On my day alone with Felix, we normally go out in the morning, but last Friday he was slightly feverish in the morning, and I was tired, so we went out after his nap instead. We parked at Michael’s work. ‘Dadda!’ he said. ‘He’ll be back tomorrow’, I said. We walked over the bridge over the road. ‘Brrrrm brrrrrm’, he said. We walked past our favourite cafe. ‘Da!’ he said, pointing at it desperately. ‘No, I said, we’re going to the library first today, then we’ll come back’. When we walked through the park he wanted to get out and run around. ‘Ne, ne!’ he said. (I think this might be a version of ned, Norwegian for down.) ‘Later’, I said, ‘after the library, it’s going to close soon.’ ‘Du, du!’ he said, pointing at the pigeons.
We made it to the library. I went to the counter to get myself a library card. I practiced my Norwegian and felt very proud of myself for understanding the librarian with no problems. ‘Ne ne!’ said Felix. He sat patiently for a while but after a while I let him out of the stroller, and the first thing he did was rummage through my bag to find a pouch of fruit smoothie. ‘No,’ I said, you can’t eat that here.’ We chose some books and left as it was nearly closing time. I wish I’d got a photo of him carrying his first ever library book out the door.
Then he saw the fountain. After I surreptitiously changed his diaper on the library lawn and ascertained that it would be difficult for him to climb into the fountain, I let him run around it. I didn’t factor in the wind gusting up, splashing in the water, and soaking his t-shirt. I changed him into his hoodie and went back to the park, where he climbed some stairs for a while and tried to get to an old cigarette packet. Then he played with another toddler for a bit. She dumped handfulls of dirt all over him as he sat on the wobbly horse.
We went back the the cafe and I practiced my Norwegian some more, and ordered myself dinner to celebrate surviving a week on my own. Felix raced up the stairs, straight to the place where they normally kept the highchairs, but they’d moved them. I found him one, and he drank his fruit smoothy and didn’t deign to look at his sandwich or his grapes, then went down on the floor to play happily and quietly with the trains. Ah, I thought, bliss. One of those perfect moments. My food arrived and Felix wanted to come back up to the chair. I had hoped he would like some of my salmon burger, but he was horrified, and made sure that I (and the rest of the cafe) knew it. ‘Please, please, Felix’, I said, ‘I want to eat my dinner’. And then I realised he was incredulous that we didn’t have our normal cinnamon bun. I wanted to eat my salmon burger. So I went and bought him a bun.
As we walked back over the bridge I felt so tired I could barely move.