First published 15/04/14 in The Portsmouth News –
Children, as I have learnt since having two of my own, say the most beautiful things. Often, during my most fraught moments, and just as I am about to check them for any protuberances resembling horns, or cloven hooves, they pipe up with the sweetest comments.
Recently, India had a nasty cough, and after I had popped her to the walk-in centre to check that antibiotics were not needed, she told me that ‘she loved me more than she could even manage to say.’ Things like this make me want to snuggle them up and keep them small forever.
However, before getting too carried away with visions of childhood joy and lashings of ginger beer, I must point out that they also say some of the most humiliating things.
India has made it a personal mission to embarrass me since first she learnt to speak. On many occasions I would hold her in my arms whilst paying for items, and she would peer closely at the shop assistants. Her little lips would purse, head cocked to one side, and she would kindly enquire as to whether or not they were ‘man,’ (bad enough, and tricky to weasel out of), ‘or lady?’ (No recovery from that one).
However, she hasn’t saved these little gems for strangers alone, but has also included me in her direct line of fire. I remember being sat in the silence of a doctors’ waiting room, when she burst into spontaneous song, complete with mad jazz hands. Were it tuneful, or poignantly worded, I may have experienced some mummy-pride at such musical prowess at a young age.
Alas, it was a loud and tuneless ditty, entitled ‘Mummy Does Poos’. Brilliant. Best of all, every person in the waiting room pretended not to hear. “Just wait til she asks you if you’re ‘man or lady’,” thought I.
Amelie tends to be quieter and allows her actions to speak for themselves in terms of maternal-shaming. Recently when she was lying on me, fast asleep, in a silent theatre, the little poppet lost complete control of her flatulence. Which, judging by the audibility and ferocity of her offering, had been stored up for some time.
She’ll thank me for writing about that when she’s older. Around the same time that she’s begging me to stop dancing at weddings, stop purposefully calling her current partner by the last one’s name, and blocking me from her Facebook account.