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img_4357Sometimes, as a parent, you reach a point where you kind of sort of maybe think you might just ever so slightly have gotten your shit together. Your kids are well and happy and they seem to like going to school and preschool, and they don’t have set their minds on owning something that is completely out of the question, like a Lego Hogwarts or an actual lynx.

That, of course, is when then the gods strike you down. That is when you all come down with a virus and the teacher sends home a bunch of exercise books and tells you to cover them with contact.

Contact. I don’t know if it’s called that the world over. I expect the Germans have a word for it that literally translates as ‘roll of judgement by which we can tell how much you care about your children’. (more…)

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img_4043It’s Valentine’s Day! CELEBRATE LOVE. DO IT. NOW. PLAN IT. PAY FOR IT. It’s very important to celebrate love. Otherwise who know what might happen.

In the past I have been very bad at giving Valentine’s Day gifts to H, which is a great shame because he is far more romantic than I am and deserves better.

Once a couple of years ago, he was cranky because he found an old globe in the recycling. He had given me the globe some years earlier, as a Valentine’s Day present. The arm that makes the globe stand up was broken, and no, I’m not a totally heartless wench, I didn’t just chuck it straight in the bin. I let the kids kick it around the garden for a bit first, because we couldn’t find the soccer ball. Well excuse me for being a problem solver.

When I realised how hurt he was, I went out to the bin and peeled off the maps that featured places we have travelled together, and I glued them together into an apologetic découpage heart. He keeps that on his desk, for never was there a finer example of passive aggression and love and recycling, and the way those three things are woven together in life. (more…)

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lcSchool’s back today. Both kids went off pretty cheerfully, with only a bit of misery from May Blossom whose school hat went AWOL at the last. I am expecting a visit from the Millinery Truancy Officer any minute. I truly have no idea what’s happened to the hat. I put it away in the cupboard with her school bag at the end of last term, and lo and behold, six weeks later it is not there. But that is just a stumble at the first hurdle.

May Blossom’s in Year One now, which was easy to tell at drop-off this morning because seventy-five percent of the class had a hand in their mouth playing with their new wobbly teeth.   (more…)

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Proper homemade gingerbread house that I had absolutely nothing to do with. Grandmothers are where it’s at.

Good New Year to you, dear people of the internet. It seems to be week three of January. I haven’t written since well before that dark and dreadful time back in December when everyone was mainlining candy canes and behaving like juvenile Hunters S. Thompson, coming up with insane demands and changing their minds about what was on their Christmas list every eighteen seconds from dawn until dusk, which in December in Australia is about 16 hours.

This year I spent December dangling Santa over my children’s heads like a jolly fat stick shaped carrot. I punctuated the long idle hours with threats to inform on them to Santa for all their wrongdoing.  The irony was lost on me until now of the time I shouted at them that if they didn’t stop dobbing on each other I would tell Santa they were dreadful and that he shouldn’t come. After Christmas I had to change tack and I began threatening to throw away their presents if they didn’t behave. This threat was rendered entirely hollow by me spending the rest of the time complaining that there was no more room in the bins because of all the toy packaging.  (more…)

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img_1639Hooray, December is upon us! Like a crushing weight in your heart! Upon us like a thousand years of late tax returns!

I don’t quite know what it is about December that makes me so down in the dumps every year, except oh yes, maybe I do. Maybe it’s the way the end of the year looms like a horrendous deadline for all the things you promised yourself you’d achieve this year and didn’t. Maybe it’s all the things you have to do and buy and attend and make a costume for and take a plate to. Maybe it’s because you have to decide on a Christmas tree.

Historically, choosing a tree hasn’t been a problem in our family. Because historically we’ve just bought a massive chopped down tree if we are going to be at home for Christmas, and used a large plastic tree if we are going away.

But this year, although we are home for the holidays, H has come over all Sting and doesn’t want a nice chopped-down pine. He’d rather we have a tiny potted facsimile of a Christmas tree that you decorate, leave inside for a fortnight, then banish to the garden, before you go to haul it out next Christmas and realize it is dead, just like the lovely big purpose-grown Christmas tree you passed up this year. He thinks he is saving a Christmas tree life, but he is wrong. All Christmas trees are meant to die. That is their purpose. They are the gladiators of the tree world. We kill them for our sport. (more…)

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I’m doing that thing I always do when I come back from new and wonderful, and I try to transport the lifestyle. When H and I went to Borneo by steamer sometime back in the 1800s, we came home and bought an entire pantry’s worth of ingredients to make complicated sambals and rending pastes, not to mention buying five limes for what would have bought us 100 kilograms of them in Kota Kinabalu.

I’m doing the Scandinavian equivalent. I’m eating rye bread and smoked fish, putting dill on everything, and being genuinely baffled at why everyone is so loud and rude and demanding. Why can’t my children be more Finnish, and refuse to make eye contact or talk to me? Why can’t they be more like the Swedes, and dress effortlessly stylishly and get about on bikes like it’s normal? Why can’t they be more Danish and tidy the fuck up occasionally? (more…)

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IMG_8591This weekend, the Sydney Opera House will come alive with challenging premises and audiences will wrestle with a variety of thought-provoking concepts when the Festival of Dangerous Ideas kicks off. My parents are going to heaps of things at this festival, including Alexei Sayle’s talk ‘Thatcher Made me Laugh” and ‘The Government We Deserve’ presented by Annabel Crabb and David Marr. I will be staying at home with my children, while H heads off to Perth for a few days. But that’s no reason not be challenged and wrestle with ideas. I’ve decided to run our own Festival of Dangerous Ideas, as programmed by my almost four and almost six year olds. Let me know which sessions you want to see. (more…)

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