Miss Rose is feisty, determined and rebellious.
At ten months she discovered walking, decided she liked it, and hasn’t stopped since. She started with a wobbling step or two before crashing to her bum. She then became stronger and I would follow her round picking her back to her feet. Then she began to pick herself up. Now she rarely falls. But this ability, combined with all the aforementioned characteristics, means that she wants to walk and little else will suffice.
There are occasions I can con her into the pushchair with a bottle and a blanket, or others where it wouldn’t be safe not to a she is held down kicking and screaming whilst I wrestle the straps over her, but often I let her walk. She charges round the Virgin Active gym we are members of like she owns the place, and the staff are just delightful with her. She makes her way determinedly around supermarkets as I follow behind apologising to those she tramples and whipping her away from products she is certain she needs.
Today was a tiring day. We are all still feeling the shock of the loss of someone dear, and I was exhausted by the time we got to Morrisons. I followed Miss Rose around the store, but as we got to the checkout I wanted her to sit on my hip so we could pay and go home for dinner. Rose did not want to sit on my hip. She did not want to sit on my mum’s hip. She wanted to walk and had no qualms about expressing that desire with loud squarks as she thrashed around. I confess, I let her walk then charged down the shop after her, apologising to those scattered left and right by my baby bulldozer, then grabbed her and rushed back with yet further apologies to laughing bystanders.
Behind us in the queue was a woman with a young girl. The young girl stood still, quiet, sucking on a lollipop. I caught the mums eye with a “kids eh?” Expression on my face. “Bad mother.” The snotty look came back at me as she glared a judgmental glare then looked away.
It is true I could have strapped her into her pushchair. I could have refused to let her walk. I could, as my father points out, stick her in a pen or shut her in her room when we are at home. I could but I don’t so in that sense yes it’s my fault that she is quite so rambunctious. But I am not a bad mother.
I am a mother who, despite being emotionally drained and exhausted, still wants my child’s personality to win through. I like the fact she likes to run around. I like the fact she’s confident. When it’s not safe or it’s a nuisance for others of course I stop her, and I never leave her unattended, but she has just as much right to walk around that supermarket as anyone else. I tell her off when needed, and I have boundaries she isn’t allowed to cross, and yes they are probably further away than many mothers, but they’re there.
I am raising a girl who knows her own mind, knows what she wants, and likes to push and learn and challenge. I am raising a little girl who is remarkably like my baby brother was at the same age. I was quiet. I sat still and played with toys or watched movies. I didn’t charge around and make noise. My brother did. He is now a young man who is successful, smart, kind, confident and capable. He is about to become a doctor in physics and travels the world speaking at conferences. He has the common sense of a walnut and I seriously question his sanity when I look at certain choices he’s made in life, but equally so I would be proud if Miss Rose develops in the same way.
It would be easier for me if Miss Rose was a quiet, shy, still little person but she isn’t and I’m not about to try and force her to be someone she’s not just because it would make my life easier. I’m not a bad mother, I’m a mother to a little firecracker who challenges me daily, amazes me constantly, makes me laugh til I hurt and cuddles me so closely I cry because of how much love I can feel.
My child is amazing and I would not change her for the world and especially not some snooty mare in a supermarket who, with any luck, will have a second child who raises merry hell whenever they set foot in a shop.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!