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?’
‘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.’
‘It’s fine Saff, seriously, I’m not in the least offended.’
‘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.