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Nine Lies

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It turns out my kids are lying liars who lie. On Saturday night, my brother, SuperChief, babysat Garnet and May Blossom. They totally saw him coming. Here are nine lies they told him. He wrote them down and presented them to H and me on our return and I have transcribed them here. Anything in quotation marks is a direct quote from the child in question. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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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?’)

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tupperwareWe’ve had a spate of rainy days in the last few weeks, which means May Blossom has spent less time in the backyard ostensibly decorating the bricks with pavement chalk but really improvising the face make-up of the characters from Cats on herself and her brother, and more time inside immersing herself in imaginary worlds. Some of these imaginary worlds are fantastic: ‘The Witch in the Woods’, for example, or ‘Castle Doctors’ (tending to people who have been run through with lances, or have splinters from battering rams, or have burns from boiling oil). (more…)

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hugsHappy New Year from the House of Gusto, where we specialise in creating problems for ourselves, and then complaining about them! This year has kicked off in fine style, with a wonderful country holiday featuring daily trips to swim in the sea, huge and delicious meals with friends and restful afternoons on the verandah.  A perfect life, you might say, if not for the issues of Sleep and Cats.

Why the italics, you might ask. What has Gusto done to merit that? Nothing. Gusto is being an exemplary feline. It is the jellicle cats that are the problem around here. The cats created by T. S. Eliot in his 1939 book of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and made more annoying to the power of infinity by Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1981. You see, about three months ago May Blossom, Garnet and I tagged along with Other Jess to a Year 6 Production of Cats at the school where she works. It was pretty amazing. And just like that it became, like Singin’ in the Rain and before that the song ‘1234’ by Feist, a complete obsession for May Blossom. (more…)

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So sweet, you’d never know they have tiny ear canals brimming with filth and germs. Nor that the one on the right is about to throw up in that car seat.

My big brother emailed me today with two queries. ‘When you gonna blog again?’ and ‘How’s your wedding Adirondacks?’ The second question is easier to answer. The Adirondacks to which he refers so grammatically incorrectly are two chairs that he gave H and me for our wedding present. We got married in April 2009. He dropped off the chairs yesterday. They are flat-packed and likely to remain so until we achieve a vomit-free week in this household.

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nearly 3-1

Tomorrow is May Blossom’s third birthday. If you’d asked me three years ago what I thought my life might look like now, I would have looked at you like you were crazy, because I now realise I never really looked much further than a few days ahead.

Pregnant, I could only focus on the birth. Once I had a newborn I couldn’t picture her as a toddler. As a toddler I couldn’t picture her as a pre-schooler. When I was pregnant with Garnet I couldn’t see how I could ever love another baby. Until a few weeks ago I couldn’t picture ever being able to work again for money. But lo and behold, here I find myself, 20 hours short of three years into this mothering business, and this morning, while my daughter rather too expertly navigates her way around ABC’s catch-up channel on the iPad, her 10-month-old brother naps in the pram, and I sit in the window seat writing this, I have already worked for three hours. It is 9.15.* (more…)

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