Sunday, October 22, 2006

My new small friend

While I don't seem to have done much this week, life has been fairly full. Downstairs in our guest flat, we have a family staying for nearly a week, with four children from the ages of three up to eleven. The family arrived on Wednesday night, about 10.30pm just as thunder was starting to roll around Larnaka. They were all wide awake and excited to be here, other than the three-year-old who was fast asleep, as he had been for about three hours, apparently. We showed them around, and when the 11-year-old boy saw the many shelves of children's books in the second guest room, he sighed deeply, and said,

"Wow. I wish we were staying a YEAR not just a week...."

Then they saw the trunk full of Lego. And a few children's DVDs which we had put downstairs for them. Including 'The Railway Children', which their mother had just been reading to them... I eventually retired to bed around 11pm as I am NOT a night-owl, but it was pretty late by the time the rest of them got to bed.

Except of course for the three-year-old.

Thursday morning, around 7.30am, I was going down the main outside stairs to put some rubbish out, and I saw a face at the side window of the main guest room. A small child opened the window a bit more, and stepped right out onto the stairs. He was watching one of our cats, and asked me if it scratched.

I said no, she's a friendly cat. He evidently decided I was a friendly person, and followed me up to the main part of the house. We don't have any children's toys or books up here, and I thought he'd quickly be bored. But he found the cat toys, and played with them for a while. And talked, and talked.... asking questions, telling me about his family, who were still asleep. A remarkably sociable three-year-old - all the more remarkable because I learned, later, that he almost never goes to strangers! I thought as soon as I met the family that they must be home educators - they had the right kind of relaxed dynamic, and the three-year-old reminded me of two other young boys I'd known from home educating families. I was correct.

Since then this little boy has wandered up to have a chat and play with the cat toys several times. His siblings are happy to play with Lego and read, but he's not really old enough for their games or books, and prefers to have intelligent conversation upstairs!

Of course they've been out - they spent a day at the beach, and today Richard took some of them sailing in the afternoon. But it's nice to know our guest flat works so well for a family with children of this age, and I'm very glad we kept all the Lego and children's books!

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