Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer of Silence

Today is the last day of Summer.

I haven't said a thing all Summer long, and it's not because there's been nothing to talk about. To be honest, it's because I'm too much of a perfectionist to just post something simple and I haven't had the time (and sometimes the energy) to post anything complex. I've composed elaborate posts in my head time and time again, but I'd fail to actually write them for one reason or another. Usually because I'd lost too much time for the post to fit the perfect title it was intended to go with, often because I was missing an important component - like getting a picture downloaded off the camera, resized or even taken, and sometimes I'd fail to post just because I talked myself into believing that what I was considering, was insignificant and uninteresting to anyone else, and that it'd just end up being a waste of time - I have this thing about practicality.

So, I'm posting today because of a whole list of reasons, some of which are:

  • It's really the last day of summer and my catchy post title won't be accurate for any other day.

  • Today is Emma's 7th Birthday!

  • Today is the first day of the school year for my kids - well, for any other public school kids in our province too, for that matter.

  • This is Butler's First Day of School and I'm pretty sure I said something for each of the other kids on or about their First Day.

  • If I don't post something about Baby #7, it'll be here before anyone even knows it's on the way (picture scanning hang-up excuse for that)

  • How can I babble on excitedly about one of the best summers ever, if I wait until the season's over?

  • It doesn't make a lot of sense to chatter up a storm about how we got to do our own week or two of Home-schooling, when we've had to move on and everything I have to say is out of date (I'm almost pushing the limit on this one, but I REALLY REALLY want to talk about that.

  • If I don't post something, I may never get back into hang of blogging and then Sir's predictions that I'll give it up altogether might come true. There's too much to record and write about to let him be correct in this case!

    And now I don't know where to start! There's no way I can properly address everything in that list in one day, but maybe I'll get to most of them, and maybe I'll even scrounge up enough time to find a picture or two to go with some of the things on the list. It's hard for me to call a post 'finished' without a picture that makes it feel proper and complete. Maybe I should schedule when this gets published now, and what's done by the appointed time is what gets into the post! Ah! the pressure I can put on myself sometimes... just the thought of doing that sounds stressful. Maybe I should just get started and see how this ends up.
    Somehow Emma is fixed in my mind as being my 'middle' child. She's not though - hasn't been for a while now. I think I often categorize her like that, mostly because she seems to be able to really fly under the radar around here when she wants to. Note, I said 'when she wants to'. Emma can really stand out when she wants to as well. At the end of the day though, I often feel like I've overlooked her a bit or let her get away with more than she ought to have. Or just that I could have done a better job by her, as a mother, that day somehow. But this day is the day that Emma turns 7, and I will do my best to summarize this girl of mine at 7 years old!

    I distinctly remember a number of times when I was growing up that my mom would say to me, "I hope you have a kid just like you, someday!" She usually said this when we locked horns on something, or I was causing her grief or frustration in some way or other. I'm pretty sure Emma would be the child of mine that fits the description best. So aside from being excellent at finding my most explosive buttons, there's a LOT to say that encapsulates this particular 7 year old. Emma is petite - she's little. Butler, who is a full 2 years younger could easily pass as her twin, and this always surprises me because she started out as my biggest baby - outweighing the others (with the exception of Butler, who she passed by only 2oz) by 13oz up to 2 lbs, 4oz. But what Emma lacks in size now, she definitely makes up for in personality! She's quick thinking, persuasive, influential, determined, and immovable.

    For years, I've tried to figure out what makes Emma tick - how I could channel her energy - mould her most successfully. And for years, almost everything I've tried, hasn't worked. Emma has the will-power and determination to move worlds if she chooses to. She also has the will-power and determination to keep worlds from moving when she wants to! But what I've recently figured out about Emma, is that she loves the helpless. Maybe it's because they're the easiest to control or manipulate, but she thrives on catering to those who are less able than herself - as long as she can determine how, when and why they need her. Or maybe she just naturally comes by an instinct to care for those unable to care for themselves. She does have a lot of family predecessors that took up a nursing profession. Emma has a high pain tolerance, but she makes a dramatic mountain out of the minutest things when she thinks she can benefit from the performance. She's very smart, and catches on to concepts quickly, but there have been quite a number of instances when she's claimed to 'not get it!' if there' a chance she can be walked through by the hand. She reads well, prints beautifully, loves to color or draw and has an excellent ear for music.

    Emma's thorn in the flesh is probably her hair. It's wispy, incredibly fine and refuses to grow. But no one else ever sees that because when she smiles, her face lights up and her sapphire-blue eyes positively sparkle! It's nearly impossible to keep from smiling when she flashes a dazzling, happy smile at you. Emma also has a gift of being able to connect with people. She really fascinates me in this because it seems that she is able to really reach other people in the tiniest allotments of time. People she's only met for a day, remember her distinctly months later, store clerks recognize us on reoccurring visits and shock me by remembering Emma's name from a past visit. Somehow Emma is able to really get to know someone or learn something about the people she meets beyond just matching a face and a name and I still find myself amazed by this every single time. And besides everything else, Emma is incredibly athletic and effortlessly photogenic. She'll probably never really appreciate those qualities, so I'll settle for appreciating them for her! And I get to have a front-row seat as I watch my delightful little Blue Bird soar into her next year as a very big part of our family! Talk about privileged!

    First day of School.
    Summer break started for us when the teachers all went on strike two weeks before the end of the past school year. They were still on strike when schools were supposed to open this year on September 2nd. Finally everything got resolved enough to actually get started educating and today was the 1st day of the new school year for us. I'm sure the consequences will be felt by shorter holidays and longer school days as they do their best to make up the 3 weeks they wasted protesting contracts, but we enjoyed the long summer while it lasted.

    Tomorrow is actually the first real full day of school, but we had to show up, meet teachers and get sorted into classrooms for an hour this morning. Butler has a gradual entry program, but that will only be for this week and he'll be on a full day schedule starting next Monday. Butler was the first to hear the alarm clock today, but we had to have a talk later about what the alarm clock is for. Turning it off, and hopping back into bed isn't exactly the best choice. Once the boys were finally out of bed, there were issues about what pants or shorts could be worn fashionably. The shorts Butler had set out the night before were passable in his opinion, but only as a last resort. He'd been hoping that I had washed the pants he had really wanted to wear while he slept - and that didn't happen. When there was just enough time left to eat and get into the van, he finally donned on his second-best and joined the morning rush. Butler's class has a gender ratio of 3:1 with the boys in the majority and a couple of those boys are very much like Butler. His teacher is going to have her hands full this year! For now he's just a little boy who's very excited to be joining the ranks of the 'big kids who go off to school'. And I'm going to do my best to enjoy his excitement and wonder of a new adventure.

    Butler's First Day of School.

    Baby #7.
    A classic example of old news. Back in July I was going to break my blogging slump with a post about this littlest person of ours, but getting to and remembering how our scanner works deterred me. Then it seemed more and more out of date. I was going to do a 'Three Months' post with the ultrasound pic when we hit the last trimester, but then I missed that date too. Now if I don't post something, I'll blink and have 7 kids on my hands and no time to even announce the last one's arrival. And yes, 10 weeks can go by in just about a blink of an eye around here! Baby #7 is due to arrive the last day of November or thereabouts and will be our gender tie-breaker. I don't know what the other kids will do if it's a boy... the pattern predicts we must have a girl. We told the kids they were getting a new sibling back at the end of July, but it wasn't until last week that Ricka finally understood the reality of it. I had been talking to her about how we'd switch up the sleeping arrangements after the new baby comes. She'll move downstairs to the big girls' room, and Hal would inherit her toddler bed so the new baby could have Hal's crib. She was nodding along as if agreeing in a 'yeah, yeah, that's nice' way when suddenly she froze and just looked at me, "You have a baby in your tummy?" she asked like she'd misheard something. "Yes." I continued, "and when it's Hal's birthday, you'll get to sleep in Dolly and Emma's room." "Really?!" she sparkled, now staring at my stomach. "Yep." I said, slowly catching on to her question "It's right here, in my tummy." and I patted my stomach and resumed helping her get ready for bed. A few minutes later as I was zig-zagging between bedrooms and the bathroom where I was brushing teeth and keeping kids moving towards bed, Ricka nearly collided with me in a doorway and without even thinking of what she was actually doing, she whacked my stomach as if she was trying to check if there really was a baby there without me noticing what she was doing. When I jumped in surprise and asked her WHAT she thought she was doing, she was as shocked by her test as she was by my reaction! It was so very very funny, especially as she kept glancing over her shoulder at my stomach as she went on to her own room. Later, just before I tucked her in, she said to me while pointing to eye, "Do you know why my eyes are smiling?" "No, why are your eyes smiling?" I asked. "Because I'm happy that you have a baby in your tummy!" And she hopped into bed with a smile, finally really understanding what all this 'new baby' talk this year was all about.

    Baby #7

    And that's about where I'm going to have to stop tonight. There's so much to say/record about the next thing or two on my list, they are almost entire posts in themselves. If I try to fit them into this post, it will definitely not get published today and my title won't fit so well anymore. After all, tomorrow is the first day of Fall!