Sunday, October 21, 2012

100TWC - Day 86: Picking up the Pieces

"I'll be back in an hour."
"OK. Bye."

Josh took hold of his daughter's hand, balancing her awkwardly on his other arm. "Wave to Mummy! Bye Mummy!"

Jessica squirmed in her uncomfortable perch. "Down!" she instructed.

Josh let her down gently into the hall. She wobbled slightly, testing her balance, and began to toddle to the kitchen.

"Juice time!" agreed Josh, removing her coat as she walked and then stepping gingerly around her. He dropped her coat on a chair and opened the fridge. "Orange or pineapple?" he asked.
Jessica thought about it for a moment. "JoJinge," she decided.
"OK. Good choice."

Josh poured half a beaker's worth. It was the smooth kind, but only because the bits got stuck in the mouthpiece. He figured there'd be time to educate his daughter in the finer points of orange juice connoisseurship when she was old enough to use a glass. He fitted the lid onto the beaker and returned the carton to the fridge.

"Take it through," he told her, handing over the beaker.
"Froo," agreed Jessica, grabbing the beaker, plugging it into her mouth, and tottering through to the living room.

The living room floor was littered with wooden blocks in primary colours. Jessica had already passed the "tower of two" milestone in block building, a full six months ahead of the average age. Josh wanted to see how far she'd come on in a couple of weeks. He kicked off his slippers and joined her on the carpet.

"Which block shall we put on the bottom?" he asked, picking up a green one and a yellow one.
"Yed one!" said Jessica, pointing.
"Just like your mother," Josh laughed. He selected the nearest red block and set it in front of Jessica. "Green next?" he offered.
She shooked her head. "Boo."
The nearest blue block was over by the skirting board. Josh leant left and rolled over to it. Jessica giggled.
He handed the block to her.

"You do it."

She took the block, dropping the beaker onto the floor where it started to drip juice slowly onto the carpet. Josh ignored it. What was StainGuard for? His attention was focussed on his daughter as she carefully set the blue block atop the red one. She sat back.

"Nuvver one," she said.
"Which colour?" Josh asked.
He handed over the green one he'd been holding. Jessica shook her head. "Nuvver gyeen."
He smiled. She was definitely her mother's daughter. He retrieved a different green block and passed it to her.

After ten minutes, Josh was satisfied that Jessica had advanced to tower of three, but a fourth block still eluded her even though she'd come close a couple of times. Her patience with building towers was now wearing thin, so he'd started to build a ziggurat with all of the blocks in the pack. Jessica watched as he placed the last block on the apex of the triangular structure. At the moment he sat back to admire his construction, she rolled forward and gave the pile a whack with her hand. It collapsed with a satisfying woody rumble.

She giggled again. "'gain," she demanded.
Josh built his pyramid three more times, each time it was reduced to rubble in seconds by his resident demolition expert. "Shall we tidy up now?" he asked, standing up and wheeling over the wooden walker that they used to store the blocks. He grabbed two handfuls and lobbed them into the walker. They clattered onto the base. Jessica put her hands over her ears and frowned.

Josh turned to retrieve more blocks. When he looked back, Jessica had thrown the first five blocks out of the trolley across the living room. One landed in the planter.

"Oi!" he said, smiling. "I thought we were tidying up?"

He dropped his blocks into the walker and fetched back the others. Jessica threw two more blocks after him, laughing. "I'd better hurry up," he said, grabbing the handle of the walker and wheeling it around the room.

A car horn sounded in the road outside. Josh's smile faded. "Sounds like Mummy's back," he said.
"Mummy!" shouted Jessica gleefully, running toward the front door.
Josh picked her coat up off the kitchen chair and followed.

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