I kissed a dog and I liked it
....she tastes like cherry chapstick. Actually, she doesn't; more a mixture of fish oil (for her arthritis), chook poo (scavenged from the outskirts of their coop) and purina, but I can't help but wonder what kind of interesting google visitors I'm going to get from this title. However you can rest easy, dear reader, I haven't kissed a dog in that way. No, not even I, deranged dog loving woman who rushes up to complete strangers to befriend their beasties and make canine chit chat, would ever consider kissing my own adorable Milly on the lips, bleucch!
I do kiss her on the head though. A lot. More than Love Chunks approves of. Even his true-but-pompous refrain of, "Kath, she rolled in a dead pigeon on the school oval today you know and even if you let her kiss you instead, it's the same tongue that gave her clacker a good once-over on the back doormat about half an hour ago."
You'd think that would be enough to put me off, but it doesn't. The bronzed orange top of her head - that velvety segment between her soft ears - smells a bit like warm corn chips and is strangely addictive.
Milly sometimes gets brief respite in the form of Skipper. After nearly six months of becoming a Lockett household member he's yet to utter a sound - and therefore is considered to be automatically pliable and easygoing - and seems resigned to being picked up and moved from hutch to garden to playpen to human arms whenever the fancy takes us.
Unfortunately for him, he possesses a rather cute little face with slightly pudgy cheek things made even more adorable by his high-up moustache and constantly twitching nose. He prefers to be held up with his head on my shoulder like a baby and sometimes even licks my ears and neck.
His kitten-like fur is even softer than Milly's and smells like warm, clean cotton straight from the dryer. Again, very addictive, as is the rhythmic stroking of his coat or Milly's - nothing like the genuine touch of a living, loving animal under your hands.
Still, as any backdoor psychologist will tell you, this crazy lady affection (and singing*) is largely to give my nine year old child a break.
In the mornings as she's tipping the bowl of cocoa pop milk into her mouth, I'll sit on the stool alongside her, picking at the blonde hairs, dog fur and rabbit fluff that has velcroed its way onto her dark navy school jacket. Then, grooming tasks done, I'll start smoothing down the back of her oh-so-fine gold hair before being unable to resist stroking her cheek.
"Mu-u-u-um stop it, I'm going to spill my milk."
And now she doesn't want Milly and I to walk to school with her in the mornings. "I want to do it by myself. I'm old enough now and really don't need you to come."
But I so want to. I still want the privilege of holding her warm little hand and hearing her chatter as we walk along, Milly's lead jingling and our lengthy shadows cast on the footpath ahead of us like a stretched-out cartoon version. I still want to join her as we sniff Glenys's roses and sing our silly private songs before we get to the crossing and risk anybody hearing us. I want to kiss the crown of her head again, whispering, "See you after school, Sapphire. I love you."
She rarely answers me back, because to do so would risk public embarrassment, so she tends to throw me an awkward wave in return and moves purposely towards the gate, a picture of grown up independence. Well, 'independence' if there's a taller kid or another adult entering the gate at the same time.
Otherwise she turns back to me and says, "Mum can you open the top of the gate for me? I still can't reach yet."
Our southern neighbours, Jude and Bob, recently sold up to move to a retirement village.
"We'll miss hearing your interesting singing," Bob told me.
"Er, no, that's Sapphire. She's loves to sing along to her CDs or at the dog when she's home from school."
Bob laughed. "No Kath. We hear you, during the day, singing songs to Milly. You have quite the flair for adding her into all kinds of tunes, don't you? It's given Jude and I quite a bit of entertainment when we have our coffee in the courtyard, let me tell you."
I still blush just thinking about it.