1. I have already been to school. For five whole days. What do you mean, five days isn’t enough? How long is this ridiculousness supposed to last? Eight more weeks? Then what? All this again three more times? How many times do I have to do all that? FOR THIRTEEN YEARS? NEARLY THREE TIMES AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN ALIVE? I do not accept that. I did not sign up for this. No.
  2. School is boring. This week we coloured in a picture of Jack and Jill and we cut out a picture of Humpty Dumpty. This is what I left preschool for? What else did we do? Nothing, as far as I recall. I can’t remember. I am not at liberty to divulge that information. Your security clearance is not high enough, Mummy, if that’s even your real name.
  3. School is too easy. I already know everything. How to colour in? Know it. How to write my name? Know it. How to read? Well, I can read some words. Like my name. Why does that not count as knowing how to read? Reading isn’t all or nothing, you know.
  4. School is too hard. I don’t know the answers to any of the questions. The teacher asks hard things. I don’t know what things. Just hard things. I do know everything, just not those things.
  5. There’s nothing to play with in the playground. Why is it even called that? Are we supposed to play with the ground? [She has a point here. It’s a pretty concrety school. This week, her playground — and I may know this from happening to walk past the school during lunch break, every day – has strongly resembled the exercise yard in a medium-security prison for mushrooms. Everyone is wears matching clothes and broad-brimmed hats, which make it impossible to identify your friends, should you made any. The safest thing to do is keep walking slowly in a clockwise direction, not making eye contact with anyone.]
  6. It’s not fair. Why doesn’t Garnet have to go? Two days of preschool doesn’t count. I want him in the trenches too.
  7. You keep saying it’s not up to you; that it’s up to the government. But the government is not in charge of me. I am in charge of my body, as you keep reminding me, so it is my right to not take that body to school. Who is he, anyway, this government? It’s lots of people? Ladies and men? What will they do me if I don’t go to school? Oh, they won’t do anything to me, but you and Daddy might get in trouble? Well, I can’t see a problem then.

Continue Reading »


I was hoping the test hadn’t started yet.


May Blossom has just been for her pre-starting-school chat with a kindy teacher, which is called the Best Start Interview. I presume the point of this is to help decide which class to put the kids into, based on how smart they are and how high they can count, but we didn’t want to admit that to her so we told May Blossom it was so they didn’t put all the shy boys or all the kids called Gavin or all the redheads into the same class and create factions that could later become radicalised.

She insisted on wearing her full school uniform, which wasn’t required, but she felt there was no point in half-arsing it. You’ve got to dress for the class you want to be in, not the class you’re in, or something. Continue Reading »


J. K. Rowling almost certainly had this exact pencil case in primary school.

We’ve just finished reading the first Harry Potter book to May Blossom. It’s been excellent timing as, like Harry in the Philosopher’s Stone, May Blossom is about to start school. But I would like to make a complaint: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is unrealistic. The parts about the school itself are fine. Primary school is largely about confronting dragons and trolls, as far as I recall (although in my day it was more bomb scares and the ghost of Lady Hay). But the back-to-school shopping part? Utter fantasy.

First of all, Harry’s parents don’t have to do it, because they are conveniently dead. I’m not saying being murdered by Voldemort is preferable to a Sydney shopping centre in January, but it’s a close-run thing. Instead, Harry is taken by Hagrid to Diagon Alley, which is a lovely little one-stop outing. They begin in a  pub, where everyone’s having sherry. Smart move — sober back-to-school shopping is for fools. Next they head into the Alley itself, were all the ittle shops sell one thing each: robes, wands or critters. You know what is not like Diagon Alley? Chatswood. Continue Reading »

ramekinsFor 2016 I have made only one New Year’s resolution: to face the truth. It’s a big one, but it’s nice and versatile. It covers a multitude of things I think could be improved about my life.

I will face the truth about the Pilates DVDs. This is the year I will stop taking Pilates DVDs on holidays with me. I’ve been dragging the same two all over the world for about nine years and do you know how many times I have done Pilates on holidays? Zero times. They make me feel guilty for not doing Pilates on holidays when I don’t even do it when I’m at home. This foolishness has got to stop.

I will face the truth that I prefer exercising indoors. I wish I liked running out in the fresh air, with the dogs and the show-offs, but honestly, it’s too hot and sunny, there are too many people watching, and the television screens are too few and far between. The only way I can justify watching the kind of crappy TV shows I like is to watch them while riding the exercise bike or doing crunches or squats. So that is what I shall do. Continue Reading »

Life’s A Treat


Last week Garnet turned three. He’s not a hundred per cent ok with that. The boy has a complicated relationship with the ageing process. He likes being three, but he wants to be a three-year-old baby. In all the games he and his friends play, he must play the baby. The baby pirate. The baby brother in Peter Pan. Baby Cottontail in Peter Rabbit. He’s dipping his toe into the world of superheroes with a character he has invented called – you guessed it – Superbaby. He gets strangely cross when people call him a big boy.

About a month ago he toilet trained, and apart from a small amount of unorthodox backward loo sitting and a misunderstanding about where you are supposed to stand during a standing-up wee (tip: not on the toilet seat) it went off without a hitch. I heaped praise upon him, as you are supposed to, telling him over and over what a good big boy he is now and wow, what a grown-up fellow, gosh. He didn’t respond with ecstatic pride like I expected, instead getting very quiet. After a day or so he finally said, ‘Mummy, can I please not be a big boy? Can I just be a little boy who wears underpants?’ Sure, be a little boy who wears underpants and MAKES HIS MOTHER’S HEART EXPLODE WITH THE CUTENESS. I think the subtext there was also ‘Please could you shut up about my undies and my age and just let a person’s toiletting habits be his own business?’ And of course I can. You know, except for blogging about it, obviously. Continue Reading »


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 »


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