Two going on 16 by Jo

[advert:mpu]He is very particular with his victims. They can’t be girls – they are for kissing, they can’t be babies – they are for hugging and stroking - and they can’t be big boys - they are for chasing round the playground and jumping on. They have to be male, preferably 3-6 months younger than him, slightly shorter than him, and ideally either trapped in a pushchair, or have their back facing him.

His requirements are so fussy I am thinking about putting an ad in the local paper: 'Toddler seeking partner to scratch, push and generally jostle. Must be short, NS and GSOH. Must like surprises'.

I can’t work out what is all about. I think it’s a mixture of having two older boisterous brothers, vocabulary limited to a ‘needs-must’ basis – superheroes, food and intimate body parts, and a genuine inquisitiveness as to what would happen if he just …. Suffice to say we are not the most popular pair in the playground. It appears however that some progress may have been made recently and that I might be able to release him into general society. He attended one of his first birthday parties of his friends, and managed to share a toy, eat only his cake, and even attempt to play with this ‘friend’. Poor third child – when I can label a friend a friend if he has seen him at least twice in his life.

Thug he might be, but Casanova he certainly is. There is a particular little girl that he fancies rotten. She is seven months younger than him, a pretty blond little gal, from good stock so I’m hoping for big things.

Whenever Gabriel sees Mia a broad smile crosses his face, his eyes glisten, he runs over throws his arms around her in abandon, and plants a smacker firmly on her lips. Mia whilst secretly liking the attention gives him a slightly haughty look, playing hard to get, and wondering whether Gabriel has been watching too much Neighbours.

But his precocious life does not end there. A couple of weeks ago I dragged him with to his brother’s school Valentines disco. Whilst all the other younger pre-school siblings stayed close to their mothers’ Top-Shop jeans, worried at the sight of 100 bopping 5-7 year olds, Gabriel barged to the front. I lost sight of him for a while, and I worried he might be lying squashed somewhere, crying as a size 10 shoe booted him in the face. I should not have worried. I found him a moment later mid conga holding on to the waist of the Year One girl that Barney fancies, with a huge grin on his face, shouting “‘onga, ‘onga”.

Oh Gabriel - what are we going to do with you!! You are the sweetest, most cuddly smiley boy in the world. When your brothers cry (because they’ve been unjustly reprimanded) you are the first to go and console them. When you see your brothers come out of the classroom you run to them and cuddle them so tightly. You laugh at my rubbish jokes, and seem genuinely to enjoy your father’s banjo playing. Long may this continue, but maybe you could just go easy on your peers.

Perhaps this is just a fleeting premonition of what life may hold in store for a teenage Gabriel. Drunken brawls with other boys, unrequited love from beautiful girls, attempts to steal his older brothers’ girlfriends and an addiction, like that of his mother, to crappy Australian soap operas.

Video Clips