Moo and the suicidal caterpillar

Moo and the suicidal caterpillar

I have a deep loathing of Radio 4 that’s reserved, specifically, for the mornings. To the extent that I’d even prefer to have CBeebies on instead. EVEN ‘Show me, Show me’! (I know, right!) However, Mrs. Moo quite often insists on Radio 4 being on as she says it is –

“our current affairs fix. We don’t want to become those parents that ONLY talk about their children now do we?”

Now, I have many issues with this –

1. The last thing I want to do in the morning is listen to some Dimblebum or what ever his name is, cantankerously shout down some politician whilst coming over all, ‘I’M A SERIOUS JOURNALIST YOU KNOW!’ No you’re not. You’re a miserable, disinterested old man who only knows how to “discuss” whilst being aggressive and slightly bullying

2. We only really pay attention when they are talking about something child related, i.e. schools or some ludicrous fucking change to the car seat laws. (What is the cocking law on this by the way? If I have to spend the next 10 years strapping children into those things, I think I’ll go bonkers)

3. I still have that man-crush on Andy from ‘Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures’ so I kinda want CBeebies on. It’s his shotgun nostrils you see. That and his amazing barnet

4. Radio 2, despite Chris Evans’s best efforts, sometimes forgets itself and plays decent music so it’s always worth tuning in on the off chance you hear a good tune

One thing I absolutely love on Radio 4 though is the religious ‘Thought for the Day’ segment. My adoration for this briefest of interludes doesn’t stem from any personal religious beliefs I have, or even because they have a thought provoking point to make that helps me along with my daily trials and tribulations (even though, they quite often do!). Non, mon petit choufleur (as my Corsican brethren would say). It is because they can take any anecdote and quite magnificently, at any given point, without even the most tenuous links, make a genuine reference to Jesus. As if there was a whole page missing from their speech but they thought, ‘Sod it. No one will notice’. It is delightfully hilarious and never fails to make me smile.

“I was walking down by the river the other day when I noticed a large group of drake mallards fighting over the attention and possible courtship of a hen mallard. Unfortunately, so aggressive was their behavior around her that she was pushed under the water and she drowned. This reminds me of the time Jesus helped a leper…”

Everything else on Radio 4 is really quite miserable though. It is either delivered with nonchalant cynicism (the very worst kind. One should never be nonchalant about their cynicism), or with a dismissive, belligerent air that suggests we are all fucked anyway. To be honest with you, there seems little point in continuing along a path that is certain to end in the absolutely depressing, cataclysmic way that they keep promising; so why listen?

All this talk of impending doom brings to mind the caterpillars I found in Corsica recently… (I too can make ludicrous jumps in my metaphors Radio 4 religious people. I too). Every evening there were streams of them, curling their backs and shuffling themselves along the pool side at a seriously impressive rate of knots, where they fell in and writhed on the surface until they became bloated like sausage shaped balloons, and then they sank down, down, to the bottom to lie like dark, tiny poos. That was, until they were unceremoniously scooped up with a net and dumped on the grass on the outer edges of the poolside by me. Why did they continue to do it though? Why were they so steadfast in their belief that this horrible end was, for some god-only-knows reason, a good idea? Why oh why did one, even after I had saved it from its watery torture, wriggle around on its haunches and make its way back to the water? What a dick! I mean, if there was ever a time when the insult “don’t be a twat!” could be labelled at a tiny, sentient but basic creature then that was it!

Watching them on their desperate, Frodo-like quest that was only ever going to end in pain, tears, and huge amounts of water retention (which must be an absolute diaster for the more body conscious caterpillars), reminded me of Moo and her descent in toddler tantrumville. (Holy  segmented arthropod Batman, that’s my second successive spurious, nonsensical metaphorical link in as many paragraphs! I’m getting good at this…)

So insistent is she of winding herself up into a frenzy at the most innocuous things, that I often wonder if I need to scoop her up in a net and dump her on the grass before she falls into the murky depths of continued doom and despair… No, wait. I think that’s probably a metaphor too far… Anyway, she’s got to this point where I can see she’s “playing” with the idea of having a tantrum. Today she asked for an ice cream. I said, “OK. Yes, let’s have some ice cream then”, at which point she threw herself on the floor and screamed “NOOOOOooooo” as if I was some cold-hearted, evil Bond villain that just melted all her toys in the microwave whilst laughing my maniacal laugh. But instead, there I was, standing stock still, with a spoon in one hand, an ice cream in the other, a bewildered look on my face and a ludicrous ball of angry nonsense writhing around on the floor in front of me like one of those aforementioned suicidal caterpillars.

I do understand her need for testing and pushing; her frustration with communication, her inability to control the chemical endochrine reactions happening inside her. I know this can lead to the “difficlut phase”. I am, of course, sympathetic to it and patient. But my God, don’t you just wanna get inside their tiny heads and say, “dude, seriously, chill. All will be fine. You are in no danger. We love you, completely. Take your time and breathe deep.” Saying that though, if she starts to go towards the tantrum-shit-house I actually want her to completely explode in her most energised rage possible. I truly believe she needs to feel the depths of those emotions. As humans we spend far too much time quashing down almost all our feelings whether they are happy or sad and it can only lead to disaster. As the brilliant comedian Louis C.K. so aptly put it:

“Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments… Because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness. It was such a trip.”.

We have to experience the depth of emotions in order to let ourselves grow and learn. And Moo’s only just beginning to feel the plethora of bonkers emotions and mixed emotions that humans are capable of! So I kinda don’t wanna quash the tantrum as much as I don’t wanna quash her joy!

To be fair though, it was only a fucking ice cream, and she asked for it…

This all reminds of when Jesus was in Galilee…

The times they are a changin’…

The times they are a changin’…

So, here I am, sitting by the Corsican mountains, a glass of red wine from the vineyards at the bottom of my villa’s drive, the outdoor lights glistening across the pool as the sun sets with it’s gentle, breath taking colour show. Moo is asleep and my wife is reading her book. There’s even my favourite soundtrack on the speaker system playing my favourite variety of ‘stop and think’ tunes and finally there is my Corsican wild boar stew bubbling in the oven preparing itself to be eaten after 24 hours of bathing in delicious vin rouge and hand picked herbs. Perfect serenity. Two things spring to mind from this: 1. Blimey I’m lucky. 2. Blimey I’m a pretentious wanker.

It truly is wonderful here. It will probably be our last family holiday for a while though, what with a possible home move coming up, a shiny new baby on the horizon and some unbelievable fuck-tard stealing my brand new motorbike. Yes, that happened. I don’t wanna talk about it though.

Ooo yes, didn’t I mention? Moo is gaining a ‘sib’! Her world is quite literally about to be ‘thrown out of her pram’. The flavour of this new arrival will be of the male variety; we know this because of the unbelievable size of his knob evident on the 20 week scan. Proud doesn’t even cut it – him and me. I mean, I’ve never felt such smug satisfaction IN MY LIFE. I even made one of my now famous quips at the all too regular inappropriate time. Cue attractive sonographer lady moving pointy scan stick thing over my wife’s tummy to highlight mini Fitzpea’s not-so-mini Fitzpea and, after I had got over my initial shock of him being a boy, I raised my hands in the air and said, (much to my own twatty grin delight)

“Ladies of the world, hear me now. YOU. ARE. WELCOME”

OK, slow down. I can hear your tutting from here. It’s so loud even horses are starting to move faster. Yes, yes, yes  I too can point out my utter hypocrisy in making that joke to my wife and our phenomenally unamused sonographer. You are absolutely right in that I would never have said a similar thing about finding out I was having a daughter. Absolutely not. And so begins a whole new mind fuck chapter on how I approach everything and think about everything. It’s a good job I love reexamining all this I guess.

Skip forward and here we are a week or so later on holiday with Moo. She has been a delight on this trip. Heartbreakingly so. She’s a tiny ball of fire and at 19 months is speaking in good sentences, is potty trained and has me completely and utterly wrapped around her tiny pinky. Quite right. She was wonderful on the delayed flight over. Much better than the miserable old lady next to us who tutted when she saw us coming down the aisle. Mind you, that may have been directed at me with my Hawaiian shirt, travel potty, and irritating chuckle at my own bad joke I had just made to the air steward. Fair dos  for the old lady really.

I have loved watching my wife spend loads of time with Moo and I have struggled to contain my heart in my chest upon watching Moo delight in lapping up every ounce of time with her Mum. The two of them are gorgeous together and it’s so evident how much Moo idolises her. She copies her gestures, wants to try her makeup and creams, follows her around, delights in telling her she has done a poo on the toilet… That usually happens at ‘Moo volume’ (a hither to undiscovered impressive audible level) in a café. There’s that lovely parent quandary wherein you simultaneously apologise to the angry French patrons and praise your miniature tousled haired self to the hilt. It’s an art form.

The holiday has also highlighted how close I am to Moo and how special my relationship is with her. I am supremely lucky as a man to have such a strong relationship with my daughter so early on. Now, I’m not saying others don’t. I’m sure they do. But I know that we have a ‘thick as thieves’ nature with each other that is more precious to me than the stars above my head right now.

So I’m left here, on this glorious evening, on this beautiful island, surrounded by so many of my favourite things, but still fretting about the future. The future of me. The future of Moo. The future of her Mum and the future of all of us with mini male Fitzpea… What the hell does that look like? How can there be more room in my heart? I would die for my wife. I would die with a smile on my face for Moo. How the hell can I fit any one else in? There’s only so many times I can die; I’m not a bloody cat!

Everything I have done in my life has had an element of risk to it. An element of trust that it will all work out. I am an improvisor. I jump way before I look. In fact I tend to jump, land, splat all over the place and only then say, “Oh. Whoops. Perhaps I should wait?”. And so it will be in the future. I shall jump into this new adventure and not even mind if I splat everywhere like a Moo rejected spaghetti Bolognese, because this is the best thing in the world. Right now, shit doesn’t get any better. I. Am. Having. A. Son.

Oh hell…