Contrary to appearances I did not perish on my foolhardy attempt to swim around the whole of Croatia. True, there was a sticky moment when I was arrested doing butterfly on the main road through Split, but then that's by far my weakest stroke, so it was always going to cause problems.
In fact, I had a rather brilliant time. I was accompanied on the trip by the marvellous Cake of Good Hope, who I have to say, is a holiday companion of the first order. If you ever get a chance to go on a sojourn with her, you should - quite literally - leap at the chance. Leap, I say! I hear she can be hired for all manner of trips, at the very reasonable rate of four ice creams and six large beers a day. Bargain.
And how did I cope with being away from the Lumpster? Rather well, I'm ashamed to admit. I actually didn't find myself missing the thrill that comes with opening each nappy (will there be poo? Will it be squishy or firm? Will it have escaped and require seven wipes to clear the resulting poo-nami? And so on), nor, strangely, did I yearn to be woken at 4am by an mysteriously inconsolable infant who still can't bloody talk and tell me what on earth is wrong.
In fact, I switched back to being a normal person with alarming rapidity and ease. This clearly makes me an evil witch of a mother, barely deserving of the name. But hey ho, I got to swim in sparkling clear water, eat the weight of my own head in ice cream every single day, laze in the sun, sup on many beers, and generally have a week of being delightfully responsible for no one but myself (and only at a very minimal level on that front). It was, truly, glorious.
I reported just before I went that Lumpy had learned to walk. Well, we thought he had. He took several steps, unaided and unsupported, using just his feet, and performed this exploit several times. I believe that's generally considered to be walking. I was fully expecting him to be running around by the time I got back from Croatia, and quite possibly being signed up for the 4x100m Great British sprint relay team for 2012.
But no. On my return he was still scuttling about on all fours. Apparently he'd refused to walk at all while I was away. This may be some form of bizarre baby-logic, by which he associated walking unaided with his mother deserting him. I expect the repercussions will cost us thousands in counselling at some point in the not-too-distant future. But who can honestly say they haven't mentally and physically scarred their child in some horrific, albeit unintentional, way? Eh? Well then. I rest my case.
Anyway, he's obviously decided that I'm not about to leap on a plane for another week of solo joy-time (more's the shame), and has - a good six weeks after his first steps - decided that walking might not be too bad actually, and there might even be some benefits to using this mode of transportation. For one thing, it's easier to carry food in your hand when you're walking, as it tends to get a bit squashed and mashed into the carpet if you attempt to crawl with it. (I am considering selling our floor coverings as some form of abstract art: presenting them as a radical comment on the excesses of Western culture (with a subtext examining the vagaries of a nearly 15-month-old's digestion.)
It's very odd seeing him toddling about on his hind legs, as if he's a proper person, and not some kind of noisy and demanding pet. One day, I suppose we'll have to start asking his opinions on things, and I might even have to stop dressing him up as a cow and balancing random objects on his head for entertainment.
But that day - heaven be praised - is still very, very far away.