A perfect dad, a moment

On Tuesday night I left my little girl with her dad and as I walked through Clifton I sent him this message:

“Sometimes it’s hard to imagine there could be a better dad.”

A part of me didn’t want to send it. It was a little thought that said you don’t know what he’s going to do in the future, you don’t know if he’s going to let her (or you) down.

I ignored all that, it lasted seconds and I’d forgotten it until a twitter friend mentioned embarrassment and dying from it. My response felt brusque, and it was something like good , it’s the death of the ego.

And then I remembered that moment and it occurred to me that my resistance at sending that message was embarrassment at being made a fool.

So I say good. For a moment in time my little girl was happy and adored and taken care of and loved and felt a part of something. For one second it was hard to believe there could be a better dad.

There are moments like that everywhere and sometimes it’s her godfather playing buzzy buzzy bee or her auntie choosing clothes especially for her in Brussels or Mersina hurting her finger and looking to her grandad for support.

All just for a moment.

A letter to Mersina, 23 January 2013

I’ve had the strangest worry today that something would happen to me and Mersina wouldn’t have any memory of me. Before the day was over I wanted her to have something that she could keep – some sentiment from me. I’ve never particularly liked those letters that mums write to their children but this was barely a choice. I wanted her to know certain things and this was the best way I knew how.

I am not always comfortable with too much personal stuff on here but I’ve already shared so much so this feels like the place for a complete picture for her of how we are.

Dear Mersina Anne,

Four years ago today I woke up knowing that I was in love with your father. Not only that but exactly one month after I met him, he went Morris dancing and I knew that someone who could do that would meet most of life with the spirit which I saw in the world myself.

The fact that he didn’t feel the same way didn’t matter and didn’t change how I felt. I couldn’t shake off this love no matter how hard I tried. Maybe it was you that I had already seen in him and I couldn’t let that go.

About a year after your daddy and I met, you started to pop into my mind. Little pictures at first, sketches of a faceless little girl, older than you are as I write this, standing next to the two of us. I thought it was me being silly but sometime in 2010 we found you.

I loved you from the first instant and your daddy loved you from the first moment he saw you. I don’t think he believed it until then.

There was never a moment when you weren’t loved. You are loved every moment of every day. I hope you carry that feeling around with you forever and through every lifetime.

When we put your picture in the paper for your birth announcement we wanted something inspiring and fun for you to take with you. None of this “no matter what she is when grows up as long as she is happy”. We wrote, and we wrote it in complete agreement, that you would be the first foreign correspondent in space when you grow up.

You are already showing signs of aiming for his dream. Your spirit of adventure is your biggest characteristic equal to your big smile and your love. You can be very determined in your love and also forceful when you shove food in my mouth to make sure I am fed, or when you stroke my head quite violently so I can close my eyes and rest. You don’t know your own strength and I hope that knowledge comes to you in the future.

For now, I hope you can take with you the joy, happiness and love that you are and bring with you

Our miracle, our gift. Always loved.

It’s no sacrifice at all for the very hungry elephant

This little girl on the right is Mersina, (23-months-old). Her dad, Martin (31) is to the left and in his arms is Ellie the Elephant (just under a month old as she was a Christmas present).

Ellie and Mersina

Ellie the elephant was very hungry tonight and wanted to eat Gerald the giraffe. Mersina was devastated.
“No, no, no!” she cried and rescued Gerald the multi-coloured giraffe from Ellie’s mouth.


Clutching the long lost friend, just rediscovered in a bag of toys meant for a charity shop, Mersina passed by the hungry elephant and brought Gerald to me for safekeeping.

She then went back to the toy area where Ellie was hungry for a turquoise blue convertible.

“No, no, no!” she cried and rescued the toy from the huge elephantine mouth. Clutching it to her bosom-less bosom she brought the car to me.


Fervent love and passion were also shown for her soft tiger and even the thought of her nappy bag’s demise brought her to devastation. I had collected a fair amount of survivors by then as I watched M even occasionally resort to violence and hit the elephant on the head.

The following are all his victims:



Best friend Dolly the doll was rescued at the last minute

Nappy bag


And in a move reminiscent of the great King Kong himself, Ellie even tried to eat a bus.


Finally, Mersina’s dad asked her what she thought would be good food for an elephant that seemed to be so hungry.

The very hungry elephant

“Um…” she thought and paused.

She looked around and reached up to her toy shelves and grabbed our Happyland Olympian friend, Tom Daley, and offered him up to the elephant’s ever-open mouth.


A human sacrifice. Well. That was unexpected.

(Update: Ellie did not eat Tom. The elephant, instead, feasted on packets of golden syrup flavoured porridge whose box Mersina took away until Ellie finished his packet and then she brought some more. He’s really a vegetarian Buddhist elephant.)

The heartbreak of shoo

Little M is 18-months-old now and has recently acquired, developed, discovered a few more words.

She has new o and oo words. Hel-lo with the second syllable about an octave lower; twoo as in the number two; and shoo as in shoes, as in ‘Mersina, where are your shoes?’ as in we need to put your shoes on before we go out.

She knows that shoes mean going out. For months now she has brought my shoes to me, has brought her cardigan and her little backpack so I can put them on her and she then gets excited because she believes we are going out.*

Last night around 10pm she was failing to fall asleep and she rushed off to find her cardigan, the one her dad calls a rainbow jumper but is neither rainbow coloured nor is it a jumper.

She then proclaimed ‘shoo’ and rushed off to the door. She picked up my trainers and brought them to me.


No, it’s late we have to go to sleep.

She picks up the shoes from where I put them down and holds them out again.


The shoes go back on the floor and she picks them up and takes them to the edge of the bed where we sometimes sit to put her shoes on.

No. No shoes. No going out.

Utter heartbreak.


*Little M has not yet learned that correlation does not equal causation. (“The heartbreak of correlation does not mean causation” was an alternative title possibility.)


Yesterday, for the first time, Mersina got scared at something on television. She was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and there was a lion being carried around. It was a toy lion but another character had a speaker which amplified the roar.




Went the lion and Mersina came rushing up with a gasp and an Ah! for a cuddle.


Anecdotes – so I don’t forget

Tuesday – August 7, 2012
First thing in the morning: I put Mersina in her high chair and we both sat down to breakfast. I had my coffee, she had her juice, we both had scrambled eggs and we were sharing baby-friendly Heinz biscotti.

I dipped my biscotti in my coffee and she leaned forward and indicated for me to bring my coffee cup closer so she could dip her biscuit too.

Saturday – August 11, 2012
She starts to say hel-lo in addition to her usual hiya.

Sunday – August 12, 2012
Mersina did lots of dancing to the Olympics closing ceremony


Voom voom

Mersina picked up her blue Happyland toy car, today, ran it across the top of the unit, on which the TV rests, and made the noise voom voom, voom voom. It’s the first time I’ve heard her do it.


Mersina’s cardigan

Today, Mersina received the loveliest cardigan from her godfather’s mother, Paula. This is the third beautiful cardigan that Paula has sent us and she also crocheted the most beautiful blanket for little M which she has used since birth.

I wish Paula had an Etsy shop so other people could share but here’s a glance at what Mersina has been wearing.

Mersina and her new cardigan

Mersina in her new cardigan

Mersina's new cardigan

Little M with her cardigan, two short legs and her godfather


Father’s Day

For Father’s Day I wanted to make a card for Martin and Mersina and I decided to find letters for their names around Bristol. Luckily they share many of the same letters but it was still quite an enterprise and I don’t think I was entirely successful.

So this isn’t really a happy father’s day post. Little M’s dad had his treats on the day. This is more of a crowdsourcing activity for any suggestions about finding letters in the environment. They can’t be Written letters from signs.

See the following and let me know what you think. My toughest letters so far have been N and A. He was (just) about able to see what the words were meant to be luckily.

Craft time at the library

Tuesday is our busy day which starts with swimming at 10.30 and usually sees us stay out of the house for as long as possible seeing as we are already out there. We usually have unstructured time at the library or go to the soft play at At Bristol.

For the first time, however, we joined in with our friends Jess and Mollie, Lydia and Max and Finn, in Craft Time at the library. The biggest selling point was the little outfits the children wear. They are a complete cover all over clothes so there is little chance of muckiness and the little ones can just have fun.

The craft session is led by a woman named Sam who greets the children and parents and then introduces something from the imagination box. This is a wooden chest which contains something which will be used for the creative and tactile part of the session.

Today there was a rolled up piece of paper which was to be the body of the rocket we created and built. First, there were paints and palettes and rollers. Then there was pvc glue and sparkly stars and squares and streamers and then we cut out a hole in the rocket and stapled on a triangular piece of paper to make the head or pointy bit of it.

Mersina managed pretty well with only a couple of escapes into the book section when she lost interest. For the most part she enjoyed eating the paint and glue and sticking on little sparklies after having given up on the painting with the rollers.

We paid £4.50 for the session and the next one is free so we can see if we like it enough to join up. We’ll try it again next week and then see if we keep going.

Mersina at craft times at the library

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