It was just gone 5 am when my bladder decided that it had let me sleep enough and pinched me awake. It was OK, I knew the time in Sydney was 7 am and my brother, partner and my little nephew would probably be at the airport. I had time to send a message to wish them a safe flight over before they boarded.
As it happens you only need to be at the airport 45 mins before a domestic flight and only a maniac like me would be at the airport nearly three hours before. So when I sent the message, they were still on the train making their way down. My little nephew, who was nine months old today was fast asleep in his push chair, blissfullly unaware that he was about to cross to the other side of the country on the very day that that marked exactly his reaching the same amount of his life spent inside and outside the womb.
After a delayed flight and with me feeling not unlike a CIA operative, I picked up the arrivals at the airport and informed my mother that ‘the package’ was on his way. Her first grandchild who has already grown so much since we last saw him at Xmas when we counted his age in weeks, not months.
We knew that they had planned to travel light and so had bought a couple of things to make the package feel welcome: a colourful floor mat, just like the one he has at home as he is now crawling at speed, some big fabric blocks, a baby hammer and from my other brother an inflatable Tweety Pie figure and a large red club. I also threw in a few sheets of large scrunchy paper, which I had found and decided would provide no end of fun.
‘He should count himself lucky,’ we congratulated ourselves while surveying the booty the night before they arrived. ‘When we were growing up all we had were twigs and mud and occasionally a slug and some salt.’
It did not take my nephew long to shake off the sleep that he enjoyed in the car on the way over from the airport and quickly get the measure of the apartment. Within seconds he was finding table corners to bump his head on and there were cries of, ‘deploy Tweety!’ As we attempted to head off his interest in electrical power boards with an inflatable budgie. He seemed to have a particular fascination with the coffee table, which has legs that are set in from the corners. Every time he went to pull himself up by grasping the leg, the corner loomed near his tiny pink head.
Finally, though he was on his two feet and up looking over his conquest. The coffee table had been cleared but for a round silver and red tin with a lid which contained chocolates. He thrust his little arms out and his fingers gained purchase on his prize. We all watched, transfixed as he dragged the tin slowly towards him from the centre of the table, then grappled it and rolled it to the floor.
Turns out he is quite in to tins. We found a couple of other ones from past Xmases and arranged them on the floor before him like a mini drum kit. He studied them seriously then banged them. From time to time he gripped the sides of one tin and swivelled it around like a steering wheel.
‘Euuuhhhhhhhhh,’ he declared. Thump thump thump.
Seems we have found his toy of choice.