Respecting the wishes of my daughters, I put very little information about their visits and activities in my blog. But I can’t let the all too short visit by Jude, Ed, Ella and Maddie slip by without enthusing about how wonderful it was to have them here.
Jude and Ed spoilt me rotten, firmly doing all shopping, cooking and household tasks. Ed somehow packed in a demanding pre-breakfast cycle trip every two days, before reverting to kitchen duty and child care. Jude is a calm, loving presence, quietly (most of the time…) resolving child disputes
Ella is a delightful, articulate, sensitive five-year old with a fertile imagination, forever enacting dramas, often recruiting Maddie as her accomplice. Her prowess in the water continues to grow; this year she discover treading water and swimming on her back. And her jumps into the pool are done with gay abandon.
Maddie is an adorable, mischievous, strong-willed two year old. She has flummoxed everybody by her apparent refusal to talk, although it has been clear for some time that she understands language all too well. At last she is putting words together, albeit with a tendence to omit consonants (it takes practise to interpret “a-l” as “apple”) and insists on using her whole range of her own words. “Water” for example, is “deega”. All insects are of course “bees”. Amazingly she manages to compensate for her limited vocabulary by making her meaning very clear with her frequent use of “uh uh uh-uh-uh” accompanied by mime if necessary.
She has a strong sense of self at the centre of the universe, so “mine”, “my” and “me” are used with some force, while “sharing” still has to be worked at. Most of the time Ella is amazingly loving and tolerant, but every so often – not. It is tough, I tell her, being the eldest.
For the first half of the holiday Jude and Ed’s friends Sam and Charlie were here with their two children, Henry and Daisy. Jude and Charlie first met as expectant mums, and Henry and Ella shared a nanny for their first few years and have a close, complex relationship, alternating between loving play and vying to have their particular interests come first. The two families had a good time and were lucky with the weather. I hope this will be a regular fixture.
It would have been nice if I had not spent the entire two weeks having to drive every morning to Montpellier for my radiotherapy session. And catering for my restricted diet was an additional challenge for Ed, the cook, (and for me, to resist eating things I shouldn’t). Ella was most solicitous, saying she did hope that all this “treatment” was going to mean that I would not be ill any more with cancer, of which she seemed somehow to have some understanding.
This morning Jude and the girls shared the taxi taking me to Montpellier to be dropped off for a promised visit to a special toy shop, before they went on to the airport and an exhausting wait for a delayed plane. At least this time Maddie was not sick in the customs area!