I had plans for Monday. Then on Sunday I forgot to do something I needed to do in order for those plans to happen. As a result Monday unfolded in a way unlike the way I had imagined. But hey ho, sometimes, loosing a plan ain’t a bad thing, this is my latest post…
Yesterday my daughter and I went on a hunt for horses.
The first paddock we came to the horses had been corralled into a smaller enclosure so that we couldn’t reach them. We tried. Or rather I tried – attempting to make myself as small as a blackbird to creep through some brambles and over two discarded beer cans to reach the fence, but Eve commented on my plan with words and sounds to the effect of “ma, uh uh” and so I retreated back to the path and scooped my daughter up and we made our way to another field about a 10minute (30minute) walk away, where there are always horses. Always it is, apart from yesterday, when these trusted steads weren’t there. Eve and I would need to, it appeared, would need to look further.
So we walked on. Or rather I walked on and Eve was carried. With certain things I’m a bit of a softie with my daughter and carrying is one of them. It’s not going to be forever that I can carry my little girl, so I have this weird half loving it relationship and half just wishing I could be firmer. But because I will do anything not to take the buggy out (a sure way to ruin a good walk) and because Eve is now too big to carry in one of those carrier things, or rather my back is too decrepit now as a result of using those carrier things a lot in the first 18months of Eve’s life, we find ourselves at this point in time with me doing a lot of carrying (bonkers I know; buggy ain’t that bad) and Eve doing a lot of being carried.
So I am carrying Eve as we trek across this huge field in search of another paddock that has horses and because carrying a little human can be heavy going we have a pit stop squatting down and staring at the golden autumnal leaves. Or rather I am staring at them and explaining to my daughter why they touch my heart so much and then I stop, thinking I am talking too much and we flop onto our backs and raise our gaze to look at the aeroplanes criss-crossing above us and at the clouds gliding across the sky, and then Eve turns around and sticks a grubby finger into my belly button, which makes me squirm and her giggle and so go for some more pokes until I pick her up and tickle her or kiss her – I forget which one. And then a truck comes by for the second time, the drivers looking at us wondering what on earth we are doing lying on our backs in the middle of a field. We stand to the side like soldiers at attention and wave and say hello. And they wave and say hello to us and it’s little moments like this that make me smile: the waving and saying hello and getting a wave and a hello back. For sure one of the sweet joys of having a child is that suddenly people become more approachable. They’re open to being waved at – you have a child with you, of course it’s only natural to wave and say hello! Otherwise there’s just so much armour. Sometimes.
Once they pass we troop on across the field to the horses, Eve throwing her arms to the air and pleading “carry me mama,” as if she can only just muster the energy to say those words, asking me to pick her up in my arms and I comply, for Chrissake I comply! So we make our way like two tortoises across the field, me picking up Eve and then getting her to walk about a meter before hey ho lifting her up again. And then we go into the paddock and there are horses there and I can’t remember if I carried Eve across this bit of the field or if she walked, it just felt so nice to see some horses. And we walk over to one and Eve immediately opens her arms for the horse to rest his head in her arms and she strokes his face like he is an old friend ‘oh my darling,’ she says with real feeling and softness as if it is her phrase not one she has heard me say. “Oh my darling.”
And we hang out with the horse with us walking this way and him following us and then us walking that way and him stopping and cocking his head as if to say hey you two, I don’t get it. And the truth is neither do I, but it’s fun exploring and then he turns the other way and I am telling my daughter to be soft and gentle and lets go slowly and then Eve notices the trough and this smile appears for she has this grand experiment going on with water and so I roll up her sleeves and then I get distracted on my phone and when I look up my daughter is slurping the horses water, surreptiously looking at me from the corners of her eyes, least I spy her and ask her to stop. Which I do – with a “ai yi yi” that Evie hears and so stops, albeit with a smile the size of a watermelon and I walk over and see a nice big bit of bird poo on the corner of the trough, and then I look at the water which is ebony lime green with mould. In other words a mothers ideal drinking water for her child.
And then we make our goodbye’s because it’s been a long trek this find a horse mission and it’s at least another half an hour back home and it’s nearly lunch and the clouds are getting darker and I’m feeling hungry and I know Eve is on the cusp of hunger too and tiredness isn’t far away which is never something you want to be negioating out in a field a bit from home with a couple of bites left of a carrot and only some mouldy water to contend with. So we stomp back, me carrying Eve, me putting down Eve and trying my best to encourage her to walk a bit further. And then we reach the place where the ‘cock’a’looloo’ lives and listen for his call, which doesn’t come and we see the big old sow on our rights and we pass the chickens on our left and the rain starts coming down and I’m not feeling so strong – a mixture of not so much breakfast, a hell of a lot of carrying and the general fate of a lot of parents: severe sleep deprivation. So we sit down on the grassy path, a few drops of rain pattering down and I lean against the bush behind me which provides surprising comfort and support and Eve pokes the twigs and says “look mama” and I look and say “yeah they look like sticks” and she says “look mama” and I look again and say “yeah it’s a stick, but it’s attached to the bush so it’s not ready to be a stick yet” because we like to collect sticks on our walks and this seems to please her and then the rain starts a bit more and so we go on, Eve booming out ‘it’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring,” like a toddlerette version of Pavarotti.
And then we get to the path that leads to Eve’s grand-parents house and we collect the sticks that we left there at the beginning of our walk and Eve walks down the path without me carrying her, singing an ode of love to “muddy puddles” along the way. And then we get into the barn and I make pasta and some broccoli for the 810th time in 2 years (god – thank you so much for this food: truly I do not know what I would do without it) and we eat and then Eve sleeps and I lie down beside her and do a body scan to recharge and then get out of bed and do some work on the computer and reply to emails whilst she sleeps. Because we were meant to be driving back to London, but I had forgotten to transfer the child seat from her father’s car to the car I am borrowing, so instead we are temporarily marooned, throwing the net open on finding our way through a day with a change of plans…
So here’s me, throwing the net open – everywhere & anywhere x