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Just before dawn yesterday I had one of those very special nightmares where you wake, unable to breathe from the horror, saying to yourself, ‘It’s all right, it was just a dream. It was just a dream,’ before going back to sleep and having the bastard dream resume exactly where it left off. That’s not supposed to happen. It was a classic anxiety dream, the details of which I will not relate because nothing is more boring than other people’s dreams.

H disagrees. He likes hearing about other people’s dreams, presumably because he is a psychologist and it’s some sort of revealing diagnostic tool. Often in the morning he’ll ask me if I had any dreams. I like to answer, with a sad, faraway stare, ‘Once perhaps. But not for years. They’ve all crumbled into dust now.”

I think maybe I’m supposed to ask him back about his dreams, but I rarely do. He tells me anyway, and they seem to frequently feature me being way more fun than I am in real life. (more…)

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FullSizeRender 4I haven’t written a blog post for a while, because I’ve been trying to write my novel. When I say ‘write my novel’ I mean telling the (slowly developing) plot to anyone who will listen, and thereby reducing, slowly but surely, the number of people who might read it, should it ever be published.

It turns out this writing a book lark is harder than it looks and, like so many things in life, not made easier by having two small children about your person much of the time.

Neither is it made easier by going on a demented health kick, which is what I am doing at the moment. I am exercising to the point of great agony and simultaneously reducing my brain fuel. I am pretty sure I am losing brain weight, which is not where I have it to spare. (more…)

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IMG_4828The House of Gusto is, at the time of writing, two days free of the sound of jackhammers. I’m not saying it is connected, but the sun has come out from where it has cowered behind rainclouds for weeks, in the hope of not losing its solar hearing and its tiny sun mind. I expect it found, as we all did, that clouds are not very useful ear protection, but I do understand: it had to do something or it might have exploded, which would have been dramatic but catastrophic.

I, sadly not a celestial being, had to remain here on the earth that quaked every day for eight or nine hours as the diggers ripped through the sandstone layers a metre or so from our house. I did go mad and on several occasions came close to becoming a supernova. Not in a good way.

I yelled back at the small people who yelled at me and the large people who didn’t. And we all did have to yell a lot to make ourselves heard. There was a lot of bursting into tears, wailing, putting ourselves and each other into various time-out situations.

It was very unpleasant and more than one person close to me suggested I might like to start back on the happy pills since perhaps it wasn’t healthy or normal to be quite this miserable about pretty much everything. My response to that, as it has to be when you are trying to tell other people that you don’t need medication for depression, was calm and measured, delivered with a joke and a smile.

I told them all that I did not think this situation was normal and that if and when the fucking jackhammers ever stopped, that I would then take stock of my mental state and see if this was maybe just a bit of jackhammer-induced lunacy I was experiencing and then we could all look back and laugh.

Now the jackhammers have stopped, I am feeling much better, but like that person who keeps singing for a few lines before they realise the stereo has blown all the fuses and there is no more music or light, Garnet has continued to shout.

He’s having several tantrums a day at the moment, and they are very loud and full of woe. My clever and sensitive friend Kate, who has a similar model of four year old, tells me that they are just experiencing the internal conflict of realising the world of independence is beginning to open up to them and being utterly terrified that the world of independence is opening up to them. But she is wrong. There’s nothing internal about Garnet’s conflict. It is very much external. It echoes off the other side of the valley.

So I have replaced jackhammers with the anguished screams of a young soul in torment. On Monday, when the jackhammering was still happening, I went outside to ask them to stop fior a couple of minutes so I could get Garnet into the car without blowing his eardrums. The builder obligingly stopped, and he and his colleagues stood there as I hauled a furious and crying Garnet out to the car. He was making far more noise than the jackhammers.

As I tried and failed to strap him into the car, then turned and carried him back into the house, the builders watched with looks on their faces that clearly said ‘Yeah, how’s that quiet break in the excavation working out for you, love?’

Poor old Garnet. I gather that this is a normal enough part of his development, but it can’t be any fun for him. He’s as happy as anything when he’s not behaving like lava, but he is quite easily set off, especially by May Blossom interrupting.

She has reached the age where she can sense the ebb and flow of conversation well enough to get away with interrupting. I remember trying to figure that out when I was a kid. My brothers and I were told not to interrupt, but then if we listened to the grownups talking, it was clear that their whole conversation relied on interrupting each other, to some extent.

When you thought of something relevant to say, if you waited until there was a quiet moment, it was too late and you sounded like a dullard who just thought of that interesting thing to say when the conversation had well and truly moved on. It was as frustrating as fuck.

When you crack the secret of when it’s ok to interrupt, the world of conversation opens up and life is just so exciting. May Blossom is there. Garnet is not. He’ll get there, but in the meantime he cries a lot when May Blossom leaps in while he’s still trying to gather his thoughts and get them into words.

I’m working on some strategies to help us all. One strategy is leaving the children with my parents and going to Melbourne with H for a long weekend. Another might be to get a conch shell and making a rule whereby only the person holding the shell can speak.

But it’s probably a slippery slope to start using Lord of the Flies as a parenting manual.

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gingerbreadhouse16

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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wewillrockyouMy dad is not a fan of musicals. He has long professed that his favourite musical, if forced to pick, is Westside Story, because all the noisy people get shot at the end. So it was with some trepidation that I went to see We Will Rock You with him last night.

We Will Rock You is a musical by Ben Elton, based on the songs of Queen. When arranging the tickets I made very sure Dad was aware that it was a musical. With musical numbers in it. Sung by people in character. It’s a singy play. You know, like an opera but less in German, and with more drums. There’s going to be dancing. There’s a high likelihood of the audience being bullied by the cast into clapping our hands above our heads in certain parts. Are you really sure you want to come, Dad? Because Mum does want to see it, and if you’re just going to come and have a sitting-up nap or fume all the way through, please allow me to not get you a ticket. (more…)

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beststart

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. (more…)

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Endofdays

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. (more…)

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