There is an infamous story in our family. Like most such stories it involves my brother and I am totally innocent. When he was about 4 there was a parade near our home one afternoon. On a street corner there was a policeman watching the crowd and the parade go by. My brother let go of my mom’s hand, ran up to him and slapped him on his arse and shouted as loud as he could “I hate scuffers!”* The copper was shocked and didn’t know quite what to do when he turned around and saw a little child running away from him and my traumatised mother didn’t hang around to find out what the copper wanted to do once he had made up his mind.
A few nights ago I was at a wedding and talking to a friend who has a son just a few weeks younger than Thomas. She was telling me that her son has started to slap her on the bottom and say ‘Bunda da mamãe,’ (Mommy’s bottom). This started out as mildly amusing until he started doing it in shops and has now become highly embarrassing.
Today, Thomas has found out for himself that slapping people on the backside is extremely funny. He isn’t quick enough yet to do it without putting the person in the correct position which involves calling them over and then turning them around. He doesn’t say anything either, just laughs long and hard. I am waiting for the day when he slaps me in a shop and shouts out ‘Bunda da daddy!’
*Scuffer was a slang word for policeman in the 1970’s.