“I’m just going to make some breakfast”.
Not a very noteworthy sentence, granted. In reality though, this simple statement had my entire world crashing down around me yesterday. Like, what the hell am I supposed to do with my life now that all the things I hold dear have been banished to memories that float by every now and again like passing clouds?!
A typical Janine Classic overreaction, but still.
Breakfix was the last of Will’s baby phrases. Andy and I have been clinging to this one for months. Every time he says ‘what’s for breakfix? Can I have some breakfix? When I wake up tomorrow I know what I want for breakfix!’, we glance at each other and take comfort in the mispronunciation that tells us we are still parents to a little kid who needs us. It reminds us of all his other cute made-up words and funny phrases:
- Fwoons (balloons). Once in RinkaDink he had a balloon and he kept shouting at me to ‘burst my fwoon’. What he really wanted me to do was chase him but I was trying to work and I wasn’t really paying attention so I lifted a pair of sharp scissors and stabbed that fwoon hard without even looking at it. Cue Will wailing for over an hour ‘why you bawst my fwoooooon??? Why??? Yindsee why she bawst my fwooooon??’.
- Will I wake up? This was one of his first full phrases and lasted a good couple of years. Every night when bedtime was announced Will would suddenly and seriously fear for his life and make us assure him that he would indeed wake up in the morning and we would all be there to support him and get him through the ordeal. Gotta love a solid nightly routine to get them to sleepy town!
- E-bike (motorbike). One of his first words and still his biggest obsession. Where does it come from?! None of the rest of us are all that interested in motorbikes. He loved them long before he met Granda Billy.
- Hunid-a-cent (100 percent). Lest any device in our house not be charged to 100%. Lest anyone DARE to remove a device from a charger before it has reached the critical hunid-a-cent it needs to survive and thrive in the digital world. We are talking cardinal sins punishable by a good thumping and an ‘I’m telling!!’. Do not trifle with a Walker Boy’s device if it is in charge mode.
I could easily bore you all to death with isn’t this baby chat the cutest thing in the world? It’s not. Maybe to grandparents and the occasional overly-involved auntie, but not to anyone else.
However, when it’s over? My my that’s a shocker. I don’t remember Charlie and Jack’s baby chat ending because we still had baby Will and he was only starting to talk then. The eternal curse of the eldest and middle kids, eh?! So when breakfix - the last baby word from the last baby - became breakfast, my heart skipped a mighty beat. That’s it then. They are all smelly teens who hate me and I may as well skulk off and have my mid-life-crisis and get it over and done with.
It doesn’t work like that. Not for me, anyway. In a really sweet work moment last week I had a doting dad say to me ‘I love this stage’ about his 16 month old son. I loved that stage too. I’ve loved (and probably hated) every single stage. They all have gems. When they get to 11 they might ‘go a bit berserk’ (the actual words used by my 11-year-old to describe himself) but they are also still learning and becoming and impressing me every day. Jack has developed a truly spectacular dry sense of humour that I never thought 5-year-old-puppy-sweet-eager-to-please-Jack would be capable of.
Last night we were having our Sunday night ‘concert’ (basically we take turns to listen to each other’s requests on Spotify) and I was trying to muster a bit of creative spark in Charlie by telling him I couldn’t wait for him to be our Sunday night entertainment. ‘Who knows Chucks, you and your guitar could be the next Ed Sheeran and do you know how much I would bawl my eyes out at all of your concerts from the front row, wearing my I’M CHARLIE’S MUM t-shirt?’.
Jack lifts his phone to his ear and says ‘Hello childline? It’s Jack Walker. Mum’s harassing Charlie to be the next Ed Sheeran again. Yup, she’s had a gin.’
I LOVE THIS STAGE!
I also hate it. Pre-teens are similar to toddlers in many ways. They don’t comply with sleep schedules (they want to sleep for 20 hours a day). They take offence to random things and ‘go berserk’ completely out of the blue. They say really funny things that make you belly laugh. They may hug you but it will be on their terms. You have to endure shitty YouTube shows, shitty movies and shitty music to bond with them because the stuff you enjoy is quite simply ‘tragic’. They are capable of withering you with a single look if you talk to them at the wrong time about the wrong thing. Don’t ever unplug their devices. Ever.
I wish time would slow down! cry all the parents of all the littles. I’m sure I’ve said it myself. But actually, I quite like watching them grow and change and develop their personalities, their tastes, their views on life. The baby stage is cute and all-encompassing but watching your 6-year-old carefully construct his own BREAKFAST of toasted pancakes with nutella, a side of strawberries and a glass of ‘morning juice’ is kind of fascinating all by itself. He learnt this from watching me? How cool! Observing all of their idiosyncrasies and seeing how they came to be this person, right in this moment is quite wonderful.
Keep on marching forward, Time. I don’t mind. I'm happy to hurtle towards my destination. Sitting in the front row of Glastonbury, blubbering uncontrollably when Chuckles sings the song he wrote for me. He chokes up as he points the crowd in my direction and recounts the day he decided he wanted to be a professional singer/songwriter.
A Sunday evening in summer when his wonderfully supportive mother gave a hearty speech about her joy in his unlimited talents.