Before I was Felix I missed you

This evening I sat outside with Felix for half an hour before bedtime. I sat on the steps and knitted a baby blanket. He sped around riding his tricycle on the deck. It was pretty cold – I had to swap to my winter coat, but it was nowhere near dark. Michael had taken him outside to drive the remote control car, and then Felix asked for his bike, and we swapped. Felix is pretty good at pedalling now – he’s been practicing in the barnehage. He’s very proud of himself. He would ride up to me, stop, then say ‘goodbye Mummy, see you later!’ and do another round. It was one of those perfect moments – the grey-gold light between the still bare trees and the houses and the green green lawns, the tiny beginnings of new leaves on the hedges, the first rows of the baby blanket under my fingers, and Felix coasting around and around, chatting as he passed. And he said: ‘Mummy, before I was Felix I missed you soooooo many time’.

And it seemed as if time was centred in this moment, everything before and after pointed to now.

We have been talking a fair bit lately about where people come from, and about things that happened before Felix was born (he always says, but where was I?). He says, ‘When I was a baby…’ And he says, ‘When you were a baby…’ He says, ‘Who’s tummy was Daddy inside?’ He says, ‘how do you make a Felix?’ (Ask your father.) Once in the car he said: ‘When you were a little guy… Are you going to be little again?’ ‘No, I’ll never be little again.’ ‘But I want you to be small like me!’ ‘But I can’t be small because then I couldn’t look after you.’ ‘I want you to look after me.’

When we first started talking about the baby, he said, ‘There’s a baby in your tummy? And it’s not me?’ And later, we were walking by a busy road, and I said ‘be careful Felix and listen to Mummy otherwise a car might crash into you and there won’t be any more Felix.’ ‘Yes there will,’ he said, ‘in your tummy.’

He talks about the baby nearly every day. Last night we all sat on the sofa. He pointed at my leg. ‘One,’ he said. Then at Michael’s leg – ‘two.’ Then at himself – ‘three’, and then at my belly – ‘four’.

Truly his curiosity has been one of the nicest things about this pregnancy so far. It is a pregnancy I have longed for for more than two years, since Felix was a baby himself. I was not sure it would happen again, and I feel so utterly lucky. It is strange to think that the probability is very high now indeed that I will have a baby at the end of this. Things will change. And I am trying, in these last three months in which there are only three of us, to soak my little boy in, to listen to him, to be present for him.

As he rode around he talked to himself and to me. ‘The baby doesn’t like to sykler?’ he said. ‘No, it’s not so safe. But I’ll ride again later when the baby has come out.’ ‘When the baby’s bigger…’ He rode some more. ‘Do more stitches!’ He demanded, when I paused to look up over the trees. (A welcome change from his customary demands that I stop.) ‘I’m going to take care of you,’ he said. ‘And Daddy. And the baby.’ And then he told me he missed me before he was born.

Days

I cannot believe tomorrow is Friday again already. The weeks have been shuttling past so fast. There is always something to do but somehow there has been time for everything, time for resting, time for chatting, and even time for cleaning. In any case, there is only one week left of quite this pace – one week of teaching, and then a break for Easter, before the piles of marking will come in. To tell the truth, one pile of marking came in this week, but given that I have a paper to present on Monday that I have not had time to concentrate on before this week, the marking can wait.

Writing a paper, for the first time in so long, has been an utter joy, though of course I need to hurry up a bit now and tie up some loose ends so I have something to say on Monday. I’ll then have a month or so once teaching and marking are over to finish the longer version.

The little boy is loving not having to sleep in his ‘box’, as Michael called it. We are losing half an hour of sleep in the mornings, but it’s just about worth it to see him padding in to greet us, bearing gifts. Sunday morning he turned up with four books and announced proudly: ‘I have books!’ This morning he came with a pair of socks, a bike light, his bear for himself, Jemima Puddleduck for me, and his blue stuffed dragon for Michael. Michael had already gone downstairs so Felix propped it on Michael’s pillow for a while while he snuggled, and then carried it downstairs to present to him in person.

We have had blue skies and sunshine for hours. The world feels so different.