He is my son, my moon, my boy. He is four years old. He is goofy, articulate, with far too many words up his sleeve. It can make people feel he’s older (when he pulls out such perfectly parsed sentences) despite that he is smaller for his age than many around him.He is himself, and deeply so, with a constant internal battle between wanting to do the right thing and be praised, and wanting to be a Puckish little mischief-ratbag-bugger who can’t sustain goodness for too long without bursting out with tests, challenges, comedy and drama.
He can be absorbed for a long-time by intricacy: drawing perfect cars with spoilers, hemmies, bug-catchers, twin-exhaust systems et al. His kindy teacher wants him to draw people more often. Why? People are fine! But ‘classic restos’ are much more fun to draw!He likes to eat sausages and rice and cruskits and cheese, pizzas with anchovies and olives. He likes baths with colours he can mix to make ‘Shrek-coloured’. He has a deep and abiding love-affair with ‘Lolita the lollie jar’ who will only make her appearance when he is being good and eating all of his fruit.
He likes bum-smacks, little cheeky ones, when he is naked post-bath. Then we do chasey with Zombie-Mummy sucking out his brains…but only because he is constantly killing me...
He is proud of learning to swim, proud of his pictures, proud he can sing ‘twinkle twinke’ and ‘Incy wincy spider’. He has the sense of humour of Chris and I, dark at times but also tickled by sheer whimsy and slapstick.
Alone, he will make leggo cars, draw, do craft or spend a long time softy patting our more friendly cat Whisky.
With his Dad he likes to get mechanical and intricate with making hot-wheels tracks and leggo cars. They go to car-shows too with our restored sixties Valiant and meet all the other classics and their fun owners.With me he likes to submerge into story, be it ‘pretends’, movies, books, or making up stories together. I can’t resist teaching him of the ‘heroic journey’ and ‘three act plays’ and ‘beat sheets for film’ that I am learning this year. So now he knows that a montage is fun-and-games to music, but next there will be a ‘dark night of the soul’, some action, and a happy ending. When we story-weave together he always ensures that after the action and excitement the characters all get lemonade and ice-cream by the end!
He is without night-fears, because as parents we story them right away. When ‘monsters’ rate a mention he learns that ‘Mrs Blossom the Lovely Possum’ who lives in our roof catches them to make monster-stew for her and her possum-son Finneka. For Finneka the possum lives in Finn’s ‘top-bunk’, in the roof over Finn's bed, and is usually making all those night-noises (that could be scary) because he’s up there living a wonderful life with his possum-toys while Finn sleeps.We draw around him a mix of music, myth, morals, story and structures. We believe in good as a way to live without harsh judgement, with an ear to the backstory of all those we meet, and that community starts with listening for difference. As parents we’re not perfect. We lose it and get cross, teach him words for those feelings, then try to do better and have fun and cuddles and apologies all round. And in this environment he becomes increasingly himself, taking up the offered threads but mixing in his own magic and mischief and ideas.
When he is wilful (because being good all the time is hard work) he is given numbers:
One! (Mind yourself there buddy)
Two! (You’re on notice mate)
Three! (To your room now and don’t even think of whining…)
It can work most times, but not every time, for Finn is, thankfully and marvellously, himself.
I have utter faith in him.