Conversations in Time

Mole’s perception of time is a constant source of fascination for me. To say “five minutes” or “two months” or “three years” is meaningless to her. To say “The cake will be ready when the long hand reaches the twelve” is a bit more meaningful, but the best measure of time is in sleeps.

Ballet lesson is in 5 sleeps.

Mole’s school trip is in 16 sleeps.

Hedgehog’s birthday is in 21 sleeps.

We go to France in 60 sleeps.

My birthday is in 90 sleeps.

Christmas is in 180 sleeps.

(the bigger the sum I have to do in my head, the more I guestimate, Mole never keeps track anyway).

Mole routinely talks about things which happened when she was two, at the last place we lived, as if it was last week. I’m impressed with the way her memory darts about, retrieving little details that I’d not thought about, and focusing on things like the colour of Granny’s socks on the day we went to the beach and saw the dolphins.

I’ve learned not to mention any big event until a week before, or even the night before, because otherwise they’ll be constantly asking “Is it xxx yet?” and drive me nuts.

The new Frozen film coming out in September for example, is in 120 sleeps, more or less. We never go to the cinema, mainly because of the obscene price, choosing instead to watch films on our projector screen at home, but we’ll be going to this one because of Mole and Hedgehog’s obsession with Frozen.

I can trace the start of their general interest in princesses from the time they first saw this film. Since then it’s branched out to all the other Disney heroins, featuring Pocohontas, Snow White, Rapunzal, Ariel, Aurora, Moana and Tiana.

Now Mole and Hedgehog pick up their heroins in the form of Barbie dolls in our local Bernado’s shop, (or Banana-nados as Hedgehog calls it). We go here about once in every 30 sleeps, so now they have quite a collection. It’s the only bit of shopping that I take them on, since the “I want this Mummy” whines are not worth the hassle otherwise. It gives them something to do while I browse the clothes racks or find another pair of trousers for Mr M&H.

It is true that Mole and Hedgehog (at the tender age of 3 and 5) reflect princess films in much of their play together, especially Hedgehog, who scampers around the house with her Ariel or Ana doll, frantically swinging her legs and re-enacting scenes with an intense passion that I’ve tried to film several times, before being spotted and told to ‘go away’.

It seems that my former ideal of avoiding all things girly and princessey, and raising my children on a diet of climbing trees and building jenga towers - has fallen by the wayside. But I probably don’t need to worry too much.

Their favourite Netflix shows right now are about superhero’s, namely PJ Masks, Ladybird Girl and Whisper. These feature girls doing daring deeds and having adventures – a bit more inspiring than the princess story. And it seems there is no room for boys. Right now they have a sign on their bedroom door, written by Mole, that reads “no bois allarrrrd, only grils and ballerinaaas”. Even Mr M&H is barred from the bedroom, unless he is reading them a bedtime story, then he is ‘allarrrd’.

And what about the far distant future?

Last week Mole revealed that she wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up, and Hedgehog wants to be a Queen.

“You like your writing and painting too though” I remind Mole.

Mole considers this.

“I could be an artist, AND a hairdresser” she says eventually.

“Yes you could” I say.

I’ll refrain from comment about Hedgehog’s ambition, at least she’s aiming high.

And what about Beaver? Well, for her time is not linear yet, she doesn’t know what time is. She’s gone from a blinking and bewildered newborn, into a smiley and distracted four month old, who pauses mid-feed to stare into your face with open mouth and a look of pure wonder. The outside world is full of new sights, sounds and smells for her. This week I’m keeping her in the garden, to sleep on a blanket and listen to the bluetits who are nesting in our birdbox.

She sits on my lap and gurgles as I write this, trying to reach the keys and dribbling.

Our conversations go something like this…

Beaver: “Oooooo uuuu aaaaaaaaa gggggg hhhhhhh!”

Me: “Hello!”

Beaver: (smiley face) “Ooooo aaaaaaa hhhhhhh ooooooooo”

Me: “Yes!”

Beaver is at that great stage before she can start asking awkward questions, such as the one from Mole this morning…

Mole: “Mum, what’s that?”

Me: “Ummmmmmmmm” (looks around distractedly and hopes Mole goes away)

Mole: “Mum, what’s that?”

Me: (decides it’s better to just do the full exclamation) “It’s my mooncup. You know how mummy gets blood every month?”

Mole: “Yes”

Me: “Well, now that I’ve had Otter, my blood has come back, so I have to wear the mooncup to catch the blood”.

Mole: “Oh”.

I take the said mooncup upstairs and into the bathroom. She follows me, innocently smiling.

I forget to lock the bathroom door.

Mole: “Mum, can I come in?”

Me: “NO!”

Seriously, zero privacy, you can’t get anything past them, they want to know EVERYTHING!

The great thing is they believe anything you tell them.

Like Mole believing that mermaids exist because I told her so.

I was trying to keep the magic alive.

There is santa, santa’s elves, the tooth fairy, I mean, where do you draw the line?

It’s a tricky one.

They won’t twig for years yet, so I reckon I’ll just enjoy the magic while it lasts.