When my daughter was 4, I looked at her, standing patiently at the bottom of soft-play with one brother behind her to shove her and one in front to pull her, and I saw her future. My girl is, and always has been, very physically able. She was perfectly capable of climbing that thing.
But my girl was destined to be a kept woman. Without her brothers, she was nothing. With both boys at school, she was half a person. She could never throw herself fully into anything or enjoy herself without the boys. She was always wondering what the boys were doing, where were they now, when would they be home?
Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m pleased to say she is a little bit more independent. Being able to see has certainly helped. But she still has a very special reciprocal arrangement with the boys.
In return for their protection, she is like a little mother to them. When we take them to their swimming lesson, the boys get undressed at 100mph and leave a jumbled mess of clothes and shoes in the changing room. As they run off to the pool, my daughter goes into the changing room, tutting and sighing.
She calmly picks up the trousers, shirts, jumpers, socks, glasses and even the pants. She turns them the right way round, folds them and puts them in two separate piles before carrying them carefully to the locker. She does this without complaining. She sees it as her job. A woman’s lot. To look after her men and tidy up after them.
I guess she is like this because she is the youngest of three and the only girl. I am the eldest of three, so my experience is very different. I was always mature and independent and never had the urge to clear up after anyone, although I would have fought to the death to protect my baby sister. Actually, my girl is very much like my baby sister (now all grown up, of course). She is also the youngest of three and was obsessively clean and tidy from a very young age.
All I know is that my little lady will make someone a very good wife one day. I just hope whoever he is, he respects her and doesn’t take her for granted.