In 2008, I knew everything about babies and children. I had a nice, neat set of theories of how my children would never eat sugary food and would only play with wooden toys. They would be bilingual (which would have been a miracle considering I speak halting, holiday French as my only alternative to English) and because of the gender neutrality of their upbringing, they’d adore train and babies, fairies and construction vehicles, aeroplanes and princess.
Then I had Dulcie and realised that I knew nothing about having children and that in fact, they are not little blobs of Play Doh to be formed by their parents, but are complete individuals with their own inclinations. You can add a veneer of civilisation, but you can’t flatter yourself that you’re much more than an influence. You can enthuse about Brio to your daughter as many times as you like and exclaim “Look! A tractor!” whenever you see one, but that doesn’t mean that aged three they won’t be dressed in an eye-wateringly cerise Disney princess dress, clutching a Barbie-like Aurora doll and feigning an American accent. Continue reading