If you were to ask me what this is, I would in all probability tell you that those are H’s swimming goggles. And if you asked H he too would identify them as swimming goggles. But there aren’t. Not really.
My little miss imagination (Elma) got hold of them last week when we were cleaning the kitchen together, rifling through a bag hung on the kitchen door and she immediately put them on and tried to run around holding them up to her face and not bumping into the walls, which in fairness is a challenge for her at the best of times. I’m pretty sure she was cuddling them when she went to bed, so they can be added to the long list of unusual things that my children have decided to cuddle up to, and in the morning she and Kitty tried to adjust them, brought them to me for help, and then passed the rest of the day taking turns to wear them.
They have been goggles for a swimming lesson, glasses, part of some sort of superhero outfit, part of an Elsa outfit, part of a Cinderella outfit (what, you did’t notice that Elsa and Cinderella wore glasses either!), a hairband, a necklace and when all else fails, a prized possession to be hidden away from one’s sister.
I was in the kitchen cooking our Sunday roast this week when a little pitter patter of feet heralded the arrival of one of the girls at speed and I turned to find Elma, clad only in an orange play silk for a cloak and the goggles on her forehead. She skidded to a halt, looked up at me, giggled at her brother and then turned without a word and scampered off again. I’ve still yet to find out what the game was but I know the goggles were very important because she was adamant that Kitty couldn’t have them.
Oh well, as we have no immediate plans to go swimming in the near future as we’re outnumbered and the local pools have strict ratio rules for the under 5s, H has given in with good grace and I think they are now firmly part of the dressing up box.
I love seeing what their boundless capacity for imagination can come up with, and within reason, I don’t mind most of the household being co-opted for some great game.
I know that I said that this year I wanted my Living Arrows project to be about the stories of the things that made up their childhood, the toys, the inventions and the precious memories that went along with them, but for once I have to bend that rule rather heftily, because this is what happens when little girls put on swimming goggles.
Suddenly she just looks so very very little, all the great height and grow up faces that make her seem four going on fourteen just melt away and there’s my baby again, the tiny little Kitty that looked so very like Pip does now. I wouldn’t wish the years back, not because they weren’t wonderful but because it’s just as big an adventure seeing what comes next, but just occasionally, it’s nice to see a little hint, a little reminder that those baby years weren’t so long ago after all.