A friend of mine recently read my blog and reported back that it had a “Robinson Crusoe” feel to it. I quite liked this, the analogy of leaving a full time job to look after a baby, and being stranded on a desert island with a non English speaking local inhabitant. I shall now refer to Ernest as Baby Friday My laptop, internet connection and Sky news being the remnants of the ship of my previous life that I have used to build a new one. All sounds a bit deep and morose I know but it’s not, unlike Robinson Crusoe, I see my current situation as being stranded on a Carribean island rather than a deserted one. There may be some tropical storms to weather, but there’s always a cocktail or two handy to help ease any trouble’s that may have arisen (no swim up bar though!) I most definitely do not cut a solitary figure struggling to survive alone, carving notches in tree trunks in order to maintain a sense of time. Quite the opposite, the assistance provided by to me by Ernest’s, sorry, Baby Friday’s grandparents alone would equate to a full scale royal naval rescue mission complete with special forces on a weekly basis (at least!?!) As discussed in my post Mind your language there is definitely a communication link between myself and Baby Friday, and Crusoe and Man Friday. I tap my chest and say Daddy, then prod Baby Friday in his chest in way that would usually start a fight and say Ernest. You then wait for the response, you wait for him to say Daddy or Ernest, but he just dribbles a bites the nearest object. All very similar to what Daniel Defoe was thinking when he wrote Crusoe I’m sure? (I wonder if he was a full time Dad as well?) Crusoe also had to deal with cannibals and mutineers. I am trying find an analogy here but I had better be careful, Crusoe did not have to worry about offending anyone other than a few seagulls!?!
Do you want some little milky? Do you want it in a bot bot? Jibber jabber goo goo! are just some of the phrases I am very comfortable using when addressing Ernest. In fact I positively enjoy and embrace this baby speak, and I am convinced that we all do. We all raise the pitch and tone of our voice and then blurt out any variable of vowels and nouns when we see a baby. Why is this? Are we doing it to make the child feel safe and secure? Are we gurgle gooing at them in order to educate them? No, It is because it’s easy, it just happens, the words and sounds arrive effortlessly into our brains, and are then dispensed out of our mouths in nano seconds without even thinking about it. We spend so much of our adult lives trying to express what we do, say, and feel in highly articulate ways that we are constantly looking out for opportunities to sound like Stephen Fry reviewing Shakespeare. This is indeed incredibly tiresome, and when you realise that other people are doing it around you, it is incredibly irritating! Whole dinner conversations involving two or more couples can start with somebody saying “It was hot today eh?” then hours later after that simple statement has been regurgitated around the table, it would end up as something like “yah, centralised pressure from the Iberian front has created an increasingly intense thermal environment!” oh do shut up! Please!?
With babies, and small children, you do not have this pressure. You can quite simply slip into fool mode without fear of any intellectual reprisal. Also, it is fantastically enjoyable. The smiles and outright belly laughing that goes on between you and your child far exceeds any snigger that you may muster at your favourite TV comedy. Please, however, do not think that this kind of tomfoolery works on all levels of life. I just get this feeling that if you went into a review meeting with your boss, squeezed his cheek and said “who’s my little chubster then?” you would indeed find it hilarious, but the boss? Hmmm……..I wonder?
And it has been a long time! Way too long! 2 weeks in fact since my last post and boy has a lot happened. The phone hacking scandal peaked (hopefully) with Murdoch almost getting a cream pie in the face, A madman goes on the rampage in Norway and kills 76 people (correct at time of going to blog!) Amy Winehouse dies tragically but predictably in her flat in Camden, Cesc Fabregas’s “will he wont he go to Barcelona” saga continues at Arsenal FC, the Space shuttle completes its last ever mission, and Ernest has developed the ability to scream with both displeasure AND delight. His stamina in this newly found dual ability is staggering, he can, quite simply, scream all day non stop. I have even found myself seriously contemplating wearing ear plugs. Whilst the tortuous elements of a baby screaming all day NON STOP may be obvious, there are also some more interesting, almost artistic elements to mention such as the harmonious sounds of Ernest’s screams reverberating as he jumps up and down in his jumperoo! Almost hypnotic, very tribal and amazingly rhythmic, the temptation to record them is incredibly luring, but like any live album, they would probably sound nowhere near as good as if you were actually there, and i’m tone deaf so they probably don’t sound that good anyway. It’s probably the relief from the monotonous high pitched squeal he makes the rest of the time clouding my musical judgement. It is this point that I am forced to apply the I can a make a noise louder than you approach. No, I do not scream louder than him, that would be ridiculous (and funny no doubt) but I make different noises like switching on the vacuum cleaner, hairdryer or even my ipod. They all work temporarily enough for some relief, and as I can’t leave him in his jumperoo all day, they certainly help. The latest noise to come from him is the blowing of raspberries and I can’t wait until he masters the art of blowing them whilst jumping! Now that i will record…