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Like Sands Through the Hourglass

12th August 2015

My smallest turns four today. Four! I am gripped with twin urges: one, to  plan, joyfully,  the future with my big girl, and two, to start feeding her growth-retarding hormones like Websters parents so I can  keep her in my handbag forever.

Last week Pudding collapsed in floods of anguished tears when I stood firm on the order to put her craft things away. ‘But you don’t understand, Mummy,’ she wept. ‘ It’s boring! Cleaning up is so boring!”

Mummy understands, darling.

Mummy understands.

She talks to herself under her breath to her imaginary friend Annabel, and their exchanges are fabulous. Like recently, I was brushing my teeth while she was on the toilet next door. ‘That is not true!’ she hissed quietly.

‘What’s not true?’ I asked.

Pudding came in and shook her head angrily. ‘Annabel just said ‘you do poos in the bath every day’ to me.’

‘Well, that’s just ridiculous!’ I said. ‘You are not a  baby. You tell Annabel that. ‘

‘I will,’ she said , hands on hips. ‘I will certainly will tell her.’

‘New thongs, G?’ Dad asked yesterday. ‘Haviana’s, are they?’

‘No, they’re mine now,’ she replied. This child is well-aqquainted with the thrills of the hand-me-down.

Happy birthday, little friend! May life unfold before you like a glittering gift.

When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly “What are the days of auld lang syne, Pa?” “They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,’ Pa said. “Go to sleep now.” But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting. She thought to herself “This is now.” She was glad that the cozy home, and Pa and Ma, and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago. Little House in The Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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