I have fallen in love with my daughter all over again. Because I spend all day, every day with her, it’s easy to just get used to the day to day goings on, and forget to marvel at the fact this little being came from me. Every now and then I have a weird, jolting reality check where I look at her and think: I made that. And because I’m on my own with her, I take a lot of pride from the fact she is so freaking awesome.
The last couple of weeks have been tough; S has clearly been having a Wonder Week, and has grown out of all of her clothes seemingly overnight, as well as suddenly changing shape and magically grasping things like sitting up for more than 5 seconds without help, and putting food into her mouth. This post is dedicated to all the things that make me so glad I have her:
The way she greets a toy like an old friend, even when she was only playing with it ten minutes ago. She shouts with delight at her toys and has long, detailed conversations with them.
Lately, when I get out of the bath in the morning, I’ll wander into the bedroom to find her laying with her blanket over her face, waiting for me to come in and “find” her. The excitement on her face is indescribable.
The way she can have endless, unadulterated fun with a coloured post-it or a TV remote.
The way she will lift her head when she wants to sit up, and will grab my hands to pull herself up – then decide to stand instead, and produce a massive grin at her clever trick at having stood up.
If she is napping in her bouncy chair and wakes slightly, she kicks her legs to bounce herself back to sleep.
She doesn’t care if I’m wearing no make up, or my shirt has some dried sick on it, or I’ve not brushed my hair, or I’m having a fat day. She’s always excited to see me, even if I’ve only popped out of the room for two minutes to get a drink.
In the mornings when we wake up, I’ll pick her up and lay her on top of me, and she’ll put her head down and snuggle with me for at least 5 seconds before poking at me and wanting to play.
She instantly forgives my many mistakes and errors. I may have left her alone to cry while I went to the toilet, or it may have taken me a little too long to realise she had fallen into an awkward position and was crying for me to help her up. I may accidentally jolt her chair while she’s asleep, causing her to wake up suddenly in a panic. I may have had my head in the wrong place so that when she lolled her head forward she ended up headbutting my jaw. All these things will make her very upset and there is likely to be crying, even screaming… but only until I give her a big cuddle and distract her with a funny voice, and then it’s as if nothing ever happened.
I have yet to find anything at all that is so bad it can’t be instantly rendered entirely inconsequential by her giggle.
The other night, Robbie Williamswas on the Graham Norton show. Normally celebrities gushing about their offspring is not something I bother with, but what he said really resonated with me. He talked about how, having been a pop star since he was 16, he’d never really had to do anything for himself and had been worried he would be selfish and a bad father, and then the baby was born and “you just melt. The baby came out and everything changed, cosmically, spiritually, life, everything.” I really understood what he meant.
In stark contrast to this, and following on from previous posts about body image, I’ve just seen an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians where their mother sits the girls down over lunch and convinces Kim, who is 29 years old, that she needs botox. And then pulls a grey hair from her daughter’s head and mocks her for it. That woman is raising five daughters to believe that how they are is not good enough: they need make up, hair extensions and dye, expensive designer clothes, heels at all times, and minor surgery in order to be acceptable. To their own mother. And then they go out on their TV show and in magazines and on the internet, and send the same message to teenage girls around the globe. Now that I have a daughter of my own, this scenario fills me with horror.