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DSC00102In an uncharacteristic moment of spontaneous joy and excitement last week, we booked a last-minute trip to Fiji. We leave tomorrow at 6.30 am. So in an entirely characteristic display of Murphy’s Bloody Buggery Law, we awoke this morning at 4 o’clock to the sound of a cat horking up a furball in kids’ room. Only it wasn’t a cat, and it wasn’t a furball. It was Garnet, and it was his dinner. Continue Reading »

Shut Up, If You Please

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Last week H was overseas for work. He’s had to do that a fair amount in the past year, so the kids and I have become much better at coping without him when he’s gone, but for some reason this time it caused May Blossom a lot of anxiety and sadness. This manifested in two ways: extreme difficulty falling asleep at night, and behaving like an eye-rolling, sarky teenager to me. As soon as I would remark on that behaviour and use my best firm, kind, in-control parenting voice to tell her how it makes me sad when she speaks to me in that tone of voice, and that it is now time to go to bed and please could she stop kicking the wall, and no I will not go get more food because I reminded her at dinner time that dinner is the last meal of the day and thus there will not be another served until breakfast, as soon as I did that she would lose it completely and spend an hour sobbing about how much she missed her daddy and how very, very mean I was.

One night I let things escalate horribly. I was so tired of being shouted at and told I was very, very mean, when really I am only a bit mean. I shouldn’t have let it get to me but I did. I told her that it was not acceptable to speak to me like that. I said that I too missed Daddy, and he would not agree I was mean, and he would not like her speaking to me like that either.

She disputed this again, so we rang him. Because there’s nothing like being in the wilds of Africa and having your wife and four year old daughter ring and put you on speakerphone so you can hear them shouting at each other exactly as if you were right there in the room with them. Isn’t technology marvelous? I suspect her was staring out at zebras in the mist as he held the phone as far from his ear as he could. Continue Reading »

Train for illustrative purposes only. Not a Tangara.

Train for illustrative purposes only. Not a Tangara.

When my train pulled into the station this morning, I thought ‘Ooh, fancy: a Tangara.’ Crossing the Harbour Bridge we passed several more trains. They were Tangaras too. I’m beginning to suspect that these days all Sydney trains might be Tangaras. And that maybe we don’t even call them that any more. That’s when I realised it has been a while since I was last a regular train commuter in Sydney. Continue Reading »

IMG_3819Isn’t that a cheery and not at all daunting start to the year? I’ve made it to my new office. I’m sharing a space with a photographer and a winemaker. What could possibly go wrong? This amazing photograph (by Toby Dixon) hangs just outside my cubicle, and I’m going to think of him as my boss. He doesn’t look like the sort of person you’d want to disappoint. I’m pretty sure he would not approve if I spent today tarting up my very stark, white cubicle. Even virtually. Pretty sure it wouldn’t wash if I spent a few hours idea hunting on Pinterest and Instagram. He expects a certain typing speed from me and if I slow down I will have some explaining to do.

This morning was officially the second day I was to leave the house and come here to work on the blog and other self-directed (aka not-yet-existent) writing projects, but I didn’t make it yesterday. I had some very important life admin to attend to yesterday, namely getting my hair and my face sorted out. And Garnet needed a new scooter helmet. He wanted one that was orange and had an elephant on it, but the best I could manage was yellow with monkeys. He took it well, the little trooper. I figure if I am going to abandon him to a babysitter all day, the least I can do is offer adequate head protection. Not that he will have it on when he randomly smashes his head open, because that isn’t how it works. I know all about random head smashing, you see, for I am now the mother of a scarred child.

The week before Christmas we flew to Perth, waking up at 4 am to get our flight. By the time we made it to the apartment we had rented in Fremantle, it was 12 hours later and May Blossom rather desperately needed the toilet. So H dashed inside with her, leaving me in the cool air-conditioned car with a sleeping Garnet. About thirty seconds later H was banging on the window of the flat, trying to raise my attention. There was a look of terror on his face. And there was blood. Continue Reading »

IMG_2310Oh shit, it’s happened again. I blogged and then I turned around to pick up a few toys and scrape the homemade yogurt out of the cup that held milk a few hours ago and make a trillion Vegemite sandwiches and what have you and all of a sudden it has been two months since I have updated this poor site. Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation, there’s not much to report from my end.

Well, I say not much, but I guess there have been some fairly important milestones for other people around here. Garnet has learned to talk. He seems to have downloaded English into his head overnight, which I know is impossible because our internet connection can’t even download an episode of House of Cards without taking six hours and crashing the computer and generally carrying on like a pork chop. So he must have learnt it some other way. I suspect his sister is involved. ‘It’s May Blossom’s fault!’ he says, when anything goes wrong, regardless of whether she who loves to blame is anywhere near him at the time. ‘Wow! Dat ‘mazing/cute/booful!’ is a standard reaction to flowers, rainbows or pizza.

May Blossom herself has gone and turned four. She is deeply obsessed with Transvision Vamp, an English band from the 1980s, and nothing makes me happier than hearing her analysis of the lyrics of ‘I Want Your Love’. (‘Gosh, she really does want that man’s love quite a lot, doesn’t she?’)

Continue Reading »

The Gymlazium

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It took me fifteen minutes to find a suitable illustration for this post. This is a dessicated frog on a spatula. It’s a metaphor or something. Best I could do.

Right now, there is nothing stopping me from going to the gym, except for, oh, you know, everything. It’s 4.30 pm on a Friday. Following is a list of my standard excuses and why they do not hold right now.

1. The gym is closed.

The gym is not closed. It is open. It probably isn’t even very busy, since it’s a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. There will be about ten old guys there easing into post-op treadmill walks after knee or hip replacements.

2. I have no child care.

My children are, at present, naked in the backyard, painting under the supervision of their amazing babysitter. She’s sixteen, so she has heaps of energy. She doesn’t own this house so she doesn’t give too much of a shit how much paint they get on the outside french doors, where we stickytape the paper for them to paint on because we are too mean to buy an easel. She hasn’t spent all week with them so she can, with grace, manage the fighting and screaming that occur when Garnet launches incursions into May Blossom’s palette, or adds his own sneaky slash of pink to her carefully designed tableau of a scene from Frozen. Continue Reading »

braidsSomeone has taught my toddler all his nursery rhymes. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t his father. It wasn’t his sister. Is he learning them by osmosis? Are they inherent in his genetic makeup, like the reflexes small babies have that stop them falling off their mother’s hairy back?

While Garnet was sick all he has wanted to do was have me read him books while he languished in my lap. Once day I dragged out a Play School book of nursery rhymes and started singing them, and lo and behold, he joined in. Now as far as I know, the only music that kid has been exposed to in the last six months is the soundtrack to Frozen, the soundtrack to Cats, and the theme tune to the TV shows Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Octonauts. So how does he know ‘Incy Wincy Spider’? I’ve heard him sing ‘Let It Go’ and I’ve heard him sing ‘Journey to The Heavyside Layer’ (both multiple times each day), but somehow ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has crept in too.

As May Blossom is approaching four and is thus an adult with many opinions about why she should be allowed to wear earrings, have a job as a waitress and get married, she will not tolerate the playing of baby music. One morning recently as I sat and sang the nursery rhymes with Garnet, she called out from the dining room where she was gluing triangles of paper mostly to the tablecloth, ‘Will you stop that singing please? You are disturbing my work.’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘When you were a baby we sang these songs with you for hours and hours, and we never do that with Garnet, so you might just have to deal with it for a bit.’

‘Ugh,’ she groaned. There was a pause. ‘Carry on then.’

Carry on indeed.

She asked me about university the other day. I explained it is like a school you go to after you finish high school. ‘Your uncle, Superchief, goes to university,’ I told her. ‘He’s studying law.’ I started to explain about the law and how it protects civilised society from breaking down, but she interrupted me.

‘I know all about law,’ she said. ‘I can talk to him about that.’

‘What do you know about law?’ I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then, in a very serious voice, she said, ‘You must never ever stand on a crab.’

She’s right, you know. Laws are there to protect people, and crabs, I guess.

But I don’t think, ultimately, that she will go into law as a profession. Not while she can make a killing from the latest product she and Garnet have started manufacturing. This afternoon I came across them jumping up and down on an armchair, right next a tepee that her father and I set up for them yesterday, almost at the cost of our sanity and marriage.

‘Could you please stop that?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you could do the jumping inside that excellent tent instead.’

‘We can’t,’ May Blossom informed me, ‘because we live in that tent. This chair is where we work.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What exactly do you do for work up on that chair?’

‘We make positivity.’

And for that there is no comeback and they are now allowed to jump on the furniture as much as they like forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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