This past week has been a busy one for the youngest member of our family. She already has a pretty full daily schedule, (there's the sleeping for 50% of the time, the three meals a day that need to be half-chewed and then left in soggy pulp under her chair, the protracted howling at bathtime, etc) but she's managed to dig deep, go that extra mile and somehow find the time to give each of us some special moments to remember her by this week...usually incorporating her signature specialities: the shattering of peace and the senseless wanton destruction of personal property.
It's not without good reason that when Neve toddles into the room, Amelie is in the habit of leaping up onto the nearest chair and shrieking "Look out, it's The Destroyer!" So let's peer into her mind, and have a quick review of the trail of carnage that she's left in her wake this past week:
- Monday: "These are always difficult days for Daddy, what with them being the first day back at work after a weekend. He clearly needs - no, deserves - a special wake-up call to set the tone for the week. So to celebrate the darkness of the mood (and indeed, the skyline, as first light is normally just arriving) I like to begin with a 'period of lamentation' in which I howl from my cot like a trapped dog baying at the breaking dawn. When Mummy and Daddys spirits are good and broken (normally about 5:45), they will carry me like a Princess into the master bedroom for my bottle of milk. I'll drink it as noisily as possible, with a series of explosive gasps and belches, but it's still possible that Daddy might fall asleep during this relative period of calm - so I'll make a point of flailing my little arm and catching his face with a backhanded slap at irregular intervals. If that doesn't force him up then I'll carefully make my way to up onto the blanket box at the foot of the bed and stamp on it repeatedly, like a horse that's been taught to count. If that doesn't work, then endlessly hitting the bedside cabinet with the empty milkbottle while hooting like some kind of manic owl will always have the desired effect in the end: Daddy will stagger, bleary-eyed, into the bathroom, nicely prepared for the week ahead."
- Tuesday. "Time to do something special for Amelie. What to do? I know: sitting quietly in the corner tearing her books up is always a winner. I'll make the extra effort to get to her pop-up books, so that when she pulls on one of the tabs, rather than Peter Rabbit or Tigger appearing, the whole thing comes away in her hand and she is left holding a truncated strip of cardboard with a soggy end. That'll be a nice surprise for her..."
- Wednesday: "Mummy must be feeling left out by now. Why don't I go through her bag until I find her card wallet, then take the contents out and drop them one at a time into the downstairs toilet? But I'll hold one back, so that I can toddle up and show it to her, so that she knows something really special has happened..."
- Thursday: "There really is no better way of ruining a perfectly drawn bath (that you are about to share with your big sister) then peeing expansively as soon as you are lowered into it. Try and shriek with delight as you do it, and if you get the chance then do try to smack the surface of the water with the flat of your palm, so that some of it splashes over Daddy..."
- Friday: "Mummy seems very fond of the Tiffany-style beaded lamp that she got from her parents for her 21st birthday and keeps by her bed. Just so there can be no doubt about where that lamp should sit in the pecking order of affection, why don't I savage it with my tiny claws when she's not looking? That way she'll be kept awake all night by the random tinkling of tiny glass beads cascading gently onto the bedside cabinet as they fall from the remaining threads..."
- Saturday: "If you keep very, very still during the first part of your nappy change, they will be lured into a false sense of security - and when they reach for the baby wipes you will have a chance to scramble away and try and wipe your bottom on the carpet or furniture."
- Sunday: "Chocolate is special treat, and should be for sharing. I like to chew mine up and then cough it up in a glutinous brown streak down the back of Daddys white T-shirt as he carries me to or from the car. If I time it just right he won't notice for hours, and it's hilarious to watch him wrinkle his nose all day and wonder where that faint smell of sick is coming from."