Naptime

I can honestly say that I have never been one of those parents who express regret about the passing of time. It has given me great joy to see my baby turn into a toddler, and my toddler turn into a preschooler.

I want DorkySon to grow up. I want him to become more confident and independent of me, to do things on his own without my help.

Perhaps it has been easier because he is naturally a quiet and fairly reserved boy, and I am more used to giving him gentle, encouraging nudges to try new things, rather than trying to hold him back from activities that he’s not yet ready for.

That said; all his big developmental stages have started on his say-so rather than mine. He indicated very clearly that he wanted to stop breastfeeding at 9 months. He decided when he was ready to start using a potty, and when he wanted the bars taken off his cot.

The next big thing on the horizon is probably going to be dropping his nap. I feel incredibly lucky to have a three year old who still reliably takes an hour’s nap after lunch every day, but I am very aware that this time next year DorkySon will have started school, and it won’t be possible to keep that going.

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DorkySon and Binky: It’s Complicated

If you’ve ever met DorkySon, there’s a good chance that you’ve also met Binky.

Binky is a blue hippo lovey, made by an American company called Angel Dear. He was a gift for DorkySon when he was born, and it was only a matter of weeks before they became inseparable. Originally, he looked like this:

Angel Dear blue hippo lovey

I can assure that you he doesn’t look like that anymore.
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A Mystery Story

Poor DorkySon gave himself a horrible nosebleed yesterday – his first one ever. Unlike most toddler injuries, it wasn’t sustained through overenthusiastic jumping on the bouncy castle, or dive-bombing off the sofa. Nope. Not my boy. He fell over into a chair because he was laughing so hard.

The cause of his mirth was overhearing me re-telling this conversation to DorkyDad… I’m not sure that it’s falling over funny, but it did make me smile.
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The One Where My Son Says He Doesn’t Love Me

‘I don’t love you, Mummy.’

‘That dress is ugly, Mummy.’

‘My dinner is disgusting, Mummy.’

‘I don’t want any more of this horrible juice.’

Last week, I spent a couple of nights down in London, continuing our flat-hunt. DorkySon stayed up in Edinburgh with my Mum, and by all accounts had a brilliant time. She texted me a picture of him on the first day, sitting on a bench, smiling and clutching an ice cream, and a picture on the second day of him sitting in the big red tractor at Gorgie City Farm, waving brightly at the camera. There is no one on earth he loves more than DorkyGranny – they are incredibly close – and I knew he would be absolutely fine.

But I don’t spend nights away from DorkySon that often – this was only the fourth or fifth time ever – so it always takes a bit of readjustment when I return. And this was by far the most difficult time ever. I’d brought him back a wee George Pig keyring that I spotted in a shop and thought he’d like.

‘It’s rubbish,’ he said, walking over to the bin and dropping it in.

Where had my sweet wee boy gone? It was as though I’d just skipped ahead fourteen years and was living with a short, angry teenager. He kept coming up to me as though he wanted a cuddle, and then swerving, pushing me away at the last minute.

It was a new thing for DorkySon to be deliberately mean – that’s just not his nature – so it hurt. But I also recognised myself in him. My parents separated when I was eight and, although I would never have seen it in myself at the time, I can admit now that I used to be completely horrible to both of them at changeover times, when I was switching from one house to the other. It was as thought I thought I would miss them less and find it easier to go if I fell out with them first.

DorkySon is doing brilliantly during a very unsettled time. He has had all manner of new people coming to his house, his belongings are being given away or packed into boxes around him, and his Mummy keeps disappearing for days at a time to ‘find a new house’.

I can at least try and articulate everything that’s in my head – all those mixed feelings of excitement and anticipation and nervousness – but even so I’m pretty tense and crabby and tired. It is no wonder that he has been feeling a little off too, and it’s expressing itself in a negative way. I take it as a compliment that I am the person he trusts enough to let off some steam with.

DorkyDad says that when he looks at me and DorkySon we are so close you couldn’t slide a sheet of paper between us. It is true. We love each other fiercely. Sometimes we are all tangled up in a mess of laughing and cuddles, other times we are pressing our foreheads against each other, locked eyes, trying to out-stubborn each other. ‘No,’ we say to each other. ‘No, no, no, no, NO.’

I had always imagined that I would be the calm parent, compromising, breaking up arguments, providing the necessary voice of reason. Not so. DorkyDad is the diffuser, the diplomat, and the joker who comes into the room to distract us both from whatever nonsense argument we are engaged in.

Anyway, it has taken a few days, but we are back to normal. DorkySon has returned to his usual, joyful self. When I threw on a scabby old fleece to drop him off at nursery yesterday, he said ‘You look beautiful in pink, Mummy’. Today I fixed one of his broken trucks with a dab of superglue, and he said ‘It’s great to have such a clever Mummy.’ And tonight, when I tucked him into bed, he smiled up at me and said ‘I love you so much.’

His language skills, his sense of humour, and his crazy wee brain are all developing so quickly, right now. He sings all day, and then lies in his cot before he falls asleep and recites as many letters of the alphabet as he can remember. He loves jokes about sausages and bananas. Yesterday he was very disappointed when he found a shoehorn in the wardrobe and it didn’t go ‘beep beep’ as all good horns should. He has discovered the word ‘why’, which is every bit as bad as I had been warned about. When we walk along the street he can identify a dozen different makes of car by looking at their badges (his favourites are Volkswagens and Mercedes, I’m not sure why). Today, in the space of a few hours, he asked me if it was winter yet, called me to the window to look at the sunrise, and greeted the rep from our removal company by saying ‘Hello man, I like your red tie!’

I wish I could bottle his laughter, and gift it to people to make them smile.

I am deeply, deeply sorry that DorkySon has learned at such a young age that he can say hurtful things. But I am so glad that all it takes to teach him that that’s not necessary is a couple of quiet days, reading books on the sofa with his Mum, remembering how much he is loved. And thank goodness I finally found the new house; next time I go away, he’ll be coming with me.

Sorry this was another very long post! The recommended length for a blog post is around 500 words, and this one was nearly 1000. Well done if you made it this far. If you’d like to keep up with me in a more concise way, then why not like my DorkyMum Facebook page for some shorter updates.

Live in the Now: September

Happy September!

The nights are drawing in, and there is a chill in the air. DorkySon’s windows have that sweep of condensation on them when I open his shutters in the morning (he points at it and tells me we need to call the window cleaners), but I love this time of year. The trees are all turning to autumn colours, and some evenings the final moments of sunlight are just magical. Best of all, the city is getting quieter, hunkering down in preparation for winter. The purple cow, the street perfomers and the visiting luvvies have all gone into hibernation.

Last winter, we suffered some serious cabin fever during the snow. This year I’m better prepared, and have already started stashing away jigsaws and craft materials for those days when we can’t get outside. I’m also noticing, with no small degree of pleasure, that DorkySon is far more able to entertain himself these days.

His imagination seems to have taken off; instead of just trundling trucks around the floor he now uses his Lego men and other figurines to act out little scenarios. He’ll happily spend half an hour pretending to be different kinds of truck, rushing up to me every so often to have his tank filled with petrol. Yesterday I had to put an imaginary plaster on the imaginary cut he suffered, cutting up his imaginary blueberry cake with an imaginary knife.

(Are you supposed to tell your toddler off when they use an imaginary knife?! I thought probably not…)

I love watching him lie on his tummy, whispering to himself as he turns the pages of a book. And he makes us laugh all the time with his chat. One day last week he kept telling us over and over that he was Chinese. So the next morning, when he came through to our room, DorkyDad asked “Are you still Chinese today?’

DorkySon looked at him for a minute and then laughed. “No,” he said. ‘I’m French.”

His love of Peppa Pig continues unabated, and while DorkyDad and I are getting a bit tired of watching the same episodes again and again, we still don’t have much to complain about. When we were at the dentist this week DorkySon was very obliging, holding his head back and going ‘aaaaaah’, because he’d seen George Pig do the same a few days earlier.

It’s starting to lead to some interesting lines of questioning though; like why DorkyGranny and DorkyGrandpa don’t live in the same house, like Granny and Grandpa Pig do. I thought I had a good few years before I had to answer that kind of thing. I’m also struggling with questions like ‘What’s electricity?’ … ‘What’s that pigeon saying?’ … ‘Why can’t you fix my Mini, mummy?’

Do you think it’s too soon to buy him an encyclopedia? I might stash one of those for winter too.

Pssst. I’ve taken advantage of some of that post-festival spare time to create a Facebook page for DorkyMum. If you haven’t already become a fan, please consider visiting now and clicking the Like button.