Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Four years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, she has some explaining to do.
My daughter’s vocabulary has doubled; she now screams, “Try the bloody accelerator” at anyone within earshot and rolled out her first “Oh come on, love” at an old lady in a Corsa on Wednesday. Proud is an understatement.
We are a doubles rally team in the car from 8am: “Left left left, lollipop lady three o’clock,” she’ll cry as we tear along the back roads through heavy traffic.
“She’s the one embarrassing us, and I’d always looked forward to mortifying her.”
At the risk of jinxing the entire thing, she’s getting used to it. Her tearful episodes before bed have been replaced by lovely chats about her school friends, and she’ll ask questions about what we did at school when we were little.
She casually dropped the word ‘phonemes’ into conversation at bedtime yesterday and I had to Google it. She’s learning stuff at an incredible rate and, even though she’s absolutely shattered, I think we made the right decision. School seems to be going… well.
Not seeing her during the day is so much harder than I bargained for. I start work at 5pm, so I get an hour or so with her after school where we do homework, argue, play-fight, argue, practise handwriting and argue.
She’s obsessed with writing and stationery (cancel the maternity test!). She’d sit with a notebook and draw people and animals and try to write their names all evening if we let her. She’s such a gorgeous little nerd.
We still have the odd wobble at the school gates when she’s particularly tired. Her lovely teacher has created a reward system with stickers to encourage her class to go in independently, but she’s not convinced. “But I don’t want a sticker,” she’ll say when asked to say goodbye at the gate, rather than the door.
There was a time when she would have killed an adult human for a sticker.
The tears and sad waves at the classroom window have slowly dried up, and even though she can roll out a forlorn expression like a drama school luvvie, she scampers away to play the minute she thinks we’re not watching.
Leaving her there is easier, making the days less heartachy for her dad and I.
It’s not all good news though. It took a mere eight minutes for her to arrive home from school, throw off her tie, climb onto her dad’s knee and fall asleep last week.
I provided him with a brew and the TV remote and left for work, feeling like I was leaving a dad and new baby for the first time.
She’s often exhausted and grumpy after school and acts like a complete douche if we ask her to do anything.
“She casually dropped the word ‘phonemes’ into conversation at bedtime yesterday and I had to Google it.”
I held out for three whole weeks before threatening to call her teacher and tell him how naughty she was being at home. She replied with “You don’t even have his number,” which left me floundering and limply threatening to call reception and ask to be put through, by which time she’d forgotten we were arguing at all and went outside to play.
The little sod also told her teacher, “Mummy works all night doing special shows,” which led to me having to explain I work in a theatre, and am not, in fact, a stripper.
“Daddy punched three people at the weekend!” she told her classmates with glee; again obliging us to explain that her dad choreographs theatrical fights for a living.
She’s the one embarrassing us, and I’d always looked forward to mortifying her.
In short though, we’re doing OK. School is the biggest challenge she’s ever faced, and we’re all still reeling from such a huge change. As long as she stops telling people we’re a bunch of punchy strippers we might just make it to half term.2155 Views
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.