So I was at home recently and managed to squeeze in a quick little “hulo” to my little niece, who was standing with Gran and Pops, mouth “agog” at the size of the bus I was about to come out of. I saw her and she was all excited! With a sweet little perfect banana shaped smile and ready to bolt toward me when suddenly all that animated expression fell and she suddenly looked unsure. She had spied some kind of bearded monster emerging from behind me that she hadn’t expected.
She was told and Gran had said, “Now, Uncle Nick is coming too, do you remember? He was here at Christmas.” And although she said “yes” she wasn’t listening because she was too busy building stuff.
We have a funny little relationship, my niece and I. She now knows I must be connected in some way to the people she knows, but I don’t think she knows quite in what way. I’m not there all the time, but see her often enough that she remembers who I am and sometimes talks about me when I’m not there. She knows I use a plane to come to see her, but sometimes I emerge from within her Gran’s house from “up the stairs” (the place she’s not really allowed to go). If I happened to be home and she was there, I did stop calling her name from upstairs and slowly tiptoeing down to meet her because it did dawn on me that to someone who wasn’t expecting it, this could be really rather creepy in a sort of nightmarish way. So I stopped doing it.
She can see I’m taller than her which should mean I have some kind of authority, but I make my body move in weird ways and sometimes tell her what we’re going to do but in song using a Mr. Bean sort of voice. And I tend to ask her things and talk about things that make her go “What?”, “Eh??” a lot because they don’t make sense to her. I’m not sure she knows quite what I am.
When we were walking back home from the bus stop I was stomping ahead of my niece, directing her down all the right paths. I was showing her the correct way of walking was leaning back at a slight right angle (leaning forward at the same degree also works well) fixing your arms into sharp "L" shapes and swinging them to a beat that’s in your own head in a robotic fashion, and then moving the legs in a piston type movement, marching up and down making sure the knees reach as high as a 36 year old human can.
After I was walking along the street like this shouting in a kind of Mr. Bean tone, “THIS WAY! THIS WAY AMBER, THIS WAY!!”, I heard from the distance this tiny, but frighteningly mature little voice peep, “You’re Silly”. That’s from a two and a half year old.
I just said, “What are you talking about? This is how I walk”.
I carried on walking like that for most of the way, while she carried on walking in a more human like acceptable fashion.