I love my kid because...

It’s that time of year when those with small kids wonder if terrorists, in conjunction with drug companies have come up with a cunning plan to take over the world by ingeniously turning the small people into weapons of mass biological destruction. As they sneeze, drip and grizzle their way through a day when you should really be at work, there is always the excitement of a trip to the letter box to pick up the overdue bills and postcards from friends having fabulous times in exotic places, friends one notes sardonically, who were obviously more vigilant with the contraceptives.

Normal Mums, like the ones in nappy ads who spend their days in floral prints swinging their disease free offspring around them in a delirium of hormonally inspired happiness wouldn’t have to do what I’m about to tell you. Every minute is spent in archetypal mothering bliss.

For the rest of us, especially in winter, we need some reminding. Which is how I spent a morning, in between mopping mucous, writing The List.

It starts : I love my kid because…

  1. She’s listening even when you’re convinced otherwise. After a day of shouting at her not to draw all over herself and to find a piece of paper, in town the next day she marches up to a Black Power member with a full facial tattoo – plants her hands on her hips and says “My Mum says you’re not allowed to draw all over your face – find a piece of paper next time ok?”
  2. She reminds me not to make excuses. Having just been pulled over by a policewoman for a speeding infringement and mentally preparing to talk my way out of it, I wind down the window just as the small person pipes up “So… are you a boy or a girl?” And you know that you should just ask for the ticket before things can get any worse.
  3. She actually knows that the world revolves around her. It’s nice to be by someone who is the centre of the universe: ‘The moon! The moon! It’s following us!’ she says.
  4. She reminds me that charity really does start at home as she practices her new reading skills ‘Hungry and Homeless’ on the cardboard in front of a dishevelled looking boy on the street. I find that it is easy and non-confronting to support a family in Nicaragua but quite embarrassing to be sent home by a small person to make a ham sandwich for a boy living down the road. I draw the line at inviting him home to share her room.
  5. Her unwavering belief in the goodness of everybody puts my sceptical nature to shame. When asked what she would do if a stranger drove up and offered her a sweet if she’d hop in the car, she said… ‘Mmm I’d ask him if the lolly has any milk in it.” She’s allergic to dairy.
  6. After a fight she shouts at me ‘I hope Santa brings you a poo and a prickle for Christmas!’ and that actually is the worst thing she can imagine happening to anybody.
  7. Her unfailing ability to look on the bright side is the perfect refute to any Eeyorish tendencies. Coming out of A and E with two arms in plaster, sucking on the mandatory lemonade ice-block (which judging by her enjoyment of it is almost worth breaking two arms for) she looks at me, shrugs and says “It doesn’t mind Mum, at least I’m not an octopus!”

But most of all, I love her because, after a fight about clothes – from memory it was me not letting her wear her togs and a tutu to town in July, she told me “One day when you’re old, I will push you through town in a wheelchair with a yucky dress and lipstick on and everyone will laugh!” And I thought two things: A) She’s actually thought this through and B) She will be the one making the decision to put me in the retirement home, I should be nice to her while I can.

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