Today, Angharad's friends Dulcie and her brother Charlie Nightingale came to play. Naturally, Caroline and Mike (parents and friends of ours) came along too. We had fine lasagne and the kids insisted on jellies, ice-creams and sprinkles for dessert. And there were some beers too, natch.
That's Dulce and Ace concentrating on a jill-in-the-box. (Angharad always does that tongue-thing when concentrating.) What was nice was that Charlie, who is 7, not only looked out for the younger two but joined in and had a good time. At one point D and A were giving one another make-overs in the sand pit that involved pouring sand over one another. Taken in haste, you can see some of the after-effects here.
They went on to operate Angharad's mobile disco-and-mic combo at full blast whilst dancing like dervishes. For about three and a half hours the kids held hands, chased each other, took turns leading the various play and just laughed. It was a truly lovely afternoon and Angharad went to bed happy as Larry. Here's Master Charles:
Goodbye hug and kiss.
Over post-prandial coffees the four adults had been talking about the McCann case. We thought that the parents had been terribly vilified for their error of judgement; that so much of child-rearing is about risk-management and where we draw lines. Not only wont all parents draw lines in the same place but any particular parents may not even draw their line in the same place next time (at least not if they learn from experience).
The four of us had left the three kids alone to play in the front room whilst we chatted in the dining room. We could hear their singing, laughing and dancing and only felt the need to investigate if it suddenly went quiet. Our front room is a typical front room with CD player (Ace can operate this), sofas, CDs, books, etc. Breakable things are out of reach. No dangerous edges anywhere. Fireguard and built-in ornamental poker block the gas fire from tiny fingers. Windows all locked. etc etc. So imagine our surprised horror when Dulcie came trotting through giggling and Angharad came chuckling behind her waving said poker with it's fearsome looking marlin-pike hook. In her 62 months on this earth Angharad has never touched the poker. Perhaps Dulcie or Charlie had picked it up and Angharad took it off them; perhaps this was just the day that she decided to play with it of her own volition.
Perhaps, perhaps, what if. Clearly, one of the kids could have brained the other, and two families' lives would have been forever changed. As it was, the four of us mostly reacted with a muttered, 'dear god...!', a quick hold of head in hands and laughter. Because we've all seen this before; some thing, some activity, something new to her or perhaps something old and familiar the child now uses in a new way for the first time, blindsiding our expectations and making fools of our risk analyses and H&S manuals.
Kate and Gerry McCann. May their god bless them and be with their 3 kids. For non-god-botherers among us, let us judge-not lest we find our lives tipped over during something as safe as a wonderful Sunday afternoon meal with friends.