I’ve heard tell of buddy systems in place linking first time parents with more experienced parents. I kinda wish I’d been teamed up with a buddy when Mr Justice was first born, except I suspect my buddy would have said stuff like “Oh, quit your bitching. Your kid isn’t even eating meat yet. You have no freaking idea how bad poo can get!” or “You think one child waking up at night is bad? Try three taking turns waiting. With vomit and diarrhea. Then tell me you’re exhausted”. And yes, okay, that’s just what I would have told myself. Had I known. Had I known.
When Mr Justice was in his first year of school, he was given a buddy.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Mr Justice answered.
“What does he looks like?” I asked.
“Um, he was wearing a green hat…” Which, since it was part of the school uniform, only eliminated the teaching staff and the lollipop lady. Needless to say, we never heard of Mr Justice’s buddy again.
The Pixie, in stark contrast, has been working the school’s buddy system to her advantage.
Her “boyfriend” Master J (and yes, I had to put “boyfriend” in inverted commas just then to stop myself from immediately throwing her over my shoulder and running to the nearest convent. I mean, what kind of a five year old already has a boyfriend?) has been spreading his wings a bit in the playground and “playing with other kids”. It appears he thinks they have “that kind of relationship”.
According to The Pixie’s teacher, the Pixie was very upset one day during the class’s post-lunchtime “catch-up”.
“My…my… my boyfriend didn’t want to play with me at lunch time!” she apparently blurted out to the class. She was about to break down and sob uncontrollably but somehow managed to break through the Tear Barrier with her usual Polyanna-style optimism. “But… but.. I said ‘I don’t care! I’ll play with… with… MY BUDDY instead’!”
I was very proud of my little girl and just a bit envious that I’d never had access to personal resources such as hers – particularly when I was 25 and had been “seeing” a boy for six months when I realised his ex-girlfriend was actually still his current and, indeed, live-in girlfriend. Which, now I think about it, explained a lot of his strange behaviour such as having to leave my house at two o’clock in the morning because he had to go home “to do the dishes”. And yes, I really do think I sat for six months with my hands over my ears going “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!” to have missed all that.
ANYWAY, I asked The Pixie recently if she still played with her buddy. She said that her buddy’s friend [S] didn’t want The Pixie to play with them. She seemed surprisingly cheerful about it because, as it turns out, she’d already come up with a strategy.
“I’m going to invite My Buddy to one of my five birthday parties. And I’ll invite [S] too. I think, perhaps, she will really like Mr Justice,” she said, before adding with greater conviction: “Yes, she really will like Mr Justice. And she’ll want to play with him. And then I’ll be able to play with My Buddy!”
As impressed as I was with her strategy, I had to get her to rewind a little to find out about these so-called “five birthday parties”. I mean, who did she think she was? The Queen of England??
“Oh, I’m having one party for my family, one party for my class. Then one for my friends, one for mother’s group and then a special morning tea. That makes five!” was her chirpy reply.
It would seem I have a lot to learn from my little girl about love, relationships and the planning of birthday celebrations. Why, for my fortieth, I’m now thinking of having a party for my friends and family at home, a two-day opium den party in Shanghai, a three month cruise through the Bahamas and a party on the Moon by way of Sir Richard Branson’s planned Virgin Spaceship Airliner… Yes, that should about do it.