(written by my mother Susan Margaret Smith)
The person that is best known to me is a little girl, who is three feet tall with fair hair, hazel eyes and an engaging smile. She is called Clare and she is my daughter. We have built up a relationship over the last two years, which has been achieved slowly by trial and error. It has taken a lot of patience and understanding on my part. Clare’s contribution has been to be herself and make her demands understood.
Clare has always been good at making clear what she wanted. When she was a baby, she had a loud cry, which she did not use constantly but when she did cry, my first thought was to stop her. From the very beginning, she made it quite clear she was not going to be fobbed off with kind words and gentle handling. If she was hungry, she wanted feeding immediately – no waiting until the milk was hot or if the milk was too hot, for it to cool down. If her nappy was wet it had to be changed. The two things that were important to her were to be fed and dry. When this was done, she would lie in her pram, smiling and kicking her feet up in the air. It was not very long before I realised the one thing that she did not need was sleep. This was the first obstacle which we had to overcome because if Clare did not need her sleep, I did need mine. For the first six months I tried every trick I could think of. One method was to walk up and down her room rocking Clare in my arms singing to her. That I must admit was a complete failure. The second thing I tried was to give her a teaspoon of brandy in her six o’clock bottle. She enjoyed the brandy but did not go to sleep. In the end I just laid her in the cot and left her with the toys hung across for her to play with, crossed my fingers and went to bed. To my surprise it worked.
As she got older, her independence was made clearer. She was early in sitting up. It did not take her long for her to learn how to drink out of a cup, or feed herself, and she could walk before she was one year old.
Her second year has been easier and very pleasant. We still have days when Clare is ‘in charge’ but now on the whole we are getting on quite well. Now that Clare can talk, I find that she is becoming quite the comedienne. She is good at mimicking me and her favourite props are my, or her daddy’s, hats and shoes. Already she has grown up voices and baby voices as the on she normally uses. She also has a lot of important people in her life. For instance, there is teddy, panda and a pink rag doll, called Edwina, who must go to bed with her and share her milk. She has no difficulty in understanding or learning new things and is very interested in storybooks and nursery rhymes. Her favourite book at the moment is ‘Mouse Lost at the Fair’ and the nursery rhyme that she can repeat is ‘Ding, dong bell, Pussy in the well’. I am looking forward to her third year and that joys that it may bring.
*As you can see from an early age I was fascinated by wet pussy. Of course, the tragedy is that my mother did not live to see my third year. A few months after this was written she died. She died on 9th September 1974. I was 2 years old and she was 26 years old.