8 Random Facts

I have been tagged by
“Mary-LUE” from “Life the Universe and Everything.”
The Rules:

I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their 8 things) and post these rules.

At the end of your blog, you need to choose people to get tagged and list their names.

Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random Facts/Habits About Me:

1. As a child, I longed to wear glasses so that I could look intelligent. Now I wear them all the time, but the promised intelligence is still adrift.

2. I am vain, I have a trunk of empty hair dye bottles to prove it.

3. The older I grow, the more fake I become – teeth, nails and aforementioned hair.

4. I shall be preserved forever in my coffin, because 99% of my food intake is brine. This is why I shall be incinerated, er…cremated and then scattered instead, ashes and dandruff to drift together.

5. I have huge hands on long spaghetti arms. [span on octave and two]

6. My hands match my overstuffed Calzone shaped feet, which is good because otherwise I would fall down a lot.

7. I am unable to operate any of the electrical gizmos in the house which are all networked. [it's a plot]

8. As I grow ever more crumbly, my ambition is to emulate this woman. [warning = contains bad language.]

In my turn I tag

1. “Haddayr” because I need an update on how her new job is affecting her Psyche.

2. “Miscellaneous Adventures of an Aussie Mum” as we need to include the other continent.

3. “Radioactivejam” because she has a tendency to be cryptic and needs to be nailed down, [not easy with that jelly substance.]

4. “Kristina Chew,” as she needs to be less enigmatic or should that be pneumatic, with the amount of high quality posts produced.

5. “Bub and Pie” because she needs the distraction although not necessarily the extra work load.

6. “Never Judge a Book by the cover” because all those ‘hints’ are just too subtle for people with little brains like me.

7. “Chelle” because now she’s finished ‘judging’ she is so bored.

8. Then there’s “VAB” who plays his cards very close to his chest. I want to see if he can be a good sharer, as anyone with that huge a brain is morally obliged to be a good sharer. [no pressure of course!]

Cheers dearies


Bookmark and Share

Me, myself and I

We gather for dinner at the end of a long day.

“Whatever would we do without your multitasking mum,” he asks rhetorically. The average child isn’t the least interested in the doings of a stay at home parent. It is entirely debatable, whether anyone is, interested that is to say. Most probably, those most directly affected are also the least interested. Those people would be all of the other people also in the same home.
“I am being.”
“What are you being dear?”
“I am being 2.”
“Two what dear?”
“Fings.”
“What things are you being dear?” Somehow that still didn't come out quite right? I must be more tired than I thought?
“I am being dah multi.”
“Multi what dear?”
“Dah multitask.”
“Really. What tasks are you doing?”
“I am dah eatin…… [it's sort of eating, but not much is going down]
and I am dah sittin ……. [well, he's half on the chair, let's give the fellow the benefit of the doubt]
and ……I am dah sleeping…… [heavy eye lids]
which is being dah 3 fings…..not dah 2 fings.” His head drops like a rock to the table, mouth open, crumbs falling, fast asleep. There's not so much as a flicker of an eyelash but I suspect that his brain is still whirring.


Bookmark and Share

Saturday awards encore


“Melinda” from “Dear Noah”s blog honoured me with the “Nice Matters Award”……be sure to check her out at the link! THANKS again “Melinda.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been a bonus before.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and
those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a
positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please
pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.

SO I now have to PASS the torch so to speak to 7 others who I feel fit the above description. SO my nominees are:

“Cottontales” This is a lovely site that displays superior bloggy skills. Ideally I would write this in green. The handwriting font that she uses does make me feel as if I’m reading her diary, which makes me want to write this in blush!

Next there is “Mommydearest” who has a plateful of busyness which I can particularly relate to.

A relative newbie for me is the lovely “Anne” who hangs out in her own place at “Anneshouse” which makes perfect sense to me. I’m always in awe of people who are brave enough to post pictures of themselves, but so saying, if I looked like Anne I would be braver.

Another spot I visited regularly in the summer was the “Smiling Infidel.” This is a great site that always gives me a giggle, guaranteed. I am particularly grateful to her for teaching me that if you visit a blog you should always comment [unless you might be repeating someone else’s comment – I’ll have to check with her about that.]

I used to visit “Karianna” regularly and then I lost the book mark! Her insight and patience keeps me on my toes. It’s another one of those super squeaky clean sites [from the blogging perspective] which always looks so fresh.

Then who could resist a blog with the title “The Anti Wife!” I mean! That should be mine.

Is that six? Fine, then this is seven. “Manic Mum” over at “40 weeksanovel.” This is another blog that I found by chance through “Kim Stagliano,” used to visit regularly. For the moment you can enjoy a preview of her novel as we all need to support aspiring writers when their hard work finally has a chance to blossom.

Hmm. so can I still do a bonus?

A bonus goes to “The Ironic Catholic.” I don’t think you need to be a Catholic to enjoy the uproarious humour.

Post Script – if anyone has any hints about how you put these awards on your sidebar…….?
Yours
The technically challenged one!


Bookmark and Share

Break out Blogger Award

This cheerful award came my way via “Linda” over at “Are We There Yet.”

This award casts a spotlight on bloggers who are just beginning to draw lotsa attention — the equivalent of a song with a bullet on Billboard's Top 100 chart. Lotsa good posts. Lotsa good buzz. These bloggers are
going places in a hurry.

So now it’s my turn to pass the award along to blogs that I read and enjoy on a regular basis.

“Keynoter”
has three sites “here,” “here,” and “here.” A visual feast.

Then there’s “Karen,” another arty type over at “art in the garage.”

If you in need of a different kind of pick me up, then “Isabel” at “Change therapy” may have a few psychobabble clues for you.

.
If you'd like to select a blogger for this award, see the instructions below.
.

Instructions:

1) Display the Best Kept Secret button in a post about the award —- using the special code below. Please do not alter the code, because the button links up to this page listing both the history and recipients of the award.

2) Give the award to three to five of your own Best Kept Secret bloggers … and then send them to this Awards Page for the instructions and code.

The Code and instructions are available on “Bobbarama.com” “here.”


Bookmark and Share

Interpreting social cues

 

A while back there was a popular programme on the telly. It was called “A very peculiar practice.” The main theme, for me at least, was the inability of the main character to decipher what was going on under his nose.


When I speak to someone for the first time, I inevitably ensure that I am at my most polite. Polite, the British version, differs from other cultures. More often than not, in America of all places, this is not a helpful mode of communication.

My son plagues me, “is it nine?”
“Look at the timer dear, 19 minutes to go.”
“It is a rule?”
“Yes, it's rude to telephone people before 9 at the weekend, it's a rule.” He searches my face for a hint of deception.

The key to conducting a successful telephone conversation, is the ability to tune into the timbre of the other person. I prefer to talk to someone face to face, as I am a visual learner and need those cues. Without them, I need to listen very carefully and adjust my tone. My own telephone skills are poor which means that I am sympathetic to the difficulties that others experience.

I tap out the numbers as my son waits close by nibbling his finger tips with his eyes squeezed shut.

I hear a cheery voice and make introductions. It's the Dad, a jolly straightforward American. This is going to be easy. We exchange a few pleasantries. He hands me over to the Mum. I remember that play dates are Mums' department. I make introductions again, just to clarify.

“Yeah. I know,” she replies in a halting, jittery tone. Perhaps she's busy. Maybe this is the wrong time?
“I'm sorry to disturb you so early on a Saturday morning, I hope this isn't an inconvenient time?”
There is a pause. Maybe she's adjusting the volume, or running away from her children to conduct a conversation in peace and quiet, or she's tucking the receiver into her shoulder so that her hands are free?
“Early? It's nine o'clock!” I'm not sure if I've just insulted her? Nine o'clock may not be early? Perhaps I've implied that she lies around in bed all day, whereas she's been up since first light?
“Sorry, I just wasn't sure this was convenient?”
“Convenient?”
“Yes…..I just ….. perhaps this might not be a good time,…..perhaps?”
“Good time?” I begin to wonder if I inadvertently slipped into speaking Swahili.

“I just wondered if he'd like to come over for a play date, although I understand that you might have other plans.”
“Who told you we had other plans?” she snaps back as quick as a whippet
“Um, no-one, er…….it's just that it's such short notice I didn't like to assume that he'd be available.”
“Available?”
“Er available to come and play.”
“Are you gonna be home?”
“Yes…..of course.”
Of course! Just in time I remember that quirk a few Americans have, a preference for child care by a woman rather than a Dad. It's a preference that I don't fully understand, but I've come across it before.
“Well sure,” she croons slowly and softly. It's not a Southern drawl, not an accent, more of a reluctant and uncertain acceptance.
“Shall I give you our address?” Another pause follows. I imagine her moving to find a paper and pencil.
“Well I don't know where you live!” Pause. “I'll go get a pen.”

I wait in a state of nervous confusion. I take care with my address details. I don't do it the American way. The American way is to provide detailed instructions, turns to right and left, number of stop lights or blocks, helpful landmarks on route until finally, if you're really lucky, eventually, they give you the number of the house and the name of the street. Brits give the address first. They use similar navigational hints, afterwards, if necessary. Left at the Frog and Toad, right at the Queen's Arms, straight past the King's Head, sharp right at The Two Trees. This isn't possible in America, as there is no such thing as a pub.
“It's 14799 C-h-a-r-m-i-n-g-t-o-n L-a-n-e.” I wait in silence, as if I say anything I might cause confusion.
“Can he bring anything?”
“No, just his sweet self will do nicely.” Maybe that didn't come out quite right? I can see him in my mind's eye, soft spoken, rounded shoulders upon a slightly curved spine, shy eyes behind thick glasses and a bewitching smile.
“My son……he's a boy you know!” Oh dear! It did come out wrongly.
“Yes, yes of course, I'm sorry, it's just that……well, you know, he's such a lovely child.” I don't know what I'm saying any more, I should just shut up.
“A boy!” Her tone is emphatic which is odd because I don't believe I'm arguing.
“A great chap.” Why didn't I say guy! I resolve to try harder with the 'boy thing' in America.
“Time?”
“How about 1? Would that suit you?”
“Sure………thanks so much.” I hear a click at the other end of the line. I am off the hook.

I give my fizzing child a synopsis of the good news, set the timer for 4 hours ahead and pour myself a vat of coffee.

After more than twelve years in this country, I still have a great deal to learn and no teacher.


Bookmark and Share

Feed the Beast

 

'When in doubt,… panic!'

This idiom is a local one, coined by my Dad.

The words are well lodged in my brain, down deep and entrenched. The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland is my twin. When you see a woman running around in circles, flapping her hands and repeating 'oh dear me,' that in fact would be me, or rather it would be, if I had allowed the idiom to rule my response. Instead I ignore it, stomp on it and resolve to vanquish it forever.

I haven’t always been a nervous type, despite this early introduction to the concept. Nor would I describe myself with that delightful term ‘laid back.’ I’m somewhere in the middle, or at least I used to be, until I found I was surrounded by children and outnumbered.

I tell you this, because it becomes clear to me, that whilst I may or may not be the source of my son's OCD tendencies, I should nonetheless, have the power to help him.

I receive sage advice from other people in the trenches regarding OCD. I remind myself that this is familiar territory. The difference is just that this is a different version from the one I'm used to. I’m used to a three or four year old’s version. That version was his little brother. I need to dig up and brush off those strategies to apply them to his older brother.

In the meantime, I resolve that whilst I may not be able to help him immediately, I can work on my own attitude.

During the course of the average day I am 25% annoyed, 25% irritated, 10% cross, 10% frustrated, 10% dithering, 9% grumpy, 5% confused, 5% switched off, and 1% falling about with hysterical laughter. This little glimmer, lights up the whole day and makes the other percentages dissolve. I believe this to be a fairly typical, moaning Minnie, British type.

That said, I have also noticed that as we simmer, bubble and boil during the average day, it's like existing in a high octane tank. Any stray spark is enough to ignite the whole caboodle. They are so volatile. What triggers a meltdown this minute may be of no consequence on a different day or a different time. As a result I am hypervigilant too, waiting for the shoe to drop, or rather be hurled across the room. Lets face it, shoes are torture for some people.

I spend my waking hours chanting 'om' in my brain. I string together a whole slew of lies, 'you can do this, I know you can,' 'remember to breath, this is easy,' 'concentrate, don't lose it now,' ‘try, try, try again.’

The words I say to myself are generally the same words that I say to my children, which is convenient but a little patronizing.

When that moment comes, as it so often does, instead of spontaneous combustion, I find I drift and rise into a state of balmy calm. The petty irritations and annoyances bleed away. I am almost weightless. I am left clear headed and untroubled. I can suddenly see that everything really is fine and that all is well. I becomes easy to make the right decision, to prioritize and cope with whatever it is this time.

It is a very reassuring ability to have acquired. The first time I felt this response viscerally, was when I lost one of them in a park. The family we were with, were in a state of panic, bless them. Not me, not externally. Rushing around like a headless chicken wouldn’t help. There was an emergency broadcast system, why not use it and lock the place down? It sounds so cold blooded and maybe it is? Same as when the house caught fire. What to save? Why the children of course and then start the hosepipe once I heard the fire brigade were on their way. I could list any number of ordinary domestic and family disasters over the years. What do you do if an acquaintance sits on your chest and tries to strangle you? Well yelling isn’t possible and she’s almost double your body weight. Tickle her of course.

A clear head, that’s what you need, and when you need it, there it is.

I’ve had my fair share of days of being a blubbering heap on my own kitchen floor, incapable and incompetent but when that next feather floats down, the little chip or straw tips the balance, we have no option but to cope. I don’t care if it’s adrenalin or laughter, it’s always enough to part the foggy clouds.

Now, what I need to do, is to artificially import that attitude to the other 99% of my day.

I wonder if there is a 'step by step' guide on-line? I'm sure I can find something to download.

Maybe I'll upload instead?

Easy peasy!

For a glimpse of “not coping with OCD” and “general grumpiness” you can visit “here.”


Bookmark and Share

Wordless Wednesday # 4

 

Ms. Wordless Wednesday, gets on my case, “really Madeline, it's all very simple, you post your photograph and do the linky doo dah thing. How difficult is that? You have to cut out the words, that's why it's called 'wordless' you see?”
“Indeed, verily I am on board with the concept.”
“Then why do you keep doing it?”
“Doing what?”
“Putting words in your 'wordless' post?”
“Ah, well that's because the photo makes no sense unless there are some words to go with it, by way of explanation you see.”
“While we're on the subject, that photo, the one you choose for today?”
“Yes?”
“Well, you might try and choose a photo with a little, hmmmm, how can I put it? Perhaps with a little artistic flair? Something easy on the eye? Attractive? Something a little more than a mere snap?”
“Ah, that’s why we need the words.”
“Oh no, not back to the words, can't you just drop it?”
“Well I'll try very hard …. next week, but in the mean time, I need to explain this one.”
“Must you?”
“It's very simple!”
“A photo of three children in a bedroom, simply fascinating.”
“Exactly. They're in the same room!”
“Would it be rude of me to say 'big deal!'”
“Oh indeed not. But have you noticed that they're all occupied with something that doesn't involve mortal combat or sibling rivalry?”
“Well brothers and sisters play together every day, and fight, it's what siblings do. All perfectly normal.”
“Most siblings yes, but not mine. Play is new. Playing together or even in close proximity together, is new. This is major.”
“Well, I'm sure we're all very happy for you.”
“But you've missed the biggest bit.”
“Which bit?”
“Do you see it's a bedroom?”
“There's a bed in it! What else would I think?”
“Ah yes, but what may not be immediately apparent, is that the bedroom is upstairs!”
“And this is supposed to impress me in some way? We have two story buildings in America you know?”
“But of course. The point is that nobody goes upstairs, ever, without being accompanied by an adult. The usual adult, would be me.”
“They’re afraid of the dark?”
“It’s day time in California, lots of light.”
“Ah, true. So what are they afraid of then?”
“Predominantly, being out of visual contact with me.”
“Oh yes, I remember that bit now.”
“You see, I didn't take them upstairs myself, or even suggest it. They went up there together, of their own free will. They didn't run downstairs again as if deamons were on the attack. They played up there together for a full 20 minutes. It's a new first, a tremendous one.”
“Oh, I get it. How old are they now?”
“Nearly 7, eight and a smidge, and nearly 10.”
“Well that's one less thing to worry about I suppose.”
“True, but they may never repeat it of course, hence the photograph. It provides concrete evidence that it really happened, that I didn't imagine it.”
“You're a sad case dearie.”
“Yes, I think I need to fess up to that one.”
“O.k. so one last thing Madz.”
“Yes?”
“Next week?”
“Yes?”
“Keep it simple stupid.”
“Every day in every way, I get bloggier and bloggier.”


Bookmark and Share

Just put them back in your cakehole

 


Some people do it. I do not. There are many purposes for teeth, most commonly to assist in the task of eating, but some purposes should be banned.

One of those purposes would be using your teeth to help you open things, such as packets and packaging. Who wants to be handed an open package all covered in someone else's spittle? I can do without that kind of help. It's a filthy habit. It's a dangerous habit, you could hurt your teeth, or your jaw, or accidentally swallow the chard that your teeth have shreded. No. I'm sorry, but that's one function that should be strictly off limits. I cannot imagine where anyone would acquire this deviant habit from, as I certainly do not qualify as a model in this particular department. Even though my teeth do join now, they haven't for the last 46 years, so it certainly wasn't me! My reputation is untarnished, although the teeth could probably do with a buff.

We fight our way through the fist session of homework of the new school year, one of the most tortuous periods of the day. This period, that should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, expands into a two hour marathon. My scrambled brain recognizes that I need a new campaign and certainly a new approach to the Bedlam that I am forced to witness and participate in.

I clutch a sharpened pencil in each hand to pass over to the next child that either hurls a pencil or breaks a pencil, from my box of nearly a hundred sharpened pencils. I need to instigate a 'be kind to pencils' campaign forthwith. My youngest growls and worries a pencil in his teeth. Another tip breaks off and his sister intervenes, “don't do that dingbat, yu'll poison yurself, they've got lead in em!” He drops it like a hot poker and grabs another, rips off the eraser to ram in his mouth.
“Don't do that dear, you'll break your teeth!” He refuses to relinquish the pencil so I nip into the kitchen to dig out a more suitable biting instrument, as I have already mortgaged my soul to the dentist. He drops the pencil on the tablecloth in a pool of drool. Poor pencil. Poor teeth! I look at the end of the mangled pencil, eraserless with the mental cap crushed with the tiny indentations of baby teeth.
“Is dah washing machine difficult to break?”
“Um…..not really. Why do you want to know?”
“Is it be broken in dah earthquake?”
“Probably not. It's made of metal.”
“I thought it was made of dah steel.”
“Oh er ..well yes. I suppose it is.”
“Steel is dah strongest.” I wish I had a copy of the school curriculum. I need to know if it's earthquake awareness week or whether they're learning about different building materials or both? My knowledge of raw materials is limited to the 'animal, vegetable or mineral' variety, although I used to know a great deal about coal.

“My teef are being dah strong!”
“Indeed.” We both examine the all too visual evidence, crayon carnage.
“I fink my teef are dah earthquake poof!”

Another retrofit mouth?


Bookmark and Share

The Humane Society

 

We stumble into the building tripping over ourselves in our haste, a rambling, rabble of ragamuffins. They disperse in three different directions but I remain calm because no-one can actually escape. One single entrance, that is also the sole exit, is balm to a woman such as myself.

I allow them to let off puffs of steam. their excitement whirs a while. After about twenty minutes, they have expended enough energy to risk entering one of the smaller enclosures. We battle with unco-operative doors. I remind them all about the need to sanitize their hands between each cat stroking session. They are perfectly happy to submit to the hand washing in order to maintain the health of the cats and kittens. The greater good. A man enters the same enclosure. My children are still louder than many, as they lack volume control. “Geez! Aren't the kids back at school yet?” I'm uncertain if this is rhetorical, a joke or both? I smile towards him.

Another woman enters the small enclosure. A member of staff. “Wow we have a lot of kids here today. Are you on a field trip?” she asks my daughter. She answers, a little non-plussed, “er…..no. We're just visiting.”
“You know, you guys might like an older kitty, like that big one over there, the brown one,” their eyes follow her finger to the cage where the man crouches before his favoured choice. His head flips towards us and then snaps back to the bars.
“Kids should be in school,” mutters the man, as he talks to the cage and strokes the paw that pokes through the wires.
“Schoolie, Schoolie, Schoolie,” chants my youngest in his high pitched, baby voice tone, a mode he adopts specifically for communication with cats. He skips around the small room reading all the names pinned to the cages. The woman watches him buzz and read. I know that she's trying to figure him out. Is he really reading all those names? Why does he sound so weird? She says nothing, just watches. My older son is in ecstasy surrounded by cats. He whole body roils a la Mr. Bean and his mouth tic is so loud and frequent, that everyone thinks that he has a serious attack of hic-cups.

“In the old ball game! In the old ball game! In the old ball game!” The man glances across at my son. His words are out of context with everything. His little perseveration phrase is indicative of his state of happiness. There is no such thing as a peer group for him. His lack of social skills may have inadvertently given him an opener with the man.
“Are you a fan? What's your team?” My son continues to spin, his arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, his own personal bear hug. He starts to meow but I consider this to be an improvement on the barking, mainly because it is quieter. Also, because we are surrounded by cats. They might be unduly alarmed if they were given the false impression that a stray dog had gained entry.

The staff member keeps an eye on him as she opens each cage to administer food to her charges. The man asks permission to remove the cat of his choice for a cuddle. The staff member obliges. The large man sits in the small chair and strokes the chocolate coloured fur with a tender touch. “He's one hellava guy,” he murmours to the furry face with the slit eyes of adoration. He doesn't appear to notice as “hellava guy,” echoes through the air several times. He continues to stroke his preferred cat but lets a proprietary eye rove over my children. He speaks to the employee, “we came to see Molly yesterday.” He nods towards the cat. “This is the second day we've come to visit her,” he adds but this time he tells all of us, everyone in the room, even though there are few listeners in his audience.

“Uh, uh, uh, uh, stayin alive, stayin alive,” sings my little one.

I catch the woman employee looking at me. I smile. She looks at the boys and then back at me. “Big family!”
“Yes. It's an in service day at school,” I explain unnecessarily.
“No school today. No school today. No school today.” Her eye catches mine, again. She's cautious, “are they…….” her eyes flick to the man and back to me, “they like cats,” she smiles.
“Indeed they do,” I smile back. Both our smiles broaden as she watches my boys with warmth.

“I'm probably gonna adopt her today,” adds the man with a hint of desperation. “I didn't have time to do all the paper work last night.”
“He certainly is a lovely cat,” I say to his bowed head on the top of a body that appears to diminish before my eyes, curling around the cat, shrinking.
“We just came to get some flea medicine,” offers my daughter with a little flicker of concern. “We already have two cats, our own cats.”
“You came all the way here just for that?” he snaps , perplexed, relieved and too loudly.
“Well….. and to see the kitties of course. It's a treat!” she adds by way of explanation. I watch the man unwind, arms soften, grip loosen and face open. Molly runs her front paws up his chest and her head nudges his chin.

A match.

There is also my other “life” that is driving me completely batty “too.”


Bookmark and Share

Peace of mind can be very noisy

 

I am reassured when I read that “other families” are noisy too. I know that there are lots of quiet families too, but it's the noisy ones that give me peace of mind.

We endure a forty minute journey in the car, ironically, to the Humane Society. My daughter sits calmly in the centre back seat, a brother on each side. It is her misfortune in life to be the central divider. Her arms are folded across her chest as she looks out of the window and comments to me on the various points of interest that she sees. “Look mom, do you see that balloon thing?” she bellows but in a mild tone. She has no option but to yell because the amount of noise emanating from her brothers is strong competition.

“Why do boys like bunnies? Why do boys like bunnies? Why do boys like bunnies?” he chants in his robot voice. As usual, I have no idea where he has found this gem. I keep an eye on the GPS map on the dash board as the woman's voice that provides verbal directions is too quiet to hear. A least I know that my son is coping her voice, even though I still can't identify the source of the new phrase.

“Internet! Internet! Internet!” he blasts before reverting to the original phrase. I need to install an ‘off’ switch in this child. His older brother talks in a Pokemon voice and plays out a Pokemon scene, the same scene, the same discourse, the same exchange for the entire journey. Without his medication he has reverted to monosyllabic and echolalic and ever so happy. I'm not sure which one of us is more delighted, him or me? He is no longer irritated by his little brother's motor mouth. Once again he finds him a source of camaraderie and amusement. Even his distinctive laugh has returned, the one that sounds like the Flamingos in Alice in Wonderland. The Flamingos turned croquet mallets with that infectious giggle. I lack his generous spirit.

“Dogs eat trees, dogs eat glass, dogs eat metal.” He pants afterwards, in dog mode. His brother hoots with laughter and repeats the phrase sotto voce before returning to the Pokemon spiel. “Look Mom, there's a car with a dent in it. Do you think it was in an accident?”
“Could be,” I answer as non specifically as I can muster.
“Dogs eat pens, dogs eat pans, dogs eat poops.” Cackles of laughter reverberate around the car. I wonder how long we will have to endure the dog stage of development?
“Ooo look, there's another one that was in an accident, the side is all bashed in.”
“Dogs eat pebbles, dogs eat rocks, dogs eat boulders.”
“They call that a side swipe I think.”
“Dogs eat mountains, dogs eat twigs, dogs eat sticks, woof, woof, woof.” Every so often, his older brother repeats his little brother's words. Sometimes it's echolalic, sometimes he's just giggly. They enjoy a very exclusive brand of humour.
“What do they call it when the back is all smooshed?”
“Dogs eat grass, dogs eat green, dogs eat fields.” Perhaps I should just install volume control?
“Rear ended.”
“Dogs eat men, dogs eat wimmins, dogs eat…..dogs don't eat kids.”
“What about the front smash?”
“Dogs eat bottles, dogs eat glasses, dogs eat spectacles.”
“Er bonnet bashed?”
“Dogs eat shoes, dogs eat newspapers, dogs eat machines.”
“That must be the English, what's the American?”
“Dogs eat Italians, dogs eat Frenchians, dogs eat Germ mans.”
“Um fender bender or humped hood.”
“Dogs eat cars, dogs eat bicycles, dogs eat rockets, woof, woof, woof.”
“Are you sure, that doesn't sound quite right?”
“Dogs eat galaxies, dogs eat clouds, dogs eat worms.” Nothing sounds quite right at the moment, least of all my own brain.

My eyes flick between the rear view mirror and the GPS screen. I need to concentrate so that I don't miss the exit. I'm not particularly bothered about taking longer to arrive, but I am particularly bothered about spending any additional seconds confined in this moving torture chamber. I long to drive a black taxi cab, the kind from London, where you can pull up a soundproof screen between the driver and the passengers.

I glance back at my daughter. She seems calm. I think she is calm. I decide to check. “Are you alright dear?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well with the noise and all?”
“Oh yeah sure.”
“It doesn't bother you?”
“Er no. Does it bother you?”
“Well,” I veer to the right a little.
“Are you asking my advice?”
“Er yes, I think I must be?” I admit to my 9 year old daughter.
“Well you just need to shut your eyes and blot it all out, think about other things, peaceful things.” She pauses, “I spose that's kinda tricky if yur drivin.” I love how she flips between English and American.

I swing into the car park and the last free spot. I take a deep breath, a full lungful, enough to sustain through the next step of our sequence. My mind races through all the pitfalls that the next hour holds for us. Will we succeed or will we have to beat a hasty retreat? My youngest son bellows, “d'you know dah one fing dat a dog can't eat?”

We all look at him. It appears to be a genuine question and he has everyone's attention. “A dog cannot be eating his own tongue coz den he will not be able to woof.”

My car is stationery. The rubber wheels are parked on the concrete. My car jiggles as the occupants giggle.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share