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wallowing

This seems lovely, doesn’t it? Until you realise that is not the ocean Garnet is wallowing in but actually self-pity. See the ripples of misery he is causing? See how they threaten to knock H off his stand-up paddle board? 

The school holidays are over. May Blossom went back to class this morning, creeping like snail unwillingly to school, after we’d located her lunch bag and drink bottle, and wiped the slug trails off her hat.

The family Gusto spent a good part of these holidays on a tropical island in Vanuatu, which was, as always when you travel with a three- and a five-year-old, roughly equal parts so good we never wanted to leave and so bad we wished none of us had ever been born. Continue Reading »

IMG_5228Today it’s H’s and my seventh wedding anniversary. According to some website or other the appropriate gift for seven years of marriage is either made of copper (traditional list) or wool (modern list). I’ve been trying to find a good gift for H. You’d think wouldn’t be that hard since copper is currently very much In Fashion. For a year every catalogue and homewares website I’ve seen has had nothing but bloody copper: clocks, beds, kettles, prismatic vases and picture frames. But do you think I can find one solitary knitted copper jumper? I cannot. And I’ve left it too late to knit my own.

Maybe I’ll just leave it. Last year the suggested gifts were iron and sugar, and H is still a bit grumpy about the bits of toffee that remain stuck to our ironing board.

Today being our anniversary means that two days ago was my birthday. H pulled out all the stops to make it a truly wonderful day. Unfortunately, he was working against the combined forces of birthday ruination, our children, so all his good intentions were for naught. Continue Reading »

treeclimbingAnother long weekend, another virus or two lay waste to the House of Gusto. The past four days are best described as ‘not at all in any way resembling how I made it look on social media’. The illness struck the extended family this time, with nine of us coming down with some or all of nausea, vomiting, fevers, coughs and body aches. The kids added a common or garden variety cold to the mix, to keep things fresh, and so on Easter Sunday night May Blossom ended up screaming in pain from an infected ear, and barking the house down with croup. Because we were at my parents’ place in the country, we set the bush telegraph to work and located a vintage 1980s humifier from some local friends, which got her through the night, along with regular doses of Panadol and Nurofen. First thing Monday morning we hightailed it back to civilisation and steroids and antibiotics. Today we have applied a heavy dose of sofa and Netflix, which seems to be helping.
humidifier

Continue Reading »

hotcrosssonI’ve been so tired and befuddled this week that I have just realised that there are only four days left to threaten my kids that the Easter Bunny will take a flying leap past our house if they don’t stop that immediately. I don’t know how I could have been so remiss. And it’s been the perfect week for it because Garnet’s been sick since Friday – first vomiting and then coughing – and he has been about as easy to reason with as a chipmunk with rabies. Rabies and gastro and a cough.

This week he has been brought to howling tears by many and varied injustices. There was the fact that I would not go under the house to drag out the old double stroller to push him the half block to pick up May Blossom from school. Why the double stroller? Because he wanted to ride in it with his friend Charlie. Charlie who lives on the other side of the city? Yes. We never do school pickup with Charlie. Yes, that was understood. This was some sort of protest against never doing school pickups with Charlie. It was the filthy Maclaren stroller version of the empty chair representing the imprisoned writer that PEN International always have at events.

There was misery because he couldn’t find his green watch and H and I disagreed that an appropriate way to deal with a missing green watch is to bite your sister on the bum. Continue Reading »

Testing Times

IMG_1056Lately Garnet has been behaving in a way that has challenged me as a mother. That is, I believe, what we say these days when we mean our kid is being a gigantic pain in the bum. He calls everyone names, all the time. He is like a two foot tall random insult generator, stuck on the ‘scatological’ setting. All day long it’s ‘You big nappy!’ ‘You giant poo bum!’ ‘You nappy-throwing baby!’ You nincompooping nappy head!’ ‘Nincompoop fart bum poop!’ ‘You underpants!’

Occasionally he makes up a word (‘You nuckus!’) or just pops something that’s not an insult at all (‘You big sandwich!)

None of it is true swearing but the intention is there. He just doesn’t have the actual profanities in his vocabulary. How this is possible, living with H and me, is something of a mystery and perhaps a sign that he needs his hearing checked. It’s tiresome in the extreme. Continue Reading »

Image

Dumbledore (left) and Huntsman Who Did Not Heed Me (right)

Sydney’s in the middle of a plague of spiders. Summer forgot to end and for weeks the weather has been like a skipping CD: humid, 30 degrees, sunny – every single day. Mostly people have been enjoying this, except for the fact that you cannot walk anywhere without charging face first into a spiderweb. For safety, you have to walk with one arm flailing in front of you, like a Dalek at a Donald Trump rally.

Apparently because it rained a lot in January there has been a boom in spider food, aka bugs, and the subsequent warm dry conditions meant that more baby spiders than usual have been surviving.

We’ve met some delightful spiders this year. There is a small spider who lives in the passenger-side wing mirror of my car. For safety when driving I have to wipe his web off most mornings with a piece of my children’s artwork, which I mostly keep filed on the floor of the car. I then fling the web collage out the window into the garden. That spider doesn’t seem to mind and he creeps out to start rebuilding the web whenever I stop the car at the lights. Continue Reading »

globeSydney’s weather over the last few weeks has been stifling. Humid, hot and generally unpleasant. It’s always like this in February, and it makes people cranky and forgetful: every year we act like this weather is out of the ordinary. February coincides with everyone sobering up from the summer festivities that begin here with the Melbourne Cup in November and run pretty much through until Australia Day on 26 January, the kids all head back to school, and the daily rhythm of life returns to normal, just with more sweat.

How I cope with this is to put aside what I should be doing (perhaps preparing my keynote speech for the International Conference on First-World Problems) and spend a lot of time researching where to go on holiday later in the year. I am looking exclusively at places where the weather is exactly like the weather I hate so much here. I’ll admit it doesn’t make much sense. Continue Reading »

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