As simple as squashing a Mosquito
As I put my naked head down to sleep I can hear that determined little fecker. He is one relentless mosquito. Why could he not just go where all the others go in winter? This hardcore survivor who lives in Kev’s closet keeps on alluding us. We just can’t squash him and he is back night after night. Wheezing, buzzing. Did they have to come with sound? They’d be so much less irritating if they were silent. I slap myself in the face and on the head every time I feel his little legs trying to land. What an insistent little MOFO. You don’t think about these things when you have hair. If a Mozzie had to bite me on the eye or forehead now it would be so obvious. And personal as Clare said. Nothing to hide the bump. The things bold people have to put up with, I honestly had no idea before. And just like that it’s the next morning and I slept almost not at all and I’m doing homework with the older boy child.
“Now pretend these are minecraft blocks” I say, pointing to a few pebbles.
Kai: “Moooommmmm, they don’t look like that!”
“Pretend man! So now imagine a weather witch comes…”
Kai: “There are no weather witches! Only normal ones. They fight you.”
“Ok, pretend I’m a normal witch” I say, punching him in the arm, “and I’m fighting you for your 9 blocks and I take 4 away. How many do you have left?”
Kai (through gritted teeth): “You don’t say normal witch mom, it’s just a witch.”
“Ok, just a witch is fighting you”…. and so it goes.
Just the day before I was at a spa with some other moms, contemplating life and the oddness that is chemo. Now we’re back to the normality of the zoo, screaming kids on tables, dogs slurping half eaten and left behind cereal, Tom shouting pooh! Pooh! The mad rush before school.
I make one last attempt: “Ok, so let’s do Lava! Imagine a lava block comes and it melts this pebble in four pieces. What do you call those four pieces?”
“Mom! It’s not like that!” He sighs, shakes his head, ponders for a second and then asks: “why do people not use lava to burn their rubbish”?
To a kid, this is a simple solution to a simple problem. Take some lava and pour it into a rubbish heap. Like, just squish the mosquito mom, duh. You don’t have hair (now), so what. Yes, you will look scary without eyebrows and how come you have to wait a year for your robot boob? All these things that are complex dilemmas to us, are simple equations to kids. Call it by its name and sort it out demmit. Cancer, turns out, is also pretty simple. It shows you what you look like underneath. It shows you what other people look like underneath – you really get to see people. Mine are spectacularly beautiful, just saying. Cancer presents all kinds of not-so-complex problems that we seem to make very big, but that I’m learning to tackle as a child would. For example:
When you travel, do you wear a face mask?
If it’s a long flight, do you remove your head scarf when the knot in the back irritates your head against the seat? Do you even want your bare head against the seat?
In a hotel; when someone who is sick sits down next to you for breakfast, do you risk seeming rude and just get up and leave, or do you explain?
At a spa treatment; do you hug the shocked & anxious looking lady who is supposed to do your massage when she sees your scar?
I’m still learning as I said, and in the meantime I would like to commit our family to a few shockingly simple changes that could make a big difference:
1. I want to drastically cut down on the amount of disposable plastic containers we buy (Come on Woolworths, do bio-degradable please).
2. Reusable straws for the win, my friendly neighbour carries them around and I think that is awesome.
3. Shorten the food chain, buy organic from the small guy on the street (who is way cheaper anyway) and cook it yourself
this will be my personal challenge this will be an exceptionally hard challenge for my poor family. Ha!
4. Reusable nappies (The average baby goes through 5000 – 8000 nappies or diapers until being toilet-trained, after which these guys sit in landfills for the 200 – 500 years it takes to decompose). We have been using re-usable nappies but we get lazy sometimes. Now it’s time to get back on track.
5. No more products with harsh chemicals and buy local where we can.
6. And finally, with the help of some clever people (hint, hint you know who you are Saaarrrrr), I will start a veggie garden and I will grow shit and we will all eat it!
I am adamant that I will be the one boob change maker with no hair, who grows her own veggies and make you eat it when you visit. That last bit is a joke as I can’t cook, but I will tell you about it and perhaps invite you for a glass of wine in my greenhouse which I will affectionately call George’s grave. And I’m telling you here so that you can hold me to it.
That night I dream a vivid dream about walking in a forest. We are visiting some island of sorts. The ladies on this island go bare breasted. I proudly take out my one boob to show that I’m with your culture. When in Rome and all that. Nobody thinks that it’s funny that I have only one boob, or that I’m the only white person there. The mosquito even features as I float between the waking world and the island where I’m a bold (no pun intended) one boob change agent.