Sunday, June 01, 2008

Letter To A 22 Month Old Star Gazer

Darling Tricky

This month you boldly went where no Tricky had gone before.

This place was the zoo and because we have paid to become Zoo Friends you have boldly gone twice.

Your dad and I discussed this, how when we were children, the zoo was an enormous treat. An enormous and exhausting treat, perhaps once every five years - which means twice in total because after the age of 10 the zoo is BOOOOORING (until you're old enough to smoke a joint in the car with your friends before you wander in and then it totally rules again).

Going to the zoo, for us as kids, meant lugging our own food and drink in a backpack and spending hours trudging through miles of zoo poo, looking at every single bloody animal on the free map because the cost of getting three kids and two adults through the gate was so expensive.

But lo, see how things change.

We arrived with nothing but a small water bottle and immediately wasted precious zoo minutes lining up for espresso coffee and chocolate brownies (which we hid from you) and banana bread (your god-given right). Whenever you hear the word “coffee” you immediately counter with “banna bed” and if you are in a good mood you will qualify and say patiently “banna bed coming.” This is useful if we’re already sitting at the table and have given our order but if we’ve only just strapped you into the car seat then sadly we’re in for some pain.

But meanwhile, back at the zoo, post coffee, banna bed, brownie and…I’m sorry to say…tantrum, it was time to observe our fabulous furry friends. We saw the chimpanzee (Bobo!) and the gorilla (Other Bobo!) and the elephant and then THAT WAS IT, HOMETIME.

Our parents would have seen it as a scandalous waste of zoo time but actually the mini visit was marvelous. You lingered at the chimps, you clapped at the gorillas especially the big bosomed mama with her tiny baby, you stared with dull tired eyes at the elephants and you were asleep before we got back to the car park.

On your second visit you fitted in some red pandas and a grey gibbon and went back to see your gorilla pals. We hope for many jolly mini visits in the months ahead. We hope to be more than just Friends with the zoo by the time our money runs out. Indeed at the rate we’re going we'll be Zoo De-Factos by Christmas.
This has been a month of many words, much more clearly pronounced. Some of these occur very loudly between 6.00 and 6.30 in the morning. Those particular words go in this order: Mama, Daddy, Get Up! Big Bed. Milk! Poo poo in mumpy! Change Mumpy! Get Up! Get Up! Mummy! Daddy! Milk coming! GET UP!

The first time this happened I lay in bed, astonished at such a miraculous string of loud, clear, articulate demands. Then I Got Up! One morning I may even record your commands and use it as my ring tone, such is the thrill of having your toddler harangue you like a medieval slumlord, or alternatively a television producer.

Your grandmother in Newcastle showed you the stars the last time we were there and so now, each night you ask to be taken outside to look at the Tinkle Tinkles and sing their little song.

Sadly, there are not a whole lot of Tinkle Tinkles in our Sydney night sky, being so full of cloud or light or laser beams. When do we spot one or two or three, it’s a miracle and the cue for more singing and much celebrating. Mostly we see aeroplanes, lights blazing, engines roaring, and these are almost as a good as a tinkle…almost.

The other day we were walking by the beach and a cool busking dude was playing his saxophone and when we went to have a closer look he played Twinkle Twinkle for you. I tried to get you to sing but you just stared silently in amazement. I turned to the cool dude and thanked him saying, amazed, that’s his favourite song as in…cool busking dude how on earth did you know? He just smiled as I slipped him two bucks.
It’s actually quite a popular tune, he informed me.
Memo to self: nobody likes a smug busker.
This month your new best ever book is called Sleepy Pendoodle which you call “Slippy Pinddddddng”. It is a delightful tale of a little girl and her “wee pup!” which is so tiny that at first its eyes are shut fast, until her Uncle Hughie tells her the Secret of Waking. In your case it seems firmly connected to how little sleep your parents got the night before but in this story it involves stroking the pup’s back from floppy ears to fluffy tail. When this moment comes you turn and present your back for a stroke too. When the puppy finally opens its eyes, without fail, you say wow and smile with glee. And I just like saying Sleepy Pen DOOOOOODLE in a stupid voice.
So everyone's happy.

This month also, we have had to do emergency shopping on your behalf. Babies grow. Fast. Who knew? Your funky trousers, the ones that look like they’re made of fifties curtains (because they are) once naturally skimmed your fat little feet. Now they’re capris pants.
Those groovy yellow cord too-big trousers your dad bought you nearly a year ago are no longer too-big but sadly are still way too long and frankly are totally unrollable. Quite soon they will also be unwearable. And after weeks of wearing lovely soft leather booty things and then a pair of soft leather sandals you have finally graduated into big boy red boots. With laces.
Daddy bought these because it is cold and R at childcare was pursing her lips at us and making pointed comments about your poor cold feet in their socks and sandals. I was more concerned that they were making you look like a tiny German backpacker but hey, whatever it takes.

If you haven’t seen either of us for a few hours, being at childcare say, or a mini zoo visit with the other parent, you become Prince Charming when finally you do see us, coyly grinning and flinging yourself down the hallway and leaping into our arms.
It is the most wonderful feeling.

Sometimes you call me or you look across at me and smile and I wonder what I have done to deserve you. That sounds like some ghastly Bert Bacharach lyric but it’s true. You seem so happy to play with me or read with me. You take my hand and sit me down to watch Playschool with you, or alternatively gently guide me to the biscuit jar. And sometimes you put your arms round my head and kiss me or present your own soft cheek to be kissed and the thought he loves me flashes through my mind and I am astonished all over again.
Because of course I love you, love you till my heart hurts with the enormity of it all, but to have you love me back seems utterly miraculous.

A bit like finding stars in a cloudy Sydney sky.

your very own


Jess said...

Oh V. He (and you, and you both together) are so beautiful.

Mima said...

Can't tell you how much I love your writing, and especially when you do your letters to Tricky. The zoo mini visits sound like so much fun, and all without becoming too tired and grumpy - perfect. As for him loving you back, of course he does, you are everything in his world and how could it possibly be any other way.

Betty M said...

He is very cute. I have fantasised about living close enough to the Zoo where I am to justify the arm and a leg for the family pass as mini-Zoo is so much better than whole day cranky Zoo particularly as here the Zoo coffee is diabolically awful.

Betty F said...

I love your letter to Tricky. He is so beautiful and your photos are just wonderful. Thank you

PiquantMolly said...

Oh! So sweet.

Grit said...

thank the heavens, or the earth, or the sky, or gorillas, that kids exist. If kids did not exist I would wear a stylish dress and work in an office and I could not go to the zoo in the rain and the mud and stare in wonder and delight at baby elephants and go aaahh! look! they are soooo cute! go tricky, go!

Anonymous said...

The zoo in my city was a place of such squalor and torture that my brothers and I were all traumatized... but the zoo 3 hours away in the nation's capital we quite like and have many happy memories around it.

The end of this post made my tears fall, which isn't too unusual sometimes for me when I read posts... but that I made a strange sound in my throat IS unusual. Nicely done.

LL said...

Oh, beautiful, beautiful boy...
Congratulations OG, on another amazing letter to Tricky.

Nico said...

He really is a beautiful boy, such a perfect combo of you and G.

I love the early morning chatter too, it often puts a smile on my face. The other morning it was "Mommy, COME HERE!". How can you say no to that??

I think that busker knows how to get his bread buttered! Tinkle Tinkle indeed.