Updated: May 18, 2020
It was a perfect sunny weekend for loooooooong walks. And as every parent knows, long walks are great ammunition for small children who love whinging; cue wailing and gnashing of teeth (as usual), and sitting down dramatically in muddy puddles while serenading us with “I’M TIIIIIIIIREEEED. MY LEEEEEGGSSS HUUUUUUUURT!!” in such a heart-breaking key that we both had to check ourselves to make sure we were not actually channelling Cruella de Vil. Deciding that “getting some fresh air and exercise” does not qualify as child abuse, we relaxed and carried on, pretending our children were not ruining everyone’s nice sunny weekend walk. The roller coaster of emotions these small beings travel in just 5 minutes is quite exhausting. And that’s just them - I don’t know about you, but when you start to factor in the triggers they set off in me as a parent, and all the accompanying self doubt… words fail.
But 1% of the time they are lovely and funny and sweet and adorable. And those are the moments I choose to dwell on!
This weekend’s loveliness included Youngest stopping dramatically and whispering “Shhh! It eats fish!” while gesturing at a cormorant on Edgbaston Reservoir, and finding me a beautiful feather “For your baby opera, Mummy.” And Oldest who clearly has a career in exploring in her sights, heading off the beaten track into the undergrowth with me in hot pursuit. When I wheezed “I’ve never seen this bit before”, she replied with a wisdom beyond her six years “That’s what happens when you explore, Mum, you discover new things.” Later, chatting about Columbus - they’ve obviously been learning about him in school - she informed me that he brought back “precious jewels, diseases and pineapples.” She didn’t seem to think that was as funny as I did. She quizzed us to make sure we’d been listening, asking who sailed to America. Youngest gave it her best shot. “Was it Columbo?”