I think we're doing ok as parents. It's not easy. Today I used a gruff voice I've never heard before, and I've noticed myself speaking in a measured tone that I have heard before, on other people - grown-ups. The measured tone, I have established, is used when your brain cells are wallowing around defeated in the cup of your head and you have to somehow not only find the means of speech, but assert authority. Losing the power of improvisational speech has been a particularly devastating side-effect of parenting for me, and I do find myself regularly appearing as an automaton, bereft of basic functioning, placing words like Kiki. Put. On. Your. SCARF. Now. Or NO PARK. Also, it is getting harder, because the small bundle of cuddles now suddenly has a razor-sharp little brain of her own and is wielding it with little empathy upon my mushy pile of being. She doesn't even want to 'cuddle mama's chest' so much any more, which is leading to my own kiddy tears. Now I'm the baby! I am 'Kiks' and she is Mama, putting me to bed, changing my nappy, telling me to CLOSE. EYES. I miss being the mama - is my baby really my mother already? She is outgrowing me, at 2.5. Help! I am drowning - look at me, scrabbling around the flat like a zombie for toys - ah, my big girl, ah, my tyrant screaming in bed for cold water and warm milk and honey and big bubba and little bubba and new bubba and squirrel and teddy, round and round and round. And where is teddy? Sweet Jesus. WHERE'S TEDDY?