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  • Ruth Colmer

Where are we going to today?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Each morning I awake at 5.30 to the call of my two-year old shouting from the landing that he wants to be taken to the toilet.

We are using lockdown as an opportunity to potty train. No risk of him ruining other people’s soft furnishings. I stagger out of bed to supervise the perilous ascent up the plastic footstool and from there up onto his special toilet seat on which he places his comically small behind.

I read him a story about a little monkey climbing a big tree.

After he has done his business, he follows me back into the bedroom and clambers onto the bed. Then he asks the question that he asks every morning: Where are we going to today?

There used to be so many possible answers.

We might visit Nana, choose some books from the library, meet up with friends, go to music class and play shakers and prance about the room pretending to be animals.

But now, the question makes my heart sink.

I think of the dwindling supply of craft materials and baking ingredients, the once vast pile of books gathered from the library just days before lockdown which I have been introducing one by one every few days now, now reduced to a few uninspiring titles.

My eyes drift from my son’s expectant face to the wall behind him. Until recently, the walls in our house were blank. Perpetual renters, we are cautious to make only the slightest footprint on our accommodation as not to risk an unreturned deposit.

But last weekend, desperate to bring some joy to our home, we put pictures hooks up in every room. A trio of paintings now adorn the back wall. They are the colour of sunshine and I feel hopeful looking at them.

We’ll go on a nature hunt, I say.

After breakfast I print off a check sheet of objects for us to find and before we have left the house he has already started to colour in the tick boxes.

We walk to the churchyard. A decent walk for little legs.

The road to the church has tall trees either side and only a handful of houses, all the size of small palaces. My son tries to go into their gardens because he thinks they are parks.

How funny to have a garden that big, I say and hope my voice sounds as light-hearted as I intend it to. As we walk among the headstones, I point out wildflower, birds, butterflies, the names of people buried.

Harriet Marriot, I read out. He shares my pleasure at the sing-song quality of the name, repeating it over as we stomp our way back out onto the road.


About the author: Ruth Colmer is a writer and researcher based in Sussex. You can find her on Twitter @RuthCWriter

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