My kids are reassuringly kid-like. They do all the things I've seen and heard other children doing. They giggle, they wail, they butt heads (literally) and they hug each other. They charge from one end of the house to the other, leaving a trail of toys strewn in their wake. They tell me I'm beautiful and they tell me I'm mean. They make up imaginary friends. They come up with words that have meanings known only to them. So I don't know why I should find their latest carryings on so intriguing, but I just do. Maybe it's because I wish I was half as creative as they are.
When I write, I write about my life, my patients' lives, my family and friends' lives. I write everything based on the truth (or at least my version of the truth!). The only creative part of the process is finding words and phrases to convey meaning, to build atmosphere, to tell a story. I haven't written a work of pure fiction since high school English class.
While on holidays, I realised I'd been hearing the kids using a certain funny name over & over. I quizzed them about this - 'Where did you hear that name? Is it someone from a movie? Did you see something about this on TV?'. The kids sounded miffed as they retorted that no, they had made up this title themselves. It started as a joke, they patiently explained, as if there was no chance of me ever having done anything similar.
It seems one day, Ben (or Laura - neither of them can recall who) put a hand down onto a coverlet in the rented unit, and found it felt a bit damp, slightly slippery. "Ewwww!", they squealed, "This bed's all greasy!"
The other child, beginning to giggle, sputtered hysterically, "Greasy Grandma's been there!"
And so it went on the entire holiday. At times of peak boredom (probably whenever Fatty and I declared it was Quiet Time, during which we were not to be disturbed from our reading and coffee drinking unless in the event of gushing haemorrhages or other such crises), a sudden cry would come from the children's bedroom.....
CHILD 1: "Stop! Don't sit down there!"
(unintelligible response from child two)
CHILD 1, now crowing in delight: "Greasy Grandma's been sitting on your bed!"
Why Greasy Grandma? I don't know. Neither of their grandmothers are remotely greasy! It makes no sense. Unless there really is a Greasy Grandma, who silently slides her way sinuously across sheets and quilts, coating them in a fine layer of oil, giving bedding that 'slept in' feeling that has us pulling linen off the mattress and heading for the laundry.
Has Greasy Grandma been to your place today? Better go check your beds.