London Friday 28 May 1999
This is for you, Daniel. As I spend my days looking after you I decided that a good way to keep my brain occupied would be to write, something I haven’t done for years. So, if the narrative isn’t very good, I’m sorry. I have only been writing programs and reports for the last 5 years and nothing literary at all. When I was a teenager I wrote a lot, diaries, essays and even won a prize for it. I went to University for a semester in Brazil when I was 17 doing a degree in Literature. But all that was left behind when my mum brought me to London at the age of 18.
I wanted to write this for you, all throughout your growing up years, so you can one day read it and maybe understand me as a person, not as a parent.
You are now having your “morning” sleep, and it’s 12:27 pm, you are 5 1/2 months old. You are the most beautiful creature in the world and I am totally in love with you!
You woke up at 9:30 this morning, and when you wake up early, you have your morning nap early. The amazing thing is that you always wake up when I wake up and I love that. Sometimes we get up later, at 10:30, and that messes up your morning nap, as it turns into an afternoon nap. You always have breakfast between 10:30 and 11:00 am. As I’m not working the routine is flexible, but I still try to have one, as it is very important. Babies & children (and anybody else for that matter) need the routine: to have the security of knowing what’s going to happen next. All this little details may seem so insignificant now (and when I read this a few years from now, I’ll probably think that too) but you will understand one day if you ever have children. It’s the hardest but most rewarding job in the world (even if I was a rocket scientist and created the space ship that takes you anywhere in the universe in 1 minute).
I want to tell you everything I can about myself, your father, you, and I will try. I think that if I write about 1 hour a day, every day, I should be able to cope. Even after I get a job. Or maybe if I do more hours at the weekend. But knowing me I’ll probably only write occasionally, when time and inspiration are available. I wish I was more disciplined… I will try. I’m very disciplined if I have a deadline. But the deadline for this one is your 20th birthday!
I have to roll up a cigarette now… My worst vice. Hopefully I will have given up by the time you read this. I smoked since the age of 14, but before that I thought it was the most disgusting habit in the world… Once I started I never stopped. Your grandma is a health freak, and has always been since I can remember. So I smoked to rebel. But on the other hand I was very fit, always exercising (cycling, dancing, volleyball and capoeira were the main activities). Anyway, since I started I stopped once, for a week, no problem, in 1992. Well, when I say no problem, I lie. I had headaches for two days and slept for most of those 2 days, but after that it was fine…
It’s 12:43 and you have just woken up, but you’re not crying, just lying there, looking around. Your dad has just had his last exam in Java programming. We went through the paper and he got 4 questions out of 30 wrong. Pretty good hey? He’s now upstairs in his computer playing with applets and working on his web page. We are going shopping soon and later on I’m going out with some of my friends for a little while. I don’t get out much these days, like I used to, but every now and then I manage to leave the house at night, on my own! We all need a break, it just makes me appreciate even more what I have and it’s relaxing.
So, we (your parents) are now 27, at the peak of our lives (well, age wise anyway, financially we are a long way from peaking yet). I finished my degree in Computing in January (just after you were born – more about that later!). You father has just finished his first year – repeating it as it failed his first year. He’s just come in and is now calling you a ‘pumpkin head’, and you are loving it! He’s taking the piss of my ‘book’ now, the one I’m writing for you.
I have looked for work here and there, but I’m so afraid of working full-time and having to leave with you with a baby-sitter I don’t know properly that I’m putting if off for as long as I can. It will make it difficult to get work later, as I won’t be ‘fresh’ from finishing my degree, plus I’m older than most graduates, but it will be worth it for the peace of mind. As I won’t be worrying about you and not doing my job properly. And babies grow up so quickly and just want to enjoy it while it lasts.
It’s 12:54, I have to stop for now and do things. I’ll write more later sometime. You are screaming and making funny noises now.