Posts Tagged ‘kids’

The other day, The Pixie patted me reassuringly on the arm and said “It’s okay, Mum. You can make me an Easter Cake. I promise!” And then, smiling at me encouragingly, she leant over and kissed me on the cheek. “Yes, I promise!” she reiterated.

Trouble was, I had no clue what an Easter Cake was. I really truly thought hot cross buns and chocolate easter eggs full of smarties had Easter all covered but there it was: Easter Cake.

I asked The Pixie if she could tell me a little bit more about Easter Cake. “Oh, it’s a cake!” she exclaimed brightly. “For Easter! You get some eggs and some sugar and some flour and a little bit of salt and put it in a big patty pan.”

Okay, so at least we’d established that we weren’t talking about a cake of soap.

And so I got The Pixie and Mr Justice together and we workshopped what an Easter Cake might look like – because, let’s face it, that’s all that really matters when it comes to kids and cakes. 

Now of course it would involve lots of chocolate – that was a given. Maybe it could be covered with little chocolate eggs? Eggs were very Eastery. Or even, it could be like one of those piñata cakes where you have a hard chocolate casing that you break through with a hammer to find lots of mini easter eggs on top of a chocolate cake. A three-tiered chocolate treat… Bingo! We had ourselves our Easter Cake concept!

“So, should we use a fake hammer or a real hammer?” Mr Justice asked with a small glint in his eye.

Great, I thought. My children are going to whack a cake with a real hammer, get ridiculously high on the shit-load of chocolate that lies within and then probably go on a rampage through the house with said real hammer. I’m not sure how all this relates to the True Spirit of Easter (and that) but to Christians and non-Christians alike, I ask you – nay, I implore you: Pray. For. Me.

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The sale of ice creams should be banned in zoos across the world. And I’m not thinking about animal welfare here, I’m thinking about the Parents. All it takes is for one mother or father to succumb and the next thing you know, there’s a child on the loose with an ice cream in their hand and the game is pretty much lost to the rest of us. 

So it was no surprise that when we arrived at the zoo yesterday, the steady drone of “Can I have an ice cream?” had already started up throughout the grounds, with the traditional counterpart reply “No. I said no. I mean no. So, NO!” And it was even less of a surprise that my own children launched their own Ice Cream Whisper Campaign as soon as humanly possible, except it was less about whispering and more about out-and-out whingeing.

Now I am an old pro at this game. I’m all “No we’re not having ice creams now” and “Not before lunch!” which is my equivalent of the celebrity “No comment” and “I’ve been advised by my legal team not to answer this question at this time”. Why not the flat out “No” you may ask? Because I never know if I’ll need to put the Ice Cream Exit Strategy into action and I think consistency is the cornerstone of Good Parenting, although I obviously don’t have any problem using junk food as leverage. Ah, yes. I am a Good Parent.

Anyway, after a few hours of walking around, the cry for ice cream was becoming deafening. One Little Bird, the friend I had met up, casually commented that her daughter was always the one to push for the purchase of ice creams, but her slightly older son never thought about it. 

At which point her son piped up “Can we have an ice cream?”.

And it was then I knew that we had ourselves an ice cream pandemic on our hands and we needed to Get The Hell Out. 

Now, I thought we could make it back to the car. I really thought we could do it. However, I didn’t count on one thing: that my usual temptation-free exit at the back of the zoo would be blocked by a makeshift kiosk as part of the managment’s school holiday strategy to extract as much money from its visitors as possible. 

And so my Exit Plan was ruined and, weak as I was, I succumbed to the children’s pleas. But unfortunately, I succumbed before I had realised the zoo were disregarding the recommendations of Streets Ice Cream when it came to the pricing of their iced confectionary. The cheapest icy pole was $2.30 and I, my friends, was 45 cents short of being able to buy three. 

In my desperation, I looked around and spotted the Chuppachups stand. “Lollipops!” I exclaimed. Mr Justice concurred, McGee dithered but the Pixie held her ground. “Ice cream!” she said. 

Then it seemed that Tiddles might go the lollipop option. Okay, two lollipops, one icecream. Fine. I could afford that.

But no, Mr Justice then exclaimed “I want an ice cream, actually.” At which point, Tiddles switched back to the ice cream camp and I thought, I could stand here all friggin’ afternoon, so I made one of those snap decisions that Women on the Edge often make. 

“Three lollipops or nothing for anybody!” There, I said it. It was out there. No going back. No compromise. No ice cream-lollipop combo purchase. Three lollipops or nothing

“Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream!” cried The Pixie. And she began to sob in that way that only a four year old girl can sob over ice cream. 

At which point, a man standing nearby with his wife and a young child interrupted our gay banter and said “I hope this isn’t too embarrassing for you but can I buy the little girl an ice cream?”

Proud, always proud, I graciously refused his kind offer and turned back to my delicate negotiations. 

“We can only get lollipops, Pixie,” I pleaded. A lot of people were staring now. 

“ICE CREAM!!” wailed The Pixie, all tragedy. 

“THREE LOLLIPOPS OR NOTHING!!” I counter-wailed.

And it was then that the man intervened again and, trying to press a five dollar note in my hand, said “Please let me help.” Amid a flurry of apologies and thank you thank you thank yous, I finally accepted $1 and bought three ice creams. 

As we walked silently back to the car, the three kids licking their ice creams and me still blushing from the embarrassment of it all, Mr Justice suddenly said “What a kind man!” and then “Actually, I probably would have preferred a lollipop.” And judging from the amount of sticky food colouring all over his face, clothes and hands, I would have preferred him to have one too.

Still, that man was a very kind man. And I hope the universe rewards him. Normally I’d wish it to reward him two-fold but that would mean only two bucks and that would seem incredibly stingy of the universe for such an act of random kindness, don’t you think?

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The other Sunday, as I was dropping off Mr Justice at a playdate, I found myself grumbling out loud about how I was supposed to be going food shopping next with the other two children and how I resented doing this on the weekend because I could do the shopping with Pixie and Tiddles any day and, any way, weekends were supposed to be different from weekdays, otherwise What’s. The. Bloody. Point. 

Mr C, who politely listened to my little rant, patted me on my arm and gently suggested that I give up the distinction between weekday and weekend because it might make me happier. 

And at that moment, I saw the days stretch out in front of me as far as the eye could see and I almost fell over with the endlessness of it all. It took me back to those early days as a First Time Mother, carrying Mr Justice around a local park, looking at other older children and thinking “The parents of those children survived…” and feeling like I might just not be able to myself because I could hardly breathe through the crush of unrelenting responsibility for this small angry creature from Jim Henson’s Workshop that I was holding.

And that was before I knew the full weight of it. That there would be wave after wave of requests and demands from that small creature – and the others that followed him – for sandwiches without crusts and drinks with heart-shaped ice and a dash of pink food-colouring in the blue-and-white plastic cup and NOT the white-and-blue one, thank you very much, and for comprehensive entertainment programmes for each day without one single minute left unscheduled in case someone actually got Bored for a minute, if you don’t mind, and for new shoes whose soles seem to have worn-through before we’ve even left the shop we bought them in, while you’re at it.

Of course nobody often says those things in italics, but their gratitude is inferred in their smiles and the way that when Daddy comes home they still want Mummy-Books and Mummy-Teeth and Mummy-Huggles, Mummy-Eskimo-Kisses-In-Bed and, of course, Mummy-Poos (which I hasten to add is where I act as Door Sentry while they do the ablutions – oh, why, oh why did I never manage to have just one child who was a Solo-Pooer?).


Nope, I’m clinging to this weekend concept for as long as I can, I said to myself as I drove off with my screaming children in the back into the car. And adhering to the “a change is as good as a holiday” rule, I decided to do my food shopping at a different supermarket.

Nobody can accuse me of not knowing how to have a good time. Nobody.

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