My darling baby boy.
Actually I just wanted to write those above words because I realize as time goes on you are becoming less of the baby and more of the boy.
You are fifteen months old and you now wear big boy trousers and big boy shirts and yesterday you actually did a big boy poo in the toilet. Well, to tell the truth that last was a bit of a fluke, you had just had your bath and I set you on the carpet to frolic and caper in the ever popular nudie run. I was talking on the phone to your pretend uncle, Mysterious George, when I suddenly saw you standing very still and concentrating very hard.
“Wait George,” I said “just hold that thought about the state of the Australian television industry…darling are you doing a poo poo?”
You looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said quite decisively, “No.” But luckily I put my hand under your bum just to check and then there was much shrieking and running to the toilet to sit you upon it. But also there was suppression of the shrieking because I didn’t want to traumatize you and have your eventual toilet training become a terrible emotional burden and there was much encouragement of you and enthusiastic exclamations of “Good Boy! Yay!”
And of course, because you have a highly attuned internal Applaud Now! sign set deep within your cognitive bits, you automatically started clapping your hands, and what with me trying to balance you between my legs and not get my poo hands over your clean naked body, it was quite the effort. But finally it was done and I wiped your bottom (“Hooray! Just like a big boy!”) and set you on the carpet again while I washed my own hands.
That's when I learned a toddler’s poo is never really over, and this time I failed the catch.
Luckily I heard Dadda coming through the front door and so I was able to call to him (but not in a panicked, poo-on-the-carpet-alert kind of way, more in a ‘Come join us for larks. Now’ kind of way.) And then there were two grownups with poo hands in the ensuite bathroom with an applauding naked toddler and more enthusiastic non-traumatising joy than you could poke a child psychologist at.
We are back in the house in Country Town after more than 10 weeks away and it is a strange sensation to be back in this place, with funky youth worker HRS and dedicated film maker D, both of whom were delighted to see you again and marveled at your curls and your walking abilities and the fabulous Upside Down Baby! trick and your cunning way with words that have the ‘ah’ sound in them. (“No” for instance is pronounced “Nah.”)
It is strange to see your new grownup ways with the toys you played with as a 12 or 13 month old. When we say ‘go and play in your tent,’ you actually go! And you play! And the thing you play upon is a horrendously noisy plastic car dashboard which allows you to create the soundtrack of a horrible car accident, complete with squealing brakes and wailing ambulance siren. (Somewhere out there is a toy that gives you Mozart and Bach when you press the little plastic buttons but I bet you can’t buy them for $2.50 at a garage sale in Country Town.)
You point and acknowledge things now, especially cars and of course dogs. When I took you for a walk in your stroller, the first day back in Country Town, you looked up at that big blue non-rain cloud-free sky and pointed and said ‘tar!
And in fact it was the moon, but even so, snaps to you for seeing it in the first place and registering that it was one of those heavenly body things.
Also, while we have had great success with you pointing out your teeth, hair, and ear (especially ear or ‘eeyah!’ as you like to squeal) when we ask you to show us your nose you always reach out to grab ours. I don’t know why you’d prefer ours because yours is such a cute little brown button, but in your world, our nose is your nose.
Over the last two weeks, in fact around the time we were in Newcastle for Aunty K’s wedding, you became the clingwrap baby again and I couldn’t even stand on the other side of the room without you becoming a Screaming Tomato.
Only Apwah and Jimmy The Dog could substitute and even then only for short bursts. Once again I left you with my dad, your Poppy, during your afternoon nap while I went out shopping with your Aunties and once again you woke early, discovered me gone, and then proceded to give my poor dad an absolute caning for the next three hours until I got home. Only this time you could walk and also you could imperiously put out your hand and then drag Poppy from room to room in search of missing Mumma. Jimmy the Dog gave Poppy some respite but after a little half hearted eye poking from you, it was back to Screaming Tomato On Legs. Bless him for staying calm and not phoning to recall me immediately from Foundation Undergarment World.
And then a couple of days after the wedding I found the most enormous molar sprouting from your back gums. This seemed a bit unfair, I always assumed they started from the front and worked their way round but no, apparently teeth can appear whenever and wherever they like. And now I see that they’re coming up all over the shop and it’s like you’ve got a mouth full of popcorn.
Dadda has been taking you for a swim in the pool most mornings and for the last two days I have come too and how sweet it is to walk down the street with you holding our hands.
I look down and see your blue hat bobbing between us and your little brown soft shoes patting their way across the drought cracked brown earth and C and I look at each other and do that goofy in-love smile that once, 15 months ago, was just for he and I but now is for you too.
Around this time, two years ago, your father and I were on the Great Big Fertility Ride and this happened and it was devastating.
As your father and I held each other and cried on the carpet of that Melbourne apartment, we had no idea that you were in our future, waiting for us to hold you and love you and be, finally, after so long, your very own Mumma and Dadda.
What with one thing and another it’s been easy to forget that time but just this month I received the bill for another twelve months of embryo storage because one of your Petri dish buddies is still on ice. Dadda and I have been thinking a lot about that embryo but also about you and how wonderful you are and what a blessing you have been to our lives.
Our nose is your nose.
And our love is your love. Always.
Your very own