The other day, a cushion shaped like a donut came in the post for my oldest daughter. You see, Miss 11 has a thing for anthropomorphic food. She already has a cushion shaped like a biscuit, which has a smiley face on it. The donut cushion not only has a smiley face, it also has legs and arms. And for Master Five, the donut cushion also possesses the apparent allure of gold to King Midas.
Master Five saw that donut cushion and he wanted it. Oh, did he ever want it. While Miss 11 put the donut cushion on her head like a sombrero and read a book, Master Five sat just outside of her bedroom door (she has banned him from entering her room, so he sits right next to the line on the carpet which differentiates her bedroom from the hallway) and stared at that donut cushion with the kind of longing gaze I usually reserve for real donuts.
Every few minutes, he’d query, tremulously, “May I play with that donut cushion? Please? Pleeeeeease?” Miss 11, without even looking up from her book, would reply, “Nope.” And Master Five, uncharacteristically for him, would go back to silently and fervently attempting to use The Force to get the donut cushion away from his sister.
After about half an hour, Master Five came looking for me. “I want to play with that donut cushion,” he told me. “She won’t share!”
“The donut cushion belongs to your sister. You have plenty of other toys,” I tried to reason. Futilely. Master Five started to whinge, and then tantrum, over the donut cushion which he really really really REALLY wanted to play with.
So I did what any self-respecting parent would do. I told Master Five that if he picked up all of the toys in the lounge and dining room and his bedroom, and brought his dirty washing down to the laundry, and took a nap, and ate all of his vegetables at lunchtime, and looked after his baby sister while I had a shower, THEN I would take him to the store and get him his own donut cushion.
Obviously I never thought I’d have to follow through with my farfetched attempt at bribery, because what five-year-old has the stamina to do all of the above? Well, for the first (and possibly only) time in his short life, Master Five did Every. Single. Thing. I asked him to do.
So into the car we got: Miss 11, Master Five, and Miss One, who doesn’t yet know there are such things as donut cushions, thankfully, but likes riding in her pram and trying to grab things off shelves, so she was up for the outing too.
We hightailed it to the donut shop, aka Warehouse Stationery, that mecca of printer paper and pens and school stationery and oh, donut cushions. Master Five got his donut cushion, which cost me the princely sum of $6.99, and we didn’t even need a bag as he had already ripped the tags off it and put it on his head like a sombrero before I’d even got the receipt.
As we walked toward the door (after checking Miss Ones’ pram for shoplifted goods – this time she restrained herself), I looked around. “Where’s your sister?” I asked Master Five.
“Here I am,” she replied from behind me. “Look what I found! They’ve got burger cushions and milkshake cushions too! Can I get one?”
If it had been a chocolate bar cushion, I would have said yes.