Month Fifty-Three

sculptures

Dear Husband,

I don’t suppose we could get rid of I don’t suppose…

Now perhaps I shouldn’t really say anything. People in glass houses and throwing stones and all that. I’m definitely not saying that I am not in any way at fault here but if I had a dollar for every time my father said to me it’s not what you say but the way you say it…

I used to get chewed out all the time for what I said to my parents. Not necessarily for the precise language that I used. I didn’t swear at the drop of a hat for example. But I remember being accused of being rude and disrespectful and selfish. Which in hindsight was fair enough because on occasion, I was. The familiar refrain whilst growing up however, was that I needed to watch my attitude and my smart mouth because it wasn’t appreciated.

I’d like to say that I have grown out of this behaviour but that would be a lie. I do try to keep it to a minimum as much as possible though. For now I find myself turning into my parents, not as I speak to my own child as such, but as I speak to you. It is not uncommon for you to come through the door at the end of the day and exhale in a sigh as you walk into the kitchen and comment…I don’t suppose you had a chance to do the washing up…?

You say this like it is a question but it’s really not (you can usually see the dirty dishes stacked by the sink!). The phrase I don’t suppose is really a statement that you believe I have not done it. The tone and the body language however all imply how disappointed you are in the fact that I have not done it and the feeling that I should have done it. Then there is the connotation that I should have been more productive, less lazy and better at achieving even a basic level of good housekeeping…You of course have said none of the above literally. I often take offense however at the way you have “not said it”…and that’s where the argument starts.

Why am I getting annoyed? You haven’t accused me of anything! I have made an assumption. I have been guilty of misinterpreting. It’s my fault. After which I am countering with – why should I not be upset if I am being unfairly attacked? You are just as responsible for the delivery of what you say as the words you choose! If I were to say (insert relevant statement) in such a (assume a wildly exaggerated and snarky voice) manner, then are you telling me that you could only focus on the words??

Of course, depending on the day, the above could just be reversed. With minor differences. Why are you doing this? Do you really think this is fair? How can you possibly think that you are the only one being hardly done by? To which you come back with why am I being childish? Do I really think its appropriate to do that exact thing which I have said I don’t like?…Why do I always have to have the last word? Can’t I just learn to apologise when I have behaved badly and leave it at that?

I am trying. I am trying to communicate more clearly so there is less misinterpretation. I am trying to be more direct and to tell you what I am thinking when I ask leading questions. I am also trying not to take some of what you say so personally…I am trying to remain conscious of the fact that neither of us are particularly good at minding our manner when we are tired. I would really love it if we could rephrase I don’t suppose though.

Tryingly yours,

You Loving Wife

* Photo taken at this year’s Sculptures By The Sea

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Week 56

december-4

Dear Genevieve,

You, my dear, have grown into a little breakfast junkie. You constantly seem to be able to fit in more. If it comes from someone else’s plate of course (or bowl for that matter). We will always feed you what we think is a sufficient breakfast. And indeed, towards the end of it, you do slow right down and stop attempting to inhale your food. If we try to fill your cereal bowl again however, you are not interested. You are more than happy to take mouthfuls of weetbix from my spoon however, or fingers of toast from your father.

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You were in heaven I think when we travelled to Canberra over Christmas. You got to spend a couple of days with your grandparents which meant two more people in the house. That made twice as many people for you to scrounge food from in the mornings. All those scrambled eggs went down a treat. You even let us feed them to you.

That is something else that I have noticed, you are far more willing to accept food when you can feed yourself. If we let you hold the fork or spoon, either by yourself or with assistance, you will often continue to eat. Otherwise you stop and close your mouth up tight or start flailing your arms in an attempt to get the food as far away from your mouth as possible. So this is our new routine. Breakfast and lunch are a bit more fluid but we always eat dinner together as a family and most of the time, we let you have a go at the meal by yourself first. You are pretty good too.

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I am impressed with your dexterity in handling cutlery and picking up food. Now we just have to work on the transfer. It would be helpful if more of it ended up in your mouth and less ended up in your lap. Or on the floor. Of course, the stuff usually only gets on the floor when you drop it there on purpose. I did have to laugh in Canberra though. You were holding food to ransom over the side of your high chair until Grumps sternly told you No! He said he would be very unhappy if you dropped it on the floor. The look you gave him was classic. You practically rolled your eyes and the sound you uttered as you put the food back onto your plate was rather akin to Geez!

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So also this month, we seem to have well and truly moved into the attachment phase. I swear, you have turned into my little limpet. You constantly want to be with me if you can see me. In my arms or hanging onto my legs. Merely looking me is not good enough. I can’t even get up to go to the bathroom if I leave the door open. You want to be with me or you start to cry and whinge. Unless of course something or someone manages to distract you (which does happen from time to time) at which point you couldn’t care less where I was in relation to you.

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Usually though, you are never far away whilst we are at home. Which is occasionally inconvenient as you tend to pull yourself up on my pants and hang on to keep yourself upright. In order to stop you from toppling over, I have to remain standing in one spot which makes it nigh on impossible to reach the fridge, the bench with the kettle and the cupboards. Its like Kitchen Twister just to get breakfast ready. You do love to stand however. And you like to help.

Whenever I am loading the washing machine, you like to help with the dirty clothes. I use the term “help” somewhat loosely as you are pretty good at pulling things out of the front loader at the same rate as I am trying to put them into it. For some reason, you also seem to have a propensity for putting my underpants on your head? I have no idea where that came from. You are generally a lovely and loving little girl to be around though.

december-5

You are constantly trying to hug your Reuben puppy and you have started to volunteer your kisses with us outside of the bed time routine. You even crawled over to kiss Grumps when we were in Canberra. It was very cute. So in this regard, I hope you continue on exactly as you are now. Its wonderful to have you as a daughter.

And as you may have noticed, this letter is for December rather than the week after the previous letter. I may still tell you stories as and when but I think I’ll try for some monthly letters for a while. It will give me more time with you!

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah

Bus Blues

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Dear Old Man On The Bus,

You reminded me today of one of the reasons that I love my husband. Not by anything you said to be sure, for we have never actually spoken. On any of the occasions where our paths have crossed. But by something that you did today, or rather didn’t do as the case may be, you ultimately gave me pause to recall one of my husband’s strengths.

See, this morning I got on a busy bus. Not a crowded bus as the vehicle wasn’t full to bursting. It wasn’t practically overflowing with individuals squished together like sardines in a tin but there were no free rows. There were also no single places available unless you count the fact that you were sitting smack bang in the middle of a two-seater bench seat. By yourself. Which I did.

So rather than spend the rest of the journey on my feet as possibly the only standing passenger, I chose to take what I’m sure most would legitimately consider as the last free spot. I approached the seat in question whilst looking directly at you, removed my handbag from my shoulder, turned around and sat down. On a quarter of the space actually feeding into the aisle. Because you didn’t budge an inch.

Now I was brought up with sufficient old fashioned values which dictate that I should respect my elders. So I didn’t make a fuss. I didn’t tell you to move and I didn’t try to shove you further across the seat either. On the other hand, I was born close enough to generation “Y” that I feel I have the right to question those who could be considered my betters. And pass judgement. And I thought you were rude. Despite the fact that I am younger than you, I am still a lady. Where were your manners? You didn’t need to give up your seat, just move the hell over.

I then spent the rest of the day deep in the throes of my righteous indignation. You had done me wrong. You ought to be ashamed. You needed an attitude adjustment or at the very least a little civic awareness. I pretty much told my husband as much when I got home too. At which point he suggested that old age brings more with it than just grey hair.

Maybe it is an effort for you to merely get on the bus each morning let alone interact with anyone else. Maybe you don’t find it as easy to cope with the day to day as you might have done in your youth. Maybe you really didn’t see me today, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe I shouldn’t judge prematurely unless I actually know all the facts.

Which, Old Man On The Bus, is one of the reasons that I love my husband. He humanises me. He brings me down to Earth. He helps me see clearly and he makes me behave better…But I still get to be peeved that I had my butt hanging halfway off the seat for the ride into town. That was uncomfortable.

The Girl On The Bus

* Photo taken at this year’s Sculptures By The Sea

Week 52

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Dear Genevieve,

You are now 52 weeks old! That’s 364 days which is just shy of a year. You are not yet officially 1 but you are so very nearly there which is pretty amazing. You are still growing and learning at a rapid rate however, and there is always something that is not quite like it was before. Like my happy morning girl…

It used to be that whenever we collected you from your cot and brought you into bed with us, you would shower both your dad and I with smiles and play for a good forty minutes before getting bored or hungry or both. Now it seems that your window of favour is conspicuously less open or perhaps flapping somewhat in the winds of change. You will be fine one minute and then, bam!, in come the crocodile tears because you are not happy. So we try and cajole you back into good humour and you go back to all smiles for a couple of minutes until the window suddenly closes again and you are in turn yelling the place down.

week 52

Apparently we are moving into the stage where you are conscious of what you want but are unable to communicate this effectively to us. You are therefore left with the frustration of occasionally not getting all you desire. And I do have to say that it is only occasionally. You are pretty good at getting what you want. I have actually found myself wondering this week if I over-indulge you. Or perhaps I should rephrase that to wondering at what level I end up bowing to your every whim! It is natural for new parents to favour an only child I suppose (you don’t yet have competition – other than the dog of course) but I never wanted for you to turn out spoilt.

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I can honestly say that I’m not one of those parents that swoop in like a bird of prey over every squawk. If you fall on your butt because you overbalanced, I will take no notice of the tears and merely tell you that you are fine. If you hit your head on the other hand then I am likely to offer you a cuddle. You are an extremely hardy kid however, as evidenced by the further fall off the play gym at Kindy this week which earned you some scratches on your cheek and face. It wasn’t a little tumble but you are still fine. So I wonder if I should back off somewhat and let you come to me first or try and teach you increased patience by waiting out more tantrums. One of these days I’ll figure it out. After its too late to go back and change anything of course.

Other than that, for the first time, your father put you to bed all by himself. I had an event for work that didn’t see me get home in time to join in the bedtime routine. Your father had to do dinner, bath and bottle on his own. Which I secretly think was freaking him out in advance. You both managed however, even though it became a slightly drawn out process.

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Also this week we had your Christmas concert for Kindy during which you seemed in turn amused, confused and abused. After a while you were definitely not happy at being kept on stage in front of an entire audience of people. Then, to add insult to injury, when we got you home, your dad and I left you with Bepi so we could go to another Christmas party. I’m sure you had a lot of fun though so I actually don’t feel bad about it in the slightest. On Sunday we had a big day too because we dragged you out to another baby market but mercifully after lunch, you napped. So the rest of the household napped too. That was one of my highlights.

Alles Liebe,

Lexelah