Sunday, June 15, 2014

Apparently I have No Friends and am About to Die

Last week I took my seven year old daughter to a presentation ceremony for the Kids Who Give WA project. This is a great initiative which encourages kids to give back to the community by donating their time, skills or raising money. We had a little group of Year 2 and year 4 girls, having raised money for a local bushfire appeal with a large garage sale, after the kids donated their toys and books to sell.

The ceremony was held at Government House and as we were the first group to arrive we were met at the door by the Governor and his wife. It became awkwardly apparent that the girls didn’t really know whose hands they were shaking, but they were rather more taken by the fact that we were going to be sitting in the ballroom, a majestic room with enormous chandeliers and – naturally – a throne. Yes, the actual throne the Queen sits in when she comes to visit Perth.

The Bombshell had shaken hands and been sent up to our seats, but she shortly returned. She bluntly looked at the Governor’s wife and said ‘Can we sit in the Queen’s chair?’ I giggled nervously, silently thanking her for actually asking first and not just throwing herself in it. Surprisingly, the answer was ‘yes’ and later on they would get the chance to sit in the throne.

The eight groups who presented their giving projects were very diverse – from entire year groups to tiny little groups like ours, poor schools, very rich schools, year 2s to year 7s, some raised a lot of money, some just donated their friendship.

A group of girls from my old high school got up to speak about their project – they donated their time and skills to ‘help the elderly’. They explained that while there was a lot of worthy groups in the community, they had decided on ‘the elderly’ because ‘they can’t do much anymore, they don’t have any friends, and they might die soon.’  A lot of grown-ups in the room laughed and shook their heads upon hearing this assessment. Their giving project involved playing bingo, listening to stories and helping sweep and garden.

There is a large seniors home near the school, and girls have been doing community service there since before my time, but I was mildly concerned when one of the girls mentioned that one of ‘the elderly’ had used to be a teacher at the school.

I couldn’t help myself.

At lunchtime I abandoned the Bombshell to her lunch and found the girls from my old school. I crouched down beside them and heard my knees creak in protest. So did they, and their heads collectively swivelled towards me.

I explained that I used to go to their school a few years ago. ‘’Oh yeah?’ one asked. ‘What house were you in?’ ‘Riley’ I responded. Two of them high fived each other and the rest accepted that yes, I was indeed one of them. I asked them if they remembered the name of the teacher who was now ‘an elderly’ person.

They looked at me closely, as if they were calculating how old I was, and if I could possibly know someone who was elderly. They could only recall her first name which wasn’t much help as my school was very proper and we never would have been told a teacher’s first name.

I then told the girls that my 20 year school reunion was coming up in a few months. ‘A what?’ they asked. I said that it had been twenty years since I had graduated from Year 12. They almost fainted. 'Twenty years!' they cried, and the consternation as how very very old I must be was clear upon their faces.

I quickly realised that through their young eyes, I was probably already in their category of ‘elderly’ and so I stood as quickly as my creaky old knees allowed me, and ran off before they could start tending to my needs and playing bingo with me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The ABCs of Me

My friend Eva over at The Multitasking Mummy tagged me in a post the other day, and when I saw it I got those happy chills and may have just weed a little bit in excitement. It was a questionnaire. And I love questionnaires. So here goes, no kids today – this is all about ME.

A. Attached or Single? Attached. Usually by a chain of drool or boogers to my two year old. But I am also married.

B. Best Friend? I am lucky to have lots of amazing people in my life, but top of my list is probably Danika, my best friend from high school, who unfortunately lives on the other side of the country from me. I tell her all my dirty little secrets and a lot of other people's secrets too. 

C. Cake or pie? Cake.... but I really like pie too. If you have said ‘cake or icecream’ it would have been a no-brainer. For some reason I just don’t really care for icecream. Still eat it though.
D. Day of choice? Is it totally awful to admit that my favourite days are day-care days?

E. Essential Item? A pen. I am a writer and I never know when a brilliant idea or quote is going to explode in my brain and I need to get it down. I hate not having pens within reach at all times of day – I even have a whiteboard stuck inside the shower.

F. Favorite colour? According to my four year old, ‘rainbow’ is a perfectly acceptable answer to this question
G. Gummy bears or worms? This is a stupid question. It should be ‘chocolate or lollies?’ But that’s too hard and I refuse to answer in case I offend either the chocolate or lolly gods. Next.
H. Home town? Perth, Western Australia

I. Favorite Indulgence? Going out for dinner or breakfast.
J. January or July? July – because January is waaaaaay too hot where I live.

K. Kids? The Blonde Bombshell is 7, Miss Curly Mop is 4 and Baldy Baby (who I apparently referred to as Badly Baby in a recent post, and which is much more accurate) is 2.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Physical affection. Ah, get your mind out of the gutter: I am referring to hugs.
Fierce hugs, gentle hugs, wet hugs, naughty hugs, group hugs, forgiving hugs, good morning hugs, I’m sorry hugs, feel better hugs, thank you hugs. All types of hugs.

M. Marriage date? 13 February 2000. I was a child bride.

N. Number of brothers/sisters? One beautiful older sister, plus a handful of awesome sisters- and brother-in-laws

O. Oranges or Apples? Grapes. Preferably fermented.
P. Phobias? Not being able to find a toilet. It means I pee constantly when I don’t actually need to ‘just in case’ later on I need to and can’t.
And heights. I don’t do heights well.
And this weird thing when I drive over bridges my hands try and turn the wheel so I go over the edge. That’s freaky.
Q. Quotes? The way we speak to our children become their inner voice. Peggy O’Mara.

R. Reasons to smile? Being able to write. Being home for my children. Dumb things kids say. Downton Abbey. Dinner Club.  Blogging. That time in the evening when you can go to bed and read and not be interrupted.

S. Season of choice? One that isn’t above 28 degrees during the day but is cool enough at night to warrant a doona, rains only when I want it to, isn’t humid, sun rise at 5.45am and sets at 7pm. So… none of them.
T. Tag 5 People. Tag you're it! I don't think I know five other people with blogs who haven't already done this, who might want to, so if YOU want to answer one or more of these questions, feel free to leave your wisdom in the comments.
U. Unknown fact about me? When I was in my early twenties I qualified as a counsellor. I can bend down the top joint of my middle fingers. I am an anthropologist. I know how to take blood but I don’t like doing it. I always intended to call my daughter ‘Amica’ which was a brand name written on the bottom of a snow globe I had as a kid but it also reminded me of my best friend’s name (my husband vetted the name).

V. Vegetable? Anything you can roast.

W. Worst habit? Tidying things away while people are still using them.

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Actually MRI – I have PVNS in my knee so I have had quite a few MRIs in my time. Then ultrasound because of all the babies. Do people even have xrays anymore?

Y. Your favorite food? Something that I haven’t had to cook myself

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

It started well enough.

Last night as we were about to leave to collect my two year old from daycare the Bombshell asked if we were going to stop and buy a fresh, hot Turkish bread from the shop around the corner. As we are occasionally known to do.

‘We can if you like,’ I said.

‘Yay,’ she squealed. ‘I’m going to get some money.’

Hang on?

‘You don’t have to pay for the bread honey, I am happy to buy it.’

She looked at me seriously, sensing my surprise. ‘I want to Mum. I want to pay for the bread.’

Fine by me, I thought. So she skipped off to her room and she soon returned with a purse with $6 in it and a big smile. She was so proud.

‘The bread is only $4,’ I told her, knowing she already knew this.

‘We might need to buy something else,’ she said.

My heart was singing that she was so generous and thoughtful. I let her and the Mop go into the shop, order and pay for the bread by themselves. They looked so small and proud. As usual, the guys behind the counter turned to me and gave me the thumbs up through the window.

It was all so happy and gorgeous.


This morning as I was picking up discarded undies and socks from the floor I came across the Mop’s money box on the floor. I picked it up. It was empty.

The Mop can’t reach her money box.

The penny dropped and with it my heart.

I approached the Bombshell with the empty money box behind my back.

‘Where did you get the money to pay for the bread last night?’ I asked as calmly as I could.

You know that look you see on the cartoons when the character realises they have just accidentally taken the pin out of a grenade and they are about to explode in two seconds?

That look. Mixed with a whole lot of guilt.

But no words. Her mouth just hung open as she madly searched for a reasonable explanation.

‘Don’t lie,’ I said plainly. ‘Just tell me the truth.’

She had the decency to hang her head. ‘From the Mop’s money box,’ she said quietly.

‘And yet you told me you were going to use your money?’ I asked.

She nodded.

I was shocked. But what was more upsetting? Pinching money from her little sister? Pretending to be generous with someone else’s money? The lie?

It got worse…

‘So if you only put $6 in your purse, where is the rest of the money? The money box is now empty,’ I asked her.

She reached for the purse and pulled out the extra $2 and held it out to me.

‘No, the rest of the money. She had at least $10 or $15 in there,’ I said.

She stared blankly at me again. I could see her trying to remain calm, knowing she had been caught, wondering what was going to happen.

‘Under my books on my bookshelf,’ she finally admitted.

‘So not only did you take your sister’s money for the bread and pretend it was yours, but you took all the money she had and hid it?’

She nodded.

It was at this point I really began wondering where I had gone wrong. How my newly turned seven year old would even think of doing this. Taking the $4 I could understand. Trying to get credit for being generous, I could understand. Taking every cent and hiding it under a pile of books. That’s just mean. And she’s not a mean kid.

I was a LOT older before I began pinching money (sorry Dad) and I never would have been so stupid or bold as to empty an entire money bank. Was I upset that she blatantly left the empty money box on the floor, as though she wanted to be found out? Or did she think I was too dumb to figure it out. Would I have been more upset if she had been sneaky enough to put it back, so I probably never would have realised.

I made her return all the money, then asked her to give the Mop $8 from her own money bank. I could hear the words coming out of my mouth ‘disappointed’ ‘sad’ ‘surprised’. There was a lot of head shaking. I was guilt-tripping her. It was automatic, and at the time my head was reeling trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. Even now I’m not quite sure what else to do.

This evening as she skipped along to her room after her shower she stopped me in the hall in a fierce hug.

‘I’m sorry about this morning Mum. About the money and not telling you.’

‘I’m sorry too…’ I floundered.

She looked up at me. ‘I’m glad it’s all over now,’ she said with finality in her voice. ‘And I promise it will never happen again.’

With that she flounced off. I think I believe her. She has probably been dwelling on it all day. So do I just leave it now? Did I over or under-react? What would you do?
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