Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A day not Wasted

We all like laughing.  The Best Medicine and all that.  In our house it is especially important, considering the number of ways that I am able to mess up a situation.  Just this evening I thought I would help and ended up destroying the fish fingers we were going to have for tea.  Just the other day B could be heard to wail, “How many times do you have to be told?”  Sadly it was at me rather than the three year old after I had managed to mess up a relatively simple shopping trip.  It has got to the point where one of B and I’s favourite sayings is, “One day we’ll laugh about this.”  Often uttered after I have managed to break something important, like the tea, or one of the children, or managed to pull a cupboard door off its hinges, or rendered something entirely useless just by walking in its general vicinity, also often uttered by me as I try to placate my distinctly unhappy wife.  The time that really engrained it in our lives though was nothing to do with me.  We were on our way down to stay with some friends in Cornwall and had made it about 4 hours into the journey.  At which point our car, which we had purchased 3 days before decided that enough was enough and just ground to a halt.  Nothing would persuade it to go (turns out the timing belt had snapped causing a lot of damage and an immobile car) and in the end we had to wait a good few hours for a tow truck to come and drag us all the way home.  At some point during that wait one of us uttered the words, “One day we’ll laugh about this,” at which we both burst out laughing and stayed that way for a good few minutes.  This may have been the result of the rising hysteria we both felt, but we were both much happier about life afterwards.

The point is, it is important to be able to laugh, even when the water won’t stop pouring through the kitchen ceiling.  But enough about me.  Let me tell you something I have noticed about babies.  Babies don’t do a lot.  S is now 4 months old, about the size of a respectable truck, with about as much hair, but to all intents and purposes he doesn’t do a lot.  I don’t expect Wittgensteinian levels of philosophising, obviously, I imagine he’ll be more of a Schopenhauer guy, but a little light conversation would be nice.  Clearly he isn’t going to be bending it like Beckham at this point either, though there is something Ian Woanesque (check out the minute mark of this video, then skip on to 2:40 for some classic Ian Woan)about his left foot that has me pretty excited for football in the garden.  But the level of inactivity from the little chap is quite awe-inspiring.  I’ll admit, I’m a little jealous of the amount of time he gets to spend basically not doing anything, that looks like something I could do.  There are, of course, little hints that this is a little person and you haven’t just been sent home from the hospital with a very life-like, and loud, doll.  But for the first few months there isn’t really a lot of interaction.

But then it comes, smiling at first, though you learn pretty quickly that the smiles are mostly auto-generated and you can’t really take any credit for them.  Slowly though you start to get a bit more control and smiles can be brought out, but always in the back of your mind is the thought that really this is just going to followed by a resounding burp.  More things then begin to reveal themselves.  S is a big leg-waggler, which, again, can sometimes be the precursor for something from within, but is often the sign that he is pleased to see you and would really like to play.  Moments like that are truly special, but the best is the laugh.  It doesn’t happen much for a long time, and when it does it is entirely accidental and unreplicable, but it’s still enough to make you smile for the rest of the day.  Eventually it becomes easier to draw a laugh and in the end you find the spot that is guaranteed to cause them to crease up.  Which is when they really become people.  That first, genuine, pleased to see you, happy that you are tickling them under the neck, prepared to do it again, laugh, that’s when they become a full blown person.  With S it happened about a month ago, and since then I have been taking every opportunity to give him a little tickle and draw a laugh.

So welcome to the family S, here’s to many more laughs, hopefully not too many of them will be at my expense.

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