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Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

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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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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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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img_0069

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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mbupwall

We are disgraceful: this was one of only two photos we have of anyone in this family doing anything even vaguely athletic, while also not being naked. The other choice was H carrying 9 pizzas, which I agree is pushing it as an illustration of a post about the Olympics.  

We’re all sick this week. I’m pretty sure it’s Olympic Fever. Being sick and living with your parents is basically exactly the same as being world-class athletes in the Olympic Village: we’re living away from home, trying to be on our best behaviour, and spend much of our time accusing each other of drug-taking. I don’t have proof that it was H who took the last of the proper Codrals, the ones with the real speed in them, but if I’m tempted to turn him over to the IOC nonetheless. As if they’d care.

 

This is the first Olympic Games of Garnet’s life. During the London Olympics I was pregnant with him, and I watched a lot of sport that fortnight, lying on the sofa, shoulder deep in a bag of salt and vinegar chips, so you’d think something would have seeped in by osmosis, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case.

I mentioned to him this morning that archery is in the Olympics and he said, ‘No, sport is balls.’

‘I generally agree with you there, Garnet,’ I replied. ‘In my opinion sport is complete balls, but nonetheless, archery is in the Olympics.’ (more…)

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