Update update, overdue

Three bullet points apiece, because life is moving quickly and it’s nice to have a record.

Except I cannot make bullet points anymore in WordPress? This platform is starting to make me feel creaky and old, because they keep updating it to look more swish but keep removing components I enjoyed and use. I bet swish isn’t even slang any more.

This update brought to you by late-night server installations, because there’s a lot of dead time in between aggravatedly pushing buttons.

SPROUT
1. Sprout’s stammer has completely evaporated in the past three months. So that’s that. She continues to have a ridiculous vocabulary.

2. Using that vocabulary, Sprout has gotten in touch with her emotions, and spends the vast majority of her time telling us “I’m sad” whenever anything, however minor, has happened that is contrary to her world view.
Sprout: “I am going to get off my chair and sit unner a table!”
Me/Pea: “No Sprout, you have to stay on your chair at dinner.”
Sprout: “I’m sad. I need a snuggle from Mama.” gets off chair

3. Sprout tells us daily that she doesn’t like daycare. When pressed, she says she likes the food, playground, people, her little cot, naps, some of the toys, and that there are other kids, but none of the other kids in particular. When asked what she doesn’t like about daycare she says “I have beautiful days there”. Pea and I have decided what she means is that daycare is not as much fun as being at home with nanny C and with Mama and Dada there at lunch and periodically through the day, which, fair.

SPUD

1. Spud is liking kindergarten. We don’t get any information from him, aside from claims they are learning the chicken dance every day, and that there is excrement on the lunch tables, both of which we eventually, reluctantly, had to ask his teacher about (false on both counts). He is pleased to go. He eats his entire lunch except when he runs out of time (and then it is the vegetables he doesn’t particularly like that suspiciously had no more time allotted). He came home one day with a drawing of a tiger on top of someone’s head, which was the most elaborate drawing we’ve seen from him.

2. Concurrent with Spud liking kindergarten, Spud’s intense violent phase of the past 2 months has evaporated. Big transitions are hard when you are four, but you aren’t allowed to take it out on your mother, or your smaller sister when that isn’t getting results. I am much relieved to no longer be a punching bag, or goalie preventing lobbed objects from hitting Sprout. We are working with him to find other ways to express emotions (there’s a lot of yelling at ceilings at the moment, which is vastly preferable but still not particularly enjoyable).

3. Spud got quite into extreme weather this summer, thanks to the endless thunderstorm and tornado warnings*. I draw him little notes in his lunch boxes on a theme each week. Last week was weather, and after three notes on hurricanes and the like, and on a day when he had chosen dinosaur pants, t-shirt, sweatshirt, lunchbox, and backpack to “have a theme day so I can show my teachers”, he came home with a drawing of a Hurricanisaurus and a Tornadactyl, clearly a collaboration between him and his teacher. It was fun. Spud was selectively mute** in daycare for the first ~8 months, so it’s really neat to see him enjoying and interacting with kindergarten.

PEA

1. Pea’s team at Golden Company is being reassigned, again. It’s the first time I’ve seen him seriously consider recruiter emails for other companies, as this is now three straight years of him gearing up to a project only to have it fizzle, move, or be assigned to others. Since starting at the office here five years ago, he has been forcibly moved off of teams and onto new projects four times. It is Golden Company’s way, and Pea is performing well (he’s probably going up for promotion next round), but it is frustrating to constantly be starting over.

2. Pea has risen to the “Spud won’t eat dairy and school doesn’t allow any nuts or nut substitutes” challenge by adapting his previously walnut-filled sourdough to fully seedy, and filling our pantry with odd seeds, spreads, and enriched flours to bake things like tahini and coconut bliss balls and date-based home-baked spelt granola bars. Mainly we need his afternoon snack to be more than just carbohydrates, or at least contain some semblance of complex nutrition. Spud smells the new offerings with suspicion, but has been eating them happily enough.

3. Pea is still introspecting and examining his relationship with alcohol. He read A Million Tiny Pieces last month, which is a memoire of addiction, rehab, and recovery. I had read it last year, and was surprised he picked it up, feeling it was a bit close to home. He says most of the depictions of addiction really didn’t resonate with him, that he feels his actions were more strongly rooted in habit than addiction. From everything he’s said, this feels true to me, but does not remove the requirement for caution and vigilance (he agrees).

LAB MONKEY

1. September always catches me off-guard, and it did so again this year. I’m perilously behind, but am coping by applying my mat leave tactics – a laser focus on the important things, with occasional dedicated hours for all the other noise, as otherwise the admin tasks will subsume all my available time. This was made worse by Sprout being home for three days this week for a close contact isolation stint (which started late, day 7 post-last-exposure before a positive test was reported). We’re all negative, so dodged that bullet. I’d been working as though the kids might be home any moment, and while that was exhausting and nerve-wracking as a modus operandi, it did mean there was precious little I’d procrastinated coming into this week. Pea and I split the days home with Sprout, and each got about a 4.5 hour work day (thank goodness for naps!), with some top-up time in the evenings.

2. I saw a TikTok where a woman was saying she never worries about being a good wife the way she worries about whether she’s a good mother – she worries about the state of her relationship with her husband – so why not do the same with kids? I’ve been thinking about it all week, and thinking of ways to strengthen my relationship with each of the kids. At the end of the day, that bond, that trust and love, is so much more important than the myriad little check-boxes required for achieving motherhood accomplishment. I get mired in the checkboxes. That if they have shoes that fit, and lunches that are interesting and well-balanced, and if they spend time outside, that I’m doing ok. And all of those things are important, but it was a good reminder to me, in my busiest season, that the silly songs and the deeper talks and the little moments where I specifically dedicatedly cherish them and the firm but clearly explained boundaries – those are the bits that will stick.

3. My extroversion goes in waves, where I need people, and where I’m ok to just have check-ins with my inner circle. I set up the next two weeks as though I need people, and I overdid it! Not because I am in an extroversion trough, but because we’re trying to keep the kids’ weekends a bit relaxed as they adjust to busier days at school and daycare, and because I’m writing a big grant that is due in five days, and I’ve needed/still need extra time for it. Luckily (?) Sprout’s isolation and the continued inclement weather this fall have scuttled a number of plans this week, which I’ve been able to reschedule spread out over more time, and, critically, after the grant is due.

And that’s us! Both kids are doing well with transitions, both parents managed our first foray into what is sure to be a rotating door of kids in and out of school this fall, and we’re each of us, and collectively, doing better than I would have guessed two months ago.

* I specifically moved my family north, inland, onto a geologically stable land mass in a region with abundant freshwater in hopes of mitigating our early experience of climate change, and I am taking the recent uptick in tornados here as a personal affront. Tornados were exceedingly rare here ten years ago, and we had six tornado warnings and two actual tornados this summer (in a wide region, but still). I feel personally aggrieved.
** He wasn’t fully mute, but basically only spoke if asked direct questions and then in as few words as possible. I didn’t even know it was happening, they just thought he was quiet/shy. Then one day his educators told me, very excitedly, that he had told them a story about our fish (we had bought new fish), and the story was “we bought new fish, five of them!”, and that is when I realized he didn’t actually talk at daycare. Two weeks later, he came in and aggressively chanted the entirety of Anna Dewdney’s Little Excavator at them, and then told so many stories they had to ask him to be quiet.***
*** Part of me is reading this Spud update and wondering if I don’t need to go get my kid tested or possibly some therapy…. I think he’s ok. He’s introverted, and he struggles with big feelings, but he’s empathetic and he’s bright, and once he’s comfortable in a situation, he’s charming and engaged. It’s just been a tough two months for transitions and changes.

1 thought on “Update update, overdue

  1. rose

    WOW!!! Lots of changes and transitions becoming more comfortable and challenges and WOW. You 4 are all coping very well and flexing as needed. That is tough and admirable. Congratulations.
    It may be really helpful for Spud that Sprout is talking about and labeling emotions. Hearing and seeing this happen can help introverts identify their own emotions and promote understanding and coping methods. You are doing a good job with this. Keep on with it.
    SO glad you all seem to be doing well in trying times!
    PS: More tornados, hurricanes, fires, droughts, flooding……… all very real. Not an easy time or future.
    THANK YOU FOR WRITING. You spread hope.

    Reply

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