Wonder-sauce

Kids are like nuggets dipped in wonder-sauce.

They expect mouth watering flavour at every turn - in fact I have observed for my offspring, it is a pre-requisite for survival.
I have never heard my kids say, oh cool. Boring. I can roll with that.
In fact, they are the opposite.
They would rather eat brussel sprouts than do BORING.
They would rather be eaten by a brussel sprout than do boring.

For a year this wee nugget has been biting down on boredom while waiting for her turn to go her sisters' big school.

She had this whole get outta my way, I am so ready to dip into this vibe happening.


She is happily ensconced in a new class,
enjoying the change in dynamics and bringing home some lovely (and unlovely) behaviour and verbal choices.
Cue transition parenting as we adjust to the new flavours and menus.


She has been very clear in her resolve to do ballet.
It was a no-brainer as far as she was concerned.
She has said to us in every action and word
Guys, c'mon! I am not a baby anymore.
Let me run with the big dogs
and pee in the long grass.
Adventure awaits,
Let me at the wonder-sauce!

Yeah, but I still see your baby puku, and dimples in your knees and elbows.
I still want you to eat mashed pumpkin
and fit in the crook of my arm.



In my mind, I still see you crawl and clap and crow,
and giggle and wobble and do what babies do best -
stun their parents with sheer deliciousness.
Learning now to do the splits
and being measured for new ballet shoes
and having an attitude
is not quite what this mummy was ready to embrace.



There is a small pet store across from the ballet studio.
The owner raises the roller door a fraction to let himself in at the same time as the class finishes.
Before he knows it, a gang of little pink ladies have shot through the gap to say hello to the turtles.
The parents all stand awkwardly watching from outside -
because when it comes to reigning in a wonder-seeker,
you need more than two pairs of hands and a taser gun of bribery.


I am finding myself caught again in that weird place
where I get lost in the midst of strategies and memories.
The job of mothering changes DAILY.
I have to keep adjusting backwards and forwards,
with each child,
with each age,
with each delicate or disgusting challenge.


Sometimes I get lost.
Not sure which year, child or nutritional need I am figuring out.

And then I get found.

By them,
those nuggets.

And they spray me with wonder-sauce and none of it matters very much anymore.


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Window shopping

Align Center

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Reading the Signs

In the space of a few short days we have gone
from reading road signs like this

Align Centerin places like this





to somewhere the road signs said this

on streets like this.


And then we woke up where street signs have squiggles on them.

I don't think they say anything about baby ducks or concordes.

It was as different as you could imagine,
a hazy heat that defies words
and architecture and people that
were beautiful to my unfamiliar eye.



And then very late that night in Dubai,
a fountain light show to bring our crazy week of
geographical contrast to a surreal and stunning end.


And then home.

To our own haven space,
where we are pausing and blinking to remember
where in the world we are.

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Bonjour


After a day, Paris appeared before my lens.


The texture of this city had a thousand stories to tell my camera,
on each street corner, a new tale.



There was the woman wearing a red beret and carrying a ferret, and the old men who played accordions on the bridges over the Seine. There were book toting students with strawberry blonde hair, orange red lips, clad in black and white striped tops with skinny jeans and ballet flats.


There were street vendors selling magnets, posters and old books.


Corners were grouped with young men, slim hipped and chain smoking, with careless dark eyes. There were pigeons and cigarette butts on the pavements and shoulder bags of baguettes and poodles in the crowds. There were stooped beggars, jaunty Caribbeans and French school children in a line, Madeline-style. The police crawled thick through the streets like ants, and sped in wailing cars to mysterious disasters.



It was a serving of humanity, tossed together like a salad, and served in an old pottery bowl, spritzed with a language dressing that was sharp and piquant.


The children took it all in stride, as children tend to do. They insisted they were doing a world tour of French Fries and it would be rude to discontinue their survey in the origin of the name. With each consequent junk meal, I have darkly commented on the mountain of broccoli and brown rice that I intend to force feed them on our return home.




They walked for miles, held an open and curious mindset to both the social and historical aspects of the cities we have seen. This was the closest they have come to seeing poverty, as we walked down a street after dark on the way home from an evening at the funfair. The homeless were bedding down for the night, some in sleeping bags in shop doorways and some on cardboard over the subway air-vents for warmth. One had a tiny kitten leashed with a string around its neck. M2 found this confrontation of the Unfortunate rather hard to take in and needed rapid distraction to prevent herself from nightmares (her words).


It was an interesting glimpse into another world for our kids, and I am very glad we made the effort, experiencing a thought provoking, unsettling and ragged beauty.

Paris was an old man smiling through his tears.

It is the wicked, distinguished fox to England's Jemima Puddleduck.


The city is culinary, rakish and very seriously stylish
(read here, very seriously expensive).


It was lovers in arms winding their way under the eaves of Baroque and Rococo architecture,


brushing past goths, gangsters and grannies in twinsets and pearls.


Only...only,
in Paris.

Merci beaucoup.


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