‘Mum. When I stick my finger in my nose, the boogers come out red.’
Just in case I am in any doubt, she kindly sticks her finger in her nose, wiggles it around a bit, and pulls out a scabby little booger. She studies it for a minute then waves it in my face for effect.
‘That’s gross,’ I tell her.
She looks puzzled. Obviously not the reaction she was hoping for.
‘Wossat?’ the Curly Mop asks as she watches the Bombshell try and flick it into the bin.
‘My nose has bloods,’ she tells her sister.
My husband wanders in.
‘Dad. When I stick my finger in my nose it comes out red.’
‘Well, don’t stick your finger in your nose then,’ he says absently.
‘Aren’t you proud?’ I ask him sarcastically.
He looks at me, surprised. ‘I have men ten times her age coming to me at work complaining that they bleed when they pick their noses.’
‘She’s quite advanced then, is what you’re saying,’ I say.
He pulls the Curly Mop onto his lap.
‘Did you tell Mummy what you had for afternoon tea at daycare today?’
‘Ice-cweem!’, she says.
‘No you didn’t,’ Daddy says, spooning the very same into his mouth.
‘Nana’s’, she says.
‘Hardly,’ he replies. ‘You had marshmallow cheesecake. And how that is meant to be appropriate for kids I want to know,’ he mutters grumpily. I refrain from pointing out that he is currently feeding the two-year-old icecream and cake.
The Mop looks up at him. ‘I’m sore,’ she says pointing at her mouth. ‘Teef sore.’
‘Cake will make it better,’ her Daddy replies spooning in a mouthful. ‘Cake makes everything better.’
The Bombshell has been sitting at the kitchen bench drawing pictures of her beloved Disney princess dolls. She has just finished drawing the new green one that no one can ever remember the name of. You know, the one with the frog.
‘Look!,’ she exclaims, a finger waggling in the air. ‘Now my booger has turned green’.
‘Yucky. Wossat?’ remarks the Mop.
‘That’s just texta but you still need to stop putting your finger in your nose, ok?’
Icecream and cake finished, the Mop climbs down off her Daddy’s lap and wanders over to investigate the Bombshell’s dolls. All seven of them, sitting neatly in a line. OCD runs in the family.
‘I touch?’ she asks. I’m surprised she bothered seeking permission.
The Bombshell stares at her. ‘Ok, but you can only touch them on the arms and no moving them’ she orders. It sounds suspiciously like me laying down the law with the new baby.
Mop doesn’t notice. She is already trying to remove Rapunzel’s head. Just like with the new baby.
Their Dad swans through the room issuing orders. ‘Clean up everyone. It’s time for a shower.’
‘A fawa, a fawa,’ the Mop cries, dumping the dolls and running after her Daddy.
Gleefully I eye my computer, but the silence lasts only moments. Naturally, the baby wakes at this point. I go to pull her out of the cot, and she greets me with a massive gummy, lopsided smile.
Resisting the urge to turn Downton Abbey on again (always with the subtitles on cos the baby makes breastfeeding into a high decibel sport) I settle on the couch to feed.
It’s not long before the girls join me again. The Mop picks up Rapunzel from where she was unceremoniously dumped, lifts her pyjama top and puts the doll to her little barrel chest. She parks her bottom on a chair at my feet and looks up at me.
‘Mook. I got baby mook’ she tells me, indicating her chest. ‘You got big mook.’
I just nod. What are you meant to say?
‘I put baby to bed,’ she says, promptly placing Rapunzel on the chair and sitting on her head. Sometimes she confuses me greatly. Does she think this is how I put the baby to bed? I admit it’s sometimes tempting with the older kids, but generally headsitting isn’t part of my repertoire.
We all read a story together, then the girls are herded off to bed. It’s trying to keep them there that’s the challenge.
I stick my head in to make sure they are asleep. The Mop is curled in a ball, her head resting on a copy of ‘The Green Sheep’.
The Bombshell is lying on her back, scrutinizing a finger merely centimetres from her eyes. I cough expectantly. She jumps and looks at me sheepishly, retracting the finger.
‘G’night Mum. They’re all gone now.’