Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fights and Phantasms

Charlie is asleep at the moment, he's drifted off listening to Danny Kaye singing songs from Hans Christian Anderson; a CD which never fails to rocket me back to when I was his age listening to the record on the turntable, watching the lit rectangle of my bedroom door and listening to my parents potter about, still up.

I still know all the songs and while it took him a few listens, Charlie can now be caught humming some of them under his breath and offering to play them for friends, which I like.

This lovely moment of childhood innocence is totally marred by his performance in the school playground where he has already been banished to the 'little playground' where miscreants go... for fighting.  Oh yes - apparently he and another boy were windmilling each other in fun until one of them landed an accidental haymaker and then it all got a bit pistols-at-dawn, necessitating an embarrassed conversation in the playground with the Mother of the other boy.

Since then there have been a few other incidents; Charlie complains routinely that they are 'not his fault' but then he also claims to know everything about ballet; although sadly refuses to impart any of this wisdom when pressed.  He got a deep scratch across his face last week while defending his beloved from a boy who had kicked her.. I had a hard battle with my Motherly Love on that one I tell you - difficult not to be damn proud all over him because, obviously, fighting is wrong...

There are all these stages one marks off when one has a baby - first breath, first poo, rolling, sitting, crawling, first steps, first teeth, first this, first that... then you have a toddler then a little boy and then it's the first day at school, the first fight... and then what?  Now what?

What is this creature currently snoring gently in the nursery?  It's not a small child anymore yet it's not a big child; it's wily and cunning and reasoning, it counts, it reads, it writes, it dresses itself and comes out with a range of odd yet accurate facts; one can carry on a perfectly adult conversation with it and yet it still believes in Santa Claus and sleeps with one arm wrapped around Tigger.

Watching him now, even though he's only 5, it's possible to imagine one is watching the man begin to form.  Up until now there have been these big stages, each of which marked a massive sea-change in movements or speech or growth; now it's just tiny incremental steps. 

Personality traits are hardening up, ideas are evolving, skills are developing - and he's in there, this man who my son will become.  He's in there and he's just beginning to emerge, the lightest of phantasms; but he's there, stepping gently and carefully out of childhood and across into the unknown land of grown-up...

I just hope he keeps his fists in his pockets from now on.