Before becoming a mother I had quite a clear vision of the way I wanted to bring up my future children. The childhood I wanted to give them was strongly based on the wonderful memories I have of my own childhood.
Growing up in a small hamlet in rural Somerset we (I have two sisters) had a big garden with lots of space to play and plenty of shrubbery to make dens and play hide-and-seek. We also had a large vegetable plot where my parents grew what at the time seemed to be an endless supply of courgettes and broad beans, but in reality was a plethora of different fruits and vegetables.
My mum is also amazing in the kitchen and she taught me and my sisters all we know in terms of cooking and baking, and I still go to her for advice now.
So this idyllic childhood, maybe viewed through rose-tinted glasses now, is what I am striving to create for Rosalie. Given that we live on a fairly new housing estate in a town in the heavily populated south east, it is actually proving less tricky than I first imagined.
Last week Rosalie and I spent a morning sewing seeds together and it was wonderful to have my little helper. She’s just at an age now where she is both interested in what I am doing and capable of helping with simple tasks under instruction and very close supervision.
I collected some stones to put in the bottom of my pots and I asked Rosalie to put some of these stones into each pot. She didn’t quite understand that I wanted a few stones in each pot, but transferring the stones from pot to pot kept her amused for quite a while! She then had a go at putting compost into each pot using the trowel; although I had to guide her hand, together we did it. I felt a little rush of excitement, that we were now touching the edge of those visions of family life I had always imagined.
Rosalie doesn’t understand that we planted seeds, and that they will grow to become seedlings then flowers, but she has been thrilled to help me water the pots every day. I think I’m going to get her her own little watering can.
During the week we also got our aprons on and had our first proper mummy-daughter baking session. Of course Rosalie has spent many happy hours sat in her bouncy chair, then her high chair, watching me bake. And she did have a stir of the Christmas cake batter. But for the first time she was right up with me, in the thick of the ingredient-weighing action! She took it all rather seriously, but I know she was enjoying herself because she didn’t moan or get grumpy, she didn’t fuss to get down off the chair, and she stayed focused for the duration.
It will be so much fun when she can properly help, but for now this little taster of things to come is enough to make me blissfully content that my dreams of motherhood are turning out just the way I had always hoped.