I was feeling pleased with myself. That should have been the first warning sign, but for one brief flickering moment it felt like I was channelling my inner Martha Stewart (sans tax fraud) and baby guru all rolled into one.
We’d spent the morning quietly at home, letting the stresses and tiredness of the day before roll away, cuddling my girls up under a quilt to just be. Then as Elma napped, Kitty and I had tidied and cleaned, restoring some semblance of order to our lives and extracting all manner of small pieces of very important plastic from under the dinner table.
And after a scoot round a blustery, cold, and mostly empty park in a sudden blast of sunshine, and a happy hour spent in the kitchen cutting out firework biscuits while the steam from the stew in the oven fugged up the windows, we sat down at the table to complete the triumvirate of perfect parenting with a little crafting.
The idea was simple, and something I’m sure I did a million times as a child; ‘paint’ a firework picture in glue and then cover the glue with glitter. Et voila: sparkly fireworks.
I explained the idea to Kitty.
“I LOVE glitter!! It’s so coot!” was her reply.
That should have been the second warning.
I taped down our paper to the table, and handed out the squeezy glue bottles. And, well it just didn’t seem fair that Elma should only get to sit and watch so I dabbed a little glue on her paper and poured a pinch of red glitter into her palm for her to wave around, hopefully hitting the paper in the process.
Elma looked at the little twinkling puddle in her hand, waved it about a bit and then placed all four fingers firmly in her mouth. If it had been ordinary glitter or sparkles we would have been fine, they would all have fallen off from the waving around. But this is a strange powdery sort of glitter, very fine, and rather sticky. And whilst a shower of red did fall to the paper as planned, her warm little hand had been left coated in a sparkly ruby patina.
I extracted the fingers, scooped up the baby and headed down the hall to the tap.
Kitty, having finished dobbing glue with great precision at seemingly random intervals all over the paper, was cheerfully occupied with a small tube of normal blue glitter, and was quite happy to stay at the table, shaking it gently over her picture.
The silence should have been the third warning.
Elma and I were gone only a minute or two, but it was enough. Enough for Kitty to tire of blue. Enough for her to reach across to where I’d been sitting, to where the tub of red glitter had been carefully placed out of Elma’s reach. And, most crucially, long enough for Kitty, in all her eager enthusiasm and love of all things sparkly, to construct what shall henceforth be known as the Warwickshire glitter mountain of 2013.
“Look Mama! I made it sparkly!”
All I shall say is that firstly, and most importantly, her glitter picture looks fabulous.
And secondly, if you happen to see me in real life any time soon and I look like I’m less than subtly impersonating a mirror ball, be gentle with my dashed dreams of mother of the year, and just tell me I’m looking radiant.