This week Little Jo turns 6 years old and we celebrated her birthday last Sunday. The plan was Sister and Little Jo arrive by train Saturday afternoon, Sister takes Little Jo to a show, Bone Doctor arrives and they go to the football while we look after Little Jo. The next morning we go to Healseville Sanctuary for a picnic and to see the animals and will meet up with Mother, ABI Brother and Tradie Brother.
The best laid plans....
I worked Saturday and arrived home at eight to find R had taken Little Jo to the kiddies show in St Kilda while Sister hung out in the area. Bone Doctor arrived from football duties about six and she and Sister went off to the football. I arrived home to find R and Little Jo had made pizza and mine just had to be cooked in the oven. "Popcorn Auntie Andrew", the cry went out as I arrived home. I obliged. Sister's team lost and when they returned, Sister was grumpy. R and Little Jo were sound asleep by then. Sister went straight to bed while Bone Doctor I sat chatting with a large glass of Scotch each while alternating between Le Tour and Le Tennis. Every so often Sister would get out of bed, mutter something and glare menacingly at Bone Doctor for her temerity of staying up, drinking Scotch, watching sports on tv, relaxing and just enjoying herself. You may recall Sister is about to have a hysterectomy and a fibroid the size of a football removed. She is entitled to be a bit grumpy. Btw, her trip to the NT with her 17 year old school boys to an Aboriginal camp went well. She was reunited afterwards with Little Jo at the Gold Coast, Little Jo having not missed her at all and at the GC distracted by her two playmates. I forget who gave her this costume and my knowledge of children things is minimal, but think I heard the word Elmo being used.
The morning dawned fine and sunny, which was a pity, because the evening before we decided the weather would not be great and we went for plan B, lunch at the Leighoak Hotel in Oakleigh. We had cereal and raisin toast and gave Little Jo her light up sneakers. They were a little too big, but at the rate she is growing, they will fit her for a while. She loved them.
While we prepared to go out, Little Jo did her ABC Reading Eggs on the computer. I don't know what is but it is educational and apparently she is up to number 3. After hearing a couple of 'wrong' tones from the computer, R asked if she wanted help. "If I need help, I will ask." Sister: "That is no way to speak to R. Try again." "No thanks R I am ok." Since she could speak, Little Jo has been constantly prompted about please, thank you etc, yet still quite often she will forget.
We set off to Koornang Road, Carnegie for morning coffee and a bagel. That is one large bagel shared between five. A little down the street was a park where Little Jo had a little play to rid of some of her energy. We all met at Leighoak at noon, which I used to know as the Oakleigh Hotel. It is no longer a hotel but a club, owned by the Melbourne Football Club. To our surprise it was Christmas in July and a three course Christmas dinner was on offer for $22 and it wasn't half bad.
I wandered off outside chatting with Tradie Brother and R called. Your mother wants a cigarette and is wandering around looking for somewhere to smoke. Why aren't you here to take here to find a smoking area so she can have a cigarette. Ok, his stress levels are high and that is hardly surprising. I need to be careful.
In our car we had a birthday cake and candles. Even though we had just eaten plum pudding, we went off to the park near where Sister and Bone Doctor used to live in Murrumbeena to eat cake. R and I used to visit Sister when Little Jo was about two years old and often take her to this park. One day blogger Jayne and her son came there to meet us. The playground has been moved and updated. It was very good, with a flying fox too. I thought it would be revisiting memories, but the physical has gone. I tried to light the birthday candles, but as the bureau had forecast, the weather had turned bad and a squall had just arrived. People crowded around the cake, sheltering it while I lit the candles. In ten seconds, candles were lit and blown out......maybe by Little Jo or maybe by the wind. "R, the cake is lovely. What a fine cook you are". Me: "Like home made jam, he has put a label on it". Sister recited the ingredients in the bought cake from the label. We concluded that a cake that has 58 ingredients in it for $6 was a bargain.
Of course Mother had to have a last drama moment. I cannot possibly use an electric toilet. I will get a panic attack and either the door will open when I am sitting or I will get locked in. "Mother, we will hear your screams and help". Bye my children, bye much loved son in law (R), bye dubious daughter in law (Bone Doctor, no kiss), bye my granddaughters, (Little Jo and Chainsaw Niece). ABI (acquired brain injury) Son, take me to a Scottish Restaurant toilet on the way home.
We were freezing and our descioun to not go to Healseville was wise. I could see R was nearly at breaking point and I needed to get him home. Rain poured down as we drove home and R took straight to his bed to recover from his thirty hours with Little Jo, while I tidyed up the mess from visitors. Just as well they don't stay longer than the time it takes fish to go off. Little Jo enjoyed the new playground very much.