Monday, 16 July 2012

Letter to my daughter (after Tina Fey)

Tina Fey said it much better than me:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,”she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
-Tina Fey

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Cecily-isms 2011

Whenever you say something I want to remember, I try to write it down. I find that if I write it on the calendar, then I can note them down elsewhere all together at the end of the year. This is the round-up for 2011. I imagine that there are many I don't hear now that you are at school three days a week. But I do love hearing you talk. Even if you do it all the time.

March :                 Peach House (Beach house)
                                Inside-out cake (Upside-down cake)
                                Cropydile (Crocodile)
April:                     Funny finger (thumb)
                                Huggitt (hug)
                                Daria (tiara)
May:                  groovy (gravy)
                         “Let’s get making...” (Mister Maker quote)
                          Grun-pets (crumpets)
                          Cath and Bill (Kate and Will)
Braidsmide (bridesmaid)
Newniform (uniform)
July:                  what will I do without you?
                        “Thanks. I always do good ideas.”
                        Eat a cottage (go for a cocktail)
Do cycling (recycling)
“What is wrong with you [Mamma]?”
Factorine (nectarine)
“why did you call her a hula hoop (hooligan)?”
Sept:                 wave corner (microwave- which lives on the fridge in the corner)
Oct:                   bluddin’ (bleeding)
 Nov:               Cow singers (carol singers)

I love you, darling girl

Bella-isms 2011

Your speech is coming on so fast, my darling, that it's hard for daddy and me to keep up with you. I assume that it's in part down to you having a big sister who talks all the time, but the rest is all you. You say thank you for anything that is done for you, which is so wonderful. And you can sing along to everything that you hear. You even sing your teddies to sleep. But when you can't find the word, or you are frustrated, you scream. You scream long and loud and it's deeply unpleasant. I'll be glad when that particular phase is over, that's for sure. These are just some of the things I didn't want to forget.

Mamma hope (open it)
Rolly-rolly (ball, forward roll or rolling out playdough)
I do it
Thank you much
Mamma next to you (sit on Mamma’s lap)
Winkle dar (twinkle star)
Dop!!!!! (stop it)
Bit-dit (biscuit)
What dat?
What you doin’?
Miaow-miaow (cat)
Waddle-waddle (penguin)

Undoubtedly there are dozens I've forgotten.

I love you, precious girl,

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Five things I want you to know about your Father

The Friday Club is back. I missed this one by a long way, but wanted to write nevertheless.

“There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.”

I always get emotional when I address things to you, my darling Girls. I always feel that, as I write, I am storing information for you to read after I am no longer with you, and it saddens me to think of you alone. But I find comfort in the thought that your darling father will always be with you when I am not. Your precious Pappa is without doubt the greatest gift that I have received from God or Fate or whatever you believe to be the provider of good fortune. I have become all that I am because of his love. I owe him the most precious things in my life: you two girls. And I am sure that he would say that the greatest gift in his life has been the gift of fatherhood.

Your daddy is a fascinating man. I imagine that you may not always see that as you grow. You may not see that he cares for you more than anything, that he would do anything for you, that he holds you in such high esteem that no-one will ever come ahead of you in his affections. Perhaps I should give you a few pointers so that you might better understand him. You shall have to bear with me as I am still learning about all the things that makes the man I love tick. I certainly anticipate that it will take me the rest of my life to fully understand him.

1. Your father is, quite frankly, an almost perfect example of a man. He is caring and thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, chivalrous, intelligent and he never fails to make me laugh. Although there are days when I curse him repeatedly, I admire all of these things in him. I suspect that I am not without envy, and it certainly makes me regularly question what he sees in me!

2. Your Daddy is a thinker. By the time he gives voice to an idea, you can bet he's been mulling it over for a significant period of time. The downside to this is that it is pretty much non-negotiable: if he says we are going to do something, go somewhere, learn something, buy something, you can bet that it will happen. The upside, however, is that you can work this to your advantage by planting an idea and leaving him to ponder it for a while (length of time dependent on the size of the idea!)

3. He does not stop. He reads, he learns, he potters. He comes up with ideas brilliant enough to go on Dragon's Den. He plans on writing a fascinating series of books. He comes home and throws himself into tidying and laundry and tinkering with things that need mending, which brings me on to...

4. He cannot abide stuff. He hates things being out of place, untidy, messy, dirty. Learn to be tidy. It'll be easier.

5. He is never more delighted with life than when he gets to spend time with you. I know that you see little of him during the week but that is because he is a brilliant man who works ridiculously hard doing "'portant work" in his office to fund the life that we have. But when he is at home, he is yours. The three of you will wander out in any weather, talking about your days, learning about the world around you: a secret club of which I am not part. He cherishes every moment that he spends with you. Being a father is far better than he could ever have imagined. Watching him relish every minute gives me such joy. Watching you two welcome him home with such unbridled delight never fails to make me cry.

We are all so incredibly lucky to have each other, and to have him. I hope that you will hold that in the back of your mind when he tells you can't go out wearing that, or when he says you can't go to a party on a school night, or whatever else he does to offend your blossoming-female-sensibilities in the future. Your father is absurdly calm, so everything he does will be carefully considered and in your best interests (but just in case, if you can't get your point across, try calling Granny. She knows best!)

With all my love, my darling Doodlebugs,
Mamma x

Friday, 25 February 2011

Five things about me

My darling Doodlebugs,

I write this as you sit in various states of undress on the sofa. It's a Friday, the beginning of our weekend, and after stuffing our faces with Pink Pancakes we're vegging out in front of CBeebies and contemplating the day ahead. Threeva is exhausted after three full days at nursery, playdates and the general busy-ness of being a nearly-three-year-old. Dimples is delighted unpacking the neatly folded laundry onto the floor, not realising that, in order to use both hands, she is not holding onto anything and therefore fully free-standing. It's a moment of quiet, a moment of happiness and serenity that won't last long. Threeva will end up hurting Dimples for unintentionally invading her space and I'll end up shouting at you both over the noise of your crying.

I wonder now what your memories will be of me when you are older? Will you remember the pancakes and pyjama-ed sofa-sitting, or will you remember your mother as a screaming harridan? I frequently worry that I won't be around as you grow up, something that's at the forefront of my mind after hearing recently of a mother who died leaving a young son. Will you have any memories at all of me? Will you pester Daddy and Granny M for details about their life with me? Will you know who I was and how much I loved you?

The Friday Club this week are writing Five Things that they want their children to know about them. Here are mine:

1. I love, love, love baking. I'll make cakes or biscuits or chocolates for any occasion. I once had a dream of being a restauranteur after spending time in France and cooking in a Michelin-starred restaurant. But baking is what I love best, so the dream has altered: I'd love to own a tea-shop, or a very child-friendly cafe. I'd be very happy making mini-cakes all day long.

2. I love pearls, Hello! magazine and Chanel No. 5. The more that time goes on, the more I realise that I am, and have always been, middle-aged. Which is a bonus, really, because when you become a tweenager, you'll undoubtedly consider Daddy and I to be seriously uncool. I might as well start as I mean to go on.

3. I have a very good memory for numbers: I can remember my father's briefcase combination from the 1980's, Daddy's credit card number (a very useful thing to know) and telephone numbers of a variety of people. I'm not as good as Daddy at mental arithmetic though. I can also remember a lot of song lyrics, and events from my childhood, including what I was wearing at the time.

4. I come from a family who have very vivid dreams and often talk (or so Daddy has said). I'm confident that you both have a similar thing, since you have both done peculiar things in your sleep, such as tell me things, or smile, or cry, or stand up. I do need a lot of sleep because of it.

5. Despite having a very good memory, I regularly fail to find the word for basic objects. As Daddy will tell you, it's helpful to be good at DG-speak, since I often describe the things I am thinking of. Thus a kettle will be: It's shiny and hot with water in it, and Polly uses it. The descriptions tend to be more wordy and obscure the more tired I become.

Of course this is all random stuff about me. So, as an added extra, I should like to point out that I will always love you. Nothing you say or do will ever change that. I might not like you very much from time to time: you really do get under my skin, push all my buttons, test every fibre of my being on a fairly regular basis. And yet I still love you, with every one of those same fibres. There's a very real chance that you won't like me very much, frequently I imagine, as you grow older. I assume that the teenage years will be particularly trying for us all. I hated being a teenager and will have to fight every instinct I'll have and let you make your own mistakes. I doubt I'll say yes to all of your requests, I doubt I'll let you out wearing some of your clothes and I guarantee I won't approve of all your actions. But I hope that you can come to me with anything, tell me anything and know that I will always listen, without judgement, and try very hard to understand. Lastly, I want you to know how very proud I am of you, whatever you achieve, whoever you become, wherever you are: you have no need to prove yourself to me or achieve anything for my sake. You just have to keep being my daughters, and know that I will always be your Mamma.

With all my love,

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas past.

My darling Doodlebugs,

My childhood Christmas always had a precision to it. I awoke on Christmas morning, more often than not was awoken by my younger brother, and sat on my bed unpacking my stocking. Once I'd reached the tangerine and gold chocolate coins that were tucked at the bottom, I'd take my stash into my parents' bed and show them all that Santa had given me. After my brothers had done the same, mum would go downstairs to get us all a drink. I never understood until I was older and she told me, that is was actually to turn the Christmas lights on and check the turkey.

Once we'd all had the obligatory drink and put on our dressing gowns, down we'd go, picking our places in the sitting room and then waiting whilst Brother Neal distributed all the gifts. Only when the last present had been dispensed could the carnage of paper ripping and box trashing begin.

There was a routine that followed which included having chocolate for breakfast, getting dressed in the new outfit that Santa had given us, and filling the house with young squaddies from the local barracks who didn't have anywhere else to go. And I have so many funny memories of those days, but it's the first few moments in the day that I treasure most. The quiet before the chaos, when we were just five, illuminated by lights and surrounded by love and carols.

All my love, 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Halfway down the stairs

My darling Doodlebugs,

There's a song on the CD of music that you insist that we play whenever we are driving anywhere: