Sunday, 8 May 2016

"I am not allowed to touch anything and

Cat is not allowed to touch anything either."
The small boy stood in front of me looking very serious indeed. I was a little startled at first and then I realised he was holding a small toy cat.
The small boy had come to the craft fair with his mother. Children are a hazard at such events. They want to touch. Touching is one way of learning about things. 
There were tiny things on the stall I was working on too. Children like tiny things. There were beads and buttons and mini-size balls of wool (complete with label) and small knitting needles. It was all too much for most children. Their mothers and grandmothers and, occasionally, grandfathers would say "Don't touch" and "Put that down" but the temptation was severe.
But this small boy just stood there. He looked at everything very carefully. His mother spent some time choosing yarn and buttons and talking to me about the pattern she had chosen.
I thanked her for her purchase and quietly congratulated her on his behaviour. She thanked me and said, "I hope there's some crafty materials somewhere he can use too."
I told her where to find some.
A couple of hours later I went to speak to another stall holder near the crafty stand. The two of them were at the crafty stand. He was still clutching "Cat" and his mother was showing him something. He nodded and then, as I watched, she took Cat. He took a small child's stamp set and a pack of paper cards. He had the money for these things firmly clutched in the other hand. He went and joined the queue to be served. His mother stood back and waited. 
I was waiting to speak to the stall holder so I watched. He waited his turn, handed over his money and his purchases, said "Please" and "Thank you" and went back to his mother and they went off. 
     "If only all children in here were like that," someone near me muttered.
I am sure he has his moments at home but he was perfectly behaved there. His mother did more shopping. I saw her talking to a sewing machine salesman and he stood there watching a woman working on another machine. She spoke to him and, after looking at his mother for permission, he went to look at what she was doing. Their two heads were bent over the intricacies of machine quilting and I could, even from a distance, see his fascinated expression. He didn't touch. He just looked. 
He was the sort of child you wanted to spoil but of course it was because he had not been that he behaved the way he did. They went past the stand I was working on as they left and his mother bought a second packet of buttons. As she was choosing them I asked him what he had bought. He showed me and told me, "I like making things."
I hope he goes on liking making things. He's only four years old so there's a lot of time to do it yet.

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