We've had Naomi and Tris with us today, they stayed last night after getting fed up at home. I love having an open house, it was so much a part of how I grew up. I don't think most people have a concept of it, that our doors are just open and we have people to stay when they need it. Emma and Chris might drop in on their way somewhere and stay over without notice, it's not a hassle or a trial and it isn't rude. That's how my house should be! The only guests we resent are guests that expect us to do for them without asking things that they would usually do for themselves. We don't wash people's clothes if they leave them in a heap - but we would if they asked. We don't babysit children unless it has been arranged more than an hour before the parent walks out. You get the picture.
All these people add to our lives, and all they take is food that we can spare and space that we can spare. The girls love to have someone here, a bit of novelty and especially if there's a child. Jenna was so delighted to find Tristan here - more babies. She can never have too many babies around.
Tristan wasn't sure about being here though, just like Morgan he cries at strange men. Martin was in the "strange" bracket. Poor dear sweet man he isn't used to being seen as a threat - babies and children of all ages normally make a beeline for him, especially at church where our pew gets very crowded what with Emma the children's worker and Martin with the rainbow bead bracelets to run off with.
I've been talking to Em today actually, she had a lot of coursework to finish, all stuff about age-appropriate behaviour and targets for different physical skills. She was asking for my perspective of what the children can do already from these targets and what it's likely they'll do next. I was shaking my head at some things, how easy it is to write a bracket down for that age group... Walking - tick! Says two or more words - tick! How clear those boundries are, can they or can't they.
What about Morgan walking - she could but she didn't. Was she meeting that target or not? Under test conditions she would never have walked for me (she probably now would go on strike if she thought I wanted her to do it)... Talking, she can say maybe ten words. But not correctly. Other adults can understand them, but not necessarily strangers. Can she say ten words? Two? At the end of the day, does it really matter in the context of my parental knowledge of her overall capability and contentment?
I'm glad I stopped looking at that sort of thing myself. I feel more able to gauge their ability without a checklist.