Tuesday, April 1, 2008

K , Me And The Poo

K, the 11 year old continues to test me, in ways that any parent will smile about. She's rapidly becoming an emo kid, which both bothers and amuses me. If you don't know what an emo kid, or person, is then please look it up as I don't really know for sure and I'd love a full explanation.

What I do know is that the "emo" is an abbreviation of emotion, or emotional, and that at the studio where Mimosa rehearse there's a sign up on the wall. It says:

"Any band caught playing My Chemical Romance or the Manic Street Preachers will be asked to leave immediately."

That's enough information for me, I know that us musos just shouldn't be known as emos. I also know that if anyone accuses K of being an emo kid she hates it and gets all, well. all emotional about it.

I went to collect the girls from their mother's place on Friday evening. The evening was uneventful, in as much as any evening in the company of my mad Sri Lankan Dad can be. But it was the next day, or Saturday as we call it in these parts, that I wanted to tell you about.

The beginning of a month is pocket money time. I found myself in a generous mood, which is dangerous for my bank manager and my current account. Before I knew where I was I had promised things to the girls. The things were their pocket money, the Timbaland CD for the eldest, an iTunes card for K and an extra £20 each of spending money as a treat. You may be aware that I am a highly skilled and finely trained negotiator, a business person with a few staff and some serious responsibility.

So I was a tad suprised that, with all my acumen and many years' of experience, I had negotiated with the girls that, in return for pocket money, CD and iTunes card and a total of £40, they would tidy my front garden, a job that took them about five minutes. It wasn't one of my best negotation scenarios and win / win only applied in the context that both of the girls won.

My front garden is a tiny thing, probably no bigger than than the Green Cabin's wine list, and the tidying that we had agreed upon was a job that only entailed collecting rubbish and putting it in a black bag. If I had two sons I feel sure that it would have been done quickly and easily with little drama. However, both my daughters are girls, so it was done quickly, not easily and with more drama involved than the play with Nimmi Harasgama that I'm rather looking forward to seeing this Saturday.

Let's face it, us boys are masters of logic and linear thinking, we may not be good at multi tasking or advising a female friend on her relationship problems but give us a job like putting up a shelf or making a fire and we're in our element. I had also made it clear to the girls that the £20 they were each getting was NOT payment for the garden tidying, more that it was a present and I was asking them to do me a favour with the garden business. All three of us knew it wasn't true though.

They set off into the wilderness of my botanical feature. I had supplied the equipment needed, a black bin bag, and I thought all would be smooth. After about two minutes one girl, I can't remember exactly which one, came into the house.

"Dad have you got something long, so that we can put the rubbish into the bag easily? Ah, this will do." she said. She was, and now I remember it was K, looking with some excitement at my quite expensive designer kitchen tongs, the ones with the blue silicon handles.

"No, they won't do, they're my good tongs"

"Well what can we use then?" she responded, with all the attitude and sneeriness that you now expect from her.

"Ermm I've got a broom in the shed, what about that?"

"No" she huffed "Something shorter".

Let's look at the facts; I'm relatively newly divorced, living on my own and I play the drums and love Sri Lanka. The only thing I have that even vaguely fitted what was required was a mountain of drumsticks, old, new and any age in between. We went through them and I filtered out a pair of slightly more knackered that the other ones. K set off to the garden again. I waited for the next bit. It didn't take long for A to wander in.

"Dad can I have a pair of sticks too?"

"Yes, but why doesn't one of you hold the bag while the other puts the rubbish in it?" I stupidly asked.

"Because we both want to pick up rubbish."

We found another pair of sticks and off the elder sibling went. I sneaked a peak out of the window and caught a quite comedic sight. It was bit windy out there and they were each wearing one of my overcoats. They were trying to use a pair of drumsticks each to pick up rubbish. Picture your grandfather trying to eat with chopsticks while in a wind tunnel and you'll get the idea, unless you're Chinese and your grandfather is an aerodynamics engineer. Then, once one of them had managed to grab a stray Kit Kat wrapper or whatever it was, there was more effort and the same girl tried to open the bag and get in into the receptacle. I watched, chuckled and then left them to it. It was a paternal chuckle.

I think a paternal chuckle is one that doesn't last for very long, because something's always about to happen. It did.

"Dad, Dad I think I've trod in dog poo."

The voice of K got louder as the sentence progressed, which led me to believe that she was saying it while walking through the house towards me. It was too much to hope that she might have taken off the offending shoe, one of her sideways lacing Converse All stars no less. I saw her heading towards the kitchen, both Converse (s) on her feet.

"Wait, stop take the bloody shoe off" I shouted.

"Take which one off?" she asked.

"the one with the poo on"

"But I don't know for sure if it's poo"

"Just STOP and take it off"

"But it's got poo on it"


She did.

"Is that poo?" she asked as the Converse was almost thrust into my face, I'm actually wincing and screwing up my nose at the thought as I type this. It definitely was poo, sometimes you just know these things.

"Looks like it" I replied in a Detective's tone of voice.

"But smell it if you want to make sure."

She offerred me the opportunity. I declined. She did the honours. It was poo, but you, me and her knew that already.

Once again I had run at full speed into the boundaries of fatherhood. My face hurt, probably like one of those elephants feels when it hits an electric fence, though my nose is smaller, as I realised I was expected to do the cleaning Converse duties.

K gave me one of those angelic looks but I wasn't fooled. Mercilessly I sent her outside, you know to the front of the house by that tree on the pavement. She asked me what she should use and we found a handy twig. She got scraping and I went inside to clean the floor. When I went back to check her I found no progress had been made. She needed water, preferably flowing from a tap, an outside one. I haven't got one of them, but I did have a solution.

The cleaning operation was abandoned and I found a plastic bag, wrapped the offending Converse in the bag and, a few minutes later, we set off in the car, towards her mother's place, the one that does have an outside tap. On arrival I explained the situation to my ex, she wasn't best pleased, but we got K another pair of shoes, left the soiled one for her to clean later and set off for Kingston.

And what happened in Kingston is another post altogether....


Java Jones said...

Oh the travails of single-parenthood! Hey, give Nimmi our love when you see her.


sach said...

that was hilarious. missed reading your posts. this is what you should get your daughter for her next birthday :)


Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Java - Will do, I'm very much looking forward to it.

Sach - Thanks, long time no hear.

Anonymous said...


I know you have used the word 'Emo' in the context that normal people use it in.

Just a quick heads up, in kids speak, especially in secondary schools in UK, 'Emo' stands for the kids who slash their wrists/hands to see blood. :(



Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Dhammika - I will have to check this with the experts (the girls). I thought that the whole wrist slashing business was more of a thing that they do (well hopefully not all the time) as they're all a bit emotional and angsty.

This parenting is a dodgy business eh?

Scrumpulicious said...

I love reading your posts! And you're getting quite good at leaving us hanging for your next posts! Nice work!

Btw - your daughters sound like they rock! :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Scrumpulicious - Thanks so much and yes, they rock!

L said...

cute but smelly story :-)

Dinidu de Alwis said...

What's with you and the "Tune in next time folks" kinda thing now???

Great post by the way... :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Dinidu - Thanks, sorry for the "tune in next time" posts. It's just that I've started both of the recent ones and have rambled on so much that I've thought they'll be too long to put out as one post. You know, people will die while reading them, even more than normal, that kind of thing.

Indyana said...

Really nice post!

Angel said...

Great post... I have developed a grudging respect for K... and waves of sympathy for you!