Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Violet and Pencil

"Play with me, Mummy!" she says, bouncing on her feet. I shove aside the mountain of unfolded clothes without regret.

"What shall we play, honey?"

She regards me seriously, tipping her head to one side as she ponders. "Tea party," she concludes finally, grabbing my hand. "With my Dorothy teaset. I'll be Pencil, and you be Violet."

"May I have some tea, Pencil?" I say, cross-legged on her floor, a teddy propped up beside me, a city's worth of building blocks strewn just behind.

"Cert'nly'" she replies in a growly falsetto, tipping water from her tin teapot into my thumb-sized cup. (The floor wears some too; Dorothy the Dionsaur tea kettles are imprecise instruments, it seems.)

She presses a green block into my hand. "Now eat it, Violet," she instructs, miming with her own block. "It is delishus, see?"

I put it to my mouth, making exaggerated "mmmmm, mmmm" noises. "That was just lovely, Pencil. You are a wonderful cook."

A grin, then, "I am a boy. Pencil is a boy, Mummy-Violet. Pencil is a boy and Violet is he's Mummy."

"OK," I agree. "Shall we build a tower, Pencil? Or do something else?"

"Let's play the gentlemens game," she decides, and together we sing her favourite finger-play song, the one that uses each finger in turn to be a person. We waggle our thumbs and sing, "Two fat gentlemen met in the lane, bowed most politely, bowed once again. 'How do you do? How do you do? And how do you do again?'"

"Violet," she says, snuggling up on my knee, "I love you."

I kiss her hair. "I love you too, Pencil," I say.

"Not Pencil," she murmurs. "Just me again, now."

We sit, close and warm, for a long while.

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