Monday, March 13, 2006



I am not particularly good at transitions. (You are, I am sure, reeling with shock at this revelation.) While I like new things, when things are going well I am reluctant to muck about with them. I have been using the same shampoo and conditioner for at least ten years. Sometimes I buy the one for extra volume, and sometimes I buy the one for extra moisture. But it's been the same brand for probably hundreds of bottles. Because it works.

Simon is no longer working. Much to my dismay he insists on growing, both physically and mentally. Every bed and naptime for the last five days, he has resisted going into his crib. He has cried, he has raged, and he has manipulated his commodious mother into rocking him to sleep every single time. Bad mommy. Clever Simon.

It is time, I acknowledge, to give up the crib. He hasn't crawled out of it in a week, but it's clear that he's ready to give it up. I intuited this when he told me, "No more crib. Simon bed." Sometimes, the subtle cues are obvious enough to penetrate even the haziest fog of denial.

And if he is ready to give up the crib, then (deep fortifying breath) maybe it's time to give up the high chair as well. When does it end? Next thing you know, he'll be four and a half pounds heavier, and ready to move into the booster car seat, and it's just a half a step from there until he's retired and collecting a pension.

To say that having two bullheaded strong-willed preschoolers in the house is an ongoing challenge is to say that the blogosphere has a few words in it... a serious understatement. But you know what? I'd freeze-frame it all and stay here forever. If I could, I'd do the Groundhog Day thing right now: the tantrums because the milk is in the blue cup instead of the green one; the constant testing (a university has less testing than our house these days); and, the exasperation of cleaning up the same set of toys over and over and over again (and why, for the love of god, do all the toys we own suddenly have 900 pieces each? Nobody brings another toy into this house that so much as breaks in half. One piecers only, all others need not apply, thank you for your interest.) I'd put up with the endless pestering of "now can you play with me?", the capricious moods, the sparrow's-first-fart wake-ups, and the infernal bickering - I'd do it all forever, if I could. Because I'm not so good with change. And while there are days they drive me to distraction, for the most part it's good. It's very, very good.

I look at them, these strange creatures that call me Mum (they're not even in school, and already I'm no longer Mummy) and I never want it to change. I don't want them to grow up into querulous ten-year-olds, nor petulant teenagers. I don't want them to tower over me; I want them to be just the right size for me to fold my arms around them and scoop them up and make them a part of me again. I don't want their downy cheeks to bristle, I don't want their sweet milky skin to smell like musk - and I sure as hell don't want them to smell like some other woman. I don't want to watch them graduate, to move away, to fall in love and get married and have a family other than us.

But mostly I don't want to let Simon have a bed because it's easier when he's in his crib and I know where he is. He's a pest, that one. Nothing but trouble. And the idea of him wandering around and on the loose late at night when everyone is sleeping should scare the hell out of you, too.