Monday, 23 July 2012

My children believe that I am a faith healer

Whenever my children have an ailment, they bring it to me along with the blind faith that I will heal them.

Yesterday someone had a 'sore leg' at bedtime.  There was nothing more specific than it was 'sore.'  But they all looked to me, expecting me to have a solution, a diagnosis, a magical healing method.

In the past, I have gone on with all manner of pretendy stuff: rubbing the palm of my hand across the offending area in an authoritative manner, administering Panadol as though it were truly a magic potion and importantly blowing air over hurty bits.

But lately I just cannot be arsed even going through the motions.  I think it's about time I told them: I am not the faith healer they believe me to be. That bottle of children's Panadol in the bathroom cabinet is not some snake-oil cure-all. It's just pink stuff that tastes bad.

Somewhere along the way I have given the impression that I have all the answers.

Once, one of them got attacked by an ibis in Centennial Park. According to legend, it grabbed the back of his head and tried to fly off with him. I didn't see the incident but after it had happened, they all came running at me accusingly.

"A bird just attacked Henry's head!" They said indignantly.

 The clear subtext being: what are you going to do about it?

The same day, someone else slipped and fell in the sludgy mud by the pond. He too ran AT me screaming and hysterical, palms facing up to show his muddy stigmata like some kind of perverse Jesus figure.

His jeans were all muddy and wet on the seat.  He showed me furiously, expecting that I would have a solution: produce a clean fresh pair of pants out of my Mary Poppins carpet bag perhaps. (I used to carry a spare set of clothing, but that was years ago, way back when pants got weed in. I honestly thought I was free and clear of that obligation given he is now 12.)

The other night, someone got dust in his eye.  He rubbed it and rubbed it and rubbed it and wailed that it was 'hurting and sore and itchy.'  I went through the motions for a while: I bathed his eye tenderly with a wet facewasher, I scooped cool water directly into the eye, I sat him on the lid of the toilet and peered down right into his eye, asked him to look this way then that and declared with some authority that I could indeed see his entire eyeball.

He itched and rubbed at his eye again.

"But it's really itchy." He whined, beginning to approach a feverish this-could-go-on-forever-into-the-night pitch.

I decided there and then to come clean.

"You know what?" I said.  "There's not a lot I can do about it. Sometimes eyes  get itchy and you have to just ride it out. It's probably going to be uncomfortable until you fall asleep."

I patted his head. I gave him the face washer to take to bed just in case.

He lay in bed with his itchy eye, looking slightly non-plussed by the new world order where I  would no longer offer magic healing methods for every imaginable ailment.

I kissed him goodnight and headed out, free.  He timed it to perfection, I was almost out the door when -

"Can you get me a glass of water?"

No longer the faith healer, but still the waitress.

 Must debunk that one next. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Never work with children and donuts

I often have grand visions.  I recently had a grand vision that I would invite three extra children over after school (in addition to the three I own) and make a video of them getting in and out of a cardboard cubby house.  I had a grand vision that I could make it like those clown car videos: where about 100  clowns pile into the clown car and then come back out the other side.

Then even more ambitious was my idea to get them to make a pillow fort AND an under-the-table-cubby.  All while a camera was pointed at them. 

It was all part of an even grander vision: a video series on cubbies and tents for Kidspot (see my post 'What do you do?' for clarification of why I call this sort of thing a 'job.') I spent about two glorious weeks filming the construction of various cubbies and tents: in the backyard, in the living room, under the dining table, through the dining room chairs.  My children helped me, but if you must know, it was mainly me. I've always loved a cubby house, ever since my mother bought me a yellow Wendy House way back in 1978.

So the cardboard cubby video was going to be the grand prix of cubby videos. I was going to peak with a clown-inspired classic.

I prepped all day. I made my cubby house out of Kennards storage boxes. I made sure there was a front door and a window and there was even a little annexe at the side.  I 'rendered' it with gift-wrap. It was a masterpiece.  Once or twice during the day I wondered guiltily what all the other adults were doing at their real jobs while I was mucking around with boxes and masking tape at home.

Next I arranged some catering: (a.ka. bribery) a dozen donuts and a packet of Allens snakes.

I picked the kids up from school.  I brought them home. Then the fun really began. Or didn't. 

If you have ever tried to get six kids to do what you ask them to do, when you ask them to do it, you must be a school teacher. In which case, I think you deserve every 'extra' holiday you get.

Guess what? Kids don't listen. Especially when you hype them up on sugar and donuts.

I recall specifically requesting that they not consume donuts or snakes 'on camera' as it was not a great example to set on the Kidspot site. I think my exact words were:

"There is no junk food on Kidspot!"

About halfway through I realised one of my own charming children had been waltzing in and out of the cubby house munching on a donut the whole time.

And because I did the 'going into the cubby' in a separate take to the 'going out of the cubby,'  when I cut the footage together, it looked like he'd gone into the cubby house, found a donut cart and come back out again munching on it.

Oh the shame.

 If you watch the finished videos on Kidspot  it all looks like good, wholesome, Amish, home-crafty mum fun. But rest assured the reality was quite different. The reality was mainly a lot of yelling from me, mostly of my favourite phrase:

"Don't bump the camera!"

 So if you are a regular viewer of the Kidspot activity videos and you imagine that some happy home-crafty, jolly mum is behind the camera being all 'quality time' and cuddly-wuddly-goodtimes with her kids, please be corrected.

Here are some choice cuts and outtakes: