Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve was a lot of fun. Went to Kyle and Dave's house for the near-annual cavort. This year, in addition to the dancing in the street with sparklers, the gathering featured Rock Band, the video game where you play different instruments and get scores based on how well you follow the music on the screen. Jackson was mesmerized and sat with his Dad 'helping' him play the bass guitar.

He eventually moved on to play the drums with help from David. David had the hard job of keeping the drum beat going just well enough so that the song didn't 'fail' regardless of whatever beats Jackson was playing with his drum stick.

It really isn't a little guy's game and Jackson came over to me upset saying "I don't have an instrument to play." But Auntie Andrea' had brought his Christmas gift to the party and she happened to have bought him *tada* a recorder. Yup. Just like the ones you played three blind mice on in 3rd grade music class. He was so excited, he sat down and joined the Rock Band. Cause what Rock Band doesn't need a recorder? Hell, the only think better would have been a cow bell.

Jackson did have some momentary trouble making the recorder work for him. He was very concerned and kept telling me, "It keeps sounding like that, show me how it goes." I thought he meant the fingers and I kept showing him how to hold it and move your fingers over the holes, but that wasn't it. He meant that the sound he made blowing into it didn't sound like the sound I made blowing into it. After I figured out what his concern was, I helped him hold his lips around it better and told him he needed to blow gently. If you blow too hard, too much air goes through and it doesn't make that perfect(ly annoying) tone.

Once he figured out how to make the right sound, he played his recorder along with the band on every song. It was pretty damned cute, him tooting the recorder along to the music. The sound of the game was pretty loud, so he didn't really distract much. (His hand in the picture is telling mama to stop cramping his style.) He had such a good time and we let him stay up way too late. When we finally put him to bed at 11, he was out immediately and all our fireworks and cavorting didn't bother him a bit.

On Tuesday, I took him over to my friend Kathie's house to play with Delaney, her two-year-old daughter. Kathie's husband is in the hospital battling the cancer beast, and with pre-school being out for the holidays, I figured Delaney needed some play time, as did Jackson. Kathie is spending much of her time at the hospital with Steve, as she should, and her mom has been staying with the girls. So I sat with the kiddos and the sleeping baby while Kathie went to the hospital and her mom got some cleaning done she had been wanting to do.

Delaney and Jackson did pretty well together, given their differences in age. Jackson is not an aggressive player and Delaney has no problem communicating exactly what she wants, so that was good. It took about a half an hour for them to settle in to playing. Delaney wanted to jump and roll around on her bed and Jackson was not interested. He wanted to play with her Winnie the Pooh tree house and the scooter that went with it. Delaney, in her two-year-old wisdom determined that if she removed the distraction -the scooter- from Jackson then perhaps he would play in the bed with her.

Didn't work. Jackson just got upset because she took the scooter. I tried to get them both to let me read to them instead. They weren't interested. I took down a book and tried to show it, but Delaney took it and put it away, saying "No book." Jackson did not take to that very well, he wasn't interested in the books either, but I saw something in his face, like "Don't you be telling my mama she can't have a book." He picked up the book and said, "Yes book." After a few rounds of book tug-of-war with neither kid budging, Jackson decided tears were in order and returned to the true object of contention - the scooter. "Please let me have the scooter, please."

Sigh, I have to teach the boy not to beg a woman for anything. It isn't dignified. And it doesn't work. The situation finally resolved itself and the kids set into playing along side each other happily. I guess you gotta work things out before you can really be friends. Generally there isn't a mom witnessing the tussle though. Good thing, cause I don't think I could handle that. I'd want to intervene, de-escalate, appease, compromise, take over. And you mostly need to let them work it out for themselves.

And they did. By the time we left they were interacting well and climbing on a little slide together. I got a great picture, but figure I shouldn't post a picture of someone else's kiddo without permission. So you just have to take my word that Delaney is a beautiful, delightful girl and she had Jackson take a mean photo together.

I had a moment of sad memory while I was there though. Kathie brought out her shoes to put them on to head to the hospital and the minute the shoes came out, Delaney knew her mom was leaving. She was sad and climbed into Kathie's lap. "Shoes? Shoes?" she said, sadly. Her mom said yes, she was leaving. Going to the hospital to see Daddy. Delaney started to cry a little and it broke my heart. That sucks. I remember a time when visiting a doctor's office set Jackson to crying "Mama, not go back to the hospital." It sucks that these kids have to get dragged into the harshness of life so early. Fucking cancer. Leave us parents of young children alone! Shit, leave everyone alone, but especially avoid those of us with babies to shelter and keep innocent for as long as we can.

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