So, the cub has a very strong sass-game, inherited from his mum, that combines with the natural sense of wonder at the world that a young lad has anyway to produce some amazing moments from time to time.
The backpack that he wears to school looks a bit like a cartoon monster. It’s a bright lime green, has big eyes and felt teeth along it’s fold down edge. At the beginning of term, Lady M taught him to treat it like The Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter. This involves gently stroking its spine (the top) before opening or closing the clasp. She even made the bag shuffle and roar while he wore it to emphasise that he needed to take care of it or it would fight back.
Fast forward to this morning and I get a message from Lady S that she has made a packed lunch for the cub, and try as she might she can’t get the bag to close. The cub walked up, took the bag off her, stroked it’s spine, and closed the bag without any problems.
He then looked her in the eye and said: “you don’t show this bag the love and respect it deserves.” He then added: “Jo knows how to treat my bag.”
To say that Lady S was a bit gobsmacked is an understatement. We have been teasing her on our group chat, saying we can’t imagine where he gets his sass from…
We had Lady M’s neice and nephew to stay over this weekend – just in time for all the rain. It’s the first time that this has happened despite talking about it for ages. The kiddos live with their other aunt, because Reasons, and we all live busy lives so the stars haven’t aligned until now.
They’re wonderful kids – eight and nine, and face the world together even while asserting themselves with each other in a beautifully complex dynamic that sometimes feels like a dance, and sometimes like a shoving match.
We took them to Legoland, and out to see the deer in Bushy Park, and played a variety of games round the table – and while there was no homework or daily life complications to deal with, it was still full of the non-stop details of living with small people:
Has everyone eaten? Have we cut off the sugar intake in time? Is everyone having enough to drink? Does the toilet need a surreptitious flush and clean? Provision of non-disclosure clothing to change into after a day in the rain; and no one drowning in the bath? Check! Oh, and the need for night-lights and a proper bedtime routine too – I remember all this from when the Charleesi was young.
Suddenly realising that all the fairy tales in your house are translations of the original Grimm and Andersen versions means a sudden casting around for anything suitable as a substitute, and was an interesting moment.
One young person seems wired for waking with the dawn, the other not so much. Even with all the walking we’ve done, I don’t remember physically aching like this for ages.
Lady M was shattered by the end of it: “I kept worrying about them, all the time!” I had to break it to her that this is normal – and that even now the Charleesi is an adult and about to fly off to university, I still do that every day. Furthermore, both my parents have confided that they still do about me and my siblings too – welcome to parenting Lady M (even if it is just for the weekend)