Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Hello hello dear MB, 

This morning I found myself experiencing all at once the last few chapters of an excellent book and an email to say that your latest post was there waiting for me and another email with the announcement of a dear friend's first pregnancy. All those things together! And I realised that I was experiencing the very definition of excitement. And all with me still in my nightie. 
Excitement does happen in my nightie of course. But this was of a different variety.

Your email couldn't have come at a better time though: I'm prone to feeling a little bereft at the end of a great book, and so I saved reading your post until after I'd finished the book, to help me through. That worked thank you.

How did the biscuit hunt go? Did you find them and eat them and were they everything the photo suggested they would be? On Monday I made Belgian Biscuits and they have been devoured in an enthusiastic fashion and so tomorrow I will make caramel slice and see what takers I have for that. I wonder if a small person will help me.

I loved hearing about Oman. I felt nervous imagining being swept into a fever of rays though (did you know a group of rays is called a fever? I googled it. I appreciate Google deeply). Did you not feel nervous about that? I would have squealed and kicked and got myself into quite the metaphoric fever. But you laughed! It sounds like you were calm and cool about your predicament? 
And the ice-cream in Oman: is it better than Tiptop? What was your chosen flavour? In Italy I always chose cantaloupe or rum and raisin.

We had ice creams today too. It had been a hard hour and we were in need. Arlo had lain down on the floor of Farmers and tried to got to sleep after the shock of having a blood test. Short of a sweet cup of tea, ice-cream seemed like the best answer. We were in Farmers buying him a much desired Spiderman suit to congratulate him on his strength and bravery, but even that couldn't cut through his genetic inclination to need to faint around blood. 
Ben and I have passed on all sorts of interesting quirks to our children. The awkwardness around blood comes from him. The angry temper that all three have is definitely mine. Lets wait and see if their hair goes grey at 25.

There was a beautiful moment in the blood test saga that I must tell you about: Arlo's big brothers had been left in the waiting room while Arlo and I went in to have the sample taken. The big needle in his little arm caused Arlo to let out a long and loud wail of fear, hurt and indignation. When his brothers heard this they leaped out of their chairs and barged into the cubicle demanding to know what was happening to their brother. I felt so touched that they would race to rescue him. Those moments must be when it pays off having big brothers. There is a rent-a-crowd-ness to three growing boys and there is safety in numbers. What were your experiences of this growing up?

I embrace the fact that more and more, parenting them becomes a show I get to enjoy watching. If I use a stage show as a metaphor for their lives, I could say that there is a decrease in my script-writing duties (I don't mean I'm totally out of the script writing team though, not by a long shot) and at the same time an increase in my role as supportive and encouraging audience. The role of front row audience member is massive in parenting I think. Watching and supporting and encouraging and clapping, with a fair share of honest-as-I-can-make-it-without-crushing-them feedback. When my personal mood affects my parenting and I become nothing more than a nasty heckler, then it's time to slip out to the foyer for a breath of fresh air I find.

I think my theatre metaphor has been inspired by last week being production week at school and Joe having a starring role. He brought the house (and my heart) down with his rendition of Othello: 

"O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on." 

His voice travelled right around the hall and settled on people's shoulders. Some small children giggled with the nerve of it, and when he finished there was a roar of applause.  
On the walk home he said to me "Someone I didn't even know came and said well done to me". And rightly so.

Now it's time for me to ask you something: I want to know if my ongoing talk about those three Brown boys sits okay with you? This time for you away from your boys is surely the very hardest time of all and I wither at the thought that my talk of my own three boys burns more than it warms. When you said that you longed for my sort of laziness I realised  that my talk of laziness-post-kids probably did little more than make you feel like your ribs had been poked. I'm sorry for that. This is the first time that I've let my need to check whether I've said the wrong thing creep into our blog, but I know it won't be the last; it's a can't-let-goer for me. I hope you feel you can answer me honestly.

We're nearing the end of the first week of the holidays here. Due to a change of plans around going to Auckland and Arlo being sick we've ended up with time on our hands knocking around the house. Arlo has taken to napping in the afternoons in some sunny spot. Joe and Jesse have taken to playing together in a friendly fashion (less fighting and more team work). I have rested my bones by sitting for long periods reading a book. It is fitting for a reading recovery teacher to recover herself through reading I think. Don't you? 

I do look forward to hearing how your role as secretary goes at the sailing club. I have filled that position on the kindergarten committee from time to time. It involves the challenges of listening more than talking and not going off in a daydream. I had to put a concerted effort into mastering the skills required. If you end up with a uniform, please post a picture. And I laughed thinking about your play-me-something-I'll-hate club. What fun and how agonising all rolled into one. I felt close to losing the good opinion of a dear friend recently when I confessed to listening to more than my share of Maroon 5. He was appalled. Not without reason.

Next week I am going to write about friendship and goodwill. I'm going to consider my thoughts until then. As with you not wanting to open the dam, I don't want to set to print an unconsidered opinion that then becomes the truth of the situation. Ben's and my friendship and goodwill is wrapped around a lot of human faults and differences in personal style. It's as simple and as complicated as knotted balls of wool.

Talk soon dear friend.
With love,
Rachel xx

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