Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Letter to a 28 Month Old Mover and Shaker

My darling Tricky

As I write this I am hacking and spluttering away like some plague ridden feudal serf.
Most unpleasant.
The source of this latest bout of nastiness I am afraid to say is…you. Last Monday after we got back from visiting One Legged Grandis in Newcastle you had a blazing fever and then the coughing started. Soon after that my coughing started too. We have been a vicious circular Petri dish for at least the last six months and I estimate we get about three weeks break between bouts. Every one of which is of course different and special and it’s Own Thing.

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.

Horrifying, yet effective.

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.


Very hard to resist but resist I must if we are to get any sleep at all.

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…
I now have a ziplock bag of additional Little People I bought for five bucks at a market in Newcastle. They are not as shiny, nor special as the original Little People, some of them are actually animals, not people, but they seem to do the job.

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.
Indeed you are such great friends that mumpy changetime has become a great feat of strength and control often needing two parents, because you don’t want your little friend to be locked away under your nappy. You want him to have the freedom to watch tv, play with your Lego and, as you told me this morning, have breakfast. You want to run and skip and jump, unhindered, calling loudly as you go: peeeeenisss, peeeeenisss, peeeeenisss...

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.
Your father smiled quietly to himself. My boy.

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.
No maybes about it.

I love you.

Your very own




Anonymous said...

Beyond the painful beauty that is Tricky, I just had to comment on this one because I recall the day that Wallace figured out the joy that is the penis.

In fact, just a few months ago I was helping him into underwear and he started playing with it. I told him that that was private-time activity, so he turned his back on me so his rear was in my face, and kept playing.

A penis to boys really is like having their own, personal, attached acadamy award.

As a woman, it's very funny to watch.

- Krissy Poopyhands

Maggie May said...

That was a beautiful post.
Little boys and their penises....... too exciting to trap in a nappy!
They do seem to handle them a lot, I have noticed at any age!
Hope you both feel better soon.

Topcat said...

Oh I love this post. Made me cry a little. Tricky is SO beautiful.

Geohde said...

Dear g-d it's superficial, but this post reminded me that I am lucky to have girls if only because they have no willies to wave about. Yes, they go for their bits at change time, but still :)


Anonymous said...

Simply cannot tell you how much I love reading Tricky's fabulous vocabulary! It makes me long so for Harry to start to talk. And Tricky is soooo utterly munchable.

Currently on germ high-rotation here, but with added dose of winter damp. Meh. We want to come stay with you.

Harry is also a big friend to his little pal. He was 9 months or so until he discovered it, and thereafter couldn't put it down. Sigh.

Mima said...

Tricky is just wonderful, and so love to read about his antics. You had me laughing out loud with his peeeeenisss activities sounds like quite an experience! And what a great idea the Little People are.

Sorry to hear that you are battling with the sniffles, I'm not sure what it is about little children but they do seem to attract them. A friend has been trying to come and visit for ages, but each time it looks as if it might just happen another bunch of sniffles arrives just in time to prevent it, and we are really trying not to get me infected with anything!

Betty F said...

Oh I just love your updates on Tricky. Your writing is so beautiful and I don't even need (though I enjoy) the photos of your beautiful little boy! Congratulations; you and your husband are such good parents!

Grit said...

well done tricky for sleeping through the night and sussing out that everything has a price and you can set that price with cute blinks and smiles and agreeable little nods of a curly head no problem. and happy days with peeeeniss friend! you are right ovagirl, that little girls are totally nonplussed by vagiiiina but are quite interested in painting their fingernails sparkle pink.