8:40am on the day before pre-school goes back for second term. I’m in the kitchen feeding the cat. The beloved is wrangling Boofer into her third set of clothes for the day. Titch is thoughtfully unloading the recycling onto the pantry floor. The phone rings.
– Hello, me speaking!
– Sccchhhhhhhrooooooo wwwwwss aawwwwn from the mmmmmssssi sss.
– SORRY, WHAT? WHO?
– Iiissss ttttchhhh teacher.
– OH. THIS IS A VERY. BAD. LINE. I WILL CALL YOU BACK
Return call. Line still awful, whooshing and crackling.
– THIS IS STILL A BAD LINE! – Thinking ‘this will never work’. Titch’s teacher is not a loud woman. She murmurs, at a volume virtually inaudible to the naked ear. You may wonder how she commands the attention of anyone. I certainly do. But somehow it works. Titch and his classmates flock to her adoringly. Or they flock to get close enough to hear her. One of those. Anyway, at this point I make my first mistake – I assume she’s calling about Titch’s finishing time for the coming term and figure we can overcome the difficulties of murmuring and godawful phone line if all I need to do is rustle up enough supersonic hearing to pick out a number.
– Wwnnn ttk abb Mothers’ Day pppps nnd Fffs Day.
Bloody hell. Not only is she still murmuring in the manner of David Attenborough trying not to disturb mating bats, but Mothers’ Day? Isn’t that months away? Shit. No, is already end of April. Mothers’ Day only about two weeks away.
– WHAT SPECIFICALLY DID YOU WANT TO DISCUSS?
– Children mmmmmfk psssngs f……
Titch picks this great moment to drop his bundle and starts angrily demanding cups of water to tip on the floor.
– HANG ON. SORRY.
Try to placate Titch by picking him up, using just my free shoulder to cling onto the phone.
– RIGHT, GO ON.
– Shhhhld Titch make a psssngs ffffr bbbt you and the beloved?
Boofer, unwilling to be left out of any social occasion, starts SHRIEKING (if she had words, I can only assume they would be ‘You’re stabbing me with knives! Burning knives! Burning knives and sticks! I am dying, dyiiiiiiiinnnnnggggg!’).
– YES, YES JUST DO WHATEVER YOU THINK IS BEST – Titch, please stop licking my face – I’M SURE THAT WILL BE FINE.
– (murmuring even more softly, if that is possible) nnd Fffs day? Sssss therr a ppssssn whwwww that rl for Titch?
– WHAT? NO, JUST TWO MOTHERS. BOOFER IT’S fine shhhhhh. Titch! Don’t put that in the microwave!
– Aas huh ur Grandfather?
– GREAT IDEA! GOT TO GO! CAN’T HEAR YOU AT ALL. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT AT SCHOOL PICK UP?
Perfect. The first significant issue to arise at school, the first time an activity will be different for Titch specifically because he has two mothers, and the effing telephone provider, a woman of low volume and two wailing children conspire to make me completely drop the ball. That and my own unpreparedness. How did I not see this coming? Why had the beloved and I not anticipated this? And does it even matter yet?
At two and eight months, it can be hard to predict how much complexity Titch absorbs. After a recent conversation about needing to ask permission to touch people, he’s taken that concept and run with it to all sorts of weird places…
‘Can’t make fishes fly to the moon! Have to ask ’em. Might say yes. Might say no!’
‘Can’t slap the chickens. Have to ask ’em.’
‘Can’t tickle Nana’s car. Have to ask Nana’s car!’
‘Can’t hold fire’…. And on and on and on.
How much does he need to be prepared for things that may or may not happen at pre-school? Maybe, just for now, we can leave him undisturbed in his magical world of flying fish and masochistic chickens and ticklish cars.