When I was pregnant with Ivy, Keith and I went on one of our meandering camping trips in Mum and Dad's campervan. We were stopped at some country market when I - drawn like a rotund magnet to all things baby-related - got chatting to a woman with a little boy.
Thinking back, he would have been Teddy's age. As we talked, she constantly - and without stopping her flow of conversation- chased and retrieved him as he ran in various directions, at full speed. Chase, bend, hoist onto hip, place on ground, chase, bend, repeat.
He was cute.
She was happy.
I was horrified.
How am I going to do that, I thought? With my rickety back? How? How?
I didn't think of that woman again through Ivy's toddler-hood. Ivy would sit and play, sit and read, stop at the side of the road. Her lunatic qualities were expressed in ways other than the physical.
Then I had me a little boy.
Today Ivy, Ted and I had a coffee together to celebrate the kids good behaviour at Pixifoto- oh my lord, more on that later. (Advice required.) Ivy painted her face with baby-cino, talked of various subjects of interest (masks, skulls) and made Spot talk in a squeaky voice to the senior couple two tables over.
Ted ran his fat little legs off. He ran at the door. He ran at the other tables. He ran; giggling, looking behind himself with thrilled expectancy that Mum would chase and yes! she chased! So he ran faster! Finally I strapped him into a high chair. Once he had caused an obscene amount of mess with milk and muffin, he managed to detach the seat and send it crashing to the floor.
And me, I was fine. A little haggard, yes. Crumby and milk-stained: sure. The pity object of a horrified first-time pregnant woman: possibly.
Actually, I was better than fine.
I was happy. I felt lucky to be blessed with a healthy and spirited boy-child, one who shouts 'Mine! Mine!' in his sleep, and insists, always, on 'more'. 'More what?' I ask him. 'Yes!' he agrees.'More what! More what! More what!'
He runs full-tilt at life, this fluffy-nutted child, and I'm deeply satisfied, somehow, knowing that he can take life at such a gallop because he's learned that Mum and Dad will be there to chase and catch him, every time.