Friday, March 28, 2008

taste sensation

It's been my experience that as soon as kids go to school, their parents become completely ignorant, and no longer possess any worthwhile knowledge. All wisdom previously considered the domain of their parents is magically transferred to the teacher. Nothing you can say as a parent will budge your child from this viewpoint.

My daughter, Laura, seems most affected by this transition. Her teacher, Mrs M, has achieved the status of some sort of deity, and every word she utters is the gospel truth. Once, when I dared to dispute what Mrs M had said regarding a medical matter, I was howled down by my daughter, as she wailed tearily, "But Mrs M said so". Mrs M is an experienced and excellent teacher, and seems very switched-on, but as a mother and doctor, I felt entitled to correct the minor mistruth. It seems I was out of line. Mrs M rules supreme.

It was with great amusement, and a sense of pride in my questioning son, that I overheard the following conversation:

Laura: "Mrs Marshall says that you should keep trying foods you don't like to eat. She says if you eat something you don't like every day for two weeks, then your tastebuds will adjust, and you'll start to like the food."

Ben looked sceptical. There was a brief pause.

Ben: "So...... what about if you tried to eat poo every day for two weeks?"

(I couldn't wipe the grin off my face)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

all sorts

It's true what they say - it takes all sorts of people to make the world go 'round. I'm always astounded by the vast array of different personalities I come across in my work and social lives. And some of these people are just so darn entertaining.

Her permed curls bobbed cheerily as she squeaked across the hospital ward floor towards my grandfather. My grandfather's face is affected by Parkinson's disease, and his face at rest is set in an expression of solemn contemplation. He seemed to regard the cleaner warily as she bore down upon him.

"Hello my POPPY POP!", shrieked the cleaner, with a look of glee on her face. Grandpa's face moved slowly into a bewildered smile, as the woman leant closer.
"How are YOU, Poppy Pop?", she yelled, as if speaking to a person who was another room away.

Grandpa smile widened. He glanced across at me and I knew he was thinking exactly what I was thinking: 'This woman has escaped from the Psychiatric Unit and has nicked a mop and begun cleaning'. Well, perhaps he wasn't thinking exactly that, but his look was amused and surprised and conspiratorial.

"She's got her own nickname for you, Grandpa", I teased, in a quiet undertone. Apparently the cleaner had very keen ears, even if she assumed no-one else did.

"Oh, I call them all Poppy Pop!", the chatty cleaner chirped, as she bustled about replacing a bin liner. "Why, what do you call him?", she queried, sounding surprised that Grandpa wasn't actually called Poppy Pop.

"Hmmm, Grandpa, hmmmm", she muttered in response to my reply. It seemed clear that she considered 'Poppy Pop' to be a far superior name.

"There you go my Poppy Pop!" she cried, as she fixed the bin liner onto his tray with two pieces of sticky tape. The cleaner stepped closer to my still-handsome, grey-haired, fleecy-vested grandfather. Her grin was stretching her face into previously unseen dimensions. She laid a hand on each side of Grandpa's jaw, and lowered her head until her forehead touched Grandpa's.
"I just want to ADOPT you!" she shouted.

The other men in the four-bed room began to laugh out loud. Grandpa's shoulders began to rise and fall as he chuckled uncontrollably. I sat in my visitors chair, stunned - not just at the cleaner's offer to become Grandpa's legal guardian, but at her sheer volume. I swear my ears were ringing and I was a full two feet further away.

The laughter did nothing to daunt our boisterous cleaner - if anything she seemed to become more effusive. "You're just so GORGEOUS!", she crowed, vigorously pinching Grandpa's cheeks. Grandpa's eyes began to leak tears of laughter, and he and I kept sneaking incredulous glances at each other as we both struggled to suppress our mirth. Just when I thought Grandpa's laughter might trigger one of his coughing fits, the cleaner bustled away. "See you tomorrow, Poppy!". She stalked away, and the four men slowly wiped the tears from their cheeks, chuckling quietly to themselves.

She may be bordering on certifiable, but that cleaner made those elderly gentlemen laugh like kids. And I don't know any sweeter medicine than that.

It takes all sorts alright.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

comeback queen

There is only so long a person like me can hold their tongue. That time limit has now been exceeded. I'm back, and I'm chatty. Don't say you weren't warned.

While away from blogging, I've read a lot more, I've played some online Scrabble, and I've talked to my friends and family a bit more, too. I've kept up to date with your blogs via Bloglines. But I've missed expressing myself. This blog gives me a voice beyond mothering, beyond mundane household discussions, beyond the interactions I have in my work persona. And let's face it - you, my blogfriends, are some of the world's greatest listeners!

I hope you are all having a lovely Easter. I'll be visiting you all on your blogs very soon.

I'll be posting again soon, too, but right now there's a box of Lindt chocolates that's calling my name.....