I never really got the banana skin thing. It’s never made sense how slipping on one of those as opposed to, say a puddle of water, is going to send you as far as cartoons would depict. And yes, I’ve even gone so far as to put one on the floor and make a running jump, back in the pre-baby, pre-Islam, wine-sipping kind of days. Banana skins just don’t seem dangerous to me; what they do seem is yet another indication of the perfection of the world God created for us. Nutritionally, bananas contain more potassium than any other single food source, their mineral composition alleviates mood swings, aids digestion and provides the exact dose of carbohydrate we need per meal. The skin? The perfect form of packaging – open it, carry it, re-use it (inside of banana skins are fantastic for relieving the redness of spots), then discard it; it is an ideal compost composite. More than that, bananas are one of the few foods which see us through the entirety of our lives, from babies with no teeth, to elderly who’ve lost teeth. I’m a big fan of bananas for all their natural healing powers and such, and as from this morning, I’m in awe of their ability to teach.
Each morning when he wakes M eats 1/2 a banana. Without fail. If we’re out of bananas he is very unimpressed. Most days, he just eats the banana, discards of the peel into G or I’s waiting hands nearby. This morning he didn’t, he sat on the floor and dissected the peel, studying intently how the inner skin separates from the outer, feeling the texture of both squished tight between his fingers, noting how easily it tore ripped vertically in layers, how tough it became when ripped sideways, the wrong way. M learnt a lot from that banana and as always, I learnt a lot from M.
I learnt that we’re all just like bananas when it comes down to it. We all have those tough outer peels, multifaceted inner layers. The textures of the bananas outer/inner shells are as unique as a humans, neither perfect, neither flawed; each serving a purpose of its own individual design. And just like a banana, to see the inner human being, you need to pull away the peel, discard the inner layer, reach on in to find the core: it’s not just bananas wear pyjamas, now is it?
M’s fast asleep now as I type. The past week or so he’s slept with us again more of the night than on his own, and we’ve loved it, we treasure it, but there just isn’t enough room in the bed – especially for a little man who sleeps best horizontally, feet on Mummy’s face, head on Baba’s belly. He has four teeth pushing through – yes four, he won’t do these things in halves – and is rather uncomfy, but also, he feels cramped in his cot. He’s always gone down in his own bed, but once he wakes and we’re in bed, he comes to us; more convenient and peaceful all round. But the past three/four months, I’ve gone round and around the idea of moving him to his own room and breaking out of this cycle. It’s not I want to stop co-sleeping exactly, but as the pregnancy progresses, we’re getting less sleep and if we don’t break the habit now, with four in a bed we will none of us sleep for sure, so it’s better now that it’s broken, that he’s used to his own space. Yet in that space we were defining – the cot-bed we bought for six months plus – he seems confined within a space, not in control like we want him to feel. He tosses and turns through the night, mostly to remove any coverings we place on his body..blankets he hates, duvets he despises..and finds himself with a foot through the bars or a hand the other way. We put him down centred in the cot, with space to roll side to side; he wakes face smooshed against the top end where he’s tried his best to crawl out of. It’s not the space we want him to sleep in. So, we’re going Montessori floor-bed style from now on, and so far so good. The past week he’s napped on the make-shift, duvet/travel mattress bed I hastily put together, and the naps have lasted more than an hour each day! He can roll freely side to side, twist and turn as he pleases, and more importantly maybe, can get up when he wakes and craves movement. Unlike the cot where he needs to call for help, from here he simply toddles unsteadily to find me, rubbing sleepy eyes with sleep warmed hands, setting every mothering instinct in me alive with his tumblefresh bed head appearance. Wherever I am in the flat, he just checks room by room til he sees me, then holds out his arms for a cuddle. No tears, no distress or where am i disorientation. And when he’s tired in the day, he will go and lie down, call me over to him, and we’ll chill there for half hour or so, not sleeping, but talking and cuddling, and giggling and being just mother and son with no rails. Until the banana skins call him that is, he lets go of my fingers runs to the kitchen for his own, giggling as he goes – Did you know a bunch of bananas is called a hand?