Most parents who have more than one child will tell you how different their children are. Thank goodness mine are no exception if they were I would just rehash Oliver's 4th birthday post.
The two children are remarkably different. A fact I will be reiterate until I stop writing these missives. Oliver has a vivid and active imagination. James is more literal and of this world. He is more independent than Oliver, but is certainly quite influenced by him. Yesterday we were at Reggie's party and James came up to me and said "How come (X) gets to have cake?!". Words directly from his brother's mouth. James has entered nursery school, the same nursery school that Oliver went to. As with Oliver I get to walk James to school in the morning. I've found that we get to school 40 minutes earlier if I carry him on my shoulders (the school is 800 metres away). We tried riding to school on his JDBug a few times but that takes an incredible amount of time. I would inevitably put him on my shoulders and carry him and everything else to school. There are no stories told on the way, that's not his thing. We'd sometimes talk about the weather, who he was going to play with, his friends at school and he has a number of those. James settled into school very quickly, he stopped crying after the second day and just got stuck in. The teachers also call him JimJam which makes my heart soar. I think to a large extent he's rather like his mother. His behaviour at times borders on reckless, he's not a cautious boy like his brother. Now I'm not saying his mother is reckless but when we went skiing a long time ago if Kath could see the bottom of the slope she would gun it down that hill. James is similar, he and his JD Bug will fly down any hill and damn the consequences – and there have been consequences.
Then there is the language. It could be that school has increased his vocabulary but whatever the reason is his language and comprehension has improved a million-fold in the last year. Here are a smattering of statements that I wrote down over the last few months.
- Long sleeve shorts
- I don't have enough toys (we are reminded of this situation ALL the time – he does have enough toys)
- I meed more toys (of course he meeds more toys)
- NemoShacko (more accurately MemoShacko). More on NemoShacko below
- Does this have sugar in it? Sugar isn't healthy (wise beyond your years my boy)
- My leg is sore I can't walk (this is what I get when I take him off my shoulders and get him to walk the last 50 metres into school. He can really ham it up. I've taken to doing the same with the opposite leg and we walk into school as the hopalongs)
- That's the deal (that's what he says to you when the deal is in his favour)
- Carious George (Curious George)
And then there's using language to justify why you shouldn't
- Eat your supper
- Go to bed
- Eat breakfast
- Go to school
- Do anything
- Stop playing
- Get out of the pool (we don't have one of those at the moment – four of us are sleeping in the same bedroom)
It would be remiss to omit his tantrums (or is that tantra?). Mein Gott this kid is a pro. The naughty corner is perilously close to losing its primary function as a guest toilet. The terrible twos have now seamlessly merged with the fucking fours. No respite, no quarter given. Food tantrums involve declining to eat anything other than refined carbohydrates (even though sugar is bad for you –see above).
And then there is NemoShacko. Who calls their cat NemoShacko!! We had a deal that because Oliver named Leia (he was very into Starwars at the time) James could name the kitten. We went off to the vet to collect the kitten and waited a while. Oliver cottoned on that we were collecting a cat and so we said we're coming to get a fish like Nemo. When the cat came out we said to James, "what's the kitty's name" – "NemoShacko". I think this is the best name for a pet ever!!!! There are variances, NemoShacko Jack, NemoShacko Black Cat, Snowy (you'll see from the picture that NemoShacko is neither black nor snowy.
He is capable of amusing himself, although he begs his parents to play with him. But you put him in swimming pool he will swim for hours. I took both of them to the Parkhurst pool and James got into his armbands and swam all over the pool. Sometimes this independence can lead to a lost child and we've been known to do this on occasion - hence the title of this post.
Happy fourth birthday JimJam. You are the best youngest son a parent could ever wish for. You are adored by your older brother and you adore him in return (this might not always be apparent). We love you very much and are immensely proud of you. You've had a fantastic year at school, made a lot of friends and grown up to be the person who your parents and family love more and more each day.
And then there is the music
Last year I went off to the Shifty 30th year anniversary concert and spent a day listening to the music that was so important to my own musical journey. It was bands like the Gereformeerde Blues Band that made me appreciate and love Afrikaans as a language (this is after two years of military Afrikaans which can put you off the language completely). James Phillips started this alternatiewe Afrikaans movement with his "Wie is Bernoldus Niemand?". Phillips is James' dedicated musician, he was a very politically active and conscious musician who died just as South Africa moved into a democracy. What is frightening though is how a number of his songs written about the apartheid government now ring true for the Zoomer dictatorship.
The other James – James Marshall Hendrix
I was talking to a parent at Reggie's party yesterday about the best guitarists ever. He showed me a post where Hendrix wasn't even mentioned. This is very rare. Most polls start with Hendrix and then move five other names around to make the top six. Hendrix came into my life in the early eighties via a book called "The Natural Superiority of the left hander". Hendrix and McCartney were the reasons why I never learned to play the guitar right handed, even though I am very naturally left (something I do rather regret). Red House is now a blues standard. It's like Dust My Broom or Crossroads or Sweet Home Chicago. As a guitarist you want to learn this song. There are numerous live recordings but this is the best. Yes it's long but it never gets boring and it showcases what a great blues guitarist was.
Happy birthday my wonderful and fantastic and beloved JimJam. Many more happy returns.