His Heaven, Her Hell

The past few days have been fairly low-key, yet productive. The kids did some Maths and Language work (really need a good name for that—I dislike ‘workbooks’ and ‘schoolwork’—maybe I’ll use ‘Educational Exercises’ or just ‘EE’) and some handwriting practice in the mornings. On Tuesday we went food shopping and to the library and the garden centre: we bought strawberries and raspberries. Wednesday was a play day at home with a lot of gardening thrown in. We planted about 40 daffodils in front of their playhouse. The kids have been setting up a ‘sheet tent’ on the new patio and have been having their lunches outside.

Today at lunch Kieran told me that he didn’t feel like sharing any toys for awhile. He wanted to just play with his own toys with no one else. I think he really just meant he wanted to play on his own for a bit. I suggested that as all the toys in his room were ‘his’* toys he could just go up there and stay in his room for the afternoon playing. It was almost a dare to see what he would say—as I said he should do it till Michael got home. He was thrilled with the idea. He said that as soon as he was done with his lunch he would ‘go brush his teeth and wash his hands and face and then go to his room for the afternoon’. Hazel looked confused and scared when he said it!

Kieran has always enjoyed playing on his own; he has always been content on his own. Unlike Hazel! Hazel isn’t a natural player by any stretch of the imagination, nor does she like being on her own for very long. When she was very little she’d play with toys with me, but didn’t really learn to ‘play’ till she was almost 3, Kieran taught her. They are also so different with being out of my eye sight. From day one Hazel would scream when she woke up if I wasn’t holding her. She still occasionally wakes that way! Kieran would wake from his naps and just lay in the little cot in the living room and just look around and occasionally coo until I got him. It was a shock to have a little one who could wait a few minutes for me to get him. Now mind you, he has been just as ‘clingy’, if not more so than Hazel. It’s just that he can be content on his own.

So he actually did spend the afternoon in his room. I had gone up to deal with the mountain of ironing, expecting Hazel to be up any minute. She surprised me and stayed downstairs. After about an hour I decided to go see how she was coping. She was reading a book in the living room, but looked so forlorn without anyone with her. So we played a game of Frustration/Trouble, which she won. I hate losing! Then we did some housework together, looked at some seeds and then worked on her family tree book she got from the Easter Bunny. She had a great giggle over my sister’s boy’s names. The custom in my BIL’s family is to give all the children the fathers’ first name as there second name. My sister agreed to that for the boys, but not the girls. So all the boys have ‘John’ as a middle name, even the youngest, Jonathan!!

Just when she was running out of steam for writing, Kieran appeared for a snack. They had some yogurt and I went back to ironing. Kieran went right back to his room when he was done eating. I was wondering what Hazel would do, thinking maybe she’d surprise me and stay downstairs again. I guess two times in one day on her own was just too much to deal with! She was up in a flash looking forlorn again. After a little chat she went and played in her room while I did a bit more ironing. I really shouldn’t let a week go by without ironing.

Kieran was thrilled with his little experiment, whereas I think Hazel will do anything to convince him that it’s really a terrible idea! I love how different they are!

After dinner tonight we all did some gardening. Michael, with some help from me, added in lots of compost to the new vegetable/flower beds. I planted some potatoes, we are trying some Ratte ones this year. They’re an early maincrop with a nutty flavour. Hazel and Kieran brought things to the front bin for us and Hazel helped pile up tons of rocks for me. Some were to line the bottom of the pots for the apple trees and the rest went behind a new wall next to the hedge. We’re a bit late with planting the seeds, which we’ll try and get done before the weekend is over. Because if I don’t let Hazel get her purple carrots going soon, she’s going to start being a bit demanding about it!

*Toys: I have always felt that ‘personal’ toys and belongings do not have to be shared. If it is a toy they are specifically given, it is up to them to decide to share or not. We encourage sharing; especially if there is more than one, but I would never make them share. I used to hate that! All game boards, Legos, train sets, arts and craft things are to be shared, therefore they are kept downstairs, and not in either bedroom. It is a system that has worked very well for us, so far.

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