One of the loveliest things about the stage Arthur is at at the moment is how completely he is embracing play. He will often wake up in the morning and, once he’s orientated himself and had his milk and cuddles declare his desire to ‘walk, play!’ repeatedly until we help him down from the bed.
He calls out from the highchair too, and sometimes from the sling: ‘walk, play! Walk, play! Walk, play!’
I love that he is articulating that need to move and explore, to actively engage in the serious business of playing that is going to be so important in the next few years of his development. It gives me a real thrill to watch the beginnings of make believe, to watch him creating his own world out of the things that are around him.
Of course if there are other children around to play with that’s even better. Grown ups are good sometimes too, but Arthur is beginning to make a distinction between the worlds we inhabit and more often than not is drawn to the vitality and creativity of those who have not yet felt the straightjacket of adulthood.
At the festival we were at last weekend it was wonderful to see him running around with my cousin’s kids and their neighbours. He was a little forlorn without them when we got home, but the arrival of his cousins from London soon distracted him!
He has spent the week playing in the garden, determined to ride his new dumper truck and keep up with the pace of his older playmates.
There’s been pool and beach fun too – we literally couldn’t have picked a better week to share the joys of living on the English Riviera!
Arthur’s back on his own again now, and whilst I’ve caught him looking around for his absent playmates he hasn’t let it get to him too much. He constantly amazes me with his ability to entertain himself, to enter into the spirit of play whatever his circumstances and surroundings.
I guess that’s what makes childhood so special, really. And it is my pledge to you, Arthur, to give you as many opportunities to play as I can possibly muster.