Small boy went to sleep by 7.30pm and small girl conked out at about 8pm; so I didn't have to resort to violence. There's nothing like compare and contrast to make one evaluate one's parenting decisions. Small girl cannot use adult cutlery - or any cutlery, perhaps - and is very messy with her food. We make small boy sit with us at the table and we all eat our meals together. We're fairly particular about table manners and competent cutlery use - not a meal passes without me instructing small boy not to bang his teeth on his fork or spoon. Small girl and her tiny brother eat at a children's table unsupervised. It shows. Small girl speaks in a sing-song, lispy cutsey voice that grates. I wonder if she only gets attention when she's being sweet and arch. On the plus side of their ledger, small girl can draw amazingly well and writes well - mum, dad, small boy's name - by herself. She pushes our boundaries a lot more than small boy does, or at least more frequently if not with as much force, but that might be because our boundaries are different than the ones she has at home. Her parents use a lot more discipline than we do - up to and including corporal punishment - but she seems more, not less, rebellious. We are sticklers for manners, but small boy gets to make a lot of decisions for himself. Already, at five, differences are clear.
Small girl stayed until after lunch, whereupon the fathers met up with bikes and the tikes burned off some energy. I wasn't sure how to play this morning - provide activities and make it a special event or let them get on with it by themselves (thinking ahead to years of weekend home invasions, I am keen not to set an unworkable precedent in the beginning). In the end I left them to their own devices until I could hear they were becoming fractious, at which point I provided an activity: art, cooking, meal etc.
I have explained to husband that, just like birthday parties, these friend events are a sort of currency that small boy accrues with his peers. It falls on us to provide a good experience for him and his friends so that he will be popular. It's a whole new world to husband, since he had neither birthday parties nor friends to his house - not even for an hour or two, let alone overnight. He was also ostracised, I've not had to labour the point.
In other boy-related news, I have spent the long weekend sporadically sewing name labels into small boy's clothes (I drew the line at his undies and used a marker pen for these). So far I've managed to do 12: his bag, his swimming togs, his towel, a shirt, some tee shirts, some trousers, a sunhat...I'll be at it for a while. Name labels are another English class issue - bear with me... I had a few options: I could have used a marker pen for everything; I could have bought iron-on woven labels; or I could order sew-on woven labels. Why did I choose the sew-on ones? Why didn't I just write with pen (what we did for his hat and coat at kinder)? It's like I have a template in my mind; it's what my parents did plus whatever snobbish aspirational bits I've added on. I can't now remember how my school clothes were labelled, but in my imagination woven name labels are the correct 'look'; whereas marker pen looks shifty, ad hoc, woven labels carry with them an air of authority (lord only knows what the upper classes do - have monogrammed silk squares or just not care about losing things?)... Anyway, I ummed and ahhed about iron-on versus sewn in (the sewn-in ones are more expensive) and I thought the sew-in ones will be reusable won't curl up at the edges in the wash. So, a one-off expense for several years' worth of labels (albeit at the cost of considerable labour on my part, what with unpicking and resewing each time) with the right look of authority and ownership - sew-on seemed the right decision.
I'm beginning to regret that slightly - iron-on would have been much, much faster. I did get small boy's name done in purple (his favourite colour) on a white label though - every time I finish one I sigh with satisfaction as small boy's name looks very smart all in lilac-tinted serif upper case. My mother made me sew my own badges on my guide uniform and there's a similar sense of foot-dragging pride to this whole endeavour: it's a pain in the arse, but it's the right thing to do and it looks great when it's finished.
Since small boy's school does not have a uniform (unusual here and in the UK) I'm stuck sewing labels in anything he might wear or take to school. I'm going to be sewing in labels for weeks!
B: yoghurt, coffee; slice of banana bread, scoop of cream-cheese icing (kiddie activity turned into verboten eating)
L: mole, avo, one tortilla chip, sour cream
D: egg-fried rice with ham and veg, pear