Archive for November, 2010

Lions and hoovers and bears, oh my!

She’s scared of the vacuum cleaner. And usually I’m in such a rush to get things done, get everything done, that I simply rush around the rug singing and grinning and hoovering as she sits wailing in her playpen. That first shudder of shock, when she almost jumps in the air with fright, is somewhat heartbreaking, but I sing and grin and Get Things Done.

Today I took time to acclimatise my girl to her nemesis. I slowly took the hoover out of the cupboard and showed it to Leila. As usual she whimpered the minute she saw its imposing grey mass (to be fair, in addition to emitting an almight roar, it is also about five times her size, so I can hardly blame her for wincing at the sight of it). So I plucked her from her enclosure and we sat on the floor by the hoover for at least fifteen minutes. At first she was visibly shrinking from it. I patted it and stroked and even (oh god) kissed it. “It’s just the hoover, darling”, I told her over and over.

She started to smile, warily, her eyes still fearful. When I took my hand away from the hoover, she patted my hand to tell me “do it again, mummy, show me it’s ok” and I would go back to stroking it’s plastic form. Eventually, her little hand hovered tentatively over the machine. She patted it, once, twice, looking at me for reassurance. Then we patted it together, and she laughed. I picked her up to show her that she could be bigger than the hoover, and she, grimacing with nerves, touched the top of it.

Dude. It melted my heart. The realisation that this tiny little person trusts in me so absolutely, to guide her and tell her when something is scary or nice or right or wrong, to back her up and give her the courage to face her fears. At the moment her fears are simple- a hoover can’t harm her- but I hope I can always play this role in her life. I must remember to sometimes forget about the Things which need Doing, and take the time to guide her. And oh god,  her little face as she looked at me: “is it ok? Can I do this?”. Just, dude.

She still jumped out of her skin when I switched the hoover on, and cried for a minute or so. But this time I was holding her close and showing her that this scary thing would be alright, whispering (well, yelling- that thing is loud) reassurances right into her ear. I need to always be right there for her, whispering/yelling reassurances into her ear, when and if she needs me to. I mustn’t forget to do that. I must always honour her trust.

A political broadcast from the CAN’T party

I interrupt your normal sporadically updated blog, and my extremely short nap, to bring you news of an important campaign spearheaded by me, Leila Helen.

Sisters and brothers, too long we have been pacified with carefully selected, educationally stimulating and not inexpensive toys. My own parents- my OWN PARENTS- persist in torturing me with balls and building blocks.

What I really want is a plastic bag. A stereo cable. A pot plant to eat, especially the soil. To put my fingers into the DVD player. To climb into the bin and pull the clothes rail on top of my head, at the same time if I want to.

Fellow babies, isn’t that what you want, too?

But my oppressive parental unit turns a deaf ear to my pitiful cries. The Big Brother nightmare has become reality in 2010, as I, and innocent babies like me, am kept under constant surveillance to keep me from the things I desire . Just yesterday I had ploughed my way across the living room, ignoring an array of toys, and was on the verge of retrieving the multi-socket extension lead from deep underneath the sofa, when I was plucked from my endeavours by my cruel mother.

Well I say enough. Comrades, now is the moment. The moment for parental units everywhere to listen when we say: these “toys” are tedious. This is the moment for CAN’T: The Campaign Against Normal Toys.

Down with dolls! Throw your teddies in the trash! Every plug socket; every piece of random sharp plastic on the carpet (mum/ed note: how do these things get there?); every ball of hair; every bit of crap I found between the floorboards; that piece of cheese on toast I flung on the floor last week; these are the toys we demand. All of these are ours for the taking if we mobilise our cunning, speed and innocent puppy dog eyes.

We must be strong. We must slither, roll and commando-crawl our way determinedly across the floors of this land to seek out  the sharp, unhygienic choking hazards that we have for so long been denied.

Babies of Britain, come together for CAN’T! Comrades, the future is bright!

Leila