Proper joy

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We seem to spend quite a lot of time telling Zee not to do things. Most of the time, it’s for his own good, because we don’t want him trying to stick his fingers in plug sockets, or running into a road, or poking himself in the eye with a fork and that’s all pretty reasonable.

Yet sometimes, when I’m telling him not to smear yoghurt in his hair or to drench the bathroom floor with his exuberant bath time splashing, I think to myself ‘Does it really matter?’

His hair can be washed. The floor can be mopped. He is two. He is lively and curious and playful and funny and dammit I want to be more like that too! I’m not talking about letting him run wild, and they say you should pick your battles. But these little things aren’t really battles, they’re just things that make extra work, and every single day it adds up and is tiring. But every now and again, to coin a popular phrase, can’t I just let it go? He is positively ecstatic when he’s splashing away in the bath, and seeing his grin and hearing his giggles makes me beam. His face covered in food at teatime; isn’t that what a toddler should be doing? Because it’s safe to say that all too soon, as he grows up and learns ‘proper’ behaviour, his carefree toddler abandon will be gone, and I will miss it.

Walking to the park today, as he stopped every few moments to inspect something new on the ground or to point up excitedly at the ‘SHKY!’, I imagined what it would be like if I actually did behave more like him . . .

Waking up singing
Every single morning, I hear him chattering away in his cot, talking to Cat and Guin and More Guin, shrieking and sometimes singing. Singing away, nonsensical babblings that are lovely to hear. I can’t even began to imagine what H would do if I woke up in the morning and burst into joyful song, complete with hand movements and waving some teddy bears around. I can barely grumble a ‘hello’ in the mornings, let alone make it through a whole chorus, but what a refreshing start to the day it might be.

Look, LOOK!
During this morning’s aforementioned walk to the park, there was a lot of:

‘Blue DOOR!’
‘Black DOOR!’
‘CAR!’
‘TRACTORRR, TRACTORRR!’ (van)
‘WOOF-WOOF!’
‘KWACK-KWACK!’
‘SHKYY! PLAANE!’
‘TREEEEEEE!’

His observation skills are second to none. I might try it next time H and I go for a stroll. A lot of shouting excitedly and pointing, reminiscent of every time we’ve been to Ultimate Power Ballads. It’s important to take in one’s surroundings. H might pretend not to know me, but at least he’ll be fully up to date on what’s all around us.

Mess. Everywhere.
Zee’s attention span isn’t that long, so all around the house, there are discarded books and toys and crayons. Bits of paper, his pink toy buggy, his ride-along lion, his scooter. His stuff is everywhere. Of course it is. He’s two. If he runs off whilst brushing his teeth and feels like leaving his toothbrush in his toy tent, he will. At meal times he’s pretty nifty with a spoon, but sometimes only scooping something straight from the bowl will do, with his feet up on the table. Next time I brush my hair, whoosh, that’s my hairbrush being chucked over my shoulder! If I happen to finish drinking a coffee whilst standing in the hallway, then on the floor my mug will go! Laptop in the fridge, glasses in the bath, Kindle in a saucepan. Bolognese sauce on my face? Custard in my hair? So?

SPLASH!
I’ve already mentioned his bath time, but what about mine? Never mind a piping hot soak with lavender foam and a candle burning, I’m gonna splash and splash and kick and kick till there’s water everywhere and my hair is soaked. Water in my eyes, on the floor, on the walls. Hair can be dried, floors can too.

Because I DON’T WANT TO!
As an adult, when it comes to doing things you just don’t want to, it’s the norm to try and find an excuse or a polite way of saying ‘I’m afraid I can’t.’ But not if you’re a two year-old. Oh no! ‘No’ becomes your favourite word – and what’s more, people expect it of you. Well. Clean the house? But I don’t WANT to. Spend the afternoon in the supermarket? NO! Organise my expenses? Sort out the junk in the spare room? Wash the car? ‘NO, NOOOO NOOOOOOOOO!’ *wails and slams fists*. Man, that feels good.

Of course, none of this is acceptable behaviour for a 28 (plus six years) year-old. What a sorry state we’d all be in if it was. But I like the idea of sometimes just being more ‘kid’ about things. And not making a big deal of stuff that isn’t.

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