Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It is quiet around here. With Max in school, real school, school that lasts more than three hours, things have got a lot quieter.  In fact last night, when I went to bed, it was a surprise to find that it was Oli's voice rattling around in my head.  I remember when Max began speaking and his chit chat invaded my head. All I could hear was his phantom banter as I drifted off to sleep, only to wake up to the real thing in the morning. And it is Max's daily absence that has suddenly made me hear more clearly the lilt of Oli's phrases, the subtle lisp ('theat' not 'seat'), the rise and fall of his short, incomplete sentences and if I'm honest, his whine to be carried up the stairs. But it is lovely to have Oli's voice filling that little bit of empty audio space in our home.

It was this time last year that I was feeling totally overwhelmed by the new preschool we had chosen for Max. Admittedly I had other preoccupations, like a newborn on the way, the awful kindergarten admission process and a move to a new home but the school involved mandatory parent enrichment nights - like a parenting night school - participation in the classroom, and all kinds of attendance at book teas, round tables and workshops.  But as the year progressed I realised that the preschool was in fact something very unique and, with it's emphasis on imagination and discovery, it was exactly the way I wanted to parent my children. So this year we have arrived at the start of Oli's preschool adventure. I've had to write him a family book - all about our family, about Oli's place within it and our traditions and values - things I, frankly, hardly think about in the daily chaos of having small children. But actually it seems the perfect time to sit down and think about who Oli is, to separate him from Max, and hear his voice a little louder.

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