Friday, November 20, 2015

What Would You Have Said?

Sitting at the traffic lights this morning, we sat across from the University where three flags were fluttering in the wind. Usually it is the West Australian flag, the Australian flag and the Indigenous flag, but today the third flag had been replaced with the Rainbow flag.

‘What’s that flag?’ the Mop wanted to know. She always has good questions.

‘That’s the Rainbow flag,’ I told her.

‘And what does it mean?’ she asked.

Awesome question I thought, wondering how I was going to answer in a timely fashion appropriate to my audience of a three year old, five year old and eight year old.

‘It means that the things that are different about us, are the things that make us beautiful,’ I said.

‘It’s about treating everyone the same, regardless of whether you are a boy or a girl, what colour your skin is, who you love, what religion you are or what you believe in.’ 

There was a brief pause in the back seat.

‘Soooo,’ the Mop started, obviously trying to get a handle on it all. ‘It’s for people with pink skin who love cats and for people with brown skin who love dogs?’

‘Sort of,’ I said. ‘The Rainbow flag reminds us the people who love dogs are just as awesome as the people who love cats.’

‘I love bunnies,’ said the three year old.

‘Me too,’ piped up the eight year old.

‘Well, you’re awesome too,’ I said.

‘I like all the animals,’ said the Mop.

‘Animals are sooooo beautiful,’ sighed the eight year old.

‘And the Rainbow flag tells us it’s okay to love animals?’ asked the Mop.

‘And marry animals?’ asked the three year old.

Uhhhhhh. I felt the conversation was getting a little off course.

‘Well,’ I said as the lights changed and we headed off. ‘The Rainbow flag simply tells us that we are all different and that makes us special. After all, a rainbow wouldn’t be as pretty if it was all the same colour.’

‘I’m going to marry a rainbow,’ said the three year old.

‘That’s fine by me, as long as it loves you as much as I do.’
Vive la difference!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Falling in Love

I am falling I love with my middle child.

I should clarify for anyone who is concerned – but I already love her very much. I would do anything for her, including go all Tiger Mother on someone’s butt if they tried to hurt her – but as anyone who has ever been in love with someone, and then suddenly not would know, there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with them.

I am falling in love with my middle child.

I find myself staring at her when she is talking, mesmerised by the way she screws her little cupid mouth up when she is thinking. I find myself catching the light in her hair wisps. I stare after her when she walks away, hoping she will do little side kick she does when she is happy. She is completely oblivious to me and my deepening scrutiny.

I bliss out in the mornings when I stick my head into her bedroom and she is just waking up and she puts her arms out to me and I crawl into her bed, and she wraps them around my neck and simply says ‘Mummy,’ before snuggling into me.

I wish I could bottle the joy she gives me when she gallops off, legs gangling in all direction, hips one way, head the other, ungainly as a baby giraffe, but oh so much shorter.

I wish I could capture the stories I overhear her creating, alone with her toys, the complex relationships she creates between a Barbie doll, a Lego house, a small stuffed bird and a book (she likes to play with books – as toys. Yeah, I don’t really get it either, but I love it anyway).

One day she made an Elsa out of a popped blue balloon, carefully taping on arms, legs and hair that she had made out of paper. She spent ages playing with this ‘doll’ – which could easily be classified as rubbish – and I found it today, carefully packed away on her shelf. My heart ached when I saw it next to her pile of expensive toys.

When you fall in love with someone, you suddenly become aware of everything they do – and you love them for it. (When you fall out of love, you are also aware of everything they do, but it makes you want to tear your hair out. Or theirs.)

When you fall in love with someone, their annoying habits become quirks; their oddities become endearing.

I can’t say why all of a sudden I am falling in love with her, because like I say, I have always loved her deeply. But it’s like I am seeing her more clearly. Maybe at five and three quarters, she is becoming the person she is meant to be, rather than the little kid who always getting left behind, or underfoot.

All year I have been saying this is her year, and all year I have been waiting for her to share this sentiment. Finally I have understood that I need to let her become who she is in her own time.

All year I have been admiring her strengths – but admiration is not always the same as love. On more than one occasion I referred to her as a cockroach – because of her innate ability to survive and her utter imperviousness to what is going on around her. My husband called her a cat – because she always lands on her feet (not literally, she’s quite clumsy). These are not bad traits to have – actually they’re bloody awesome, perhaps it’s the labels we gave to them which was unfair.

All year has been building to this point – this rather tardy recognition of mine. I am ashamed it has taken me so long.

And like any woman who is in love, I am in a blissful state where the sun is a little brighter, the sky a little bluer, and I smile in my sleep.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

That Time I Talked About Masturbation at a Party

I was congratulating myself at having made it to 10pm at a friend’s 40th. It was officially ‘past my bedtime’ but I was still going strong with a glass of champagne in my hand, although I occasionally had to step out of my towering heels, confusing whoever I was standing with at the time by shrinking three inches without any explanation.

We were discussing my good luck at being able to sleep in an empty house that night – my family were away and I wouldn’t be woken by small children.

I sniffed. ‘My youngest usually wakes at 5am, but it doesn’t matter – I have been waking up at 4am for no apparent reason.’

One friend shook her head sadly, ‘I have been waking at 2am! I can’t ever get back to sleep.’

We all clucked sympathetically.

‘What do you do?’ we asked.

‘I just lie there,’ she replied.

One lady leaned forward ‘if you find you are lying there for more than half an hour, you should just get up.’

‘And do what?’ she wanted to know.

‘Anything,’ was the answer. ‘Read a book, do the dishes, anything but TV.’

It was time for my five cents.

‘Masturbate,’ I said.

I had their attention. All their eyes were on me.

‘That’s what I hear anyway,’ I quickly covered. ‘But it focuses all your attention on one thing. Your mind stops wandering, and you stop thinking about all the crap you have to do, stop worrying about things. It focuses your mind and body.’

I nodded sagely. I felt like Dr Phil.

The conversation changed quite quickly after that – it is possible that people slunk away in search of companions who weren’t chronic over-sharers like me.  It’s possible people may not be able to look me in the eye on Monday.

It’s possible that now some people might get a better night’s sleep. You're welcome.

As for me, I found a ridiculously full stomach and being up to the eyeballs in champagne did the trick. And for the record – without the kids (and husband) being present I managed to sleep in to a record time of 6.45am.
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