My little girl turns 3 on Saturday. I wrote this to her before she was born.
Let me introduce myself. My name is dad, and before we immediately get off on the wrong foot let me just state for the record that:-
- I am the boss
- Assuming mum isn’t around and,
- I have no intention of naming you Voldemort
I just used Voldemort as a placeholder because as yet I have no idea what you will be called. Voldemort is a character in a very popular book and (overlong) film series about a boy wizard called Harry Potter and no one likes to actually call him by his name settling instead for “he who cannot be named”. Which in my mind is close enough to “she who has yet to be named” but sounded a lot funnier before I wrote it down. Just go with it, this is how I am – you’ll get used to it.
Admittedly by the time you’re of an age to care about Harry Potter he’ll be heading for 40 and probably intent on conjuring a Porsche or an ill-advised leather jacket. Assuming they have leather in the future. Or cows. Although he is a wizard so strictly speaking the lack of an available cow would not necessarily be a deal breaker. Anyway, let’s just leave it at that.
Let’s start again.
My name is dad (still) and today is the day I discovered that our new baby (that’s you) will in fact be a little girl. At time of writing you are 19 weeks old (not that they’ll credit you with that – after you’re born they set the clock back to zero) and in my estimate about the size of a mango (if you sculpted one to have limbs and such). Right now I’m the deepest of the voices you keep hearing and the one more likely to swear.
Already you show signs of being your mother’s child. Your timing is shocking for starters. You are currently due to be born between the 27th and 31st March which means there is a 50% chance that you will either gatecrash my 40th birthday party or stop me from running the Two Oceans. Given that I’ve been in Cape Town for a while and have rubbed up against hippies the cosmic thing would be for you to arrive on the 26th which is the same day your great grandmother was born. She died this year but she would have loved you to bits. Rest assured though that even if the hippies work some date related magic I will not burden you with the name Lillian.
I should be easing you in to things gently with tales of princes and frogs and the magical world in to which you will be born but to be fair you’re going to be under pressure from the start. Your first task will to be avoid becoming a spoilt brat as the only girl grandchild – ok maybe second task, you can have some milk and a bit of a yell before that if you want. I’ll be around to guide you as best I can but having seen what I’ve managed as a letter of introduction I’d chat to mum about any of the difficult stuff.
It’s not that I don’t have my uses. I’m pretty good on sports questions, pointless trivia and can even be funny on occasions. I’m also a dab hand at pulling stupid faces, making up daft words and dancing around the kitchen to baby songs. Just ask Rhys.
Speaking of your big brother, he is very excited that you are coming to live with us and was fascinated to hear your heartbeat at the doctor’s office today. He did get a bit bored with the whole “measuring your brain and femur length” part but I distracted him by telling him he could be the one to give you a name. We’ve still got a few months to work on alternatives but if you do end up being called BabyJake then blame him. I’m pretty confident you’ll like him – he’s handsome, funny, gentle and caring – chip off the old block really.
You on the other hand will take after your mum I hope. Rhys has already been cursed with pasty Welsh skin and a fair complexion so I hope you’ll be more suited than us boys to Africa.
You could do worse – your mum’s pretty hot. Clearly a bit soft in the head for marrying me, but we all make mistakes. Fortunately I kept her drunk for years and then knocked her up so now she can’t afford to leave. She’ll laugh at that line – it’s something we do quite a lot of in this house as you may have heard. You aren’t laughing reading these words because we are suddenly thirteen years in to the future and you can’t move on from the horrific idea that your olds could consider each other ‘hot’ and (eeeeeuuuuwwwwwww) have sex. Like all other teenagers you were an immaculate conception. Promise.
But hey, let’s not wish away all the good times that will occur before you turn into a demon, declare your undying hate for me and convince yourself that I don’t understand you. I’ll get through it by remembering you as a baby and small child and look forward to scaring the shit out of your boyfriends that you’ll be allowed once you turn 21. And have left home. And the country.
So what’s the point of all this? There isn’t one really. I just wanted to say hi on the day I knew you were you and to tell you how happy and terrified I am at the prospect of being your dad. I will not under any circumstances be perfect, I’m a bit older than I’d like to be in embarking on this new adventure and I will drive you mad a lot of the time. I will embarrass you in front of your friends, infringe your human rights of partying and staying out late and will keep a shotgun handy at all times.
But I will love you. Very much. Always.
p.s. I’ve recently learned that nappy changes for little girls involve a front to back wiping motion not strictly necessary in boys – I’m on top of things, don’t worry.
3 years later…
It’s amazing what you find in the blog archives when you’re searching for a story about the Easter Bunny. I had completely forgotten this piece and yet somehow it popped out of a dusty corner at an appropriate time.
It seems the hippies had it right and
Voldemort Arwen was indeed born on the 26th March. She dodged my birthday but the stress of the week certainly put paid to my Two Oceans challenge. Funny how it comes full circle though and I get another crack at it on her birthday this year. It also seems I wasn’t entirely accurate in promising not to burden her with the name Lillian given she is Arwen Lily.
Happy (early) 3rd birthday gorgeous girl. I’m sorry for stealing some of your big day but I’ll make it up to you. Please keep driving us crazy and making us laugh and never, ever, lose the extraordinary stubbornness and drive you possess.
I do love you. Very much. Always.
(As does Mummy, and this other guy in the picture)