Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The house of pain

Girls, you are playing with the unicorns. I'm not celebrating.

When you, Shark, run to the toy box and pull out the furry unicorns, one after the other by the horn, mane, tail and hoof, my heart sinks. Squirrel screams in glee and Tiger claps her hands. I was truly, honestly, deeply, hoping, that you had forgotten about the unicorns. Despair can sweep through this land like it blows holes through my heart.

But you'd think that little girls playing with their fluffy unicorns was cute, wouldn't you? OK. It starts cute. Listen to this.
Lovely! Her tail is sparkling!
She will dream of having that wedding photo took.
She hasn't been asked to marry yet. She needs everyone's permission to marry!
Why?
Because she is a princess and there has to be a proclamation.
Sounds cute, doesn't it? Now listen.
Aliche the unicorn hasn't chosen who to marry.
She wants to marry Col...
No, not that one. That's the one we dangled by the tail.
The one we put in prison so he couldn't get out.
You see? Things are taking a sinister turn, aren't they?
I have a nice tail brush. I'm putting more wax on that.
You can't relax with wax on your tail, can you?
Tie it down.
Strap that to his legs.
I can't bear to look.
Can he see anything?
Put this up his nose.
Use a stick.
Right. I'm taking a peek.

Good grief. My kitchen looks like an operating theatre. They've got a unicorn staked out on the table, tied up with orange wool. They're stabbing at it with a cocktail stick and hitting it with a wax candle. When I ask what's going on, I'm told this is Furryhorn, and he's at the unicorn beauty parlour because he's getting married later.

I'd like to say it gets better at The House of Grit Beauty Centre, aka Sweeney Todd's.
Look how she is shining!
Doesn't she look beautiful!
Not when you're soaking wet.
No! She goes under the water and tumbles down and down.
And stays there.
Like she is dead.
And falling apart.
And then can't get out!
Then she has to eat her tail.
Oh my God. Now we are not satisfied with killing and dismembering the corpse. Now it turns into a cannibal tail-eating zombie fest straight from Night of the Living Dead.

I could set about writing an academic paper on triplets playing with unicorns. I might conclude, girls, that these little furry monsters are really extensions of your personalities, where you can use them to build friendships, nurture enemies, settle scores and explore deep, dark, places of your eight-year old psyche, like fears, liberations and control; or your sense of duty and loyalty; your loves and responsibilities, your feelings of power and powerlessness; your who you are.

Now because I know these kids and their unicorns, I would hazard a guess to say that in the next five hours, play will evolve like this.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger will move from the let's talk about it stage to the let's do it stage. This is the soil and oil down the toilet moment. Let's move the unicorns to the beauty bath! Here they can play in the mud which we will bring inside! Now add foam and leaves! Then in jumps Danceyhorn because he doesn't want to get married anymore and he is hiding. Look! All the unicorns want to hide from the princess bride! She's going to take the bath because she has eaten beetroot soup that we made from mamma's food colouring!

Of course you are thinking Grit! Make them stop! Don't let them fill up the bath! Of course I will try that. I will try and distract them with a rotten apple or a few beads. But if I attempt to interrupt any unicorn play, then take cover. Because this is deep, intense, stream of consciousness play. And if the intruder seeks to swing it their way, they must get in there with Danceyhorn and Lem and Col and all their type. Because if you just try to come along and say STOP! then you may as well plant firecrackers in everyone's shoes because at that word these kids will be screaming and tearing about this house like Hurricane Misery on acid.

From here of course, I have to watch. The next step is a furious row. Probably between Lem and Danceyhorn. Troublemakers. They'll fall out over something like who gets to marry Lem first. Then, because we are now talking betrayal, disloyalty, powerlessness, torn promises, revenge, the beauty parlour will be spoiled, the tears of hurt will fall and the insults fly.

But Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are too far mired in deep structure play with the unicorns, and cannot stop playing, no matter now how sharp the pain, scarred the walls, or broken hearted is mama while mopping up the beetroot blood spatters.

The final spark will be a control over meaning, over a unicorn, over the words of the unicorn marriage ceremony. The deeper intent will be loyalty, need, rejection, humiliation. A real fight will break out. Tiger will lock herself in the bathroom, howling. Squirrel will spin off to Planet Rage. Shark will snatch all the unicorns to stop cruel mama taking them from her grasp. Cruel mama will end up on the floor, clutching the back end of a wet unicorn covered in bath foam and beetroot.

There is only one outcome for today. Screaming. Throwing objects. Groundings. The whole house will be in uproar, the bath will be full of mud, the unicorns spinning in the washing cycle, a zero sense of achievement, a face full of tears and a day torn apart.

Danceyhorn and Sparkle get married. The beginning of the end.

5 comments:

Jaywalker said...

There is very definitely an academic paper in there. Unicorns are already terribly symbolic and all, innit.

Bad unicorns. Bad bad bad horned horsies. You think the puppy is bad? You have mythical fighting plush horned horses in your house. Ha!

Mr Farty said...

Unicorns are bad? Damn, there goes my project to bring them back with DNA cloning, sigh.

sharon said...

Perhaps one quiet weekend they could all elope to take part in one of those Korean Moonie Cult Weddings? And NEVER be seen again - cue evil cackling!

kellyi said...

kids are weird.

More than a Mother said...

Love it!! I can't wait to read more about your trio! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog :)