Hello, everybody! Apologies for the radio silence, awesome blogging has categorically not been what I do recently. Apart from a rather absorbing revival of my knitting addiction, I have spent most of my time either child-wrangling or pondering the meaning of life.
Turns out, this is not exactly conducive to an outpouring of hilarity. But handily, it’s also quite boring!
Not the knitting. That’s still awesome.
But all the rest, I have tired of somewhat. And so I am back! For how long, I’m not sure. But hopefully, there’s life in me yet.
I may be a little rusty, mind.
In the time that I have been gone, Mademoiselle Squeak has turned eighteen months old. And with that have come some… interesting developments.
Sure, she still has the adorable, goggly eyes and the delightfully chubby cheeks. And that little crooked smile is to die for.
But seriously, watch yourself. Don’t be fooled.
Because underneath this irresistible exterior lies a boiling core of pure, unadulterated baby rage.
And she’s really small, so it’s all concentrated and stuff.
Ask me how I know about that, if you dare.
Anyways, it appears that Squeak has read the memo about that shit we call the terrible twos, and decided to get in there early. At the moment she appears to have only two emotional states: consumed with fiery fury, and asleep.
And she doesn’t do all that much of the second one.
She spends these sleepless hours refining and honing her technique, in a bid to take over the world. Or at least, her family.
What, you didn’t think she’d have a technique? Tut! Do you read anything I write?
Kids always have a technique.
Read on to discover a little bit about Squeak’s. (It’s not a little bit because I’m too lazy to write it all down, either. I’m not naive enough to think that she’s in any way finished thinking up ways to fuck up my life yet!)
1. The Screech
It has come to my attention that Squeak’s nickname may be a touch outdated. Gone are the days when she squeaked and gurgled her way around the room, gnawing on whatever mouth-sized gadget she could find and imbibing vast quantities of crumbs and fluff.
I never thought I’d say it, but I kind of miss that now.
For starters, she’s getting pretty good at talking. She’s learning more and more words every day, and sometimes even remembering how to use them. A personal favourite is when she proffers a toy that isn’t working, and proclaims, “Need hewp!”
It’s cute. Obviously my response is, “Oh dear, I guess the batteries ran out. I will definitely, totally change those, like, at some point in the future… honest!”
No, that is not a lie! I resent the implication.
But as much as she is learning to talk more, Squeak is also realising that actually, she doesn’t need to talk at all.
Why would you need to talk when you can burst numerous ear drums with one sharp screech?
Oh yes, she screeches. Anyone who has heard said screech will agree that it is a source of considerable sensory discomfort. It just freaking hurts, ok?
She’s not particularly choosy about when she uses it, either. Walking towards her? Screech! Looking at her? Screech! God forbid, touching her? Screech!!!
She stops older children from grabbing her toys in seconds. Even I quail at the thought of having to stop her from doing something at any proximity closer than the other side of the room.
It’s a highly effective skill, and one I’m almost a little jealous of. I mean, how cool would it be to be able to stop everyone in their tracks with one (albeit, energetic) sound?
I can’t do that shit.
2. The Casual Face Slap
It has come to my attention that Squeak is somewhat keen on moving into a bed of her very own.
The evidence of this is most certainly not an impressive ability to fall asleep (and stay asleep) without my considerable input.
No, I am aware of this fact because Squeak has certain, less than civilised ways of telling me. Oh yes.
And she doesn’t want just any old bed.
She wants Little Girl’s.
Our evening routine ends with stories in Little Girl’s bedroom. Squeak listens and participates happily, as well as she can.
By that, I mean she turns the pages before I’m done reading and rips as many straggling pieces of paper as she can get her hands on.
When the stories are finished, Little Girl and Big Girl share a cuddle and kiss. And that’s where Squeak sees her opportunity.
She leaps under the covers, grabs any available teddy bear and yells, “My bed!”
Or, more accurately, “My Bett!” Because apparently she can convey her meaning better in German.
Little Girl, understandably, is more than a little irked by this. So she protests by attempting to clamber in next to her beloved baby sister. You know, for snuggles and shit.
Here enters the Casual Face Slap.
Squeak don’t want no snuggles. Or shit, for that matter. All she wants is her very own bed. And the double that supposedly belongs to me, in which she persists in taking up all the space?
So as Little Girl snuggles close, wrapping her arm around the small demon child’s waist, Squeak lifts her hand and delivers a stinging slap right on the cheek.
Well, not quite stinging. That’s why I call it the casual slap. Because there’s no aggression in it whatsoever.
Actually, do you know what it’s like? You know when one of those annoying flies with the high-pitched buzz gets right up in your face and refuses to leave no matter how much you swat at it? It just buzzes and buzzes right in your ear, in a calculated attempt to make you get the fuck out of its habitat?
Yeah, it’s like that.
3. The Drop To The Floor
So it’s always nice to know that people are reading the shit you write. Except if you realise that one of your kids is reading it.
To anyone under the age of about seven, this blog is less fantastic entertainment, and more a devilish instruction manual.
So imagine my dismay when I realised that Squeak had come across my post about Tantrum Techniques.
She must have, there’s simply no other explanation.
In case you’re wondering, the move she has mastered is The Flop. When she gets pissed (and I mean really pissed. We’re not talking irked, here), she immediately throws herself flat out on the floor.
And she’s not careful about it either. Personally I like to have some respect for the small amount of brains I have, even if they are safely enclosed in that rather oversized skull of mine. Squeak? Not so much. That kid has absolutely no consideration for her delicate, beautiful little head.
She doesn’t care what she hits, be it a toy, a shelf or just the floor itself. She’s going doooooown!
She actually seems to prefer it if she injures herself while she’s doing it. Then she gets to flash me that sorrowful, slightly reproachful look that never fails to tug at my heart-strings.
You know, because it’s my fault she hurt herself.
I like to think she operates The Drop on a point-scoring system.
A plain old Drop – 1 point
A mild head injury – 2 points
An injury of epic, breath holding proportions (see below) – 10 points
A fall which results in both of her arms coming out of the coat that I just spent ages wrestling her into – JACKPOT!
My House – Where Messing With Your Mother Is A Sport.
4. The Death Grip
One thing that a child with older siblings learns almost as soon as she can move around is that you’ve got to hold on to shit.
Like, really hold on.
Because they’re bigger than you, and they will use that size discrepancy to their advantage at any opportunity.
In our house, Squeak totally has the advantage. She can hold onto shit for longer than I, frankly, would be arsed about keeping it. Her face turns red with effort, and the aforementioned screech shows its face more than once. She’s willing to travel up and down the room, stamping her little feet and pulling as hard as she can.
But she will. not. let. go.
It doesn’t matter what it is. A toy, a piece of food, a forbidden object. Hell, she’d probably keep her grip on a grenade, if she really wanted to.
Big Girl and Little Girl are beginning to learn that they have less than a decent chance of getting their stuff back when Squeak has it in her sights. And that’s saying something, because I didn’t think I’d ever meet a kid with a tighter grip than my determined, ever-focused Little Girl.
But Squeak. Man, she’s got some superhuman strength going on. And so the older ones release their prize, dejection and frustration written all over their faces.
That’s where I have to step in. The eternal fixer-upper.
Because you know, I’m amazing at getting her to let go.
5. The Breath Hold
This one comes last, but by no means least. It is the most spectacular tool in her much varied arsenal. Not to mention the cause of great aesthetic trauma, which is guaranteed to bring me to a rather abrupt stop.
Now, I am not at all new to the concept of breath holding in small people. Big Girl used to do it every time she bumped her head. Thankfully, I think she’s grown out of it now. At least, it hasn’t happened for at least a year.
And I was a breath holder myself, until the fairly shameful age of ten. I don’t know quite why I’m ashamed of that, it’s not like I could control it!
Seriously though, ten???
This, however, is my very first encounter with the sacrifice of life-giving oxygen simply as an expression of rage. And it’s taking more than a little getting used to.
I wasn’t prepared at all when she started. I didn’t realise the significance of the scream, followed by an ever-reaching spell of utter silence.
I thought, for some illogical reason, that she’d simply…. stopped crying. I mean, is it really that unreasonable to assume that?
Yes. Yes it is, you foolish, full of nothing approaching awesome woman.
I mean, ugh.
When I did sense something was slightly off kilter and looked up, I was faced with a baby staring at me with a grotesque, contorted grimace on her face. Oh, and for good measure, she was turning an unpleasant shade of purple.
I reached out to grab her, but I was too late.
Over she keeled, and hit the floor like a sack of spuds. Oops. But on the bright side, that totally kicked the whole breathing reflex in again. Hurrah!
This wonderful phenomenon is showing absolutely no signs of letting up as yet, but you’ll be glad to know that I am getting way better at catching her.
As you can see, life in the Awesome house is just that little bit more colourful right now. But fret not, it’s not all bad I suppose. Squeak has also learned to give kisses that don’t result in an accidental (I think) headbutt, and she can say, “I luff you!” And best of all, she has just realised that she can jump.
I mean, her feet aren’t leaving the floor, but she doesn’t need to know that. She couldn’t look more delighted with herself as she lifts herself onto her tippy toes and yells, “DUMP!”
Oh yeah, she calls it a dump, as well.
Man, I’m so fucking infantile.
God it feels good to be back. I’ve been churning ideas over in my head for weeks, but when I sat down in front of the computer they just shrivelled up and died.
Nice image, huh?
So I’ve been hunkering down and flexing my knitting muscles, waiting for my muse to return. And I think it just may have!
Hope you like it