Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What’s that shaking noise?

“Oh me and Sarah – I mean Sarah and I – are trying to turn this sherbet stick into fizzy powder and then suck it up through the plastic straws we found.”

Fair enough.

At least they’re outside, it’s stopped raining for a few moments and they’re giving their upper arms a good workout as they each take their turns in shaking some recalcitrant sticks of Brighton Rock (not sherbet, as they assume) trapped inside what I hope is a clean olive jar. Singing Pink’s ‘Funhouse’ at the top of their voices might not be the neighbours’ (a day-time sleeping, night-shift working doctor on one side, and twelve flat dwellers on the other) aural background of choice but hey, it’s the school holidays.......

Where’s Milly?

“She’s in my room because I’ve crocheted her a hat but she doesn’t want to wear it, so we’re adding some side flaps and a bow to tie under her chin.”

(Too lazy to leave the computer): Well don’t keep doing it if she looks unhappy.
(Thinks again): But take a photo if the camera’s nearby!

Later, as I stand outside, cursing the splattered outcome of a washed tissue on the washing, Sapphire passes by.
Where are you going with those strawberries?

“Sarah and I are trying to cut them into segments and then fan them out – you know, like they do in coffee shops – and then can we display them on a bowl of ice-cream for you?

Um, maybe a bit later. It’s only 11am and pouring outside, so I don’t really feel like a frozen dessert just now. But here, grab two plates –---- come back here and do it in the kitchen, not your bedroom – and use this knife. Yes, I know it has a blunt end but----- and put the strawberry on the plate when you cut it, don’t hold it in your hand and then poke the knife at it!

“Mum where’s your nail polish collection? We want to paint Milly’s front paw nails purple and her back ones blue.”

Do you remember when you tried that last holidays? She nearly garrotted herself trying to escape the chemical smell, then dashed outside and dug like a Klondike gold prospector trying to wear it off!

“Oh, yeah, that’s right...... can we do yours then?”

Maybe...but I’ve got winter feet – all pasty, damp and mildewy, with three-layers of blood blisters on my heels, popcorn-shaped callouses on both pinkies and some flappy loose bits of skin on the soles here, see?

“Mum that is so gross, put your ugg boots back on! Your toenails already look like they’re different colours. Can you reach up the back of my wardrobe and get ‘Twister’ down instead?”
I hear happy giggling sounds and resume my work for a while. Two articles done, an invoice sent off, photos downloaded, chocolate to think about, coffee to drink and dog ears to reach for under the desk and ruffle contemplatively.

Who’s ready for some lunch?

“Mum can we use Dad’s pasta machine to make spaghetti? Or those ravioli square things that we gave him for his birthday last year that he hasn’t used yet? Can we? Or what about that microwave chocolate coffee mug cake you keep talking about trying?”

Not today. Toasted sandwiches and a slice of watermelon is what’s on the menu today.

“But can’t we---“

Nope. The dishwasher’s broken, the floorboards are lifting and there’s already some weird sticky sherbet powder on the carpet, so the menu is not up for debate. In fact the place is so filthy that Milly just lies on the floor and licks it when she's bored or hungry.

Sapphire's shoulders slump for dramatic effect, but clearly the food options aren’t too unappealing.

Would you two like to take your scooters and basketball to the school after lunch?
It's amazing how wonderful such a genuinely heartfelt response to such a mundane suggestion can make me feel.

“Mum can you do a slam-dunk like Dad can? He can swirl the ball on his finger, too.”
Erm no, I can’t.

“Mum you’re not doing it right.”
Yeah I know. Blame the six years of netball I played. With girls so tough they flossed their teeth with their own tampons. No, I'm not going to explain that.

“You should take a run up and then just jump!”
Again, netball. As soon as we caught the damn thing we had to freeze or the whistle would blow. Straight after each shot at goal my GS bib would rise up and slice my boobs into two uncomfortable horizontal segments but I'd have to run back and keep the GK under control until the bib would pop up to my chin and then I'd tug it down to hear the sniggers of the teenage boys loitering at the edge of the courts....

“Aw Mum come back – you don’t have to pick up any rubbish today – it’s school holidays!”


franzy said...

Those are either long strings, or flexible chicks.

Benjamin Solah said...

The tampon thing even grossed me out :P

Kath Lockett said...

Whatever they are, Franzy, at times I wish that kids were that easily engrossed.... after the poo and dribble stages, I mean.

Aw come ON Benjamin - you're the Marxist HORROR writer, not me!

eleanor bloom said...

Wow, with the descriptions of your house (ie. the floor which may have loosened due to acquiring it's own life-force) plus what the girls are doing to the dog I think I will put my vote here for a Milly-cam, all footage to be posted on blog. Yay!

Love that last lolcat.

lc said...

Slam dunk? I wish.

Finger spin? For 0.5 seconds.

River said...

I love that babysitting picture you put in there. and I love the sound of 10 year olds being happy. Glad you saved Milly from the nail polish though. Odd that they could mistake Blackpool Rock (oh yum....) for sherbert sticks.
My son J played basketball for a while. He's quite good, but no longer plays.

Helen said...

That babysitting picture is pure genius! Could have finished my coffee without having to try to stop visualising the tampon thing though...

I guess at least they had some form of dental hygiene?

Terence McDanger said...

That Uruk-Hai babysitting picture made me laugh up a kidney. Brilliant.

Baino said...

I'm stealing the babysitting pic. Day one of many. I love school hols the traffic halves!

Kath Lockett said...

Eleanor I've often thought about a Milly-cam or Milly-twitter but for about 14 hours of her day she's sleeping. Plus, she already is a lovely waste of time for me....

lc - it doesn't matter. Whatever you did has clearly impressed our child forever and I can't possibly match it.

River, yes, nail polish(the acetone, I think) is too strong for them and she literally tries to run away from her own feet.

Sorry Helen. Hygiene in my home town was okay, but the social skills of very tough netballers still haunt my nightmares.....

Thanks Terence - welcome back!

Baino, go for it.

Cinema Minima said...

Food really is the glue that binds your family together. Strawberry fanning? How Donna Hay. I would have been throwing them at Sapphire's age, not fanning them.

So you're enjoying the holidays?