Thursday, 16 June 2011

I Rilly Rilly Want My Ears Pissed


‘Bonnie’ I began, ‘as it’s the last day of the holidays, please start one of your five pieces of homework, or write something of your choice in your optional Writing Book – I’ll get it out, sit with you, find you a pencil, do it for you, give you crisps every day, kiss your feet-’ ‘LEAVE ME ALONE YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! ONLY IF YOU LET ME HAVE MY EARS PIERCED........’

The ear piercing campaign is an ongoing joy, but since Josie and Maddy had to wait until they were ten (God knows why I cooked up that arbitrary rule) it’s only fair that Bonnie does too. We wouldn’t want her to have her own way simply by going on and on and on and on and on and on until she has my head on the table, would we? She wrote me a note ‘I rilly rilly rilly want my ears pissed more than anything in the hole werld and I am not talking to you until you say yes’, but that heavenly arrangement was curtailed when she realised it was more effort giving your hand-maid written instructions every time you wanted something fetched or cleaned, than just howling orders from wherever you happened to be.

Bonnie is acutely interested in all aspects of appearance...but I am not in the least worried that she’ll become a fake-eye-lash-flaunting, orange-faced, belly-button-pierced babe. Certainly not; that would be judgemental and superior. That she can list designer labels, but doesn’t know her number bonds to ten, is just modern life!

I have even taken her to a nail bar - premises I never planned on visiting, me with my butcher’s hands past repair. ‘These are working hands’ I boasted (as if she would be impressed). I witnessed a pedicure, which involved soaking an old dame’s trotters in a bowl of water (spa-bath) and scraping off the dry dead skin in slices with a cucumber slicer. My stomach turns at the memory. That has to be the most revolting job, and presumably paid a pittance given that Bonnie and her friend’s forty minutes of nail filing, undercoat, buff, varnish, and highly skilled decoration, came to a grand total of £6.

I did get a cuddle out of it though (because she got her way). She was up close, smiling, looking intently at me. I’m thinking ‘she’s feeling the love’. ‘Mummy,’ she said, ‘you should dye your hair. This ringlet is nearly all grey’.

Later she tried a tactful approach. ‘Mummy, if you went grey, then would you dye your hair?’ ‘No, I don’t mind going grey’ I said, ‘Why not?!’ she shrieked - this was preposterous, incomprehensible. ‘My hair matches my face, which is getting old’ I said, ‘and you get this white line along your parting if you don’t dye it enough...’

On the tube, we were sat opposite two intimate young people. The girl had soft short grey-pink hair and shades, very chic. Bonnie raised her lips to my ear discretely; I was expecting ‘Mummy they are kissing!’ ‘Mummy’ she whispered, ‘why would anyone dye their hair grey??!’

At night-time she tries to turn me into Groomed Mum and slaps creams on my face, begs to apply lippy, and sweeps my hair into some god-awful bunch up on the side, clipped and bowed. Her own hair she deftly brushes and ‘styles’ every morning sternly refusing assistance. Then the brush is hurled in my direction, ‘I’m not going out like this’, and it’s time for the old chump to get stuck into the do-the-hair-wrong-so-she-can-rip-it-out routine, which I’m working on perfecting via deep breathing and contemplation of the finer things in life, like term-time between 9 and 3.

It occurred to me that perhaps I could harness her energy and commitment to the beauty industry and get some educational value out of it! We could just not do homework any more, but write, think, describe, add up, draw and create around H&M tops?? Somewhat excited at my brainwave, I hatched a plan – she describes (literacy!) whatever item of clothing she’s currently after, I casually draw it and she is persuaded to join in (art!). We make an advert, and price it (maths!!)...’Bonnie’ I began, choking with excitement, for this was the answer to all our problems! ‘That bikini you were talking about – can you describe it to me? Every detail – I’m really interested!’ She banged on the computer, and before I had a chance to say, Jack Wills, she’d brought it up on the H&M website. ‘I’ll leave it on the screen’ she said, and wandered off to varnish her nails again.

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