Tomorrow is the first of December, which means today is the perfect day for good parents to fire up Pinterest and check out some of the inspiring things other good parents are doing with advent calendars. Because you’ll realise, your children only just having come down from the sugar high of Halloween, that those Cadbury ones from the supermarket are not really good enough anymore.

All over Pinterest, parents are tucking little messages of hope and goodwill into tiny handmade brown paper envelopes, and numbering them in their best hipster font handwriting. They’re pegging these with tiny little natural wooden pegs to a grosgrain ribbon, or a little pine sapling they’ve raised from seed. Then they’re photographing the living daylights out of it and putting it all over the internet to make everyone else feel bad.

If you make one of these advent calendars, every day until Christmas your children will get to experience the wonder of the festive season. One day they’ll receive a pair of new Christmas pyjamas, or a judgemental spying elf. On other days they will dance to Christmas music, make marshmallow snowmen, bake Christmas cookies or dip candy canes in hot cocoa. Importantly, they will do a bit of unto othersing, perhaps donating toys to the less fortunate or singing carols for the neighbours.

The rest of you might like to borrow from the advent calendar I’ve made for my kids this year. Continue Reading »

Some Enchanted Evening


Obviously this is not the beach we went to in this story. This is Waikiki beach, where I have also been grumpy in the recent past. 

I’m very grumpy these days. My wonderful mother suggested she could babysit while H and I went out last week, so we took her up on it, because I have this idea that maybe if I leave the house more I won’t be so crabby.

The first thing I do after leaving the house for the evening is tell H I’m in a grumpy mood. Because what if he can’t tell? What’s the point of being in a foul mood if no one knows? There’s no point sulking in the passenger seat if your spouse just thinks you’re happily enjoying the drive. So just in case my bad vibes aren’t strong enough any my sighs are mistaken for bliss, I generally announce how I’m feeling. ‘I’m in a terrible mood,’ I tell him.

‘Yes, I though you might be,’ he says.

He questions me about why and I get even crosser and attempt to fob him off by saying I do not want to talk about it. I clearly want to talk about it. Continue Reading »

Ignorance Is Bliss


Apocalypse now, or have we time for another coffee before the end of days?

‘Why do I still have to go to kindy?’ May Blossom moaned  to me yesterday. ‘I already know so much stuff.’

‘You don’t know everything,’ I told her. ‘There’s still lots for you to learn, and that’s why you get to go to school next year.’

‘I know enough. I know redback spiders are poisonous.’

She might be right. That might be enough. After a weekend of bombing and shooting and earthquakes and their attendant horrors, I wish all I knew was that redback spiders are poisonous. Continue Reading »

Question Time

IMG_1634Garnet is soon going to be three and is under the apparent misapprehension that he must ask all his questions before that deadline. All day long he queries us. I rarely know the answer.

One morning – bloody early one morning – he asked me the following questions in the space of half an hour, which is how long it takes to boil a kettle and make coffee in our prehistoric kitchen.

“Why does the goanna in Blinky Bill have stripes?” (Does he? I hadn’t noticed. I’m still trying to get my legs to work for the day.)

“Do soldiers have boots?” (Yes? I think? Yes. Definitely they do. )

“Why is sugar sticky?” (So I have more reasons to try to prohibit it. Also so you can use it to pick up other sweet things.)

“What are wet tiles?” (Hard ceramic floor coverings with water on them. Why? Oh REPTILES. Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates. Like crocodiles and lizards.)

“Why robbers kill kids?” (For asking too many questions before the robbers have had a coffee.) Continue Reading »

hotdogsThere’s now a five-year-old living in our house. I don’t quite understand how, since I only just gave birth to her. Her birthday was excellent and exciting, beginning with mango pancakes in bed (thankfully she let herself be talked out of having soup), and finishing with pizza.

On Sunday we threw her an awesome Peter Pan-themed party, attended by seven Peters Pan, two Captains Hook, one mermaid, one Wendy (the birthday girl) and one Michael.

We played Pass the Parcel with an ordinary parcel because when I went to buy the fish and chips to put in it I found the fish and chip shop had shut down. Instead, the parcel contained a lame prize in the middle and a chocolate coin in each layer, which turned out to be ill advised because every time someone unwrapped a layer and got their coin, they promptly devoted all their attention to eating it and not to passing the parcel. Meanwhile, anyone who didn’t yet have a chocolate coin cried. Continue Reading »

IMG_1674The countdown to May Blossom’s fifth birthday has begun. It is agony for the poor child. Six weeks out she started with, ‘It’s a really long time until my birthday. It’s too long. I don’t think I can wait that long.’ Sorry, my love, birthdays come when they come. And if you think this spring is going slowly, you should have been here five years ago, when the months of September and October took eleven years, I weighed the same as the average delivery of topsoil and the two sides of my pelvis were huffily turning their backs on each other and sidling apart, like siblings refusing to have their heights compared.

Three weeks out she started saying, ‘I don’t want to hear it’s anyone else’s birthday before mine.’ Now we’re down to four days and she is crying each morning because FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY ISN’T IT FRIDAY YET? I think the thing she is most looking forward to is breakfast in bed. She’s been begging me for it for months, and I finally capitulated and said that on the morning she turns five I will serve her breakfast in bed. Then I asked what she would like. Leek and potato soup, and baked beans on toast. I can’t think of a worse breakfast to serve in bed. Except maybe fondue, because that’s both messy and flammable. Continue Reading »


Hiding in the corner, not doing its job well. Come on, compost bin, lean in.

Hello! Well, Mental Health Week came and went last week, and with it my intentions to write a really great post about mental health. I didn’t, because my mental health got in the way. What a jape! Mental health, you trickster, you.

The last few weeks my mood has been, like the Sydney weather these days, running very hot and cold, with a side of near constant anxiety.

I’ve been anxious about my little girl, who struggled all through the school holidays with the bullying issues she has been confronting at pre-school. She seemed to have read some textbook on being a small child and instead of behaving like a sensible adult about it, as she normally does, and thinking and discussing the problem until it is manageable, she behaved like a four year old and dealt with the problem by drawing on the living room carpet and cutting her own hair. So there was that.

There were also a lot of weeping meltdowns (from her and me), plenty of fraternal envy (mainly her, although I do have a brother living in New York so a low level of fraternal envy is a constant for me), topped off with some sleep regression (both of us). This culminated in a weekend of fevers, just before school resumed, and she now has a terrible cold. On the up side, things have improved at preschool this week and she is generally a lot happier. I on the other hand, have been left in a heap. I’m not as resilient as she is.

We’re also planning a fairly huge renovation of our house, which scares the crap out of me. So much money. So many decisions. So many panic attacks to have in tile shops.

Our plans look so lovely and sensible, and like they will solve so many of the issues the rabbit warren of a downstairs of this place currently has, but I can’t help wondering, when I look at those plans, if the people who previously renovated the house felt the same way when they created all these problems. Did they think it was a really awesome solution to have the main entrance of the house open straight into the toilet? Did they think seven doorways within a two-metre square space was going to look fabulous and lead to a relaxed flow of traffic? Did they have a reason for putting the only phone point so far from a power point, so you have to have cords draping all over the kitchen? Am I just those idiots, with Pinterest?

Basically, my mental state at the moment is precisely analogous to our compost bin. There is a lot of stuff in it, but it’s not breaking down properly. There are too many food scraps and not enough green waste. It’s sort of rotting a bit, in a smelly way, but it’s not turning into compost. And now there’s no room to put anything else in. It really needs to be dealth with: removed from the bin and turned, thoroughly, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So we have squeezed some bought compost in and a handful of worms from my mum’s house and put the lid on and we’re going to ignore it for a while. That’s how my brain is.

I think perhaps I need to write more. For me, writing mixes the eggshells and the carrot peelings with the grass clippings and creates a bit of heat in my head. Maybe heat that will break all this crap down into some lovely dirt I can grow things in. I’ll plant seeds of inspiration and grow a beautiful garden of intensely laboured metaphors. But probably the fucking possums will just come and eat them.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 882 other followers