Longest road trip ever

Are we nearly there yet?

At the end, I mean. The end of the summer. The time when I can go outside and enjoy breathing real air instead of 99% water vapour. The time when the little darlings skip back into their classrooms of rules and regulations and I get to sit at my kitchen table uninterrupted by demands for toast and peach juice and What Can I Eat and I can put my rusty, summer sodden sponge of a brain to use again. Won’t that be nice?

Or I might just go wild in Starbucks with a large mocha or drive myself to a department store where I can walk around slowly in the cool perfumed air picking things up and putting them down without having to monitor the maniacal whirlings of my offspring in any public area.

I shouldn’t complain because they are now big enough that I have left them both at home and done the grocery shopping on my own several times this summer. It was blissful, until I arrived home to be roundly lambasted for all the vanilla milk and donuts I failed to buy. Apparently now if they come with me they get donuts. I draw the line at bringing donuts home to children who didn’t even get off their bums to accompany their aged P to the supermarket.

But I do complain, because the bigger they get the louder they get, and the farther their limbs stretch when flailing around in small spaces, and the faster they can push a shopping cart into my ankles and the heavier they are when they inadvertently step on my toes. (I remember stepping on my mother’s toes a lot, and my dad getting really annoyed with me on her behalf. I think it must be an adolescent lack of control, less awareness of where your body parts are thing, because Dash has started to do it now, and I am getting my curmuffins, with jam on.)

Call me when it’s September. I’ll just be meditating or something until then.

Two cats asleep in the window
Here are the cats. You’ve missed the cats, haven’t you?

Big enough

One thing I’ve noticed about parenting – and hang onto your hats here, because as epiphanies go, this one’s a doozy – is that it takes a long time.

I know; rocket science is a breeze for me, right?

It’s just, you start a family and you dream about all the things you’ll do with your kids: take them to the movies, play board games together, go out to eat and have a happy family occasion… and you know it’ll be a while, because a little baby can’t do those things, but you think soon… some day soon, surely… maybe now they’re old enough…

And you try far too soon and find that your two-year-old is terrified by the noise of the big screen, or is ready to jump up and run around just when the ads are done and the feature is starting because that’s enough sitting still for one afternoon; or that your four-year-old really doesn’t want to eat anything on the kids menu and once his chocolate milk is all gone, that’s it for the restaurant outing; or that the only board games they want to play are the ones that you have to be able to read for, which they can’t do yet, and then they eat the pieces and you fish them out of their hamster cheeks and put the whole thing back on the high shelf for another year or three…

So here we are with a five and a seven and we went to the movies last week (to see Frozen) and everyone liked it and nobody wet themselves (except me, because someone had apparently just dumped a giant coke all over the seat I chose) and we stayed for the whole thing, even though it was very loud and Dash was grumpy about watching princesses. And we loved it, dammit.

And today we took out the Risk and played a short game with three players (and one play-with-the-spare-soldiers-off-the-board-er) and it was almost, dare I say it, fun for all of us, and nobody threw a fit when I won, fair and square, because I’m better at rolling dice than anyone else. (That’s probably because of the rocket-science, isn’t it?)

And the restaurant thing, well, we’re still working on that, but at least they can both play tic-tac-toe on the menu while we wait, and they can both eat some damn french fries and we usually don’t actually have to evacuate the whole show mid-mouthful any more.

So, while it was only yesterday that I had a baby, and then I had another, and I swear I don’t feel as old as I must be by now; on the other hand I feel as if I’ve been doing this for ever and shouting at these short people for a long time, and it’s about time we got to do some of this stuff because we’ve all been waiting a while now. You know?

Children looking over a low wall at the sea

Love is…

I love that we can ask Dash if he’s a little concerned and he knows we’re quoting The Princess Bride.

I love that Mabel just spelled the word “sad” all by herself, and said she knew it was an A in the middle because it’s the same sound as in “cat”, which is the only word she knows how to spell apart from her name.

I love that Dash is reading an honest-to-God chapter book for his nightly reading these days. A simple one, but a chapter book nonetheless. Before vision therapy, the idea of his reading that much text on a page was unthinkable. The words don’t go blurry any more.

I love that Mabel keeps announcing things like “Mummy, three and three more is six!” The wonder of math, afresh.

I love that B is reading The Hobbit to Dash at bedtime these days. I thought it might be a bit ambitious, but so far it’s going well.

I love that when Dash criticized Mabel’s drawing of a dinosaur, she replied, “When you say that, it makes me feel as if I’m not important.” He apologized. I high-fived myself in the kitchen.

I love that Dash is finally old enough to make his own damn cardboard swords instead of bugging us to do it.

I love that Mabel can brush her teeth all by herself.

I love that we can take public transport into the city, walk around, do a museum, and get home again WITHOUT A STROLLER. Escalators and steps are so much easier than finding the hidden elevator every time.

Children running

I do love babies, but I love having big kids too.