I’ll yell

Harry moved into the nursery last Wednesday, at the ripe old age of 1 year & three days old. He occupied a moses basket pulled tight to my bedside for the first few months of his life, followed by a disastrous move into the cotbed placed at the foot of our bed when the basket started to look cramped. Even lying with the pillows turned to the footrest of our bed, I still burst into tears after an hour because there were bars between me and my baby that I couldn’t reach between, prompting his hasty shoehorning back into the basket by a snivelling mama.

He was still waking for a feed at least twice a night at that point – probably didn’t need ’em, but was damn determined to get ’em – so we borrowed a cotbed that boasted drop sides, as opposed to our beautiful but impractical solid chunk of oak, and pulled that up close to the bedside to facilitate A) the nightly flopping-out of my boobs and B) my incessant checks on his breathing.

By the end of May he was still being a bugger, but, after his 4 month bout of virus, was made to go cold-turkey on the night feeds, and I successfully managed the emotional hurdle of his re-transition to foot-of-bed-oak-chunk. I even put the pillows back at the right end! He began to sleep through shortly afterwards. Which was nice. And there the situation has halted.

Since the beginning of July I have muttered vaguely about moving him, but the room wasn’t really ready, the status quo was acceptable, and John & I are lazy slobs. It took me an embarrassing number of weeks to get the prints framed, sew the blind, sew the doorstop, sew a change-table-tidy-type-object and paint the storage units, before taking my father hostage in order to get him to slap some paint on the enormous chimney breast

Now, before you all gasp in awe at the tree, let me tell you that Dad would be horrified did he know that I was displaying his handiwork (termed by him upon completion ‘a load of crap’) to the world. I had actually commissioned my father (when I was seven months pregnant) to reproduce this:

which he is perfectly able to render a detailed and exact freehand copy of except that it would involve him having started it… oohhh, about when I first asked him to, really. Dad hasn’t painted in quite a while, and is, admittedly, quite a busy chap. I had to promise to feed him and set my mother on him in order to lure him over here with his paint box at all. The ‘interim’ tree is fabulous for less than 2 hours work – although there is something decidedly odd about the hastily-added owl; Dad also had mislaid his yellow, rendering the bark distinctly more purply than he would have liked; exponentially increasing his stylistic woe. He has bought boards to work on at home, and has promised the Real Thing by Christmas. We shall expect it precisely when we see it.

Anyhoo, decor was finally complete-ish, so child was moved. He spent two uneventful (I slept! And I didn’t actually cry!) nights in there, before he caught a stinking cold and proceeded to become so distressed by his cough that he ended up sleeping between us for three nights. He hasn’t managed to inveigle himself between the hairy hubby and I for many months, and I had forgotten how smugly contented his angelic little sleeping face can appear. Harry woke first, greatly delighted by the change of cot scenery, and immediately commenced on a great work: epilation of Daddy’s back. Yes… back. Hubby is a gorilla. Not a waxed back, sac and crack man. Harry didn’t get beyond the first couple of hairs before the scenery started to heave and protest vigorously, but it’s easy to see that the child will continue to find John’s hirsute areas – about 90% of the available total – irresistible.

Harry has been back in his own room (OMG! my baby has his own room now!) for the last few nights, and I am… ok with it. I would even go so far as to say I have enjoyed having the use of the en-suite (the only bath in the house I can fit my podgy form into comfily) returned to me. Unfortunately, the bathroom John generally uses is right opposite Harry’s new doorway, and the kid sleeps with one ear pinned back, so I am now sharing my sink with John and his bionic facial hair. Meh.

Of course, when I say ok with it… I still have Harry on the apnoea monitor that he doesn’t need, but, umm, I do. It emits an immensely reassuring LED flash with his every breath, but the wire to the mattress is only a few feet long so, aha, I have trained the video camera onto the flashing apnoea monitor, feeding back to the video monitor that I have on my bedside table. If I look closely at the tiny monitor and squint, I can still see the flashes. Score. When he cries – he’s only in the next room, for crying out loud Pete’s sake – I can hear him in eerie stereo.

One year old, in his own room, babbling, cruising and climbing busily, standing sometimes without support… my babymy baby… is growing up at breathtaking speed.

Time for another, the hubby says, with a gleam.

Hah. If only it were that easy, hey?!


Go to sleep, Mum,
I won’t stop breathing
suddenly, in the night.

Go to sleep, I won’t
climb out of my cot and
tumble downstairs.

Mum, I won’t swallow
the pills the doctor gave you or
put hairpins in electric
sockets, just go to sleep.

I won’t cry
when you take me to school and leave me:
I’ll be happy with other children
my own age.

Sleep, Mum, sleep.
I won’t
fall in the pond, play with matches,
run under a lorry or even consider
sweets from strangers.

No, I won’t
give you a lot of lip,
not like some.

I won’t sniff glue,
fail all my exams,
get myself/
my girlfriend pregnant.
I’ll work hard and get a steady/
really worthwhile job.
I promise, go to sleep.

I’ll never forget
to drop in/phone/write
and if
I need any milk, I’ll yell.

Rosemary Norman

8 Responses

  1. Can’t wait to see the finished tree, as I’m sure you can’t either! The interim tree is nice though, I couldn’t imagine my dad ever getting around to doing something like that for me even if he could paint.

    You’ve shattered my idea about your handsome hubby w/ the nice arse. Now I’ve had to go and add lots of hair! ha ha ha! 🙂

    Congrats on the move, I’m sure it was difficult.

  2. Oh man. I have never seen that poem and I just came thisclose to bursting into tears. I’m a little sleep-deprived right now but also very attached to my little guy.

    That nursery is gorgeous. I didn’t move our guy into his until, oh, this May, and he’s just about 17 months now. And his place is still seriously under decoration. I kind of missed out on grownup decorating skills and so I am seriously envying yours.

  3. I love Brambly Hedge, so I’m another one who can’t wait for the finished item!

  4. Oh can I come over and play?

  5. Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Harry’s new roommate. I’ll pay a modest rent, but I will be bringing my own toddler, so be forewarned.

  6. Is your dad interested in a trip to Oz for the purpose of further mural painting? Can’t wait to see the “real’ one, once he gets it done.

  7. Oooh, it’s so pretty. And dare I say, tidy. Botany’s room used to look like that and then she discovered her favourite thing is to fling all the books off the shelves followed by the teddies and so forth. Still, a happy place.

  8. […] on the chimney breast in Harry’s room. Given that my Dad is just like me, there was a fair-ish delay in construction, which even featured an interim tree. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: