As I finally sank my bottom in to the moist garden chair, cup of peppermint tea (I have the most god awful trapped wind constantly at the moment – Depression, the gift that keeps on giving) at the ready and laptop open with a fresh, clean piece of lit up paper glowing in front of me, I was excitedly anticipating a well deserved five minutes peace.
At that very same moment however, the little boy from next door, was eagerly anticipating pecking my head.
He screamed my name across the garden and came positively bounding over, filled with a sense of glee at noticing me.
His timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I, of course, was absolutely thrilled to see him. (She says through gritted teeth.)
‘Hi Lexy!’ he shouted at the top of his voice, even though he was now stood directly beside me, bouncing about from foot to foot like a mental seagull.
(Him not me. I only behave like a mental seagull on a Thursday. Today is a Tuesday…. I believe. But if the days were counted by nights of sleep, I could be duped in to thinking it was Saturday… … the 14th April 2010.)
‘Hi Ben’ I replied with a not very well hidden sigh ‘How are you today?’
‘Ok’ he replied happily, eyeing up my laptop like a lovesick puppy ‘You?’
‘I am ok.’ I smiled at him kindly; he really is a cute child. ‘I am about to do some work though, are you busy playing with your toys?’
A not so subtle hint that I had just managed, finally, to get Addison down for his long overdue nap, after hours of whinging, my new least favourite sound in the world, and finally, was looking forward to an hour in peace, finally, to spend with my (second) favourite piece of machinery in the world. (Ahem.)
Him being a man though…sorry I meant child, he didn’t pick up on it.
I was all set to write a post, which had been burning inside me for days, about how feelings aren’t facts, and neither are thoughts.
When out of nowhere my scheduled and very well deserved (did I mention I deserved it yet?) me –time was thoughtlessly interrupted by little Ben, who was on a mission (from god, it now seems) to chat utter shite on toast to me, for as long as he possibly could.
I will have to share with you our conversation due to the fact, that during the course of the hour, it became apparent my deep and meaningful was going to get shoved to the side and so instead of typing nothing, I decided to type directly from the horse’s mouth. (Ben is the horse in this scenario.)
And as it happens, the conversation turned a little… well a little… well, you will see.
I was sat outside in the shared garden so I cannot blame him for pestering me, but neither am I the type of woman that will directly tell a child to go away.
He had every right to be there, beside me, much to my dismay, and the apparent delight of his mother who mouthed over ‘Just popping out for a bit, that ok? Before disappearing back behind her kitchen window before I could protest.
I should probably explain, before you call social services on her, that the garden is a free zone and as we have built up years of friendship, the neighborhood gang and I, we often keep an eye on each other’s kids.
(Read: I often keep an eye on their kids, but when Addison is old enough, I fully intend to send him out to play while I bugger off on a two week holiday to Mauritius. They owe me.)
‘Oh balls!’ I hear from below me as I try to focus on my writing.
‘Don’t swear Ben please.’
‘But I dropped my truck.’ He says standing upright again.
‘Well then say Oops. We don’t swear ok?’ I reprimand, trying on my teacher voice and trying not to laugh.
Why is it so funny when cute kids say completely inappropriate words?
‘Ok….’ long drawn out pause…. ‘Oops.’
‘How old are you?’
‘Ben you should never ask a lady how old she is.’
‘My mum says the same thing but’ he pauses lost in thought for a second before going on to profess ‘you aren’t ladies. You are a mums.’
(See? Horses mouth.)
‘I am 32.’ I answer directly, avoiding a debate about how mum’s can still be ladies, not sure I would win.
‘Wow. 32 is ancient.’ he interrupts my flow again, just as I am getting to a crucial part.
‘Thanks Ben.’ I reply deadpan and without looking up from my screen.
I was trying to come up with something poignant.
‘Can I type something?’
‘No’ I say hurriedly, switching in to autopilot, forgetting I am talking to a child and not the Irish one. ‘How many times do I have to tell you that this laptop is mine and just like my other favourite possession, you do not get to be involved!!’
‘What?’ He looks confused.
‘I said, how old are you?’ I ask shocked at my autopilots vehemence, giving him my full attention.
‘I was six, 2 weeks ago.’ He smiles heartedly, easily distracted by his world ‘But I’ll be seven soon.’
‘Great.’ I say distracted once again. ‘Can you go and play please? I am trying to write.’
(Oh. turns out I am that kind of woman. Oh well.)
‘Ok’ he replies joyfully, staring at me, and much to my annoyance, not moving from my elbow.
‘Yes?’ I reply reaching for a sip of tea.
‘Is Doodle scared of buses?’
‘Maybe.’ I reply letting out a sigh.
Where do they get these questions from?
‘Yes?’ I give up and turn to face him.
He has picked up Addison’s empty weeble bus from the patio.
‘What do Weeble’s actually do?’
I grin, remembering to haul myself in. I was six once. Give the kid a break.
‘They wobble but they don’t fall down.’
‘Why not?’ his brow is furrowed beneath his fringe.
‘Because they don’t.’
‘Oh ok.’ He seems satisfied with this answer so I turn back to my screen, feeling good for having made an effort.
‘Yeeees?’ I say with a smile, starting to enjoy the conversation even though I am now more than mildly frustrated by the interruption.
‘Have you got a baby in your belly?’
‘No.’ I retort, a little bit huffy. I know I’ve got a pouch but give a girl a break.
‘Lexy?’ The questions now come thick and fast.
‘Where is Addison?’
‘I found an army tank yesterday. Are you missing an army tank?’
‘Have you ever watched Megamind?’
‘Mmm.’ I am back staring at my computer screen, wondering where his mum is, whether I could be arrested for gaffa taping a child’s mouth, albeit a cute one and seriously beginning to regret the decision to sit outside.
‘Do you live with your mummy?’
‘No.’ (Too many potential inserts here, and not enough time.)
‘I live with mine, Lexy?’
‘Can Weebles have babies?’
I begin to feel strangely uncomfortable.
The way one would when watching a horror movie, and the main character has decided to walk down a very dark alley, just for the heck of it. (While you scream at the television calling her an idiot. IDIOT! IT”S COMING RUN RUN OH MY GOD RUN!! *Grabs cushion and hides from the inevitable*)
‘Why not? Why can’t they have babies?’
‘Because they can’t.’
Unfortunately that didn’t do it this time.
‘Because they don’t have inside bum bits?’ he asked, face of innocence placed immediately in front of mine.
I looked right back at him and tried very hard not to spit out my tea directly in to his face.
Paragraphs of that book ‘The Slap’ started racing through my mind.
Is it ok to hit someone else’s kid? Not in my opinion.
Is it ok to end up misinforming another woman’s child about sex though, just so you don’t end up telling another woman’s child the truth about sex?
The rules are not clear here!!
‘Aha.’ I cough on my tea. ‘Sure. Yeah. You know, it’s cos they don’t have those.’
He raises one eyebrow (looking a bit like a mini Austin powers.)
‘You are fibbing’ he points his finger, as if catching me out ‘my mummy says God put a baby in her stomach, that it has absolutely nothing to do with front bums and inside bits!’
Oh. (Front bum’s? Brilliant!)
So his mummy is having a baby.
My discomfort level shoots off the scale. (I still can’t trump though. God I hate trapped wind! It kills!)
It is almost definitely time to close my laptop and make a hasty exit.
‘That is nice,’ I over animate for his benefit! ‘You will have a brother or a sister!’
He ignores me and continues down his own thought path as I flap around gathering up my stuff as quickly as I possibly can.
‘Mummy said you have to be married to have a baby,’ he pauses while my heart begins leaking out of my bottom (FINALLY!!!) ‘but you and the Irish one aren’t married are you?’
Rub it in why don’t you.
‘No’ I reply, the wind knocked out of my sails.
‘So how come God gave you a baby then?’
‘Because he knew we loved each other?’ I respond trying to sound authoritative but blatantly clutching at straws, as I am not religious and don’t really know those rules either, all the while standing up and heading for the living room garden door trying to escape before this goes any further.
He follows me.
‘But how does he know? How did the baby get in to your tummy Lexy if you aren’t married?’
I contemplate running.
I cough and try and change the subject.
‘Ben have you seen that plane up there? It is going very fast!’ (Seriously wishing at the time, that I was on it.)
‘I am six you know.’ He admonishes me from just above knee height. ‘Not five and nearly seven!’
‘I know.’ I reply pushing my door open and setting down my laptop on the couch, abandoning any hope of the passionate post I was desperate to write, for the day.
Damn it. I forgot to close the door.
He followed me in.
Now there is no escape.
‘I am learning about flowers at the moment and how they fermentilize.’
I nod non-committedly and listen out for Addison while attempting to appear busy so he will get bored and leave.
‘So, you see’ he goes on, toddling after me in to the kitchen ‘I know God didn’t put the baby in your belly or my mummy’s belly. I know it’s got something to do with being fermented.’
That’s one word for it.
Actually, that is pretty accurate.
I was certainly fermented at the time anyway.
‘Ben.’ I give up, ignoring his serious face, trying to stop him. ‘I have to wake Addison up now, but maybe you should ask mummy these questions. I can hear her calling you.’ (I could. I didn’t make that last bit up.)
He ignores me and like a child from an honest to god horror movie, eyes me intently and with a very, very, very serious and quiet voice whispers;
‘Mummy says it was God, but I don’t believe her. I intend to find out, you know. One day I will find out how that baby got in your belly, and in hers. I am six not five… one day I will find out.’ (He didn’t say ‘mark my words’, but he may as well have!)
And with that he runs out of the door.
‘I haven’t got a ruddy baby in my belly’ I stick my head out of the door and shout petulantly after him, Freddie Kreugars lullaby playing through the shadows of my murky brain. (One, two, freddie’s coming for you… three four, better lock your door…)
‘I know!’ I hear shouted back from the other end of the garden, just as his mum shoots me an odd look and waves her thanks, and Ben, from behind her, looks on seriously, with one finger pointed at me, very slowly nodding his head.
(Not really but I am setting a scene here.)
I turn around, completely confused and a little worried about his methods of finding out, promising to avoid him at all costs for the foreseeable future, pick up my laptop and sigh as Addison shouts for me before putting it right back down again.
Thoughts aren’t facts, is typed at the top of the page.
I am wrong, I tell myself while thinking ‘thank god Addy isn’t six.’
Sometimes they can be.
Glass of fermentation anyone? I have red or white.