I dread the day when I have to tell my own children I don’t love them as much as I love my nephew, V-man. I guess I’ll have to find the appropriate moment – like when I leave them in a basket amongst the reeds. I’m sure community services will understand when I use this video as a defence.
I spent Saturday looking after the little man and we had a blast. There was a beach trip, naps, story time and a little bit of crying for his mummy and daddy. So a lot like my honeymoon, really.
This was our Saturday schedule:
0930 – Vincent turns up clinging to the necks of Mary and Andrew and eyeing me suspiciously. They leave and he cries and cries. Our fridge is covered in hilarious things that he loves like dog magnets, photos from Taronga Zoo and polaroids of J-man and I when we were young and in love. When he sees a photo of a mountain goat he calms down and, in between sobs, points to it and says “dog”. I tell him that’s no way to speak about his Aunty Julia.
1015 – We turn on Rage to distract V-man from the heartbreak of being an orphan for a day. Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation comes on and the baby starts dancing. Cute!
1115 – We all get ready to go to Balmoral Beach. On the bus ride I start singing: “We’re going to the beach! We’re going to the beach!” Then, just like Biggie and 2Pac, we get a little call and response going. Aunty Steve: “We’re going to the beach! We’re going to the beach! Where are we going?” V-man (with arms raised): “The beeesch”.
1130 – Turns out the baby hates the beach. He likes being dunked in the water OK, but he hates the sand and starts grizzling and pointing to the bus stop about 30 seconds after we arrive. Man, kids do not know how to party. Soon he gets so sad I decide to take him to the grass area, where he starts to howl and howl. It’s really quite heartbreaking until two little kids with bags of popcorn come up and say: “Why is he sad? Does he want some popcorn?”. V-man takes the popcorn and stops crying. AND MY COLD, DEAD HEART COMES OUT OF MY EYES IN THE FORM OF FAIRY TEARS.
1145 – J-man buys us colas and V-man a fruit juice. V starts crying again and becomes very clingy to just me. I ask J-man whether he thinks he should put his shirt on to stop scaring the baby. J-man says I am crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s a legitimate concern.
1215 – We realise that V-man wants nothing more than to leave. So rather than take him back to the sand to collect our stuff, V and I sit on a bench while J-man packs us up. I hold him and point out a little kayak to him. I tell him it’s like a row boat and start singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and he grins from ear to ear. Every time I stop singing he says: “ro-ro?” to prompt me to start again. My hipster reputation lies in tatters.
1230 – We get on the bus and almost immediately V-man starts to snore in my arms. I have some trouble finding a button to push to signal our stop. This is when I realise that all those mothers who go on and on and on about people being jerks are right. All these people just stare at me while I struggle with a beach bag, a sleeping kid and a video game-playing husband. We miss our stop and I blame humanity. Humanity and those damn selfish childless women.
1315 – I hope V-man will keep sleeping for a while, so Aunty Steve can catch up on the important business of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But he wakes up with a snap as soon as we get home and says “ro-ro?”
1400 – We play with the phone, the remote control, the PlayStation control, the fridge magnets, the button on the TV, the handle on the suitcase table and carefully examine the knob on the drawer of our phone table. It’s exhilarating. We play a really great (read: predictable) game of chasies. J-man has a couple of friends come over and V-man hides behind my legs. I put on my playsuit especially to go to the playground and I show V-man how slippery dips are done.
1500 – I carry V-man a couple of blocks to get a lemonade icy pole and we share it in our courtyard. I don’t know if he’s had an ice block before, but it seems like a huge novelty. His eyes get all wide, he goes “ooooh” when I unwrap it and it’s obvious the cold sensation is new and weird to him. My land lady is in the courtyard doing some washing and hangs a little stuffed dog up on the line by its ears. I get a bit worried V-man will be upset, but he says “dog” and my land lady falls for his charm and gives it to him to keep. Inside, he throws it on the ground over and over again. Baby hates fake dogs. I say that is no way to treat his Aunty Julia.
1545 – I have the ingenious idea to share a mint slice biscuit with him on the couch. Yeah, great idea idiot. Babies get stuff everywhere. Within five minutes there is chocolate on the couch, on his clothes, through his hair, on his hat and all over my soul. I clean him up and take him downstairs to put his hat in the washing machine. And I scar the kid for life. It turns out his hat is kind of his security blanket, so seeing it locked into a big noisy watery box is the end of the world. We go back inside and he throws himself on the floor in sadness. Just like I did when J-man washed a blue sock with my new white singlet top in Holland. No, really – there may have been public yelling and throwing of things. Aw, the little man takes after me.
1600 – Everything is OK once we read Where The Wild Things Are and he roars his terrible roar.
1601 – The exact moment when my lady mechanics ache for a baby. Get it together J-man! Just keep your damn shirt on.