I did a little checking and it turns out that it has been over a MONTH since I last did an update. Oops! Seeing as the primary purpose of this blog is to update family and friends on the goings on of the Guest Household, I better get to it!
is about to finish her tenth reader which means she is ALMOST ready to have our GIRLS NIGHT! When she reaches the goal of completing reader ten we (she and I) will sit up watching "Little Women", I will do her hair in rags, we will pop popcorn and have other special foods and we will snuggle together in the lounge room on the fold out couch. This looks like it is going to be so successful that we may well make it a regular reward. Billy is already looking forward to his first boys night! I love that it nurtures our relationship rather than adds to the "stuff" in our house
Another system we have put in place for Erin is our "button system" for the dishes. Erin can be a bit VAGUE at times - think absent minded professor from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She loves doing the dishes for me, but I was starting to find bits of food still stuck all over them after she had played "making jam" with them for an hour. This left us with a few choices
(a) she stops doing the dishes for me
(b) I stand over her to make sure they are done properly
(c) I mete out punishment when the work is not done properly or
(d) I give added incentive for her to maintain high standards in her work
I picked the one that requires the LEAST work from me and is MOST likely to teach her a life skill and nurture a helpful attitude - D! So on our kitchen windowsill we have two jars, each time the dishes are done to my standards (which are very high) she gets to put a button across. When all the buttons are across she gets to buy a chocolate frog! There are 14 buttons, so she has to do the dishes perfectly 14 times before I spend 45 cents on a chocolate frog - works for me! Erin is thriving and we are teaching life lessons - if you do the work to a high standard, you get paid, if you do a shoddy job, you have to do it again and you don't get paid! Plus, developing an eye for detail can only serve her well in future.
is wildly excited about the possibility of going to the Zoo when we go away on holiday. I asked him which animals he PARTICULARLY wanted to visit and the list he gave me probably would have filled Noah's ark. It also contained some animals we probably won't see - unless they have rabbits and bees at the Zoo now! He is loving the warmer, SOMEWHAT drier, weather of spring and being able to get outside to run and collect firewood for me makes for a much happier boy. It is rare for us to go a week without him asking if he can go visit Nanny and Poppy after his weekend away last month, but as they are on holiday in Queensland it probably won't happen for a while. He has started learning his alphabet as he has a strong desire to read to me. We are taking things very slow though as I know where he wants to be academically is probably a little beyond where he is capable of being JUST yet! He's a bright button, but he wants to be able to read 101 Dalmations to me and I think we need to take things one step at a time!
is also enjoying the added freedom of being able to get out and run. We were housebound yesterday due to the rain and we both nearly went crazy! He is even more affectionate, frequently throwing his arms around me, yelling "Tiss!" and planting a big, sloppy one on my mouth! I have started making a point of reading to just him and Anna before nap time and this has done wonders for our relationship. Having that focused time with just the little ones makes him seem much more willing and compliant later in the day. He adores Anna and often climbs into her playpen to play with her. I think she is the only one who doesn't boss him around! The older two can get quite pushy with him and when he dishes out what he has been served (which he can, in spades!) they are the first to come crying to me. We are addressing this, but it takes time. The older two are also starting to play more intricate games, which an almost two year old cannot understand. Even if they DON'T set out to intentionally exclude him (which, let's be honest, sometimes they DO!) the games go completely over his head - so Anna is very important to him. I am pleased and relieved when the boys play happily together or when Erin plays with Christopher and I have to remind myself sometimes that this is just where they are all at and their relationships will change a million more times.
is not afraid to use her two teeth - on me! She is also very into solid food all of a sudden, but is getting a little bound up so we incorporate a fair bit of prune juice into her diet. She is crawling on her tummy, which I am so not ready for, and having big long conversations with anyone who will listen. My Ergo is an absolute joy and she can usually be found either in there or in her playpen. Still the happiest baby in the world, she is also showing signs of having as strong a will as Christopher. Already she will hurl herself at the limits with abandon! She also seems to have the "grab life with both hands" attitude that Billy has which is startling after having the laid back Christopher as our last baby. Hmmm, Billy's full on, fast paced development with Christopher's strength of will. OK, this could be interesting!
is a mess. I am in total revolt against STUFF. I am a mother, my mission in life is to raise CHILDREN not STUFF. So I am going on a spring clean/cull and I am getting rid of STUFF. It probably wouldn't matter that Erin has four jackets if we had the storage, but we don't, so now she has two (one for good and one for the yard). It probably wouldn't matter that Anna has 15 pairs of PJ's if I didn't let the washing go until every single one of them was needing to be washed - but I do, so now she has 5. It probably wouldn't matter that we have two little wooden puzzles that are exactly the same and totally unusable because they snap as soon as the slightest pressure is applied in the wrong direction....no, wait, there is no justification whatsoever for keeping THOSE! So I am getting rid of STUFF. I am ignoring the wails of a certain little girl who says "But Nana Julie/Breah/Nanny/someone whose name I don't remember GAVE me THAT!" (I am sure they will get over it) and "But I MADE that!" (no you didn't, you made something else and this is the 1 cm square SCRAP OF PAPER left over!). The only STUFF that is off limits is Beloved's STUFF, and that is only for the sake of the marriage!
is waiting for me to finish getting rid of the STUFF so I can get out there into it! I love daffodils and lawn daisies, they give so much and expect so little.