Sunday, December 4, 2011

j & a

I was originally going to make this the follow-up blog post to Josh’s birthday post about his past year. But then I realized that I was suppose to do a follow-up post to Aves’s birthday post in April and I never did! So now, I’m going to make this a post about both Josh & Aves and how amazing they are these days. I’m feeling bad because I have so many “wow” moments with the kids and I neglect to write them down. I know I will eventually forget them, so I’m trying to make an honest effort of recording them as they happen.

First, Aves. I can’t believe that I’ve already had one child pass the 2.5 year mark and it is still possible for me to be in awe by another one. I still recall (because I have blog posts to remind me!) that Josh was a very active 2.5-year-old. Movement and activity were an integral part of his day. With Aves, it’s all about communication. She LOVES people (wonder who she got that from?!). Not a day goes by where I don’t hear the words, “Mama, what you doing?” (I should also add that not a day goes by where I don’t hear the words “Mommy, I love you.” from BOTH Josh and Aves. Completely unsolicited. I wouldn’t trade that in! Ever.).
Whenever I leave a room, a few minutes later, I can count on Aves' cute, musical chant, “Mom-my, where are you?” repeated over and over as she searches high and low for me. A handful of times, I’ve almost tripped over her because I’m doing something and I turn around and don’t see her there under my feet as I take a step. It can be hard when I’m trying to get things done because she wants to be right there, helping me. But if I start to get impatient with her need to be attached to my hip, I take a deep breath and remind myself that she won’t be starved for this connection with me forever. I better soak it all in while I can!  And truthfully, I really do love it.
Back in July, Aves shocked us by singing her ABC’s. Nowadays, she is singing much more as well as counting to 12. Not only can she count the numbers, but when I ask her how many there is of something, she can easily count and reply. I am surprised everyday at her level of understanding, especially when her pronounciation is often incomprehensible (i.e. like a 2.5-year-old!). I guess understanding is part and parcel of being such an effective communicator! Just as an example of her level of comprehension, she struck up this conversation with me the other night at dinner:

A: Knock, knock.
Y: Who’s there?
A: Avery
Y: Avery who?
A: Avery me.

Totally NOT funny. But I was surprised that she understood the delivery of a knock, knock joke! And fwiw, she got a good laugh out of me, Bri AND Josh!

Aves is our cautious child. She seems to be afraid of everything and has not problem saying, “Mama, I’m scared.” (part of that communication thing!). I was surprised over the summer when we went to the miniature railway at Confederation Park. She was adament that she did not want to go on the train again after we went on one ride together and she hugged me the entire time with her kung-fu grip. I can’t understand the scary part of a miniature train! We are planning to go on the Stanley Park Christmas Train before Christmas this year. I wonder how that will go...

While we were at Disney World in October, my cousin, Brian, escorted us through Hollywood Studios (where he works) and organized a meet and greet for us with all the characters. It was quite surreal, actually. If you’ve been to Disney World lately, you will know how difficult it is to get a photo with one character, much less a whole crew! Josh and I were thrilled and quite overwhelmed. Aves, on the other hand, never missed a beat; she kept a close eye on all characters at all times. Check it those suspicious eyes:
Aves’ favourite things to do right now are puzzles, sticker books, drawing and dancing. Such a girl! She also loves to do anything I’m doing. So, when I’m brushing my teeth, she will bring her toothbrush, toothpaste and stool into our bathroom. When I’m washing my face and applying cream, she wants to do the same. Unfortunately, she doesn’t mimic me when I sit on the toilet and go pee (damn it!) but she will stay in the bathroom with me and strike up a conversation! She also loves to help me cook and bake. This is a new level of patience for me. I’m definitely not used to cooking and baking on someone else’s schedule. Especially with her “Aves do.” attitude! So, I try to remind myself of the joy in the “process” of doing chores with Aves. Priceless.
At 5, Josh is such work and such joy. He shocks me everyday with what he thinks and says. He learns so much at school that I just can’t believe that his young mind can absorb so much detail. As most of our friends and family know, Josh was suppose to start kindergarten in September this year. We decided to hold him back because I didn’t think that socially, Josh was ready for it. It was a tough decision we made and I think I will continue to question the decision throughout Josh’s scholastic career. But Josh is thriving in the current Montessori pre-school/kindergarten that he is attending. He seems to tell me new things everyday. Often, out of the blue, he will say things like, “Mommy, 3 plus 2 is 5.” Pretty cool.
Josh is HUGE into Lego these days. For his birthday, he got 3 different Lego sets. After he opened his presents, for the next couple of hours, he opened all the sets and assembled them all by himself, following the paper instructions. He slays any of the Lego sets for ages 5-12. And he loves it. Today, he actually said that he didn’t want to go to the Santa Claus Parade because he wanted to play with his Lego (that he had already been playing with all morning!) He can play Lego for hours on his own, building vehicles and structures, setting up a scene and then playing out the scene. It’s fascinating to watch.
And he doesn’t just make the stuff from the sets. Once he takes the sets apart, he will use his imagination and build other stuff on his own. He will even come up with his own names for the things he builds. Josh’s imagination is truly magic. He loves to draw and he will typically draw everyday vehicles and things, but then he throws in a twist somewhere that makes me think, “what on earth is that child thinking?!”. He is definitely a right brain thinker, which is foreign to me. One evening, we were all drawing around the table and I watched Josh draw on his paper. He never moved the orientation of the paper, but when I looked at what he was drawing, I saw buildings drawn right-side up and then a firetruck, truck and trailer drawn sideways. How does one draw sideways?!

Physically, we never worry about Josh thriving. While we were in Florida, he took swimming to new lengths (and heights!). I think he enjoyed the idea of swimming when there were no lessons and in bath-temperature water, too! But strangely enough, when we came home from vacation, he said he wanted to take swimming lessons again. So now, he is currently working on gliding on his back and rolling to his front and vice versa. I’m relieved that he enjoys swimming so much.
For the next set in January, he tells us he wants to do swimming AND skating. I’m tempted to appease him since he has asked to do it and seems to like both. Though today he just said to me, “Mommy, I don’t think I need skating lessons because I already know how to skate.” How does one respond?!

I think his biggest passion is still riding his bike and/or scooter. On a clear day, in the midst of this wintery weather we are having, he will still ask to go ride his bike to the skate park or the bmx park. Even on a rainy day, he will ask if we can go to the skate/bmx park if it stops raining. He wants to take every opportunity to be riding. It’s fun (and slightly heart-stopping) to watch.
Bri and I both notice that when we each have Josh or Aves on our own, they are so wonderful to be with. But when they are together, it’s a completely different story! For whatever reason, we can agree that it is more than twice the work when they are together. I guess not only do we have to deal with each child on their own, but we also have to deal with their interactions with one another. When they are good, it is lovely to watch. I can’t say that they actually play together. It’s more like they interact with each other as they are each playing with their things: Josh will help Aves if she’s having trouble with a toy; they share with each other; Aves constantly talks to Josh for reassurance that he is still there.

But. When they are bad, Mommy wants to tear her hair out. Josh can torment Aves and the sound of Aves’ whining is like nails on a chalkboard. That doesn’t mean that Aves is an angel, though. She seems to know just what to do or say to get Josh into trouble if she really wants. And then, if one of them is doing something bad, the other will laugh and egg the bad one on and it typically snowballs out of control. That is what infuriates me and nudges me over the edge!
We are finding, though, that as they get older, they seem to get along more and more each day. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have nails-on-a-chalkboard fights anymore. It just means that they spend less of their day fighting.

When we came back from Florida, we decided to move Aves into Josh’s room, so they now share a bedroom. We’ve seen good and bad sides to this. Some nights, we seem to get less sleep because they wake each other up and then both end up in our bed. But some nights we check on the kids before we go to bed and Josh has moved into Aves bed (because she has the double futon) and Bri and I wake up in the morning after a full night of sleep and no kids in our bed! Either way, I’m hoping that by sharing a room, Josh and Aves are continuing to build a bond with each other. Fingers crossed.
Lastly, the highlight of my interactions with Josh and Aves these days is the music. My kids love music and we have a blast with it.

I can’t believe how many different songs for which Aves knows the words. She will often start singing on her own as she is playing. I try to chime in sometimes and she says, “Mommy, stop it.”. Ha. Crazy kid.

Since Josh started going to school, he often comes home singing songs I don’t even recognize. When I recognize the song and he has trouble with it, I will try to help him with the words. Sometimes he accepts my help and other times he will tell me, “Mommy, those aren’t the lyrics.”. Why is a five-year-old using the word “lyrics”?!

Right now, I can tell that they are practicing for a Christmas concert because Josh comes home singing Christmas carols. His favourite is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and he especially likes the parts where they chime in with “ a light buib...” or “ baseball...”.

We always listen to music and sing along in the car. I made a CD of regular pop music with Black-Eyed Peas, Rihanna, J-Lo, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, etc., and we’ve listened to it so many times that Josh can actually sing through the transitions from one song to the next. Many evenings after dinner we’ll also put on the music and dance around the house. Pure joy, I tell you.

Aves’ current repertoire of favourite songs:
- Baby Beluga
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Rock-a-bye Baby
- Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- The Barney Song (I love you, you love me...)
- You are my Sunshine
- Old McDonald Had a Farm
- B-I-N-G-O
- I Got a Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)
- Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars)
- Marry You (Bruno Mars)

Josh tells me his favourite songs are:
- I Got a Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)
- Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars)
- Marry You (Bruno Mars)

But on any given day, I catch him also singing these songs that I know:
- B-I-N-G-O
- Oh Canada
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Rainbow Connection
- You are my Sunshine

So, I guess I should apologize for what is likely my longest post yet. I guess I had alot to say! Most friends and family who have seen me in the past few weeks know that I have been going through a very rough time. Indeed, it has affected our family immensely. And then, I started to notice this past week that Josh and Aves have me feeling again. I am feeling a new-found sense of joy and enthrallment when I’m with them. Whatever it is, I can’t stop smiling when I experience the amazing things that they do or say. My kids are helping me to heal. As such, they have brought out this blog post in me. I’m learning to love my life again. This is largely due to Josh and Aves, and, of course, Bri. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for showing me unwavering and unconditional love. Ma t’aime.


Sue Stappler said...

Adorable, love the photos!

Cathy Dow said...

Wow, that was so nice to read. Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a little ray of sunshine amongst the tears is all we need to have a little HOPE. xoxoxo

Karmjit said...

Lovely photos :)

Auntie Eve said...

TY for the photos. Josh, great job on the legos, when r u coming back?