Wednesday 20 June 2007

Of monsters (in many guises)

Ah, home again, back to the bosom of my long-suffering family.
Paul: (opening front door after 21 hours of trans-Pacific travel) "Daddy's home!"
Amelie: (running up and skidding to a kind of vibrating halt, like Roadrunner) "Did you bring me a present?"
P: "That's not very nice, Ami, is it? You should say 'Hello' when Daddy comes home."
A: "Hello....did you bring me a present?
P:"Just wait, will you? Let Daddy get in the house..."
A: (small voice) "....present?"

Of course, I had bought a present: various small plastic monsters in pastel colours that she had asked for and been excited about for days. These were duly presented with much ceremony and delight - and then, less than 24 hours later, one had been lost and another absentmindedly chewed into something horribly dogeared. I know they only cost 200 Yen each (that's 85p in the current exchange rate - lately it seems like the Great British Pound is the currency equivalent of the Ace of trumps: soon you'll be able to buy a light aircraft in Japan with UK pocket change) - but as they came from a shop over eighteen thousand miles from home, I was filled with a rage beyond reason to see them so abused:

P:"What the...what have you done to that? Look, it's all chewed up!"
A: "Um, Nevey did it"
P: "No, she didn't - she hasn't got any teeth"
A: "She has! She has got two"
P: (using powerful deductive reasoning in the service of the most pointless of causes) "Ah, but they are both on the bottom - so she can't make bite marks like this! She didn't do this - you did!"
A: (no reply, other than to look faintly bored) "......"
P: (getting a good head of steam going now) "That was brand new! That took Daddy a long time to find! Daddy had to shop for that in Akihabara! You can't buy them over here!"
(Out of the corner of my eye I became peripherally aware that Nini was shaking her head sadly at my folly. If she had a thought balloon above her head, it would have read: 'It cost 85p, she is three years old, and this is totally unimportant. She is also singularly unimpressed by the fact that you went to the game-geek Mecca of Akihabara to buy it. So let it go, for the good of your blood pressure...')
P: (horribly unable to stop, as if compelled by demons) "Look! Look at it! It's ruined! You've chewed it all up, and now it's spoilt. It looks horrible"
A: "It's a monster, Daddy. Monsters are meant to look horrible." can't really fault her deductive reasoning either.
Meanwhile, Nevey is on the brink of walking, standing unaided today for a full 9 seconds, clearly a new PB. Until today I had been congratulating myself on my choice of present from Japan for her - a soft white fluffy thing with big eyes, that made her shriek with laughter when you used it to play peep-bo. That smug self congratulation lasted until earlier today, when I played peep-po with her using an odd sock, and she laughed even harder. It seems that to make Nevey happy, all I really had to bring back from Japan was one arm and my dirty laundry...