What do babies and bees have in common? They don’t read the same books as me.
Our queen bee arrived on 20 July. We named her Constance Amelia Maund. She is about three months old here and staring at the sunlight through the trees for the first time.
As you may have guessed, I have been on ‘bee maternity leave’ since then.
You see, I read lots of baby books before she arrived but threw them out not long after. Constance clearly hadn’t read about ‘the routine’. Instead, I stuck to Dr Spock’s reassuring words and let baby lead the way. Dr Spock is like the Ted Hooper of the baby book world.
Like bees, babies also help you to see the world through new eyes. Constance loves her pram walks. On mild, autumn days we stayed out for hours looking at the sunlight through the trees and the colours of the autumn leaves. For me too, it was like seeing these things for the first time and realising how wonderful they are.
Sometimes I would get her out of the pram and we would walk beneath the weeping willows so that she could feel the gentle branches sweep across her face and to take a closer look at the ducks. She wasn’t sure about the ducks.
After the clocks went back, our walks became shorter and our trips to the library more frequent – a good opportunity for Constance to see all those books she was supposed to have read.
She mostly likes the touch-and-feel books, particularly That’s not my unicorn!.
Winter is here now. I tell Constance lots of stories to keep her entertained on dark December days, particularly about the bees and how they are looking forward to spring as much as we are.
I have no idea what our ‘routine’ will look like next year. I hope to have a couple of Saturday afternoons here and there to visit the apiary and bring back home more stories from the other beekeepers to tell Constance.
Until then, I’d like to wish humans and hymenopterans everywhere a very merry festive season.