The big child raising issues. Or how to annoy your husband in the middle of the night.
Do you worry about your children much? I mean clearly, crossing the road, not jumping into the pool or licking other people’s dogs – the things we all worry about. But I am talking about the really big issues. Those that keep us awake at night.
Sometimes I think I am doing aok – I have a nice little pigeon pair (what on EARTH does that mean by the way? And as an aside, I got a lot of congratulations on the birth of daughter. To which I of course blushed and looked suitably proud and modest. Like I had ANYTHING to do with it. Except of course my secret girl making potion sprinkled liberally on husband while sleeping.) . Anyway, a nice little pair who are occasionally well behaved and haven’t set fire to anything in months.
Then I realise daughter is not waving. Or clapping. Babycentre says she should be. In fact, she should also be crawling up stairs. And possibly reading Proust. In the original French. But she’s not waving. She sometimes sells the dummy and makes us think she is waving – but one look at her eyes and I realise she is still just gazing at her fingers in wonder. Yep, still hands little girl. Still there. And her best little friend is waving, clapping, and (somewhat oddly) coughing on cue. So of course then I lie in bed wondering about my parenting skills. Am I holding her back? Should I enrol her in Baby Waving class? (Hey – I live in West London, I am pretty sure there will be an overpriced class in that on a daily basis). Is it because said friend’s mother is a doctor, and thus providing her child with far more medical type stimulation? If I play a lot of Gray’s Anatomy in the background, will that do?
Also, in other things to lie and worry about in bed – daughter has no hair. My husband has pointed out that she somewhat resembles her grandfather – wispy bits round the edges and a slightly dodgy comb over. Son had no hair until at least 18 months. Will daughter be the same? Will I be forced to dress her in pink floral ensembles every day to avoid awkward questions about gender? Will she ever get to wear a hair clip? Should I be rubbing her head with expensive French moisturising cream like someone else I know? Will I fold and invest in a baby hair piece?
Plus, she has a weird little birthmark on her pinkie finger. Will this grow with her until she has just one giant big brown finger? Will she blame me – perhaps for the pâté I ate when pregnant that time in Paris? I asked doctor friend, she smiled (somewhat smugly I felt whilst looking at gifted child’s perfect pinkies) and told me she wasn’t an expert in paediatric dermatology. PAEDIATRIC DERMATOLOGY. I didn’t even know such a thing existed – would it be covered under the NHS? Should I immediately get a referral from my GP? Will she think I am mental, or recognise the possible life changing impact of a giant brown pinkie on a teenage girl’s psyche?
She is a champion sleeper. That I can be relaxed about. Some might say smug. (Not me, I would just say relaxed). But thinking about it – she is often awake when I go in there, smiling away to herself. Has she been lying there for hours? Have I been wasting valuable clapping training time letting her lie there by herself? Should I check on her every ten minutes to see if she is awake? And does the good sleeping mean she is inherently lazy and thus will be unmotivated in the future and completely miss out on studying Medicine? Ruining her chances at becoming famous but modest and charming life saver with Doctors Without Borders?
So many things to worry about – will she ever learn to wave? What if she never learns to cough on command? What school will she go to? (clearly this is a logical thought progression). Will husband be more or less annoyed than he was last night if I wake him up again to discuss giant brown pinkie finger?
I’d better go and make a list.