Prole1: What was I like when I was a baby?

Me: Fat.

Prole1: Really? Is that what I was like?

Me: Pretty much.

He was too.
We used to take him along to have him weighed as a baby and his ‘percentile’ graph was essentially a near vertical line in the left hand side that disappeared off the page and did not return.
He looked like a balloon full of butter tied up with elastic bands.
With glasses.
He was diagnosed as needing glasses at six months old, he had a really pronounced squint and we had been advised to get it looked at as early as possible and as part of the tests his eyes had been thoroughly examined.
By ‘looked at’ the specialist had meant operated on.
And by ‘operated on’ he had meant pop them out, snip away at the back a bit, pop them back in and see if that was any better.
It was much better of course but I shall never forget the specialist coming down the corridor, giving Prole1 his first anaesthetic injection and saying he just wanted to make sure it all went smoothly, whipping out a felt tip pen and putting two big arrows on Prole1’s forehead, both pointing at  different eye.
Just in case there was some kind of mix up.
He then went back to the operating theatre to prepare for the operation leaving us with Prole1 looking like a small, spaced out, monochrome clown.

Prole1 got his glasses aged eight months. He was so fat that they rested on his cheeks and did not touch his nose at all.

He stayed pretty round until he hit five years old.

He had a ferocious imagination from an early age. When he learned  to walk he would stump around his Thomas train track moving trains, cuddly toys, plastic dinosaurs like some small, scary, tubby, social scientist, whispering ‘This…this…this..’ under his breath.

He told off the nice lady from Sure Start for not reading the book in the right order and he told off an international playwright for mis-identifying an Ibex as a Gazelle, both before the age of two. At two he told me there was no such thing as a Brontasaurus, it was called an Apatosaurus. I had to look it up.

By three he was deep into imaginary worlds, there were ‘lands’ where he was a squirrel or a button on his chest would make him grow or we were all underwater. His cuddly toys all had names, friends, enemies and a complicated back story. His bedroom was called ‘Busy Island’ and had an airport and a ferry terminal.

At three and a half he watched the first aiders  carrying out CPR on Loz in the toy library.

I got back from the hospital after Loz died. It was late and the Proles were all ready in bed by the time I saw them.

The next day Prole1 asked how his Mum was.
I sat on the edge of the bed and lifted the little round man onto my knees.
He was wearing grey trousers and a black sweater.

I had no idea if he would understand, I thought he would but I had no way of knowing so I decided not to stall, I came right out with it.

Me: I am really sorry, your Mum has died.

He threw his head back and moaned. For a while he just moaned, then he cried and cried and cried.

Finally he said ‘I don’t want to be in this land’.

He cried and we talked and he cried for about forty five minutes. Then he stopped.

He cried every day for a long time, but every day the crying would stop and we would get on with it, life.

He is a very skinny Prole these days.
For homework last week he tied three hundred and sixty luggage labels onto a piece of string, one for each pupil at his school, each with a hand drawn face and colour coded depending on year. He had separate names labels for each of the thirty or so staff at the school.
He decorated a box to look like the school front doors and made the pupils pour through the doors on to the table.

Me: Why did you want to do it like this?

Prole1: We have to make a model of the school but the school is not just walls and stuff it can be made up of all the kids and teachers and stuff so I made them. It’s like a maths model from school.

Me: It’s good, I hope they like it.

Prole1: Me too. I wanted to make it a proper model of the school out of ginger bread with jelly babies as pupils but the scale was all wrong. A jelly baby is this big…

He held his finger about an inch above the floor.

Prole1: …which means the walls would have been this big.

He walks to the other side of the room with arm outstretched.

Prole1: We would have needed a bigger oven.

Me: Yes. We would have needed a bigger oven. And a lorry to deliver it.

Prole1 (wistfully): Yes…yes…never mind. I hope this will do.

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