How do I love you? ... Let me count the ways.
I'M a counter. Not of lucky stars, blessings, nor even pre-hatched chickens. I just count.
I wasn't aware of this until our little granddaughters came to visit last weekend and decided it was time for an Easter egg hunt.
We have a no-chocolate-eggs-until-Easter rule, so we blew the whites and yolks out of some free rangers and covered them with glitter and bunny stickers. By the time the girls got tired of all that puffing and glittering, we had five decorated eggs, which even Poppy - who'd been doing some huffing and puffing of his own about picking glitter out of the floorboards until Easter - said were egg-cellent. We then took (many) turns hiding the eggs and, each time, I did a count to make sure we had them all.
Later, as Miss Five was brushing the long, hot pink mane of Fluttershy - her My Little Pony du jour - she asked, "Nanny, is counting your destiny?”
I looked at Miss Five's dad who muttered something about "My Little Pony tales and philosophical messages”.
"What?” I asked, for want of something more profound to say.
"You're always counting, Nanny,” Miss Five said. "Yesterday you said you were counting the hours 'til we got here.”
"How many did you count, Nanny?” interrupted Miss Three who was rolling out purple play dough for a play dough pizza.
"This many.” I held up 10 fingers and, satisfied I'd afforded her arrival the anticipation it was due, she went back to her pizza.
"And you've been counting all morning,” Miss Five continued, ignoring the interruption.
"No I haven't,” I said. "Have I?”
"Yes, Nanny. You counted the clock.”
Yes, but only because a certain five year old crawled into bed between me and Poppy at 5am and wanted us to get up and play.
"Not until 5.30,” I yawned.
"Is it 5.30 yet?” the little cherub asked a minute later.
"No, it's 5.01.”
"Is it 5.30 yet?”
"No, it's 5.02”...and so on for the next 28 minutes.
I'm told I then counted how many spoonfuls of Milo Miss Five shovelled into her "Milo milk” ("Three - stop!”) and how many bites of toast Miss Three had ("Five - just one more?”).
We then went to Great Nana's house where my 89-year-old mother was coerced into playing hide and seek - and guess who got to count down to "Coming ready or not?”
Back home, I did as instructed and counted the seven fairies, the guitar-playing flamingo, the dragon and the two frogs in the fairy garden the little girls made at the bottom of the back steps.
I counted how many paving stones they skipped over in their own interesting version of hopscotch.
I counted how many colours were in the chalk rainbow they drew on the driveway, and I re-counted the decorated Easter eggs, just to make sure we hadn't left any out for the ants.
As we waved the little girls off the next day, Poppy gave a gleeful shout. "Nanny, your destiny awaits! Time to start the countdown 'til you see them again”.