This is a bit of a gushing post, so indulge me.
I’ve had a hugely busy year at uni, tackling the third year of my degree. As a result, I haven’t actually had much of an opportunity to spend time with Hattie and Joe during the week, aside from managing to squeeze in the occasional play date. Sometimes it’s felt like we have largely parallel lives, and while I’m still the one who coordinates and organises everything related to them, it’s not been in any way unusual for me to be the adult in our house with the smallest amount of direct contact with them on a weekday. Tristan and Laura (our amazing current au pair) handle a lot of the day to day child-related tasks, which is awesome.
However, over the past few days Laura has been away on holiday, so I’ve had a lot of time alone with the kids. And it’s been so lovely. Aside from the very occasional minor disagreement about whose turn it is to choose what TV they want to watch, everything has been peaceful, and they’ve be unfailingly helpful and easy-going. I can’t say enough the degree to which our reward chart system has revolutionised life in our house. And they’re both obsessed with drawing, which makes them really low maintenance company!
We went to gymnastics yesterday. Both Hattie and Joe wore awesome outfits, obviously:
Hattie told me that she really wanted to get the certificate for the best gymnast on the day (which is pretty much a reward for obvious effort). Joe won it a few weeks back, but she hasn’t had it yet. I watched her throughout her lesson, really trying hard: doing everything as well as she could, regardless of whether the coaches were watching, and not getting distracted by her brother and his tomfoolery (gymnastics isn’t his thing, bless him – he’s totally the wrong body shape for it, whereas Hattie has the advantage of being both light and strong). The beaming smile on her face when her effort was recognised and she received her certificate lit up the entire gym. I was so delighted for her! And then she got her end-of-session stamp on her bicep, like it’s a tattoo…
This morning we had a doctor’s appointment, and then we needed to go to The Warehouse and a couple of other shops to grab a few odds and end. Now, I’m not sure if this is a normal preschooler thing, but for the longest time Hattie and Joe have been perfectly happy to say ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’, even to strangers, but will not say ‘hello’ – not to people in shops, not to kindy teachers, not to my friends… it’s been very frustrating, but I figured that they’d eventually get over whatever initial shyness was causing the issue.
Happily, today seems to be that day: without any prompting they said hello and conversed with the medical centre receptionist, our doctor, the checkout operator in The Warehouse, and the nice people in the local pharmacy. And when we came out of The Warehouse and I was laden with stuff, and wanted to put it in the car before we went to the next shop, I spotted a lovely-looking old lady – like, in her 80s – sitting on a bench in the foyer of the shop. I asked her if she’d mind having Hattie and Joe sit with her for a minute while I walked the 50m to the car, rather than having to juggle them and my bags through the car park traffic. She was perfectly happy to do so (and seemed delighted to be asked, which was so sweet), and the kids didn’t hesitate: they plonked themselves down next to her without hesitation. When I returned a minute later, they were merrily telling her all about how they’re going to be starting school soon.
And finally, both kids did an amazing job at their swimming lesson today. I haven’t been for a couple of weeks, but honestly felt like I’d been away for months – they’ve suddenly figured out the coordination required to move their arms and legs independently, and they’re so confident and capable now that their brilliant swimming teacher has recommended moving them up to the school transition class as soon as spaces become available. Pretty fantastic, given that they’ve only had lessons for a year (and further weight to my theory that baby swimming lessons are not strictly necessary…)
I’m just so proud of them, both for trying hard at the things they attempt, and for being such kind, pleasant, good-natured little individuals. The degree to which they’ve both grown up (physically and emotionally) in the past six months has been incredible to witness. I can’t wait to see what my gorgeous kids do next!
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