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And so you see, there I was, sitting here this afternoon, enjoying this incredible time when BOTH babies were asleep. These particular stars could have collided for a minute, maybe five. So I was sitting here, at the kitchen table, lazily browsing for the perfect waterfall cardigan (I’m just sooooo two years ago fashion-wise, always. It’s my cross. That, and the chubby knees) and the buggers didn’t wake up. I had a perfect, quiet, baby-free house for TWO HOURS. And what did I achieve in those two hours? A fairly flammable-looking cardigan, by the looks of things, and I made an appointment to get my eyebrows painted back on again (a necessity: I am currently unable to muster any sinister looks, say anything archly, affect sarcasm, or be surprised at anything – I’m just a tiny forehead melting into nose holes). Suffice to say, it was a bit of a waste.

So here I am – while him indoors fixes the world’s problems one operating system at a time – desperately trying to feel as though I’ve achieved something today.

What I was going to say, before all of this kicked in, was my current thoughts about babies and toddlers and how everyone says, ooh missus (they might not say that, but bear with me), don’t wish the time away! Lord, no! It’ll be gone in a flash, and the next time you look they’ll be 45 and pushing you into a nursing home, if you’ve managed to hold out that long! Ha ha!

I understand that time is a tricky bastard and no mistake. But that doesn’t stop me from, y’know, um, wishing the time away. I don’t want them to be vile, greasy teenagers, knocking back my Marsala and knocking up next door’s 14-year-old*, obviously. Obviously. But in these last few weeks I’ve had to cope with the two of them AND me suffering from 17 viruses of various descriptions – mainly liquid-based – and the one thing that’s been running through my head is, for god’s sake, why can’t you blow your sodding nose? STOP SNUFFLING. Stop. Snuffling. It’s midnight. 1am. 2am. 2.03am. Stop. It.

I think it’s fair dos at those points in the night to wish a leetle tiny bit of time away, don’t you? Teddy still can’t blow his nose either – he just sort of spits from his mouth. Yes, I know, village idiot and all that.** A couple of weeks ago, he started randomly running around the kitchen – as he tends to do after his fifth snack of the morning. Sometimes he does this pretending to be a helicopter (“Bzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzz! I’m ‘Arold!” – this is Harold the Helicopter from Thomas the Tank Engine, and I’m to blame for the southeast London accent, of which I’m supremely proud to have developed in the westcountry). Sometimes, as was the case in this instance, he runs around at full pelt with no trousers on, shrieking, “Chase you! Chase you! Cheeky!” like a badly translated Carry On film.

After a very long two minutes, I said, “Oh my GOD, just grow UP!”

Which instantly worked, of course. For these past two weeks he’s taken great delight in exclaiming, “Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD! Oh my GOD!” whenever we’re in spitting distance of the easily shockable (I think he can smell them), sounding very grown up indeed.

Be careful what you wish for and all of that. And yet I wouldn’t suggest that his life is suddenly whooshing past my eyes at a galactic rate just because I asked for it to: while Teddy is cheerfully blaspheming, he’s doing it with his trousers pulled down to his knees, while grinding fistfuls of rice crispies into the living room rug. He’s definitely still a toddler, albeit one of the more annoying ones.

 

*This child does not exist. Yet. And my child wouldn’t do that. Then. If that child existed. What kind of enormous bloody great hole have I dug myself here? HELLO hello hello hellooooo (that’s an echo, that is).

**He can’t jump either. White men – and small toddlers, it turns out – are rubbish at this particular talent. You should see him at the end of the “Hop Little Bunny” song (no idea what this is? I hate you more than you can possibly imagine): he just flexes up and down on his toes as though he’s limbering up his calves for a half marathon. Idiot.

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