Purple Flowerhead Revisited

It’s halftime – Jordy’s afternoon nap on a day when he and I are fending for ourselves. So far so good. He has done everything I’ve asked within 5 minutes of my politely suggesting it; and while things did turn a bit custardy and teary by bath time, this was only to be expected after a long morning filled with sun, biking, purple flower bridges, huge leaves, banana trees, feeding hungry fish, ant-bite-yous, slides and wiping down every surface in the house (by him, not me, just to be clear).

Jordy has that very common toddler affliction where he refuses to get into the bath and then when he finally gets in, he refuses to get out. What is the psychology behind this? Perhaps he knows that at bath-time his parents will not back down, no matter how much he protests, so it’s a good opportunity for him to enjoy a delicious bout of stubbornness and still get what he wants at the end of it all. This type of genius psychology is one of those talents that comes effortlessly to toddlers, like learning multiple languages, and which most of us lose as we get older and universally dimmer, excluding those who retain both abilities into adulthood and so become very good spies.

Anyway, today Jordy refused to get in and then out of the bath about 20 times in 5 minutes, all the while screaming and crying. Eventually we got through the bath (a few times) but even after he got into his cot he was like an inconsolable drill-sergeant, delivering tearful orders throughout his bedtime stories.

In the end I managed to send him off to sleep by talking about all the fun things we did this morning. I have never done this before but it worked like a charm. It started from that feeling common to all parents, where you give your children such a nice day and then they are ‘like this’.

‘Look Jordy’, I said, ‘you are being ridiculous. We had such a good morning. Don’t you remember going on the bike and seeing the banana trees, and the purple flower bridge?’ The change in his expression was immediate: from miserable drill-sergeant to ex-soldier wistfully looking back on the time his life became intertwined with a mysterious family from England’s fading aristocracy. If that won’t send you to sleep I don’t know what will. As I narrated the events of the morning, he softened into his pillow. He put his hand over his eyes when I said ‘close your eyes and go to sleep.’ I closed my eyes too and it wasn’t long before I heard the regular gentle breathing of a sleeping Jordy.

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“hello sir!”

I looked up from my book to see a large moon-faced man smiling down at me, as though he really was the moon and was happy to have finally arrived on Earth and expected me to be just as pleased.

“You are a very lucky man!”, he said.

The sun was shining, leaves were rustling in the breeze, and my first thought was yes, I am lucky, sitting here reading in this quiet park, on a lunch break from a well paid office job. Clearly, I thought, this man has seen me sitting here in this peaceful spot, while others hurry by in their daily struggle, and he wants to share his appreciation of this simple pleasure.

So when he asked, “Do you know why you are a lucky man?” I prepared to agree with his assessment.

“I will tell you” he said. “You have a very lucky forehead!”

I was already squinting into the sun shining behind him, and at this conclusion my eyes narrowed further, my right cheek gave way to a doubtful smile, and my forehead didn’t know what to do with itself. My whole face was a little confused.

The smiling man extended his hand and before I knew it I was shaking his hand and telling him my name as he sat down beside me.

“This is a very lucky year for you! Do you want me to tell you why?” he said, producing a bright yellow business card. Astrologer and God were the two words that leapt off the card. Not a moon-man then.

While he explained that he was a professional astrologer, I began some amateur astrology myself, predicting the awkward turns that the next five minutes could take and wondering how I could extract myself from the conversation.

The dilemma was that he was so genial and positive that I didn’t want to be at all impolite or negative. Neither did I want to offend him into withdrawing his assessment of my forehead, or, as the cynical part of me could not help thinking, probably unfairly, be forced to decline a request for money.

All I could think of was to tell the truth.

“I just want to read my book, thanks”.

Still smiling, he took a breath as if to continue his pitch, but he checked himself mid-breath and seemed to accept my wish as something that had to be respected, and wished me good day, still smiling away.

I went back to my book, wondering what about me looks like I would be interested in astrology services.

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The Insightful Coaster


To Be Said in a MAD Voice [And visualised in wobbly unhinged font – Ed]

“CAKE is your FRIEND. I mean,

I know you have OTHER friends

– REAL friends but, hey, CAKE…

…mmm…CAKE!! CAKE!!!

Quote from a Coaster by Edward Monkton, given by Dora to David, Christmas 2010

If you are a compulsive facebook-checker, or if your facebook newsfeed moves slowly because you have few friends, you will not have missed Dora’s recent facebook status update, containing the quote “Jordy is not an introvert, he is a caketrovert“.

Well there is a story behind the quote. I had real video footage to go with it but my iphone did not have enough memory to save it, so I will just have to describe it. Kind of like using candles when the electricity goes out. So gather ’round the flickering light my friends.

You will know that Jordy is an independent wee boy and is not always in the mood to chat to neighbours and passers-by. Over the festive season he developed a way of showing this by saying bye bye see you later alligator repeatedly to anyone who interupted his circle of trust. He says it in quite a poor thing voice and sometimes he gets very upset, especially if the passer by is coming into our house, is a mad taxi uncle throwing two dollar notes through the door-grill (true story) or is an unknown person engaging in conversation with his Mummy. This is a little concerning but we can see that it is very specific behaviour rather than a general ‘stranger anxiety’ and he will probably get over it soon just as he is now better at sharing the lift with others.

Now you will also know that Jordy (visualise a wobbly unhinged font rising in the carbon smoke of the candle light) LOVES cake and is known to gaze upon cake with such intensity that you can almost see telepathetic activity dancing down his line of sight to the iced round of all things good before him.

There was no better example of these two characteristics on our trip to Vivo on Sunday morning, which Jordy spent alternating between crying bye bye see you later to people in the lift and the friends we have made at the Vivo shops (yes, we do go quite often), and immersing himself in his own commentary on (conversations with?) the many cake display cabinets of Vivo and Harbourfront. He would do his happy strut from display to display and dance and point, Cake! CAKE! he would say, and pretend to take a morcel from through the glass and eat it, Nom nom nom! then he would look back at us with his cheeky grin before returning to his happy examination of each row and colour of cake. Just like old friends.

So that is the story of the caketrovert. There could be something in that word that explains his parents as well. Who knows.

I should also say that Jordy was very happy to meet two little sisters at the playground this afternoon, waving happily and saying hello jie jie, and when he saw his girlfriend M from childcare he wanted to give her a hug, so he does have people friends too. Whether he would share his cake with them is another matter altogether.

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Natural Selection

Eventually Homo sapien picked up the leaves and sticks scattered about him, no longer the litter of nature, but tools that would carry him towards feats unimaginable though, from that moment, inevitable, like flight, and high-speed internet – Excerpt from The Equatorial Anthropological Journal, circa 1870, authorship unknown.



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How is this for size?

Choices choices…

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Tune in next week when you’ll hear Mr J say…

In my young and free days I often read through the synopses of soaps in the weekly television guide. A waste of precious youth, some might say, but the synopses had their own kind of logic and poetry. Guessing at what was going to happen based on their tantalizing hints was what passed for procrastitainment back in the pre-internet age.

Fast forward to yesterday, well and truly ensconced in the internet age, when I was emailing my family a video of J, both recorded and sent from my phone. To help explain Jordy’s unique monologue, I wrote a little summary of the action, which came out sounding like one for a soap – Jordy finds a blade of grass and finds a good name for it, but the relationship is cut short as Jordy goes in search of adventure.

This made me wonder if I could write about the days of our lives with Jordy in the format of a television guide soap synopsis. I thought of possible names for the series like Jordy Street, or The Young and the Restless – a good one as I wouldn’t have to change the original title. But in the end, although the words don’t quite work, I went with a version of the grandmother of all soaps, whose theme tune still reverberates through my very sub-consciousness in all its soulful dreariness:

Cotonation Sheep

Monday: Jordy’s plans to pour his own juice nearly end in disaster.  Will Mum make it to work on time? A new dragon is welcomed to the cot but Sheepy is not convinced.

Tuesday: Jordy has an early morning surprise for Mum. Dad comes home to a flooded bathroom but bad plumbing is not to blame. Sheepy finds himself on the outside.

Wednesday: Jordy’s late night transgressions seem forgotten but will he last until lunch? A cheerio from the past surfaces but not everyone is happy about it. A mystery leads to Mum playing Little Bo Peep.

Thursday:Jordy faces a tough choice but his hesitation threatens to foil Dad’s plans.  Mum’s double life unravels as her mobile phone is mistaken for a little boat. A happy return puts Dragon in a precarious position.

Friday: Jordy gets his way for now. A trip to the park leads to a new obsession, leaving Mum to play the waiting game yet again. Compromise brings peace to the cot but even the best intentions leave lion hanging by a thread...

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Elements of Style

A short catelogue of J from late 2010.

Calls things by the name of those who gave them: a wee soccer ball is ‘Aunty Janice’, a trucks and tractors puzzle is ‘Aunty Sandy’. This leads to bizarre conversations: J: “Aunty Janice! What happened Aunty Janice?”. D: “Oh, I’m not sure, I think I saw Aunty Janice under the table.” Does this explain some of the old nursary rhymes? If so, was Uncle Dumpty a friend of the King? What fragile thing did he give to the King’s son, that his men couldn’t fix?

Made his first non-slapstick joke: D: “Jordy, look at the aeroplane in the rain”. J: “Aero-rain! Hee hee hee.” This has helped him bond with his cousins, who have taught him how to take this humour to a more advanced level – apparently the lastest joke is waterfall/poo poo-fall. Good to have mentors in his life at this early age.

Runs behind me to the door as I leave for work each morning, not to hug me good bye or anything, but so he can shut the door behind me. The first time he did this was a classic ‘fake out’ – J runs to the door, dad bends down for a hug, touched at this unusual show of affection, J reaches out, and without looking up, puts his hands on the door and shuts out dad like an unwanted salesman. 

Has moves that can be variously be described as hugs/tackles/moves from wrestlemania summerslam ’92: stands over me when I’m lying down on the mattress in his room, shouts ‘maaaaa’ then body slams me; Takes a run up of a few meters, runs towards me – crouched down to his height – runs full tick and hugs me at full speed. ‘oomph’. Repeat. Repeat.

Stacks blocks one on top of the other to make a tower, says ‘elevator’ and laughs.

Knocks down the tower, says ‘spectacles’ and laughs.

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