We have some friends who have recently gone into the pig-rearing business and they had a celebratory hog roast in a field at the weekend. After Betty's initial ten minute clingyness on arrival in the large stormy field with a pig cooking in a hole in the ground, we didn't see her again for the rest of the afternoon. Well, obviously we saw her, we were keeping a very close eye on her and making sure she didn't fall down the hot pig hole. What I mean is, she didn't see us for the rest of the afternoon. She had hooked up with her two pals, they formed an alliance, and they were gone.
They were playing proper games like dentists, tag, and hide and seek, as opposed to toddler games like pulling each other's hair, snatching, and making each other cry. And when they weren't drilling each other's teeth they just sat together with their pork rolls, whiling away the time under a tree in the distance, laughing and joking, and looking in our direction.
Later, at the children's suggestion, we all relocated to the nearby pub. It was a beautiful summer's evening and way past bedtime, but I had decided to let 'routine' go out of the window and it felt pretty liberating for a Gina Ford-ite such as myself. I felt that this was maybe the beginning of our Button adventures to come... Tom, myself and our two little ladies, staying up past our bedtime - there was no stopping us now... Next thing we'll be taking our children on an aeroplane and jetting off somewhere exotic (except we won't, because Tom is trying to save the planet).
Betty and her friends played for a long time in the pub garden. While I sat there full of nostalgia, remembering how my brother and I used to play here when we were little, Betty and co began throwing moss at some older children and shouting 'mucky muck' then giggling raucously. The older children (who could have even been teenagers) seemed pretty unfazed by the moss assault and continued with their game of chess.
If I hadn't been so stunned and overcome with how my sweet, precious first-born baby had suddenly grown up about twentyfold over the course of the day, I might have reprimanded her for her anti-social behaviour. As it was, I continued to sip on my beer and stop Dolly from eating stones, leaving Betty and friends embraced in a rugby type scrum and chanting 'WE WANT TO SLEEP IN A PINK TENT TOGETHER TONIGHT'.
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