ParentingAll stages

There was a worrying time a few years ago when I realised with a shudder that there was another girl in my husband’s life.  She’d been around for a while but I’d started noticing how desperately she was vying for his affection and subtly doing all she could to prevent the two us from having any kind of physical affection, certainly while she was around.  Effortlessly beautiful, she gazed at him with startlingly blue eyes, casually flicking her blonde hair in a coquettish way while using her long tanned limbs to clamber all over him.  But before you commiserate that my marriage was in crisis, I have to be honest, the perpetrator was in fact Iona, our four year old daughter who had become increasingly obsessed with her Daddy.

It struck me as we lay together in the weekend sun, Ludo, her five year old brother contentedly trying to befriend dragon flies while Iona lay on my husband, Ben’s, chest, head in her hands, gazing into her father’s eyes, playfully picking out the grey hairs on his beard, stroking his face and nuzzling his chest.  Whenever he casually attempted to kiss me, she raced between us, squealing to get his attention like a jealous teenager.  

When he was around she had not got eyes for anyone else, least of all me.  In some cases this played in my favour; Ben had the delight of wiping her bottom, lugging her around when she was tired of walking and attending to her frequent personal crises such as when her favourite toy was lost.  But I did find this a little unfair; she’d spent nearly ten months growing in my uterus, stretching my once taught tummy so that it resembled a slab of jelly rather than anything approximating a washboard.  

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