I think we’ve spent as much of this week outside as humanly possible. Our garden, which we usually malign for being very shady thanks to an enormous oak tree twenty yards the other side of the boundary, is actually very pleasant on a hot hot day, and while I’m sat inside at the moment (small girl napping, chocolate cookies in the oven), I’m looking out on a ramble of sweet peas, a bright yellow slide and a flowery tent only outdone in it’s purpality (is that even a word – it should be) by the buddleia behind. All we’re missing in a garden planted to be a butterfly paradise are the aforementioned butterflies, but I believe the cold weather has made life very confusing for them.
So far we’ve managed to keep all the Duplo on the quilt and out of the lawnmower, and after Kit’s godfather spoiled her rotten the other week with a surprise extra box, we’re putting together some serious construction.
Lest you fear that the educational standards of an august institution not to far south of here were slipping about 10 years ago I should stress that neither God-Daddy A (MEng and structural engineer by profession) or H (also MEng but doing something he claims is more interesting professionally) were involved in the composition of this elegant see-saw.
It’s on our quiet days together that I get time just to simply sit and watch my little girl. To all intents and purposes she is a little girl now; chatty, giggly, and showing every sign of having inherited the strong will of both parents (which means we’re in trouble!), but she gets away with it by combining iron will with a sweetness and joy that sees her tuck her favourite books into my work bag, and some playdough (in its pot) and a crayon in my handbag just in case I get bored on the way to work. She’s taken to waving to all the people we pass on the way to nursery in the morning, as well as any passing locomotives, “ello tray!”, which in her mind also includes the buses coming and going from the bus station next to our car park.
She’s pretty outgoing and very adventurous, and quite simply at almost two, has no concept that anything the big kids are doing should be beyond her. It’s made for some interesting catching practice for both of us as she hurls herself around a playpark.
But then the curve of her cheek, the dimples at elbow and knuckles and that little crease that foreshadows a little wrist tell me that my baby is not all gone, she’s still the same little snugglebug who closes her eyes and sucks her thumb in pleasure at being rocked gently between sleeping and waking, who runs up to me for a hug and buries her fingers in my hair, twisting it round and round to the extent that I’m starting to get waves.