Why my children make me laugh

Hattie and I return from walking the dogs. They are soaking wet, having plunged into the dam en route home. I’m not normally houseproud but I hate wet dogs inside because they drip on concrete floors, I slip and fall on my arse and then I swear. So they have to stay outside until they’ve dried off a bit. They peer in from the verandah where they sit, in a puddle, looking suicidal.

‘Can I let them in?’ asks Hat, ‘they look so sad’.

‘No’, I say, ‘not until they’ve dried off a bit, they’re soaking’.

Hat ponders for a minute, gazing sadly at dogs outside, who look sadly back at her.

‘They’re not wet’, she says after a bit, ‘they’re moist’.

Hat, honey, cakes are moist (except mine, of course). Not dogs.

But I let her herd them in all the same.

****************************

Ben and I are watching telly. There’s a dinner party scene, the table is set with glowing candles.

‘Have they got a power cut?’, asks Ben.

I reflect that when Ben has a girlfriend, he’ll dismiss candles as reminiscent of his dark childhood and instead opt for glaring fluorescent.

****************************

There’s a book in the fruit bowl (in lieu of fruit – it is my house after all).

It’s called ‘Living with a Willy’.

It’s educational; my mother sent it to Ben to make up for the birds-and-bees conversation his father won’t have with him.

Whose reading that, a horrified Hat wants to know.

Ben, I say.

Ben hotly denies it.

Ben – I remind him – look around you: me, your two sisters, two dogs and two cats – what do you have that none of us do.

Right. A willy. Now put the book away.

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6 Responses to “Why my children make me laugh”

  1. R.Sherman Says:

    Ma’am,

    I’ve been directed here by Gorilla Bananas and I’m glad he did.

    I love your writing and would ask your permission to link to you via my side bar. A reciprocal link is not necessary. Just because I like you doesn’t mean you have to like me.

    Of note: I’m an American lawyer, if that makes a difference.

    I’ve never been to Africa, but I’ve read about Arusha somewhere. There is a large mountain nearby, not Kilaminjaro, but another, I think. I need to do my research.

    In any event, as we say here, “Hang in there.”

    Cheers.

  2. Rob Says:

    Reminds me of the time we were having some building work done and stress levels in the household were rising, especially with the dust and piles of rubble, blocks and sand cluttering the weed infested drive/building site. I politely asked my daughter to “get out of my sight”! She, all of 6 years old and hands on hips, replied, “well, it’s not your site!” Thank God for kids, they make you laugh so!

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Dear Mr Sherman, first of all – thank you for reading, despite my disparaging remarks about your profession: a gross generalisation on my part, aggravated – largely – I must confess to fact ex employer is a lawyer. But he’s also a ‘financial terrorist’ and I’m quite certain you’re not one of those. I’d be delighted if you were to link to me. And you’re absolutely right about the second mountain: indeed I’m impressed by your knowledge – Mt Meru looms over Arusha and had it not blown its top years ago would be significantly higher than Kilimanjaro. It is shrouded by lush forest which is home to noisey colobus monkeys and tiny red duiker. A glorious place to spend a sunday, in dappled shade, listening to the cacophony of colobus and drinking cold beer.

  4. problemchildbride Says:

    There is a fruit-bowl children link to the following, honest. Eventually.

    I have two young children who like to maraud in the early hours. Sometimes they maraud noisily and although this is bad for my dozing husband and I at 6am it is also a kind of reassurance. Silent marauding is far more worrisome. That is when the bathroom sink floods with water and tissues, suncream is spread on dollies, teddies, the cat and the sofa, toothpaste gets in hair, and masterpieces of tape, cardboard tubes from kitchen-roll (with the actual kitchen roll paper either discarded on the floor or disappeared entirely) and clipped doll hair are constructed.

    Discipline was exerted and soon the marauders retired from their brief career.

    One morning a few weeks ago, when the girls were in pre-school, I went to get an apple from the fruitbowl. I took it to the sink to wash it and discovered a tiny bite had been taken out of it. “Monkeys,” I said shaking my head at the little scamps, and went to get another one. I picked up another apple and found another little bite on the side that had been facing to the interior of the fruitbowl. I picked up an apparantly untouched plum and found the same little bite, and there it was again on the next plum, the next apple and all the pears. Every flippin’ fruit in the bowl had been nibbled on and then put back with the bitten bit hidden. And then I realised: “the cover-up” had entered our family life. Both girls must have been complicit in the duplicity and entered into a don’t tell mummy pact of sisterhood with each other. Until then they had never shown any real attempt to conceal a crime.

    I never discovered who did the biting or if both did, even after I greeted them with the lined up nibbled fruit when they came home. Mr. Nobody did it, or maybe it was a fairy they guessed earnestly. I told them not to do it again in a stern voice but my heart wasn’t really in it. In a funny way it kind of made me happy that they’d thrown their lots in with each other and neither one had ratted on the other. A certain amount of childhood is supposed to be the children against the grown-ups, isn’t it. At least, mine was like that. And it seemed almost like a landmark in their relationship that cemented their sisterhood. Kind of.

    That was my fruitbowl story. I’ve been looking around your site though and your story is far more interesting. And you write it very well. Nanas (GB) recommended you and I’m glad I came by.

    I envy you your dogs. I want a dog to get wet in the rain with but my husband’s not keen and I think the cat backs him fully on that – politics make strange bedfellows. I’ll have to wait ’til the cat kicks the bucket to raise the subject again, I think.

  5. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Dear problemchildbride – what a fabulous story. It’s funny. But best of all – as you say – it demonstrates that special united sibling front in the face of potential parental attack! It’s a perpetual mystery though, isn’t it, my kids scrap with each other and hurl horrid abuse. But when it comes to covering up for one another, they present staunch solidarity. As you say, rather good that. Yes, dogs lovely. And wonderful company in light of absent husband. They listen to me – mostly – where my children frequently do not. Thank you for reading

  6. Big Shoe, Little Shoe « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] Mummy Blogger). My Big Kids begged me to keep them out of my Blogs. That I mentioned on a long-ago post that my son possessed Living with a Willy didn’t help my […]

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