In The Child Whisperer, Tracy Hogg describes the “textbook baby”, the one who develops new skills right on cue, exactly when the manual said they would. My Curly Girlie just turned four and, like clockwork, she’s turned into a little girl.
Make that Little Girl - there’s a definite capital-G in her Girl now that she’s reached the grand age of four.
“I am only friend with girls,” she announced yesterday.
“What about Khan and Timo?” I said, “Your best friends at creche?”
“Um, no, they’re boys.”
“Ah.” *Thinking* “Apart from Khan and Timo, I am only friend with girls.”
That’s clear, then.
Curly’s favourite colour is... sigh... pink. When she was only three, it was “rainbow”, but the clockwork child has dropped red and yellow and green and settled, predictably, on pink.
I’ve never been into the pink. In fact, I’d say I’ve actively encouraged a diversity of colour: her bedroom is painted bright red, her coat is deep purple with a red and white polka dot lining, she’s currently wearing a sky blue top with white stars.
But the pink has arrived, with the inexorability of death and taxes, and we shall endure it until she enters her equally inevitable purple and then black phases.
Then she started making her bed, which is just weird, considering her genetic heritage.
And, finally, the weeping. Curly has always been a practical sort; a scraped knee will bring on a loud but brief bout of tears, just enough to get a cuddle and a plaster, and then she’s back into the fray. But now, my goodness, every tiny slight brings on a Gwyneth-style performance of Oscar proportions.
Today, it was a popped balloon in a stationary shop. The thing exploded, sending the queue diving for cover, and when we picked ourselves up, Curly let rip. I cuddled and consoled, but she was in the zone.
I promised a new balloon, sweets, a Mercedes-Benz when she turns 18, but she was too heartbroken to find solace in such trinkets. The Swiss people in the vicinity made the strangely cow-like “Oi-ewwwwgh” noise of sympathy that only Swiss people can vocalise. Nothing. The shop girl offered to find a new balloon. Curly considered her offer and accepted it, wiping tears and snot onto my shoulders, while sharing a look with the spectators as if to say, “well, that was a close one”.
A new balloon was produced and filled with helium and tied into a special knot so it wouldn’t be lost (gotta love Swiss shop assistants).
Outside, I asked, “Do you feel OK now?”
“Hmm,” she said, eyeing the blue-and-white balloon, “I wish it was pink”.