Week 209

Dear Genevieve,

It’s your birthday time of year. You know how I know this? 1. Because I am your Mama and I am totally supposed to know these things. 2. Because you mention it all the time. That and your party. Which seems to have a different theme every five minutes. When you turn 4, you are going to have a minions party. No, wait, an Angelina Ballerina party. Actually, you would like a Cinderella party. But you might like a Sophia the First party. Maybe you should have a Princess party. You could have a pirate party. Then again, maybe a Mickey Mouse party would be better?

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You couldn’t fix on one thing at all. Which for the most part was ok cause I could just smile and nod and not put any significant effort into trying to theme the party cause there wasn’t a consistent theme going. Then we had to make a call. Which became remarkably easier when we saw that the Cinderella Party paraphernalia was at least half price and then slightly more complicated when we realised that the majority of your friends are boys. Thus we came up with a Cinderella / Jake and the Neverland Pirates themed birthday, heavy on the princesses. And we bought a whole heap of stuff, most of which we probably didn’t need.

I still have dreams of creating a pintrest worthy party. Lovingly handmaking food and games for beautiful children to enjoy. I know that in reality, if I was to try such a stupid feat, I would get pissed off, leave half-finished projects lying around and end up buying a number of things anyway so we saved a little stress and less money and just went to the party supply shop. We are looking forward to the party though. Your aunt is coming and your best friend so that pretty much takes care of your happiness for the day. The rest is just sugar and sunshine. Hopefully.

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And in other news, you are definitely laying on the love with your brother these days which is both pleasing and frustrating depending on the time of day. One of the things you have started to do is sing to him when he is upset and neither your father nor I are in the room. A couple of times we have heard you sing the Doc McStuffins song to him:
Hey, what’s going on? Tell me what’s wrong.
I know there’s something we can do…
Tell me what’s wrong, what’s going on?
So choosing to ignore the fact that this may mean we let you watch too much tv, it’s really cute. It doesn’t work of course. When he is already upset, he is really not interested in you singing him a song but we think it’s quite lovely. What is not lovely is that sometimes you just can’t leave him alone. If I had a dollar for every time I have asked, pleaded, ordered and yes, yelled can you just stop grabbing your brother from behind! I know, I know. Sounds kinda bad out of context…

Sometimes we would like you to let your brother do things for himself. He is learning and we would like to afford him the same opportunity that you had, except you didn’t have any older siblings. You constantly take over for him and he will have to get used to that. You are also sometimes possessive of what is yours and if he picks up something that you are playing with (or not playing with occasionally) you will just go ahead and take it back. I can see that is going to happen a lot in the next couple of years. What is really frustrating for me to watch though is when you grab him from behind and essentially pull him over. Sometimes you are trying to cuddle him, other times move him and sometimes help him but he never seems to like it. You are constantly doing it though so we are trying to curb that behaviour.

We are also trying to curb the constant asking of the same question when you have already received an answer. And for some reason this happens both when you get the answer you don’t want and the answer you do. I can understand the playing off one parent against the other although the execution somewhat eludes you. Like when we were in the card waiting for Dad and you asked if you could listen to Playschool. I said no, not this time, we will listening to my music. Five seconds later, your dad gets into the car and you ask if you can listen to Playschool and he says sure honey. That one did not work out the way you had planned. You did not in the end get Playschool.

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At other times though, you might ask if you can have something specific for lunch when you get home. I will say yes and then shortly thereafter, you will ask your dad (or even me sometimes) the same question. Do you forget that you received the answer you wanted? Or do we seem that fickle and changeable that you fear 10 seconds is enough time for us to change our minds and rip the carpet out from under you so to speak? I know that the more times you ask me can I have something, the more I am tempted to say no. Even if I first said yes.

And then there is the thing where apparently you can only receive an answer from the one to whom the question was originally asked. Whilst we are all together, you might ask a question of your dad but I will answer in his stead. You then continue to ask your dad. Either he or I will tell you Genevieve, you already have an answer to your question but you are all no-ooo, I asked Dad in that threenager way you have that is so rolling your eyes, disgusted with dumb parents that don’t get it, hardly done by attitude. I’ll show you attitude in a minute…

And then we just go back to thinking that you are gorgeous.

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Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Month Eighty-Eight

Dear Husband,

This was the month of the Lost Keys. The lost keys that were almost my fault but not really and the lost keys that were totally not my fault at all. And I know its not or it shouldn’t be about blame but you get so MAD when stuff like this happens that I either feel like scuttling into a corner or coming out punching. And the fact that your keys went missing twice in one week was really unfortunate.

The first time was when we went to meet your sister for coffee. When driving up to Sydney, the house keys (because you keep house and car keys separately which is just another thing to keep track of in my opinion but what do I know) were given to Boo. Then we stopped at Roselands while you made a toilet stop and I got Boo out of the car. I was so wishing I hadn’t done that later…Then we fast forward to getting out of the car on the North Shore and we can’t find the keys.

They weren’t in Boo’s capsule. They weren’t on the floor of the car. They weren’t in the bags in the car. They weren’t on the street. Did Genevieve know what had happened to them? No. Boo threw them somewhere? Did they fall out of the car when I got him out at Roselands? No, I don’t think so. But do you know? Can you categorically tell me that they are not somewhere at Roselands or even worse, in someone else’s pocket because they stole them from the ground kilometres from where we are now!?! Could they have fallen out and you didn’t notice? Were you not careful enough when you got him out of the car? Did you look at the ground specifically to make sure that none of our possessions had fallen out?…It was around this time that I was feeling particularly small.

I wondered if I had somehow missed the falling of the keys. I was pretty sure I hadn’t. I mean, when I get Boo out of the car, I generally stand him up in the seat first to adjust my hold and lift him out of the car carefully so I don’t knock him out on the ceiling. I try and be a good parent. DOCS frowns on braining your kids after all. I figured if the keys had been in the seat though, they would have fallen out IN THE CAR. The house keys themselves are also a massive bunch of metal and I thought I would have heard them clang on the ground for sure. Which I had not. I didn’t know where they were though and I couldn’t categorically say it was not my fault.

So we went to coffee. You were trying not to be openly pissy with me, we finished coffee and then we went back to the car. We still couldn’t find the keys. You searched again, pulling things out of the car. Muttering and swearing not so under your breath. I sat down on the side of the road with the kids and looked through the nappy bag with me (which I had already SEARCHED TWICE) to find something to amuse Boo and I found the keys. Which had presumably landed in the open back pocket when Boo threw them out of his car seat. And my first thought was I DID NOT LOSE THEM AT ROSELANDS AND THIS WAS TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT! You may argue that my relief was somewhat misplaced and should have been in the locating of the keys that would not result in re-keying anything rather than the lack of fault in losing them beyond recovery but I don’t care. You could also argue that a lot of stress could have been alleviated had they been found when I first checked the nappy bag but nevertheless, they were found and this was now not a terrible event in history that was going to go down as my fault.

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And then there was the second time the keys were lost. I was getting ready to go to bed. You were coming too but you like to gather up your keys and phone etc before you go to bed and did I know where your keys were? No, I do not keep their whereabouts on my radar. I can’t recall seeing them either so I don’t know. I dutifully helped you look though. Through the couches, on top of the bench, in the piles of stuff we have about the place. You searched the car and the grass in the garden. No keys. When was the last time you saw them? I don’t know, if I knew that don’t you think I would be looking there? Sorry I asked. Did you need to use them today? I gave them to Boo in the park to play with. Which is where I struggle not to suggest that had they been on the same keychain as the car keys, you would remember if they had come home or not. Did we learn nothing from earlier in the week? Apart from this is not helpful at all?

So at this point you head down to the park with a torch and then come back – with no keys. Since it is dark and late and the kids are asleep, I figure there is not much more we can do now. I am pretty sure that we will find them tomorrow so I send up a little prayer for same, go to bed and incredibly selfishly think at least this wasn’t my fault either. I never said I was perfect. The next morning you had a commitment so you were out of the house and I was cleaning up. As I went through Boo’s room, I pick up some dirty clothes from atop the column heater and find the keys. It then takes me a couple more minutes to reset my phone so I can let you know because it decided to freeze on me and the home phone had no charge whatsoever.

You said that you did not put the keys there, however, you had been sitting on the floor there with both kids the previous day. You had given the keys to Elliot to play with (again) in the exersaucer and Genevieve must have moved them to the side…in your presence…I am saying nothing…

After all, its not like this kind of thing happens to us all the time

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I can’t however keep silent on the following. Every so often, you berate me regarding one of your apparent pet peeves which would not nearly be so bad if I had any idea of its coming. And if it wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black. The other day I was getting a piece of toast. I cooked the bread, spread on some butter and vegemite and went about doing my thing. At which point I got can you please JUST USE A PLATE!?! Do you not THINK that you are spreading crumbs everywhere and that this is what attracts insects? Can’t you just eat over a PLATE?

Um, I’m sorry? You are picking now after 7 years of marriage during which I cannot even count the times I have eaten toast without a plate to tell me that you think I am being dirty and unhygienic? You who frequently leave things like the peel of fruit sitting on the couch overnight without even resting it on a plate? You are unofficially insinuating that I am going to be the sole cause of a potential insect infestation because I can’t eat toast over crockery? Sure, if it means that much to you, I can make an effort to eat toast such that crumbs should never touch the floor but you might want to tone down the vitriol…

And then there was the hardly done by can you please just FILL THE KETTLE TO AT LEAST THE MINIMUM when you pour water out of it!?! I should just be able to turn it on without running the risk that it doesn’t have enough water to boil…So you’re saying that I am the weird one because I always take a quick glance at the kettle before I put it on and if it is in fact not holding enough water, I fill it in the sink that is like 40cms away? It’s me that has the problem and the lack of all common decency since I have failed to think of my fellow man in the household? You NEVER do this yourself? Oh wait, you do, so you totally just opened up a can of worms. I now make it my mission to check the jug every time I finish with it and every time I go to put it on the boil and it’s too empty I ask can you please JUST FILL THE DAMN JUG!?! Should have thought about that one, shouldn’t you…

And what was the whole defrosting bacon thing about!?! We were calmly discussing what to have for dinner one night and I was thinking along the lines of something easy, you know, like breakfast, and suggested bacon and eggs. You then informed me (I want to say snootily) that we didn’t have bacon. I said I thought we had some in the freezer and by extension figured that we could just defrost it cause we have a microwave with a defrost setting which is what it is there for. This was apparently the WRONG THING TO DO. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me, in this family, seemingly, we do not defrost bacon. Or rather, just to clarify a point, we do not defrost bacon when I make the suggestion, perhaps as we all know that I do none of the cooking in the house so therefore I should not stick my oar in where it is not wanted? Which is the impression I got when a week later you needed bacon for a recipe and HAD TO DEFROST IT!

So I’m sorry if this month you feel that you have been a little ganged up on. It just so happened that a number of things that might have been smaller in and of themselves seemed to pile up in one month or perhaps you reacted more strongly or vehemently than usual and what would normally have been a smile and nod from me became a thing. And the “things” in our house are totally not restricted to you as the initiator. I know this. I do plenty of things that drive you insane because they are absurd, nonsensical and or unprovoked but I can’t write them from your point of view so you would have to do that one yourself. I love that you put up with my crap as well as call me on it occasionally though.

Non-crappily yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 298

Dear Elliot,

You are going to be trouble, kid. Trouble with a capital “T”. In the last week alone you have discovered the joys of pulling both DVDs and books out of the shelves upon which they reside. All over my floor. With very little care and much abandon as you seem to be having a rip roaring time. When Genevieve was little, everyone warned us that we would have to put locks on all the doors, everything breakable up high and, well, pretty much everything up high where it could not be reached by little hands. And then she never seemed interested in touching anything.

Ok, so that’s not quite true. She was particularly attached (and still is) to riffling through my handbag and dislodging all the contents across the floor but she never went for my bookshelves. They weren’t that interesting to her. To you, they are awesome opportunities for mischief. And other items of my furniture, such as chairs and coffee tables, are structures under which you can reverse and hide. Or get stuck which prompts a distress call from you so we know where you are but you will very soon figure out how to extricate yourself from situations that you don’t want to be in and from that point, I think we are just going to start losing you.

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You can certainly get yourself around now. You have been somewhat mobile recently but today you figured out the whole opposing arm and leg thing that is required for the crawl. You haven’t mastered the art. You alternate between weight bearing on the knee in order to push forward and just bringing the whole leg underneath you as if you were going to push yourself up onto your feet. So crawling looks a little like a drunken, limping crab. Moving forwards (thus the drunken part) and dragging a limb as though part of it had atrophied and wasn’t bending in the proper form.

This of course hampers your speed a little but you are a smart cookie. You will either figure out that you are just going to have to get both your feet underneath you and start walking if you hope to be able to catch up to your sister or you will become a ninja crawler and disappear silently. A lot. We’re not really looking forward to that. I have contemplated setting up a port-a-cot permanently in the living area to put you in if I can’t watch you like a hawk. To the best of my knowledge, you don’t know how to climb out of those yet and your sister isn’t big enough or strong enough to easily lift you out of them (note I only said easily lift) so I am reasonably confident that you would stay where I had put you. You just might be a little ticked off. Which is another thing that does not bode especially well for your father’s and my stress levels in the future.

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You are going to want to move and to explore. You will want to touch and to try and to test. Experiencing things is going to be high on your hit list. And anyone who dares to say nay is going to get a big cheeky grin as you go ahead and do it anyway. I am hoping that your penchant is going to be a little more scientific than careless. Inquisitive rather than destructive. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome would always be different but at least if you can learn that it matters why you do something (not to mention have the best of intentions), I am hoping that this will help to put in you in a good place. And help us to keep you engaged. Cause I gotta tell you that I don’t have a lot of prior experience with energetic boys and you are going to be a handful. A delightful, hilarious handful.

You are already quite adept at charming the pants off people. You copy most of your sister’s crazy facial expressions and your face is pure joy when you smile. That never gets old. You are totally in the moment and you are just…happy. Others remark on it too. You certainly have your moments when you let us now that everything is Not Cricket but most of the time you are my happy-go-lucky little joy. I love this stage. You are still a baby and not yet a toddler. You are learning to do things by yourself, gaining some independence, millimetre by millimetre. You are discovering the world around you and slowly growing into your own personhood but you are still my snuggly Boo. Until you fling your arm across my windpipe for leverage to turn yourself outwards in my arms because wherever I am looking is bound to be far more entertaining than looking at me, right? That is what I really dislike about this stage. I’m just saying.

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But I love you to bits, Boo and I am looking forward to whatever comes next.

Much love,
Mama

Week 205

Dear Genevieve,

This month you introduced us to “My Sweetie”. Or rather, you didn’t formally introduce us but she has started to make regular appearances during your play. Dependent on where you are and what toys you feel like playing with, My Sweetie could be the doll you have so far grown up referring to as Baby or an imaginary friend of your own creation. My Sweetie could also be someone you can interact with (so I would assume close to your age) if you so choose or merely someone that you have to care for (i.e. a baby). My Sweetie, bless her, is often sick or needing a nap or sometimes just a cuddle. It’s quite sweet.

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It’s also cute that you have chosen her name (I can only assume) as a result of the endearment that your father and I both use with you. We frequently refer to you as sweetheart, sweetie or sweet for short. You know it for a name only ever used with love or affection and that’s what you choose to have for a friend. Zebby was incredibly short lived but My Sweetie has been a regular visitor around these parts and you are always generous and helpful to her.

There are times when you are especially generous and helpful towards us as well. Especially with money. You are starting to gain an understanding of the basics whereby you spend or give money to someone and you get something in return. You know that having money is a useful thing and you enjoy the occasions when you physically have money in your possession that you know to be yours. You don’t really have a concept of what it is worth and act like it sort of burns a hole in your pocket because you long to spend it but you are not selfish with it.

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There have been several occasions where your father and I have discussed the shopping list of items to be purchased at the supermarket or we have talked about something particular we want to buy and you have been the first one there saying you can use my money. You desperately wanted to contribute to your bike helmet. In fact, you thought you could just about afford your bike helmet (as opposed to the box that it came in). You have even been very disappointed when Daddy didn’t get you out of the car at the supermarket so you couldn’t go with him and provide whatever funds you had on you at the time.

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You don’t often have a lot of money and usually it is less than a dollar, a small handful of silver coins. It’s a proud moment for you to contribute though which I want to applaud at the same time as I want to say thank you but keep your money baby girl because you deserve to spend that for yourself. So I occasionally compromise by taking your money and putting it back in your moneybox later. As I said, you still have no concept of what it’s worth or what you can afford with it so it doesn’t seem at all strange to you to find coins you gave away previously.

It’s in these small things here and there that I see you growing up. Day to day, you look the same to me but there are times when you appear to grasp a concept I didn’t think you understood or I think when did you learn to do that. Like the colouring in thing. Like most kids, you like drawing and “colouring in”. Most of the time, this consists of circles or zig zags of pencil across a page or seemingly indiscriminately over the top of an outlined drawing. The other day I was colouring in something with you though and I was watching you concentrating on trying to get the colour inside the lines. And you were quite good at it. I have never seen you do that before. Some people might think that you are three and not supposed to do that. We are turning you into a little conformist or something. I just say way to go on your motor control. If you can do it, that’s awesome. Whether you want to do it, that is still up to you Sweetheart.

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Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Month Eighty-Seven

Dear Husband,

We finished the Playgroup this month. That cause of intense stress and angst for you is now over and that’s a really good thing. You have asked me to let you know if the ministry stuff you do is ever too much and I have to say, we couldn’t sustain that, at least not the way it was this first time around. It was borderline there for a little bit but it was important and it was only the six days. We were all looking forward to the end by the second week. I do acknowledge that some great things came out of it though.

There were some really good connections made and a lot of goodwill that was generated. There were tangible results that could be shared and it’s easier to communicate your vision to others with a practical example rather than trying to assure them that what you have in mind totally looks freaking awesome in your head! I think there are definitely a number of things we would know to do better the next time around as well. So now we have to tackle the question of when that would be. I know you are itching for some time in the summer holiday break but I have reservations. You know I want to support you if you think it’s that important but I think this works better as a term break project. We will see I guess.

Other than that this month, life sort of went on day to day as usual. Nothing particularly sticks out in my head or comes to mind as I look over photos from the last couple of weeks. Except for my birthday. And this was actually not specifically because it was my birthday. That just happened to be the reason for the party.

When we moved last year, I had grand plans for a housewarming / birthday party. We talked about it and I got as far as making up invitations. Ultimately, when we got down to talking about invitees, the thought of a significant number people in your personal space looked very much like it was weighing you down though and it didn’t seem worth it. This time however, you started that ball rolling yourself.

You tried to make it a surprise birthday party. You started smsing people to ask if they were free but couldn’t quite hide everything. I was about to start organising myself into a salon visit and dinner though so I needed to know that really wasn’t going to work. In the end, we had a great day. A lot of work went into cleaning up the garden and tidying the house beforehand and I’m sure there was a portion of terse and tense moments leading up to the afternoon but the event itself was really great.

It was a gorgeous day and it was lovely to see the house really being used for entertaining. I got to share that day with one of my “birthday buddies” in town too and so friends and family for us both were spread across the lawn and the garden for a barbeque lunch and good company. Following the lunch, we then ended up at an impromptu dinner at a friend’s house which was a nice way to cap of the evening.

What was really nice about the day though was now, you kind of get it. As much as I desperately need my personal space sometimes and I can be an introvert, I love the idea of a house full of friends and family. I like entertaining at home and this has been a topic of conversation (and contention) more than once. Up until now though, you haven’t been able to focus beyond the many people in your house bit and see it for what it could be. Now you can and you are starting to get it. You don’t want to do it all the time or even frequently per se, which is totally cool, but making the most of what we have and sharing it a little more might be something we would all enjoy.

Partyingly yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 276

Dear Elliot,

I am so bad at keeping up with everything new for you. I think of things as they happen but invariably don’t write them down. You change all the time but then there are some things that for whatever reason, I find more remarkable than others. Most recently;

You have learned how to clap. Or rather we can recognise that you know how to clap on purpose. We see you repeat the motion to have fun and we see you recognise and copy the action from us. Its such a small thing to me when I say it but it feels lovely to build part of that language between us that doesn’t consist of words. We love you and we want to share ourselves with you. You adore us in return and want to show us how you are learning to be like us. It connects us. It is not merely something we observe in you but something that we have been part of and continue to share. You are very cute when you do it too.

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You have also learned to suck a bottle. Not something specifically cute but totally useful. You are very much on solids now and getting enough water into you has been more of a challenge until now. We have tried to give you sippy cups that tip and others that don’t but the act of extracting water from them has so far been beyond you. We have never given you milk in a bottle so you have never particularly had to learn to stay nourished but it seems that after exposure and perhaps a little sibling example, you will now drink water from a bottle. You haven’t mastered the art of letting air back into the bottle. You would rather just keep on sucking till all of the inside comes outside which unfortunately for you will never happen. You can’t actually suck a golf ball through a garden hose my son. Just so as you know. You are now able to get water and stay hydrated though. This is a big plus.

You have shown us that you can use your smarts too. Particularly when in involves getting something to eat. Your dexterity and fine motor skills are improving all the time but your father noticed the other day that you have already created workarounds to compensate for what you are still unable to accomplish. When watching you eat, one could be forgiven for thinking that you just wanted to make a mess but there is method in your madness. When you can’t get a little bit of something, you will spread a lot of something across the tray of your highchair. You will spread it out finely enough that you can manage to pick up individual pieces of whatever is in front of you. And if they are too slippery or small or just inconvenient to pinch your fingers around, then you will use that spread to isolate a piece of what you want and swipe it towards the edge of the tray so that you can just close your whole hand around it to pick it up and jam it in your mouth. There is such concentration and ingenuity there. It is impressive to watch.

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Your core strength is impressive too. Hardly surprising though as you have liked bearing weight on your feet for quite a while. Now though, you are starting to pull yourself up on things. You are desperate to walk. I can see the frustration in your eyes. Why can’t I do this?!? You will get there little buddy, I promise. You are definitely putting in a valiant effort at the moment and managing to stand for much longer than a couple of seconds as long as you can lean against something. Part of me wants you to get there because I can see that you passionately want to move. The other part of me thinks please stay my baby and don’t become my toddler. At least not yet. Stay in the jolly jumper a bit longer. That’s like a compromise, isn’t it?

We have brought this out for you recently and you seem to thinks its fantastic. You are not one of those kids who will happily stay in there for an hour but you are usually good for 15-20 minutes with some music. You jump madly and laugh to yourself, usually as you are watching your sister do some crazy dancing. We usually have to make her let you do it for yourself at some point and you go for broke. We can have your toes just touching the floor and you will push to the point that you get slack on the spring. We have to keep moving the wire up.

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And there are doubtless other things that I have forgotten to mention as they are rolled into the day to day process of us moving forwards with our lives. We do notice little things though and celebrate with you as we see them. Even if they don’t all make it in here.

Much love,
Mama

Week 200

Dear Genevieve,

Do you know, I have the most obnoxious habit of the “Hm”? As in the non-committal sound that is just barely acknowledgement of someone else having spoken? This is the response that covers a plethora of options from I’m not sure what you just said but I have to respond with something through to yes, I understand what you have said, please let me consider my next response.

It could be a not on your life but I don’t want an argument about me saying no type of answer or it could be a that’s surprising, I never would have guessed type of answer. Its never really a hmmm? Sorry what was that? type of answer. Or a hmm, I’m right in the middle of something but yes you can have that type of answer. Its not a hmm? Really? Are you sure? type of answer either. It’s a “hm”. Whether or not it is intended this way, it usually comes across as a judgemental, condescending and a little bit self-righteous type of answer. And do you know how I have come to the realisation that I have the most obnoxious habit of the “hm”? Because you have picked it up and you do it all the freakin time!

Genevieve, get your shoes on, we have to go.
Hm. (As in really mum? What is your hurry woman? I’m gonna do it already, just quit being obsessed by my shoes. The world has bigger problems.)
Genevieve, do you really think that was a smart thing to do?
Hm. (Or you are clearly upset mum but I really didn’t see the problem with it. Like nobody got hurt, nothing got ruined and life goes on, you know?)
Genevieve, do you want toast for breakfast or weetbix?
Hm. (I suppose I could do breakfast but that is like only two options you gave me and you are pressuring me to make a decision right now and I’m not ready. Just because you want to rush through this part of the day right here, I’d prefer to take my time.)

And I want to go No. Not Hm! Hm is never an appropriate response to a yes or no question. Hm does not give me a clear indication of whether you actually understood what I was saying. Hm in no way lets me know that you are taking me seriously. Damnit. It really sucks when people Hm you doesn’t it, kid? It also sucks when you are trying to make your way in the world and it feels like you never get a break. Which is a little bit how your dad was feeling this month and a little bit how you ended up feeling too.

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Although you were both pretty wrong in this, you were both a little bit right in it as well. You have started asking of late why is Daddy always mad? Which breaks his heart when I let him know that his stress is overflowing on to you and it has been noticed. All of a sudden behaviour that was fine yesterday will illicit punishment and reprimands today and its not consistent. You think its great to make your brother laugh in the mornings, sort of by yelling at him. Its quite an aggressive sound to our ears but with the sibling bond the two of you have together, its clearly entertaining to him. You have been both told off for it and encouraged to do it however, and its confusing to you. The lead time from fine to cranky is shorter than it was and you seem to feel like you’re more in trouble than not.

To be perfectly fair though, your behaviour is not stellar. You still whinge constantly. You don’t talk about decisions that you don’t like. You immediately whine and turn on the waterworks seemingly at the drop of a hat. You want other people to share and compromise for you but you are not really prepared to go the other way. One of your favourite Veggietales episodes is a lesson in thankfulness but the moral of the story still seems to elude you on occasion. Your Dad is working on his side though. He is trying to communicate with you more than control you but it’s a work in progress. Know that he loves you unconditionally though and never wants to damage the relationship he has with you.

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Other than that, this month there were some pretty cool highlights. The first was when we took you to Cirque Africa. Your first real circus. You have never truly seen live entertainment before and you LOVED it. The acrobatics were amazing, the atmosphere was awesome and you had a great time. We went to opening night on a Tuesday and then for the rest of the run, you wanted to know when we could go again! Which was pretty often as they were set up just down the road and we had to pass the tent almost every time we went anywhere. Unfortunately though, its not like playing a dvd. Your options to view the spectacle are not unlimited and given our current budget, they are really the complete opposite – extremely limited. $25 a ticket is very different to $50. We got front row seats though which was pretty cool and also possibly why your dad got picked for audience participation.

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Your father dislikes making a spectacle of himself. He gets terrible stage fright. On the other hand, he is also gracious, prepared to try new things and a little bit too proud to do a half arsed job. So when they picked him out for audience participation he figured in for a penny, in for a pound. He wants you to know that its ok to make a fool of yourself in a situation where people are laughing with you just as much as they are laughing at you. He said he has never been more embarrassed in his life but he wants you to always be brave enough to give something unfamiliar or uncomfortable a go. And to truly see how air guitar should be played.

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And then there was playgroup. Your dad’s brainchild to fill the void for 0 to 5 year old children in the school holidays. As is the case for a lot of programs, they just shut down in school holidays to make way for school aged children who need care and / or something to do. Now that you have a stay-at-home-dad, he has noticed the lack during these periods and thought, you know what? I can do something about this. So he did. He tried last school holidays but due to red tape and public liability which ruins as much as it protects sometimes, he could get no more than 4 or 5 kids together to hang out and play with some toys. This holidays, it was a whole different ballgame.

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There was a jumping castle, toys, play dough, drawing, craft and morning tea. Some friends turned up with a poddy kid so we had a quasi petting zoo as well. There was glue and paint and all sorts of things to get you messy and there were friends. Many friends. A lot you knew already and some you didn’t and you had a terrific time. They were long days for you as we would be there early to set up and stay late to tidy. And we do recognise your patience with that. It was partly the cause of the stress that your dad was going through this month too but it was also a blessing. Especially as you weren’t stuck at home for two weeks with nothing to do. And we would never want out threenager with nothing to do!

Alles Liebe,
Lexeah