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

Advertisements

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.

ej_29oct

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.

ej_29oct-2

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.

ej_29oct-3

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.

gb_sep16-3

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.

gb_sep16

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.

gb_sep16-2

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.

gb_sep16-4

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.

gb_sep16-6

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