Friday, 21 May 2010

Now you are two

My darlings, my angels,

for now there are two baby girls that I get to tuck in every night. My darling Doodlebug, you are such a wonderful big sister to little Annabel, who doesn't yet have a nickname. Precious Bella, who already gives her big sister Cecily her best smiles. I hope that you will be the best of friends. I have no idea how we will raise sisters, since neither daddy nor I have one, but I'm sure that we'll figure it out. Of course there's a good chance we'll get some of it wrong, so do bear with us. What you have to bear in mind, and I don't imagine that this is something that you will understand until long after you have left home (we are in for a long wait for appreciation!) is that we will be learning with you. Every new step you take is a new step for us too. Anything we do, or don't do, is motivated by our love for your both and our wish to help you become intelligent well-adjusted girls with a strong sense of self-worth and the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to. Philip Larkin wrote disparagingly of the relationship between children and their parents, and every teenager I have known has felt that their parents are frustrating, lacking any understanding of what it is like to be a teenager. But we were all teenagers once. And it was a cake-walk compared to being a parent. As a teenager, you are responsible only for yourself; as a parent, you are responsible for yourself and for your children. You are responsible for the teenagers they become. And, having been a teenager yourself, you know only too well how tricky it is to get the right balance. I confess that already, when I see teenagers out and about, shrieking and unaware of their surroundings, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I tell you both sternly that this is not acceptable behaviour and that, if you act like that, I will send you to a convent. Then I remember that I was much like that at the same age, and I sigh in acceptance. You will be who you will be, as little girls, teenagers and women. The Philip Larkin poem, once on my wall when at school, is now a memory I recall only when it comes up on a quiz show. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, for which I am very grateful. And when I remind myself of that I sigh again, with relief. If we can get the right balance as parents, if we raise you well, we will have that relationship in the future.

For now, we can just enjoy the present, knowing that you will have forgotten tomorrow morning that we didn't let you go to bed in your dog costume in 25 degree heat. We can forget the weight of the responsibility we have as parents, that we will have in future. We will take each day, and each decision, as it comes. Because we've never done this before. But at least you will have each other to complain too ;-)

I love you both so much, my angels,

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday

My darling Doodlebug,

Today you are two years old, and I have to face the fact that you are no longer a baby but my little girl. And what an extraordinary little girl you are. It’s been a very busy year in which you’ve changed so much from a dainty little crawler with short blonde hair to a little runner who loves wellies and new shoes but hates me brushing her white-blonde curly locks. You like yo-yo’s (cereal) and happy cakey, CBeebies and DDs and you adore doggies. You love your bed, but always ask for Mamma to sing, even if daddy has read all the stories, and you don’t go anywhere without your Ma (dummy), Blue Dog and Blankie. They are the Holy Trinity of Cecily soothers. At the end of every day, I tuck you in bed, grateful that you are finally quiet, after a day of running and chattering and laughing. Every night I look forward to what you will learn tomorrow.

Tonight Daddy will come home from work early and we will take you round the block on your new trike, sing happy Birthday and eat Happy Cakey, but I wanted to take a moment to remember the year that has gone and to thank you for all that you are.

Thank you for accepting your new baby sister with such devotion. You are (almost) always gentle with her, giving her kisses in the morning and washing her toes in the bathtub. I am so thrilled that you like her and hope that it lasts...

Thank you for teaching me to accept help when needed. I didn’t want anyone to look after you but you made me realise that, if I couldn’t take you to your singing group or playgroup, I needed to find someone who could. You love these activities so much.

Thank you for learning so many skills without being asked: for being able to go up and down stairs when I couldn’t lift you; for fetching my slippers; for picking things up when you dropped them; for letting other people do the things I should have been doing.

Thank you for being so good whilst I was in hospital. I so loved hearing you every night when you called to say “Good night Mamma”.

Thank you for reminding me, every day, that I am responsible for teaching you how to be a good person; that it is an honour and privilege to be a parent.

But, most of all, thank you for loving me; for all the cuddles, the laughter, the fun. Thank you for making every day different, interesting, exasperating, challenging and unforgettable.

Thank you for being my Doodlebug.
Happy Birthday.
With all my love,

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What they don't tell you in NCT classes...

My darling Doodlebug,

this is copied from my other blog. It's useful advice for when you have children of your own.

What they don't tell you in NCT classes

1. That the jump from one child to two is sooo much more significant that the jump from nought to one.
2. That you can fall asleep whilst standing up.
3. That if it means you will get to the Pocket Dictator's singing class on time you will leave the house in your pyjamas.
4. That you can pick up one child whilst breastfeeding the second.
5. That you don't have to shower as often as you thought.
6. That if it meant you got to eat a Krispy Kreme in peace you would expose your boobs to Gordon Brown David Cameron.
7. That, at some point, you will consider selling your kids on eBay.
8. That you can hear your children cry through walls ten feet thick, even if there are planes overhead, men drilling in the road and you are wearing ear-plugs.

9. That the parental guilt multiplies exponentially with every child, thus you will lie awake every night when they are 2 worrying about what they will be doing when they are 12, or even 4.
10. That, fortunately, your love will increase exponentially with every child. With every day. And that, somehow, even though you don't have time to do the ironing anymore, never mind the blogging; even though you are still picking up toys and tidying the house ten minutes before you go to bed; even though you never see your husband because your bedtime is before the Watershed, you can't go to bed without pulling their duvets up and kissing their foreheads. In fact you can't remember what life was like BC (before children) since you can't imagine life without them. And that actually, you'd rather be spending time with them that worrying about things like showering, and ironing, and blogging!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Random Advice 1

My Darling Doodlebug,

A piece of advice if you ignore all the others. When you get round to wanting to shave your legs, and you will, please please please don't use a bic razor on dry legs. Shaving requires some kind of lubrication: it's why men have shaving gel. If you don't, you will end up with painfully red and sore skin that you will need to cover up for about 2 weeks, by which time the hair will have grown back and no-one will know that you had beautifully smooth calves.

All my love