Now that I am not breastfeeding, and am now the un-proud owner of a pair of fried eggs, I very rarely get a chance to cuddle Betty anymore - though not for want of trying. When I am carrying her from the car to the house, or from the highchair to the floor, I try to prolong it for as long as possible, but she just gets impatient and starts growling and trying to catapult herself out of my desperate cuddling arms.
I have observed over the last few months that, like most babies, she is obsessed with items of jewellery. If a friend comes round wearing a necklace, it is the first thing Betty notices. She will sit there quietly, like butter wouldn’t melt, observing and eyeing up her prey, and then she will sidle up to whoever it is (it doesn’t matter who, it could be a necklace-wearing monster for all she cares) and pretend that she is being affectionate by appearing to give them a cuddle. That person then goes all gooey and cooey over my devious daughter, at which point, Betty goes in for the kill - the necklace. I have watched her carry out this act time and time again.
So, armed with this knowledge, and so intense was my longing to have a nice long cuddle with my darling daughter, I devised a cunning plan - an act of deception.
I never normally wear necklaces, but I still have quite an impressive collection of dodgy 80’s classics from my former life, and so decided to start wearing a different necklace each day. The first two days were relatively successful and went something like this:
I would put on my necklace of choice first thing in the morning, woo Tom with it, and then march merrily into Betty's room. She wouldn’t immediately spot the necklace and so I would say: ‘Look sweetheart, Mummy is wearing a pretty necklace today, doesn’t she look lovely?’ Betty would eye the necklace suspiciously with a look of distaste on her little face, but eventually would hold up her arms. I would pick her up and she would semi-enthusiastically go for the necklace. I would give her a pretend telling off and say: ‘No Betty, you're not allowed to play with mummy's necklace.’ (The mind games I put the poor girl through…) I would then get a lovely long(ish) cuddle, whilst she played with the necklace, slobbered all over my neck, and tried to strangle me.
By the third morning, Betty had outsmarted me and was not interested in the whole necklace charade whatsoever. I was very disappointed, not only because I wasn't getting the cuddles, but I still had at least five more necklace shockers to unleash on her, and was actually secretly quite enjoying wearing them.