Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Letter to a Seven Month Old Flying Dinosaur

Dear Tricky

I begin this letter to commemorate your seventh month by noting that although our loungeroom is littered with sitting devices for you, your current favourite place to recline (apart from in the arms of your many slaves) in is a cardboard box. Here you lean back and view the world, or abuse Mr Caterpillar or sometimes just have a refreshing suck on the cardboard sides.

This month has been all about the crawling or at least not the crawling per se but the preparation leading up to it, the stretching and the reaching and the tapping of feet against the floor and the rocking.

The first time we saw you on your hands and knees rocking with an intriguing expression on your face we hailed you as a genius child whose physical development was far beyond any child ever yet born and then a few minutes later we changed your nappy and realised that you were actually just working an enormous smelly poo through your system.

Which is, in its own way, cause for celebration but perhaps not for cake and party hats.

At one point I watched as you got onto your hands and knees and then, because you’re not sure what comes next, you lifted your butt high in the air so you were on hands and feet doing the down dog yoga pose and then you sort of flipped yourself to one side so you were half sitting half reclining.

Wow, I thought, that’s new. And then I thought: he hasn’t fallen on his face yet and I swear no sooner had the words gone through my mind then you fell with a splat on your cute little button nose. And lo the screaming.

But then, in a little show of how things change so quickly these days, in between starting this letter a few days ago and now, you have started speeding about on your tummy. You drag yourself on your arms and kick with your legs and slide forward and away you go. It is an exciting time and also a time for putting on stair gates because we can’t keep you trapped in the playpen all day.

All this month, while I have been writing my book, you have been gallivanting with your father. I say gallivanting, he says Important Meetings (which often take place in coffee shops). The first time he took you out, with a little lunch packed for you, I felt very strange indeed. Previously the most you could be taken away from me was four hours and you would have morphed into Screaming Tomato when you return. But now, you go, fortified with mashed potato and pumpkin, and strained fruit with rice cereal, and your own little cup and you can be away with your father all day, meeting to your hearts content. I do know that sometimes he takes you swimming at the baths and you both love doing that.

I have come to realize that you are not the most smiley baby in the world. Others your age are gappy grinners and they radiate their sunny little personalities everywhere they go. You on the other hand are quiet and watchful. You observe things, with a faint frown creasing your forehead as if in your mind you can’t quite believe this world and all its weird shit.

People stop and smile at you and make with the goo goo noise and you gaze at them, unsmilingly, almost to the point of being creepy and then you give them one tiny little smile, not even a smile, more a very slight bending of the corners of your mouth and a little flutter of your eyelashes and they go BANANAS.

Sometime this month we were in a café (having a Meeting) with your friend Annie and she took you for a little walk about because you were getting bored. There was another baby in the café and she wandered by in case you and the other Baby wanted to have a little chat.

As soon as the other baby saw you its sweet little cherubic face lit up with the sort of wattage that could power a city and it gaped and grinned and gurgled and all those other words starting with g because it recognised in you a kindred spirit and an equally small human being. Annie smiled at the other Baby’s glee and then she glanced at you and nearly coughed up her latte because you were not smiling at the baby, you were not grinning or gurgling. Instead you were staring with a faint horror, a sort of “why is it doing that, its scaring me” expression. In the end Annie took you away because she saw your bottom lip quivering which she interpreted as acute embarrassment for your peer.

However reticent you may be in the public arena, though, you always smile for us.

Whether it’s the moment when your father brings you home after a hard day of coffee and you spy me rolling about on my office chair, or when I take you out of the bath with daddy and then roll you in your towel on the bed. You laugh like a joyful baby pterodactyl, all squeals and harsh cries and calls for raw flesh.

This morning I watched as your father danced you about the room. You were laughing your pterodactyl laugh and I clapped as the two of you tangoed right up to me and then suddenly I started to cry.

It took me by surprise, I could not believe how happy I was in that moment. And then your dad sat next to me and he was crying too and then we had one of those three way hugs and you just kept laughing and gurgling at your ridiculously soft and soppy parents.

And just writing that word ‘parents’ is making me cry again.


Your very own



Nico said...

I laughed, I cried... I can't wait to read your book! I love the way you describe things. Ant sounds very much like Tricky in that he will very rarely smile for strangers, but at home in his natural habitat he is full of smiles and laughs.

Em said...

What a lovely boy, smiles or no. It is going by fast, isn't it?

Panda said...

Spudly is one of those babies who LOVES other little people, and will laugh and grin and SQUEAL and do the little Excited Hands Dance every time he sees another baby and doesnt understand why not everyone is as excited to see him as he is to see others.

Tricky is just To Die For, really. And you made me cry. Again. Thanks so much for that.

Lut C. said...

Good thing you don't post gems like this every week. I don't think I could take it.

I can take the occasional reminder of why I'm doing this in the first place. :-)

Those are fabulous pictures.

Anne said...

You observe things, with a faint frown creasing your forehead as if in your mind you can’t quite believe this world and all its weird shit.

A very sensible attitude for one so young. He's gorgeous.

soralis said...

He is adorable, I can't believe he is 7 months already!

LaPartera said...

This is a fabulous post. It took me back 30 years to my own boys' infancies. How great that you are able to chronicle it all in this way.

He is absolutely adorable.

Calliope said...

oh my fricked GAWD - the serious photo just melted my heart. He looks like such a person now!
I love these month letters so much.

LabiaLady said...

Oh man... OG, wonderful, wonderful post. Have never heard a baby's laugh been described like a pterodactyl, but you are so right.

granny p said...

Now I do like the t-shirt. As for the front movement; my daughter never got round to crawling - she just moved like that VERY fast. It was a good way of cleaning the floor. But clothes as floor cloths...not so good.

Delicious child xx

Anonymous said...

Damn you Ova Girl. You make me grateful that my husband refused to let me destroy my frozen embryos.

Jeremy's baby photos are mostly serious. I wonder if serious babies are the ones who grow up to be the quiet and shy people?

Tricky is gorgeous. I completely understand your tears, and I'm spilling them with you.

Demeter said...

Tricky looks cuter by the day! Congratulations on his 7th month.
I read this article and I thought I'd share this good news with you although I think you must know by now...

Clare said...


I am new here, but am guessing by this post that the infertility referred to in your profile got sidelined one way or another.

My son (now 4 yrs old) also laughed just like a pteradactyl when he was Tricky's age, and we were all very sure of that even though we had never heard a pteradactyl laugh.

The sad thing is the way you forget. Even though I know for sure he had that prehistoric cackle, I can't for the life of me remember how it sounded. Maybe you should record it. And then send it to me, as a reminder of what I've forgot.

Still I'm pregnant again now, so maybe I'll get another flying dinosaur.

Lovely blog. Nice to meet you (Granny P pointed me in this direction).

Clare said...

Well, I did the sums and then hotfooted it to your archives and have spent a happy hour or two (with breaks for boring stuff like exercise and baths) reading about how you got pregnant.

What a ride! And what a great blog.

I have a similar-ish one, based around some of the same issues here.

In one of your posts you talk about the niggling doubts. I have them. I'm convinced that at any moment my period's going to start and I'm goign to be very embarrassed at having told the WHOLE FUCKING WORLD that I'm pregnant. Hmmm.

Mandy said...

Well done! (I cried too, of course.) My son was very pensive as an infant, too. Deep thinker, I'm sure. Makes those rare smiles in public all the more precious!

Bon said...

Ova the eloquent...

my eyes needed that little watering. Tricky is beautiful and very wise-looking. must be all the meetings.

Thalia said...

He continues to be adorable, and oh so photogenic. Thank you for sharing.

'kmum said...

I stumbled upon your site last week and have been reading your archives since then to catch up. Your story is amazing and your son is beautiful. I have a son also, although we didn't have infertility issues, we did have problems and a loss along the way to get to him. It might be wrong, but I think it makes him even more precious to me.
Good luck with the book.

hongcgi said...

The kid is very cute.