Monday, 16 July 2007

I don't care

Big Kate arrives from California to spend the day. Big Kate isn't really American, she's British, from Kent, and has married Lars, an American who knows what to do with things like guitars and cellos and trombones. Actually Big Kate isn't Big either. She's slender and knows what to do with a violin and a piano. Together, Big Kate and Lars probably make a pretty good team.

Anyhow, Lars doesn't come. He hides in Kent. I don't blame him. I get the feeling he's child-averse. He might come out in a rash if he sees Shark, Squirrel or Tiger. He would certainly have to lie down on the floor and holler in pain if he hears that dreadful screeching noise Tiger makes with the horsehair as she drags it screaming across the A string. Honestly, how many thousands are we paying out for Tiger to learn the violin? If her teacher wasn't quite so wonderful and Tiger quite so insistent, we'd chuck it up altogether and I'd buy a new dress every month on the money I'd save.

Well although Tiger and Big Kate should have something in common here, what with the Mozart and all, I cannot say Tiger is on her best behaviour this day. In fact she brings me down something rotten.

First off, it's a trauma in the garden because Shark and Squirrel get to go first on the swingbat. Then it's a trauma because Tiger won't move and stands in the way of the ball and gets thumped on the head. Then it's a trauma because she cannot hit the ball, even when it's her turn. This prompts the 'I don't care!' to start, which is thrown down everywhere we go, follows us about and fills the air so we can't talk.

After a couple of hours I've really been brought low by it. And I'm her mother. Goodness knows how Lars would cope with this. Probably try to knock himself unconscious in an attempt to escape the misery of it all. Considering that we see Big Kate once every two years, I tell Tiger, I could expect better behaviour than to chant 'I don't care! I don't care! I don't care!' at her for 40 minutes non-stop across the kitchen table while she's trying to play a game of tic-tac-toe with you.

Big Kate of course is generous and big hearted and plays games with everyone and is just about the most wonderful patient person I've ever seen with kids, even revolting ones who chant 'I don't care!' for 40 minutes at a stretch.

Big Kate says that after the first 15 minutes 'I don't care! I don't care!' starts to sound quite musical, and she's almost tempted to compose for it. It could be the 'I don't care' song. The Arctic Monkeys could record it, or she could take it home and Lars could set it as a Jazz piece and then we'd all be foot-tapping away to it and swaying about the kitchen. As it is, I'm downright glum and wish Big Kate could see us on a better day, when everyone's laughing and having fun.

So Big Kate, whom I care about very much, please come back to see us in 2009, even though Tiger on an 'I don't care!' day is probably about the worst advert for the delights of children that I can imagine right now. And better leave Lars in Kent.

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