We recently had our friend’s daughter to stay over night when her parents were away. I don’t feel it would be much of an exaggeration to say that I had one of the best nights of my life. It was so much fun that I wanted to share it with you. The world through the eyes of a 4 year old is a magical place and I feel very privilaged to have been drawn into it by the love and affection of this feisty little girl.
I picked up her and her bright pink Tinkerbell wheelie suitcase from nursery and the first thing we had to do was go shopping for tea. “Do you like chicken nuggets and chips?” I asked. I’m sure you can imagine the response I got. As we got into the car we were talking about the lovely sunny weather. You see she had been playing outside all day and as a result was covered more or less from head to toe in mud, including a very dainty little smudge right on the end of her nose. I asked her if she likes the sun and she said:
We continued the car journey over to the supermarket blissfully chattering away about anything and everything. I was filled in on all the details of her next birthday party (which is 11 and a half months away) where everything will be Tinkerbell themed. There will be Tinkerbell food, and Tinkerbell decorations. People will bring Tinkerbell gifts and the children will play pin the wings on Tinkerbell. I was cordially invited.
“At my next birthday I will be five.” She declared. “I can’t write the number five yet. Only one, two, three and four because I am four. But I can write the number eleven because it is just one and one.”
After an eventful and clearly thoroughly exciting shopping trip/game of hide and seek, we picked up my husband and went home for tea.
A particular level of excitement was to be had on seeing our house rabbit, Frodo, again. After he’d been unceremoniously ushered from his ‘kennel’ (lexical confusion not accurate description I can assure you!), there ensued a good 15-20 minute internal battle between wanting to be brave and stroke the soft furry rabbit, and then jumping back in surprise every time he moved. But she eventually conquered her reservations and even fed him his evening food- after worries that he “wants to eat my toes” were duly alleviated.
Then it was tea time and the chicken nuggets, chips and peas went down in no time at all. I suspect this was largely due to the knowledge that there were smarties ice-cream cones for pudding. After this we had a party in the living room, bounced on our bed and collected all the teddies we could find to sleep in her bed next to her. She remembered from the last time her family visited that I have a reversible Cinderella. A knitted doll that is a ragged girl in patched clothing one way up, and then turned over with the skirt pulled down a beautiful princess dressed for the ball is revealed. It was a precious moment to see her brought to life again after so long through the magic in this little girl’s eyes. A magic that often has almost faded from my own eyes. (Almost, but not completely!) Another favourite teddy was ‘Noco’. Orinoco the Womble. We hit a bit of a stumbling block though when I was asked what a Womble actually was… I said they were just Wombles and she responded knowledgeably “maybe it’s a Womble because of his pointy nose.” “Yes” I replied, “that must be exactly it.”
Then a story about Arthur and an Anteater (which was definitely as odd as it sounds), a kiss on the nose, the door left a jar and the light left on and she was fast asleep.
In the morning she chose fruit and fibre cereal but then came back to the kitchen with it saying that she didn’t like the raisins. So I took a spoon and scooped out all the ones I could see. But I was reprimanded. “No, I like the big raisins, only the small ones I don’t like.” I’m not much of a morning person so I gave her the spoon to scoop her own raisins out.
We had another party in the front room, bounced on our bed a bit more and then instigated a game of tag when it was time to get dressed. This consisted primarily of removing her pyjamas and then running around the house shouting “I’m a naked gingerbread man and you can’t catch me!”
I did catch her and we got the right clothes on in the right order. I plaited her hair and she was overjoyed when I told her she could keep the bobble.
Back in the car I was treated to another maths lesson. “Two fingers and two fingers makes four fingers, and all the fingers sticking out together makes ten fingers!” I was amazed.
I dropped her back at nursery where she proudly showed off her plait and told everyone that her friend Kat has a rabbit called Henry. Almost right.
Then I got a kiss and I left feeling more than a little bit sad. Our house, ears and hearts had been filled with four-year-old magic for a few short hours. When I returned home from work that evening I thought I could still see little bits of glitter sparkling where she had been. They faded fast though and were replaced again by the grown up world.