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Not an invisible rabbit …

July 17, 2014

We went to the local Botanic Gardens earlier in the week, to a free outdoor concert amongst the glorious trees. We sat with friends, small folk scuttled about and people enjoyed early evening picnics … all very lovely. Hope sat and took everything in, concerned when she heard a baby crying, running over to see what was wrong, wandering back when the baby was settled, coming with me to chat to a friend who was with a lady with a 3 week old baby called Sky.

Sky started to cry so her mother put her in a front carry pouch and folded her hands across the baby’s back and moved from foot to foot in a gentle jiggling way as she talked.

We went back to our picnic, Hope ate a small mountain of steamed carrot and boiled potatoes, a few fistfuls of prawns, a yoghurt and several chocolate biscuits. From time to time she glanced over to look at Sky.

On the way out through the gardens, Hope walked along more slowly than usual. She normally spends ages getting anywhere as she’s so busy looking at everything, but this was different. She had her hands clasped against her chest (at the same time as carrying her little cooler bag), one elbow balanced on the bag, in just the same way our friend had hers, and every few steps she swayed slightly or seemed to do a little dance to herself.

“Are you OK Hopey?”

“Shhhhh Mummy, my baby sleeping, want to see?”

She was carrying her imaginary baby in just the same way that Sky had been carried.

It took us an age to get to the car like that and the whole way she carried her ‘baby’ very carefully and when we got to the car she asked me to hold it so she could climb in and then, once she was safely strapped in she took the baby back and gave it some milky. Just before we turned into the lane, I heard her singing, very quietly, “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall … shhhhh baby”.

I smiled so much to myself it made my cheeks ache.

We got home and I held ‘baby’ as she clambered out and then she carefully took it back so she could go and introduce it to Granby. I asked her as she walked off up the hallway, what her “precious baby” was called.

She stopped, looked at me and smiled, “my baby call Sun, not Sky, Sun, like on lovely day, baby Sun”.

Then she walked very slowly  in to see Granby and I heard her say, “shhh Granby, baby Sun sleeping. Granby hold, Hope make supper” and then she came running out into the kitchen demanding a snack.

Since then she’s changed baby Sun’s nappy, washed her face with her own flannel, patted her back, blown a raspberry on her tummy and breastfeed her (on both sides) on numerous occasions, my daughter is a caring little mother until she forgets and runs off to do something more pressing like a puzzle or examine a leaf.

Day after day I’m awed by my daughter, by her imagination, by her mind, by her sense of fun and mischief and by the way she takes on and takes in the world around her, and constantly count my blessings that I’m able to share so much of this incredible growing time with her.

I find it so hard to be around people who don’t listen to their children, who don’t watch them and pay attention to little details, I’m probably too attentive and too absorbed in how she is developing and who she is but I would hate to be missing any of this, and I know how easily I could have just snapped at her to hurry up and keep up with our friends after the concert and not noticed her and baby Sun winding their way home with everyone else…. I dislike ‘new parenting’ terms but I do believe in being ‘present’ for children, for the parent as much as for the child, it’s not always possible but is something I strive to be.

Now, I’ve got to make double pasta for tonight as this morning I was informed that baby Sun wants pasta for supper, “and Hopey want pasta as well”.

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