Once is never enough

January 11, 2016

On New Year’s Eve 2015 young Persephone, champing on the bit to be nine years old rather than eight, was given permission to stay up to ring in 2016.  Her delight was magnified because she would be attending a grown-up party at her Aunt Shonagh and Alex’s home, it was tempered because young Tally, quite content to remain six years old, was also granted a similar very late bedtime.  It did no good to remind her that every New Year’s Eve since she had been a six-year-old had passed unremarked and largely unmarked by her family, and she was certainly not old enough to party with others elsewhere, just yet.  The lack of previous celebrations wasn’t her concern, the impertinence of Tally not doing penance until he reached a satisfactorily august age was.

Providing assurances that Tally was highly unlikely to still have his eyes open and his wits about him much past 9pm mollified Miss a bit.

The party kicked off with the arrival of guests and the flowing of libations.  One by one the younger generation hit the sack.  Tally climbed onto a footstool on all fours, mumbling incoherently, tucking himself into a sweet little ball a little after the predicted hour.  He was carried upstairs and deposited into bed, much I’m sure to Percy’s satisfaction.

Festivities continued.

Around 10pm a very fast and fun game of ‘Articulate’ was begun.  With much enthusiasm Miss P did her very best to keep up with the adults; the cerebral, tertiary educated lot of them.  It is plain she’s a competitive kid, her shrieks at wins and groans at losses were plentiful and heartfelt.  At the conclusion of the game, hotly contested, she wailed for more.  “That’s enough for now, no more, maybe later.”  Ever said those phrases to a kid before?  As adults, and particularly parents, we know they really mean “No.”  And if they don’t, then they mean “later, as in a week or more, from now.”  Once is never enough for a child.  The repetition of song, rhyme, pattern, chant is crucial for learning.  Singing about bus wheels, rainbows, clapping and farm animals gets deathly dull halfway thru the third round for anyone over the age of five.  Then we move on to other repetitions, which at the moment in our house is the shouted refrain; “Get up and fight like a Sanchez!” mixed with anything Harry Potter and for Percy the dogged determination of mimicking anything adult-related; running a restaurant, staying up late at parties or wearing high heeled shoes.  I’m relieved there’s plenty of ‘kid things’ she does and adores, I don’t want her growing up before I’m ready!  (Which is a topic for another day.  Maybe later…)

The countdown concluded, we kissed every body, we sang Auld Lang Syne arms crossed, holding each other’s hands.  Percy bounced and beamed!  It was a splendid night for her.  It was a splendid night for Paul and I too, in the bosom of our family, our children loved and lit-up in the glow, the music so reminiscent of our years before children, the company engaging and the food delicious.

The final wonder for Percy before her gorgeous, soft head lay down truly happily tired, was watching the lantern lit in the back yard, freed from a snag on the hedge, fly higher and further and higher yet over the roofs of London town.  Once was definitely not enough and we must repeat gathering our little family in one place, under one roof, much more often.