I have many half-composed thoughts on the subject of Parenthood: The Rhapsody and Matei's Why Say No Once When A Thousand Times Will Do, and Wrangling Two: The Agony and the Ecstasy, and the woman who essentially congratulated me on my slovenly and neglectful parenting*, but in the meantime here are some edited highlights.
My mother - Self Esteem 101
"Nina, I don't often give you advice, as I try not to be tiresome. But I hope you will pay attention to the counsel I'm giving you now, and really heed it."
"What is it mum?"
"Delight in me."
"Oh the baby is so charming! Look at her aristocratic foot, her vivacious eyes, her delightful smile, her even temper and marvellous personality! She is simply enchanting! I see so much of myself in her."
Matei: Observations Of the World
M: Grandma and Daddy say "Fuck it!" when something doesn't work. (thoughful pause) Grandma also says it when she trips over something.
M, holding up a scratched finger: I think I have been wounded.
M, after a fall: I will NOT cry because I am a MAN and a HERO and heroes do not cry. (then to me confidentailly, in a whisper) I only cry sometimes.
M and I are walking down the street. We see a car someone has parked on the corner of the street so that it takes up half a pedestrian crossing. I say: "See that son? That car is parked horribly. It is barbaric. If your father was her, he would be angry and say "What bastards!"
At the next corner we see a cab pulling up to the kerb to release an old woman, at which point my son chirps loudly and brightly: "Look Mummy! Bastards!"
Matei enters stage left, crying Mummy a boy asked to borrow Darling Motorcycle** and then he played with it in the dirt and he made it all Messed Up and Filthy.
Me: We will clean it up, don't worry.
Matei: I am very anxious about it.
Matei, to me: Mummy, I'm cold.
Me: Put on some trousers then.
Matei, incensed: NO! I want to wear SHORTS and I want you to TURN OFF the wind.
Grandma, to Matei: Matei today I need you to be very very good because I have lots of work and things won't be easy for me.
Matei: You think things are easy for me? Don't do this, don't do that...
Matei's School of Diplomacy
On being offered something he doesn't want: "Oh, I don't think I deserve that"
On being asked to share a toy : "Oh, I think Darling Motorbike is tired and needs to rest"
Wind Air that runs
Death When someone falls on their head in a story.
Mostly things are going well, despite the exhaustion and the fact that Matei preferrs to err on the side of suicidal daredevilry whenever possible. There have been no casualties (though a few close calls at bedtime) and I am pleased to say that my tempter tantrums have not exceeded the ones thrown by my eldest.
I am loving all the expected aspects of having a girl (known collectively as The Little Outfits) and delighting in the unexpected boon of her placid personality***. When telling people I was pregnant with a girl, everyone would assure me about how sweet and easy she would be and I was largely disbelieving in part due to a belief that I was doomed to give birth only to sleepless banshees and in part due to feminist ire all "My daughter can scream as loudly as any man if she wants to!"
I have been unabashadely delighted though in her adherence to gender stereotypes which meant that my nerves are not frayed shreds, she sleeps the whole night and staring at my face appears to be the most delightful entertainment of all.
He is my talking, walking glory. She is my fat little bumblebee of delight and I love her, so so so much.
*"I think it's wonderful the way you are raising those children, having them going around without socks and hats. I imagine it's much more restful for you instead of going around looking after them all the time."
** His name for his favourite toy
*** I was expecting lots more vocal dramatics from a Leo Sun with Aries Rising, but she's a remarkably chilled out child. I guess she's conserving her clout for toddlerhood.