We're just coming out of a big bad cold and this time, by the word 'we', I do mean all of us, not just 'we' the baby. When you have a baby, you know at some point he's going to get ill (because in this blog, all babies are 'he'). In my head, this first cold was going to be the size of the Empire State building with a volume of snot to rival Lake Victoria and would be held by a frail, wan little baby flopping about being pathetic and totally unable to breathe. I imagined myself using various implements to hoover liquid out of his ickle nose and fanning him gently while his fever abated.
I don't know where I got that impression. Perhaps it's from watching various other males under the influence of colds. You know. Men obviously get bigger, stronger and more dangerous colds than women do and since Charlie is a man in waiting, perhaps I thought he would have a Man In Waiting sized cold and need a full time day-and-night nurse.
In truth, while he was miserable and woke up several times each night in a bit of a panic either from coughing or congestion, in general the only way one could tell he was ill was when he sneezed, or on the occasions when his breathing got a bit thick. In fact, he seemed mostly unaware of the fact that he had a cold and instead continued to concentrate on those things which are his current obsessions, such as lying on his front and twisting his hind-quarters into various shapes which still don't make him go forwards, such as trying to pick up the pattern from the carpet (babies don't do 2 dimensions, apparently) and, more importantly, such as trying to spot and then press anything that resembles a button.
What gets me about this last is... well... how does he know? How does he know that knobs turn and buttons push? The only buttons he's seen work are the big colourful plastic ones on his mobile. Yes, he's figured out how to press those, but at what point, exactly, did he intuit that the DVD player has buttons which Do Something? When? When we were putting in that Teletubbies DVD? I mean, the thing is remote controlled. We never press the buttons. And, in the middle of suffering from his very first horrible cold, why was it so important for him to contort, roll and wiggle his way across the living room floor to the DVD player simply so he could spend a good, happy fifteen minutes stabbing at these buttons???? Although I have to interject here that for fifteen quiet minutes, he can have the DVD player installed right there in his cot if he wants.
What this tells me is that while some male behaviour, such as over-reacting to the sniffles in order to get more sympathy/not have to nurse one's sick wife is learned, some, such as being obsessed with remote controls and fiddling with buttons, is clearly hard-wired into their DNA. This makes me wonder what other male behaviour is learned and what is hard-wired - and whether or not I can subtley turn and prod little Charlie into not learning some of the more obnoxious traits of his species - although some of the worst, such as fiddling with his bollocks on public transport and compulsively looking at women's breasts seem at current evidence to be hard-wired.
Firstly I have to rid him of this urge to fiddle with electronics before he blows every speaker in the house or starts sticking things into electrical outlets. There are multitudinous packs of things on the market designed to protect our offspring from just such eventualities and it's clear that we're going to have to invest in box loads of these much sooner than we thought - because obviously, we thought he would be a baby until the day he magically stole the car keys and left home.
Following that, it's going to be interesting watching to see what things he picks up that are going to need to be nipped gently in the bud. I'm not going to turn into some ball-busting Wagnerian harpy here or start messing with his gender identification and making him play with baby dolls and fairy costumes however equally, I'm loathe to raise a beer-swilling chauvinist.
Back at team Charlie however, watching his instincts work is proving as, or possibly more interesting than watching him breathe has been in the past week. How, exactly, the urge to push buttons and twist knobs helped prehistoric man get one-up on his rivals is a mystery to me, however there it is - technology has, after all, beaten the common cold.