Life got a bit chaotic. I found a dinosaur sticker, covered in dog hair and random fluffy bits (perhaps a feather), stuck to my bum. I found said sticker at around 3 pm on my way to a radio studio. I had been at work for almost seven hours with a skanky T-Rex stuck to my big butt. It did not lie. I was tired. Life was chaotic.
So, last weekend I overpacked the Trunkie and headed off to my folks’ house in country Victoria. The plan was to palm The Kid off on my mum while I peeled off my face and buried my sunken sockets into a pillow.
Alfie LOVES going to Granny and Pa’s house. Their house has ALL the things: a massive yard, lawn, rocks, a fireplace, a worm farm, a passionfruit vine, an orange tree and a trailer. Sometimes the trailer is filled with horse poo for the garden. But most of all, and the absolute highlight of the trip to Granny and Pa’s, is the dollhouse.
My mum built my three-story dollhouse when she was pregnant with my younger brother. She thought it would keep me focused while she was busy with my little newborn baby brother. It’s painted mission brown and cream, the colours of the early eighties, and stands over a metre tall. It’s deluxe. I played with my dollhouse right through to my early teens, redecorating the whole three stories, putting floral fabric on the walls and corduroy down for carpet. It was super plush even for my Sylvanian Families.
When we arrived at Granny and Pa’s house, Alfie ran into the spare bedroom where the dollhouse sits, pulling open its doors and sweeping all its contents onto the floor in one swift arm movement. I bit my tongue seeing all the teeny tiny porcelain cups and saucers being thrown across the floor, then swept up by my son’s chunky club hands, only to be placed in the back of a plastic cement mixer truck. I felt the tension fill me to my brow as Alfie shook the cement mixer, allowing the porcelain set along with two Sylvanian Family baby bear cubs and a makeshift washing machine made out of an old Keen’s Mustard tin, clash against each other creating a big nostalgic milkshake of doom. Then he tipped the contents out and walked over the precious items, not even feeling the teeny tiny bear cub in its teeny tiny handmade gingham playsuit squishing between his toes.
He was on a mission. I could see it in his eyes. He was in T-Wrecks mode. He was looking to smash up a storm.
He grabbed two trucks, one in each club, and drove them through the plastic windows, bulldozing the baby bear cub’s parents over and tearing through the corduroy carpet, knocking over the tiny vase of dried flowers and the miniature sink with teeny tiny taps, and ripping the makeshift books off the tiny shelves.
‘Evacuate, evacuate!’ I cried. I was too late, the dollhouse was on its side, its contents spilling onto the floor. I stood and stared at the scene like I was seeing Janet Leigh hanging out of the bathtub in Psycho. I was devastated. My mum rubbed my back.
Alfie was already off and running. Apparently Pa was burying a dead rabbit under the passionfruit vine (apparently it helps them grow big and strong – country style blood and bone).
I spent the next hour resetting the dollhouse, putting everything back in its place, the way it should be. The babies were put in their cots, ma and pa bear were sitting in the loungeroom watching an eighties-esque TV (Alfie asked me what that was) in front of their cellophane paper fireplace. The three-story house became warm and friendly. I felt relaxed again. I closed the big doors and tied their big satin bow. Sigh.
I went outside to play with Alfie who was building jumps for his trucks and digging holes in the garden. He was filthy, like he had been eating soil and drinking from the hose. The house had been turned inside out, with a trail of destruction, like Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs, behind him.
Before we left the country to head back to Melbourne, I untied the bow of the dollhouse and took one more look inside. Everything looked just right, except, lying in the corner of the bathroom, next to the makeshift toilet made out of a matchbox with a circular hole cut in it, was a T-Rex sticker, similar to the one I found on my bum a few days earlier. I put it on the toilet. It felt right. Big butts don’t lie.