Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS''JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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Put a sock in it

“That pile of clothes on the stairs, could you put them away please when you go up?”

“They’re Middle’s,” says Eldest.

“That pile of clothes on the stairs, could you put them away please when you go up?”

“They’re Eldest’s,” says Middle.

And on it goes. Sometimes I come back with: “You wear each other’s clothes anyway, just take them up and put them away!”

Usually there’s silence.

Every now and then the pile disappears or is ransacked but most of the time it’s a fixture, a feature of the halfway landing, much appreciated by Biggie Smalls when the afternoon sun catches it and makes it the idea spot for a nap, coating the clothes with ginger hairs so that wearers later resemble human macaroons.

“Can you put that pile of clothes on the stairs away please?” I say to Eldest once more when he comes into the kitchen.

“Sorry, I’m busy looking for something, can’t hear,” he says.

“It’s just the clothes on the stairs. Sorry to go on, but wearing you all down with repetition might work.”

“Yeah, but we really don’t hear you. At all. I think we block it out. And I’m the sort of person that is very focused on one thing, so at the moment I’m thinking about the thing that I’m trying to do, and just not hearing what you’re saying.”

“The clothes on the stairs…”

“There’s no point. We just don’t hear it. We never hear the things that you repeat. I’m thinking about the thing that I need right now.”

“OK, what is the thing that you need right now?”

“Socks. I need socks. I’m going out and I need socks. So I’m looking for socks. That’s why I can’t think about the thing you’re talking about, because I’m only thinking about finding socks.”

“Socks. Have you tried the pile of clothes on the stairs? That’s full of socks. Sock Heaven.”

“Aw yeah. Got them. That pile of clothes. Full of socks. Why didn’t you say?”