I will spare you the ugly detail, but instead of boarding the train I had booked to enable me to take the only opportunity there is to see most of my family pre-Christmas and  share their gifts with them, I spent most of today changing myself and MonkeyFace in and out of clothes and disinfecting the flat. Yes, MonkeyFace has either caught a virus from her childcare playmates or (sighs) is teething again.

I was warned about the nappies but noone mentioned the vomitathons.

My day was very different from planned. IN BETWEEN the laundry and sanitisation activities, however, were lots of tender, gorgeous moments and – later on when the Bog Boy meds kicked in – some laughs. MF was very hot, pink, languid and legthargic today and clung to me in true simian fashion. If ever there are days (and there are) when I feel useless, that I dont have a clue what to do (or even that I actually know her because she is largely cared for by her childminder) and that she doesn’t like or need me because she does not yet  know to hide her preference for daddy, then days like today kick those touches of mental illness to the kerb. Today, nothing but mummy would do. On days like this, she burrows her hands inside my clothes because she not merely needs to be near me, but needs to be soothed in the way that only skin on skin can soothe us as babies and as adults. I have lately craved her company but squandered what little we have together by needing to do other things: preparing for work; preparing for Christmas; worrying about the future. Not being there either in body, or worse, not being there mentally. Today, instead of haring  around the country, we were forced to just sit (and clean up) and be together. Despite how vile it is to watch your child suffer, nor is it too glamorous cleaning up pre-masticated California raisins, it was a gift to spend the time together and for each of us to bear witness to the others’ unmistakable unconditional love. I needed to be given the opportunity to see and show it. I’m so grateful I could be there today.

Equally, I’ve recently not been reading with the  Monkey as I ought to have been. Therefore when, much later her temperature started to be moderated and therefore the vomiting ease off sufficiently, read read and read some more we did. I gathered a selection of our favourite books, and wrestled them to the sitting room (her bedroom carpet is pure wool. There was no way any activities were taking place in there today.) It was a joy to see her haul herself onto our sofa, snuggle into me and call out each of our favourite books. Some of them we even read twice. Both of us had the time and patience with each other to read for  as long as we wanted, when we wanted.

So again, today, the universe gave me what I asked for. One should be a bit careful about that. But I truly loved it, even with the vomit.

Today we read:

My Little Star by Janet Bingham, and  Rosalind Beardshaw the highlight of which was her picking out each fox and saying our names to match each character. This is the first time she has said her own full name, but to repeat  all three full names was a great moment

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt. I just adore how she reels off each page of this book and the action (“he looks left, looks right, looks all around”) and how she copies TImothy’s sheepish shock in the book, hand clapped over open mouth under widening eyes. So funny

Brown Bear,  Brown Bear what do you see? byBill Martin Jr & Eric Carle. I love this, but I was so pleased when I turned to the last page and she called out ” I see colours”. Happy

Giraffes Cant Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

The Smartest Giant in Town byJulia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. For the first time, she demanded I reread this book. I love how she shows  such empathy and  worry when she feels the characters are sad or upset. One has to be so careful reading aloud with this in mind. Onlya few days ago, I found her cuddling her copy of Julia Donaldson’s Monkey Puzzle because Monkey was sad he couldnt find his  mummy.

The Snail and The Whale byJulia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Our current favourite. A fairly long book, she remains interested and engaged – and knows an alarming portion of the book already by heart.


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