We found a new favourite book this month. Naughty Mabel. Its about a French Bulldog belonging to a couple in the Hamptons. Written in the first person, the book depicts some of the escapades that “Naughty Mabel” gets up to all in the voice of a self-absorbed socialite. Its not a book I feel that I can do justice to unless I am reading in an accent that I can best describe as camp as a row of tents. It’s a lot of fun. And perhaps because I clearly enjoy it so much, you have requested it again and again.
We have read this book almost every day since we got it and you have shown it to a number of family members which cracks me up. Not because you love the book too or you want to share the book but because you like to read it. And you have memorised a lot. I watched you sit at the bench with your Aunt the other day and as you turned the pages you said I am Mabel and this is my humble abode and five is the new three and later on, I was flabbergasted. I don’t think you fully understand either the humour or the vocabulary used in the book but I think its awesome to see a three-year-old use the word flabbergasted.
Another favourite this month was not so much a book as a story. Or stories. You have also fallen in love with My Naughty Little Sister. Nightly as you go to sleep, we leave either music or a recording of Winnie The Pooh playing on an iPhone. In the age of digital media and associated platforms, we can leave just about anything on repeat and without break. When I was growing up though, we had records and cassettes. I would go to sleep with books on tape that would stop after one side and I still have these within the house. I pulled out one of my favourites, Felicity Kendall reading My Naughty Little Sister, for you to listen to the other day and you were hooked.
Now when you go to sleep, you like to listen to the tales of My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry. You insist on picking which of the two tapes you are going to listen to and perhaps fortunately, you have not yet figured out that each of the tapes contains two sides. I only let you listen to one side per night because the thing it, you actually listen to it. You stay awake for the whole thing! You don’t fall asleep like you do to Winnie The Pooh or Dr Seuss, you enjoy each of the stories till the tape player clicks off and you let us know we can return you to the regularly scheduled program of sleepy-time sounds.
Also part of your established bedtime routine is your prayers. You still favour the little book I gave you last month however you now like to say them all by yourself. Which would be fine except for the fact that you can’t read so you don’t know which one should be read on which day. As a consequence, you expect us to read the very beginning of each line so you get the right one but during which you will frustratedly interrupt with no. No to get us to shut up so you can recite the full line yourself. I find I am equal parts amused that you really want to do it “all by yourself” and irritated that you can be kind of rude about it.
Because in general, you do seem to be showing more attitude lately and have been displaying more characteristics that we would consider rude or selfish. You will still go into meltdown mode if we happen to turn off a Genni tv show. Even if we have already mutually agreed that this will take place after what you have been watching is finished. In order for you to actually get tv though, you have started to say I have been so nice today mum…what can I have? If we tell you that we are happy with you, we hear what do I get? I suppose we have brought it on ourselves because we like giving you things and making you happy but this attitude and sense of entitlement is not going to help you fare well in this life. And the constant what else is not going to help you fare well with me either.
You have taken to demanding a litany of options when you ask us a question like what can I have to eat? You are not content to only have a couple of options from which to choose and seem to be hanging out for a better option as though one will always present itself. What else, Mama, what else? There are times when this desire not to settle will actually help you to grow as a person. It will assist you in striving for new things and may help you imagine and create. I hope as a parent not to quash that trait in you. You should be able to question the world around you and be able to search for bigger and better. But sometimes, for my sanity as a parent, you can have a cheese sandwich or a yoghurt. That’s it.
So with the coming of new stages in your life, we also see the passing of old ones. It struck me the other day that you no longer come and snuggle with us in the mornings. When I was pregnant, you used to wake up early in the mornings and come and climb into bed with us and go back to sleep. As much as it was occasionally frustrating with my huge belly, it was sweet that we had that time together as a family. You no longer just come in and rest with us though. You stay in your own bed until you are ready to get up and start the day. Or, you know, until you wake up cold. I swear kid, you are going to have to learn to stay under the covers at night in winter. Either that or we might have to start putting you to bed dressed like the Michelin Man. Its winter!
The only other thing that deserves a mention this month is that whilst playing outside in a yard, you stepped on a screw which became slightly embedded in your foot. It was an unfortunate accident but you were terribly brave and have recovered well. You are my little trooper.