After a week of migraines, codeine headaches, stomach aches and general listnessness it was sheer joy to hear the alarm ringing at 6.00am and actually want to leap out of bed and take my lovely little Dogadoo (pictured) for a run.
As I was flinging off the doona cover, I noticed that Love Chunks' side of the bed was empty. Oh great, the first time in ages I get a decent night's rest and I'd obviously laid back like a log and snored like an elephant concussed with one. Oh dear, I felt so perky today yet also guilty that I'd given LC such a shocker of a night.
These feelings gradually turned to Happy Happy Happy ones again as I beheld my joyous little orange nugget (Dogadoo) hooning around the school oval, little triangle ears a-flappin, tail a waggin' and wet nose a-sniffin' the butts of her buddies.
The warm vibes continued later as LC handed me a hot Gaggia coffee, ala perfecto - ideal crema, piping hot frothy milk and a taste that Sid Starbuck would give his left arse cheek for. Brilliant stuff and just the Caffeine Kick up the Caboose required for a busy Thursday morning.
Sapphire and I walked to school together hand-in-hand, noticing the new pink blossoms on the plum trees and the broody magpies swooping on unsuspecting bike riders. The sun was out burning off the dew and producing a light blue sky only found here in South Oz. Life was pretty much perfect.
Until I walked into the classroom and Evelyn, Sapph's class teacher, handed me a bunched up note. "I know that this is typical seven year old behaviour, but I want to you have a chat with your daughter about it at home tonight. This is not something I want to see happening again."
Lordy - what the hell was it? Something that made me feel both ashamed yet perversely rather proud. She had scrawled (rather neatly, actually) a letter to Josh, the class bonehead who was rather painful at the best of times: 'Hey Josh, Selena dared to me to draw you in the nood, so here it is. From Ellie.' The nom-de-plume was a clever touch, but Sapph's drawing and writing skills pretty well identified her as the creative culprit right from the get-go.
Said portrait of Josh was compellingly life like, even if I (and hopefully, please God, Sapphire) haden't actually seen him in his birthday suit. She'd added the man boobs and enough detail in the genitalia to clearly point out that he'd been circumcised and tended to 'rest' on the left. Sure, adding the bright yellow pee, puddling around his feet (which had stinking symbols rising from them, surrounded by flies) wasn't too friendly but it was good. In an artistically accurate sense only, of course.
The paper was stuffed into my pocket for perusal later and a decision on how to discuss it with Sapphire at dinner time tonight. Do I say, "Hey that's a bit too rude for school, but what an eye you have for realistic detail?" Or do I go in hard with, "Don't you dare do that again, even if he did rub dog poo (true) on the back of your jumper the other day." The third option under consideration was to use the first option (chastise and compliment) and then ask her for her own advice: "Now, what would you do, Sapphire? Would you be happy if someone did a picture of the front of your bum?"
However, I used to hate the snivelling, rational do-gooder-ness of third option if my parents ever tried it on me (rarely, usually Dad's bath time thigh slap was behavioural incentive enough) or if I heard some hemp-wearing, mung bean-munching, new-age parent trying it on with their devil spawn. "Now Tristian, would you like it if --- no darling, it's not nice to play with matches ---- let's get back to your behaviour now, shall we --- put the rabbit down!"
Also, I remember my parents telling me that sometimes the most challenging part about being a responsible adult was being able to squash your laughter when trying to show a child what was right. Mum and Dad had to go inside for a good ten minutes before they emerged outside, wiping away tears and sternly telling me "You do NOT use permanent markers over your brother's face!" True story - the photo's in our album entitled 'MillyMoo's Art, 1971'). Or, "You'd better come back and finish being your brother's 'Slave For the Day'. After all, he did pay you twenty cents and you've buzzed off on your bike after only five minutes."
Not surprisingly, any more serious thought about how to deal with Sapphire's new visual method of revenge communication immediately disappeared when Sigrid, PhD student extraordinaire, arrived this morning with one of her famous, white chocolate and caramel French baked cheesecakes. Whoah man! Hideki, our newly-arrived Japanese scholar who considers a rice cracker 'a bit too sweet' had developed a tight perm by the end of his first mouthful. I, on the other hand, was on a blissful tastebud-trip to Tart Heaven and had already forgotten that it was day one of my 'no crap' diet....
Until now, when, as I sit here typing this, I realise that my stomach roll now resembles my very own built-in life preserver and almost hides the view of my feet. Bugger.