The other day I came downstairs to find Isla lying on the floor with a blanket over her, sucking her thumb and cuddling monkey.
'Oh hello, what are you doing? Are you tired?'
'I don't feel very well, mummy'
'Oh, sweetheart, what's wrong?'
'I have spots all over my face. Doctor Brown Bear says I must stay in bed all day.' Just thirty minutes earlier Peppa Pig was having the same conversation with Mummy Pig and Isla was re-enacting the scene almost word for word.
I love watching her make-believe world. Hours are spent carrying around Baby, cuddling her, changing her nappy, giving her milk, putting her to bed, etc. And we are all told very sternly when we have to whisper because, 'baby's sleeping'. The flipside of this is seeing a reflection of myself through her eyes. Entire conversations we have are repeated with Isla in the role of mummy and baby in the role of Isla. Seeing a two year old getting so cross and saying, 'Baby, go to bed NOW!' and 'No, you MUST NOT do that!' sound disporportionately harsh. And I think, how terrifying it must be for such a small person to be on the receiving end of a tired, stressed out parent who hasn't always got the time or energy to try distraction, reward or bribery to get the deed done. And even though she has forgotten the incident two minutes later the guilt of those cross words stay with me all the way to Charing Cross, following me around like a shadow at the office until I enter the door at nursery at the end of the day, hear her squeal of delight and see her smiling face, 'its my mummy!' And I promise myself, I must try harder.