Sunday, December 07, 2014

Costumes 2

Avery had an afternoon sleep and now he can't drop off. I have read three stories. Martin played harmonica. I sang him a song. Una reminded me that the note said we had to have a family dance after dinner. We got Avery up and danced to All I Want for Christmas is You and a remix of Last Christmas. Then I took Avery back to bed.

I did a self-compassion body scan with him, where we thanked all the parts of his body for what they've done today (thank you mouth for talking and blowing and singing, thank you fingers for picking up and poking) and he gave himself a hug goodnight. (Why don't we teach our children to self-soothe?) I sang five more songs, including Time After Time and Famous Blue Raincoat.

'In true life, monsters can talk,' Avery says, because he doesn't want me to leave.

I say, 'There are no monsters in true life. They are just pretend.'

'Last day,' he says, 'Last day I saw a rabbit on the road in true life.'

'Yes,' I say. 'Rabbits are real.'

'And kangaroos. Kangaroos are in true life.'

'Yes, kangaroos and rabbits are real, but monsters are just in stories.'

'Mm,' Avery nods. 'Monsters are costumes. If there was a monster on the road and a car came and drove over him, it would squash him flat.'

Saturday, December 06, 2014


'I'm not Avery. I'm Thomas,' Avery pipes up from the backseat of the car.
'You're Thomas?' I say.
'This is a costume,' he says, patting his torso.
'You're Thomas, inside an Avery costume?'
After a while he says, 'Actually, I'm Avery.'

Chay next door has come to visit. Avery is sitting up in his high chair eating yoghurt and blueberries. He says, 'these are sticker eyes.'
Chay watches his eyes very closely. 'Are you sure?' she says. 'It looks like they're moving.'
Avery blinks slowly and deliberately. 'They're sticker eyes,' he says.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Time travel according to Una

Una says, 'I wonder what happened to Amelia Earhart. Freddy said there was crackling sounds on her radio, like she was asking for help, but I don’t believe that, do you?'
Una says, 'I’d like to meet Amelia Earhart and ask her.'
This leads to a conversation about time travel. Una says, 'If you go back in time would you meet yourself?' 
I talk about continuity. I say, 'Maybe its impossible to time travel and see yourself.'
'And see your butt,' Avery says.
'I think it’s possible,' says Fred.
'Just ill advised?' I ask.
'But it’s impossible to time travel,' says Una. 'Because absolutely everybody would have to do it.'

'There couldn’t be a life without you. If you weren’t in that world everything else would have to change. So everybody would have to come with you.'

And then, just little by little, there wasn't any big epiphany or anything, I came to see that things were never really right between us and that they never would have been. It took about two years, maybe longer, to understand that. And now she's married and I'm not, but I'm really happy we're not together.
And it makes me realize that I have been time traveling. It's just that I've been traveling into the future at 60 minutes per hour. And maybe that's how we fix the past.
Sean Cole, 'The Leap' This American Life
This conversation has been sitting in my drafts for months. The other day, after we'd time travelled into the future at a rate of 60 minutes per hour, Una tells me she'd like to work in a museum, because 'she's very interested in Amelia Earhart'.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two dreams

I dreamt that South Africa introduced a 90c dollar. Everything would still cost the same, it's just that 1 dollar equalled 90c instead of 100c. They solved inflation. I woke up electrified, sure I'd come up with a truly ingenious idea. It took a few days for that feeling to go away.

I dreamt I was at a party. You were there.

In the morning after the party, there was a woman in a car. She'd tried to kill herself.

Robin Williams was there. He looked in the car. Someone said, in a really insincere way, 'RUOK?'

He smiled, he said, 'I'm fine. I'm fine.'

I whispered in Una's ear. I said, 'Go and tell him that if he feels sad, he should tell someone.'
She put his arms around him and said into his ear, 'If you feel sad, tell somebody here.' His arms tightened around her.

But then someone came up to us and said, 'We're just doing some light readings, and then we'll get you to say it again on camera.'

I said to Una, you don't have to. And she didn't want to. She told the woman she wanted to be real. On the way out, Robin Williams said, 'You helped me, maybe you could help others too.' Then Una wasn't sure. And I thought, who am I to stand in her way? This could be her big break. But it was really sad, you know?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Morning stories

Avery comes in wearing Una's school hat and a white singlet and nothing else. 'I'm pretending to be a wife,' he says. He takes the hat off and holds it like a bucket. 'Would you like some of my compost?' he offers, speaking in a high voice, his lips puckered.
'Hello wife,' I say.
'No I'm pretending to be a wife,' he says. 'I'm Avery.'
'What's a wife?' I ask.
'I don't know.'
'Are they good?'
'No,' he flops backwards on the bed. 'They're bad guys.'

After protracted negotiations, I buy Avery a home made lemon curd ice-cream in a waffle cone (I know!).
But when it comes, he is upset, because he doesn't want a cone.
I say, 'Do you want me to put it in a cup?'
He says 'In a cup with a straw and a stick and a spoon.'
Frustrated, hot, I say, 'I don't know what you're talking about.'
Sad, he tells me, 'It's the only language I've got.'

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Conversations with the living

Tonight Avery asks, 'Are we new?'
I say, 'You're pretty new.'
'No,' he says. 'Are we new.'
I say, 'There's been nobody like us before.'
Avery says, 'Robots are people and people are robots.'

I talk to my dad on the phone. He has gone from the hospital into aged care. He says, 'when I went into the hospital I thought my time was up.' He says, 'I still think it might be actually. I can't get out of bed, or move around like other people. I'm stuck here.' I ask him to hang around till Una and I come visit. He says my brother's already told him to hang around a bit longer than that. My sister is coming from England next week. There's so much to hang around for in that strange halfway place that's like living and dying all at once. I say, 'But if you need to go, go.'

On the day we get our 5 month old schnauzer, Swoosie, desexed I let Una, 9, stay home from school because it's Fred's last day on school camp. On the way to pick Swoosie up, she says what if Swoosie was already pregnant? I tell her about the cat we used to have, Janeway, who we had desexed when she was pregnant. 'They just take it all out. But they're not really kittens. Just embryos, just clumps of cells.' We talk about abortions and how sometimes women can end pregnancies if they're young, or don't want the baby. Una asks if women can get desexed. I tell her usually it's the man who gets the operation, because it's easier for them. We talk about whether a dog and a cat can have babies. No, but I tell her a donkey and a horse can. We wonder if a cat and a tiger could. She asks if two women or two men know. I say, 'they can't make a baby together.' She says, 'I know. But can they have sex?' Yes, I tell her. She says, 'I wouldn't mind being a lesbian, but I think the hard part about it would be finding other people who want to be lesbians too.'

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fierce Night

Avery had bad dreams last night. He says 'I had a fierce night.'
He dreamed he was in his room and he was stuck. 'I cried out Daddy! I growed and growed and growed. I cried out Daddy and he said, Ssh, I'm coming, I'm coming. He came into my bedroom and I had a good dream then.'
Avery is scared of giants. He asks me if I am a giant.
I say, 'I am quite a small grown up.'
I say, 'There are no giants, really. Not really giants.'
And he says, 'Yes there are. There are.' And he doesn't believe me about dinosaurs, or dragons, or zombies either.
He pretends he is a zombie.
He tells me the problem with being a zombie is that brains are quite sticky and they get on your hands. I can see how that would be a problem.
He says, 'A is for me. A is for me.'
He says to Lili, 'My mummy loves me. Watch.' He turns to me. 'Mummy do you love me?'
'Yes,' I say.
He turns back to Lili, 'See.'
At creche I whisper in his ear, 'I love you.'
He ducks his chin into his shoulder. He says to Dawn, 'She loves me.'
I say to him when he lies in bed at night ready to go to sleep, 'I will sing you three songs.'
He says, excited, 'I'm three!'