We made an exciting new discovery! On Sunday mornings in gymnasiums all over Norway, they have something called "åpen hall." They set up bikes, balls, inflatables, etc. and provide a space for kids to get together and play. There's no cost and there's one at the sports complex right across the street from where we live. We went for the first time yesterday...It was really big fun.
There was a concession counter there that sold vafler (waffles). These are a standard item at nearly any concession stand or snack bar in Norway. They're usually very inexpensive (especially by Norwegian standards), always heart-shaped, and always super delicious:
Here's an update about what's happening lately with each of us...
Thanks to a recent burst of productivity, Davin has made tremendous progress on his book about electronic literature.
I'm finally taking a Norwegian language class. I've been wanting to in the worst way, but we didn't know how to make it work with all the kids and with Davin's schedule. But now I've found one that meets on Sunday nights, so it's no problem for Davin to be home with Jonah, Oscar, and Sergio. And I just put Isidore in the sling and bring him to class with me.
Jonah is becoming really grown up and responsible. In fact, he occasionally gets himself to school in the morning. This still strikes me as possibly inappropriate for a kid his age (he has to take a city bus Downtown, then walk a couple blocks through the city to his school), but unless they live more than 4km from the school (in which case free transportation by taxi is provided), nearly all the kids, starting in First Grade, go to school on their own every day. I guess this is because Norwegian children are really encouraged to be independent, and parents here don't have the same fears that parents in the US have--violent crime is extremely rare in Bergen, and crimes against children are unheard of.
Oscar is finally speaking and understanding Norwegian. He had really struggled with it for a while, and cried sometimes at school because he felt lonely. It was heartbreaking. Now he's much happier and is making lots of friends. And he only cries now at school when he has a very strong reason. The other day, for example, the weather was spectacularly miserable--pouring rain AND snowing, and so windy that our sturdiest umbrella broke into a dozen pieces. I felt like I'd really accomplished something just by managing to walk Oscar (along with Sergio and Izzy) across the street to school in that mess. The weather had really scared Oscar and he was very relieved when we got inside the building: "At least they won't make us go out in this weather" (Norwegians are very committed to outdoor play, so normally he's expected to play outside at school no matter what the weather is like). I helped him out of his wet clothes and said goodbye to him, but before I got out the door he came running up to me in a panic, with tears in his eyes, saying, "Mom, they're trying to make me put my outside clothes back on now and gå på tur!" (that usually means go on a hike in the woods or up the mountain behind his school). Poor kid...I'd cry, too.
Sergio will go to preschool with Oscar for a month or two starting May 2. The classes are mixed age, so they'll get to be together. Sergio has dreamed of going to school all year. I finally started considering it when I realized that he needed more intensive exposure to Norwegian if he were going to learn it well before we leave this summer. But when I first inquired, there were no openings and a waiting list (this is common at Norwegian preschools). We just learned that Sergio got a place on Wednesday, so every day since then he's been asking me, "Is it May yet? How long until May?"
Izzy is nearly 8 weeks old now, and he gets bigger and cuter and happier every day...