“Gilbert” by Michael Jackson

Today, just after lunch, Tommy donned a denim jacket and sunglasses and asked me to “put Michael Jackson music on, Mummy, because me is Michael Jackson.”

I asked him what track he wanted. “Bad, me like Bad.” So I put Bad on (T: “make it more fort Mummy” … Me: “you mean louder” … T: “Yes Mummy, more fort louder.”) and he danced, wiggled and threw himself on the sofa in a five minute frenzy while his little sister looked on in admiration.

Me: “What now? Do you want another song to dance to?”

T: “Yes Mummy, put Michael Jackson again. Put on ‘Gilbert’.” (pronounced as the  French ‘Jzhill-Bear’)

Me : Gilbert?

T: YES Mummy. GIL – BERT!

(pause as I have a think …)

Me: Do you mean ‘Billie Jean’?

T: YES, MUMMY. Me say it. Jilly-Bean.

So I put on Jilly-Bean/Gilbert and he danced his socks off. Good old Michael Jackson and his ode to Gilbert – who’s not his lover – he just says that he is the one. But the kid is not his son.

Early bird

“Mummy?” A small figure in Spiderman pyjamas is standing by my bed. I fumble for my alarm clock and push the light button.

“Honey, it’s six o’clock  in the morning, it’s too early, it’s still dark outside.”

“But Mummy, me have an ear infection.”

I sit up and pull him onto my lap. “Oh sweetie, which ear? Is it hurting?”

“No, Mummy.”

“Let me have a look…”

“No Mummy, my ears is okay now.”

“I thought you said you had an ear infection.”

“It’s better now Mummy.”

“Great. Then go back to bed darling. Go back to sleep, it’s still nightime.”

“But Mummy, it’s rainin’, listen… me not can go to sleep.” It is indeed raining and we can hear drops pitter-pattering on the skylight.

“Honey, it’s too early. Come on I’ll take you back to your bedroom.”

“But Mummy, Michael Jackson doctor give him too much medicine.”

“I know sweetie. We’ll talk about that later. Back to bed.” We walk back down the corridor and into his bedroom. I end up getting into bed with him. This is a mistake.

“Mummy, Daddy buy a bottle for making the bees dead.”

“Yes, it’s for the wasps that keep flying in the windows, we think they’re trying to make their home in our house, and we don’t want them to. If they do start to make their home here we’ll have to use the spray can on them.”

“For making them dead?”


“This is not nice Mummy.”

“What’s not nice?”

“We must not making the bees dead. Claude is making the pigs dead and now there is just one pig and we is eating the saucisses.”


“Yes Mummy, sausages. But is not nice making the pigs dead. Is better to buy sausages at the shops.”

I lie there wondering whether this is a good time to explain the benefits of free-range livestock farming as opposed to intensive animal production and industrial slaughterhouses, and decide it is not. I get up and tuck him in.

“Tommy, try to get back to sleep. It’s not time to get up yet.”

“Mummy, my nose is blocked up.”

“Right, then let’s blow it.” I find the box of tissues on the floor and hold one up to his nose. He blows hard.

“Okay, now try to get back to sleep darling.”

“Mummy, me is poorly?”

“I don’t know. Your nose is a bit runny but otherwise you seem fine. Maybe it’s just a little cold.”

“You is giving me medicine? Is not nice giving me too much medicine. Michael Jackson doctor give him too much medicine and now he is being dead. Mummy, like the bees. Daddy giving the bees too much medicine?”

“Don’t worry about the bees, we won’t spray them. And you’re fine – if I need to give you medicine I won’t give you too much.”

“And Claude’s pigs?”

“Well, it’s too late for them, they’re already gone.”

“No Mummy, there is just one. He is my friend.”

“Yes, we’ll take him some dry bread later. Now get back to sleep, banana.” I kiss his forehead and walk to the door.


“Yes, sweetie?”

“Me like sausages.”

“I know. Night night, honey.”



“No night night. Is not nightime. Is morning now.”

I look at the window and see the light peeping in. It is indeed morning. My four month old baby has yet again slept right through the night and my nearly four year old boy has, yet again, scuppered my dream of eight hours of undisturbed sleep.

“Come on then, let’s get you some breakfast.” A warm bundle runs across the room and jumps into my arms. I carry him down the stairs to the kitchen.

“Mummy, Michael Jackson like porridge? Maybe he eating too much porridge and he getting poorly?”


Did his doctor give him too much medicine? Did he eat too much porridge? Did he like sausages? So many questions to be answered ...