Sprog 1 spent Sunday afternoon doing her homework: a presentation on a significant Australian. Other children in the class have chosen sporting heroes, authors and politicians. Sprog 1 has chosen an artist called Patricia Piccinini. When Sprog 1 announced who she was doing, Husband blanched and suggested Mem Fox instead. Sprog 1 sneered. She would not be swayed. Patricia is pretty out there, as you can probably tell from the photograph above. Sprog 1 is pretty out there too, as you can probably tell from my previous posts. I expect there will be lots of blank stares when she finishes her little speech. Then some horrified ones when she passes around photos of Patricia’s work. Finding photos of Patricia’s work that wouldn’t give her eight-year-old classmates nightmares was tricky. Sprog 1’s initial selections were rejected by Husband before less confronting ones were finally settled upon. Sprog 1’s speech goes something like this: “My significant Australian is Patricia Piccinini. She is an artist. I like her art because it is gross. Patricia was born in Freetown in Africa, but she moved to Melbourne when she was seven. I first saw her work in a museum. It was a sculpture of a wolf girl. I liked it because from a distance it looked normal, but up close it was covered in hair. Patricia first studied business but finally studied fine art. She has won lots of awards and her art has been bought by lots of galleries, which means she’s pretty famous. Her art looks really realistic. It’s made up of human and animal parts. She makes her sculptures out of clothing, animal fur, hair, silicon and fibreglass. I think she is a very special artist because she has new inventions. They look flabby and that makes them look gross.” It amazes me that someone as young as Sprog 1 can be so fiercely determined to be different. I often wish she’d choose an easier path for herself. Even though I didn’t. Well, especially because I didn’t. I look at Sprog 2 with her hordes of girlfriends and fashionable affectations and think, “That one knows how to play the game.” Sprog 1 doesn’t care about the game. There are moments when she wishes she was invited to more parties and playdates. But not enough to conform. It makes me proud and nervous in equal measures. I don’t want her to be lonely, hurt or ostracised. But I admire her self-possession. Long may it rule.