Sunday, 27 May 2018

Perfectly imperfect

As I sit before my steaming laptop, birdsong rippling through the evening air, with the gentle whispering of bubbles popping in my gin and tonic beside me, my thoughts drift back over today and I find it possible to look at the day from two standpoints. (And, to be honest, the further down the glass of gin I get, the further I swing towards one particular viewpoint. I'll allow you to guess which...)

I could be sitting here, feeling somewhat cross that LittleBear has summoned me upstairs to his bedroom on yet another spurious reason when he should be asleep.

I could look around the house and feel ground down by the heaps of lego on the floor, the partially complete Scrabble game spread across the carpet, the layer of dust on every surface, the sticky finger marks on the windows and the general air of dilapidation and dirt.

I could be annoyed by the tears that were shed by LittleBear when I didn't manage to immediately find a means for him to place the "Q" and the "Z" on the Scrabble board in a high-scoring fashion*.

I could be despondent that BigBear and I both ended up yelling at LittleBear at bath-time as he repeatedly and consistently did exactly what we'd just told him not to do.


I could feel happy and relaxed because my bears left me in bed this morning, and I didn't get up until half past ten. I then made myself an enormous bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt topped with granola for breakfast, that was so tasty my LittleBear came and shared it with me, thus reminding me that I don't need to worry too much about his eating habits. (I could also feel slightly smug that I'd guessed this would happen and had made more than I needed so I could ladle some into an extra bowl for LittleBear without actually having to sacrifice my own breakfast).

I could feel a warm contentment that we had a lovely family day out, cycling together into HomeTown, with LittleBear obediently and safely following all our instructions as we navigated a variety of large and small roads, junctions, traffic lights, cycle ways and bridges. Once there we had an inexpensive meal out at a local eatery of long-standing that LittleBear loves, before a trip to a brilliant bookshop that's spread over four floors. LittleBear found the book purchase decision-making process so arduous that we were forced to have a thinking-pause in which we left the bookshop and sat beside some of the finest examples of gothic architecture in the country and ate ice-cream.

Ice-cream helps us think

I could feel privileged to live in a place where it's possible to cycle just under five miles into the centre of a bustling university town, despite living in a village with acres of fields across the road from our house. And once in said town there is a massive secure bicycle park in which to lock up our bikes, because it is simply assumed that people will cycle, and will need somewhere to put their bike. (This is the same bicycle park we used when LittleBear was still transported on the back of my bike, and which has a "borrow a pushchair" scheme run from the bike shop next door, allowing you to cart your small infant around town once you've got them there. This may still be the most awesome thing I found when I had a little boy on my bike.)

I could feel pleased that my LittleBear and his LittleLegs were able to cycle just over nine miles today, without a single complaint, allowing the world to open before us with all its glorious opportunities. With every passing week we are tethered less and less to the things that we can't do with a young child, and provided with more and more things that we can and will do because we have a young child with whom to do them.

I could feel proud that I have a LittleBear who is sensible and listens and who knows there is a difference between being told to stop making an annoying squeaking noise at bath-time and being told to stop before reaching the white line on the road. Because if he's going to choose which instructions to follow and which to ignore, I may be annoyed that he ignores any of them, but at least he doesn't ignore the one that would see him flattened by the traffic.

I haven't even finished my gin yet and I know which way I'm going to look at today.

* In the end, I managed Mezquit for him, on a double word score, which he then followed up by putting "Dread" across the end on a triple word score, with the "E" converting "Mezquit" to "Mezquite". Yes, we do resort to the dictionary a lot while playing. We have our own house rules for Scrabble. It's more Scrabbish.

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