Yesterday Arthur went off to go swimming with some friends from Day Care. Which left Fiona and I the rarity of having three hours of undisturbed daughter/daddy time.
The first thing she wanted to do was play indoor basketball with the little folding contraption and a tiny rubber basketball I bought when Arthur was little. This request surprised me a bit, but turned out to be a lot more fun than I would have imagined. She practiced slam-dunking and would squeal with delight when I tried to steal the rebounds from her. And I realized that we never get to do stuff like this when her brother’s not here vying for my attention. Just to have me all to herself (and visa versa) was a wonderful treat.
After basketball, Fiona wanted to play with the incredibly popular Polly Pockets. We went up to her room and started getting out all the Polly Pockets and their accoutrements, when she said they wanted to go to the beach. So I suggested we take them out to the sandbox. The Polly Pockets piled into their pink car and we headed for the great outdoors. Once we got out there it seemed only natural that we push the sand to one half of the sandbox, (since a lot of the sand has ended up on the ground around the sandbox anyway, thanks to Arthur) and pour water in the other half, or one third, really, so they could have their own private beach. That idea met with much approval, hence the photo above. Notice Prince Charming in the background cooking on the grill.
Everyone had a great time, especially Fiona. Prince Charming and the mermaid had to rescue a couple of the girls who ventured too far out into deep water (Fiona said something about the undertow, I think), and at one point a rubber dinosaur appeared from the depths to cause some havoc, thanks to me. He ate some of the Prince’s hamburgers but was finally chased off by the mermaid. Then the girls spent some time burying each other in the sand, followed by more swimming. Eventually the tide came in and washed away half the beach, but it was lots of fun nonetheless!
Eventually we went to pick up Arthur, and Mommy came home. Later that evening Stephanie went out to her book club meeting, and while my son played on the Wii, Fiona and I went into another room to make some music. She had wanted to do music earlier, but we never had time. This is the part that really amazes me.
My daughter, at the tender age of not quite five, has an amazing ability as a singer/performer. At least I’ve rarely seen someone so young who is such a natural performer. She immediately took charge, having me play harmonica while she climbed up on a chair and played a nice rhythm on my conga and sang a lovely song off the top of her head. I can’t for the life of me remember the words (I must start recording these sessions!), but her lyrics flow like honey and the words are serenely beautiful, life-affirming, uplifting to hear! Then I played the drum while she sang and swayed an exotic little dance. When that piece ended, she asked me to switch to flute. She twirled and gestured and sang again, the words coming in a stream of consciousness about the sky and sun and moon and the beauty of being alive and love and I don’t know what else, but the emotions she conveyed seem to be coming from far away and from a soul older and wiser and more full of experience that this four-year-old little girl before me could ever have known! The last part she sang in words that sounded like another language, some fairy chant or Sanskrit hymn, unintelligible but somehow full of lyrical meaning at the fringes of consciousness. And all the while I accentuated each phrase with twittering notes on my wooden flute, which somehow flowed together with my daughter’s voice. It made me think of some beat performance in a smoky nightclub in the late 50′s, or a scene out of the 1001 Arabian Nights. It was incredibly magical!
So in conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed spending a little more quality time, alone, with my daughter. And I look forward to doing the same with Arthur more frequently. The difference between relating to them together and individually is something we parents easily forget about.
And man, I can’t what to see what that little girl will do next!