Thursday, September 6, 2012

Midgets, Tie Dye And The Olympics

We were driving home from dropping James at work the other morning when Abigail started pointing out the window, giggling and saying “ook, ook”. I “ooked” and heard her say “oh, so funny” and noticed her in the rearview mirror sitting with her hands covering her mouth as if she had discovered something very amusing and a little bit naughty.

I “ooked” again and saw what it was that had amused her so thoroughly. She had seen a sign advertising cups of coffee that you could get in any size for 99 cents. The picture they were using to illustrate this amazing deal was a photograph of the tallest man in the world standing next to a little person (the PC way of saying someone with dwarfism) who didn't even come up to his derrier.

It was at this moment that I realised our twisted senses of humour may be genetic and have been passed right down to the youngest in the herd. Our baby was actually laughing out loud and pointing at a midget.

We were at the airport the other day too and they had these giant posters painted on the outside of the elevator doors. One of the pictures was that of a lobster clearly indicating that you can get very nice ones in the Boston area. Kaitlyn pointed out the beautiful lobster to us all and before anyone else had a chance to say anything Emily pipes up with “its dead”. Of course it was very obviously dead given that it was at that moment bright red and nestled on a platter of greenery but the bluntness of her answer was what made us all laugh.

It reminds me of the time early on in her Girl Scout career when we were still introducing ourselves to our new friends at the meeting. One of the girls was very upset because her grandmother was very sick and they thought she might pass away. Another girl had a very close family member sick with cancer and was also upset by this. All the other girls were busy comforting these two when a different girl mentioned that her cat had been sick a while ago. I groaned inwardly, intuitively knowing what would be coming next. I tried to give a look to stop the words from coming out of Emily's mouth but it wasn't enough.

She couldn't help herself and really didn't see anything wrong with saying it. “I had a cat, her name is Sarah. She got eaten by a coyote. Oh well” with a little shrug of the shoulders. One of the other leaders and myself choked and, had we been drinking anything at the time, probably would have sprayed the whole troop with it. It seems the “appropriate time to say things” gene was missing from the mix when our children were developing.

Still on a cat theme we were dining at our local chinese restaurant last week and having a wonderful time. There had been a rather inappropriate mention of cats on the way to the restaurant by our esteemed leader. Something to do with Weird Al Yankovich and his rendition of 'Cat's In The Cradle'. But besides that all had gone smoothly on the ride over and I didn't think the kids had heard the comments from all the way in the back of the van.

We were just getting ready to leave and Emily was kind of dancing around the area next to our table waiting for us all to be ready to go. Despite knowing that she shouldn't have, she had brought her little stuffed cat into the restaurant with her and it was with this cat that she was dancing. As she spun and held out the little pink cat she yelled at the top of her lungs “I better not leave my cat behind or they might cook it up and eat it”.

Of course there have been other less feline moments of embarrassment for me at the mouths of my children. Like the time Kaitlyn spotted a rack of tie dye t shirts in a crowded shop and yells out “look Mum its tie dye. That's just WRONG!”

Now before all your tie dye lovers get your panties in a twist just let me say this. Those of us who had the misfortune to have to live through the 80s the first time with more than a vague memory of it are finding it just as bewildering the second time round. I cannot understand why this generation are so fascinated with the things that we have blocked from our memories with a shudder. It's no wonder we had to wear those sunglasses with blinkers on with all that flouro around. The tie dye was just as bad and what was the point of the leg warmers?

I am just thankful that the big hair isn't back in fashion. My childrens hair is big enough as it is without having it teased and crimped and covered with enough hairspray to transform them into human tiki lamps should they happen to pass by an unfortunately located flame.

We recently watched the Olympic games with much enthusiasm. Of course we cheered for New Zealand when we could and the USA when there were no New Zealand competitors available to us. Since the coverage in this country is most unfairly skewed we didn't get much more than a glimpse of most of the New Zealand hopefuls but one day I managed to get the equestrian events streaming from my phone onto the big tv so that we could all watch.

It was so exciting to see our native land doing so well and who doesn't love the sight of beautiful horses doing amazing things. Well as it turned out in this particular event the New Zealand team won the bronze medal and we were very excited about this. We watched the medal ceremony with great pride. All except Kaitlyn who was a little bewildered.

What she couldn't understand was why there was more than one person getting up onto the podium. She kept saying “but Mummy, why are they all getting up there? Why is there more than one? There can be only one winner!”

You see in these days of 'everyone's a winner' and 'here I'll give you a medal for trying your very best' we had decided on a different track when it came to parenting our girls. We have preferred to introduce them to the harsh realities of real life in which you sometimes lose (get your paper bag out now and start breathing slowly into it if you are feeling faint). We decided that instead of finding out this reality when they are teenagers and have many other challenges to face (like pimples and the fact that their parents have turned into crazy people) we would just let them realise from the get go that most of the time you don't actually win. And that's ok. It doesn't make you a bad person or any less valuable. It just makes you normal.

Well Kaitlyn has taken this message on board incredibly well. She just couldn't understand the concept of winning as a team. I'm not sure she even understood when I had explained the concept of doing a sport as a team and the whole team winning. She was even more confused when witnessing the women's soccer team receiving their medals (the USA this time). There were even more people on that team. Then the other day after her first ever soccer practice she explained on the way home that if she was to win the game on Saturday she would most likely let the rest of her team share the trophy too. Oh boy.

And still on an Olympic note and just in case you thought there was anything remotely normal about our children here's the proof that they are wired very uniquely.

Yesterday we were getting the kids ready for their first day of school and Emily stood in front of me waiting to get the final approval on her outfit and hair. In the background the tv was set to a news show. I vaguely saw a guy standing on a starting block ready for a swimming race and heard the reporter say something about the Para Olympics but I was at that moment trying to peruse Emily while at the same time wrestle with Kaitlyn's hair and fend off an attack by a 2 year old.

As Emily stood there waiting for my approval she said “Mummy, did they put sharks in the swimming pool at the Para Olympics?” I glanced up and in the instant before the camera cut away from the guy on the starting block I saw that he was missing one or two limbs.

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