Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Patience little one

At 7.15am one morning I found myself sitting on the throne, ready to divest myself of a few milligrams of excess weight when an insistent rustling dragged my attention from whether to scrunch or fold and instead forced my gaze further down to the bottom of the toilet door.

The door was designed (by the house's former owners) to resemble a barn door with a significant gap above the floor and below the doorframe. This doesn't so much remind me of the long-drop dunnies outside of church halls in the sticks where I'd play tennis, but of public toilet doors where toddlers would stick their grotty little faces underneath and blow a raspberry before their mother screamed out, "Tyson! TYSON where are you?"

The rustling this particular morning was a flat inflatable purple baseball bat, a treasure that Sapphire had got from the showbag she'd scored from the Strathalbyn Rural Agricultural Show at, yes you guessed it, Strathalbyn. In her mind, it was extremely important that I find the time (whilst my mouth was unoccupied) to blow up this baseball bat right then and there. My exasperated outburst of, "Oh for goodness' sake Sapphire, I'm on the toilet. Will you please give me two minutes of privacy" was one that genuinely surprised her. Why on earth was Mum being so grumpy?

As any parent or caregiver of anyone aged under 21 will know, said youngsters have no concept of what other responsibilities or tasks their 'owner' has on their plate at any given time. Their focus is solely on what they have, what they want to do and what they need you to do, for them, right that instant.

Love Chunks and I have lost count of how many times we've felt a warm breath on our cheeks, only to open up our eyes and see an eager little face looming directly in front of us as if on superzoom until the pixels become too fuzzy to see clearly . At age three/four/five, she'd regularly ask us, "Hey Dad, you said we were going to to the zoo to see the baby meerkats today," or "Muuum? Are you awake yet Mum? ** tap tap, on my forehead ** Muuuum? It's time to make muffins for breakfast like you said."
"Sapphire," I croak, hoping that just once she'd notice the exhaustion in my voice, the cornflake sleepies in my eyes and the newly-formed wrinkles on my face and listen. "Please, please, please go back to bed, for the love of all things sacred and innocent, or so help me, I'll live up to my maiden name (Read) and turn into Chopper! It's 5.45am!"

It is with great thankfulness that we note that she very rarely wakes up earlier than 7am these days, but as soon as those baby blues are open, the mouth is in top gear, the smell of burning rubber indicates that the brain is firing on all synapses and the questions, reminders and nags are being uttered a million miles an hour.

"Mum don't forget that you were going to put those gold stars on my t-shirt for the concert today ...... How come the Tooth Fairy only gave me $2 when last time I got $5?..... Can I play the new song I learnt on the recorder? ...... Your breath stinks like poo in the mornings Dad, and Mum's hair looks really scary ...... Sorry about that, I just popped off but it's not like I did it on purpose or anything..... Hey - how come you and Dad ate these nice chocolates after I went to bed?"

Sadly, Sapphire's elephantine capacity to remember every little "Um, we'll see," or "Maybe tomorrow if we get time", vague promise rarely works in reverse. If she's asked to go clean her teeth, brush her hair and pack her school bag, she applies the Meatloaf theory of success - Two Outta Three Aint Bad.

Instead of remembering to brush her hair, she'll make a cootie catcher from scrap paper and slip it into my backpack and go to school looking as though I'd dragged her upside down through a bottle brush tree. She'll spend up to an hour lying in the bath, long after the bubbles have popped and the water is tepid, jerking up in surprise when I ask her if she's actually washed any part of her body yet. "Oh! Whoops Mum, I haven't yet."

She has dressed for school and left her satin pyjama pants on under her dress; gone barefoot and absent-mindedly marked her face with biro and be immune to all of my requests for her to eat her breakfast or the TV will be turned off until it's the seventh time and the windows are in danger of shattering due to my ferociously angry snarling.
But if I so much as whisper "Would you like to have a couple of squares of my dark chocolate" at a 0.000008 decibel level only an ant with a hippo's hearing aid could interpret, she bounces out of her bedroom with "Oh yes please" before the last syllable has completely left my lips.

The other day, when Love Chunks was telling her that the matter between my (now ex) evil boss and myself had ended with a fair amount of vindication, she nodded and responded with, "Oh so Mum won her argument against Bulldog then."
Wise words from a wonderful girl. I love you, Sapphire.

1 comment:

River said...

I understand perfectly about the hearing. Years ago hubby #1 and I were discussing something related to daughter #1. I cautioned him to speak quietly because "she has big ears". From the other end of the house, in her room, with the door closed, came an indignant "I do not have big ears!".