24 October 2010

Hartley: Twenty-One Months

Hello little wiener!

It’s your mummy here. You turned 21 months old on the 11th of October, which isn’t too long ago now. There seems to be a massive difference between this month and the last, and if I could be bothered to go back and read my terrible scribblings on the matter, I could possibly discern what those differences might entail. Alas, no. Re-reading things I’ve written is one of my least favourite pastimes, somewhere in the vicinity of trying to scour the remnants of sausage from a pan so badly scorched it is practically painted over with a slick new coat of charcoal. Somewhere down there.

Okay, so presently you are a tiny, adorable, highly-strung madman who breathes heavily through your mouth as you concentrate on clicking magnetic train cars together, sometimes snorting because of the pressure your bowed head is exerting on your nasal passages (I don’t know, I’m not a biophysicist [is there even such a thing?]), and then starts to hyperventilate when it all goes pear shaped and one of the cars detaches and then derails as you’re feeding it through a tunnel. I’m glad to see you take after me with your near-autistic approach to projects, and hope that you don’t become even more like me and abandon them altogether when you see that the potential for failure and limited enjoyment is not only possible but imminent. Until such time, I will be sitting right next to you, popping the caboose back in place before you turn around and notice, and probably making things worse somehow.

You are a funny little thing, and now you display habits I was either not around for or just not paying attention to (more likely) when you invented them, which makes them extra hilarious. Such as that noise you make when you are about to do something naughty - like make a play for my non-existent breast milk, or examine the contents from Under The Sink - that ‘Sssssss’ sound as you delve into the forbidden activity with impish delight. I’m not sure what the noise is meant to accomplish, but it’s almost placating enough that I’ll let you snake your hand into my top briefly, or pull out a foil wrapped tablet of laundry detergent from the cupboard before putting an end to your indiscretion.

You remember things from weeks ago and turn them into little songs: one afternoon I got fed up with bruising the soles of my bare feet on your many scattered miniature cars and began to whisk them off into their basket. You shouted NA NA NO! at me as I did this, and I said Tidy! We’re going to tidy your cars now! and you slapped my hand away from the basket and tipped out the contents, saying NA NA NO! until I laughed and gave up. Now, you’ll stop in your tracks suddenly, and out of nowhere do the I’m Not Going to Tidy Up song, which goes as follows:

Tidy…NnnA Na no.

Tidy…NnnA Na no.


It’s really quite catchy, and now I just get you to sing it whenever I remember, or you just sing it whenever you remember, and nothing will ever be tidy ever again. But oh how we laugh, you and I.

Or is it you and me?


I’m trying not to get too caught up in the particulars of each month, or I will scare myself off from doing these letters, and I really don’t want to stop doing them. My therapist says that I often discredit my achievements, and she’s probably right, but what I don’t want to do is to let my own negative core beliefs ruin my memories of what it was like to be your mother in these early years, and to not write them down to the best of my ability. What a shame that would be – to let all of this go because I was too wrapped up in my own issues to acknowledge the importance of what I’m trying to accomplish for us. I should just write the letters, at least until I can commemorate your existence in a more productive way, like making sure I stay on top of laundry so that you don’t have to wear the same pair of socks too many days in a row.

I might edit this down somewhat when you’re old enough to read.

Your bedtime routine is set in stone, with the bun-bun-bun and the squirrel and the neighbours and the stars and apple tree being the mainstay of what we say goodnight to each evening after you’ve been bathed and soft-bagged and we’re standing at the window. Though the other evening you stopped us after squirrel and turned our nightly adieu into an inventory of things you could recall of our garden: “Aaaand…rocks. Aaaand…slide. Aaaand…other house.”

Ah yes – your penchant for counting. You are a natural with numbers, and sometimes I don’t even think you realise you’re counting. Like you’ll sift through the contents of your car basket and slowly count up to ten as you separate them out, which isn’t the same as counting them, I admit, but I won’t come down on you too hard about this until you’re at least two. You’ve finally worked out which of your cars are blue, and now you’ll approach me with one in each hand and say “Two blue cars.” And you know that something is more than one when you say ‘other one,’ which sounds like ‘ah uhn.’ There is a large abacus in the park we took you to over the weekend, and your father and I watched while you pulled each bead away from the group as you counted to ten. It didn’t matter that sometimes you pulled off two at a time, or skipped out on reciting the number five or nine. We know you’re a maths genius at heart and that’s good enough for us.

Sometimes I get very stressed out and anxious about your wellbeing, though it’s usually over things that are unlikely or out of my control. The things I don’t worry about are things I worry that I should be worried about, in case not worrying about them makes me a bad parent. I wonder if I should worry if you have dyslexia, for instance, because you often reverse sounds for words you know, like ‘Ickbits.’ That’s what you call ‘Biscuits.’ Is that normal? Probably, but who has time to read up on this stuff? (Everyone but me; I’m failing you! Haha…) You can say ‘Trousers,’ sort of (you say ‘sousas’) but you still call ‘Jeans’ ‘Eeniss.’ I guess I will worry about this in earnest when you start nursery next year, and all the other children are at a Year-3 reading level while you’re still bashing your head against the floor to let people know you wanted juice instead of water.

That head-banging thing has to stop now, by the way. The low, warning growl you do is more than enough to let us know you’re displeased with the situation at hand, and escalating it to self-harm will not accomplish anything. I know you understand this and are probably just too upset in the moment to care about consequence (or lack thereof) but I’m hoping you get it through your head sometime soon. I’m not being literal when I say that.

Okay Chicken, I think that just about covers it for now. I really wanted to put across how you’ve grown into a little boy, even though the back of your head gets that nested look from sleeping on wet hair, which reminds me of when it looked like that all the time because you didn’t really have hair yet. I do so love you as a baby, and really mourn the passing of these months, even as I look forward to learning more and more about you as you continue to grow and figure yourself out.

Happy 21st month, my tiny boo. I love you so very much.

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