Monday, October 26, 2015

E is five and a half and C is one and a half

And just like that my babies are five and a half and one and a half. There is the greatest difference in C over the last few months - E is a slightly taller, slightly grumpier version of the self she has been all year. But C - running! Talking! Insisting on being involved in everything! The talking is a source of great pleasure and amusement to us all. For quite a while she has been able to point to almost any item in a book that we might ask her to identify. But now she is able to independently name most of them too. I don't think she is quite as verbose as E was at the same age, but she is using two words together more often ("more 'ee?" [more cheese?] or "Mama's 'oo" [Mama's shoe]) and managed, quite coincidentally, to repeat one of E's early two word combinations - "big duck!" - upon seeing the cassowary at the zoo. (See here for E's version at almost exactly the same age).

She will still eat most things offered to her, and in fact sometimes puts E to shame in her willingness to try new options. She is very happy with "'oup" (soup) which E still refuses to touch, and loves "bean-bean" of all varieties, whether green, baked, black or lentils. Her one surprising dislike is icy-poles or ice-cream, I think because they are too cold. She far prefers a baked treat, having told me very coyly last week that her favourite on the Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-deserves-that-tummy-ache page is "cakey."

We are down to just a pre-bed milk feed each day and recently reached the milestone of C being willing to go to bed without it if I am not around. There has even been once or twice when I have been here but have wanted to skip milk for various reasons and she has gone to bed without fuss. I don't want to cut it out all together as it still seems to be important to her - when I walk in the door from work on Wednesdays and Fridays she runs straight to me and then straight to the couch saying "mulk? mulk?"

Not surprisingly, anything that E does, C wants to do to. In her mind I am sure she is one going on five. E drags her up into her bunk bed and they sit there giggling and conspiring and fighting over the "Goooo" doll (a horrible Elsa that endlessly wails a verse of Let It Go). She would like to be able to ride a scooter, stopped only by her lack of size and coordination. E insists on giving C "drawing lessons" and C scribbles earnestly with a pencil for surprisingly long times whilst E creates various sticky-tape and texta laden works of "art." She flails around on the trampoline with E, and E is able to read her various simple books. They are good little mates these days, enjoying a period where C is able to play at a level interesting enough for E even if their games do usually involve E bossing C mercilessly.

What to say about E? She is challenging most of the time but good company when she wants to be. She is able to read a whole early-reader chapter book to herself - I had a heart catching moment the other day when I looked up from the computer to see she and D snuggled on the couch after D had finished reading aloud, each of them engrossed silently in their own book. Whilst she is able to read to herself she would still rather be read to most of the time, but it is nice to know she can do it. She adores her "art" and is convinced she is going to be famous for it one day. We had a funny conversation recently about why her pictures could not be sold or displayed in an art gallery, which ended in the compromise of her creating a "gallery" on her bedroom wall with blu-tack. A pin-up board might be on the Christmas list! 

Our mornings and bedtimes are still a battle a lot of the time, although we have stumbled upon various tricks that seem to improve the mornings such as a list of all her morning jobs on the fridge, and giving up on the expectation that she will put on her own shoes and school dress (she is able but not willing and I have concluded it just isn't worth the fight). The evenings, whilst far from perfect, are much improved from a while ago in that she is finally capable/willing of putting herself to sleep without one of us staying in her room, even if it does generally involve numerous trips out to complain about it being, variously, too light, too dark, too hot, too cold, too boring, too lonely etc. Nothing like an articulate five year old to try and turn on the guilt: "Mummy, I am going to sleep at the other end of my bed because it is closer to the door and I want to be closer to you when I sleep" (!) She also has other moments of complete brat-dom but I try to be hopeful that the tradeoff for a wilful child who accepts nothing at face value and will argue every point to exhaustion is a an independent and thoughtful adult (please? maybe?!)

She mostly enjoys school, although there is one little girl there who she really doesn't get along with and who there are lots of complaints about. She is quite change resistant; for the first week after the recent holidays, every morning was a litany of woes about going back to school, and then the walk to school the other day involved her unloading a wealth of fears and concerns about starting Year 1 next year (which involves moving from the separate ELC part of the school into the "big school").

On the whole things are much easier than a year ago when we had a 4.5 year old and a 6 month old. It is lovely to have a bit of space and capacity to focus on enjoying our girls rather than getting through the day to day slog of merely satisfying everyone's needs.

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