Grace has been uncharacteristically grouchy and clingy today. I’m back at work tomorrow after the Christmas holidays, I have a ton of stuff to get ready, and I’m convinced she knows. It seems that the only thing that can cease the whingeing – all be it temporarily – is bursting spontaneously into song. This initially has a strange hypnotic effect on her by which she stops still and stares and me, then she’ll either decide the song is a hit (smile, stamp along and comply with whatever it is I’m trying to get her to do) or a miss (toddle off destroying things and continue to whine.) As a result, my life today has been one long – really crap – musical. Hits include “Please eat your breakfast” to the tune of Morning has Broken, “Mummy’s Ironing” – Eaton Rifles by The Jam, and “Don’t eat cotton wool, Grace” – Hi Ho Silver Lining. You get the idea. It’s been so hard to get anything done. I ended up cleaning the kitchen with her firmly attached, limpet-like to one leg. Every time I started to get frustrated with this I’d glance down to show her my displeasure but was greeted with that gorgeous little face, brow furrowed in anguish and big blue eyes searching mine – demanding to know why she’s having to grip my leg and is not in my arms. Eventually relenting I scoop her up and the furrowed brow melts into a happy, satisfied smile and she bashes happily on my chest “Ga Ga ga- ing” with pleasure. “What?” I ask her “What do you want Baby Girl?” A question I’ve no doubt that gets asked to toddlers and babies a million times a day the world over, even though we know there’ll be no response. Which if you think about it is probably just as well because we know what the response would be . . . “What I want, Mother, is for you to leave everything you actually need to get done, including toilet, tea breaks, house work, and social activity, and focus your attention solely and completely on myself. I want you to make silly noises, sing silly songs, do silly dances, play with me, talk to me, feed and change me and revel in the privilege it is to care for me.” And you know what? Joking aside , privilege is the right word. As hard work as our little people are we wouldn’t be without them, and when we are rewarded for our efforts with that heartmelting smile, the mastering of some little word or action we’ve been trying to teach them, or that special hug when they really throw themselves at you . . . well that’s worth a few stupid songs and looking like a prat isn’t it?