As I write this I am hacking and spluttering away like some plague ridden feudal serf.
Not unlike you, my darling boy.
As well as our Virus Du Jour you have also picked up from somewhere an alternative to your previous yes and no answers. This alternative is ‘maybe’ and it is usually in response to an adult like me asking a sensible question like “Would you like breakfast?” or “Have you done a poo?”
Maybe. Not particularly helpful but quite amusing, this month anyway.
I think one of your big achievements over the past two months has been sleeping in your big boy bed through the night. This is a shared achievement of course, many people are involved, many books consulted, many sacrifices made, and it is ultimately an ongoing project.
So when I say ‘through the night’ I mean give or take the mandatory curtain calls at the start of proceedings. Last night it took several returns by both the motherperson and the fatherperson and finally a fakely stern Uncle K to put you back and keep you there – it seems he told you that we had “popped out” for a few minutes and so there was no use getting up anymore.
Over the last few weeks since your introduction to Big Boy Bed-dom we have experienced the soliloquies, monologues, ballads, confessions and loud agonised calls for water/back stroking/doona adjustment. Over the weeks, as your vocabulary has grown, so too have your demands become more sophisticated.
MUMMY! MUMMY! MINE WANT A CUDDLE! PEEEEEEASE! AND KISSES! MINE WANT KISSES PEEEEEASE!
It seems however that once you are asleep there is no more waking in the night and making your way to our bed.
I combined a number of sensible strategies to achieve this small miracle, but the one that stands out is bribery.
Some weeks ago I identified that you have a great love for ‘little people’. Not the dwarven variety per se, but the toy or ornamental variety. I have some of these “little people,” Chinese thimble like figures made out of clay.
When you asked to hold the little people I gave you a couple, thinking they would be a good distraction while I changed your nappy (still known as a ‘mumpy’ most days).
When you gaily flung them to the floor and smashed them I twigged that a plastic version of little people was a damn good idea, but where to find them?
And when, one morning, bleary eyed, sick with lack of sleep after yet another officially Worst Night Ever I piled you and your cousins into the car, got shat on by a bird as I was arguing with the Naughty Nephews about who got to sit in the passenger seat, took them to school and you to daycare, stopped for a coffee on the way home and then wandered, still bleary eyed, still shat upon, into a local toyshop and saw gasp! A Box of Little People! I knew then that the Sleep Goddess had willed it to be so.
If you can sleep in bed ALL NIGHT I told you that evening, I will give you ONE of these Special Little People in the morning.
Your eyes grew wide.
Mine people, you intoned, MINE SPECIAL PEOPLE.
Only if you stay in your bed ALL NIGHT, I insisted. Will you stay in bed?
And lo the first of several all night miracles occurred. Will it last? Maybe…
Your tendency to covetousness would not be complete if I didn’t mention the other Special Little Person in your life. Well alright yes, there is new cousin baby L who is 8 weeks old now and whose feet you love to stroke but I don't mean her.
Instead, I am talking about that eternal friend to all mankind, the one you refer to as MINE PEEEEEENISSSSS.
As you escaped from me yet again this morning and went racing across the floor and into your cowboy tent I said to your father, I will check this but I am pretty sure that neither I not my sisters ever used to run around at this age shouting vagiiiiina, vagiiiiina, vagiiiiina at the top of our voices.
And you are a boy. A loud, joyous, shouting little boy who loves building towers at 6.30 in the morning with his blocks. Who adores ‘dumping’ on the trampoline with his cousins and little friend S. Who eats his porridge each morning accompanied by yet another rendition of Goldilocks by one or t’other of his clueless parents. You remember things, we drive down a street and you tell us your friend Dood lives nearby, we pass your friend S’s flat and you point it out and then excitedly reminise about the cake you had there on his birthday. You like to go into tunnels and luckily on the way to Newcastle there are several.
But you are still my baby and you still insist on certain baby habits I haven’t the heart to break. Like your milk in the mornings. We heat it in the microwave and sit on the couch and you insist on curling on my lap (or your father’s if he is doing the first shift) and you get me to hold the sippy cup to your mouth like a bottle and we sit there watching early morning birds and clouds and trees through the big windows and I watch your beautiful eyes and stroke your soft curls and feel you gulping down your milk, “nice and warm Mummy” and it is just lovely lovely lovely.
I love you.
Your very own