Emily Howlett’s Diary of a Deaf Mum: My response to baby’s Ten Commandments

Posted on September 6, 2013

My baby boy, you are so clever to have brought those previous Ten Commandments to my attention, through the open media of the Internet. Naturally, as laid out in the Tenth, I do agree with them all without reservation. I am sure that in the interest of fairness you won’t mind me replying, not with Commandments but, shall we say, guidance. I hope that you will take note of what I say, and our relationship will continue to blossom with love, appreciation and the odd burp with lumps in.

1) You have recently decided you would like to feed yourself, which is fine. What I find harder to accept are some of your dietary choices. Actual sausages made for people are ok; the dog’s string of plastic sausages is less good. Banana, broccoli and sweet potato are excellent. Shoelaces, newspaper and horse’s mane (still attached) are not. Grandma’s hanging baskets are not a glorious buffet. I know you like melon, which I approve of, but please have a little self-restraint and allow others to share in the delight rather than insisting you own every last slice and shrieking if you aren’t presented with the entire thing.

2) While we are talking about food, can I just take this opportunity to point out that baby food with little tiny mashy lumps in is still food. You will eat the smooth puree, and you will eat a horse (literally), and everything in between. Why, then, is mashy baby food like actual poison that must be flung as far away from the high chair as possible? I know you and your little friends have decided salmon is a deadly dinner, but what’s wrong with a nice bit of red cabbage and chicken? Oh. It looks like dog food, you say? Well, yes. So you might as well eat the plastic sausages? Well, ah. Hmm.

3) I bought you a walker because I thought you might like to be a bit more independent, despite still having limbs like a particularly flexible octopus. I did not buy you a walker so that you could try and take out every passing human with a swift blow to the back of the knees, followed by a quick scoot over the back of their head when they hit the deck. (A further note; the walker is also not a Formula 1 training vehicle… However, I think Daddy can share half the guilt for that one. And half the points on his licence.)

4) You know that thing you do where you pretend to have done a really massive and huge nappy, but there’s not actually anything there? And then as soon you’ve got the nice, new nappy on (or sometimes even before) you unleash Nappygeaddon? And then you do that evil little laugh that you think I haven’t noticed? The laugh that gives away the fact you did the whole thing on purpose? Yeah, that laugh. I do notice it. Every time.

5) We need to talk about the Octonauts. These little cartoon creatures have begun to burrow their way into my heart, as well as the deep ocean floor. Unfortunately, you seem to be less enamoured by them than you are by reruns of The Sweeney and The Professionals. You had the audacity to fall asleep only last week, while Captain Barnacles was trapped by a giant manta ray! Then, an hour later, you threw a hissy fit when I changed channels because Bodie and Doyle were being boring, pretending to shoot people in their terrible 1970s outfits and hair. I hope this is only a temporary lapse of taste on your behalf, and you’ll soon be back to normal.

6) I adore you little pinchy, grabby fists. No, really, I do. You’ve suddenly started to turn into a proper little person, holding all your own food, toys and clothes. Clever boy! Sometimes, though, the food, toys and clothes aren’t actually yours, and in these circumstances, as well as being happy to hold, you need to be happy to let go. Especially when people’s faces start turning red (with anger, because it’s their car keys, not yours) or blue (because it’s their tie, not yours, and also their neck).

7) As a little, tiny extra point to the whole handy hands thing; please don’t help too much with the shopping. I know you are more experienced and knowledgeable, but there are only so many times I can explain away why I have a buggy full of clothes I don’t intend to buy. And, although it’s funny for you, it’s embarrassing for Mummy to keep finding awkward items in the trolley. Plus, when the store alarm goes off and we keep walking, the security guards tend to get a little bit.. chase-y.

8)Flirting. Yes. One day in the very, very, VERY distant future someone will give you a proper talk about this. It might be Daddy, or a school teacher, but it’s more likely to be one of your mates’ older brothers. Anyway, it’s not happening for, like, ever. In the meantime, please try and limit your flirtations, either to a set number of people, or to a shorter length of time. Mummy can’t keep missing the bus because you’re winking at the ladies at the stop, or missing appointments because the bus driver won’t let us off until you give him some tips.

9) Sweet creature of my heart, you are so brave about this terrible teething business. Even when it turns you into dark creature of the night at 2.00am, I have nothing but admiration for your steadfastness. Well, maybe I have a little, teeny, tiny, miniscule smattering of other emotions (fatigue, stress, exhaustion, despair, tiredness, frustration, despair), but mostly I just want to take the pain away for you. This does not mean you can sink your new fangs into my shoulder/finger/eye socket at every opportunity. If you must do that, please do it to a suitable teething implement instead; cooling rings, cucumber sticks or Daddy’s face.

10) Yes. You’re still beautiful. Stop using it against me like this. Stop looking at me like that. Seriously, stop with the…. Oh, dammit all to hell.

*deletes entire list of demands*

Come on, gorgeous boy. Let’s go and bash some people’s knees. You be Bodie, I’ll be Doyle. Heaven knows, I’ve got the hair these days.

Emily Howlett is a Contributing Editor to this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer, horsewoman and new mum. She describes herself as being “equally fluent in English, BSL and Gibberish, and completely rubbish at French.” Emily can be found all over the place on various escapades, but divides her time between Derby and London. She can often be found behind a large packet of crisps or any halfway decent book, and insists she can still play characters in their early twenties despite having a grey eyebrow hair.

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