Part 17: The World According to Frank (at 10 months)

The dub siren resonates and everything explodes illuminate like Christmas, a blinking spaceship. Daddy is always pointing out in films and on TV the use of mundane sound equipment for NASA-style dial-and-knob contraptions. Top-level secret spy apparatus, the gear running the whole operation back at HQ. That’s what it looks like to me; Mission Control. I want to get closer, to tap the buttons that make the noise. It’s an obsession, a complete fixation to get up near all those switches and signals. It’s like my drum machine on steroids (if I knew what steroids were). I make it my sole purpose to get picked up, to be held in line and at the same height, kicking my legs and placing one finger to the sky. This one’s a BANGER Daddy, pull up, rewind again!

On the ground the gigantic speaker shakes the air, whispering inside my hair like when Mummy blows in my face. I place my palm against it to catch the feelings and it tickles me. Daddy steps back on one of my toys, swears loudly then tries to pretend he didn’t just use a naughty word. The carpet is chaotic. Nappies, wipes, clothes, creams, food all bob about in a rowdy ocean of toys, every plaything is out of its box and somewhere else. Mummy says that Daddy can’t do many things at once, which is okay because all I want him to do is hold me up next to the decks so we can be DJs together.

My favourite thing at Nannas house is the piano*, my melodies collide gracefully through the quiet country air, deep booming sounds at one end and high shrill tones down the other. It’s the very first thing I want to do when I wake up but Nanna shuts the lid, saying “later, later” and I don’t know why. They have a big red tent and I find toys inside, wooden blocks, soft dogs. Grandpa pulls a funny face. He has all the instruments and me as his audience. It sounds different to what I hear at home.

The black box at Grammy’s plays nursery rhymes while the fluffy cat sweeps soft paws across the sofa. I observe cautiously then move in to touch. He feels like the blankets I got wrapped inside when I was very small. My hand disappears inside the purring fur, a cloud. Grumps rests on the sofa too. I clamber up beside them both, the TV glows on our faces as we get cosy. My eyelids don’t close. I wouldn’t fall asleep in amongst the cushions if I was yawning because that would be too easy! Often I resist naps, get taken out in the pram, snoozing to the gentle rocking of wheels over tarmac, cool licks of air. I can be difficult like that, but also I’m a baby and I don’t have to explain myself to you.

Tunes blast amid the cutlery and crockery, foam creeps up as the plates and cups are dropped inside, steam and bubbles rising. I munch down banana and peanut butter toast, while Mummy takes sips of warm tea in between darting about and doing a million other things at once. We have bedroom raves upstairs, we both dance and I jump high on the bed while she puts clothes into different drawers. When certain songs come on she goes a bit nuts, long limbs flailing unpredictably like those inflatable dancer tube men, all shot up with air and looking silly. I think she needs a night out, or three.

Later we go to the shops and sometimes I sit in the trolley, my legs dangling as we navigate tall rows of crinkly packets, multicoloured tubes, sweet smells. I pull these all towards me to get a closer look, to touch, to smell, to taste. We pass other babies and I nod. I can be very serious in my pram, it’s not really a characteristic I show at home but there is a lot to see and understand outside. I absorb it all.  Sometimes we go to the swings and I watch other children skip and burrow into the sand. We go on lots of adventures, Mummy and me…


*Here are some of my other favourite things; the TV remotes, wires, laptop cables, beer, the bath plug, plug sockets, daddy’s flip flops, sippers, anti-bac spray, dirty cloths, dustpan and brush, various creams, face wipes, records, lampshade, standing lamp, washing machine, toilet, phone, laptop, taps, oven dials, opening and closing doors, bookcase, mummy’s books – so many loves in my life! 95% of them are out of bounds due to being hazardous or dangerous but I get to them anyway and that is what makes me love them even more!

My favourite toy is a set of ten coloured stacking cups, my favourite book is Hairy McClary. My favourite music is probably drum and bass, but I like a lot of different music… Music is one of my favourite things! My favourite thing to do is jumping on the bed to music and my favourite place to be is on Daddy’s shoulders. My favourite food is bread and bananas. My favourite person is Mummy! Favourite words are Dad, Nanna and banana. My least favourite things are the hoover, the coffee bean grinder and being alone.