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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!