Dear Dave

Friday 28 September 2007

It's a girl!

Dear Dave,

Congratulations on the birth of Daisy Elizabeth Jane! About time too, I must say. Sounds like it was all a bit of a rush in the end, though. When I told you to head out to the shops and buy all your Christmas presents while you still had the chance, I meant for you to do it before the contractions had started.

I guess Sam won't forget his first visit to Santa's grotto.

Ho well, it's over now and I'm glad to hear you're home already, safe from overly warm maternity wards and traumatised elves. You should expect a succession of little, pink, knitted cardigans to start dropping onto your doormat any day. If you're really lucky, they'll be in padded envelopes that won't fit through the letterbox, forcing you to go answer the door when the postie buzzes at seven in the morning. Fortunately, most of this knitwear will be lovely; unfortunately, some will appear to have been measured for a pot-bellied orangutan by a colour-blind lunatic. The latter will be the ones that Sam will want Daisy to wear. Enjoy.

Oh, yeah, how's Sam coping with having a sibling? Is he proud to be a big brother or is he eyeing his new nemesis warily? With any luck, it's all fine, but I wouldn't worry if he views Daisy as his arch-enemy - Fraser and Lewis hardly got off to the best start:

Fraser was about twenty-two months when Lewis was born but couldn't say a word. Being our eldest, we didn't really know what to expect from him in terms of his ability to understand us. Since he couldn't speak, we didn't think he was able to take much in. As a result, we didn't greatly discuss the impending arrival with him. His little brother came as a bit of a shock.

Everything was going along happily as normal and then he found himself unexpectedly being carted off to a friend's house for the day, abandoned and mysteriously collected by gran. The day after that, he woke up and came through to mummy and daddys' room and there was something lying in the funny swinging basket at the end of the bed. Fraser looked at the 'something' apprehensively. The funny swinging basket had been there for weeks and had remained empty. Suddenly it contained a squishy pink thing. What could it be? Fraser slapped it in an experimental kind of way. The pink thing moved. Fraser jumped out of his skin. They both started to cry. And a life-long relationship was begun...

With hindsight, I think we could have been a little more upfront with Fraser. It turned out he could understand a heck of a lot. He wasn't talking for a number of reasons:
  1. He was late in developing the physical ability.
  2. It was too much like effort.
  3. Pointing at things and grunting was working very well for him.
Some mild speech therapy and a large amount of competition sorted him out.

Marie's integration into the family went more smoothly. Fraser still hadn't quite got over the fact that he didn't have my undivided attention, so one more rival didn't make much difference. Lewis, meanwhile, was two and a half, had a pretty good idea what was going on and was already fairly used to being neglected left to his own devices for significant stretches of time.

As a result, the boys happily ignored Marie for about a year until the point she could stand up and get in the way of the telly. Before that, they tripped over her, dropped things on her and only really took notice of her when they thought she was about to try and eat their stuff. Fraser would frequently complain about the smell but I eventually convinced him it wasn't usually Marie's fault - Lewis either had a minor milk intolerance as a small child or he just really, really liked farting.

Anyway, hopefully Sam will cope OK. My boys now consider themselves equals and stick up for each other when they're out and about (even if they're always arguing at home). Lewis and Marie are partners in crime. They all seem to have at least some sense of being on the same team. It's nice to think they're looking after each other. When they've finally worked me to death and scavenged the last of the loot from my withered corpse, they'll know to stick together to survive. (Of course, if they decide, sooner than that, that I'm on the other team and join forces against me, I may be in trouble. I'm pretty sure they're big enough already for two of them to grab my arms and the other to make off with my wallet before I have a chance to break free).

If Sam and Daisy do find themselves as arch-enemies for a while, however, I'm sure they'll get over it eventually. Just think, in another fifteen years, they'll be setting each other up on dates with their classmates.

Now that's something to start worrying about...

Yours in a woman's world,


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