R hardly ever cries. But when the tears come, it’s heartbreaking. R never cries out of frustration – though she has much to be frustrated about – or anger, only sadness. As her mother, of course I want to be able to stem the flow of the tears and offer her words of reassurance and comfort. Not knowing why R is sad is painful and comforting her is so very hard to do.
It happened again tonight. R has had a good day. She went horse-riding with friends from school and had a great time. Later as EB, R and I sat cuddled on the sofa watching television, the cat – we have been adopted by a cat – came and sat by her for the first time, much to her joy. It’s an absolute outlaw of a cat but it likes R because she leaves it alone. She squealed happily as we recounted her day to G, who had been away. And then, as G brushed her teeth at bedtime, her face fell and the tears started to fall. Great big tear drops rolled down her little cheeks. Everyone tried to comfort her. F even stopped playing on his drums, which helped a little (me, anyway). EB clucked. And then G spotted it. The platypus.
EB has been tidying up. What this means in practice is the transfer of toys and books that EB considers that she has outgrown from her side of the bedroom to R’s. EB got a huge fluffy canary yellow duck-billed platypus pillow (!) from a friend as a birthday present a few years ago. EB had arranged this platypus in R’s bed today. I moved the platypus while G was brushing R’s teeth, because there was no room in the bed for me when I read R her bedtime story. R was very disappointed.
So tonight in R’s little bed, alongside her teddy, is an enormous canary yellow duck-billed platypus. And a very happy little girl.