“Come here,” says Arddun sternly, staring up at me from the other end of the garage as I close the boot and the garage door, and make my way to her. “Come here.” She extends a tiny pointer finger (palm side up), and curls it for emphasis, beckoning me – her mother! – as if I were a dog.
“That’s not how you speak to Mummy, ” I reply, and uncurl the beckoning finger and place her arms by her side. “Try again, please.” I run back to the other side of the garage.
“Come here, Mummy.” stern toddler
“Come here, Mummy – please.” patient mother
“Come here, Mummy – please,” stern toddler
“Alright, now say it with a happy face. Please come here, Mummy!”
She beams back at me now, sweet as cherry pie and lollies and the smell of sunshine in freshly-dried laundry. “Please come here, my Mummy!” she entreats me. Beam.
I run over to her, and level my face with her grinning one. We gaze at each other, smiling eyeballs to smiling eyeballs. I can smell her baby breath.
“What is it, my darling girl?” I ask.
And that’s when Arddun goes,