“Are you doing your article?”
“Yes well I’m trying to darling…”
“You could write about me and Arlo.”
“Arlo, as in..?”
“Arlo our next door neighbour Arlo.”
(*Previous neighbour, we recently moved.)
Arlo is a beautiful Labrador that Maia has always been rather fond of.
“He’s cheeky. I just love him. I’ll just wait here in case you need anymore answers” she says, perching herself on a stool near my desk, crossing her legs and gazing over at me as I type. My little girl had never looked so grown up.
I needed to get on with writing, but I could tell she had no intention of going anywhere, and it did feel nice that amongst all the bickering that goes on between us, on this particular Sunday evening all she wanted was to hang out with her Mummy.
After less than a minute she rose from her stool and began pacing up and down my bedroom, head down, arms behind her back, as if in deep thought on some complex matter, before breaking into a sort of silent dance routine. And then back to the pacing.
It wasn’t easy trying to concentrate with all the movement going on around me, it was like a series of short sketches. But she was being surprisingly quiet, so I thought why not try and work around her. Plus it’s not ideal only being able to write alone, in perfectly silent conditions. I knew I should try and get accustomed to a small level of commotion.
I got what I asked for as she started rifling through various art-related materials on my desk, which always makes me a little uncomfortable, then asking if she could look inside a rather appealing pretty pink box on my drawers. (A box full of tiny objects that are for whatever reason special to me. Her hospital name tags from when she was born, USB sticks with thousands of baby photographs, her first mittens, receipts from special occasions. Things I’d rather didn’t go astray.)
“Er not that one, there’s nothing fun in there. Just give me a minute darling”. I say, knowing I wasn’t getting anywhere with the writing, beginning to feel both anxious and irritated whilst conversely quite liking her company.
“Okay, I’ll ask you some questions, and all you have to do is say the first thing that comes into your head.” I say, not really knowing where I was going with this.
“Okay” she beams. “This is very exciting!”.
“How old are you?”
“What do you like about being six?”
“Well it just feels like grown up, but it still feels like I’m actually five, there’s nothing really changing, except for now I’m six”. Well said.
“You wrote on your white board “Dreams and Goals”, have you been learning about dreams and goals at school?”
“So what’s one of your goals?”.
She takes a moment.
“My goal is to learn how to click my fingers…So I can dance to music and click my fingers”.
I smile at the innocence and simplicity of it. If only my dreams and goals seemed quite so achievable. (Although going by her current clicking ability, she’s got a long way to go, she’s set herself a laudable challenge). I wonder who will reach their goal first. Mine was to finish this column by dinner.