At the park this week I was chatting with a lady about her two toddlers who were roughly the same age as Sonny and Luca, and questioned her mental state given she also had a newborn baby. In transpired that the impending dread of having to go back to work had brought about a temporary lapse of sensibility, however as the week progressed I’ve started to understand how something so obviously insane could begin to sound entirely reasonable (don’t worry Janet’s not pregnant and won’t be anytime soon!)
Given that any thoughts of me getting a job are buried so deep in the sands of denial that they’re even deeper than even my head is buried , the prospect of working obviously isn’t an issue for me. What is though is the sudden realisation that Sonny is developing a mind of his own and that his world appears to not revolve around me any more (which is doubly difficult to comprehend given I assumed everybody’s world had me at its axis?)
For too long I’ve taken for granted his acceptance that every word I utter is both factual and interesting in equal measure. That when I ask him to do something he invariably does it (albeit after varying levels of protestation), and when I make a joke he actually laughs with genuine amusement.
That was until this week when everything has taken a sinister turn for the worse.
It began when he was launching himself from the arm of the sofa in order to touch a picture hanging off the wall during his descent.
“You’ll hurt yourself Sonny” I suggested after he’d landed on his head for the umpteenth time.
“Oh nonsense daddy!” came his sarcastic reply.
On another occasion whilst attempting to get him dressed he struggled free, threw me a look of complete disdain which had all the chilling hallmarks of his mothers glare as his bottom lip dropped so low I heard the thump as it hit the floor.
“Daddy, stop bothering me, I’m trying to do something important!”
Later that day while at the park we bumped into our neighbour. Midway through saying hello I was mockingly interrupted by a frustrated Sonny,
“Daddy! Stop talking gobblygook, I’m trying to speak to Libby’s mummy!”
This theme has continued throughout the week. One request to tidy his toys away was met with rolling eyes and an exaggerated,
“Oh my Jesus God!” (which I hasten to add is an amalgamation of Janet’s regularly exasperated utterances and nothing to do with me).
However possibly the most heart-sinking moments are when I start to sing any song and get told in no uncertain terms to,
“stop singing daddy, I can’t hear the words!”
Add to this his impending nursery place and I already feel like I’m on a slippery slope to not only becoming inconsequential to him but also to becoming the embarrassing dad I was always certain I’d never become.
Luckily the gaping hole left by Sonny’s independence is more than being filled by a needy Luca, which is something I’m more than happy to nurture for my own feeling of self-worth. What is also clear however is the realisation that in 12 months time I’ll be going through the same trauma without the safety net of another toddler on the production line.
Hopefully Janet will be reading this, will make a mental note to keep an eye out for any signs of my ensuing panic, and have some contingency plans in place. I’m confident she will as I’m sure the clues will be glaringly obvious. If she’s not suspicious when I shave this beard off, take more showers, and suggest we have more early nights …. together, then she really doesn’t know me as well as I thought she did!?
Sonny’s fast demise into adolescence hasn’t however reduced his ability to embarrass me and Luca (although I may be confusing Lucas embarrassment for a rather worrying brotherly pride)?
We had a knock at the door from a very small Chinese lady selling Gods wares. Before she’d had a chance to explain the benefits of Jesus our conversation was cut short by the accusatory tones of Sonny who appeared from behind my legs and pronounced,
“Look daddy, its a mini mummy!”
This brought the situation to Lucas attention who appeared from behind my other leg and chipped in with,
“Mama?…. No, no, no, no” as he shut the door in the poor lady’s face.
By the time I’d stumbled over Luca and re-opened the door she’d already left our garden and was hurrying down the road far quicker than her short legs could consider a ‘steady pace’.
On a similar theme, while at Manchester museum Sonny noticed an approaching lady wearing a hijab.
“Why is that woman hiding?” Sonny asked.
“She’s not hiding ,she’s wearing something called a hijab.” I explained, as if that was ever likely to satisfy his intrigue.
As she got closer he’d obviously decided he knew better and while pointing at her shouted,
“Pee-poo, I can see you!”