Happy Chin just loved bathing as a small child. He had a collection of bath toys so numerous that it took ten minutes to pick them up off the floor and put them back in the bath so he could throw them all out again whilst you were out of the room stirring the dinner, or spooning mashed pumpkin into Toddler Tech Support.
Funny how things change when they hit the Terrible Teens.
Around age 15, the daily struggle over personal hygiene began, involving myself or Mr August (on a rolling roster, but sometimes just good ol’ Rock Paper Scissors) and a recalcitrant Happy Chin in a kind of shadow boxing match, the parent wielding soap and flannel, trying to dodge the flailing teenaged limbs with a flapping shower curtain in between. We frequently ended up wetter than HC. We always ended up with more bite marks than him.
On one occasion, having drawn the long straw, I was making tea in the kitchen and listening to the raised voices in the adjacent bathroom.
“No!!” Happy Chin was shouting.
“For…God’s…sake….just….stand….still,” Mr August spat through clenched teeth.
“Nooooo!!” retorted HC.
“Oh, piss off then!” yelled MrA.
“Pitt Op!” HC shot back.
And so “Pitt Op” entered the family lexicon. It’s become a common insult in our house, and does open up the question as to whether you ought to correct your children’s’ mispronunciations.
I have a leather journal I used to write down all of the Lamington’s humorous mispronunciations when he was smaller. It’s sitting on the table as I write this.
All kids come out with adorable words like Hostible and Piscetti. The fact the Lamington got them so consistently jumbled should probably have been more of a concern, but they were just so damn funny. And we did get his ears checked, his hearing was normal (although he did memorably take off the headphones after the first 10 minutes and politely ask the audiologist to please turn up the volume a bit!)
Anyway, here are some highlights from the archives:
Gobbles – Headwear worn over the eyes when swimming underwater
Tights – The ebb and flow of the ocean, as in “Oh look, the tights are coming in!”
Nuttsies – Nuts (ie. testicles)
Sea Gones – Sea Gulls
Glurb – The writing on the back cover of a book that tells you what it’s about
Toy-Nado – Tornado
Salad Bowl Toilet Seat – Solid Gold Toilet Seat (as in, ‘I’d like a solid gold toilet seat but it’s not going to happen is it?’)
As for correcting Happy Chin’s words, do you really turn to your 15 year old son and say, “No, it’s Pisssss Offfff – see, look where Mummy’s putting her tongue. Now you try!”
Since I have the leather journal out, let me entertain you with a few more classic Lamington moments. I’ve categorised them below for ease of reference and I swear they all happened.
The interminable questions
‘Do mothers have lips?’
‘Do turtles drive trains?’
‘Do rabbits eat helicopters? ‘
‘Do Mums have beards?’ (well….sometimes)
‘Who wants to go to a primordial swamp on holiday?’ (turned out no one did)
‘Do you like eating dinner for lunch?’
‘Have you been to a slug hospital?’
‘Mum, do you know all about poo?’
‘Grandpop, do people laugh at you when you’re naked?’
And my personal favourite…
‘Mum, do you have any children?’
The random quirky exchanges
‘Mum, I wish I wasn’t a girl.’
‘You aren’t a girl.’
‘Why is Dad groaning?’
‘Dad’s really old, mate.’
‘Is he 10?’
‘Yes, he’s 10.’
‘Is his life nearly done?’
On hearing a friend’s dog had died:
‘Oh, not again!’
The bizarre statements
When he was ill with chicken pox:
‘Mum, I wish I wanted to go out and play.’
When asked to shake a can of coconut milk:
‘I’m going to shake it til my arm doesn’t fall off.’
When asked to put the chocolate custard back and show me he could be responsible:
‘I don’t do responsible things.’
Upon marching into the kitchen with clothes pegs attached to every inch of his apparel:
‘Look, I’m a vegetarian!’
Yes, it’s true we all say funny things, often unintentionally. What a boring world it would be if we didn’t! So in the spirit of fairness, let me close with a quote from my little leather book. This time, it was Tech Support’s turn.
‘Mum, how long will it be until it’s fifteen minutes from now?’
Kids. They really are better than TV aren’t they?