Saturday 27th August 2016
From the hours of 12:30 through to 4:30pm our apartment was filled with the sounds of laughter, squeals, reprimands, bribes, stern talks, clapping hands and mouths jabbering away in toddler talk. Camilla came over for lunch with both girls (poured her a wine as she entered, already exhausted just from the commute over to ours), as did pregnant Rio and her mum Saadia. Everyone brought a dish – Camilla an entire filleted salmon; the Duckworths a magnificent loaf of banana cake. As our friends arrived, Dora’s famous wedges were in the oven, her tzatzîki was being blended with entire cloves of garlic and three dishes were already made, keeping warm on their hobs – chickpea soup, lentil soup and spaghetti. Greek olives and Italian crudités clicked our appetite out of first gear.
As much as us adults oohed and AHHHH’d at all the nourishment laid before us, the kidlets could not care any less than they showed. For what was of grave interest was to touch/play/assemble/disassemble, any and all playthings / toys in as short a time frame as possible. (You never quite know when a parent will spring on you ‘right; we’re ready to go. Put your shoes on and let’s say goodbye…’) Kingsley was as usual thrilled for company and simultaneously weary that his little friends were already touching ‘his’ things. The Hassan girls were delightfully oblivious to his protests, and went about their fun with or without him. Soon enough Kingsley got the drift that playing together is loads more exciting than merely hoarding ‘his’ pencils, shouting at deaf ears ‘mine!’.
The collaboration tide turned for the better when I joined the kids on the playmat (ideas of reading a book to them went out the window; none could sit still for more than afew seconds) then enticed them to draw with texta pens out on the balcony. Maya didn’t seem interested but Layla bit; at the mere mention of the word balcony she and Kingsley were following each other to the funspot: place safe from raging mothers where kids can draw and scribble all over paper and outdoor tiles and not get shouted at, or worse, lectured. Of course drawing on paper and tiles becomes tedious quickly…but scribbling in colourful textas on body parts never tires. We discovered a purple Kingsley and a green Layla, and promptly shipped them off for a bubble bath.
Once dried and given a piece of cake to nibble on, this is how we discovered the little artistes…