I mentioned before that the Boy turned four recently. I have to say that so far, I love four – it’s the best thing since... one-and-a-bit (when it all started to go downhill). Four dresses itself in the morning – having chosen its own clothes. Four loves its baby sister, is (relatively) patient, charming, and funny. Four can make itself understood, and so doesn’t get as frustrated as, say, three or two (God, the horror of two) did. Four has developed an inquisitive mind – beyond the random “why?”s of its younger years. Four is also a bit obsessed with age. And its correlation with death. (That’s what happens, I guess, when you suddenly increase your total years by 33% in one single day.)
So this is what I got the other night:
“Mummy, how old are you?”
I tell him (I’m not telling you, tho’).
“HAHAHAHA! You’re nearly DEAD!” (Said way too gleefully for my liking.)
“Mummy. When I am 100 I will be DEAD. But before that I will just be VERY OLD.”
And then – OhGodTheHorror – on the bus:
“Lady? LADY! How old are you?”
Old Lady: “I’m 88.”
“OH. MY. GOD. You’ll be DEAD soon.”
The Girl, on the plus side, doesn’t devote too much of her time to embarrassing the life out of me. On the down side, it’s only because she’s too busy perfecting her teenage behaviour. Christ alive – why did nobody warn me about 2 yr old girls? And where has my sweet lump of love gone? In the past couple of months, just as the Boy was beginning to come out of his horror phase, she has jumped headfirst into hers. (At least I’m hoping it’s a phase). Everything – everything – is “NO!”. Irrespective of the question. It’s bloody exhausting. The Boy has started to be quite nice to her, quite a bit of the time, and he literally gets a slap in the face for his troubles. So cue him to start whinging to me, cue me to tell him that I DON’T CARE WHAT SHE DID, STOP TELLING TALES, then cue him to sulk and me to twitch. Meanwhile, the Girl is busy ripping up whatever she can get her hands on- wallpaper (expensive, landlord’s), a good behaviour chart (empty), the Boy’s painting (awful), money from my wallet (expensive, mine) – all with a Fuck You World look on her face.
She has recently started demanding lipstick. When refused, she stomps off and goes searching for it herself. Cunningly, however, all my lipstick (in fact all my makeup) is old and dry and crumbly, so her plans to go out on the pull – or whatever she has in mind – are generally thwarted. (She has also started wearing sparkly underpants, which, coupled with the lipstick, has me a bit worried. Thankfully, however, she usually wears three pairs at once, which most 2 year old boys find a bit of a turn-off). And as for her hair – which she refuses to let me touch – well, just look for yourselves. (A complete stranger offered me a hairbrush for her in a cafe last week – she clearly mistook me for someone who has the time – or inclination – to worry about how her children look.)
The other Girl (what shall we call her? Star? Baby? Grubette? Mia? (the last is her real name, but seems a shame to hide the others behind unoriginal monikers, and not burden her with the same. Let’s go with “the Baby” for the moment. We can revise in a year or so.)) is, comparatively speaking, a delight. I know I know that babies are incredibly dull / frustrating / time-consuming, but actually, compared to (my) toddlers, they’re so damn easy. Exhausting, naturally, but as long as they’re not screeching for no discernible reason, they’re a piece of piss. I wish I had more of an update on her – She tried to focus her eyes! She pooed! – but she’s still doing very very little. Oh, her revolting belly button thing came off yesterday, much to the Boy’s relief (“What ON EARTH is that?”) but I can’t really give her too much – or indeed any – credit for that. She did sleep from 11pm until 6am the other night – cuddled up in bed with me (don’t tell Gina) – which was great - tho not so great for me, lying beside her, veering between utter conviction that she was dead, and astonishment (and resentment) at the amount of noise a sleeping newborn makes.
So between the three (!) of them, I am being kept on my poor, worn-out toes. It will surprise no one to learn that cooking anything other than pasto-pesto is currently beyond my scope. Although I did learn a great pasta-pesto trick from someone the other day: mix one part pesto with two parts crème-fraiche, heat through, and voila! You’ve got creamy pasta pesto, and have just doubled your post-baby cooking repertoire. (I PROMISE to make something new this week and report accordingly).
Ps – if anyone has any hair-detangling suggestions, let me know. If only to spare the sensibilities of hair-brush-wielding strangers.