Tag Archives: winter

Dear Mother Earth

Big Brother was busy. More importantly, he was productively busy and quiet at the same time. He was sitting at the dining table with craft stuff spread around him and a palpable air of excitement surrounding every snip snip snip with the scissors.

I didn’t ask what he was doing. (Like I said, he was productive, busy and quiet. If you don’t have a five-year-old, you have no idea how rare a thing that is. I didn’t want to ruin it.) I just peered over his shoulder and saw him cutting a piece of paper into the shape of a heart, and jumped to all the wrong conclusions.

Oh, he must be making me a card. That’s so sweet. And then I went back to cooking dinner, humming happily to myself.

A few minutes later, he was finished. “Mummy! Look what I made!” he called, barely able to stand still in his excitement.

“Awww. That looks lovely. What is it?” I asked.

He smiled up at me. “It’s a message for Mother Earth,” he said. “It says: Dear Mother Earth. I really love you. I really love you so much. I hope you are having a nice rest in the winter. Love, Big Brother.”

You know, I wasn’t even disappointed it wasn’t a message for me. He was so sweet and earnest. “That’s beautiful,” I said, meaning every word.

“But how am I going to give it to her?” he asked.

That stopped me for a moment. Then I did what I always do in these situations — I referred him back to songs and stories. “Well, when the Winter King’s gnomes gather seeds for Mother Earth, how do they give them to her?”

His eyes lit up. “They bury them underground! I can bury this for Mother Earth!”

And so out came the shovel, and off to the garden we went.

Once it was positioned just right (which took almost half an hour), he looked thoughtful. “But how will Mother Earth know it’s here?”

“I’m sure She’ll know,” I said with a smile.

But just to be on the safe side, he made sure not all of the message was covered by dirt and leaves. It wouldn’t do for Mother Earth to miss his message.

We went back inside, and that was that. Or so I thought.

The next day, Big Brother went outside to play. He was back within a couple of minutes. He looked miserable. “Mother Earth didn’t take my message,” he said.

Right. Apparently I hadn’t done my part.

“I’m sure She will,” I said soothingly. “Maybe she was just busy last night. We’ll check again tomorrow.”

The next morning when Big Brother went outside, not only had Mother Earth found his message, She had left one of her own.

 (For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you may be surprised by my complicity in this story. After all, I’m all too happy to tell my children the truth about Santa. But even for me, the idea of telling my son that Mother Earth isn’t “real” is just… wrong. Wrong in a way I can’t even describe. I hope you understand.)

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I’m Not Sick, I’m Fine.

It’s winter here in sunny Queensland, and it’s been cold.

Really cold.

Not, “we’ve just had three feet of snow” cold, mind you. Just “I may have to work out if I’ve got something warmer than a tank top to wear” cold. (The answer to this question is “no”, so I’ve been huddled up in front of the heater in my skirt and tank top for the last three weeks.)

I don’t mind the cold, but I hate winter flu season. This is partly because I hate doctors. Or, rather, I hate the process of going to see a doctor. Let’s face it, if you’re sick enough to need to see a doctor, you’re probably too sick to be driving a car. But you make the appointment, bundle yourself up in plenty of warm clothes, and off you go. Then you sit in a humid room full of people sneezing and coughing and wheezing and sniffling for an hour. (If you weren’t sick to start with, you definitely will be by the time the doctor calls your name.) Then a twenty-something kid spends five minutes for you, charges you a small fortune, and tells you to go home and get plenty of rest.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen. I have two children and a shift-working husband. I have two chances of getting “plenty of rest”: Buckley’s and none.

I hate going to the doctor.

Big Brother doesn’t like going to the doctor either. The only time he’s ever been is to have vaccinations, so I don’t blame him. He’s five years old, and has never so much as had an ear-ache or a sore throat. I can count the number of times he’s had a fever on one hand and have fingers to spare. He is sickeningly healthy and always has been.

Little Brother doesn’t seem to have an opinion. And if he does, he’s not sharing.

But I’ve been sick this winter.

The kind of sick that leaves you with a muzzy, fuzzy, buzzy head all day and a cough all night.

The kind of sick that makes you wish the goblin king would steal away your children so you could spend a day sleeping.

The kind of sick that makes you consider going to see a doctor.

It didn’t help that Big Brother was unwell. Not “sick” as such, just unwell. He was tired and lethergic and cranky and just plain whingey. But every time I asked him how he was feeling he’d say, “I’m fine!”

“Is your head sore?”

“I’m fine!”

“Does your throat hurt?”

“I’m fine!”

I didn’t believe him.

Big Brother loves school. And if he’s sick, he knows he can’t go to school. So there was no way he would ever admit to being sick. He just whined and moaned and lazed his way around the house.

Fortunately, there was a little oasis of normal in the house. Little Brother spent one night with a fever and that was it. He spent the next few days laughing and playing and annoying his brother. You know, normal. He was a little more cuddly than usual and he woke up a few times each night, but that was it. He actually was “fine”.

But I wasn’t. And I was pretty sure Big Brother wasn’t. So, after a week of misery, I booked us in to see a doctor.

“Who would you like me to examine first?” she asked.

The boys were already playing with the doctor’s toys, both of them giggling away as they made up some complicated game that involved unpacking and repacking everything in the toy box. So I went first. I had a sore throat and a chest infection. Hook me up with some antibiotics, thanks.

Big Brother was next.

“I’m fine!” he insisted.

The doctor looked in his ears and his mouth. She took his temperature and listened to his chest. And then she smiled at me.

“He’s fine.”

I must have look dubious because she went on, “He’sbeensick, but he’s fighting it off by himself. He must have a strong immune system. He’s fine.”

Big Brother smiled smugly and said, “I told you I was fine.”

Yeah, thanks for that.

I knew Little Brother wasn’t sick, but since we were there anyway…

The doctor looked in his ear. “Oooh, that’s very red. You must have a very sore ear, Little Brother.”

She looked in his other ear. “Oooh, that one looks sore, too.”

She looked in his mouth. “Your throat is very red.”

She listened to his chest. “Mmm… That doesn’t sound good.”

She took his temperature and looked into his eyes. “I’ll give him a strong dose of antibiotics. Make sure you don’t miss a dose, and come back if he doesn’t start to improve in a couple of days.”

We left with plenty of medicine for poor, sick Little Brother.

“I told you I was fine,” said Big Brother for the hundredth time.

Hands up if your Mum sucks.

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