Frequently my daughter and son surprise me by how utterly normal they are. They conform to society’s stereotypes of what a little boy or girl should be like. Lily loves Disney princesses and dressing up and having her hair cut and shopping and trying to put things right with the world. Joseph loves banging things on other things, building tall structures, whinging about going around another shop, celebrating all that is steam-train related and eating more pudding.
However, they also continue to surprise me by how utterly unique they each are. So, for example, as well as Disney’s Cinderella on this year’s birthday cake, we also have long-standing instructions to include silhouettes. Because 5-year-olds aren’t scared of silhouettes. And Lily wants to invite her friends to celebrate with her at the nearest Anglo-Saxon royal burial site. Because why do what everyone else does, right? And it seems utterly normal to her to converse with the curators of a local historical mansion about why she is afraid of her favourite clock there and what a scullery is and how her mummy and daddy used to turn the ‘split’ by the kitchen fire in ‘oldendays’ at the top because they are taller. History is the latest big thing for this little girl and she’s already coming home from school telling us new information about oldendays such as ‘did you know in oldendays sometimes people had children before they even got married?’ which leave us pretty confused as to how to continue.
Lily used to have imaginary pets, but killed off Beaky and the rest when she realised that children at nursery were confused. Such a people-pleaser.
Now it seems Joseph might be getting into imaginary animals. He has a habit of growling and roaring for laughs. He is more of a crowd-pleaser, and heading for class-clown if his pointless humming at table has any bearing on the future. Or perhaps we should see about getting him a scholarship as a choir-boy. He’d look so cute…
But back to mealtimes with Joe. I wondered who was going to eat some laboured-over morsel he was entertaining a couple of days ago, and he pointed to the empty (?) chair beside him and clearly said ‘Lion’. Lily and I thought that was great and laughed, which was the cue he needed to talk more about the lion. So far we know that the Lion likes his food and roars and may or may not be called ‘Ayin.