Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Pirate Room

At the age of (almost) seven, The Blonde Bombshell admitted she didn’t really like being alone at night. 

Considering the age of the house, the unblocked chimney in her room, the squeaky floorboards and high ceilings, I can’t say I really blamed her. My four year old was quick to repeat exactly what her older sister said, if it meant she got a roommate. As such, we made the decision to move our two eldest girls into the same room.

So as soon as school holidays started, they began ‘practicing’ sharing a room. The mattresses and sleeping bags were dragged out and each night they would move them from room to room, never wanting to favour one room over the other.

We kept waiting for the world to implode, but it didn’t.

In fact, the girls got up less in the evenings (for random drinks, cuddles, strange noises or banana sandwiches) and began sleeping later in the morning. Astonishing.

After a week of ‘practicing’ we began to finalise the room shift. Rugs were rolled up, chests of drawers migrated from one room to the next, toys and books were consolidated in one room, and the beds neatly lined up in the other.

The girls began to practice saying ‘our’ room, rather than ‘my room.’

‘So Mum,’ the Bombshell began. ‘This is now going to be our private play room. Just for us, right?’

‘Sure,’ I replied.

She turned to the Mop. ‘This is now our private room. We sleep in that room, and this is where we play. Okay?’

The Mop looked a little confused, but she nodded.

Almost a week on, things were going reasonably well. Even when they were fighting, they still wanted to continue sharing a bedroom, and they would often wake and go quietly into their private play room without us even realising.

Then the other day the Mop came to me.

‘Mum, would you like to play with me in the pirate room?’

‘Ummm, the what room?’ I asked her.

She gave me that puzzled look again. ‘The pirate room, the room that is just meant for us to play in.’

I considered correcting her, but these little word-slips are becoming increasingly rare.

And I’m going to miss them when they’re gone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scarred for Life

With the Bombshell’s 7th birthday approaching it bought back some not-so-good memories of my own 7th birthday.

Or what I thought I was my 7th birthday*.

‘Do you want to hear what happened on my birthday’ I asked the girls as we drove to school one day.

Always eager for stories about ‘the olden days’, the girls quickly agreed.

‘I was allowed to have an ‘S’ party, since my name was Shannon, and everyone had to come as something that started with the letter ‘S’. I had one friend come as a spider, with legs made from black stockings filled with crunched up paper. Another friend stapled boxes of Smarties all over her top.’

They wanted to know if we got to eat the Smarties and I told them they were missing the point.

‘Your Grandma came as a ‘Supermum’, your grandad came as a ‘Scientist’, and your Aunty, at the grumpy pre-teen age she was, came as a ‘Sister’ and she refused to dress up.’

At the time this annoyed the crap out of me, but in hindsight, I totally appreciate her understated approach.

‘What did you come as Mum, a SuperShannon?’ the girls giggled.

My shoulders slumped.

‘You know what I wanted to come as?’ I asked them. ‘I wanted to be a Snowflake. I wanted to wear a white leotard and a big white tutu skirt and a beautiful hat in the shape of a snowflake. I wanted to be delicate and beautiful and fragile.’

‘So did you get to be a Snowflake?’ the girls wanted to know.

‘No. Your Grandma insisted I come as a Sausage.’

‘Uhhh what?’ they asked, quite reasonably.

‘A red sausage,’ I told them. ‘She sewed me a special sausage suit, that frilled around my neck and my knees, and I had to wear a red skivvy, and she made a special red sausage hat.’

There was silence in the car as they took in the enormity of what I had just told them. They understood my pain at being made to dress up as a sausage when I really wanted to be a snowflake. There is nothing delicate about a four foot frankfurter.

So that afternoon, when they came home from school, they drew me these pictures.

‘There you go Mum,’ the Bombshell told me. ‘You now get to be a Snowflake.’

‘Me too, Mum,’ said the Mop. ‘I drewed you as a Snowflake Princess Fairy.’

My heart broke as I stuck the pictures on the fridge. Three decades later, and I was finally a Snowflake.

A few days later, I showed my mum the pictures. We stood in silence for a minute.

‘I scarred you for life, didn’t I?’ she asked wryly.

‘Not for life, only for about thirty years,’ I replied.

I wonder what sort of damage I will do to my girls?

* Turns out this wasn't my 7th birthday, but actually my 10th. We could find no photographic evidence whatsoever that I even HAD a 7th birthday.

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