Adventures with the Toddler – Chapter Thirty

There is a moment at the start of each week that fills me with apprehension. It’s called Monday. Monday for me is starting the working week. Monday for the toddler is excitement city as it gets to go to playgroup for hours. Monday is when the toddler and its mates get to experiment and make a snack to inflict on their parents.
“I made this for you da!” I look at the smashed apricot crumble thing clenched in its dirty fist.
“Thanks mate. I’ll have it for breakfast.”
“No! You have to try it now da. I made it for you.” Consuming food the toddler has made with other 3 year olds, brings about a little anxiety. It’s not the hole with the tastebuds I worry about, if you catch my drift.

I had a weird thing happen with my phone. Apparently I no longer show up as myself when I call the three people I call. But it had a thing called ‘ghost touch’. This is when apps open by themselves, the screens shuffle themselves, videos start playing without my permission, ‘likes’ are given without my permission. It was freaky. I thought I had a virus and that the porn site I trusted must have betrayed me. But the first time it happened was really scary.
I walk around with my headphones in my ears most of the time as I usually have a drill or an angle-grinder or some other tool in my hands, and it makes it easier for me to answer the thousand phones calls a day. A lot are work, a lot are from Rajesh trying to sell me energy as I keep ducking him and a guy called Brian trying to sell me life insurance. Anyhoo – I’m elbow deep in the hood of a car undoing bolts when an ominous music begins to softly play. I become aware of it as if takes me out of my thoughts and task at hand. The music grows louder and I’m getting scared as I’m in the workshop alone and we don’t have a stereo system hooked up. The music is building all around me and my heart rate hits the ceiling. Then I realise it’s my own phone that’s begun to play some Opeth of its own accord. It’s an album I bought years ago I never really got into, but here it is, now playing through my headphones because my phone has a ghost in it. I thought the fucking angel of death was coming for me with the orchestral opening. I shit myself.

There have been two big events in the toddler’s life recently. The first was a trip to the cinema to see Frozen 2. I held onto a dream that it would be a Star Wars movie we would see together for its first cinema trip, but Frozen 2 won. I was more excited than the toddler. I still get such a buzz of walking into a movie theatre. It’s so rare for me these days to get to the cinema, but I really wanted the toddler to experience it. We bought our tickets “holy fuck! How much?” Even after the MEAA discount I was looking at taking a second mortgage on my soul. I have also been one of those guys that has to be in the theatre for the start time. I loved watching the previews of what was coming out and I subjected the toddler to thirty minutes of commercials. I was worried I had misjudged this and should have arrived much later. But the toddler didn’t mind and was so well behaved. It sat there as I told it talking during a movie was very poor form. It didn’t talk. It watched the movie with an awe on its scrunchy little face as it munched on the sushi I’d bought it. It loved it. Loved it so much it keeps asking to go back. The other cool thing was how many dads were taking their kids to see the movie. A theatre filled with mostly blokes and their kids.

It was a nice interlude as the toddler has been so naughty of late. I introduce it as “our threenager”. Its manners at times are atrocious and has to be constantly reminded to use them, it’s taken to ignoring me, cracks the poos and throws itself to the ground whimpering over the dumbest stuff. I’ve told it I’m going to sell it to a band of travelling Gypsies if it doesn’t get its act together. It doesn’t want to be sold to Gypsies and has told me so. I found this threat very funny, the toddler, not so much. But it rapidly changed its attitude and it knows now to speak up if it wants / doesn’t want something and that crying for something gets it nothing at all. But it’s all a part of growing up and dealing with big waves of emotions. I get it. Dealing with emotions as an adult is also hard when you have a circus of bell-ends running the country you love. I understand the desire to scream and cry, tear your clothes off and pound the earth until your tongue swells and you soil yourself in catatonic frustration. I get it. I do.

The other big development in toddler world is that it now has its own room. That’s right. I sacrificed my office so the toddler can have its own space. I think I broke a finger getting the desk out of the room. There was the throwing away of a lot of things and moving around of others. Today we went to Ikea and bought it a bed just like real consumers. We went to Kmart and bought it pillows and a dinosaur pillow case and doona cover set. Glow-in-the-dark unicorns adorn the walls and a porcelain rabbit light sits upon the windowsill to chase away the dark. We have plans to to add some extra nice things to the room. But for most of the day, the toddler has been hanging about in its room and practising calling us for when it needs us in the middle of the night. It’s very excited about its own room and I’m excited for it. It now has a space it can bring its little mates too when they come over for a play.

Will it stay in its new room I sacrificed so much for? Maybe for a bit, before it seeks us out, as it has no ass cracks to ram its feet into or ears to tweak when it wakes up and gets bored. I dare say there will be a period of transition before it stays in its own space and I get to reclaim some mattress space for a bit, before I lose it to the new one who is already encroaching out of the cot and into the big bed.

Exciting times ahead. Maybe the wife and I will get to have a grown-up cuddle again.

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