Day 480

Dear Elliot,

I know it has been far too long since I wrote to you. I have been slack and that is lame and you could well argue that you are coming off a little second best in the letter writing department (or maybe that was third best…?) but that totally doesn’t mean that I love you any less. You know that, right? Your sister would argue that you are actually getting the lion’s share of attention but then you are somewhat demanding. Like when you want food.

ElliotMar-May-2

You are very food oriented my child. This is an incessant desire with you. First thing in the morning, all through the day and anytime you are awake really, we will get the sign for food. When you are thirsty, we get the sign for bottle and the word as close as you can utter it but for whenever you want to eat, we just get the sign. Or, you know, you climb into your high chair and yell at us as if to say how can you people be so slow? Hello, your child is hungry here. Practically wasting away to nothingness. Rapidly falling into a decline that is entirely to do with a lack of sustenance! So you eat regularly. And whenever anyone else eats, that is fair game and undoubtedly meant for you too. Your dad sat down to have a snack the other day and as he did so, said three, two, one…baby. And over you went with your mouth open like a little bird expecting to be fed. You are such a mooch! But you are a cute mooch.

You have reached the age of being able to hug back. It’s not just the tired drape and snuggle as you mold yourself to my upper torso as though you intend to meld into me and have no intention of ever being parted from your mother again. It’s also not the brace of an arm around my neck that ensures you would be able to account for any sudden movement of mine whilst carrying you. No, you now will fully wrap your little arms right around my neck, smoosh your cheek up next to mine and squeeze. It’s one of the best feelings ever. Which is almost directly in contrast to your reaction when you are suddenly distressed.

ElliotMar-May-7

I am getting to the point where this reaction of yours doesn’t totally freak me out but neither is it at all pleasant. Whenever you feel totally abandoned, like when I have the audacity to go to the toilet and shut the door with you on the outside as happened the other day, you get yourself so worked up that you stop breathing. You start crying and as you sob, you keep expelling breaths until you run out of air and just sit there going blue in the face for a number of seconds. Even if the source of your distress is removed, it still takes you time to remember how to start breathing again. You have not yet gotten to the point that you have actually passed out and rendered yourself unconscious and neither is it an extremely regular occurrence but it has happened a handful of times and it would kind of be nice if you stopped.

It would be nice if you stopped headbutting the floor in frustration too as I am occasionally concerned that you will give yourself a concussion one of these days. Whilst your sense of self-preservation seems to be evident in your considered climbing and the way you generally do not hurl yourself out of my arms as I have seen some children do to their parents on a regular basis, you do not seem all that concerned with the discomfort that results from thumping your head into the floor because you are unhappy. I am still not sure whether it is best to intervene with this type of behaviour and make a big deal out of it or laugh it off and hope you grow out of it or finally knock some sense into yourself…please grow out of it.

ElliotMar-May-5

You are growing into so many other things at the moment. Including more clothes. For once I have stated to transition you into the next size and range of wardrobe options rather than hanging on to favourites just in case I don’t get to see them again. We also need to transition to new entertainment though. Gone are the baby toys that are designed to be hung or attached. They actually lost all appeal a while ago. Now you are far more excited by toys that have “bits”. The Little People garage with its people and cars, the shape sorter bucket and stacking ring and also Noah’s Ark. You are also a bit of a fan of Barbie, Ken and the Barbie Cadillac but usually only when your sister is also playing with them as you don’t seem to specifically seek them out.

ElliotMar-May-6

What is great to see though is that you also love books. You have taken ownership of the board books in the house and regularly bring one up and dump it on my lap to say read to me, Mummy. You can say “book” and you can also say parts of your favourite book, “Moo, Baa, La La La”. Its very charming. Occasionally as I sit with you on my lap and read this book, you will read along with me. You know that a “Cow” says “Moo” and that the three singing pigs say “La La La”. You are so pleased with yourself when you get to say that. You know that the big dogs go “Bow Wow Wow” which comes out a little more “Ba Ba Ba” and you tell me that the duck says “quack”. You actually had that one before though as we have a real duck.

I seem to recall that your sister’s first word was “No” which she said with both regularity and alacrity. You on the other hand, don’t seem to comprehend this word. It’s not in your vocabulary. Your first word was “chicken”. You love chickens. And animals. You love our chickens in the backyard. So much so that you will wander off towards the run every chance you get and when we take you away from visiting with them (or the alpaca, sheep and goat), you often burst into tears. You love eating chicken too. With you father’s crazy diet, one of the easy things for him to consume is the roast chickens from the shops and every time we strip one of these for the flesh, there you are on your kitchen stool demanding more and more and more.

I’m sure there are other things I could tell you but whilst there are things that I notice here and there, you have not passed any particular milestones of late. Although you did cut all of your baby teeth. Apparently you were not content to just sit and acclimatise to your new molars for a while. At 14 months you had to get started on your canines too. The ones that generally don’t make an appearance until 18 months! Are you just impatient? I swear, between you and your sister at the moment…you are getting all your baby teeth in and at four years old, she is beginning to lose hers!

ElliotMar-May-3

As for the rest of the physical developments, you are walking with more and more ability and purpose but still stepping rather than striding. The opposite arm and leg movement is not quite there yet. You can be quick when you want to be but you have not yet figured out how to belt across the room at a dead run. You have your nights of sleeping well, waking only once or twice but more often than not, wake multiple times. You have also been sick a couple of times.

Most recently, we have had a suspected case of hand, foot and mouth, the sum total of which’s symptoms seems to have been a single blister on your hand. In retrospect, you also had what we suppose could have been a blister on your head, your neck and your cheek but there was no fever, you weren’t really out of sorts and there was nothing evident on your feet or in your mouth at all. So if you did get off that lightly, you are lucky. You have also had a persistent and ongoing cough for weeks. One that has been quite severe at night and occasionally present in the day. I hasn’t responded to Ventolin specifically so we don’t think it’s asthma but you just can’t seem to fully shake it. When your sister first went into child care though, she had a cough for a good six months so you could always be getting exposed through her now. We are very thankful that you don’t have her gag reflex whilst coughing though or I would be changing your sheets WAY more often. Then there was also the time that you want to hospital.

You had been coughing and were obviously sick. You were also breathing faster and shallower than normal. I didn’t think you were struggling to breathe though and you seemed to sleep reasonably peacefully when you did go down. When the doctor saw you though, they recommended that you get checked out at the hospital. As it was, they checked you out and you did not end up requiring any intervention per se but you did end up going to the hospital.

ElliotMar-May-4

Apart from that, you are still my beautiful little boy with the smile that can light up a room.

Adore you to bits and much love,
Mama

Month Ninety-Two

Dear Husband,

Well this is simply getting ridiculous. I just want to shout oh for f***’s sake, seriously!?! The saga of the water damage to the rumpus room just goes on and on and on and then there is the amount of things that just seem to go pear shaped besides that. Is it because we don’t have 9 to 5 jobs where things can go wrong someplace else? Things just have to go wrong somewhere so that’s gonna be here? I constantly tell myself that they are totally first world problems and that we are not dealing with chronic sickness within the family etc but it really does feel like we keep taking one step forwards and two steps back. We receive what we think of as a glimpse of clarity but this in turn just opens up a whole new swag of things which we do not know. Like getting the water bill.

That sucker was over $800 and we sure as, well you know what, do not use that much water. So now we are dealing with a leaky pipe. Another water problem. Whoopee. Apparently our insurance covers finding this leak (but not fixing it – of course) so we call to get some help. Yet more stress on your part because you are also asking them to reopen the claim they denied because we think they are connected. But they can’t send out a plumber for our water problem. Oh no, they have to send out a builder first. So the builder comes only to say I’m not really sure why I’m here, you need a plumber. Duh. And then the plumber comes out and says, yep, you’ve got a leaky pipe. Great. We knew that. Plumber doesn’t know where it is though and lets us know we need a diagnostics guy to come out. Then the diagnostics guy comes out and determines yeah, so, I looked and I listened but I can’t find your leak. And by the way, all that water gushing out of your internal wall like a fountain? That is totally nothing to do with subsidence or a leaky pipe, that a busted storm water pipe. What the? I know you have had more choice words to say about all of this that I have.

HubbyMar17-3

This new state of affairs would explain some things though. Like us getting the fountain during more extreme weather conditions such as when it absolutely pisses down with rain as opposed to just showering. However, it doesn’t make me feel any better that we probably will end up going through weeks of finding and fixing a leaky pipe and then have to turn around and do the whole thing again when we say um, we still have a problem here, can you figure out why I have a fountain coming out of my internal wall which is what was asked of you in the first damn place! Sigh. Meanwhile, we are haemorrhaging money day by day – apparently into the soil or under the house somewhere – as well as to specialist skin clinics.

I’m not begrudging the need to spend this money. You have been dealing with the skin condition for years, applying stop-gap measures just to function. You bit the bullet this month to seek more professional help and I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse for you to be told you needed a pharmacy of pills every day and a crazy-arse diet to try and alleviate your symptoms. They pretty much struck at everything you hold dear. No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no red meat, no eggs, no dairy, no tomato, no citrus and a few other things besides. They pretty much left you chicken, fish and selected fruits and vegetables but not much to put with them. With everything they took, they actually left you gluten but not many ways you could consume it.

Finding what a foodie who likes variety can eat given all those limitations has been challenging. The list of allowed foods doesn’t fit any particular fad diet (gluten free, fod map, dairy free, sugar free etc). It’s a weird mix of all of them put together and you have been dealing with that as much as the physical repercussions of the switch. You went into withdrawal the first week. You were moody, irritable, itching all over and were an all-round cranky bastard. We have previously discussed those extreme diets that people go on in order to get washboard abs and have commented that it’s not really worth it to piss off everyone else in your life and enjoy nothing while you’re at it. Apart from the fact that you have not taken on a ridiculous training schedule though (I think that would just about kill you at the moment) that is pretty much the situation that you have put yourself in. Having said that, I definitely have to say that I am so impressed by how diligently you have kept to the strictures of the diet. I know it’s been really hard but you have managed to stay strong. Maybe it’s been a mantra of it’s only for six weeks, it’s only for six weeks, but as I said, I am impressed. And because you have been faithful, your body has also adjusted and your moods are a lot less up and down now at the end of the month. I never thought that our previous diet would have made such an impact there but it really did.

HubbyMar17

That doesn’t mean that we both don’t still struggle day to day in balancing our lives against our wants and needs. We had a couple of “discussions” about the household this month which has helped resolve some things and highlighted a few others. We seem to have different interpretations of cleanliness. Or rather, we more or less agree on what cleanliness is but we have different thresholds and bugbears surrounding uncleanliness. Which is not to be confused with untidiness but that is another argument. They often get all thrown into the same basket though. You stressed his month that you feel responsible for about 95% of the outside of the house. You also feel responsible for a growing percentage of the work that needs to be done inside the house and it has gotten to the point that it feels unfair.

You asked for more help from me, specifically in regards to cleaning up at night. I often do the washing up and the dishwasher but didn’t always wipe down the benchtop or spray and wipe the splat mat, high chair and floor. Not that I would leave massive chunks of food lying around but invariably, some crumbs. Basically, I performed more of a surface level of cleaning than you are comfortable with and you wanted that to change. Fair enough. I could understand your point that you felt the balance was shifting in my favour and I could make a more consistent effort to do things the way you wanted them done. The thing is though, as I felt I was making more of an effort for you, I felt like you stopped making one at all. After I feed Elliot to sleep, I have started coming out to wind up doing everything on the night time checklist whilst you play on your phone in either Genevieve’s room while she is asleep or in the living room. All of these little tasks stopped feeling like something “we” were responsible for and something that just “I” was responsible for. Which doesn’t sit well with “us” either. We each have our nights of needing a little more slack and that’s fine but we are both also stubborn and don’t like to feel as though the other is taking liberties.

And it’s true. I do hold onto things without always saying something right up until the time that you feel it is biting you on the backside. My thought process is different to yours though. I hear the we need to get this stuff out of the way so I’m putting it in your office but I will clear it out in less than a week and the yes, I’ll clear some space for that in the shed but just not this afternoon, ok and the I can’t stand that that this place has crap everywhere so it all needs to be tidied. I hear that and I think great but my office has looked like a bomb site for months, we still have an adult car seat sitting beside our front door and the reason you occasionally run out of clean underwear is that I can’t see the dirty ones for the floordrobe you have going. So I think you said one thing but you are clearly ok living with another and I draw parallels where you don’t seem to see any at all…So it’s a work in progress.

But that’s not all folks. No, we still had car troubles. Ever since we got the car back from the assessors, you have felt that it now pulls to the left when it didn’t and it also now shudders somewhat when it shouldn’t. So back we went for you to insist on the service we pay our premiums for. I am pretty sure this took hours of your time, what was remaining of your patience and some serious negotiation to get the situation sorted. We were not even sure if there was any serious damage to our car the first time around but everything is a process and between us, the insurer, the smash repairer and the hire car company…it all takes its toll. We got Sonia Kluger II though. Which facilitated our long distance trip to the mountains because there was a death in the family…

Your Pop, who has been quite sick for some time, passed away towards the end of the month and we all went up to the mountains for the funeral. It was great to see some family we hadn’t seen for a while despite the unpleasant circumstances. I actually spent most of the service outside the door whilst Elliot transferred dirt from inside the planter pots to the tile floor repeatedly which was fine with me. I will easily pick up on other people’s emotions and I would probably have been in tears if I had stayed inside. As it was, I barely held it together when Genevieve came out to find me and said I just want to see Pop and I’m never going to see him again. My four-year-old did me in!

HubbyMar17-4

All in all, it was not a month we expected this month. You especially got slapped a little upside the head but nonetheless, we keep on plodding forwards. Onwards and upwards, eh?

Forwardly Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 407

Dear Elliot,

You are officially a toddler. You have been walking for a couple of weeks now and you are getting better and stronger every day. You have been very near for so long, surfing the furniture as you move your little body from A to B but now you can do it on your own. You are a careful walker though. You are not pelting from one side of the room to the other, helter skelter and tripping over your own feet at every opportunity. You are stepping one foot at a time, placing each down before you take the next step. Occasionally falling back on your bottom but moving further and further each time you venture forwards. You have the core strength that stops you looking like an orangutan with its chest puffed out and its arms seemingly flailing at the sides but really there to keep balance. You march more than you waddle and I am aware that this stage of your life will pass so quickly turning you into my little cheetah that is so fast…and hides everywhere.

EJ_8Mar-2

So it becomes ever apparent that you not only like to climb places still but you like to hide as well. Or perhaps not hide exactly as you are not yet fussed whether we know you are there or not but you like to secret yourself in small spaces. Frequently. I am used to you playing with the plastic bowls and cups that sit at the bottom of one of our cupboards in the kitchen. I came into the room the other day though to find you actually inside the cupboard with most of the plasticware on the outside. That is not the way it’s supposed to be, buddy. And every Sunday in crèche, there is usually some point at which you will be found inside the toy kitchen. I have been told it is where you seem happiest in the midst of the cacophony of sound and movement that double digits of children generate. The toy kitchen is unfortunately missing most of its shelves but this makes it perfect for your little body. As are the shoe lockers by our front door your father tells me. I would have thought you’d be a little too big for these but he assures me no. You can disappear inside one of these completely. So there is a new place that we can lose you until you get too big. At least we can keep you indoors at the moment. We will be in for some real trouble when you can open the front door by yourself.

EJ_8Mar-3

You have taken a real liking to being outside. If one of us deigns to go outside without you, you will stand at the screen door and bang and shout as loudly as possible. You want out. And you’ll throw a tantrum if you don’t get your way. Like you always do now. If we put you down and you want to be held, you scream. If Genevieve tries to take something off you that you are still playing with, you scream. If we pick you up but you want to be on the floor, you throw your body away from whatever it is you don’t like and if we ignore your demands and tell you no, you headbang whatever suitable surface is available. I am hoping that last one is a phase that is going to dissipate more than it is going to develop. Screaming as a response to displeasure is not preferable either but it’s also not something we’re going to get rid of anytime soon as that is precisely how your sister deals with it and we haven’t cracked that one yet either. Although at least you sometimes scream because you’re happy.

EJ_8Mar-4

For some reason, when you see me after being apart for a while, you have taken to screaming in excitement. It’s not really a conventional way to greet people, just so as you know, but it is always nice to know that you’re happy to see me. It’s nice to get your cuddles and giggles and it still brightens my day to see you smile. I still not sure if we’re actually getting purposeful words yet but you seem on the verge of speech as well. If prompted, you have Mama, ta and car and we think you try and say bottle and chicken but unbidden, what comes out of your mouth is more like babble so I’m not sure. But neither am I paranoid. You are a boy, you are a second child and you are exposed to far too much tv so you get more leeway before we start to question your development.

EJ_8Mar

One thing we certainly do not have to question developmentwise is your teeth. You have cut all four of your molars! No wonder you have reverted to waking 3 or 4 times a night. Your teeth are probably giving you grief. Those molars that most kids see between 15 and 16 months? Yep, you decided you needed them at 13 months. Got to be able to rip into those steaks, huh? On the down side though, they probably don’t feel so great when you’re trying to go to sleep. I get it. I’d be unsettled too if I had that many new teeth. Actually, I’d probably be worried because I’m not supposed to get any more teeth at all but you know what I mean. You are handling it brilliantly. But it’s still be nice if you slept in longer stretches at night.

Much love,
Mama

Month Ninety-One

Dear Husband,

It’s really like adding insult to injury isn’t it? How many more water problems are we going to have? We’ve had from the top down and the bottom up. From the outside in and by nature of it having to go somewhere, the inside out and now we’ve got stuff leaking through the middle! Elliot is yet again boosted from his room due to wet carpet as we now have a leaky shower. Brilliant! Which needless to say did wonderful things to your stress levels. The fact that it took so long for us to get back to being able to use the shower was not so good for mine either.

I left the resolution or the course of action up to you and we discussed ripping the bathroom apart or just siliconing the crap out of it and hoping to blazes that it would hold water for the mean time but you have got to admit that you dithered. It was well over a week that we were bathing and prevailing upon the goodness of family and neighbours to take a wash which was a pain in the backside really. At least I have my shower back now though. When I am under the scalding hot water behind a shut door it’s that heavenly “me” time that helps me function. In a perfect world, no one would be allowed to bang on the door or scream “Mama” at me when I’m taking a shower but I’ll take what I can get.

Of course, what we also have is now a bathroom that may just have a precarious fix at best. We’ve got no idea how long it will hold out. And by hold out, I mean hold water in. We also are aware that we have mould between the walls. As part of your trying to figure out what was wrong, the neighbours came over with their bendy camera thing so you could get a look in the wall to see if you could locate the leak. You were not able to but you have been concerned ever since that there is a mould problem in Elliot’s room that is making him sick. I honestly don’t know. As you so often point out, I can’t smell jack in regards to stuff like that.

On more than one occasion you have more or less berated me with exasperated versions of you seriously can’t smell that!! Unless its excessive, apparently I can’t smell musty, mouldy, smoky and otherwise malodorous scents. On the other hand, I seem to have a poo radar. If I get within a couple of metres of one of Elliot’s soiled nappies it’s my turn to exclaim can you not smell that! Sometimes I am positive you are just leaving him squelch in poo so I will be the one to change the nappy because you can be a turd like that but at other times, you honestly seem surprised that he is dirty. Maybe that’s a boy thing.

HubbyFeb17-2

And, because we needed something else to go wrong this month (like we needed a hole in the head), the hot water heater blew up. Or rather, it didn’t really blow up like a Mythbusters hot water heater blowing up. I’m not sure if that would have been better or worse. I mean, in Mythbusters, no one gets hurt. At least that’s the theory. And if there was an explosion and the house was largely cactus, we could rebuild it but it would be damned inconvenient and we could potentially lose a lot of stuff we have no desire to lose so I’m sure we had the lesser of two evils but it wasn’t exactly in the budget this month to buy a new water heater. I must say though, I was impressed that you resolved this situation in a very expedient manner.

First thing I the morning, we came out to see that the bung had burst from the top of the system and water was pouring out of it at a rapid rate. By the end of the day, you had sourced a new replacement locally and pulled some favours to have it installed and ready to go by that evening. That was pretty cool. Or rather it was hot. Thank God.

Then we come to the car. Because this month we also had to deal with some idiot who doesn’t know how to park and had hit our car. Or rather, we didn’t have to deal with them (or I would hazard to say her because the note left was in lipstick) but you had to deal with the insurance company as you wanted to be sure that our vehicle hadn’t been damaged. Since we have previously been affected by bent control arms and busted ball joints or whatever they are, you didn’t want to get stung with heaps of repairs later so you asked that the car be looked over and checked out. Which apparently takes forever. That wasn’t really our problem though because we got to drive Sonia Kluger for a couple of weeks. I got to revel in the new car smell and feel like we actually had money and could buy a new car like that which right now, kinda feels like it’s never going to be the case in my lifetime. Oh well. She chugged a bit of fuel too but it was a silver lining to the month.

HubbyFeb17

The highlight of the month though was our day trip out to Junee to the liquorice and chocolate factory. It was a day just for us and the kids and it was nice to spend some time away from things. I got to take photos without feeling like I was pushing everyone into it and we could just take our time. You are right, we should do more of that. I do get caught up with it feeling like and effort and an expense beforehand that is taking me away from something that I feel I should do but that can easily wait (I won’t reminisce about a clean house when I’m 60). When I don’t know what to expect, I am warier than I should be but I did have fun and we should have days like that more often.

Chocolately Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 384

Dear Elliot,

You are my big one year old boy now. You have not been a baby for a while but now we can start counting your life in years, not months as you launch yourself into your life with gusto. Your birthday came and went with a minimum of fuss as you were really none the wiser. You did of course have an awesome elephant birthday cake which you showed no particular interest in whatsoever but then there are far more interesting things to do as an energetic little boy. For instance, you are a climber!

EJ_14Feb

You are not a kamikaze daredevil but definitely a climber. If you can find any way of elevating yourself above the floor you will be right there. In like Flynn. Chairs, couches, steps…you name it. You particularly like the kitchen helper that your Dad made for Genevieve to allow her to reach the bench. More than once I have heard a plaintive wail or a distressed cry when you have reached the top and realised that you do not yet know how to get down.

EJ_14Feb-5

I am aware that you are now mobile and as such can manoeuvre yourself out of my sight. So most of the time, if you move off in the direction of not too many things that are likely to hurt you, I just let you explore. Which is fun for you until you get stuck. Then you have to wail until someone takes notice and occasionally, that is not immediately. Ok, so most of the time it’s not immediately. I can tell the difference between I’m hurt and I need help and I’m not getting my way and I want it fixed so on more than one occasion I have waited to see if you will get over whatever is bothering you. Then, when the complaint doesn’t stop and I have thought what is it now, I have usually investigated to find you hanging on for dear life at the top of the kitchen helper. Sorry about that. It’s not the easiest thing to get off either.

Most of the climbable platforms around our home are ones you can navigate all by yourself. Not ones you necessarily do navigate on your own but ones that you can. Even the ladders in the back yard. We were down in the playground area the other day and you decided you were going to go up the ladder. All the way up. So we’re figuring you don’t have a fear of heights. We did know you were going up the ladder by the way. We saw you when you started at the bottom and then your Dad shadowed you all the way to the top to make sure you didn’t fall. We’re not totally irresponsible parents. Then, when you had reached the top, your Dad made you climb all the way back down again by yourself so that you’d know you could. Life skills, yes? We’re all about teachable moments. Even if they’re ones that would scare the pants off other parents. Now we just have to teach you to climb down backwards off the kitchen helper. And perhaps to hang on more, especially when you’re tired. Good thing you have a hard head! Go hard or go home, right? Seems to be your philosophy on food.

EJ_14Feb-3

You still eat like a horse. You pack it away like a junk yard crushing its intake into compacted bricks. I’m not sure where it all goes on the inside but it definitely looks interesting on the outside. With the summer months, grapes and berries have been in season. Bags of grapes and both blueberries and raspberries by the punnet seem to be the favourite snacks in this house. Especially raspberries. You inhale those given the opportunity. When you have assuaged the first wave of hunger, you are sometimes happy to play at feeding us food from your tray. Your Dad might hold his mouth open for you and you think it’s really hilarious to put in a grape or a blueberry inside and have him gobble it up. If he holds his mouth open when you have a raspberry in your hand though? Not a chance. That little sucker goes right in your mouth and you are never going to part with it. Then you look so pleased with yourself. It’s very funny to watch.

EJ_14Feb-2

Much love,
Mama

Month Ninety

Dear Husband,

Well it’s the start of a new year and there were a couple of nice milestones to celebrate with the kids. Genevieve had her first day of pre-school and Elliot turned one. So we now have a near school-age child and we definitely no longer have a baby. I am sure the school thing is going to be an adjustment. Even if it is only a couple of days a week. We have had years of just being able to do what we wanted regarding kids, the only real commitment being swimming lessons on and off or ballet classes. And though pre-school is not a legal requirement for 4-year-olds, it still seems to fall into that category of we can’t miss this on a whim. Although, we are fully intending on letting her come to all the Babes In Arms screenings which will necessitate her missing some of her time there but you know what I mean.

HubbyJan17

As for Boo, he’s getting more interactive and interested in playing with others which is great. We did have a rocky day or so at Summerfest where he was totally not happy to be palmed off at crèche, overall though, it was a great week. I think before we went to stay with our friends on the coast, we didn’t really intend on staying as long as we did but it was relaxing to spend the time just chilling with them and I really enjoyed the program at EV. Anywhere you can drop your kids for a couple of hours and enjoy some talks is pretty good. Although the more I learn about raising kids in today’s world, the more daunting it seems.

I remember my Dad’s mum saying once that she didn’t always agree with his parenting choices but she wouldn’t want to raise kids in the environment I grew up in for quids. And today’s world is a whole hell of a lot harder. To a certain extent, some of the stuff they were talking about doesn’t affect us as the kids are both too young and or still under constant supervision (mostly by us) but then standards and attitudes have to start somewhere so that doesn’t mean we can be ignorant either. More than one person stressed that you need to know exactly what apps your kids are using and what they do. Facebook, for all its evils, is not the problem and it’s no longer the it thing either. Just in case you were feeling cool and hip as opposed to old school. There was also the take home that cyber-parenting is really 10% cyber and 90% parenting. Or maybe the percentages were different than that but the basic message being that you have to be present with your kids and teach them to use their own discernment effectively. Model good behaviour; more is caught than taught.

Then there were the sex talks. The sexologist was particularly entertaining. A little old Indian lady who amongst her many stories from years in the field of study was telling us that kids are just like a Ferrari on steroids. Pedal to the metal, using minimum breaks and with no GPS. She talked about tactics for kids and porn, that is get them to name and shame. Recognise what it is, say I don’t like it and go and tell an adult. Good idea really. I know that we are a lot more liberal than some other people in our circle. I also don’t quite have the doom and gloom attitude that some seem to think justifies banning their kids from any situation they can’t control but it is a little disquieting to realise that exposure happens so much earlier now and to a certain extent, we have to hope our kids want to come and talk to us about this stuff and not hide it from us.

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When you first have children and you can totally control the environment around them you are not thinking how do I teach my kids about porn. How do I make sure they don’t fall victim to emotional abusers or sex predators. How do I teach them to be confident and self-assured such that they value their body, their friends and their family? We’re having a bash at it of course and it’s easy to think we’re doing well when Genevieve asks questions and shows compassion but then seeing what friends with older kids are going through, friends who I would assume have the same morals and values as we do, well I’m buggered if I know how to avoid that…

And on that note, I will leave those bridges to be crossed another day and get on with enjoying today. We’ve got vague plans for this year so who knows what will happen.

Ponderingly Yours,
Your Loving Wife

Day 357

Dear Elliot,

My darling boy, I have neglected you a little in the letter department of late. I have been lazy. I apologise. And to catch up on where you are now…

You are still crawling. You have yet to identify the fact that when you finish crawling and reverse into a sitting position, you actually pull your body away from whatever it is that you were pursuing. You will see something you want, crawl towards it until you are within easy arm’s reach then push yourself back onto your bum only to find that you can no longer pick up what you want without leaning right over to get it. It still makes me smile. What I smile less over is that you have opted for the ninja crawling approach to getting around and if we put you down, you can be off like a shot. You like to lull us into a false sense of security here and there though. Sometimes, we will put you down and you will find something nearby to amuse yourself with briefly and then as soon as we have been distracted and are not looking, you disappear.

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You may be gone for a couple of minutes and then all of a sudden, your father or I will freeze in that manner parents have of stopping everything to allow their other senses the maximum ability to identify the location of their children. If your sister is around, we will ask where is Elliot!?! If not, we go about the house quickly calling your name which is a somewhat futile exercise because you never answer. 1. You can’t talk. 2. You do not generally babble back with a response each time we speak to you and 3. I’m pretty sure that if you thought about it, it would seem like way more fun to make us find you instead of letting us know where you were and you would actively decide not to respond. But thankfully that doesn’t happen all that often.

More often, you have started to get yourself places that you can’t get out of. As well as crawling, you can also climb. You can climb on couches, you can climb on one of the high chairs and you can climb on your sister’s kitchen helper. So I might be putting some clothes away and I will hear increasingly distressed crying (as opposed to continuously whiney overtired crying) and I will come to the source of the noise to find you have climbed up somewhere and you are stuck. You are holding on for dear life because you can’t get down. You haven’t figured out how to go backwards yet. So fortunately I guess, you have not climbed that high yet either but there are heaps of ladders in the front yard so give it time.

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We actually had thought you might walk over the Christmas break but you have decided that its not really necessary yet. You are getting closer inch by inch though. I notice the progression as I have my arms around your torso and it becomes more a brace than a hold. I see you brace yourself against objects for support and you drop from two hands to one. Your core muscles are getting stronger as you can spend more time weight bearing on your feet and if we hold your hands, you are starting to move your feet forwards. In the last week or so, you have been practicing just letting go. You can manage about 5 seconds so far. And you usually look quite pleased with yourself.

Actually, you quite often look very pleased with yourself. You are still such a happy little camper. You are not my baby any more though. Not at all. You might not officially be a toddler yet but you are not a baby. I saw you against a three month old over Christmas who was in fact very close in size to you but worlds apart in ability. You just looked like a big bruiser in comparison. A cheeky, lovely bruiser who taught himself to open sliding doors so we had to be on constant watch that you were not about to head towards a rather large set of stairs you could fall down!

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So what else can I tell you? Well, you eat like a horse. I have grave concerns for our grocery bills in the future. You are a grazer like your father and your sister and you just keep on packing it away. You can eat as much if not more for the main meal as Genevieve and this is after you have possibly had some fruit or a biscuit for an entrée. You can then follow that up with a punnet of blueberries for desert with no trouble whatsoever. You eventually slow down but we are still amazed by just how much you can eat. And by how loud you are.

You are not yet talking. You can make “mama” and “dada” sounds at the appropriate times on occasion but then at other seemingly random times so I don’t believe it is purposeful communication. Other than you are purposefully making a lot of noise to draw attention. Man you can yell though. Especially when I am right beside you. Are you copying your sister? She gets louder every time she gets excited and one of the constant refrains in this household is a little quieter please – I am not deaf! Well yet anyway.

Other than that, we go day to day, occasionally finding new things that you enjoy. We think we are nearly at the liking baths stage. Initially you would scream blue bloody murder if we put you in one. Now though, if you can watch Genevieve for a while and then we ease you in, you are happy enough to play. We read to you every now and then and you seem to like books but I have to confess, its not something you have seemed to love or something we have made a concerted effort to make time for. Perhaps we should…you do love crazy time with your dad and your sister though. In keeping with tradition, right before bed in our house is a time for dance parties, wrestling, hysterical laughter, tickling and mania. I keep hoping that this will completely tire you out but it still doesn’t work as well as I’d like.

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I wouldn’t say that you sleep though yet. You can. You have done it on occasion. Sometimes 2 or 3 nights in a row. Most of the time you wake at least once though and you still have periods where you can wake more than once before midnight and then do a long stretch afterwards. I still feed you, not that you really need it, and it is what it is. It is rare that I cannot get you back to sleep within 10-15 minutes and since most of that is not spent voicing your displeasure at me (if I am feeding you), I am ok with that. Don’t get me wrong though, if you would like to start having some uninterrupted nights of sleep in your own cot, you be my guest. Maybe you would like to start doing that when you are 1.

This last year has seemed remarkably slow at times and like a whirlwind at others. So now we find ourselves 10 days away from your first birthday. I know exactly how that happened but wow. That is a big milestone and it is right upon us. And your dad hasn’t even started planning the cake. You will get to know about your father and cakes as you get older. I know you don’t really care right now, as long as it’s food, right? But its not a real kids birthday without a cake à la Karlos and we will need to find something suitable for you.

So until next time when I am pretty sure you will be 1, love you big time little buddy.

Much love,
Mama