In the eye on the beholder

I do my best to ignore the revolting bowl that I've just brought back from the studio. I shall never be able to support the family with this particular hobby. [translation = craft] Pottery is too time consuming a hobby for me anyway, not in the least therapeutic, more a source of frustration. The shape is good. The weight is acceptable, you don't have to be physically fit to lift it. The rim is about as perfect as I'm capable of. The bottom is neat and not too heavy. The glaze coverage is smooth and bubble free. It's a fair size, bearing in mind that they shrink in the kiln by about 12%, a figure that I find difficult to visualize. It's not too small to be useless, nor too large to be cumbersome. Not that I'm picky, it's just that I ever so carefully painted fish all over it, shaped like goldfish crackers. [translation = American snack food] An oval with a '<' for a tail, but for some reason, a great number of the fish icons have chipped off. They have missing chunks, which means that the white clay beneath shows through. Ruined, completely ruined, just typical! I can't recycle it, nor even give it away. I nudge it away and continue the washing up as senior son comes sauntering up. He leans against my body as one would a lamp post, idle and content, his line of sight aligned with the kitchen counter. He startles. “You have made me a new bowl?” he gasps. I lean on the edge of the sink and examine him. The arrival of new bowls, usually with the children's names emblazoned upon them, to avoid ownership disputes, are soon smashed within a few days of entering the household. The bowls I make are a challenge for those with poor fine motor skills and the strength of overcooked spaghetti. They are never a cause for comment, let alone interest. He rocks back and forth, heel to toe, hands covering his mouth, which means that either he is about to explode into a hideous meltdown or he is experiencing excitement. Under the circumstances, I err on the side of caution, anticipating a meltdown as I answer, “Yes. Why? You're not into bowls all of a sudden are you?” “In? Into? In? I am not in the bowl, I am near the bowl,” he explains to his mother, the idiot, as there are so many literal word traps for me to fall into. At least this is an indication that speech therapy is having a positive effect.
“Can I see it proper, prop, properly?” he asks breathlessly.
“Sure.” I lean over, grab the bowl and swing it towards him in one easy movement, even though he is now crouching for some unaccountable reason? “Be careful!” he warns, “you might be breaking it!” Each additional word confuses me further. He cradles it gently in the palm of his hands examining the fish on the inside of the bowl, screwing up his eyes. He sighs, “I know Orca whales are the best if you don call them killer whales, thank you Mum.” He lollops away, leaving me confused, but calls over his shoulder, “you can call it my Orca bowl, I use it for supper tonight. O.k.?” I re-examine the bowl and the chips with a different viewpoint.

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