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.


14 Responses

  1. You know you didn’t need the bum print photos the words were imagery enough.

    I know you are worried, but I don’t know enough about child development to either allay your fears or add to them. But I hope you find someone who will take you seriously soon.

  2. (That is take your worries about Harry’s development seriously, not just you per se).

  3. Oh Sweetie, I know how frustrating it is to watch other kids catapult forward with their vocabulary as yours just…well, doesn’t. And I could sit here and tell you all kinds of stories about my son, but I know it won’t help. All I will say is that you aren’t alone with that and I am praying for you and for Harry.

    Also, the diaper story was hilarious. Gross, but hilarious. And well written.

  4. Little Brown Bum Prints. The title of the slide show you will give for Harry’s Graduation party! Oh, the revenge will be sweet! And worth each and every ruined carpet fiber from now till when his fine motor skills are fully developed. Which mightn’t be until he’s 30, because he’s got a y-chromosome. *sighs* My husband still doesn’t understand the concept of “Spill. (Oops) Pick up paper towel and clean up.” He thinks it goes like this: Spill. (Look down, don’t give a shit.) Wife gets that later, not to worry. *sighs louder*

  5. I laughed so hard and hysterically H demanded to know WHAT ON EARTH was I reading. And then I was laughing too hard to read it to him. So he read it to himself and positively bellowed with mirth, interspersed with ‘urgh!’ noises.

    *Applause* chez May.

    Pointing out named objects is an excellent step in the right direction. Fingers crossed Harry takes a few more. Especially as he clearly knows how to reach Cake People. And can do butt-naked Yogic Flying, you poor poor woman.

  6. Butt-naked Yogic Flying!!! Bravo, HF Wifey! Bravo, May! Boo, hiss, Harry. Awful thing to do to your mother, really. Ugh. Also, I loved the phrase “dour and exceedingly unholistic Obstetrician to assorted ovines.” Hee! Although if the man can stomach that, you’d think that changing his son’s diaper would be less of a stretch…

  7. Every now and again I get broody (lack of partner means no baby in the foreseeable future), I think you just gave me another 6 months at least of realising that maybe I don’t need kids just yet!

  8. Sometimes I never know whether I should laugh or cry at your posts dear HFF-ess,


  9. That’s a test of maternal love right there, young Harry. Apparently you passed, but it was a squeaker.

    Astounding, the husbandly olfactory function. Can detect broiling steak at ten miles; cannot detect baby poop at ten inches.

  10. Just thought of something else. The Little Brown Bum-Prints photos – when Harry is 15 and trying to smuggle a girl to his room without letting you parents, you know, TALK to her ohGodMumyou’resoembarrassing, and you want him to take the bins out or clean up his latest toast binge (I had four teenage brothers. I know these things), all you have to do is say sweetly ‘I’m sure Mel/Hannah/Lynn/Shania/Jeff (we’re all about the PC here) would love to see the LBBP photos. I shall go and fetch them, which gives you just enough time to do said chore before I get back with the album, and a clean kitchen might distract me altogether from opening the album, what say you, fruit of my loins?’

  11. Oh Harry! Your poor mother! I’m sorry but I couldn’t help enjoying a laugh at your expense. Sarge made me read aloud and then was so thoroughly grossed out that I had to say I told him so. He thinks your blog is kind of weird, probably because of the sheep placenta thing.

    I don’t know what to say about the rest of it except that I am rooting for you and for Harry and desparately hoping for help to arrive soon.

  12. Comprehension is a very good sign – and I thought you said he was using some gestures? If he’s got both of those, speaking will come. It’s kids who don’t understand or gesture who are more likely to have problems.

  13. […] You may remember me telling you about Harry’s (usually, but not always, nappied) bum bouncing mercilessly on my poor head in the […]

  14. […] I tackled the heaps of near-sentient washing in our bedroom on Christmas Eve, so I am no longer obliged to groan and feel depressed by the morass that previously concealed 90% of the actual carpet. It was actually all clean – at least, it was, before it spent weeks on the floor – it just never made it as far as being folded and placed in the wardrobe. 50% of my share of the clothing  mountain was also too small for me; I would grab it, hold it to the light, scrutinise the label, and cast it impatiently back onto the tangled skeins of sleeves and legs. Annnnd I have sharply deviated away from subjects that please me. Clear floor! I have a clear floor! I can see my Laura Ashley rug again! The only one I own! Harry now has his brio train track all laid out on said floor – John and I spent a happy half-hour elbowing him imperiously out of the way while we re-visited our respective childhoods – and Brrrrrrmmms his trains around in the morning for 20 precious minutes or so, before remembering that he likes to bounce up and down on Mummy’s sleeping head. […]

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