When Alex was born, he didn’t have his name yet. We hadn’t definately decided on it. He came out, all serene and mellow. In fact, I was so busy chatting to the aneasthetist that they sort of kept pointing him at me “Hellllooooooooo! Mrs Smith! B.A.B.Y!”. He gave a little squeak, then fell asleep. Through the emotion and drugs my husband and I looked at each other….he must be our “chilled out baby”, we whispered smugly.
Flash forward 18 months.
I’m wrestling Alex into his car seat in Tescos carpark, using my knee to bend him at the waist as I grappled for his seat straps, using my firm/verging-on-shouting voice; “ALEX! PLEASE!”. Up pops a man behind me. “My son is called Alex too. Doesn’t get any better, and he is 12!”, he chuckles grimly. Then a woman from 2 cars down (!) pipes up with; “I have a 20 year old Alex. Doesnt get any better then either!”.
Is it all in a name? Alex does seem to have an edge to him that I am sure the Oscars and the Henry’s of this world don’t have. His name has an “X” in it, for Gods sake. It’s all my fault!!!!!!
Flash forward to being at home.
“ALEX NO! That is naughty! mummy will cry and throw away your dummy!”
Ed; “mummy? why are you crying? And why are you throwing away his dummy?”
Me; *whispers* “I’m not, Ed. I’m fine. But I am trying to teach him a lesson”
Ed to Alex; “mummy is teaching you a lesson Alex. She isn’t crying. And your dummy is in her hand”.
Alex is running round without a nappy on, to get air to his blisters from the pox.
“ALEX! NO! Don’t hit Edward!”. He jumps off the sofa, runs over to his soft toy rabbit and rubs his bum on rabbits face, laughing.
7.30am. Alex is in his highchair throwing cheerios around “ALEX! If you do that again mummy will get really cross and take you down!”
Husband saunters in to kitchen, in best Will Smith voice “Mama will take you doaaaawn!”.
Alex laughs. This doesn’t help me.
“ARG!!!! ALEX!”, I hear from downstairs. Up the stairs stomps an angry husband who thrusts a trainer in my face, covered in sick. “Look what he did! He got it out the cupboard, threw up on it, then he just ran off laughing”.
In just one hour at the Sure Start Centre we go to Alex managed to…shove an orange felt tip up his nose and got an orange nostril, and interestingly, orange snot. He stole £4 from the entrance fee box. And he managed to twiddle the strings on the singing ladies guitar without her realizing until she went to play and it sounded cack. Tellingly, she looked straight at Alex and said, albeit in a nice way “what have YOU done?”.
We have a double buggy, a tandum one. We were out shopping and Smudge said to me “watch this” as Alex (sitting in the backseat of it) pulled on Ed’s hair then kept hitting him round the back of the neck. “Stop it, Alex!” said Smudge. Alex, without so much as a blink in our direction, stopped mid-smack and turned it into a loving stroke of Edwards hair. Husband turns to me and nods at Alex’s little smack-and-strke routine – “He has been doing that for five minutes”.
He broke my laptop. A week before christmas. No, not a cleverly devised “oh deary me” plan by husband to surprise me with a new one. Santa almost didn’t come for Alex that year. Well, maybe he would come for him, with a sack, and put him in it and take him back to the north pole. I resisted that request in my own Santas letter.
I wasn’t happy. But I was, if im honest, and in retrospect and yadda yadda yadda im the grown up *blows raspberry and flicks the laptop screen the bird* I was angry at myself. Vomit. Actually, inititally I was angry at Alex. But I was angry at myself for being so bloody stupid and balancing it on the sofa. And for not backing up. So, I am taking this as a lesson learnt. Or learned. Which one is it? Whatevs. I got the lesson. Well, I didn’t really because my new laptop is 6 weeks old and im already breaking my oath and using it balanced on my lap on the sofa. Its warmer in here. Since we had to pay for a new laptop we cant afford heating the whole house. Alex is in the (freezing cold) kitchen eating dried bread.
Alex Alex Alex. If we tell Ed not to do something, he’ll listen. We congratulated ourselves on our brilliant parenting skills and obvious well behaved genetic make up. I was confused when I walked into the kitchen last weekend, Ed took one look at me, lept off his toy digger and raced in to the playroom and started beating the crap out of his work bench with his toy hammer. I raised an eyebrow at my husband, who replied with “I told him he couldn’t bang until you got up”. Ok then. At least he listens. Ed appears to understand discipline or the need for it…or the brilliance and power that comes from replicating it. He told me off for “breaking the downstairs loo door” (a crime I deny) and I got sent to the laundry room to “sit and think about what I had done”. The lovely, peaceful laundry room, where no one bothered me for five minutes. And when I shouted out through the door “CAN I HAVE A GLASS OF WINE PLEASE?!”, got one sent in by the prison guard Ed. Result.
I need to try and focus on getting Alex to do things without their needing to be some violence beforehand. I ask Alex for a kiss and he throws a toy car at my head. Then gives me a kiss and says “ahhhh”. I hope I never have to ask him for any money in case he has listened to Ed’s latest obsession about “burning the house down” and tries to fraudulently obtain our house insurance.
Alex is simply gorgeous. He is very cute, loves the ladies, loves a flirt and will make me a Nanny by the time I am 45. I feel it in my bones. Has anyone ever read “Edwardo – The horriblest boy in the world?”. Well, it is sort of like that. I need to remember Edwardo. Everyone tells Edwardo he is naughty but actually, by praising Alex, I mean, Edwardo, he changes his behaviour and becomes a good boy.
So, I don’t think it is all in a name. I think it is all in “the age” and how we have forgotton about the tantrums and tears with our “spirited child” as we called Ed when he was doing pretty much exactly the same thing 2 years ago. Tantrums and paddy whacks and early-to-beds (me, as well as him). Edward is 3 and Alex is 18 months – of COURSE I am going to compare their behaviour and of COURSE I am wrong to do it. I can not expect a 18month old to behave in the same way as a 3 year old.
I do still think, however, Alex will make me a Nanny by the time I am 45. He is just too cute.