Every time I blink now the baby has made some kind of developmental leap. He’s grown into a strapping lad, even though his meals have started to get cut short by a disciplinary measure intended to persuade him to stop chucking food on the floor. I’m not sure how well he understands ‘if you throw food, I’m going to take you out of your chair’, but he for sure understands that we don’t want him to encrust the floor in hummus and breadcrumbs. That’s obviously what makes it fun.
His personality has also started to seep through. Now that walking is easy and people can understand what he wants when he walks over to where the thing is, points and makes a sort of bleat, he has become quite happy and very mischievous. He is no pushover with his big brother. He grabs whatever he fancies and holds on with impressive tenacity, releasing an ear-piercing wail if someone tries to take it away.
His crying in general has few ‘modes’ – on an unhappiness scale of 1-5, he never seems to do 1, 2 or 3. At least a 4 is applied to everything, from falling on his face so hard that a bump the size and colour of a prune appears on his forehead, to not being served food as fast as he would like.
And the incredibly naughty delight of doing what he knows he shouldn’t… This was not a feature of his brother’s much (he’s law-and-order like me), and it pushing my buttons. I had to have a talk with myself about how having a child with the personality of a poltergeist is not inherently bad. I wouldn’t want our relationship to be defined by me always telling him what not to do – that is going to get boring quickly. So I’m making an effort to try and see things from the perspective of an energetic, curious, lovely little boy.
The run-up to Christmas this year feels peaceful and nice to me. It’s because I have a good handle on my productivity and organising processes at the moment. I’ve recently done a little re-config of Todoist and it’s working for me. At the back of my head, all the stuff about whether productivity is a scam or not continues to simmer and percolate, but it’s undeniable that it makes me feel good when I feel in control. I think that’s okay, as long as I can keep at bay the crankiness that comes from things not being under control.
Control, especially at the moment, is a pendulum, so it would be nice if I didn’t have a meltdown every time it swung to the dark side. But in the meantime I’m going to set some goals for 2023 using my planner and coloured pens.