He said her full name, even the middle name I gave her, which I suspect she doesn’t like, but you have to remember, it was a very long labour and I felt I had to get back at her somehow.
He boomed out all three names and my little girl walked across the stage to collect her honours degree in miocrobiology.
Heriot-Watt, you do good ceremony. The performer in me said well done. The mother in me blubbed, like all the incredibly proud mums and dads in the hall.
I have no idea how she got to be this clever. Well, to be exact, this scientific. I blame her father, and I’ve been told it can jump generations. Her grandad was a great one for scientific experimentation, if you count seeing how much he could annoy my mum before she started screaming at him.
When my clever girl was just 18 months old, she crashed into the living room and declaimed a poem about a lady who got a fright in the middle of the night when she saw a ghost eating toast halfway up a lamppost. As I recall she took centre stage. At least I know where the show-off DNA came from.
She started asking questions about three minutes and 15 seconds later. She got fed up with my answers about three minutes and 45 seconds later.
At her second Christmas dinner she nearly killed her uncle, my brother, when she issued her first direct command. It was ‘Mummy. Stop talking’. All I can say is that the Heimlich Manoeuvre might have been created to unclog clootie dumpling from a howling uncles throat.
I have not been the best of mothers. Well, who among us is? However, I pride myself that I never dodged a question (‘Mummy, why is that woman fat?’ Oh yes, sex education on a Number 22 bus . . .) and never ignored a question, even when I did not have a clue what she was on about – come on, mums are allowed to make the occasional answer up, especially if the question’s about the tricky relationship between the Tooth Fairy and Wall Street.
She’s never stopped asking questions. Although, to be honest, these days the questions she’s asking I could never answer. As she likes to point out, she’s a scientist now, and my lowly general degree is in English, or as she likes to put it, a degree in protesting about Thatcher and wearing CND badges.
At a time when it is fashionable to moan, grumble and actually fear young folk today, Heriot-Watt’s graduation ceremony was a joy, and a glimpse of a great future for our little country.
Call it neglect, but breast is not always best
If there is a description for my parenting technique, I guess you could call it benign neglect. I pretty much made sure her and her little brother were fed, clothed, warm and was permanently on stand by to deliver hugs if required. Seems to work.
In fact its a wonder the gal turned out so bright given that she was bottle fed, which according to the latest squealing from the lactating ladies, is a fast lane to a lifetime of Buckie, benefits and B&H.
Me and feeding a baby a la mother nature didn’t get along. I didn’t like it. There, I’ve said it. Some people Just Don’t Like It.
I will never forget the relief when we both hit the bottle.
Wimbledon: Now a Scottish institution
Oh NO, its that time of the year again, when Andy Murray is glowering all over the telly, a nation holds its breath and the Tartan Army suddenly takes an interest in tennis. Irn Bru and strawberries, anyone?
Oh yes, Wimbledon. The only time of the year we see Cliff Richard outdoors.
It must be tough playing tennis against Andy with Judy glaring at you from the sidelines. Now there’s a hands on mum. Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mama Murray get up and go down and give some triple digit ranked nobody a right verbal slapping about.
Mind you, the way things have been going on the courts so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Andy lift the trophy by playing a game of knockabout tennis on the Centre Court against a minor royal.
Trust instincts for childcare
Oh AND by the way, if you’ve just found out that its time to start looking at Baby-Gros and nappies, here’s a bit of advice. Buy as many pregnancy books as you want. Advice about the technical bits and bobs is great. Then get all childcare books you can and burn the bally lot. Trust your own instincts and don’t worry. Babies need love and food and warmth.
Oh, and talk to them as much as you can. If they are anything like the one I wound up with, its the only time you’ll get a word in . . .