Saturday, 26 April 2008

Charlie's little helper

This morning Sally suddenly announces - lying in bed between cuddles with Charlie, who as usual is up with the lark and smiling broadly as we struggle to come round from another broken night of sleep - that her heart 'is bursting with love for this family'. She has certainly shown it in the last few days, like yesterday for instance - when she goes with Sarah for a swim only to find, when they get to the pool, that it's an adults-only session. What does she do? Sulk, or stamp her feet and shout? No. What Sally does is to persuade Sarah that they shouldn't just turn round and come back home, because 'you're always looking after Charlie and you don't get much time for yourself.' So Sally sits and watches at the pool-side for an hour while Sarah has her swim. And that's not all. On Thursday - when she has the day-off school thanks to the NUT strike - Sally's busy vacuuming the lounge and baking cakes which she is busy icing when I get home from work. She so loves being helpful, and I love her all the more for that. Sometimes she is more like a live-in nanny to Charlie than an older sister, and it's hard not to let her take on the responsibility. The merest whiff of dirty nappy and she's whisking Charlie up the stairs and asking, first, if she can undo all his clothing, then if she can take the dirty nappy off and finally insisting that she puts him in a clean one and then get him dressed again. I suppose it's just like having a living, walking and - if not quite talking - gurgling doll for her. But she's so caring and so helpful, that it make me feel quite humble.

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