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Take all the family: Maria Pieri

It's great to take the family - but sometimes hard to get out the door

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HOLIDAY HOME. MORNING.
(The whole family is in the living room/open-plan kitchen. AUNT is on the phone upstairs.)
Mum: So I think we’ll take the kids to the beach. Who wants to come?
Girl: I want to wear my pink costume.
Boy: I want to be the red one.
Mum: Yes, that’s fine. You can wear your pink costume and ‘little man’, you need to come out of nappies soon.
(MUM picks up the boy and kisses him)
Grandma: We’ll stay. I’ll cook.
(GRANDMA rattles around the kitchen)
Girl: Mum, can I wear my pink costume? Mum? Can I wear my pink costume?
Mum: Yes, ’course.
(MUM puts the BOY down)
Granddad: What’s for lunch?
Girl: Mum, can I wear my pink costume? Mum? Mum?
Mum: Yes, honey.
Grandma: Egg and chicken soup.
Girl: Mum? Mum?
Boy: I want to be the red one…
Dad: We can cook.
(To DAD). Grandad: Can you help me with the car?
Girl: Mum? Mum?
(BOY comes in running round with the girl’s pink swimsuit on his head)
Girl: Hey…
(GIRL starts chasing him, screaming)
Girl: Mum, he’s got my pink swimsuit…
Boy: Pinky, stinky, pinky, stinky.
Girl: Muuuuuuuuuuuum…
Mum: Will you two stop?
(The two kids are causing chaos)
Mum: We could go out…
Grandma: That’s just wasting money.
(MUM catches BOY)
Dad: Yes, what’s wrong with the car?
Grandad: It’s the lights.
Boy: Pinky, stinky… No, no. no.
Mum: … tonight and just have sandwiches for lunch.
(Tries to wrestle the costume from the BOY’s hands)
Grandma: What am I going to do if you’re going swimming. I might as well…
(BOY is wriggling and won’t give up the pink swimming costume. GIRL is crying)
Girl: Mum, mum, mum, I want my pink swimming costume now…
Boy: PINKYYYYY STINKYYYY.

LATER — MORNING.
(FAMILY is getting ready to go out).
Mum: You ready?
(The kids nod.)
Mum: I didn’t hear you. You ready?
Girl/Boy: Yeah!
(The mum motions she can’t hear.)
Girl/Boy: YEAH!
Mum smiles: That’s more like it.
Dad: I’ll grab the changing bag.
Grandma: I’ve made soup.
(To DAD). Grandad: Can you open the door and hold it open for the little uns?
Dad: Yes, coming.
(GRANDAD rushes through and waits outside. Shouting from outside).
Grandad: Can you help me with the car? It’s the lights.
Dad: I was trying to hold the door open.
And yes, I can help…
Girl: I want to stay with you. Mum, can
I stay with you?
Dad: She’s coming with us. Let’s get in the car and we’ll get somewhere.
(From outside.) Grandad: I’m outside.
Grandma: I haven’t made the packed lunch yet… And what about Aunt?
Mum: On the phone. But you had time to make the egg and chicken soup.
Mum: Where’s your brother?
Mum: Oh. He’s fallen asleep. Ah. It’s OK, I’ll stay with him.
Grandma: I’ll stay, it’s fine.
(From outside.) Grandad: I’m outside.
Dad: I know.

LATER — MORNING. JUST.
(BOY wakes up. No one has gone anywhere. DAD and GRANDAD are pottering outside with the car. AUNT is still on the phone, but now outside sunbathing. GRANDMA sees the BOY wake up and moves to the kitchen. MUM is already in the kitchen)
(MUM comes out of the kitchen and sits down to be with BOY).
Mum: Hey, little man. Had a nice sleep?
Girl: Mum can we go now. Mum? Can I wear my pink costume now?
Boy: I want to be the red one.
Grandma: It’s lunchtime. Now who wants some soup?

 

Published in May/Jun issue of National Geographic Traveller 2011