While we’re in my home country we’re spending some time with my sister and her 12-week old son. It’s been really lovely and amazing to see my daughter with him. My sister likes to hold the baby most of the time (fair enough, I would too), and my daughter really likes putting her arms around him, squeezing a bit (at which point my sister winces), and giving him big kisses. Whenever he cries she says ‘baby worry’ in a very serious way, so I explain to her that he’s ok as he is having lots of mummy cuddles. It’s so lovely to see her be so caring. Of course she plays with her babies (dolls) and teddies at home, but with her cousin she puts on the most adorable protective, awed and loving face. I think I now understand people who say they want to have another baby ‘for’ their child. Of course there’s more to fostering a successful and close sibling relationship than simply creating another person for the first child’s companionship, but this is really one of the cutest things I’ve seen and it’s making me broody I think.
Sadly, my grandmother passed away a few days ago, and my daughter and I are travelling to my home country to attend her funeral. I’m not upset as such, more filled with regret at not having visited more often. At the same time, I’m full of admiration for this woman who raised six children single-handedly, worked on her family’s farm and, after she left her village in disgust at its inhabitants’ rightwing leanings, in a busy city hospital kitchen, and spent large stretches of time living with five of her grown-up children in order to provide childcare for the grandchildren. My grandma didn’t have the easiest life, but despite all societal and personal obstacles reached the grand age of 90, an example of her strength and willpower. I will always have fond memories of my time with her. When we return, I shall bake a marzipan cake in her honour (her speciality).
One thing I love about our new house is that two cats seem to have adopted us. They have visited every day since we moved in, and my daughter loves pointing out when they’ve arrived, talking to them, saying ‘Hiya cat!’ and a very serious-sounding ‘meooooow!’. Since I’m slightly allergic to cats, I’m really glad that she gets the chance to have pets around, but without me having to clean up after them, buy their food or take them to the vet.
I’m really loving our new little house. It’s still slightly strange to have an upstairs and the garden is quite tiny, but all my neighbours are so quiet! The area is lovely too. It’s a lot more densely populated than our previous area, but somehow it feels more relaxed (or maybe that’s just me). It’s also quite nice to have hustle and bustle just around the corner and going past our house all day and night. We have found an excellent playground where we’ve already made new friends, and within walking distance we have another tiny playground and a popular park. There are small independent shops just around the corner, and bigger supermarkets are only a short walk away. All in all, I’m enjoying it every day.
My mum’s visit presented a good opportunity to visit places I don’t usually manage to get to since I don’t drive. One of them was the North Sea at Winterton. My daughter always loves to play with water, but having a whole sea right in front of her seemed to be the most exciting thing ever.
While looking at an old schoolfriend’s photos on Facebook just now, I suddenly realised something: little girls do ballet, dance performances, perhaps even beauty pageants, that kind of thing – they show off how lovely they look in pretty dresses and how tall and straight they can stand. Women in their twenties become bridesmaids, wearing sometimes beautiful, sometimes hideous, dresses while trying to look demure yet enticing – they want to play their role of dutiful friend well, but still remind the men present that doing so makes them excellent marriage material. It’s all the same – demonstrating how well they can play the role expected of them.
I should probably explain this gross oversimplification and generalisation: the friend mentioned above looked lovely, but when I saw her immaculately made up face and impeccable hairdo I immediately imagined her mum painting her face and pinning stuff to her head. I should probably also mention that this friend developed anorexia when she was 17, a little while after her mum (not a nutritionist or other medical professional) put her (all 50kg of her) on a specially devised diet, and a fairly lengthy stint in a psychiatric hospital followed. Last I heard she was much better, so it made me kind of sad to see her so … subjugated? Stripped of all personality? Kind of fragile-looking in her crisp dress with a hesitant smile that seemed to say ‘I’m being a good girl, aren’t I doing well?’.