Dilly remarked that Squiffany is quite badly behaved by the end of the week. I admitted that it could well be my fault, as I am quite indulgent on the Fridays when I look after her. She took the confession kindly, agreeing that Al has much the same effect on his baby’s behaviour.
I don’t let her get away with bad manners and she is expected to say please and thank you, and to wave bye-bye to friends whom I’ve chatted to for 10 minutes in the supermarket while she sits patiently in the trolley seat. But when she waves imperiously towards the garden and expects to be let out to scrabble in the gravel, and spreads toys all over the drawing room and leaves them for me to clear up, I don’t raise a murmur. I’m so pleased to see her face light up when I come in the room, to see her enthusiastically tucking into a meal I’ve cooked and to hear her repeat a word I’ve taught her, I disregard any minor naughtiness as ‘sweet’ and let her get away with nearly anything.
Mind you, she is better behaved with me than with her mum at nappy-changing time. I have suggested playing ‘up … down.’ She enjoys this and does not try to escape, as she does with Dilly.
She is well behaved on the whole, I think. She knows she must not pick flowers, for example, so puts her hands behind her back to remove temptation while sniffing loudly at the scent and exclaiming at their prettiness.
I have escaped early alcohol-related disease. Apparently (and dreadfully) people in their 20s and 30s are seriously affected, by liver disease and binge-drinking. I have long been affected by the awful death of Bix Beiderbecke, who died, with horrible DTs at the age of 26, after several years of alcoholism. It seems particularly poignant when someone had such talent and, it appeared, so much to live for.
It’s all right to fall apart in your 50s though, isn’t it?