The Poppet and I had enforced shopping today.
No one held a gun to our heads, but we had to drop the car in for a service and then wait in the nearest convenient walkable place, which – tah-dah – was the shopping centre.
So we got the boring stuff out of the way first and brought the dog food and bones and all and then we went s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g.
There’s only so much playing in the kid area a little girl can do, especially if everything is designed for a kid 3 times your size.
We looked at bags and shoes and tried on hats.
The Poppet looked very fetching in a black pork-pie hat and was most distressed when I made her put it back. It was just a little big, although yes, I admit, very good for peekaboo.
We ummed and aahed over coats we had no intention of buying and darling little dresses. We swooped down on sales. And then stepped back again after careful reflection.
We stopped for coffee and sang twinkle twinkle little star and then the Poppet did her very clever two-handed wave dance.
And… I can’t help thinking how different our time together is from my time with the Sprocket at the same age.
We were living in the South Pacific then and I didn’t have transport so to go out I’d put on a baby carrier and pop the Sprocket in, often in just a nappy and singlet (not like the Poppet’s lovely purple ensemble of today, tights and cord dress, long sleeved top and fluffy cardie) and then we’d go to the bus stop and hail a bus (a mini-van) and there’d be fake flowers and reggae, tourists and locals all heading into town and the Sprocket would make eyes and gurgle at everyone. We’d wander through the market filling our bilum with whatever was in season and then duck into the super market to groan over the inflated prices of western food. We’d have a brief interlude as the check out girls would ask to ‘kari smal’ and I’d hand the Sprocket over so that they could pass him around. Then we’d wander along the water-front and admire all the boats. We’d go to the bus stop and negotiate which bus was going in roughly our direction and then the bus would drive us home, dropping us at our gate. In the afternoon the Sprocket and I might walk to a nearby resort and go for a swim. We’d buy a banana smoothie to share and play on the sand for a little before getting in the water for a splash.
Every so often I feel bad our little Poppet misses out. But then she giggles as we try on hats and I realize that really as long as she’s with us, she’s pretty happy.