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Mother’s Day And A Misunderstanding

On Sunday morning, H took me to brunch at a very fancy seaside restaurant to celebrate Mother’s Day. We ate what small morsels of a ricotta and herb omelette and a plate of corned beef and swiss chard hash with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce remained after the Tardis child had had her merry way with our meals. We were sitting around, savouring our coffee and nibbling on the superb house-made baked beans that we’d ordered as a side dish, when May Blossom picked up a bean between her thumb and forefinger and regarded it solemnly.

‘Poo.’ She declared. Then, in case I was in any doubt of what she was referring to, she pointed to the bean with her other hand and said again, ‘poo.’

‘That’s not a poo, that’s a baked bean,’ I replied, uttering a sentence I am fairly certain I have never said before.

‘No,’ she said. ‘Poo. Granddad’s poo.’

Wow, I thought. That’s quite specific. We hadn’t been talking about Granddad. Or his poo. Where in her tiny mind had that connection come from? One of my favourite parenting games is Track That Weird Though Process. I won’t be able to continue it for long, but right now as I am with May Blossom about 90 per cent of her waking hours, I generally have a pretty good idea of what’s going into her brain, and I like to see what her cogs and wheels do with that information. It’s a little like the idea of ‘tidying your children’s minds’, which Mrs Darling does in Peter Pan after her children have gone to sleep each night. (My mother still tidies my mind from time to time, whether I like it or not.

Often the game is easy enough with May Blossom. We were chatting in the street the other day to a friend who is named Louise. A few minutes after she had gone, May Blossom started asking for ‘Weasel’. Straightforward enough: she loves ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’, so ‘weas-‘ was the sound from Louise that stuck in her mind. Oddly enough, Louise didn’t think it was as funny as we did when we later told her that May Blossom calls her Weasel.

But Granddad’s poo? I had to rack my brains. And what I have come up with is this: until a few weeks ago, my parents had a very old dog. She was a seventeen-year-old border collie called Obie (short for Obedience) and May Blossom loved her. But being seventeen, she was wont to shit wherever the fancy took her. So every time May Blossom and I arrived at Mum and Dad’s place, Dad would appear and do a quick poo-check of the back lawn, the courtyard and the back verandah. May Blossom would watch him scoop up the turds, which didn’t look unlike large baked beans, and pop them into the compost bin.

I’m now fairly certain that she thought those poos were his. I don’t think we ever explained explicitly that they were the dog’s doing, so she may well have just assumed that he was cleaning up after himself. Hence, ‘Granddad’s poo.’ Quite a reasonable assumption, if incorrect.

I can only hope that when Dad is as old in human years as Obie was in dog years that he does clean up after himself when we come to visit. Obie had him well trained.

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