Baby versus grandma - who wins?

It's 4.45am, the clocks went back... it's called Greenwhich Mean Time,,, are you listening? Picture:

It's 4.45am, the clocks went back... it's called Greenwhich Mean Time,,, are you listening? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lynne spends two nights with baby Herbie in her bed

If my spellong is all over the plaice... put it down to triedness.

Grandpa and I spent two nights in Essex looking after the wee lads, George, six; Wil, three, and Herbie, nine months. It would be all right though, we were sure, because George goes to school and Wil to nursery so daytimes were only Herbie... who had a cough and cold. How can such a small fellow contain so much green ooze?

Oh, and as it turns out, George had a throat infection so he didn’t go to school, Just Wil then.

As I pushed his shoes on to his little feet, he assessed the situation ? neither of his brothers were at school, but he was.

Mulling it all over, he summed up: “I don’t want to go to school.” He spoke in his quiet, serious voice, so different to his loud, silly voice.

Earlier, at about 7.30am, he was playing a game in which Grandpa and I had to guess the name of the Mister Man book. He chose Mr Noisy. I imagine the neighbours guessed right too.

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After a night in bed with Herbie, I wasn’t having any truck with the flawless logic of a three-year-old.

“Well, you have to go,” I said, unable to think of a good reason why... except that Grandma had a better chance of having a nap with two grandsons than three.

Why is it that a baby boy, knee high to a grasshopper – granted, it would have to be a very large grasshopper – needs four fifths of a five-foot bed?

Perched precariously on the lip of the mattress, I got a knee in the ribs, followed by the back of a hand across my face as Herbie – who has no right to be so cheerful at 4.45am – tested out his operational limits.

His bit of bed had been liberally garnished with baby dribble and nasal drip and I wasn’t keen to lie on that area anyway. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the clocks hadn’t gone back.

The previous night we had administered Calpol (a paracetamol-based medicine for children) to Herbie and he administered it right back at us. Anyone who has used this viscous liquid will know just how sticky it is and how unpredictably it spreads. Having managed to give Herbie about half the recommended dosage, there was the small problem of locating and eradicating the other half. There was a patch on my pyjama top where he had wiped his face on me. Also, there was, oddly, some under my chin. I wiped my pyjamas (I had only packed one pair) and washed my neck. No sooner did I start to get back into bed than I found some more near my elbow and on my forehead. I went back into the bathroom and washed just about all of me. Unlike many substances that dry unsticky, Calpol dries sticky and, therefore, I dried sticky.

As Herbie wheezed and coughed and spluttered, I wondered how Grandpa, who also had a bad cough, was getting on in the spare bed, situated next to Herbie’s cot. I would soon find out.

At a quarter to five in the morning, I carried wee Herbie downstairs after he got a bit grizzly, having tired of waving at himself in the mirrored wardrobe doors. I gave him his first bottle of the day and he snuggled up to me and – what! He fell asleep. Men...

Meanwhile, having left the baby monitor on, I could hear my husband’s sleeping noises from the bedroom in the sitting room. It was a cruel thing. Rheumy Herbie and chesty Grandpa were asleep. The sun, which came vivid and bright on the previous, frosty morning, failed to visibly rise at all.

Wil was next up. With organisational skills I had never demonstrated when my own children were young, I had prepared his packed lunch for nursery the day before. I should have a Blue Peter badge for that. On the final morning of our stay, George went back to school and, 10 minutes before we left, told me he needed his PE bag. Fortunately, it was quickly found... although it contained only plimsolls, and not the requisite polo shirt, shorts and black trousers. Cue frantic search through his wardrobe. Eureka, got ‘em. I loaded the car with Wil and George, plus a packed lunch box, backpack, pair of wellies, PE bag and book bag.

As George walked into school, followed by his bearer, one of the mums asked him if he was better.

“Yes, thank you,” he said and coughed.

Then it was nursery for Wil and I took him into the classroom, where tables were laid out with craft items. He took a pair of waterproof trousers off his peg.

“They’re not mine.” he announced. They were.

As I commented it looked as if he would have lots of fun here, Wil adopted his quiet serious voice once again.

“Can you go, Grandma.” he said.

He’s three and already I embarrass him.

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