Ordinary Days


Sometimes when the beagle is being particularly naughty I make myself watch Marley and Me. It serves as a reminder that there are other dogs out there who are more badly behaved than mine. Her daily escapes to harass the neighbour’s cats become less irritating and more tricksteresque. I can smile about the tub of butter she extracts from the refrigerator on a daily basis, and the foraging and spreading of the contents of our recycling bin. Marley and Me reminds me that it will all be over one day, that one day there will be no bouncing beagle and we’ll be devastated. Calmer, tidier, and more popular with our neighbours, but devastated.


I took the little travellers to the Damien Hirst exhibition last night. The exhibition closes this week, and we had once again left it to the very last minute, it was a now or never moment. The second little traveller was having what can only be described as one of those days. She niggled at her brothers, sighed out loud while we discussed the days events, and began negotiating hard on a trip to Pinkberry on the way home from the museum before we’d even got there. She didn’t like where we parked, pushed her brother in the back as we entered the room, and then touched the glass on one of the exhibits when she was told not to, twice. She insisted on walking ahead of us, told us all to hurry up, and then lagged behind when others wanted to move on.

As we were leaving I asked her to stand in a particular spot while I looked at $800 plastic clocks (seriously). She followed me, then walked in the opposite direction and somehow managed to get in a fight with her brother, I saw a high kick out of the corner of my eye. There were tears. Through gritted teeth and with a hushed museum whisper scream I declared

“That’s it! No Pinkberry!” I’m not sure if I ever thought we were going to Pinkberry but I was grasping at any form of parental power I had.

As we wandered back to the car we took on the appearance of the worlds most dysfunctional family. Me marching ahead, the fourth trying to keep up. The first and third in a state of confusion over Pinkberry.  You mean we were going and now we aren’t? The second little traveller was yelling out a sorry that really wasn’t a sorry. An up your bum sorry.

“Can we still go to Pinkberry but just leave her in the car while we go in?” asked the first traveller.

I raised an eyebrow at the first. “Really? You really think I’d do that?”

“Why do we all miss out?” whined the third.

The fourth traveller began to hedge his bets.

“Can I just have that last brownie when I get home, maybe with some ice-cream?”

“No, no, no, and you can all just stop asking me for things.” My brain was beginning to hurt.

We were about two minutes into the trip home when the first traveller reminded me that her band uniform needed to be altered. “Don’t forget about my black pants” she suggested. “The concert is in 10 days.” She wasn’t asking, just reminding.

This reminded the second traveller that she needed a black dress for art class.

“What sort of black dress?”

“Just a black dress, oh and like a white scarfe thingy to go over my head, and a handkerchief, the handkerchief needs to be white as well”.

“I don’t understand. Why? Who’s the character? When do you need this by?”

“I think next week, but I promised the girls in my group I’d get it by tomorrow, or the day after.”

The fourth traveller joined in, he needed brown pants and a brown shirt for his concert.

“When is the concert?”

“Don’t know, soon, but I need brown pants and a shirt, like, maybe by next week.”

“What about you?” I looked towards with the third little traveller in my rear view mirror.

He shook his head, smiled. We shared a moment of solidarity in that rear view mirror.

When we arrived at the house they all piled out of the car with bags, homework, and plans for the evening. I sat motionless as each door closed. I sighed out loud at the glorious peace, until I remembered I’d forgotten to pick up an essential ingredient from the supermarket for dinner. I turned the car back on.

This is parenthood. This dispersed with beautiful moments.

After dinner last night I asked the second little traveller to join me on the couch. I held my arm out, made a space for her.

“Snuggle in Pooky” I suggested.

We snuggled for a couple of minutes, there were barely any words, a few giggles on whether my name for her was Pooky Poo, or Pooky Pooks or just a plain Pooky. She smiled, gave me a kiss, I kissed her back. We eventually made our way to the highs and lows of the day. There was rational discussion, no sighs, just giggles.

This is parenthood. Dispersed with its shitty moments.

I read a fantastic article in the Guardian last night. A great reminder that the days can sometimes feel long but the years fly past.

It had me searching for this clip, I remembered watching this years ago when the little travellers were smaller, when we were surrounded by sippy cups and highchairs, I remember thinking at the time that I needed to remember to watch it later. Kind of like Marley and Me.

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