Seeing Bink with the LV, Shaun said, you’d hardly know she was ill.
Apart from the men’s pjs, you mean? And the tips of her hair where an ex-addict dyed her platinum in the Priory. And all the brand new buckets around the place and baby bath and gazillions of wet-wipes and other arsenal of OCD.
Yeah. Completely normal.
She’s so patient, he goes on. And calm, and kind, and firm. She’s brilliant.
Thought I’d pick up on a couple of readers’ comments.
One from my FB page: “Bink seems very good with children.”
When Bink first got ill... well, no: that’s not quite true. Bink first got ill before her teens. Then, aged sixteen (you will know this if you’ve followed all her history) she was hospitalised totally inappropriately, and became many, many times more ill.
Her personality seemed all but destroyed.
There was one characteristic which survived. One aspect of her Binkness still intact. One good thing, she said, which her illness hadn’t ravaged. She might even have said, one part of her not evil.
Her love of children.
Even the wicked dæmons couldn’t take that away from her.
(Is that entirely, entirely true? When she was living with Gatsby, surely she started to let Rose down? Broke her promise that she would always be there for her...?
Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me.
Who knows what any of us would do, under torture?)
What joy can be greater, than having Arnie Bin at home with the LV?
Mama sent us a long list of suggestions and instructions and tips.
It takes ages to get him to sleep, Mama warned.
So many Bible stories and so more many songs. Songs from Papa’s Viking ancestry and songs from Matman’s Gælic ancestry. Prayers in which he thanks God for Alex and thanks God for Saskia from Germany and thanks God for Pippi.
(Excuse me, I said. He thanks God for Pippi? Why?? Answer came there none. You may not have yet met Pippi, in these pages. Pippi is a very pretty ginger cocker spaniel. With a very great deal more neuroses than Bink has ever had. Pippi is just something else. Pippi is a canine Bink. And then some…)
And then you have to sit with him for half an hour, Mama said, holding his hand while he falls asleep.
Well, I’m sorry – please don’t tell Mama or Papa – but I would fall asleep myself if I did that.
Serena has often puzzled at the curious human young. Serena read Biological Sciences. But you don’t need a Biological Sciences degree. Just look at Bay Dat (who has now been promoted, incidentally, to Baby Dat.)
Mama Dat doesn’t sing Bay Dat any lullabies. Or rock her to sleep. Or sit up for half an hour holding her paw.
Bay Dat just falls asleep when Bay Dat is tired. As does Mama Dat.
Why? Serena said, don’t human young do that?
Funnily enough in some cultures, they do.
In Africa, children simply lie themselves down in a corner of the hut when they are tired. In many parts of Asia, too. Presumably because they don’t have to go all the way two flights upstairs to a night nursery and be alone.
So, please don’t tell Mama and Papa this, but given that Shaun and I were both pretty ill; and given that Bink had been up since 10 am and busy all that time – with only one fag break all day – working harder in one day than she ever has in her life… Well, we just sat having supper late last night while the Little Viking curled up on the window seat, I’m afraid without any songs of his ancestors from across the seas, or even (I’m sorry to say) stories, or having his hand hold...
(You know how it is. You can get away with all sorts of things if you don’t have to cope with the fall-out the week after next.)
Until after a few minutes Matman simply bundled him fast asleep onto his shoulder to carry him upstairs.
In the cot? he asked.
Well, he started in his cot last night, Bink said...
Until I got lonely.
So he went in Bink’s big bed and slept there till breakfast.