Die Kaffeestube Teil 2 - virtual Kaffeeklatsch in Germany and Austria

(952 Posts)
cheaspicks Wed 22-Aug-12 09:57:01

Chat for those living in a German-speaking country, or anyone else who is interested.

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 10:35:54

Okay, hello everyone. I live in Hamburg grin

itsMYNutella Wed 22-Aug-12 10:49:03

Ooohhhh it's so big and roomy in here smile
I'm in Hannover world (hope you don't mind me shortening it) I think I'm the only non mother on the thread, I'm almost 22weeks pregnant with my first. Been in Germany for almost two years.

Thanks for the new thread cheas almost wrote silken duh! I better stop mums netting and shopping online... Going for a walk, see you in a bit! smile

AntiqueMuppet Wed 22-Aug-12 10:52:21

Afternoon all!

Thanks for the new thread, cheaspicks!

Hi worldcitizen. Have you been in Hamburg long? Hamburg is one of the cities here I haven't really visited yet but it's on my list.

Nutella Is there a Primark near you? There are a few branches dotted around Germany and I got a load of sleepsuits for DS there. I think I paid about €10 for a pack of three and they all had poppers all the way down the legs smile

admylin Glad you enjoyed your trip to Berlin. Have a nice time with your guests for Eid.

Englishwoman Have a lovely time in London.

Linzer Are you on holiday again? smile

Ploom Hope you had a nice afternoon with silken & Linzer

<waves to anyone I've missed>

We're off for DH's niece's Einschulung tomorrow. I've never been to one before so I'm quite looking forward to it. As far as I can tell there's something at the school, then a church service, then something (possibly a BBQ, fingers crossed) at BIL's afterwards.
The whole Einschulung thing seems a bit over the top but maybe I'll change my mind tomorrow smile

AntiqueMuppet Wed 22-Aug-12 10:52:55

Oh, it's me, gator, by the way. Changed my name a few days ago then never got around to posting!

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 10:56:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 11:00:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

itsMYNutella Wed 22-Aug-12 11:07:14

Nice to meet you world smile
I love Hamburg envy I find Hannover is a bit unexciting... And <whispers> ugly.... But I believe it rains even more in Hamburg than Hannover. I never lived in a particularly rainy place in England and when it rains for days on end I find it really hard....

muppet there is Germany's biggest primark in Hannover.... I'm not sure if anyone shops anywhere else now hmm... So far I've avoided going in there but I'm weakening for baby stuff... Although I haven't been able to find muslin cloths anywhere either.

awesomesauce Wed 22-Aug-12 11:09:11

Hi all

Just thought we'd pop in and introduce ourselves - we are a bilingual family (Canadian Mommy, German Daddy, 18 month old daughter & super gentle Hungarian doggie) living in Berlin...

We're located in the fabulously green (but unfortunately unfriendly) area of Köpenick =O)

If anyone's interested I've shared a few of my 'Life in Germany' experiences on my blog: http://awesomesauceasshattery.wordpress.com/category/life-in-germany/

Anyone else have any tales to tell about Leben in Deutschland?

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 11:15:22

Hello awesome. Looking forward to hearing about your tales of Köpenick grin

AliceAtTheMadHattersTeaparty Wed 22-Aug-12 12:31:40

The summer holiday

is going on forever

and dh is away again next week..

flops in a shady corner,,

Ploom Wed 22-Aug-12 13:32:20

Oh a new thread!! Like!

Welcome to all newcomers - the more the merrier.

awesome - I've only been to Berlin a few times but each time was to Köpenick - thats where my IL's lived at the time (over 10 years ago). Remember it being really easy to access the countryside but being soooo far from Tegel airport. Really loved Berlin and often try to get dh to organise a weekend there but he's not as enthused.

Am on the iphone app so cant remember the namechanges blush but just popping in to say we had a fab afternoon at our wee meet up but it was way too hot. I'm also glad its a good 8 degrees cooler today smile.

Ploom Wed 22-Aug-12 13:34:31

alice - I agree about holidays going on forever. But today is "hump" day - they've been off for 22 days & go back in 22 days so as of tomo we're over the hump!!

(Disclaimer - I love my dc but all day every single day is making me go quietly crazy!)

admylin Wed 22-Aug-12 13:57:33

Thanks for the new thread cheaspicks!

Hello to all newcomers - I agree with ploom the more the merrier!

Hi to everyone else, still got guests here but marking my place quickly! Thank goodness it's cooled down abit. Could you all get to sleep at night OK? Big black rings under my eyes here from bad sleep, somehow our 2nd floor flat didn't cool down even at night.

itsMYNutella Wed 22-Aug-12 16:25:00

Can totally believe it Ploom and not at all surprised! smile I think Mum managed to arrange plenty of activities for us in the holidays just to avoid seeing us moping around the house!

Oh dear admylin sorry your flat didn't cool down sad we have all the windows open as long as possible to keep what little draft we can blowing through. Perhaps getting all the guests out somewhere for the evening will help? Hope you sleep better tonight!

And awesome I've had a peek at your blog! envy I mean.... Love your ideas for re-fashioning stuff! Wish I was a bit more handy with needle & thread / sewing machine / knitting etc etc etc... ho hum...

Emandlu Wed 22-Aug-12 16:28:30

Hello everyone,

Do you mind if I join in? I am not in Germany but love the country and would move there in a heartbeat if I could persuade DH to learn the language.

I am learning German (badly) and my kids are learning also. My Dad's family originate in Germany and I would love to go back to the area they came from.

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 16:43:43

Hello there emandlu, where do they originate from, if I may ask smile

Emandlu Wed 22-Aug-12 17:48:26

It is the Stuttgart area. I cannot remember the town exactly without looking it up.

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 18:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Emandlu Wed 22-Aug-12 21:46:05

I will get to visit there one day, our next holiday to Germany will be in Hamburg, and then to friends in Kassel. I am really looking forward to it so very much. I feel so much less stressed in Germany as generally things seem to work as I wish they would here - if I could just get my head around the language, I'd be away grin

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 21:49:25

Don't forget your husband emandlu grin

Emandlu Wed 22-Aug-12 21:55:54


D'oh! grin I will persuade him yet! He's agreed to go back for a holiday after all.

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 22:14:46

Good work. Thumbs up grin.

No, I am only joking of course. I still am trying to figure out, why I could never persuade my exH to visit the UK more often or to move to the UK permanently.
I was not successful. i wonder why,'til this day hmm

worldcitizen Wed 22-Aug-12 22:15:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoHunIntended Thu 23-Aug-12 01:13:36

Checking in! Wow, loads of new people - hello! :-) - and loads of namechangers! I need a spreadsheet!

admylin Thu 23-Aug-12 09:15:20

Morning from a nice cooler Hanover! Guests have gone so had all the doors and windows of the flat open and slept well at last.

Awsome great blog, my dd would like you to adopt her - she's got so many ideas and is so creative and although I try, I don't live up to her expectations in creativity!

WorldCitizen when your dd started learning German how old was she? My dc started off with just English, then German at Kindergarten from age 4 and now my dd won't speak English anymore. Ds is bilingual but dd is in a German phase!

Emandlu I lived near Stuttgart for a few years - lovely area and very easy to get to France, Black Forest, Switzerland, Munich for day trips even. Worth a visit!

Nutella I remember my only muslin cloths came from UK so I wonder what Germans use instead? Did you know Marks and Spencer deliver to Germany for about 7€ so worth buying stuff there. Dh gets his shirts and jumpers there as he can't find similar price and quality here.

ploom hope the next 22 days go smoothly! It is long isn't it? In the US and France most dc go to holiday camps/colonie for a few weeks. Would be a good thing to have here. I'd be evil and send dd to a maths camp and ds to a sports camp!! Although he is going out swimming with his friends today but only after abit of nagging from me! Dd was out all day with her friend in town again shopping yesterday! And only a week and a half to go to school start.

Muppet hope you have a nice time at the Einschulung! It's a big day in Germany and they celebrate it as if they dc has just got a PhD or something!! It's a nice tradition and good to go for a meal out too!!

cheaspicks Thu 23-Aug-12 09:24:50

nutella and admylin muslins here are called "Mullwindeln" and you can get them from Drogeriemärkte. They're usually pretty cheap-looking/feeling, though, so if you go to the UK before the baby comes, I would get some of the lovely M&S ones, nutella.

Hello, newcomers/namechangers/everyone else. smile

worldcitizen Thu 23-Aug-12 09:44:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

admylin Thu 23-Aug-12 10:01:44

Worldcitizen I agree the school system is another topic altogether! Infact we used to run a parallel thread just for German school problems so as not to scare any newcomers away!!

My dc have both had marks taken off tests for using English that hasn't been covered yet!!

worldcitizen Thu 23-Aug-12 10:20:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

admylin Thu 23-Aug-12 11:05:47

Here you go citizen www.mumsnet.com/Talk/living_overseas/478579-german-schools loads of moaning here!

I'm quite happy with our situation at the moment. Both dc are at a Gymnasium where the pupils are from a very mixed background and so far we've hardly had any major troubles (except them refusing to recognise dd's dyslexia). Ds was at a very different Gymnasium before this one - we were so unhappy it caused alot of tension and stress between dh and I and depression almost in ds.

worldcitizen Thu 23-Aug-12 11:31:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldcitizen Thu 23-Aug-12 11:37:41

Has anyone heard about or read the book, written by an American mother who wrote about her experiences in Germany.

It's called: Dear Germany-Eine Amerikanerin in Deutschland by Carol Kloeppel

Her husband is the RTL News director, Peter Kloeppel. He also reads the news himself.

admylin Thu 23-Aug-12 13:14:01

citizen I'd have loved my 2 dc to have experienced school in the US. My niece is a teacher in Houston what she told me about her responsibilities towards her pupils and teaching methods made it sound like great schooling.

Off school bag shopping now, dd's Umhängetasche broke and she is insisting that they are the best and coolest bags although I would rather (sensible mum) she had a rucksack.

itsMYNutella Thu 23-Aug-12 15:27:09

admylin it makes me chuckle to think about school bags. We were responsible for buying ours from a fairly young age (also all had to have jobs so we could pay for our own clothes etc) and I still chuckle at what I see some of the kids with here...(ones on wheels for example) I suppose that's why my Mum didn't ever worry about us having "sensible" bags. It really wasn't worth the fight.
On the other hand I feel sorry for them if the books they have to carry really are that heavy then it's ridiculous!

world I'm also intrigued by the school system here - I don't know it that well yet but find some ideas archaic- and I know DP suffered a lot through school and I try hard to tell him on the one hand how important school is but on the other how much you have to learn by living.

I will definitely be having a peek at the link thank you for finding it admylin.

Oh and I ordered a pack of 12 (I think) muslins from mothercare - with some other bits because I hate shopping (but only in Germany hmm) and I really don't have the patience to trawl the shops... but they couldn't deliver to Germany angry so parcel is first going to smallest bro and then he will forward it on to me.

How old is your DS antiquemuppet? I think I might be hassling you for many more tips about what to buy where in Germany smile the only mum I know here is .... a bit bonkers has lived a very different life to me.

cheaspicks Fri 24-Aug-12 09:48:55

admylin hope you found a nice bag for dd. I had terrible neck and shoulder pain as a student from carrying my instrument case around. It wasn't until I moved in with DH in a different town and started doing almost all my practice at home that the aches finally disappeared, so I am always horrified to see kids with those big bags.

world and nutella I'm also very interested to hear about the school system here. DD is only 3, but we're not planning to move back to the UK, so it will be relevant soon enough.

I'm always horrified by how little respect parents (and their kids) here seem to have for teachers. I think it must be very hard to be starting on the back foot like that - very few people, after all, go to the dr expecting anything other than to be treated by an expert - but it was interesting to read admylin's comment on the other thread that teachers here don't demand respect.

We had a primary school teacher here on Sat evening for a bbq and she was talking about some of the problems her school has. They are massively understaffed, but can't advertise new positions because of a mad early retirement scheme which allowed teachers to work full time on half pay for a few years and then stop working, still on half pay for the same length of time. So essentially, they have staff on the payroll who have no contact hours at all, and the rest have to cover the missing lessons (pure satire, if it weren't true shock). To make up the shortfall, they get staff sent from other schools - so now they have a Berufsschullehrerin who hasn't taught primary for 15 years and is desperate for help with lesson planning, which of course none of the other teachers wants to give they would rather shake their heads at this poor women's incompetence. Poor kids sad.

Hello everyone, new and name changers (cinders I'd recognise you anywhere, I think you are an avant garde poet without knowing it smile )

I like the holidays though, just back from 2 and half days in London with just my eldest (the only school child, aged nearly 7). Back to the maddness of 6 kids in the house (only 3 of them mine, they gather others like snowballs, or maybe they are sticky, should perhaps bath them, or chuck them in the Freibad...) I love not having pressure to get DD out the door at 7am, and especially no homework and being free to do what we want smile We've got a week at home then we're off to Croatia for 9 days, and when we get back it'll only be a couple of days til school starts. Weather is pants today though - was 34 degrees when we left, what happened?

We had a great time in London - pics on fb for those who "know" me there. My little-big girl has stamina; we were up at 4am the first day to catch the plane, and she was still buzzing at 11.30pm at the end of the Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium, having spent hours exploring the Tower of London and travelling about by tube and bus stopping to look at things and take photos in between - then she woke me up at 6.30am the next day asking if we could get going to the London Eye now... Explored the South Bank, did the Eye, a river cruise... She loved Trafalgar Square and Hamleys of course, and the Tower, but she was deeply unimpressed with Buckingham palace and it was the nearest she came to a tantrum... We popped into the National Gallery too, nice that it's free because we just went in because she asked and wandered for half an hour and came back out - so many things in London cost over €20 even for 1 adult and 1 child so you'd feel obliged to stay longer. We didn't get to the science museum - maybe next time - but DD wanted to see things that are only in London, rather than non-London specific museums...

Ooops got to go, tiny person climbing on me... Antique is your husband's niece as spoilt and infantile as ever? Hope school sorts her out? grin

I'm not sure people have so much respect for teachers in the UK tbh - maybe primary school teachers... I used to teach secondary in the UK and had kids tell me things like "Miss I'm not doing homework because my dad says you're all lazy f***ers, and only set homework because you're too lazy to work til 5 like everyone else" - charming and respectful???

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 10:45:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cheaspicks Fri 24-Aug-12 12:28:48

world I suspect most of the Germans I know would recognise the description of traits you have just given as "typisch Wessie!" grin.

You obviously have strong feelings about the school system and it's fine to want to collect your thoughts before posting them here. I am very interested however to hear your views, partly because I still have time to brainwash DD before she starts school (in a positive way, of course) and partly because, with two teachers as parents, I heard a lot about the problems of the UK system growing up.

Wrt to that, EnglishWoman, of course the "teachers are lazy f**kers" attitude is common in the UK, but it is hopefully predominantly confined to Daily Mail readers and not the attitude of most (middle-class) parents. I just think for example that when dnephew comes home complaining that his new English teacher is giving the class 3s and 4s when they were getting 1s and 2s last year, his highly educated parents and GPs should be defaulting to "well, obviously the standard expected this year is higher", not "well, obviously the teacher is a bitter, old cow". The latter may turn out to be true, but they should give the teacher the benefit of the doubt first.

Anyway, rant over! Your daughter is beautiful, EnglishWoman, and it certainly looks like you packed an awful lot into two and a half days. Did your DH cope on his own with the boys, or did he have help? grin

Antique I'd forgotten about how weirdly your niece was behaving back when you were pg. Has she settled down since then and is she nice to ds? I bet you've made sure never to leave him alone in a room with her, haven't you? wink

CakeBump Fri 24-Aug-12 12:39:03

Can I join please?

I was a bit put off by the size of the old thread smile

I'm in the Eifel, about 40 minutes from Cologne, married for 3 weeks to DH who is German, I'm English. We're expecting DC1 in December...

<waves to Nutella from the Dec 2012 Antenatal group>

Also nutella they have muslins in Hema (and loads of other fab stuff too)

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 12:41:49

Cakebump Sending my 'Hello' from Hamburg smile

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 12:44:39

cheaspicks thanks for that. Yes, I think it is better I read the school thread first and get a feel for what people here on this thread would find helpful, then I am more than happy and eager to respond and share more of my views and experiences.

CakeBump Fri 24-Aug-12 12:53:45

hi world, thanks for the welcome.

Hello cakebump

Forgot to introduce myself for new people smile I'm English, married for 8 years to a German - met in the UK, moved here 5 years ago. We have 3 kids - nearly 7 (born in UK), nearly 5 (born here) and nearly 16 months (born here).

cheaspicks the "nice middle class" parents are worse, as they all think their child's a genius and expect teachers to wave magic wands, and blame them if their child's just a bit thick wink or really rather lazy and really truly honestly neither a misunderstood genius nor struggling with some as yet undiscovered special need, which should allow them dispensation to have coursework done by mum (oh yes, it happens in the UK too, you'd be surprised how often they don't even make their blue eyed boys (it is usually boys - but I taught English lit) copy out the essay written in flowery middle class Mummy writing - maybe in fountain pen wink Anyway I'm glad I'm not a school teacher - in any country - any more grin

My toddler is driving me a bit to distraction - I think the in-laws must have kept him up late and fed him bags of sugar wink either that or he missed me and is traumatised, he is having a tantrum every 5 mins, and mainly seems to need to climb me while having them...

DH didn't have the boys, he went to work and came home to an empty house - boys stayed with his parents. He did build DS1's new mid sleeper complete with knight's tower awning and tower though (a Dolphin one that needed assembly) - it looks good smile DH did no laundry or anything of course...

Argh being climbed by angry infant again... Need to pack extra kids off home and take my own ones to the shop - DH felt no urge to buy bread or milk while we were gone, though there are new snacks in the cupboards...

admylin Fri 24-Aug-12 13:00:27

Hi cakebump how are you liking life in germany? Have you been here long?

English you managed to do loads in just a couple of days. You know your way around London!! It would have taken me a whole day to figure out how to get from A to B!

Nutella don't go near that link - you shouldn't start worrying about things like school as you have atleast 3 blissfull years of freedom ahead of you! Although, that would be 5 if you don't use kindergarden. My 2 went to Kindergarden to learn German but I otherwise wouldn't have bothered with it.

citizen I think when you read through that old thread alot of the problems we had/have were to do with being foreign and not understanding the system or typical language problems. I realise that in the UK there are alot of problems and complaints (going by what I read on MN).

cheaspicks I also remember having terrible neck and shoulder pain at school from the wrong type of bag and always carrying my books instead of leaving them in the locker. No luck with the bag for dd. She has ideas on a design and I don't think it exists so she has moaned abit that she needs access to a sewing machine so she can make something! I think we might have found one on Ebay today though.

Just spent all morning at the orthopäde getting my shoulder x-rayed and checked over. It's been sore for 2 months now and I ended up with a cortisone injection and have to do 8 weeks of physio. Doctor thinks it's frozen shoulder but if it's not better after the 8 weeks physio to go back and have a scan and he'll think of something else to do with me confused

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 13:07:49

Ahhh, just had a long post and it's gone. No idea how that happened??? sad
I am so new here on MN and still have to figure things out, i guess.

Hi English

admylin I'll definitely read this weekend.

CakeBump Fri 24-Aug-12 13:42:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 13:50:01

admylin sorry too about your discomfort, doesn't sound good, but what is a frozen shoulder???

cake you and your life sounds very interesting.
Oh, and I mean interesting in a German way, ha ha ha so very, very positive and big compliment, and not a euphemism for something else grin

AntiqueMuppet Fri 24-Aug-12 15:41:11

This thread moves so fast sometimes!

cheaspicks & TheEnglishWoman Dniece has really grown up a lot in the past few months and is now absolutely brilliant with DS! (I still can't have her around him when I'm not there, which I've never mentioned to DH's family and is something I just need to get over, I realise. PFB-itis).

I know it's a bit early but I know I'm not going to be able to resist reading the other thread!

I have mixed feelings about the Einschulung (Dniece's was yesterday). It seemed like a lot of fuss and an awful lot for a tired child to deal with, but I suspect that had more to do with SIL than anything else. Plus I spent most of the day dealing with cranky DS who was overwhelmed and a bit fed up with GPs constantly in his face and proclaiming at the tops of their voices that he was tired/hungry/thirsty/all of the above whenever he didn't have his biggest smile plastered on.
There was an assembly in the school, which DH said was quite nice (I was outside jiggling tired DS) then a church service (DS had perked up and spent the service jumping on me and growling loudly smile ) then presents, a BBQ and later coffee & cake at BIL & SIL's. The Schultüte was lovely - SIL is quite arty and made one with unicorns etc but Dniece was overtired and a bit contrary and BIL was knackered after baking til 1am then getting up to prepare salads at 5am and SIL spent most of the time shouting at both of them before having a total meltdown herself about whether to join the PTA to give Dniece an advantage with the teachers and about how Dniece is the oldest in the class and can't read yet yet one of the youngest in the class can & how it was really wrong of the other mother to teach her child to read as it puts her at an unfair advantage. I was knackered by this point so grabbed DS and whisked him off for a few minutes to escape the worst of it!

Nutella DS is 11 months old. I think I got most of his clothes from Primark and Real, muslin cloths (Mullwindel, like someone else mentioned upthread) from Real & various other bits from Ikea, BabiesRUs etc.

admylin Sorry to hear about your shoulder - I hope the injection and the physio sort it out. Could you persuade your DC to wait on you hand and foot in the meantime? smile

Hello to all the new people! I've been living in Germany for almost 3 years, am married to a German and have DS 11 months who was born here.

Sorry for the massive post. Gold stars to anyone who makes it to the end!

wantingmore Fri 24-Aug-12 16:10:49

Hi everyone.
I just moved to Berlin a month ago with DH, DD1(11), DD2 (5) as DH got a job here.
None of us speak German but we are trying to learn.(also google translate helps!!)
Im finding it quite tough at the moment as we are in temp apartment looking for permanent. Also no europe schools will take DD1 so she will have to go to German public school so Im worried how that is going to work out but we have no other choice.

admylin Fri 24-Aug-12 17:20:56

muppet sounds like it was all abit much for your niece, and for you! Atleast you'll know how NOT to do it when your time comes! And I'm definately working on the dc to wait on me abit more. Dd had a flapjack experiment running in the kitchen this afternoon and I made sure she tidied everything up afterwards (I'm usualyl soft and play chef's assistant when she experiments).

Hi and welcomewantingmore - I lived in Berlin for 3 years in Mitte. It was OK but not the right area for families. Hope you find something soon.

My shoulder isn't any better so don't know what the point of the injection was except to give me a nice big bruise.

Sorry about your shoulder admylin

Hello wantingmore - is your dd academic? If so I have heard of gymnasium accepting students in her position as guest students for a year - like a foreign exchange student even though they live in the country - it's a bit of a get-around exploiting being an English (rather than Turkish or other less "fashionable" language) native speaker, but could help her out?

Need to retrieve my own dd from her friend down the road - friend (along with 2 others) was here all morning and for lunch, I turfed them out so I could take mine to the shops, then Dd went straight over to this friend's when we got back... blimin' social butterflies little girls grin

My youngest seems to have grown an impossible amount in the 3 days I was away, I think I miniaturised him in my mind... MIL also cut my middle one's hair while he was there, I don't like it sad too short, he looks as if he's just been conscripted...

NoHunIntended Fri 24-Aug-12 22:19:50

Hi, and welcome, CakeBump. Not sure I understand why our have been signed off work? Hope you are ok, and congratulations on the pregnancy and marriage!

admylin, hope your shoulder gets better soon.

Nutella, pain about Mothercare not delivering. What about Amazon?

wantingmore, what are you wanting more of? smile

Attic, your MIL cut your child's hair without asking you? I would be absolutely furious!

A bit about me for the newbies. My husband and I moved to Frankfurt in April, from London, as DH got a job here, and we want a life of adventure and travel for our family (currently consisting of us and DS, 22mo), so central Europe seemed as good a place to start as any. I don't see us being here for more than a couple of years, depending on work/finances. We are also going to homeschool/deschool/worldschool our DC, which is illegal here, though I know there are some get outs for non-natives, so another reason to move on before DS gets to school age.

Hope you all have a good weekend.

wantingmore Fri 24-Aug-12 22:22:19

Hi admylin thank you. Hope your shoulder gets better soon.

Hi TheEnglishWomanInTheAttic thanks for the info but my DD isnt very academic. Sorry about your sons haircut. I would be livid if my MIL did that.

wantingmore Fri 24-Aug-12 22:27:09

Xpost NoHunIntended i chose my name a long time ago when i wanted more from my life well i still do but anyway.
Have a good weekend too

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 22:32:31

NoHunIntended I lived in Frankfurt for 6 years!!!!!!

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 22:38:49

wantingmore what do you mean exactly with your dd not being accepted by a Euro school?

Have you called them. Did you go there? For example to the Nelson Mandela school?

wantingmore Fri 24-Aug-12 22:48:33

worldcitizen Nelson Mandela was the first school we contacted they said they had no place and even if someone cancelled their place we wouldnt get it as too many people ahead of us. Quentin Blake never got back to us and we have heard lots of bad things about them.
Charles Dickins said they had a place but then withdrew it as my DD didnt know french because her class would have learnt french the year before 5 days a week.

worldcitizen Fri 24-Aug-12 23:03:22

wanting I am so sorry to hear that.

Do they not have a rule, to accommodate newcomers? So, if you and your husband just arrived in Germany a month ago, your dd should be ahaed on the waiting list, isn't that usually the rule???

How about the John F. Kennedy school. Are they too far from where you're living now?
They also take British kids, if their parents have just arrived in the country, however they are all the way in the SW area of Berlin.

I am so sorry to hear about this.

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 01:36:38

smile @ wantingmore wanting more! I hope you are content with what you have! smile Sorry to hear about the school problems. It is a rubbish system.

worldcitizen, feel free to offer me any ideas for what to do in Frankfurt!

Wantingmore are European schools private schools? If you can afford private fees maybe another kind of private school could suit your dd - perhaps a small "alternative" school could be easier for her to find her feet in? The Aktiveschule often have foreign language immersion - intended for German children to learn English, but often means an English native speaking teacher on hand a lot, all the time at a bigger school, 1 or 2 full days at a tiny one (at least it did at the one I taught at - the one I worked at was new and financially struggling and didn't treat their staff brilliantly - kept forgetting we weren't working purely for the joy of it - but I would definitely consider it for an older child without much German). Which class would she go into? A lot of them only go to 6th class, but going back a year may also benefit her language wise. There seems to be a very new Montessori in Berlin that goes right through to 18.


NoHun people who work with children in Germany do seem to be signed off work quite easily when pregnant, due to risk of catching the various childhood illnesses that can affect an unborn baby badly, I think that's why cakebump might be signed off. I wish I'd thought of it when I was preg with DC3 and working in a primary here wink as it was a non conventional school where much sitting on the floor occurred ... Maybe I wasn't eligible as, already having 2 small children, I was probably already immune to everything smile

Life's too short to be livid about DS1's hair, he's nearly 5 and it's not his first hair cut or anything, he doesn't have long hair generally, just not this short (and although it is even it does look home cut, as in there is no attempt at style as you would get at the hairdresser, I prefer to pay to have the kids hair cut) He isn't bothered or worried about it, which is the main thing, I am just rather un-impressed. It'll look OK in a month or so I'm sure.

wantingmore Sat 25-Aug-12 08:00:30

TheEnglishWomanInTheAttic the schools i have mentioned are not private they are free. Unfortunately we can not afford private if we could we would have no problem getting her into a school.

wantingmore Sat 25-Aug-12 08:04:30

Thank you worldcitizen i havent heard about any rule like that for europe schools but i have heard of it with german schools.

itsMYNutella Sat 25-Aug-12 08:14:33

Wantingmore that does sound like a total nightmare! Hope you manage to get something sorted for her.

Englishwoman my Mum used to cut our hair, it wasn't great but it was ok (we had to have Dad approved haircuts anyway). I'm pretty sure my ILs wouldn't attempt hair cutting... Thankfully. Good that DS isn't bothered.
Impressed by DD's stamina in London. I bet she had an amazing time smile It would take me a few weeks to squeeze in all the stuff I love to do... It would be so hard to make a short list confused

Hi Cakebump <waves> <then hangs head in shame for not pointing you here earlier> how was the wedding? I've been keeping an eye out for you on the DEC thread so sorry if I've missed your update.

The Mothercare delivery was free to my brother's UK address and I'll transfer him the money for the postage here so no biggie (Mothercare charge started at £10 + £1 per KG), but thanks for the tips about Muslins I will purchase more for comparisons sake grin

CakeBump Sat 25-Aug-12 08:30:42

That's it in a nutshell English - I was found to have no immunity to a virus called CMV, and as I work with small children I was given the "beschäftigungsverbot" which means I'm legally unable to continue in my role.

At first it was great - I've had a really easy pregnancy so far and I was able to take some of the strain off DH by helping in the restaurant. However school have now refused to pay me any more, and as the restaurant is new and struggling its a real worry. Our joint income at the moment is zero..... confused

Nutella the Dec thread was so big and fast moving I gave up with it after a while. Rather selfishly too, as because everything for me was going ok, I didn'T really have anything to add to it!!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Its raining here in the Eifel and looks grey and miserable for the first time in weeks... I hope we get some hardy tourists in today!!

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 08:48:14

Interesting about being signed off if you work for a school, thank for the explanation, Attic.

Nutella, I didn't use the muslins I bought when DS was born, he just wasn't a thrown uppy baby, so if I had my time again, I'd wait and see what we needed as and when.

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 08:48:37

*throwy uppy

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 09:51:21

cakebump, wouldn't after the employer continued to pay the salary after so and so many weeks, the health insurance continue to pay you?

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 09:56:39

Admissions criteria for Nelson Mandela school in Berlin

The FLEX classes of the early primary school (our years 1 and 2 are taught together) accept students who are fluent in English or German. All applicants on the English side have to prove their (native speaker) fluency in an oral English test. All applicants on the German side must also do an English test to demonstrate that they have sufficient passive knowledge of English (see the partner tongue criteria for details). 75% of all places in year 1 are reserved for children from highly mobile families whose parents are either members of the diplomatic corps or employed by the German Foreign Office, the German federal government, visiting scholars, the international media or companies operating internationally. The remaining 25% are given to children from Berlin who do not belong to that group.

Our upper primary school requires that students have English or German as mother tongue and a good working knowledge of the second language. As in the lower primary school, applicants have to pass a language test before they can be admitted. If the number of successful applicants exceeds the number of free places, priority is given to children from highly mobile families.

Students entering the lower or upper secondary school must pass an admission test. Here, too, highly mobile applicants are admitted on a preferential basis. The student will be required to take an admission exam only if we have places available.

Class 1: Students are admitted to class 1 through the local authority (Bezirksamt). The Nelson Mandela English faculty tests all students who have applied for a place at the school. Each student is recommended for the English or German Mother Tongue on the basis of the tests. The testers’ results are binding. Prospective students are contacted directly by the local authority as to whether they have received a place for grade one.

Class 1 as of term 2: If places become available in the course of term one, students are admitted to the existing class one on the basis of the criteria for all existing classes.

Existing classes: All other classes admit students on the basis of availability in the following order of priority (class size may not exceed 26 students):

Children from families in which at least one parent works for the German foreign office
Children of families from abroad (priority is given to children from highly mobile families)
Siblings of students who are currently in school for at least one year
Children of families from Berlin who are highly mobile
Other children from Berlin
Additional criteria
All children can only be admitted if a place on the respective mother tongue side becomes available. The numerical balance between English mother tongue students and German mother tongue students must be maintained as described in the letter authorizing school operation (Genehmigungsschreiben) of the Nelson Mandela School. Children being admitted on the German mother tongue side must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of English to be able to follow the curriculum in the class in which they seek admission. This is assessed through an English test for partner tongue.

wantingmore Sat 25-Aug-12 10:09:03

worldcitizen thanks but i dont think it applies to us as we are not highly mobile. DH applied for a job here and we are planing on staying longterm. His job isnt any of the ones listed.

wow I never even knew there were non fee paying schools which taught in languages other than German! Is that a Berlin specific thing?

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 10:25:07

wanting are you the one who moved to Köpenick?

Sorry, I still have to learn how to remember who is who here. Will read part 1 of this thread later this evening.

CakeBump Sat 25-Aug-12 11:10:38

Apparently not world, although I have to say I'm totally dependent on DH to sort it out as I don't understand the policy wording.

Dealing with anything official is like wading through treacle. We've got a lawyer onto it this week so I'm waiting on his opinion, see if there's anything we can do next...

Viviennemary Sat 25-Aug-12 11:17:15

I thought for some reason this thread was going to be in German. So I thought I'd have a look and see if I understood any of it. I probably wouldn't have!

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 11:26:09

Cakebump are you close to Köln?

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 11:27:09

Hallo vivienne, wir können uns auch gerne auf Deutsch unterhalten. smile

wantingmore Sat 25-Aug-12 11:44:03

No not me world. I have only just joined the thread yesterday.

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 11:59:48

wanting I see, I am rubbish at this knowing how to keep up with my fellow poster. I also just joined this thread, and joined MN recently.

So, I need to come up with a system to remember who is who, so I don't embarrass myself here.

But I remember you said that your are due this December, right?!

I wanted to recommend you an organisation who specialise in bi-national marriages, partnerships and families. They are awesome.
I think, they would be a very good place to call. they are all over Germany.

I'll look them up right now and then post the link of their website.

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 12:04:28

Verband binationaler Familien und Partnerschaften

I work with them a lot, and I can say that they are excellent and very competent, as they are specialised in this area. Hope this is helpful to anyone here.

Cakebump I am not sure how your German skills are?!

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 12:21:04

I don't remember everything about everyone on this thread, it moves so fast and sometimes I only have time to scan the thread, let alone keep a spreadsheet! Maybe everyone could remind us of the basics: location, how many DC and ages/flavours, a couple of random facts!? smile And RN initials if willing, to help identify who is who on Fb!
I am friends with a few here on Fb, which helps me remember who is who, so if any of the new people want to add me on there, feel free to send me a PM here with a link to your Fb profile.

Viviennemary Sat 25-Aug-12 12:31:11

Guten Tag worldcitizen. Ich habe alles vergessen. It was a long long time ago!!

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 13:30:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LinzerTorte Sat 25-Aug-12 14:25:12

Just marking my place for now as we'll be arriving at my ILs' in abo

LinzerTorte Sat 25-Aug-12 14:31:47

Oops, posted too soon ... in about 10 minutes. We've just arrived back in Austria after a fab six days in Germany. It was lovely to meet Ploom and cheaspicks (hope I've remembered your new name right; if I scroll back up, I'll probably post again by mistake); I just wish we'd had a bit longer to chat, but we had to rush off up to Hannover before it got too late. We really appreciated Ploom's lovely Kaffee und Kuchen and the DC all got on really well too.

Will be back again soon to catch up properly; in the meantime, waves to everyone and welcome to all the newcomers. smile

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 19:30:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ploom Sat 25-Aug-12 19:33:46

Was a fab afternoon linzer and silken. Was so nice that the kids all got on well together.

nohun - I dont really want to post so many identifiable details in one post - sorry. I name changed recently to muddy the waters so think i'd have to namechange again if I gave out all that info (and I'm rubbish at picking new names!). So in being vague, I live in Germany & have school age dc.

I'm overall happy with our experience of the school system here so far worldcitizen. i agree there isnt much provision for native English speakers but there wouldnt be provision for German speakers in the UK system so I dont expect it for my dc here. I feel its my responsibility, not the schools, to develop their English.

But i've only experience up to the 5th class so far so maybe I'll change my mind about the school system in the future..

Ploom Sat 25-Aug-12 19:34:53

Waves to everyone else! smile

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 19:41:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ploom Sat 25-Aug-12 19:53:57

But my dc arent foreign as their father is German so they got no assistance to integrate here. The kiga told me there would have been lots of assistance locally if none of us were German. I cant comment on how foreign dc are helped to settle in UK schools since there were none during our time in the UK.

Ploom Sat 25-Aug-12 19:56:17

All schools are different - there really is no interest at all in any of my dc and their English skills. Not even sure all ds1's friends know that he speaks English at home since all my dc speak good German with a local accent.

I name change every 6 months or so because I give out too many details grin I think MN isn't the kind of niche forum where "roll calls" are a good idea - there are too many people reading.

Ploom I'm with you on the German school system and the fact nobody would expect specific provision for different languages is the British system - I was part of the "team" who tried to help a 15 year old Thai girl with no English at all to settle into a very white middle class comp in the UK, and though everyone meant well, the help she received was very limited really - nobody got any extra off timetable hours, she wasn't entitled to any 1:1 learning support assistant time, and the idea of actually finding a bi-lingual Thai-English speaking adult to come into the school at all, ever, to help her was met with laughter and muttering about budget. She did settle and make friends and left school speaking reasonable English, but even though she was made an exceptional case and put back to year 9 when she should have entered year 10 and been launched into GCSE courses, she didn't get any A-C GCSEs when she finished school 2 and a half years later... That school also had a brother sister pair who joined year 7 and 9, and had been educated in Germany but came originally from an Arabic country - they did very well BUT they were very bright, and both spoke 3 languages (including English) fluently - their written English just needed work (I remember they both capitalised all their nouns, but over all wrote at an average standard for their year group even though they were using their 3rd language, even when they joined the school grin ) Their sucess was not down to the school, it was down to them and their family.

The other school I taught at had a better programme in place as they had more immigrants and refugees and there was a proper ESAL programme with a (part time) staffed post attached, but still the non English speakers often floundered in bottom sets among native speakers who occasionally were simply low ability and more often had all sorts of emotional and behavioural difficulties and SEN if they lacked motivated parents.

What I am trying to say is state school systems are set up to cater for the majority, and everything else tends to be a slightly unsatisfactory add on. Most of us have chosen to live here, rather than being forced to due to being refugees or whatever, so I do think it is our responsibility really. A different story for the children with dyslexia etc. whose families have obviously not chosen that for them, and who do seem to be failed by the system from what I have read here. One of DD's friends is at a 'Logo schule' ? A speach and language school - he has a stammer, but no way he'd be at a special school in the UK! Still his mum seems OK with it - they have only 12 children and 2 teachers and an assistant per class, and follow the normal system, so actually it sounds a bit like a private prep school! Depends whether there is real stigma or not though of course sad

BertieBotts Sat 25-Aug-12 20:00:51

Hello everyone again. I popped in briefly a couple of months ago as my DP had just moved to Karlsruhe. I then dropped off the thread because I was finding it very hard him being out there and having really mixed feelings about it. However I am going out to visit him in a week (!!) and am feeling much more positive about it at least at the moment.

Where is the German School thread? I'd be interested to read (Is it going to scare me to death??) I have a DS who is nearly 4 so he would be in kiga if/when we move.

Quite excited to go out and see the place finally! As an aside I'm having some worries about catching the train from Stuttgart if anybody can help at all, the thread is here:

Worldcitizen all my kids friends know that my kids speak English at home, but although some parents initially try to befriend us in the hope their kids will magically pick up English I am very much of the opinion my kids choose their friends, not me or anyone else. We have a constant stream of kids through the house, but that's because we live in a village and my eldest at any rate spends an equal amount of time at friends houses. I speak English to my kids absolutely always, unless I am really speaking for their friends' benefit (for example telling them to be quiet because the toddler is sleeping, or that there will not be any food except apples available for the rest of the afternoon) wink My kids speak German all the time to their friends - in fact DS1 denied recently that other children speak English grin but I am absolutely rigid on them speaking correct English to me, and if they ask for anything in German or (in Ds1's case occasionally) any kind of DEnglish they just get a pointed look til they ask again in correct English grin For this reason their closest friends do understand quite a bit of English, and will moan and groan in Bayrish or German if I say in English no TV/ no chocolate/ time for your friends to go home now grin

What I do dislike about the school system is the amount of homework - dd has only just finished 1st class - and sometimes the lack of proper communication (but I think that is a moan in the UK too).

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 20:26:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 20:38:06

bertie admylin has shared the link on page 2

AntiqueMuppet Sat 25-Aug-12 21:19:49

Evening all.

I'm about half way through the school thread and it really is depressing reading! Why on earth did I think I needed to read it and scare myself when DS is only just about to turn one?!

Big hello to all the newcomers, the more the merrier!

admylin How were the flapjacks? Is your shoulder any better?

wantingmore Sorry to hear about your school problems. I hope they are resolved soon.

NoHun How is the new flat? Are you feeling quite settled now in FF?

Linzer Hello! Glad you had a nice holiday!

Ploom It's nice to hear positive experiences of the school system here. I think we'll be in a similar situation to you with DS not being foreign with DH being German. Glad you had a nice time with cheaspicks & Linzer.

EnglishWoman I always forget that anyone could be reading this! I'm not sure how, considering the number of threads I lurk on. I try to be strict about only speaking English to DS but sometimes slip into German if I'm speaking German to PIL, for example. I sometimes feel a bit rude if I know whoever we're with doesn't speak English but then I think, well I'M talking to DS, not them, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Had yet another embarrassing incident involving the postman this week (after the frozen peas sticking out of my cleavage incident and the baby poo on my cheek incident). I was changing DS' nappy and he had just weed all over me, so I had to change my shorts. Of course as soon as I'd taken my shorts and DS' nappy off, the postman rang the doorbell. I pressed the buzzer to let him in (we live in a block of flats) and opened the front door of the flat so I could hear whether the buzzer had worked as it's a bit temperamental, figuring I'd just have enough time to throw a clean pair of shorts on before he made it up the stairs, all while trying to stop crawling DS from escaping down the stairs. I managed it, shorts done up, all baby wee gone, DS removed from the stairwell & plonked behind me in the flat, and then as I was chatting away to the postman, DS appeared, crawled through my legs completely naked, dragging one of my bras along with him, stopping only to give the postman his biggest smile! Said postman just mumbled something I didn't quite get and hurried off down the stairs blush
If this carries on we're going to have to move!

CakeBump Sat 25-Aug-12 21:40:55

world I'm around 40 mins from Köln, and my German is good but not technical standard, iyswim.

Poor you Antique! Although I admit it did make me laugh too smile

On the subject of speaking English/German to your children, can I ask a question?

I will be speaking English to our baby, but DH wants to speak English to her too (although he's German his English is fluent but learned as an adult). His reasoning is that she will have so much German language input outside the home that he should help me push English inside the home. As far as I've heard, each parent should speak their mother tongue to the child, so me English and DH German.

Does anyone have any helpful advice about this? Just to clarify, DH and I speak English to each other when we're alone but when we're chatting to other German people we speak German (as we're talking to each other but also the gorup iyswim)

Thanks all...

worldcitizen Sat 25-Aug-12 21:44:15

cake they have an office in Köln. They do phone consultations and are really helpful with the insurance and and employment policies OR they know ho to direct you, too.

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 23:01:22

Fair enough re non sharing of personal info, though I am not sure what anyone is going to do with the information that I live in Frankfurt and have a toddler son.

AM, I am sure your postman enjoys his visits to you!

We have settled in well here, the new flat is fine. A good location. We have all that we need, though I'd quite like a fireplace surround! Have seen some on eBay.de but wondering if anyone knew anywhere else for me to look? I don't actually have a chimney, but I'd like a fireplace to hang the Christmas stockings! So I don't really need a working fireplace, just the surround. A bit like this Kaminumrandung, maybe not so big, and cheaper. And maybe in white! smile Four months til Christmas! smile DH wants to make one, but I think I should be able to find something inexpensive. Any ideas? It is hard Googling when I don't speak the language.

NoHunIntended Sat 25-Aug-12 23:07:48

www.amazon.de/Kaminumrandung-Charming-aus-Holz-weiß/dp/B004NTD8SU/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_4 is close to what I am looking for, if a little on the plain side, but cheaper would be good!

Ploom Sun 26-Aug-12 06:02:16

nohun - its not that anyone is going to do anything with the info but it just makes you identifiable and where I live i'm probably the only British person with that combination of dc and ages for miles around. Then that information is out there and anyone I know in RL could identify me and follow my posts. Its unlikely to happen but I'm just also conscious that these posts could come up on a search on google at any time in the future.

No help about the fire surround - ebay would have been my first idea too. But not sure i've ever seen them in a German house tho which is why they are maybe rarer on ebay. Fires here are usually much bigger than in the UK since they often provide hot water for the house too. Good luck with the search!

Ploom Sun 26-Aug-12 06:07:54

cakebump - thats what cheaspick and her dh do and it seems to work really well. Your dh is right - dc who live here long term hear such a lot of German that it is an effort to keep up their English. But the effort is so worth it. I do the same as englishwoman and always speak English to my dc unless I'm talking to them & their friends at the same time. Our family language is also English until the second I leave the room then its instantly German!! But i'm bloody stubborn about them speaking good English so will keep on being stubborn!

Ploom Sun 26-Aug-12 06:13:15

Sorry for the disjointed posts - on my ipod and keep forgetting things I want to post cause I cant scroll up!

Oh antique - do you think he wondered if your gorgeous baby was cross dressing at such a young age?? Ha ha! I think the door always goes at the moment when i'm inappropriately dressed - its been so hot that i've often only in my underwear then there's that scrabble for clothes! Think it makes me look like i've been doing something waaaayyy more excitingwink.

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 07:04:48

Thanks Antique I hope you dont have any more embarrassing moments with the postman!!!!

awesomesauce Sun 26-Aug-12 07:55:45

Wow...I don't show up for a few days & am now completely lost! I can't believe how fast this thread moves...I'm still a forum-posting-virgin so please bear with me if I miss replying to anyone in future.

Wantingmore I too live in Berlin, am Canadian, married to a German, have an 18 month old munchkin & a groovy doggie. As soon as I got pregnant we started researching bilingual schools here & were super impressed with The Berlin Metropolitan School - metropolitanschool.com/en/home.html

The school is from pre-school to grade 12, has a fantastic international staff & the curriculums/diplomas are recognized internationally. The school fees are based on your earnings, so should be affordable for everyone: metropolitanschool.com/en/admissions.html

Whereabouts are you located? We live in Köpenick but will eventually be moving back to the mitte area...Köpenick is wonderfully green & the river & forest are only 5 minutes away BUT the people are horrendous, extremely unfriendly & downright rude - no matter how smiley & German-speaking I am, the local people make it obvious that 'auslanders' (even those with German husbands & Berlin-Born babies) are not welcome in this part of the city...sigh...

Here's a link to the articles I've written about Life in Germany on my blog: awesomesauceasshattery.wordpress.com/category/life-in-germany/

Let me know if I can be of any help =O)

CakeBump Sun 26-Aug-12 09:48:39

Thanks for the advice Ploom. I'm not sure what my objection to DH speaking English to the baby is, exactly, it just feels wrong!

I said that I wanted the baby to have traditional German rhymes, songs and books as well as all the English ones I loved when I was little, and am looking forward to passing on. However DH says he can't remember ANY nursery rhymes, books etc from his childhood so wouldn't be much help with that aspect of German culture anyway (typical man!).

I kind of don't want home to be an English "oasis" whereby we shut the door on Germany as soon as we come into the house, but maybe that's necessary to push the English language sufficiently to achieve bilingualism?

In a way I was looking forward to seeing German childhood "in the real" as it were, passed on from DH to the baby. I suppose we'll still get that, it will just be achieved at nursery/toddler group/kindergarten...

AliceIsOffToTea Sun 26-Aug-12 09:51:08

dh away for yet another week

Travelling through Europe then giving talks

Im longing for a routine,

I have no idea what day it is,

well bye for now ..smile

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 10:41:56

Hi awesomesauce we have looked at that school but can not afford it but thanks anyway.
We are living in prenzlauerberg at the moment but its only temp and want to be out if here latest a month hopefully. We are not looking for any particular area at this point just anywhere that has a reasonably good place not too far from DH work. He is working in Mitte.
Sorry you are having such a hard time where you live. I really like this area but not the apartment but renting here is quite expensive.
I will have a look at your blog now thanks for the link.

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 10:45:36

Hi Alice sorry your DH is away for a week. Feel free to get in contact if you want someone to chat to. Same for anyone else.

cakebump we do minority language at home - i.e. we all speak English at home, including DH. DH is a funny one because although he learned English as a teen/ adult, English speakers don't usually pick him out as a German - people guess South African or even Australian (slightly bizarrely) I think it's just that he has a very slight accent that they can't put their finger on - his grammar and vocabulary are "native speaker" standard - I am not totally sure how he's managed it, as I don't think I've a hope of getting to that point in German even if I live here til I'm 90...

Anyway we do English as a family language for reasons similar to the ones your DH suggests - I cannot stand the idea of the kids refusing to speak English or sounding really odd when they do (when we first moved here we met a woman from Texas who didn't even seem to hear that her 8 year old daughter spoke "English" with a heavy Texas accent but with German sentence structure and lots of German words thrown in - she was almost incomprehensible to anyone but her mum and older brother, and you had to speak both languages to even begin to understand her English, though she understood "real" English at least, and apparently her German was fine). When we go back to the UK nobody can tell the kids are not "just" monolingual English speakers, and when DD started school her teacher told me that after meeting the class she had to check her paperwork to see which was "the English girl", so I am happy that so far this approach is working and the 4 and 6 year olds both seem to have both languages at native speaker level.

I don't like the people who say you "have to" do 1 parent 1 language, because I think different approaches work for different families, depending on the environment and parents etc. We are very rural here and virtually nobody we see regularly speaks any English to us, so the kids are fully "immersed" outside the house in German, and as they are very sociable they spend most of their waking hours playing with German friends.

Haha Antique grin Our postman hates me as I keep the gate locked and he has to buzz and wait at the end of the drive - I can't see how this is worse than coming in the gate and walking up the drive to the door and buzzing there, but he seems to take it as a personal insult, even though I have explained I have to keep the gate locked as the toddler can open doors and gates and I don't want him to run out onto the road!

admylin Sun 26-Aug-12 11:16:07

wantingmore hope you find somewhere soon. We found our flat in Mitte by a sign on the door saying that the flat was for rent. It was such a relief as dh had signed his work contracts and was due to start within 3 weeks and we still hadn't found a flat. I almost had a breakdown with that move!

awsome I never ventured as far as Köpenik when we lived in Berlin. Your blog brings back so many memories though!!

cakebump we have an english speaking oasis and always have had as dh is Indian (but with a German passport) and I think the Germaniszation of our dc only began in Kindergarden and now my dd aged 12 refuses to speak English at all! They got plenty of the traditional German rhymes, songs and books at the local library and at friend's houses and of course kindergarten. We did all the Laternen Laufen, Nikolaus and traditional Easter/Christmas stuff and a few other celebrations that I can't remember the name of (something to do with a goose and a knight and his cloak?!!)! Oh, and don't forget all the Krabbelgruppen you will be able to join!

Hope you get your insurance things sorted and you get plenty of toursits in your restaurant.

alice I'm also looking forward to the routine again. Roll on 3rd of September!

NoHun how about trying to make a fireplace out of cardboard and then painting it? I made one years and years ago for exactly the same reason as you (from an idea in a French magazine) - if I can find the instructions would you be interested? I think I might have kept them as there was some great recipes and craft ideas in it too.

antique lol at the postman story! Atleast you managed to get your shorts on!! dd's flapjacks were amazing. She mixed oats, cornflakes, almond flakes, chocolate chips and ground hazelnuts and added some peanut butter to the mixture with the melted marge and honey. Came out really tasty!

Wave to everyone else, great that the thread has so many new members! I knew there were more of us on MN!! Welcome back Linzer, great that the Germany trip went well and the meeting with ploom and cheaspicks was good. What did you get around to seeing in Hannover then?

admylin Sun 26-Aug-12 11:28:36

NoHun look at these ideas voilą and

step by step something like this might be OK and fun to make with ds! Could be some English versions somewhere online too.

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 11:47:57

Thanks admylin DH is viewing a place this afternoon so fingers crossed it will work out.

CakeBump Sun 26-Aug-12 12:15:53

Thanks for the advice admylin and English

English are you sure you're not me? smile My DH is also not identifiable to anyone from the UK as German - he actually speaks "Aussie" English as he has spent quite a lot of time out there and has picked up a lot of the slang and the accent. It's most odd, although I suppose I should be thankful he didn't pick up the Geordie twang from his time living in the North East!

We're also very rural and very "immersed" ie no-one in the village speaks English except us. I think I'll give serious consideration to having English as our "family language" including when DH speaks to the baby. Thanks x

wanting good luck this afternoon.... smile

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 13:02:24

Thanks cakebumpthanks

AliceIsOffToTea Sun 26-Aug-12 13:46:45

our dog is spoken to in English and German

she obeys neither

admylin Sun 26-Aug-12 13:51:55

Lol alice - dd's gerbils are bilingual too. Not sure if the listen to either langauage!

Just going to start lunch - where does the time go, we never manage to have 'normal' mealtimes!

admylin Sun 26-Aug-12 13:55:53

wanting hope the flat is good! Have you got your Mietschuldenfreiheitbescheinigung (cool word)? That was one of the biggest pains when we were searching as we never had the right amount of documents with us! Every place we looked at wanted different papers or wanted to send us across town to fill in forms somewhere.

AliceIsOffToTea Sun 26-Aug-12 14:08:17


I made garlic flatbread twas yum

We have a large, elderly English rabbit (from the RSPCA, came over with us in the hired removal lorry) and a German rabbit ("rescued" by FIL from an ex colleague who had got a cat and no longer wanted the rabbit) - they live together happily and have been doing for nearly 5 years, but I am not sure what language they speak grin )

AliceIsOffToTea Sun 26-Aug-12 15:39:45

we have a rabbit too

he flew

CakeBump Sun 26-Aug-12 16:29:48

I have a multilingual dog who in his short 5 year life has been spoken to in Danish, English, Welsh and German....

Yup, he ignores me in all 4 languages smile

itsMYNutella Sun 26-Aug-12 17:11:02

Blimey! Haven't you all been busy without me smile
Cakebump I've been trying hard to keep up with the Dec thread, but now this one has become busy I'm going to have to just pop in there now and again wink altogether some of the tips have been very handy. As a first timer with limited access to other "normal"- ish mothers.

English I had rabbits as a kid, I don't know why, I didn't want rabbits (I guess my mum or dad did...) and they really weren't nice sad I would have preferred another cat.
But we did go through a bit of a zoo as kids: 2 rabbits, 3 cats, 3 terrapins, many fish, snake, 2 rats, hamster and a dog - a beagle, he definitely only spoke Mum's language, wasn't interested in what anyone else wanted him to do smile

Love the post and story antique! I went through a phase of almost daily accepting a package for neighbours from our DHL man... He was very happy for me when he finally brought a packet for me smile he seems a nice friendly man but always manages to ring when I'm about to step in the shower - ie I'm naked!

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 17:23:02

DH has just come back from viewing a house. He said it was pretty much perfect but the big snag is its not available untill november/december maybe even later as the tenant is looking for somewhere to buy but hasnt found anywhere yet. Its so disapointing as we need to move asap because this place is expensive and DHs work is paying the rent but only for 3 months which runs out october. Also all our things are in storage which we obviously have to pay for and to be honest we need our things. The DDs are moaning all the time cause they dont have their things.
Oh well back to square one. Sorry for the long rant.

Nutella we got the rabbits when the kids were too young to really have an opinion - DD was about 10 months and the boys not born when we got the first, and the 2nd was an accidental acquisition, although we had been advised by the RSPCA to get him a female companion smile When we go on holidays we ask friends of the kids (and their mums) to look after the rabbits - and now both the families we ask have rabbits too! They are a little bit of a cop out pet as they are less work than dogs (not sure if they are less work than cats). My parents always had dogs and cats, but they over indulge them and feed them rich tit-bits they shouldn't have, leading to them being rather unpleasantly smelly hmm so they put me off getting dogs and cats. DD wants a dog though, and we foolishly told her when she was 4 that she could have one when she was 8 - and that is fast approaching now! shock My parents also had chickens and decided it would be "good for" us children to be responsible for them - skidding on frozen chicken sh** in their run on the way to break the ice on their drinking water early on winter mornings before school is an abiding childhood memory I don't relish - I always think "Don't do it" when people think getting a few chickens is a lovely idea!

wanting more that is frustrating - it is very hard finding places available immediately, which si part of the reason we ended up living way out in the sticks in a tiny village/ hamlet I had said a condition of moving here was that I wanted to be in a proper small town...

itsMYNutella Sun 26-Aug-12 17:54:26

Englishwoman ahahahahahahahaha! Ahem, so sorry, but I can imagine skidding on chicken shit would stay with you a long time!

Wanting ah, I can understand your problem, usually here you have to give three months notice before you move out so you might find this problem quite often if there are people in a property. Also I know it's rubbish being without your things, when I first moved here we knew we would be moving again soon from south to north (about 500kn) so didn't move all my stuff south and I had to live without it for a bit over 7months in the end. Was really frustrating!

Will keep my fingers crossed for you!!
Is there a local paper where you can place an advert? Do you know someone who could help you with that and perhaps taking phone calls?

admylin Sun 26-Aug-12 18:16:54

wantingmore I would have thought being able to move in short notice could also be an advantage as alot of people are looking for Nachmieter if they already have something else and so want to avoid a month or two of paying double rent. Try walking around the neighbourhood where yu would like to live and see if there are any signs on doors or as nutella said place an ad.

Have you had any more luck with new places yet nutella?

english lol at getting your dd a dog when she's 8!! Dd wants one too and dh said if she gets a grade 1 in maths she can have one and that's never going to happen at this school (even the genius dc in dd's class only got a 2) so he was very clever/evil to have thought that one up!

itsMYNutella Sun 26-Aug-12 18:24:44

Our ad finished yesterday in the paper Admylin from the lack of response this time around I'm guessing people are busy on holiday or coming back from holiday....
But, a small flicker of hope! We're off to look at a place in Nordstadt as soon as possible... Although no idea when we might actually move in. Flat isn't available until the start of November (at the very earliest) and the electrics need doing so... The owner sounds reasonably flexible.. If we move in after the electrics are renewed and we can physically manage it I'm guessing February....after bean's arrival...

wantingmore Sun 26-Aug-12 19:42:15

Thanks for the advice admylin and nutella. I will give it a go.
nutella hope your place works out.

NoHunIntended Mon 27-Aug-12 00:35:34

Fair enough, Ploom, I think I just don't write anything interesting enough to be bothered if people find me on here! smile
Thanks anyway re the fireplace!

admylin, great idea, and DH has already offered to make a cardboard one. But did it really look good? Do you have photos of yours? Thanks for the links, not bad! You are very sweet to find those for me. Thank you.
I think the small Amazon one is a close fit, but I will keep searching for now, or have DH make his cardboard one and see how good it is. I am a bit fussy! smile

awesome, hi! Nice blog, I will attempt to read it more when I have some time!

Alice, are you new or a namechanger? (I am using all my strength not to say 'Who The Fck is Alice?'! smile) I really am not keeping up now, this thread moves so fast! Hi either way!

wantingmore, that sucks about the house. I hope you land on your feet soon.

NoHunIntended Mon 27-Aug-12 00:36:17

Oh dear, my f * c k didn't work. smile

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 07:13:36

Aargh, just lost a long post when my battery suddenly died. I don't have time (or the energy) to type it all out again, so a quick summary:

NoHun I know that I'm probably instantly recognisable to anyone who knows me, so just make sure that I don't post anything that I wouldn't mind RL friends or even acquaintances reading. And am just keeping my fingers crossed that my ILs don't discover MN!

Anyway, for those who don't know me, I live in Austria with Austrian DH and our three DC (6, 8 and 10); I've been here for nine years and also lived in Germany for four years.

wanting / Nutella Good luck with the house/flat hunting!

admylin We didn't actually see anything of Hannover as we only spent one full day with our friends and they now live nearer to Nien burg than Hannover. DH and I both thought how English it looked in that area, although our friends didn't think so at all so it's obviously just in comparison with Austria!

EnglishWoman My parents were the exact opposite when it came to pets; we only ever had gerbils and they weren't replaced when they died as the novelty wore off after a few weeks and my mum ended up having to look after them.

Alice Hello, long time no see! You'd be welcome to come over this week if you can get here.

Cake The only time my DH was ever mistaken for an Australian (on a surprisingly regular basis) was when we lived in the USA - and it wasn't because of his accent. grin And the only nursery rhyme etc. he knows is Alle meine Entlein (which I don't remember him ever singing to the DC).

Ploom At least you have English as your family language. If we're all together, the main language is German - I do still use English if I'm addressing the DC directly, but speak German if it's a family discussion. Not unconnected to that, I don't think the DC hear enough English conversation - but am not sure about exposing them to DH's accent more than is absolutely necessary. grin

awesome I didn't realise Köpenick was so unfriendly; I used to have a good friend there when I was au pairing in Berlin, but I suppose I didn't actually spend a lot of time in Köpenick itself. I came across my fair share of "direct" Germans when we lived there, but it sounds like your experience is far worse.

Bertie Good luck with your visit! I had a look at your thread, but am not much help as I haven't travelled by train in Germany for years. There's definitely a difference between ICE and IC trains, though (ICE are Intercity Express and are much faster); the ICE supplement used to be twice as much as the IC supplement, but that may well have changed.

Antique grin at your latest postman-related incident!

So much for a quick summary! Really must go as DS has decided he wants to go to KiGa today, much to my surprise; I'd registered him this week, but expected him to want to stay home with the DDs. Apologies to anyone I've missed out!

wantingmore Mon 27-Aug-12 07:26:14

Thanks NoHun me too. Hope you manage to get your fireplace sorted.

Hi LinzerTorte thanks for the good luck wishes. Hope your DS has fun at kiga today.

wantingmore Mon 27-Aug-12 07:49:09

Hope everyone had a good weekend.
We went on an hour tourist boat trip but never again. I get travel sick so took a tablet before hand but still felt really sick so didnt enjoy it at all!! DDs and DH loved it though.
If any one is on fb and wants to add me judt PM me and let me know.
Have a good day everyone&#9829;

wantingmore Mon 27-Aug-12 07:50:04

Sorry not sure where those last numbers came from

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 08:08:52

Poor you wanting, that must have been horrible. I used to hate travelling by car as my brother used to get very car sick - it was probably worse for him, admittedly! I'm not sure whether I was already emetophobic back then or whether that was what triggered it.

DS went into KiGa quite happily and I've just dropped the DDs off at DD1's dyslexia tutor (who offers general school preparation during the summer holidays, which DD2 is always desperate to go to and which are very cheap) so I now have to go shopping as we've got virtually no food in the house.

admylin Mon 27-Aug-12 08:25:05

Linzer that's a good idea to get them back into the way of things! I bet it will hit my 2 really hard next Monday when they have to get up at 6:30am again but sitting and concentrating all morning will be the biggest challenge. Ds has already said he thinks he might start having a coffee before he goes out and dd wants me to get her energy drinks (and I won't be getting them) but I told her a healthy breakfast and plenty to drink should do the same trick!

Wanting sorry you couldn't enjoy the boat trip. Travel sickness is awful. My dd needs tablets even for flying as she starts to get ill as soon as teh engines start up. Does your dh's employer not offer any help with flat hunting?

wantingmore Mon 27-Aug-12 08:27:12

Linzer sorry about the emetophobia i should have thought before posting what i did.
Thats good Ds went happily and the Dds have somewhere to go too thats cheap. I cant wait for DD1 to start school and DD2 to kita they are driving me mad.
Have fun shopping. We have to go get some food shopping too later.

Eeek Linzer school preparation classes! Tell me that's an Austrian thing please??! Getting up in time shouldn't be a problem for my kids, though DD has achieved sleeping in til almost 8am a couple of times since we got home from London, which is a huge lie in by my kids' standards... but getting used to the structure again might be - we still have another 2.5 weeks off though, and will be away on holiday for 9 days of it.

Wanting sorry your boat trip was no fun - guess your DH should take the kids next time and you can sit in a cafe having some peace smile

I was up most of the night with coughing/ wriggling/ vomiting/ unhappy toddler - its just a heavy cold (in August...) but he's miserable with it (and misery loves company, especially between 11pm and 6am apparently) so am downgrading today to a home day, seeing as I can in the holidays, though doubtless the big 2 will have friends turn up in half an hour or so, so I really should get properly dressed...

My kids are 6 (nearly 7, just finished 1st Klasse), 4 (nearly 5, at Kindergarten) and 16 months (home with me) and we live in Bavaria. I dislike the idea of a role call mainly because I know of people who read MN and would recognise me and am not always sure I like the idea of being "spotted" - I'd mainly hate the idea of my mother reading it (though if she didn't like what she read she'd manage not to recognise it as me even if I typed the full names, addresses and dates of birth of the whole extended family I suspect)

Ploom Mon 27-Aug-12 09:01:46

oh "englishwoman" - that sounds like you've had a rough night sad. Can you not send the older 2 to someone else to play rather than them all coming to you today?? Hope you get some rest. My boys have also not mastered the longer sleeping thing regardless of when they go to bed. DD on the other hand is turning it into an art form - she's not been getting up till 11am!!!!! Its driving me mad cause she doesnt want lunch when we eat cause she's just had breakfast. Think I'm going to wake her in a moment only so that I can reclaim my evenings a bit. Hope you have a good holiday - where are you off to?

linzer - school preparation classes? how did you manage to sell that one to the girls?? Glad ds went to kiga - just one less for a morning makes life a bit easier.

wanting - aw that was sad that the boat trip was no fun for you. Life seems really tricky for you at the moment. How do your dc feel about the possibility about going into german schools? Do they speak any German? Hope you get some good news about schools and flats soon.

admylin - are the school holidays in your area a bit later this year? Your 2 are definite teenagers now if they're looking for extra help to keep awake. When did they start drinking coffee? dd has never shown any interest in tea or coffee despite us drinking them regularly.

nutella - you dont seem to having much luck with flats either. Would be quite stressful to move with a tiny baby in tow - well its always stressful so maybe a portable tiny baby would be a good excuse to get your dh to do it all wink.

As much as I didnt enjoy the heat of last week, I wasnt impressed with our day of non-stop rain yesterday. We didnt go out all day. Thankfully ds2 got a new wii game for his birthday so that and his other birthday presents kept them occupied. But the weather looks better this morning so think the dogs boys need some running about outside today wink. also need to crack on this week with getting the last bits of school stationary for ds2 and all that ds1 needs. Ds2 needs blackboard pencils confused in green and yellow. Managed to find the yellow one but no one has a green one. But went into another shop in the town where the school is on saturday and the woman said they would order a box since there would obv be 18 or 19 other dc needing one too. Why do the school not think of speaking to the local shops before the write their lists. (this is my only bug bear about schools here - would be happier to give the school 50€ and they could buy it all themselves!)

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 10:22:18

We have food again and, more importantly, I have a coffee. grin The girls disappeared over to the neighbours as soon as we got home (who phoned up when we were out wanting to know when we'd be back), so it's strangely quiet here... good preparation for school next week (for me!).

Ploom Blackboard pencils are a new one on me; how much writing/drawing on the blackboard are they all going to be doing?!? They seem to introduce something new onto the lists every year just to confuse me, although at least we've never had any problems getting hold of things.

EnglishWoman Sympathies on your broken night, but well done to your DD on her lie-ins! My three have been regularly getting up at between 6 and 7 am throughout the holidays - right up until today, when DS and DD2 didn't get up until nearly 8 am and I had to wake DD1 at 8.15 am. Just typical; the only time we have to be somewhere by a certain time is the only time they lie in!

Re school preparation, DD1's dyslexia tutor has always offered more general lessons in the last three weeks of the holidays, and DD1 does seem to benefit from doing regular work outside school (even if I do complain a lot about the extra work that DH does with her). DD2 is always quite upset that she can't go to DD1's dyslexia lessons hmm and loves being "allowed" to go with her in the summer, although we're rarely here to send them for more than a week (they're going three times this week, for an hour each time). I wouldn't send DD2 if she was on her own but the two of them love going together and I think it's good for DD1 not to go on her own for once (she must see how much extra work DH does with her and how little he normally does with DD2).

It's fairly common for school children here to do Ferienhefte in the summer holidays; we've tried to get the DDs to do a page of German and a page of maths every day, although it's not always realistic. DD2 actually finished her maths book a few weeks ago but as usual, it's a little more difficult to motivate DD1. It generally seems to be recommended to give children the whole of July off and then get them used to doing bits of school work throughout August so that they build up gradually by September. I remember hearing on the radio not long ago that the summer holidays are far too long and children really need to go back to school after seven or eight weeks as otherwise they really struggle with their concentration when they do go back. I can't see the holidays becoming shorter any time soon, though - they're too long in the summer, and too short the rest of the year.

wanting I know exactly how you feel; I remember being driven mad one August when the DC were at home with me for weeks on end, we had nothing planned and there was no one else around (they could have gone to KiGa but, in a moment of madness, I'd decided to enrol them only in July - when we ended up not being here hmm). Ever since then, I've tried to make sure that I've planned the holidays a bit better and the last few summers have actually gone by really quickly, despite the fact that school is closed for nine weeks.

No need to apologise re the sickness btw; I have no problems reading about it, just wouldn't particularly want to be there!

admylin Yes, I think that having to sit and concentrate all morning will be the biggest challenge here too. Do your DC have a full morning at school straight away or do they build up to it gradually over the week like they do here? (I thought it might be different once they get to secondary school but no, DD1 has one hour on her first day, two hours on her second...)

admylin Mon 27-Aug-12 10:49:45

ploom never heard of blackboard pencils either! What's wrong with them using good old fashioned chalk provided by the school?

english hope your ds feels better soon.

Linzer no gentle start here, last year they went back and ds didn't turn up home until 3:30pm. I won't know when they'll be home as the new timetable could be until 1pm, 3pm or if they're lucky around 11ish on that day. Guess I'll just plan to be around between those times!

cheaspicks Mon 27-Aug-12 13:25:01

I was about to start writing a post before and then the kitchen fitters rang asking if they could come and photograph the kitchen shock, so obviously I had to do some remedial cleaning first! They don't know when they'll manage to come, though, so I'll have to keep it clean and tidy all week <pita>.

Linzer I also really enjoyed our meet-up last week, even if it wasn't a terribly long one. Maybe we will have to resurrect the Norfolk barn plan grin.

If it helps you or anyone else to remember my new nn, here's the story behind it: DD was helping me make hoummous last week - putting the ingredients in the food processor and so on, then she ran away when I switched it on because she doesn't like the noise. The next day she was eating the hoummous for lunch and suddenly asked "where are the cheas picks?" I know it's rather bleurgh and un-MNetty to have a cute child story behind one's nn, but I'd been wanting to namechange for a while and couldn't think of anything better!

CakeBump as ploom said, dh speaks English to dd, too, despite not being a native speaker and making some awful mistakes. We intended to do OPOL, but when dd was born dh found himself speaking English to her automatically, so we left it. My IL live in the same town and they've always done a lot of child care, so dd hasn't missed out on German nursery rhymes or ever seemed to be struggling with German. I am surprised that her German still hasn't become better than her English after a year at kiga. I guess as she starts to play co-operatively with the other children she will improve more rapidly.

As EnglishWoman said, it's the best solution for us, in our situation. There are people who believe that each parent must speak their native language or the child's linguistic development will be severely impaired (look on the bilingualism board), but I think the real key is consistency. An American friend of mine took her then 1yo ds to the States for a year (where she spoke German to him to keep it up) and then moved back here (and switched back to English). He has now (age 9) been diagnosed with some sort of language problem, which his speech therapist suspects is related to the multiple moves at a critical stage of language development, but they can't be sure - and he has ADHD as well, so who knows.

Does anyone (*admylin*, perhaps) know how to harvest coriander seeds? My coriander plants grew amazingly well this summer and now they are covered in seeds. Do I take them off while they are green and dry them somehow, or leave them on the plants for them to dry? I want to re-sow them rather than eat them!

Hello to everyone else!

I guess it is kind of an Austrian thing then Linzer as here in Bayern we only get just over 6 weeks holiday - we couldn't give them July off as they didn't break up til 31st July smile We go back on 13th Sept. I haven't made DD do a single bit of school type work all holiday smile She has only just finished 1st class though, I'm sure there will be holiday homework in later years, and I guess if anything negative is said next parents evening I may have to re-think! I love the break from homework though, I'm sure DD would be utterly sick of school and stage huge rebellions if I made her do homework in the holidays too - I know I would have, and it's hard enough making her do it in term time! DD's English reading has come on well in the break from school though - purely by chance but I think sometimes a break from focussed work helps, as I got a bundle of English books from the English bookswapper website I use, and when they arrived she just picked one out and read it - she has always loved being read to and loved writing her own stories since about age 4.5, but she is reluctant to read books by herself, I think for fear of making mistakes (I never really pull her up on mistakes in her writing but have done on reading when she randomly guesses totally the wrong words), but suddenly she's reading unfamiliar (age appropriate) English books pretty fluently at first sight, which is excellent smile

DD's friend called and she went off to her house down the road - then 5 mins after she left another of her friends called (one she's only seen once this holiday as she lives far enough away to need to be taken and fetched, so I booked her in for tomorrow smile ) so I've just had the boys since 10am. DS2 has been coughing and miserable and I just couldn't get him to nap, so I took them for a walk (DS1 on his bike) and DS2 grizzled on and off for a couple of km, fell asleep for 10 mins, coughed himself awake as soon as we stopped for DS1 to have a play in a playground, and stayed awake all the way home, but has been surprisingly cheerful since... obviously some fresh air and a 10 min nap compensate for a very bad night's sleep if you are 16 months old... The walk cleared my head but I'd rather have a couple of hours nap, or at least have washed the floors while DS2 napped, they are a state but washing floors with an awake toddler is an exercise in futility.

Oh DD has to have 2 blackboard pencils, did last year and has to again for 2nd class - pencil thickness, so chalk wouldn't do at all - for writing on her own little blackboard (30cm by 15cm ish) but I thought that was specific to the youngest children for handwriting practice and holding up the answers to quick fire maths questions, then wiping it clean for the next exercise... I do see the point (English school kids sometimes have wipe clean white boards for the same purpose, but of course they belong to and are handed out by the school in that case). Luckily DD has only needed white blackboard pencils, which are easily found in the stationary shops - I've never seen other colours.

cheaspicks nns with a story behind them are a good thing, I think this type of thread is not very typical of the rest of mn anyway... I don't think my kids' German is better than their English even now, and DD did 3 years of Kindergarten and a year of school and definitely plays co-operatively smile It is hard to tell though for me, as both DD and DS1 speak better German than I do blush .

I think what language you read to them/ later they read for pleasure in makes a difference, as that is where they get most of their more extensive passive vocabulary - for that reason I wish DH would read to them in German, but he rarely does though they have lots of German books, I just have to hope they'll read novels etc. in German as well as English as they get a bit older, or maybe think of getting a decent German broadsheet or non-trashy "Educational" magazine subscription in German - I have had flyers for the educational type magazines in the past I think but they seem redundant for non readers, might be worth it for DD now or soon though... Any ideas on that Linzer, Admylin*, Ploom or anyone else with school age kids? What do you do to keep your kids German vocabulary expanding beyond the everyday?

Ploom Mon 27-Aug-12 13:58:16

englishwoman - my dd gets a tierfreunde magazine delivered every month. Its got facts about animals along with a poster every month. She's been getting it for a few years and still looks forward to it. Just looked in her latest one and the website is here. Seems like there's loads of different ones on that website.

admylin Mon 27-Aug-12 13:59:28

english my dd's German vocab improved alot when she started borrowing German cds from the library. She listened to the whole Der kleine Vampir series by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg and the Pumuckl collection at bedtime or when she was playing in her room she'd always put a story on her cd player. The classics are really nice like Der Kleine Wasserman, Die kleine Hexe and any of the Otfried Preußler books for that age. My 2 also went through a phase of listening to the Kinder Bibel on cd - we're not religious at all but I thought the vocab wouldn't do them any harm!!

cheaspicks I've never managed to grow coriander but the seeds are abit green anyway so I would pick and dry now. My only success in growing anything was mustard - so it must be more like a weed if I managed it! Cute name story!

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 14:27:08

EnglishWoman Yes, I think reading is so important. I try to read to the DC every night (we're reading Charlotte's Web at the moment), but it drives me mad when they (DD1 mainly) play with something else/look at another book/don't really listen; they like me to ask them questions at the end of every page/chapter, though, so that motivates them to concentrate. grin DD2 often tells DD1 "It's good to hear English" if she's not listening! Unfortunately, DH rarely reads to them and when he does, he races through at such a speed that you can barely follow him. DD1 does at least read in German (she rarely reads books in English), so I suppose that's one of the main ways in which she expands her vocabulary, although it's more books (Magisches Baumhaus, Gregs Tagebuch, Die drei ???, etc.). They get given educational magazines at school every month or so (well, we have to pay for them), which look pretty good but I think they're both Austrian. DD2 reads books in both languages (and I've just subscribed to Aquila for both of them - an educational magazine that I saw recommended on MN, but in English) and it's helped tremendously with her English spelling.

cheaspicks (I keep wanting to write Chesaspeake! love the story behind your nn) I think DD1's English was still better than her German at the end of her first year at KiGa; in fact, I think her German really only overtook her English at about the time she started school. DD2 says she prefers speaking English (but she's very attached to me, so I suspect that's why), whereas I think the other two prefer German and their German is better than their English. I suppose it's more or less inevitable, as it's the language that all their friends speak and I'm well aware that they probably speak English more like a 30-40 year old than a 6/8/10 year old as I'm their only source of English. (They sometimes come out with things that make them sound a little "old beyond their years". grin)

admylin Wow, that's a long day considering they must have had an early start. The first day here is little more than a church service and they finish earlier every day on the last day of the school year too, so it's almost like 11 weeks of summer holidays rather than 9.

Had a bit of a shock earlier when I noticed that I had a new e-mail reminding me the DC had a dentist's appointment in ten minutes! (I get an e-mail reminder if I enter an appointment in my phone; not quite sure how, but I'm not complaining!) Luckily I managed to herd them up, send the neighbours' DC back home and get there in about 15 minutes, and we had another 20 minutes to wait then anyway. The dentist said that DD1 isn't cleaning her teeth thoroughly enough so I've got to go back to nachputzing (I sound like one of the DC). Sigh.

cheaspicks Mon 27-Aug-12 14:59:12

Linzer grin at your dc speaking like 30/40 year olds. DD told me yesterday that "Felix is a super little boy"! I don't actually know who Felix is, and it's not the sort of thing I can imagine myself saying, but where else would she get it from? confused

Muppet forgot to say before that I lol at your postman story. I've been there so many times, trying to get dressed between buzzing them into the building and opening the door to them! My fault for ordering so much online, I suppose.

AntiqueMuppet Mon 27-Aug-12 15:25:09

cheaspicks Love the cute nn story! Online shopping is a godsend these days - especially now DS has reached the stage of grabbing everything within reach of the buggy and smearing it all with biscuit or something equally lovely
How is the house?

Linzer I had to laugh at your DC speaking English like 30-40 year olds! Is your DS looking forward to the Vorschulklasse?

TheEnglishWoman Sorry your DS2 isn't feeling well. I hope it passes soon and he gives you at least a few hours uninterrupted sleep.

NoHun Good luck with the fireplace hunt!

admylin I hadn't thought about borrowing CDs from the library but it sounds like a really good idea. I'll bear it in mind for when DS is a bit older. He loves sitting and having (very short) stories read to him at the moment. Hope your DC manage the early mornings without coffee & energy drinks!

Ploom I'd never heard of blackboard pencils either. Did you manage to get your boys out for a run around in the fresh air today?

wantingmore Sorry your boat trip didn't go so well.

Nutella Good luck with the flat hunt. We're off to look at one tomorrow night. It's actually a really impractical time to be thinking of moving but this flat sounds amazing, is bigger and cheaper than our current flat, has a balcony & a shared garden so I'd be quite prepared to dip (quite deeply) into the savings for deposiit, agency fees etc. I just need to convince DH (and find someone to move into this flat so we can get out of the contract). Not unrealistic at all then... hmm

Cheaspicks I think "super" is more a carry over from German than Enid Blighton English - it's one DS uses occasionally but he says zooper!

We have English freeview TV which is bad for me in terms of not watching any German TV to improve my German (though the kids watch Kika and Super RTL sometimes) but I think it is good to keep the kids English "real" (man grin) - the opposite end of the spectrum to the bedtime stories to expand their more advanced/ literary vocab!

Thanks for the magazine recommendations, will investigate - ds2 a misery again so off now!

Ploom Mon 27-Aug-12 15:42:39

Ok i've had enough - i've taken the dc to the village playground & left them there & come home for some me time! Dd is beyond lazy these holidays & moaned the whole time about going out but I just ignored her and made her go out. We've got nice plans tomorrow with cheaspicks and we're busy weds & thurs but i think i dont cope well when we've got days with no plans. (moan over!!)

I think my boys speak 1940's English too & it bugs me. I read to them like we all do but it doesnt seem to be making the situation any better. Wonder if it'll improve as our dc get older??

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 15:48:43

EnglishWoman The DC watch too much plenty of CBeebies, CBBC, CITV, etc., but I still don't think it's the same as them talking to children from the UK. They do pick up some funny phrases from children's programmes, though; DD2 went through a stage of saying, "It's been a marvellous day!" (can't remember where that was from) and DS kept telling me, "No need to panic!" (Daddy Pig).

Antique Hope the flat viewing goes well; it does sound lovely. Yes, I think DS is looking forward to starting school next week, although mainly because his best friend is going to be in the same class as him. I'm not sure whether he really knows what to expect otherwise (I'm not sure I do, having never had a child in the Vorschulklasse before!).

cheas grin at your DD. I tend to overuse super, although in German rather than English. I need to find some alternatives, but won't use toll as I'm now neurotic about how I pronounce l at the end of words thanks to DD2 pointing out my hysterically funny pronunciation of it. hmm

LinzerTorte Mon 27-Aug-12 15:51:00

Ploom Possibly not, but maybe it will become less noticeable as they get older. grin Which reminds me, I asked DS a question the other day and he replied, "Hmm, possibly". 6 going on 60!

Ploom Mon 27-Aug-12 16:21:07

englishwoman - thats exactly the same blackboard stuff that ds2 needs (plus more colours). But a friend's dd has just done the 2nd class so she's going to give me the blackboard to save me buying a new one.

antique - that flat sounds good. Hope it all works out.

linzer - my pronuncuation of lots of words in German isnt great so I hadnt particularly noticed the "l" at the end being wrong too! I also use super lots - in English as well. blush

itsMYNutella Mon 27-Aug-12 18:25:32

Hello all! grin
Ploom and Linzer I really try not to worry about my pronunciation (although I've been learning German for less than two years.... and some days it seems like I've given up on Grammar and pron) but I am sure I'll be the same if my DC think I'm hilarious blush. I was very grateful Linzer for your comment that you were told those that sound Dutch are good German speakers smile
... although I'm not totally convinced hmm <cynical sceptic with strange Dutch accent>

Trying to soak up all the tips about speaking / reading English with the DC... It's really started giving me a good poking at bedtimes now... Also feel it at times during the day. Oh and DP got his first feel a few days ago smile he thinks it's amazing.
Even though I did turn into an emotional, hormonal mess on Saturday <eye roll at the crazyer woman I have become>
We're still trying to figure out where to go on holiday, I think we'll start with an overnight trip to Hamburg and then onto Denmark for real chips because I've not been there yet smile

Good luck with the flat viewing/moving Antique! And I hope you have some luck soon wanting!

wantingmore Mon 27-Aug-12 21:14:44

admylin thanks. DH employer didnt originally say they would help us flat hunt but then at the end of last week HR got in contact with him and said they have a real estate agent attached to work who will help. wish they had of told us sooner although we still have to look as well as he said he couldnt find anything. so we will see what happens there.

English sounds like a good idea to me smile. Hope your Ds is feeling better and has a better nights sleep. Its great your DDs English reading has come on so well.

Ploom yes it is quite tricky at the moment. No DDs dont speak any German at all. DD1 is a bit anxious about it but also a bit excited too. I think she cant wait to make some friends here. DD2 isnt happy at all because she cant start school untill next year where as in UK she would be going in to Y1 in september. so she has been in school for a year and just loves it. she loves reading, writing and just mixing with other kids.
Hope your dogs and boys had a good run about today.

Linzer That sounds like a good idea to plan out the holidays. I will definately try that next year. It was lucky you got that email reminder about the dentist. I really need to bring DD1 to the dentist. I will have to look for one near me.

cheaspicks Hope the kittchen fitters come sooner rather than later. Thats a great story behind your nn.

Antique Thank you. Hope the flat you are seeing tomorrow goes well and you can convince DH about it. Where in Germany do you live now?

Nutella Thank you. Thats lovely your DP got his first feel of Dc. It is amazing. When are you planing on going on holiday?

Hello to everyone else and hope you have had a good day.

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 06:47:22

Morning all,

I've come to the conclusion that the DC sleep much better (longer!) at home and with an earlier bedtime, as I've just had to wake the DDs up for the second day running. I really don't like having to wake them in the holidays but the neighbours' DC are due to arrive at 7.30 am (I'm looking after them this morning while their mum is at work) and the DC all wanted to be up before they got here.

Ploom I've noticed English-speaking friends here using super (in English) much more than I think they would if it weren't for the German influence. And I had no idea I pronounced l in a strange way until DD2 started laughing at my pronunciation of egal (though I've just tried it out on her again and asked her if she found it funny, and she said "a bit, but not so much" grin).

Nutella Those kicks are an amazing feeling, aren't they? And I think emotional and hormonal are quite normal. grin
I can well believe that English speakers whose German is very good can sound Dutch, as it always sounds halfway between English and German to me. The friend who told me definitely spoke good German (he was studying it) - and then he came back from his year abroad in Austria speaking with a funny accent and using strange words in seminars (I remember Jänner for some reason). It was quite amusing at the time, but I'm laughing on the other side of my face now - he would probably be the one laughing at me as he now lives in Germany. grin

wanting It must be difficult for your DD to have to go from being at school to being "back" at Kindergarten, although probably good from a language point of view. I wish they did a little more reading and writing at KiGa for those who are interested, but they aren't even allowed to here; it's all about playing, which is fair enough, but the children don't have to do anything they don't want to and I'm sure that starting school must come as a huge shock to the system to quite a few, as they then have to sit and concentrate for hours on end.

admylin Tue 28-Aug-12 07:39:56

Linzer hope the babysitting goes well. How long have you got them for?

wantingmore great that the employer atleast offered to help. Good luck. Have you got used to the transport system in Berlin yet? I liked the trams in Berlin Mitte but was always a nervous wreck when the dc went on school daytrips on the UBahn (country girl) but I got used to it!

Nutella enjoy the holiday. Must be nice to just jump in the car and take off somewhere (thinks back to the good old days)! Hope the hormones settle down soon.

Antique hope you get the flat! It's so expensive to move isn't it? We're more or less stuck where we are until dh gets a promotion or a job elsewhere. MyHammer.de is good for cheap removal firms by the way. I've had really good deals.

Ploom lol at 1940 english! My 2 used to speak 1900 colonial English with a slight Indian touch mixed with my northern accent. Luckily it has evened out and they have lost the colonial Indian bit and have toned down the northern part so are quite neutral! To my blush I have said Handy instead of mobile when back in the UK. People just looked at me as if their hearing had gone or something.

My first session of physio today for my shoulder. Hope it isn't some brutal rough person who is going to yank my arm around or worse (wimp) and I've still got a massive bruise from the injection that didn't really make much difference.

Linzer my pronunciation overall is pants (DH told me about a year ago that when I said the word for daughter it sounded like the word for dead person shock so now I just say Meine Kind oder Meine Grosses Mädchen - OK or sometimes Mädel grin sad ) but I just tried "egal" on DD and first she said it sounded "normal" but then when she asked why and I explained she asked me to say it again and laughed ... so who knows!

I think Kindergartens must vary because I wouldn't say DS's is just play - there are very definite learning aims and he is "strongly encouraged" to sit in a group of 2-5 children his age with a teacher at various times to concentrate on specific tasks - I think its a very Montessori type approach where when a child is developmentally ready for a skill to develop they are directed and encouraged to focus on that area. They also build a knowledge base of "Umwelt" type topics - they study geography and history and religion and music and science and life sciences as well as personal development and independence skills, they just don't call it by the subject name, but there is always a topic like "Where food comes from" or "Africa" or "Weather" etc. They also have to sit still and quiet on chairs twice a day for quite some time as a whole class for story time and circle time, and have to put up a hand to contribute and speak in front of the whole class. I don't actually think it is THAT different from Reception class in England, except as you say no Reading, Writing and no explicit written maths (though they do do number skills).

Good luck with the physio admylin !

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 08:05:52

Hope the physio goes well, admylin. DH has just finished a course of 10 sessions for his back and was quite relieved to have it out of the way (mainly because it was eating into his work time), although he thinks it did help (he said the male physios were more effective as they were stronger!).

EnglishWoman Yes, I'm sure that KiGas do vary a lot. Ours has a different topic each year and they do lots of different things with the children (obviously don't leave them on their own to play the whole time, at least not in the mornings; they do in the afternoons as it's Betreuungszeit rather than Bildungszeit). It's really more the huge adjustment from KiGa to school that concerns me - some children cope fine with it, of course, but others don't. Although KiGa is probably fairly similar to reception, once children start school it's very far removed from what I remember of school in the UK - a shorter school day means it's far more concentrated and there's far less downtime (no assemblies, less reading time, etc). Not to mention all the emphasis on grades, but I've written enough on that topic before!

The neighbours' children didn't arrive until 8.30 am, so I was slightly annoyed that I hadn't left the girls to sleep a bit longer - although DS was up anyway and would probably have been pestering me to wake his sisters. I would have been more annoyed if I'd woken them all up early and missed out on an hour of child-free time! <selfish> Their dad is coming at about 11.30-11.45 and bringing pizza (he works nearby so always comes home at lunchtime); I think their mum works until about 1 pm, but I wouldn't mind them staying all day as the children all get on really well together and it's far easier than if I just had my three at home all day.

Yep, I agree 1st Klasse is very different to year 1, more is expected maturity wise and they probably do 2 years worth of academic work in one year despite the school day being half the number of hours! I do think Kindergarten is mostly great though smile and that really the only real difference is the reading and writing, which after all gives us the opportunity to do that at home in English if they show an interest, without the confusion of learning 2 setts of phonics at the same time smile Adjustment to school being a possible issue is why we're going to keep DS1 another year at Kindergarten and not have him start school til he is nearly 7, though DD has done fine going at nearly 6 DS is less mature in a lot of ways than she was at the age he is now - I notice it at his swimming course for example, she had more internal drive, confidence and self reliance I think, emotionally.

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 08:37:07

Yes, that's one of the reasons we're keeping DS back a year too. DD2 coped fine at school, despite having only just turned 6, but DD1 didn't - I really wish I'd known how much pressure children are under at primary school and that there were possible problems with DD1, as I'm sure that keeping her back a year would have done her good. I think the KiGa should have more input into whether a child is ready to start school, but here, it's only decided on the basis of a two-hour Schuleinschreibefest, when children often fall through the net.

A friend of mine was told by the KiGa that her DD rarely finished the preschool worksheets, but they didn't seem to see it as a problem so she wasn't worried. It was only when she started school that her lack of concentration turned out to be a huge problem and she ended up being put back into the Vorschule.

I agree that it's perfectly possible to do reading and writing at home with the child - I did so with DD2. DD1, as I've written before, wasn't too interested and with a newborn DS, I struggled to find the time. I do wonder whether, if they did basic reading and writing with the Vorschulkinder at KiGa, they might have picked something up and I might have realised that she wasn't ready for school. But who knows? I have very mixed feelings about the Austrian schooling system; DD2 is thriving and I'd probably be much more positive about it if I only had her at school. However, DD1's four years at primary school have been a bit of a nightmare - and I know that other parents have faced similar problems, where they had no idea before primary school that their child was going to struggle.

CakeBump Tue 28-Aug-12 08:40:35

Linzer its embarrassing how much I use the word "super" blush

I think it comes from teaching a lot of German children but in English, and super works well in both languages.

I realised how much I said it when the children all started picking it up. I asked one what the new girl was like and got "Oh Katy, yes she's a super girl" from a 6 year old!

Mental note to self - must find another superlative (and not schön because I use that all the time too...)

CakeBump Tue 28-Aug-12 08:44:30

Oh and regarding pronunciation, I thought mine was ok until a couple of my class pupils started asking me to say "zürück" in the playground, then collapsing into giggles every time I did blush .

Didn't help me to feel any better that they were both 6 and tri-lingual.... smile

wantingmore Tue 28-Aug-12 08:54:20

admylin hope the physio goes well and works. I havent been on a tram yet but have been on SBhan. The transport system is a bit different to the UK but its cheaper and better value.

Wow Y1 here sounds alot tougher than Uk. I know that even though DD will hate going back to Kindergarten as you say it will help her with learning German before she starts school (again)

DD2 met an English girl at the park the other day who lives here so we are going to meet up with her today. Now if only DD1 could meet someone.

AntiqueMuppet Tue 28-Aug-12 09:05:26

CakeBump zurückrufen is the most evil word known to man! I just cannot cope with so many u, ü and r next to each other.

My dentist this morning told me I speak German 'akzentfrei', which I was really pleased about (although I hadn't actually said much, and had his hand in my mouth, so think he was just being nice!)

Mmmm lovely clean, post-dentist visit teeth, but desperate for my morning cup of tea. DS has his first ever dentist appointment next week, which I'm quite excited about. He's currently trying to bite my big toe hmm

Ploom Tue 28-Aug-12 09:08:53

Hope the physio goes well admylin - that was my job in the UK but not doing shoulders/backs etc. Really miss it - its a fantastic job to have. (altho dont miss the NHS politics that went along side it!)

I also kept ds1 back till he was nearly 7 before he started school - it was definitely the right decision but wasnt given that choice with ds2 so we'll see how he gets on in September. I agree that the jump from kiga to school seems a massive one and maybe they should all do a Vorschul year in the school as an introduction to school like Reception in the UK??

wantingmore - thats fab about your dd meeting another English girl - hope they become good friends.

cakebump - my pronunciation of "u" and "ü" cause great hilarity in our house so i've given up saying the weather is "schwül" cause i've probably said it wrong and am mortified again!

linzer - agree more dc in the house is often easier. Have fun!

cheaspicks and I are off to the Freibad today - not entirely sure its warm enough but am maybe hoping I can just let the dc play in the water and I can sit on the side and chat!wink.

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 09:17:17

Antique Well done on your Akzentfreiheit! My dentist once asked if I was from Tirol. hmm I don't think I even sound all that Austrian (although I probably do to Germans, and am no doubt in denial about it). And someone once thought I was from Wels (since then, I've put on my best British accent when saying Wales).

wanting Please don't be put off by my scary tales of school; DD1 has dyslexia so would have struggled in any system. Like I said, I would probably be quite positive about the system if I just had DD2 at school.
I found the tram quite scary when I lived in Berlin; even though it was just after reunification, it was still very "East German" and there didn't seem to be any indications of where the stops were. I'm sure it must be much more modern by now!

Cake Let me know if you do find another superlative! I overuse schön too, but it doesn't seem quite as positive as super. I also need an alternative to "echt?" but feel silly using all those I've heard (our neighbour's favourite is "bist du gescheit!").
If it makes you feel any better, I've been corrected by a 4 year old before now. Luckily, my DC tend not to notice most of my mispronunciations and mistakes; I think they're used to my German, and DH corrects me far more than they do.

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 09:20:17

Ploom I always have to think for a few seconds before using schwul/schwül to make sure I use the right one (it took me a good 10 seconds now to remember which is which!).

Yes, a Vorschul year in the school would be an excellent idea - that's what DS is doing, but he's in the minority.

Have fun at the Freibad with cheaspicks!

cheaspicks Tue 28-Aug-12 09:56:04

I always say "feuchtwarm" to avoid saying "schwul/schwül". However I wanted to describe someone as effeminate recently and hesitated so long trying to think of a German word that the person I was speaking to obviously thought I was homophobic blush. "Schwul/schwül" (I still don't know which is which) wouldn't have been quite right anyway, but might have saved the situation.

Someone told me at the weekend that they wouldn't have known I wasn't German if I hadn't been speaking English to DD. I don't know if they actually heard me speaking German, though wink. Anyway DH immediately said, no she doesn't speak akzentfrei, she can't distinguish between u and ü grin.

admylin Tue 28-Aug-12 09:57:09

My dc also laugh at my schwu(ü)le weather and zu(ü)ru(ü)ck as I often can't hear the difference and say it wrong. Dd sits and teaches me but she's very strict and gives up on me for not trying hard enough when I always get it wrong!

We're off to spend more money on last bits and bobs for school and a birthday present for dd's friend then pysio after lunch. ds is off swimming with his friends so I hope it warms up abit or none of them will want to go.

I agree as linzer says if I had only had dd at kindergarden (she loved it) I would have said it was great but ds hated it and couldn't wait to leave. In Berlin if we'd only had dd's teacher I'd have said it was a good school but ds had Pech and had a really bad teacher and rubbish class making me see the school in a more negative light. Thank goodness he's hit it lucky this time around and has a great class.

admylin Tue 28-Aug-12 09:58:36

cheaspicks so glad it isn't only me with u and ü!

Ploom Tue 28-Aug-12 10:04:05

Its me too - have had the same kind of session with dd as you with yours admylin. I hear the difference but cant replicate it exactly and def cant hear it in conversation.blush

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 10:08:34

I must have spent years saying beeindrückend before DH kindly pointed out (with a smirk) that it's actually beeindruckend. I'm just avoiding the word now. grin

cheaspicks Tue 28-Aug-12 10:38:00

Oh yes, "drückend" is another option to describe humid weather, or is it "druckend"...

AntiqueMuppet Tue 28-Aug-12 10:46:52

I'm so glad I'm not the only one with u-ü problems! I just avoid certain words sometimes too and am always scared of the schwul-schwül thing. DH taught me to just really emphasise the ü when talking about the weather to help me remember but I'm not sure it really does help, tbh!

DS is having a nap so I can finally get on and post properly.

Good luck at your physio appointment, admylin. I hope they manage to sort your shoulder out and aren't too rough!

Ploom A friend of mine in the UK is a physio and says exactly the same as you - she loves the job and hates the NHS politics. I think the hospital she works in is quite cliquey too though, which I'm sure doesn't help.

cheaspicks Enjoy the Freibad with Ploom!

Linzer If you come up with an alternative to super and schön do let me know! I'm sure I have a German thesaurus knocking around somewhere so I'll investigate this afternoon at some point. I try to use wirklich sometimes instead of echt, but it's hard to break the echt-habit (and I'm sure I sometimes sound like a teenager with my 'Echt?!' exclamations blush )

wantingmore Have a nice time with your DD and her new English friend.

TheEnglishWoman Is your DS2's cold clearing up? Are you managing to get a bit more sleep?

AntiqueMuppet Tue 28-Aug-12 10:47:52

cheapicks I never seem to get druckend/drückend right either. I think DH is fed up with correcting me on that one!

AntiqueMuppet Tue 28-Aug-12 10:48:30

Oh no hang on, I think I meant drucken/drücken in that last post.

Antique' ds2 is currently asleep on my shoulder, I can't put him down ashe wakes when I do, but at least he's sleeping, and I am multi-tasking "helping" DS1 build a "motor" on his bike, which involves cardboard and clothes pegs... DD is out, though we've banned her from her friend down the road as she's been there too much recently and started getting stroppy about being told to come home for meals! You'd think she was 16 not 6! Doesn't help that the friend is 8 and has 4 teenage siblings and her parents say they prefer dd to be at theirs as otherwise their dd is bored, but their dd is bossy and prefers her house to ours due to ours containg little brothers and rules and no wii ... DD's at a different friends today though.

WhoTheFeckIsAlice Tue 28-Aug-12 11:45:53

Why do things allways go wrong when dh is away confused

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 11:51:42

cheas Ah yes, drückend sounds familiar - although it's part of my passive rather than my active vocab. smile Not sure how helpful it would be as a replacement for schwül, though, given my previous problems with drückend/druckend!

admylin I suppose it's the same everywhere and your personal experiences make you see the school system in a more positive or negative light. I'm reserving judgment on the Austrian school system until DS starts and will come down one way or the other then. grin

Antique I'm now worried that, while the DC sound like 40 year olds, I sound like a teenager constantly saying "echt?" (But I'm not as bad as DH, who has been known to say "cool". grin) A friend of mine says "wirklich wahr?" which I'm not sure I could get away with, but wirklich is a good alternative. I caught DS saying "Bist du deppert!" (also an expression of surprise) the other day, but that's definitely not for me!

Our neighbour is back from work and has offered to take all the DC to the outdoor pool this afternoon. I really don't want to go (and had half-arranged for a friend of DD2's to come over, although it turns out she doesn't want her to come as she'd prefer to play with the neighbours, so I'll have to see if I can swap to another day instead), but I suppose I'll have to as I don't feel I can let her take all five DC (her middle one is going there too, but with another friend) much as I'd like to.

wantingmore Tue 28-Aug-12 18:16:22

Hi Alice hope everything is ok

DD had a really great time at the park today with her new friend. They seem to get on really well which is great.

Linzer did you go to the pool in the end? if so hope you all had a good time.

LinzerTorte Tue 28-Aug-12 18:49:05

Glad your DD had a good time today, wanting; I'm sure that finding a new friend will really help her to settle in.

Alice Have e-mailed you.

We did go to the pool in the end. The first hour was bearable but not my idea of fun; I sat on the edge and supervised (I find the water too cold to go in unless I'm actually swimming, but it was too hot to stand in the sun, so the edge was a good compromise). The second hour was much better; we bought all the DC ice creams and they went off to play in the sand, while we sat in the cafe with a couple of other mothers and chatted. Definitely a teurer Spaß (one of my favourite German phrases) though; with the ice creams and coffee, the two hours at the pool cost us nearly €30.

I listened to my neighbour closely for alternatives to super and echt. She used toll (at the same time as I said "super!"), which I have already ruled out, and "bist du gescheit!" where I would have said "echt?". Am going to try out "bist du gescheit" on DH in a minute.

tadjennyp Tue 28-Aug-12 19:17:12

Hello, haven't posted for ages as the really long summer holidays here in America have been so busy. Hello to all the newcomers. Hope you all settle into MN/Germany really quickly. I post here because all the thread members are really friendly and welcoming and I am a German teacher.

A goes back to school next week and my Mum and Dad come out the same day, hopefully with a supply of chocolate.

Anyway, glad you all seem to have had wonderful summers. I loved the 3 weeks we had in the UK despite it being the wettest summer ever. I was a bit homesick during the Olympics, though the coverage here was awful.

I hope all accommodation/employment/muslin cloth acquiring/school starting problems are sorted out really painlessly.

Must actually do some planning while E is still at preschool. Bye for now!

worldcitizen Tue 28-Aug-12 20:12:09

cheaspicks trying to use schwül might be better than having people start having associations when hearing feuchtwarm grin grin grin

CakeBump Tue 28-Aug-12 21:33:39

Evening everyone!

Life in the Eifel continues at a frantic pace hmm. Actually today has been unusually dramatic as I returned from cleaning my old flat ready for handover to find DH has fired one of the waitresses. It was done with much pan throwing and gnashing of teeth so I hid upstairs.

Due to the drama I am only now having my dinner...

Ok can someone explain schwul/schwül to me please! I have avoided so far as I'm really not sure which is which... confused

Also, have I been embarrassing myself by accident again? Does druckend (no idea if there's an umlaut or not) have a double meaning??


worldcitizen Tue 28-Aug-12 21:49:32

No, no, no not embarrassing yourself smile

It's just one of these things, which are not in-correct and yet not really fir the bill...and would make some teenagers maybe giggle.

It's not wrong, maybe in English you'd describe it also as humid and not as moist-warm...

but you can say feuchtwarmes Klima, if you'd like to describe what the climate is in a certain country, for example....

Also, the akzentfrei is not usually described as a noun in itself such as Meine Akzentfreiheit, also technically not in-correct, but simply not really expressed that way smile

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 05:48:07

world Yes, I do realise that Akzentfreiheit doesn't actually exist and that I should have used akzentfreies Deutsch (if I had to use German at all), but it was more tongue-in-cheek than anything. I was going to write akzentfreiness, but then decided that as Freiheit exists, I would make up a more German-sounding word as it was slightly quicker to write than "well done on speaking without an accent" (which also doesn't sound brilliant IMO). And now I've spent so long explaining myself that I haven't actually saved any time at all. grin

Cake Sounds like an eventful day - I would probably have hidden too!

schwul means gay, whereas schwül means close/muggy. I always have to think twice before using them, but Antique's tip about emphasising the ü when talking about the weather is a good one that I'm going to try to remember!

spulen/spülen also confuse me. My way of differentiating them is remembering everyone in a Berlin cinema shouting "zurückspulen!" (rewind) when the film reel started playing up, but I still find myself mixing them up and using spulen when I'm washing up. blush

Hi Jenny, I'd been wondering how you were - hope you're surviving the long summer holidays! I also found myself getting a bit homesick during the Olympics, even though I was watching them in the UK. hmm

Morning! Linzer you were up early!

Everyone has rubbish colds complete with crunchy coughs here now, and DS1 has a swimming lesson in the Freibad and has already missed 4 out of the total of 12, so really needs to go - he missed 2 due to DD and my trip to London (it seemed unfair to ask the in-laws to take him as it would be a long drive from theirs) and 1 was cancelled due to a bank holiday and 1 due to a thunder storm! He is swimming independently now - with a lot of coaxing he got all the way across the "fun" pool, about 10 meters, so would be good to keep the momentum up but normally I wouldn't take kids full of cold to the Freibad unless it were absolutely boiling hot! Plus we are due to go on holiday to Croatia on Sunday . DH is already being all doom and gloom about how he will doubtless catch the cold the day we go, and has decided the caravan (he chose to book) is too small after all hmm

Wanting glad your younger one has found a friend, helps so much! Hope your DD1 meets somebody soon; it is probably quite hard moving at 11 even without the language issue, are there any clubs or activities she could go to where she might meet friends? Have you had a look for a "Families in Berlin" fb group (for English speakers) - I think there might be one, and if so it would be a good place to ask for local pointers like that.

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 06:35:47

I think quite often the German words we use on this thread (esp the ones I use!) arent completely correct within the sentence but sometimes a slightly wrong German word sounds better (and is faster!) than a whole sentence in English wink. I'm very guilty of doing this in real life too blush.

cakebump - that sounded like a right drama yesterday - what had she done to be fired [nosey emotion]!! Hope today is calmer. Glad linzer explained schwul & schwül cause i'd have to go and look which one is which. Always find it funny driving to Munich that somewhere is called "Feucht" grin. Wouldnt fancy living there.

I'm really just a taxi service today - got to drive to the local town to pick up a parcel that contains a present for a party I need to take dd to today. Then I need to pick up ds1's friend (as his parents dont have a car) for him to play at ours then take him home later then pick dd up! Fun day hmm.

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 06:37:49

X posts english - we're all starting early this morning.

Well done to your ds1 on the swimming. Hope they feel all feel better soon - take it that means you're getting less sleep than ever??

CakeBump Wed 29-Aug-12 06:53:03

Morning everyone!

Ploom The waitress has been pretty unreliable lately, and was an hour late for work last night. I wasn't here so DH ended up trying to cook and serve at the same time and was in a mega mood with her! When she had finished her shift he had a word with her and it all seemed ok, but when DH went into the kitchen she'd left it a bombsite and it was the final straw!

So now we're a waitress down and I'll probably end up having to cover the shifts...

Things generally at the restaurant are very stressful at the moment, so my plan is to just keep my head down and try and help where I can! smile

Oh and thanks for the schwul/schwül help!!

Have a good Wednesday everyone... I'm looking forward to my midwife appointment later smile

admylin Wed 29-Aug-12 07:48:57

Morning all you early risers! I was up at 7am but have been good and done some housework and put washing in etc. Still looks like a bomb dropped in the kitchen despite it all being tidy when I left it at 9pm!

cakebump do you live above the restaurant? I used to work in the restaurant business while I was learning German and it was always realyl hard to get 'good' reliable staff. Hope you can find someone to help out.

ploom enjoy the driving around today! I'm not looking forward to all that starting again when the term starts. Taxi service is the least favourite part of my job.
I wanted to ask you - do you know a style of physio from your work where you press really hard on a point and just hold it? That's what the therapist did to me yesterday, was painful and hurt along the top part of my arm and then she went and pressed under my ribcage really hard with her fingers. Was very strange as a therapy for my shoulder as she never went near it.

english well done to ds for the swimming. Is he going to do his Seepferdchen certificate?

Hi jenny sounds like you could try some of your lessons out on us!! What level are you teaching this time?

wanting any news on a flat? There are some nice parks in Berlin aren't there? Great that dd has made friends already.

Well, better go and decide where to start in the kitchen. It's a mystery to me how so much mess can be made just from late night snacking that I have nothing to do with (all 3 of my family members guilty).

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 08:02:02

admylin - cant imagine why she'd be pressing under your ribcage if you've got shoulder pain but will ask one of my physio friends who specialises in that kind of area and see what he thinks. But importantly did it help at all?? I'm a bit puzzled by physiotherapy in Germany - it doesnt seem quite the same profession as in the UK.
I'd be getting those messy beggars to clean up the mess they left in the kitchen themselves - they'll be loving that Cinderella comes when they're still in bed and does it for them!wink.

Sorry forgot to wave to everyone else before - glad you've survived your very long summer hols jenny. have heard lots of moans about the rain this summer in the UK - hope the weather is good for you back in the States esp after your long winter.

admylin Wed 29-Aug-12 08:08:29

Thanks ploom - I'd be reassured if you are your colleague said it's normal but it felt wrong. I asked if it was meant to be abit like acupuncture but without the needles and she said yes. Didn't help my shoulder though, it's still stiff and I now have a sore arm where she prssed so hard. Not looking forward to tomorrows session.

You're right about the kitchen, I should send them in to tidy up!

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 08:53:20

Aargh, DS is driving me mad this morning. He refused to go to KiGa today, which is fair enough, but I told him he'd have to come to the playground with me while the DDs are at their Lernstunde - he was bored after about five minutes and keeps asking when we can pick the girls up.

admylin Sorry the physio didn't help - it does sound more like a kind of needle-less acupuncture! Our kitchen is often in a state, although I must admit I'm usually the one to blame. I always dread the DC making themselves snacks, though, particularly ones involving butter and jam. DH thinks I just need to teach DD1 how to do it properly rather than complaining about it. (He probably has a point.)

Ploom I'm not looking forward to all the chauffeuring around I'm going to have to start doing once school starts; it's been so nice to have a break from it over the summer. I'm going to encourage DD2 and DS to walk or cycle to school; parking outside the school is always a nightmare for the first month or so while all the new pupils are still being driven to school.

Cake Good luck with your appointment; let us know how it goes!

EnglishWoman Hope all the colds clear up soon, but well done to your DS on the swimming. I was hoping that DS would learn to swim this summer as the DC have been in the water loads, but he hasn't made much progress unfortunately.

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 10:18:42

admylin - my lovely physio friend said they've maybe irritated a nerve but he said he's quite happy to chat with you if you want to via FB or Skype - he's very good at his job - he's just been working at the Olympics. Let me know if you want his details.

Got a German passport last year for dd & some of you might remember - I wasnt allowed to pick it up without dh's written permission but he was able to pick it up without mine angry. Well ds2 now needs a new passport so I went to the Rathaus to do the paperwork to order him one and now I'm not even allowed to do that without dh's written permission angryangryangryangry. Its like living in Iran!!! Thankfully I had other jobs to do in that town - i'd have been so pissed off if I'd driven there deliberately. I've got to drop dd off at another party tomo so will try (with dh's permission obviously) again then.

CakeBump Wed 29-Aug-12 10:21:25

Everyone has been up bright and early this morning! The lovely sunny weather definitely helps get me moving smile

admylin yes we live above the restaurant - no getting away! I'm hoping it means DH will be around a little bit to help though once the baby comes....

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 10:32:06

world grin I can't actually remember the last time I might have described the weather as "feuchtwarm", fortunately. As long as I can catch myself in time I usually manage to use "hohe Luftfeuchtigkeit", it's just when I've started "Das Wetter ist heute so ekelig...<oh hell, how do I avoid saying gay by mistake, what word can I use instead>... that I get desperate! blush

Please don't think that any of us are properly embarrassed by our mistakes in German, though. It's hard to know how things are going to come across in a written post on here, but making fun of oneself is typical British humour and of course this thread is to a degree about being British in a German-speaking culture. It's great to have a real German on here to help us out with the dilemmas and hopefully stop Linzer and I arguing over the formulation of admylin's next important email. Just close your eyes/ears to our code-switching and denglishicisms, please wink.

Er, I can't remember anything else I was going to write now. I have a massive craving for cake. Maybe I should look up ploom's zebra stripe cake that she reckons is pretty easy to make <sceptical>.

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 10:33:03

Linzer and me

admylin Wed 29-Aug-12 11:28:52

cheaspicks I agree it's great to have a real German on here! We're a 100% non German household and sometimes I think it would be handy to have a German dh! I often have to try and get hold of one of my German friends for help with wording or to be sure I've understood something.

ploom that would be great if your friend has time - I don't have skype but fb would be good.
Must be a Bavarian thing with the passports. My 2 were born here but registered at embassy and their first passports were British. They're German though as dh has a German passport and I got their first Kinderausweis at the Rathaus in Tuebingen without dh and passports too. I do know Behörden seem to have their own rules from area to area but that does sound abit over the top.

cake how did the midwife appointment go? When are you due (sorry if you already said, I missed it)?

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 12:12:12

cheaspicks and admylin grin

Well, I am always looking at MN as a little bit fun and don't take anything seriously heresmile
As I don't have all these other stories to share, I thought I might as well add my Senf to language stuff ha ha ha see I can also switch to Denglish grin

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 12:14:05

Oh and to the passport thing.

I am always delighted to hear, when there are Behördenfolks who take the legal guidelines very seriously when it comes to children and passport applications. I always say better safe than sorry...

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 12:25:38

world your denglsh is indeed most prima!

I don't know whether you were being sarcastic in your
last post or hadn't quite understood ploom's problem with the passport application: her husband would be able to apply for the child's passport without her signature, but she can't without his angry.

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 12:26:40

Just time for a quick post (famous last words) as I have an English friend coming over in an hour and I really need to tidy up so that I can sit and drink tea for hours without feeling guilty. smile

Grr on your behalf, Ploom. That's why I sent DH to get DS's passport; he was sure I'd be fine as long as I had DS's Staatsbürgerschaftsnachweis with me, but I shall tell him your story if he tries to get me to go and apply for DD1's passport in November! And while we're on the subject of passports, is it true that a child's passport in Germany only costs €13?

cheas Me (or should that be I? wink), argue with you? grin I like to think we work together towards a joint effort! You could always just finish your sentence after ekelig. grin I find that when I tail off towards the end of a sentence, Germans and Austrians are usually kind enough to finish it off for me (or start a new sentence as they've got fed up of waiting for me to finish mine).

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 12:27:14

Weird extra last break in there, almost looks like Alice posting. Excellent most recent namechange btw. grin

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 12:40:02

Last break, er line break, rather. I should probably give up now!

Linzer of course you are right, optimal teamwork in the pursuit of the exact degree of directness/passive-aggressiveness/polite forcefulness required grin. I'm just still carrying a grudge from ages ago when you tentatively suggested that a word I had made-up might not exist and then DH said later it was a perfectly good word <bursts into tears at the memory>.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 12:40:22

No, I didn't get Plooms problem. I shall read again,as to why her husband can but she can't. Is it, because he is the German citizen and ploom is not and they are married and they applied for the childrens' German passports right?

I'll read again

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 12:43:03

Kinderausweis is different, as a Kinderausweis is only valid in combination with travelling parents' passport and NOT on its own.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 12:46:47

And no, it shouldn't be different regardless if in Tübingen or next door Bundesland Bayern, as this falls under Staatsangehörigkeitsrecht und Ausweisrecht and that is federal law (fällt unter Bundesgesetze und nicht Landesrichtlinien).

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 12:48:31

Oh no cheas, I'm so sorry! I didn't realise how much I'd inadvertently upset you. Please accept my heartfelt apologies. What was the word btw (so that I know for future reference)?

And yes, pursuit of the correct degree of PAness is the way to go, I feel. grin

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 12:53:14

Rereading my post, it seems a little too sarcastic and as if I'm not apologising at all. blush I really do feel bad now, though! (Won't add a smiley in case it looks PA. Not even sure the exclamation mark is appropriate; have I been here too long? Am I overthinking everything?)

I'm keeping out of the discussion on German passports as I have nothing useful to add and am getting more confused by the minute.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:02:41

No seriously about the passport thing, it has to do with trying to do a prevention on possible child abduction when there are fights and conflict in a bi-national marriage.

So, if the parents are a married couple it only takes one parent's signature.

If parents are divorced than they go by who is the custodial parent, regardless of nationality of that parent.

In a bi-national marriage the difference is to see who in this case is the German parent who wants to apply for the German passport of the child.
Also the picking up is ONLY allowed by the person who was eligible for the application, or that person need to give a written consent which also follows certain guidelines.

This is usually common practice in most countries. And is supposed to help to prevent child abduction, which is unfortunately not so uncommon practice, even in Europe.

There are app. 7,000 to 9,000 abductions (moving child across European borders) without the other parent's consent....

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:05:45

abductions (moving child across European borders) without the other parent's consent

And I mean not only moving across borders, but with the intent to keep the child either in home country or even go into hiding in a third EU country, with the intent to disconnect the child from the other parent and also with the intent to make custody claims in home country etc.

Sorry, about bringing too much seriousness to this thread blush

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 13:16:00

worldcitizen - i'm british, dh is german and all dc had British passports but we are gradually moving them onto German passports as their older ones expire. Last year I was able to do all the paperwork and pay the fee on my own but they wouldnt let me pick it up without his written permission. He was then able to go and pick it up without mine hmm. So this morning I went to do all the paperwork for ds2's passport fully intending to then send dh in to pick it up but she wouldnt even let me do that. I understand fully that its to protect dc from being moved out the country without the other parents permission but that has never been explained to me - only that I need my dh's written permission but he would never need mine. Surely he could steal the dc away as much as I could - we both have an EU passport?? The sexism of the whole situation stinks of a bygone time that I hoped we'd left behind in 2012.

Anyway moan over. Have done the first half of my taxiing (?sp) so now going to have a cuppa while the boys play with ds1's friend. His parents are seeking asylum in Germany and have been put in really terrible run down accomodation in an isolated part of town so i'm so happy that ds invited him to play and he can escape to some different surroundings for a while.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:20:20

Ploom I hear you, and not getting any explanation, well that's sounds like a German Behörde, yes.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:22:42

And yes, he could steal the children as much as you could. That's right, but unfortunately countries are very biased in favour of their own citizens.
This is a common issue even within Europe and with the UK not being a Schengen country sometimes makes it even slightly different than with other EU countries who are part of the Schengen treaty.

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 13:32:33

Definitely overthinking, linzer. [non-PA smile ]

The word was "Vorangehensweise", which world will now tell me doesn't exist...

Heartfelt apology accepted, btw!

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 13:44:38

Why does Vorangehensweise not exist hmm

Ploom Wed 29-Aug-12 16:28:11

Thanks for the explanation world - its what I thought the reason was but it still riles that the rules will depend on which official you deal with.

So amused (sorry) at linzer and cheaspicks "argueing" about German vocabulary - oh how I wish my German was good enough to participate in that discussion envy.

CakeBump Wed 29-Aug-12 16:39:27

Sorry, just dashing in to say that the midwife had to cancel as someone had a home birth and she had to dash off sad

Oh well she'll ring back so I'll have to wait a few more days!

Due 21st December admylin (Christkind, as everyone keeps telling me smile )

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 17:18:35

Oh, that's disappointing Cake. Lovely to have a Christmas baby, though - DD1's birthday is on 26th December and it's a nice time of year to have a birthday (no school, no work for most people, everyone in a festive mood, etc.)

cheas Ah yes, I vaguely remember our discussion now. blush My excuse is that I hadn't heard of the word before, it's not in any of our (admittedly not hugely comprehensive) dictionaries and I thought you meant Vorgehensweise. I wonder whether I might even have asked DH, who told me it didn't exist, in which case I could blame him. grin <wonders if she's digging herself into an even deeper hole>

Ploom Definitely a strange system; if they're worried about abduction, surely they should insist on both parents' signatures. And very frustrating that it all seems to depend on which official you deal with. I wonder if they'd treat a British man married to a German woman the same way?

Emandlu Wed 29-Aug-12 17:33:51


Just popping my nose in to say hello. We arrive in Germany on Tuesday. I'm very excited. I just wish we were staying longer than 2 weeks sad

I can't really contribute to the passport or vocab discussions, so I'll just stop at Hello grin

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 17:38:16

Exactly, world, but Linzer either didn't know it, or had a mental block about it, and "corrected" it to Vorgehensweise, which was equally good in context. I wasn't actually sure that "vorangehen" wasn't a colloquialism, anyway, so didn't say anything at the time (possibly shouldn't have now, either, hope I haven't frightened anyone away grin.

cake it's probably quite nice to have a winter baby - no feelings of guilt that you're wasting nice weather when you're stuck inside breastfeeding for hours. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you don't actually end up with a Xmas baby, though!

cheaspicks Wed 29-Aug-12 17:43:52

X-posted, Linzer. DD demanded I build a "terrible bridge" out of corn starch puffs hmm.

Hello Emandlu smile.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 18:04:02

I totally love my library, because thanks to what they have on their shelves I've recently watched:

Doc Martin
The Thick of it
Prisoner's Wives
Call the Midwife

can anyone tell me how I would get British TV channels here, so I could maybe see these kind of series' when they actually get aired on TV????
Would love to know, if that's possible.

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 18:27:45

world Friends of ours (in Germany and here) have a satellite dish that picks up all the Freeview channels. You need one about 2 metres wide in Austria, which I don't think would even fit on our roof, but I think our friends in Germany have a normal sized one.

Hi Emandlu, hope you have a good trip to Germany. Whereabouts will you be? (Sorry if I've missed an earlier post.)

cheas I just asked DH whether he knew the word Vorangehensweise. He replied (and I quote): "Vorgehensweise heißt es. Vorgehensweise" (with a determined nod of the head). I informed him he was Austrian wrong, which he took in surprisingly good part, though he did mutter something about not being a lebendes, wandelndes Lexikon. So I can blame DH after all. grin

Why are Kinderausweis different though, because I could equally well abduct my own children travelling on their Kinderausweis with me, and take them back to the UK, if the passport bureaucracy is to stop one parent taking the child/ren out of the country against the other parent's wishes.

I applied for all 3 of my children's Kinderausweis (dh signed the paperwork as well as me, as is standard, but I was the only one the Geminde saw...) and there was no problem with any of them - they asked for my passport as ID (British passport) and we are all registered at the same address - DH German, me British, DD born in the UK, first passport British, got her a German one at 5 when hers expired because yes, they are only €13, both boys born here, German birth certificates...

I have also travelled back to the UK on my own with my children, them on German Kinderauseweis and me on my British passport, without DH - just got asked in which country I lived when I left Germany no other questions...

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 18:35:02

linzer oh I see, so it's only possible with those satellite dishessad
I wouldn't be allowed to have it here, and was wondering how others might watch the channels.
Sometimes I go online, but then it says it's not possible to watch that programme sad

Oh and re: passport, I rather not comment further grin

Hello Emandlu, yay for your December baby cake smile

We have been bowling and to the Freibad for DS1's lesson this aft, and I have booked DD and DS1's birthday parties (climbing for DD, bowling for DS1 - hence going bowling as he wanted a bowling party but had never actually been bowling - turns out he does like it, but it is quite tricky to control DS2 there (technically under 3s not allowed, but it was quiet and I kept him in my arms, which is rather like keeping a lively piglet in your arms I suspect... then had to occupy him at the Freibad too because he is so full of cold it really seemed a very bad idea to let him in the water... tricky!) DD is writing her invitations now somewhat unsupervised, I did check the first one, thought DH has read it too but turned out he was just admiring her hand writing and didn't actually read it hmm

World we have a satellite dish that is about 1 meter across to receive freeview channels. There is a way to decrypt iplayer allegedly but I don't know what it is - DH is techy and has done it in the past, but it seems you have to do it (slightly differently each time) fairly often as the encryption is changed.

LinzerTorte Wed 29-Aug-12 18:49:43

world Like EnglishWoman says, there is a workaround with iPlayer but it's fiddly and I always found it very temperamental. I also installed ExpatShield, but it messed up Google so I promptly uninstalled it. Luckily, my parents are very good at keeping us supplied with DVDs.

EnglishWoman I thought €30 was cheap for a child's passport - well, it is compared to a British one I suppose - but €13 is an absolute bargain. envy

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 18:51:52

english thanks for that, well I also used to be married to a techy (and handyman), that's so great to have one of those around, if not so inclined yourself, like me envy.

We are not allowed here at all to have those and I don't know how to do all this around thing. It is so sad. In my other flat I had the regular BBC news channel, and even that one I don#t have here anymore. It is so annoying.

I love those British series's and the sitcoms are soooooooo funny and great, and I can hardly endure watching all these U.S. series' here on TV, in fact I do not watch.

worldcitizen Wed 29-Aug-12 18:53:39

Linzer thanks. x-post smile

How funny we both used the envy face. i don't see that one very often used here on MN.

CakeBump Wed 29-Aug-12 19:25:22

Linzer I tried ExpatShield too but it put all sorts of viruses and problems on my computer so like you, I uninstalled it.

Maybe we should try a DVD postal service between us? Not sure if the postage is expensive but we're on the final season of The Wire which has kept us going for months. I'm happy to do a swap with someone if they've got something else good which might entertain us for a bit?

Gema is a big pain in the butt too as a lot of YouTube stuff is blocked by them. Even DH complains and he gets royalties through Gema from his music writing days!

Thanks for the crossed fingers cheas (or should that be pushed thumbs? smile ) I'm sort of hoping it hurries up or maybe comes early, but then most days I hope it stays in there forever!! I'm so clueless about what to do once it's actually here!!

AntiqueMuppet Wed 29-Aug-12 19:32:49

Ah reading through the last few posts has reminded me - I'm just about done with the huge pile of dvds of British tv and am happy to post them onto whoever wants them next!

I caught DS eating raw cloves of garlic with a huge grin on his face this afternoon, strange boy! (15 minutes before I was due to meet a friend, so had to turn up with a stinky baby). Then he was so tired he was falling asleep into his dinner tonight, but even with his eyes closed and his head tipped forwards he was still managing to shovel handfuls of food into his mouth hmm

AntiqueMuppet Wed 29-Aug-12 19:34:06

My dad swears by Expat Shield and although I didn't really have any problems with it, all the horror stories put me off so I uninstalled it before it could cause any problems. It only worked for the iPlayer for me anyway, I couldn't ger 4OD or anything, which was a bit disappointing.

CakeBump Wed 29-Aug-12 20:47:28

Antique your DS must love his food!!

What DVD series do you have? I can have a check through mine and put up a list if anyone wants swapsies smile

wantingmore Wed 29-Aug-12 22:43:43

Hi everyone
admylin sorry your physio didn't help.
DH is viewing a place on saturday so fingers crossed it will work out. Yes there really are alot of great parks in Berlin with just so much to do in them completely different to the UK.

English we haven't looked at any clubs yet as we won't be staying in this area but maybe we should. I couldn't find the Families in Berlin FB page. Hope your DDs invites turned out ok and that all the colds clear up before your holiday.

Linzer hope you had a good time with your english friend.

€13 for a childs passport is so cheap envy

We have MyExpat. Not sure if its the same as Expatsheild but so far it works really well for us no problems at all.

My DDs have been getting really bored without their things so we went to the storage and got some of their toys and they are now a bit happier smile. Also I finally got my hairdryer from the storage and dried my hair properly for the first time in a month. It really is the simple things in life that can bring joy grin

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 07:03:53

wanting Yay for hairdryers! I'd be lost without mine and my BBH; am not sure if I could survive without them for a month. blush
Will have to look into MyExpat, although I only ever install things on my netbook - not very viewer-friendly with its tiny screen! I'm worried about messing up the settings on my work laptop and our TV is so old that it seems impossible to get a cable to connect the computer to the TV.

Cake My parents record a variety of British TV programmes (documentaries like Location, Supernanny, the occasional drama, Have I Got News For You, the Apprentice, Outnumbered, etc.) and the DVDs make their way round the thread once I've finished watching them. It sounds like Antique has finished with a batch if you're interested.

Antique Well, garlic is supposed to be very good for you! envy of you having a baby who eats (not that I want another baby, I hasten to add). Two of mine weren't particularly interested in food and I used to get incredibly stressed about DD1 hardly eating.

world I'm not a fan of American series either, and particularly not dubbed ones - I refuse to watch anything dubbed, in fact.
I think the smileys used tend to vary from thread to thread; I do use envy quite a bit. wine and brew are hardly ever used on this thread, but were used lots on another thread that I used to post on regularly.

Had a lovely time with my English friend yesterday; it's a shame we don't get to meet up more often, but it's quite difficult with the children's various activities (the days we're free, they're busy and vice versa). The children (hers and mine) are speaking more and more German together, however; I really need to find them some English-speaking friends who don't speak German, but it's very unlikely to happen!

wanting I've PMed you a link to the Parents in Berlin fb group - it's a closed group which may be why you couldn't find it through the search function. It looks like it's a new and very small group, but apparently the admin is very well informed.

Linzer your parents know how to record to dvd? That would be a cue for 197 phone calls per recording attempt and being posted blank DVDs if it were my parents! I'm still backwards enough not to mind seeing dubbed series I am familiar with because at least I know I will be able to understand what's being said if I'm familiar with the series and characters! DH won't watched dubbed series and has things like The Big Bang Theory and How I met Your Mother in English and won't watch them dubbed into German.

Antique I am odd because my first response was to wonder where you keep the garlic smile Your DS will be very healthy and in no danger from vampires grin

Kids had vaccines booked for today but just cancelled them because of the ongoing heavy colds... rescheduled the toddler's but was going top get the Chicken pox ones for the older 2, but it will have to wait now as it's harder fitting it in during term time. DS1 has his last Freibad swimming lesson this afternoon and will then have some in the indoor pool in Sept, at least to replace the 3 the teacher has cancelled and hopefully some more free ones as supposedly she guarantees to get them to seepferdchen standard for the (expensive) intensive course price, and he's a way off that yet.

cheaspicks Thu 30-Aug-12 08:08:43

Linzer that's all right then! grin

world we also have a large satellite dish. I saw recently that it's possible to subscribe to iplayer outside the UK, but you only get a selection of programmes and pay 10€ a month sad.

wantingmore hope the place on Saturday works out for you.

antique grin at your ds. He is going to reek today.

EnglishWoman is it compulsory for dc to have an Ausweis of some kind? I can see that one parent obtaining travel documents for their dc in secret is something that should be made impossible, but if they have to have them anyway? confused

Emandlu Thu 30-Aug-12 08:17:38

Hello, we are going to Hamburg and then to Kassel. Hamburg because we were there for a day last year and wanted to explore a bit more and Kassel because my Austauchpartnerin lives there now.
I just wish we could stay longer than a couple of weeks as after that length of time I have just started to feel like I can communicate in German (albeit badly ).

cheaspicks Thu 30-Aug-12 08:30:01

EnglishWoman I hope your swimming instructor keeps to that guarantee. Is your Freibad heated, then. I swam 20-odd lengths on Tuesday when ploom and family were here, but the pool was 19 deg shock. The other pool was slightly warmer and the dc had fun in it, but I can't imagine they could have held a swimming lesson in either pool without a lot of parents complaining.

I've been somewhat frustrated by my inability to swim front crawl since I've started swimming again, so I looked it up online for some tips. Apparently the internet assumes that all people swimming for exercise are preparing for triathalons hmm. I did find one page called Very Basic Swimming, only to read suggestions for how to improve once you can swim a mile without stopping confused.

admylin Thu 30-Aug-12 08:41:43

I'm very envy of all the satelites and UK TV! I'd love it. We watch things that come on youtube like some of the US crime series, the whole 2 series of Lark Rise to Candleford but just have to put up with the German versions of most things.

antique great taste, your ds and very healthy!
Wanting good idea to get some of the stuff out of storage. I did that too when ours was all packed away for over a year but they had to swap for something out of the tiny flat or we'd have been falling over things!
ploom your colleague didn't get back to me so I'm setting off to the physio and going to be assertive and not let her hurt me as much as last time. I think I'll just beg her to do 10 minutes of massage and let me go or I might try crying?!!!
Linzer sounds exactly like my dc, dd never speaks English and ds and his English friend speak German to each other! I give up and just hope that the intensive English langauge exposure from their early years has sunk in and it's still in there somewhere!

cheaspicks Thu 30-Aug-12 09:01:16

admylin hope the physio does some good today! I had reflexology when I was pg and dd wouldn't turn head down. Basically the midwife dug her thumbnail into various points on my feet and asked where it hurt the most hmm. Sounds a bit like what you had the other day - maybe it was acupressure (reflexology is just feet afaik)?

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 09:05:31

EnglishWoman No, I told a lie - it's actually my brother who does the recording. My mum used to record programmes for us when they still sent us videos and you just needed to press one button to record, but she can't cope with the DVD player and I can't say I blame her - it all looks horrendously complicated. My brother is now back home so does all the recording, I discuss the programmes to be recorded with my mum, and my dad packages the DVDs up to send so it's a family effort!

Emandlu Are you doing an exchange or is it an Austauschpartnerin from school? I've love to get back in touch with the girl I stayed with on our school exchange but I can't find her on Facebook (although I did find an address for a lawyer in Hamburg with the same - unusual - name).

cheas I'm not sure I can even remember how to do the front crawl. blush I occasionally manage a couple of lengths if DH is around too, but not at our local pool as the water in the Sportbecken is always far too cold for me. I keep telling myself that I'm going to get back into running once the DC are back at school and it's cooled down a bit!

admylin Yes, I'm sure all the English they hear in their early years won't have gone to waste and they'll be quite capable of going from passive to active use of English later if they want/have to. At least the DC still speak English to me (DS occasionally forgets but will switch back without complaining if I remind him); I know a few English-speaking mothers whose DC refuse to speak English to them.

Ploom Thu 30-Aug-12 09:08:45

Morning all!

oh admylin - I'm so sorry he didnt get back to you. He didnt get back to me the rest of the day either so not sure whether he was busy. Hope the appt goes better today.

cheaspicks - I was really impressed with how well you swam on tuesday. But agree there's a bit of a difference swimming 20 lengths to swimming in a triathlon!!

emandlu - have a fab time in Germany smile.

english - your older 2 have done well not to catch the pox yet. My 3 must have been really unlucky and all had by age 3. Are they still all unwell? Are you getting any sleep??

Linzer - glad you had a good time with your friend yesterday - I really love having an afternoon of chatting in English. I was talking to cheaspicks in English on tuesday and talking to my dc in English but they were talking constantly to each other in German. Its infuriating but glad its not just my dc.

wanting - grin to having your hairdryer. And that seems like a good idea to get some of the girls' toys out. Fingers crossed about the flat on saturday.

oh antique you'll be smelling that garlic for days to come and oh the poos will be fragrant too grin. But at least you know he's adventurous with food!!

aw cakebump - a Christmas baby smile. I agree a perfect time to snuggle in the house and babymoon!

Off to get some food shopping - these dc are eating everything at the moment then taking dd to a party this afternoon before round 2 at the Rathaus. I have dh's written permission and all the other requirements - what could possibly go wrong hmm?

WoIstAlice Thu 30-Aug-12 10:41:02


is anyone online

need help

re a minor gas leak

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 10:50:04

I'm here Alice - though not sure how much help I'd with gas leaks.

Alice hope your gas leek is fixed or the gas turned off at least? Our house is rented so I'd just call the landlord (unless the house was about to blow up, when I guess I'd call the fire brigade!) - although I prefer never to do that as he speaks Bayrish and won't or can't switch to Hoch Deutsch so I only understand about 1 word in 3 even face to face, possibly I'd have top get a neighbour to communicate with him by phone if DH wasn't about to do it blush

My kids speak English to each other 90% of the time if we have no non family members here, we have been here 5 years, since DD was a toddler, and the boys were born here, so it sounds like they are quite unusual, but they are young - tbh I hope it doesn't change! They don't have any close English speaking friends but we do sometimes meet up with one family we met through an English toddlers group that has long since folded - the nearly 7 year olds speak English to each other but the 4 year olds switch to German ... My German is still bad enough that the kids instinctively stick to English with me I think, though if they try switching to exclusively German my selective understanding will mean they won't be getting treats and lifts and help with anything I don't actually need to help with unless they ask in English - just basic maintenance til they switch back grin

Not getting a lot of sleep no Ploom although DD is fine, just sneezing a bit and blowing her nose, DS1 has a cough with the sneezing but is also OK and only woke once in the night - luckily I was in his room already (we've just moved the boys in together) as I was sleeping on the mattress on the floor in there with Ds2, who is doing one decent stretch of about 3 hours but up and down the rest of the night.

Yes Freibad is heated - baby pool usually around 30, "fun pool" high 20s and lane swimming and diving pools around 25 - they have the temps up on the way in, but the kids also have shortie wetsuits they wear when the air temp is low 20s or below grin I love swimming but rarely can due to ds2. I used to swim a mile 3 or 4 mornings a week when I was at uni, it is the only sport I have ever found that I really enjoy, though I don't do the strokes properly due to contact lenses and habit blush I used to have no problem doing 60 lengths of the uni pool in 40 mins or so - slow but steady - which was a mile, I think I could still do it if I ever got the chance, but that it would take me a lot longer now. I love the way you can let your mind drift off when lane swimming alone - when I briefly attempted couch to 5k before conceiving DS2 I was always concentrating on the timings and in too much pain/ strain to do that blush, but I guess people who can run comfortably get the same from running! I don't find the Freibad water cold but am well insulated grin DD impressed me last time by swimming 50 meters (2 lengths of the lane swimming pool) without stopping, and ds1 is getting the hang of things gradually, one day they'll all swim well enough for me to swim up and down rather than supervise at the Freibad!

WoIstAlice Thu 30-Aug-12 12:00:43

Im confused

the evn

were here
yesterday because we thought we had a gas leak we didnt

but they came again today

and say we

Do have a small gas Leak outside

Im panicking Im afraid
dh is now not taking calls and MIL said she would ring some plumbers

please tell me Im not silly
we only have one exit and the leak is near there

sorry for the long ramble

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 12:05:40

Alice Yes, in an emergency call the fire brigade (122) - although if it's minor, I'd probably just call the gas company and ask for their advice. (Actually, DH would probably be my first port of call as I hate speaking German on the phone to people I don't know. Especially Austrians with incomprehensible accents - thankfully that's only happened once, when I just didn't have a clue what the man on the other end of the phone was on about and pathetically asked if he could speak to my husband instead.) Are you with EVN? Hope you've got it sorted now, anyway.

English I listen to music when I'm running to take my mind off how exhausting it actually is. I think fairly fit runners can let their mind drift quite easily, but unfortunately I'm not quite at that level of fitness! I probably manage to think non-running thoughts for about 5% of my run. This will probably go down to about 0.5% when I actually get out running again.

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 12:08:19

x posts Alice. If the EVN didn't seem to think it was anything that needed to be dealt with urgently, then I'm sure you don't need to worry. What did they suggest you do? Hopefully your MIL will be able to get hold of a plumber soon.

worldcitizen Thu 30-Aug-12 12:09:45

Call the fire brigade and ask them, do not worry, you can call them, even if it is not an immediate emergency , if you're in Germany than the number is


LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 12:11:38

Alice is in Austria, world - the number for the fire brigade is 122 here.

worldcitizen Thu 30-Aug-12 12:18:33

Oh Alice is in Austria, well as I said before, I am really rubbish at keeping up with who's who blush

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 12:29:31

No reason for you to know, world; she hasn't posted for a while. smile

The DC are driving me mad with their constant squabbling. I think they have a touch of cabin fever, although we were out in the garden for quite a while this morning. Luckily they're all invited to a birthday party this afternoon, which should take their minds off trying to kill each other.

worldcitizen Thu 30-Aug-12 12:30:57

How nice Linzer. I bet you have really sunshine and warm weather in Austria right now?!

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 12:38:11

We do at the moment, but it's forecast to get much cooler and wetter from tomorrow - just in time for our BBQ with the neighbours on Saturday. hmm

worldcitizen Thu 30-Aug-12 12:45:32


cheaspicks Thu 30-Aug-12 14:24:07

English I love the Zen aspect of swimming as well, but I can only achieve it swimming breaststroke. If I swim crawl I just focus on how annoying it is to get hair in my mouth and on trying to convince myself I'm not about to drown. However I found out yesterday that the pool I've been swimming in is actually 50m (I thought it seemed longer than I remembered the uni pool in Manchester being) which means I haven't got loads slower and the half length of crawl that I can currently manage is in fact a whole 25m length. Hooray! My goal now is to be able to swim 10 lengths of the indoor (25m) pool alternating crawl and breaststroke. I reckon if I find crawl so hard, then learning to do it better will make me fitter <hopeful>.

Alice hope everything's being sorted.

Linzer how do your DC often manage to all get invited to the same parties? Do you know several families with 3 matching age children? I only ask because my older 2 are never invited to the same place, even the couple of families one child is friends with, with matched age and gender children, don't work out because only one "pair" are friends and the other not in each case... DC 3 is too young to be invited anywhere but I am impressed with how you've beaten the odds of finding a match for 3 DC within one family!

We delivered birthday invites this morning, DS1 got sad because we delivered more for DD; she has invited 8 girls and 2 boys whilst he has only invited 4 boys. DS's invitees are the only ones he wanted and 3 of whom live within 100 meters (he and DD delivered their invites on foot, along with 4 of dd's), he was quite happy until we drove to a couple of other villages and had 7 remaining houses to deliver invites to, and he noticed 6 were DD's friends and only 1 his... but she has always had an excessive number of friends, and I honestly think 5 little boys to go bowling (plus DD who he has also invited) will be a good number, more would get chaotic, and all the boys he has invited will make the effort to come - I didn't ask parents about suitable dates in advance this year ( I have in previous years and ended up with everyone trying to set their own agenda and still not suiting everyone), and one mum rung not long after we got home from delivering to ask if there is any way I can pick up her DS from KiGa and take him with us to the bowling place, otherwise she will need to try to change her shift shock - the party isn't for 3 weeks and I'm not sure any of DD's friends' mums would offer to change a shift at work so their DC could come to her party...

admylin Thu 30-Aug-12 15:18:13

English do you have a budget for birthday parties? Do you know what the bowling will cost you? Just wondering as dd is thinking of things to do for her birthday in October and when ds went bowling with only 2 of his friends (so 3 boys) and for a pizza at PizzaHut afterwards I was 100€ lighter! Thank goodness he didn't invite 8 or more!
Might try the cinema for dd if there is a decent film not too babyish and not too old (difficult age 13).

Linzer enjoy the quiet time while the dc are at the party. I agree you seem to have luck with making friends with people who invite all 3, nice at that age.
cheaspicks never heard of accupressure but it could be something like that. Was it bearable to have someone fiddle with your feet for reflexology? I can't even bear to have a pedicure!
Alice hope the gas problem is solved soon.
ploom hope you were allowed to apply for the passport this time! I'm thinking of getting one if we stay in Germany any longer - so cheap! Did you re-stock your cupboards? Mine are empty too so I'm off to Aldi later when I drop dd at hockey in the hop ethat I won't spend too much. Atleast there are no temptations in Aldi.

My physio wasn't as painful today as I was brave and told her it hurt so much that my arm is still sore so she did my neck instead.

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 15:40:45

EnglishWoman We're friends with two families where we'll have all the children over to play and vice versa, but the children aren't matching ages, and then there are our neighbours, who do have three DC the same age as ours (but they're the ones least likely to invite all three to parties, although the children do play together a lot).

They've gone to a 5 year old's birthday party today (DS's best friend's little sister), but the girls are quite happy to go - they love looking after the two little ones and their mother always says how good they are with them. On the "downside" (although I didn't really mind, apart from the fact that we had far too many children at both parties), we had all three of hers at DD2's and DS's birthday parties last month.

Speaking from experience, five little boys are definitely enough! Please remind me of this when I'm planning DS's birthday party next year. grin DD2 has invited 10-12 girls before and it's been absolutely fine (but again, 20 was too many and again, I may need reminding of this next year).

cheas Well done on the swimming. It's so hot and sticky here today that even I might be tempted to go into the water. If I was actually near some water, that is. Going to the pool would be just a little too much effort, especially as I have the house to myself (albeit for only another 45 minutes).

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 15:43:28

admylin Glad the physio was less painful today.

Ploom Hope you had more success at the Rathaus today!

cheaspicks Thu 30-Aug-12 16:08:52

Does anyone have any suggestions for CDs I could get for DD to listen to in bed? I already have English nursery rhymes, German nursery rhymes, 1950s compilation (Nellie the Elephant, etc.), Jazz lullabies, world music lullabies and a Beatles compilation, but she's heard all of them so many times that she's getting desperate for something new. I was wondering about trying audio books, but she scares easily, so I suspect that the heffalump in Winnie the Pooh, for example, would upset her. Any ideas?

CakeBump Thu 30-Aug-12 16:14:44

I'm very impressed at everyone's swimming! I started a little while ago as running was becoming uncomfortable as I got more of a pregnancy bump. However I was then back in the UK for three weeks and I've only managed to go once since I've been back blush. There's a lovely pool near us though with a jacuzzi and a bit where you can swim outside.

Speaking of German passports, has anyone applied for a new UK passport in Germany? Mine is in my maiden name and I need to get around to changing it. I presume I'll have to send it to the Consulate or something but I need to look into it.

We've been brainstorming ideas for the restaurant today and have come up with a customer questionnaire which we'll start giving out tonight. Hopefully it will give us an idea of the sorts of things our customers are interested in and any improvements we can make. We do music evenings, which are very popular, but I'm hoping to have a craft morning or maybe start mother and baby coffee mornings. Its good to have a few ideas as sometimes we can get a bit stuck in a rut....

admylin Thu 30-Aug-12 18:02:17

cheaspicks Heidi in English or German was a favourite of my 2dc when they were smaller. Also the Pumuckl stories. Another really good series are the Ritter Rost ones as they have alot of singing and cute stories on cd. These ones. Good for vocab too (for you and dd!)

Great idea with the coffee mornings cake - one of the most popular cafes where we used to live was one with a play corner and a few more high chairs than a normal cafe, a little sand pit in the Biergarten was also great if you have one.

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 18:13:16

cheas I can't remember what age they started listening to them and whether your DD might still be a bit young, but my three enjoy listening to the Was ist Was Junior series; they have Was ist Was Bauernhof, for example.

Cake I got my last passport from Germany (we used to be able to get them done in Vienna, but now have to apply to Düsseldorf) and it was fairly straightforward; it took 3 or 4 weeks IIRC. I've heard that passports are all done in the UK now though, i.e. that the consulate sends the application back to the UK for the passport to be printed there, so it may take a little longer now.

CakeBump Thu 30-Aug-12 18:13:40

admylin are coffee mornings usual here? DH is convinced there's "no such thing" in Germany, but I'm sure if we went to the Krabbegruppe (sp?) and offered our premises for coffee and cake between say 10am and 12am once a week they might be interested.

He says its just not done here the same as in the UK. His actual answer was "in Germany we just call it breakfast" (very droll hmm)

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 18:28:52

An Australian friend of mine used to talk about opening a child-friendly cafe here as she said there was a real gap in the market (I used to meet up with a German friend for coffee once a week but we stopped going to our favourite cafe when they brought us a dustpan and brush!). Coffee mornings don't really seem to exist here; if people do meet for coffee, it's more of an afternoon thing. The Eltern-Kind-Cafe at our local parent & child centre is in the afternoon, as is the Stillcafe, despite virtually all the other activities being in the morning. I went to playgroups in the mornings where coffee was provided, but it was very often undrinkable and you had to take your own food.

Agree that a mother and baby coffee morning is a great idea. When the DC were babies, I used to find it much easier to get out with them in the mornings as a) they would often nap in the afternoons, and b) older brothers and sisters often have other activities in the afternoons (and if you did take them to a cafe, they might get bored fairly quickly/would just want to run round).

wantingmore Thu 30-Aug-12 19:26:37

Evening everyone
English Thanks for the PM, I joined the group. Hope your Ds1s swimming went well and you get the extra lessons.

cheaspicks Thank you me too.

ploom Thank you. Hope all went well at the Rathaus.

Alice Hope the gas leak got sorted.

admylin Glad your physio wasn't as painfull today.

CakeBump Hope you get good responses from your customer questionaires.

I was just wondering if anyones DCs would be interested in a kind of penpal thing with my DD1 who is 11? I was just curious as she doesn't know anyone here and also I noticed some of you would like your DCs to speak more English so perhaps they could do it with her? Then maybe when she starts learning German she can practice on them? I was thinking more email rather than snail mail. If anyone is interested please PM me and I can give you my DDs email address. It may be a stupid idea so if I have offened anyone by asking I apologise.

LinzerTorte Thu 30-Aug-12 20:10:45

Not a stupid idea at all, wanting - both DDs have penpals in the UK (DD2 more than DD1, as she loves writing) and I think it's a great way of getting them to practise their written English. I've just asked DD1, who'll be 11 in December, and she was quite excited about the possibility of having an e-mail pal so I'll PM you. I was quite surprised as she'd already said she has enough penpals and it can be a little difficult to motivate her to write to her snailmail pals (although once she gets going, she's fine), but I think the e-mail thing clinched it!

wantingmore Thu 30-Aug-12 20:40:13

Thanks Linzer got your PM. I think email is better because they can write as much or as little as they want without feeling they have to write more than they want. Also my DD is always on her computer lol so she is more likely to email than write a letter.

Ploom Thu 30-Aug-12 21:16:19

wanting - penpals are a great idea but dd (also 11) is beyond rubbish at sitting down and writing emails so would be a disappointing penpal. Sorry. She needs to email her grandparents while they're away & even thats a fight every time.

cakebump - I think coffee mornings seem like a great idea. I really think offering a Krabbelgruppe a space for them to meet with some toys (as well as coffee & cake obviously!) would be a winner. What about offering an English conversation group in the evening in a section of the restaurant?

cheaspicks - have you looked in the library for CD's? Maybe you could have a root about for some she likes?

So got the passport - well got him a 13€ Kinderreisepass which the woman said was sufficient to travel to most places apart from the USA ( and we're not planning to go there anytime soon!). Glad its all sorted tho - well until ds1 needs one in 2 years wink.

tadjennyp Thu 30-Aug-12 21:41:57

Gosh this thread has been busy over the last couple of days. It's reminded me I need to get ds1's passport renewed as he is almost 5, but that costs a fortune via the embassy in DC!

How about a craft/knitting circle cake? Maybe a book group that meets once a month (could be discussing English books?) Our local coffee shop has an acoustic cafe/open mike night. They also have a children's musician to come once a week and sing children's songs. It's crowded when she is there.

Lots of birthday parties going on at the moment. Dd was trying to persuade ds1 to have a gymnastics party (inspired by the Olympics) but he doesn't have that many friends of his own. I think we are going to go bowling instead. It is very sweet of you to hand deliver the invitations Englishwoman! Hope they all go well.

We are lucky that we get a lot of English stuff on PBS here, particularly as lots of the productions are co-funded by various American channels. I didn't think they were going to put Call the Midwife on so I bought the DVD when I was back in England. Now it's coming on in September! We don't get everything of course and the Olympics coverage was woeful. sad

Anyway, got to start packing for our trip to Astoria at the weekend. The Goonies was filmed there so I'm a sad geek and want to do the tour! grin Have a great weekend!

worldcitizen Thu 30-Aug-12 22:27:03

Talking about some language stuff today with my friend and I thought of how similar sometimes certain sayings or proverbs are in English and German.

Do you use the ones you like saying in English also in German. I felt very home , when I've discovered some of the similarities. can't think of many as it is very late already, but maybe I leant a few things here:

Absence makes the heart grow fonder-Willst du was gelten, dann mach dich selten

Einem geschenkten Gaul guckt man nicht ins Maul- Don't look a gifted horse in the mouth???

Gibt man ihm/ihr den kleinen Finger, will er/sie gleich die ganze Hand- I've heard it in English, but forgot how it goes

Das ist wie nach einer Nadel im Heuhaufen suchen- i think it is also something like looking for the needle in a haystack...also not sure

And another cute one, I always though of it as cute

Im siebten Himmel sein oder auf Wolke sieben-being on cloud nine

Emandlu Thu 30-Aug-12 23:02:34

We also use the phrase seventh heaven Worldcitizen,
Is the one you aren't sure of something like "give him a inch and he'll take a mile"?

Admylin DS's bowling party will cost €79 - that's a package 'Kindergeburstag' deal for 2 hours bowling for up to 8 children and includes a soft drink each and 2 large pizzas with 3 toppings to share smile (we will only have 6 children but you pay €55 for 4 or €79 for 8, it's still OK I think- when I do parties at home I end up spending at least that because gradually over the months leading up I spend too much on themed table settings, balloons, prizes, props for games, too much food and drink that they only consume 1/3 of etc).
DD's climbing party will be €70 plus €4 per child (so unfortunately about another €40 on top), includes a soft drink each, no food, but a trainer for the full 2 hours who basically runs the party/ experience. A 2 hour "Schnupperklettern" session as part of a group, with a trainer, would be €28 for one child if not part of a party, so I guess it's also OK when you think you are paying for 2 hour's of somebody's time - better than paying that for a clown or something!

Glad your physio wasn't so painful yesterday!

cheaspicks My nearly 5 year old loves the Kika "Kinder Tanz Party!" CD and a CD from the ELC called "Kids can Dance" but you will have to search Amazon as I think it's no longer sold directly by ELC) if you want music rather than stories, and you can get Charlie and Lola story CDs which aren't scary at all smile

Cake I agree the coffee mornings are a great idea to get people in the restaurant at off peak times - I'd go if there were anything like that near here. A Family zentrum a few towns over does actually offer something a bit similar but it is only for breast feeding mothers in a 2 hour time slot once a week which was never a convenient time - and now I'm not BFing. BF groups and parent and toddler groups might be interested though, and you could also just pick a morning when you have very low footfall usually and designate that as 'Eltern-Kind Frühstück' and have make that time extra child friendly, maybe with a special little laminated small child (and parent eating with one hand whilst holding baby) appropriate menu (which could just offer a selection of things you do anyway) without actually banning other passing customers.

Hello Jenny bowling party is a good idea smile

World "Like looking for a needle in a haystack" is an English saying, yes, (and it's a gift horse not a gifted (and talented) horse that you don't look in the mouth wink Could the offering a little finger German saying be more "Give him an inch and he'll take a mile" in English? I'm not sure I've heard of it with fingers and hands.

admylin Fri 31-Aug-12 07:46:04

World I like the finger and hand one in German (have used it on my dc before!) rather than the inch and mile one as they wouldn't have a clue what an inch or mile was! The French use the same saying with finger and hand by the way.

I remember a funny one, in a restaurant the owner was in stress one day and her 3 dc aged from 2 to 6 were hanginga round her legs while she was telling the aupair (my friend) something as we were planing to go out into town with the dc. Suddenly the mother shouted something like seid ruhig jetzt, ihr geht mir auf den keks - there was instant silence then the 2 year old says ich will auch ein keks! It was so funny at the time, everyone was laughing except the aupair (French) who had to have it explained to her.

cake I'm not sure how popular organised coffee mornings are but advertising yourself as a child-friendly cafe with no obligation to join a group or sign up might be a start if the Krabbelgruppen don't show an interest. Ploom's idea of offering an English conversation group in the evening is also a great idea.

English booking a package is probably where I went wrong then! We just turned up and the boys got 1 hour, no drink etc. The climbing party also sounds like a bargain really. Dd would love that so I might se eif we have a climbing place in Hannover.

Jenny have a nice trip to Astoria!
wanting I'll pm you too - dd has 2 penpals at the moment and is looking for more.

Off to the bank today (when the dc get out of bed), got new accounts sorted and they are going to use their bank cards for the first time, pay money in and learn how to use the other machines.

Ploom Fri 31-Aug-12 08:26:48

jenny - I loved call the midwife. Glad its coming back for another season but I doubt Miranda Hart will be in it and I thought she was great as that character.

english and admylin - I agree that kids parties are expensive but also agree that its sonetimes better paying it upfront to go somewhere rather than the hidden costs of doing it at home. I took ds2 last week and 6 other dc to soft play all afternoon & paid €58 (plus petrol for the 50 mins each way drive). Sure I probably spent more than that for dd's party at home with her non alcoholic cocktails & treasure hunt on top of the normal food and drinks.

admylin - how often have you to go for physio? Does it feel any better today?

The boys and I have got absolutely no plans today - not a good idea when the weather is a bit rubbish. (dd is meeting up with her friend in the village later - whoo hoo no taxiing today smile). Maybe I should get them to help me sort out their school stationary - anything that stops them asking to play wii all the time or watch star wars!

admylin Fri 31-Aug-12 08:34:44

ploom I have 2 sessions a week. My arm was hurting this morning so I had to get up at 6am and take an ibuprofen tablet. It's sort of throbbing now.

Hope the boys find something to busy themselves with. Nice that your dd has someone in the village to meet up with. Are there a few shops and cafes in the village at least?

wantingmore Fri 31-Aug-12 08:36:52

Ploom thats ok.

jenny have a good trip. Enjoy seeing where Goonies was filmed.

admylin got your PM thank you. Thats a good idea getting you DCs to learn about using the bank machines.

Ploom Fri 31-Aug-12 08:55:43

Absolutely nothing for dc in the village admylin - there's only a pub full of old men smoking sad. Can imagine it will be a nightmare when they get to being teenagers.

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 08:58:42

Emandlu English admylin

thanks, so now I know, it's with the inch and mile, okay I got it wink

Good to know it's the gift horse and not gifted, well it might be gifted after all ha ha ha smile. My daughter sometimes giggles when I make these little mistakes.

admylin the Keks story is cute, I could imagine a little one then asking for one.

Oh is Call the midwife coming back for another season?! That's good news. I guess I have to wait and see when our library will have it on the shelf.

They have both Downton Abbey series' and I really liked it the first one so far. And will watch the 2nd season and the Christmas episode, and I've heard there will be a third one coming out this September, I suppose.

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 09:14:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LinzerTorte Fri 31-Aug-12 09:49:07

EnglishWoman grin at gifted and talented horses.

world Yes, Downton is great. I wasn't sure I was going to like it as all the hype put me off, but even DH really enjoyed it (and costume dramas aren't normally his thing).

Ploom We've been sorting out school stationery today as it's the perfect weather for it (cold and rainy). Have had to make a special trip to the stationery shop though; I thought we had everything, but of course it all needs labelling and once again all our permanent markers have mysteriously vanished.

admylin Hope the arm is better soon.

jenny Have a great trip! (Am I the only one who has never heard of the Goonies?)

wanting Yes, DD1 is also always on the computer so getting her to write an e-mail is likely to be far easier than getting her to write a letter!

It should have been DS's last day at KiGa today but, as I suspected, he didn't want to go so we just went in to say goodbye and took his teacher some flowers. I've never bothered with flowers before (although have always contributed to the joint present given by all the Vorschulkinder) but his teacher was so good with him and he got on so well with her that I thought it would be a nice gesture.

Right, time for coffee I think. We have three children arriving any minute - one of the families I was writing about yesterday - so I shall enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts (the little girls are very sweet, but have the tendency to follow me round everywhere).

cheaspicks Fri 31-Aug-12 09:50:41

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. Ploom, I didn't think of the library blush. We have English books coming out of our ears and I don't particularly like reading to dd in German (more due to the books themselves, rather than any bilingual parenting intention). Anyway, I will try the library for some German stuff, and have already ordered several English cds on Amazon (including Charlie & Lola - great minds and all that, EnglishWoman ).

Cake I think an English/international Stammtisch is an excellent idea, as is a Stillcafe (especially if you can find a midwife/lactation expert to lead it for you). I guess if you want to do a Krabbelgruppe, then you need to get 3 or 4 of those thick gym mats - Airex? - toys, and maybe some floor cushions, which might be an outlay that doesn't seem cost-effective atm. Don't forget to tell the local paper - in our experience they are usually very happy to print a short article if you hand them the prepared text - free advertising!

It's definitely worth thinking of things aimed at kids during autumn/winter. How about a Bastelnachmittag or a musical instrument-making workshop (sounds like your DH might have the right contacts)?

Right, everyone, next question smile. We have to go to a Schuleinführungsparty tomorrow and so I need a present idea for a 6yo boy - ploom, Linzer ???

cheaspicks Fri 31-Aug-12 10:11:39

Cake ime German parents very early with lunch and naps, so could make friendly morning from 9-9.30 until 11-11.30 and not impact lunch rush. If being generally child friendly, then good changing facilities (offering free wet wipes might make you no. 1 choice for local mums), plenty of Ikea Antilop highchairs, sign saying you are happy to warm up jars of mush, putting paper and (sharpened) pencil crayons in front of any child over 2 when you bring the menus, having fusilli or similar as alternative to spaghetti, drinks in plastic beakers (no lid) for under 5s...

LinzerTorte Fri 31-Aug-12 10:14:59

cheas Lego usually goes down well with boys that age, or possibly a book as he's starting school. I've just asked my focus group of two 6 year old boys, but I'm afraid they were no help; Boy A: "weiß ich nicht, keine Ahnung", Boy B: "cuddly toys". (Language aside, you can probably guess which one DS was.) All the boys of DS's age who we know are obsessed with Star Wars, but that's not something I'd buy unless I knew the boy was particularly into it.

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 10:22:19

cheaspicks that sounds really good, especially if it is in a way, which wouldn't turn others with no children off, as they otherwise might not feel so comfortable to go there at certain times.
And the timing sounds about right, as then the mothers have enough time to get home and prepare lunch or pick up older child from school etc.

Oh and my daughter and many children I knew then, really liked rice and liked to have salad as in cucumbers and tomatoes or if you'd have apples, bananas or other fruit of the season.
That would have been a lunch for my daughter already and she would have taken a nap right then and there, and if I could change diapers there, then I would have stayed and eaten something myself and still have the feel of going out myself and meeting others (but without group pressure).

LinzerTorte Fri 31-Aug-12 11:51:28

cheas Or how about a science/explorer kit or a game; our three like those small games (about the size of a hardback book) that cost about €8 and some are quite educational; Was ist Was do some, I think. We have a Schülerlabor set (Experimente der 1. + 2. Klasse) that looks quite good (haven't used it yet, though), although it's a fairly large box so might be more than you're wanting to spend.

cheaspicks Fri 31-Aug-12 12:02:16

I second the rice thing, world, dd adores it (not rice pudding, though) but you never see it on restaurant menus. Also hate kids' food served without salad garnish/vegetables. DD loves cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, grapes, etc. We ate in a restaurant in Buxton recently that had crudités and dips on the kids' menu - pitta bread strips, carrot, cucumber, pepper and celery sticks served with hoummous, mayonnaise and chilli sauce. DD ate everything bar the celery, mayo and chilli sauce - it took her over an hour!

Have been running with the Bastelnachmittag idea in my head while practising smile. You could do it once a month, charge something like 5€ per child to include materials and a free beaker of apfelschorle (or whatever). If you can find a friend or two to help, the parents are then free to sit and chat (and order coffee and cake). Make an attractive poster each time advertising the event, so if you're doing origami then you have a picture of a paper boat, frog and flower, or whatever, and hang it in local kigas, the library, etc. You can incorporate the musical instrument thing by making shakers out of plastic tubing and cardboard filled with rice one month. Other ideas - book binding, lantern making (possibly done to death in kiga, though), Native American jewellery making (to keep it unisex, or do jewellery making just before Mothers' Day and advertise it as "make Mum something nice", papier mâché (needs time to dry, but parents could come back to collect the next day), friendship bracelets, salt dough modelling. Er, just ignore me if this is totally off mark smile.

Linzer thanks for asking your focus group. grin Do you think a jigsaw is a suitable neutral present? I've seen a map of Europe one with about 60-100 pieces (can't remember exactly). That's kind of educational, isn't it?

cheaspicks Fri 31-Aug-12 12:05:12

Good ideas, Linzer, will have a look in Müller.

LinzerTorte Fri 31-Aug-12 12:20:09

Yes, I think a jigsaw would be fine cheas; they're suitably neutral as long as you don't go for one with something like Lillifee on it. wink DS enjoys doing them and a map of Europe sounds good (we have one with a map of the British Isles which all three love doing).

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 12:20:50

cheaspicks yes, my daughter loved all those things you've listed.
And when she was younger, she really wasn't much into pasta, which is probably because we hardly ever eat pasta, but she liked eat it when we visited IKEA.

She loved red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrots, olives, she loved cooked peas and broccoli and cauliflower and lots of those things, but also not the celery.
She loved quark with potatoes, she loved red cabbage with potatoes, and pita bread and all those things.
And it's nearly impossible to find those on a child menu. And when they are little it's great if they can have a plate or bowl with those little nibbles.
I would have not even minded to buy cookies or a little piece or slice of cake, such as Marmorkuchen, if I would know it's okay for my child. She would have not eaten much anyway, only a few bites and at least I would know there are no additives such as glucose and all that other horrible stuff in it.

Also, I would feel welcome as a mother if there wouldn't be much fuss over crying baby, or broken plate, or messy table. If there would be smiles, a relaxed atmosphere, and someone who would come quickly and clean it up without me getting embarrassed about it.
Even something like having a DIY bucket and sponges close by, so I would even clean some mess up myself.
Also being able to lay my baby down beside and do a quick diaper change without having to go somewhere else, so I still could have all my belongings or another child in view.

And I like Linzer's and your idea and mentioned before already, about having a shelf with books, jigsaws, and little play toys which can't be swallowed and are sturdy.

My kids don't like rice much (well DD eats pretty much anything, but she doesn't say "Yay, rice"...) but all 3 like rice pudding and would probably live on pasta and pesto or pasta in a mushroom sauce if allowed to - they also all love tomato or mushroom soup with a chunk of fresh bread ... just to be awkward for cake on her menu ideas smile However cake's cafe has to appeal to the local audience and as we aren't German the kids don't have totally typical German kids' taste - German (well Bavarian) kids seem to eat mainly Paar Weiner mit Bretze or Schnitzel mit Pommes when out, in my experience (and my kids like those things too but they aren't very healthy and a token salad on the side tends to get left, except for the cucumber and tomatoes if they are appealing looking cherry tomato type)!

(Sorry, I know world is German - I meant we as in my family smile )

LinzerTorte Fri 31-Aug-12 12:51:11

English Austrian children too - I was meaning to post before (but got distracted for a child-related reason that I can't remember) that the children's menu cheas mentioned sounded brilliant and my DC would have loved it, but they also love the staples on Austrian children's menus, i.e. Wiener Schnitzel and chips, sausages and chips, and spag bol. But at least they like baked beans so don't have solely Austrian tastes. grin

Jigsaw is a good present cheas I agree, a lot of things you have to know the child quite well to get right, but a jigsaw should be fine for almost any 6 year old. Playmobile also still goes down well at 6 - right up to at least 8 as far as I can see from DD's friends. She went to a 7 year old boy's party the other day, but he has an enormous Schleich farm so is always in need of animals and fencing, so she bought him some chickens grin

Some of the ideas for cake 's cafe sound great as a customer but quite high maintenance to run - I would go for franchising out the activity provision and hoping for spill over orders of cake and coffee, and repeat business, rather than trying to run craft sessions myself, unless I had a real talent for it - it would be like trying to run a children's party monthly and doing it alone would be hard work, especially if cake is waitressing at the same time! I would keep everything as simple as possible, remembering toys and games will get broken/ food spilled on them/ pieces lost and need replacing - I agree they are a good idea to have, but need to be carefully chosen for durability and wide appeal as well as not being potential choking hazards to the smallest etc. and regularly cleaned and replaced, so that needs taking into account. I don't think health and safety would go for nappy changing at the table and even though I have 3 fairly small children including 1 in nappies I would rather good changing facilities in a bathroom than people changing nappies in the main cafe. Good baby change facilities are something lacking in a lot of German cafes and restaurants though (I have changed my kids on lots of floors and even a window sill once...) and warm, cozy, clean, safe changing facilities with room to take other kids in with you and a well placed bin are a huge plus in a cafe. Free nappies and wipes would definitely have me going back - our DM has a changing area with nappies and wipes and a rocking horse for older sibling, and I have bought things in there just to change a baby there before.

We have been trying to spring (autumn?) clean the kids rooms this morning, but Oh my goodness is it hard to do with a toddler in tow - he did nap for 45 mins but it wasn't enough, and when awake he is either getting into danger or pulling everything out faster than I can sort and tidy, and the older 2 start off trying to help but are distracted and playing constantly... Hmmm . Guess we made some progress but it is a bit depressing!

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 13:03:43

Yes, but unfortunately all is offered in most places is Wiener Würstchen, Chucken Nuggets, Kinderschnitzel, Pommes, Spaghetti etc.
And I wished it was different. My daughter wouldn't eat salad as in leafy salad, got stuck once, oben am Gaumen (sorry don't know how to say it in English) and made her choke terribly and then for many years she avoided it, but then it wasn't an issue anymore.

English she also loved tomato soup and broccoli soup, and all things which were like a stew/Eintopf.

And I was thinking of little ones when I didn't feed her Pommes and Chicken nuggets and the like. maybe because she spent so much time in the U.S. and I found the food appalling and so unhealthy.

Whe she was a little bit older, I made homemade Frikadellen in the U.S. and that was a hit too. I mean they are really like meatballs, but I hated buying them as there was so much stuff in there, where I wasn't even sure what that is.

And I've gained so much weight in the U.S. it wasn't even funny anymore. But that is another topic alltogether grin

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 13:09:34

English in regards to changing diapers , I see it's obviously called nappies in the UK, you are right. I wasn't thinking really at the table or on the table, maybe being more discreet about it, also well the smell is an issue, too. You are right. But sometimes my daughter was wet, needed a change and I could have done that in 2 minutes, and yet there was so much hassle and the changing facilities in German restaurants etc. were terrible sad

CakeBump Fri 31-Aug-12 13:56:09

Oh wow loads to catch up on, and loads of ideas too!! I'll have a proper read through them all and get back to you all individually.

Thanks ladies grin

CakeBump Fri 31-Aug-12 15:57:17

We've had a positive day here and have taken advantage of the pouring rain + lack of customers to do some serious brainstorming.... smile

In answer to some of your suggestions:

ploom I think I will pick the midwife's brain when we meet up about Krabbelgruppes in the area, as I want to know anyway for myself once the baby arrives. I'm planning on getting her advice as to whether there is a local group, where they meet currently, what they do etc. If they wanted to have a morning here we could certainly provide coffee and cake plus it would be great for me to have the local group meeting downstairs!

I have thought about an English conversation group, but being in the middle of nowhere I think DH and I are the only English speaking people for a few kilometres around! There's an American guy actually in the next village... but I'll definitely keep my ear to the ground and if I think there's a market for English learners to come and practice their conversation with a native speaker (ie me) I'll pounce on it!

tadjennyp I love the idea of a book group, and was a member of one in the UK. It would have to be in German though for the reasons stated above, which would be fine I just wouldn't be able to join in!! But again I'll do some asking about to see if there might be a market.

A craft/knitting circle - again, I'll ask around and see if there'd be much take up. I think our customer questionnaires are going to come in handy here!

We are having a craft morning next month as a friend of mine has a craft circle, so we're having a little sale here with coffee and cake. I've really got my fingers crossed that we'll have enough customers in to make it worth my friends while - we're doing a lot fo advertising.

Acoustic/Open mic night - we're definitely going to look into this. It fits with what we usually do anyway, we have a lot of music nights and they are very popular, and a lot of people around here play instruments or sing and love to get up and perform! We thought about combining it with comedy too, I think it would be really popular.

Children's musician - again I really like this idea, I'll ask around to see if there is anyone local we can use. I'm sure they sometimes have someone down at the local Naturschutzentrum doing drumming etc with school groups. It also reminded me we also have a local storyteller who could maybe come in. I'd have to look at whether the people wanted paying or not - usually when our bands come they collect money from the punters and we add in a little bit.

English A Stillgruppe really appeals to me from a personal point of view as well as a commercial one. Again, I'm going to use my midwife as first port of call.

Eltern/Kind Frühstuck - again I like this idea, and I think it links in with world's idea of having a more relaxed, family friendly vibe. Its a little bit tricky with our layout, we haven't got much space, small toilets etc but I think we could certainly incorporate some of the general ideas into making ourselves more popular with families. We certainly think we have a relaxed atmosphere!

cheas Again, the midwife-led BF support I think would be great for myself personally, plus I would hope that the midwife would jump on it as a great way to support the community. I'll run it by her when I see her.

I think the Bastelnachmittag could possibly be run in the holidays by my teacher friend - you've given me the idea of maybe an autumn themed one in half term or certainly Xmas decoration making in the December holidays. I'll ask my friend if she might be interested. There's a possible language issue as she's not fluent German, but maybe she could do it with a German friend.

All the child friendly suggestions have been noted - I think we would certainly be interested in doing fresh, healthy, non-additive filled child food as that goes along with our general philosophy anyway. Everything we cook is freshly produced from scratch from locally sourced ingredients. plastic beakers, paper and crayons, warming baby food etc is easy to do, with minimal outlay.

And finally English I think you have hit the nail on the head with the idea of franchising out the activities. What I will try and do is co-opt those with a bit of an agenda to "reach the community" eg the midwife and hope we don't have to pay her, or can pass the charge somehow onto the customers. Obviously everything else has to be subject to a very yawny profit and loss calculation smile

Again, thanks everyone, I can't believe the support available on here! (well, I can but ykwim grin)

worldcitizen Fri 31-Aug-12 16:28:44

I have thought about an English conversation group, but being in the middle of nowhere I think DH and I are the only English speaking people for a few kilometres around! There's an American guy actually in the next village... but I'll definitely keep my ear to the ground and if I think there's a market for English learners to come and practice their conversation with a native speaker (ie me) I'll pounce on it!

I know of two places here, where the owners are Native English speakers and there is once a week an English conversation evening, open for everyone, then they serve the people and sit with them and simply chat with them in English and once I was there and they were reading some English Children's Classic.
And all of the people who ended up going there were older and wanted to brush up their English skills and listen to a Native speaker and also ask questions about the UK and the U.S. and get travel advice and all those conversations somehow developed organically, and they thought it was great for them because it was fun and open and not a course, so instead of paying for the Volkshochschule and having a set schedule, they paid for the drinks etc. and brushed up their English. I didn't continue to go as it was too simple (their English was really basic), but thought the idea is great.

Ploom Fri 31-Aug-12 16:55:56

Glad we were a help cake. i think the English conversation class I meant was more what world described - the opportunity for non-English speaking prople to practice their English with a native speaker. People would jump at the chance & it gets people in to your restaurant for English practice & then you might get them coming back at other times to eat.
Good luck with it all - you sound like you've got a busy time ahead smile.

CakeBump Fri 31-Aug-12 17:15:40

oh I see world, yes I could possibly see a market for that here. I'll ask around, thanks.

worldcitizen Sat 01-Sep-12 15:46:04

Hello to everyone!!!!

alice how is your situation with the gas leak???? Hope all turned out well!!!!

CakeBump Sat 01-Sep-12 17:22:42

hi world!

It's been quiet in here today..... following on from your suggestion, I asked around at the bar last night about English conversation and the first two guys I asked do speak a (tiny) bit of English after all!! Jus shows, you don't know if you don't ask!! smile

I've been to the out of hours doctor today as I have a UTI, and also now a headache sad. DP has enquired how I am feeling precisely zero times.....

Hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday evening with their families...

worldcitizen Sat 01-Sep-12 17:43:17

Hi cake good to hear from you. I am going to have a lazy weekend. Have been mumsnetting a lot last night and was reading with lots of interest the 'Tipping in America' thread and learned so much about British views on that matter and thought how similar to Germans their views were on that and how different it is to how it's done in the U.S.
Sort of made me think again how much similarities there are between Brits and Germans...
And someone also started a 'Tips in UK' thread which really showed again how much people are not willing and not ABLE to pay more than the actual prize, which is understandable, but good and unique service always makes people spend money happily.

Sorry to hear about your UTI and headache, I also had this terrible headache two days ago, didn't even know where that came from.

Cake, please feel free to pm me anytime should you feel like it for whatever reason smile

AntiqueMuppet Sat 01-Sep-12 18:56:15

Evening all!

DS has taken his first steps! Well he sort of did about a week ago, but just fell forward onto me, then nothing for a week, then tonight he took a definite, unsupported step towards me while we were Skyping with my parents, which of course made them very happy too! <celebrating by quaffing wine and eating biscuits>

cake Oh no! I hope you feel better soon. It sounds like you've had some great suggestions for the restaurant!

world It really surprises me sometimes how alike, yet how different the UK and Germany are. Just when I think I'm completely used to things here, something pops up and surprises me.

TheEnglishWoman I have a hard time cleaning with one DS in tow, I can't imagine getting anywhere with cleaning out with three! Hope they are all feeling a bit better and recovering from their various ailments.

Linzer grin at your focus group! I haven't tried DS on baked beans yet, but he really enjoyed his Marmite on toast, which made me disproportionately happy blush (DH can't stand Marmite, but I love the stuff.)

cheas Any luck with the present buying?

<waves to everyone else>

worldcitizen Sat 01-Sep-12 19:13:28

antique yeah, yeah, yeah to first steps!!!!!!!

I'll never forget, how our daughter started walking, truly walking on her father's birthday, my exH thought it was THE best b-day present, and then.....2 1/2 months NOTHING. That was a bummer ha ha ha, we almost doubted it really happened confused.

LinzerTorte Sat 01-Sep-12 19:16:51

Cold and rainy here today, so the barbecue we were going to this evening has been cancelled. I've got an Indian takeaway out of the freezer instead. grin

Antique Yay on your DS's first steps! And what perfect timing, when your parents could see them too. Definitely cause to celebrate. smile

world I was also reading the thread about tipping earlier. One thing I found a bit strange when I first moved here is the way that you'd always round the amount you were paying for a drink up the nearest euro, or even add a euro or two; in the UK, I'd never normally tip if I was just having a coffee, for example.

Cake Boo to the UTI and headache; hope they clear up soon. And grr at unsympathetic DPs...

DH is asking where I am in a rather impatient tone, so must go!

wantingmore Sat 01-Sep-12 20:18:36

Evening everyone
cake hope your uti and headache get better soon.

Antique congratulations on your DSs first steps.

Linzer thats a shame about the weather and your cancelled bbq.

DH viewed a lovely house today. There is just us and one other couple interested. Im keeping everything crossed in hope we get it.
I was putting something in my diary earlier and saw an entry for next week saying DD2 back to school. It made me really sad and homesick for UK and I even cried a little. It just feels like im never going to get used to life here. I hope im wrong.