July 2008 Archives

Coming of Age

Dear Finn

There's been another birthday in the family and you are now 3. I find it quite difficult to comprehend that three years have gone by since you entered our lives, but there you go. Time moves on and while your Mum gets a little more senile and wrinkled, you just become more wonderful. Wonderfully verbal in explaining why you won't eat anything for dinner. Wonderfully excited at running really fast and crashing into things deliberately. Wonderfully clever at extracting revenge on Holly for stealing your toys when you think no-one is watching.

There seemed to be several ongoing celebrations for your birthday. On the day itself we took you down to a local cafe and let you choose a piece of cake. Mudcake. We lit some candles and sang Happy Birthday and it was all good. Afternoon tea brought more chocolate cake when Jasmine came around to say Happy Birthday. And then on the weekend we had a combined party with your cousin Eden, who turned 3 the day before you. So all in all a well celebrated event.

You have had a much greater understanding of it this year...telling everyone that "I'm turning 3" and that "we're going to have cake" and "wear hats" and "sing Happy Birthday". The presents never really get mentioned, certainly not to the extent of CAKE which is definitely of very high priority. Interesting really when you consider overall your general lack of interest in food. That is one thing this year that has definitely only got worse. The items of food that you choose to eat has sunk to a new minimum. Breakfast foods seem to be the current favourite with you having them for dinner as well. If it's not miniwheats for dinner than it's usually mashed potato. With tomato sauce, which is what passes for a vegetable in your diet. You might eat sausages, chicken schnitzel or fish fingers with your spud. And that's pretty much your diet. I worry about it. I worry about you. But really if I think about it in a completely non-motherly objective kind of way, I'm sure you're fine. You're full of energy, you're clever and funny and you sleep well. Tonight you sat up on the bench and tasted the mayonaise/lemon/yoghurt mixture I had made to go on some slaw and you decided you liked it so much, you grabbed a bunch of rice crackers and proceeded to eat it like a dip. Even when I think I know the miniscule limits of your food tastes, you surprise me.

You have really started to enjoy childcare. This is a bit of a godsend, and made us realise that starting you at childcare at age 2 was probably too young for you. Now you interact with the other kids and carers, you're not phased by the chaos of a marauding bunch of toddlers and you're happy to go there. You seem much more self-confident and not at all worried about being left there by yourself. You especially love Kinda dance, and this love of moving to music has moved into all areas of your life. As soon as you hear any kind of music, anywhere, you will start moving to the beat. Doesn't matter whether it's muzak in the supermarket or Thomas the Tank Engine credits. It will all get you bopping.

You are beginning to play more with Holly. This tends to work best if Holly doesn't actually touch anything, particularly anything that resembles a toy, that you at some stage, might possibly be keen on using. You like to boss her around, telling her what she can and cannot touch and when, and you tend to get rather irate when she ignores these edicts from above. Today when we went to pick up Dad in the car, she fell asleep in her car seat beside you. You proceeded to give her a gentle pat and call her cute. You whispered all this, as you didn't want to wake her up. Sometimes I get the feeling that you actually quite like her. Mostly when she's asleep. I understand entirely.

You are fundamentally incapable of making a choice. About anything. When given a choice between say, sandals or shoes, you are rendered silent. It usually gets to the stage when Mum will make the unilateral decision one way or the other. Whatever Mum chooses will be totally uncool and there will be yelling about the NEED for the other option. If Mum says, OK the other one, that will also be loudly decried as heinously wrong. This has been known to go on for quite some time, to the extent that the loud debate about the the wrong choice being made will still continue half way down the street. If it wasn't so frustrating it would be incredibly funny.

This innate stubborness and refusal to compromise is the essence of many things in your life. We tried to bribe you once with chocolate, to encourage you to eat your dinner, and saying that it didn't work is a huge understatement. You just wanted the chocolate and showed a complete disinterest in the idea that you had to eat your dinner first to get it. A complete disinterest characterised with loud yelling and screaming and neither chocolate nor dinner being eaten. We've tried the bribery approach with your toileting as well, since a number of our friends reported success with this strategy. But chocolate wasn't enough, nor jellybeans, nor the lure of toy motorbikes or Thomas books. When it comes time for your daily constitutional you still insist on putting on a nappy. You then sit up on your toilet seat and close the door "for privacy". We have grown used to it, and I guess when you're ready, you'll be ready, treats or no.

This all points to a determined little boy who will not be persuaded to do anything he doesn't want to. And there are many things that you wish to do, that you cannot be persuaded against. Today Holly ate (destroyed) a cracker and the resulting crumbs were all over the lounge. I didn't even notice you drag out the vacuum cleaner until you asked me to plug it in, so you could clean up the crumbs. When you had finished the vacuuming to your satisfaction and I had explained and shown you the paper bag where the biscuit now lived, you finally let me put it away. But not before you considered the now clean carpet, thought about it for a bit, and then asked if I could "give Holly another biscuit?"

Somewhere within this year your Dad seems to have snuck in some parenting as well. You seem to have developed a beautiful way of saying "Where's Yo Momma?!" in a deep voice whenever you want to know where I am. And when reading one of our favourite books the other day all about underpants (Pants by Giles Andreae and Nick Sharratt) in which the opening lines are "small pants, big pants, giant frilly pig pants" you proceeded to point at the big pants and call them "like Mum's undies".

Big like my love for you.



Dear Holly

You have another ear infection. Possibly not the best way to start a blog, and definitely not the best way to start a day. Your Dad and I worked out this morning that between the start of this illness and the end of the last, there was about 10 days of downtime. Ten days of lovely sunny happy-to-crawl-around-and-entertain-herself Holly. Let me just say, that that wee girl is long gone. She has been replaced by Holler. Holler doesn't like to sleep much at all during the night and certainly does not like to play by herself. She likes to be held constantly, and will yell when placed on the floor, in the car or in her cot. The only thing that is unchanged is your love of food. Amazing it is to me, that despite the fact that you're sick, you still eat more than Finn at any given time. And you still only weigh 7kg with all your clothes. You have a little bell curve all of your own. The Holly bell. Small and very very loud.

The ten days of sunny Holly luckily coincided with a visit from Grandma and a celebration of your birthday a week early. You are now ONE. We had a low-key party with the family and a couple of others, and most importantly, in Finn's mind, CAKE. And candles to blow out, and the singing of Happy Birthday. It was marvellous to have a bit of a party especially as by the time the real birthday rolled around, you were in the depths of a throbbing pain in the ears.

You have driven your parents out of their bedroom. Sick children who don't sleep well, and two bedroom apartments don't really go together. So we now sleep in the lounge, on the sofa bed. It's not the most comfortable piece of blue brick in the world, but it's a bit like the Scottish and porridge, if it's the only option, you convince yourself it's the most wondrous option. Makes it much easier to live with. Your Dad and I get to lie in bed and TALK (wow) and WATCH TV (luxury), and IGNORE your whingeing for a little bit at 2am in the hope that it will stop. No such luck, but it's easier to be woken up by whingeing through a couple of walls and a closed door than to lie right next to it. Love that oaty oaty porridgy goodness.

I guess the best thing I can say is that today you're starting to come right. You're not quite so clingy or whingey and I think there's been more than a few smiles. You're on the mend. I'm incredibly pleased to see it.

love Mum