Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Moments with children

I wonder why it is so difficult to communicate with adults if you don't speak the same language, yet so easy to have fun with children regardless of the language barrier. 

One day when Bernie and I were out and about in Foz do Iguacu, we spotted a nice looking restaurant with tables under huge trees and live music, jumped off the bus at the next stop, walked back and found ourselves a table.  At the next table was what looked like two generations of a family.  The father/son was diagonally opposite to me, a big fellow, very handsome, wearing a pale blue shirt declaring he was from Argentina. A little boy sat beside him.

A little girl wandered by, looked at the little boy, walked past and sat on the top of the steps up from the street.  The man and I noticed the look and smiled at each other when the little boy got up and followed her to the steps and sat down close beside her.  Their backs were to us but they looked so cute, their little heads close together.   A few minutes later the girl walked away and the little boy returned, crying, to the family. 

Not long after there was a repeat performance.  The girl sashayed by, the boy followed, it looked like he was rebuffed and he resorted to tears. 

Then she came back again!  It was too much for the little boy.  This time he took another direction as he headed towards the girl and picked up a stone out of the garden and had it raised and aimed before his father reached him.  I probably shouldn't have laughed out loud.  Father was very cross with son and the family left shortly after. 

They'd been gone a while when I turned and saw the little girl standing beside me, smiling playfully at me.  She indicated she had a toy and held it up for me to see.  I realized then the boy had wanted her toy and she wanted to be friends but wasn't going to part with it.  I reached out to touch it and saw that it was a toy camera.  She lifted it to her eye, popped her head around the side and indicated I should pose for a picture.  

I wasn't going to miss that opportunity.  I posed for her, reached for my camera and indicated that she should pose for me.  And, bless her heart, she did a personality change, dropped her head and smiled up at me in the sweetest, most innocent fashion.  I bet she even knew that that was her good side.

On my way back home, on the flight from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile I had a window seat for the flight over the Andes and beside me was another little dark haired, dark eyed beauty with her mother on the other side of her.  Her father and brother were on the other side of the aisle.  The little girl invited me to play naughts and crosses with her and then what we call hangman.  She beat me soundly, of course, I had no idea what words she chose.  She mother kept telling her to leave me along and I kept telling her it was fine, I was happy.  You don't need words for conversations like that. 

When they announced we were about to fly over the Andes I asked the little girl if she'd like to swap seats with me and her mother said OK.  We managed this without words.  I'd loved going over the Andes on my flight to Brasil but this was even better.  I could see clearly over the little one's head and she became so excited she put her little hand over mine and squeezed it every time she turned to look at me to see if I was loving what we were seeing as much as she was.  Her dark brown/black eyes were dancing with delight, perfectly delightful to see.  

The little one kept leaning around me and asking her mother something.  Eventually her mother asked a stewardess to interpret for her.  She wanted to know where I came from and where was my "father".  Nova Zealandia meant nothing to her but her mother explained it was a long way away. 

There wasn't time for her to change back to the seat beside her mother before we landed in Santiago and it was obvious she was a little scared as we descended.  At first her little hands went into a yoga tall man to thumb pose, and she said, "umm".   I joined in and her mother looked away a bit embarrassed.  But her fear became too much and her little hand crept into mine and held tight.  In South America they clap when a plane lands, like a well done and thank you to the pilot.  We joined in the clapping and her beautiful eyes were once again dancing. 

When I was waiting for my bags after we left the plane, I was nearly bowled over by a little pair of arms around my legs.  I kissed the top of her head, and then she was gone.  

I wonder how long she will remember me and her flight over the Andes!  I know I won't forget her.


  1. Your enthusiasm and joy are bursting from the screen. Retirement seems to be suiting you.

  2. Pauline you just have such a brilliant way with young children (and old ones for that matter!). I envy you that easy, relaxed and natural talent.

    The incident with Mum saying that she should leave you alone reminded me of the start of the wonderful Maggie Smith film 'My House in Umbria'.

  3. I love the odd communication while traveling. Now that my hair is gray, it is easier and I am less fearful that their might be alternative motives with some folks. But she will remember some day, perhaps when she is holding her daughter's hand on a flight.

  4. What a lovely story it brought tars to my eyes. It must have been a fabulous trip.


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