December 2006 Archives

Happy Holidays

Dear Finn

I realise I have been rather slack with the letter writing recently. We're going away in a couple of days though, so I'd better put something down. This is your second Christmas and I doubt it will mean much more to you than last year's effort. This year we're having a bit of an anti-Christmas, partly because we are the Bah Humbugs and partly because we're not going back to NZ to spend time with family. Thankfully so. I have just heard that 37 members of my extended family will be gathering in the same place for the Day this year, and I really can't think of anything worse. Half of them are going to be kids which might have been fun for you...running around after your extended cousins, but if you're anything like your parents you would have taken one look at the crowd, found yourself a strong drink and taken to the hills. We are going there in February, when thankfully there will be no-one else there. As for our own non-Day we're taking you to Coffs Harbour...a place we have never been. A little resort town about 5 hours down the coast. We have an apartment 5 minutes from the beach, with pool and spa and hopefully all other things necessary for the perfect anti-Christmas. Our lunch will probably consist of a picnic under a tree or on a beach somewhere. I will NOT have a special Christmas dress for the occasion. You will please wear your hat and submit to being smothered in sunscreen. And we will all have fun, OK?

Before I go though, there are a couple of things I'd like to mention.

For one you might like to explain the appearance of a fountain shaped stain on the back of our bright blue couch. One day when I was lounging on said couch after an exhausting day at the House of Parenting your Dad noticed the new addition. We worked out there was a possible connection between you standing there sans nappy the night before and this new highlight. Not so surprising perhaps. You are a boy after all, and if there's one thing I've learnt after living for years with your Dad, it's that boys like the freedom to wee where they want when they want. So, years from now, when we're Dear Departed and you inherit the big blue urinal...you'll understand exactly what I mean.

Another thing you might like to work on is your fuse. Like lengthen it a bit. Or a lot. When I tell you (nicely) that no, you cannot drag the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard for the 20th time, or no, you cannot bring the watering can inside and try and encourage the carpet to grow, or no, you cannot try to aircondition the world to a lovely 18°C I don't really appreciate having my eardrum pierced by a screech high enough to shatter crystal. Don't sweat it. Chill. Build a bridge. And GET OVER IT! Yesterday we went to pick up some computer parts for your Dad from a geek store. It took a lot longer than it should, a lot longer than I would have hoped and seemed even longer than that, since you shrieked most of the time. You yelled to be put down. You yelled when I locked my cellphone keypad. You yelled when I did not allow you to go out the door and play in the car park. From then on, going out the door became the main focus of your life. Of course. The other people in the store had computers for babies...and I quickly came to appreciate their choice. Sometimes, generally, in the worst possible moment, you are a little horror. A tanty-ridden, egocentric, squealing little monster. When will you grow out of this I ask?

After that large Mommy Moan, how can I say you're a joy to live with and expect you to believe it? Well I won't say it, because that's far too simple. And you're anything but. You're by turns my biggest pleasure and my greatest challenge. You take, by the throat, what I think are my mountain loads of patience, and crush them into the smallest invisible morsel. You make me struggle to remember the smallest thing. You are my greatest delight. Yesterday you pointed out the pc mouse...when I told you it was the mouse, you raced outside, bending to look under the couch, for the (real live) field mouse that has taken up residence there. You make me laugh. You make me want to commit myself for ever attempting this. From the high to the low to the end of the show. You and me bud, we're in this thing together.

Have a fantastic Christmas and take joy in your family.
We would not be one, if it weren't for you.

love
Mum

Dat?

Dear Finn

You spend a lot of time these days saying Dat? With pointing. This could be at anything in particular, although current favourites are air conditioners, ceiling fans, buses, cars and dogs. Your story books. The pictures of various animals on your clothes. The microwave. Facial and body parts. The elbow was a particular revelation this morning. How WONDROUS is that? WOW. An elbow. I love this seeing the world through your eyes. I find all my cynicism and depression just flying away. OK so I lie. But you do make me laugh, when you point out an elbow like it's a chest of gold.

All this Dat? and pointing can make storytime rather interesting. For the first few seconds. And then maddening enough to send me diving for the whisky. I'll give you a completely genuine example from reading The Early Bird by Richard Scarry a couple of nights ago.

Dat?
That's Early Bird putting on his t-shirt.
Dat?
That's a clock.
Dat?
That's Early Bird putting on his t-shirt. You have a t-shirt that you put on like that.
Dat?
That's a clock in Early Bird's room. Clocks help us tell the time.
Dat?
That's Early Bird putting on his t-shirt.
Dat?
That's a clock.
Dat?
T-shirt.
Dat?
Clock.
Dat?
Can you see a flower anywhere? Where's the flower?
Dat?
It's a clock.
Dat?
Let's turn the page, shall we. Look at something else?
Dat?
That's Early Bird putting on his t-shirt.
Dat?
That's a clock.
...

So yes. Not so much fun for your skim-reading parent. But mostly your fascination in the naming of all possible objects is pretty cool. You notice things. You really look at the minutiae of the world. You examine closely the buttons on cushions and the ants on the ground. You have infinite interest. It's a beautiful thing to watch - the actions of a curious child. The actions of you.

Long may it last.

xx
Mum

Say Cheese

Dear Finn

You may have noticed that there are fewer photos of you accompanying the letters these days. The perfectly reasonable explanation for this is that you're impossible to take photos of these days. The camera is so unbearably exciting, so magnetically attractive that upon first sight of it, you immediately abandon whatever it was that you were doing, whatever it was that we wanted to take a photo of, and rush towards it. Now a few of these photos aren't bad. But they get a little tedious after a while. For example we might have a photo of you rushing the camera, after dragging the iron around like a toy. Or perhaps one of you rushing the camera, after proving you can drink juice out of a cup with no handles. Or one of you rushing the camera, after abandoning the tower you just cleverly built all by yourself. You see what I mean. We're not exactly getting many illustrations of your widening range of skills and evolving development unless you can call this obsession with cameras one of said milestones. I am looking forward to the day when you find some amount of nonchalance. Some amount of cool, dude. Some amount of of course you can take a photo of me. I look HOT.

xx
Mum

Sleepless

Dear Finn

As your wise ol Mommy is fond of saying, it is the exception that proves the rule. Which is certainly true when it comes to you. Just when I was going to write you a letter about how diabolical you are to get to sleep these days...tonight you crawl up beside me on the daybed and close your eyes. Half an hour earlier than usual. You did have a bit of a tanty when I actually moved you to your cot...but really 20 seconds of screaming is NOTHING. You have increased my patience levels to hitherto (your Dad will love that I'm using that word) unforseen levels.

Now, on a normal night we have a bit more of an effort to get you to accept sleep as an option. On a normal day as well come to that. You are so tired and so grouchy and yet you refuse to see sleep as the answer. In a usual scenario, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, you yell, squirm, say Dat? with pointing to everything in the room, flop around and bump your head, stick your legs out the side of the cot to kick me, stick your legs up the wall, pull your mobile, turn the lightswitch on and off enough times to turn me into a crazed epileptic, and absolutely refuse to relax. Many times I end up throwing my hands up in the air (on the inside) and walking away for a few minutes, before coming back and resuming my attempts to stroke your back or sing you songs. I did move your cot far enough away so that you could no longer reach the light switch. You flicking it on and off after an hour of me attempting to get you to lie down and close your eyes, was one of the best ways to get me to say something less than nice in a voice that was no longer low and calm.

Yesterday you introduced a new game into the mix. You got real angry and threw your toys out of the cot. One at a time you threw them on the floor and then looked down on them on the floor and started crying to see them so abandoned. And then repeated it with another toy. I really felt like bursting out laughing, but I doubt that would have helped the situation. I did give you back the one cuddly that you can't possibly get to sleep without...the one that if you wake in the night and can't find, you loudly and longly ask us to come help you look for. This cuddly used to have such power when you were younger that we could just hand it to you and you would clutch it to yourself, close your eyes and be asleep. I suspect I must have washed it too many times...its power was soluble in water.

But then there was tonight. A lovely break from the usual struggle, so I thank you for that. Just when I think I understand what you're up to, you go ahead and do something different.

Sweet dreams, my love.

Mum