Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day out with seven-year-old


I have been enjoying chopping wood this winter; it’s wonderfully cathartic way to warm oneself twice. The Girl has been helping, waiting at a safe distance with her wheelbarrow, and then when I give the signal she collects the pieces, pushes the wheelbarrow to the house, knocks on the front door and asks my mother-in-law, “Did you order some wood, ma’am?”

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On the way to the hardware store today, we played “Name the Animal.” I said I was thinking of an animal that was around until very recently – until humans -- was a mammal but had a shell like a turtle, and was the size and shape of our car.

“Glyptodont!” she said. Excellent, I said – I’m proud of you. Your turn.

“I’m thinking of an animal that says ‘Moo,’” she started – cows or puffins, I thought – “and it has wings” – definitely puffins, I thought – “and has no legs.”
Umm … says moo, has wings and no legs? I asked. A flying snake that does a really good cow impression?

“No!” she said scornfully. “A puffin!”

Puffins most certainly have legs, I said. All birds do.

“No, Papa – look closely and you’ll see they just have feet,” she said. A few minutes later people in the car park looked at us curiously, as we walked past arguing about how long legs have to be to qualify as legs.

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The Girl rarely is without her Mama or myself in the evenings or on weekends, but tonight I was taking my wife on a date.

“You never take me on a date,” she said petulantly.

Really? Who took you to see Meet Me in St. Louis? I asked. “You did,” she said, trying not to smile.

Who took you to the panto? “You did.”

Who reads you fairy books? “You did.”

Who’s taking you to the library right now?” “You are,” she sighed.

Who do I most want to go with in all the world? I asked. “A certain me,” she said smiling.

Photo: The Girl and her friend exploring lichens in the bog near our home.

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