The youngest member of the household celebrated his half birthday yesterday. Of course, I didn’t know that half birthdays were worthy of recognition until I volunteered at the Gort’s school and heard the school announcements identify students who were having their birthday and their half birthday.
‘When’s my half birthday?’ the Gort asked. Um, it was in September. Oops.
But now I’m on the half-birthday-ball and yesterday it was Percy’s turn. Eighteen months old. Six short months away from being two, and a fully fledged toddler-on-the-way-to-being-a-preschooler.
A baby boy with two older brothers is a most interesting specimen to behold. [In my best National Geographic voiceover] ‘observe the eighteen month-old male homo sapiens boy-child. Watch him take a toy away from his three-and-a-half years old brother. See him hold onto said toy as if it is suddenly very important to him. Observe the three-and-a-half years old boy-child hand over the trains the baby has wanted to play with for the last ten minutes. Immediately. Watch the baby boy-child carelessly hand over the stolen toy he never wanted, anyway.’
The youngest-of-three boy-child has survival at the forefront of his mind. He knows instinctively that he must master three words at an early age. ‘Mama. No. Mine’. Without those three critical words, he is susceptible to threat, even harm. In his own home. At the hand of his own brothers. It is ‘play, or be played’ for him, which is why he knows – at the tender age of eighteen months – how to strike a deal with a person larger, and older than he.
He may look innocent with large, chocolate brown eyes, (that I fear will render me incapable of discipline at least once in the next few years.) And stick-straight bird nest-esque hair. All wrapped up in a footed, fleece sleeper. But make no mistake, he will offer a tender embrace while simultaneously sinking his mouth (full) of teeth into your shoulder. Laughing all the way.
‘Every house needs a baby,’ I sighed wistfully in the professor’s presence several weeks ago. ‘Yes,’ he agreed pointedly, ‘until they don’t’.
I get his point, of course. I was lying in bed last night, awash in nostalgia about the looming end of having a baby in our house. And then Percy cried for the fourth time in the span of two hours. And it was 1am and my eyes hadn’t yet closed. And nostalgia gave way to…fatigue.
Do they make footed, fleece sleepers in teenage boy sizes?