Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Driving and Dramatics

We've had a few Firsts in the past few days.

On sunday night I drove in France for the first time - on the right hand side of the road and all. Started after we turned off the major roads but I still had several round-abouts to traverse and I had to park the car, avoid a cyclist, and not end up in a ditch. All of which I somehow managed successfully. The last, and only, time I have driven on the right hand side of the road before was over six years ago when I was studying in Wyoming. It was far less than ideal circumstances: after midnight, there was ice on the roads, and I'd had a beer - though just the one, which was substantially less than my friend whose car it was. To add stress to the mix, I was just 20 at the time: over the legal drinking age in good ol' NZ, but not so in Wyoming, USA. And this was while the Patriot Act was in place. Technically, I could have been imprisoned, indefinitely, without even being told why... which I thought about quite a lot while I pulse-braked my way all the way back to our dorms from the party we'd been to.

Another first: Louis had his hair cut last night! I did the honours. I usually do Luuk's and he's very forgiving - plus, he insists I do it rather than fork out the money to get a pro. Most of the time, Luuk sits still and if I go wrong I can fix it. He's symmetrical by the time I'm finished, if a little closer-cut than I intended. Young Louis, on the other hand, is fascinated by scissors and combs. The front wasn't so bad, because he was watching what I was doing, though he must have gone cross-eyed to do so. But the back - oh! It is a bit patchy. Fortunately, it will all grow out, and I managed to keep a couple of those gorgeous curls for the scrapbook.

The finished product:

An excellent example of a tv-watching pose.
And another...

This was actually before the haircut, but I thought it a rather fantastic example of tv-watching out-of-it-ness. (How very articulate I am today.)

Tonight we had the first full on temper tantrum. I've been trying to teach Louis not to play with the handles for the shutters - the plastic is old and brittle, and I don't want them to get broken. Usually a good stern 'no' will suffice but today he kept going back again and again. So I decided, next step: time out. I sat him out in the hall by himself... then Luuk got home and all clear understanding of some kind of cause and effect probably got lost.

Later he went back to the stupid shutter-handle and so he was out in the hall again... but we accidentally left Chimney Sweep, the beloved sleep-prop-toy, out there with him. He was far too contented to be getting any kind of cautionary message.

Next stop: tea time. But the potatoes, even garnished with tomato sauce, were destined for the floor. He was being blatantly naughty... so back to the hall. This time no Chimney Sweep... and what do you know? Message received. What a drama! After a very long minute or two we brought him back in and tried dinner again but it was not happening. How can he not like potatoes mashed up with tomato sauce and butter. I mean, seriously? No. It must be a battle of wills at this point. So we let him thrash it out. We sat on the couch and tried not to laugh, or cry, while he lumbered around the lounge, up and down, back and forth, refusing cuddles or comfort. Eventually he found Chimney Sweep and made a very concerted effort to calm himself down. I remember feeling like that after getting really angry/upset with mum or dad - it's over and there's no reason to be upset any more but you can't just switch off how angry you feel.

But now he's happy again. His reward for calming himself down: bananas and an elmo video.

Other than these monumental events, it's been a charmingly ordinary beginning to the week: coffee group, groceries, playground...
Didn't get far up the slide, but not for lack of trying.

Speedy Gonzalez.

We even managed a french lesson yesterday (had skipped it while Dad was visiting).

No mashed bananas and elmo for us.
Cheese board and 'Castle'. Excellent.

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