Why I am teaching my son to break the rules

I was chatting on Facebook with a fellow Expat in Sicily recently about how to make children do their homework. I actually don’t think it IS always a good idea. Children need time for hobbies and a social life When my son began school, I used all means possible to make him do his homework,…

The Kind of Blogs that Make Money

Since I’m skint, and my part of Sicily has 49% unemployment, I’ve been researching how to make money from blogging. If this doesn’t work, my only option will be to work in one of Sicily’s 1,456,998 Chinese shops selling tiny polyester clothes which smell of mothballs. I’ve found out there are three types of blogs…

So you’re Sicilian. Are you in the Mafia?

“Mummy, why are the baddies English?” my son asked me last week. He was watching “Rio”, a cartoon film about parrots in which the bad parrot, from the Brazilian jungle, inexplicably talks with a very posh English accent. “Well, it’s just one silly cartoon,” I reassured him. Then he listed all the English baddies he…

A new book: SICILIAN CARD GAMES an easy-to-follow guide

  ‘SICILIAN CARD GAMES an easy-to-follow guide’ gives very clear instructions for twelve Sicilian card games, with photographic illustrations.  It is the only book of Sicilian card games in print worldwide. Sicily has its own unique deck of playing cards, and lots of games exclusive to the island.  Card games are an indispensable part of the…

Does your child know more than you do?

Mine does. He’s eight. People often comment on how much he knows about animals and their evolution. A few days ago I was watching a film with him in which this bizarre little animal appeared: “That’s a honey badger,” he told me immediately. “They love eating honey but they sometimes attack lions to steal their…

Multicultural Sicily: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

This afternoon we went for a walk around central Palermo. In Piazza Politeama we saw these fellows. The man at the bottom was sitting cross-legged on a glass tumbler. All along Via Ruggiero Settimo there were buskers playing drums and guitars, there were fire-breathers and jugglers, there were men on stilts making balloon animals for the…

What does “Confetti” mean in Italian?

Sicilians, like many other Mediterranean people, give little gifts of sugared almonds to all their friends when celebrating the key events in their lives. If they are fancily wrapped sugared almonds, they are called confetti. If the almonds also have a gift attached, the whole thing is called a bomboniera. Sicilians take this art form…

What did YOU do with your milk teeth?

One of my little boy’s milk teeth fell out recently. He now has two outsize grown-up size teeth at the centre of his mouth, and a space each side of them. He looks like a rodent. “Do you want to leave it under your pillow for the tooth fairy?” I asked him. “Or do you…

International Joke Day

My little boy had a fantastic idea yesterday: We should institute an International Joke Day. This is a day when everyone tells every one else a great joke, to cheer up the whole world. I think he is a genius, and so I officially declare that tomorrow, Monday 22 April, is International Joke Day. IF…

La Traviata and the Italian Art of being ill Dramatically

Sorry I haven’t written any posts for so long. I’ve been too busy mopping up puke. My little boy has vomited almost every day for the last three months. The house smells like a bleach factory, and I am buying new mops from the local hardware store so often that the cashier there thinks I…

Stop Giving Children Homework NOW!

This is not something I am writing on a whim. Fair enough, yesterday I went through the trauma of supervising my seven-year-old son while he did his Italian Grammar homework. This was not only traumatic because I didn’t know the right answers. It was also traumatic because he was tired, bored, and doing all he…

The Top 5 causes of Death in the Home: Doing Housework

I electrocuted myself yesterday. I was cleaning the toaster and I forgot to unplug it first. That’s what having a seven-year-old with verbal diarrhoea and real diarrhoea, both at once, can do to your mental faculties. Whilst emptying the equivalent of three whole loaves of bread, transformed into burnt offerings, out of the bottom of…

Photographic talent? …Or maybe not?

In my previous post, I described our weekend visit to Tindari to see the Black Madonna. In compliance with my husband’s Great Economy Drive, a restaurant lunch was forbidden, so we had a picnic here: “This is so romantic!” declared my son, who is 6 years old. He took that photo of the sea (above), and…