The (belated) arrival of the warm weather means that the children can play on the field adjacent to the nursery in the evenings. I love the fact that they can spend nearly an hour leaping around on what is essentially a sandy mound at the edge of a rugby pitch with kids that they’ve spent the last three years with, getting absolutely filthy, while the parents stand in the sunshine and chat. We eventually drag them home after a series of five, four, three, two, one minute warnings and they chuck themselves in the bath, passing out in bed after the requisite amount of bedtime stories are read to them.
At weekends we tend to hang out with the ballet and tap crowd, having children over to play and vice versa. On a couple of occasions we’ve looked after an additional child for an hour or two and the girls love being part of a triplet team. It’s not much of a stretch for dh and I to take on an extra child for a bit. I don’t envy those that, when they take on our two, go from one to three children…
As I’ve become more involved with our local book group the girls have met some of the children. They have fallen hopelessly in love (R particularly) with a six year old girl on our road who they now regard as the COOLEST GIRL IN THE WORLD. She attends the school that the girls will be going to and R is convinced that she’ll be able to play with her every day. Dh has had a fatherly word and intimated that N may not want to play with younger children like R and G, but the girls are having none of it.
We popped round to see N and her parents re: her old playhouse (which now has a new home in our garden) and R got a little chilly so her mum dug out an old hoodie of N’s to wear. R was allowed to keep said hoodie and has regarded it as a precious gift ever since. I’m amazed we’re even permitted to touch it, let alone wash the thing. When R wears the hoodie she transforms, superhero-style into N because, apparently, when you’re six you can do ANYTHING – drive cards, go to school on your own, watch Spongebob Squarepants, cook dinner…the list goes on.
I was chatting to one of the nursery (BIG STARS, silly billy!!) mums the other night and she reflected that the children have a wonderful life. They have a lovely group of friends, they want for nothing, they are loved and cared for and they are comforted by the fact that they have a loving, supportive network around them.
It’s such a change from where Dh and I were when the girls were small. I felt so isolated and looking back, it’s no wonder that I went a bit nutty for a while. We’re a good, self-sufficient team but it’s good to have other people locally that we can call on when we need them.
I have also become more relaxed about the school readiness thing. I don’t need to teach the girls to to read before they start school. Last Friday afternoon the girls and I went to the ice cream parlour in the village (awesome) and ran about on the Heath like loons afterwards until we were breathless and hysterical with laughter. I didn’t ask them to identify numbers or letters. I didn’t make them talk about experiences. I didn’t test their ability to do anything. I just let them be for a bit.
I hope R and G look back on this time in their lives when they are older and remember it as a happy, fun, idyllic stage in their lives. School is going to come quickly enough. For this summer, I just want to let them enjoy themselves.