Her role as mum has its moments, when she questions her choices, ability, punishes herself for being the worse and forgets to remember when doing her best that no-one will ever love her daughter the way she can. Eliza showed from the start her will is strong, her defiance when told “no”, Emilie cringed, the toddler screaming at her in the shop or park. People staring, Emilie held back her tears, desperate to calm her child. At home, Rylan unsupportive, blamed Emilie, Eliza splashing syrup and flour on the floor, her way to help in the kitchen. Sticking fingers over his books and laptop, he would phone home, yelling how his notes had crayon scribbles through them.
Emilie rubbed her stomach, thankful to avoid nausea that came with Eliza, however, she served food with added salt and squeezed lemon in her water. Both Eliza and Rylan found the food unpalatable, leading to Rylan firing up the barbecue, his daughter eager for her fruit kebab and yoghurt. Laid on the sofa, Emilie explained the baby growing inside, Eliza stuffed food in her mouth yoghurt in her hair and clothes. She handed Rylan her empty plate, climbed next to her mother, speaking soft to the bump, Eliza asked that it be a puppy. In the playgroup, Eliza’s friend Michelle had a brother and he was mean, another had a sister who stole their things, a puppy in Eliza’s eyes seemed a better choice.
Rylan busied himself, arranging a babysitter, dinner reservations, calling friends and family. Emilie pined for ice cream quiet, thick comfy socks, and a soppy movie. The idea of Birthday celebrations added to overwhelmed emotions, bouts of crying, worrying that the baby would hate her, and Eliza would reject them both. She tired easily, struggled to sleep, Rylan snored beside, the ceiling needed a lick of paint. Time ticked slow, Emilie tossed restless, knowing a day with Eliza would be harder unless she relaxed and slept.
Emilie wanted to tell Rylan his excitement to make a big fuss, while appreciated, she would be happier to forget it. She fastened her corset, loosening the ribbons to ensure her small bump had space, applied additional make-up to hide the dark circles. Rylan called upstairs, he had a pre-party surprise, plastering a smile she joined him in the Kitchen. Candles, white chocolate cake, his plan to stay home, the calls had been begging people to help him provide a dining experience at home, the two of them alone in the garden. He handed her the fluffy socks she craved, receiving an embrace in return, her perfect birthday.
Decompressing had been the solution to her sleep, she tackled the next few days with vigour. She believed as Eliza boogied to the radio that nothing would be stronger, this bond with her daughter was important. It broke her heart when Eliza pouted, wanting a little of her father’s attention, instead he went to work. Emilie distracted her with games, number and picture cards, reading and playing dolls, making her wonder if Eliza’s desire to learn came from wanting to impress Rylan, either way, this girl had some serious smarts.