Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quiet as a mouse ...

It's been a quiet week at my place.  No running, squealing, screaming, shouting, jumping, fighting, wrestling and wiggling.  And it was meant to be even quieter!

The kids and I were planning to go away with my Mum, for a few days holiday up the coast at my brother's place.  Pete would be working, and coming home to an empty house and lovingly frozen dinners to reheat.  (Note:  Pete can cook, and often cooks delicious meals, but I thought ready meals would make him feel special while he was missing us)

But Elijah got sick.  Well sicker I should say, as we'd all been taking turns with sore throats, aches and pains.  Elijah took longer to respond, and clearly still wasn't well enough to travel.  Even driving to the Chemist, he was complaining about aches and pains.  My week or two of sore throat and head also intensified.  With a cough, fever and aching all over, I wasn't fit to be anywhere but home.  Our holiday plans were sabotaged.

Jasmine on the other hand, had a bad ear infection a week and a half earlier, but bounced back quickly once she started antibiotics.  So whilst we were all laid low Jasi was bouncing around again, fighting fit, looking for action!!

As a result of these circumstances, our little girl went away, on her longest holiday without us, and more significantly, without Elijah.  Was she reluctant to go?  Were we filled with trepidation and fear at letting her go?

Not a bit!!  She helped load Mum's car and couldn't wait to leave.  We know Mum and Joe are totally wonderful with our kids, so there was no reason for us to worry ... just to be happy for them, and pray that they travel safely and have a wonderful time.

We did wonder if Jasi would be lost her best buddy Elijah to play with.  There was a chance, Pete suggested, she might miss us and cry a bit.  Apparently not.  She made herself right at home as soon as they arrived, and for the first few days didn't care to interrupt her colouring in or bath to talk to us on the phone.

Last night our Princess finally spoke to us on the phone.  She sounded very distant, like she was tolerating our need to hear her voice, as she told us about the places they'd been and the fun they had.  I'm sure it was just the rare and unusual experience of talking to Jasmine on the phone, but I wonder what she's feeling.

I've never been one to really MISS people, not as a habit anyway.  When I moved away from home for Uni, I felt guilty about that, because I was supposed to be home sick.  It took me many years to realise I'm just different in that way.  I don't think I NEED to be away from people to love and appreciate them ...  but when I have that space to breathe, it renews my energy so I can be more devoted.  I like seeing people after some time away, and having interesting things to talk about.  I deeply love and admire my family - immediate and extended, big and widespread - they are seriously the kindest, loveliest people I know, and I couldn't choose anyone better to be related to.  Like normal people, I do have times when I crave to be with certain people, just want to be near them and comfortable in our familiarity.  But I don't MISS people who are still alive, it's more like I look forward to seeing them again.

My point is, we all experience relationships and time apart in different ways.  I understand and accept Jasmine's hot and cold, detached way of loving me.  In contrast to her independence, she also expresses her love and neediness often, in exuberant, subtle and special ways.  When Jasi is here (which she almost always is) she is demanding, caring, affectionate and talkative (these words are severe understatements, though people outside our home rarely believe it!)  It's a fine line though ... if I listen to her at the wrong moment, or look too long, she'll stomp her foot and huff and puff, as if to say 'leave me alone!'  I wonder ... is this, in part, what having a child with autism or aspergers is like?

In a beautiful photo of Jasi and I, framed on the dining room wall, I can actually see this puzzle.  I am holding Jasmine, she's about 3 yrs old.  I am facing her, about to kiss her cheek;  her arms are around me comfortably, but she is looking away, nonchalant and self composed.  It's an interesting study of our relationship.  That we love each other is clear beyond a doubt, but it's a push and pull kind of balance!

As for the QUIET home we've had ... it's been good to be able to rest.  I'm still not well, but maybe it's just God's way of slowing me down.  I hadn't intended to have 'school holidays' as such, like most people currently are, because we had such a disjointed few months.  But we've had no choice.

Elijah and I have watched a lot of cartoons and DVDs, he has played contentedly by himself, and with me ... chess, toy soldiers, lego.  Elijah spent hours yesterday cutting cardboard and making a little knight, which I helped him fasten with split pins and sticky tape.  We went to the movies and saw Toy Story 3, which I thought Jasmine wouldn't like (since she hates noise and is easily scared) ... I was astonished when she told me that she also went to see that movie yesterday!!!!

With Pete we drove up to the beach cliffs to look for whales (and saw one, though it was very distant, so it's lucky we had my Dad's trusty old binoculars).  While Elijah played and lay around watching TV, recovering, I sorted out mine and Jasmine's wardrobes (easily finding 8 bags for the Op Shop and one for a friend, and we still have way too much).  I organised my notes and games for next week's FBI, all about Patterns in nature, art and maths.  I spent a day writing the previous blog post.  Read 3 novels.  Printed odds and ends for the upcoming term of home schooling.  Dreamed about doing so much more housework than the bare minimum I managed.  Imagined getting all my papers in order for home ed. registration, but slept instead.

Today Mum and Jasmine are driving home.  We'll meet them at Mum's around dinner time.  It'll be lovely to see my little girl again, though I don't have high expectations for our reunion ... Jasi doesn't usually seem pleased to see us when we pick up the kids after sleepovers at Mum's, and clearly wishes they could stay for longer.  This time she has stayed away longer, 3 nights ... I wonder if it seemed long enough for her?  

I'm sure she'll be glad to see Elijah.  There may be tantrums, rejections and silences (directed at us, and especially me).  However Jasi acts towards me, I won't hold it against her.  She is very much her own SELF, and I admire that.  She feels what she feels, and will soon be back to her usual energetic, intelligent, precious and playful self!


  1. Interesting observations Vanessa. Carter is very demanding, affectionate when he chooses, not all the time and didn't like Toy Story 3 because it made him sad and said it was too loud. Carter took his 2 favourite puppies to watch it with him. The loudness has always been overwhelming for him (even though he talks loudly himself - bizarre)Faith has taught me alot about loving my children the same even though they are completely different. Carter has never fretted about staying with my side of the family (who know him inside out)and I think it's great to let the children have a break from one another. I think they learn something about themselves when the other one isn't there and they love the attention! Sometimes settling back into routine can take a bit of patience on our (parents) behalf. Blessings Renelle

  2. Thanks Renelle. I've probably worried that people might judge or misinterpret my children (or my parenting of them). That may stem from my own lifelong fear of being judged or misunderstood ... which sounds a bit like pride. Better toss it out!!

    And in all honesty, I have always wanted to be there to help my kids through anything, rather than trust they can handle it. I have a lot to learn!!

    I agree the kids need time away from each other. We've been talking about how to try and retain some of the calmness we've experienced. Together they're so happy, excitable and absorbed, and whilst that's lovely, I think they do need time to try a different pace, be self-contained and have time to think.

    I feel a bit teary and can't pinpoint the reason, except that loving our kids is so amazing, deep, complex, challenging and beautifully overwhelming!

    :) Vanessa

  3. Fabulous post! I saw a little of my Iz in that analysis. We just went through something similar with her sleep-over. I'm glad she had a good time but sorry you and Elijah had to miss out. I am good at being alone and love it when the kids have opportunities to spread their wings without me.

  4. Wow, a few days without Jasi. How did Elijah go? Did he miss his buddy and want to do more things with you?

    I hope she had a good time and that you're all feeling better by now.


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