I lay face down on the floor, eyes closed. Giggles ensue, but not from me, they flitter in and out around me. Over there. Here. No, behind me. Wait, right in front.
I feel little fingers dancing along my sides. More giggles.
Now they’re on top; a solid body slam from each ensured that. Their tiny forms bouncing and laughing as I call for help beneath them.
“Get her good,” their dad appears close by.
I catch my breath and turn my head in the direction of his voice.
Arms crossed, he smiles.
I braced myself and lifted my two year old daughter out of her cot. She rubbed her eyes. I cuddled her close, the warmth from being curled under her blankets radiated from her. Her ringlets had lost their form, a scruffy mass of hair stuck out at all angles. Her big eyes, damp and a little red, gazed up at me.
She wrapped her tiny arms around my neck, cuddling in close. Her words muffled against my jumper, “I love you Mum-Mum,” she said, and my heart melted. I never tire of hearing her say that.
“Look at me,” I said, and she looked me in the eyes, waiting for what I wanted to say.
“You are so beautiful,” I said.
She cuddled back into my neck. “Thank you Mum-Mum,” she said.
“You’re welcome my darling,” I said, holding her tight, “Bubba, look at me.”
“You are so clever,” I said.
“Thank you Mum-Mum.” She smiled, cuddling into my neck once again.
But I had one more thing to say to my sleepy little girl before I let her run off to play.
“You’re welcome my darling. Last one Bubba, look at me please,” I said.
She did, but instead of waiting, she said, “I’m so so tired,” as she rubbed her eyes, before I could get a word out.
I laughed, and she laughed along with me before she grabbed my cheeks and gave me a super big kiss.
“I love you Bubba,” I said.
“Thank you Mum-Mum.”
My darling looked down at me from atop the change table while I buttoned up the last of her jumpsuit. Her face was alight with curiosity. She traced her finger softly over my cheek, inspecting every detail, and finally stopped at a point on my chin.
“What’s this Mum-mum?” She asked, her brow furrowed in wonder.
“It’s a pimple, Darling,” I explained, excited about the opportunity to teach her something new. Her face lit up. Her eyes shot up to my forehead and travelled quickly over my face, little fingers following, “so many pimples!” She chirped happily, she finally had a name for them.