Dear gorgeous girl,
As I write this, you’re nearly 11-months-old. You’ve been on this planet for less than a year… how mad is that? Right now, your favourite thing in the world is playing peek-a-boo and watching In The Night Garden. I’m sure it won’t be very long at all before you prefer playing on the Playstation and watching boys run around in the garden.
My worst fear is that you turn out too much like your mum. Reading a school report card written about me, aged six, shows what, er, a handful I was. “Alison’s behaviour this week has been diabolical at times,” wrote Miss Turner on May 3rd 1985. “She has defied me at every opportunity by not doing work she has been given, doing the opposite of everything I have asked and being physically obstinate when asked to move.” (Sorry, Miss Turner. Hey, look at it this way: I was testing your teaching and discipline skills. No?)
But then, on second thoughts, I did eventually learn to respect authority and behave well as I grew up. And some might say I’ve turned out pretty decently, so perhaps if being feisty and challenging when you’re a child means you’ll turn into a young woman who’ll make things happen for herself, then I would like you to be like your mum. But with a bit of your kind-natured dad thrown in for good measure.
In fact, I can’t wait to find out what kind of little girl you’re going to be. Will you be into Barbie dolls and dressing up, like I was? Will you discover pop music and plead to be taken to a Justin Bieber concert? (I still haven’t forgiven your gran for refusing to take me to a Jason Donovan concert at the Edinburgh Playhouse when I was nine.) Or will you be into climbing trees, playing with toy trucks and digging up worms?
Right now, you’re never happier than when you’re munching on a rice cake with your eight (count ’em!) teeth. You have your daddy to thank for your gnashers, you know. He had a full set of pearly whites by the time he was aged one – just ask your nanna. Current headlines tell us that girls are suffering from eating disorders younger than ever, and I’m so conscious of not passing on any food issues to you. I spent my twenties on and off diets, and it’s only now I’m in my thirties (that’s ancient, by the way) that I realise how futile it all is. A little bit of everything does you good, just remember that.
Already, you enjoy making your mummy and daddy laugh. Your current party trick of waggling your tongue while saying ‘ahhh’ is very cute. It makes me wonder what talents you’ll show as you grow older. Your mum, grandad and great grandad have all been writers… will you be one too? To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re happy in whatever you do.
After all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Whether it’s Igglepiggle, rice cakes or tongue-waggling, just find what makes you happy and do it.
love, Mum x