Every sort of mischief 

Dear Leo,
When you were about three months old I took you out for a walk with Popa. We bumped into one of his old friends, another ex-car salesman in his 60s or 70s and cut from the same cloth as my Dad. Popa introduced you to each other, and, as if I wasn’t even there, his friend took a step back so he could size you up better. Then he looked you over like I imagine they used to eye up cars and said “Aye. He’s a little belter Frank.” And Popa beamed with pride like I have never seen before. It’s true: you were a little belter. You never really looked like a baby, you looked like a proper little boy from the minute you were born. But a boy who gets mistaken for a girl a lot of the time on account of your long eye-lashes and all your long hair that I refuse to get cut. You get told all the time how beautiful you are and I hope it won’t turn you into a monster. I am constantly taking photographs of you which will no doubt be stoking any latent narcissism. I will be just as much to blame as admiring strangers if your ego grows out of control. But I want you to know, there are plenty of kids out there who are just as easy to look at, so don’t think you’re anything too special. Because it’s the road to ruin. Vanity can swallow a person up whole. Jane Austen (one of my favourite writers and a master of the human condition) said this “Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.” You are without doubt a little belter Leo – just don’t let it go to your head.    

Love

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