All my posts seem to be about Rufus lately. Do you know I also have a daughter, Zadie? Here’s a token picture of her in her rabbit suit. Oh, isn’t she cute?
Now, back to the golden firstborn. Earlier this month the two of us made a kind of emergency trip to Australia for three days. It’s a sad story. My nan, whose heart we broke by taking her great-grandchildren away when we moved here, had saved up her pension (and possibly also put aside a distrust of Asians) and had planned a trip here to visit in October. Literally the day before she was due to leave, I saw her on Skype and I noticed that her eye was quite hard to look at, even over bad-resolution webcams. By “quite hard to look at” I mean tiny, recessed, red, and oozing with pus. My mum made her go to the Eye & Ear Hospital where it was revealed that her cornea had separated from her eyeball or something (it was catastrophic in any case) and she definitely wouldn’t be able to fly any time soon. The build-up of pressure in her eye was marked and they had to do emergency surgery straightaway. It was very upsetting, of course for nan but also for us, Rufus and I in particular.
Plus, I had only seen my gorgeous little niece Evie ONCE since her birth in July and that was biting. So, with the help of dad’s frequent flyer points, we booked our airfares and headed back.
The day we left, Rufus got gastro. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! I took him to the doctor in the morning and got him some anti-nauseant, and I rolled with 15 pairs of dinosaur jox and a bunch of plastic bags in my handbag. In the end, he only vomited twice on the plane, and both times discreetly into a plastic bag.
And the joy of travelling with just one kid, and a 4-year-old at that! He was happy – pumped, actually – to watch six eps of Kick Buttowski in a row so I actually slept and read and watched adult movies! Not ADULT movies, he wasn’t quite that distracted, but adult movies!
When we arrived in Melbourne in the early morning, the rain was thrumming down. We got into a taxi and headed for my sister’s, distinctly not enjoying the traffic and the morning radio. There is almost no human endeavour I regard lower than morning radio, by the way. Talk about lowest common denominator.
My sister had concocted a ruse whereby she had arranged to take Evie to my nan’s to visit that morning, ensuring that she would be home. I’d also told her on Skype earlier in the week that I was having a package delivered to her on that day, just to be doubly sure. Sharna and Evie went inside, and Rufus and I waited around the corner for a bit before sneaking up the driveway. We’d intended Sharna to shepherd nan into the kitchen so she wouldn’t see us coming up the driveway, but you know old people, they’re just so uncooperative sometimes. So she saw us coming up the driveway. Sharna said she actually ran for the door at speeds she hasn’t reached since the mid-1950s, shrieking “WHO’S THAT?”,
I’d imagined it plenty in my mind over the previous few weeks but the moment of surprising my nan on her doorstep was just magic. She hugged us quite violently and then just cried. As Rufus said later, “Nan couldn’t stop hugging me REALLY HARD!”
Here’s Rufus (jetlagged, sick and squashed by nan hugs) and Evie having a nap.
Look at this beautiful little jewel. Seeing Sharna standing on the front step with this huge baby was also magic. I just grabbed her!
Evie looking like an adorable round ball in her bumbo.
Ru showing off his lion facepaint. He’d asked me to take him to Zagame’s, this bogan hellhole at Reservoir Lake where we’d been once before because nan likes to get a senior meal there for $8 on a Tuesday or some shit. My friend Siobhan came along also. Rufus ran around the indoor playground while we ate our meals, then got his face painted, then came to the table and unleashed a torrent of spew. My nan supposed it was because he had been running around the playground but I know it was in response to all the Ed Hardy t-shirts he was being exposed to. What a way to finish our last night in Australia, picking bits of vom off a polyester banquette while people with eight earrings in each ear tucked in to surf’n’turfs all around.
Nan (bad eye thankfully not visible) and Ru at the airport just before we left. I think my nan is about to burst her cornea again. With joy.
Incidentally the whole first two days, Rufus would periodically begin to cry and ask to go back to Hong Kong. On the third morning, when I woke him up with “Rufus, today we’re going back to Hong Kong!” he started crying: “I want to stay in Australia!” We definitely have some work to do there with clarifying concepts like home, family, permanence etc.