I love the suburb where I live. It's an interesting mix of housing, from waterfront mansions to state rentals, and is truly multicultural. There are bush trails for walking or biking, a huge park with an exercise machine circuit, access to the water at high tide. It's beautiful. I love that I can walk on a Sunday and hear the different songs in various languages from the churches, and see the families all dressed up in their various Sunday best. That I can wander through the park and see people with their dogs, groups of teens having a game of soccer or touch rugby, older folks sitting on the benches in the sun - all shapes, ages, colour and sizes.
There is a darker side though - a couple of streets away is a known drug house. I've walked past there many times and watched cars arriving for their purchases. And just along the walkway is a street that is my "loop track" when I walk - out of our house, down the coastal walkway, up this particular street and then back down into our road. And from one of the houses on this street a 2 year old has been injured so terribly that she is in critical condition in hospital, with a man charged with assault and more charges likely.
This is a house I know. I've walked past it probably hundreds of times. I think I have even seen the little girl who has been hurt. And she will probably die, or live with severe brain damage. I cannot comprehend who would do this to a child. I just can't. It breaks my heart that in my community, my own neighbourhood, this could happen.
Grace is ten weeks old today. As I hold her and look at her perfection, her wee smiles and her funny expressions, I just cannot imagine hurting her. Yesterday, she had awful wind pain. She screamed and cried for what seemed like ages. I walked her and rocked her and fed her and even had a few tears myself. And I could understand how in frustration someone could shake a baby, if they were exhausted and under other stresses. But there are so many options available - call Plunket, call a friend, put the baby in a safe place and go take a shower or a break.
I don't know what the answer is - I know that it does take a village sometimes to raise a child, and maybe it takes a village to keep a child safe. Maybe it just takes us all keeping our eyes open and not being too scared to offer a hand if someone is under stress, or calling the authorities if we see anything. We can't keep hurting and killing our children.
Grace is growing amazingly - each day she feels a little heavier - I am certainly getting my upper body workout! She has developed a very mischievous smile accompanied by a sideways look - it cracks us up, but makes us worry about what kind of child we will be raising! Each day there seems to be new levels of alertness and play - it's so wonderful to watch. Mostly she is very very good and easy, but we do get the evening grizzlies, or she will wake up with wind pain crying and yelling her head off! Who knew a wee thing could make so much noise! Still, we are getting there, and after a very good night she has just gone down for her morning nap with the minimum of fuss so today might be a good day :-)
Rupert is off doing the Motatapu Rangitoto Island marathon, so it's a quiet day for Grace and I - I have some work to catch up on in preparation for financial year end next week, so it is time to get moving on that!