Clearly, I'm quite a natural at this mothering lark, because by 8am she had refused her breakfast and I was already wondering how I was going to wear Ellie out enough so that she could go for a nap in the morning... and in the afternoon. After all, if she needs two sleeps it's got to be because she's had such a good time. Right?
Fortunately today is a gloriously sunny day. So by 8.30am we were out of the door and walking up the beach to town. I bought a newspaper, a coffee and a pain au chocolate for our breakfast picnic at Peter Cushing's View* and then onto the park.
Ellie can't refuse a pain au chocolate. She makes it look as though I haven't fed her for a week though, the way she jams into her mouth. My diet technique for the day was to only buy one croissant and let her have all that she wants of it. So I got none - a zero-calorie triumph for me.
Back at home, I decided to copy our fabulous childminder and encourage Ellie to sit down for juice and fruit while I read a story - four times. I tried picking up others, but What Colour is Love? is all that she wants. The repetition is good thing, isn't it? Maybe it's just because she likes the sound of my voice.
Though of course, I know why she likes me reading to her. That's when she knows she has all my attention. I'm not tidying up, cooking or .... dare I say it... blogging.
But then the time came when we both agreed it was time for her morning nap. How could I tell? I think it had something to do with how she wanted to launch herself down the stairs.
The irony is that if I pay proper attention to playing and being with Ellie, she will get worn out and go for a sleep. Pleasure seems to bring its own reward. At least it does with this child. Today.
It's a funny old thing this motherhood. I love spending time with her and she makes me enormously happy. Yet I still love it when I get my own space back. And if she goes to sleep without tears (as she has done just now. Hurray.) then I don't feel guilty about it either. Although I do. Damn this maternal ambiguity.
*Peter Cushing was known for playing Dracula and other spooky parts in Hammer Horror films of the 70's - oh and he was in the first Star Wars too. He was a much loved local celebrity around town. The 'natives' of Whitstable (named after Whitstable native oysters) don't just think you have to be born here to 'belong' - it helps if you have your own personal Peter Cushing experience too. He said of himself, 'I'm a gentle fellow'. I think this is a lovely thing for any man to say of himself.