A Happy Chaos – Wednesday WIPpet

It was easy to choose a WIPpet this week. Summer holidays are always a chaotic tumble of people coming and going at our house. (Thus the reason writing only occurs very late at night…). Relatives, friends, the kids friends, neighbours… It seems water pistols are stashed all over the yard, and when I asked my daughter if she’d seen my dishwashing liquid, she didn’t batt an eyelid.

It’s in the tree Mum.

Of course it was. I’d said they could use it to soap up the trampoline.

There’s been camping, board games, a glossy black grass beetle captured and named Bo (our new pet apparently), and a trip to the emergency room when a game of Man versus Wild went wrong. (No they didn’t eat Bo, just got a bit carried away with a pocket knife while building a shelter. The finger will be fine…).

So no fenangaling WIPpet maths this week, I found this passage while I was transferring Legend over to Scrivener, and I thought it captured the essence of the date in our household fairly well. (Bear in mind this was the product of an old NaNo effort and is still very much in draft form).

We’re still with Aiden, who has just arrived at Aradawn Station. Home of the Frasers:

When Aiden emerged from his room sometime later, he found the large dining room and kitchen overrun with children. They seemed to fill every available space; clustered around the corner of a table playing cards, wrestling on the floor and ducking in and out of the open door in a chaotic game of what was either tag or tackle your victim to the ground. In what Aiden thought was a particularly austute move, one small girl was sitting under the table reading a book.

The smell of roasting lamb and freshly baked bread made his mouth water as he waded through the children, looking for a familar face. The kitchen was full of women he didn’t recognise, stirring pots and preparing all manner of vegetables. Calling across to each other as they worked and fending off would-be dinner poachers with practiced ease.

Deena appeared at his elbow, a baby bouncing on her hip, her clear voice cutting through the chatter and causing heads to swivel in her direction.

“This is Aiden Fletcher. He’s staying with us for a time, so show him some Fraser hospitality will you. And that includes you Kyle Fraser.” She raised an eyebrow at a freckled boy of nine or ten whose attention had been focussed on lowering a spider into the back of a young girls head. He froze, and slowly pulled the long-suffering bug back into his lap. The girl turned around and seeing the look on his face, scowled at him and thumped him hard on the arm.

Deena shot them a look which managed to convey exactly what they might expect to happen if she had to come over there. With wide eyes, the two disappeared outside, no doubt to continue annoying each other until dinner time.

“Bunch of savages the lot of them.”

But the real affection she held for them was shining in her eyes, even as she looked at Aiden with mock exasperation.

There was no way Deena could know how much this rowdy, natural display of family life amplified his own loss. But he didn’t trust his voice to come out evenly either, so he pasted a smile on his face and nodded to a few of the older members of the family who were staring outright.

A big thanks to the WIPpeteers for giving me such a great welcome back last week. If you’re keen on joining in the WIPpeting fun, just post your own WIPpet, and join in at this linky. Thanks as always to master of the winged monkeys, the lovely Kathi Schwengel for hosting! Happy writing!

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28 thoughts on “A Happy Chaos – Wednesday WIPpet

  1. I’d be pulling my hair out! Reminds me of break times when I was a pre-K teacher. Yes, there was a short period of time when I influenced the minds of young children. You know, a whole group of kids and a bunch of flying monkeys have a lot in common. 😉 Anyhow, very well done. You capture the chaos and the breathlessness of the scene very well. I love the mention of the girl reading under the table.

  2. *sigh* summer holidays… summer seems a distant memory at the moment in Oh cold and wet mid-January. Oh, and of course the dishwashing liquid would be in the tree – where else? Lol!

    A very appropriate WIPpet and as Kathi has already said, the chaos most definitely comes across. That last paragraph is made all the more poignant because of what’s come before – there may be chaos but it’s a wonderful scene of family life playing out.

    1. Yes, ‘summer’. Actually it’s very fickle this year. Yesterday scorching hot – today it’s grey and the wind (cold for this time off year) is up…

      The Fraser’s are a fun backdrop for poor Aiden. I remember when I was writing this – they just turned up en mass!

  3. Oh, goodness. I don’t know if I could handle the chaos! I have no idea how my grandparents did it when all us cousins stayed with them for the summers.

    The part about the “long-suffering bug” had me giggling. I could picture my 8yo doing that to my 10. Or vice versa.

    1. Isn’t it funny as you get older you realise how much work actually goes in to just keep things ticking over. I have a much greater appreciation for my parents and grandparents these days!

      Actually the little scene with the spider reminds me of my son. It’s incredible how quiet and focussed he can be if he’s stalking his sister. And if he’s intercepted he does this great face and quietly backs off. Probably because his sister, would indeed just turn around and deal to him… Don’t you love parenting!

  4. Great excerpt Raewyn. I don’t think I would like to be there at that point. I’m not really (dare I say it!) a kid person and the thought of all those kids running around being noisy is too much for me! But I like your descriptions of the house and the children, especially of the girl under the table with her book. That’d be me!

    1. Poor Aiden, they are a noisy bunch. Although trying to get conversation out of the Fraser men is an impossibility. Living in all this noise has made them men of few words, and long-suffering forebearance. Aiden as the ‘newcomer’ is treated with less patience than the children.

  5. Camping for Christmas! *wistful sigh* Maybe someday. Not here, though. *shivers*

    Poor Aiden. 😦 Holidays are always the hardest when there’s been a recent loss. I LOVE the picture of this family, though. 🙂 Chaos reigning but everyone’s relaxed. Mostly because they’re together, and that’s enough. 🙂

    1. The camping was interesting… our full on summer hits about February (just as the kids go back to school). However a few full on storms later and we know our new tent is storm-proof!

      I feel a quite sorry for Aiden. It’s funny he predated Josiah as a character and they are in different, but similar circumstances. Aiden makes quite different choices though.

      Hope your shivering is tempered with hot chocolates and nights snuggled around the fire!

      1. 🙂 I know a few people who go camping in the snow. Not me. Although, we did have a picnic in the snow once. It was lots of fun, but nobody lasted for very long.

        Our tent WAS storm-proof. It’s too old now. We’re hoping to get a new one this summer. 🙂

      2. I’ve heard of those extreme types that like to do things like that. Bad enough roughing it in summer I say without the risk of frostbite. Your poor tent – I hope you find a good one to replace it with.

  6. I loved how you squeezed in so many details about this energetic family, Raewyn. The sense of distinct personalities comes through clearly.

    But a question… soaping up the trampoline?

    1. Spray water on the trampoline and squirt on some dishwashing liquid. Then let children loose. It’s slippery, noisy, crazy fun. (Helps we have safety nets so kids can’t slide off…). One of the few games where kids are cleaner when they’re finished…

      1. Oh! Now I get it. Sounds like a blast… Kind of like those waterslide thingies with bubbles. I want to come to your house now and play….

  7. A trampoline is in our summer plans – and soap – ooh! Fun will be had, here. And the soap in the tree….last winter, I found a pine branch in the snow. It was wearing hot pink sunglasses! No one remembered exactly why…so I get to invent my own stories!

    I loved this – only two kids here, and they truly like each other and get along almost all the time. But there was a time when my venomous predator loving daughter would turn her huge rubber black widow spider (what – you mean every six-year-old girl doesn’t have one of THOSE?!) upside down in the hallway to prank her arachnophobic big brother…

    Because school isn’t a factor in my kids’ lives (they’ve never been), this could be our everyday. As a matter of fact, I have a blog named “Lovely Chaos”!

    This is a lovely, lively, chaotic, and most of all real snippet, and the ending – the ending made me think of a tiny someone I will miss forever….

    1. I’m so glad to share the soapy fun! I love the hot pink sunglassess – all the pine branches will be wearing them next season! And both my kids love the plastic bugs (the bigger and the uglier the better).

      Your lovely chaos blog sounds aptly named. It’s exactly how I think of parenting. I’m so glad you enjoyed the WIPpet, and I’m sorry you’ve lost a tiny someone. I’m very conscious that the everyday things we can take for granted, especially the happy things can at times really trigger our sense of loss too.

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