Lieber Frühling, komm doch bald. A new Kaffeeklatsch thread for Spring - living in Austria and Germany

(358 Posts)
Ploom Tue 19-Mar-13 15:40:48

All welcome - whether you're living in Germany or Austria, have questions about life in those countries or just want to chat. smile

Previous thread here

admylin Thu 21-Mar-13 08:39:21

Morning. I've been up since 6.30am with a sore neck (pulled a muscle or something) and look like a zombie due to lack of sleep. Couldn't sleep much last night either.

Linzer there is hope for them sleeping in, I'm sure I read somewhere that teenagers really do need more sleep maybe to cope with the last growing spurts?

outnumbered good news on the summer holiday! Wish we could get something organised but still have to wait abit. How exciting about the house too, hope it works out.

Lentil clever ds! I once looked after a little boy in France and he had taught himself the whole alphabet by watching the French version of Countdown! His mum didn't even know he'd done it as she was always in the kitchen doing dinner when the show was on so you never really know what the little ones pick up just by observing the world around them!

We had quite a few cm of snow yesterday but the sun is out this morning so I'm hoping the drive will be clear before I have to get the car out of the garage.

Lentils that is clever smile My eldest knew all her letters from fridge magnets before she turned 2 (but she called them M-for-mummy or D-for-Daddy etc.) but for some reason she didn't get numbers nearly so soon - except the number 2 smile DS2 can count (things, not just by rote) but doesn't know any written letters or numbers, although he knows they are letters or numbers, he calls them all "Number 4" or "Number 9" etc. at random - when he's playing with foam letters in the bath he'll shout "Oh no, I dropped a number 4!" but there is no way of knowing if it was a 4, or a 5, or a W grin

Admylin hope your neck is better soon. Are you not always up at 6.30am though to wake the kids for school, or do they sort themselves out now? envy

Outnumbered good news on the holiday

I am having a bit of a rubbish day - DD was up and dressed by 6am and eager to get to school, odd girl, but DS2 was vomiting in the night and had woken DS1 too, so the boys and I had only just fallen back to sleep, and I found it really hard to wake up. She went happily off for the bus at 7am, and I took DS1 to Kiga but then DS2, who had seemed happy since waking, vomited everywhere, down himself, down the inside of my coat, the back of the car... while I was strapping him back into the car. Got us home and scratched the car really badly on the gate post pulling into the drive. Sometimes everything happens at once and you feel as if you just can't do this any more... I have no winter coat now until its washed and dried, and its snowing outside, but luckily DS2 has 2... Not sure what I'm going to do about the scratch...

admylin Thu 21-Mar-13 09:37:00

tumbles poor ds, hope you don't get the vomit bug too.

I also have a scratch on the car from the garage wall. I read that you can use a wax crayon in the same colour as the car to 'fill' the scratch then polish over it or buy coloured car wax to polish the car with. If I had a wax crayon in my car colour I would try it but it's a sort of greyish colour that isn't standard in a colouring box!

I usually get up at 6.30am yes but it's school holidays this week (and next ) so I could have been having a long sleep in! Stupid neck! No idea how I did it but it's agony dulled by ibuprofen and warm cherry stone cushion.

Ah - forgot you had mentioned holidays - ours are next week and the week after. Now you have my sympathy rather than envy for the 6.30am get up smile

DS2 was sick in my eye and hair (and all over us both) just after I put the laptop away - vomiting toddlers are so messy, at least bigger ones use a bowl/ the toilet! He is a bit more clingy than usual (wanting to be on my lap more) but seems totally happy, he is very wriggly, fidgety and chatty on my lap and is getting down lots too, he is only bothered about the sick 10 seconds before and then until he's cleaned up, then he's happy again. The only thing bothering him is being covered in it for a minute, and the fact I won't let him have milk, only water and dry toast, he keeps shouting "No sorry! Don't like it! Where's a milk?"

We actually have some car paint in the same colour as my car, as I scratched it on the other side before (also on the gate post) and decided not to pay the €300 excess to get it fixed - DH will paint the scratch to stop it rusting and I will just drive what looks like an old banger around even though the car is only 2 years old... It gets me down when things like that happen because they are so stupid and make me so angry with myself - nothing like scratching your car as you pull into your own driveway whilst covered in toddler vomit in a stinky car with the toddler moaning in the back that there is sick on his trousers...

I've had a sore throat forever too, made worse by teaching and chalk dust yesterday eve as well as obvious ongoing lack of sleep being worse last night due to vomit clean up - woe is me sad smile The laundry pile is also applying for recognition as a nation state in its own right, and the machine was already on before DS2 vomited on my coat so I've only just got that in...

LinzerTorte Thu 21-Mar-13 10:38:29

MrTumbles If it's any consolation, the back of our once lovely-and-shiny-and-new-looking (about two years ago) car is now covered in scratches and the odd dent - and I can't blame it on vomiting children, or anything/anyone except myself. You have my sympathy re the vomiting; I hate, hate, hate it with a passion - the fact that I'm emetophobic doesn't help, although I can just about cope if it's only the DC affected (not if DH catches it, though).

admylin Hope the neck is better soon; it sounds very painful. Yes, I haven't quite given up hope yet - I'm sure that things will change once they reach the teenage years and I'll wonder what I was complaining about! (Am not really complaining anyway, as they don't get up ridiculously early, i.e. before 6 am, and don't expect us to get up at the weekend with them either.)

Have just finished translating a letter for a neighbour; I seem to have done more unpaid than paid work this week (also translated a few paragraphs for a nearby hotel earlier in the week). Ah well, good to keep my hand in - just a shame the last two potential (paid) jobs I had ended up being cancelled.

mrtumbles I did something similar last Saturday. I went into town with ds2 and he was being really loud in the back of the car, as I was trying to concentrate getting the car into a tight space. I ended up breaking my left wing mirror and am incredibly annoyed with myself! It has to be fixed, there is no way around it. Checked a couple of garages yesterday and all quotes come in at between 500-600€!

I hope your ds2 s better soon and doesn't pass on the vomiting to the rest of you!!

LinzerTorte Thu 21-Mar-13 11:49:31

I've done that too, outnumbered. grin

LentilAsAnything Thu 21-Mar-13 12:14:15

My anecdote was not about DS knowing his numbers, but telling me that the date was wrong, and how could he have possibly known??? smile
He is so funny, he loves spelling, well, thinking he can spell. If DH or I have a top with writing on, he spells out the letters, e.g. DH's Animal hoody and goes A N I M A L spells DADDY!!!! Or if a loaf of bread has HOVIS on it, he goes H O V I S! Spells BREAD!
He knows how to count to ten in Spanish from watching Dora. His current obsession is learning how to tell the time.

out, I shan't take it personally your don't like Frankfurt! It's not like we chose this as a dream destination, it's just where the work came up. Not been to Marburg, I shall discuss it with DH.
Great news about Swansea, and the property in your current hometown. Hope you get it.
Linzer, you are not very old, are you? I think those of you with slightly older children are probably not much older than me! I started late! Not sure how long we will be here, DH is having some stresses at work with managerial egos, the typical kind of thing we've probably all encountered. I feel he is being wasted there. Plus his hours are long, and I don't feel the work-life balance is great. I don't like to say too much in case anyone from his work is stalking me on here!<paranoid>

MrT, that is so funny about your DD being up and ready for school, bless her!!! So sorry to hear about poorly DS2 though, poor tyke. Hope your coat dries fast. Hm, I was just debating chucking my second winter coat in my minimalist quest, but perhaps I'd best keep hold of it for emergencies.
A car scratch is just a scratch, you are ok, sorry of that sounds dismissive, just trying to say it could be worse!

admylin Thu 21-Mar-13 12:50:15

Lentil it's good that you have an initial 2 year contract for the stay in Frankfurt so you can look forward to some other place if your dh isn't too keen on his job! My dh is having constant stress with the 2 bosses. Lately he's had to just keep his mouth shut and humour them but it's not good for the mind.

outnumbered that price is abit steep isn't it for a mirror? Dh broke ours but luckily it was just the outside casing so he glued it back together with super glue!

Linzer I remember your dc snitching on you about the back of your car! How did your dh take it in the end? Mine sometimes sighs abit about the fact that it'd now sell for even less because of this or that scratch but I remind him that we'll be driving this one for a long time and it'll not be worth much anyway by teh time we've finished with it!

I have just woken my teens up to tell them lunch will be ready in 15 minutes!

LinzerTorte Thu 21-Mar-13 13:27:28

shock at you just having woken your teens up, admylin! I remember DD1 once sleeping until 3pm on the first day of the holidays, but I still wonder whether she might have been ill...

DH usually sighs in an exaggerated kind of way when I reverse the car into something yet again, but he doesn't usually get too upset. I think the fact that we'll also be driving the car until it's on its last legs, or rather wheels, probably helps.

Lentil I wasn't being too serious about being old, although it's all relative, isn't it - at nearer to 40 than 50, I still feel relatively young but remember being horribly embarrassed by having parents in their mid-thirties when I was at primary school. Whereas most of my friends didn't start having children until they were in their mid-thirties and some were over 40... At any rate, after 15-odd years of never spending more than 2-3 years in one country, I just feel too lacking in adventure (rather than old!) to go through it all over again.

Must go and help DD1 revise for her biology test now. It seems like the English teacher giving classes the same test at different times wasn't a one-off, as one of the other 1. Klassen has already had their biology test - one of the girls in DD1's class has a cousin in the other class, who's shown her the test (apparently they won't need to label parts of the body but will need to know the different food groups). Of course, the teacher might be giving them different tests - but going by past experience, I wouldn't be surprised if they got the same one.

LentilAsAnything Thu 21-Mar-13 13:29:42

admylin, hope your neck is better soon. I've done something to my back, like a twinge at the bottom of one shoulderblade. It's been over a week, bearable, but there. Not sure what I've done. Slept funny, or too much iPad!

out, ouch at the quote for a wing mirror!!! That's outrageous!

LentilAsAnything Thu 21-Mar-13 13:35:18

Oops, I am not doing well on here today, didn't refresh page before my last reply!
admylin, they could still let him go, and he could still quit. It really is not good for the mind, there's unnecessary stress, and things could be so much easier. I had the same problem where I was before I left and had DS. People need to leave their egos elsewhere. Hope your husband is ok, it's a bad situation.

Teens do need extra sleep.

LT, yeah, I think after so long not feeling quite settled, we will want to put down some roots. But for now, the plan is still 18-30 months moving here and there, seeing the world.

lentil from your reply I gather that perhaps what I said about Frankfurt didn't come across as intended. You said previously that you have had enough of Frankfurt. And that's why I said - agreengly- that I don't like it much, and tried to point you in the direction of some nice places. I never meant to offend in any way.
We are also in a city we never thought we'd be living. It's not the prettiest of cities, but it's where dh' job was. And now it does feel like home.

Re my wing mirror - it's completely broken and needs to be entirely replaced. Maybe it's even more expensive because its all electric? I don't know...

LentilAsAnything Thu 21-Mar-13 16:57:06

Oh no it's fine! I didn't take it badly at all! smile Not in the least offended. Sorry if I gave that impression.

Ah yes, electrics will bump up the price, but still, yikes!!!

Linzer I just read my DD's message to your DD2 - crazy child has started with "I forgive you"... shock I am not quite sure what she was thinking, don't think she's quite grasped the social niceties ... Please ignore her loony ways! grin

I have a worry about DS1 that is very "Living overseas" specific, or more precisely bilingualism specific, might actually try to remember where the bilingualism board is and post there...

We speak English at home almost exclusively - if the DC have friends here they speak German to them, but I still speak English to my DC and expect them to reply in English - actually I insist they do. I speak German to their friends, and DH speaks German to the kids when they have friends here, but 95% of the time English otherwise, even if I am not in the room. They speak German all the rest of the time though, like a lot of, or maybe all, the kids over about 3 on this thread pretty much everyone they see day to day is/ speaks German.

The language switching has never been a problem at all for DD, but I can see that it is becoming one for DS1. His German is definitely becoming stronger than his English, where DD's English has so far kept pace (she loves words and asking about meanings of any and every word she doesn't understand when I read to her at night etc. but DS1 either just lets the words of a bedtime story wash over him without bothering about understanding as long as he gets the gist, or reverts back to choosing picture books)

Anyway, the thing is, DS1 has started to stammer sad sad Only in English. He is easily able to identify that he does it when he can't think of the English word - it happens mainly when he is re-telling an anecdote that "happened in German" - at dinner he was telling a story about wanting to close the window at Kindergarten, and he started to stammer because he had forgotten the English word "window" shock It doesn't seem to worry him atm but DD started to tease him and I nearly bit her head off blush

WWYD? I cannot stand the idea of my kids losing their English and only understanding it not speaking it - I know its what happens a lot in our type of situation but I just can't accept it, hate the idea, makes me want to pack them up and move back to the UK... Maybe its irrational but even thinking about it makes me want to scream. But I also can't give my 5 year old some horrible speech impediment because I insist on making him speak English when, I am loathe to see it but have to make myself see, he probably thinks in German sad

Do I have to let him speak German to me?? sad

LinzerTorte Fri 22-Mar-13 07:32:47

MrTumbles DD1 stammers a little occasionally when she's speaking in English, is in a rush to get her words out and can't think of the English word. Tbh I've never really seen it as too much of an issue as it's not a "normal" part of her (English) speech and she doesn't seem to worry about it - it mainly seems to happen when her brain is obviously way ahead of her mouth. She's almost always done it, but especially when her German started overtaking her English (towards the end of KiGa, IIRC) and it doesn't seem to be getting any worse so I haven't been overly concerned - I think I've just seen it as a (relative) lack of fluency in English (compared to German) rather than a speech impediment.

Do you think your DS would actually want to speak German to you? You said you insist they speak English to you - as I do with mine, I suppose, but "insisting" only really consists of a gentle reminder to DS occasionally when he forgets and I'm sure none of them would actually want to switch to speaking German to me. I do allow them to speak German to me when they have friends over; often, for example, one of the DC and their friend will come up and ask me something in German, and I'm pretty sure the DC speak to me in German then so that their friend doesn't feel excluded. As it only happens in those circumstances and they're happy speaking English to me the rest (95%) of the time, I don't have a problem with it and don't see it as a slippery slope.

There's an interesting article here, which says that you should "carefully determine the nature of disfluency to determine whether the child is stuttering or merely struggling with linguistic development in two languages" (which is what I'd assumed with DD2, as it only really happens in English).

Btw the start of your DD's message made me laugh. grin

admylin Fri 22-Mar-13 07:41:24

tumbles I think you do have to accept the situation to a certain extent!

You live in Germany and sound as if you're settled here so it's inevitable that your dc will/have become more German than English. It came as a shock to me too when dd stopped speaking English and she doesn't even have a German speaking parent or grandparents like your dc. She just refuses! Ds on the other hand can swap between languages with no problem at all.

But you're dc are still bilingual and understand everything in English so I wouldn't make too much of a big thing out of it and just carry on always speaking to them in English and making sure they have access to English TV or books.

Another bad night for sleep due to my neck so I have given in and have just taken some ofthe mega strong pain killers that the doctor gave me.

LinzerTorte Fri 22-Mar-13 08:39:03

admylin Do you just carry on speaking English to your DD and she replies in German? That happened in a family I was au pairing for - the mother spoke French to the children and they replied in English (they spoke German too), but she wasn't too bothered as she said that they would be able to switch back to active use later if they wanted to. I have a few friends here too whose children more or less refuse to speak English to them (some of them carry on speaking English, some have switched to German), but of course they still have a huge advantage over monolingual Austrians.

I think it's more or less inevitable that, if you've living as "locals" (i.e. not mixing solely with other expats and you don't send your children to an international school - in which case, the local language will end up weaker), your children will end up being stronger in the local language. The language that they're schooled in will obviously have a big influence; when I was helping DD1 to revise biology yesterday, I was trying to use the German words as much as possible as there's no point giving her extra English vocabulary to learn at the same time! She gets confused if I try to explain maths concepts to her in English (and I really struggle to do so in German), and generally says she'll wait until DH gets home.

admylin Fri 22-Mar-13 09:19:15

Linzer yes, she always asks things or answers me in German but I just carry on and speak English and she definately understands it as she only watches English fims or videos and even reads books for her age group in English now so I'm not worried.
As you say, there's no point doing maths and other school related homework in English as it just confuses her. Ds on the other hand, can do everything in both languages with no problems at all, even translation is easy for him.

A miracle has occurred - ds is up and has had breakfast!

itsMYNutella Fri 22-Mar-13 09:26:42

Good moment everyone!

outnumbered great news that you have found a holiday home. FX the business with the report gets sorted. The news about the house sounds interesting too. Hope you manage to get something sorted there.

admylin sorry to hear you have a sore neck that is stopping you from sleeping properly, that's not good! And you were right, the Dr was being nice and mrtumbles hit the nail on the head, I really wasn't in the mood for a chat. It is fortunately less than ten minutes walk to the Dr's but I had been sat in their hot waiting room for almost an hour feeling like death I just wanted to lie on the floor confused although yesterday I was much better and today I think I'm over it smile

Interesting discussion about the language problems. It must be quite a challenge to manage both languages as a parent but also for the kids to process everything they are learning in two languages... DS is very chatty and makes lots of (very cute) noises but I know real speaking is a long way off. Although I imagine until he starts school/kita/kiga English will be his stronger language will be English because he will spend a lot of time with me.

We went to the osteopath yesterday for our second appointment. It really does wear him out. But then he wanted to feed every two hours overnight confused so although I am over the tummy bug the cold is clinging on and making me snotty has been going for over 3 weeks now....

itsMYNutella Fri 22-Mar-13 09:33:39

Good moment? <face palm> bloomin iPad! Good morning!

Sod it maybe I should go back to bed?!

AntiqueMuppet Fri 22-Mar-13 12:39:49

Good moment, Nutella! Hope you feel better soon smile

MrTumbles Sorry to hear about your DS starting to stammer. Sorry I can't add anything useful to the discussion but I have my fingers crossed it resolves itself soon without any distress to your DS.

Thank you for the new thread, Ploom!

Sorry to hear you've hurt your neck, admylin. I hope the painkillers kick in quickly and that it gets better soon. Call the Midwife is brilliant! It is making me ridiculously broody though...

Linzer Was it the same test as the other class this time too? Hope your DD got the mark she wanted.

outnumbered Ouch at the mirror quote! I hope you find somewhere that will do it more cheaply for you.

Lentils I know a few people who don't really like Frankfurt, but I'm not sure what their reasons were. I liked the anecdote about your DS and the calendar - spooky!

Hello to anyone I've missed!

I barely get chance to get on the laptop to post at the moment (although I have been lurking on my phone) as DS' favourite activities this month are climbing furniture (which is now all screwed to the walls after he almost pulled an entire chest of drawers on top of himself - thank goodness I was standing close enough to dive across and stop it falling), wrapping things like cables around his neck, sucking on plugs and then trying to plug them in the sockets, eating the plants (well, trying to) and his new favourite - opening doors. Especially the cellar door. Where there is no stairgate. He is gorgeous and funny and brilliant but he's really, really making me wonder whether I really do want a second at the moment! Hopefully playgroup has knackered him out enough this morning that he will have a decent nap today. Needless to say I have failed miserably this week in giving up caffeine and chocolate. I have a caffeine IV in one arm and a chocolate IV in the other and am booked in to have a second set of eyes transplanted in the back of my head grin

LentilAsAnything Fri 22-Mar-13 15:12:06

MrT, sorry to hear about the stammer, I hope it is nothing serious or too stressful, and resolves easily.

Ant, climby monkeys are so much fun, aren't they! smile

Good moment, Nuts! smile

Sorry to hear your neck is still bad, admylin. Hope the drugs work.

I don't think there's anything really objectionable about Frankfurt (apart from all the dog poo, but I think this is a nationwide thing?) but for me, it's just not got that vibe. I guess enough people do like it here though. And there's the river, and rivers are always nice. Public transport is good, it's very easy to get around on the U. Decent green spaces. But I am happy wherever DH and DS are.

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