Our lives are a series of ups and downs. My days are like negotiating an obstacle course filled with step ladders. He’s figured out that he wants stuff. When he desires something, he really, really has to have it right now. He’s an anarchist and he has no sense of self-preservation. He’ll risk limbs and more often than not his head. Be it a musical toy or a bottle lid, it’s vital for all of our well-beings that he has it. Pre-precious one days I thought I’d be a kind of liberal hippy, that’s OK parent. I’m not.
In my role as health and safety gone mad I watch on as a series of not very subtle plans are hatched to get the thing – usually a remote or a phone – followed by the unconfined joy of grabbing hold of it and the inevitable despair of having it cruelly taken from him before he has altered the settings in some unfathomable way. It’s OK, it doesn’t get him down for long, he lives in the moment, and there is always a new challenge in any room that has anything in it. For him, it’s highs and lows, strikes and gutters and that’s before we’ve even had breakfast.
There is laughter and crying piggy-backing off one another in a steady lurch throughout the day. When they cease I scamper into the other room as I must have left the staircase open for him to have a free-climbing adventure. The other day we were sat happily on the sofa laughing along, messing about, care-free people on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The precious one was holding the phone to his ear and we were pretending to have a nice conversation. Ah. Then he turned to his other favourite game, throw the thing on the floor. I wonder when he will decide that he’s carried out enough research into this particular area? He been studying it for some time and surely at some point he can’t draw any further conclusions from vigorously testing out the ramifications of throwing every object that he comes across onto the floor. Well, on this day he was conducting this test with my mobile phone. However, he was stuck in a paradox. He was contentedly playing with the phone but he just couldn’t stop himself. He threw it. I looked at it. He pointed. He started crying. I returned the phone to him. He laughed. He pretend talked. He chucked it. He cried. I didn’t return it. He wailed. His face went bright red and expanded. I returned it. It’s easier. He laughed. He threw it. He cried. I despaired.
His is an ongoing agonising tale of thwarted hopes. He really doesn’t want another spoonful of Multi-grain Hooplas. So he screams. However, he is happy to pick individual Multi-grain Hooplas off the table and eat them. Instead he really wants a blueberry, but not to eat, to give it to me to eat. All squashed. I don’t want to eat it. He’s gutted. He screws up his face and screams. I have to put him on the floor. I have to sit on the floor. It’s not a case of whether I indulge him, I usually don’t have a clue what he wants. We’ve said no to him so many times that he says it before he does something that he knows is off limits. “Oh no.” He says, before emptying his bowl all over himself. I’ve tried to tell him that it works best if he waits until after the accidental thing has happened before he shows his surprise at it happening.
Someone told us that they never say no to their child. We tried it for a day but we couldn’t quite find a positive spin on him trying to garrotte himself with the blind chord. No is more to the point. So having failed in introducing a revolution in baby communications we have opted for a simpler approach. When nothing much is happening we say “oh yeah.” in an over enthusiastic Butlins rep trying to get everyone dancing kind of voice. We’re trying to instill a sense of can do attitude. It’s too late. He shouts back “Oh no” with a massive grin on his face. At least we’ve found a way to get the peaks and troughs into one moment. It’s all go, go, go in our house. We long for calm. When the noise stops, that’s when I worry that something really bad has happened.