The boysÂ were three on Saturday. Incredible as it seems, BT (perfidious Albion again) has still not given us the internet in the privacy of our own home so, here I am frantically tapping in a smart hotel where I have been “thinking in”. Insert sigh here.
However, despite the personal cost, I could not let this major landmark pass without a post.
Daniel (the elder)
Daniel has settled into his new Irish environment particularly well. He likes the structure of Montessori school and I think that he is happier than he was in the crÃ¨che in Belgium. He likes having his family around him and is fond of all his relations, particularly his baby cousin as he loves babies.
He is good at speaking and my mother-in-law says he sounds like a foreign child who has been taught English. In three weeks at school this has more or less disappeared and the other evening he asked for a “spoo-en plee-as” (the unfortunate Dublin habit of inserting extra vowels in words)
He likes to wear socks on his arms, like long dancing gloves. This is endearing until the moment when you try to take them off and put them on his feet and he screams like a banshee.
He is very affectionate and sympathetic. He is always the first to sympathise with his siblings and parents on their various bruises and ills (“show me, show me! â€“ very sore”). In the evenings when I say good night to him, he always wants to give me a big kiss and a rub on the arm.
When we are cross with him (often for throwing things â€“ an activity of which he never tires â€“ it will be a project for the next year to teach him about John Vavassour de Quentin Jones who, as you will know, lost a fortune by throwing stones) his mouth turns down and he says as he squeezes out bitter tears “You made me cry.”
He still does not sleep through the night (you offer advice on this at your peril). Usually once but sometimes twice, he wakes up and cries for a bottle. A parent struggles to his bedside and matters play out as follows:
Me: Yes, sweetheart.
Him: NOOO, I want Daddy. [Note, he invariably wants the parent who is still in bed]
Me (knowing I should challenge him but feeling the lure of my nice warm bed and worrying he might wake Michael): OK
Mr. Waffle goes downstairs and gets him a bottle.
Daniel: NOOO, it’s too cold.
Mr. Waffle renukes.
Daniel: NOOO, it’s too hot.
Mr. Waffle pours half down the sink and tops up with cold water.
Daniel: NOOO, I want a little bottle.
Mr. Waffle pours half of it down the sink.
Daniel consents to take the bottle.
We are hoping that this will stop sometime before he turns 18. Only 15 years to go.
The other day he told me “Me not sweetheart.”Â
Me: Oh dear.
Him: OK, a little bit.
Me (confused): A little bit what?
Him (helpfully): A small bit of something.
How little does he think I know?
Michael (the younger)-
Michael’s father took him to get his hair cut.Â While Daniel looks like Boris Johnson with his floppy blonde hair, Michael has a shaved head and looks like a thug.Â Mr. Waffle points out that his appearance now matches his temperment.Â This did not placate his cranky wife.
Michael is adamant that the only people in the world he likes are his mother, his father, his sister and his brother.Â Everyone else is greeted with the words “I attack you”.
He has endless enthusiasm.Â Any activity that is presented to him in the appropriate tone will be welcomed with the words “that be fun!”.Â On Saturday, for their birthday we all went on the Viking SplashÂ tour of Dublin which involves wearing a viking helmet and roaring at innocent tourists.Â He loved it.
He has recently expanded his diet to add cheddar cheese.Â We are delighted.Â We were all tiring of pasta and pesto.
He is a bossy little person and never tires of telling me, in imperious tones, to read him a story.Â He loves stories and will sit spellbound by anything pretty much regardless of how difficult it is.Â I am hoping to be able to start reading the paper aloud to him shortly.
Despite his very tough exterior, he is quiteÂ a nervous boy and will rush to me in fear at the sight of all kinds of things.Â The other night, he confided to me that there was a monster in the bedroom and I had to stay and hold his hand until he fell asleep.
He does like to sleep.Â He is his mother’s son (he is also the child who looks most like me – I once shaved my head too, I was in my 20s, it seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t.Â I remember I arrived into the pub where my then boyfriend was waiting for me: “it’s rotten, isn’t it?” I sniffed – I also had a cold.Â “It’s cool,” he said.Â “Really?” “Yes, especially with the sniff, it makes you seem like a drug dealer.”)Â He sleeps through the night and from about six in the evening he is begging to be allowed go to bed.Â Have you any idea how hard it is to have this conversation with a small child:
Him: Mama, please can I go to bed?
Me: No, sweetheart, it’s too early.
Him:Â Please, Mama, when can I go to bed?
Me: After dinner.
Him: No, Mama, please now, please, please.
So, there it is, landmark noted.Â A very happy birthday to my gorgeous boys and on the very day they were born, my parents got married (well, obviously, not actually the same day but the same date) so a very happy 41st wedding anniversary to my wonderful parents too.Â Rejoicing all round (insert trumpets here).