Conversations with Hedgehog

Tonight I had some interesting conversations with Hedgehog while we were going to bed.


The process of going to bed was taking longer than usual because a) Mole was out at her gymnastics lesson, meaning that Hedgehog is keeping half an ear out for the front door and won’t truly settle until Mole is safely returned, and b) Beaver is involved in bedtime stories now, and insists on reading the book backwards, several times, which makes what should be a straightforward process take about two hours.


We were lying in the dark together, having cuddles and willing the sleep to descend, when Hedgehog launches into an unbroken monologue about her day. I asked the usual questions about her school day about six hours ago, but she didn’t remember anything then. Now she remembers everything and wants to tell me all the details. This could be a ploy to avoid going to sleep.


She starts off saying that ‘daddy is the best daddy in the world’ and ‘mummy is the best mummy in the world’. I wonder if I could put that on my CV. Then she asks about God, and whether everyone in the world has two daddies, because ‘God is the Father’. Then she asks if Zeus is the God, and if so, then she knows what God looks like, because she’s seen pictures of Zeus in our Greek Myths book. I try to explain that Zeus and ‘the Father’ are just ideas of God, and that mummy and daddy prefer to think of God as a creative force, that is not male or female, but Hedgehog is uninterested and carries on with her monologue.


Then I learn that ‘Alfie P’ is no longer her boyfriend at school, it seems mainly because they are no longer in the same class this term, but she likes Jacob, and Jacob likes her because he asked to stand next to her in the playground. Then there was something about Isabella and Abigail fighting over a ball on the pirate ship, and not being best friends anymore. Hedgehog’s new best friends are Layla, Tara and Primrose.


The conversation then turned to the nature of time. Hedgehog wanted to see photos of the Great-Grandmother that she never met, and of Granny Purple Hair when she was my age. She said that she wants us always to be together, and doesn’t want to grow up because then “We would have to leave home, and part of the family would have to go and live in a different house, and how would we do that?”.


Then there was “Why was Jesus born to die?”, followed by “I don’t want to die, I want to live forever”. Faced with too many spiritual conundrums to explain to a six year old, I started talking in whispers in the hope that she’d settle, when the door was heard to open downstairs. Hedgehog sits bolt upright in bed and declares “Mole is home”. She bounces downstairs wide awake, Beaver toddles out from the other side of the bed, leaving me wondering yet again where my precious evening has gone, and why on earth I bother. Going to sleep at the target time of seven o’clock is a very hit-and-miss affair.


10 o’clock now and they are now all in bed and quiet, so apart from writing this I’m researching ‘autumn cake decorations’ for Mole’s eighth birthday cake that I will be making next week. Hedgehog had the bright idea of a ‘Chocolate and blackberry cake’ which I thought was a stroke of genius, and I’ve just found some ‘edible paper autumn leaves’ on amazon, so an autumnal chocolate cake involving blackberries and leaves is coming together. We’ll be having a pillow-party-sleepover with her closest posse, which right now includes just four girls, which is manageable and should be easily catered for with pizza and a movie. We’re going to a theme park for the big day, so I’m guessing we’ll do the cake and presents in the afternoon once we’re home, providing I hide them in the morning. This is all part of the mummy job description.


Now I have cheese, crackers and chutney on my mind, so I guess I’d better go and get some before I pass out on the sofa. It is at this point that a little Hedgehog face appears on the stairs and asks in her sweetest voice if she can have an apple. She likes to eat fruit at odd times. Caught at my most tired and worn down, I agree, and we have a chutney and apple feast together.


Late night feasts / cuddles / conversations are the best.