Fluffy white cat
I wrote a post yesterday on the adoption part of this site describing our attempts to find the things that engage our children without having any clues from their histories of the talents to which they may genetically be inclined.
That has particularly been the case with our son as we have attempted to find the pastimes that engage him most.
Our three year old daughter is too young for us to begin that search yet. We do however have some clues to her eventual place in life. Today, for example, provided us with quite a few.
"What do you think she'll be when she grows up?" I asked J the other evening, referring to our daughter who was playing happily at the table beside us.
"What do you want to be when you're older," J asked her, batting the question to its subject.
"A doctor." Our daughter answered, without pausing or looking up.
J swelled noticeably with paternal pride.
I groaned. One medic in the house is enough.
"I think she'll be Prime Minister," I said. "Or a ruthless international criminal mastermind. With a white pussy to stroke." I added.
J laughed. "You might be right," he said.
J has been on holiday for the last week, returning to work yesterday. I've enjoyed him being around. Our son and daughter have loved it, despite the fact they have been back at school and play school respectively.
J's interaction with the children during a normal week is to breakfast briefly with them before leaving the house before 7am. Not to return until around 7pm most nights. Providing time to say good night to our daughter and help our son with some homework before it's time for he, too, to turn in.
On Call sessions at the hospital eat into this time further, requiring earlier departures and much later returns. Requiring weekends to become part of a routine weekday pattern. Ensuring essentially that J doesn't get to see the children much for a number of days.
It's tiring and saddening for him. It's rather lonely and isolating for me. It's disconcerting and confusing for the children.
Conversely having J around to take them to school. Collect them. Go for walks or to the park or, God forbid to Peppa Pig World, is a welcome, exciting, stimulating change.
Our daughter was therefore somewhat disconcerted when we all slotted back into our normal Monday morning routine yesterday.
This morning we navigated our morning routine with ease. Children showered. J ready to leave. Me making packed lunches.
Except, J wasn't going anywhere. I watched him search the work surfaces, island, table and window cill in the kitchen. He then disappeared into the sitting room. Back into the hall he went upstairs. Came down again. Went up again.
"What's wrong?" I called.
"I can't find my keys," he said.
A creature firmly of habit, J hangs his keys by the front door every evening, ready for the following morning.
Searching throughout the house in all the places where he had possibly left them brought no clue as to their whereabouts. Questioning our son who had been with J when he returned last night also shed no light on where they could be. "You left them by the door as normal when we came in," our little boy said.
I had a brainwave. And called our daughter.
Her response to questions about whether she had seen Dad's keys elicited an angelic response. Just a little too angelic for my liking.
"Are you sure you haven't seen Dad's keys?" I asked.
Our daughter began to buckle under the pressure. Taking J by the hand she led him to her bedroom where, under her pillow lay her keys. "Why did you hide them?" An astounded J asked.
"Don't want you to go." She answered. "I like you staying at home."
Returning this afternoon from school I parked, as usual, on the drive.
Running towards the front door our son stopped, reaching forward to pick something up from the paved area leading to our front porch.
Before his hand had reached the object he was aiming at a flash of pink had swept in front of him, lifting the item from his grasp.
"I saw it first, it's mine!" Our seven year old shouted at his sister.
"Got it first," our daughter replied and stuck out her tongue for good measure.
Her brother made a grab for the item in her hand. Normally when this happens his size (he's about twice our daughter) wins the day.
This time our daughter stood firm. More than that she fought back. Within moments both children were sprawling on the floor screaming. In a scene reminiscent of many a town centre in the early hours of a Sunday morning, a full scale brawl ensued.
I intervened quickly, shouting at them both to stop, trying to put shopping bags safely so that I could separate the warring parties.
Suddenly our son yelped, jumping backwards with a scream, holding his hand, like a terrier startled out of a ditch.
"What happened?" I asked our distraught son, who held up his hand in response. Teeth marks were clearly visible between his thumb and wrist.
I turned to our daughter, who was now swinging her hips, sticking out her tongue and making taunting 'Nah, Nah" sounds while parading triumphantly the object of their fight.
A 5 pence coin!
Suffice it to say, time on the thinking step ensued for our daughter. Some TLC for our son. And a donation of 5p to the next collection box we come across.
I was right. Our little girl will go far. Very far. In the company of her white fluffy cat.