When H and I moved into our house 9 years ago one of the first things we did was to take down two horribly old fashioned fake brass candelabra light fittings from our lounge on the grounds both of their aesthetic and because they were hung so low we kept having to walk around them. In their place we put up a couple of those lights on a rail sort of fittings. As well as casting light in the vague direction that we want to find lit, and being near enough to the ceiling that I can walk underneath it, it’s chief benefit has been having nice pointy out bits at the end for us to hang things off. We’ve had paper chains hooked over the ends at Christmas, dangling hearts one Valentine’s Day when Kitty was small and it’s the perfect place for transferring everything from the end of the curtain rail when you think it’s about to fall out of the wall again.
So when Kitty was a very very new tiny little bundle of cuddly baby and her Uncle and Auntie brought her a mobile we did what seemed normal to us and hung it up on the end of the light in the lounge end of our lounge. I don’t think we ever thought that would be its permanent home at the time, it was just somewhere to hang it up so we could all look at it and show it to Kit and then we’d think of a new place for it to go. But Kitty was still sleeping in her Moses basket by the side of my bed under a sloping gable ceiling so we couldn’t hang it there, and then there was her nursery, but she was always asleep when she was in there, and besides we don’t have huge confidence in our house’s ability to keep hold of things that are supposed to be stuck in the ceiling.
We just couldn’t think of anywhere that would be better for it to go.
Four and a half years and two more babies later, it’s still hung from our light fitting.
And it’s just become so much part of our house that we didn’t even think to take it down or move it for Pip’s christening (or Elma’s for that matter), and even more amusingly none of our friends and family find it strange either. Or at least not any more. But then they have met us, they’re probably used to our slightly eclectic version of interior decorating.
It is a gorgeous mobile though, little wooden animals hanging from a palm tree in some sort of cross-continental jungle. They’re lovely colours and when they clatter together there’s something of the wind chime about them.
I have such vivid memories of holding Kitty in my arms watching her arms track a parrot back and forth; or clinging to a wriggling Elma as she reached for the lion, and they both seem like they were yesterday. But my girls are getting all grown up and I think now the mobile is just part of the furniture; they don’t spend time lying on the floor looking up at it as they used to, and I suspect they’re so used to it, and so distracted by their other toys, that they just don’t see it any more.
But that’s OK because there’s still one little person in my house who’s fascinated, who’ll sit in my arms looking at the animals as they dance around, then look back to me as if to say “Look Mama, do you see! Look!” and then go back to smiling at the little blue elephant.
I’m sure there’ll come a day when I suddenly realise that all of my children are too old to be interested in a mobile and that perhaps we ought to take it down, but I’m really glad it’s not now.