Although everything I write is, in its way, about them, I don’t write that much about them here. Partly this is because I thought I’d only just given you an update about them, but it seems two years have passed since this. So, here we go.
There was the annual beautiful chaos of T’s birthday party a few weeks ago. Thirteen girls this year, plus the two brothers. Craft inside — ceramic pens on birds, hearts & mugs — then pizza at the table at the bottom of the garden. Spontaneous French skipping, then pass-the-parcel and the crazy ‘chocolate game’. T threw her arms around each of her friends as they arrived at the front door and her delight, as always, reminded me of her sitting on the step waiting for the first guest to arrive at her second birthday party & her total joy when the doorbell went. She looked ridiculously beautiful in her own inimitable style — wearing one of her dresses from our wedding last year over three-quarter length leggings, her long hair clipped back from her face.
She still reads all the time. She plays the clarinet & is in the local schools’ wind band. She likes netball and ballet. She’s tall and graceful and still walks round on her tip-toes. She’s fiercely loyal to her close group of friends, but she also has lots of different friends from ballet and band and swimming. She keeps a commonplace book filled with her observations and little quotes from things she’s read. She read some out to me from a couple of years ago & it was beautiful to be reminded of those days from her perspective. She has all of the characters in the Harry Potter books listed on six pieces of paper stuck to the side of her bookcase. Sometimes I remember how we thought we’d never get through those days of endless feeding and changing and crying — and then I almost cry at how ridiculous the notion of her at nine would have been to us, but how perfectly like her nine month old self she still is.
The Moose is six. The Moose is dreamy and delicious. I wake him, or try to wake him, each morning with kisses on the soft plumpness of his cheek. When he comes out of school he often looks sheepish, or like he’s emerging from the darkness into blinding light. He either shrugs or gives me his double thumbs up & I know how it’s gone.
He doesn’t like to have to remember things, but sometimes a memory just ‘rises up’. Often he scampers through to the kitchen when I’m cooking their tea to tell me something he wants me to write on the whiteboard — that they have to bring jackets to school tomorrow because they’re walking to church, or that I promised I’d read more of the Moomins at bedtime. His reading and, especially, writing are nothing like T’s at his age, but since Easter he’s been reading for pleasure, reading things that don’t come home from school, reading his own facts from the Petit Filous pots — even if I have to remind T not to read them for him.
He’s all about the inventing: forever searching the recycling box for just the right thing. He calls his masking tape his ‘master tape’ and I don’t ever want him to stop. He’s stopped staying ‘it look likes’ for ‘it looks like’, but he still says ‘taste-is’ for ‘tastes’, as in ‘this pizza taste-is delicious’. He’s also the most non-competitive, simply loving of the three.
And Pops. Oh Pops! He’s only called his real name at pre-school, still going by Popsy, or Pops, or (am I a terrible mother for forever improvising on his name?) Mopsy, or Mops, or even Muppy-Muppy, the name he gives to any toy dog ever. I think there are people who have no idea what he’s really called; someone tried Oscar the other day (not all that far off) and he replied anyway.
His legs are growing long, but but he still has another year of forest pre-school before he starts school. He insists that we do the ‘alphabet book’ every day, tracing over three or so of the letters together & reciting their ditties. Then we watch Mr Thorne Does Phonics — which both cracks me up (Mr Thorne has a brilliant Brummie accent which reminds me of home) and brings tears to my eyes because it seems like five minutes ago I was watching these videos with T. Pops also loves reading, being read to, jigsaws, painting, and his big brother. He spends most of the afternoon asking, ‘Is it nearly time to get them yet?’ He’s happy nearly all of the time, but when he hurts himself & cries he says, ‘Eat my tears, Mumma!’ and I do, kissing them from his eyes & cheeks: warm, salty, delicious.