Thursday, February 21, 2008

Letter To A 19 Month Old Delinquent

Darling Tricky

Good God, you’re 19 months all of a sudden!

Just like one day you will be 19 years and I shall be equally amazed and horrified. When I started to write this you were arguing with me about having a nap.

Are you tired, I asked hopefully.
Nahhh, you drawled back, like the delinquent you will no doubt turn out to be.
Yes, you are, I insisted, I am the Mum and I know.
Bonta! you replied in a jubilant tone that I found inappropriate under the circumstances and then you cunningly tried to change the subject by shouting Brrrrm! and driving your little red car away.
Cah! you called back over your shoulder just to add insult to injury.

This entire scene will be no doubt replayed 18 years hence, albeit with some slight word changes. I shall watch you speeding off down the street in your clapped out 2000 Holden having shouted obscenities at me and I shall have to ease the pain by recalling you now, when you were short and cute, you enjoyed dancing to your battery operated turtle and you thought flowers were the most awesome things on this earth.

We are still a few months off the “Terrible Twos” and indeed my mother-in-law told me that in her day, there were no terrible twos, twos were lovely, it was the Terrible Threes that everyone was terrified about.

I wouldn’t dream of saying that you were “terrible” just as I could not honestly say you were “two” but the word tyrant has been bandied about of late.

Is it the way you firmly take the hand of your nearest willing slave and drag them over to whichever item you wish them to pick up, read, or feed to you?

Is it the way you express your displeasure by dropping to all fours, shouting lustily and then attempting to bang your teeth against the floorboards? Obviously this just makes us laugh but all the books say that would be the wrong thing to do and so we are forced to snicker into our sleeves.

Also, changeable, what? The other day you decided that you wanted to eat organic apricots. Yes the same organic apricots that previously you had scorned. In truth, the organic apricot is an ugly beast of a dried fruit, resembling a leathery, tightly wrinkled and deeply tanned, testicle.

It’s not the kind of thing you’ll see decorating a pavlova say or garnishing a crème brulee. Even so, I was bemused when you expressed interest in eating the thing but complete horror at touching it with your fingers. Instead you grasped at my wrist forcing me to pick up the loathsome yet tasty morsel and hold it in front of your mouth so that you could bite off small pieces. All attempts to drop it into your hand led to shrieking and flinging of this wretched Quasimodo Raisin across the room. When I refused to feed it to your mouth directly and offered it to you in my hand you preferred to lean over and eat it from my palm like a very very small horse.

You are still having swimming lessons with your Dadda and much excitement came from you blowing bubbles in the ocean baths the other day. You obligingly recreated the moment for me in your own little bath. This was less thrilling since you had also just done a wee in your own little bath water but frankly those ocean baths are not the cleanest either and on some of the hot days we’ve had of late it’s a little like wallowing in a crowded tureen of soup.

I should note that you have also, finally done a poo in the bath, a little milestone I was waiting for you to plop on, thankfully your father was on duty. It was a good lesson learned for Dadda too…note that prolonged farts in conjunction with a studious expression will lead to poo.

You have a slight obsession with mosquitoes and the bites they inflict upon your chubby arms and legs. It’s hideous, they often swell up into big hard lumpy welts. We have some Stop Itch to dab onto these and when I first started to put this on I would say, sympathetically, Naughty Mosquitoes. They bite. You also saw me swatting a couple of the offensive insects and so now you have a whole routine that goes like this: Baht! (point mournfully at red dot on leg) Nottee Skeeto. (Squat down and smack hard at floor in best mosquito crushing impression) Cream! (Take hand of Willing Slave and drag into bathroom where stop itch cream is kept) Repeat for each red spot as appears.

This month also, you changed our names. For months we have been Mumma and Dadda. It is lovely to be called Mumma or Dadda, unless you are like the father of Tricky’s little friend Toby, who was also called Mumma and then, whilst still lovely, it got just that wee bit confusing.

But then, for no reason I can fathom, you started calling us Mummeeee and Daddddeeee, both said in a sort of drawn out, slightly mournful manner. It’s extremely effective at 6.30 in the morning, your preferred waking time for you and us, when you call from the other side of the bookshelves Mummmeee, Daddeeeeee up! Up! Peeeease. And then, if we’re not moving quite fast enough, the stern warning Poo Poo! Poo Poo! The very thought of a leaking nappy and a bed needing a complete stripdown and disinfect has us up bright eyed and bushytailed like no alarm clock can do.

Ah, but it’s lovely. You are such a bright and beautiful child, sweet and happy, slow to cry when you have one of your innumerable bumps and tumbles and oh so quick to laugh. Even your tantrums are not so tantrummy, not just yet, and a raspberry on the tummy is often a quick way to short circuit the Screaming Tomato.

Sometimes I look into your eyes and there are no words at all to describe the feeling that wells up inside me, that peculiar blend of joy and delight and all those secret mother’s fears, those unspoken terrors and worries and general fussings, and love and love and love and love and love.

Although then again, maybe Bonta comes close.

Your Very Own



Anonymous said...

How I love your letters to Tricky.

The way you feel about this boy, maked my heart smile. This is EXACTLY the way I feel about my kids, you just say it better than I ever could.

Could you give him a hug from a complete stranger many, many, MANY miles away??

Maggie May said...

A lovely letter & lovely photos. What a cute little lad. Had to laugh at the apricots that looked like testicles & obviously felt like testicles but tasted yummy! Hideous mosquitoes. We only have gnats were we live.
Terrible twos or threes? No sixteens, I think!

Lindsey said...

Thank you for sharing your letters with us. I can relate to so much of the same kind of love, even though I am only a smidgen into it in relation to you.
And his pictures are so lovely.
The last one is the very best. He shows such spirit.

Mima said...

OG you write so beautifully that I am taken along on the ride with you, and I think that reading your letters to Tricky is as close as I am ever going to come to experiencing motherhood, so it is a real privilege to share you thoughts with you this way.

I especially loved the apricot story, and the mosquitos had me laughing out loud as I imagined Tricky going through his drill. And as ever beautiful photos, he is a very lucky child to have parents who adore him so much, and such a loving family all around him. I'm sure that as he grows up he will cause all sorts of chaos, but his current antics are just lovely.

Jess said...

You know, the day Tricky goes into school, you're going to be a weepy mess. But that night? That night when he runs home and tells you everything and has made three friends and I got to paint Mommy see and I made you a tomato! and Jeremy cried for a little bit! and all the wonderful stuff?

After he goes to bed, I will be deeply ashamed of you if you don't lift a glass of champagne to him, that fine strong growing up boy of yours.

And the perfect toast?

'Bonta', of course.

Gabrielle said...

Hey Tricky! Happy 19 month birthday! Sorry about your mozzie bites. My Mummy has discovered that teething gel works really well on mozzie bites too - if it numbs the gums it numbs your bites! Anyway it works for me and is easier to find. Love Gabby xoxo

LL said...

Quasimodo Raisin??!!! as Lou Lou (from bananas in pj's) says, "verr, verr funny"

we've been suffering the tantrummy twenty months here, alittle earlier than expected

Hey, good tip above from gabby, thanks.

MsPrufrock said...

Thanks for writing these monthly letters. You write them vastly better than I ever could, plus, er, you write them. I'm far too lazy for something so organised.

That penultimate picture of Tricky is hilarious. Cheeky!

Nico said...

Poo in the bath? Honestly, it never even occurred to me. How naive am I?

I have also heard that the threes can be worse than the twos. But I think it really depends on the kid.

So great that he's calling you mummeeeeee and daddeeeeeee now. Although when Ant started doing that it did make me a little sad. Growing up already!

Mony said...

The pictures, as always, are amazing too!

Anonymous said...

these are some of my favorite posts- these letters to Tricky. You capture him so well.

& the photos...oh man is he adorable.

Anonymous said...

I feel I am leading a life perhaps 5 months behind you....drugs, ivf, acupuncture, misscarriage....we added adoption to our list and it has worked out wonderfully. Sophia is now 14 months old and the next foot stomping, fist clenched tantrum will now make me laugh as I picture an adorable screaming tomatoe!

Anonymous said...

I feel I am leading a life perhaps 5 months behind you....drugs, ivf, acupuncture, misscarriage....we added adoption to our list and it has worked out wonderfully. Sophia is now 14 months old and the next foot stomping, fist clenched tantrum will now make me laugh as I picture an adorable screaming tomatoe!

Anonymous said...

God, what a love. He really is something, OG.