They’ve got some sort of intrinsic magnetism where small people are concerned, and my Kitty is no exception. We went down to the park but it was just too cold and damp to hang around at the swings so we gave up that plan in favour of a walk and Kitty got to go full tilt round the main circuit on her kicksy, while Elma snoozed in snuggly comfort, and I scurried along in our speedy girl’s wake.
But then we found the biggest, most beautiful puddle, and even missee’s beloved scooter was abandoned on the handlebars of the buggy in favour of a good old splosh.
It was an awesome puddle, but that’s not really the reason why the moment stuck firm in my brain. Puddle jumping is pretty much a guaranteed activity throughout the winter as long as we’re home and it’s not too wet and windy to go out, so there’s nothing truly special about it per se.
I think perhaps it was partly the weather, the same chilly damp grey day with only the briefest hint 0f sunshine to relieve the blanket of soggy cloud. The same as a day that seems not that long ago to me, but is almost a year ago, when we brought Kitty down to Warwick to see the river in flood, to watch the ducks swimming manfully backwards down the river, to splosh about in the puddles, and to spend a little time together in one of our last few days as a family of three before Elma arrived a couple of weeks later.
Back then Kitty was just turned two; sturdy on her feet, but more inclined to amble through a puddle, kicking at the water with her toes, than go for the full ginormous jump and splash, and still with that slight chubbiness that marks the tail end of babyhood, and is entirely missing today.
Now she’ll go wading into just about anything, far more confident than I am in the height of her wellies and the length of last year’s waterproof trousers, and it’s Elma’s turn to sit and watch with sleepy eyes, wandering what all this whooping is about.
It’s inevitable that as the seasons roll around we’ll start to repeat some of our favourite things, but somehow this year it’s throwing up the difference into sharp relief; that change between Kitty, Mummy and the bump, and my gorgeous girly twosome and I. I find I can’t believe that it’s 11 months since she arrived; and at the same time I can’t believe we were ever without her; on such contradictions in terms are the foundations of motherhood laid!
Kitty must have waded up and down that puddle at least ten times, certainly until a good deal of the original content was dripping its way through the grass, and that beaming smile never wavered for an instant. And that’s what made it worth it; worth bundling ourselves up against the chill and getting out there, and worth the little pang of recognition that life is rattling along, no matter how much I want to slow it down and savour it. Pure joy in a puddle.