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Maturity and mortality

The philosophy of nine year olds

My sons, I think, have just experienced a momentus weekend for an eight and nine year old. They both kicked goals at soccer, and their teams won. They watched ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ for the first time. They spent all of Sunday at their school fiesta. And they saw a cat hit by a car as they walked home.

The cat died, they said, pretty instantaneously. I wasn’t with them, as I’d left a little earlier to deal with necessary domestic detritus. I’m a coward; I didn’t seek details, yet I heard a few, anyway. But not many. They were fairly quiet about the whole thing, and I wonder if I should have asked more questions. Daddyo seemed more affected than the kids. (He’s still a little sad this morning.) The car didn’t stop, and he door-knocked along the road to find the cat’s owners. He found them. He came home with blood on his hands and his shorts.

Bringing trash and treasure

Looming loot

Perhaps fiesta-induced exhaustion made the experience surreal for the three of them (and the Coopers Pale Ale for the big guy). It had been a mammoth day: unlimited ride passes, old friends visiting from Cairns, and some spending money from grandparents. S-Man, in particular, went ape at Trash and Treasure. I worry about a hoarder’s future for him. Some of the toys I donated have made it back home. Again. Most of this will re-route to the local opshop. Life is circular.

It’s rare to allow these boys to watch M-rated movies, but Wes is Wes. His vision of Fantasic Mr Fox is a household favourite, and they quite liked Moonrise Kingdom. Life Aquatic is just natural progression. Now, writing about a movie we watched: I wouldn’t usually consider this remarkable enough to mention, except for the unplanned take-out they’ve drawn from it. CC blew me away when he explained, early on, his sympathy for Klaus (the character played by Willem Dafoe who feels usurped by Owen Wilson’s Ned assuming his coveted filial role). This is not a black-and-white reading, and I’m stoked by an eight-year-old’s sensitivity. Or maybe I’m just delighted to have another couple of Wes Anderson fans in the house. Hipster wanker, you say? Wait ‘til you see the triangles I’m painting on the nursery furniture.

Is it wrong to think that all of this weekend’s experiences are, in their own ways, healthy for the boys to experience? And should I ask them more about the cat? How they felt? Or should some emotions be allowed to be processed by maturing young people in their own space and time? This parenthood gig is tricky.

Culinary heritage

CC, my nearly 8-year-old, informs me he needs to create a recipe to cook something representing his “cultural background”. By the end of the week. With pictures. Which means we have to cook the bloody thing this morning, before school, as we’re tied up for the rest of the week.

Our cultural background is Anglo-boring. I write “Australian” on census forms, but that’s not what out school wants. It’s an awesome multicultural school; its motto is “We all smile in the same language.” How can we compete with the exotic menus of his classmates?

We’ve been here before, last year, when his brother the S-man was in grade 3. He presented his Scottish ancestry with Shepherd’s Pie. Easy enough, with forewarning.

CC has chosen to reference some minor European heritage, which I may occasionally claim with skewed weight: the French. (I think my sons’ genetic makeup contains about 6.25% French DNA. And another 6.25% Algerian. But there’s a tangent for another time.) Well, French he’s chosen, and it sure beats making haggis.

Oi, Oi, Oi... Oui, Oui?

Oi, Oi, Oi… Oui, Oui?

Now, what masterpiece of French cuisine can we whip up before school in order to get some pictures printed?

To my culinary relief, he has decided he wants to make French toast.

A quick pray to Google informs that French toast is, indeed, French (also Roman, and is found in the heritage of many other nationalities, including the Roma, who probably aren’t even allowed to claim eggy bread, or anything else. But let’s not peddle bread-pedantry). It even has a real French name, pain perdu. Lost bread. Meaning stale bread. We’re going to tell his class that we eat stale bread.

The only bread in the house, stale or not, is multigrain, which doesn’t seem very legit. Tough.

Where's Tassie?

Where’s Tassie?

We jazz some of it up with biscuit cutters – eat your heart out, Organised Housewife. A rectangle between two triangles becomes Tie Fighter toast. This is an example of a superior parenting tactic, something those clever parenting books call “encouraging your child’s imagination”*. I am officially an Excellent Parent.

The force is (not very) strong on this plate

The force is (not very) strong in this one

*through crappy representation


Dirty Harry 44A school mum sitting next to me as we watch our sons play tennis offers congratulations, and says “welcome to the 44 club”. Her youngest is now nearly in school, and I had always thought she was my age or younger: frankly, I didn’t really think about her age at all.

There it is. Who gives a mental number to someone they meet anyway? And as it goes, age is nothing but a number.

Perhaps having kids later keeps you youthful! Now that’s not a wishful thought, that’s a liferaft.

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