Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter To A 32 Month Old Wanted Man

Darling Tricky

It's March already which means I have completely missed over February in my efforts to record your own fabulous self in its ever changing, ever growing real life drama. Never mind, sometimes I also forget to put a banana in your daycare bag. And while we're on true confessions here's another little something that I need to get off my chest:

There are no "Broccoli Police".

This all sort of started last month around the time you loudly insisted that the big orange highchair was for wuss pussies and also that icecream was your birthright. 

Broccoli, which you had previously loved and devoured had suddenly become hated and loathsome and no matter how many colourful little side bowls I use to decant the poor rejected vegetable you were adamant that no no no pankyou none of its little green trees would enter your lips. Once again you reckoned without Aunty N who lifted you up and plopped you in your chair mid protest and then told you that indeed you must not eat your broccoli trees because if you did, the Broccoli Police Would Come.

Cut to Naughty Nephews around the table all nodding solemnly at this surprising news and to me, mouth open, at this obviously ridiculous bit of reverse psychology, and then to you reaching out slyly for a broccoli tree, waving it about in the air and then shoving it in your mouth.

Mine eat bockli tee, you confessed smugly.

Oh no! The Nephews were aghast. You ate your broccoli tree! Now the broccoli police will come!

You nodded, laughing dangerously, and then without anymore fuss finished the contents of the little pink plastic bowl.

Honestly. Strap me to a pack rat and call me squeaky, I have never seen such a blatant yet effective lie (although there was that weapons of mass destruction porky a while back). 

Aunty N then told me (under cover of icecream) that this lie had been passed down from some wise and obviously highly creative friends and used very effectively on all the least for a short window. We're well in that short window now and I'm clinging to the teeny weeny flyscreen for as long as I can. 

Because you can be, there's no denying it, a little picky with your food. If you notice something suspicious in your bowl (and it's pointless to really list these things because this list will change like the wind and also they call the wind Mariah and how confusing is that?) you will peer at said object, then carefully extricate it from surrounding, and acceptable, baked beans or rice, and then you will fling said object over the table or perhaps, if you're feeling particularly revolted, over the side of the verandah.

If by some chance you are distracted, by your cousins practising the Tumpit or surreptitiously sliding their bowls of pudding onto the table because as well as being picky you are slooow, and Said Object finds it way into your mouth you will suddenly stop chewing and then, expressionless, you will delicately tilt your head and let the previous, now horribly tainted, mouthful plop back into your bowl. It is a gesture as graceful as it is contemptuous.

These past two months have seen your language skills go skipping and leaping forward, no broccoli police needed here to encourage your chit chat. 

There you go Mummy, you say as you hand me a train or your Charlie & Lola dvd or the slipper I asked you to pick up. And you tell us about your friends and family; We are driving Mummy's car and Daddy is having a shower and Papa has a beard but Grandma has a chin. Toby was a bit rough, Ruby went to Sweden...

And you love to run and shout and whoop and dump dump dump on the trampoline. You rough and tumble with your cousins. And you sing. In the bath, at the dinner table, in the car, even in the aeroplane as we began to land in Perth and you let rip with Tinkle Tinkle Little Stah.
(Compared to our last plane trip this is a joyride - another development)

But for all that I realise, you're a shy child.

In the park at Fremantle you rush to climb the slippery slide but you pull up short when you see another child loitering at the top of the slide. I watch your face as the gleam of excitement suddenly melds into a polite, expressionless mask of sudden indifference.

Iss another little boy, you run back to tell me and I nod and smile and say yes that's ok, just say Hello my Name Is Tricky and ask if you can have a turn on the slide. 

But I feel like a hypocrite telling you this because the truth is, I was a shy child too and a shy adult and it is only in the past few years of my life that I have felt more confident, more able to strike up a conversation with a stranger. There have been times I have hung back or turned away because I was unable to say hello. And this is not something I wish upon you.

I had younger sisters, much more feisty, much more confident than me. And at school they dealt with bullies and meanies on my behalf. They did the shouting and the loud negotiating. And you have your older cousins who are all like brothers to you and if you go to school with the youngest he will still be in Grade Six when you are in Grade One. But you have something more valuable still and that is your father's side; optimistic, gregarious, confident and sociable - all things I can be when I try really hard or, alternatively, drink.

You go back to the slide and you say, wavering a little, hello... and I hover nervously on your behalf and suddenly you are laughing and sliding and climbing up again. And later when we are back in the same park and your father takes you over to the slide the same thing happens again. But this time you know what to do and it's all a bit easier but also this time you suddenly know all the kids names and their mothers and where we can contact a babysitter last minute - and that's your dad in action. 

As we leave the park you pick up feathers, soft and white. They've been shed by the huge flock of noisy corellas that perch in the magnificent Norfolk pine trees. You catch these feathers, skimming the grass, with glee and wave them triumphantly and I make an effort to supress my immediate response - drop them, they're dirty/covered in lice/allergenic blah blah blah and instead watch as you delight in the texture, the light flimsy fly away essence that is feather.

You are growing so quickly our darling little boy. And your silly, loving, fallible parents watch you grow and we wonder and we marvel and we fear and we hope. And we love.

So forgive us our games and our falsehoods. We so want you to have all the things that we know are good for you, the exploration and courage, the sensitivity and compassion, the confidence and the optimism. 

And the broccoli.

Your very own


Anonymous said...

'Mine eat bockli tee...'

I am a big puddle of nomnomnomy slush on the floor.

granny p said...

Ah - I know what I was missing now...Tricky. And I shall keep the broccoli police trick for future occasions. Thanks.

Betty Flocken said...

I loved your post; Don't worry about the Broccoli lie... It's a memory made that he'll make with your grand children one day!

Anonymous said...

Will is in the same stage right now. When he doesn't want to do something, (eat his noodles, go to sleep, use the potty...)We say, "OK, Don't you DARE (insert appropriate action here)! Daddy/Mommy/Maggie will do it." This will immediately result in him doing whatever it is that we were asking him to do.

Cass said...

Hmmm. I think I may need to call in the broccoli police here, too. They are, after all, an international force, right?

Anonymous said...

I still remember when my brother Jose decided he no longer wanted to eat broccoli. He looked at them on his plate, and he said, "I do not eat those trees."

Betty M said...

Like Cass I'm going to need some vegetable Interpol here - although broccoli police need not apply - no issues there.

Lin said...

Where is Baby Tricky? He has suddenly (well, to me anyway) lost most of that baby look and is becoming a proper little boy...and a beautiful one at that.