September 2017

‘Tis the season
to be jolly?

by Kathy Szaters

It was Miss 4’s last day of kinder and the day of the big kinder performance. Miss 4 was to be an angel in the nativity play and was very excited.

I got her to kinder right on time, accompanied by her sister, Miss 6, and brother, Master 2.

Miss 4 went off to get changed, while her siblings and I found some seats. I put down my bags and slung my still camera and video camera around my neck. I looked like a tourist!

I was all organised, but now where was Master 2? Nowhere in sight! I asked Miss 6 to go and find him. She dutifully went off, then led him back by the hand, a few minutes later.
‘He was playing at the toilets’, she said. I peered at his face – hmm, drops of water. It had to be from the taps – I didn’t want to contemplate the other option.

When Miss 6 and Master 2 were seated, I got my cameras ready, as the start of the show was only minutes away. Then I noticed the smell – the kind of smell for which most mothers develop a very keen nose – and looked suspiciously at Master 2.

Hands clamped to his bottom, he proudly proclaimed ‘I got poo!’ Great, just great…

One of the mums nearby leaned over and whispered ‘You can’t change him now, the show’s going to start’. I contemplated this for a minute, but as the aroma became overpowering, I said ‘I have to. He stinks!’

I hurriedly checked with the kinder assistant that I had enough time, grabbed the nappy bag and rushed into the adjacent Maternal & Child Health Centre to use their change mat. Then I raced back into the kinder, returned to my seat and re-adorned myself with cameras for the show.

The music started and the performers emerged. The nativity play was lovely (and my daughter was a beautiful angel). After the play, the children performed a selection of their favourite song and dance numbers, which also went well. I was thankful to not have any more dramas of my own during the show!

At the end of the show, everybody was free to enjoy a lovely spread of morning tea inside, and the sunshine and play equipment outside.

I had brought along all 24 Christmas cards that Miss 4 had written (well, I actually wrote them) for her kinder friends. I passed them all to her saying she could hand them out but of course, she had playing to do and was too busy. Off I went, trying to spot all the children through the crowd, annoyed at myself for the fact that I had been getting the names of two boys (who looked very similar) mixed up all year. I left their cards until last and took a punt! Luckily, I guessed right.

Feeling a bit weary and in need of refreshment, I ventured back inside for some morning tea. I was talking to another mum when I saw Master 2 grab a jug of cordial and – almost as if in slow motion – start tipping it towards himself. I lunged, but only reached him after half the cordial had spread over him and the floor. With an exasperated sigh, I cleaned up.

When morning tea was over, my daughter said her fond goodbyes to the kinder staff, complete with hugs and exchanges of presents. Finally, it was time to go. (Hooray!)

However, instead of walking out the front door with me, Miss 6, Miss 4 and Master 2 all took off out the back door to play, and were having so much fun that getting them out proved to be very difficult. I was definitely outnumbered…and very frustrated!

I eventually rounded up my three children, plus all my photographic equipment and Miss 4’s cards, presents and artwork, as well as the nappy-change supplies, and headed out the door.

We piled into the car. Time for a deep breath, and then we were off – straight to Miss 6’s Christmas Carols performance at school. The day didn’t improve. But that’s another story…

 

© Kathy Szaters

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem