Opening the boy’s curtains of a morning I knocked over a twee little plant pot and broke it. He obsessed over this and kept voicing how I had broken the plant, accusing me, dobbing me in to a jury of plush toys. I tried to have him keep it a secret between us, coaching him to say that he didn’t know who broke it – and then I proceeded to interrogate him playing the role of mother. But rather than say he didn’t know he blamed it on a pirate. Saying that a he had come in and sliced the plant with his sword. Such imagination, the deceptive little bastard. Touche.
A day or so later I see a scratch on his head, I ask him what happened and he tells me that a dinosaur bit him, which is unlikely, and I’m realising that I’ve taught him to lie – but at least he’s doing it creatively.
In the last week or so I’ve noticed another jump in his language development and sentence-forming. He talks for stretches about one subject and is able to convey meaning, clearly emotionally involved in his stories. The other night I picked him up from nursery and driving home I asked what he wanted to do when we got in. Milk. Okay and do you want a biscuit? Loadsa biscuits. No you get one biscuit. Two biscuits. No, one biscuit. Big big big biscuit.
I might be projecting a bit here but I see the cogs turning, how he looks for loopholes, using his understanding and experience to get what he wants, or at least to try to. I’m learning a lot from this guy.
A couple of months ago, when the days had grown darker, I picked up the little one from nursery and once we had arrived back at the stables, I told him to say hello to the owls outside. Exiting the car we hooted together, he was only too excited until they hooted back. His grip tightened around my neck as a smile grew across his face and he whispered in my ear: ‘Inside?‘
I tried to let him know that it was fine, fun even. Still he asked to go inside. I fumble to get the front door open with him clinging to the side of my head, and when we get through the door, there in front of us standing impossibly upright is a coloring book adorned with pictures of owls. For the first time now he confessed in a bigger voice ‘Owls! Scared!’
I hadn’t thought much else of this incident until this morning. The second morning in a row in which he has woken earlier than normal and refused to go back to sleep. Sent to collect him in a hazy slumber I saw him standing in his crib in the darkness, and heard the loud hooting of the owls outside. ‘In Daddy’s bed?‘ It all makes sense now.
So I guess this is the beginning of a phobia, one that I have to stamp out. He reads books with owls in and he is fine but the mere mention of them when it’s dark turns him clingy and paranoid. To be fair it is a little unsettling. In his room this morning I was shocked by the volume, and how it surrounded his room on all sides. Maybe Lynch was right: The Owls Are Not What They Seem