little red jottings

when a little red pen wanders off the page

Tag: fathers and sons

Telling it like it is

It’s 8.30pm and we’re eating dinner. This is not some sophisticated European thing. This is a long day with too much frazzle, a fishing trip that consisted almost entirely of line disentanglement, the end of a long weekend, dwindling parental energy, the rigours of the supermarket, the complications of catering for one child with allergies, one who has decided he is now a vegetarian who eats seafood and mince, and two parents who want a simple French tart every now and then, and also it’s the sort of late you get when you start behind time and everything goes just enough wrong to really collapse the schedule. Probably, in sum, it’s bad parenting, or maybe it’s just the way life rolls sometimes.

So, here we are, eating our mince, pea, apple and olive pie and our leek, tomato, olive, goats’ cheese tart, relaxed and comfortable with each other at last, some of us playing Uno, some of us with our noses in a book. Ian is trying to convince the Rabbit that it’s time to go to bed, that there will be only a little bit of story time tonight, that a bath is not going to happen. I’ve chipped in a bit but — truth be told — I’m nearing the bottom third of a wine glass and I’m reading essays by Helen Garner and I still have to cook a lasagne tonight before I can go to bed, so now the conversation is swirling in the space around my head, but nothing’s going in my ears.

Until we get to this bit.

Rabbit: “Do you know what I’m doing?”

Ian: “Um …”

Me: “Procrastinating?”

Rabbit: “What I’m doing is I’m not listening to you.”

That Rabbit

The Rabbit knows what the Rabbit wants, and the Rabbit will quietly and persistently work to achieve the Rabbit’s aims, so quietly, in fact, that you will scarcely notice as he bends and shapes and softly pummels the world to his will. Until it’s done.

Case in point …

Ian vacuumed the car this afternoon after transporting the guinea pigs home from my sister’s house, where they have been on a wee holiday while we were away. He asked Rabbit twice if he would like to help with the vacuuming, but Rabbit was busy.

Rabbit realised that Ian had vacuumed the car without him, and got a bit cross. Then he calmed down and asked for the keys.

Being of a curious and light-hearted nature, Ian gave him the keys — Rabbit disappeared for a while, then came back and returned the keys. We weren’t really paying attention anymore, too much to do to get ready for the next bit of travel. The afternoon wore on a little more, and Ian got ready to take the boys to the library and the bookshop.

After more hassle than one would think strictly necessary for a straightforward outing of direct benefit to them, the boys were ready and they all trooped out to the car.

The back seat was covered with dirt.

“Well,” said the Rabbit. “Looks like we’ll have to vacuum it again before we go out, won’t we?”

And he did. He got the vacuum cleaner, vacuumed the car, put the vacuum cleaner away, and set off on his errands.

Fathers’ Day

Two things I’ve learnt from being an adult: how to pull together a decent breakfast in bed and how to pack a picnic. Life skills, man.

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Worms

I like it when my kids give me a whole new view of the world, sometimes with just one word.

Last night I was talking with the little Rabbit about his day. “Worms,” he said, “are quite nice.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “Did you see some?”

“Two,” he said. “With Daddy.” A pause. “I had one on my hand.” He held out his hand to show me, fingers slightly curved, as though they still held a worm and it might escape.

“Wow, that’s exciting!” I said. “What did it feel like?”

He thought, his body remembering the experience. He looked up at me, a trace of smile.

“Like honey.”

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