This year my Living Arrows project has been all about the little things that really matter to my trio; the toys they fall asleep clutching, the bits and pieces that are smuggled into nursery despite my best efforts at frisking Kitty as she walks out the door, the things that are really treasured, and the things that I think one day they will look back and truly remember, even from when they were very small.
But I hope that most of the time it isn’t really the things that I’m capturing in these posts, so much as the stories that go with them, the memories and the imagination. Every item is not so much a toy itself, after all, one piece of Duplo really does look much like (a) another and (b) everyone else’s, but a talisman, a key to the memories and the starting point to tell their stories.
And this story begins with Duplo. I could write about the girls’ love for Duplo, and I know I’ve mentioned it before. Kitty builds towers, huge castles, complicated things involving slides and arches; Elma looks after the people, tucking up Prince Daddy in bed and making sure that Cinderella and Beauty are all nice and cosy, an dPip, well he just chews whatever he can get his hands on.
Bu this is not a story of Duplo, even though that does very much look like a Duplo fire engine and the base of a Duplo train carriage. Nor is it a story about a pull along wooden train although that train has indeed been pulled about the house by at least one small person shouting “choo choo”.
No, what you are looking at here is a collection of ice skates. Yes, ice skates.
And for once, and despite the bit at the end of the film, I don’t think this is a Frozen influence. We’ve been reading a few other stories that mentioned frozen ponds and skating and their Winter Gerda Muller book has a big freeze in it too. It took H and I quite a while to realise that they were ice skates, but we just kept finding bits of Duplo and occasionally the train abandonned down the end of the hall.
And then one day the girls ran off to play together after lunch and as I washed up in the kitchen I could hear them going up an down the hall. I thought from the noises off that they were pulling the train back and forth but it was only when I went to investigate that I found that Elma was indeed pulling the train, just while Kitty balanced one pink sock covered foot on the top of it and swooped along in a wobbly arabesque.
Much as I was prepared to give full credit for imagination and ingenuity, trying to balance on a wooden train while your sister hurtles down the hall isn’t exactly the most sensible thing to do, so we had a chat and agreed that trains were not to be used for ice skating in the house.
And to give them their due, that train has not been used for ice skating since. But I think we know where this one’s going don’t we.
Yes, sure enough the next day a tiny voice sailed down the hall “Mama! I ice skating!!”.
Fortunately it was just Elma because I don’t think Duplo is designed to withstand a 7 year old sized 4 year old standing on it, and much as I hate to spoil their fun we’ve had to suggest that all future ice skating involve sliding in socks on the laminate floor.
But I’ve also made a note that when the winter comes and the little pop up ice rinks make and appearance, we might just have to take Kitty, Elma and Pip if he’s walking by then, to see some real fake ice and some real real ice skates.