Someone has taught my toddler all his nursery rhymes. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t his father. It wasn’t his sister. Is he learning them by osmosis? Are they inherent in his genetic makeup, like the reflexes small babies have that stop them falling off their mother’s hairy back?
While Garnet was sick all he has wanted to do was have me read him books while he languished in my lap. Once day I dragged out a Play School book of nursery rhymes and started singing them, and lo and behold, he joined in. Now as far as I know, the only music that kid has been exposed to in the last six months is the soundtrack to Frozen, the soundtrack to Cats, and the theme tune to the TV shows Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Octonauts. So how does he know ‘Incy Wincy Spider’? I’ve heard him sing ‘Let It Go’ and I’ve heard him sing ‘Journey to The Heavyside Layer’ (both multiple times each day), but somehow ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has crept in too.
As May Blossom is approaching four and is thus an adult with many opinions about why she should be allowed to wear earrings, have a job as a waitress and get married, she will not tolerate the playing of baby music. One morning recently as I sat and sang the nursery rhymes with Garnet, she called out from the dining room where she was gluing triangles of paper mostly to the tablecloth, ‘Will you stop that singing please? You are disturbing my work.’
‘No,’ I replied. ‘When you were a baby we sang these songs with you for hours and hours, and we never do that with Garnet, so you might just have to deal with it for a bit.’
‘Ugh,’ she groaned. There was a pause. ‘Carry on then.’
Carry on indeed.
She asked me about university the other day. I explained it is like a school you go to after you finish high school. ‘Your uncle, Superchief, goes to university,’ I told her. ‘He’s studying law.’ I started to explain about the law and how it protects civilised society from breaking down, but she interrupted me.
‘I know all about law,’ she said. ‘I can talk to him about that.’
‘What do you know about law?’ I asked her.
She thought for a moment and then, in a very serious voice, she said, ‘You must never ever stand on a crab.’
She’s right, you know. Laws are there to protect people, and crabs, I guess.
But I don’t think, ultimately, that she will go into law as a profession. Not while she can make a killing from the latest product she and Garnet have started manufacturing. This afternoon I came across them jumping up and down on an armchair, right next a tepee that her father and I set up for them yesterday, almost at the cost of our sanity and marriage.
‘Could you please stop that?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you could do the jumping inside that excellent tent instead.’
‘We can’t,’ May Blossom informed me, ‘because we live in that tent. This chair is where we work.’
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What exactly do you do for work up on that chair?’
‘We make positivity.’
And for that there is no comeback and they are now allowed to jump on the furniture as much as they like forever.