This morning, Ieuan went to his best friend’s birthday party (dressed as Ironman for a change) and I stayed home with Caitlin. She announced she wanted to ‘play princesses’.
It’s funny isn’t it, but we often forget that all our children really want to do is spend time with us; to have our undivided attention. This is particularly important when the second child arrives and arguably more so when you have one girl and one boy. Ieuan is lost in a world of superheroes and girls are woefully under-represented in the superhero department, save of course Bat Girl and Wonder Woman. Playing princesses is something Caitlin rarely gets to do.
Now that I am in my 50’s I have to confess that my princess days may be somewhat behind me and now that the distance between girlhood and womanhood is wide, play of this sort requires quite a bit of role play and memory retrieval on my part! This is one of those aspects of late motherhood you don’t take into consideration. But it’s important. We teach our daughters to be women, don’t we?
So we got out our dresses and my wedding tiara, which Caitlin has been coveting and played dress up.
This is, apparently, what Caitlin wishes I dressed like every day. I love the world of a young girl where there are no bars to wearing tiaras whenever you feel it. It’s a bit of a shame, isn’t it, that the pressure to conform makes some of us so uncreative with our dressing (and, admittedly, lazy!).
In amongst the talk about dresses and jewellery, confidences were shared and questions asked that would not have been mentioned if the topic had been raised directly – how old was I when I had children, what happens when you get old, will she have to move far away if she gets married. Questions shyly asked in a quiet space where the answers were thoughtfully received and digested. Usually, it’s a struggle to get much acknowledgement at all.
And really, how much time do we have for shared moments like these? Our children don’t grow up so much as sprint away from us it seems. I will make sure that I spend far more one on one time with both my kids because, no matter how well you seem to know them when they play together, it’s the time spent with them as individual people that I think may pay the greatest dividends.