It all started innocently enough.
We were driving home from the bus stop – my two boys and one of their friends.
Alex looked out the window and pointed out the brown cows.
‘Can we get some brown cows mum?’
Maybe dear and then to change the topic I asked his mate: ‘ Do you have cows?’
To which he gave me this very detailed answer: ‘Yes we have 14 black cows and one bull. Our cows are about to have babies.’
Alex asked: ‘What’s the bull for?’
I could see where it was going. ABORT ABORT ABORT.
But it was too late.
The friend said: ‘To make the babies.’
Alex: ‘How does it do that?’
I was gripping the steering wheel for dear life, not sure whether to laugh or cry. Nooooooo, not yet, it’s too soon. Please God at the very least make this conversation happen when Mr Bean is in charge, not me!
Thank God for Alex’s friend, who succinctly explained: ‘Well they do piggy backs together.’
All passengers seemed satisfied with that answer and I swiftly changed the topic.
Nice weather we’re having isn’t it?
James is five and for the past week he has woken every day and asked me: ‘Is it Anzac Day today?’
No darling, it’s next week.
‘When is next week?’ he then asks.
In seven days.
‘How long is seven days.’
And on and on it goes. Except for the past couple of mornings he’s altered his repertoire to add a second question.
‘Is it Mother’s Day today?’ he asks after establishing it’s not yet Anzac Day.
‘Do you want to know what I’m getting you for Mother’s Day?’
No, make it a surprise, I tell him, the curiosity’s killing me … What will I get from this year’s Mother’s Day school lucky dip?. (Bar of soap anyone?)
James isn’t big on surprises and offered me this hint.
‘If it’s one of those bottles what you spray under your arms I’m keeping it,’ he told me graciously.
The boy has a memory of an elephant and still harps on about the year his brother drew a bottle of Lynx from the school Father’s Day $2 stall.
Our entire house, the dog – and both my boys – stank of Lynx for days afterwards. Poor dad didn’t get a single spray of the stuff, although I’m not sure he was too upset about that.
While the Anzac/Mother’s Day questioning is at risk of becoming a little tedious I really do love the confusion five-year-olds have around time.
‘MUM! Are we there yet? We’ve been driving for a thousand, hundred seconds, I’m BOOOORREEEEEDDDD!’
Place is just as perplexing. James took a world map to school for show and tell today. Apparently he told the class, ‘That’s Australia, it’s in Boonah.’
Because of course we all know Boonah (population 2500) is the centre of the universe! Well it is when you’re five.
With such a build-up to Anzac Day I feel we should all rise early and go to the Dawn Service. It’s not like it’s a bit trip for us … just across the road. It’s an important day to commemorate but it does open me up to some curly questions from the boys about all things war, death and fighting.
Are you taking your kids to an Anzac Service?
Reality television is bringing my family closer together.
No really, it is.
I believe the popular variety shows can teach my boys valuable life lessons.
Before you call the welfare officers be assured I’m not talking Big Brother or Beauty and the Geek.
But I am proud to say that most Sunday nights I sit on the couch with my boys (big and small) and settle in for some good old-fashioned entertainment.
Earlier in the year it came courtesy of Matt, Marco and Masterchef.
Now our attention has moved to The Voice.
Just as I spent my formative years engrossed in Young Talent Time, lusting after the contestants and the clothes, and coveting Danni Minogue’s life, I believe my sons can learn some valuable lessons from Matt, Marco, Seal and Delta et al.
Not only do these shows present the opportunity for us all to sit and cuddle on the couch once a week with a shared wholesome interest, they also provide great entrees into some important conversations.
Don’t believe me? Read on for my favourite pieces of wisdom as taught by reality TV.
Some time ago I bought two chilli plants. Such is the state of my mind, I can’t remember where I got them. Masters Home Centre, I think.
Anyway I stuck them in the ground, rather hastily and sometimes remembered to water them.
Alex, our 7-year-old, kept an eye on them and grew very excited when the first chillis started to emerge.
Each day he’d run into the kitchen armed with more of our home-grown chillis.
I don’t know what we were doing but our chilli was potent. Add one to a meal at your peril.
The weeks passed and still the chilli kept on producing … prolifically.
So one Sunday Mr Bean, Alex and James (assisted by a bevvy of Bionicles, a Nerf Gun and some Trash Packs) donned rubber gloves and started on operation chilli seed extraction.
They scraped the seeds into a dish and left them out to dry. Last weekend the trio planted the seeds into seedling trays, along with some of last year’s rather delicious garlic.
We don’t have a hot house but we do have an expensive, under-utilised springfree trampoline. It is now moonlighting as a hot house (the most use it’s had in months) and I’m chief irrigator.
My budding entrepreneurs hope to sell fresh chilli AND their super-strong sweet chilli sauce, sure to blow your boots off, at our street stall, scheduled for September 14 to coincide with the Federal Election. They’re saving for new motorbikes apparently.
Watch this space.