There are times when I see the faintest traces of myself in Kitty. Fleeting traces for the mostpart as she remains largely a little mini version of H, with just a smidge of my sister thrown in for good measure.
At bathtime she sits for a few minutes while we clean teeth and faces and wash the remains of supper out of her hair, and then she wriggles onto her front and patrols up and down the bath on her hands, supported by the water; shades of Zee and I playing sharks in the shallow shingle ledges of the beaches down home in summers long past.
Her most impressive trick at the moment though is to brace her hands and walk her feet up the back of the bath until she’s completely clear of the water in an extraordinary really really downward dog position. I remember watching a documentary years ago that set professional basketball players the challenge of being a two year old for the day, with the world scaled up, and they were shattered by it. It truly is a mystery that after a day of running around, reading stories, playing stickers, drawing a picture, banging a cake tin and a plastic bowl with a wooden spoon while Mama cooked, and a trip to the playground, she’s still got the energy for yoga in the bathtub. (or perhaps she’s been watching too much Waybaloo).
Sometimes she nurses to sleep curled up in our cosy chair in her nursery, and sometimes the need to stretch out and wriggle (that’s all me again) combined with the need for Mama to be close, relocates us to my bed for quiet time that drifts into her dreams.
But every now and again, when I think she’s just dropped off and pull out my phone to catch up with the internets for a couple of minutes before shifting her back next door, the backlight is greeted with a triumphant cry of “Yeeeeeees” and a beaming smile as the supposedly snoozing missee wriggles around to lay her head on my chest.
I try not to interact with her too much in the going to sleep times, to show that it’s sleepy time not play time but the irresistable smile is so often accompanied by a barrage of sloppy baby kisses it’s impossible not to crack and pull her into my arms for another Mama Bear hug and a smothering of my own kisses in return.
She’s 17 months now and I’m all too aware that time is passing too fast for my liking, so I’m savouring every kiss and every cuddle. It means bedtime might be measured in hours not minutes, and deep long sleeps might be the stuff of memory not reality, but I really truly don’t want it any other way. After all, whoever got to the end of their life and thought, “I wish I’d been hugged less”