My 14 month old daughter was having a rough day (unforgiving teeth, mostly) which meant that the morning had been spent finding zen within the perma-cry and trying to encourage her to chew on appropriate teething toys rather than random shoes, tv remotes or her own fist.

I’m learning that the way forward is as much about following her lead as it is trying to control any given situation. Even though she can’t tell me exactly what’s wrong it’s my job – my calling – to read the signs and make things as painless and straightforward for her as I possibly can. I do this willingly, unflinchingly and often with a big dumb grin on my face, because the truth is right now, to me she’s nothing short of a living, breathing Disney character. She’s Puss in Boots from Shrek, looking up adoringly with those planet-sized eyes. She’s Gizmo the…

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