Monday, September 21, 2009

I PINK colour

"I pink colour" annouced Ivy last night. It was nice of her to tell me but frankly she didn't need to considering at the time she was dressed head to toe in a variety of mismatched pink garments.

Oh my god. I always bitched when I saw little girls dressed head to toe in pink. Yuk I would think, what's wrong with these parents, what's with all the pink.

I swore that by hook or by crook MY daughter would not sucumb to the evil pink. Sure a little splash of hot pink or dark rose would be allowed but in my world it would be mixed up with purple, greens, yellows, blues, browns and whatever other colours came our way.

Seems like Ivy didn't get that memo. About 4 weeks ago she suddenly landed on what I like to call 'planet girl'. Suddenly she started poking herself in the chest and shouting "I girl". She got angry about the lyrics to Baa Baa Black Sheep (where they say one of the 3 bags full is for the little boy down the lane) she would shake her fist and shout NO NO NO BOY - GIRL Girl in lane. So, I figured I had a budding feminist on my hands - this was cool.

Then she found the pink dress. A sickening shade of pink, lolly like and something that some well meaning person had given her as a gift. Generally I tried to avoid dressing her in it except when I was desperate but one terrible day she found it in her chest of drawers, waved it aloft and tried to tug it on. From that moment on she wanted to wear that bloody horrible pink dress constantly, to daycare, to playgroup, to bed. After a few days it was covered in stains and looked feral - if I could get her out of it under the premise of washing it she would insist on depositing it herself in the washing machine and by the evening would be asking if it was clean again.

So I cracked and bought her a few other pink things rationalising that this might stem the obsession with the hideous pink dress. It didn't - she simply wanted to wear all the pink things that she owns - at once. Two t-shirts, a skirt all worn over the original pink dress.

At this point I have given up. Although I despise the pink I can remember what it was like to be little and be dressed in something that you don't like. In fact one friend of mine tells me that she had a jumper that she hated SO much when she was little that she cut it up into little pieces and buried it in the garden. Ivy isn't quite that resourceful yet but if I dress her in other colours she will stands there plucking at the offending garments shouting "off off!" and sobbing, actually sobbing real tears. That's how much she cares about what she wears....and when the tears start my resolve crumbles.

Interestingly she doesn't give Ed much trouble at all. Yesterday I was astonished to see that he'd dressed her in a green skirt and a black top. There were no tears, no shouting "I pink". When I asked him how he does it his reply is "I just stuff her into whatever I want to put her in if she cries, too bad."

I think I've cracked his secret - being a man Ed also "stuffs" himself into his clothes each day without much thought, his day certainly isn't ruined by the wrong choice of shirt. While I can spend ages fretting and digging through great piles of garments despairing that I can't find anything to wear.

I, like Ivy, know that it's hard to have a good day if you don't like your outfit. Ivy has worked this out and has found my weak spot - so for the time being pink it is.....even if it makes my eyes ache. I only dread the day when she discovers the concept of a bad hair day.....

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The eternal land

Vanuatu and I go waaaay back. The first time I went there I was nine. My dad had been there a year or so before after (I presume) being prescribed with a severe case of executive stress and was ordered to go somewhere were there is nothing to do and no distractions (something he is not very good at.)

Vanuatua, or the new hebridies at the time turned out to be perfect for that. No television, no radio, no fast lane just slow moving folk operating on 'island time' a tiny capital city sporting a clutch of shops and restaurants and as much azure blue water in the forms of perfect coconut fringed beaches and lagoons as you can handle.

By the time I made in there in 1980 not much had changed. Well the country was now called Vanuatu (which means the eternal land) the locals had got rid of the colonial French and British and had themselves a new new and a new flag. I remember the guys at the airport in uniforms so new and starched they looked like they could shatter, reading carefully from their instruction books as they stamped us in to this old/new land.

First impressions? Coconut palms, banana palms, green lush vegetation, a kind of sweet almost slighty rotten smell that is so common to humid hot places. I remember dark skinned people with afros, quite diminutive in size and a little shy but not shy enough not to wave as our bus went by. The ladies were wearing lairy flouncy mother hubbard dresses covered in lace and ribbons (a legacy of those pesky missionaries who popped up in the 1800's to save the native people's souls supposedly) while the men got about in shorts and flip flops.

When we arrived at our hotel I remember being amazed at this long, glassy, glittering lagoon. To say it was blue would not do it justice, it was multi coloured, striped in wide swathes of pale aqua, sea green in the shallow parts grading down to cobalt, aquamarine and cornflower blues where it was a little deeper sliding into a rich navy and an almost indigo in the deepest parts.

Fat skin coloured starfish with red and black spots dot the edge of the shore, some more red others more skin toned, all plump looking and although they are covered in pointy spikes, totally harmless.

Local people glide across the stripey lagoon in outigger canoes loaded with food and shopping from town as they head to their village on the other side.

I visited again another four times with the last visit in 1988 - my first overseas trip at the age of 17. It was very exciting to be 17 and ordering cocktails in the bar and exchanging travellers cheques, spending all our money on diving lessons and having to nick paw paw fruit off the trees to eat. I remember watching the landscape disappearing as we flew away on our plane and I wondered when I would be back and what I would be like then.

It took 20 years but here I am. While I might have changed a lot the place hasn't a bit.