We collided in the bathroom, he and I, both blurry-eyed, jagged-haired, warm and smelling of sleep.
“When are we going to go into your bedroom with my brothers and say ‘happy birthday’?”
“Any minute now.”
He gave me a bashful smile. Seven years old. So big… 😉
And he stood before the mirror and gasped.
With genuine surprise.
“Mummy… I’m taller!”
We waited in line for school to begin.
He followed the number-snake, twisting through the playground, hollering the numbers as he galloped towards playgroup.
“…twenty-eight, twenty-nine, THIRTY!” he shouted as he landed on the snake’s head.
“What rhymes with thirty, Bertie?” I enquired innocently.
(Can you see what I did there?)
He gave it a moment’s thought, before yelling…
Bertie had put on his pyjamas, amazingly, in record time.
Only to have to take them off again for his bath.
He wasn’t awfully pleased.
It didn’t stop the endless chatter, though. He talked me through his day at playgroup with Linda.
“Mummy. You like me.” He announced.
“I do?” I asked.
“Yes. Remember? I’m a character.”
“Linda said so.”
He came out of playgroup as full o’ beans as he went in, Tiggered all the way home, and collapsed on the sofa.
“Can I watch a film?”
A Disney (almost unavoidable), the music began, opening credits rolled and the fairytale castle appeared.
As I walked away, his little voice announced, laden with excitement:
I am suffering from it.
He knocked on my door this morning, brandishing the money, chuffed to bits.
Later, I found him secreting it in his purse.
He looked up, his face suddenly twisted in anguish.
“You’re not the tooth fairy, are you Mummy?”
His gaze full of doubt and hope; my heart was too large for its skin.
We were having quite a serious chat, as I recall, me and Bert. About playgroup and friends and Lego Star Wars.
You know the kind of thing. Or maybe you don’t. There is, after all, only one Bert.
He ended our conversation thus:
“And if I drink the potion…”
“… I’ll grow boom-booms.”
There’s no coming back from that.
The auction house on Thursday afternoon. Some time after school.
Filing through a narrow passageway between piles of jumbled furniture, our family crocodile must have seemed to go on forever.
Son after son after son squeezed through.
Smiling benignly, a silver-haired lady, rather well-to-do in appearance, was moved to ask as I wheeled the pushchair by:
“Did you want boys?”