Franklin’s 10th Birthday, a set on Flickr.
We’ve been off doing a few Christmas related things lately – making Christmas lists, visiting Santa and wrapping gifts to send in the mail to family and friends. Throughout it all, Franklin seems to be a little… cynical.
I don’t know when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I certainly don’t have a memory of being cynical about the whole thing and wondering why my parents were putting up a charade. I didn’t have friends who broke the news to me or teased me that I still believed. There is a family story that I decided to enlighten my Catechism class one Sunday and made everyone cry. I have no real memory of saying this specifically but I do remember standing up in class and saying something that made my teacher look pretty tired.
But that could have been about anything.
I think there are questions this year though. I think he’s on to us. This evening I pulled out some gift wrap I didn’t know I had and proceeded to wrap a gift for my nephew. Merrily I go, thanking Franklin for picking out such a wonderful gift, passing the tape to Eliza so she could “HELP!” and thanking Solstice that we are now done the Christmas shopping save for my brother’s gift that will not be available until the new year and who lives in Switzerland and so would never get it on time anyway.
As an aside, have you ever tried to mail something to Geneva?
Holy shipping costs, batman! It’s like I’m trying to send Flat Stanley or something.
Anyways, yes. I’m merry and happy and congratulating myself on doing all my window shopping online, comparing prices and making decisions from the comfort of my dining room table, calling ahead, reserving the gift and dashing in and out of the store. This is my perfect way to shop. I would do this for my grocery shopping too if it was at all practical.
But then Franklin takes a closer look at the wrapping paper I’m using. The one I chose last year to only wrap certain gifts with – the gifts from Santa. I forgot about that. In fact, I think I have probably forgotten about that every single year but it only this year that he noticed anything.
I had nothing to say but that we have so many kinds of wrapping paper (we don’t) and that it’s always hard to tell one kind from another (it’s not) and that I wasn’t really sure it was the same because wouldn’t that be impossible?!?
Then he gave me a little half smile / half look of confusion.
I am crushed. Not because he’s growing up and will now become one of the cynical “Santa gives more to rich kids” people because, dude, if that’s what you’re spouting then you’re doing Santa all wrong in your house.
I’m crushed because I can see the confusion and I can see him working it all out and I just want the conversation to happen, already! I want to talk about it but I think he should be the one to bring it up first.
I’m also crushed because this is one of many times that he will look at me and think, “Mom, you are either delirious or full of it.”
Yes darling, I usually am both of those things.
And while we are on the topic, don’t believe anyone who tells you they aren’t.
Eliza is getting to an age where she takes chances and pushes her body to limits it might not be ready for – or maybe it is and I’m just not used to seeing scabby knees over and over and over and over again. Whatever the case, there seems to be a few more scrapes and bruises in her life. Ah heck. She’s the second born. I don’t sweat her small stuff.
Eliza, on the other hand… she sweats it. It’s a production.
You see, it doesn’t matter how low key you are. If your child is going to freak out, she’s going to FREAK OUT. All this, “Act like it’s no big deal and they will know it’s nothing to scream about” advice is really? Not all that useful when your child is, how does one put it…. “dramatic”. These things are very likely hard wired.
And now, I am officially absolving myself from any freak-out inflicted drama Franklin may possess. It’s clearly inherited. From his father. Because I am a rock of composure. Don’t “lol” me, sister. A rock, I am.
Eliza seems to have gone past the “I can’t use my limb!!!” dramatics while suffering through a healing bump or scrape however, we now find ourselves in entirely new territory. We can’t touch it, we can’t wash it and we can’t wear pants while she is suffering through the affliction but on top of ALL OF THIS, we have also added to our bedtime reading the Red Cross First Aid Book.
I’m not kidding you. I know this book like the back of my hand. I know the difference between the severity of burns, how to handle frostbite, what to do with a severed limb and how to flush out a foriegn object in the eye.
Hypothermia? I’m your girl.
Need to carry someone out of a burning building? I’ll help you out.
Someone’s unconscious? Give me a call.
A little while ago, the cbc was reporting that ER doctors wanted CPR training to be required in schools.
My first thought was, Baby Boomers.
My second thought was, “I’m totally covered”.
I’ve just had a bit of a break. Am I back? Who knows. It’s funny to think that there was a time in my life where I wrote here every day. Now I can go months without giving it a thought – never mind feel guilty.
The garden move, what took up much of my free time and energy, seems to have come to it’s conclusion. We have moved sites and although I still have to transplant my artichoke from my old plot but we are definitely done. In fact, we are so done that there is even someone hired to do the things that took up so much of my time. No, not just my time but others as well. There were a few burnt out gardeners that have been saved by a few wonderful people at the university. Without their support, I think we would be gone. I don’t think there was a lot of fight left in us. At least, this is how I felt.
Without a lot of fight left.
Willing to take anything – even the backyard of someone with a dog and a few requests to “spruce up here and there” in exchange for a side lot to garden in.
Without a fence.
Amongst the deer.
Next to a golf course.
To have a space with so much – a fence, water lines, electricity, two sheds, fig tree moved, planned mowing of surrounding grass agreed upon… there is much more, much more than we could have hoped for that has been arranged, handled and taken care of for us.
So it’s good. I feel like all that weight is lifted. All that worry on how the move would go is gone. We’ve moved. We don’t know how long we will be there but we are there. I’m choosing to leave it at that and be thankful. And move on.
Very soon we will be camping. Last year was such a wonderful experience that we hope to do this more and more often. However, as wonderful as it was, the weekend we chose to go had a fire ban in effect. There won’t be a ban this year.
This means marsh mellows! Hot dogs! Smores!
Actually, I don’t anticipate the smores being all that popular. Despite the allure of chocolate, I hate smores. It’s the… messiness of it all.
I sound a little OCD when I talk about food sometimes, though.
I was amazingly well into my late teens, perhaps even my early twenties before I actually elected to eat a hamburger. Hot dogs just seemed… less messy.
I can’t even really describe to you my feelings around hard shell tacos. Suffice to say, I think they are silliest food item on the face of the earth. They are hard and filled with crumbly bits of burger, shredded lettuce and messy sauce. Once you bite into the hard shell it cracks. OF COURSE IT CRACKS! And everything goes everywhere. As a child, my heart sank whenever I saw them for dinner. I see them in the grocery store now and silently applaud myself for making it to adulthood and never having to endure the torture of hard shelled tacos again.
If there is nothing else left in life, I can be happy that I have the choice to avoid the hard shell taco.
Life is beautiful.
Actually, I was never a fan of the marsh mellow either, really. Too sticky. Too sweet. Too hot.
Hot dogs. That’s where it’s at.
And perhaps bananas in foil. I can handle mess with a spoon. I’m like the opposite of a 2 year old – or Billy Bob Thorton because I hate plastic in my mouth.
Oh Lord, I sound insane.
Someone comment that they are somewhat near my line of thinking here.
On one of the last days of school, Franklin did a science experiment with his class. The classic Egg Drop. Everyone had to design a way for their (raw) egg to safely drop from the roof of the school onto the concrete down below. Interestingly, the letter home explaining this experiment had a bold faced request for parents to NOT help with the construction or the idea.
Actually, this was a hard task for me. Not only because I love this kind of stuff but because who wants to see the disappointment on their child’s face when that egg yolk runs all over the cement?
It’s not only the “bad people” and the earthquakes and the looming deadly viruses that I try to protect my children from, it is also emotional trauma.
Hrmf. Apparently, a failed egg experiment would be considered emotional trauma… I live in a very privileged part of the world and have a very lucky life. What can I say? I’m spoiled. Ergo, my children are spoiled.
However, I’ve seen what happens when parents get too involved in their child’s school work. Not only do they not learn what they are supposed to be learning but they receive a message of “You can’t do this on your own.”
Easy to say until you show up to a Math competition and see the submissions from other “kids” that are far more advanced then they would do on their own and who wins the competition? The kids who have the parents so involved that they couldn’t explain the thing without constantly referring to Mom and Dad in the background.
Like pageant parents, really.
What message does THAT send?
I didn’t help with this project. Don’t get me wrong, I WANTED to help. I wanted to help very badly. Luckily, Franklin was all over that urge as he specifically told me to back off before I even opened my mouth. The child knows his mother.
He was brilliant.
Not only did he experiment with different parachute sizes to makes sure he got the best one, but he checked off all the rules to the entry and followed it to a tee (which could not be said for many of the other kids but I’m not competitive or anything… ahem).
Also, the egg floated gently to the ground. It wasn’t a hard thud and a tense moment when he checked the contents but a most definite, “Why bother looking? That was awesome” kind of landing.
Part of the exercise was to crack the egg after the landing was successful to prove the it wasn’t hard boiled. My son took out his egg and….
Cracked that baby into the bowl WITH ONE HAND like he was bloody Jamie Oliver!
I couldn’t have been prouder.
I think the universe wanted me to have some perspective. Just yesterday I’m complaining about me time and the busy business of life and Universe Chuck thought… lets mix it up and see how it really could be, shall we?
Because, this is how life is, right? This is how it rolls.
Eliza was stepped on yesterday
While in the middle of a nap.
By another child.
Extended placement, apparently – if you go by Eliza’s account.
The daycare parents reading this are saying, tell me something interesting, why don’t you.
The non-daycare parents are reading this and are horrified. Horrified and thanking their loverly lives that their children are never in harms way.
Don’t tell me you aren’t.
If it wasn’t my own child and it was at another daycare, I’d be judging other daycare centre’s horrid lack of supervision.
We are parents. We judge in order to feel better about our own choices.
Anyway, Eliza is now sick. Low grade fever, tired, has gas, doesn’t want to eat. Only drinking. Right now watching sesame street, which is a treat because we never get to do that.
Still, this means my work will back up and I will need to go in tonight to do some catch up.
The garden hasn’t been watered in two days (Sorry Jido).
I missed lunch with a seriously wonderful person and I FORGOT TO TELL HER.
My mind is on this 3 year old who can’t seem to tell me what’s wrong. I almost miss the days of the pneumonia where I would at least know what to look for and was aware of the scenarios. Now I’m going back and forth between Fifth disease and the Walkerton Tragedy.
Don’t tell me you don’t think about that. The interview with the mother who didn’t know what was wrong with her child and how the doctor kept telling her to make sure he was hydrated when all along it was the water that was making him sick…
Don’t tell me that didn’t stick in your brain.
Not all that hungry.
This was going on last weekend and then a week of being fine only to dance the dance all over again.
I would google the shit out of this but it’s an awfully good way to get a damn computer virus.
First person to tell me it’s Leukemia gets a gonch pull.
Life is strange, you know? It’s crazy busy at times and I love it and I sit back and enjoy the busyness and I love it. I love it. It feeds me. I get off on the business of busyness.
Then, I hate it. I don’t have time to myself, I can’t do the things I enjoy. I can’t take a breath without someone telling me I’ve not done something or I need to another thing right now. Now. Like yesterday. Like, why haven’t you done this yet?!?
And I resent everything about my life at those times. Those times I don’t even get to the garden or I don’t take a lunch break or I don’t have the 15 minutes it takes to write out something on my blog. I love this blog. Even though I understand how it is a useless hobby that doesn’t produce anything. Even the garden gives us food. And perhaps a master’s thesis. Perhaps.
All this resentment usually happens when I’ve just finished congratulating myself for handling the business of busy. Then I invite a friend out for coffee or a movie (or, gasp! maybe both! How decadent.) and then I feel punished.
It’s like I have used up my quotient of “Me Time” and how dare I ask for more to water the garden, go for a run, attend a grid meeting, take photos for the month project… How dare I have a life other than the one I’m paid for and the one I’ve married and the ones I’ve procreated?
How dare I?
But I’m the only one who feels this way. I know this. I’ve mentioned my apprehensions to taking more time with Dickson and he looks at me like I’m insane. I won’t work out unless it’s free and I do it when it doesn’t interfere with anyone else and their schedule – like at 4am… What does that mean? It means I don’t work out.
Where do I get this from? !?
And do I resent those who take that time for themselves. You better believe I do.
Sorry about that.
It’s only jealousy, really.
Last weekend I walked over to pick up the car share van before we started the day with Dickson’s Mom and sister. I strolled past the garden on the way and peeked in from the other side of the fence. It’s been such a long and cold Spring that things are slow to start – unless you’ve been uber diligent and given your tomatoes little mini greenhouses to protect their fragile asses
Tomatoes are delicate things that seem to get on my nerves every year. Why do I bother?!?
Oh yes, because they are tasty.
Anyway, things have been stressful lately. Childcare issues, finances, work… even my hobbies are stressing me out because I commit myself to things so far down the road and then life happens and things get pushed aside. It all became a little too much. I was feeling incredibly down on myself.
It happens to us all.
Anyway, as I was examining my garden from behind the chain link fence and thinking about the plans that needed to be finalized for the new area, as well as my discouraged view and how the kohlrabi are going to hate where I planted them, my nose brushed against something soft and thread-like.
I stepped back and changed my focus to the fence, instead of what was beyond, and realized I was literally face to face with an few hundred baby spiders in the middle of hatching! It was incredible. They were everywhere…. right in front of my face.
I watched them for a bit and then, as I looked past a few stragglers, I spotted an incredibly huge slug leaving a silvery trail from under a rock next to the Hollyhock. The bugger was heading right to the cucumber.
That’s what was eating them!
There always has to be one.
Focus too hard on the future and you’ll miss the show right in front of your face.
Enjoy the show in front of your face and you’ll naturally gravitate to a solution you need.
It’s all going to be okay.
When Franklin was a younger he was obsessed with trains. Thomas became a regular in our house and we joke about the largest plastic bin we own that is filled with the wooden tracks and trains that will very likely become our retirement fund. Thank-you grandparents.
When I was traveling through Europe, one of the books I picked up in a bookstore was Emile Zola’s La Bête humaine. I had no idea that it was made into a movie. In fact, many of the books I’ve read I’m discovering have been made into a movie. It never used to be this way. I haven’t really decided whether I like this or not. Of course, it’s totally my decision to log on to IMDb and ruin the images for myself.
Of course, I do it every time.
Anyway, this movie has an opening scene that is totally mesmerizing:
No kidding, eh?
However, what I once thought was a toy left behind has been picked up with renewed fervor by Eliza. We are reading the books again, setting up the tracks and getting to know all the trains – both diesels and steamies. As our two children are so different in personality, there isn’t really much chance to compare them at similar stages. In fact, this is one of the first times I can remember certain things that Franklin did that are definitely different than Eliza and not a result of memory loss or a consequence of our new family dynamics once she was born.
Of course, I’m not going to get on the internet and tell you the differences. As strange as it may seem to those who don’t write about their families online, I’m not really all that fond of directly comparing or defining my children in public. From the very start of my pregnancy, these two have been so different… and yet, very much the same. The last thing I want to do is label them as “the meticulous one” , “the mysterious one” or “the imaginative one” because don’t we all have these traits at one time or another?
I come from a large family and even if my parents did or didn’t compare, the rest of the world seemed to give me and my siblings specific definitions. I didn’t realize how ingrained these definitions were until I received an Alice in Wonderland chess set from my parents.
A chess set?
Could this mean that I possibly had a brain that could handle chess? This meant I wasn’t just a girl but I had some of that elusive intelligence everyone seemed to attribute to my brainy older brother?!?
I sat on my bed and had a happy cry about that one.
Sigh. Oh the drama of being a tween.