Whenever we see a bus, Matisse starts banging on about wanting to go on one. I think this is a cumulative effect of seeing them on our walks, when we are out, and the 'wheels on the bus' song, which she loves and makes me substitute people's names into.
We saw a bus on the way to the shops today and it started. "I want to go on a bus one day, Lani. I want to go on a bus one day, Lani. Please. I want to go on a bus..." I can keep writing this for five minutes so you get the picture, or I can just wrap it up here. Because any fellow Mum's reading this blog are probably trying to enjoy some peace and quiet.
We don't have any interstate trips on the cards, and we didn't have any plans today, so I decided to bring her dream to life. Where better than on the local route from Palmerston to Casuarina, the faithful old Number 9. I didn't get my license until I was 22, so I have definitely done my time on the Darwin bus system. In fact, I was so distressed by it, I bought a VS commodore off a friend and started driving it unlicensed, just so I didn't have to catch a bus to work anymore. After I got pulled over and breathalysed by a cop, that didn't ask to see my license, I went straight to MVR and got legit. I never imagined that ten years into the future, I would be voluntarily leaving my fully licensed, registrated car in the drive way and pushing a double pram to the bus stop for shits and giggles. The things that mothers do for their children is truly next level. Wow. This whole paragraph is a testament to my bogan roots, and why I was always destined to buy a house in Karama.
For those non-Darwin readers, public transport in the suburbs can be a pretty dodgy experience. My most prized memory is from a ride home from the V8 Supercars one year. The bus was full of the rowdiest, drunkest bogans. One insisted he was going to wee on the bus, so the driver pulled over on the side of a main road so he could get out and relieve himself. On non-bogan fiesta routes, you are usually just contending with vomit, bad body odour and colourful language.
I decided we would do a round trip to Casuarina and get a babychino there. Talk about icing the cake. I would have a double on the rocks. First we let Elsie have her morning sleep. To make it authentic, I left the house about 5 minutes after I had planned to, power walking my brains out, with the double pram, under the blistering heat of the 11am sun. We made it to the bus stop with about 4 second to spare. I could barely see through my sweating eyes as the bus pulled up. The door opened and cold air-conditioning came flooding out, I felt like I was walking through the pearly gates.
It cost me $3 return, and the kids were free. You wouldn't read about it. Well you guys are. The bus was so packed, Matisse didn't know where to look. I watched her stare at everyone on the bus, knowing that would have well and truly gotten me bashed if I had dared to do that back in high school. After eye-balling everyone, she turns to me and says "where are all the wheels, Lani?" Oh dear. The disappointment. I couldn't help but laugh. I told her they were outside, but pointed out all the other things from the song. I was laughing so hard. What has she been thinking every time we sing this song? That the bus is full to brimming with a bunch of wheels going around and around.
On a side note, the downside to having a child that calls you by your first name is that when I yell at her in public, people think that I'm an out of line Nanny who is getting paid to be using a more positive discipline approach.
We got to Casuarina and disembarked. Matisse waved goodbye to the bus and instantly started asking about going on the bus again. I told her that if she was good, we would go on it again today. She didn't know that I probably wouldn't have the balls to call Karl to come and collect us if she didn't - and maybe she could sense that, because she started being naughty. Who am I kidding... started??? She has been redefining the idea of the Terrible Twos lately. In the past I have said things like "you don't have to pay me to be a Mum, but I wouldn't work for free." I would like everyone to know, that an adequate day rate at the moment would be at least $15,000, or more.
We went to Coffee Club, where I ordered, and then cancelled her babychino because despite being told repetitively for the last six months not to, she kept poking Elspeth's eyes out and laughing.
I didn't renege either. We actually caught the bus to Casuarina for nothing. I spend a small fortune in Little Lamb on the 'way back to the bus depot' and "because Matisse was such a good girl in the shop," we caught the bus home. When we had boarded the bus in Karama, the 12 year old boy who was also getting on, offered to help me lift the pram up. I thought that was so sweet from someone that was wagging school. Ironically, when we got on at Casuarina, people were pushing in ahead of me, left, right and centre. And I am talking about grown adults. I managed the pram myself as I seriously considered 'accidentally' running into one ladies ankles.
These Karama kids, they definitely have their manners in order. For example, take the eight year old that we caught stealing our things. He came back to apologise in person, wearing a collared shirt and everything. And now we pay him $10 an hour to do our gardening for us. What a hard working legend.
On the return trip, the bus wasn't as crowded and Matisse got to sit on a seat. She was flipping out about not having to wear a seat belt. Until the lead-footed driver braked for the first stop and Matisse catapulted forward. From there on, she was holding onto the bar at the top of the chair for dear life. Pictured above. Elsie was resting her head on her shoulder. It's in the 150th percentile, so I am surprised she hasn't discovered this trick sooner. But every time she rested it, she would crack up laughing, then do it again. This amused herself, me and a couple of other passengers.
When we disembarked, Matisse waved goodbye to the bus, and most importantly, "good-bye wheels," and then we walked through the alley to our house.
PS. My husband just told me that when he sang her the song tonight, she didn't want to substitute any names in, she just wanted to sing the next song. Now that the bus isn't full of wheels, it fails to be adequate bedtime singing material.