Kids Losing (and winning) Their Marbles

So every autumn/winter is marble season at the local school.  A group of at least moderately geeky kids mobilise themselves to play, trade and battle it out to win rare and cool marbles to add to their collections.  I whole-heartedly encourage the children to play marbles.  They are timeless, inexpensive, and unpretentious.  Trading them and earning them is also a kind of elementary study in basic economics.


Mass production of glass marbles dates back to 1884. There is a rich and varied history surrounding the culture and collection of marbles.  So Marbles have stood the test of time.  It is a legacy the children can share among themselves and as the years go by, perhaps their own children.  It pleases me to see/hear about the kids sharing or giving marbles to other kids as they have an absolute surplus as we have acquired quite a collection of marbles both new and old from various sources.  We unabashedly use the marbles as bribery and blackmail.  We can giveth and we can taketh away their smooth and spherical treasures.  And we have listened to them bragging proudly about their most prized large and rare marbles.  So guess which marbles are the first to be confiscated when behaviours are less than ideal?  Mwwaahhahhahahaaa! I am such a mean momma sometimes.


Of course it isn’t just marbles.

We have been swept up with several childish fads and trends.  The things we allow include:

–      Pokemon

–      Star Wars Franchise (Particularly the Pre-Disney Sell Out Phase of the Franchise)

–      Comic Books (particularly Batman and Superman and am always happy to see the kids reading them)

–      The Harry Potter Franchise

–      Bey Blades (this trend has truly passed now though)

–      Fraggles (and anything Jim Henson is seriously encouraged!)


–      Lego

–      Douglas Adams

–      My Little Pony

–      Care Bears

–      Original Smurfs

–      AstroBoy


–      As well as anything that encourages them to read/draw/think and use their imaginations, with a minimum of ongoing capital investment for masses of merchandise from their parents.

We have put our foot down and curbed or denied our children other trendy traps including (but not limited to):

–      Trashpacks

–      Disney – We are undeniably hypocritical in this capacity, as we still go to and enjoy Disney theme parks and  are booked on a Disney cruise through Europe this September, because they are kid friendly.  Steph has several Disney themed dresses, Adam went through a Mickey-Mouse Clubhouse phase. HOWEVER we explain to the older children that the mega-corporation of Disney is not as innocent as it seems and the founder may have had some grave character flaws and scary social views.  I’m still researching this, and quite keen to watch Saving Mr. Banks the film, as it apparently touches upon these things.  Many of us are familiar with the claims of anti-semitism, misogyny, nazi sympathy etc.  I never knew the man, so cannot say what is and isn’t true.  I do, however, feel it is important to point out the the kids that he was flawed like everyone else, and his legacy is massive and not always above reproach in its tactics or philosophies.

–      Hexbugs

–      Smiggle (we make an exception at Christmas and they get a haul of Smiggle stationary in their stockings, but that is it for the year)

–      Barbie

–      Bratz dolls


–      Monster High dolls

–      As well as countless crafty plastic sparkly trends that Steph sees advertised and yearns for.

All of the parents we know and Love have different lists of what they will and will not allow their kids to play with.  Some parents enjoy following the kids excitement and penchant for setting trends with various toys, franchises and merchandise ranges.  The fact that we all do things differently is what gives us a rich tapestry of children, who then grow up to make up the vast and varied society we all face as adults.  So it is what it is and I cannot and will not condemn people for their choices in parenting in this or many other areas.  Buy your kids as much or as little as you want, as you please.  You do your thing and I’ll share with you how I do mine.

One of my FAVOURITE families (who’s son’s Birthday we just missed because of baby brain – DOH!!) don’t even have a Television and keep a close eye on the entertainment their two terrific children are exposed to.  The kids have educational toys only, and don’t seem to fall into the trappings of trends.  While I admire their resolve and philosophy, I am a path of least resistance parent, so TV (or more accurately YouTube) is a staple and a digital babysitter in the Hobbit household.

So there’s another brief peek into the happenings of Hobbity existence.  I Love this time of year, and the delicious sounds of the knocking and clicking of marbles.  We may have to put them away for next year’s marble season as having many marbles floating around the house with James being a one year old working through the oral phase of his development may end badly indeed.  I’ll let you know what we do if you’re interested.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I am off out to grab some supplies for an impromptu party tonight! The kids have been begging for a party, and their seriously social parents are more than happy to oblige.

Take care, and thanks for reading.






Wanting to Run Away

We’re about a week out from becoming parents again.


Pre-knocked up self had pictured this point in the pregnancy as seeing a glowing and maternal me crocheting blankets and staring blissfully off into the distance imagining the hours of baby bonding that lay ahead once the fourth and final heir to the Happy Hobbit throne had arrived.



House is almost completely baron of newborn gear.  It is cleaner than usual.  And the kids and Grumpy are all chipping in to keep it that way. That’s something worthy of note.

I have a pack of newborn diapers, some muslins and a breastpump and hand-me-down onesies in a drawer somewhere. This is the sum total of proof there will be a new baby arriving here soon.  That is, aside from my large belly that got at least half a dozen complete stranger rubs today. I admit I will miss that. There is something so cool about breaking down barriers between people.  I have found, when it comes to strangers, it is mostly Polynesian and Indian women who reach out for a feel.  I’ve never had an Asian lady lay a hand on my belly to feel the kick.  Someone could do a sociology thesis.  Not me.  I’m too busy denying the inevitable to embark on a thesis at present.

So yes.  Mum of the year all up in here.

While I should be fantasising about the fleeting joys of meeting and greeting a new member of the family, I am actually just dreaming about pulling a full on Dian Fossey and running away to the Rwandan jungle where no children or husband will find me.  Hanging quietly in the mist with some chilled out band of gorillas. Oh wait.  I suppose now they’d be looking in the Rwandan jungle.  Scratch that.  I’d have to hatch another plan entirely after mentioning that I suppose.


I have no idea if I should be sharing any of this.  And I am in full on white knuckle praying mode wishing that when he arrives something changes and my maternal instincts kick in.  I know they are there… Somewhere.

So now, I will attempt to embark on some sleep which will of course be completely denied me for a minimum of 6 weeks starting in the very near future.  

Maximum of 8 more nights of relatively uninterrupted sleep… I shall enjoy every single one thoroughly.


What Seems to be Working (So Far Anyway)

This is the first time I’ve had a moment to sit down and blog, so I’m a week late getting the second installment of the “Happy Hobbit Tenth Anniversary Special Edition” online.  I’ve also missed sharing a Birthday Blog for Daniel with you all on his actual birthday, however, I’ll get that out soon as well.

I need to take a few paragraphs to share with you how I see Grumpy, and to take liberties to describe how I believe he sees me, and then I’ll scratch the surface of some of the things that seem to keep us together after all these years.

Everyone who knows us likens Grumpy to this fictional character:


(Note that he’s wearing a green t-shirt with the iconic “reduce-reuse-recycle” emblem?  Yeah, that’s kinda a big thing with us too…)

In my eyes, Steve is absolutely, astoundingly, and breathtakingly gorgeous.  After well over a decade together, he still makes me swoon, gives me beautiful stomach butterflies and weakens my hobbity knees with just a single word or gesture and I can end up a very happy puddle of wife wrapped safely in his waiting arms.  He is funny, handsome, sexy, cute, smart (oh my giddy AUNT is he smart!), vulnerable, complicated, kind, endlessly interesting, moral, good, genuine, tenacious, loyal, patient, a wonderful father, an amazing friend and an incurable romantic.

On the other hand, however… He can be teeth-itchingly lazy, thoughtless, cruel, callous, tactless, selfish, self absorbed, gross and utterly infuriating and impossible to deal with or get through to.

Here’s a collection of characters and people that remind me of Grumpy (you may or may not agree):

Mr. Darcy – Because everyone thinks he’s dark and grumpy and gruff, when in reality he is just the kindest, most forthright, upstanding, romantic dark eyed bucket of delicious EVER!


Dr. House – We really enjoyed watching this together, and the brutal honesty and atheist sentiment demonstrated by House (who, lets face it, was messed up but a fairly phenomenally smart and decent guy) always reminded me of my Grumpy.  I’m religious, he finds that quite hilarious.


There’s quite a few more, but I’ve already run out of time as I need to pack and we’re flying home today, and on top of that trying to get to Universal Studios first.

On the surface, we seem to be very different indeed.  I am loud, he is not.  I am rash, he is pedantic.  I am fickle, he is tenacious.  I am incessantly cheerful, he is notoriously grumpy.  I believe in just about anything, he is is systematically skeptical and requires evidence and sound logical reasoning.

To get REALLY cheesy – cause, in for a penny in for a pound – he is my sun and I am his moon.  He is constant and bright and sustaining, and I am changeable and mysterious responsible for wreaking havoc and creating calm in varying degrees and cycles.

So here is a brief list of the things that Grumpy and I have discussed over the past few days that we feel keep us together, and generally, pretty happy (most of the time).


1)  Laughter

2)  Honesty and trust

3)  A sizeable dose of insecurity

4)  Affection

5)  Tolerance and forgiveness

PART TWO (I’ll get this up after I land back home in NZ)

1) Generosity & being remarkably cheap

2) Core values

3) Kids

4) Adventures

5) Kindess

So let’s jump right in shall we.


It was fairly apparent very early on that Grumpy and I shared a somewhat strange and perhaps slightly dark sense of humour.  We are both foul-mouthed and notably lacking in our ability to filter or exercise decorum or restraint in many situations.


In our home and our marriage, very little is sacred, and we use humour to soften the blows of some fairly heavy issues, both personally and in a wider more universal sense.

The things that we find funny would probably offend the sensibilities of many.  We are not dainty, or prim, or delicate.  Bodily functions are oft hilarious, swearing is standard, laughing at ourselves as well as each-other is compulsory, and “inside jokes” are rife within our family and inner sanctum of close friends.

Ours is a house where we laugh loud and often.  Our children learn the subtleties of sarcasm at a staggeringly young age.  Tantrums and bratty behavior (from grown ups as well as the children) are received with glib humour or met with merciless mocking.  The phrase “well, that’s just not FAIR!” is almost always responded to with such affirmative responses as: “You’re right, it isn’t fair, welcome to life kiddo, you’ve got a long way and a whole lot more injustice to shovel through yet.”

Not everyone understands or appreciates Hobbity humour, but the ones who do “get” us seem to appreciate our openness and appreciation of joy and use of laughter to defuse situations and make the journey through life a bit more bearable.

I will, however, say that we do not find cruelty or meanness funny.  While there is an element of finding schadenfreude a bit amusing (we laugh while crying after hitting a funny bone, or if there’s been a tumble and we’ve assessed that nothing is broken or maimed) we do not tolerate openly mean or subjugating humour or smugness.  Because, well, it just isn’t funny.  Mean sucks.  There is no place for callousness or cruelty in our home or hearts, and people who have a propensity towards it don’t last long in our world.

Honesty and Trust:

We do not mince words, we do not keep secrets, and neither of us is the jealous or insecure type.

Both of us are insatiable flirts.  We enjoy affection and attention, and seem to do better as a couple knowing that we are still able to turn the odd head.

Not sure how normal it is, but both of us find it quite a compliment to see other people appreciate our partner, and still be absolutely sure, that we’re going home together as we always do.

We have both thought or felt things that weren’t ideal from time to time.  Talking about these things and working through them together, either with or without a third person to counsel us when things are particularly dire, has kept us together after some events that would quite reasonably be expected to end most unions.

The most important aspect of trust between us seems to be the absolute and tacit truth that each of us holds the others heart, happiness and well-being as paramount.  I am genuinely happier to witness joy in my husband than I am to experience it first hand.  Steve puts my safety, comfort and happiness above his own without even realizing he does it.  Loving and trusting another human being with all of who you are, and potentially for eternity, means you are constantly vulnerable, so it is going to be a much more successful union when it is maintained by two people who are similarly matched in their Love and appreciation for the other.  Does that make sense?  I guess all I am attempting to say here, is that we are both “givers” not so much “takers” and we implicitly trust the other to respect and protect the other’s needs, desires and emotions.  I trust that his happiness is tied to mine, and he trusts that mine is to his, and it is all achieved and demonstrated on an almost subliminal level.  Too deep?  I’ll move on.

And it really ought to be said that there are times when one or both of us just acts like a total selfish jerk too… So it isn’t all smooth sailing I assure you.


Neither of us had an idyllic past.  Perhaps nobody on earth really does, (unless they are imagining it as some sort of defence mechanism).  The result of both of us having our hearts ripped out or trod on, suffering blistering rejection, or surviving a number of failed relationships prior to finding each other, has left a lasting, but undeniably useful scars on both of us.

Neither of us think that we are the object of bona fide sexual desire of objectification from others.  Neither of us has a propensity toward narcissism or egocentric activity.  Both of us feel unspeakably blessed to have found another human being who accepts them completely, with all our flaws and all our foibles.

Being undeniably insecure, and more than a little bit needy, also means that we both crave attention and affection, from each other as well as other people.  Positive affirmation from strangers and friends alike is kind of like crack to us, which, fits in well with the honesty and trust part of the recipe that keeps us going after all these years.   We flirt.  A lot.  But both choose to remain monogamous and faithful because it is what works for us.  We have friends with open relationships, we have friends who are vehemently protective of their partners and get quite jealous over very little indeed.  Neither of these extremes suits us, and there’s a constant and evolving dialogue between us about what is acceptable and what is not.  Lines occasionally get crossed, but we always find our way back to each other and the safe place that we’ve built together over the years.  I am thankful every day to be adored and desired by Grumpy, and he, apparently, feels the same way about me.  I am not sure that we would feel that way about each other and our relationship after all this time if we hadn’t suffered a lot of heart break, sowed a lot of wild oats, had our hearts broken, or if we had actually found social and romantic relationships terribly easy in our past.

Quite apart from wanting to be seen in a positive light by others, we both seem to find a solace and perfection in each other, and ourselves, that I can’t imagine ever being matched.  After more than a decade of sleeping next to this man, and seeing him virtually every single day, I still stop in mid-sentence sometimes just to admire how absolutely gorgeous I truly think he is.   He still kisses me passionately and wraps his rather lovely strong arms around me several times a day…

Which brings us neatly to the next point:


Seems to us, that the thing about affection, is comparable requirements and thresholds.

We are exceptionally affectionate physically and emotionally.  I am a hugger, and Grumpy is… well… he’s a bit “handsy” sometimes, and he has trouble not vocally appreciating a beautiful woman or a bountiful bosom.

Hundreds of hugs and kisses are exchanged in our household every week, and we are very cuddly with our friends and family as well.

In our marriage, we hold hands and are off the charts with PDA (Public Displays of Affection).  We fit in so well in South America, where kissing and touching each other is quite common and acceptable.  Neither of us enjoyed Dubai, as it was imperative that we not even hold hands in public there.  Than kind of restraint is simply not Hobbit compatible.

In a more conventional sense, over the years, we seem to have either developed, or become accustomed to, similar… um… appetites I suppose?  If more than a few days pass without some conjugal visiting, it is rare.  And if one of us is tired, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll “take one for the team” and be glad of it.  But every couple is different.  Again, it seems ideal to just find a balance that works and try and stick to that.  Again, it probably has more than a little bit to do with the fact that we both feel quite lucky to have someone to be absolutely attracted to that feels the same way back.  Well, most of the time.

Tolerance and forgiveness:

The thing about being completely and inextricably intertwined with another human being, is that sometimes, that person is absolutely your LEAST favourite thing in the whole wide world.

Every relationship has bugbears.  Every relationship has the list of things that are a constant source or conflict or frustration.

When we met, we had both been through the proverbial ringer and were more than a little averse to the prospect of any relationship, let alone the forever that ours would evolve into.

The upshot of that, was that there was no “putting our best face forward” during the early days of courting.  Steve got to see my crazy very early on in the piece, as I did his, and the fact neither of us were intimidated or too concerned with the particular brand of broken demonstrated by the other set the foundation for our own strange brand of happily ever after.

We are both still quite capable of doing terrible, thoughtless, stupid or destructive things (to ourselves and each other).  The ability to work through them, communicate, and keep moving forward after a particularly impressive blow to our heart or our relationship is imperative to our union.

I have an uncanny ability to hold a grudge, be very mean, stubborn and argumentative.  Steve has almost no desire (or maybe even ability) to be a rescuer or act as my knight in shining armour.  He loathes conflict, so he generally makes me fight my own battles, sometimes to the peril of our relationship. I need a good blow out from time to time, and he waits calmly for the storm to pass.  There’s an extensive list of his faults and mine, and they come to the forefront from time to time and we fight.  Oh my word, can we fight.  So far, when we do, the result tends to be a greater understanding and closeness. Even when one or both of us is absolutely fed up and over the other, it is quite clear that we are both better off together than apart.  So together we remain.

Neither of us is perfect, we are both capable of being terrible, thoughtless or even quite cruel from time to time.  We always find each other again after a particularly big shake up in our relationship.  It is never too difficult to dig a little and be reminded of what keeps us together, and how lucky we both feel to have someone who is genuinely on our side.  But it is a work in progress, and it requires a great deal of tolerance and forgiveness, of ourselves as well as each other.

Tune in at some later date – which could be days or weeks away when I manage to finish off this amazingly lengthy blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read this stuff.  I hope you find some value in doing so 🙂



Some More Insight into Hobbit Existence: Snogging, Sandwiches, Songs, Snuggles, and Sincerity

After nearly ten years of marriage, Grumpy and I still snog passionately several times a day.  This only occurs under “normal” circumstances, like so long as we’re not fighting or I’m not going through some sort of deep dark Dee-pressive episode, you understand.

Our shadows at sunset in Black Bay near my grandfather's house in Quebec

Our shadows at sunset in Black Bay near my grandfather’s house in Quebec

Last night after being released from a particularly passionate embrace, our daughter looked up at us and said:  “You guys sure do kiss an awful lot.”  It was an observation, not a complaint.

“Do you think we kiss and cuddle more than normal mummies and daddies?” I asked our only daughter.

“Well DUH!” She responded rolling her big green eyes.

“Does it bother you?” I asked.

“Nope.” Was the welcome response.

“So why do you think it is that we are such exceptionally affectionate Hobbits after all this time Steph?” I inquired.

“Well.” She said, with a nonchalant and thoughtful sigh. “I am pretty sure it has a lot to do with the fact you have the biggest boobs, and daddy is DEFINITELY a boob man.”  She responded in an exceptionally deadpan and matter-of fact tone.


Grumpy and I at the fountain outside the Kennedy Centre in Manhattan

Okay then.  Grumpy is a boob man and the children have cottoned on to this.  Duly noted.

We are generally a very affectionate bunch.  Our children get a Jack of kisses on the head (that’s five kisses, one for each year of their cousin Jack’s life) every single day, several times a day and are quick to remind us in the morning if we’ve forgotten.

We also have a hugging ritual called a sandwich – where one member of the family is squeezed between at least two of the others.  Sandwiches occur most frequently when we’re waiting in queues, someone has had a bad day, or rather aptly – in the kitchen.  Kitchens are a place for sandwiches it seems.


Morning snuggles and an Adam and Stephanie sandwich on Father’s Day morning

Something else that is undeniably important in our household and family dynamic is music.  Music is directly responsible for the life that we enjoy. A little over 15 years ago, Grumpy created an algorithm and then invented some software that helps people around the world to engineer music for their own and others enjoyment.  That first invention gave way to the resources needed for more inventions, and there is now a team of amazing geniuses making features and inventing gadgets that are used the world over by DJs and post production studio engineers.  So we owe a lot to music.  And it is not just respect and gratitude, we Love music as it is a universal language, a window to so much feeling and emotion and it fills our home and our hearts.

Steve meeting one of the control vinyl collectors group - We adore these guys.

Steve meeting one of the control vinyl collectors group – We adore these guys.

So our children make music.  Oh my WORD do these children make some noise.  They dance, they shout, they sing and they let it all out.  Daniel plays the drums, Steph is frighteningly proficient in piano, and our youngest little firecracker Adam knows the lyrics to dozens – if not hundreds of songs and busts them out regularly while shaking his unreasonably adorable three-year-old rump.  We also have a story and a song most nights, and have read and sung together as a family at bedtime since only a few days after our first son was born.  It’s nice.

We’re also a family of snugglers.  The children crash down the stairs from their rooms every morning for a ritual of warm mum and dad snuggles.  Not sure if any of the other parents out there have noticed this, but in our family, the boys are by far the more snuggly of the children.  Steph adores her hugs of course, but the boys, they crave the safety and warmth of snuggles (particularly their mother’s) when they are feeling anxious or low, and are quite happy to wrap themselves in my arms for ages.  Sometimes they even stay wrapped up in my arms till they fall asleep if they’ve had a particularly bad day or are feeling particularly anxious or out of sorts.  I dread the day that this ends, as I think it makes me feel even safer than it does them.

Cuddly Kids

Cuddly Kids

And the last thing I am going to touch on is undeniably the most important.  Ours is a family where sincerity is paramount in all that we do and are.  In our home, you will always get in less trouble for telling the truth, even if the truth is not particularly pleasant.

We do not sugar coat, we do not use lofty euphemisms to soften blows or obscure things that make us uncomfortable.  We try not to be too obtuse or callous when talking about difficult matters either.  But sincerity in word and deed is something that we try and instill in our children daily.

The children have, and will continue, to run into the same problems as us because of this vast respect for honesty, integrity and sincerity.  They tend to believe that other people mean what they say.  We encourage them to give people the benefit of the doubt, and they always do.  Because of this, our children will fall prey to the bollocks of bullshit artists, just as their parents so frequently do.  On balance, I think it works out in the end. The force our family refers to as Karma seems to take care of the fallout for the most part.



I’m not saying they are perfect or above reproach, and all of them lie or act immorally or just badly from time to time.  On balance though, they seem to have an inner voice and moral compass that I can’t take too much credit for.  They prefer to be honest and sincere and question things and seek truth and explanation every moment of their lives.  They crave knowledge and take responsibility for mistakes and apologise and learn with earnest when they mess up.

We like them.  We Love them.  We feel amazingly blessed to be joining them on their journey through childhood and beyond.


Dee’s Hobbits


Our Son the Bully Magnet

Our eldest son has been bullied in one form or another since pre-school.  Some of the perpetrators whose stories I’ve become aware of had reasons for their behavior.  Some had anger management or learning or behavioural difficulties, some were going through genuinely tough times in their lives.  The evidence very strongly suggests that our little man seems to be a natural target for kids needing to blow off some steam.  We’ve gone down the path of talking with the teachers, the childrens’ parents, and we’ve even sought counseling.  We’ve tried a multitude of different avenues and the problem continues to resurface.

The upshot of all of this intervention is that all of his counsellors have told us there’s nothing to worry about, and he’s actually a very well adjusted young man.  We did have one very expensive child psychologist tell us to keep the screen time down to less than two hours a day.  We do try, but seldom succeed.

It has recently gotten so bad that we’ll be changing his school for the second time in his academic career.  He’s eight years old.

His reaction to the situation makes me simultaneously proud and exceptionally sad. I fear my mom-o-meter of pure parental pride and emotion may just overload completely.

It upsets all of the adults in his life that he doesn’t seek intervention or report the incidents.  He doesn’t talk to the duty teacher, and he doesn’t even talk to his home-room teacher about it.  As an adult I assume it is because he is ashamed or doesn’t want to seem like a tattletale.  After talking to him at length about it, it seems he’d just rather not deal with further confrontation, and chooses instead to carry on back to class where he is, for the most part, considerably safer.

His teacher makes no attempt to hide the fact that she enjoys our cheeky eldest child a great deal.  Her, and his GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) teacher have both expressed fondness and appreciation for his academic ability, but even more, for his humour and temperament.

My husband and I have a terrifically colourful vocabulary.  The result of being exposed to our constant swearing has meant our children find it quite normal and more than a little tiresome and appalling, and choose not to swear – seemingly ever, despite the fact their peers often do.  (An unforeseen parenting win, and long may it continue!)  At any rate, I checked, and his teacher confirms this.

Our son is very small.  Which of course comes as no surprise to either of us as throughout our academic careers we were both close to, if not the tiniest in our classes. He’s smaller than most of the five-year-old new entrant kids in his school and as such, he gets carried around and thrown about like a rag doll.  It breaks his heart, is emasculating, and his gentle disposition means he is not one to retaliate.  His grandmother insists that he should turn round and wallop the perpetrators, and then they’d leave him well enough alone.  We’ve encouraged him to take up karate or some other form of martial art, but he is utterly disinterested, and would rather stick to playing his drums and video games and reading his comics and books.

What our wee man lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in intellectual prowess and advanced vocabulary.  He’s your stock standard geeky first-born kid.  He relates better to people pretty-much any age but his own.  He does not want a large group of friends, and he does not crave attention.

I started writing this blog a couple of weeks ago.  Every day my first born baby has come home with a new story of some playground incident, from his hands being pried from the monkey bars so he fell down and cracked his jaw, to being pushed violently out of the queue at athletics day, to being excluded from play or teased.

He battles on, and saves the tears for when he gets home.

Tonight I looked into his big brown eyes, framed by Snuffleupagus-length lashes, and I told him that this being a kid shit doesn’t last forever.  I told him that all the stuff that makes it hard for him at school right now, is exactly the stuff that is going to make life easier for him as a grown up.

He hugged me.  And his eyes got a bit watery.  And he said in an earnest and moderate tone generally reserved for grandfatherly figures: “Well, I think I’d much rather struggle through the kid part, because you are a grown up for much longer.” He paused, squeezed me tighter and continued: “It just feels like the being a kid part lasts forever when you’re going through it.”

So tomorrow I send him back out into the trenches.  His words, humour, self-esteem, and the knowledge that he is Loved and respected for exactly who he is by countless people (including his teachers, parents, and the handful of kids who “get” him) are his armor.

Thanks for reading.