LittleBear woke up before 6 AGAIN, cough, cough, cough, cough. Poor boy. Repetitive, dry cough that neither tixylix nor water soothed. Me and BigBear weren't exactly thrilled, or in fact jolly or perky. But LittleBear was surprisingly chipper. And he ate two croissants with butter and jam for breakfast, which is more than either of us had. Whatever this cough is, it's not hurting his appetite.
Meanwhile, the drive to nursery was with a different child. And, to be honest, a different mother. There were no tears, no raised voices, no contretemps. In fact, we set sail into the wierd and wonderful world of LittleBear's imagination.
We saw some roadworks, where they were using a circular saw to slice into the pavement prior to digging it all up...
LB: Mummy, we can't drive over that road ever!
PB: It's OK sweetheart, after they dig the hole and mend what's underneath, they'll make a new piece of road on top.
LB: What if they fall into the hole?
LB: How long will there be a hole?
LB: It might be a really, really, really, really <I lost count of the reallies> long time
PB: I think it'll probably be about 2 weeks actually.
LB: No Mummy, it will be 29 weeks. No, longer than that, longer than you are Mummy <numbers and age are more or less interchangeable>. What's longer than 40 Mummy? It will be 49 weeks before they mend it Mummy. No, it'll be longer than Grandma and Grandad. Really, really long. What do you think Mummy?
PB: I think, um, 352 weeks.<long pause>
LB: Is that a long time Mummy?
PB: Yes, it's got three hundreds in it. Do you think an even longer time than that?
LB: Yes, even longer Mummy. What's longer than that?
PB: How many hundreds would you like? It has to be more than three.
LB: Four hundreds Mummy. Four hundred AND fifty six.
PB: Goodness me, that's a long time. That's nearly nine years.
LB: And then they'll break the whole world, even the trees and the bushes and that wall there. And they'll break the wall on the bridge. And the railing on the wall.
PB: Oh, is that what we'd like to happen?
LB: Yes, because then we can see the river better.Can't fault his logic on that one. Seeing the river is an important requirement.
PB: Ooh look LittleBear, there's a tractor <major maternal duty is to point out all farm machinery we pass>
LB: It's spraying something. What do you think it's spraying?
PB: I don't know, probably weed killer
LB: What's weed killer?
PB: It's a chemical for killing weeds without killing the crops.
LB: What are weeds?
PB: Weeds are the plant that you don't want. If the farmer is growing wheat, or sweetcorn or sugar beet then he doesn't want daisies and dandelions growing, so he sprays weed killer.
LB: Dinosaurs are weeds
PB: Are they? Do they grow from seeds?
LB: Yes, some of them do. You need to give them water and glue.... and... oil to grow.
PB: Really? Water and glue and oil?
LB: Yes, and... and...
LB: No Mummy, not something we eat. Water and glue and oil and diesel and the seed grows and grows and grows into a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
This conversation took us most of the drive from HomeTown to WorkTown, as what I've failed to convey is the manner in which LittleBear comes out with some of these statements. It goes something like this:
Mummy? What if? What if? Mummy? What if they... they... they... Mummy? What if they fall into the hole?
He's in such a tearing hurry to speak and to make sure he's speaking so you can't interrupt, that he starts his sentences well in advance of actually having thought what he's going to say. The "Mummy?" is generally a delaying tactic to keep his place in the conversation until he's ready with his next declaration. I used to think that saying "Yes?" in response to "Mummy?" in these conversations would assure him that I was indeed listening and that he could continue. As it turns out that's only sometimes the correct option. Other times it is a completely uninvited interruption that can cause the entire explanation or enquiry to be restarted from scratch. You just can't tell.
So - we got to nursery full of chatter and laughter and smiles. And I still got lots of cuddles and kisses and then went to work happy in the knowledge that LittleBear and I love each other, and that even when we're both tired things can still go well. And who knows what changed, other than no biscuits were dropped.