Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Some snippets of conversations with my kids

Me to Miles: "What did you have for lunch today?"
Miles:  "4 sandwhiches, a dead spider and an apple."

Me To Blossom: "Bloss what would you like for dinner tonight?"
Blossom: "Ham and an orange please."

Me to Blossom (after putting her to bed): Bloss are you sure you don't want a pillow?"
Blossom: "No thanks, I just want a unicorn to sleep on."

Bloss asked me where my Nana's were. I said one was in Australia and one was in Heaven.
"Did she die?" Blossom asked me.
"Yes she did." I replied.
Bloss cocked her head: "And when she died did you put her in the normal bin or the 'cycle bin?"

A Story from my Childhood...

When I was a teenager my mother delighted in embarrassing me. I know what you're thinking; you're thinking that every teenager thinks their parent's are embarrassing but my Mum went out of her way to be deliberately embarrassing.

When I was 14 we had a school disco. Full of nervous energy my friends and I set off for the dance, high on pent-up hormones and delighted with our fru-fru skirts we were full of anticipation for the night ahead.
At the dance we all spent a lot of energy on trying to look disinterested in the boys we were interested in.
Unfortunatley this tactic seemed to work a little too well since none of us had even a dance with any of the boys. Undeterred by my lack of success I left the dance hall in high spirits. Kids were milling around me, there were over 900 kids at the dance and they were all trying to leave the venue at the same time.
The hall was on the school grounds about 800mts from the road where all the parents were sitting in parked cars.
As I walked out the door of the hall I heard a shrill voice call: "Theeeeeaaa!!!"
I didn't recognise the voice and tried to see through the swarm of kids to locate the owner.
"You hoo!! Over Here!! Theeeaa!!!"
Standing in front of the hall was a woman dressed in a bright pink satin dressing gown. She had fluffy black slippers on and rollers in her hair with a floral scarf doing a poor job of concealing them. This woman had a slash of red lipstick and a fag hanging out the corner of her mouth.

It was my Mum.

"You Hoo Darling!!! Theeaaa!!! Over Here!!!" She called in her high fake voice.

I barely recognised my Mother.
I had never seen that dressing gown, those slippers, never seen her hair in curlers.

It then occurred to me that my Mother had planned this. She had gone out to buy supplies and dressed up so she could stand outside the hall and scream my name in a high pitched voice all to embarrass me.

At the time I was mortified but now that I'm a single parent myself I find myself feeling a spot of admiration for that vicious act of social homicide.

Not long after I'd put Blossom to bed and gone downstairs I heard her shouting loudly: "No, you just go away! You are very bad!"

I went upstairs to see what was going on. Bloss told me that she had seen a monster and was shouting at it to leave.

I said that that wasn't possible as I had banished all monsters from my house and they were not allowed back.

."How do you keep them out?" she asked.

"I created an energetic force field around the house that no monster can get through." I said.

Bloss narrowed her eyes and thought for a moment. "Are you a fairy?" she asked.

"Nope." I said.

"If you made a fold around the house then where's your wand?" she asked suspiciously.

"I don't have a wand." I said. "I just use my hands. I'm very powerful you see."

Blossom sat up in the bed and looked me in the eye for a long minute. "Yes, I'm sure you are." she said patting me on the arm in a highly patronising manner. She lay down and rolled over, turning her back to me which I took as my cue to leave.  I left the room and after a few minutes I went back to check on her.
I could hear her muttering angrily to herself so I went a bit closer to see if I could make out what she was saying.

"Silly mum. Stupid old mummy. She doesn't even have a wand!"

Fail for me on 3 counts.
1 - now she believes there ARE monsters and that their existence is a widely accepted fact.
2 - she has not bought the idea that I am powerful enough to keep her safe from these monsters
and 3 - she now believes that I am delusional enough to think I have some skill in the area of monster banishment, when she clearly knows otherwise.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

On Collecting 

Some people collect things. Like ornaments, comics, shoes.
I collect musicians.

I'm not very picky as I'm not very musical.

20 years of dating musicians gifted me the opportunity to gather my kids round the computer to spend an evening watching youtube videos of my exes performing.

I'm not sure it gifted me much else.

It was a stressful viewing with all the various cries of: "Show me my dad!", "No, I want to see my dad first!"


I'm going to speak generally here, cause - surprise! - I'm currently dating a musician, but overall I'd say that aside from the ability to play an instrument, self absorption was the one thing they all had in common. They were all very into themselves and their music.
I should have learnt from the first time but I'm not that great at those kinds of decisons, I'll invariably join the longest queue at the supermarket, or opt out of the syndicate the week before they win etc ect.

If I haven't made a career out of bad decisions then I've certainly made a family.

I acquired a musician once through a case of mistaken identity. I was in a busy inner city pub in Sydney and I heard a man calling out my sister's name. I turned around and saw a very handsome stranger beaming down at me.
He threw his arms around me, thinking I was my sister but thankfully he seemed happy enough when I told him who I really was.
We had a whirlwind romance and declared undying love for each other.
But I had a ticket to Ireland booked when I met him and so I then had to make the decision of stay of go.
A few weeks later I  flew off to Ireland, leaving behind the only one of my musicians who ever made it big.

Well, I did tell you I make bad decisions.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

My 13 year old boy is an expert at Premeditated Incompetence. He knows how to do something but will pretend he can't in order to get out of work.
It is a cunning and manipulative plan, designed to make the parent so annoyed at having to explain things in their most minute detail that they will decide it is easier to do it themselves. It is surely one of the most frustrating tools in the teenager's toolkit. Though come to think of it, he's not the first male I've lived with who has pulled that stunt.

A few days ago as I was coming down the stairs I could hear that something had happened in the kitchen. Blossom called out "Oh oh!" and Cleo shouted "Oh No! Look, it's going everywhere! Quick Luca!"
Luca's response was "What? What is it?" in a not-very-interested voice.
I came down to see that Blossom's cereal had spilt and milk was now over the tablecloth and the Christmas cards that were on the table, as well as the floor.
Luca was the closest person to Blossom but there was a cereal box obstructing his view.
Immune to the other kid's panic, Luca was staying put and pretending he didn't know what was wrong and so therefore, how could he help if he didn't even know what the problem was?

In response to this tactic of his I gave him a project to do on the subject of Feminism.

Last night I asked him to tidy the lounge room. As I was going upstairs I heard him ask Cleo to tell him exactly what to do to clean it.
Cleo said "No."
Luca asked her why she wouldn't just tell him what to do.
"Aren't you supposed to be doing a project on feminism?" Cleo said. "I suggest you go back and do some more reading."

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I'm working in the shop today and it's bloody freezing. I'm wearing a big aran cardy to keep warm. Earlier today two women in their 50's came into the shop.

"Do you knit yourself?" The tall one asked me in that odd way Irish people have of inserting the word 'yourself' where it really has no place. (Another example; "Ah, is it yourself?" Well who the fuck else would I be?")

"No I'm afraid not." I said in a friendly way.

"That's a lovely cardigan you have on, did you knit it yourself?" She asked me.

"No, it's a vintage cardigan." I said.

"That wool is very hard to get these days." She said while rubbing my cardigan inbetween her fingers.

"Yeah, this one is about 30 years old." I replied.

"It looks very warm. Did you make it yourself?" She asked again.

"No." I said as calmly as possible. "I don't knit. This is a vintage cardigan. It is about 30 years old."

"Oh. I see. It's a good fit isn't it? Did you have it made especially for you?"

At this point I was struggling to keep my friendly, calm exterior. I imagined my 6 year old self thinking 'You know what you are really going to need when you're in your thirties Thea? An Aran cardy. It's likely you'll be living in a cold country by then and there's always a shortage of warm clothes in those places so you better prepare now. Find someone who can knit you a cardy in the estimated size you will be when you're 34! Do it! Now!'
 That led me to wonder just how old did she think I was? I like to think of myself as  a pretty youthful looking 36 year old but possibly that is just the way I like to think of myself, and not the way others see me.
Her question really threw me into a spin. Do I look instead like I was this size thirty years ago? That would make me about 50.

How frightening.
(Not actually being 50 - that's not frightening - but thinking that others think you look 50 when you actually think you look like a youthful looking 36 - that's frightening.

While all this was going on in my head the lady was still waiting for an answer. I was annoyed at her questions and her not listening to my answers, and annoyed at the implication that I looked like a 50 year old.

"No." I said. "I made it myself."

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Luca was being an ungrateful little shit, or as they say here in Ireland - and ungrateful little shite.
So I was delivering a lecture to him (and the other kids) in the car.
"You kids just don't know how lucky you are!" I said, before going on to do that awful thing where you turn into your parents and tell them why they are so lucky and how different their lives are to yours when you was their age etc.

"Mum, I do know how lucky I am." Cleo said.

"Yeah, I do too." Said Miles.

And from Blossom, "I know how lucky I am."

There was a pause and then, outraged by our lack of disclosure Teddy (aged 3) said:  "Well, I don't know how lucky I am!"