Baby Herbie, in his own words
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At nearly nine months, you never quite know what baby Herbie is thinking. Here, Lynne channels the thoughts of her grandson no.3.
Who is that? Have I seen her before? I think I have but I think I’ll burst into tears anyway. After all, I’m not even nine months old, yet.
“Herbie, don’t cry, it’s grandma.”
She’s smiling now... shall I smile back? I think I will.
“There, you remember me, don’t you? Come to grandma”
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Why is daddy giving me to this person. I might have to cry again and hold out my arms to daddy.”
“Shall we look at a book, Herbie?”
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It’s the one with the farm flaps. I rather like the chicks... yes, I like the chicks. No, don’t turn the page, I want to look at the chicks again. And where’s my favourite Lego brick ? the pale green one with the curved ends? Oh, here are the chicks again and they’re making a noise. “Cheep, cheep.”. Actually it’s grandma making that noise and I’ve just dropped my Lego brick. Never mind... what has grandma got around her neck? If I make a grab for it, I might be able to pull it into my mouth. That’s a funny noise grandma made.
“Have you got a wet nappy?”
They never leave you alone, do they, and why is she asking me that? I can’t talk. But I wouldn’t mind a clean nappy... oh, here we go. She’s unpopping my vest and, oh, what a relief, the nappy’s off. Now I can kick my legs, grab my toes and roll over while grandma tries to get the clean nappy on me. Was that a bad word grandma muttered?
“Keep still, Herbie. Oh, now I’ve fastened the nappy with your hand inside it, you tinker. Right, now you can have a little play on the floor.”
She puts me on the floor... what is that little speck on the carpet. I’ll eat that.
“Herbie, what is that in your mouth? Let me see.”
Too late, it’s gone. I’ve swallowed it. Now, over there by the window are my toys and over there, under the television are all those wires. Hmm.
“Not the wires, play with your toys.”
Do grown-ups have any idea how boring most baby toys are. Where’s my green Lego brick? Oh, there it is... I can’t bear the thought of losing it. It’s such a lovely colour. Wait a minute, grandma’s left the door to the kitchen open, I might just have a look in... oof. She’s got me. Now I’m back with the boring baby toys. When I’m bigger, I’m not going to be pushed around like this.
Now, where was I? Ah, yes, I’ll head for the wires under the telly. Nope, she’s got me again. I suppose it will be the same with the doors on the cupboard. Yes. And my brothers’ Transformers. Yep. Basically, anything I’m interested in gets taken away from me.
“Shall we read another book, Herbie?”
Oh, for goodness sake. It’s another one with farm animals. Anyone would think that’s all I’m interested in. Actually, I haven’t had a drink for ages. I’ll do some grizzling and perhaps she’ll take the hint. She does. She snuggles me into the crook of her arm and gives me a bottle. About time too... feeling a bit sleepy now, sleepy.
(90 minutes later)
How long have I been in my cot? Get me out of here. It isn’t long before grandma comes to the rescue.
“Hello, little man.”
She picks me up and takes me downstairs. There’s a picture of mummy, daddy, George and Wil on the wall. Where am I, then? Oh, there I am, in the mirror. I give myself a big smile.
Grandma lifts me up high. I think she’s sniffing my nappy. Now she’s made a face and I know what that means, I’m going to be unpopped again. Sure enough...
“Now, Herbie, what would you like for your lunch? This squeezy packet of curry looks good. I’ll pop you in your high chair.”
I know what comes next. I get engulfed in an all-over bib - little does she know that is not going prevent a huge mess. Ha! Using a spoon, eh? The trick here is to put my fingers in my mouth just as the spoon goes in. I like to be proactive when it comes to feeding me. The curry is delicious and it seems a shame to swallow it all. I think it would be fun to smear it over my face and run it through my hair. A truly holistic lunch.
Grandma wipes me with a flannel and puts me on the floor while she tries to clean the high chair. Those cables under the television look very tempting, I think I’ll see what happens when I grab them.
What happens is grandma picks me up and says: “No, Herbie!” I hear that quite a lot. I wonder what it means. Grandma does a big sigh so I show her my pointy finger. When I do that for daddy, he points his finger too and we touch fingers and daddy says: “ET phone home,” in a funny voice.
Grandma isn’t as much fun as daddy.