Three year olds. You can’t take them anywhere! Seemingly unembarrassable, they each have a unique set of quirks, presumably devised to help them make sense of the world around them, whilst completely baffling everyone else. Not to disappoint, my boy Jet also has some interesting ways. He totally owns them all!
1. So, Sweet Home Alabama came on the radio and Jet rushed over to the shelf, holding on to steady himself as he balanced on one leg and bobbed up and down, nodding his head. This, apparently, is what passes for dancing if you are Jet. He now does this dance whenever the mood takes him.
The sleeping helmet. Of course.
2. One afternoon a few months ago, I went to wake him from his nap to find him asleep with his head inside a sort of net storage basket thing.
Me: “What’s that doing on your head, mate?”
Jet: (Matter of fact -ly) “Oh, this is my sleeping helmet.”
Me: “Of course it is.”
We expected this to last a day or two, but no. My boy is nothing if not loyal to his crazy plans and schemes, and this one has developed into a habit. Now he will only go to sleep if he, Kevin, Dodd, Mugglewump, Beatles Teddy and Kermit have their heads fully inside the helmet.
Jet’s horse, named “Saulish”. Obviously.
3. Sometimes you buy a cuddly toy and it already has a name – Kermit is unquestionably Kermit for example. Before the nippers can talk, you can enjoy naming their toys for them, after your favourite literary figures or whatever. But there comes a time when it seems right to involve them in this process, like when Mugglewump got a new baby brother.
Me: “Jet, this is Mugglewump’s new baby brother. What do you think we should call him?”
Jet: (Without a moment’s hesitation) “Dodd.”
Me: “OK… well, have a think and I’ll ask you again tomorrow.”
I had hoped that when tomorrow came, he would have forgotten the Dodd thing and be open to suggestions. This was not the case. Dodd he was. This, incidentally, is the same method by which Jet’s doll ended up being called Hover, and his horse was named Saulish.
Hover enjoys a cup of tea during some much needed down time.
4. Since we went on holiday to France, anyone talking in a way that is incomprehensible to Jet is speaking some form of French – according to him, Stella speaks “baby French” Animals also speak French, eg Tiger French and Snake French.
5. I have a bit of a penchant for nail art. Jet shares this, and routinely demands that I paint his name on his nails.
“No, that’s not right! It says ‘c’ not ‘sssssss!!!!!’
6. Jet has always loved letters and numbers, so Christmases and birthdays have always produced many presents on this theme, meaning that we now have every educational toy known to man. One such item (which also makes it into that special place in my heart reserved for musical toys) is the Letter Factory. Basically, you put a letter in the slot, it sings a little ditty saying which sound that letter makes. So far, so good. But, as any critic of synthetic phonics will tell you, letters are often not too obliging – many of them stubbornly insist on making more than one sound. As Jet sees himself as very much an authority on letters and sounds, this makes him very angry.
7. Hardly surprisingly, given that he lives with me and Chris, he adds suffixes to words all the time. Poor kid has been brought up to think that this is completely normal, because we do it constantly. The cat isn’t Juno, she’s Junaloids. Dinner becomes dinnerloids. Dinosaurs are dinosauraloids, and droids (Jet’s favourite show, a poor eighties Star Wars spin off) is droidaloids. And so on.
8. When words just won’t do, Jet has special faces to help him communicate his deeply nuanced meaning. I give you:
What weirdnesses do your small people possess? Do share. I’d like to know what he’s up against in the “Nutter of the Year” Awards (Under 5s category), sponsored by Froot Shoots, but I’m pretty sure he’ll make the finals.