At her christening when Olivia was only a few weeks old Mrs Miller, a friend of ours and wife to Olivia’s godfather, took her in her arms.
“This child is a control freak,” she said.
Mrs Miller at the time was running Goldman Sachs legal division globally. She is now running the legal team for the London Olympics. This is a woman who knows a control freak when she sees one.
Olivia as a baby was by far the most difficult of all my children. She would never go to sleep. You could try the ten-minute rule a thousand times but she’d still be awake, demanding attention, even at three months old. Forget the old milk bottle in the cot trick that has worked with the others. She hasn’t touched milk since she stopped breastfeeding.
She was never a child you could distract from a tantrum with some reference to an imaginary sheep or tractor. Once onto something she has always been single-minded and scarily determinded. I can’t understand where she gets it from.
Her character has not mellowed with age. But my stepson Hugo has finally understood how to deal with her.
“I’ve worked it out,” he announced yesterday. “You just agree with everything she says and she’s fine.”
I am on a train with the fashion icon (actually he looks fine but only because I dressed him while he was still asleep. His preferred outfit was brown cords and of course skiiing socks) and Bea. We are going to stay with some friends in the Savoie until Friday.
Although the thought of four hours on the train with two small and very tired children is hellish, I am comforted by the thought of Olivia organising everyone at home. I hope she gets them to do the washing.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007