhausted, because in my mind, I had to practice my defence speech at the eyeglass place. It did not help that “”Gubby”, all night,  kept on putting his legs on my legs, put his knees in my back, stuck his fingers up my nose, all in his sleep, but still. I needed my sleep and was getting none!

I was so nervous, I caught myself shaking on the way in to Lund. The girl had told me that if it does not work with this strength, then it might mean that I can not have that strength of glasses, even though I need it. Then they have to make them weaker OR I have to take them back down south, where I bought them, and ask for my money back. Which has to be done before three months have passed. That means things have to be sorted before the 4th September. It was not fun at all to go in and explain everything all over, for the woman in the shop. She took the glasses, heated them up, tried to bend them in a straighter shape, and had me try them on. They felt a little bit better, but they were not great.

What has happened is that the my eyes need this sort of lens, a convex one: imageBut some people get nauseous from this. Why do I always have to be in the category of “some people”? And the problem with my eyeglasses is worsened by the fact that the frames also bend! What I need is eyeglass frames which are straight. Now she is going to ask her boss tomorrow, the optician, if the frames I had the optician in Burlöv pick for me, can be straightened out. Otherwise, I will either have to go down in strength, which I do not think they will recommend or I will have to pick another kind of frame for the lenses. I who really liked them! (It’s the reading glasses, which I am not too happy about, look wise.)  And to pick new ones, I will have to drive all the way down to Burlöv and ask the yawning football-fanatic Arab down there, for my money back, and then head for town and start all over again.

I really want to rip my hair out. I can only say this: IF the glasses have to be returned down south, then my husband will have to do it. He can go in and tell his football buddy (see previous eyeglass post), that thanks to their chat about the world championship in football, I still sit without the eyeglasses I need! If the Arab had listened back when I fetched the eyeglasses, that they made me dizzy, then we could have been spared a lot of trouble! I refuse to see that man again or set my foot in the Burlöv shop. Whatever inspired me to go there in the first place? Sometimes it does not pay to be inventive and open-minded, that’s for sure. So, the story continues. Tomorrow, I head to town, with all the boys in tow, to hear the verdict. But I suspect that there is no solution when it comes to my pretty black eyeglasses with a pink inside. I feel very upset and very, very sad! Why does every aspect of my life have to be hell or complicated?

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ADHD is exhausting!

First day of school did not start until 10:00, but “Kitty” and “Boo” decided to get up already at 5:45. They did stay quiet until 6:30 but then “Kitty” came in and asked me if I had overslept. Since I had been awake a lot of the night with a head ache, I was not happy. After all, I had set the alarm to go off at 7:40, so I had looked forward to one more late morning. I told him to leave the bedroom at once, which he did, but did not close the door behind him. So I had to get up and close it. 15 minutes later, “Boo” comes in to tattle tell, and I escorted him out of the door and went and got myself some aspirin. I headed one more time for bed, since my alarm was not going to go off for another 55 minutes and if I stay out of bed too long, “Gubby” wakes up and why should he have to wake up?

Ten minutes and then “Kitty” was in there and I told him “Out!”. In a wheezing voice in great resemblance of a snake (a creature which I detest). But he did not close the door after himself and I lay there and listened to their bickering in front of the TV for 20 minutes, till I dragged myself up to slam the door. Now I was really in a bad mood. My head ache was not lifting, quite the opposite. I could not keep “Gubby” sleeping finally, but did not join the boys until 7:40. They were in a pretty good mood, and I made them eat breakfast while I ironed clothes for “Boo” and chased “Cookie” out of bed. So far so good, I even managed to read some scriptures for them, to give them a good start and to kill the time it took “Cookie” to dress. Last minute, before they walked out the door at 8:40, I had to order “Kitty” to take off his beanie. For heaven’s sake, it is August and not winter! That said, I stand there and watch my 13-year-old sneaking out with a baggy beanie on her head, like she was part of a street gang in Detroit! I get so tired of this! Knitted beanie in summer??! To be cool! COOL? Hot I mean! And hot is the word, isn’t it??

When I am ready to get in to the shower, E. comes all panicked. She has had a summer job this summer, covering for someone on holiday, delivering “crap” mail. That mail has been delivered every Thursday, by the driver, who has rung the door bell and then deposited all the advertisements on our hallway floor. Then E. has had to sort it all, take this little blue trolley, they get to borrow, and go and deliver it to a set area of our village. For some reason she had told her “boss” that she could not do week 32 and 33. But yesterday, the “boss” phoned her and asked why she did not deliver week 33’s garbage mail? E. told her, that she was not supposed to work that week and that nothing had been delivered either. But the boss said, it had. So E. went searching for it and found all the advertisements in the trolley, outside, completely soaked, since we have had a regular down pour for over a week. The “boss” insisted that she deliver it and said the driver was new, that is why he did not know the routine! Only, the driver is supposed to deliver the crap where it will not run the risk of getting wet. Not run the risk of getting wet in a trolley outside?????

So, panicked, E. started to sort the wet papers. She had not dared to tell her “boss”” that it was all wet. I am sure some angry old lady or old gentleman will phone the boss and complain, since this is the elderly’s highlight of the week, looking for bargains, so it was bad that E. did not face up to the truth, right away like I told her to do. I guess she will just have to live with the consequences. No other way to learn here in life.

I turned on the water in the shower and called out to E., “did they walk out with the bus card?”. She answers me that no, she still had the bus card. So naked I run out and phone “Cookie” and ask her if she has some sort of card with her? And she starts her usual whining monologue. No, she did not. And I could do nothing about it. I just had to say a prayer that they would be let on the bus anyway, since I had to get ready and head off for town and BUP. (Child and Youth Psychiatry) I was to meet “Kitty’s” new counselor since his “old” one is on maternity leave.  A meeting which was planned two months ago, so it could not be changed. There was  not way to get “Gubby” ready to go to pre-school, so he had to take an extra day off and stay home with D. and E.

I got to BUP and paid for 70 minutes, just to make sure. But when I got inside, there was noone to be seen. Noone in the reception, noone came and asked for me. I stood there till 10:08, before I got hold of someone and told them that I had been there on time but now it looked like I was 8 minutes late. Thanks to this lateness, I sat on needles, since my parking went out 11:11. I am getting so sick and tired of this. Not being told how long meetings will be, them not keeping the times and me running the risk of a parking ticket. At some parking places in town, they have started with something called Parkster. You download an app for your iPhone and when you arrive and park your car, you start the app. When you are done and ready to go home, you stop it and you only pay for the time you have parked. Suits me great! But oh so few parking places use this system! Why the hospital and BUP don’t, is beyond me, since those are places that need this system. Thanks to the doctors letting you sit there and wait for them, way past the time of your appointment and then you never ever knowing how long things will take. It is impossible to pay the correct amount of for parking!!! It really is bad and it’s made me wonder if the health care system has a deal with the parking company, so the latter will earn a lot of money giving the patients tickets for being parked illegally. Then they share the profit or what?

We sat down to a 1 1/2 hour discussion. Mind you, I had only paid for an hour! M. had unfortunately not really read his records, so I first had to start with a summary. The reason why I once again is in heavy contact with BUP concerning “Kitty” is the fact that we contemplate medicating him. I have written a post about it but it is not published since it is not very pleasant and I am not sure how it would be accepted out there. So I am sitting on it, not knowing what to do and the same goes for the decision, whether to succumb or not.

When I went in to talk to her, I had a couple of issues I wanted to bring up. First of all the fact, that even if he gets medicated, I still can’t have “Cookie” bully him and press on all the buttons she can, to make him blow up. I already asked BUP to sit down and have an information meeting with his siblings, about what it means to have ADHD, what behaviour is connected with it and so forth. What not to do and what to do. That was a year ago and  so far nothing has happened, but things have got worse. “Cookie” calls him ADHD-kid and DAMP-kid, even though he does not have the latter, and refuses to listen to me when I say that this is not tolerable, that what he has is a handicap and that one does not “kick on” handicapped people. That one tries to help them and not tear them down. It has become more and more obvious during  this year that her teenage rebellion makes it impossible for me to “reach her”. I am just her stupid mum, the always nagging mother who one must not listen to. So, once again, I have asked for them to sit down with both her and D. and E., since it can not hurt for them eithere to see that this is serious. It’s not just their brother being annoying and that some of their behaviour, brings out the worse in him, which is totally unnecessary. My view is that if the three of them get to go to this official building for children with neurological handicaps, sit down in an office and talk to a counselor who is trained and an expert, they will finally understand that this is not something I have come up with to make their life complicated. It seems like this is the only way to make them understand and to perhaps finally start to listen. It also seemed like she understood that I really need help with this. It’s not enough that I sit and read all the books, when noone else in the family does and I am not up to educating people who are not interested. Or who are in an ego-centric phase in their lives, themselves.

I also had to bring up the school situation. How his teacher has not really been up to making a whole lot of adjustments for him. How the school psychologist takes the school’s view on things, instead of being “Kitty’s” and my ally. How she seems to be stuck in old views and against the help tools that are available out there. And how the special ed teacher is not up to speed either, even if she has an interest in learning more and is starting to read more about explosive children. She was at the meeting where the teacher told me that “he needs to learn strategies. He needs to stop throwing himself on the floor when he gets excited and walk out in anger when things don’t suit him or tell us ‘I can’t do this because I have ADHD” and she agreed with the teacher, believe it or not. A child of ten years can’t learn strategies, like how to feel excited about boring school work, how to finish school work. It is all up to the school to adjust things so he can get everything done. I brought up the example that when he is bored or feel overwhelmed, then he goes to the loo and stays there for 20 minutes! Or he arrives at the school but doesn’t go to the classroom at 8:30 with the others. He walks in at 9:00. And the teacher has reproached me for this, like I can use my “Inspector Gadget”  arms from our village, to escort him up to his classroom, in town, about 15 kilometers away!

At a meeting at BUP last year, the headmaster declared that he is against an assistant but an assistant would have done what “Boo’s” assistant does. He/she would have been able to fetch him up to the classroom at 8:31, if he was not there. And he would have been able to see, when “Kitty” can’t handle things anymore and need a short break. Also, he would have been able to intercept him on the way to the loo and could have talked him out of leaving, out of being angry and so on. Now, the school has built its own problems and they need to sort them and sort them soon. Because “Kitty” now has some not acceptable habits going. Like refusing to do things because he has ADHD. Walking off when it pleases him.

His self-image is not a good one. I heard how his teacher tore in to him because in the end, I truly believe that she could not stand him. She was fed up and just could not keep back her vexation. And then she reported to me that he was aggressive towards her! Telling her to go away when she sat down by his side to help him. But who wants help from someone who always cracks down on you and make you feel bad about yourself? We talked a lot about, how the school needs to educate themselves. The headmaster promised that they would hire in help and have an education day for the personnel, but that never came about. It has to now! Or I was advised to report the school to higher authorities. That the law says that schools have to create a learning environment that suits the handicapped child. Adjust the school plan for the child. The special ed teacher told me that he can’t do less than the others, that if they get a sheet of 30 sums to do in math, he HAS to do all of them, just like all the others. BUP says no. You can’t make a child with ADHD sit and do 30 sums or the child will flip out. And that is what “Kitty” does when he first sees the paper. Then he will hide it. Loose it. Whine and complain and it all creates a hell for me at home. In some cases I have just counted out the sums, because I just could not fight him anymore. I can only take so much.

So, her plan is to call the school psychologist, headmaster, special ed teacher and the new teacher to a meeting. I know one thing that I will bring up already. Yesterday, I saw his schedule for this year and on Tuesdays, he doesn’t even have a single break between 12:00 and 15:00. How can they make a schedule like that? He is supposed to sit and keep his attention for three hours straight when he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Someone at that school needs a brain exam! This after the counselor drew up on a white board that he will hear what they are supposed to do, then the teacher has to explain to him, then the teacher needs to make sure he starts and then the teacher has to check up on him with intervals, to make sure he is making progress with the task. After about 20 minutes, he is going to need a break. And then someone needs to jump-start him again and so forth. I don’t think anyone at that school understands how much work this is and that an assistant would be the perfect solution, since I am not sure a teacher has the time to do this, when she has a bunch of other students who need her help too. The psychologist also needs to be told that she and the special ed teacher are supposed to be the ones educating the rest of the personnel in how to deal with ADHD. And one thing for her to learn, is to not fight tools like the time log, which he needs, to see that the time is ticking away and that everything has a time limit.

We also talked about medicine and why I am considering medicating him. She was surprised he had never been medicated before. I told her, that I am not doing this for school, but to get some peace at home. That his aggressive behaviour is becoming too much. And I told her about the walking to the bus situation and “Cookie” phoning home, every day almost, at times, saying that she refuses to take him anymore. I said that my plan is to see if he can not take the bus himself, when he is ready in the morning and then after school, since his schedule no longer follows “Boo’s”. Some days he ends later than “Boo”, since he is now in middle school. The counselor said that he has to be trained. He has gone on the bus for four years now, so I am not sure that he does not know where to go and what to do. I think he would grow with the task, like he has done when it comes to posting letters for me and going to the library on his own. He can do those things. I must let go of him, little by little, otherwise he will never learn, will he? The goal is for him to be able to look after himself in the end. I believe that he can go on the bus himself if noone picks a fight with him. And IF he is medicated and IF the medicine works, he should be able to not explode and get aggressive. The counselor means that someone has to go with him and tell him what to do, in case he has not paid attention before. I have to see how we can do this. “Cookie” ought to be able to take a step back and observe him and report back to me. After all, she does turn 14 years old at the end of the year!!!

When I got out of the meeting, I had such a bad migraine that I thought I was going to be sick outside her office. I managed to get home and take medicine, but soon I had to be off and fetch the children. I had to bring unemployed D. with me to babysit “Gubby”, “Boo”, “Kitty” and “Cookie” at BUS. The children’s part of the hospital, where I also had an appointment first day of school. Fetching them was not easy. “Boo’s” assistant came out happy and told me that he had behaved sooooo well. He had been happy all day except when he had fallen off a swing and had scratched his stomach. So another “wound” added to the finger that he cut badly Sunday. We had the missionaries here and when they were leaving and we, as hosts walked them to the door, “Boo” played with a metal measuring tape behind our backs and cut himself badly. While me and the assistant talked, “Boo” realized he was wearing his indoor shoes and needed to get his outdoor shoes. I didn’t see him taking off but D. did and he said that “Boo” just fell over, tripped on himself, and he stood up and just screamed afterwards. I had to jump out of the car and we brought him inside but their first aid kit was lacking everything essential. We couldn’t clean his new “wounds” properly. His assistant had to take recycled loo paper, which is not clean paper, and put hand disinfectant on it, and then I had to try to clean this big bleeding scrape right by his eye, the one on his forehead and both his bleeding knees.

And “Kitty’s” so-called best friend had to walk by laughing at him. So “Boo” screamed excessively since that boy is so mean and I had to try to comfort him together with his assistant saying that this boy is just meaner than mean. I wish he had stayed at S:t Helena for good. An excellent place for mean people. Did Napoleon a lot of good!

We still managed to get to the hospital on time and all the way in, poor “Gubby” was petrified that someone was going to put a needle in his arm. I had to assure him over and over again that noone was going to get a shot or have a needle put in to their arm. But it got worse when he saw the doctor I had come to see. A dietician, who was completely dressed in white! Strange place, they are at. Down in the underground so to speak. Everyone in Sweden and Denmark, who watched the TV-series “Riket” imageabout the hospital in Copenhagen, will cross themselves down there! Creepy series, where ghosts hung out down in  the underground tunnels, that transport dirty linen etc. under the hospital, from one part to another. And this is where the dietitians have  their offices! As if that was not scary, I turned around and there stood a ghoul! E. had put make up on her sister for the first school day, which “Cookie” did not show me when  she zoomed by me in the morning. Now I stared at something from a Tim Burton film and I instructed her that she can forget about wearing make up till she is 16 and starts gymnasium.

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(Oh, Ernst-Hugo! You were the best! Why did you have to die? Just had to put in his photo here. He played the frustrated Swedish doctor, Stig Helmer, who did not appreciate his Danish colleagues in “Riket”! :))

While “Kitty” and I sat down with the dietician, D. had to entertain the others. Teenage boys! E. had sent her school  lap top with him and told him that he should show them a film. Instead he sat and drew  silly things for her! And made his siblings watch! They were not amused! Why were we there? Well, “Kitty” is a very finicky eater. We can’t ever try anything new and all meals have to be child safe! Which means a very limited menu, which drives me crazy, since I can hardly eat any of it. My gall system would go on strike. He will not eat creamy, smeary things. So no butter on toast, since it melts! No soft cheese. No yoghurt. No “”filmjölk”, a thick youghurt-like milk that has a sour taste to it, depending on the fat content of course. When we serve fish and potatoes, he will not have sour cream with it, but eat it dry. No sauces. No soups. No pies. If he could, he would live off sandwiches and milk!

But to my amazement, he weighs average and is of average height! Even though you can see his ribs and joints sticking out all over. BUT if we put him on ADHD medication, this will change. The appetite goes. After all, American soldiers were given amphetamine in Vietnam to not get hungry, since food supplies were not reliable. And photo models use ADHD medication to stay slim.  On medication, you don’t have any appetite and will at the most eat half a portion of what you ate before. The child has to be closely monitored, so the weight loss don’t become dangerous and the growth stops height wise. 9 out of 10 children have to get a supplement drink prescribed for them, a drink that contains the calories they do not get in to them via the food.

I also brought up the topic of gluten and milk, which some people say causes Autism and ADHD, and that one should cut them out from one’s diet. He told me  to stay away from those ideas, since there is no scientific proof that they are damaging at all and that you can cure Autism and ADHD by excluding them. He said that every time you exclude something from your diet, you run the risk of cutting out things that you need, which are vital for your body. Especially for children, this is a dangerous thing. The only thing he could say about the people who go for those fad-diets, which exclude gluten, milk and other things, is that they are people who are very emotional and desperately are looking for cures. That they are becoming way too militant and that society is starting to get very warped when it comes to the view on these matters. He did not recommend it for kids like “Kitty”. Kids who are finicky eaters before they go on medication, will be even more so on the medication and are the ones who lose the most weight. Not the time to experiment in other words.

I told him how I had felt upset about it all and guilty that I am not willing to try to cut out gluten. But he agreed with me, it becomes a full-time occupation and that it is just a hobby for the rich. So I guess in that respect, I felt better going out of there. Having someone confirm my suspicions. But he told “Kitty” that he must give food a chance, that he must learn to try new things and try them more than once. That things might grow on him. “Kitty” promised but a promise from a child with ADHD means zero, so…

When I got home last night, I was just terrible exhausted. It had been such a long day. Being woken so early, having to be so focused on everything concerning “Kitty, making sure I forgot nothing, my thoughts moving at a very fast speed during and after the meetings, and still feeling completely undecided about medication or not. It all wore me out. I went to bed as early as I could, but was exhausted this morning when I was woken by the alarm. I had had terrible nightmares, one after the next, about ISIS. And lo and behold, on the day when they needed to be up at 6:30, all the children were dead to the world. I was able to get “Boo” up no problem but “Cookie” didn’t stir a fin until I ordered her to get out of bed. Then I had told her to get up at 6:30, her alarm had been heard by half the village at 6:45 and at 7:00 I had  lost my patience. And of course I had to go upstairs and try to re-vive “Kitty” from the dead. When I finally had contact with him, he did not know which planet he was on. I just gave up a big sigh. This is my next ten months! Sometimes I don’t feel cut-out to be a mother!

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“Suffer the little children”? No, but the adults!

imageSome people read an article in the newspaper about someone rich, buying themselves a baby, and will vent their anger at this fact, in a blog. Others will use it for a topic over the lunch table, at work. But Donna Leon wrote a book about it, and to tell the truth, it failed to be interesting after half the book, since how many celebrities don’t do this over and over again, and noone raises an eyebrow anymore. How do people think that Marie Osmond, Madonna, Angelina Jolie etc., etc.. got hold of their children? They bought them. It’s a Hollywood disease and as long as there are women who can’t afford to keep their babies and there are women out there willing to pay, the trade will go on. Does it make an interesting mystery novel though? Hardly!

This book is Donna Leon’s 16th book, in the series set in Venice, featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, his wife Paola and children Chiara and Raffaele, who never seem to reach adulthood, to keep the family cozy. Add to the family, Brunetti’s right hand, lieutenant Lorenzo Vianello, their Sicilian, work-shy boss Vice-Questore Patta, who is an outright fool, and his right hand, also from the south, lieutenant Scarpa, and you basically have the characters that keep on coming back, book after book. In one way, I guess it is re-assuring to be so familiar with the characters, but the characters tend to become a point of irritation eventually, when the story lines have nothing to deliver except boredom.

Her 15th book was so lousy that I was assured that her 16th would be close to a master piece. After all, how can one write two bad books in a row? It all started out pretty exciting. A woman sits in Brunetti’s office, telling him about strange goings on, in the flat opposite hers. A pregnant foreigner who never cooked any food, who did not go out and certainly did not go to the hospital to give birth to her baby. Even more strange: She disappeared the next day. Not only was the woman strange, but also the three men who sat in her kitchen at times, not eating but just talking. All through the book I sat wondering where this story was going to re-appear. But as many times before, I wonder if Donna Leon proof reads her books? She must have forgot to mention the outcome of this particular story.

Next chapter, a loving father says goodnight to his 18 month old son Alfredo. I guess Mrs. Leon has no children herself,  because Alfredo has never uttered any words, until now, when he says “papa””. Sorry, Mrs. Leon but as a pediatrician, Dottor Pedrolli would have taken his son to a psychologist and asked him if Alfredo is autistic, since he had not talked before then. My autistic son said mamma and pappa much earlier than 18 months! Actually right on time!  Alfredo does at 18 months not have any teeth either, according to Mrs. Leon. Right! All my children received their first teeth when they were 4 months old, except “Boo” who had his first, when he was 11 months old. When a child is 18 months old it is supposed to have been on solids for almost a year, so she needs to go back on her research and learn more about children, before she writes about them again.

After forced celibacy for 18 months, Dottor Pedrolli gets lucky that night, but he does not get to sleep afterwards, for very long, before three armed men stand in his bedroom with machine guns. They take the baby, after having hit the naked Pedrolli over the head with the butt of a machine gun. When they leave, Bianca the wife, notices that the men are indeed Carabinieri. Military police vs. the regular civilian police, which Brunetti belongs to.

Brunetti is called in at this moment, in the middle of the night, because a man has been attacked. But what he meets at the hospital is confusion. A young captain of the Carabinieri, is overseeing one of his men getting attended to. Dottor Pedrolli jumped that man in the flat, in a naked state, and hit his nose. Brunetti spends frustrating hours trying to figure out what on earth has been going on. The Captain, Marvilli, states that he and four Carabinieri assigned to him from Verona, had orders to fetch Pedrolli’s son, since he was adopted illegally and that similar arrests or raids were made all over Italy during that same night. Same charges.

According to Marvilli, it all started with a Polish woman giving birth in Vicenza and a couple from Milano walking out of the hospital, with her baby. The husband claiming on the birth certificate, of being the father. But he had been in England at the time of conception and had never been to Poland. The mother having arrived to Italy, being three months pregnant, it was obvious she was lying. She had also told women in the maternity ward that she wanted to keep her Polish boyfriend happy and bring back lots of money for him.

After this exciting start, I certainly thought it would keep this speed but then it just dropped off and got worse and worse. Another story started! Vianello and Vice-Questore Patta’s secretary are running their own investigation in to a strange phenomena in Venice. Pharmacists who has got in to the practice of setting up appointments for their clients, with doctors. Nothing wrong in this of course. Except that especially one old pharmacist, is setting up appointments for phantom clients of his, some even dead ones. And the doctors, pretending to give these patients care, claiming money from the state, for having treated them. Giving part of the income, to the pharmacist. In one book, Leon gets to protest against two practices! But is it really interesting?

Then we get thrown back in to the baby business, when said secretary of Patta, by the name of Elettra, tells Brunetti that she has booked time for them at an infertility clinic in Verona. As Mr. Brunini and young mistress. She gets fake records of their infertility and they head to the clinic, only to be told that they can’t have a baby naturally and they can’t adopt, because she is just his mistress and he is not divorced yet. All part of the made up story. They expect to be offered to buy a baby, but no such offer is made. So flat fall.

Brunetti basically drops the case, since Dottor Pedrolli bought Alfredo off an Albanian woman. According to the town gossip which Paola gives Brunetti, Dottor Pedrolli, went to a conference and had a one night stand with the woman, found out she got pregnant and did the honourable thing and brought the son home. People were not sure that Bianca, his wife, really forgave him though since she treated the baby with coldness. Brunetti of course finds out that the Albanian woman’s husband was the father and that he bought himself a new car and did a deposit on a flat, only two days after the baby was born. Case closed.

By this time, you have reached page 184 and  you start looking at how  many dreadful pages are left of the book. About 150 more! :( I resorted to reading the end, to see if I could just skip those pages and be done with it. Unfortunately I could not make any sense out of the end, so I was forced to continue. Making a mental note that it was VERY stupid of me, to have bought the next three in the series and that I must not under any circumstances purchase her four latest. No way, enough is enough.)

The story goes back to Vianello’s case, when a pharmacist by the name of Franchi, gets broken in to. First they think that he does the fake appointment things as well, but it turns out that this man is Venice’s conscience. He reads his clients medical records, by hacking in to the hospital records, and later on in the book, we get to know what he does with that knowledge. One man, who was engaged to be married, was told by his mother, that his fiancée had a mental illness that could be passed down to his children. The mother having been told this by the pharmacist. Naturally the man reacted by dumping his fiancée and getting engaged to a healthy girl instead, whom he got pregnant before the wedding. And this is how Franchi works, he informs someone who “should know” about the patient’s disease. Him not seeing any problem with this at all, but that he is doing the right thing since the patient will not.

Brunetti, wanting closure to his case somehow, has by now heard more gossip, that Pedrolli, looked at the son as his, but his wife did not. And that while he before the baby, adored his wife, his feelings had totally transferred to the baby, after his arrival in their home. Brunetti wants to know who phoned the Carabinieri and told them about the baby purchase, so he decides to go to Bianca’s father. Her father is a feared politician by the name of Marcolini, who is the founder of Lega Doge, a fascist party. Northern Italy’s fascist party Lega Nord becomes Lega Doge in Leon’s book. No wonder they do not getimage translated in to Italian, or she would get in to real trouble with this book. But they are no doubt, who she is talking about. And why she drags them in to the book as well, on top of adoption and health care fraud…? It is a little bit far fetched and gives the feeling that she had painted herself in to a corner and this was the only way to get out, to finish the book for her publisher. So, Brunetti heads for the Lega Doge headquarters in Venice, where he sees posters with the above greeting by Lega Nord, among other things. Leon informs her readers that they are a separatist party who resents social change in Italy and as all fascists dislike foreigners, the Left and women.

Marcolini is happy to speak to Brunetti about the awful child that did not look Italian at all and how Pedrolli paid €10 000 for him. A colleague of Pedrolli’s, whom he had gone to school with, had phoned him and told him he had a patient pregnant with an unwanted baby. Pedrolli went down to Cosenza and made the deal there. Problem being that his wife Bianca did not want the baby at all and saw him as a chore and Marcolini did not want this child for a grand-son nor for him to inherit all the money that Marcolini had earned on his plumbing business. Bianca asked her father to make a phone call to the Carabinieri and tell them that her husband bought the baby.

When Brunetti comes back to the Questura, he finds out that the fertility clinic has contacted Elettra about a possible baby adoption, but Brunetti decides to drop it unless the Carabinieri are interested and they are not? Leon doesn’t say. So what was the entire book about then? Pointless! She could have made a big thing of the entire adoption thing, but she just wasted my time and paper instead. Pedrolli finally sits in the arrest one day, after he attacks the pharmacist Franchi with acid, having suspected him of being the one who made the phone call to the Carabinieri. He stops talking to Brunetti when he finds out that his wife asked her dad to make the call. That is how the stupid book ends. There was no case in the first place! Only Leon trying to make a point that adopted children should get to stay with their new parents, no matter how they came to them in the first place, and not be put in orphanages.

Usually the topic of these sort of adoptions have me livid. Because adoption, really has become a hobby of the rich and famous, hasn’t it. The people who truly love children and would make wonderful parents, but who lack the funds, are always the ones who end up childless. Because to adopt, you have to have a lot of money, while it does not cost a thing, to make them yourself.

If someone put me on the spot and asked me “is there anyone you hate?”,  I would say “people like Angelina Jolie, Marie Osmond, Madonna, Carola Häggkvist…”, all the ones who use their money and by-pass all the queues that ordinary people have to stand in, to adopt a child. My anger over what they do, first of all pertains to the fact, that I have met several couples who have never got to the top of the waiting list. Who have to forego the experience of being a parent all together. In Marie Osmond’s biography, she states how she could decide she wanted to adopt one day and the next she had a new baby! My second issue with it all, is the fact that one law pertain to the famous and another to the rest of us mortals. Why did Angelina Jolie get to adopt three kids when she could have her own biologically? And where was the social service check up? Is she supposed to be a wonderful mother when she has several nannies for each child and no time to raise her children, herself? Thirdly, I oppose to the unfairness of all adoptions. That money talks, that age, civil status etc. does not pertain to celebrities.

DSC00072I lost my baby Serena Rose, when she was 17 weeks. Her heart stopped beating and today I know it was because my metabolism doesn’t work and it meant that she had nothing to sustain her life. Her host was a bad one! But since then I have spent a fortune on ovulation tests and I have spent hours and hours crying for the daughter that God will not give me. I started looking in to adoption, already after the tsunami hit Thailand. What did the authorities in Thailand say, after it was clear that lots of babies and children had lost their parents and extended families? Only infertile couples without children were allowed to adopt! They felt that it was better for the children to sit in orphanages than ending up in a family with lots of siblings. But it is all about money isn’t it?! What says that an orphaned child would be so much better off in a family without kids, but with two incomes? Doesn’t love count for anything?

When I lost Serena, and even more so, in April last year, when I had another miscarriage, but that time in week 10, I really started looking at what options we have. To adopt from India, the husband’s age together with the wife’s, is not allowed to exceed 90 years. If they do, no adoption. This from a country where the women have an abortion after their 12 week ultra sound, if it is a girl growing in their wombs. This from a country where the parents feed their newborn baby girls unpeeled rice, so they will die of suffocation. I would have been delighted to have brought home a little baby girl from India and we would have given her all the love we could.

Then I looked at China, a country which does not want their girls either. The family has to have $10 000 per year/family member, for your to get to adopt. The intended adopted child also being counted in to this equation. T. would have to earn $90,000 a year, for us to adopt from China. And of course it cost $25, 000 dollars to adopt both from there and from South Africa. These are countries who want to get rid of babies, get rid of surplus population, but “only the rich apply, please”.

My last effort of research, went to India again. They have Indian women act as surrogate mothers. You have to give them $20,000 dollars for it whether they miscarry or not. But this is not all. You have to go to a fertility clinic in your own country and fix ova and sperms of course, which of course is not counted in to that cost. Then you have to come to India with it all and you also have to be there for the birth. None of these travelling costs, are calculated  in to the above dollars either. In other words, I do not have the money for any of it. I did contact them but when I found out the price, I had to tell them that no fertility clinic  would even go close to me when they found out I have  Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s. Nor would they take me on as a patient because of my age! It is a bitter pill to swallow!

I guess, with my own problems, I should have been drawn to this book like a magnet, but it did nothing to me. It stirred  no emotions, it did not engage me what so ever. It was written without passion  and then it can not raise any either.

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Donna Leon at her worse! Or am I just getting tired of her writing?

imageThrough a Glass Darkly is Donna Leon’s 15th book about Commissario Guido Brunetti in Venice. I have this thing about reading books in order, so I have had to force myself through this book, even though it is very, very boring.

126 pages goes by before a crime is committed and that is way too long. Most readers have quit by then. A crime  novel needs momentum and this doesn’t have that. Half way through the book I just wished it was over and then someone had just been murdered. The book does not pick up speed after that either though. Not that Brunetti novels ever do, but when the story has no intrigue to push it along,…

Summary:

Lieutenant Lorenzo Vianello, asks Brunetti, on the first day of spring, to go to the mainland, to help a friend of his. This friend, Marco, was arrested with others for violence at a demonstration. When the two arrive, Marco is about to be released without a charge. But coming out of the police station, they run in to Marco’s father-in-law, De Cal, who calls everyone a bastard and has a temper out of this world.

At a later date, Brunetti together with his wife Paola, runs in to Marco and his wife Assunta, at an exhibition and not long after that, Assunta seeks him out, asking him to do an inofficial investigation, of threats her father has made, against her husband. Her father having been totally against the marriage, saying that Marco only married her for her money, has now according to witnesses threatened to kill Marco.

Brunetti likes to escape his office, so he goes around, trying to talk to people who have heard the threats, but everyone tells him that the man was drunk and did not mean anything by it. During this investigation, which has not been approved by Patta, his suspicious boss, Brunetti has to talk to the night-watchman at De Cal’s glass factory. This is a man with a grudge. Two years earlier, his wife was pregnant. But it was against his convictions, for her to have proper anti natal care and he made her give birth to twins at home,even though doctors had told the couple that she needed a C-section. Child number one came out no problem, but the second one got caught and before they got the mother to the hospital and the baby delivered, the baby had suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. Tassini, the father, refused to accept that the fault was his and his wife’s, and claimed that his genes had been altered at work, because of pollution and/or chemical waste, and that this caused faulty genes in his daughter.

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On page 126, Bruntetti gets an early phone call. Tassini is dead, laying in front of one of the furnaces in De Cal’s glass factory on Murano. Cause of death, heart attack due to dehydration.  He had been laying in front of the hot furnace for hours. One would have thought that a murder investigation now takes place and the speed picks up, but it doesn’t. As a matter of fact we never find out what happened to Tassini because Vice-Questore Patta says there is no case, he died of a heart attack and that is it. Brunetti will not leave the fact that Tassini was on to something, which his wife said made him afraid for his life. She handed Brunetti some papers that he can not make any head or tales of.

Trying to blame his daughter’s retardation on someone else than himself, made Tassini dig in to the waste from two factories laying right beside each other. He was the night guard at both and his papers refer to laws on waste disposal, Dante’s inferno when he describes the colour of hell’s water and some coordinates, that leads Brunetti and his driver Foa, to a waste land between De Cal’s and Fasano’s factories. Fasano, being a man with political ambitions, a man who “pretends” being all environment conscious and who is also someone who wants to buy De Cal’s factory.

The waste land is a regular marsh, full of water, and when Brunetti gets Patta to test the water, it is proved that the factories, in order to save money, let their waste go out in to the lagoon instead of having a plumbing company come fetch it. De Cal admits to it all, while Fasano blames his father and grandfather, claiming he knew nothing. Brunetti knows that Fasano was more acquainted with Tassini than he admits, but Patta will not let Brunetti go down that road.

The book ends with Brunetti, during a casual conversation with his driver, finding out that Fasano was not out-of-town, when Tassini died, as he claimed. As a matter of fact he talked to him on the phone just shortly before Tassini died and Fasano was caught on the ferry, on his way to Murano, without a ticket that night. Once again trying to save some money. In other words, his alibi is gone and there is a connection between his political ambitions, Tassini’s findings about the waste and Tassini’s death. That is where the book ends! With a big question mark.

A very , very weak plot from Donna Leon and a total waste of a book!

 

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Birthday # 3: A “Frozen” one

So, it was time to put the party hats and frocks on again. This time, it was “Boo’s” turn to be celebrated. He has been counting the days, and weeks and months really. At the same time, I sort of wonder why, because it’s not like he plays with toys, has a long wish list for them and is anxiously awaiting to see what he will receive.

T. had to go off early in the morning as usual, so we couldn’t start celebrating till he got home from work of course. And “Boo” was too hyped up all day. When he is hyped up, he does not behave like his brother with ADHD. He gets irritated instead or should I say semi-aggressive? A behaviour which is difficult to put up with and it doesn’t really put you in a party mood. I had to remind myself all day that he was indeed excited, but did not know how to show it, and that he can’t help the way he is.

It made me think about the sad fact, that I never ever knew something was wrong, until three years ago. Up till the day he turned five, things were just fine. I gave birth to the smallest of my babies, through planned C-section, eight years ago. The baby they lifted out of me, was crying till he heard my voice, and then he calmed down and just looked at me with serious eyes. He was the cuddliest of babies and he got his nickname “Boo”, already the first day home, when he lay in my arms, looking up at the picture of the Temple, and after a minute or so, said “Boo”. Everyone was smitten with him in church, because he was such a cute baby. When he grew, we knew that HE was his own individual.

He did not follow the charts what so ever so we have this saying: “Boo” does things in his own time. And seriously, what is wrong with that, as long as things happen eventually? He did not start crawling when other babies do, he did not start sitting up when other babies do… He got his first tooth at eleven months. A friend gave us a walker so that he would get up from the floor and see what the rest of us was doing. But he was always happy and content. At 16 months he took his first steps. But he was never ever wild like “”Kitty” was. We could have him sit with a harness in his pram till he was 16 months old. Everyone was amazed at how he sat so nicely and did not try to get out. Which is why I seriously doubt that they can give him a diagnosis of ADHD in September! He is not wild in the sense that ADHD children are.

But when he became five years old, the troubles started at pre-school. He started to misbehave too much for comfort. He was not the only misbehaving boy, so he was not alone having to sit and be ashamed on the stairs. In my mind I always asked myself, why? The special ed teacher which started to come to the pre-school at that time, also alerted the personnel that his speech was so behind that they must make some sort of effort, to help him. He had been to a speech therapist already but I had not been given any practical help, apart from him asking us to teach “Boo” sign language. We tried but “Boo” refused to cooperate so, we just had to continue talking to him in the regular manner one does and hope that he would pick up the language eventually. During that final year at the pre-school, we went to the speech therapist every two months, so the pre-school could get tips on what to do with him, while we at home could not work on things the way a school does! He had to know that we accepted his form of speech whatever other people said.

Since he started zero-class, his problems have just amounted. The school ignored the warnings we gave it, and he has had problems in all areas. To be in the classroom, to listen, to concentrate, to participate, social contact has been disastrous, we have become hated by everyone. Because of him! And the testing started a year ago. The school psychologist did her tests and then referred him to BUP hoping they will find Autism or ADHD. We did not get called to BUP until January and then were told the testing would start in March. It started after school was out, 13th June! And we still don’t know what is going on. In posts to come, relating our holiday trip, I will go more in to his problems, but suffice to say, I feel very upset about it all taking such a long time. Not that it will change a thing. He will be the same boy the 11th September, as he is today, but we want answers. And we want to know what we can do, to stop some of the bad behaviour, if it is possible.

One of his problems is that he can’t play with other children. He does not function at all in a social situation. So he is confined to be with himself and his siblings. “Gubby” plays with toys as does “Kitty”, but “Boo” does not. When I had been with him to BUP one day, in June, we stopped by to get some miniature “Smurfs” for “”Cookie” and he started to show me everything he wanted for his Birthday. I stopped looking eventually since he showed me half the shop. BUT what made me very sad was that I had to tell him “But Boo, you don’t play with toys!”. Last year he wished for Lego Chima things, but he never played with them. He got thrilled opening them but the one who played with them was “Kitty”. I was just not going to do that mistake again. Everything I give him from now on, has to be practical things, physical things. And it is not easy to find things. T. and I spent a lot of time Saturday trying to find perfect things. A budget of 400:-/£35/€ 43,50 /$58 per child, does not help either. Things in Sweden cost a lot!

imageThis is what we were able to get actually, thanks to some fantastic sales at Danish BR (toy shop). Half of the money were spent on the kick bike, which had cost triple. Unfortunately, “Cookie” and “Kitty” became green of envy when they saw what “Boo” received, since they too want kick bikes, but they never wish for them when it is Birthday time, do they?? No, they give me long toy lists!

The rest of the money went to the pirate shield, that we bought together with a hook hand, at Legoland. The hook was his holiday souvenir, so now he can be a complete pirate next time he dresses up as that. E. gave him a pirate hat for Christmas two years ago, I bought a pirate outfit at H&M for “Kitty” four years ago, which he is has outgrown a long time ago, and “Boo” got a pirate sword two years ago, so the ensemble is finally complete! He has a printed sheriff’s T-shirt from Daniel’s time, so the sheriff’s hat on his wish list, was perfect. Only a rifle missing now. Christmas? Since I had 40:- left over and he loves “Monsters University”, I bought ‘Mike’ and ‘Sully’ at BR too. They  only cost £3.50/€4.35/$5.80 together so it was perfect and he was thrilled with them. Even if they might just sit on his bed. I know  someone who will play with them if he doesn’t!

So, when T. came home, the wait was almost over. He took them all swimming, minus E. and me, since we are afflicted with female issues this week. We had dinner when they got home and then delicious Princess cake, which we had the bakery in our village make, since “Boo” wanted a red one! Before we served the cake though, “Boo” ran out to the sitting room and lay down pretending to be asleep. We went out there and sang to him and he finally received the much awaited gifts! In the old days, when T. worked in town and had flex time, we always woke each child up on their Birthday morning, singing and giving the gifts. But since T. leaves at 06:00, we have had to change tradition the last 3 years. We no longer can start celebrating in the morning but everything have to wait till evening, unless the Birthday is on a Saturday or Sunday! Sad! But we can’t all get up at 05:30. It makes a too long day for some of us, since there is no going to sleep afterwards.

The children have spoken of and dreamed of watching a particular film and guess what, I secretly had purchased it. So everyone was over-excited when we turned it on. It was “Frozen”! And to be honest, now, afterwards, I do not understand what all the hullaballoo was about? It’s not THAT great! The songs were nothing to rave about. The story line was so boring in half the film, that I wondered if everyone who raved so much about it, had a screw loose. After finishing watching it, I guess I can see why some people thought it good.

For those of you with an Autistic child who is almost six years old and whose speech is not up to a six-year-old’s: He will not understand a thing! “Gubby” has watched the film two times now, and he cries when ‘Elsa’ leaves and does not understand why she is sad and can not stay with all the others. He does not want to see the film on his own since he finds it scary and very sad. I have to sit and explain what is happening the entire time, or rather explain their emotions and to tell the truth, I do not know if even “Kitty” and “Boo” understand. It is an awfully adult film!

image Princess sisters Elsa and Anna are happy children, but Elsa has a gift, everything she touches turns to ice or snow. One day while they are playing, wild Anna gets a little bit too wild and to stop her from getting hurt, Elsa knocks her over, with an “ice beam” to her head. Anna gets hurt, but their father, the King, in this Norwegian tale, takes her to trolls that not only save her life but takes away the memory of the accident. But life changes. To protect Princess Anna, the parents keep her away from her sister. And Princess Elsa is told to learn how to manage her curse. The truth is kept from Anna till the day they are both adults. And to make sure noone gets hurt or finds out that the heir to the throne has powers she ought not to have, the palace is locked and the staff kept to a minimum.

When the girls are still young, the parents leave on a journey and Disney chooses to show a storm, where in one moment the ship is there and the next it is not. I hate  these dying parts of Disney’s! Children don’t get it. Nor do they get the part where two children obviously grows up without any supervision at all. While others know how to behave, Princess Anna behaves like a clumsy monkey in a zoo, the day the palace gates are opened and her sister is to be crowned queen. Anna runs off like a hooligan and runs in to a 13th son of a far away King. They immediately fall in love and declare their engagement at the coronation ball. Elsa freaks out and her anger puts an entire ice age spell on the country. She storms off, to go live by herself and once up in the mountains, she creates an ice palace for herself. This is where my little son, cries and need serious comforting.

Anna leaves her fiancée Prince Hans in charge, while she goes after her sister, but knowing nothing of the mountains, she hires Kristoffer, a man who breaks ice and sells it, together with his reindeer Sven, to help her find Elsa. And usual Disney style, a snowman called Olof is thrown in for comic relief. Kristoffer tells Anna that one can’t get engaged to a person one has only known for a day, that you need time to fall in love and get to know a person. But Anna doesn’t believe him. Turns out, she should have. When she finds Elsa, her sister has no wishes to return to her kingdom. In the argument that ensues, Elsa once again sends out an ice beam against her sister and this time it hits the heart. She doesn’t realize it but Anna, going back down the mountain, soon realize that she will die. She has to be taken to the trolls again. Once with them, they assume that she and Kristoffer are a couple, something which has never occurred to themselves, as a possibility. But all adults of course have seen it coming along, the entire time. Deep sigh! Hollywood tralala! Anna is told that she can only be cured by an act of love, so Kristoffer takes her back to be kissed by her beloved fiancée Hans. But Hans is not the person she thought he was. He only came to the palace to make Anna fall in love with him, then he would kill Elsa and finally Anna, and be King himself. He refuses to kiss Anna and leaves her to die,while he goes to arrest Elsa. Once Elsa is captured and sentenced to death, it looks very  dark. But Elsa manages to escape and out in the harbour, it all reaches a climax when Prince  Hans tries to kill Elsa  with a sword and Anna throws herself in front  of Elsa, to save her. Anna freezes to ice, but only for a couple of seconds, since what she did was an act of love, and soon they live happily ever after. Elsa realizes that love can thaw the ice that she creates, so she melts all the ice. Anna realizes she loves Kristoffer. Prince Hans and others who tried to steal the kingdom, are sent packing. Honestly, I prefer the old Disney films to this.

If there is one thing children are not mature enough for, it is to understand grown ups’ emotions and this film was just too advanced. Controlling one’s gift or curse? Parents dying? Getting engaged in a day? Prince charming being a calculating villain? Maybe I am extra sensitive to what my children are not ready for, because many of them fall under the umbrella diagnosis autism spectra, but still? I see what my children prefer to watch over and over again and it is the less complicated stories. This film was basically made for a category of children who usually see themselves too old for Disney. Not being  cool to watch Disney, at a certain  age. So who is Disney’s target? Are they out of touch with reality? Or have they jumped on the same band wagon as all clothing companies, who have decided that childhood should be abandoned and children should become adults pre-maturely?

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