It’s any old weekday morning in Karama; three quarters of the neighbourhood is still asleep, 3% are at work and the rest are wagging school. The wind is howling across the wild grasses of the Shoal Bay Dump, carrying Dry Season leaves and the sounds of children’s laughter… too far?
Anyway. The point is that it's actually really peaceful on our street mid-morning. The only sounds are me yelling at Matisse, the bogan from the end of the street who drives the Camry with the extraordinarily lame muffler tip, and the flocks of cockatoos that fly over. I kid you not about all of those things…
I am inside, usually cooking some kind of food (and eating half the batter before I cook it), when Matisse walks out onto the deck and screeches into our silent back yard “LEO!! STOP BARKING!”
This was one of her first full sentences, and due to the reaction she got, it has stayed on high rotation. Anytime I raise my voice about anything, you can guarantee that Matisse will copy it, then smirk, knowing she is acting socially inappropriate. Backtracking to the bogan from the end of the street his shit-box seems to struggle driving past our house, which is classified as a massive hill by Darwin standards. He has to rev, rev, rev, rev, the whole 70m of our fence line. This is so irritating (housewife first world problems) that sometimes I yell out things like “DO YOU HAVE TO DRIVE LIKE A TOTAL DICK, STUPID BOGAN!!” Yes. The irony of this is not lost of me… The best bit is when Matisse runs in excitedly, rushes to the window and yells out to the street “STUPID BOGAN!!"
You may have noticed that Matisse loves a bit of drama. By contrast, raising your voice in front of Elspeth can instantly reduce her to tears. Once we were eating dinner and we yelled at Leo to stop barking. This is something that he tries to do to keep his street cred with the other dogs, but he is slowly learning that it is better to just be silent than risk getting put in his place by some humans, or even worse, a 2 year old toddler. Anyway, Elsie was lying on the floor 3m away and burst into proper, sad tears, requiring a cuddle to stop. She is even sensitive to a stern voice being whispered. The other day I was feeding her, and she was practically asleep when Matisse walks in with a massive grin all over her face, chewing... "Matisse!" I whisper through gritted teeth “stop eating the dog food.” Previously 99% asleep, Elspeth's lips turn down, a sad little whimper escapes her throat as some tears trickle from her tightly closed eyes. Then she is miraculously asleep again. My whisper stern voice makes her sleep-cry. I can see the psychologist pay checks being written before my eyes.
Please note: Matisse was dead set, yelling at Leo to "STOP BARKING!!" in the picture above. In my TOM FORD glasses, no less. I love her little Aussie-ness. Especially when I catch her serving cups of tea to all her teddies and saying "here you go guys..."