Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Joined at the hip


My husband and I are sitting here exchanging looks on a typical Sunday afternoon. We've taken the kids to the park, fed and watered them, mucked around the house, and the afternoon stretches out like a very long expanse indeed.

Both kids, as my husband describes it, are "titting off". The three-year-old went ballistic when his father tried to wipe the remains of lunch off his face. But it's a solvable problem, generally - a three year old will stop screaming and crying when he realises it's not getting him anywhere and yet another trip to the park is on offer, and his father is reading the Sunday papers waiting for him to get over himself and get in the car.

The more problematic child, at the moment anyhow, is our one-year-old daughter.

I had forgotten just how difficult a one-year-old can be, because they go through an exceptionally clingy phase at between 12-14 months that can really make every day living difficult.

Clingy to me, that is... So that whatever I do at the moment throughout the day, if the one-year-old is not asleep, she insists on being soldered to my hip.

I have made breakfast for four people, put out washing, made beds and even run baths while holding the little hurricane.

I cook entire meals with her hugging both my legs - luckily my cooking implements are in a confined space! Putting her on the floor unleashes the kind of pitiful crying that really drills a hole in the old eardrums.

It is funny how you forget things from the first time round - especially the first time round, when everything is new and exciting and hard work.

I believe now, looking back, that when my son turned one I went into a bit of a funk - not clinically depressed or anything like that, but I certainly had the blues - because I found the demands of that newly moving, but ever-so clingy age very very difficult.

The same phase in my daughter has elicited the same response in me - exhaustion, irritation and a feeling that it will never end.

"Stop the bus, I want to get off!" I moan to my husband.

And yet, it really is one of the cutest ages. Apart from the walking - or more aptly, stumbling around like a drunken sailor - there's the talking ("Maisy!" "na-na" [banana] and "bay-bee!" are favourites) - the insistence on putting things in things and taking them out, the general curiosity about life that is a joy to behold.

The growing relationship between the siblings is also awesome - when they're not whacking each other 'round the ears or screaming blue murder together.

And a one-year-old is also objectively cute to other people as well as her own family.

Babies can be cute, strange looking or somewhere in between, regardless of whether others will tell you or not. My son, for example, was a strange looking baby really - perhaps because he was born so premature, but also because his huge round head and buggy eyes defined his look.

But at one, there was no doubt he was a cutie, as are most of the age group. A smile from a one-year-old is like nothing else.

So many people tell you "it's such a short time - enjoy it!" Of course, in the wider scheme of things - if you're lucky enough to live a reasonably long life - that is so true.

And in any case the only way to get through it is to see it as a transitory phase that passes and have a sense of humour about it.

No doubt soon enough my daughter will be flying out the door to be with her friends and it will be her whiney, clingy mother with her flabby arms around her legs, willing her to stop going where she's going and stay right next to "me! me! me!"

- Dita De Boni

Pictured above: With a one-year-old in the house, the only respite is when they're asleep. File photo / Getty Images

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Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

Read more by Dita De Boni

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