It is because of these kinds of experiences that I worry about the effects of early “childhood” as you can see from my tiny “book review.”
I stand at the kitchen sink washing up. A small person inserts himself between my body and the sink, face to face, or rather his face to my tummy. His head tilts back to reveal a huge cheesy grin. I smile back and wait. I wait a bit longer, wondering what it will be this time and whether I shall ever finish the washing up?
“Are ya done?” he asks in a voice that is several octaves too low for a six year old.
“Nearly, just a few bits and bobs to go now.”
He flits away, apparently satisfied. I stack the last of plates and dither as to whether I should fold laundry or wash the dining room following breakfast?
“Are ya done yet?”
“Yes! Do you need help with something?”
“Nope.” He stands still, watching me.
“Are you sure, you've been asking me again and again, when I'll be finished?”
“I need ya to be done.”
“I am done, er finished.”
“No! I mean……I need you to be goned.”
“Gone? Gone where?”
“Away,” he says breathily, a B actor in a horror movie.
“O.k. I'll go away.” I walk slowly out of the kitchen in the sure and certain knowledge that he is up to no good.
I hide next door and listen intently. I imagine the many forms of mischief that he has planned. I hope none of them involve mess or danger? Maybe he wants to steal some food. Now that would be great. Perhaps some new food, or is that beyond the realms of imagination? I tip toe back towards the kitchen in case I can catch him in the act.
I catch him in the act. A shiver passes through his body as he slips into freeze frame, the cariciature of a thief, hand poised, thumb and finger pinched together to hold the egg slicer. The tableau crumbles, “don't look, don't look, don't look!”
“Coz it might be blood,” he says in an ominous tone, a baritone for a boy.
“What might be blood?”
“Dah egg slice! It is a cutting fing. It is danger!”
“Oh I see!” I think? “Do you need help?”
“Um, no I am being dah danger, er…I am being dah brave.”
I consider bestowing bravery awards but decide that empowerment might be a better alternative. I dither. Maybe this is too much?
“Would you like to help me?” I suggest tentatively.
“What help are you?” How very disconcerting.
“I was thinking you could slice an egg for my sandwich with the egg slicer?”
He gasps, open mouthed and probably aghast, before blasting me with “dat is dah greatest idea!” I whip a hard boiled egg out of the fridge before he has a chance to change his mind, pop it in the cradle and guide his hands into the correct position.
“Off you go then, push it down.”
“Ooo, it is dah bouncy.” Why do they love eggs, even though no-one eats them?
“Push a little harder.” After all these years of occupational therapy, he still doesn’t have the strength of force to resist an egg.
“Ooo dah egg is dah strong!” What is the magical property of an egg?
“You're doing great, just a little bit harder.”
“Ooo he such a lovely cutesy wootsy eggy poos. I am loving being dah good helper.”
He uses his most persuasive tone as he woos the egg into submission. As the wires break through and reveal their slices, his tone changes to a nasal protest, “but you sure are dah stinkiest too!”
So much progress is such a short passage of “time.”