In some respects it seems quite bizarre to be sat here thinking about which ‘ordinary moment’ I want to celebrate and remember; there seems to have been nothing ordinary about the last week and a bit since Pip was born. On the contrary everything has been extraordinary; treasured because it’s been different and new and all part of finding our way through that learning curve that is moving from a family of four to a family of five. Almost every day seems to bring a new first for Pip; there was his first bath, his first trip to the midwife, his first visit to the supermarket and the butchers. And there have been the really special firsts; the first time we took him to church and watched him be welcomed and loved by our church family; and the first visits from dear friends who came to meet him.
They’re moments that we hold dear precisely because they can only be a ‘first’ that once; and so not in the least bit ordinary.
And yet for all that if we were to really look closely, the last week or so has I suspect been mostly ordinary moments punctuated by the extraordinary.
We’ve cooked and washed up; pulled toys out and tidied away; eaten as many meals outside as we can, and hoovered after all of the ones eaten inside; done the laundry, and smiled at the unbelievable cuteness of a washing line of tiny babygros flapping in the sunshine. I’ve nursed and nursed and snuggled a tiny Pip, or a sleepy Elma, or a Kitty in need of a little reassurance and some Mummy cuddles, read stories, changed nappies, given kisses and been presented with clothes pegs, play pizza toppings and a small plastic car.
And finally, we gathered up our courage for our greatest endeavour yet and took all three children to the adventure playground up at Ryton Pools. It’s a decent drive from home; the kind of place that you only go to when you’ve got a couple of hours at least, but it’s always been worth it, a playground built into a hill with climbing frames for all shapes and sizes, tunnels, swings, drums, a xylophone, a zip wire; it’s basically everything you would have put down on your dream playground list if someone had asked you when you were ten.
Elma played in the swing for as long as there was someone to push her, and then pootled up and down the tunnel yelping and singing “Twinkle Twinkle” and giggling as it made her voice louder; Kitty clung to the zip wire as she whizzed past at speed; an enormous smile showing just how much her confidence has grown since she first gave it a go; and H found the whole thing utterly irresistible and (as we had the place completely to ourselves) he just seemed to keep ending up at the top of a climbing frame. And Pip, Pip watched the sky and the trees from his pram for a little while and then he and I sat on a picnic table while he had some milk and then tucked him into the sling to that we could follow the explorers up the mountain.
They’d gone up to climb the crow’s nest at the top – or in Elma’s case, be plonked into it – and then run over to play on the big slide. And whilst it is an excellent slide, it seems there was a little room for improvement in the form of a Daddy-shaped tunnel.
The thing is; what’s a nice tunnel for a 20 month old, maybe isn’t quite so capacious when it’s your almost four year old daughter coming barrelling towards you. It’s lucky the tunnel can jump!
I’ll freely admit H and I were both shattered at the end of it, (as we are as bedtime approaches on most days at the moment) but it felt really good to have done something for the girls that wasn’t just sitting around waiting for the midwife, or running the errands that keep our household ticking over, something for them to truly enjoy, especially the novelty value of having H to play with on a Friday afternoon.
I know that in a few months we’ll look back on that afternoon and smile that we were so pleased to have taken all three children out together, that something that I hope by then is so very normal (and dare I say it even easy), felt so very special and extraordinary. Perhaps that is after all the moment that I need to celebrate and treasure; the first extraordinary of our new ordinary moments.