My daughter

I never remember The Kid kicking me as much as this girl is doing: every 1.5-2 hours she kicks and rolls and pushes and bangs. Two, sometimes three, even four times each night I lay awake, waiting for her to calm down again and let me go to sleep. It's... incredible! Okay, maybe not incredible incredible, but it's definitely pretty darn impressive what she's doing.

It makes me go, wow, that's cool, but it also makes me go a little apprehensive about what sort of a rascal this girl's going to be.

I mean, don't get me wrong, rascals are cool - I myself was one, and I think being a rascal is way more fun than being docile/obedient - but as I sit here, feeling her do her thing (if The Man taps on my belly, she'll tap back), I remember all those stories I've been fed and I think, Jesus, I'm gonna be on the other end now, ain't I.

How living in the ninth floor apartment, people from the seventh floor, apparently, came up to see my parents and ask why the baby is crying so much and what they're doing to her.

How my mother came in the living room to see me standing on the open window - on the ninth floor! - and being all of two years old I later said that I'd been waiting for my brother to come back from school.

How many times I'd seen my grandmother lay down on her couch, grab her chest and cry, "Child, you're gonna drive me to my grave!"

How my grandfather kept trying to hide the results of my mischievous adventures before my grandmother had a chance to see them (and, well, lay on the couch and grab her chest and say that thing about me driving her to her grave...), and how he told me when I was balancing on the side of a big water troth, "You really should've been born a boy."

How my mother was walking me to kindergarten one morning - I was, I think, four? - and I took off running, whilst still holding on to her hand, splattering her on that pavement and how then in the evening she made me change the dressing on her bloodied-up knee so I would learn a lesson about hurting other people like that.

How one winter, I must've been about six, I was standing on the edge of a waterpit (unfenced plumbing-works) and pushed chunks of mud in the water, just wanting to see how close I could stand before falling in - and then ended up falling into that cold, snowy ditch and then running, all covered in mud and water and snow, to my grandmother.

How I also ended up swimming in a water-ditch whilst playing with some friends in the woods behind our houses, and how my friend's grandmother washed and dried my clothes so I could go home, clean and dry, and wouldn't be reprimanded for getting in trouble again.

How I ran into one of the teachers at school - I was, what, nine? - tipped her over, and for the rest of her days she walked with a slight limp because of the injury I caused. I had to buy her new tights and everything, and my teacher made me stand up in class whilst other children did that "Shame, shame, shame" thing - to teach me a lesson, apparently.

How... wow, I could go on like that for ages.

My childhood is absolutely littered with stories like that, and so are lives of people who have had to take care of me.

And I sit here, feeling my daughter kick and roll - again - and I sort of smirk and shiver at the same time thinking that, oh help me God, I am going to be on the other end of that rascalness this time, ain't I?

I can just feel it.

She's just... so different from what The Kid was like, and I am awaiting her arrival with both trepidation and excitement, and I hope I have the grace to remember the people that, as I have aged, have recognised my talents - rather than just scorn at my restlessness - and have helped me learn to both give myself space/freedom to be me, but also give other people space when they need it.

And whether she's actually like it, I don't know, but it's fun feeling her do this thing and to wonder, oh dear God, is she really going to be what I've been told I was like.

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