The things babies put in their mouths

SHEA TOMKINS

Published 07/09/2011 | 10:44

The Child of Prague let us down in our hour of need.

WEDNESDAY 7.17AM. The good woman is looking for a statue of the Child of Prague. I ask her why. She tells me that according to an old wives' tale, if one is left outside the front door, the popular religious relic should attract fine weather. She's arranging a party for the weekend and would appreciate some sunshine.

I like the sound of this theory, even if I think it's a load of old cobblers. I tell her there might be one in the grandmother's house, as I remember stuffing cash into it when I was a kid; the head had become detached from the rest of the body and it was a great hiding place for pocket money. Not that there was anyone to hide it from, a kid's imagination simply needs fuel.

Just then we hear the young lad yelling from the hallway. The younger lad, whose mobility has been empowered thanks to his walker, is standing in front of the long mirror, snacking on plastic flowers. A decision is made there and then that there will be no more fake flowers to greet our visitors.

Thursday 7.25am. The young lad is glued to an episode of The Smurfs. Ever since his nanny took him to see the movie on the big screen, he has been addicted. In fact, I am no longer referred to as Daddy about the house – instead I am Gargamel. A few people have told me I share a physical resemblance with the villainous warlock, who likes to make Smurfs' lives hell. It is not a compliment.

In between trying to decide if Papa Smurf was actually a fascist, or not, I search everywhere for my car keys, as I have to drop the young lad and younger lad to crèche before work. Then I hear the giveaway jingle jangle. The younger lad has mistaken his mouth for an ignition and is chomping away. I yank them from his grip and make a mental note - from here on, car keys must rest on a height. Otherwise, we'll soon need a doctor with a metal detector to hand.

Saturday 3.15pm. The good woman is feeling a little ropey after a night on the town. She needs something to eat; soakage food that will make her feel right as rain. I suggest fish and chips. She concurs. I pop to the chipper and return with a bag of the finest chips in town, drowned in salt and vinegar. She tucks in.

Then the doorbell goes and we pop out to see who it is. Upon our return to the sitting room, we find the younger lad standing by the table, in his walker, with a chip in each hand. The only thing that has stopped him indulging, is trying to decide which one to eat first. We wrestle them from his grip and breathe a sigh of relief. Not exactly one of his five a day.

Sunday 4.00pm. We never did find the Child of Prague, and there has been downpour after downpour over the weekend. Then, in the late afternoon we spot a break in the clouds, and the sun comes out to play. We throw a blanket on a dry patch of grass – just to get some fresh air into the kids' lungs.

The young lad is busy telling us a story about how C3PO actually has a girlfriend living in a local hotel, when we hear the younger lad splutter. We look around and he sits there grinning, blades of grass hanging from the edges of his mouth. He is also sucking on the tail of a toy dinosaur. I suspect we may be raising a cannibal.

Sunday 6.30pm. Bath-time. It has been a busy weekend and the young bodies need a good scrub. The young lad enjoys sharing a bath with the younger lad, if only for the opportunity to splash him.

The younger lad seems content to flap his arms about and fiddle around with Thomas the Tank Engine, until we hear a funny gurgling sound - he has started to drink the bath water. At this stage I am convinced there is nothing he won't put into his mouth. Maybe we should consider a muzzle; I don't remember the young lad being as hungry. Next time I bring him to the hospital I might ask for an X-Ray of his tummy. There's a door key we haven't been able to find for quite some time.

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