Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Fourth of July celebration

While the rest of America was out celebrating Independence Day last weekend, we had our own little celebration in the Nappy Valley household; our shipment finally arrived from the UK.

I never thought I would be so pleased to see such prosaic items as sheets, towels, pots and pans, let alone my coffee table, carpet and writing desk. Knowing that such things were coming, we have been living without a few of the kitchen essentials. Not exactly being a paean of domesticity, I can safely say that I never imagined being pleased to see my cheese grater or my tin opener. But after four weeks of trying to ram holes in cans of tuna with The Doctor's penknife and nearly stabbing myself, I was overjoyed. He, meanwhile, spent a happy morning watching Wimbledon while happily unpacking his boxes of computer equipment, wires and boxes of software.

The Littleboys were suitably delighted to see their toys and books. I am optimistically hoping that the arrival of several tonnes of Lego will mean that they spend slightly less of their time at home glued to Noggin (strapline " it's like preschool on TV". Er, yes, if preschool consisted of semi-educational cartoons with insanely annoying and repetitive songs)*.

Our family photographs and a few paintings from home now adorn the house, giving it the feel of an uncanny fusion of our old and new homes. And our coats and scarves are hanging in the closets ready for the icy Long Island winter, although at the moment it seems hard to believe we will ever need them here.

We celebrated this momentous occasion with a trip to the beach at a State Park, which was packed with daytrippers from NYC. Everyone produces the most incredible amount of equipment; massive iceboxes, beach umbrellas and chair, drag-along carts full of beach gear, whole Weber barbecues. Back home, you might have taken along a bucket, spade and a beach towel and possibly a couple of sandwiches wrapped in foil. Mind you, we have already conceded to the American way and purchased the beach umbrella and icebox, managing to fill the rather capacious boot of our car quite easily.

Back home, we ate barbecued ribs and hot dogs on the porch, and watched the Manhattan fireworks on TV, to a soundtrack of patriotic American songs.

I think perhaps we are becoming indoctrinated.....


*Actually I am being slightly too mean about Noggin (which is part of the Nickelodeon stable). It's a lot better than I was expecting from American kids' TV, it's ad-free and bears some resemblance to CBeebies. I even find myself singing along to some of the surprisingly catchy songs sung by a cartoon Moose who sounds a bit like Jack Johnson. I think perhaps I need to get back to work....

11 comments:

Mumof4 said...

Sounds like you are really starting to fit in. Enjoy, it's been peeing with rain ever since the 'heatwave' (read our entire summer) that lasted all of a week over here.

Potty Mummy said...

Yep, summers over here, definitely. And thanks for clearing things up about Noggin; I've picked up on references in other blogs but - showing my age here - thought it might be a derivative of Noggin the Nog...

Iota said...

Do you enjoy the little introductions to programmes on Noggin telling you how developmentally useful they are for your children?

"Max and Ruby... teaches kids about inter-personal and intra-personal dynamics".

There's one that teaches "kinaesthetic concepts".

Oh, and another I can remember (is it Lazytown?) is good for "healthful behaviours" (like sitting in front of the television, for example).

Nicola said...

Yes, where would I be without Noggin? Am actually really looking forward to an injection of CBeebies for 4 weeks - although I know initially that the boys will comment on how everyone on the tele 'talks funny'. Yes darlings...that's a British accent. Listen and learn. Listen and learn.

nappy valley girl said...

Mum of 4 - well it rained here solidly for the first three weeks we were in the house, so it's about time for some beach weather...

PM - glad to be of service. I would have assumed Noggin the Nog too, but my children have discovered this channel for me. If you want to see my moose, look here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5OXSf10QWI

Iota - I do SO enjoy those little nuggets. I'm not even sure what intra personal skills are, but I'm so glad my boys are learning them from Noggin, and not just vegging out in front of the box refusing to go to bed because Diego is on next.

Nicola - Littleboy 1 has started to talk with a weird Cockney accent since arriving here. We think it's an unsuccessful attempt to pick up American, although he's obviously not a very good mimic!

Expat mum said...

You should also check out your PBS channel for advert free kids' shows, as well as its other channel, Sprout. Not that I know much about kids' tv really..... Mine read and debate a relevant world topic every night before the family meal and walk around the block. NOT.

Expat mum said...

PS. And if you get "On Demand" TV (where you can watch anything you want, when you want), don't tell the kids as they very quickly realise that when you say "Oh it's not on at the moment", you're lying through your teeth.

Iota said...

I meant to say, I'm glad you have found the kids' tv not so bad. I didn't discover Noggin or
PBS for my first few months, so was limited to Disney and Nick cartoons. I remember the thrill of finding PBS for the first time.

I think the real loss has been for my older kids. In the UK, they used to watch Spongebob, crappy cartoons, Blue Peter, Newsround, fun story dramas, quiz shows or competition shows like Jungle Run, etc. Here, they watch Spongebob, crappy cartoons, more Spongebob and more crappy cartoons.

Nota Bene said...

And did the Doctor put a knotted handkerchief on his head?

nappy valley girl said...

Expat Mum - I'm trying to persuade them to watch Sesame Street on PBS (I grew up with it and think it's great), but they appear to be obsessed with Noggin. As for the On Demand thing, I can see that it is definitely a slipperly slope. At home we had TV that you could 'pause' and watch later, and they still don't really understand that not all TV works like that, or is a DVD that you can watch later.

Iota - it does seem to be OK for preschoolers, but I know what you mean about the fare for older kids. I personally can't stand Spongebob!

NB - not quite, but it was so windy that we did slightly hanker after a good British windbreak!

A Confused Take That Fan said...

We have Noggin here too, on TMF in a morning (channel 21 freeview) my girls have managed to find and love Little Bear and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. Glad you are settling in.