This one's slightly backlogged, but Christmas got in the way, so here you are:
14 December 2013, 15:33pm
E.V.P. and I have had our ups (plenty of those.) We’ve also had our downs.
Just like with any of the adults that I have any form of relationship with, the one I have with this tiny tot takes work, and pride-swallowing, and compromise in industrial amounts. However, the perks of seeing him every single day and being the first one to hear his news and his blues more than make it all worthwhile. But that doesn’t mean that I always particularly enjoy the process...
Yesterday he fell out with me (in a big way), and all because I said he was being ‘crazy.’ (Which, to be fair, he was- I gave him a bar of chocolate and once he’d finished it he wanted more, so before I had a chance to intercept him he’d made a mad dash towards a chocolate Santa on the table. I grabbed it, and he literally leapt into the air and grabbed onto it too. Much harder. With his teeth. I mean...) Cue me muttering, ‘You are crazy.’ He didn’t know what ‘crazy’ meant, so asked me to tell him the French equivalent. I did. His face dropped. And then that angelic little face that I love so much turned into a fully formed snarl, and he stormed off to the bathroom. And locked himself in. (An outrageous over reaction if ever I saw one.)
At first, my instinctive reaction was to scream, ‘E! Get out of there IMMEDIATELY! You have 5 seconds to open that door... I’m serious! I’m counting! 1... 2... 3...’
But then I had a wave of reason. Why do adults even do that counting trick? What happens when you get to 5? What happens when you get to 10? What happens when you get to 100? It’s the emptiest of all the threats. Adults know that nothing happens when you stop counting, children know that nothing happens when you stop counting, everyone knows that nothing happens when you stop counting.
So I stopped counting.
And I stopped begging him.
What was he really going to do in there?
Bathrooms are fucking boring.
I’d give it 2.5 minutes until he was back out with his tail between his legs.
Sure enough, from behind the bathroom door, he started out his defence with a technique that I’m actually quite partial to myself- The Pretending You’re Having The Best Time Ever So That The Person You’re Trying To Annoy Feels Like They’re Really Missing Out tactic.
I hear him through the door: ‘WOO! WAHEY!‘ Clatter, clatter, bang, crash, running water... (All I can think is: Fucksake, that’s something for me to clean up later, but alas...)
I attack back with complete silence. (He hates being ignored. Don’t we all?)
He ups the ante with yet more noise.
I follow up with more silence.
I hear him silently panicking.
Not a word from me.
‘FINE!!!!!!!!!!!! I’LL COME OUT THEN!‘ (As if I’d been insisting.)
‘Okay muffin, whenever you want.’
As soon as he came out of the bathroom the whole episode was completely forgotten about. You can say what you want about children, but they never hold a grudge. I love that. And of course, I never once brought it up again. There’s no point. Children (especially this one) get away with murder when we need them to do something. As long as we can get them to do whatever it is we need them to do (eat their dinner, go to bed, stop yanking my hair, unlock the bathroom door, wipe their own bum), the process of getting there is often secondary.
Anyway, this little incident got me to thinking... If I were for some reason to ever give him a taste of his own medicine, or if we were to go through a Freaky Friday-esque change of bodies, or if I simply chose to act like he does all day, it’d probably go a little something like this:
E would suggest an activity for us to do. I’d refuse point blank to cooperate, even if it was my very favourite thing to do in the world. Just because. He could say, ‘Hey Silv, wanna paint each other’s nails and drink cappucinos?’
I’d say, ‘nope.’
He might suggest, ‘well what about watching three episodes of Breaking Bad back to back?’
He then might test the waters with the offer of, ‘fancy going to Sandro and trying on loads of outfits we can’t afford?’
At a loss, he’d play his trump card, ‘well, tell you what, how about going to the Pompidou and reading the blurbs of 500 different books, compiling a list of the next few month’s reading material in Notes on your phone?’
By this point I will have stopped listening completely and will be absorbed in drawing pictures of rockets on the dining room table in permanent marker.
At his wit’s end, E.V.P. will sigh and prepare me a delicious snack.
I won’t be hungry. Actually, I might well be hungry, I might be ravenous, but I refuse to eat just because of a simple thing like it actually being snacktime or my stomach growling the whole national anthem, or anything like that. I won’t be dictated by anything other than my immediate desires and fleeting whims. And I don’t need to explain myself to you, thank you very much.
E.V.P. might then try and tempt me by adding tasty extras to my plate: a square of chocolate, my favourite yoghurt, a spoonful of caviar...
A tale as old as time. One I know well.
At the very moment when he is doing a spoon aeroplane (with sound effects) towards my deceptively open mouth, I will suddenly jolt out of my seat and do laps of the front room. Now’s the perfect time for exercise if you ask me.
E.V.P., now covered in my untouched snack, will abandon ship, maybe take a few bites of the best bits (be a shame to waste it...), and put his head in his hands while he thinks I’m not looking.
In the meantime I will suddenly get the overwhelming urge to do something I know full well I’m not allowed to do. No harm in asking though.
‘E...?’ I will sweetly start. ‘Pretty please could I throw this plate out the window?’
E.V.P. will say no. He will start to look quite angry.
Now’s my cue to reason with him: ‘But I just want to see what happens! Like a science experiment? It will be educational!’
There will be smoke coming out of E.V.P.’s ears by this point.
I’ll just inch my way over to the plate anyway. Might as well.
E.V.P. will be watching me out the corner of his eye, and will start to make his way towards the plate too.
I’ll grab it and run for my life.
E.V.P. will do a somersault over the sofa and stand in front of the window, blocking my way.
He’s so unfair.
My temper will start to rise and I might screw my face up, trying really really really hard to cry. One tear will suffice. As long as he can see that I’m upset I might just be allowed to throw that plate out the window after all.
Shit, he’s really not going to move, is he?
I’ll stamp my feet. That’s it, I’ll stamp my feet and howl. If I scream load enough I might embarrass him enough for him to give up and let me have my own way.
‘WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! LET ME! IT WILL BE FUN FOR YOU TOO!’
E.V.P. is reaching for the plate to wrestle it out of my hand. Now I simply need to pull out all the stops. It’s now or never.
I dodge around toys and limbo under tables, eventually wrapping myself up in the curtain, all the while trying to barter with E.V.P.
‘If you let me throw this plate out the window I’ll be good all afternoon, I promise. If you let me just this once you’ll be my favourite person in the world. Alright, look, if you let me do it we can watch TV together for a whole hour!’ Oh no. I realise my mistake. That’s something I want to do, not him. I see that he’s not impressed. At all.
There’s only one thing for it now: complete desperation.
I will begin to sob uncontrollably, while simultaneously being overcome with complete debilitating anger, and a sense of being the victim of a cruel joke.
I will scream at E.V.P., ‘YOU ARE HORRIBLE! YOU ARE THE MEANEST BABYSITTER I’VE EVER MET! YOU DON’T WANT ME TO HAVE ANY FUN! YOU WANT ME TO BE DEPRESSED! NOBODY WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY! NOBODY CARES ABOUT MY WELLBEING! JUST YOU WAIT ’TIL I TELL MY MUMMY THAT YOU DIDN’T LET ME DO ANYTHING I WANTED TO DO! I’M GOING TO ASK FOR A NEW BABYSITTER... AND... And...’ Woah, all this shouting and running around is quite tiring. Might just sit down for a sec and catch my breath, and... Where’s my stuffed Pikachu? Gonna just... put my head into my pillow, and... what was I so angry about again...? Quite fancy a cuddle from E.V.P., actually. Where’s he got to?
I will then reach for E.V.P., assuming that he has moved on as quickly as I have, and everything will miraculously be as before, with nothing to show for my afternoon of debauchery apart from a few smudged fingerprints on my snack plate and my interpretation of Neil Armstrong’s Eagle on the dining room table.
Ah, to be six...