Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oslo is Seven

They say that life is made up of seven year cycles, and that the first seven years are the most important in terms of hard wiring the child and laying the foundations. I read a book about raising boys and how the Lakota Indians believed the first seven years are focused on the mother, and then the next seven on the father, and the third seven on a mentor (hopefully a good one). Not sure what happens after that, but all I know is that I have had the most amazing seven years with my not so babyish baby, but I don't believe that powerful bond of love is diminishing any time soon - in fact, it just feels like it is getting stronger every day. We have been through so much and I feel the connection we now have, and all we share is so hard earned and therefore so much more appreciated. At night time during thankful time, he insists we do the "hug of the day" as he has named it. He wraps his legs around my waist and his arms around my torso and squeezes just the right amount and tells me all he is thankful for in his life, from the small and expected to the big hearted and surprising. He claims he is not a fan of kisses so we nuzzle more, and hug lots. Over the years, his distaste in kisses has hurt me, for I long to smother him from head to toe and have to control myself not to, but it is funny, for on the rare occasion he does kiss me, or let me kiss him, it has all the more power, like a rare gem that has much more value due to it's rarity. This little boy is full of wonder, intelligence, spirit, fun, earnestness, cheekiness (in a cute way), and I just adore spending time with him. I know they say you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family but the person Oslo has turned into is really someone I would seek out to be a close friend. He is utterly loyal, so quirky in his humour, creative in his vision and so very wise in his observations. I am so so incredible proud of him, and more than anything feel beyond blessed to have him a part of my life.

I have never really had too much of a problem getting older myself. I didn't mind when I turned 30 and I was almost elated at turning 40 earlier this year knowing how I am so blessed in all that I have in my life. But there is something about the kids getting older that hits me in a way I hadn't expected. And sometimes it isn't even a birthday that sets me off. Just after Oslo's sixth birthday, he lost his first tooth and I have to say, that really did a number on me. It was like such a stab in my heart that the hands of the clock are flying in circles to the right and there is no way to ever make them turn left or even slow down. He was so excited he nearly wept, and I was so devastated that my baby was getting grown up teeth that I genuinely did weep! And when I say he lost his first tooth, I mean he literally lost it - in an apple that fell overboard into the deep blue ocean. So when the Tooth Fairy came, she hid his money in his pillow case so he had a hard time finding it too - talk about tit for tat - goodness me, you would think a distinguished fairy like herself would be above that sort of thing but I suppose Oslo should be grateful she didn't hide his loot at the bottom of the sea!

Christmas last year was heaven - the kids really really got it for the first time and were so able to participate in the preparing and the giving rather than just the receiving. Oslo wrote his own notes for the first time and noticed although there weren't any presents under the tree with that paper, that he knew he had once seen we had the same paper as Santa - what an incredible coincidence - Santa and I clearly both have fabulous taste!

As you can see, Oslo's hair tends to get a little long at times - frankly, most of the time. He won't let me cut it so I have to chase him with scissors which is really safe parenting for sure. Most of the time, I manage to get him to agree to stay still long enough for me to trim the hair out of his eyes to prevent any sight damage, but then he tears off leaving that ghastly mullet at the back - I try to tell him how last millenium it is and he just doesn't care. So bit tragic at times on the hair style front, but a cutie pie all the same, no?

Recently, the penny has really dropped for Oslo on the reading front. He started a fat book yesterday afternoon and it already almost finished - he is getting a little addicted and I can see it getting annoying if he keeps it up but for now, I am so so so excited, I don't quite know what to do with myself and I would happily let him get away with not doing a million things he should be doing, as long as he was reading instead. We are all the more thankful since he used to be dyslexic. The first year of school, he seemed fine but at the end of the year, I started noticing his finger was never on the right word and the more complicated the books got, he started to make mistakes. I realised he was memorising the books when they were read in class and when I tried to get him to sound out a word, he would sometimes guess just from the first letter and be totally off, but more often than not, his eyes would roll into the back of his head (I thought he was pulling that teen garbage on me ten years early!) or worse, toss the book out of frustration. We found a dr in NY that summer who said his eyes were unable to track and so couldn't follow the words on the page. He worked his magic, gave us some exercises and suddenly Oslo could see the words on a page - it was a miracle. But at that stage, he was starting P2 and to protect his self esteem, we didn't insist he start back at the beginning again. It was hard going for he had absolutely no sight words under his belt at all and didn't even know how to sound out. He guessed everything since that was his habit and when sounding out finally did come to him, he had to do so for even the most simple words like 'and' and 'it'. So we were so tortured - we even considered holding him back a year. But over the summer, we kept at him and his reading and we started to see a change. He stopped guessing and sounding out so much and started seeing words in their entirety and really reading. It was such a break through and these last couple weeks, he has gone from reading well but still having to be forced, to us not being able to get him to put a book down. I am so thrilled - I don't quite know where to put all this happiness welling up in me - it is just gushing everywhere and splashing on the walls and floors and in people's faces - madness. We are just so very very thankful for this journey he has made and are so very proud of how he stuck it out - judging by his current obsession - it was clearly worth it.

This is the hammock in our back garden - love love love it! Hello bum!

One of Oslo's favourite things to do is to bake. He has a natural knack at knowing how much of things to put in without using a recipe - particularly tricky when cooking gluten, dairy and sugar free! He is such an outdoorsy kid, but give him the option of staying in the kitchen, he is there every time. Perhaps it is the results that come out of the oven piping hot and full of yum that keep him so keen but either way, such a cute little passion.

He learned how to waterski this summer with Kent Richardson who is the best teacher on the planet. We love him so so so much! Big shout out to you Kent at Robinson's Marina.

How cute is this shirt - Heather Nova brought it back for him when she was on tour in Oslo. It is one of his faves.

More teeth dropping out to add to my breaking heart! The Tooth Fairy upped her game and noticed when Oslo started brushing and flossing more often - she started leaving pretty little fresh water pearls - she is some fancy fairy! And boy does he want to keep those teeth extra pearly white even more than ever now!

Us being us, we are of course not having Oslo's birthday party anywhere near his actual birthday as that would require far too much planning. But we did have a wee family / god parent thing at home on the day which was lovely. First I brought out his one to grow on candle at tea time and we ate that cake in one go and had the most lovely selection of teas which the kids drank from my dainty collection of eclectic tea cups. It makes it such a special occasion when we are using family silver and posh china - just love the feel of these tea parties.

After dinner, the kids all made toasts with their glam crystal glasses and I brought out his proper cake with the seven candles. I am getting much better at icing now - this one was simple agave, organic cocoa and goat butter with a dash of almond butter to stiffen it - divine!

Since he has become so obsessed with books, he has been reading in terrible lighting conditions half the time. I came up with the genius idea of a reading light which sweet Ben traipsed all around town looking for and finally found. It was a hit. So before even all the guests had left, Oslo already had his nose back in a book utilising his cool new gadget.

Happy birthday my sweet darling boy. You bring so much inexplicable happiness to my life. Describing all you are and all you share with us is like describing what clouds are to someone who has never seen them - it is just not possible to describe. I am so proud of you, so smitten with watching you grown up, so enamoured with spending time with you. I am so thankful I finally pulled back from being a workaholic to discover I am actually a mumaholic. And you are addictive. Thank you for being you - you are so much more in complexity and life lessons than I ever could have imagined if I had been asked what I wanted in a son. I thought I knew, but I didn't - but you have shown me. Thank you for seven years of bliss and I don't believe you will leave me these next seven like that naughty man in the book said you would. I know you better than that. But I can't wait to see what the next seven yearsvhave in store, teeth dropping, book worming and all. xxxxx

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