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:
Bertie is learning to write his name.
After all, he’s four next month and big school is only just over half a year away.
He sat at the kitchen table uncharacteristically quiet, head and shoulders hunched in dogged concentration as I readied packed lunches.
Once delivered to playgroup, I studied his efforts.
There, neatly and painstakingly executed, was written:
I sent him to his bedroom for a rest. Playgroup is full-on when you’re only three.
As I pootled about the kitchen, I heard the television: he is allowed to watch a film when he gets back, if he likes.
Sounded quite monotonous all the same.
I went up to investigate.
“I wanted Transformers, but it’s Buddha again.”
My alarm wailed with increasing insistency, dragging me from slumber. Nestled between sleeping man and sleeping babe, I became dimly aware that it was still dark.
And I don’t have an alarm clock.
Bertie had been sick.
I mopped, changed, cuddled, laundered, tucked back in; and laid cool hand on hot forehead.
Solemnly, he stated:
“I don’t have much brain.”
He whisked my three-year old away to make a “surprise” birthday card for me.
“I drawed you a tank, Mummy!”
The conversation, apparently, went thus:
“Bertie, what are you going to be when you grow up? Are you going to be an artist?”
He was met with scorn.
A pitying look.
“…I’m gonna be a big boy!“