Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Edward is 4!

us and the b-day cake
Edward and Andy
"At first I was very little, and I fit well inside mama's belly. Then I grew, and had to get out. Afterwards, I met David and grew some more. Then we went to Martinique, and now I am here." (Edward's life in his own words, June 2014).

Another quote by Edward:
"There are many countries in this world: Fallanden, Timisoara and Germany".

Rock-climbing in Crete
Edward feeding the three Ciupis in Romania 

The past year included detailed studies of sheep, a little dog (called Potae by team Edward & me, and Puppy by mama and David), frogs, spiders, turtle nests, cicada insects, puffer fish, crabs. Then there were the usual investigations in the lives of snails, slugs and caterpillars. We visited Martinique (French island), Crete (Greece), Neuchatel (French part of Swizterland) and Timisoara (Romania). Each visit was beautiful in its own way. In Timisoara we have the three lambs (each called Ciupi) and a little dog. You might have noticed that my naming schemes are not very imaginative. Ciupi was a lamb I had as a child and every other sheep since has been called Ciupi. Potae was the name of my first dog in the US, and all cats are Titzi. Next year, I am hoping Edward and David will come up with naming schemes of their own to relieve me and my mom of the responsibility.

another tadpole
A tad-pole
In the spring we had frog eggs in the rain barrel outside our house. We watched the tadpoles grow. We put some in a smaller bucket, and those stayed small. So, we slowly moved them back in the rain barrel and we produced tadpoles at different stages in their development: some with no legs, some with two legs, some with four legs and a short tail, some with four legs and a longer tail. This was all very interesting, and each tadpole was looked at in detail. After they grew legs, we moved them one or two at a time to various stationary-neighbouring water bodies including the small lake next to the University, and the pond next to the primary school, and another pond up the mountain. They were put in a plastic floatation device (a plastic boat, the plastic pear) so that they could jump out of it easily without being stressed out or so Edward and David thought. I was not so sure since being caught, placed in a jar, and then released in an unknown environment through a yellow or red plastic thing that floats seems pretty stressful to me. Unfortunately, we could not evaluate the situation further because have not seen the little frogs since. Each of these ponds has a lot of vegetation, and we also did not come up with a labelling system to distinguish our frogs from other frogs, but we hope some of them are still alive and doing well. 

our first ride in the plastic kayak with uncle Mihai
 This is our last year in Fallanden. We'll miss it. We'll especially miss the lake. In the summer (and a bit in Martinique in January) Edward began swimming without a life-west. He only uses partially inflated water-wings. We had also bought a new boat (plastic kayak) and David and Edward tried their hand at paddling. Plastic boats do not last extremely long in our family, but I still think it would be complicated to get a bigger boat and move it around.

Edward discussing with Andy right after we got the kayak:
Edward: "do you like boating?"
Andy: "Yes, of course, I do."
Edward: "Then, why did you break the boat we had last year?"
Andy: "I did not mean to do it."
Edward: "This new boat is my boat, and I want it to last a really long time. This way we can do something else with the money instead of buying another boat, and then another one, and another one."
Andy: "Like buying cars and toys?"
Edward: "No, we need the money to buy food."

Blowing balloons at the top of the hill
Hiking trail in Neuchatel

Although food is not the main expense in Switzerland and Andy is not really to blame for our plastic boats being unreliable, the conversation does show that Edward has gained some awareness for money. He now understands that we cannot buy every toy in the store, which is progress from last year. So, I can actually take him when I go shopping without worrying (too much).

Another discussion between Andy and Edward included his habit (Edward's not Andy's) of taking his pants off long before reaching the bathroom.
Andy: "Edward, you must first go wherever you want to go, and only then take your pants off." Edward had no reply to this piece of advice. His habit has yet to change, but I think it will naturally.

at the Johanna Spyri museum
with a snail near Neuchatel

This year we've also seen most of the museums around Zurich. We've seen the AirForce centre in Dubendorf, which both Edward and David loved. They were not so much interested in seeing the planes as in driving the two simulations they had there: one for an helicopter, one for a plane that they could steer and actually looked like it was taking off. The UZH/ETH museums have a lot of very cool things to show and they are free. We've seen the ETH Focus Terra museum, the Zoological museum, the Johanna Spyri museum, and the Botanical Gardens several times. In general, Edward and David like the simulations and the microscopes more because they can interact with the materials in some ways vs. just look at pictures or models.  Edward's latest comment on the Zoological museum was "Mama, why do they have to show stuffed, dead animals? Why don't they make them out of plastic?". Some are made out of plastic, but I suppose it was easier to just get the stuffed ones instead of making models.

I am concluding with Edward's understanding of death and funeral services stated on May 19, 2014 after discussion with the smartest person in the world, i.e., David.

Edward:  "When doctors in the hospital see that a person stops moving they realise there is nothing more they can do. So, they say: Bye, bye go underground (waves hands), and call the family to take them away. The family comes and says Bye, bye go underground (waves hands).  After some time they realise the person cannot move themselves to go underground. So, they dig a hole with shovels and/or their hands and say Bye-bye go underground again (again waves hands).  If they do not have shovels and cannot dig with their hands, they put the body on water. Some families prefer to burn the body, and then throw the ashes so that they fly away with the wind. At some point, the soul flies away (pretends to be flying)."

with Delia in Timisoara
I thought his description is very simple and fairly comprehensive for a 3-year old - it is also impersonal and light-hearted. However, I hope they won't experience such things for many years to come. Every time I lost someone close it felt like part of my soul broke away and went with them leaving such emptiness behind. 
Halloween at home

By July/August David could no longer persuade Edward to say that he is the smartest person in the world. Now, Edward only accepts to say that, somehow, he and David are both the smartest person in the world. They have to be equal in every way, and there is a big argument on who is first every time they get dressed or they put their skates on. It's quite a challenge to get them ready in the same time.