I don’t write about this boy enough. He’s been around for ten weeks, and it feels like ten years.
He’s fattening up nicely. Fitting into larger clothes than Henry did at the same age. If I go to bed late enough, we’re down to one nighttime feed, and I am so grateful for this I want to kiss his face. He’s awake a lot more now, but no more demanding. His favourite position is sat up on my knee, facing forwards, leaning against my chest. Just watching. I think as he gets older he will learn by watching, and watch carefully until he’s really got it, then try it out himself. That little pixie face makes my insides go funny.
He was a late smiler, and even now he mostly does the lopsided open-mouth half-smile that came first. Every now and again we get a rare, delighted beam, and honestly, it lights up his face like the sun. He is the sort of boy who makes you work for a smile, and also the sort of boy for whom you would work all day to get one.
He still suffers from bad wind – a short dairy-free spell had no effect, which I tried terribly hard to be sad about – and so I walk around jiggling in the evenings, patting his back, avoiding the flying sick which covers his clothes and mine. I’ve started singing ‘Moon River’ to him while we sway together. It is dream-like and quiet and soothing. It suits him, and it soothes us both.
Even though I promised I wouldn’t, ‘Teddy’ morphs accidentally into ‘Teddy Bear’ at least once or twice a day. The poor boy will definitely have to switch to ‘Ed’ when he’s ready to be cool.
If he feels like being a mama’s boy at any point, I think I’d be just fine with it.
Please don’t forget (even if the next thirty years are very busy)
that this boy won’t get out of the bath until he’s handed you two ducks and a frog to dry off first
that ‘nana’ seems to mean ‘banana’ or ‘mummy’ or ‘COME NOW PLEASE’, depending on who-knows-what
that he’s going through a phase of signing ‘thankyouplease’ when he wants something, just to cover all the bases
that he requests Bob the Builder (‘DEE DEE DEE DEE’: translation – ‘can we fix it’) or Alphablocks (‘ha-HA!’: from the theme tune) to watch while you get ready, and doesn’t seem to mind when you hair-dryer all over the sound
but that sooner or later he ends up here
and he finds the taste of hairspray weirdly appealing
and you haven’t put mascara on with both hands for about eleven months.
(Happiness is this, my wrinkly old-person self; please remember that happiness is this.)
On a Train
The book I’ve been reading
rests on my knee. You sleep.
It’s beautiful out there –
fields, little lakes and winter trees
in February sunlight,
every car park a shining mosaic.
Long, radiant minutes,
your hand in my hand,
still warm, still warm.
The past few days have been good ones. Long, radiant minutes with nothing special in them. Except that I’m not sick and I’m not apathetic. I’ve had lists, and ticked them off. I’ve had work to do, and sick boys to look after. I’ve sat on a sofa reading Seamus Heaney and Wendy Cope to Henry, and crying through the good bits while he sang them back to me. I’ve done the washing-up after every meal – whoa, hang on – and gloried in it. I hate doing the washing-up. This is a big deal.
Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary has happened. But every car park has looked to me like a shining mosaic. I’m not sick and I’m not apathetic, and that, I find, is more than enough.