You know when you ladies say to a man: “You’re such a typical bloke”... well here’s one right back at’chya. I’ve learned something this week. The last five days have confirmed to me what I’ve always suspected; women do not learn how to be both lovely and infuriating at the same time, it’s a ‘gift’ they are born with. I know this because for the last five days I have spent as much time as humanly possible, looking after my 18 month old daughter while she recovers from her first really horrible cold; and she is a typical girl.
Here are some of the words I could use to describe the last five days; frustrating, exasperating, sweet, infuriating, lovely, draining, and frustrating – did I say that one already.
I have not been able to put her down without her crying. That’s not the girlie thing, that’s just the: ‘I’m feeling poorly and need comforting thing’, so maybe I can’t use that one. I just needed to say it, to get it off my chest. No, the girlie thing is the decision making.
She can’t talk properly yet, so there’s a lot of pointing and saying “Uh”. I’m getting pretty good at interpreting these cave man forms of communication, so if she wants a drink or something to eat, I’m on it. The trouble arises when she points to something to entertain herself – pencils, crayons etc. She looks up at me and issues her royal “Uh” and points to the shelf with the crayons on. I dutifully carry her over praying that she’ll take some crayons and play nicely on the floor for the next two days. I’ve always been too optimistic; it’s a failing of mine.
When we get to the shelf she takes the crayons and 3 seconds later decides she doesn’t want them anymore. I look at her and groan: “You’re so like your mummy.” Instead she wants the Pritt stick. This is contraband; she knows she can’t have it. However this was on day three of the five day incarceration and by this time I was beginning to crack – there’s only so much torture a man without SAS training can take. I check the lid is on tightly and agree to her having it, under my close supervision.
Three seconds later she changes her mind again and instead points to even more black listed contraband – our collection of small plastic objects. Experience has taught me, these objects emit a frequency audible only to babies. This translates into: “as soon as you pick me up, put me in your mouth”.
I had to draw the line somewhere. This didn’t go down well. This is the bit where I learned beyond all reasonable doubt, she was a typical girl. She knew if she cranked up the emotional pressure, increased the volume and showed no signs of stopping she’d get what she wanted. She was right.
I’m afraid I gave in. Then something surprising happened, as soon as she got her hands on the prized black listed contraband she stopped crying, her big blue eyes lit up with excitement, and she gave me a big kiss. I looked at her and smiled: “You’re so like your Mummy!”