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The Swimming Pool and the Sea
Literary Mama

My daughter, two-and-a-quarter, burns her comet's trail around the problematic space of the sitting room, narrowly negotiating the adult terrain of armchairs, rugs, and bookcases.

With both hands she flips over a large footstool, shaped like a box, bought before she was born. It was intended for another setting, child-unfriendly, a distant memory. Once butter-soft suede, the stool is now a sticky testament to her tenacity. It rocks like an upturned turtle. My daughter flings herself onto its precarious under-carriage. She finds her feet, braced like a sprinter at the starting line, fingers and toes splayed, but she's too near to the edge and wobbles, dismounts, climbs back on. She tests her balance before straightening to her full height of 90 centimeters, and proceeds to bounce up and down.

I bite down the instinctive, "Be careful," and continue to read aloud from the book in my lap. I am hoping to intrigue my reckless, breathless daughter, to tempt her to my side, into a tableau of mother and child. It is nearly her bedtime.


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