Mother’s (and father’s) boy (and girl)

Dilly, my daughter-in-law, was slightly apprehensive about the prospect of having a boy. She only has sisters and, although she now has two little nephews, she felt that there might not be the close sibling bond that she enjoyed when she was growing up, between a boy and a girl. She was also not sure that a little boy would be as cuddly and willing to be loved as a girl. Everyone has been reassuring her, and telling her that boys are very close to their mothers. And pointing out that, after the hell of Squiffany’s teenage years, having a boy will be tranquillity itself. “That’s true” she pondered “I was really mean to my mother for years.”

Al is very pleased. He doesn’t know how his father-in-law managed to retain any sort of control at all as the only male in a houseful of women. He sees the new baby-to-be as a natural ally – although, seeing the close relationship he has with the baby he has, particularly since he started looking after her every Wednesday, makes me suspect it is fear of hormones rather than absence of a father/daughter bond that concerns him.

I won a little power struggle today at least. Squiffany kept trying to pull a lead out of the television which was plugged into Ro’s Xbox. I said no and took her hand away several times. In the end I put a box in front of the tv and, when she sidled round and touched it again, I said no once more, gave her a Look and moved her. She cried briefly, eyeing me from between her fingers, and stomped out of the room (I followed her and we went to feed the bantams instead). But later, when she ventured towards the television and put her fingers near the lead, looking to see what I would do, I said nothing but Looked at her (but with a half smile instead of an edge). She left it and cheerfully came for a cuddle instead. And later, when I said she couldn’t have a second biscuit, she accepted it without a murmer.

On the other hand, when she said no to the salmon I’d cooked for her tea, I cooked her an egg instead. But at least it was proper food – and I didn’t want to start a battle I was destined to lose. And Dilly says she will give her dad the salmon tomorrow for Squiffany’s lunch, so it will not be wasted.

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