Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ps; ethics, anyone?

a pair of knitted children's trousers from the 17th century.

it is so mended and patched up there's hardly anything left of the original knitwork. it stands in painfully sharp contrast to our consumerist society. what became of our ethics?

warming up

ever wondered why there's so few photos of my son in here?
this is why:

he's big. he's nearly twelve. so he knows.
he knows that i can not put pictures of him on the internet without his consent. so of course he doesn't consent. just because he can.
fun age, i tell you.

then this little one is much easier..

the photos are from a day trip to a local iron age/middle age event this weekend. we had a ride with a replica viking boat (i forgot to photograph the boat, but you can see it here), and my girl got to try her skills at spinning with this lovely lady who could tell us a lot about the buildings and living in the 16th and 17th century.

don't you just love that? when they actually know what they're talking about?

this woman here is making glass beads. they were quite advanced craftsworkers back in the viking age. just look at this amazing piece.
and of course, there was fighting. i find that quite boring, to be honest. but to some, this is the highlight of all viking festivals. at least, they're funny, and not the macho kind you'd expect. there's women in there too.

'warmin up' refers to us going on a bigger trip this summer, to another viking festival, where hopefully, we'll be able to partcipate as 'vikings', and even selling stuff. we'll see. so far, i haven't even been able to buy the fabric i need.
here are some photos (on my old blog) from two markets we visited last summer, in denmark and one here in town.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


we've been enjoying the outdoors a lot more since spring arrived. the following pictures are from two different places where i live. norwegians spend a lot of their spare time outdoors, and there are nature walks everywhere. most of them quite rough and natural - quite different from these two, which are loaden with wooden figures, play stuff etc.
even though it gives us a slightly uncomfortable tourist-y feeling (my town is a popular place to visit, and one of these trails is a popular target, located 10 minutes from the centre of the city by funicular), i guess variation is a good thing.

now THAT'S a big nose... (notice the eye also)

this is 'huldra', one of the nature sprites in norwegian folklore. this particular hulder was adopted by our daughter as her 'second mummy' a couple of years ago, and if you look closely, you can see two white flowers at the feet left by her as an offering.

strange forest creatures

look closely at the trees at the other side of the bridge; they've got small faces attached to them.

i can't help it. this is my favourite... seems like someone removed the axe from his head, though.

a couple of weeks ago, spring almost turned into summer. yesterday we went back to the 'huldrepath' and enjoyed the sun, bringing jump ropes, badmington sets and bread for the birds.

hard to spot, but he's there - tiny yellow bird sitting on the stone.

cathing tadpoles

there were A LOT of them.
you know what they're called in norwegian? rumpetroll, which literally means butt trolls. yeah, i know! but there's a logic to it. in the old days, 'butt' meant 'tail' as well. so they're tail trolls. it's as silly as i find the english word for chickadees; tits.

this one's definately not silly; is there a better thing in the world than laying naked on a sheep skin and soaking sun?

not toy week

ok, just forget about the 'week' part of toy week. i seem to have some problems blogging these days. especially the photo part of it. don't know what that's about. but i WILL get back to it.
instead, i'd like to show some photos from a trip to the museum that i made nearly two months ago with my daughter. it was her first time to this particular museum, and she loved it. and why wouldn't she? just look at that whale up in the roof!

the shark is plastic, but the whale is real enough. or was, that is.

isn't that a beautiful way to display a bird? i mean - considering it being dead, and all...

whoa! aren't you getting just a bit too close?!?

that's my pretty town out there...

and this is the square in front of the museum. the lion square, she says, named after the lion resting in front of the statue.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

toy week 2

{a bird for grandma}

Might as well name the winner at the beginning of toy week; modelling clay. Nothing beats it. It was my son's preferred toy for years and years. (Now he's almost 12, and toys are kind of outdated). The great thing about modelling clay is that it can be just ANYTHING, and then you can do roleplays with it afterwards. Penguins are popular in this house - I think it has something to do with Daddy's being really good at making them :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

toy week

Ok, I know I’m way too late for this. I’ve been having some technical problems with my computer, I’ve been away for some time, and I’ve been generally busy.
I do have some strong opinions about toys, and since I’m not the preaching type, I never get to say them out loud. I can not miss this chance!
So. Here’s what I think about toys. It’s a whole lot. I apologize for that.

When we had our first baby, people gave us baby toys. Toys to shake, touch, look at, toss, taste, smell, etc. They were mostly made out of plastic, and there was nothing about them that I liked; their shape, colour, smell, the way they were produced or the material itself. But we didn’t buy any ourselves either. I firmly believed in the ‘take what you have’ attitude. And you know what? In spite of all the colourful plastic toys spread across the floor, this was both our kid’s first (and self chosen) real toys:

I still believe in the ‘take what you have’ attitude towards toys and play, even more so now that I have actually gotten to observe two kids play and grow. I believe that children approach life and knowledge about life, themselves and others, by encountering their surroundings. By being able to shake, touch, look at, toss, taste, smell, etc. what is in their immediate surroundings and daily life. And they do so by (among other things) playful imitation.

However, this doesn’t mean that our kid’s only toys are pots, pans and cardboard boxes (even though if I raised them alone, this wouldn’t be far from the truth. My husband thinks I’m severe), or that imitation of adult life is all there’s to it. Absolutely not! Even though, when compared to others, we have ‘nothing’, I personally think we have way too much. But mostly, I try to choose simple toys that can serve several purposes in playing, and toys that stimulate imagination. And I hardly ever buy anything.

Our preferences seem to be fairly well understood by our relatives, with occasional slips. The only ‘problem’ we encounter are birthday presents, but you know what? I remove toys. Either as an act of charity, sorting through stuff with my kids and giving away to others that have less, but mostly I remove them without their knowing. They have never missed any of it. I don’t know if it’s because of the way they’re raised regarding toys, or if it’s in their nature, but they’ve actually never paid much attention to their toys, except for one stuffed animal each.

Don’t get me wrong. I'm a pretty laid back person and I never, ever, preach. I simply do what I want, what seems sensible and what feels good or right. I don’t have any pedagogical/educational line that I follow, or strive for. I’m not offended by people making other choices than me, and I’m not smug about my own choices. But from observing my own two kids, I have experienced how they seem to prefer the simple and everyday objects that surround them, and how they get overwhelmed by having too much toys to choose from. More on that in a later post.

I’m not going to use this opportunity to display a whole lot of ‘correct toys’. Or actually, I will, occasionally. Toys that are either pedagogically (do you even use that word in English??) correct or aesthetically correct (if you know what I mean. There’s a bit of ‘incidently correct'-ness out there in blog world, I think). But I will also tell you if our kids play with them or not. I guess you could say that there are mom’s favourites, and there are the kid’s favourites.

To finish off this far too long post, I’ll give a couple examples on how kids often will walk away from the blinking shiny plastic and do stuff that surprises you. Here’s my daughter’s inventions of the week.

This cat has gotten a crown and dress made out of a small paper bag.
I remember a mother who was so embarrassed over h
er son, because he chose to bring a set of shoestrings for a ‘bring your favourite toy’-day at his school. I thought it was brilliant. A shoestring can be used for a lot of things, whereas a ‘hairdresser doll’ (or what to call those doll heads that you’re supposed to comb and groom), like the one my daughter recently got from a neighbourhood girl, can only be that – a hairdresser doll. It was thoroughly outclassed by the paper bag and a set of elastic bands made into a ‘drawer guitar’ in the kitchen.

it goes all the way down to the floor, so it's a little bit unpractical when looking for forks and towels, but hey - you can actually play on it!


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