Grapefruit. Mmm! Dulcie doesn't take after me in many ways, but I do like to think her new-found love of grapefruit could be genetic. Like me (and unlike her father) she eats it with gusto, as you can see.
Dulcie is currently enjoying a very long lie, following a night of staying up late and torturing her dad while I was out at work. These weekdays I get up early, setting my alarm and showering before Graham gets up for work. If I'm not washed and dressed before Dulcie gets up for the day, there's a real danger I won't get washed and dressed at all. Days like today (rare though they are) would be a great godsend of time to GET THINGS DONE, but since Dulcie still always ends up in our bed rather than her cot (though no longer for the whole night - we are making some progress behind the scenes) it means I can't wander far from the room or do anything that makes the slightest noise. She has an annoying habit of waking silently and then sneaking over to the precipice of the bed's edge. So far, she has only fallen out once. She came out of that incident relatively unscathed, but it's not something I am keen to repeat! So, while I listen for signs of life from the bedroom, I have been paying (HUGE) bills online and perusing a few blogs where, it seems, not much is really happening. But then I am the one blogging about grapefruit, so who am I to speak?!
Once Dulcie is up and fed and dressed, we will be going to toddler group. Shudder. I try to take Dulcie every week now. She quite likes it (though usually only if I am within touching distance) while I still hate it, but I haven't come close to running out of the place in tears for a couple of months, so I guess it is getting better. As Dulcie becomes more mobile/independent/nosey, I find myself more and more aware of Joe Public judging me on my parenting skills. He needn't bother - I judge myself quite enough, the voice of Supernanny looming loud in my ears. The thing is, sometimes I know perfectly well that I'm doing things wrong (telling Dulcie not to do something then not bothering to stop her if she does it anyway) but it's usually because that's what I need to do for myself and my own sanity. Quite often I take Dulcie out once I've reached the end of my tether in the house, and letting her off with murder in the park (while watching for real danger) is the closest I get to a break all week. So sue me, Supernanny!
Yesterday, Dulcie and I spent lots of time in our new favourite hangout of Kibble Palace, the big glass house in the Botanic Gardens. We can spend ages in there, watching the fish, putting our coppers in the zig-zaggy collection box, climbing on and off benches, picking flowers/saying, "No, don't pick the flowers." Yesterday Dulcie found an area covered in tiny stones, which she proceeded to pick up and throw around. Under the tiny stones was a layer of mud, which she scraped up with her bare hands, making sure it got right under her fingernails. She then wiped her hands all over her lovely pale green dungarees before scooping up more, which I had to wrestle away from her mouth. She did get the message about not eating it, but decided to smear it all over her face Commando style instead. I was quite glad when she found a small puddle and started guddling her hands around in it, thinking it might get at least the worst of the dirt off. However, once her hands were clean, she decided to sit in the puddle. The first time she did this, I swiftly removed her. The second time, I removed her more slowly. By the third time, I had lost all energy and was wondering what the point was. She couldn't really get much wetter or dirtier by this point. This was how I found myself relaxing on a bench in Kibble Palace while my 18-month-old daughter, with barely a square inch of her person mud-free, rolled around all on her own in a puddle on the ground, giving every gawping passer-by the biggest smile they'd ever seen. And did they judge me as a terrible mother? You know what, even in the middle-class, somewhat uptight surrounds of the Botanic Gardens, most of those people who caught Dulcie in flagrante walked off with a great big smile on their faces too. And when we got home, all that mud washed right off and my energy levels were restored enough to be able to make a start on dinner.
So what am I saying? Well, I guess I should be saying that it doesn't matter what Supernanny or her band of spies think of your parenting techniques, that you do what is right for you and to hell with the glares and stares. But I think what I'm actually saying is that as long as your child is smiling and full of the joys, you can get away with pretty much anything!