Friday, November 30, 2007

Letter to a 16 month old Button Pusher

Darling Tricky

You are now 16 months old which means it is almost time to learn how to prepare mumma’s coffee just the way she likes it (strong latte).

Actually, more often than not, you are able to fulfil simple tasks and directions: “Give That Fragile Ornament I Stupidly Placed Within Your Reach To Me Please” “Backwards down the stairs!” and Stop Running Away From Me And Come Back This Instant.”

This last one I just put in, in the hopes that one day soon you actually will do this but at the moment you seem to interpret it as a command to stop, look over shoulder with a coy smile, and then peg off in the opposite direction as fast as your chubby little legs can take you.

The other completely useless command is of course “Shhh Lie Down And Go To Sleep”.
I actually tried this one night and to my great shock you did which is why ever since night after night I try it around 3.30 in the morning. Memo to my brain: IT DOES NOT WORK even though night after night I try to vary my tempo, my pitch , my inflection in the hopes of hitting those magical melifluous tones that led, once, to such joyous Camelot-like success.

None of this would matter that much except we are back in the Big House and so we are all sleeping in the same bedroom (with a large Ikea bookshelf between us). Still, some nights are diamond, some nights are…not. And frankly, give or take a mosquito here, an overly hot night there, an irritating virus or a loud party next door….I have not the faintest idea why. I probably never will. One day, I'm told, you will simply sleep through the night. And the next. And the next. And that will be that.

The big change this month has been your entrance into the brave new world that is Playgroup. Up to this point your social obligations have been limited to affectionate tussles with your cousins (often involving icecream) and a playdate here and there with the child of whichever artist/artsworker we are currently working and/or meeting with.
Fun times indeed but now you have matured to the point where we feel you can handle a heavier social life. Also, you, me, your dadda: that unique combination of free spirited wacky artistic types in one room was driving us all a little crazy.

And obviously we had to bear in mind the starsign combination; you’re a Cancer, I’m a Cancer/Gemini cusp, C is a Sagittarius, and not one of us is a Morning Person.

When we arrive at Playgroup you usually gravitate towards either the mini trampoline, or the baby doll stroller which you love to push round and round the hall. If by chance someone has left a baby doll in the stroller you will swiftly remove said doll and throw it unceremoniously onto the floor. Meanwhile I sign us in and pay a couple of dollars and a piece of fruit.

Depending on which Playgroup we are attending, at 10.45am I may also be cutting up said piece of fruit (usually banana) along with all the other pieces of fruit that have appeared. At 11.00am, I and another mother will then serve the chopped up pieces of fruit to a table of small children. Then, at 11.15am some other lucky mother will pick all the squashed pieces of fruit up off the floor.

Once a week you go to the Other Playgroup with your dadda. At the other Playgroup you don’t have to do chores or provide fruit but you do have to jump for Jesus. It’s ok, the people are nice and they have baby doll strollers there too.

It is funny to see you in this mosh pit of tiny humanity, negotiating your way through the big kids in the sandpit, waiting your turn for the trampoline, stealing the baby stroller when the little girls have their backs turned. It is funny and it is lovely and it makes my heart sing to see you with your lips pressed determinedly as you roll the giant cylinder away or slide into the ball pit and then start joyously flinging the balls to the far corners of the hall.

You are deeply in love with buttons of all kinds…telephone, toy cash register, television or belly. (Coincidentally, as anyone who knows him will attest, your father is also a button pusher, from way back.) No small rounded raised surface is safe from your eager prying index finger and you will happily press said surfaces over and over saying BAH-TUN, BAH-TUN as you do.
This becomes doubly enjoyable for us if you are eating a cracker as well because then you will alternate that with CRAH-KAH, CRAH-KAH… Also, you can tell us that living in our house apart from MUMMA, DADDA and TSST is NEH, KKKK, MAH, GHHH and AHHHL. We also have some pet MAH (not to be confused with either your eldest cousin or that thing on your face that sits under your ney).

This isn’t a new thing or a 16 month thing by any means but can I just say here how glad I am to have you in my life?

How, despite the shrieking in the middle of the night, despite the wailing when you first wake, despite the…oh who am I kidding you’re actually a great toddler.

When my friends tell me about their toddler who can’t travel in the car for more than fifteen minutes at a time (you: eight hours from Country Town to Big House with brief stops for seesaw and sanity), or their toddler who won’t eat more than a grape at breakfast (you: three weetbix, plus you whinge at us to feed you porridge from our own bowls) or their toddler requiring invasive surgery and endless doctor’s appointments, I am reminded of how grateful I am for my car-loving, generally-healthy, slightly-sleepy, always-hungry boy/screaming tomato.

And when, after spending a couple of hours away from me, stealing strollers and jumping for Jesus, you walk into our house and see me and your eyes light up and you run at me laughing and calling Mumma, as if I was the best thing since sliced bread, or at least sliced fruit, well… then… you manage to push all my buttons and I just know I’m yours for life.

Your very own


Lin said...

Oh what a perfect baby he is! And those eyes. Just curious. Did you put eyeliner (upper and lower) on that child while he was napping?

Jenn said...

How did our tiny babies get so old? Mine turn 16 months tomorrow. He's beautiful.

Mima said...

You really do take the most wonderful photos, and tricky is just gorgeous. Managing with all of you in one room must be a bit of a struggle, but one that is worth it for you obviously love him so much. It is one of the big regrets for me that it will never be possible for me to have children, so your experiences and the wonderful way that you write about them let me experience them second hand, thank you for that.

LL said...

Fuck it OG, I'm due to post Lil'mooey's 18 month update and it will be nowhere as thoughful, insightful and funny as yours...

PS love the photo with the shoes...

lucky #2 said...

Again, what a lovely capture of the spirit of a 16 month old. I love how he throws the doll out of the stroller! The pic with the shoes is hysterical, too!

calliope said...

awwwwww. These posts are always so so beautiful and clever.

& is it me or is your son morphing into vintage Paul Simon?