Universal Applicability

One of the most delightful aspects of growing up, for parents at least, is how kids apply what they learn to new situations, often in an incredibly apt and surprising manner.  All too frequently I assume the information hasn’t penetrated, or if it has, it’s never likely to see the light of day again.  But that just goes to show what a narrow-minded skeptic I truly am.

Hence I’m busy in the kitchen, preparing dinner, peeling potatoes, chopping carrots and frying onions, the basics for many a meal.  The aroma permeates the household, warm, piquant and inviting, when I hear a commonplace noise from my youngest.  He stumbles through the kitchen, a la ‘Lawrence of Arabia in the Desert’– clutching his throat with gagging noises.  But he pauses a moment, pinches his nostrils firmly closed, hits the extractor fan button and announces in a nasal tone, “You know Mom, I fink it’s time for a courtesy flush.”

Meanwhile, if you still have the chance to win a copy of DJ Kirkby’s Without Alice – just read the post and leave a comment.  I think I’ll keep this open until the 1st of December and then it will make a great Holiday gift for some lucky person.

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Validation – thank you Nonna

I begin to think that I may be an American afterall. [translation = able to use and understand the psychobabble language without effort] It came to me earlier today.

At the moment we are lucky to have Nonna, the children's Italian grandmother staying with us for a few weeks. One of the advantages of having another adult at home all day, every day, is that teeny tiny things are confirmed, such as my own sanity.

For instance, I have been known to complain that they boys are my shadows. If I leave the room, or am otherwise out of visual contact, a hue and cry ensues. I appreciate, that when I explain this, that most people, not unreasonably, believe that I am exaggerating.

A simple task such as taking the recycling from the kitchen to the outside bin, a distance of some 25 paces, involves careful planning. Over the years, I have tried any number of different approaches to this tiny task. I can run outside and back again, having deposited the recycling in the bin of course, in approximately 44 seconds. Yes, I have timed it, and that's my all time record to date. However, this option has a number of disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that when I return, breathless with empty bin in hand, there are two small boys flapping around on the floor like landed salmon. [translation = but much louder] Apart from the distress and trauma caused to my boys' by my fleeting absence, in addition, I will then spend upwards of 30 minutes trying to calm them down again. [translation = thus reducing my efficiency quotient for the day]

Now, I know what you're thinking! 'My, my Madeline, you are missing the perfect opportunity to therapize those little chaps!' As always dear pal, you are completely correct. Sometimes, we do take the therapy option, afterall, any chance to lure them outside would always get my vote. [translation = both are 'allergic' to outside] There again, if someone hates to go outside, it might be better to make the 'outside' experience, a little more positive and enjoyable, and sadly, recycling doesn't fall into that category, outside or otherwise.

Sometimes when I'm feeling brave, we will attempt this feat; negotiation of the step, carry 'horrible' thing in your hand at the same time, [translation = tactile defensiveness at the very least] pass through the door jam without making contact,[translation = motor planning] or at least avoiding painful contact, [translation = insufficient sensory input for one, as well as the challenge to depth perception ] step into the sunshine, where are the sunglasses[!], walk the seven steps to the big bin, avoid looking at the plants and or bees, wait, [always a tricky one] whilst the bin lid is opened for you, attempt to hurl horrible thing in your hand into the open bin, cover your ears to protect you from the noise of the horrible thing falling into the bin, then sequence your way back into the house to wash your hands. [translation = times two] And of course those are only the edited highlights.

Personally, I cheat and go for the easy option, due to my cowardly nature. [translation = do everything at night whilst they are asleep]

So now, with Nonna here, I believe that I might just have a chance of nipping out to dump the recycling, whilst the children are present and awake, without the usual fall out.

I make my 50 yard dash, with bin, U-turn and return in 33 seconds flat, [translation = a new world record!] to the kitchen, where Nonna stands on the middle of the floorboards with two small boys flailing at her feet. Her hands flap at me to help make herself understood over the din, “but you were only gone for a moment! It's like dey think you are dead or something!” Her eyes widen in disbelief as the word 'dead' penetrates her grandson's ears. [translation = increase in volume of at least twenty decibels] Nonna's hands fly to her head to rip out the hearing aides, whilst I grovel on the ground with my grief stricken guys.

And that my good pal, is the story of how I lost my efficiency but regained my sanity. [translation = a sprinter not a marathon runner]

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Many moons ago my child, when I was just a wee young thing….I would sign my name in the book as I arrived at work at the bank, where I was am employee, every working day. On one strange day, I was called into the under manager's office. [translation = always a bad sign] He displayed the 'sign in book' because this was in the days before the 'clock in' machine. [translation = or possibly something more to do with snobbery, the 'trade' v. 'profession' debate.]

“Well McEwen!” he said in a fatherly tone. “What do you have to say about this?” He riffled the pages and pointed to my signatures. Week upon week, there is was, my own personal scribble. I sought clues. None were forthcoming.

He prompted, “don't you see?”
“Er, I'm not on time every day?' I squeaked.
He snapped the volume closed and sighed,
“what is it about Wednesdays?”
“I don't know? What is it about Wednesdays?”
“Every Wednesday you have a squiggle.”
“A squiggle?”
“This is not your signature, just a squiggle.
Every Wednesday for nearly a year. What is it about Wednesdays?” [translation = what exactly preceded the observed event? N.B. See how much I have advanced since those days of youth?]
I didn't know then, I don't know now. I suspect it's something to do with circadian rhythms or some other phsychobabbledom.

Today nearly thirty years later I am struck by a curious thought. That bank manager was a Brit, three decades ago? What kind of a bank manager was he? A rare breed. Someone sufficiently in tune with his employees, to even notice such a detail in the first place.

I notice traffic on the web.
Alerts are quiet.
What do you do on a Wednesday?
Mid week.
Not the 'get into gear Monday' nor the 'wind down Friday.'
Think about it? What is it about Wednesday? I can see the evidence of my own eyes. What did you do today? How did you feel? What makes Wednesday different from Tuesday or Thursday? Is Wednesday the forgotten day? Is your battery flat?
Is it in limbo?
Don't ask me.
I have no answers. Only questions.

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