Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Trying to breathe


Children. Plague rats, the lot of them.

Bumblebee brought a doozy of a head cold home with him from school last week, and I had to keep him with me in the Book Stud for two days instead of school. I could have kept him at home, but staying at home means he sits around keeping warm, reading comics and eating nice things and I don't get any work done, and being at the Book Stud means that he sits around keeping warm, making things and helping put type away and eating nice things and I do get a lot done, plus students can come in and ask questions of me constantly, as they are wont to do.

ANYHOO, he has sweetly passed his lurgy on to me, and I have been a knot of headache and snot for days, and have taken to curling into a ball under my doona and re-reading Persuasion as much as I can, which isn't much, since there are deadlines to be deaded and cats to be fed. Luckily Best Beloved hasn't got it yet (heaven preserve us from sick men) but he felt the cold yesterday, which is an ominous sign. That man wears t-shirts in winter, and only feels the cold when he's sick. I can feel the household balance of goodwill swaying on the scales... which way will it tip?

Colonel Duck is coming to stay tonight for 2 days, which will either push us all into illness and grump, or may take the pressure off and we'll eat takeaway and de-stress and feel much better. We also have a New Thing in our lives that I'm not allowed to blog about until Colonel Duck has seen it, so stay tuned. It's not very exciting, but it is fun.

Speaking of goodwill... Bumblebee went to the Swans vs Western Bulldogs game at Manuka Oval on Sunday. It was his first footie game, and was taken by a dear friend and her son. I gave him $20 and told NOT to buy one of those inflatable hand things, but to shout everyone to fizzy drinks with the money, or if he wanted a souvenir, anything but an inflatable hand. I explained to him how I felt about useless souvenirs: I hate them as a waste of money and space and he has no room in his bedroom for anything new. They are short-lived by their very nature, and just make more poisonous landfill. I'd rather he bought a hat or a scarf, or just a sticker. As his class is exploring the idea of an environmental footprint at the moment, he seemed to understand my argument.

I had some art-school chums over for breakfast that morning, and they made him the best poster to hold up (I'll try to scan it and insert here) so that he could wave something fun around. I made a thermos of hot chocolate and gave him a bag of marshmallows to go with it, and he went off, yelling 'CARN THE SWANS'.

He came home absolutely fizzing with excitement; his team had won, footie was the bomb, and he was brandishing... an inflatable hand.

I hate those parenting moments. If you don't take them seriously, they don't take you seriously. We let him fizz for a while, he told us all the stories, and then when he settled down I sat him down and asked him why he'd done the one thing I'd asked him not to do. Of course, he deflated. Apparently the line for drinks was REALLY long, the line for fun things was short, and he'd just wanted one. (My friend had no idea he was going to buy one; he'd gone off to get a drink!) I asked what else there was to buy, and he didn't know, because he'd just seen that hand. That wonderful, big, red & white, inflatable hand...

And then he asked if I'd fix it, because it had already got a hole in it. Sigh.

I didn't fix it. I put it in the bin, while he sobbed. And he swore he hated me, and I let him rant, and then I told him how sad I felt at not being able to trust him with money. And then we talked about that for a while, and about the things we buy and why we treasure them, and whether we need to buy things to remember an event, or just buy things for the sake of them, and I think he started to understand. And then we hugged, and we were ok again.

Don't get me wrong; I love souvenirs, and I love momentos, but that boy has a room stuffed to the roof with... STUFF. And our house is overflowing with STUFF. And it was, essentially, a trust issue.

ANYHOO again, it was one of those learn-a-lesson moments, and he doesn't want to talk about the hand ever again, which is one of the reasons I'm writing about it. He's never going to forget sunday afternoon, and unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. I probably will forget about it, thanks to my brain like a sieve, and this is a good way to remind myself -- and him, when he's older and wants to read my blog (he will, because he's one of those people who likes to read stories about himself).

Ack, children. Plague rats, all of them. Now excuse me while I go and hack up something disgusting.


Mindy said...

Don't be too disheartened &Duck. I still have those sort of uncontrolled moments and I'm an adult (technically anyway). It's easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and it will probably happen again. But at least you were consistent and that's the important thing. (I've been watching Oprah again). Hope you feel better soon.

Zoe said...

I LOVE the big hands.

Just sayin'

(doorbitch: ssiiliy !!!)

Kate said...

Any ideas on how you stop Great Aunts from buying STUFF on behalf of the kid? He's 5 months old and already he's got piles of useless crap.

He's also been wiping his nose on me, and waking us all up with his cough, for the last couple of days. Plague rats all.

lucy tartan said...

Grand post my friend.

genevieve said...

Ooh, I'm torn.
I like big hands too, in fact nearly all the footy fal-lals look like quite good fun. But the hands are hilarious. (Mind you, I would be bored shitless at the footer after about ten minutes.)

But on the other hand :) top marks to you for being such a STRONG ma. Awesome.

Ampersand Duck said...

Heh. There is no earthly way anyone can stop great aunts from spoiling children. That's why they're great. I have a few of those.

Hmm... strong ma? Thanks for the support. I felt like a big poobah.

Val said...

Mothers ARE the poobahs, I'm afraid. The men are too wussy to put their foot down.

But I felt bad for both you and your son, it was a lose-lose situation. Next time, tell him to get one of those clapper things. Prevents getting sore hands from clapping, and doubles as a nifty bat scarer. The bats haven't returned since I went out every evening for a week last year to flash a torch at them and clack the clapper at them. Heavens knows what the neighbors thought.

Hope you all get over your lurgies soon.