It’s always insightful spending more time with your kids

It’s always insightful spending more time with your kids. Which is why I try not to do it too often. It’s best to only get insight into other cultures or people through the safe medium of a television set rather than to actually have to deal with it in real life. It’s somewhat confronting too to have your stock phrases and parenting style thrown back at you by a six year old on whom the phrases and the style have long since worn thin.

The day began sans coffee and without the promised sleep in and so I started the holidays with the sharp organisation, witty repartee and happy demeanour of Ossie Osbourne after his quad bike accident. I was thrown a bathrobe and told that I’d ‘better put a happy face on and enjoy myself because whinging wasn’t going to help anyone and if I continued on in this way I’d only end up wrecking the whole day.’ This is embarrassing when the small person telling you this is dressed, has already brushed her hair and she was not the one with the mismatched socks. So far so school holidays.

As I peruse the ‘to do list’ which randomly includes picking wild fruit, reading stimulating literature and riding horses (who was I kidding and when was Laura Ingalls going to call up and ask for her mothering style back?) I realise that at some stage I will relent and take her to the movies. At the same moment I also acknowledge that Johnny Depp is no longer that hot and that the price ticket for the movies have moved them up the luxury list ladder that used to include foreign cheese and really good plonk but is now reserved for such scintillating entertainment as getting a rego and paying the rates.

School holidays also gives kids heaps of time to rat through all my old stuff that I’ve hidden for very good reasons. Which is how she finds the bunch of notes she wrote to the tooth fairy a few weeks back and some of her baby teeth still cellotaped to said notes. Elaborate explanations involving disorientated fairies and a tooth bank which Mums sometimes have in order to sell them on the futures market is given and the small person, being half Latin and not one to miss an opportunity insists on taking them all back and putting them out again in order to make a quick buck with the rationale that the tooth fairy will never notice. Nice. Vowing to maintain some semblance of order over the next few weeks I am amazed that it takes me precisely 2 and a half hours of shouting, pleading and remonstrating before I acquiesce and allow the living room to become a bat cave and then, verily… an art room in the bat cave which involves paint, glitter, the huntaway, 2 neighbour’s kids and Baby Alive! who I personally believe is Chucky’s evil twin. There are pacts and deadly serious promises to have it all tidied up before Dad gets home. What is this? The fifties?

Ominously the huntaway always knows when the mad Latin is about to get home and start shouting and slinks off outside about 5 minutes beforehand, giving everyone the head’s up on when to start tidying up. And then there is the point when I realise that some of my dark rantings at the television just may have sunk in while at the same time wishing that she hadn’t chosen this particular moment to demonstrate this to me.

As I pour tea for some deeply conservative friends of the extended family and try to remember if I even own any saucers she opens the window and half hanging out of it yells ‘Mum! there’s some cartoons on TV there’s not much shouting and there’s no fighting and no one’s using the F word or trying to sell stuff can I watch it?’ And it’s a tie. Embarrasment and Pride battle it out to the finish line and I still find myself counting how many more days of the holidays I’ve got left.

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