Month Eighty-Three

Dear Husband,

It occurred to me the other day that we do our marriage in the car. Now I know where your mind is immediately going to go with that one (get it out of the gutter) which would probably lead to well if she’s doing that in the car, she’s certainly not doing it with me or at least what on earth is she talking about but let me explain.

We don’t talk to each other at home. Not really. I mean there is a lot of did you put the chickens out, how much sleep has he had, do you know where my long pants are and what do you want for dinner? There is a passing of factual information that is immediately relevant as we manage the house and the kids and all those other practical things.

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There are also the comments that are not quite a commentary on the world around us. You might share something amusing that you saw on Facebook (which you still have your nose in all the time), there could be limited dialogue on something observed in town or a remark about something shared at one of the kids events but rarely do we sit down in the house or the garden or even out on a date and really talk to one another.

This is not to say that we never talk to each other. We do. In the car. Usually on the way to or from Canberra. On those hour long stretches of time in the car where we become each other’s captive audience and perhaps even because we are beside each other and don’t have to face each other, we chat. Without screens, we converse with each other. We do talk about the kids and the house but we also talk about life and work and things. We’re not in a rush to do something else. As we pass paddocks and pastures (and the kids frequently fall asleep), there is almost something relaxing that allows us to settle into talking to each other as adults again. As a married couple. As friends.

Now I am not saying that we can’t do better here. I mean, we really do have more time now than we’ve ever had before. I know its easy to get caught up in the day to day though and we are not the only ones in this situation. Sometimes I feel like we should be trying to find more time at home to be like this. To a certain extent though, I also think we are lucky that we do get that time with each other (in a moving vehicle) and that some of our amenities are that far away. So on reflection, we could definitely be doing much worse. We could probably take each other for granted a little less (and I totally admit to being guilty here) and value our time together a little more but we could really be doing a lot worse.

I definitely know that you miss me when I’m gone. Which I was this month for a good day and a half. I really enjoy taking photos and walking around light installations such as Enlighten and Vivid. I didn’t want to miss out this year since we moved but it has always been more my thing that yours so I took a road trip with my sister and Elliot this month. It was really nice to get that hit of one-on-one time with my sister and be part of that big city again for a night. I know that it can be stressful for you when I am away but I enjoy coming home that much more when I can truly take some time for myself. So thank you.

Appreciatively yours,
Your Loving Wife

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Week 183

Dear Genevieve,

In the past month, you have discovered your love of consumerism. Unfortunately, you have also felt the effects of a lack of personal funding and unsympathetic parents. I know this because we got Foxtel this month. Shortly after which I decided that even if it wasn’t a ridiculous waste of money I wouldn’t want it. Partly because for the majority of the time, there is bugger all that I actually want to watch and mostly because every single time you see a toy advertisement, you tell me that you want the item or ask me how you can get it.

So far we want Geli Baff, a Sofia the first Mermaid Doll, a Peppa Pig house, some Lala Loopsy babies, the Pet Parade set and the list goes on…All of a sudden it feels like every second thing out of your mouth is something selfish like I want or when can I have which is a shame. I get it, I do. Seeing all these shiny and new things on the tv makes them look so attractive. And I’d say they were all cheap and plastic and not worth it although the reality is that most of them are bloody expensive…and not worth it. So we will ride out the Foxtel trial and you will no doubt continue to lust after things that we wont buy you and which you will never afford on your own and then we will go back to watching ABC2. Which has no ads at all. I miss the ABC!

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Also in the meanwhile or for a couples of whiles as you have started to refer to some periods of time, you may continue to pitch absolute fits when you don’t get what you want. We have had a return to the total meltdown, kick-and-scream-it-out tantrums this month. You will screech at the top of your lungs repeatedly but otherwise shut down and not listen to a thing we say or want to let us anywhere near you. You get so worked up that you are practically hyperventilating and I think you become more upset by your physical discomfort than whatever it is we have denied you. We have had this during the days this month but you have also woken us up a couple of times with night terrors which are pretty much the same. I think you are getting over-tired. Most of the time you get by through the day with no nap and you sleep through the night but now and then it all gets the better of you and you need some extra sleep. When you do get extra rest, you are much less cranky. You are still moody though.

When you are not having out and out fits of pique because we are the absolute worst and most horrible parents on the planet, you can get quite sensitive when we tell you no. You have started to put yourself in time out, sometimes at the first sign of trouble. We might tell you off for kicking your legs too close to Elliot’s head and sternly request that you stop and your response will be to get upset and run away to your room. Your bottom lip will come out, your eyes will be cast down and you will scamper off and throw yourself onto your bed or the chair or whatever surface will help you to fully wallow in your own self-pity. We never tell you to leave but there are apparently times when you feel that it is not worth fighting with us and you would rather feel sorry for yourself. Either that or you are smarter than we think and on some level you are just trying to manipulate us into feeling sorry for you. You love to control the environment around you.

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Since we have had sickness in the house this month, you have taken to telling your father that he should take a rest during the day. I believe this is mostly because you see him as your competition for the tv and if he is in bed, you have free reign. Which is not far off because if you have been out at a playgroup or something in the morning, I am not adverse to you quietly watching “Genni tv” in the afternoon. I believe you also want him to rest though in the hope that he will be less cranky. That makes your life easier. When things don’t appear to be going your way though, you have started to tell us that you are making a deal.

We make deals with you all the time. This many mouthfuls for a dessert, this much quiet time for some tv, this amount of chores for an outing to the park. You have picked up the concept that deals help you to get what you want. You haven’t quite comprehended the concept of quid pro quo though. It has not quite sunk in that for you to get something that you want, we have to get something that we want in return. So when we ask you to stop doing something you want to do, you tell us no, I’ll do [this] and I’m making a deal. Which is Genevieve speak for I intend on doing exactly what I want to do and nothing else. So far it hasn’t worked for you at all but you still seem to try it on occasionally just to see if it will.

Other than that, you are still Miss Manners when it suits you. We get told off for speaking with our mouths full at the table or for doing anything that we tell you not to do. It seems you are frequently a cross between a mirror and a parrot. Particularly when you brought it home to me recently how often we say damn it around you. We were sitting in church (although thankfully not in a service) when you dropped some pencils and got frustrated. Your first response was to say damn it, damn it, damn it. My immediate response (apart from crap!) was don’t make a big deal, don’t make a big deal, don’t make a big deal. I asked you why you said those words. I suggested that if you were upset or frustrated you should say oh no or that’s a shame. I said the words you used were not nice words to say. It was at this time, one of the other kids in the room piped up and asked me what you had said. I told him that I wasn’t going to repeat what was said because we shouldn’t use those words and I had finished talking to you about it. There are things that we just shouldn’t say. It was at this point that he earnestly advised me that we don’t say what the hell either. No kid, no, we don’t. Especially not in church.

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But despite your perhaps ill choice of words when you weren’t really thinking, I think you have just about memorised the prayers in the prayer book I had when I was a little girl. I gave you the book of goodnight prayers a while ago that contains a short verse for every night of the week. You like to say the right one each night and remind us if we forget. You are unfamiliar with some of the words though so sometimes you make bits up and just match the vocal sounds and syllables which you say very earnestly. Its quite cute. As is the fact that you wanted to cut your barbie’s hair. Most parents might be upset that you wished to take a pair of scissors to your doll however when we asked you why, you said that you wanted Barbie’s hair to be short just like yours. I figure that if you want your doll to look like you instead of you wanting to look like the doll, that means we are doing something right. So I told you that the next time we get your hair cut, we’ll ask the hairdresser to cut your doll’s hair too. I am very proud of you little one…but I still don’t agree with you cutting your dolls’ hair willy nilly.

Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

Day 126

Dear Elliot,

I must say that over the last week or so, you have become very chatty. Sometimes you are more a baby who will watch the world go by and wait to be entertained by those around you but sometimes you squawk away with intonation and intent, just as though you are having an in depth chat with us. You’re not very quiet but you are in earnest and its rather charming. Well, up until its at a slightly inappropriate moment. Then we do the sheepish parent thing and say sorry for the interruption – you are just trying to join in with everyone. And you do like to join in sometimes.

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Your Dad is convinced that you actively play peek-a-boo with us now. If we start by hiding eyes and then revealing them, you might give us a big grin as though this is the best game out. And then, if we hand over a burp cloth to you, you will put it up over your face yourself and then jerk it down repeatedly, appearing thrilled whenever we have responded with the requisite “peek-a-boo”. Your whole face lights up when you smile which you do regularly. Starting first thing in the morning when we get you up for the day. I’ll hear you stirring and squirming around and as soon as I peer over the side of the cradle to see you, you’re like well hey, you’ve come to get me haven’t you, you are AWESOME.

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And that’s another thing. You have been graduated to the cradle in our room now. You are no longer in the bassinet. You are getting so big that you practically took up the whole thing. I was partly concerned that you no longer had enough room to really be comfortable and mostly concerned that you if you stayed used to that, it would suck big time when we try to transition you to the cot. What can I say, I like my sleep.

Much love,
Mama