The car pulled out of the drive and around the corner, and with a final wave they were gone. Kitty and I looked at each other with the same thought uppermost in both our minds; “what shall we do first?”
It’s a cliche to say that my children have better social lives than me but right now it happens to be true, our fridge is practically besieged in birthday party invitations, but this was the first time that the littlest two were invited to a party, but not Kitty. The birthday girl was one of Elma and Pip’s friends from playgroup, and as it’s H who does the playgroup run, and is largely adored by Elma’s friends because he can lift them above his head, we sent him along as chauffeur and holder of cardigans while they explored every inch of a massive soft play.
Which left Kitty and me.
Spending time with just one of my children is one of my great pleasure in life, it’s lovely to be able to give them my full attention and not be constantly balancing, even when the balance is subconscious. Getting that time usually means going out on an adventure together, like the one to buy school shoes (we can be a bit loose with the term ‘adventure’ but as far as Kitty’s concerned if there’s cake, it counts), it’s very rare that I get left at home with just one child, and even rarer that that child is Kitty.
I actually can’t remember the last time it was just Kitty and me, home alone together. It might actually have been the day before Elma was born, which seems an eon ago and I did find myself occasionally pausing to listen for the noises off that I thought should have been there, Pip snoozing in his cot or Elma upstairs emptying out her drawers, but there was only silence.
So we filled it. First up, music. It had to be the Frozen soundtrack, for a good singalong while we did Kitty’s first choice of “something grown up” and pulled out the fat quarters that she chose over the summer. She helped me cut some of the real squares and then I set her up with my old cutting mat, a little ruler and a small rotary cutter to slice and dice to her heart’s content. It was so very companionable sitting either side of the dinner table, singing and chatting, and perhaps, just maybe, it might be a foretaste of the future – assuming I keep up my current policy of quilt indoctrination.
We played our Sandcastles board game without once having to rescue the dice from a little sibling or explain why a six means the wave moves, and even though we did loose our castles to the oncoming tide, it was just fun to play together.
And then, we went to lunch. Just to Pizza Express in town, but Kitty loved it. She loved choosing her lunch, and talking to me about mine, and having a bite of my bruschetta (which was amazing – definitely one for the repeat list).
While we ate, and coloured in her menu, and she read me her school story book for the week, we talked. About school, her favourite bits of the day (lunch), the fact that she can do flip overs on the climbing net in the playground, all the stories of her recent school trip to a farm, that she tried beetroot and it was pink, and who said what to who and what her teacher said next.
(photo by Kitty – classic blogger’s child!)
Because we knew that H, Elma and Pip were out having fun of their own there was no pressure to get back, we were completely relaxed and I think that made it all the more special.
And finally, when Elma had demolished her dough balls and tomato pasta and orange ice lolly, we wandered back along to the car, first skipping, then playing hopscotch with the pavement, then jumping from leaf to leaf and finally, jumping up to try to touch the branches of every tree we passed. The sort of things that you can do when you’ve only got one child with you, and she’s five and doesn’t need holding with an iron grip so that she doesn’t escape into the road.
It was silly and funny and I think Kitty rather enjoyed seeing her usually rather sensible Mummy being a big kid.
It was only a couple of hours, and then we were back home again, back to being in the mix of five, and back to get ready for the next party of the afternoon but It was a tiny moment of the week to treasure. I love that Elma and Pip (and H) have made such good friends at playgroup that they’re invited to parties and I loved the time spent, as she put it, Mummy and just Kitty.