Toddler in La La Land
Toddler? La La Land?
A rose can say “I love you”, orchids can enthral, but a weed bouquet in a chubby fist,
yes, that says it all. Anon
What do you get when you combine Edinburgh New Town, a toddler and a grandpa she calls ‘Mac’? Don’t know? … An adventure.
The wee one and her parents live on the top floor of a lovely tenement. Eighty-four steps and four landings from the ground floor to the front door.
At around nine in the morning we set off down the stairs, WeeOne hanging on to me, her drinking bottle weighing down the right side of my jacket. I talked all the way down, mostly to a little person who stared down the stairwell, her beautiful bright eyes devoid of fear. She obviously wasn’t expecting me to trip …
… And, as it happens, her confidence was justified.
Once to her buggy she was eager to be strapped in, and off we went. We rumbled on until we found ourselves on Broughton Street which meanders down from York Place and the Tram terminus.
‘Wan’t to go to the wee park?
We sneaked off down a quiet side street and made for our secret garden, a delightful space in the midst of soaring grey-stone buildings.
The gate clanged shut behind us. Liberated, she dashed (perhaps stutter-stepped with purpose is a better description) to a patch of wood chips and plants (wet), knelt down and grabbed stuff with energetic interest. I watched in grand-paternal pleasure until I realised she might be getting damp, and by now she’d moved from kneeling to sitting.
Picking her up I brushed her off and we spent a happy half-hour examining stones and flowers and bees and bugs and walls and slides (wet) and play-area toys (wet). We stroked stones and moss and flowers to feel textures. Once we’d done a couple of circuits, she looked up at me and walked over to the buggy.
‘Want to get back in?’
La La Land
So we set off on a tour of the area. And that’s where ‘La La Land’ comes in.
One of the problems with modern buggies is a youngster faces forward and you can’t enjoy eye contact. How to stay connected …
‘Fancy a song, WeeOne?’
I made a tune. ‘La La La.’
An echo, different tune, returned from the buggy. ‘La La La.’
And so we explored quiet streets and lanes, LaLa-ing together as we went.
We found cottages hidden away and wandered stone canyons. When we saw flowers, and interesting plants hanging down, we rolled up to them. She stroked them, never clutching or tearing just establishing their character, their feel.
WeeOne, waving her hands in time, now and then, LaLa-ed away to a tune of her own, competing with mine, until we discovered a series of notes that suited us both.
People walking past smiled, I smiled back, I expect WeeOne did too.
Climb every …
At last we arrived home, parked the buggy and set off up the steps. I wasn’t LaLa-ing when on the fourth landing she knocked the door to say hi to Granny. When Granny picked her up for a hug, WeeOne looked back at me and beamed. Breath restored, I beamed back.
La La Land is a lovely place.