M’s convinced that Christopher Robin lives in the power station adjacent our housing complex. T is firmly of the belief there is no surface his nimble legs can fail to scale. T leans back on the settee, cross-legged, singing into an empty play dough tub. M jumps from cushion to chair and back again; in one hand a juggling ball, the other a “gween” spatula, on his head G’s two-tone winter beany hat. Sitting in his pram, legs a kinder one over each side bar, T’s whole body shakes with giggles resonating heartward out as he watches his big brother walk a hand-led elephant march, metamorph into a scarecrow with autumnal tree needles, or at M simply barreling into that giggling tum, head first, baby smile guided.
It’s morning and M’s digging in the fridge produces 2 apples because “baby istiyor”, then a lakeside snack time with T clambering over the table to pass a pre-savoured crisp into his brothers laughing mouth..“Mummy baby food meee!”. These two little monsters – who if you call monkeys, in unison, place hands under armpits and “ooohooooh” in earnest – these two brothers in arms, literally fallen asleep in, are 15 and 31 months old and playing the most beautiful game.
M, you of the rounded-off sentences and multitone words, are an everyday energy burst. From head-first cushion dives to handstand room races there is never a minute that’s still. At 31 months you love baking and grating and mixing with straws, can spend hours constructing elaborate play dough models to hide Lego animals inside and do a wonderful “tumble drrrrryyer” sign language. You speak monolingual grammatical sentences, “Mummy, I’m shouting Baba” and delightfully logically Turklish ones too, “Nerede are you, Mummy?” You count in english in the post office and Turkish for T’s toes and know who speaks which language and translate. Diggers and “kamyons” are your favourite things with Bob the Builder also ranking up high “Yes we CAN!” You ask for “Luli” still to sleep and a cuddle when you’re “tiyered” and hide yourself forgetting to set in place the seek first. Duvet town tents, cushion piles and wardrobe floors, carrot coins, apple slices, “bek.mez” tahini, frog slipper socks and Baba’s big hoodies, your coats fully fastened and zipped. At over 2 and a half yours is a magical land within which we all jumble in, too.
Together you sit, legs straddled on cushions, hands holding and grins on faces..“if you see a crocoDIAL don’t forget to scream!” then fall back, four hands flapping to tickle the other into tears.
You wake up with a smile and a bounce and a shreek, today is beginning oh what fun. You end the day with a smile and a bounce and a sigh, “today finished! oh what fun! now to dream.” T at 15months old you are in love with books, read solo then bring the story eagerly over to share. Zips and buckles and poppers and lids enthrawl you for hours on end. Cupboard surfaces and tables and window sill frames entice you to clamber up high. You run whippet like up the stairs and hide under the cot, pull your shoes off and throw them out under the pram and giggle to be caught right away. You build yourself a corner between the settee to play peepo inside and shout out to us to enter the game, you run knees together to dive headfirst into our laps, turning to an expose a ready for tickling tummy as you land solidly, certain our knees will close to hold you there. At 15 months old you are tall and alert, a risk taker and a sensitive soul, you love sipping through straws and anything sweet, still choosing a vegetarian diet. You have imagination and are intrigued and become lost in your world, let us cuddle you without opening the door.
With 16months between you, you’re delighting in each other, though you disagree with each other plenty too. There’s a green blanket we’ve confiscated and a step we’ve delegated and an almost empty tube of arnica. There are tummies aching from belly-laughter and knees sore from room-round chases and teddies who’ve been lost in your games. Bike rides and baths and bedtimes and cooking and snack time and parks and dinosaur hunts and popping out beans..all of these things in our day-to-day are normal for you only when you’re together. Both of you, M & T, you seek out each other, questioning when one isn’t there. You hold hands, push each other and cuddle and tug hair, sleep soundly together and kiss full on the lips. You sing songs and laugh so robustly at the acts of the other that your entire bodies shudder shake.
You eat peanut butter toast with mandelined apple slices, drink lady grey with a slight dash of milk. You’re not Turkish nor Brits, not sane or quite mad, never silent nor full-volumned loud. You fill up our home with the manic of play, of exploration in everyday, and as you do it, whether alone or nose-to-nose, you do it knowing the other is there.
It’s a pleasure, my darling, to be always there, because “nerede are you?” is wherever you be.