I spend an entire day worrying needlessly about the wrong child, but that's parents for you. On her 26th birthday my eldest daughter is still in Mozambique, with limited access to a dodgy internet cafÃ©. I check my email at regular intervals throughout the day, just in case. I think of parties and try not to think of predators, animal or human. “When we are snack time! When we are snack time! When we are snack time!” he chants. It's a ditty and now a song. It's not even a question, or a statement of intent. This phrase has been cycling around since before breakfast, with it's poor grammar, cartoon voice delivery and may just qualify the most annoying phrase to date.
During our next debacle at the supermarket he relinquishes control of the cart and attaches himself to my forearm. He holds it gently in his mouth, as a dog might carry a bone. The drool slicks down his chin. He makes for an unusual sight as his legs skippety hop at high speed as we gently propel ourselves down the aisle. I betray him. “He's pretending to be a puppy,” I say unnecessarily to the faces that look, some with humour, others without. He releases me for a second to bellow, “I not dog, I boy,” before latching straight back on. I am unnaturally pleased that he didn't tack on the compulsory 'stoopid,' which would be quite justified on this particular occasion. This may not the ideal way to conduct a shopping trip, but at least he is close at hand, or rather arm, and remarkably quiet.
We return to the safety of our own home, our sanctuary, all safe and sound. I scan the emails but there is still nothing from my first born child. I wonder what other dangers she is experiencing. I hope that they are limited to mosquitoes, the West Nile free variety.
By supper time I am at my ordinary low ebb. I check the email again. I wonder if it's yesterday, today or tomorrow for her? I make a note to check the time difference on this ordinary day. It is because it is an ordinary day, that I am not in the least prepared, when she accidentally closes the door on his finger. I fly as I watch his body jangle and jerk like a fish on a hook, and blood spurts back in his face. As I reach the door he does not scream or cry but yelps “help me! Stuck!”
We rush him to the Emergency Room.
Don’t worry, he’s fine. For more successful news in my other life, visit “here.”