We’re all feeling a bit the worse for wear today, and sadly it’s got nothing to do with partying but with things like fevers, snot and raging colds that Will. Not. Die. Not even on the promise of a wonderful new year! The buggers – oops, I mean, erm, boogers?
Anyway. While you sleep off the Calpol and I create a Matterhorn-sized pile of damp tissues, I have been rubbing my addled brain cells together to think of what I wish you for 2014. Of course, a list of ten can only ever be limiting, and I’m sure that many, hundreds, thousands more wishes of every size will present themselves to me before, oh, the end of the day, but here’s what’s on my mind, right now, as we blearily rub the crust from our eyes and gaze out on 365 fresh days of possibility.
1. I wish that you will crest through the fear phase and show more flashes of your fearsome, awesome side. The threenager period took me by surprise as my previously fearless daughter – who will still hurl herself off the sofa without a second thought and never has unbruised knees – suddenly started to fear things. Weird, random things. Bears. The pirates in Peter Pan. I Want My Hat Back. Anything new that hadn’t been thoroughly trailered and spoilered. The toilet! And those fears would come and go, and apply to some things and not others, and mean that you could go on Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast three times in a row and gleefully shoot at a huge, deafeningly loud Emperor Zurg, but you ran away from the telly when Toy Story 2 was on and he grimaced on screen. I mean, I get it – I’m a person with a bunch of weird fears myself, who can enjoy Expedition Everest but balks at the idea of ever doing Splash Mountain – a ride it took me until the age of 29 to brave – again. But I also want it to pass because I don’t want fear for you. Except a healthy fear of breaking all your bones, which is the one you don’t seem to have picked up…
2. I wish that you will finally nail this toilet training thing. I knew, like all the family from me and your auntie down to your cousins, that you would be around 3 when you cracked it because every single one of us has rocked up quite late to this party, but a recent burst of pre-schooler resistance has dragged this, erm, shit out way longer than necessary. We’re going to get a handle on this, and soon, right? Right. *high five*
3. I wish that you will continue to develop this growing interest in art and painting. I love how you’ve started to observe things and actually tried to draw what you see – do you know how hard that is?! Well obviously not and I’m not telling you because I don’t want you to think of things as hard, but it is. I also love how your passion for drawing has reignited something in your dad, and started me down a path of sketching and daubing that I’d seriously lost touch with. With two artsy parents, it’s inevitable you’ll be exposed to this stuff, and I really hope you find as much joy and satisfaction in it as we do – more, in fact, since I will always wish more of everything good for you.
4. I wish that you’ll keep up your beautiful manners. Seriously, I’m so impressed! I know you sometimes struggle to speak up when you’re shy, but your many pleases and thank yous are a joy to hear. I frequently second-guess my parenting skills, but no-one will ever be able to question this.
5. I wish that you’ll keep asking questions! My proudest moment reading your nursery ‘report’ wasn’t all the stuff you can do – I know you can write your name, recognise letters, count, build, draw, spell a bit – but the bit where A wrote “when she doesn’t know, she asks questions”. Kid, if you’ve cracked that now, the world is your sea creature of choice. Seriously. It’s so much harder than you think for adults, so if you can get in the habit now, you are So. Sorted.
6. I wish that you will never let me off the hook. Look, I know the job I signed up to. I love the job I signed up to. But it’s a total attention suck of the highest order. When you take my phone out of my hand and say “put it down, Mummy” you are doing a great service to me and yourself. But to make this wish happen I promise to really be with you when I’m meant to be. No more crafty little phone checks when I think you’re busy by yourself. I will mark out time to work and time not to work. I promise you that. No more excuses.
7. I wish that you will gain further understanding of your boundaries. I love that we’ve got into the habit of establishing your bodily autonomy, and you can be very clear about when cuddles, kisses and tickles are welcome and when they’re not. You’ve learned that we respect your opinion on this, and that we expect others to as well. Long may this continue.
8. I wish that you will keep playing Tickle Monster. Because the sound of your hysterical, unexpectedly deep and totally joyful chuckle literally pumps the blood through my heart.
9. I wish that you will keep surprising us. Whether it’s with your impressive vocabulary or your intense sweetness, your unfettered imagination or your madcap sense of humour, I hope you keep making us stare at each other and go “where did that come from?!”. Because that is never not brilliant.
10. I wish that you will watch anything other than Tangled. Please. For the love of God. I love it as much as the next person and Flynn Rider is, well, I think quite popular with many mums, but seriously, there are many not-scary films you could intersperse your 4 millionth and 4 million and first viewings with. That one time you agreed to The Aristocats gave us all hope, and I’m sure you’ll watch Frozen again when it’s out, but we need some variety yes? Good.
You know what, Stinky? I think we can achieve all this and much, much more. 2014, we’re ready for you.
With all my love,