Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Holding onto Happiness

The two’s maybe terrible, but the three’s are thrilling. I have a plan to become very rich – if only I can figure out the mechanics of bottling up what my daughter has – pure unadulterated, untarnished, untainted, unspoilt wonderful joy. She’s richer than anyone I know… from her first smile in the morning, through her endless high-pitched (not always perfect pitched it has to be said) singing, to warm and gorgeous hugging and “I love you mum”’s, to cuddles and imaginative playing that has me mesmerized, she is a joy to be around. It’s like I’ve struggled through the tunnel of early motherhood and she is the light. Even her emotional outbursts are funny, so sudden and overwhelming, as if life is all too much for her little body to contain sometimes.

Yesterday, on St Patrick's Day, the sun shone and we had one of those perfect family days out with all the best ingredients - ice-cream, carousel rides and lots of fun. I took a moment to stand back and watch this little piece of joyous jumping energy that never seems to stop smiling, singing, or entertaining, and I wanted to stop time. She is perfect this very minute - old enough and independent enough to be full of character and busyiness, and young enough and needy enough to have absolutely no sense of pessimism or gloom. I am her world and her world is tickled pink.

I want her to hold onto her happiness for ever, and not let anything dampen those dazzled dazzling eyes that see everything through rose-tinted (princess) glasses. Although I’m a fairly upbeat person, it has to be said I can do grumpy old cow very well. I hate things that don’t work; have spectacular tantrums over my computer; I curse everyone from the designers of children’s toy packaging, to those inconsiderate people who park – a two seater sports car – in parent and child parking spaces; I moan about this and I wail about that. Admittedly I have a few more worries that should I watch Dora the Explorer or Upsa Daisy… but still… I need to start emulating her, before she starts emulating me.

As she sings constantly – despite the daffodils and new lambs declaring Spring has sprung – “Jingle Bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way…” I realize she has a point. So much better to jingle than to jangle. I’m holding onto her happiness too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Working is child's play

We are moving house soon, and at last, AT LAST, I will have a room of my own to write. OK, so I’ll probably have to share it with my husband, but to all intents and purposes, I will have my own study, my own writing room, my own creative sanctuary.

Am I happy? Of course. Am I sad? A little….

Currently I share my desk with my children’s toys, my study is their playroom. I write where they play, our imaginations working furiously together.

And as my creativity mingles with theirs, our energies bounce together, chatting and jumping like the Jack-in-the-box in the corner. Prams, half-dressed dolls, tired jigsaws, and gaudy ponies with synthetic hair litter their lair. Their half is wild and exploded, chaos in chemistry – a fairy in the dolls house, lego pieces in the pens drawer, playthings as scattered as their bouncing brains. My half is neater and calmer, and duller. Blue and black files stacked tall, books precariously piled high, mounds of paper trails leading to my biggest toy, the computer.

Their bookcase is a rainbow of colour, mine a monochrome of monotony. While their mouse runs up the plastic yellow clock, my mouse works against the ticking clock as deadlines loom. I sit at the desk, thinking, straining, one hand writing, the other stroking their hair while they toddle at my feet. And at night, as they murmur in their sleep upstairs, heads still racing, but bodies limp with exhaustion, I sit in the noise of their silence and work.

I’ve yearned for so long to have a room to call my own (see 14th March 2008 blog), imagining serenity in silence, peaceful pontificating, retreating from the wreckage to write words of wisdom and wit.

But I suspect, at times, as the silence crushes my creativity, I might yearn for the chaos, and I might take a trip from my privacy to hang out in the playroom to recharge my head, and recharge my heart. Although let's be clear - I'll be running back upstairs as quickly as that is done... and possibly even locking the door! Roll on the move!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gay Abandon

Daisy may be flighty but she is loyal. Three going on thirty, she is a social butterfly (although when I call her this, she shakes her head firmly, and tells me, “No mummy, I’m a girl.”) She has lots of little friends at playschool but two have captured her heart. One is a boy, Lewis, who is cute, and funny and very, very sweet. He admires Daisy’s ribbons, loves princesses and enjoys dressing up, making them a match made in heaven.

The other is a girl, Mia, droll and serious and very, very funny. She doesn’t like princesses, or pink but Daisy doesn’t care and worships the ground she walks on. Lewis wants to be a princess, Mia wants to be a prince and Daisy loves them both with gay abandon.

The other day Lewis revealed he was going to marry Daisy, and they were going to have two babies, but that Lewis’s mum and I could visit in case we got lonely. When I told Daisy, she looked a bit perplexed, “But I want to marry Mia!”

I suspect this was one of those ‘You must get this answer right’ moments we parents face occasionally. Luckily, I said “Well lovely, you can marry whoever you want.” On another day I might have explained society’s more traditional rules. But thankfully I didn’t, because her innocence and pure love and acceptance of her emotions is what will shape and form her in her life, and hopefully make her a liberal thinking, non-discriminating adult.

This all happened at the same time that a media furore was debating the BBC’s decision to hire a handicapped presenter for the children’s channel. A handful of parents had written in to complain that the girl with only half an arm was scaring their children and the BBC should be ashamed. I say the parents should be ashamed because surely it is them that has allowed the spectre of a disabled girl to frighten their children? Surely it was their place to explain that just because she looks a little different, she was just the same as them? I tuned in one day to see if Daisy reacted in any way, and also to use it as an opportunity to explain things if I had to. She didn’t bat an eyelid.

Pink lovers, fans of blue, princesses boys, and prince girls – they don’t matter to Daisy as long as they are the ones she loves. If only we could all be three again in our hearts.