B is heading, with his wobbly gait and frequent pauses to look at something fascinating that has caught his attention on the floor, toward seventeen months. Wait. I mean nearly a year and a half. I used to get so bloody annoyed when parents would quote their toddler’s age in months. What is that all about? It’s just extra maths forced upon you, that’s what it is. And let’s face it, I don’t tell people I am five hundred and eight months old. Mind you, put it like that and it’s no bloody wonder I look so god-damn, black eye-bagged, saggy-jowled tired.
So anyway, B is nearly a year and a half. That amazing, joy-filled age when your child really starts to gain some independence, a personality begins to blossom, they engage with the world in new ways and provide you with unalloyed delight at every turn. Hang on. Sorry, it must be the fatigue. I was momentarily possessed by the spirit of an Annabel Karmel / Super Nanny mash up. What I meant to say is that it is an age that brings a whole new level of pain, irritation and cluelessness. For both of us…
Listen mummy, it is obvious why I am crying. Any fool could work it out. Here I am, lying on the floor, face down, wailing every last atom of oxygen from my lungs. Why are you looking at me with that quizzical face? If you really loved me, you’d know what was wrong.
Oh god, he’s crying again. Why is he crying? Did he fall when I was momentarily distracted by Twitter? I didn’t hear the sound of flesh hitting floorboards. Mind you, I may have been singing loudly at the time. Is it a teething cry? A hungry cry? Can he not just bloody give me a clue? A little sign, maybe. You know, point to the thing that is making him cry? No, no… don’t point at me…
Life has been pretty dull up to now. But then I discovered I could throw stuff, and I haven’t stopped since. There is nothing that I won’t try to throw. Yesterday, I attempted to throw a pillow. It wasn’t my finest hour, I ended up on my back being swallowed up by an aggressive item of bedding, but I gave it a go. My favourite thing of all though? Chucking stuff into water. Toilet or bath, whatever is wetter – there is nothing quite as funny as the sound of that splash as whatever I have thrown hits the surface. Mummy seems to find it less amusing, strangely.
Throwing the remote control into the bath was not at all bloody funny, despite the squeals of delight from B. He won’t find it quite so funny when we can’t change channel and he has to watch In the Shite Garden every night until he is ten. Mind you, marginally less hilarious was throwing one of E’s toys into a toilet full of warm wee, although I give him begrudging respect for being able to do so within a four second window between me getting off the toilet and quickly closing the lid, having spotted him loitering with intent moments earlier. But this throwing thing has to stop. In fact, come here. I am going to sellotape your arms to your torso.
Surely, I can make this no clearer, mummy. I am pointing, finger outstretched, towards the blue car. I am even making repeated noises that any idiot would know is the word ‘car’. I am pointing at the car, saying the word car and staring at the car. So why is mummy looking at me with that idiotic frown on her face and not giving me the CAR?
B knows what he wants. He is just crap at telling anyone else. Pointing is all well and good, but I find he lacks a little finesse in the pointing stakes. It is all very clever mastering the art of straightening your forefinger, but a lack of fine motor control means he is less pointing, more air scribbling. He could be pointing at the ball, the fire engine or the bloody book, how am I supposed to know? And grunting at me is not helping much. I pick up each toy in turn and offer it to him, which provokes a shake of the head with renewed arm waving and louder grunting. We could be here some time. Finally, I offer him the car, which he takes. Right. The car. Why didn’t you bloody say so in the first place?
Mmm, this is crunchy. Oh, and this one is quite soft. Wait, this is one is a bit… hairy. It is amazing the range of snacks that I can find on the floor. I would rather not be interrupted by mummy, who when she spots me having an unauthorised chew, will chase me round the table and try and fish the tasty morsel from my mouth. I mean, please. I don’t know where her hands have been. And I don’t want to state the flipping obvious, but we wouldn’t have this problem if she just swept up once in a while, would we?
Oh bugger, what’s he eating now? I just need to get him to open his mouth… I find a headlock facilitates this process nicely. B seems to have developed a vice-like closure on his lips in his desperation to keep chewing whatever dried up, dusty morsel he is snacking on, so I resort to ferocious tickling to make him open his mouth. Oh look, it’s a hard black thing… it could be an insect… or something that dropped from someone’s shoe… or a fossilised pea… do you know what? I think I would rather not know. I put B down on the floor, he leans over, picks something small and shrivelled from the floor and pops it into his mouth. Now, I know what that was. It was my will to live.