Wednesday, 15 August 2007
I call her Chicken, as in 'running-around-like-a-headless-chicken'. She calls me Evil Aunt. She gives me no peace.
She calls in the middle of the day from sail camp to tell me how bored she is. In the middle of mooning about the general boringness of her life, she emits an ear-splitting shriek, followed by "No! NO! Gimme that...!" And then there's - silence.
"Chicken, are you there?" More nothing.
She's gone. I sigh and switch off the phone, planning to give her my "I'll add you to my screened calls list" lecture. Not that that has any effect.
Then there are the visits. "Auntie!!!" she shrieks from outside the gate, and before I can gather my wits she's in the room.
"Girl, how many times do I have to tell you to KNOCK? One day you're gonna bolt in here and find me NAKED!"
"Auntie, please, that's just gross." And she launches into the extended version of 'My Week In Review', with emphasis on those boys, Boys, BOYS!
Her grandmother, my mother, looks in, disapproval writ large on her face. I'm encouraging the child, she's obviously thinking. I would never, as a twelve year old in my mother's house, have mentioned that taboo 'b' word anywhere within her hearing. Never would have given her any reason to suspect I was one of those girls who were, to use her expression, 'studying boys'.
They all say the girl is just like me - or rather, the me I was at her age. I frown, trying to recall. Was I ever that joyous? That free-spirited? That innocent and bubble-brained? Must have been a whole other lifetime ago.
The best years of my life have been the ones I spent raising my son, The Wild, Intrepid Jungle Boy. My niece, The Chicken, is unveiling another chapter of the story to me - the girlie side. It's kinda cool.