Yesterday I was reading a family favorite, Woody Hazel and Little Pip, to Zosia and Lily. It's such a sweet story, one that we usually read in the autumn. I love the whole story, noticing a different character or element each time I read it: a story that is captivating for adults and children alike. Yesterday I was especially charmed by Mrs. Hazelnut, accompanied to Mrs. Acorn's house by her two little children. Beskow writes simply, "Mrs. Hazelnut arrived for coffee with her two youngest behind her." Such a simple sentence. And there's a picture of Mrs. Hazelnut climbing the tall steps to the treehouse with two little children following behind her like ducklings.
Any mother of little children understands what this really means, what it looks like. When you have a string of little children, there is a permanent presence with you. In our family it always seems to be those littlest two, but I have friends where it is even three (or four!) little ones so small that they accompany you everywhere you go. Of course with time this shifts and changes, as little ones grow older and more independent, and perhaps new little ones join the family.
I spend the entirety of my days with my littlest two. They accompany me everywhere, and I know I can count on their chattering, their playfulness, and of course their mischief to keep my entertained. What a gift, to be in the presence of such joyfulness. There is side by side play, cooperative play, and a healthy dose of pushing one another's buttons (and of course you'll have to read the book to see to what exciting adventure the curiosity of Mrs. Hazelnut's littlest two leads!).