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Sunday, 27 May 2012

The big fat gypsy bike

Its has been nagging away at me that I haven't written my blog in two months but I felt like I had nothing memorable to say - life was just being life. My flat sale completed so my constant state of anxiety waned, we had a gorgeous holiday in Egypt where Isla blew me away with her fearlessness of camels, jellyfish and falafel. I had an offer accepted on what I hope will be our new home which Isla already refers to as our duck pond house because of its idyllic position overlooking a, yep you guessed it, duck pond. And work has slowed down to a bearable jog rather than a Usain Bolt sprint. So life is good, but it felt pretty ordinary until today when I had time to stop and appreciate that you don't need to be doing anything special for life to feel incredibly special.

Normally at the weekend I try to pack it to the rafters with plans and we are off and out visiting friends and family as soon as the last spoonful of CrunchyNut Cornflakes is down the gullet. But today there were no plans (albeit not through lack of trying), so we had a beautiful sunny unplanned day stretching out before us.

We took the big fat gypsy bike down to the park ("its a hill mummy, hold on, hold on! I want Daddy!") and did a circuit of the playground stopping off at the sandpit, swings and zipwire before ice cream. When I bought the bike at Christmas, I was so excited by the thought of Isla's face when she unwrapped the pink monstrosity which only Katie Price and 3 yr olds could covet, I didn't stop to think that I would actually have to be seen in public with it. To retain some shred of dignity I jokingly referred to it as the big fat gypsy bike to friends, not realising that 3yr olds have no sense of irony (or knowledge of the Channel 4 series) and the next thing I know she's asking anyone who'll listen what they think of her big fat gypsy bike. I think that's what is known as an own goal.

I had contemplated getting a taxi back up the hill as there was no way the gypsy bike, laden down with its tassles, padded purple saddle, and the entire Monkey family on the back seat was going to make it up with Isla peddling. (Yes, you read it right, it does come complete with a dolly seat and furry handbag on the front, I kid you not). But our kids amaze us every day and true to form, she astounded me as she huffed and puffed her way determindley up Quarry Hill.

When we got home, the Monkeys were let out of their seat and lined up in a row. She crouched down to talk to them, "did you have a lovely day out, did you? Good." Before going off to sort out the hose to fill up the paddling pool. She yanked the hose across the garden, saying "I'll hold the hose while you put the tap on." When did my litte girl get so grown up?

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out together in the back garden, Isla stripped down to her birthday suit and sandals, revelling in her uninhibited freedom. We happily ate our lunch in the sunshine, dug up weeds with our matching pink gardening gloves and lined up dozens of garden snails for a race. Everytime one would start making some headway, Isla would put him back to the start, they must have been getting very frustrated if they had some place to go! After we read some stories we lay on the blanket for a snooze and i put another blanket over her to protect her from the sun. She lifted it over our heads, and as the sun shone through and we looked into each others eyes, giggling in our make-shift camp, I wanted to capture that moment forever. Our kodak moment when nothing could be more perfect.

After bath time, Isla tucked monkey up in his new bed (an empty Ariel tablet box we have stuffed with straw) and whispered "shh mummy, he is sleeping" before putting the box carefully by her bedside. Her little arms squeezed tightly round my neck as if they were hugging my heart. She blew me a kiss and said, "love you mummy". 

Tomorrow we will be returning to the frenetic pace of life, where everything has to slot into place to avoid a domino effect of chaos. But that's ok, because its days like those which make us appreciate days like these.

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