Keira stands, frozen, in the doorway of her daughter’s room. The carpet is covered with slime; it’s down the walls and squashed onto the floorboards.
Sharnie is on her bed, staring back at her mum.
‘What is this?’ Keira asks, somewhat redundantly. It’s a shitstorm, created by her willful and creative child. Only seven years old and already pushing against authority, boundaries, right and wrong.
Sharnie doesn’t respond.
‘I’m expecting an answer,’ Keira says, placing her hands on her hips. She’s so hot with rage she can feel her blood coursing through her veins.
‘I just wanted to play with it.’
‘Where did it come from? I told you that no slime was to ever enter this home. None. Zilch. Ever.’
‘Charlotte gave it to me,’ Sharnie responds.
Of course it was Charlotte, Keira thinks. That girl’s mother is too liberal. There’s no boundaries, as Charlotte’s behaviour consistently shows. The last time Charlotte was here for a playdate Keira found the two of them hiding under Sharnie’s bed, playing games on Keira’s iPad, which Sharnie knew was not to be touched. Charlotte had even downloaded games and apps and was diligently providing Sharnie with instructions on how to create an avatar.
‘Throw it in the bin. Now,’ Keira says sternly. She’s still so angered by Charlotte’s gall. Who does that child think she is?
‘No buts. Bin it. Now. Outside bin, please,’ Keira instructs, as Sharnie begins to walk to the kitchen. She wonders what consequence might equate to this level of disobedience. No playdates for two weeks? No television? No dessert? No after school activities?
Keira watches her daughter lift the lid of bin, and throw her slime inside. Once she’s back inside, she crouches down and looks deeply into Sharnie’s eyes.
‘Honey,’ she says. ‘You can’t break our rules, OK?’
Keira continues, ‘You’ll have to clean this mess up. Get the bucket and fill it with hot soapy water and grab a rag from the linen press. Use those to get up the slime on the floor and the walls. Leave the carpet for now. I’ll need to research how to lift that shit from carpets and rugs.’
‘Not as sorry as I am.’ Keira mumbles. ‘There’ll be no television in the evenings for two weeks. And no playdates at all, either. Once you’re done here, you’re going to need to write a statement 100 times about why it’s not OK to disobey your mum. Got it?’
‘Now get to work.’ Keira leaves the room, and pours herself a wine.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash