Things Harry Can and Cannot Do

Things Harry has learnt to do:

Open the kitchen door.

Not the door into the dog room. The door to THE OUTSIDE WORLD. The outside world that features a 4ft sheer drop


and copious dog shit within very close proximity to aforementioned door.

Take his pull-up nappy off.

I discovered this yesterday morning, whilst lying in bed.

How it usually goes: Hubby takes Harry downstairs for breakfast, before disappearing to be a dour and exceedingly non-holistic Obstetrician to several hundred assorted obstreperous ovines. He delivers Harry back into the bedroom, knowing that my dazed and still bed-ridden form will not immediately detect the fact that he is handing over suspect goods, Harry having invariably filled his nappy on the trip back upstairs. Harry beetles around the bedroom for a few minutes, letting the smell penetrate my half-asleep nostrils. When he is bored of his books and CBeebies, he clambers onto the end of the bed, stands carefully upright and charges up the bed, emitting an ear-splitting warcry as he tramples. He generally falls over at least twice, but the duvet is essentially just dust beneath his chariot wheels, and he eventually arrives triumphantly at my head region.

Panting with the effort, he throws a leg over my dazed bonce, and wiggles until he is firmly sat astride my head. He takes a second to steady himself, before launching himself, legs rigid, into the air, howling with glee. Sometimes – foolishly – I open my eyes just as he is at the zenith of his jump, and stare horrified at the nappied bottom descending at speed towards my face. 22lb of toddler-bum crashes with a sickening thud into my face. I cannot tell what disturbs my peace the most: the bruising, the suffocation, or the fumes.  

I struggle wildly to remove him, and sensing that my wriggles portend the end of play-time, he begins a frantic series of rapid-fire thumps. His chubby little thighs are now pumping up and down faster than the most squat-thrusty of exercise queens, and he is squealing like an excited guinea-pig. By now, I am making gargling sounds, and am usually under the impression that a possessed kango-hammer has been unleashed into the room with the express intent of assaulting me. I emerge from the onslaught, staggering, and cart him off to have his bottom attended to.

As I say, this is how it normally goes. Yesterday was different, and not in a good way. Everything proceeded as usual, right up to the point where he arranged himself comfortably across my sleeping features, wiggling like a hen scooching down into a nest-box. I became instantly aware that it was a bare naked bottom that was applying itself enthusiastically to blocking my nose and mouth. And not a peachy-smooth bottom, either. My eyes slammed open in horror. The bottom that was in the process of hurtling joyously skywards bore unmistakable signs of heavily-encrusted poo. His re-entry into my facial stratosphere was highly unpleasant.

Inspection of the bedroom carpet, after I had unpeeled the nappy and pyjama bottoms off it, also proved disappointing. I was going to take a photo of the brown bum-prints, but then I remembered that on the two previous occasions I have posted photos of Harry’s escaping turdage, the comments were generally variations on a theme of ‘GROSS!’  So I didn’t.

Point out named objects.

We are still in very early days with this, but at nearly 19 months old, Harry can now leaf through his little First Words book and point correctly to (Ba) Nana and Drinkie. He has been completely and utterly bemused by this concept until this last week. I have been watching with narrowed eyes as various members of the Piddle, some of whom are 7 months younger than Harry, unerringly label eyes, noses, birds, sheep and people correctly. Sometimes with appropriate baa! moo! ing sounds. I have suppressed my snarls of worry and frustration. 

Run away from home

Harry has now sussed out the geography of the hillside swamp in which we live. If he is unleashed outside our front door, he promptly accelerates down our drive, round the corner, and straight up the hill towards the Delightful Doctors Next Door. He stops to look at our hens before scurrying onwards and upwards for a hundred yards; if their drive gate is shut, he hammers on it until it opens. If their front door is shut, he hammers on that, too, until it gives way. He has then reached Harry Utopia: a staircase with open treads to fall through, an Aga to burn himself on, new doggy friends that are nervous of him, kitchen drawers to pull open without permission, and new playmates that feed him lovely cake.

Things Harry has not yet learnt to do:

Speak a single solitary word.

Use baby-signs.

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