Take the other day, when (already running a little late) we exited the house to go and collect Ava from nursery. Upon opening the front door, Ruby clocked the bees which were happily bouncing between the flowers on our lavender bush.
"MUMMY!" Ruby squeaked. "BEEEES!"
"Yes, don't touch them darling..." She wasn't touching them but she was already grabbing the lower stems, waving the flowers around and making buzzing noises. "Sweetheart, the bees might not like that, because they're trying to get the pollen out and..."
"Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz. BEEEEEES!"
"Darling, come on let's go..."
About five minutes later, and with Ruby free of stings probably only because of the mild concussions the bees had suffered, we finally left the garden. A little way up the road, Ruby spotted something else and leapt off her scooter.
"Mummy, LOOK! Iss TREASURE!" It was a small, blue plastic bottle top.
"Oh!" I said. "That looks like a bottle top, somebody should have put that in the bin."
"No, s'treasure, mummy. Pocket?" Ru said. And I had to put it in my pocket. Further on, she stopped dead again. "LOOK, mummy!"
Ruby was pointing at something on the ground which was so small, I had to bend down to look at it. It was a one half of a tiny silver popper that had probably worked its way loose from a babygrow or something. Ru was having trouble picking it up. "Get it?" she asked me, "Pease?" I sighed and picked it up for her. "Pocket, mummy?"
We set off again and just as I was thinking it'd be a good idea to pull Ruby on her scooter so we could get up some speed, she jumped off it and ran into a wall-less front garden.
"Ruby! Don't go in other people's gardens, please!"
Luckily, by this point, we were in fact outside number 39, just three doors up from our own house – and the face of the man who opened the net curtain to see who was galloping about on his property softened when he recognised us.
After much cajoling (and apologetic expressions to my neighbour), Ruby emerged with a feather.
"FEVVER, mummy!" It wasn't the prettiest feather, but into my pocket it went.
Now the nursery Ava and Ruby attend should be a 10-12 minute walk away. I am pretty certain that particular day it took us 30 minutes plus. We gathered twigs and picked little flowers off weeds growing in walls. We stopped, pointed and talked loudly about dog poos we encountered along the way (oh the joys of living in East London). We pressed out faces against shop windows.
We found another bottle top, and a lucky penny, and a lollypop stick. We backtracked by about eight houses when we realised we'd accidentally dropped one of the twigs.
We were sidetracked quite considerably when Ruby spotted a dog which was going in the wrong direction.
Finally we got there. I found Ava and collected her things while Ruby showed one of the teachers some of her booty.
By the time we got home, we had crossed the road to talk to some children and their mother (none of whom we had ever seen before in our lives), we had run the wrong way up the market three times chasing pigeons, we'd found a small wheel (?), we'd spotted, and discussed at length, a lost children's cardigan which had been hung on a garden wall, and we'd learnt all about why we do NOT pick up/eat crisps which have been dropped on the pavement.
The sight of my front door was a welcome one – dinner still needed cooking and bedtime (mine!) was looming. I took out my keys, grateful to be almost inside and then...
"Mummy, LOOK! BEEEEES!"
Does this sound very familiar?
More:Is It Just Me?
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