On days like these when I am rushing, fighting loss of sleep and nervous at the choices and responsibilities ahead, I have to stop and appreciate what I have, and pause to take in the joys of being a mom to a small child
Sometimes I want to stop time and capture these rays of happiness and sunshine he gives my life. I want to capture every laugh and every smile, because I am so aware of their precious transience. Every time I hold him and smell his sweet innocence, I realize that one day the child’s softness will give way to the rough edges of boyhood, then the distance of manhood. And just as the smell and sound of baby Robert is now something to remember and smile about, this toddler Robert gives me at least one reason to smile every single day, and most of these smiles are worth mentioning and remembering.
Today Robert was carrying his books in one hand and his little green chair in the other and following the cat around. Mommy, I want cat he said to me. Why? I wanted to know. I want to read to cat, he said. I tried to cajole the disinterested Pete, and I managed to get him to sit at my feet while right across Robert sat on his chair and started “reading”one of his books to cat, all about Bo-Beep who lost her sheep. The cat, being his arrogant self, walked away quickly to the other room with Robert in tow, books in arm and chair dragged behind. He tried time after time to sit on his chair next to Pete and read to him, until finally he got tired of the futile task.
I was amused and happy at the same time. At least my boy has learned the love of books from his mom and was trying diligently to teach this to a smaller creature.
We treated ourselves to a predominantly lazy day today. Mom, baby and cat played at home for the whole morning.
I consciously try teaching Robert the ability to laugh at his own mishaps. Here he is acting out a funny incident that happened a few weeks ago, while we were playing with soap bubbles (the non toxic, kid friendly variety; I always make sure to buy those). Normally I do not let Robert take the bottle of soap from me, but I relented on that day because there was very little soap left. It was a mistake of course, as toddlers are very apt at doing exactly what they shouldn’t and within a split second. I think Robert was looking inside the bottle when he tipped it bottoms up right onto his face and mouth. I just heard a loud gulp, and then he started crying and denouncing it as : ka-ka. Initially it was funny but then I remembered the horrible pain that one gets at the back of the throat when salt water goes up the nose. Robert must have felt the same. The liquid, which I tried when the crying did not want to stop, tasted so bitter that it numbed my tongue. This explained why Robert refused to drink or eat anything right after he gulped it. Thirty minutes later he settled to sleep exhausted and I thought this was the best thing for him to forget that awful bitter taste.
A day later I started acting out the incident, with sound effects and exaggerated facial expressions. Robert picked the whole act, and now does it by himself.
I thought today would be free of such misadventures, because we kept it such low key. In the afternoon we headed to the park and enjoyed the peace until a family arrived with their picnic supper. Robert of course went right in there trying to look inside cooler bags and generally being the inquisitive little toddler he is. Mom kept close trying to prevent him from making a nuisance of himself, but at the same time not wanting to curb his natural curiosity, especially that the family seemed friendly enough. Soon he started to become part of the picnic and took a fancy to the juice they offered him in tall plastic cup. He kept coming back to the dad and asking for “mo” (more). When I tried fooling him and pouring his own juice into the tumbler he promptly dumped the contents on the grass. Everyone thought this was wildly funny (including myself) but then he repeated the trick with the juice offered by our hosts, so I thought that was enough and we excused ourselves and headed home.
On our way back I stopped at a shop offering soft serve ice cream. Robert had eyed some kids on the road having it and I thought it would be a nice treat for him. We never got to taste the ice cream because when I offered the tall soft server to Robert for a first sampling the whole soft serve column tumbled onto his shirt and lap. He looked on unimpressed and confused as I mopped it up using the all purpose cloth/wipe which I always keep in the backpack. The poor shop keeper was also hovering around offering tissues and waste basket. As we were leaving he gave us another ice cream, a chocolate coated Popsicle, which we were still able to enjoy.
My ex brought my cat over this morning. Now there are three of us in a little room, and I have another little one to comfort as he pines for the home he was made to leave. Petey is crouching now behind a desk in our room, and is not interested in the food and drink I put out for him on the window sill. I have taken him briefly out to the backyard, but he sniffed around a kept looking around, listless and scared. I trust that my resilient little animal will eventually get used to the new circumstances. Perhaps he will find our new home more welcoming than the one he left, but is still hurts that he had to go through this.
On a happier note, I realize that I missed my little animal. He is so undemanding and simple. When he crawled out of his hiding place this evening, Robert spotted him and started squealing with delight. The two will have fun together I think. My own little family: Mom, baby and cat.
I am writing this long after the actual events, so the intensity of my feelings have cooled down considerably. Robert and I moved out today, after a few days of extensive ugliness, which I do not want to dwell upon much. I will just recall however that Ron wanted us out sooner rather than later.
During those final days I tried to steer clear of Ron. I spent lots of my time with Robert in the park enjoying the sunny days of autumn. Most of the time, however, I had my hands full, trying to get retrained at work, tying up loose ends here, transferring phone and fax accounts, getting dental checkups, and packing boxes of books. While I still had a proof of address at our flat, I opened a bank account for Robert and made out a cheque for his Canadian citizenship application. I also managed to convince Ron to take us to the hospital to get Robert’s immunization for this month. I wasn’t sure if he would agree to take us a second time because the nurse was on holiday when we went there last week, and I got into deep trouble for not phoning in advance.
In the end Ron helped us move, but there are still a few items of mine he still holds in his possession, and I trust that he will hand over in time. Among those are my computer and scanner, but there is also my psychologically disturbed cat. Ron wanted Petey out of there as soon as possible as well, but I was hesitant to displace him into a strange environment especially that Jackie’s house is the territory of her female cat Spliff. Ron has grudgingly agreed to give the cat food and board until a better solution comes up, and I am grateful.
In retrospect perhaps it was a bad idea to give Robert his immunization in the middle of all this chaos, but I had no other option since Ron is keeping our car, and I don’t have another mode of transport. Robert was terribly cranky, with the combined effect of moving and the injection. I could not cope with his consistent crying, at the same time, I could not control my own feelings of displacement and loss. Whenever I set down something I ended up losing it, and it drove me crazy. By late evening I was a complete zombie and went into a complete breakdown. My baby and I were both howling uncontrollably.
Robert’s changing table found a home in Jackie’s bathroom but he cried bitterly every time I carried him to it. I hung up his music mobile over it, which helped somewhat. But he still cried bitterly every time I wanted to change him. Later I figured out that his upper leg was sore from the injection, but on the first day I was beyond reason and help. We both crashed into bed late and exhausted.
Well, the day has come and I am moving out. I am taking my baby, and my cat but the computer will be staying here for a little while until I sort out my connectivity at the new premises.
We are moving in with a friend, who has a sunny house in a quiet street of Sea Point. One part of me is perversely joyous, another is infinitely sad. I am closing a chapter of my life that has gone on for the last ten years. This is the tenth time I moved in this last decade, and I am not even done yet. Who knows where my son and I will end up.
Mr. Negativity will not take pity on my cat. He will not allow it to stay on in this (HIS) apartment until he moves out. He wants all of us OUT, out of his hair. Now I have to take my poor abused cat into the territory of another female cat, who is the favourite little girl of my landlady. My cat is worried and knows there is something afoot. Boxes and bags are moved about. Cupboards and drawers are being emptied. He is old enough not to trust such developments, but he has no idea what is coming. My landlady already told me, that if her cat gets upset, then my scrawny one has to go. I can’t blame her, we are moving into her territory and have to respect the rules.
So, the next few days will be full of challenges. I might be unable to update this blog for a week or so, but I will try to be back online as soon as possible.