During our recent months together you may not have noticed it, but I have been training you up. I didn’t want to make a big thing of it, but I’ve basically taken over your life. All in the best possible way, of course. Now, however, I am starting to spread the love (and the training) a little further. You have been a star student, never once failing to cater my every whim, of which there are many (apart from that time you were really, really tired and didn’t notice the stink coming from my nappy before those beautiful Next chinos were ruined forever).
Well done, Mummy. Well done, Mummy. However. You are not yet good enough to graduate. You’re doing great, but, how can I put this in terms you will understand? Hmmm…. I know; if you were training to become a fully qualified BSL interpreter, well, you wouldn’t be starting your NVQ 6 yet. You wouldn’t really be on Level One. In fact, think of this letter as celebrating the fact you’ve finally mastered the fingerspelling alphabet. Hurray, Mummy!!
At this rate of progress, I’m expecting it to take at least another eighteen years before you graduate fully, but it might be more likely, y’know, forever.
But, back to the here and now. I have decided the time has come for you to very occasionally leave me in the care of others for short periods and go off to do…. Whatever you do when you don’t have to look after me. Twiddle your thumbs? Count ants in the sugar? Something deeply boring no doubt… You have earned the right to some deeply boring Mummy time. However. As you are not yet fully trained, I offer you these words of wisdom. It will serve you well to remember them, even when we are apart, otherwise you might become less adept at being my constant, reliable servant. Which won’t go well for anybody.
Here, for you, are the Ten Commandments of Motherhood, as scribed by the ultimate being of power, love and epic nappies – Me.
- Thou shalt never drink a hot drink again. Even if thou think thou has the time to microwave a cold cup of tea, thou shalt be proven wrong. Repeatedly.
- Thou shalt never eat a whole meal in one sitting, unless thou are prepared for small, inquisitive hands to be in amongst the salad/noodles/chicken legs.
- Unexpected visitors shall always meet with your extreme wrath, having dared to ring the doorbell, which awakens the dog, which awakens the baby, which awakens the entire neighbourhood and therefore the Mummy Beast Within.
- Thou must never flirt with the idea of new clothing, hairstyles, furnishing or, well, new anything. Unless it is for me.
- Thou shalt wish at least thirty times a day that thou thought to buy shares in a baby wipe company before I was born.
- Always remember the things thou said thou would ‘always do’ and ‘never even contemplate’, so that you can feel suitably awful when you backtrack on every single one. Pretty much the only thing you’ll have time to eat in full is your pre-baby words.
- Thou shalt be my Mummy for always. Daddy is old news now. OK? Even Ryan Gosling and Hugh Jackman are old news now. OK? Even if David Beckham turns up at the door in those underpants from that advert, thou shalt smile politely, close the door in his face and return to your more pressing engagement; colouring my face with puree.
- Thou shalt not try and pretend to thy friends that thou has a ‘routine’, because if thou does, I will take it upon myself to show thy friends exactly what a ‘routine’ is by making you jump through hoops.
- Thou will miss me, at least a little, all the time, which shall be proven by the most hugest of hugs and most happiest of kisses upon our reunion.
- Thou shall continue to be fully ok with all of the above, because when I laugh I get little dimples in my cheeks for you to look at, and when I go to sleep I snore like a piglet for you to feel it, and not mind quite so much that you can’t hear it.
Your Baby Boy
P.S. You know the ten thousand kisses a day thing? That’s not in the Commandments. You can stop that any time. Definitely before I go to school. OK?
Emily Howlett is a Contributing Editor to this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer, horsewoman and new mum. She describes herself as being “equally fluent in English, BSL and Gibberish, and completely rubbish at French.” Emily can be found all over the place on various escapades, but divides her time between Derby and London. She can often be found behind a large packet of crisps or any halfway decent book, and insists she can still play characters in their early twenties despite having a grey eyebrow hair.
The Limping Chicken’s supporters provide: sign language interpreting and communications support (Deaf Umbrella), online BSL video interpreting (SignVideo), captioning and speech-to-text services (121 Captions), online BSL tuition (Signworld), theatre captioning (STAGETEXT), Remote Captioning (Bee Communications), visual theatre with BSL (Krazy Kat) , healthcare support for Deaf people (SignHealth), theatre from a Deaf perspective (Deafinitely Theatre ), specialist lipspeaking support (Lipspeaker UK), Deaf television programmes online (SDHH), language and learning (Sign Solutions), sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting (Action Deafness Communications) education for Deaf children (Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton), and legal advice for Deaf people (RAD Deaf Law Centre).
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