Month Eighty-Eight

Dear Husband,

This was the month of the Lost Keys. The lost keys that were almost my fault but not really and the lost keys that were totally not my fault at all. And I know its not or it shouldn’t be about blame but you get so MAD when stuff like this happens that I either feel like scuttling into a corner or coming out punching. And the fact that your keys went missing twice in one week was really unfortunate.

The first time was when we went to meet your sister for coffee. When driving up to Sydney, the house keys (because you keep house and car keys separately which is just another thing to keep track of in my opinion but what do I know) were given to Boo. Then we stopped at Roselands while you made a toilet stop and I got Boo out of the car. I was so wishing I hadn’t done that later…Then we fast forward to getting out of the car on the North Shore and we can’t find the keys.

They weren’t in Boo’s capsule. They weren’t on the floor of the car. They weren’t in the bags in the car. They weren’t on the street. Did Genevieve know what had happened to them? No. Boo threw them somewhere? Did they fall out of the car when I got him out at Roselands? No, I don’t think so. But do you know? Can you categorically tell me that they are not somewhere at Roselands or even worse, in someone else’s pocket because they stole them from the ground kilometres from where we are now!?! Could they have fallen out and you didn’t notice? Were you not careful enough when you got him out of the car? Did you look at the ground specifically to make sure that none of our possessions had fallen out?…It was around this time that I was feeling particularly small.

I wondered if I had somehow missed the falling of the keys. I was pretty sure I hadn’t. I mean, when I get Boo out of the car, I generally stand him up in the seat first to adjust my hold and lift him out of the car carefully so I don’t knock him out on the ceiling. I try and be a good parent. DOCS frowns on braining your kids after all. I figured if the keys had been in the seat though, they would have fallen out IN THE CAR. The house keys themselves are also a massive bunch of metal and I thought I would have heard them clang on the ground for sure. Which I had not. I didn’t know where they were though and I couldn’t categorically say it was not my fault.

So we went to coffee. You were trying not to be openly pissy with me, we finished coffee and then we went back to the car. We still couldn’t find the keys. You searched again, pulling things out of the car. Muttering and swearing not so under your breath. I sat down on the side of the road with the kids and looked through the nappy bag with me (which I had already SEARCHED TWICE) to find something to amuse Boo and I found the keys. Which had presumably landed in the open back pocket when Boo threw them out of his car seat. And my first thought was I DID NOT LOSE THEM AT ROSELANDS AND THIS WAS TOTALLY NOT MY FAULT! You may argue that my relief was somewhat misplaced and should have been in the locating of the keys that would not result in re-keying anything rather than the lack of fault in losing them beyond recovery but I don’t care. You could also argue that a lot of stress could have been alleviated had they been found when I first checked the nappy bag but nevertheless, they were found and this was now not a terrible event in history that was going to go down as my fault.

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And then there was the second time the keys were lost. I was getting ready to go to bed. You were coming too but you like to gather up your keys and phone etc before you go to bed and did I know where your keys were? No, I do not keep their whereabouts on my radar. I can’t recall seeing them either so I don’t know. I dutifully helped you look though. Through the couches, on top of the bench, in the piles of stuff we have about the place. You searched the car and the grass in the garden. No keys. When was the last time you saw them? I don’t know, if I knew that don’t you think I would be looking there? Sorry I asked. Did you need to use them today? I gave them to Boo in the park to play with. Which is where I struggle not to suggest that had they been on the same keychain as the car keys, you would remember if they had come home or not. Did we learn nothing from earlier in the week? Apart from this is not helpful at all?

So at this point you head down to the park with a torch and then come back – with no keys. Since it is dark and late and the kids are asleep, I figure there is not much more we can do now. I am pretty sure that we will find them tomorrow so I send up a little prayer for same, go to bed and incredibly selfishly think at least this wasn’t my fault either. I never said I was perfect. The next morning you had a commitment so you were out of the house and I was cleaning up. As I went through Boo’s room, I pick up some dirty clothes from atop the column heater and find the keys. It then takes me a couple more minutes to reset my phone so I can let you know because it decided to freeze on me and the home phone had no charge whatsoever.

You said that you did not put the keys there, however, you had been sitting on the floor there with both kids the previous day. You had given the keys to Elliot to play with (again) in the exersaucer and Genevieve must have moved them to the side…in your presence…I am saying nothing…

After all, its not like this kind of thing happens to us all the time

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I can’t however keep silent on the following. Every so often, you berate me regarding one of your apparent pet peeves which would not nearly be so bad if I had any idea of its coming. And if it wasn’t the pot calling the kettle black. The other day I was getting a piece of toast. I cooked the bread, spread on some butter and vegemite and went about doing my thing. At which point I got can you please JUST USE A PLATE!?! Do you not THINK that you are spreading crumbs everywhere and that this is what attracts insects? Can’t you just eat over a PLATE?

Um, I’m sorry? You are picking now after 7 years of marriage during which I cannot even count the times I have eaten toast without a plate to tell me that you think I am being dirty and unhygienic? You who frequently leave things like the peel of fruit sitting on the couch overnight without even resting it on a plate? You are unofficially insinuating that I am going to be the sole cause of a potential insect infestation because I can’t eat toast over crockery? Sure, if it means that much to you, I can make an effort to eat toast such that crumbs should never touch the floor but you might want to tone down the vitriol…

And then there was the hardly done by can you please just FILL THE KETTLE TO AT LEAST THE MINIMUM when you pour water out of it!?! I should just be able to turn it on without running the risk that it doesn’t have enough water to boil…So you’re saying that I am the weird one because I always take a quick glance at the kettle before I put it on and if it is in fact not holding enough water, I fill it in the sink that is like 40cms away? It’s me that has the problem and the lack of all common decency since I have failed to think of my fellow man in the household? You NEVER do this yourself? Oh wait, you do, so you totally just opened up a can of worms. I now make it my mission to check the jug every time I finish with it and every time I go to put it on the boil and it’s too empty I ask can you please JUST FILL THE DAMN JUG!?! Should have thought about that one, shouldn’t you…

And what was the whole defrosting bacon thing about!?! We were calmly discussing what to have for dinner one night and I was thinking along the lines of something easy, you know, like breakfast, and suggested bacon and eggs. You then informed me (I want to say snootily) that we didn’t have bacon. I said I thought we had some in the freezer and by extension figured that we could just defrost it cause we have a microwave with a defrost setting which is what it is there for. This was apparently the WRONG THING TO DO. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me, in this family, seemingly, we do not defrost bacon. Or rather, just to clarify a point, we do not defrost bacon when I make the suggestion, perhaps as we all know that I do none of the cooking in the house so therefore I should not stick my oar in where it is not wanted? Which is the impression I got when a week later you needed bacon for a recipe and HAD TO DEFROST IT!

So I’m sorry if this month you feel that you have been a little ganged up on. It just so happened that a number of things that might have been smaller in and of themselves seemed to pile up in one month or perhaps you reacted more strongly or vehemently than usual and what would normally have been a smile and nod from me became a thing. And the “things” in our house are totally not restricted to you as the initiator. I know this. I do plenty of things that drive you insane because they are absurd, nonsensical and or unprovoked but I can’t write them from your point of view so you would have to do that one yourself. I love that you put up with my crap as well as call me on it occasionally though.

Non-crappily yours,
Your Loving Wife

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Day 298

Dear Elliot,

You are going to be trouble, kid. Trouble with a capital “T”. In the last week alone you have discovered the joys of pulling both DVDs and books out of the shelves upon which they reside. All over my floor. With very little care and much abandon as you seem to be having a rip roaring time. When Genevieve was little, everyone warned us that we would have to put locks on all the doors, everything breakable up high and, well, pretty much everything up high where it could not be reached by little hands. And then she never seemed interested in touching anything.

Ok, so that’s not quite true. She was particularly attached (and still is) to riffling through my handbag and dislodging all the contents across the floor but she never went for my bookshelves. They weren’t that interesting to her. To you, they are awesome opportunities for mischief. And other items of my furniture, such as chairs and coffee tables, are structures under which you can reverse and hide. Or get stuck which prompts a distress call from you so we know where you are but you will very soon figure out how to extricate yourself from situations that you don’t want to be in and from that point, I think we are just going to start losing you.

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You can certainly get yourself around now. You have been somewhat mobile recently but today you figured out the whole opposing arm and leg thing that is required for the crawl. You haven’t mastered the art. You alternate between weight bearing on the knee in order to push forward and just bringing the whole leg underneath you as if you were going to push yourself up onto your feet. So crawling looks a little like a drunken, limping crab. Moving forwards (thus the drunken part) and dragging a limb as though part of it had atrophied and wasn’t bending in the proper form.

This of course hampers your speed a little but you are a smart cookie. You will either figure out that you are just going to have to get both your feet underneath you and start walking if you hope to be able to catch up to your sister or you will become a ninja crawler and disappear silently. A lot. We’re not really looking forward to that. I have contemplated setting up a port-a-cot permanently in the living area to put you in if I can’t watch you like a hawk. To the best of my knowledge, you don’t know how to climb out of those yet and your sister isn’t big enough or strong enough to easily lift you out of them (note I only said easily lift) so I am reasonably confident that you would stay where I had put you. You just might be a little ticked off. Which is another thing that does not bode especially well for your father’s and my stress levels in the future.

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You are going to want to move and to explore. You will want to touch and to try and to test. Experiencing things is going to be high on your hit list. And anyone who dares to say nay is going to get a big cheeky grin as you go ahead and do it anyway. I am hoping that your penchant is going to be a little more scientific than careless. Inquisitive rather than destructive. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome would always be different but at least if you can learn that it matters why you do something (not to mention have the best of intentions), I am hoping that this will help to put in you in a good place. And help us to keep you engaged. Cause I gotta tell you that I don’t have a lot of prior experience with energetic boys and you are going to be a handful. A delightful, hilarious handful.

You are already quite adept at charming the pants off people. You copy most of your sister’s crazy facial expressions and your face is pure joy when you smile. That never gets old. You are totally in the moment and you are just…happy. Others remark on it too. You certainly have your moments when you let us now that everything is Not Cricket but most of the time you are my happy-go-lucky little joy. I love this stage. You are still a baby and not yet a toddler. You are learning to do things by yourself, gaining some independence, millimetre by millimetre. You are discovering the world around you and slowly growing into your own personhood but you are still my snuggly Boo. Until you fling your arm across my windpipe for leverage to turn yourself outwards in my arms because wherever I am looking is bound to be far more entertaining than looking at me, right? That is what I really dislike about this stage. I’m just saying.

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But I love you to bits, Boo and I am looking forward to whatever comes next.

Much love,
Mama

Week 205

Dear Genevieve,

This month you introduced us to “My Sweetie”. Or rather, you didn’t formally introduce us but she has started to make regular appearances during your play. Dependent on where you are and what toys you feel like playing with, My Sweetie could be the doll you have so far grown up referring to as Baby or an imaginary friend of your own creation. My Sweetie could also be someone you can interact with (so I would assume close to your age) if you so choose or merely someone that you have to care for (i.e. a baby). My Sweetie, bless her, is often sick or needing a nap or sometimes just a cuddle. It’s quite sweet.

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It’s also cute that you have chosen her name (I can only assume) as a result of the endearment that your father and I both use with you. We frequently refer to you as sweetheart, sweetie or sweet for short. You know it for a name only ever used with love or affection and that’s what you choose to have for a friend. Zebby was incredibly short lived but My Sweetie has been a regular visitor around these parts and you are always generous and helpful to her.

There are times when you are especially generous and helpful towards us as well. Especially with money. You are starting to gain an understanding of the basics whereby you spend or give money to someone and you get something in return. You know that having money is a useful thing and you enjoy the occasions when you physically have money in your possession that you know to be yours. You don’t really have a concept of what it is worth and act like it sort of burns a hole in your pocket because you long to spend it but you are not selfish with it.

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There have been several occasions where your father and I have discussed the shopping list of items to be purchased at the supermarket or we have talked about something particular we want to buy and you have been the first one there saying you can use my money. You desperately wanted to contribute to your bike helmet. In fact, you thought you could just about afford your bike helmet (as opposed to the box that it came in). You have even been very disappointed when Daddy didn’t get you out of the car at the supermarket so you couldn’t go with him and provide whatever funds you had on you at the time.

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You don’t often have a lot of money and usually it is less than a dollar, a small handful of silver coins. It’s a proud moment for you to contribute though which I want to applaud at the same time as I want to say thank you but keep your money baby girl because you deserve to spend that for yourself. So I occasionally compromise by taking your money and putting it back in your moneybox later. As I said, you still have no concept of what it’s worth or what you can afford with it so it doesn’t seem at all strange to you to find coins you gave away previously.

It’s in these small things here and there that I see you growing up. Day to day, you look the same to me but there are times when you appear to grasp a concept I didn’t think you understood or I think when did you learn to do that. Like the colouring in thing. Like most kids, you like drawing and “colouring in”. Most of the time, this consists of circles or zig zags of pencil across a page or seemingly indiscriminately over the top of an outlined drawing. The other day I was colouring in something with you though and I was watching you concentrating on trying to get the colour inside the lines. And you were quite good at it. I have never seen you do that before. Some people might think that you are three and not supposed to do that. We are turning you into a little conformist or something. I just say way to go on your motor control. If you can do it, that’s awesome. Whether you want to do it, that is still up to you Sweetheart.

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Alles Liebe,
Lexelah

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Month Eighty-Six

Dear Husband,

This was a really hard month for me. And it was particularly hard for me because it was a complete bear for you. It felt like everything went wrong this month. Or rather, you felt like everything was going wrong this month.

For starters, you were sick. Not just man-flu slightly inconvenienced but more like the flu but not quite on your deathbed. You were exhausted and irritable. Very short tempered and somewhat sorry for yourself. Which is never a good place to be because I don’t get it. I mean I try to be sympathetic and helpful but ultimately, I don’t know what to do. Your reactions are completely foreign to me. When I am sick, I want to retreat into my own shell. Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, leave me alone to get better. You want contact though. You want conversation. You want constant consideration. You want connection. You also reserve the right to be pissed off when you don’t get it and frequently, I don’t deliver.

It is of course not that I don’t care. I do. But its not on my radar to behave as I would believe to be out of character because I don’t want those things. And not only do I not want those things but I don’t place the same importance on circumstances as you do. Like the water situation. Our sunroom has been one long continuous saga of rivers across the floor when it rains and drought (which is the proper state of affairs for an indoors space) when it doesn’t. You have been doing a marvellous job of trying to progress the resolution with both the builder and the insurance company but it has been taking its toll. More than you realise. I know it frustrates you completely beyond measure but you also get angry. And not just at the situation or even just at third parties. So it was like adding insult to injury when this month, not only were we dealing with a river down one end of the house, we ended up with a pond up the other. You totally lost it.

After all that talk of reclaiming the bedroom last month, Elliot ended up back in our room for what felt like an indefinite period of time. Which probably just added to the stress that you were already going through. Stress that kept you up late at night watching tv then subsequently falling asleep on the couch until I woke you after one of Elliot’s night feeds. Stress that kept you tense and struggling to maintain your game face. Stress that was unfortunately added to by our car. Here was yet again another thing that was not as it should be and nobody could tell you why. You take the car in for what should be routine work but then you come out with another problem that doesn’t present for anyone but you. It was not a pretty sight. And then there was playgroup.

This was the culmination of months of dreaming and planning and petitioning and prepping. It was late nights taken up with tasks not in your wheelhouse and the constant feeling that you were going it alone. I know that rationally you could see that others were playing a part and that we were not without some tangible forms of support during this time but emotionally, you were not in that space. You couldn’t see the wood for the trees. If that makes sense? Probably not.

Emotionally, you told me you felt as if you were way out in front, trying to run slow enough that others weren’t left behind – or perhaps that was so you could drag us with you. You were swimming upstream. Trying to sow seed on solid ground. You told me you felt alone and you were struggling and it was devastating you. I have mentioned before that you often have two emotional states: everything is fine and my world is falling apart. Which would be fair enough up to a point if you reserved my world is falling apart for someone died or I can’t put three meals a day on the table for my family – not something just fell on my finger and damnit, it hurt.

Again, I just don’t understand. Like you cannot comprehend my seeming lack of a suitable reaction, I cannot make sense of what feels like an overreaction. Everywhere I looked I was hearing stories of people flying across the country to pay vigil at the bedside of a sick parent or other real tragedies and here we were in a nice house and relative good health with friends. Now I can accept that as good as things are for us, they are quite possibly as shit as they have ever been and our displeasure in that state of affairs should not be negated. I also know that you were sick of the Christian response to problems of everything happens for a reason or maybe its part of the plan. You just wanted someone to commiserate with you. Someone to just go yep, it sucks to be you…You wanted things you never told anyone else.

You want people to offer help off their own bat without you telling them what you need. If they were really your friends, they’d know, right? Except, I hate to break it to you, I’ve been married to you for over 7 years and I don’t know how to respond to you when you are in this headspace. Everything I said to you regarding our state of affairs was wrong. Everything. At least it felt that way. If I was responding it was patronising or irritating or stating the obvious or otherwise not helpful at all. If I didn’t respond, I was too wrapped up in myself and being insensitive. It felt like I couldn’t win. It felt like you were sinking deeper and I couldn’t do anything about it. I even started questioning whether you were beginning to fall into a spiral of depression. I’d ask myself when you would go and lie down in bed in the middle of the day if you were just tired and trying to recuperate or running away. I felt like I was letting you down because I can’t be the person you need me to be. I still do a bit.

The reality is, you may be way out in front trailblazing away because that is the type of person you are. Its not the person I am though. And to allow you that freedom, I totally have your back and can manage the kids and the house but I will never be right beside you doing that, I’ll always be behind you instead. And I know I’m not the best at communicating this with you either. I dislike confrontation and when you snap, I will sometimes withdraw. Ok, I usually withdraw. When I feel out of my depth, I hope you will be in a better frame of mind later and you are none the wiser that I am honestly concerned. I’m sorry if I don’t try hard enough…

To end on a positive note though. Despite all the stress leading up to the playgroup, at least so far, it has been a rip roaring success. Plenty of people have shown up and praised your efforts. As well they might cause everything was pretty awesome I thought. Of course, you hate the limelight and many of them have no idea that you are the playgroup and the whole thing has been your brainchild but it has been wonderful to see it so well received.

It was also wonderful to see you embrace your silly side at the circus. You got us front row seats for the opening night of Cirque Africa which in turn allowed you to get picked for audience participation. You were to mime being a band member and a guitarist no less and you hammed it up beautifully which was great. I know in your head that was purely for Genevieve’s benefit so that she would see it is ok get up and have a go but you got past your own head to do it and I know that. I also know that you were reluctant to let me publish the photos but you acquiesced to one of them so that was cool too.

hubbyseptember

Patiently yours,

Your Loving Wife