Without this ring, I thee wed

“I don’t know if I want to wear a wedding ring,” Learner Dad said seriously.
I looked at him.
“Just joking!” he laughed, poking me in the side.
Hmmm.
He’d made this joke about eight times now and I was beginning to wonder whether he was actually trying to tell me something.
With five months until our Big Day, it was time to start looking at wedding rings.
Although my groomzilla was across everything – “You get your flowers organised this week please” or “Al, have you booked your hair trial?” – he hadn’t once suggested we pencil in a trip to the jewellers.
And he greeted my own prompting to do so with a shrug and ‘I guess so’.
And then we’d forget about it.
Learner Dad does insist he’s joking about not getting a ring.
But would I care if he chose not to wear one anyway?
I’m not sure I would.
After all, Prince William declined to wear one, a royal aide quoted as saying His Royal Highness ‘…isn’t one for jewellery’.
Quite.
But is it just jewellery?
Is it not a symbol?
Of love?
Of eternal love (the whole endless circle bit)?
And that you’re now off the market?
With Prince William’s wedding watched by millions of women around the world, I’m disinclined to think he refuses to wear one because he wants to appear ‘single’.
But for some men, that could be the case.
You wear a ring, you become a marked man.
It’s a woman’s elegant way of urinating permanently on her property, leaving a visible ‘scent’ for all the bitches in heat out there.
And wedding rings do come in handy for the single gals, believe me.
I was one for a long time.
But it’s not just women marking their men.
Wedding rings were originally only worn by wives, as a sign that they were ‘owned’ by their husbands.
This can be traced back to ancient Egypt.
They only became popular with men here in Australia during World War II.
Those in service began wearing them as light reminders of their wives and families at home.
I decided to employ a bit of reverse psychology on Learner Dad and suggested we ditch the whole rings idea, told him I wouldn’t wear one either, saving him any discomfort and both of us a little bit of money.
He met me at the jewellers that day.
Then he found out he had to wear a flower on his wedding day.
Do unmarried men really not know this?
Am I marrying the biggest ocker ever?
I shot his complaints down quicker than you can say ring a ring a rosie AND a pocket full of posie
And once he’d googled ‘grooms’ and satisfied himself it was normal and not some weird new thing I was insisting upon in order to embarrass him, he was ok with it.
And if anyone thinks my groom looks remotely feminine on his wedding day, well, I’ll eat my veil.

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The Computer Virus

“How are you feeling sweetheart?” I asked, gently placing a tray of food down in front of him.
“Ok, thanks,” he replied.
Master Seven was home from school, sick.
His teacher had called the day before and, with me at work, Learner Dad’s mum had picked him up for me.
By the time we all got home that night, he really seemed ok.
But it seemed a day spent being pampered with sweets and computer games had appealed to him and, the next morning, he burst into tears as he was getting ready for school.
“I still don’t feel well,” he’d complained sadly, rubbing his eyes.
Clearly exhausted, I told him he could stay home, but that it meant nourishing food, no computer games and, most importantly, bed rest.
All day.
“This’ll be interesting,” I muttered to Learner Dad as he left for work.
A full day in bed with nothing to do would determine just how sick this kid was.
The first hour passed.
I went down with some toast and he looked at me solemnly.
Remembering how much I’d loved being nursed by my own mother on a sick day, I continued to visit him every hour with something to eat or with a book to read.
Three hours after his bed rest began, I had Li’l Fatty down for a nap and was sitting on the couch watching Friday Night Lights.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Though I still doubted he was ill, Master Seven clearly understood what a sick day meant.
I was also slightly worried.
He wasn’t meant to be so… so content.
He wasn’t meant to enjoy a sick day.
At 1pm I popped down with an Easter egg and a hot pack for his aching legs.
His eyes lit up.
But he seemed distracted.
His eyes kept slipping sideways, glancing at something in his peripheral.
I looked in the same direction.
Under his Lego table I could see a tiny blue light winking back at me.
Realisation dawned.
His DS!
I whipped it out, pulling it roughly from the charger.
“Have you been playing this?” I asked, waving it in front of his face.
“Yes…” he admitted, casting his eyes as far down as was possible while stretched out on your back.
“For how long?” I asked, looking at his red-rimmed, slightly unfocused eyes.
“Since I got in to bed,” he answered quietly.
The four hours I’d thought he was sleeping, reading or simply just resting, he had spent hopfrogging his way through Mario Galaxy with his busy brain and even busier fingers.
He told me he’d been playing it while it was on the charger and that he’d simply jump back into bed every time he heard me coming.
Half an hour after I took the DS away, Master Seven was out of bed and playing basketball in the courtyard.
I didn’t try to stop him.
The more energetic he was, the more ammunition I’d have for sending him to school the next day.
The deceit astounded me.
My seven-year-old had not only tricked me into letting him stay home, he’d tricked me for hours after.
As I stood at the window, watching my son shoot hoops and dribble tricks, I realised I now had to be on MY game.
My little boy, who’d always been either clearly well or unwell, had learned the art of faking.
And I had a feeling this first attempt was an amateur one.
His best, ‘fully sick’ efforts were yet to come.

Like father, like son

“Look Mummy I’ve made your breakfast,” Master Seven said to me proudly as I walked into the kitchen.
Now you never want to disappoint your child but I simply couldn’t sit down and eat right away.
After the chocolate extravaganza that was Easter, I was back on my health kick, about to head off for some exercise before coming home to a planned bowl of cereal.
I looked at the two pieces of toast – one slathered in vegemite (you just don’t ‘slather’ vegemite) and the other in peanut butter (calories!!!)
I quickly popped them in a lunchbox with promises to chow them down after my run.
Master Seven looked satisfied.
Later that day I caught Master Seven gazing at me while I read the newspaper.
“You’re just so beautiful,” he breathed, before abruptly going back into the Lego land he was building.
Something was going on.
The night before, Master Seven had sat next to me on the couch and asked if he could rub my feet.
Cooking, compliments, foot rubs.
What a dream man.
As if suddenly realising we were hurtling towards the wedding day, Master Seven was making a last ditch effort to stay the main man in my life.
The battle for alpha male in our household has been prolonged and infuriating.
It’s hardly surprising.
When a boy spends the first five years of his life acting like your mini-husband, it’s understandable he’ll try to retain that role.
He had the prime spot at your dinner table.
He had the other side of your bed.
His was the only name besides yours on your Christmas cards.
He was the man of the house.
But only because he was the only man IN the house.
Learner Dad and Master Seven have shared a home for a year and a half now.
Sometimes they’re like brothers, bickering and dobbing on each other (yes grown men do dob sadly).
Often they’re great mates, playing basketball and watching YouTube.
And then there are the times they are actually father and son, barking orders and answering back.
Trouble is, it’s often Master Seven barking the orders.
He loves nothing more than fathering his new father (and it helps that Learner Dad sometimes acts the child).
“I see you’ve got your face glued to the phone again,” Master Seven will mutter at his father, shaking his head on the way past.
Or, sighing: “You always puts the plates where the mugs are meant to go.”
And even: “Don’t forget to wash your hands after playing with Li’l Fatty please. He’s got a cold.”
Learner Dad, to his credit, often just lets the little daddy in Master Seven slide.
I think it’s because he knows he’s his predecessor.
That he was the original man of the house.
That at one time only he ate with, slept beside, picked flowers for and loved me, the woman in both their lives.
And that, even though he’s been made redundant, he did a damn fine job.