The day I officially became a Karama local started like many others.
The sun was squinting pink and yellow shards of light, just below the horizon; my clock read something starting with 5. The bedroom door creaks open ever so slightly, pauses, then slams shut with a bang. Bang. Pause. Bang. Pause. Bang. I'm not dreaming.
There are many traumatic ways that children decide to wake you. Traumatic is a slight exaggeration, but the cumulative effect isn't. The world of screaming, poo and vomit are familiar to most waking, dreary eyed, dream state parents. Matisse has invented a new, more extreme approach. She peeps in, then the excitement of seeing us sleeping overwhelms her, so she slams the door shut. Then eagerly checks again, just to make sure. Usually, I become aware of the slamming door, and its earth tremor like vibrations of the house, and call her in. On these occasions she enters normally and I escape with a light elbow to the chest or knee to the groin. BUT. If I am in a deeper slumber, my subconscious lures me deeper into the dream in a desperate attempt to gain a few more minutes rest; Matisse tires of the slamming and tears in screaming, with her hands out in front of her, and fist palms me in the face. Wake up. It's a beautiful day.....
We often head out to get fresh bread before breakfast, because we aren't paleo. On this particular morning, I gave Matisse the money because "I pay money, Lani, I pay."
Being bossed around has become an intrinsic part of my day since Matisse started talking. I oblige when it suits me, because I like to lead by example and show her how to take orders. I am also hoping my husband takes notice too.
At the bakery, people are often queuing in front of me to buy bread, but more often, Paul's Iced Coffee; it's too hard to walk into the supermarket and find it yourself, even if it's cheaper. I eventually order, lift Matisse up to pay -- but her hands are empty.
"Matisse, where is the money?"
"I put rubbish in bin, Lani."
Only so vaguely, could I recall her darting off.
"Hang on a sec," I told the baker lady, walked over to the bin, bent in and rummaged around to get my $20 note out. I didn't hesitate, and would have probably done the same for a fiver; at that moment, I realised I had navigated the depths of Karama citizenship entitlement. When the baker didn't flinch as I handed over the cash, my memory flashed up images from the day I saw a woman dislodge some long lost coins from deep inside her sweaty breast. I realised my bin scabbing was just child's play. I needed to significantly improve my creepy factor if I wanted to decompose the cashier.
When I got home, the house had been egged by the Real Karama Ghetto Boys (KGB), and they had spray painted "welcome to the neighbourhood" on my car.*
*This is a total lie, but that would have been classic.