Monday, 23 November 2009


I need to set the record straight.
Shouty: He's changed.
I can't say when this change happened exactly, but it has.
It wasn't sudden or immediately obvious.
The best I can say is maybe Septemberish?
But the timing doesn't matter really.
The wonderful news is: my youngest son, Shouty, can be revealed, as little James.
Yes, my angry, grumpy, annoyed youngest son has turned into an utter joy to behold.
He is awesome.
Friends told me it could happen. Some said it would happen. That even the most difficult baby, you know, a proper cry baby, could buck it's ideas up and turn lovely.
My friend's little boy cheered up from his first 10 months of misery to become super smiley. Almost overnight.
My sister in law, one of the loveliest creatures you could ever meet, was a monster when she was small. Biting herself in rage and screaming in supermarkets.
But she's 29. And my youngest is 18 months. The prospect of more than 25 years of him throwing himself on the ground when he can't get his own way has kept me awake at night. (That, and his screaming)
But I needn't have worried. James is dreamy.
In previous blogs I may have briefly mentioned that Shouty has been a bit difficult.
Ok, I know I have laid it on quite thick, about how hard I have found it/him. But, in all seriousness, I have been fairly conservative in my assessment of my latest baby.
Never for a fraction of a second have I not loved him dearly, do anything to protect him, crikey, I'd even eat a live snake if I had to.
But, by jingo, some nights much earlier this year, I wasn't sure I liked him much.
Oooh, that's harsh you think. A mother saying she didn't like her son.
But I really didn't. He was very difficult to like. Having him around was a thankless, joyless task that even he seemed furious about. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of Shouty when he was content.
This would usually involve biscuit eating.
But then he'd be gone and the snarling infant would be back bearing his teeth and contorting his dribbly face, daring me to try to cuddle him.
Oh my goodness. How far have we come?
James was frustrated.
He couldn't get around or express himself. So he whinged.
In a really whingy loud way.
I won't go over old ground and describe how I struggled with him, (let me count the ways).
It isn't that he is unrecognisable.
He is still fascinatingly headstrong.
Extremely focused.
Not keen on hand holding.
Or getting in a buggy.
Or having his toe nails looked at, let alone touched, heaven forbid cut.
Or walking with the rest of his family.
Or baths.
He is a complicated little character.
And he is happy.
Enthusiastic, affectionate, constantly babbling, chattering with delight to whoever is near as he wanders, with purpose from toy to toy, room to room.
He is cheeky. And this makes him very funny.
He smiles all the time because he laughs all the time.
And he is an excellent dancer. He really does have all the moves.
Well, one move really, a kind of slow side to side knee bend step that somehow captures the essence of whatever he is listening to.
He is a magnificent little man and I actually miss him when he is in bed.
During my darkest moments, in the middle of the night I can clearly remember frequently wondering how other parents cope?
What makes them carry on?
Where were the incentives to keep at it?
As Shouty struggled and screamed in my arms I just didn't get it.
The saying parents churn out time and time again would resound in my head and terrify me:
"I wouldn't change him for the world," they'd insist.
I'd have changed Shouty for a flapjack.
A pretty big one, mind.
I know It is lazy and clich├ęd to describe time spent with your children as a journey.
But, we've been on a journey.
It was bleak for a while, worse even than that 42 hour Greyhound bus trip I did a few years ago.
But now any time with James, and his delicious older brother, is a pleasure. They are enchanting and captivating.
Though I admit it is a shame they are incontinent.


  1. And don't they even smell of flapjack?

  2. Oh, and another thing. Please turn word verification off - it's taking my vocabulary in ways I'd rather not be taken!

  3. You. Have. Given. Me. Hope.

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    I very frequently say I do not like Kai very much - can relate to that feeling very well.


  4. Cynthia Barlow Marrs4 December 2009 at 16:49

    Bless you.

  5. And ginger too. Excellent. Lovely post.

  6. Almost had me in tears. My daughter's younger son Jack was so similar. Until he could walk and talk. And now he is such a delight. And so, so funny. I think some babies are born knowing what they want but we can't understand what it is. I love your writing. It makes me smile a lot. x

  7. Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume.