It’s Chinese NY and – although I totes can’t relate because we’ve already had a new year, so it just feels wrong – I have made an effort to get into the spirit of things. I’ve been to China Town to get lanterns, bought oranges for the neighbours, and had my nails arted-up with gorgeous tiny goat figures on them.
For the holiday, we’re off to Penang tomorrow, to stay in a spa hotelee (with kids’ club!) and to buy some awesome paintings and whatevs. I spent most of yesterday trying to pack, but didn’t really get much done because I had to go to Pilates, and get a wax, and do the nail-art. And I had a lunch with Anastacia, and a dinner with my gay BFF and his amazebobs fun-tastic crowd.
Late last night when I got home, I heard a loud thud from Milly’s bedroom. I went up to see what all the kerfuffle was about, and there was Mills, looking quite distraught. She was wearing a bikini (which, might I add, I did not buy for her), and lying in a pile of clothes, magazines, and handbags, next to her full-length mirror.
“What happened, Mills??”, I asked, in the most motherly tone I could muster at that time of the evening on a tummy full of Chinese food and Sauv Blanc.
“I fell over, Mummy. I was thinking about what to bring on holiday, and looking in the mirror to see how I could look thinner. So I was all bending and stuff, and trying to get a thigh gap. And then I fell over. And I couldn’t even get a thigh gap!”
Argh, what now, now? What does my little tub of Mills want with a thigh gap? How does she even know what that is??
A strange feeling of intense disquietude came over me, and I realised that it was something I almost never feel. It was sadness. (Ugh, hate that!) Then came another astounding revelation: I felt sad because Milly felt sad! Now we all know that I am hugely empathetic, having done a six-month counselling course, but feeling sad because my daughter felt sad?! That’s a new one on me. She cries all the time, and generally it’s just irritating.
“But what do you want a thigh gap for, darling? You’re so beautiful as it is”, I said, shocked to find that I had a tears in my eyes, and that I truly, for the first time ever, saw that my little girl is beautiful.
[OMG, but this parenting mellarky gets emotional!! Why was I not warned about this?]
Mills pulled out one of the magazines, and, pointing at page after page of photos, said, “No, Mummy. I’m not beautiful. They are. And they have thigh gaps”.
Next on my roller coaster of emotions, a different feeling crept up, though I’m not sure what it was. (Must ask Cousin Clara.)
“Milly”, I told her, “These pictures aren’t real! You know about photoshopping, right, because you learn it at daycare, ya? These pictures might as well be cartoons! They’re just Frozen without the nice songs”.
I helped her into her pyjamas, dried her tears (mine too!), and tucked her up in bed.
“You’re real, and you’re lovely just as you are, and every day you get lovelier and lovelier. Now you have a good sleep, and some sweet dreams, and tomorrow you will feel better. It’ll all be ok.”
Then I did something I’ve never done – golly, what a day of firsts! – I sat with her in bed, stroking her hair, and I sang little songs until she fell asleep.
I probably haven’t mentioned it, but I do have an awesome singing voice.
I went down to our ensuite to get ready for bed, and yet again, a ton of products fell off the slippery shelves, crashing onto the floor. Why does that always happen to me?
When I got into bed, Don was awake – due to the slippery shelves – and asked if something was wrong.
“No babes, everything’s fine. Sorry about the noise. I’ll phone the landlord in the morning about the shelves. It’ll all be ok.”