Out of nowhere, like a February butterfly emerging from a rarely used closet, colourful against a sunless, magnolia bedroom wall, the magic moment that only a child can offer appears. Conjured by the power that is toddler magic, it will be when you least expect it. You had better be careful-it will take your breath away.
It might mean so little to a stranger. Even another mother, father or loving guardian may just give a quick smile at such a story, but to me, knowing my Gigi so well, I was overwhelmed by the golden colour of this moment.
Gigi had time in Crumlin hospital as a baby. We have been extremely lucky. Gigi is in the clear (another story for another day, when I feel I can relive that horror ) and for that we are living in a blessing every day.
The hospital are doing research on her former condition and as she is two years on and developing at a perfectly ‘normal’ (anyone got a better way of saying this) rate, hitting all milestones as she goes along, the hospital has chosen to study her now- in order to help future sufferers. Of course. We feel we must participate. It can only help. Mr Paper ironically hates paperwork so I filled in the dense pile of questions on a break at work. As Gigi was just turning two, I found all the ‘excellent’ ticks would stop at a certain level in each section and realise it was to do with age. What it has afforded me is a clearer realisation of every milestone she is now hitting just as it happens. I mean walking, talking, toilet training etc are all quite obvious when they occur and are thrilling. These are less subtle emotional milestones that I may not have observed without a heads up , such as the ability to empathise or express feeling. I had read these thinking of my egocentric angel at that time and wondering if that would come in the next few years.
Aged two and five months and here we are.
I don’t know if that is early, late or whatever by the medical standards. I just know that it is amazing and wonderful.
It had begun before the Magic Moment. Small amounts. Thomas the Tank Engine crashed. Gigi said ‘Poor Thomas’. I gave her a new Alice in Wonderland book. One illustration shows Alice in tears (making me question my choice of text as I remember AIW being very unsettling to read or watch a child). Gigi pointed out, ‘little girl cry Mammy’. A more emotive and personally touching occasion was in the morning. We were in our holiday house, sitting on the couch watching a cartoon and eating apples. Twice Gigi put her hand on my arm and asked, ‘Are you OK Mammy?’. I know she was copying an action I (and her nannas) had performed toward her countless times, swap Mammy for Gigi, and how glorious it was. I was touched by the tenderness of the gesture.
We are leading to my Magic Moment. Will the massive build up damage the impact?!! For me, never.
This is why we choose to have babies. Why we elect to be professional nappy changers. Throw our right to a good night’s sleep to the wind. Allow our body (if we are the bearer of the pregnancy) to alter forever. Live with teething as a part of our world for years. It is for these little people to be in our lives. It is to see them progress. It is for the wow wee moments that knock us out. It is to see them be happy.
We had just been to Ardmore strand. A beautiful beach, pretty village and on a summery day, some place close to heaven.
We had lunched in the car. Not fancy,not even that comfortable. It was glorious. Cheat food. Cheat, not cheap- gourmet takeaway in fact. Pizza and chips (burger for Mr Paper) from the lovely Shipmates cafe in the village and took them out as our children were asleep. (They deserve the nod. Child friendly, good service and tasty food). Gigi awoke in time for her first pizza slice which she really enjoyed.’Pizza Mammy!’, she kept announcing smiling beatifcally all the while. Baby Betsy snored.
Onto the beach. Betsy’s first time to be by the seaside. As it turns out she is a sand monster. She eats the sand. Obviously I tried to stop her! Having none of it. I googled it quickly (anxious Mammy) as it was nigh on impossible to stop her and let her sit on a towel. That stuff gets everywhere! It is seemingly a regular occurence and as long as the beach is safe, she should be OK. I know. What?! Gigi got to build castles. Dip her toes in the sea. Scream when the ‘waves’ washed over her little knees. Walk with her Daddy through the rock pools. After an hour, we got out while the going was good, and settled back into the car. Sand sticking to the every surface, damp plastic bags filled with what felt like every stitch we owned requiring the wash, I turned around to my little girl. ‘Did you like the beach Gigi? ‘.
She smiled. ‘I happy Mammy. I happy.’
My heart melted. She had never said that before. Isn’t that all we want for them? To be happy? There it was. She meant it too. I hope I never forget that feeling. Hearing my little girl was happy.
Maybe it was the holiday. The trip that made me feel so uncertain. The nerves leading up. Holidays with More than One Kid-a Whole New World. The ‘unperfect’ trip ( making words up now, imperfect just sounded too posh). It had done what a holiday should. It made us happy.
Gigi asked for ‘ifecream ‘.
So that’s just what we got.