Thursday, May 8, 2008

April Activities

Montgolfiades Internationales de Genève (montgolfière is a hot air balloon) was an early highlight in April. L was disappointed to find out that you have to be 6 years old to ride in the tethered (free) hot-air balloon, but he really seems to accept (for now) age restrictions. Two balloons departed from one of our regular park haunts. The area was not roped off at all so people could go right up and touch the basket, and "help" unravel the empty air balloon. As the fans began to inflate the balloon, dozens of kids (and a few adults) would run up to touch the growing balloon. As the balloon got bigger and bigger, it became more "scary" so the kids would run up for a touch but then immediately run back to the safety of their parents while screaming with glee. As the wind started to roll the balloon towards the crowd on our side of the balloon it wasn't only the kids who were screaming with glee as we all backed up, knowing the balloon couldn't possibly harm us, but nervous all the same. The balloons lifted off about the same time at half a dozen locations around Geneva and soon the sky was full of colourful balls.

The next day the boys and I went to the "Journée Caritas", a fundraiser for a charity organization, where there was a children's group entertaining. We squeezed into a big event tent and managed to find some bench space. The boys spent half an hour eating snacks and listening to the French children's entertainers who seemed to be emphasizing some environmental themes. The cool part is that they seem to know one of the songs from their playschool and they were singing it later on that day.

While the boys have been limited to only having pacifiers (sookies to honour L's Bluenose roots) while sleeping, they have now been completely eliminated. L and M both proudly mailed an envelope containing their sookies to "babies who need them". That night was not pleasant. M felt tricked. "I didn't want to give my sookie to the babies" he plaintively cried for days. After a couple of weeks (!), the bedtime routine is finally settling down, but it is still nowhere near as easy as it used to be.

The boys needed new shoes and the style L wanted were lace-ups. L had been a little obsessive-compulsive about having his Velcro straps "just so", so I thought we could give lace-ups a try. C has been the shoelace tying guru and L mastered the principles in no time. After only about a week of loose bows or prematurely running out of lace while pulling the bows tight, L can tie his own shoes.

M is quite a good imaginative player. He loves to "play toys" and his preference seems to be to role-play the bad guy. While playing cars remains his favourite, he is branching more and more into the action figures, particularly the knights and dragons he received from Santa. M turned 3 years old last week. We finally gave him his first (!) haircut. He has had old-man comb-over hair for months, but the hair at the back of his neck and at his forehead has STILL not started growing. Nonetheless the old man hair had to go.

Spring has sprung in Geneva and we have been working at doing some spring-cleaning in our apartment. We are helped by our brand new washing machine. After 3 years of lugging all our laundry 3 blocks to the laundromat we finally broke down and bought a machine for the apartment. In a fit of spring-cleaning for the body, I started doing the exercise DVD I bought 2 years ago that has just been gathering dust since then. I was pleasantly surprised that after not having done any real regular sports in about 7 years that I wasn't all that bad. Perhaps all that talk about playing with the kids keeping me fit isn't just talk after all!!! C on the other hand has been plagued with ankle problems. One Sunday morning he was in such pain that he went to the ER where he got a diagnosis of probable tendonitis. He does do an awful lot of walking, so he has been trying to keep it to a minimum while his ankle heals.

What says April like a nice family bout of the flu? First C, then L and M were brought down by our local, friendly influenza bug. Luckily, working at a big nasty public university, I was entitled to a flu shot in the fall and seem to have escaped unharmed. Of course, the flu then revolved into various colds, ear infections, bronchitis, and the fun just keeps on going. After a relatively healthy January – March, we are making up for lost time now.

Our other big news is the birth of a new nephew/cousin. That is about it for now. We are looking forward to C going to Amsterdam for a bachelor party at the end of May. The whole family will travel to and English countryside wedding the following week, with a stopover in Canterbury. The next week we will finally welcome our dear friend M-Truro to our humble abode. An invitation to visit us is of course permanently extended to all of you. June will be quite exciting, as the EuroFoot 2008 soccer tournament will be co-hosted in Geneva. Until next time…à bientôt.

Swiss Family T

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