Lately the words haven't seemed to be coming. And I'm not unhappy, in fact, quite the opposite, but I think I am maybe just replete with my simple family life. I have moments, flashes of something so real and powerful, through the day, and I want to share them with you, but the words don't come.
I look at Scout's face as she bends over the toy train-tracks she is fixing for her brother and there is so much human intelligence inside that furrowed brow, I can't even explain. She's just SO REAL, this little girl who was once just a fantasy (like, I am back in my home town of Sydney and I just so happen to bump into somebody from my past and here, by my side, little hand clasped in mine, is a tiny blonde angel. And I say to this person from my past, so matter-of-factly, "Oh, this is my daughter..." And that scenario has never played out but my point is that once it was a fantasy because I never expected to have children and nobody who knew me ever expected me to have children but now, if I happened to TAKE Scout with me to Sydney, it could absolutely be a reality. And that... well, that blows my mind!). Here she is, loving me, challenging me, negotiating with me, making me laugh, this bright and affectionate little humanoid supernova dressed head-to-toe in pink, and the full comprehension of her very existence makes me dizzy.
I'm not telling this very well. I don't have the words.
Ralph wakes up in the morning and calls out for me from his cot. When I go into the children's room and open the curtains to let the early sunshine in, he launches into action. "Hide! Hide!" Still standing up in the cot, he grabs a blanket and throws it over his head, often staggering backwards because he can no longer see: a strange, teddy-bear-patchwork-quilt ghost in his sister's hand-me-down Peppa Pig leggings, missing one sock.
Ralph runs his entire life at 100 percent. From that first, ghostly moment until lights' out, Ralph plays, laughs, runs, kisses, talks, jokes, sings, rages, laments, eats and even sleeps at 100 percent. Again, language fails me. I want to tell you how substantial he is, with his meaty little paws and chubby, bare feet like bricks. Funny faces pulled to make me laugh, and a constant, foot-thumping, shadowy presence in my life as I go about the house: "What doing Mummy?" I feel like I can't do justice his adorable nonchalance when it comes to cheerful disobedience.
Me: "Ralph, turn off the television please." Ralph (not lifting a finger): "Just watching, Mummy."
Me: "Ralph, you can keep that car in bed but it's only to cuddle, not play." Ralph: "Not for playing, just cuddle?" Me: "That's right. It's sleepy time." Ralph: "Broom broom! I playing with my car!" Me: "No Ralph, only for cuddling, or I have to take it away." Ralph: "Alright Mummy. Just playing. Broom broom!"
Me: "Ralph, where are your shoes?" Ralph (with a grin): "Maybe in water?" (In case you are wondering, sandles do not float)
Ralph (in my arms, spotting the cat): "Ruby! Ruby!" Me: "You can pat her Ralph, but you must be gentle." Ralph: "Pat her very gentle?" Me: "That's right, Ruby likes you to be very gentle. You mustn't chase her." Ralph (leaping out of my arms and diving for the cat, who races under a chair): "Ruby! Ruby! AAAAAAAH!" Me: "No Ralph! You mustn't frighten the cat." Ralph (with an angelic smile and a demeanour as though he is reasoning with a dullard): "Very gentle Mummy. Just CHASING her Mummy."
I dunno. These aren't the best exchanges. I can't remember the really good ones because I'm just IN them and not remembering to record them, but I guess what I'm trying to say is just how much I love being a mother to these two incredible, opinionated, emotional, intelligent, loving little balls of electricity.
And how much I am learning from it all. Like, learning about how OTHER people learn.
Scout has been doing some little reading exercises. I show her the sentence "I am Sam." I ask her, "Where is AM?" and she points to it instantly. "Where is I?" Where is SAM?" and she points to each of them in turn. So then I point to AM and ask, "What's that word?" Scout pauses, one finger goes to her mouth. "Um, I don't know." She looks to me for reassurance. It's the same word, the word she just picked out without hesitation only a moment ago. But her brain hasn't learned yet how to make the connection between sight and sound, when it comes to reading. She's great at recognising letters but struggles when I try to get her to think about sounds."Where is M," I'll ask, pointing to a page of text, and she can pick them all out. But then I'll ask, "Which word starts with an M sound, mouse or baby?" And she'll say "Baby!" because she likes babies better than mice.
Anyway, this is all probably very boring for you and I promise to change direction the next time I post on this blog, but honestly I find it all FASCINATING and I don't know how to write about this motherhood thing properly, so instead, I'm blithering on in a fairly pointless overflow of words.
Oh, this is Ralph *not* chasing the cat.