168: You've Got a Friend In Me

My small human is swinging rapidly - like some hormonal shift - from delightful treasure to instant rat-bag. It’s so sudden that I literally stop and wonder what the fuck happened to make her snap. Then I cruelly remember that not only is she only four years old and discovering the world, and new fantastic ways to test me blah blah blah, but she’s also my daughter - the very same genetic make up from my Papa who is one moment totally chill and fine and then BAM snapping at the fact he’s dropped his newspaper on the floor and it’s the end of the world. Yes, we are all one and the same and herein lies my biggest parenting woe to date: this is only going to become a greater headache for me.

She’s stubborn. She’s proud. She has a tendency to blindly do something even though I’ve probably told her it’ll end in tears - and more often than not it does indeed end in a waling match but she shakes it off because she can’t be wrong. Most days she’ll whine about getting dressed and then insist on doing it by herself and without me seeing her until she’s totally finished. She wants to wash her own hip-length hair in the bath but doesn’t want anyone to brush it, dry it, or god forbid try and plait it. When I mutter cutting it all off before she starts school because I really can’t be doing with the daily trial and tribulations of fighting over her hair, she screams bloody murder and demands to never say such things again. When I go to make her porridge of a morning, she scoots her tiny red stool (which once was mine) and demands to pour the milk, stir the oats, and wait for it to be ready and tells me to go away. She is fiercely independent and totally knows her own mind. She has the desire for perfection but not quite hones the skill because she can’t be arsed to brush the food out of her hair, or sit on a chair properly. Ladies and gentlemen: THIS IS ME.

She also asks for more cuddles than is normal on a daily basis, insisting her Dad lift and cuddle-tickle her at least three times before he leaves the house every day. She comes and fetches me from the kitchen when I’m prepping dinner to ask for a cuddle on the sofa. She cuddles the dog when he’s in his bed and asks him to sit on her lap (he is no lap dog!). She pats at her lap to ask the cats to sit with her so she can cuddle them until she falls asleep. She’s a cuddler. She’s affection overload and some may say, needy with it. Ladies and gentlemen: This is ALSO me.

She’s harbouring a sense of adventure inside her that is waiting to get out. She wants to test me but still have me close by whilst she haphazardly stumbles into the big ol’ world. She is a tiring bundle of joy, exasperation, and early morning wake up calls.

And she makes me a mummy, a worrier, a constant over thinker, and a reason to question if I’m fucking it up daily every time I snap at her. And I do snap. Because I am my father’s daughter. I have zero patience and she’s following suit. I snap. I apologise almost as quickly. And she does the same. I question if I’ve fucked it up almost daily be it because I snapped because she got into the car too slowly, or when I snapped at her for having put her trousers on back to front for the third time because she thought it was funny and we just needed to get to pre-school. (It was funny, of course it was, but I failed to see the funny and became all adult boring human.) Snapping is probably one of my biggest parenting wrong doings. And I really chide myself for it daily.

But even when I snap, and even when I’m grumpy or tired and a bit irritable with her, she’ll always find it in little wonderful human capacity of wonderfulness to come up to me and whisper “it’s okay, you’re still my best friend mummy”.

And when she’s done cuddling me and asks me to move to my side of the bed, she still once found the capacity to whisper sleepily as I turned over “but I still really love you mummy”.

I know I can’t be her best friend, I know I’m her parent, her mother. And I think even she knows this: she knows I snap as I tell her off, as I point out the right from wrong, as I protect her crossing the road or insist (read plead) she behave, because that is my role here.

But deep down, I pray she knows that she’ll forever be my best friend and I hope she knows that through the worst, the best, and the in-between moments that I fuck up royally, it’s simply her mate bumbling along and doing her very best.

Be good and bake well,

Lady Bakewell-Park