Looking after Lakshmi

“I am drawing a picture” Lakshmi points as we join them for lunch at one of the high street restaurants. The girls are in matching outfits, striped black and white dresses with red cardigans. It’s the first time since the new arrival that we’ve gone out together. Huw tries to tell Murali about his spinal and epidural stories. Murali doesn’t have a clue what Huw is talking about. The meal is quite satisfactory and the empty dishes speak for themselves. Kavitha orders a sticky toffee pudding and I have a taste. It is nice but too sweet. Lakshmi decides to drink Kavitha’s cranberry juice and ends up pouring it all over herself and her mum.

We take her home while her parents finish off some shopping. She refuses to put on her coat. Her clothes are wet and the weather is not that warm. As we walk home I ask her if she’s cold. “I’m okay, a bit cold”, comes the reply. A little later I ask again and this time the answer is a positive “I am cold”. She still refuses to put her jacket on. I put her in the shower as soon as we reach home and put some warm clothes on.

Lakshmi is coming back home with us today. Huw is working tonight and Kavitha won’t be able to look after the two of them. She falls asleep in the car. It’s rush hour traffic time and I end up sitting in a a long queue. I am in no rush. In the distance over the fields I can see cows grazing. Everything looks lush and green. The April showers and sunshine have been doing a good job. I listen to my usual array of old and new songs and eventually we get home.

Huw is coming to pick Lakshmi up in the morning after his shift. I won’t get to keep her like I used to anymore unless Huw is working the weekends. They seem to think that the grandparents are not doing a good enough job and disrupting her daily routines. And there I was thinking that’s what grandparents are for.

We try to tidy up Kavitha’s old study. The drawers are filled with pens, pencils and art stuff. There is enough material left here for Lakshmi and Lavinia and all in working order as well. Lakshmi helps tidy up. Her words and sentences are getting longer. Thank yous are now thank you very much. She can sing larger segments of her nursery rhymes. She likes repeating our words, Malayalam or English.

I heat up an ‘appam’ leftover from our meal yesterday. She starts eating it saying “mmm delicious”. I get distracted as I speak to Alcira on the phone for a little while and come back to find the rest of the appam on the floor. She has been playing with it instead of eating it. She is still hungry. A bit of porridge and two fish fingers later it is time for another shower and bed. Today she wants her mum’s Mickey Mouse and Goofy teddies to take with her to bed. I read her a Mickey and Goofy story. She is soon fast asleep.

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