Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Speaking Another's Language

Davis and I have a unique connection. In many ways we are completely different, and yet there is something about him that I get. I have thought about it a great deal during his three and a half years with us but struggle to put it into words. In many ways I believe it began way back at the end of my pregnancy as my body labored to make it to the proverbial finish line. Battling unbearable swelling, back, and hip pain, I thought he'd never make an entrance. How wrong I was. Not only did he make an entrance, but in our living room no less. And that chaotic, terrifying experience forged a bond of indescribable strength and substance. After a chilly ambulance ride that early February morning, rather than put Davis under a warming lamp, the midwife had me do skin-to-skin warming, and his temperature rose in no time. I have a very distinct memory of another ambulance ride with Davis a year later, this time to the A&E (ER), due to a sudden bout of bronchiolitis. I can remember like it was yesterday holding his fevered body in nothing but a nappy as he whimpered all night, struggling to get enough air into his lungs. But when he lay on my chest, he relaxed and his breathing regularized.

Davis is a mass of contradictions, both secure and independent but guarded and circumspect with strangers. He is very funny with the impeccable sense of comedic timing that you are born with and cannot learn. He is the most persistent and stubborn of my children, fearless and daring but still vulnerable. Though well-spoken, Davis's primary love language is one of touch, which I can't help but think stems back to some of the earlier anecdotes I just mentioned. When wounded in spirit, he must be held and soothed with powerful arms and calming kisses.

I give you this background to tell you about a field trip I went on with Davis last Thursday. It was his first such preschool field trip and the destination was Duffield's Farm for a hayride and pumpkin picking. This was our second visit there this autumn (remember my crazy nuts?) although our first that involved a hayride. I took Genevie as well, a special bonding time for the three of us. By all accounts, Davis was excited about the outing, even eagerly pointing out a fellow preschool classmate standing with the group as we pulled into the parking lot.

And then we got out of the car.

There were probably 15 school buses and a parking lot nearly half full of minivans and SUVs which had brought car-fulls of happy hayriders. I scratched my head. On a Thursday morning? Not what I was expecting.

Davis grew quiet, excitement vanishing, and the closer we got to the crowd, the more he withdrew. I have seen him do this before on other occasions, Christmas morning, singing Happy Birthday to him. He is supremely uncomfortable with unusual amounts of activity and sensory stimulation. He shuts downs and pulls inward. I couldn't coax a smile out of him the entire morning. He wouldn't even look his teacher, whom he loves dearly, in the eye but clung to my leg and hid his face.

I did get this classic Davis expression. Not a smile, but a genuine look.

Genevie, on the other hand, reveled in the activity and gaiety. She made friends with a little boy in our wagon and cheerfully chose armfuls of pumpkins (which we were not taking back with us). She reminded me of how Addison would have been had he been with us, and then it occurred to me that part of Davis's response was probably because Addison wasn't there. Addison and Davis have been the very closest of friends, confidants, and allies since Davis was about 6 months old. They have always been completely inseparable. Davis particularly idolizes his older brother, not unusual for a younger sibling. He wants to be just like him right down to the shoes he wears.

Without his gregarious, self-assured older brother by his side, Davis was more than a little lost. He actually does quite well for himself in smaller settings, such as nursery or preschool, but in this context I knew that what Davis needed was his older brother to help him navigate the unknown world of an overwhelming new social context.

By the time the ride was over and the pumpkin was picked, Davis slowly began to emerge from his shell. We picked out cider donuts for Daddy at the farm shop, admired the barn animals on our own, and then went to Chick-fil-a for lunch where Davis was rewarded with a red balloon, which made his day. Smiles emerged.

As a mother who myself is gregarious and thrives in social situations, this is new territory. I ache for him because I see the angst and want to make it go away, and yet I know that is probably not the best way to help him. I want to understand him and stretch him while still meeting his needs and providing that safe haven he requires, and so I grow too. I am learning right along with him except my lesson is facility with his language.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Company

business document sharing

I don't post a lot about the company I work for, but an article came out today about us in a local Philadelphia online magazine called Flying Kite, which focuses on the entrepreneurial community and business development in our city. I thought it was a perfect chance to share a little bit about the business document sharing technology firm for which I do marketing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When the Chores Are Done

As I sit in Trey's study, surrounded by kitchen chairs, waiting for the floor to dry, hypnotized by the whirring of the dishwasher's rinse cycle, haiku inspiration struck...

Humming dishwasher,
The tangy scent of Pine Sol,
A day well-ended.

I may work outside the home, but evening is when my real job begins.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Card Sharks

Auntie Sarah taught the boys Slap Jack a couple of weeks ago and yesterday I bought a couple of packs of cards at the dollar store because they enjoyed the game so much.

Not sure they actually follow the rules.

But they derive a great deal of enjoyment from the play.

Upside Down

Sure, but can your kid do this?

Carrots with Peanut Butter

Today after lunch I offered Davis a cookie as a treat.

His reply? "Can I have carrots with peanut butter as a treat?" What??? I have never given him that peculiar combination. When asked where he got that from, he said, "Papa." Explains it.

This one, on the other hand, has a self-admitted "sweet tooth".

Never met a cookie or a sweet treat he didn't like.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Book

The Holloway Kids by Rachel Owens | Make Your Own Book

It's been a rather silent week around here for one very good reason. I was away for two days on business in Atlanta. Between getting up for the airport at 3:45am on Tuesday, going non-stop for two days at a conference, and then getting home at 1:35am Thursday, I am beat. My cold suffered a relapse from the travel, and so this weekend I need to do some serious resting. Being away was grueling, but coming home was lovely. I felt like I got to discover the kids all over again and Davis couldn't get enough cuddling. I did want to share with you another creation I squeezed in over the past few weeks. For awhile I've been wanting to do something with all the beautiful photographs that Rachel Owens took of our family. I finally compiled the very best ones into a Blurb photo book and just placed the order. If you'd like to see for yourself, flip through the virtual pages. Blurb really is one of the coolest companies out there.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My dear Aberdeen friends Sian and Andy, who are now ex-pats in California, had their second child a few weeks ago. Her name is Agatha and she joins big sister Jemima. Sian is a superb knitter, so I knew whatever gift I sent had to be something really special. I finished it last night and just couldn't wait to give a little preview. It turned out better than I thought.

This sweet little elephant is called Elijah per the pattern, but I've named this one Agatha in honor of her new soon-to-be owner. The pattern comes from one of my favorite designers, Ysolda, who incidentally is Scottish and lives in Edinburgh. I've never knitted one of her patterns before, just admired them from afar, but I plan to do another one soon, per Addison's request, as a Christmas gift for him. Ysolda is one of those amazing designers who just began knitting on her own when she was at Uni because she couldn't afford to buy patterns. She sees things in her head and then can translate them onto her needles. I envy that skill like I envy musicians who hear symphonies and then compose them. Such a gift!

Agatha got me practicing my short rows, a skill I'm not sure I've fully mastered. Regardless, this was a fun and challenging project, and I can't wait for her to settle into her new home. Oh, and welcome to the world, Agatha!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Little Nuts

Our love of cider donuts is well-documented on this blog. Remember this and this?

Cider donuts are so good they make everyone a little crazy.

And when all the donuts are gone, it's time to start on the cups that held the cider itself.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Be-Falling Us

I'll never forget the first time I became aware that Americans call this season fall and Scots call it autumn. I posted a Wanted notice on Freecycle for a crockpot (before I ended up buying one). It was just over a year into our time in Aberdeen, and I said that I wanted a crockpot with the weather getting colder since we were now well into fall. A woman wrote me back and wanted to know if I were American since I used the word "fall" instead of autumn. Didn't have a crockpot to offer, just curious. That's the kind of quirkiness I miss.

Whatever you call the season, it has definitely arrived here. We've had to put the heat on briefly this week to take the chill out of the air. Mornings are cool and we have finally started to see some much-needed rain. In between, the skies are brilliantly blue and clear, just as this wonderful season should be.

Saturday we went to the farmer's market and got mums and pumpkins...and cider donuts.

Now that I'm no longer a student myself, I think autumn might be my new favorite season.

I love the nippy air, the smell of fireplaces, brilliant leaves, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving.

Oh, and I love that it's the prelude to Christmas.