Katie's enthusiasm for Baby Solly (the pink Googly Worm, not her actual cousin) continues, in a somewhat patchy way – she will happily forget about him until she actually sees him and will then start her delighted crooning over him again. "Baby Solly! Baby Solly! He's very tickly!" Then she will tell us that he's started crying and she will cuddle him. She has also proudly informed us that his first word was 'ham', his second was 'Lego', and his third was 'my advent calendar'. I asked her about this again a few days later and she updated me that his fourth word was 'Daddy's study' and his fifth was 'Mummy's socks and slippers'. I shall keep you updated as to further developments in his language.
Yesterday, Katie was playing with the toy shopping till and basket when I got home from work. "We're playing shopping!" Barry told me, and I said "Oh, yes? How do you play shopping?" (because it's the sort of thing parents say, not because I couldn't work out perfectly well for myself how to play shopping), and, to my surprise, Jamie's excited monologue chimed in overlapping Barry's explanation of what they'd been up to and, before I'd managed to make head or tail out of who was saying what, Jamie tore downstairs demanding that I come with him. What he wanted, it turned out, was the 'Shopping' game on one of the top shelves downstairs, a game for small children that involves matching cards with pictures on to pictures on shopping lists and trying to fill your (playing board shaped like a) trolley. Katie immediately turned up and demanded to play too, so Jamie passed her the trolley with the yellow handle as he knows it's her favourite colour and we all sat down and played the game according to Jamie's rules, which I suspect may have differed slightly from those written in the instructions but since I correctly surmised that the Games Police were not going to come knocking on our door to check I didn't care and neither did the children.
We played the game, and we had a great time, with Katie cheering "Yippee!" when she got a card, bouncing up and down with excitement (since she was kneeling down on the floor with us, this involved planting her weight on her hands and swinging her lower body into the air and down again. She won, as it happened, and Jamie told her she could drive her trolley away with the first prize so she pushed it across the floor making 'brrrrrm, brrrrm' noises. And I know this probably isn't sounding like that interesting an anecdote, but… if you are now or have ever been a parent of two young children, you'll get what it meant. For those few minutes, they were playing together happily, nobody screaming, nobody hitting out, nobody freaking out. I was aware every second of how fragile it all was and how easily it could all fall apart, how little it would take to tip one child or the other over into a tantrum over an inconsequentiality, but, this time, that didn't happen. We played the game together, and enjoyed playing it. It was a little space of time as precarious and magical as plate-spinning, a wavering glimpse of the future.