My everyday ordinary is life with two gorgeous, noisy, loving, squabbling, contented, messy, cheerful and usually brightly coloured little girls. Elma may only be 20 months old but I find it hard to remember or imagine what life was like without her; back in those halcyon days of just parenting one child at a time.
I still get a little Kitty one on one time most days though while Elma naps and I try to make sure that those hours include lots of cuddles and chats with my biggest girl, the kind of craft activities that don’t really work out so well with a one year old baby sister in tow, and not too much of a whirlwind of chores (though you’d be amazed at how much fun cleaning the bathroom shower screen with a baby wipe is when you’re only 3).
But time alone with Elma is a very rare thing indeed, and usually the preserve of the days when she’s been too poorly to go to nursery, which isn’t exactly my definition of quality time with Mummy.
I’m sure it’s something H and I should make more of an effort with, but truth be told when we’re finally all together the weekend seems far to short a time to want to divide up; we’ve missed each other and the girls have missed their Daddy and all we all want to do is be together; the chances of either of us escaping out of the house with just one daughter without loud wails of protestation from the other (daughter that is, although possibly from the spouse too) is pretty much nil.
But every now and then a little moment of time lands in my lap. Not organised, not planned, just a stolen hour on a showery afternoon when Kitty decided to have a nap and Elma didn’t. Well “decided” is probably overdoing it; I was shattered, the girls seemed tired and we’d all curled up on the sofa after lunch with the sort of books I can read with my eyes shut and the next thing I knew was that I was opening my eyes without being quite sure how long they were closed for, Elma, curled into the crook of my left arm was contentedly sucking her thumb and poking the pages, and Kit was crashed out asleep on my right shoulder.
I thought she’d wake up as Elma and I extracated ourselves but she stayed there quite happily oblivious to her sister’s bumbling and chatter, one foot always sliding off the side of the sofa no matter how many times I tried to tuck her up.
I’d love to be able to say that we did something amazing and age appropriately life enriching in that hour; and that Elma is clearly a child prodigy (but of course she is and you knew that anyway) but I’m afraid it was really rather ordinary; we mixed up the dough for pitta bread to go with kebabs for supper and Elma sat on the kitchen footstool and ate breadsticks while I kneaded it; we played tea party for a bit; we sang Twinkle Twinkle and several rounds of Row Row Row the Boat with actions (that tiny girl rows with some serious gusto – I hope they pair her up with someone sturdy at nursery!); and we just chilled out, sat on the floor near the patio doors, watching as the rain clouds came and went, Elma lying on her back with her feet up on the door, tapping out a little jig and playing peekaboo from behind her beloved blankie.
From the outside I know it seems like nothing special, the epitome of a mundane afternoon for a Staying at Home at the Moment Mama and her little girl, and I can only hope that in some way I can convey why I want to treasure it.