Rose is at such an adorable age right now. Her language skills have taken a big leap, and has also discovered how talking can get her out of a tight spot. Lately I’ve been letting her walk home when we’ve been up at play group. She knows that she has to stay close to me and hold my hand when we cross the road. If she starts dawdling or not following safety instructions she has to go back into the stroller.
However, it’s also obvious that as soon as we round the corner to home she wants to delay us more and more. This morning we were nearly home and I noticed that she wasn’t following me any longer. “Rose, honey?” I asked, almost in a panic. No answer. Quick, turn the stroller around and get back to where I last saw her. I found her crouched below a brick wall a few houses back. “Mummy…. Rosie hiding!” she said, with a monkeyish grin.
She loves her sister so much and I’m pretty sure she knows exactly what’s going on. She has always shown a lot of affection for Tess, but lately she’s been kissing her more than usual, rubbing her soft head, and talking about her. The morning we left her with Tara and Nick so that we could take Tess to see the ophthalmologist she apparently talked about Tess a lot to them. And when we got back from the appointment, obviously upset, and in my case, crying, she studied my face, saw my running mascara and said, “Eyes…. sand?”
Now let’s take a pause for a second. I’ve been told that children don’t have empathy until they’re eight years old or so. But, is this not evidence that Rose was trying to relate my suffering to her experience? I was also completely heartbroken in this moment because I have been trying to get her to play in sand pits for months now and she hasn’t shown a jot of interest… and now I know that she must have got sand in her eyes at some point, and that’s why she doesn’t like sand pits. Heartbroken!
I explained to her that I was sad about Tess, that Tess wasn’t very well at the moment, but that Mummy was OK, Daddy was OK and Tess was OK.