A MONTH or so ago, Bonnie and I went for a picnic in the park with my heavily pregnant pal, the local newspaper snapper Louise Smith.
Three-year-old Bonnie spent a lot of time trying to work out in her head whether it was really possible for a baby to be inside the massive bump of a tummy that Louise was lugging about. For a few days afterwards, she kept asking if the baby was “out-yet?”
Once newborn Baby Lydia was, indeed, ‘out,’ and the new parents had settled into the reality of post-labour-sleep-deprived-neurotic-hell, we went to visit.
And instantly, Bonnie was besotted. Two-week old Lydia was the same size as her own dolly ‘babies’ but unlike them, she did stuff.
Bonnie tried to ‘dolly’ her. She brought jumpers and blankets, tried to cover her up in layer after layer as fast as Louise and I could remove them. She asked Lydia questions in a sing-song-talking-to-baby voice and once she’d established that Lydia wasn’t going to talk back, chatted away as she did to her dollies.
I eventually prised her away, and in the car on the way home, she announced: “I want a baby,” a statement that I’m sure has terrified generations of mothers.
I explained that she would have to wait until she was a grown-up lady before she could have a baby of her own (while secretly hoping it would be at least 20-odd years before I had to deal with that particular milestone).
The following day she changed tack: “I want a sister.”
No darling, that’s definitely one wish that I won’t be indulging. Four of you is quite enough. Now, where’s that dolly of yours . . ?