A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just Another Day on Planet Mum 27.5.10

The 9 year old comes bouncing up to my room at 7 o'clock this morning, dangling an A4 sized exercise in front of me.

"Hey mum, I need to do a project for school on festivals. I'm going to do one on Chinese New Year."

Sheesh... I'm thinking... Why didn't you tell me yesterday?

Instead my voice oozes with sarcasm... "Really..."

"Yeah, mum... Can I have some red packets too? I need to collect a whole bunch of stuff."

There must be a law somewhere prohibiting children from homework questions at 7 o'clock in the morning.

So now I'm on the defensive. "So, er... why didn't you tell me about this yesterday?" I emphasize yesterday so that no one can mistake my irritation for anything else.

The 9 year old knows that this was coming and evades it with her usual glibness. "Well, I didn't think about it yesterday."

I feel the internal temperature rising and feel the need to practise my taiqi deep breathing techniques from 15 years ago. I pick up the exercise book, scan through it and mentally take note of the due date.
"So is this a project you do by yourself or in a group?"

The 9 year old considers the question and then says, "In a group."

"It says here that you need to present it next Monday, 31 May."

A slight hesitation and a bit thinking time. "Yup.."

"And you're only telling me about it now..." Sarcasm is the last refuge of the annoyed parent who really wants their misbehaving child to know how annoyed mum or dad without raising their voice or hitting the ceiling.

Then the 9 year old knows she's treading on dangerous territory, so she dangles another object in front of me. It's the silk dress with the mandarin collar that she wore during Chinese New Year, commonly called the qipao or the cheongsum (Cantonese).

"Can I take this to school mum?"
"Today?" I sigh... and decide that this is not worth battling over.
"I need to bring it. L (from school) wants us to get all our stuff together."
"Why are you doing Chinese New Year?" I'm determined to be belligerent.
"I know, I'm Australian, I should have done Australia Day. But I'm slightly Chinese."
"Should have done Christmas." I insist.
"J is doing Christmas. She's done a good job. She put a picture of baby Jesus in her poster."

I wave her out the door. "There are red packets in a drawer out there." I heave a sigh of relief as I watch her skip merrily toward the dinning room.
At last some peace and quiet. I drag my feet towards the bathroom.

One minute later, a voice and a hand makes their way to the bathroom door. The door sits ajar and "Mummy" reverberates through. I regret not closing the door properly.
The 9 year old waves something that resembles a book through the gap.

"Hey, mummy is in the toilet. Don't come in here."
"Mum, I need you to look at this."
"Not now... When I come out okay? Now, go and have breakfast."
"Okay..." says the irrepressible 9 year old behind the door.

Moments later, I feel brave enough to face the music. I come out into the dining area. I see no breakfast, no kids. I hear a "Mummy is coming." A warning obviously as I observe the 9 year old is sitting on the sofa surreptitiously putting away Asterix or TinTin or something in that vein.

I take more deep breaths...

Just another day on Planet Mum.

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