The saying ‘having a finger in every pie’ most definitely applies to my two boys, although in their case the meaning has little idiom involved. You wouldn’t want to eat anything remotely cake-like if they’ve been hanging around it unless you like fingerprints in your icing. Bigger Boy is getting much more aware, at the ripe old age of four, about what he should and shouldn’t have his hands in, but I can’t say the same for Littler.

Littler Boy has a knack of being precisely where he shouldn’t be at any given moment. As we wrench him away from the freezer or trip over him as we’re trying to make it from one side of the room to the other, Mr Applepip and I lament ‘he’s always IN something!’ If he’s not in the fridge, extracting something unsuitable like a tray of eggs, he’s in the knife drawer searching for the most lethal weapon available to cut up his food. (Why use a plastic child-friendly approximation of a knife when you can have a meat cleaver instead?) I’ve just finished reading ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ and although we never find out what the grandmother is referring to when she says she saw something nasty in the woodshed, my guess is it was Littler.

He spends a lot of time in my way (flattening himself against the door as I try to open it; teetering at the top of the stoop as I try to nose the pushchair past him) and he very often ends up in trouble (most recently he touched a masterpiece in the Museum of Modern Art; we heard a sharp intake of breath from the security guard and made our apologies. To be fair, the work in question was a canvas painted entirely white, so Littler probably couldn’t believe it was being displayed in an art gallery and needed to touch it to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him).

When he’s not in something he shouldn’t be, he’s putting other things in places they shouldn’t be. That jagged, flesh-piercing object between the sofa cushions? A stray piece of Lego. That red substance oozing from his mouth? A crayon. (That one actually happened last night. I asked him how much he’d eaten, where he’d got it from and why he did it, and all he said was ‘Mmm. It was yummy.’)

Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly trying to get my children away from things they shouldn’t be in. Then when they’re at preschool and I am without them, they have a habit of pushing themselves into my head and I can’t get them out. That’s one place I don’t mind them being.

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