Playing out.

Today was a momentous day. When I tell you why it was momentous, you will probably laugh, and switch to a much more interesting webpage.Rachel played out on the street with the other children today. Like a proper little girl. Not a baby-a proper little girl, with proper little friends, regularly running to me, panting with anticipation, as she asked if it was ok for Maisie and Finn to go up to her bedroom, or could they have an ice lolly, or could they have some er..scissors..(yes my darling of course you can have some want to cut up your dress..of course..NOT).I am not complaining, but today was one of the days, where I realised i am a proper bonafide grown up. And my tiny baby, is no longer a baby.As Rachel was eating her breakfast, I sat on the step, as I am prone to do- drinking my first(or seventeenth) cup of tea. Since 6.15am, I had been convinced she was ill- her forehead was hot, I had resorted to calpufren, and kissed goodbye to a weekend.By the time she was consuming her third bowl of shreddies(seriously- that cant be good for you can it- this is in addition to an apple, and a pile of strawberries?), she had spotted the little boy from across the road playing with his scooter. At which point she abandoned the table(where the half eaten bowl of shreddies still sits) and ran out of the door. She walked up to the very confused looking boy, told him he was her friend now, and they started to play scooters, illness forgotten.Along came Maisie, from the top of the street, and out came Lola, from the house next door but one. All children I have seen playing outside-but who it never occurred to me, would be playmates for Rachel. Usually, I would have Rachel demanding I help with this, or do that, or watch this- but today- she just played, entirely absorbed with these other children. Only coming back to say that Lola thought a picnic would be nice, and could she, could she, could she please have a picnic. Maisie had a horsey that neighed, and could she please please please borrow it, Maisies mummy said it was ok, and was it ok for Finn and Maisie to come round and play sometimes, please please, please..I felt almost superflous- my role as involved mother/playmate/redcoat central to every aspect of Rachels life, redundant, replaced with a satelite role of supervisor, and approval authority. By the time they had been playing for 2 and a half hours(seriously 2 and a half hours!!!), they had organised between themselves that we would be having a picnic on the street, but Finn wasnt allowed meat, so his mummy would make his sandwich…and could they please please please borrow a blanket.  Finn, Maisie, and Lola are all pre-school, or reception age- so at least a year older than Rachel, and I had just assumed that they were ‘big kids’- but here she was, holding her own- and making dinner plans no less!Maisie, Lola, and Finns mums, who I have never said more than two words to, all dutifully provided their contributions to this picnic- and we all sat bemused, as our children sat in the middle of the street, with a blanket down, managing their own picnic, and looking disdainfully at us, if we dared to encroach on their little party. This gave us the opportunity to talk, and I found that Maisies mum and her girlfriend were going to the same festival I am going to(hopefully!) next weekend, and Finns mum had a shared addiction to second hand clothes, and designer items.With our children occupying each other- we found it was quite nice to have someone with kids the same age, in such close proximity.I recall situations like this, but my recollection is from the perspective of the little girl, asking her foster carer for approval for plans, excitedly made with whatever friend I was playing with. My place is now that of the person saying ‘yay or nay’ to excited requests, some reasonable, some absolutely bizarre(can we have my blankets so we can make a ‘tend beach, and we need a starfish mummy, can you buy one?). This generational shift was a pleasant surprise.When lunch was over, and the sun had become a bit too hot,  overtiredness returned my baby to me, at least temporarily, as she snuggled up for a story and some milk. But when her dad unexpectedly arrived to take her to see his friend, she was not full of stories about what she had done with mummy, but plans she had made with Lola, Maisie, and Finn- and excited presentation of the neighing horsey she had borrowed from Maisie.(Maisie is nearly 4, and will be at big school in September, so is the height of sophistication!).


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