Monday, December 14, 2009

Months 51 and 52, 25, 26

Dear Connor and Helen,

I officially give myself a "fail" on last month's reports. Lack of inspiration coupled with a mad dash to finish work related projects before heading out of town (twice!) left little time for blogging. It did not, however, leave little time for you to change. Despite my hurried manner throughout the month, the two of you kept right on moving at your usual paces. Which is an excellent lesson that through all times, life keeps right on moving.

You change - even when I wish I could put your lives on pause while I get mine sorted out. I used to say that if I was planning to take a one week vacation, I needed to do three extra days of work before I left and two extra days when I got back. Vacation wasn't so much a chance to decrease my work, just a chance to shift it around so that I could be away. And that philosophy was fine before I had the two of you and I didn't mind working the occasional late shift, but it's not fine now that I have you both - you who still need to eat dinner at 5:30 each day and also need to get to bed at 8:00 each evening. Which means I end up squeezing the work in after 8:00 and the house gets messy, and the laundry gets backed up, and the blog most certainly does not get updated.

So what did these last two months involve? They involved the two of you really figuring out your relative places in the world. Where once I had to step in over an argument, now you generally work it out yourselves. Helen, you will yell at Connor, and Connor, you most certainly yell back, but the arguments are brief and the resolutions seem to satisfy all parties most of the time. Occasionally I play the role of mediator, but almost always you both know exactly how the mediation will end, which I think provides the reason why you can end things without my involvment regularly. Now, if only you would stop the bickering all together, but I have a feeling that's going to last a lifetime.

Sometimes, you play the role of cheetah, and then attack me - the innocent giraffe cooking dinner. You both love to hide under the covers - a game your dad introduced so he could milk a few more precious minutes in bed each morning - and you also love to hide in my "secret closet". When your dad and I bought this house, we saw the potential for all the hiding places and knew it would be a fun place to grow up in. You are steadily discovering these spaces and having a grand time. You cook together, play in a band together, and build things together. More than once, the two of you have been so intent on your play that your dad or I have actually avoided entering the room, lest we break it up. In Waldorf terms, the room can be "humming".

Helen, you often report that you are a kitten, or a baby macaroni, or just a baby - and get very offended if your dad or I forget what you are. Unfortunately, the first time you played baby, your dad allowed you to make the most hideous sound ever, imitative of crying. It makes me think of the sound I fashion a small animal makes when it senses death is near, only more intense since it emanates from an actual human I am related to. My first instinct is to find the noise and throw it outside because while I don't always keep the house in top-top condition, I do like to think no animals can get lost in it and die. But then, as I whirl around to find the awful sound, I find you. And you're 'crying', and I give you a few pats. Let's just say, had I been the first person to hear the sound, I would've said "find a different cry, Helen, that one makes me want to slice my ears off". Helen, you also play mother quite regularly and you tell me your baby is crying (and she has a wonderfully soft cry that I cannot even hear!) and then you put her to your breast to nurse her. And then you tell me how happy she is. Which reminds me, Helen, be very glad that flu season and holiday travel fall right now because I was totally prepared to wean you at age 2, and then I got an email from the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington reminding moms that weaning during flu season is not a good thing, that should you get sick, the antibodies I will be producing at that moment will be very good for you. And so it is, that you remaind a breastfeeding toddler. And a stubborn one, at that.

Connor, you generally pretend to be a wild animal of some sorts. You are fast, you are sleek, you can sneak up on people. You collect things...lots of makes me fear for your future. You see, I fight packrat tendencies all of the time and I fear you will be doing the same. You will, however, clear your shelf when you notice it becoming too crowded.

Connor you are, for the most part, a gentle leader. You encourage your sister to join you, and often show her how what she's trying to do can be made easier. You regularly grab Helen's hand and lead her around with no prompting at all. When she seems perplexed, you provide guidance. When we walk around together, you often grab her hand, even we're not somewhere that I require hand holding.

You must be growing, because for the last week or so, you've gotten right down to business when it came time to eat, and you've asked for more milk pretty regularly. You've also been sleeping a little late and taking long naps. Hopefully, you don't grow out of all the new pants I just bought you until the seasons change.

Connor, you adore your Kindergarten teacher and this is simultaneously wonderful and awful. You see, we live in an area with incredible public schools. They're the kind of schools lots of people dream about. At the beginning of the year, your dad and I fully expected to send you to one of these fine public schools next year. But now? Now we wonder if perhaps staying at your current school next year might be the better move. And this only begs the question of whether you ought to be going there through grade three. Your dad and I met up with some friends of mine from high school a few nights ago and when one of the folks heard you went to a Waldorf school, he volunteered that I should be sending you there as long as I could. As a former high school teacher, he assures me his Waldorf students were the most creative and absolute best students he had. My pocketbook was not hoping to hear something like this.

And speaking of school, Helen, you love to drop Connor off on Fridays. You get to go into the playground and play with him and his classmates for a few minutes before we join hands and sing our morning verse. One day, you climbed to the top of a short ladder that led to the top of a big pile of logs that the children had turned into a house in previous days' play. You shouted "look at me! I'm so tall!" and almost all, if not all, of the older children were watching you and many even gave a little clap. I think every parent there that morning smiled.

You both loved our travels to Puerto Rico and seeing your grandparents. We found the requisite lizards but boy are they fast. Your nets never seemed to be in the right place when we needed them to catch one of those critters. Connor, in particular, gathered many, many coconuts.

Helen, whenever you hear anyone told not to do something, you immediately go and do it. And Connor, whenever you see anyone breaking a rule, you tell me about it. When a third child is in the mix, this is a lovely combination, I assure you both.

We all experienced our first snowfall of the season this month, which made for lots of shoveling and a little sledding. Hopefully we'll have a few more chances this season.


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