We took pictures, we recorded on a camcorder.
We wrote baby books, we celebrated.
Her first proper smile, she was under two months old.
First food she ate (after breast-feeding solidly for 4 months) was sieved mango and frozen peas.
First time she clapped her hands, we have the picture.
Her first word was "no", typical, my daughter, the rebel.
First time on a swimming pool, 5 months old, she got the Water Baby Certificate.
First passport, getting ready to go see the world, you can see Andy's hand holding her chubby baby body inside the photo-booth, I kept it.
First trip, Argentina and Brazil ohhhhing and awwing the English Princess, we have pictures, videos, I even kept some outfits.
Her first steps she took in March 1997, a bit over a month after her first birthday, when we thought she was just plain lazy. On that I blamed the father genes.
First day at nursery. All the other kids cried, my daughter told a boy of because he grabbed one of the little pans in the play kitchen without saying : please. She was 2 years old.
I melted then.
(sorry, cannot find a word which will describe it better. melt, like bagne marie chocolate, like butter in a pan over a low flame, waiting for some delicious something to take form…. Melt. Em,Ee, El,Tee. Melt. yup)
I still melt.
And some of the first I have been dreading are arriving.
I told you about her first job, I told you about her first rave, first teenage proper party.
I told you about her first period.
And to all these, each and every one of them, I keep on melting.
That beautiful feeling of us still sharing, of seeing my child growing into a happy girl, most of the times.
She has been moaning about boys though.
Not moaning about the boys but the lack of any around her…
You chose to go to an all girls school… me says.
You don't understand, mae……………… she says.
I suggest she enrolls for a photography course. She does, for half term.
Another first, a proper teenage course.
And then today, she had to go alone to the supermarket (I overdid it the past couple of days, so spent the day in bed)
Coming back, you would've thought some hurricane started, would you have heard my child (well, daughter,ok, ok.But she will always be my child. To me. Always.) opening the door and talking non stop:
"Youvegottahear this, mae, you dunnomwhathappenedmae, I havetotellya,maaaaaaeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!"
Ok, lets start again,I say, What?
don't tell me you got the phone stolen or …..
This is great GREAT, great GReat!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was walking to the bus stop, and I see these boyz, right, and I look at them a bit but truing not to get noticed, right?
and I think , wow, he is peng (that means cute, good looking, in case you, like me, are in the dark about this teen slang), he was sooooooooo peng, mae!!!!!
and then I keep walking, right?
and then I hear …
and I go: yes?
and he says: How old are ya?
and I say, 13.
and he says: Can I have your number then?
so, I was shaking, and I didn't want them to see, so I said yeah, sure,
gave him the number, mae, and he said, Ok, I ll give you a call sometime…..
What followed this was a mixture of laughter with huggz and her suffocating me and giggling and repeating, constantly, ah mae, ah mae, ah mae, manhhheeeeeee….
First time a boy asked me out, asked for my number!!!!!
do you know what does mean??????? and I was all scruffy, with my hair up and not really dressed well….
and I know what it means to her,( despite my reassurance every day of her life, she needs these outsiders, like most of us once did need), this means: I'm beautiful, I'm worth it.
I know what this means to me too: sleepless nights, lots of talk (though we have talked about this before) about making your self respectable, to be your own, not to follow the crowds, be careful, use your brain, and all that…
Still, I melt.
I hugg and laugh and giggle and reassure and calm her down and insist she doesn't need to take her mobile to the toilette, I will not pick up the phone, not to worry. I hugg again, I tell her how beautiful she is,how so worth any boy she could ever want…. and my heart melts.
Like each and every one of those First times.
I love you, baby.