This time that Jasper has been away from James has been sad and not so sad. A few times a week he says, out of nowhere, “I’m sad because I miss James all the day.” But mostly he’s had this very unique opportunity to be the first born, the star of the show, and I’ve learned a few things about my second born.
First of all, he is an excellent colourer. I know you’re not supposed to celebrate colouring inside the lines and Jasper is probably headed for a life of conformity but believe me, my kid is going to be an outstanding conformist. He will literally sit for more than an hour, a tongue of concentration lolling out of his mouth, carefully etching away the colourlessness of whatever picture he has chosen. Actually, I’m not too worried because when unleashed upon a blank canvas, he draws like Tim Burton (see photo post below)
I have also learned that Jasper’s imagination is where he likes to explore the more difficult, even paradoxical concepts in life. Sometimes I eavesdrop on his narratives and conversations between his dinosaurs and hot wheels cars. Here are a couple of snippets that I thought were particularly profound.
"You are beautiful. Let me fight you."
"It’s a scene that will let you be close to your life."
We threw a surprise birthday party for my mum last week that was neither a surprise (she suggested it for the purposes of entertaining a certain three year old) nor on her birthday (it’s in a couple of weeks). Thus, it was not a big deal when Jasper started openly discussing the surprise in front of my mum. I told him to shush so he wouldn’t wreck the surprise, while my mum pretended to be oblivious. He looked at my mum, told her to shush, and then whispered to her, “I just said “surprise birthday” in my head.” And was obviously pleased with his display of stealth.
Did I mention he’s really good at colouring?
Sage turned 11 months the other day which made me stop and blink a couple of times. The one year mark is obviously more significant but 11 months is where the countdown from babyhood to tothood begins. And because February only has 28 days, the end is nigh, people.
Sage’s babyhood has been like a series of desserts for me. Sometimes I don’t feel like dessert, and sometimes dessert can make my eyeballs feel like I rolled them in sand (which is when dessert suddenly loses one of its s’s) but overall, I feel pretty good about dessert. Dessert is a good thing. Dessert often ends a little too soon for me. But if I ate nothing but dessert, I would die or at least go into a coma (hey, hi there Diabetes) So I guess I can say goodbye to dessert/desert without getting too weepy.
I am now ready for my post dessert coffee. (Which sounds nice from here, bit since I’ve already gone through two dessert marathons, I know that the post dessert coffee is probably going to be shot after shot of espresso until my head pops off)
Today James completed the first five days of the bazillion he will spend in school over the course of his life. His first “project” was due today - a heart with one hundred things glued to it because the rest of his classmates are celebrating the completion of 100 days of school. The project was optional for him since he was absent for the first 95 days but James is taking his academic career quite seriously now that it’s begun. He and JD were up last night hot gluing 100 pine needles vertically to a bristol board heart. I haven’t seen it yet but it sounds like a dangerous addition to the bulletin board and maybe a little ominous for James’ five female table mates.
When we were travelling James became accustomed to a life where the only things he knew for sure were that a) we would be going somewhere new and b) we would probably lose or break something while there. So I was a bit concerned given that kindergarten is the dwelling place of Structure and Predictability. Thankfully James is living in a temporary accommodation and his mother and siblings are thousands of kilometres away so he still has some elements of instability to cling to for security.
But seriously, he’s doing way better than me and if he was at all emotionally perceptive, he’d say something like, “MOM. Mom. I’m fine. Seriously.” Good thing his father has that base covered. And every other base too, which is probably why James can high five Structure and Predictability every morning.
JD and I are living very different lives right now. He is trying to a) fulfill the practical and emotional needs of our five year old who is about to be hit by the sledge hammer that is full day kindergarten b) cook dinner in say, two hours instead of six, c) remember how to be a professional working person again, and d) exhume our minivan from its snow tomb.
As for me, my biggest worry these days is people judging me because my three year old won’t wear a sweater to the park. I keep offering it to him, not because I think he’ll take it but because I want to make it very clear to anyone watching that he’s the lunatic, not me. However, I am grateful this problem is occurring in Victoria and not the subarctic. See diagram A.
The Flight has lost a little altitude these days. You might even say we’ve landed, but the seat belt sign is still on.
JD and James left yesterday to spend a few days in Vancouver before heading back to Whitehorse so James can go to kindergarten and JD can start teaching again. Real life I think is what you call it. They don’t actually have a house in which to base these activities because we rented it out to some folks in our absence and the lease doesn’t finish until the end of February. So JD and James will live with a set of very gracious friends for the next 6 weeks or so and the rest of us will stay in Victoria with a set of very gracious and noise/mess/nonsense tolerant parents.
You might think we’re all a little relieved to be rid of one another after spending a thousand hours a day in each other’s company and at one point, when we were devising this plan, we thought we might be relieved too. But those thousand hours a day were spent sewing the fabric of our family together and now we have this incredible quilt/tapestry/ table cloth/rug/technicolor dream coat that has to be a pair of curtains for awhile: one panel here, one panel there. It’s kind of sad and seems way harder than hauling three small children around a foreign country.
The Flight is not over yet. We have to remain seated until the aircraft comes to a complete stop which will take approximately 6 weeks and our luggage (minds) will probably have shifted and may even have disintegrated. But then we’ll disembark, go home, and use our familial quilt/tapestry/ table cloth/rug/technicolor dream coat to build a fort in the living room.