This is Kate’s latest art installlation.  We’re calling it Dusty fleur wrapped up in dirty string, a beautiful title, no?  Kate loves to wrap crud up, any kind of crud, any kind of wrapper.  It’s a bit odd, but the generally harmless nature of it doesn’t have us losing much sleep.  We do occassionally (when she’s not listening, and thankfully she can’t read yet) ponder the origins of her tying preference, but mostly we just shake our heads and blame each other’s genes for the unexplained behaviour.

Dusty Fleur Wrapped in Dirty String, Blinds on Window, 2009

The reason Kate’s fixation is “generally” rather than “completely” harmless, is down to one incident about a year ago when she decided, with a friend, to tie up Simon.  With the help of the of the cord from the Roman blinds in their room (they share a room, and it’s cuter than a basket full of Cottonelle puppies), Kate and her accomplice proceeded to wrap Simon up so completely he couldn’t move.  Like at all.  Largely their efforts were concentrated in wrapping the cord around his neck, which was nice.  Real nice.

I think we twigged when he started to cry.  Or maybe it was when one of the two guilty parties caved and told on the other one.  Whatever happened, I got up there first and so had the privilege of untangling him from the mess.  I’m almost positive (completely positive) I yelled.  I yelled at my kid, I yelled at someone else’s kid, I yelled for Marc and the parent of the other kid.  It was an emotion-full experience, and quite uncharacteristic: I usually save my “crazy” for the privacy of my immediate family, you know, only act all good an in control when company’s around.    Thankfully Simon wasn’t crying because he was hurt but because he simply wanted to be unstuck, and he escaped with little more than a few red marks on his neck.  But still.  I mean we totallly kept him inside for the rest of the day to give those red marks a chance to fade.  It’s hard to explain away red marks on a child’s neck, and we decided it made more sense to not put ourselves in a position where we would have to.

And yet, I do wonder about the conversation that could evolve should someone on the “outside” notice and question it.  I imagine it could go something like this:

Inquiring Mind: Well hello there young man, aren’t you looking a little sad today.  I notice you have some red marks on your neck, how did that happen sweetheart?

Me: *pissed off that I.M. passive-aggressively asked my child rather than me as a way of being critical* Um, he’s fine.

I.M.: Oh, it’s just that he has those red marks and I was curious is all.

Me: *pissed-off-edness mounting* I know, it looks worse than it is, his older sister got a little carried away with cord on the blinds in their (Cottonelle) room, and she accidentally wrapped it around his neck.

I.M.: You have blinds in their (Cottonelle) room with a cord, is that safe?

Me: *feeling the heat* Um, I think so.  It was an accident, I mean my kids could get hit by a runaway train, walking on a sidewalk, far away from train tracks.  Stuff happens.

I.M.: That’s true *full on I’m-not-judging-you-but-totally-judging-you-voice*, but you can’t predict a runaway train, not having cords in a child’s room is completely within your control.

Me: Are you suggesting I put the blinds in their room, hoping my daughter would develop a tying fetish, and then channel that to strangle her brother?

I.M.: *startled* Er, no.  I’m just saying it’s not safe; this is an accident that could easily have been prevented.

Me: You’re not safe.

I.M.: Pardon.

Me: You’re not safe.

I.M.: What on earth is that supposed to mean?

Me: It means “You’re not safe,” do you want a dictionary?

I.M.: What are you talking about, I mean, I don’t…

Me: *Cutting I.M. off and getting a little fired up* I know what you mean when you say “its” not safe, you’re saying “I’m” not safe.  You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about how safe I am, and here you are, looking at my kid’s red neck and deciding we’re not a safe people.  Well fuck you.  I’ve just had a good look at you, and I’ve decided, with the same amount of information as you have about me, that YOU’RE NOT SAFE!

I.M.: That makes no sense, I’ve done nothing unsafe, I’m just talking, I mean…

Me: *Cutting I.M. off* Really, what do you call confronting a complete stranger about their safety record, practically accusing them of child abuse? 

I.M. *stammering* But I didn’t, that’s not what I meant, I was just saying…

Me: What, are you trying to say I’m crazy, that I can’t even assess this situation accurately THATI’MGETTINGALITTLEWORKEDUPOVERBEINGACCUSEDOFSTRANGLINGMYSONANDLIVINGINAHELLHOLEOFAHOUSE *pause for breath* ANDTHATMYCHILDRENWILLDIEIFTHEYCONTINUETOLIVEWITHME?! IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO SAY?

*Unexpectedly, Simon produces his chainsaw, holding it  high over his head revving the can’t-chop-a-tree-down motor, crying out “I will cut Kate, she will die” over and over and over again*

I.M. *Shocked by this unexpected display, backs away from scene, making the sign of the cross and damning us all to hell.*

Me: RUN AWAY, see if I care. 

Me: Come on Simon, let’s get some juice.

Simon: Okay Mummy.

So you can see it was probably a wise decision on our part to keep a low profile that day.  There are crazy people out there you know.  Crazy, crazy people.

We still have the blinds, and dastardly cords attached to them.  Since then Kate has thankfully only tied up her toys, and chooses to annoy her brother in myriad other ways instead.  It’s a win-win situation really.

Evil Blinds. Fucking Ikea.

The Cord of Ill Repute

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