Every time something breaks, Matisse assures me that “It’s OK. Daddy will fix it later.” This is most infuriating, actually all the time, because I am either angry at her for being reckless, or for disobeying me, leading to the death of whichever inanimate object is in question. I also get annoyed when the things magically do get fixed later - because although I want them fixed too, I want her to respect things, you know.
At Christmas time I bought this Little Golden Book of Christmas tales. I bought it because Little Golden Books are classics, and therefore full of good, wholesome, moral and ethically sound stories, right? WRONG. When revisiting a lot of the Little Golden Books, I have been disheartened to realise that the authors were either on crack or peddling bad, fairytale dillusions for little girls. They were just naively promoting 18th century ideals, not being intentionally outrageous. Of the 12 stories in the Little Golden Book of Christmas Tales, Matisse’s favourite is a quaint little tale called “Baby’s Christmas.” This was always going to strike a chord with her as she loves babies, she loves Christmas, and she still calls Elsie 'baby' at least once an hour. This particular story is 30 pages of decadence from Santa. The things this 3 month old gets include a shiny car, bike, blocks, jewellery, teddies, ball, drum, music box..Anyone else’s eyes rolling? Let me continue... A WHOLE LIVE CAT, a book, a rocking horse, and a giant toy box to fit it all in. Matisse laps up every word, eyes glazing over, fantasising about next Christmas. This book goes directly against the Santa that visits us, who only gives “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” - if you are lucky. I got four towels last Christmas and not once have I have read or wanted one of those.
Just like everything else I ask Matisse not to do, she stood on the book repeatedly until the cover tore off the spine. "Don't worry Lani, Dad will fix it when he get's home from work," she actually patted me. I put her to sleep, and then I put this book in our recycle pile with the intention of discarding its ill sentiment once and for all. Later that night I walk in on Karl committing innocent adultery; sticky taping the book back together.
"STOP!!" I demand. "I need to teach Matisse that you can't magically fix everything."
"But this is her favourite story, she asks for it almost every day," he looks at me like I am a total bitch. I reflect on the other books that have entire pages full of sticky tape, or each page sticky taped to the next, that I wouldn't dream of tossing in the bin.
"BUT I hate it, Baby gets this, bratty gets that, it's disgusting" I continue to mock the story and try to prove my point, disguising it behind the fact that this is a big lesson teaching her not to break things.
"Well I am having nothing to do with this," says Karl as he walks out of the room.
See, this is the hard thing about parenting, compromising with your husband. Anyway. The book sat in a half fixed state on the bench for about three days before I tossed it out in a cleaning frenzy the day my university assignment was due. So, ultimately this is probably a bad example of marital compromise.
I haven't hear a peep about this book until today; Matisse is talking away to herself, which is something she has started doing a lot. This is not something I have taught her, unless you count all the times I am meant to be talking to my husband. The most common thing Matisse muses about is "I'm so busy, I have too many kids," as she stomps around the house, up the stairs, or potters around her things. But today... "where is baby's christmas, oh I can't find it, I have looked, its nowhere, where is Baby's christmas?"
Karl gestures his head in her direction, then whispers to me, "I know where it is, it is in the B.I.N."
"OH yeah," I pipe up and get Matisse's attention. "That book is in the bin, because you broke it. And it's gone FOREVER! That's why you shouldn't break things." Where my husband is subtle and caring, I can't resist the opportunity to prove a point. She just looked at me with a perfectly angelic face as the realisation dawned on her. "Oh yeah, it's gone...." she conceded, looking a bit sad. But less sad than she would have been next Christmas if this story was still fresh in her mind.
So I convinced myself that I wasn't a total mole by writing this blog to justify myself. The end.