Babe: Three years and eleven months
Babeling: Eight months

I could eat her

Babymother: Hello beautiful.
Babeling: Awa!
BM: You are just SO gorgeous.
Babeling: Ba ba ba ba?
BM: You’re too cute. I could eat you!
Babeling: Bwa bwa pah.
BM: Let me eat those chubby arms! Mwa mwa mwa
Babeling: Hee hee!
BM: And those chubby legs! Mwa mwa mwa
Babeling: Hee hee hee!
BM: Tickletickletickle!
Babeling: Chucklechucklechuckle!
BM: Tickletick…WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING? PUT THAT BACK!
Babeling: WAAaaaaaaah!
Babe: But I want it!
BM: I’VE TOLD YOU BEFORE! IT’S NOT A TOY!
Babeling: WWAAAAAaaaaaHH!
Babe: YOU’RE NOT MY FRIEND ANY MORE! (pokes babeling, hard)
Babeling: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
BM: That’s it. Naughty step.
(drags babe to step leaving babeling crying alone on the floor)
Babeling: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
BM (returning):Right. Where were we?
Babeling: Sob.

Oliver James, that’s the celebrity psychologist not the celebrity chef, says that although siblings are born into the same family they might as well have completely different parents. When the babe was eight months I don’t think an expression had passed across her face that I had not observed and I’d probably spent 80% of her waking moments giving her my full attention. The babeling, however, gets dumped on the floor for thirty minutes at a time with the same three toys while I do washing up and chat to her sister over my shoulder, and even at mealtimes I’m shovelling food into the babeling mechanically while I cajole/rebuke/explain to/laugh with the babe. It’s just not fair.

Nanny observed a meal at our last visit when I had to take the babe upstairs for an emergency toilet trip, or something, leaving the babeling in the highchair, all bibbed up and nothing to eat.

‘She’s very patient,’ she commented. ‘Just sat there and waited for you to get back.’

Hmm. At some point she is going to realise that she is being short changed, and start to formulate a Strategy. Who wouldn’t? I just hope it’s a relatively benign one.

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