Thursday 25 August 2011

Double Dutch, a little English, some baby, and a dose of repetition

‘In auto?’

‘In auto?’ she asks again, dragging her raincoat and a bunch of keys to the living room door.

She wants to go for a drive in the car (auto).

-‘Maybe later’.

‘Uit!’ (out!) she says with more urgency, clawing at the door trying to prize it open. ‘Deur stuk!’ she announces for a finish, before pottering off back into her own world, distracted by God only knows what.

-‘Yes, the deur is stuk’ (Door is broken)

Off she trots, busying herself with her ‘brush’, her ‘ball’, her ‘bug-eeee’ and all manner of other things, sometimes English, sometimes Dutch, peculiarly mostly beginning with B. All the usual one and two syllable words that any one and a half year old would use. Then out of nowhere she starts to sing. ‘Applebee, Applebee, Applebee’ repeating one of the many irritating tunes that regularly emanate from any one of numerous bits of bright coloured plastic dotted around the house these days.

With bedtime approaching she demands that she gets to brush her ‘deeesh’, before being put into her (sleeping) ‘bag!’. With a little coercion you might get a ‘night night’ out of her, or if you’re extra lucky, a ‘good night’.

Her ‘ted-dees’ need their ritual arranging before she finally gives in, rubbing her eyes and announcing it’s time for ‘slaapen’ (sleep).

A few mumbles escape as she works herself into her favourite position, before drifting off to have what I can only presume are truly multilingual dreams.

Trying to make my way down the hall while avoiding the creaky bits, I’m sure I hear her ask ‘In auto?’

Wednesday 3 August 2011

The leper's anus, & other stories

Nappies, nipples, nose wipes. Bottles, bibs, buggies.

Changes of clothes, snacks, toys, and books. All part of the preparation involved in taking a toddler to the shops just 45 minutes away.

It’s overly complicated and clumsy, and while it gets easier the more often you do it, it doesn’t encourage you to take longer trips with anyone who regularly leaves snot on the knees of your pants.

Never being ones to do things easily, we’ve decided to take our offspring on a trip somewhat further afield, all in the name of 'a holiday'.

We’ve decided it would be a fabulous idea to spend 12 hours inside a germ filled metal tube, eat from tinfoil containers, not actually sleep, and share a bathroom with 300 others. With a toddler.

This joyful experience will sadly be disrupted by a 5 hour stopover in a city that may or may not be on the brink of hosting an overthrowing of its government. Once that potentially anarchical interlude is done with, we get to climb back into the germ rocket and repeat that 12 hour adventure all over again, this time with added sleep deprivation, body odour, and crankiness. With a toddler.

A full 32 hours and 18 thousand kilometers after we leave our home and worldly goods for all manner of burglars and thieves to scavenge through, we should arrive at our destination on the other side of the globe. There we will spend 4 days recovering from the inevitable jet-lag, attempted murder, and whatever bug or virus that will have been generously passed onto us by our passenger companions. With a toddler.

Once we have regained the use of our legs, realised that day is night and night is day, and established that the locals can’t pronounce the letter ‘e’, what else would we do other than pile everything and everyone back into a plane, which in my humble opinion is as healthy a thing to do as lick the anus of a leper, and fly to another city. Not just any city, but a city recently flattened by a massive earthquake. Where we will spend 3 days presumably sightseeing sights that no longer exist. With a toddler.

When we are done with our stint standing & pointing at empty spaces where cathedrals used to be, we up the tempo. We take the holiday to another level. We all pile into a camper van with all the speed and mobility of a fridge tethered to a lame hamster, and spend the next 2 and a half weeks driving three thousand kilometers through drunken rugby fan, sheep, and fault lines all the way back to where we started. With a toddler.

We can then reflect on the glory that was our Antipodean adventure on another 24 hour flight in leper’s undergarments. We will have another 18 thousand kilometers at our disposal to remember the laughs we had cleaning up vomit for the first 4 days, the piles of rubble from the 3 thereafter, and the road rage and loss of our deposit from the last 2 weeks.

Upon our arrival home at some unseemly hour, we can all pass out on the bare floor before calling the police and house insurance to report the theft of everything we hadn’t managed to drag to the other side of the planet and back.

What a great idea this was. I’m already getting excited at the mere idea of it.