I am a second child. I am also the middle one. Woe is me.
I jest. A little.
Yes, perhaps there are issues associated with this. Yes, I am aware of them. Because sandwiched between the older, only brother and younger, cuter sister you often find yourself occupying the no-man’s land of filial interest.
So there really is no excuse for me inflicting the second child syndrome on the younger of my two very favourite little ladies. Sophie couldn’t blink, cut teeth, crawl, totter, walk, laugh, or cry, without my shutter clicking and capturing it. But lovely Lucy, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed gummy wonder has, to be frank, largely escaped the camera.
Until, that is, hot chocolate at the tea shop this morning when I discovered, as I always suspected, that Lucy is a natural.
No less loved than the first, I promise. Time passes and diaries fill and friends with two children have to face the week with a lot more structure than one. Not always time for the last minute, dash out the door, “shall we do this?” of old. 2012 will be the year of planning. I have written that down in my diary. It must now come to pass.
So let that be a lesson to me. Just take the pictures. Don’t wait for the perfect time, with the perfect light or the ideal moment. Because all too quickly they will grow up. That always seems to happen, especially when we’re not looking.
Or you are looking, but so often, you just don’t recognise the differences. The way their smile changes a little every day, and all of a sudden you’ve lost something to an inconsistent memory. Much better to use a memory card and be able to look back on a photograph.
For Christmas, the girls receive books from their Aunty Boeuff (the name Sophie gave me when she couldn’t wrap her mouth around Griff, which is the name my friends call me. And perhaps others, but they are polite enough to wait for me to leave the room first). The girls are fed well, clothed every day and find a new toy at every turn – so, for me, it makes perfect sense for them to receive my favourite thing as their gift from me. I don’t think there is a better present to give, but I am biased.
Selfishly, I enforced the early opening of presents so that I could enjoy them enjoying them. Sophie loved her set of Oliver Jeffers books, hardbacks of course. Beautiful illustrations and wonderful, warm, humorous stories to enjoy before bedtime. And over hot chocolate in the morning too. I didn’t complain.
For Lucy, I picked my absolute favourite ever children’s book. Ever. In the whole world. A recently reissued hardback (of course) edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Written by C.S. Lewis and dedicated to a much loved Lucy, it was perfect for my own much loved Lucy.
I hope that it sits silent, gathering dust, patiently waiting on a bookshelf, waiting for just the right moment for her to read or be read to, because I know she will fall in love with it, like I did. Like I still do.
Beautiful, wonderful, actual books. Gorgeous little worlds in papery cases.
Dear Father Christmas, you can keep your Kindle.