Wednesday, 29 May 2013


I'm messing with the plasticine even though my son has moved on to playing multi-story car park with the television stand.   There is an actual toy multi-story car park that we paid good money for less than a meter away from him, but never mind.

I'm busy making a pizza with the red, yellow and green bits when I sense a quietness come over the room. I look up to see Brendan standing stock still, knees slightly bent, a car in each hand.  His face is turning peuce as he braces himself.

I sigh quietly.

"Are you doing a poo poo?" I ask.

He smiles and points to his crotch.

"A doo doo," he confirms and goes back to his game.  The smell hits me.  Oh dear Christ!

I sigh again, more deeply this time, and rue the fact that my husband isn't here to negotiate with.

"Come on then," I jump up, "let's change your nappy."

No response, although the fleeting sideways glance suggests he understands me very well.

"Come on, upstairs, clean bum!"

I take him by the wrist and his whole body goes limp and then squirms in protest, releasing more of the offending odours.  Oh sweet Jesus that's bad!

He pulls this way and that as I pick him up and take him upstairs.  My eyes water.

He's calm now and so I set him down on the floor of his room as I prepare for a shocker: extra wipes, oh and a spare vest... just in case...

While my back is turned he has spotted the books on the shelves.  I hear the armchair creak and spin round to find him standing near its edge, wobbling precariously as he reaches up.

"ON YOUR BOTTOM!!" I cry, my standard instinctive response to his current furniture climbing phase, only this time I regret it instantly as he launches himself backwards onto his full bum with a resounding thud. He's safe, but at what cost to his nappy's defences?

I lay him on the changing table as he looks up innocently.  He hums Twinkle Twinkle to himself as I prepare myself for Armageddon. It doesn't disappoint.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Daybreak at the mothership

My eyes are sealed shut and I sense the movement of his warm little body as he starts to stir. He moves a quarter turn as he squirms, his feet in my rib cage, his head in his dad's armpit, making his grumpy morning noises as if someone is forcing him to wake up. I assure you, no one is!

I can see daylight through my eyelids but I cling to the hope that he'll drop back into sleep, although this has never happened before.

His movements grow as he flips onto his belly and then up on to all fours. He turns round, kicking me in the chin and using his dad's face to steady himself.  I know this because I hear the grunt from my husband.

A shadow looms over me and I feel a string of wetness land softly on my cheek: his dribble. I know he's watching my face closely for signs of life.

I open my eyes and he smiles in delight as he pushes up on to his knees.

"Eyo lully" he says. I can't help smile too even though I see 5.30am on the clock.

"Hello Brendan". Not much more than a croak.

In an instant his knee is in my groin and his sharp little elbow stabs my boob as he crawls over me. I steady him as he swivels round to jump down from the bed with a quiet thud.  I've shut my eyes again.  My husband has gone back under.

The duvet shifts as he searches under it to find my hand. He grips my fingers in his hot little fist and I open my eyes again. Pointing to the stair gate he starts pulling at my arm with an insistent moan.

"Okay okay, I'm coming".

I throw on a jumper and he holds my hand as he counts his way down the stairs.  We turn into the lounge, his face lighting up as he beelines for the toy garage.  Always his first port of call.

I stagger to the kettle, yawning.

And so our day begins.

Monday, 20 May 2013

The world is my coffee table

I see his expression change as it dawns on him that I'm actually going to stop him from standing on the coffee table.  What a dreadful mother!  Climbing onto furniture is ace, right?  So why on earth would I ruin his whole life like this? Tsk, where's that Childline number when you need it?

His little face shifts from triumphant wonder to confusion to utter desolation in as many beats as I stand over him wearing my stern face.

His first strategy is to squeeze his arms as close to his body as possible so that I can't get my thumbs under his armpits.  I suppress a smile at this stubborn pose and manage to wedge them in somehow.  Foiled, he resorts to the "dead weight drop", relaxing every single muscle in his body at once (except for his vocal chords) to plummet directly towards the sharp corner of the table.

But I'm ready for him.  I brace myself and hold him firmly around the chest with both hands. Outmanoeuvred again, he opts for the "twist-twist-scrunch" followed by a quick "plank of death" and finishes his salvo with the "ball of fury".  He nearly breaks free but I hold fast and lift him from the table. He senses defeat but tries one last "plank" and head butts me in the face.  

He reaches a vocal crescendo that ebbs away to silence as his lungs run out of air.  I carry him away from his Everest, face frozen in his wail until a deep breath is sucked in to prepare for another tsunami of sound.

The only place to put him is on the floor and so I lay him down gently taking care he doesn't bang his head. He kicks me in the boob.

I go to the kitchen to seek refuge in a cup of tea.   His sobs die down to nothing and I sneak a peek into the room.  He's pointing out of the window and sees me looking.

"Tree!" He shouts with glee! "TREE!"

And with that the coffee table is forgotten.