Twelve degrees at 8am this morning. Bright with a north wind and white horses.
Today B had her first lesson in walking up the hill. She’s now almost 16 months, and has had four months experience of walking, so it’s time to introduce her to the bane and the blessing of all our lives. Here are the rules of the game :
1.) Mama must teach the child to walk the last 400 metres of the mulattiera from the last bench up to the front door of the house. The gradient is an average of one in three.
2.) Mama must encourage the child not to fall over the edges of the path into ravines, streams or nettle-filled terraces.
3.) Mama must help the child to spend less than two hours picking up odd objects, staring rapt through gates into people’s gardens, playing pass the leaf, or caressing slugs, cats, dogs or any other passing wildlife.
4.) Mama must stop the child inserting little hands into gaps in dry stone walls, the habitat of poisonous snakes, and possible nest-site for hornets or bees.
5.) Mama must guide the child up uneven steps, across ‘cobbles’, over baby-foot-sized gaps in the bridge paving, through minefields of loose half-pound stones and away from gutters hidden by fallen leaves.
6.) Mama must ensure the child does not do herself damage by ingesting poisonous berries, animal excrement, slugs, bottle tops or collapsed party balloons.
7.) Mama must not on any account, lose her temper, become comatose with boredom or be otherwise distracted such that the child is allowed to break free and toddle all the way back down to where she saw a pretty flower, about an hour ago.
I try to look on the bright side. AJ learned how to walk up the hill. He now takes only about 45 minutes (when he’s not having a hunger-induced tantrum) and only occasionally falls into a nettle bed.