Daniel puckers his lips to be kissed but Michael puts his upper lip under his lower. They do this a lot. It is very endearing. They are so straightforward. As yet, there is no sign that either of them might have his sister’s iron will. Michael is even sleeping through the night but it’s hard to appreciate this as much as we might because Daniel is still waking up four times a night. He only drinks milk and he likes it all at night. Michael, though svelte of figure, (unlike Daniel who is sturdy: he walks like John Wayne after a long day in the saddle and has a pot belly) will eat almost anything. He has a particular fondness for protein of all kinds and earlier this evening I pried a chicken limb from him to put him into the bath and he cried piteously throughout the bath, the tooth washing and the drying and putting to bed, stretching into the air for the chicken leg his cruel mother had well, cruelly, taken from him.
How they love to go out. When I say “let’s go”, they run to the front door and stand leaning against it until the rest of us catch up. They then go out and sit on the stairs together while waiting for the lift to arrive. I have tried to photograph this charming sight on many occasions but they get up the minute they see the camera, again frustrating my efforts to photograph their every moment etc.
Sunday was mother’s day. I had to travel and it was an inauspicious omen leaving my three children bawling on the floor behind me. I had already been the lucky recipient of various hand made gifts: a bowl from the Princess made in secret (“Mummy, I have a secret in school – hands over mouth – I can’t tell you!”) over many weeks in school, and two night lights from the boys constructed in the creche. I had been told that the petals on the flowers on the night lights were made from the boys’ fingerprints. Even if I hadn’t been, I would have guessed as they cooed over the finished product, stuck their fingers on the petals and then inspected their fingertips hopefully for traces of paint. Isn’t it odd that what your mother always told you is true? It is much nicer to have something your child made than something he or she bought.
The boys are talking. We can recognise lots of words. “Hors jeu!” they say accompanied by a finger pointing to the place where bold children sit and think about their sins. Daniel says “shoes, chausseurs” and names many of the books he would like me to read though the poor mite knows that much of his time has to be spent wistfully turning pages on his own beside the bookshelf. He particularly adores his father and will go up to him and touch him as though he can’t quite believe he’s actually there saying lovingly “Daadee”. This is as well for Mr. Waffle as, at present, relations with the Princess are poor. This evening, on returning from a day labouring for his family, he was greeted by his first born with the words “méchant, va t’en”.
Michael continues to be fond of all animals which he now refers to generally as “ack acks”. While initially covering only ducks this now extends to dogs and cats as well. I think he suspects cows are different – he tends to point at their pictures and say sniffily “moo”. There is a duck on the mantelpiece and he points at it enthusiastically every meal time “ack, ack”. Both of them are very good at doing the gestures that go with the relevant pages of their favourite books “No, Pat, no don’t sit on that” is accompanied by violent head shaking and finger waving to let Pat know that sitting on a cactus would be a huge mistake.
They are often kind to each other. This evening when Michael was having his chicken wing meltdown, Daniel went up and patted him on the cheek. With their sister, there is generally no quarter given or asked for. The three of them have, however, just started to play together. They chase each other round the house and when caught scream “I gotcha”. The Princess has taught them to scream at the top of their lungs when we say shush. Daniel is a particular adept at this game. I can’t tell you how much we’re enjoying it ourselves.
That’s enough for today.