The Furry Dragon Beast

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Mum and Dad installed a gate to lock me in the kitchen where my play mat is. A gate. With a lock. And now Hoot is on one side and I’m on the other and it’s like a zoo but no-one knows who’s locked in and who’s locked out. I can’t even crawl yet so I don’t see why a gate is even necessary. Talk about over-kill. And now Hoot is sitting, staring at me and I have to talk to him through the bars like we’re prisoners. I’m telling Hoot about Iris pooping in the toilet like a real person and he seems very interested. His tail is swishing and I’m pretty sure soon it will swish right through those bars and I’ll be able to pull it. Pulling Hoot’s tail is perhaps the greatest discovery of all discoveries, because – are you sitting down? – it’s ALIVE! It moves all by itself!
Maybe YOU would like to learn how to poo in the toilet instead of in your tray of pellets, Hoot? I think it’d be so much more fun.
It’s talking about poo again. Like there’s nothing else going on on the planet than who’s pooing where and from whence poo came. It’s remarkably tiresome.
And then Grandma held ME over the toilet! But I didn’t need to go and I didn’t really get how to I think. But it was fun! Especially when she jiggled me a bit! Hahaha!
The giggle is somewhat cute, I’ll give it that.
Hoot?
Yes, kid.
What’s your tail for? I mean, what does it do?
It’s for balance, kid. Something you have an inordinately limited amount of.
Can I pull it? I’d REALLY like to pull it.
No.
Why?
It’s painful. It’s a significant invasion of my personal space. I am a God among humans and nothing on my person may be pulled, grabbed, drooled on, or hit.
Can I use you to maybe get upright?
I need to ponder on that.
What does ponder mean?
It means I need to think about it.
Ok… Have you thought about it now?
Ok, kid, you can try, but seeing you’ve failed so spectacularly to crawl, methinks pulling yourself up is maybe many months premature, but what the hell, it’ll be funny to see you fail.
Woot! Now?
I suppose, but one of us will need the management to open this interminable gate.
Ok. How?
You scream and I’ll yowl. On three.
Hoot?
Yes, kid.
I can’t count yet.
Right. Annoying. Go!
WOW! What a sound! We were MAGNIFICENT!!! I’ve never seen Mum run so fast! And with a towel wrapped around her, which isn’t exactly work-out gear.
‘I’m here Cricket! I’m here!’
She looked kind of surprised when she bent down, like she was expecting to see a severed limb, or at the very least, blood.
I waved. Hi Mum! Can you please open the gate? Hoot and I have things to do.
‘What the hell was that about?!’ She opened the gate and Hoot shot through. ‘I can’t believe you can’t jump this, Hoot. It’s less than a meter high. You’re a cat. A lazy cat.’
Ok Mum, you can leave us now. Hoot, come here.
Why am I doing this? Ok, kid, I’ve braced myself. Knock yourself out.
Mum left, shaking her head, and Hoot squatted on his haunches and all these furry muscles stuck out of him! He really is a magnificent God, just like he always says. I rolled over and threw an arm up over his back and grabbed the biggest handful of flesh and fur I could and heaved. We teetered for a moment and then I felt Hoot crouch closer to the floor and then lift up slowly and I went with him!

I’M FLYING ON A FURRY DRAGON BEAST AND I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!

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Fortitude

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When we last left Cricket she was performing a concert with her bestie, Iris, while Saff introduced Grandma Willow to Mrs. Iris…

‘It’s so nice to meet you Willow. Saff’s told me a bit about your exciting life. Sounds wonderful!’
‘It has its moments that’s for sure, but it’s just so hard with this lot living over here, especially with my little Cricket-Wicket being so fabulous and growing so fast.’
Grandma picks me up and I squeal. I didn’t know I was FABULOUS!
‘Yeah, it would be hard. I don’t know what I’d do without my Mum to babysit.’
‘I don’t know what I’d do without your mum to babysit either!’ Mum said that and Grandma looked a bit miffed I thought.
‘Oh? So you get Tess’s mum to babysit Cricket, darling?’
‘Only a few times, but yes, she’s been so lovely to offer.’
‘Yes, of course. So you’re on mat leave too, Tess?’
‘Yep, but I’ll be going back soon unfortunately. I’m a makeup artist and worked casually and for myself before we got pregnant so I didn’t get any leave entitlements and I think it’s time to go back now.’
‘A makeup artist, that’s great. How’s it going, working for yourself?’
‘I’d only just started really when I got pregnant, so I’ll basically be starting over.’
‘Tess is almost 20 years younger than me Mum.’
Tess looked shocked. ‘Twenty?! No, not that much!’
‘Mmm, yeah, I think so. I’m 42 and you’re 23 aren’t you? That’s 19 years…’
‘Yes, right, wow. You don’t look 42.’
‘I feel it today.’
Mum put her hands on the bench and stretched her back out.
‘23! Goodness, it’s like the 1950s again. Was Iris planned, Tess?’
‘Mum! Oh my god, she has Tourette’s sometimes. Sorry.’
Mrs. Iris laughed and it sounded like happy, like finally finding a green sheep. ‘It’s fine! She sort of was and sort of wasn’t is the short answer.’
‘I think I need the long answer, dear.’
Mum banged Grandma’s coffee down on the floor next to her. ‘Mum, seriously, wow.’
‘There’s not really a long answer, but the medium answer is that I have quite severe endometriosis and my doctors told us it would take many years if we wanted to try and fall pregnant naturally so we started trying and fell pregnant three months later.’
‘Goodness, that must’ve been a shock! And it’s the opposite of Saffron’s story isn’t it?’
Because I’m plugged into Mum I could feel her heart hurt a bit. Not too bad, but a little tug, like when you fall over, but on your back, not on your face.
‘It was a bit of a surprise. A good one, of course. And I guess it is the opposite of what Saff went through. Sometimes I feel bad that she struggled for so many years and we tried for a few months and were lucky. It’s been a bit of an adjustment period, especially career-wise.’
‘Yes, but it’s a blessing really, I mean, you have all this time now, and you can have lots of children if that’s what you decide.’
When Grandma said that I felt Mum’s heart hurt much more than the first thing she said. Face-plant hurt this time. I stretch my arms up to her but she isn’t looking at me.
‘Yes, I guess that’s true.’ Tess looked at Mum funny. ‘So, will you guys try again do you think Saff?’
‘Well, yes, I think so. We’re actually starting the process now.’
Grandma stopped squeezing my knees to stare at Mum. ‘Really darling? That’s… I mean, that’s wonderful. I’m a bit surprised, but it’s just wonderful. When does it all start?’
‘Thanks Mum. Well, I think it might start now. If we can do the first bit quickly and get to the egg pick up stage then it’ll be really helpful if you’re still here.’
‘Well of course I’ll still be here if you need me to be. That’s such good news!’
‘Well, we’ll just see how it goes.’
Iris started slapping her leg and looking at Mrs. Iris. That means Iris gets to poo in her bucket! Life is so unfair. Mrs Iris jumped up and picked Iris up.
‘Saff, can I use the toilet?’
‘Of course hun, you don’t need to ask.’
Grandma looked very interested as Mrs. Iris took Iris off to the bathroom. ‘What’s this?’
‘Tess is doing elimination communication with Iris.’
‘Elimination communication?’
‘It’s basically toilet training from birth, it’s pretty amazing. It’s common practice in heaps of places across the world and is just starting to become better known in the west. If I had more fortitude I’d do it myself.’

WHAT DOES FORTITUDE MEAN? WHY DOESN’T SHE HAVE ANY?!

‘Toilet training from birth? Wow! I need to see this!’
Grandma scooped me up and ran with me to the bathroom. SQUEEEEEE! And there was Iris pooing in the toilet LIKE A REAL PERSON!! Mrs. Iris was holding her above it and she was POOPING INTO IT! Ohhhhh how I wanted Grandma to hover ME over the toilet too! I went berserk in her arms to let her know.
‘You like that, do you, Poppet? It is pretty cool, isn’t it? Maybe you and I can try it while I’m here, what do you think?’
Oh Grandma, how I love thee.

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Fun and Funner

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When we last left Cricket, GRANDMA had just arrived for a surprise visit…

‘I hope the timing is ok. I was going to call, but you know I love a good surprise!’
‘Indeed you do, mother.’
Mum sits with us and the coffee smells good. I’m not allowed coffee. I’m thinking of staging a protest. Maybe I can get Grandma to help me.
‘The timing might force my hand on something a bit, but that’s ok. How long can you stay?’
‘How long can I stay? Normally you’re asking me how long am I staying!’
‘No I don’t.’
‘Yes, darling, you do.’
I sense Mum getting tense. I’m a barometer for Mum’s feelings. She doesn’t know this. She thinks if she sings or makes everything rhyme, or says everything with a very big smile on her face, even when she’s unhappy, that I’ll think she’s happy anyway. But it doesn’t work that way. Even though Placenta got taken away from me (my dear, sweet Placenta), for some reason they left the pink ribbon behind. I’m beginning to think I’m the only person that can see the pink ribbon. It stretches from Mum’s heart to mine and it’s always there, even when we’re not together. And through the ribbon I can feel everything she’s feeling. It’s pretty cool.
Mum tends to get tense around Grandma. I don’t know why because Grandma only has two settings – fun and funner. I hope when Mum and I are old we don’t get tense with each other.
The doorbell rings. IRIS IS HERE!! I go to crawl before I remember I can’t and face-plant the play mat. Mum get’s up to let Iris and Mrs Iris in and Grandma grabs my hips and lifts them up and pushes my knees together with her hands so it feels like maybe I could crawl. It feels amazing!
‘This is how you do it, Cricket-Wicket.’
Mum comes back down the hall with Iris and Mrs Iris behind her.
‘Mum, this is Tess and this little cutie is Iris.’
Grandma strokes Iris’s cheeks – she does have lovely cheeks – and everyone says hello and finally Iris is right next to me and we get started practicing for our concert straightaway. We’re a bit rusty, but I’m sure we’ll be amazing very soon. Mum is already bustling. Mum is very good at bustling because of how many things she can do at the same time. Dad can’t do anything at the same time.           ‘Who wants coffee?’
‘I’ll have one, thanks Saff.’
Mrs. Iris has a lovely voice. It makes me hope she joins our concert.
‘I’ll have one too thank you darling.’
Grandma calls Mum darling, just like Mum calls me darling!
Grandma sits on the floor with us and Mrs. Iris sits at the kitchen counter.
‘So are Iris and Cricket the same age?’
‘Pretty much. Iris is three weeks older.’
‘She’s very beautiful, what’s her heritage?’
‘Mum!’
‘What?! I’m interested!’
‘It’s fine Saff, she’s got interesting genes.’
‘Yes, but it’s rude to ask someone their heritage.’
‘Why darling? Why on earth is it rude?’
‘Because, I don’t know, it just is. Why is it relevant, why do you need to know?’
‘It’s relevant because I’m asking about Iris.’
‘Yes, but…’
‘It’s fine Saff, seriously, I’m not in the least offended.’
See?
‘Yes, Mum, I see.’
‘She’s a quarter Italian and half Chinese. I was born here, but my Mum is Italian, and her Dad is Chinese.’
‘Wow! Beautiful combination isn’t it?’
‘All babies are beautiful.’
Grandma tickles my belly and I crack up. I’ve only just learnt how to crack up. It’s hilarious! Obviously. Everyone loves it. Except Hoot. Mum and Dad always clap and laugh when I crack up, but Hoot just looks alarmed. Cats look kind of funny when they look alarmed so I just end up cracking up more and then he looks more alarmed. I think that’s called a venomous circle.
Grandma looks back up at Mrs. Iris and Mum.
‘So how do you two know each other?’
‘We met at Mother’s Group and now we see each other almost every day. I’m not even sure how that happened, are you Tess?’
‘Boredom? We started meeting for coffee every morning after nap time and it just stuck I guess. It’s great, and the girls love each other, which is really cute.’
The timing with that remark is a bit unfortunate because Iris had chosen that moment to pull my hair just as I decided to test my removable eyeball theory. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, it’s just what we do. Iris’s eyeball didn’t come out either, even though I felt definite movement, because Grandma prized our hands off each other.

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The Getting of Wisdom – A Letter to my Daughter

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Have a lioness heart, baby. Stay fierce and determined, as you are now. Breathe deeply, even when you feel unsure. Slow down and dig in the garden. If you have a decision to make, if you feel stressed or lonely or unsure or afraid or overwhelmed, stop, breathe deep and dig your hands in the soil, mop the floor with mindfulness, curl up with your cat and think of nothing but soft fur and quiet purrs.

Stand your ground, but don’t hurt another’s heart. Be the bough that bends.

Love your legs, my heart. Love your nose and your skin and your face and your belly and your hips. Love them fiercely. Defend them if you need to, but never try to change them or be ashamed of them. You are beautiful beyond measure. Trust me. I know. My hope is that you work this out so much sooner than I ever did.

Trust yourself, your instincts, and your feelings. The time of the goddess is returning and oh how wonderful it will be to be a woman then, my darling. Teach others. Help the men – they will need it.

Never say I told you so. Hug often. Be expansive in your thoughts as well as your life. Your thoughts will create your life, so think creatively, think positively, think about abundance and joy and magic.

Treat sex with reverence and with lightness. A great sex life is one of the keys to happiness. So if anyone ever hurts you, you talk about it, straight away. There is too much shame, too much fear, too much hurt and too many assumptions around sex, my sweetheart, and as a woman the tools you need to navigate this are many, but the most important by far is self-love. Self-love is a shield and also your greatest weapon against the patriarchy, the media, the advertising industry, the dickhead. It’s the greatest gift you can ever give yourself. You having this is my greatest desire for you, and I will try to teach you this as best I can until the day I die.

Explore your own heart, my baby. Be of service to others. Do at least one thing every day with mindfulness and you will know peace. Make friends with people older than you. Seek out wisdom in creative places.

Go easy on yourself, love. Mistakes are opportunities, not an excuse to stop loving yourself, or retreat in fear.

Tread lightly on this earth, my darling. Leave a soft footprint. With everything you do stop and think about the next generation and the next and the next.

Really look at your grandmother and remember her face and her manner. You will think of her more often than you think when you’re older. And then one day you will see her in your own movements and you will cry with pride and love that a part of her lives in you.

Laugh uproariously. Be a good listener. Practice it. Know compassion – for all things, all people, even those you don’t understand. Especially those.

Keep your body flexible. Do something you’re afraid of and throw all of yourself into it, even if you get it horribly wrong, you’ll be glad you did it, because next time you won’t feel so afraid. Know that fear isn’t a real thing, my love. Fear itself can’t hurt you, so do it anyway. And if it’s an old fear, just let it go. How? By digging in the soil. Repetition isn’t boring, it’s cathartic. Remember that.

With service comes humility and grace and a deep understanding of the world and yourself. My hope is that you know yourself like I know you right now. All I see is an open mind, a full heart, and joy. So much joy! If you lose yourself, call me and I’ll tell you what I see, what I’ve seen from the moment you were born – an open mind, a full heart, and joy. There is nothing to discover but who you were at the very beginning, my sweetheart. The rest is just the getting of wisdom along the way. You came in perfect, remember that.

Know love, my daughter, even if it hurts. Don’t hide from big feelings. Jump in – in all things, but especially in love.

Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Your voice has immense power within it.

Learn to hold the space for others. Listen, breathe slow, have a warm heart, a soft touch, and be able to see beyond fear and ego and into potential and divinity.

Remember to look up and down as well as forward and backward. Some of the most amazing things in this life are often right under your feet.

Don’t over complicate things, my darling. You come from a long line of over-analysers and trust me; it doesn’t help you get there any faster or better informed. Just, simplify.

Practice forgiveness, dear one, always and always. Those who stand in front of you in this life are your teachers, hard as that may be to grapple with, the more forgiveness and gratitude you can project at them, the happier you will be. That includes your father and I. We will fail you, you will think it many times, and that’s ok. It wouldn’t matter what you did, said, or felt about me, the depth of my love for you would make your head spin if you could see it. That’s part of the wonderful, magical, preciousness of life, my sweet!

Dream big and learn not to worry about how these dreams may come to pass, just trust that they will. Trust a lot. Gullible is far preferable to impenetrable.

You will be hurt, disappointed, afraid in this life, my heart, and where you put these things after they’ve happened will determine the course of your life and how much joy you experience every day. Work hard not to put them in your body, my darling, for they are very difficult to get out again and can cause more problems than you could ever imagine. There’s no need to be angry at your thighs, afraid of your sex, or disappointed in your hips. They had nothing to do with it. Let it go, and right quick. How? Dig in the soil. And then do it again, and again. The present moment is your only true reality, my precious, and in it these past hurts don’t exist, so the longer you stay in the present the less impact they’ll have until you realise you have indeed let them go. What a gift if you can do this from young, my sweet.

These are my wishes for you, my daughter. And so I wish them, and I hold the space for you, and as I hold you to my breast I allow myself to sit in the present moment and think of nothing but loving you and giving you the space to show me who are. But I do see you, my daughter. I see your perfect, joyful, beautiful, mindful self. I see you.

 

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Neck Skin is Detachable

babe22We last left Cricket wondering who was at the door and thinking how beautiful her mother is…

There is seriously no-one beautifuller in this entire world than my Mum… her legs have freckles on them that look like chocolate drops, and her arms are so chunky and strong that even when I’m too tired to hold my head up she can carry me anywhere I need to be.

I bang a cupboard door open and closed, open and closed repeatedly because Mum didn’t even leave me a toy to play with. She’s such an enigma. And then there’s a weird yelping noise and I wonder if Hoot brought Mum another pet dead bird. I strain my neck to see down the hall. All I can see are Mum’s bare feet and another pair of feet in sparkly shoes. I can’t wait any longer for Iris to be in front of me singing Let it Go. And I can’t sit here with nothing to do but bang a stupid brown (brown means poo) door. And I can’t wait any longer to touch those SPARKLY SHOES so I start to wail. I start off slow and quiet because I’ve learnt there’s nothing more dramatic than a build-up. I’m only midway through when a giant, sparkly, Christmas bauble with legs comes running down the hall, straight towards me, shouting CINNAMON CRICKET!! at the top of its voice.

GRANDMA IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s too much. I fall backwards and bash my head on the floorboards. I go quiet and Grandma stands over me and we’re both stock still for a few seconds and I’m starting to realise that hurt quite a bit and it wasn’t what I wanted to happen and maybe I’m in shock, but before I can wail, Grandma scoops me up in a shiny, glittery, perfumey hug and then hangs me upside-down to look at those sparkly shoes. What a rollercoaster!
I’m hanging upside-down with my head dangling close to the floor and all the blood in my body rushing to my eyeballs when Mum walks in.
‘Mum! What are you doing?!’
‘Showing Cricket my new shoes.’
‘Mum, don’t dangle her, you’ll break her ankle!’
‘You can’t break a baby, darling.’
And now Mum has me under my arms and Grandma has my legs and I’m suspended in the air and Mum is looking like she looks when she thinks I’ve swallowed a carrot stick without chewing it (never happens, never will, but Mum thinks it every, single, time) and Grandma looks like she’s just won the lotto.

This is going to be GREAT!!!

Mum wins and yanks me free of Grandma’s twinkly hands. She has rings on EVERY FINGER! She schmooshes my cheeks.
‘Oh my sweet girl, look how big you’ve grown!’
I launch into a dissertation about how big I am and how I can’t crawl yet and how frustrating it is and how Iris poos in a bucket and how Hoot is sort of my friend now and how glad I am that she’s here.
‘Yes indeed my talky girl! You are big and I am very happy I’m here too!’

IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!! GRANDMA UNDERSTANDS BABY LANGUAGE!!

I squirm ferociously in Mum’s arms, throwing myself towards Grandma as hard as I can.
‘Guess she wants you.’
Mum hands me over and so much is twinkling I barely know where to start so I grab dangly earrings and pull. Turns out Grandma’s lobey things are much stretchier than Mum’s lobey things and Grandma doesn’t even care that I’m stretching them down REALLY far. I pull harder. It’s the best fun ever!
Mum starts making coffee and Grandma kicks off her sparkly shoes and sits cross-legged on my play mat and let’s me keep trying to slide her ears off of her skull.
‘You’re not mad are you darling?’
Mum looks around at Grandma and smiles her I’m-fine-but-not-actually-smile that only dad and I know what it means.
‘Of course not! It’s great you’re here. I’m just surprised. I thought the show was still filming.’
‘Well you’re meant to be surprised! Filming finished yesterday and I just couldn’t wait any longer to schmoosh these little cheeks.’
Grandma schmooshes my cheeks again and I grab her nose and turn it. I have a theory that noses can actually turn upside-down if you twist hard enough. I’ve also worked out that it’s better to test this theory on old people because everything on their bodies has more give. Grandma doesn’t seem to mind, which hasn’t been my experience so far when I test out my nose theory. She must be a very tolerant person. I make a mental note to test out my other theories on her tomorrow:

  1. Lips are detachable
  2. Eyelashes are food
  3. Bellybuttons are homes for teeny tiny people and must be filled with food to save the teeny tiny people from starvation
  4. Knees bend the other way
  5. Ears are detachable
  6. Elbow creases can be microphones as well as vomit receptacles
  7. Eyeballs can come out
  8. Tongues aren’t real
  9. Neck skin is detachable
  10. Boobs need to be slapped in order to work.

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brown means poo, green means goo

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Cricket’s story continues…

I heard Mum crying last night. She’s a private crier. She doesn’t even let the co-manger hear her crying. She only cries when there’s no answer. If there was an answer she wouldn’t be crying, she’d be fixing the problem. That’s why she’s the Manager, because she fixes things. And that’s why Dad’s the co-manager, because he helps fix things. But when things can’t be fixed, Mum doesn’t want people trying to find the solution because it annoys her, she just wants to cry alone.

Mum was crying because she’s worried I’m not going to have a brother or sister and she feels bad for me. Thing is, I don’t know what it’s like to have a brother or sister, I only know what it’s like not to have one, and I like it just fine. And really, a brother or sister might be more trouble than they’re worth, I mean, look at Tony Soprano, his sister was CRAZY and Meadow Soprano and Anthony Jr Soprano hated each other. So really, I think she was crying because of guilt. Guilt is like cauliflower. It’s truly awful and pointless and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Guilt – like cauliflower – should be spat out in great, gooping gobs. Guilt and cauliflower have no godly business being on this earth.

Iris loves cauliflower. I don’t get it but I don’t hold it against her because she’s fabulous. Iris is coming over today and I’m going to play my xylophone and she’s going to play my drums and we’re going to put on a Frozen concert for Mum and Mrs. Iris. They’re not going to believe their ears!

Before Iris arrives Mum said we have to clean up the kitchen and cut my nails. I’m not sure why she says ‘we’ because we both know my helping just makes things messier. I don’t even know why she bothers. When Mum puts everything away I can’t see anything and I have no idea what I want and so my limbs just flail about and do nothing, which isn’t healthy.
‘Come on Cricket, let’s clean up.’
Mum picks me up and puts me on her hip and starts moving dishes around the kitchen. There is no rhyme or reason to this and I try very hard to tell her this.’
‘Yes darling! That’s right! We’re going to do the dishes!’
I tell her I don’t want to do dishes and that I don’t believe she really does either, so why don’t we just put the dishes down and practice our music for our Frozen concert.
‘And now we’re going to do the dishes, do the dishes, do the dishes.’
Mum’s singing about doing the dishes. I think she thinks if she sings everything she’s doing it makes her a better mother. It doesn’t. I worked out ages ago that she’s doing it because of guilt. Mum thinks if she’s not stimulating me I won’t know my colours and will never learn to read. This is dumb for several reasons:

  1. I already know my colours. Brown means poo, green means goo, pink means me and yellow means wee. Black means sad, blue means Dad, white means nappy and orange means happy. See?
  2. Mum singing all the chores she’s doing in the same tuneless tune every single day is about as stimulating as a house with no cats in it.
  3. Guilt never gets you anywhere, ever.

I tell Mum I don’t want to sing the dishes song anymore.
‘Yes darling! And now we’re going to do the dishes, do the dishes, do the dishes.’
Please, someone, kill me now.
But then there’s a knock on the door! Saved! Iris has come to do the concert early! I kick my legs as furiously as I can and almost fall off Mum’s hip.
‘Cricket, wait! Why are they here so early? The house is a mess. God damn.’
And then she does the thing that annoys me the most – she puts me down instead of TAKING ME TO THE INTERESTING THING. If she wants to stimulate me, this is definitely not the way to go.

She’s striding down the hall now, hands flying all over, fixing her hair, pulling at her clothes. I’ll never understand this pulling and picking and fixing. There is seriously no-one beautifuller in this entire world than my Mum. Her hair looks like honey and spider webs and her skin looks like milk and she has amazing ridges around her eyes that look like the veins on leaves, and her tummy is squishy like a soft cushion, and her legs have freckles on them that look like chocolate drops, and her arms are so chunky and strong that even when I’m too tired to hold my head up she can carry me anywhere I need to be.

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A bob, Mark, a BOB.

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We last left Cricket witnessing a discussion between her parents about whether she should have her own mobile phone after she carefully dunked her Mum’s phone in the cat’s water bowl. Hoot was so alarmed, he wrote another letter to the Management announcing his intention to roll a poo across the familial abode.
… ‘I know it seems ridiculous, but this generation will be connected from the very beginning, so maybe it’s not such a big deal, Mark.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure the very beginning needs to be before Cricket can even talk.’

Talking is going to be the most epic thing that will ever happen to me. I’m going to call the CEO of the world the day I start talking. I’ve always wanted to talk to Mem Fox.

‘Well obviously it’s not to make phone calls on, it’s just so she isn’t so obsessed with mine. She can have my old iPhone 4 and we can just have music and photos and videos on it for her.’
‘I don’t know sweetheart, it seems wrong to give an 8 month old a mobile phone.’
‘Yes, it does, and I’ve already acknowledged that and I don’t disagree, but you don’t have to spend all day wrestling with her and then find your phone in the bottom of Hoot’s water bowl.’
‘Did you put it in rice?’
‘It was immersed, in water and cat spit, possibly for hours, I’m pretty sure it was beyond rice.’
‘You didn’t look at your phone for several hours? Really?’
Mum gave Dad a withering look. I know what withering looks are because I’m usually the cause of them.
‘The empathy is overwhelming Mark. And no, it probably wasn’t hours, but it was at least one hour. I do have other things to do than stare at my phone all day.’
‘I don’t doubt it, but I do wonder if you hadn’t used your phone so much around Cricket in the first place we wouldn’t be having this problem. Wasn’t it one of the mums from your mother’s group who said you shouldn’t expose a baby to a mobile at all?’
Gasp! My life without the magic rectangle would barely be worth living.
‘Yes, darling, the very same mum who sews her own baby wipes and thinks the 100% organic veggie pouches from Coles are devil’s food and most likely sterilizes her own nipples in 500 degree steam baths before each feed. The mum I’ll never ever ever match up to, whose breasts are gravity-defying alien life forms, who wears perfectly appointed make up every day and has a blonde bob. A bob, Mark, a BOB.’
Mum burst into tears. Not the pretty, quiet, Hollywood tears where people smile kindly and hot air balloons drift across an orange sunset – the loud, snot dripping kind that sound like Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter.
‘What you mean she makes her own baby wipes? How do you make a baby wipe?’
Even at 8 months old I know that that’s not what Dad should’ve focused on from all the things Mum just said. From my vantage point sitting on the floor, it’s hard to see Mum’s face properly, but I can see her feet and she’s stuffing them into her shoes with some ferocity. Shoes means business.
‘You’re an arsehole. I’m going for a walk.’
It took me a few precious seconds (I was still musing over ‘arsehole’) to realise Mum was going for a walk WITHOUT ME.
WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH!
‘But she’s crying now!’
‘Yes, she is, you need to comfort her.’
I strain my whole body as far as it will strain towards Mum. I move about an inch. My existence is just one, big exercise in frustration.
‘But she wants you.’
‘So she does. Good luck.’
And she’s gone and I’m beside myself with grief. Dad picks me up and I scream into his face as loud as god will allow, IS SHE EVER COMING BACK?! Dad looks alarmed which confirms my suspicion that’s she’s never coming back, so I cry louder and harder then I ever have in my long and illustrious career. Dad panics now and grabs his phone out of his pocket (I guess he’s not keeping it in his Doodle Bag today) to ring Mum to come back but it doesn’t connect and I shove three fingers hard into his right eye socket and scream into his left eye socket as hysterically as I can – I DROWNED MUM’S PHONE IN HOOT’S WATER BOWL, REMEMBER?! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WE’RE DOOMED!!
And just at that moment, Hoot walked past us pushing a big round poo in front of him like he was an elephant in the circus pushing a barrel of monkeys.

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