Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bang bang I shot you down

Now we have gone up to Big Nursery and are with a lot of older children, there is a sudden lurch in the level of language that is entering our house.

I'm sure that, compared to most children his age the spud is still lagging generally behind in his ability to reason and communicate and so any progress should be good news; however, some of the things he's coming out with recently are perhaps a little more advanced than I would like.

Most of his new phrases like: "I've got it!" are quite cute, but one is rather less sweet. The spud (and, I have to say, most of his friends) has suddenly started pointing things at us and saying "I kill you". Even his very sweet little girlfriend has started saying it... they were running around the other day saying "I kill you" "no I kill YOU!"

I'm conflicted. On the one hand, they have to learn about death at some point and perhaps a game is a good entry point. On the other, I find this sudden swing towards weapons and death threats disturbing in the extreme.

I shouldn't, I know. It was bound to happen at some point. My brother and I argued for days when he was only 4 about the proper way to die in a game of cowboys and Indians (on the back, one hand flung out, the other clutching one's chest) and neither of us became gun-wielding knife-toting bad guys.

Still, surrounded as we are by the wilds of Brixton and the vast and uncontrollable inconsistency that is London where children actually shoot each other , I would quite frankly rather my 3 year old said "fuck" than "kill".

Am I mad? How does one deal with this? Is it inevitable? Can I do something other than utter middle-class inanities like "don't say that word darling it's bad"? Help?


Thursday, January 28, 2010

All 3 year olds are not the same

We're babysitting this evening. Charlie's girlfriend is sleeping over and we're all sitting on the sofa eating popcorn and watching Ice Age. Turns out that Ice Age poses a lot of questions that my son has never thought of.

"What's that ice?"
"Why is that squirrel flying?"
"Why did that turtle do a poo?"
"Why are the tigers chasing that lady?"
"Where's the nut?"
"Where's the squirrel?
"Where's the baby's Mummy and Daddy?"
"Where's the baby?"
"Where's the squirrel?"
"What is that tiger doing?"
"Where's the baby's Mummy and Daddy"
"What's that?"
"Why is it snowing?"
"Are those the bad tigers?"
"Is the Daddy still looking for the baby?"
"Is that elephant crying?"

It's actually quite a worrying film for a three year old... and for a 45 year old for that matter. I'm knackered and it's only halfway through.

"What are those pictures in that cave?"


Meanwhile, Charlie sits in silence, eating his popcorn.

I love my son.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shorter conversation

"Would you like more spaghetti? Or your yoghurt?"

"More pasg... more pass... more pag... more spassg... yoghurt please"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Short conversation

"So love, what have you got on this week?"

"I'm recording some voice work for a hypnotist."

"Oh yes? What's the recording about then? Sleep? Fat loss?"

"Er... I can't remember really... but it's OK, I did some work with him last year."

"What did he record then?"

"Er... can't remember anything about that either."

"Did he pay you in real money or did you come to surrounded by a pile of newspaper and no memory?"


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Time for a change...

Both the Frog and I often have work to do on weekends, work or domestic sorting-out stuff and most days he doesn't get home until the spud's bedtime. So, it's not often we get real time just to play together as a family and we've decided to make more of an effort.

Today we took the spud swimming and then to a cafe and then home for a family dinner and it was the best Saturday I've had in ages.

At the pool the spud is usually fearful and tentative but today he threw himself about in the water and not only went out of his depth but actually swam a few feet with his float.

It helps that the view out of the pool's windows is of Brixton train station and every few moments a train goes past; the spud cheers and shouts and struggles to get closer to the window; perilously situated at the deep end. Possibly not the safest way to get one's offspring swimming, admittedly.

After drying out and having hot drinks at a local cafe we trotted home for dinner. First he tried to eat with chopsticks ("grip tightly in one hand, stuff the food between them, wrangle shredded remains to mouth"). Then it became vital to do some dog whistling. I showed him the circled fingers method while the frog demonstrated the four-finger method. The spud huffed stir-fry all over his plate and then tried to stuff his father's fingers into his own mouth at which point dinner was pretty much over.

It's been great. As always however, looking back there is one fly in the ointment of my memory. As we were getting dressed in the pool changing room, I was pulling on my bra when the spud reached up a little hand. "Your boobs are falling Mummy. You need to push them back up".

Ah yes. Only three but already a man.

Next time he gets changed with the Frog.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monster monster

After 3 years of putting him to sleep in a black-dark room, fretting over the blackout blinds and not letting him watch anything scary, it turns out that our son is, despite it all, afraid of the dark.

A few months ago he started asking for his bedroom door to be left open at night, followed scant days later by requests for the lights to be left on 'just a little bit'. Now, the lights in his room need to be blazing and pretty much all the doors in the house have to be ajar before he'll fall asleep.

It's all been a mystery until a few days ago when the Frog ran himself a bath while I was saying goodnight to the Spud. His bed is against the wall next to the tub and as the water started to pour, he clung onto me and said 'What's that, Mummy? What's that noise?!'. 'What noise?' I said, 'the taps?'. 'No!' he said 'THAT noise!'. 'What does it sound like?' I asked him and in reply, he opened his mouth and breathed a big monstery breath - a deep sighing sort of inhalation followed by a low moany exhalation.

'It's the taps' I said 'No it's NOT the taps, it's a monster!!!' he cried. I called the Frog and there began a great song and dance involving the taps being turned on and off and water running and him being shown the whole process and listening and all of us laughing. I laid him back down. 'See? There's no monster in the wall. It's just the taps, silly!'.

'There's a monster in the taps' he replied. The frog, having just seen our water bill, solemnly concurred.

Today on the way home from nursery he stopped on our salted front steps. 'What's that noise, Mummy?' he said. 'What does it sound like?' I said. 'Like "crunch crunch"' he said. 'It's my boots' I said. 'No' he said 'it's a monster!' and he high-tailed it through the front door.

I shouldn't laugh, it's not funny to him and when I hear him making little 'aaahh' sounds as he slams his door behind him and races through the flat into our bed at 3am I know that he's just shut a terrifying beastie in his room; in fact I think I can even remember the rush of adrenaline as I did the same thing myself at his age; and just imagine lying in your bed at night truly believing there is something breathing in the wall next to you.

It's not funny. It's not.

GRRaaawwrr. Ahem.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cat nip

I've been away. I've been sick. I have a lot of excuses for why I have not been slinking around the internets as much as I'd have liked to recently. My son missed me while I was away. I think. At least, when I skyped him each night before bedtime, the first thing he said was 'you MISS me!'. As he often says things like 'Teddy is scared of the dark' I rather hoped this was a sign that he was going to be pleased to see me when I got home and happily, so he was.

What I didn't expect was how happy the cat would be. Given that he spent the first 16 years of his life with one owner and was at that late age abandoned by death and thrown into a new life complete with a 6-month-old baby, it's hardly surprising that, although he is an immaculately perfect gentlman, for the last 3 years, Sammy has never really shown affection that didn't involve food or warmth.

Recently he's underlined this lack of concern by developing a demanding and highly repetitive one-paw pat whenever the black hole of his stomach needs to have some sort of matter thrown at it. This is the feline equivalent of water torture in which he stabs at whatever part of one's anatomy he has selected (often the face) until one gives in or he begins to slowly, pat by pat, unsheath his claws.

Oddly however (and for the first time) he appears to be genuinely pleased that I am home. It's not that he's rescinded the pat, or even that he's not still demanding 8 dinners a day, it's just that he threw himself at me when I got back and now, once in a while, he comes over for some completely random affection. Just a moment ago, for example, he actually licked my fingers and I hadn't even covered them in butter first.

Perhaps the frog didn't pay him enough attention; perhaps I have better choices in kitty snacks or a slightly softer lap. Who knows? Whatever it is however, it does appear that he has decided that he is happier to have me here than not.

The problem is that the flimsy wall I put up against loving him too much has completely crashed down and now, surely when he has very little time left in the world, it appears I am going to be completely gutted should he decide to shuffle off into the sunset.

I guess it's never too late for love, this life.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Favourite Photo Meme

I have been tagged by ThatGirl39 with a meme to post up my favourite photograph. I thought this was going to be really tough - wedding pics? New baby pics? Something completely unrelated to me but otherwise beautiful?

Nope. When I saw this pic I knew it was The One. I think this is up there among my favourite photographs of all time and before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, there are no real children in this picture. No, the youngest person in this picture is... FORTY THREE YEARS OLD!!

And it's not me; although I am in this picture.

This picture was taken in Somerset, in, I think, the summer of 1972. I was 7, my brother 5 and our best friends (in the middle) were 8. I remember the picture being taken; it was hot, we were playing in our front garden with a blow-up penguin, onto which one tossed blow-up rings to get them to hang on, I think, his nose, or possibly his arms. I have a vague memory of popsicles, or possibly ice-cream.

What I love about this the most is that it says a lot about who we were then and possibly who we are now... Hoto the youngest, butt of pranks, forced to go first into the deep water in case it went over our wellies, tolerating us because he's a nice chap and we were probably the only game in town that day... the twins; Binz, the trickster with the sunshine smile that implied more mischief was coming; Sam, taller, reserved; more graceful and poised than the rest of us and me, the chubby one, playing along, hoping to be liked and pleased not to be the youngest that day...

I love this pic and I love everyone in it. We've been friends now for a time which is quite frighteningly close to 40 years now and one of my regrets is that I didn't get a grown-up version of this pic at my wedding, which is the only time we've all been together in quite a long time.

The things we do as children inform our entire lives; I think of this all the time with my son. I had a great childhood, I just want him to have one too.

OK, in the spirit of Memes, I pass this on to:

the b in subtle who takes simply wonderful photographs; DJKirkby, who might need a lazy Sunday post and who has many evocative pics from her past; Cactus at Buenos Burritos who has another fab photo archive up her sleeve and Jennie at Copenhagen Follies who is clearly a dedicated photographer of her life and Lisa at Boondock Ramblings who is also trigger happy and good at it!

Enjoy, all!

********PS - EDIT ********* Mum - look at my parting!!! How on EARTH did you get it so straight?!!! I have endless memories of you and I battling as you tried and failed to get me to sit still while you created a parting. I swear I can still not get it straight to this day...****************

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Man Flu - Early Onset...

Ah, the sweet sound of throw-up.

It's not that the spud has never thrown up, but it has been nearly never. With the exception of one spectacular vomit during the chicken-pox episode and three days of small throw-ups over Christmas when he was 15 months old he's been damn fine at keeping down his dinner.

That is not to say that I didn't know exactly what had happened the second he threw up; despite being in my office in the cellar with the blow-heater on while he was upstairs with his Wednesday nanny and the TV. No no, it may have just been a little sound but it was THAT sound. The Sound Of Sick.

After the ruckus had died down and he was lying, newly clothed and clean on the sofa with a wheat pillow clutched to his tum and a little watered down apple juice nearby and I was back in my cellar getting on with some work, he immediately started working me.

Oh yes. He's not that sick. I spent most of the afternoon hightailing it up the stairs trying to rescue his nanny as he practiced a range of vomit sounds followed by big smiles; or answering wails of 'I Want My MUuuUUuuMMMMeeeeee'(sniff sniff sniff) which were followed by 'Mummy, can I have my car?' and more big smiles.

Tonight he took an hour and a half to eat half a piece of toast while watching endless Charlie and Lola repeats, then begged for chocolate milk and then for about 100 books read firstly by Daddy in French and then by Mummy in English.

Every time I asked him about his tummy he said 'it's better' and every time I asked him to go to bed he would sink pathetically into the sofa and moan a little.

He's asleep now, finally. One afternoon vomit and an entire evening of late night frolics. I actually think that he feels it was worth it.

Tonight, the frog and I both feel a little bilious. The frog is already moaning and lying down with a packet of choccie biccies and a little flat ginger beer.

I'm in for a long night.