Which brings me to this: two hours on Bondi beach had transmogriphied me from one type of Brit to another (i.e. Albino to Lobster). I'll go on record as saying that Asda sunscreen factor 30 is the worst sunscreen in the world, and I might have well covered myself in WD40 for all the protection it gave me.
I watched an episode of Octonauts with Jack where they find a sunburned whale and try to cure him with sun cream. Despite this education, Jack could not empathise with my own pain and, do you know, it actually spurred him on to irritate my sunburn further, with that amoral look in the eye that 3 year-olds get. He should watch it, because I could take him, when push came to shove.*
We (sans Jimal) went to the Blue Mountains today. On the way Jack was moaning to Emily: "stop driving, mummy", but I just put that down to boredom and general moaning that 3 year olds all excel at. We eventually got to this Alton Towers-esque place where you could go on a mountain train or a choice of cable car rides. We got tickets for all 3 at the low, low price of about $ 20 million. The weather was perfect and the views crystal clear, but you really have to see these babies to see them - Google image search will not do it! Spectacular and beautiful on a huge scale, they are the kind of things you have to be an adult to enjoy and kids don't give a shit about scale. Jack and Flossie were more impressed by a piece of chewing gum stuck on the floor. Jack got to drive the cable car over this ancient valley but even that didn't compare to the chewing gum.
We all got on the mountain train and as we set off I wondered why the seats were so reclined? I soon discovered why as we suddenly plummeted 52 degrees down and my comparison with Alton Towers became more apt, especially as we entered the dark drippy cage in pitch black. Florence was not impressed, not impressed at all requesting "down" on the world's steepest railway. She would not accept the answer that she could not leave the train as it was plummeting down this incline, and no level of evidence would persuade her. Surprisingly, Jack loved it - normally Flossie is the maverick of the two and Jack is a massive girl. I tried to be adult about it but it was no good - I was 13 again and at Alton Towers. Many friends tell me how immature I am for my age (or for a 10 year old for that matter) and I cannot deny it.
We were walking through a forest a bit later and small plaques kept showing illustrations of differing forest phenomena. One was a tree being struck in half by a lightning bolt, except the picture was of a Rhinoceros with a glowing hand touching a tree trunk.
Jack piped up:
"Why he shooting the tree?"
"It's just a picture to show lightning hitting the tree."
"Why he hitting the tree?"
"It's just a representative anthropomorphism of lightning, Jack. You know what lightning is?" I make the noise and point to the sky.
"It's when clouds rub together and make sparks."
Jack seemed satisfied, but then:
"But why he shoot tree."
I could see that my simple explanations were not getting through, so I think... then:
"To get the honey inside the tree."
"Where he now?"
"He's hiding in the woods."
"Because he's got all the honey."
"Because he doesn't want to share it."
"Because he's a naughty, selfish monster."
"Where the monster hiding?"
"In the woods." There's a rustle in the woods somewhere and foolishly I say:
" Maybe that's him!"
Jack instantly bursts into tears and jumps into my arms.
"It's okay, Jack, it's not real, it's just a cartoon!"
"Why cartoon hiding in trees? Where cartoon?"
I realised that Jack had just substituted the word "monster" with "cartoon" and it still had the same meaning. I tried to explain what a cartoon was, why it wouldn't hurt him (or anyone), that I was joking about the lightning Rhino and that he wasn't real, I'm sorry and there's nothing to worry about. It's too easy to accidently traumatise a kid! However, I was watching horror films by the time I was 5 and there's nothing wrong with me.**
"I wan' leave the wood." Jack kept pleading, so we had to head to the overpriced cafe to make amends with some crisps. From the comfort of the cafe, Jack was full of bravado, boasting:
"I can find cartoon in wood and then I can kill him with my life saver***."
I bought the kids an ice-lolly for being relatively good (if an adult had behaved as they had, he would have been branded an utter dickhead by his peers, and unfriended on facebook, however for children the bar gets significantly lowered). Jack's lolly was called a life saver (much like a refresher lolly) and, looking a little like a multi-coloured sword, I could see the derivation of his terminological confusion with the Jedi weapon.
On the way back Ems offered to show me the Olympic village. Jack was complaining of a bad tummy to Ems left the motorway to find a nice quiet residential street so Jack could take a shit on the pavement (again, I get into trouble when I do this), but nothing was forth-coming, so we got back into the car. We couldn't find the play area bit of the substantial Olympic park we were looking for, so headed home.
The park itself is enormous and has this massive boulevard running through the middle, with stadia either side. It's quite sterile, but impressive nonetheless. Very excited to pass Ramsey St. and Cheltenham St., but in the back of the car Jack was saying "mummy, stop driving" again and moaning. I put it down to boredom and general moaning that 3 year olds all excel at. Right up to the point when he regurgitated his ice cream, milkshake, sandwich and crisps everywhere, and suddenly Ems and I had to relax our strict "windows up" policy till we could find a place to pull over and clean up. I'm not a doctor, never have been and never likely to be, not full time, at least. But I can safely say that Jack gets car-sick, plus the hire car must have had sensitive controls as the journey was pulling maximum Gs, which I enjoy, but if you're a car-sick kid full of sickly food, you don't.
By the way, if anyone ever offers you a honeycomb Maxibon, tell them to piss off. They are rubbish - no crispy honey-comb, just squidgy old bollocks. Should've got a Twister - can't go wrong with a Twister.
Vegetable curry this eve. Nom nom nom...
**Apart from deep mental scars and a highly developed neurotic condition.
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