Ok so living with poppy is an ongoing challenge, in the fact that you can not ever ever EVER really take your eyes off her. Is this possible, of course not. It’s physically impossible to spend all day watching and interacting with a two year old. They are a complete law to themselves.
I love my time with poppy and embrace it as every good dad should. I love the time I spend rolling a ball across the floor to her, and her joy at chasing that ball, and her considered concentration at trying to roll that ball back to me. I love her attempts to copy my hand movement that mirrors mine whilst trying to catch the ball. I am rewarded in her response to me as her guardian and teacher. I revel in the interaction of simple tasks, and it reminds me of the simple joys in life that we so easily forget as we grow older, wiser and more boring! I love hearing her spell out the word “Nike” on my T shirt in her garbled toddler talk, which are clearly the very beginnings of her understanding of the English language. I strive to second guess her understanding, looking for some kind of common ground that will help her understand better.
As an instructor in the prison service I always looked for ways to better help get the message I was employed to convey, to sink into the minds of some often very blank looking faces. The message was of course very serious but if the recipient isn’t on your wave length than your wasting your time. “You can lead a horse to water and all that”. Again the message here is serious but my audience in poppy has just barely less attention span of my officers in the service. So the pressure is greatly increased. This added to the fact that she can’t demonstrate what she has learnt also makes it tricky to move forward. Then of course, within seconds she is picking up the first thing to hand and throwing it across the room, or at you, or indeed just picking her nose. In fact the similarity to teaching in the service are blinding, actually.
So what I’m saying is that at some point I just have to leave her, and fold some washing or put the tea in the oven or wash some pots or wee. The list is endless, I got a house to run.
Of course we have minimised the danger in the room she is locked into, mainly out of trial and error and necessity. You know, replacing and finding the battery’s and cover on the remote control gets boring until you find a place to put it, that truly is safe. This often, being more and more increasingly higher and more ingenious, as over time she works out like an episode of mission impossible just how to stack various items of furniture up so that she can reach it. Or how many times you can take a biro off her, after she’s has drawn over the white walls, before you do a full interior search of the room to remove all such ink based contraband. ( I have never succeeded in finding all the biros ) The top of the microwave in the kitchen, which is considered level 5 secure at the moment, is full of them. Yet still, I often get handed one reluctantly when I enter back into the living room! How is this possible?
Today however whilst cooking her tea there followed a period of silence unnoticed at first which of course is the way. I think it’s your body’s way of just enjoying itself before reluctantly it allows that nagging grey cell that’s been banging on the door into your brain. All of a sudden you realise she has been quiet and that means trouble, with a capital “oh shit”. I enter the secure living room and the picture above is what I was confronted with. In a moment I am transported back to childhood horror films where a small child talks to a snowy TV set in a darkened room. Has she really placed all the various candles in the living room on a perfect line? Early OCD signs or possessed, you decide.