|Rufus two years and 11 months (but also eight weeks, 10 months, one year and four months)|
|Laurie nine and a half months (but also six weeks, four months and seven and a half months)|
One summer, long enough ago that I don't really want to work out exactly how long ago it was, I took a women's writing course at UCLA. I got to sit in one of those desks with a table attached to them which would be an utter nightmare if you're left handed (although I'm sure they do left handed ones these days). I got to see where they filmed Buffy every single day because I lived right there on campus, I got to watch "soccer" games and go to Santa Monica on the bus. And I got to read a whole lot of American women's literature.
That was the first time I read Eleven a short story by Sandra Cisneros. At the time it was just another story in a long old list to get through before I could do yoga under the pine trees, go to Jamba Juice or sit by the pool. The second time I read Eleven was last week on a blog I came across and this time it hit me in the stomach and rang bells in my ears.
There have been times recently when I've found myself silently screaming in my head "Rufus - you are not a baby stop acting like one." Or "Laurie, for goodness sake you're nearly 10 months old not 10 weeks old go to bloody sleep."
I've been on a quest for more patience for all but about two of the years I've spent in this world and Eleven might just be helping me get some. I'm trying to remember the words of wise old Sandra every time my silent or sometimes not so silent screams well up in my mind/throat. I try to think that when Rufus wants to hang off my leg it's just because actually my tall, lanky, gregarious almost-three-year-old boy is still somewhere underneath the shy little 10 month old who didn't like to leave my side. And that when Laurie wakes up in the night it's because he's still a little bit of that chunky, curled up newborn boy who just wants me to cuddle him and sniff his head which curiously always smells like biscuits.
And I try to give myself a break too, because sometimes I'm still the 21 year old me who makes me cringe when she speaks, or the petulant two year old me that just wants to keep all the toys to myself and not share with Rufus when he's being horrid. I'm still the 28 year old me who desperately wants to lie in bed on a Sunday morning only to drag myself for a pub lunch and an afternoon nap. And I'm sure Mr Jones would agree that for at least one week a month I am very much my hormonal 13 year old self who hated boys and everything they stood for.