On Thursday I was telling Mitchell that Charmaine and Craig were going to arrive in “one sleep”.
He was of course very excited, and replied “Charmaine will sleep in Nanna’s bed (what he calls the bed in the study). Craid will sleep in Nanna’s bed. So two sleeps!”
How’s that for early arithmetic??
Well, I think it’s safe to say Mitchell’s no longer a toddler. He is now definitely a boy.
No more dummy. No more nappies (well, pullups at night but that’s only just in case). No more cot.
He can count to twelve – and most of the time gets the numbers in the right order too.
He seems to understand the difference between weekdays, when he goes to school and daddy goes to work, and the weekend when he gets to jump all over daddy and has to make sure daddy wakes up very early for no sensible reason.
He can sing quite a bit of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.
He tells daddy to drive faster. But then when we were recently driving along a precarious winding road through the mountains with a sheer drop to one side he intuitively warns from the back seat “careful daddy”.
He loves to jump into the pool and is convinced that his wild flailing of arms and legs (while being supported by one of his parents of course) means he can swim faster than Ian Thorpe.
He loves it when daddy hides from him, but has already learned where all the best hiding places in our apartment are.
And he’s had his first real fight at school. I came home from work and Sheridan said “Mitchell got into a fight today”. So I asked him what happened.
In a little pantomime Mitchell said “Habib smack Mitchie” and then slapped himself on the face, indicating that some kid called Habib had slapped him. Then he said “Mitchie” and thrust out his fist in a vicious punch. I almost wet myself laughing when I learned that my little dude decked some punk who’d tried to take him on.
That kid’s like a bloke from the outback. He can’t play the piano and he doesn’t appreciate the subtlety of sushi. But if you’re stupid enough to bitch slap him, he’s going to smash every tooth out of your mouth with one punch.
That’s my boy.
It’s been brewing for a while now I guess, but this past week has finally seen the terrible twos descend on the Fraser household with a vengeance. Our previously mild-mannered little bloodnut has suddenly transformed into a child with a serious machiavellian streak.
We’ve had tantrums in the street (not too many of those thankfully) and lots of deliberate naughtiness designed to get a reaction. Mitchell’s into all the cupboards and running off with personal effects, medicines and anything else he can get that he knows he’s not supposed to have.
Sometimes it’s quite cute. The other day he found a packet of pringles in my bag and wanted us to open them just before dinner time. When we said know he started to chuck a wobbly, so I took them off him and put them in a high cupboard in the kitchen. Instead of having a complete meltdown he stormed off, then returned a minute later dragging his plastic chair and plonked it in front of the cupboard to use as a foot stool. (Fortunately he still couldn’t reach, but we were kind of enamoured of his use of logic).
But on the whole he’s really testing our patience. I suspect Nanna’s going to be counting the days until her return to Australia!
We’re off to Cyprus for four days break tomorrow, so lets just see how a change of scene goes down with him. Could be interesting!
Mitchell’s daycare teaches in both French and English, and at last we’re starting to see some bilingualism developing in the little guy. Yesterday he said to our French speaking driver, Ellie: “Merci Ellie”.
So last night around the dinner table we asked Mitchell to say some other things in French. Unprompted, he said “merci”, “oui” and “aujourd’hui” (“today” for the non-francophones out there).
C’est trés bien, non?
Of course this builds on the one Arabic word he already knows: “yalla!” (which depending on the tone and forcefulness in which it is expressed can mean “get a move on” or something a whole lot stronger…)
“What?” – said in response to just about everything these days. Mitchell has developed his father’s selective hearing.
“Whassat?” – said with a wonderfully high pitch and look of shock on his face, whenever he hears a sudden noise such as a revving motorbike, a car horn or a siren (ie every five minutes in Beirut).
“Fina! Yoke, pease!” – called out at the end of dinner each night, when Mitchell wants some yoghurt for dessert. He very quickly learned that Fina is at his beck and call…
“Bag, off!” followed by “Dress!” – said way too early on Saturday and Sunday mornings when Mitchell wants to be let out of his sleeping bag and then wants his father to get dressed, get out of bed and join him for breakfast. Tragically he is less concerned about being accompanied by his mother, who therefore has the luxury of sleeping in every day of the week.
“Why?” – oh dear, we’re just discovering this one. Said after about eight sessions of “what?” and another stalling tactic to avoid doing something unpleasant.
“Don’t want to” – said when stalling tactics have failed and he’s being forced to eat something or do something that’s invariably good for him but rarely pleasant to experience.
“No try” – alas, see “don’t want to” above. Even more frustrating because it’s usually in response to efforts to get him to taste something that we know he’ll enjoy, but he’s just decided not to.
So we had a lovely day yesterday. After a relaxing breakfast at home we headed over to City Mall (one of the two big modern malls in Beirut). Fina came with us, and she and Mitchie had some Maccas lunch before they ventured into the wild and crazy kidszone for a couple of hours of intense childsplay in the ball pits etc.
Mummy and Daddy then had a lovely time exploring the shops and taking advantage of sales without the little man in tow. Oh it was so peaceful! We had a delicious lunch at Casper and Gambini’s, which was concluded with a chocolate fondue for two – a bowl of steaming molten dark chocolate and a separate bowl of marshmallows, strawberries, bananas and kiwifruit. Mega delicious and a great way to get our daily quota of fruit!
When we were completely full and ready to face the boy again, we picked up Mitchell and Fina and headed off to the hairdresser for Mitchell to get a long overdue cut. Of course they insisted on loading him up with product, just like Daddy!
“Na’iman!” the hairdressers cried. Only in Lebanon, the land of hairdressers and all things vain, would there be a special word in Arabic which means “congratulations on your haircut” (and I’m not taking the piss here).
After returning home Mitchie and Daddy went for a long walk around Ashrafieh and Gemmayzeh (to walk off the fondue…).
Then a barbecue dinner, some hubbly bubbly on the balcony and a DVD, then eventually off to a lovely night’s sleep!
Five favourite new Mitchell traits:
- The way when Mummy asks “Mitchell, how old are you?”. The reply: “Mitchie. Two.”
- The way the little guy sits on the floor cross-legged, which he’s presumably picked up at daycare.
- The way his toy cars talk to each other at the dinner table, and there’s a “mummy” car, a “daddy” car and a “Mitchie” car. And sometimes a “bubby” car too.
- The way the absolute first thing he has to do in the morning when he wakes up is put on some socks.
- The way when Daddy pretends to be asleep, Mitchell sneaks up next to his ear and says in an initially quiet voice: “Two … three … WAKE!!”