D models her bracelets, among other accessories
Since I've had a baby, jewellery isn't really something I think about.
Between worrying that a necklace would knock out Diana when she was an infant, fearing that she'd rip off a bracelet (from mine or someone else's wrist) in a fit of excitement when she got a bit older (she's been fascinated by bling from a young age) and thinking that D would choke on a charm or pendant, most of my jewellery hasn't seemed baby or toddler-friendly enough to see the light of day. That, and I'm up at 6am everyday. If I look human, I consider the morning a success.
Well, the other day, I put on a beaded necklace and charm bracelet for the first time in about a year. It seemed like the right setting to get some bling on: a gorgeous sunny day, a maxi-dress, and a toddler old enough to be interested in other things besides chewing off mummy's jewellery.
How wrong I was.
From the second I put on the jewellery, D started sobbing and proceeded to cry for the entire morning – if only I were exaggerating! – because I refused to hand over my spoils. She followed me around, screaming while clutching her neck or wrist: 'Necknep!' (necklace), 'Wash!' (watch), 'Bray!' (bracelet) and even when I relented and gave her a fancy Links bracelet a friend had given her (which I'm too paranoid she'll choke on to let her wear all the time), D would not be appeased and continued to claw at the distinctly less elegant jewellery I was wearing.
Unfortunately, there's no chapter in Penelope Leach on how to cope with a toddler's jewellery obsession, so I was at a loss. And when Diana started trying to pry my wedding ring off my finger I realised that it was probably a good thing I hadn't handed over the other goods.
It didn't come as a complete surprise that Diana's become a jewellery fiend; any time a friend or relative enters the house with an eye-catching bauble or watch, D will bat her lashes until she gets the desired item. She even tried to barter my watch for my friend's one time (how quickly toddlers learn the art of skilful manipulation!), so she is always on the lookout for new and exciting accessories. But this was different. This was monumental breakdown-level stuff.
I wish I could say I took the high road, but the high road is always so much harder to tread, so when I found myself meeting a friend in Peter Jones that afternoon, there I was in the girl's accessories section, on hands and knees, sifting through plastic bracelets with non-lethal-looking beads on them. D was thrilled, and order was restored in the world.
And even though my child sort-of looks like she's vying to be a contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras, I'm not that sort of mother. I did what I could to pre-emptively fight the 'princess' phase, dressing D in navy blue bulldog-print boy's clothing and buying her boy's shoes, but at the end of the day, my daughter is just a girly-girl who loves jewellery and handbags and sparkly things. And I find it completely, utterly charming and adorable because it's who Diana wants to be right now.
As for wearing jewellery myself, you may think that D's wild overreaction would have me burying the baubles for another several months or years. Quite the opposite. I've been digging out all my old bracelets and necklaces (the bigger, the better), and I make sure I have at least one jangly piece on each day.
I am convinced there is no better cure for a D-sized tantrum these days. It's unfortunate that it's also the cause of them.