I love quiet. I like to work in complete silence, or with classical music on very quietly on the radio in the background. I relish the sound of silence. Peace. Quiet.
And of course, with two young kids, I rarely experience it. But I’ve come to love the noisy hustle and bustle of our house: the music, the machines whirring constantly to clean up the debris of our lives, Sissyboo’s singing, the tears and the tantrums (sometimes from the kids), the negotiating for treats (ditto). It’s familiar. It’s comforting. It’s home.
But yesterday it struck me that another sound had entered our house and was competing for airspace. ‘Stop that, Boo!’ has become, without me even really noticing it, a recurring refrain of our day-to-day. It started out with repeated requests for Boo to stop pulling my hair or Sissyboo’s. He still does that. A lot. But just recently I noticed it’s happening in a increasing variety of contexts.
‘Stop that, Boo!’, I found myself saying yesterday when he was about to grab his dad’s coffee cup from out of his hand. ‘Stop that, Boo!’ when he was trying to pull the DVDs off the bookcase near the Cushi Tush he was sitting in, or trying to grab my food off my plate while sat on my lap.
I emphasise the trying, here. Reaching and grabbing are still inexact sciences for Boo as he struggles to get past the chaotic signals his brain is sending his limbs. But he usually gets at, or very near what he’s after, even if he can’t hold them well, and cups of water and pepper pots have started to fly.
And you know what? It’s bloody brilliant!
You know what it’s like. You have a child. They are adorable, but they can’t move or do much. You think, ‘Oh they’re so cute, but won’t it be great when they can move, or reach to play with my hair or talk to me’. And then they can do these things and all those people with that annoyingly knowing smile who said ‘Be careful what you wish for’ turn out to be right as chaos enters your house. All of a sudden the fate of all of your worldly possessions rests in the ham-fisted grasp of a toddler. It keeps you on your toes. ‘Remember the days they couldn’t do this,’ you say ruefully.
Not me. Not this time round.
Boo, you cause as much chaos as you like. Because I can’t tell you how glad I am that you can. I can’t tell you how much it buoys me up to gently and half-heartedly berate you for things I thought you’d be doing 12 months ago. How wonderful it is to talk to you, not just as a child who has to be carefully and specially looked after and loved, a child who has to be therapeutically handled because he’s fragile, but as a toddler-cum-Incredible Hulk.
I love this new chaos and I don’t want it to stop no matter what I say. ‘Go on’, she says, doing her best Captain America impression, ‘Boo… smash!’