The spud had his very first restaurant lunch today. He's eaten in restaurants before however only food that we've taken in with us. Today I ordered from the children's menu for the first time and he had an enormous lunch of veggie sausages and mash. This is great. This is like, freedom on a plate. Of course, the fact that I was at a baby-friendly cafe who do food specifically designed to tempt Mums like me into spending their hard-won maternity pay on baby food they could make for a tenth of the price at home doesn't exactly mean this reflects any sort of universal constant. In fact, let's face it, if it wasn't for my brilliant friend and her little einstein (this baby is younger than the spud, speaks 5 words, knows his colours and can nod 'yes' or 'no' on purpose), we would still be wandering around hopelessly looking for somewhere to sit down.
After this massive carb-fest we took the boys to the park where einstein sat sedately in the swing smiling beatifically at his Mum while the spud tore around (as much as a 25 pound crawler can tear) following older children, banging on all the playground furniture, falling into the sandpit and trying to climb UP the slide. This endeared him no end to the three-year olds who were legitimately at the top of the thing wanting to descend and I worked off my entire lunch bending down, picking him up, putting him down some-where out of the way and then running after him to repeat. 'Would you like to go on the swings?' I asked... 'Ah ah ah' said the spud, ignoring me to crawl back up the slide. 'Would you like to go on the swings?' asked my brilliant friend of her baby... 'isss' he said, nodding vigourously. But I digress.
Einstein apparently got so brainy because his Mum reads books to him several times a day and does all sorts of pointing and nodding things to encourage him. After I confessed that I don't always read to the spud, my friend strong-armed us all into a bookshop and kept throwing books into my arms (and here's something, why are fully 25% of all baby books about farms?) until I fell over and my credit card landed in the cash-register. Now his room looks like a library and while part of me dreams that in no time at all my little whirl-wind will be speaking and pointing and correctly able to identify a tractor (I'm certain this will be very useful in Brixton), most of me knows that what is really going to happen is that tomorrow morning there will be just that much more of a papery feel to the rubble of Stuff on the floor of his room.
Don't get me wrong. I do read to him fairly regularly, just not every night. This is partly because he's only just got over trying to eat all his books and partly because I mumble cough boob mumble cough him cough cough cough to sleep mumble hack. So, erm, by the time we get to that Horlicks moment when I'm supposed to snuggle him up beside me on the bed and read him a book in the golden, hazy glow of his bedside light, he is asleep with his mouth open, snoring very faintly like a pint-sized trucker.
I am, however, going to make a change. Now that we have eliminated the bed-time boob, I am starting a new routine which involves reading to him while he chugs down his last milk of the day and so far, meaning as evidenced by our test run this evening, it seems to be going down well. Whether or not his little spud brain will absorb this new influx of information remains to be seen however if he throws himself into it the way he has taken to throwing himself down the slide, I'm sure we'll have comprehension soon. Or skinned knees. One or the other.