Saturday, 27 August 2011

Growing Up with Grown-ups

After not having blogged for so many months, it's a lot harder to come back to it than I thought. I've been working on a post that just doesn't seem to be going anywhere - probably because I'm trying to summarize what's gone one for the last four months (it feels like way more). But as I was looking through photos on my ipod, I found a few that were worthy of a post all their own.

I cannot complain that having a child has held me back from doing anything I've wanted to do - going out with friends, travelling, or even getting a coffee. If there is something going on we simply bring Isabella - living so far from family, we have no built-in babysitters. There are limitations, of course, such as trying to bring her into London needing a nap or trying to get the baby buggy up and down the steps of the Underground. And certainly, we go into the city far less than we used to because of those reasons. But Pedro and I are fortunate not to have that lost look some parents have, because Isabella is so well behaved and cool. Without a doubt, she is my sidekick and I like it this way.

All of that said, Isabella spends a lot of time with grown-ups. It is starting to show, I think. When we went to see our friends Ed and Cevin, who just moved to London, we barbecued on their massive balcony in St. Johns Wood all day. Isabella spent her time chatting with us (alas, they are kid people with no kids), playing with their iPad (filled to the brim with kiddie games), and taking the following pictures with my ipod. 

The photos were very telling. Make no mistake, she had a blast when we were there and didn't want to come home (there was also a trip to the park that day - a big highlight). But the following week she told me, "Mama, I need more kids at my house." Man, that made me feel lacking. We see a lot of our friends with kids during the week - especially now that we are on British summer holidays - school and playgroup are out. But with the two little girlfriends she has had since birth, she is noticeably the third wheel when they're all together. It's like they're just old enough to want exclusivity. The two sisters next door even play more with each other than with Isabella when they're together. She doesn't seem to notice this quite yet, and her innocence is heartrending to us.

My good friend from college, Rebekah, and her family drove down from the Leeds area to spend some time with us this week. Her kids, Graham and Josephine (5 and 3-years-old), really hit it off with Isabella. Seeing the three of them engaged and her really involved with the activity was restorative. Of course, they live three hours away. As a parent, especially with only one child, you tend to overthink everything (this post being a prime example). The clich├ęs make the truth no less true: all you want is the very best for your kids. But in the end they have to figure things out all on their own, especially friendships. 

I'm off now - I hear some lovely music drifting down from her bedroom. 

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