The mirror can throw back some pretty ugly images – especially on a bad hair day. But the mirror of motherhood can throw back some pretty shocking reflections too - especially on a bad mother day.
I will never forget the first time I saw Daisy act out an imaginary scene. She was playing with her doll and I started to watch, entranced by my baby’s transformation into a little girl. My enchantment was short lived when I realised what she was doing. Dolly was firmly placed on the naughty step and being boldly admonished by her ‘mummy’. I was absolutely gutted! All my loving, all my attention, all my teaching and singing, all my playing and reading – and the one bloody thing she copies is me being horrible! Thankfully though as time went on, and especially after I had Poppy, she acted out lots of the good mummy stuff too. I thought all my stitches would come out one day when she tried to breastfeed her dolly!
But suddenly in a burst of déjà vu, she seems to be talking back to me – in MY language.
“I’m not happy with you mummy!” was sternly thrown at me last week. As I tried not to laugh and nod solemnly at my bad behaviour (I had insisted she not wear a dirty dress) I wondered how often I say that? (let’s face it, it’s not that nice).
“What do you say?” she asks me with a superior but very sweet raised eyebrow if I give her a hurried command while forgetting my manners.
“Please,” I say sheepishly. Ah yes, it’s all coming back to haunt me.
And poor Poppy. Not only does she seemingly get it from me, she now also gets it from her big (3 year old!) sister. I’m mesmerised when I hear Daisy talking to Poppy like a little mini-me. “Now Poppy, you really are a silly billy. What are you? A silly sausage. You are not allowed to draw on the walls. Poppy? That’s a one. That’s a two. If I get to three there’ll be no Dora later!” Dear god – the mirror can be harsh!
But then there are the other times, the moments when the mirror on wall says I’m the fairest of them all and I bask in a fleeting moment of positive feedback. “It’s alright darling, everything will be ok. I love you Poppy,” I hear her say in the dark of their shared bedroom when her sister cries. “You need a big sleepy sleepy Poppy, it’s a big day tomorrow.” And I lie in bed and smile a huge heart-bursting smile.