Thursday, June 27, 2013

Farewell, Google Reader

Google Reader ends on Monday. Nada, adios, no more. If you are feeling sennimennal, you may enjoy this lovely piece, where a writer examines his life through the feeds he no longer needs. And if you would like to follow my blog on Bloglovin, you can click on the little widget to the right.

I'm in bed willing the sticky-outy bit on my spine to retreat back into its correct place on my anatomy so I can go ahead with my afternoon plans, which include the long, long overdue taming of my witchy locks at the hairdresser.

Please, baby George,  stay asleep for another hour.

Please, spine, behave.

Please, Australia, get your political shit together.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thinking Woman's Crumpet

I have quite a thing for Russell Brand. In this interview he puts three morning TV presenters in their place, firmly and masterfully. Ooh. La. La.

Also, I'm getting really excited about Before Midnight - I love Julie Delpy. I'm thinking Keith and I might have to have a couple of catch-up date nights revisiting the last two films in anticipation.  Ethan Hawke did a great AMA on Reddit recently. He's a thoughtful man.

Finally, a Tim Minchin interview on The Nerdist podcast. I love this guy, composer of the most unromantic love song ever.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

25/52: A Portrait Project

An attempt to capture the spirit of my smallest baby Georgette, by documenting her in a photo every  week         for a year. See more at Jodie's 52 Project.  

One of the best things about having kids is dressing them in hand-me-downs, especially ones that hold special memories. Georgie is at the end of a long line of local little girls, so her wardrobe is an eclectic mish-mash of pre-loved goodness, and somebody at the school drop off is always having a nostalgic moment remembering their own child in some part of her outfit. This coat came from my old friend Sal, who wore it in the early 70's. Right now she is pregnant, so this coat will wing it's way over to Lausanne to dress another toddler in a year or two.

Thanks Sal!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Being The Mother Of A Son

One of the many wonders of my life is my four-year-old son Theodore. He is affectionate and noisy, warm and curious and kind, and I will never forget that first moment he was handed to me in the hospital. Red as a beetroot, and covered in blonde fluff, he looked like an angry orang-utan. Joy burst over me. A son! My son! My little boy!  It was electric, that moment, and something of the magic of it has never left me.

I take my job as his mum seriously. What his future holds, I don't know. Will he be a travelling minstrel? Petty criminal? Hairdresser? Molecular geneticist? At the minute he has rock-solid ambitions to be a baker with a shop called Teddy's Yum Yums, where I have a permanent table,  but, sadly,  I must face the the fact that this may not unfold as planned. So how should I raise this boy? How can I try to equip him for life? I have a few ideas. 

1.    1. Supply him with books.
I    I am told that the day will come when my barnacle boy will no longer beg me for cuddles (cue the sound of my breaking heart).  Apparently when boys reach a certain age they lose the ability to speak, and you are forced to interpret grunts and facial twitches in lieu of actual conversation.  For years now, I have been building a massive weaponry against this adolescent wall o’silence. It’s called the bookshelf. My teenager's collection, which grows with every school fete and Salvos visit, covers the spectrum from Judy Blume to Puberty Blues to The Outsiders to Bukowski to Nick Hornby.  I hope that opening up many worlds to my boy will help him to understand the lives of others, and to give flight to his dreams. I hope that in tough times, when he feels he cannot share his worries with anybody, that books will help him to feel less alone. I also hope that the wide sea of relationships he can explore in books will give him a more realistic picture of sex than the images he is likely - heartbreakingly likely -  to see on the internet. I take the job of supplying this alternative narrative of sex and relationships through fiction very seriously. It’s not like I anticipate easy conversations on the topic with thirteen year old Ted. ‘Sit down, darling. It’s time for Mummy to talk you through the layered gender politics of lady-bush.’ Um, no. Yet, I think the grip that the porn industry has on the net is viciously strong, and the messages it sends to young people are false and damaging. I don’t want to be creepy with my kids, but I am not afraid to let The Joy Of Sex (original Euromuff edition) be creepy for me.
     Of course, I hope Teddy’s instinct will not be to eschew reading altogether. I imagine, in fact, that this might be a pretty sweet rebellion against his nerdily eager, bookish mother. (Note to self: be cool, tool. Be cool.)
2.    2. Be happy in his masculinity.
Guilty as charged, yes, I am raising this boy to be a feminist like his wonderful dad. And like his dad,  I want him to feel proud that he is male, with all of the biological and social machinery that make men the fantastic creatures they are. I want him to glory in the strength of his body, and the magic of male friendship, and the man-flavoured thinking styles that will provide contrast to the thoughts and imaginings of his sisters. I feel lucky that this boy will be bringing his man-baggage to the family table, and also that he can carry all the shopping bags in from the car. (I’m told he will eat four cows and a half-ton of Weet-Bix every day, starting pretty soon, so this seems only fair.)
3.  3. Cherish his emotional self.  
It’s important to me to help Teddy to find ways to express his inner life. Music can be wonderful for this, so I’m going to try my best to have him learn at least one instrument, and I’ll pass on the cathartic wonders of really just belting the balls out of a  power ballad.    I hope to teach Teddy the language of feelings, helping him to pick through his worries and fears until he feels more at peace. I want him to know that vulnerability can be strength.
4.    4. Be his soft place to fall.
In the final reckoning, I cannot protect my little  boy child from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and mean bosses and bad decisions. He’s going to hit the wall sometimes, have his heart stomped, fail painfully. My main aim is to be here to hug him and talk to him, make him laugh, stroke his fluffy head, as long as I’m alive, no matter how big those arms and legs get. He's on his own for most of the road he has ahead, but I have these few years to do what I can to smooth the path. Me, and his amazing, thoughtful dad, who will be a beautiful role model to the little boy he loves so much. 
Several other bloggers are writing today about being the mother of a son, Lexi's idea,  a group response to the awful fanny-bashing that went on last week here in Australia. Read and enjoy. x

Meet Me At Mikes -
Kootoyoo -
Sadie and Lance -
Pigeon Pair -
Hugo and Elsa -
Checks and Spots -

Monday, June 17, 2013

That Time Ivy Cuddled The Dalai Lama

I'm in bed as I write this, bone tired after a 5am start to the day, weary with that kind of fizzy, adrenalin-dump exhaustion you feel after an emotional experience. 

This week, Ivy has pulled out her first two teeth, graduated to a big bunk bed, and this morning she was incredibly lucky to be included in an on-stage panel with the Dalai Lama at the Young Minds conference in Sydney. 

It's all happening so fast! 

My little baby!

Ivy asked the Dalai Lama a question. 'My favourite book is Nim's Island,' she said. 'What is your favourite book?' He thought as he held her hand. 'I like books about space,' he said. Ivy was utterly tongue tied up there under the lights, big eyes taking in the cameras, the microphones, the huge audience, the smiling man in the big orange dress... She was so brave, so little, smiling her gappy smile and pulling nervous comedy faces. The Dalai Lama cuddled her. He sat her on his lap, and he held her head and blessed her. All the while, Keith, Ivy's two grandmas and I watched from the audience, bursting with pride as we clutched each other and told everybody in the surrounding rows 'She's ours! She's ours!'

For me, it was a rite of passage, of sorts. That was my little girl up there, having this profound and meaningful encounter, this  experience that she will remember long after I'm gone. I felt the weight of time. The wondrous gift of being the guardian, the champion, the minder of a small human. I imagined the unexpected paths that Ivy might lead me down, and I felt so lucky to have the chance to be watch her life unfold, however it may.   

Friday, June 14, 2013

This Funny Lady Made My Ribs Hurt

Sexting? Arkward.

One-night stand,  through lady-glasses.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

22/52: A Portrait Project

An attempt to capture the spirit of my smallest baby Georgette, by documenting her in a photo every  week         for a year. See more at Jodie's 52 Project.  

Jazz up your outfit with a  hat.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Muddy Good Times.

Three in gumboots played together today. George is into everything the big kids do. I too! It's her mantra. I too! I too! She wrecks everything, of course, and I have to remind her infuriated siblings what they were like as toddlers. Ivy, banging her head on the floor in anger. Teddy, shouting 'You are bum!' at anybody who annoyed him. So sweet, these toddler moments, so hilarious in the nerve-shredding at the time. 
Life with little ones. 

In the mud of the front yard  Ivy decided to build a wall with the fallen oranges off the tree. Ted and George collected mud for her. 'Oh my god,' Ivy said. 'If this works, it is going to be the best thing I have ever built.'

It didn't work.

But it was a good time. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pictures of Poo and Other Dark Corners of The Internets

Life, she busy. The term is cranking into top gear, as this mother so hilariously described this week. Perhaps my favourite part is where she shares some tips on managing homework readers: 

“No, we don’t have to read tonight.”
“We already read.”
“When I talk to you during the day, that’s like reading. You have to listen to the words I am saying and then make sense of them. It’s really hard work for you. It’s called auditory reading. We’ve been practicing all day. I’ll write the minutes down in your log.” 

A note came home from our school this week asking parents to remind children not to use the library computers to look at inappropriate content. 'What happened, Ivy?' I asked with perhaps unseemly excitement. 'Somebody googled something really naughty.' she said. I pressed for details, and she thought for a while. 'Like, 'pictures of poo' or something like that.' 

Oh, my little darling, I thought. Never grow up. 

It's been a bit of an up-and-down month, emotionally. This mother beautifully describes the sense of being occasionally 'paralysed by it all'. The existential pain of housework, and the relentless forward-motion of parenthood.

Life is so good. But it is hard work too, yes?

I am downloading an episode of Mad Men for tonight. I shall apply it as a soothing balm to my minor worries, along with hazelnut chocolate, a cup of tea (or three) and an early night in preparation for a quick visit to see my little sister in the countryside. I wish you the same small joys this weekend, but however strong the temptation, you must resist the urge to google 'pictures of poo.' It is the absolute worst possible thing on the Internet.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This Is Working At The Public Library.

1. A pair from the University of The Third Age sit at the table next to me. When Lady Senior first describes her personal project of learning Esperanto, I think 'Oh my god.  When I retire, I am so learning Esperanto.' Twenty minutes later, 'For the love of fuck, please stop talking about Esperanto before I stab myself in the eye with a pen.' Also, flirting techniques for seniors: 'Oh, you so don't look like a grandmother,' followed by a tone adjustment to Low, Earnest, Really Listening levels and adding 'And are you fully ready for that change in your life?'

2. Stupid hipster barista gives me a dirty look when I asked him for more coffee in my coffee. A cup of foamy milk is not a latte, dude. I am not the twit here. You are the twit! You are the twit! Say clever and cutting things to him inside my head. Actually not very clever. More like 'You think you're so good. But you're not.'  

3.  Accidentally pour hot coffee on self and shriek 'Fucky fuck! Fuck!' Quietly accept dirty looks from amorous seniors. Bad library behaviour. I am the twit. 

4. Apply Pomodoro Technique to writing work and struggle to focus for twenty minutes. Sadly realise have the attention span of an adolescent chimpanzee. Unfortunately have more responsibilities. 

5. Check time for optometrist appointment and think about frames for reading glasses. Realise that while mocking seniors next door, I am in fact, tripping, metaphorically, on the heels of their orthopaedic sandals. 

6. Mmmmmm. Orthopaedic sandals.

7.  Seniors are leaving, perhaps for the early bird dinner special at the club.

8. Mmmm. Schnitzel.

9. Young man with wild hair has just set up his laptop opposite mine and is now eating Jaffas by the handful. This is why I love the library.

10. Stingy young bastard is not offering any Jaffas and now all I can think about is Jaffas. This is why I hate the library.

11. Totes! Awks! Male Senior just turned and stared intently at me for an uncomfortable moment. Was he thinking about his 'personal project' and forgot to turn off his staring gaze? Have I been mumbling out loud again? Or, sick of talking about Esperanto, is he turning his Casanova stylings to the coffee-stained, muttering woman to the left in the 'outfit'?

9. Realise that while I have been gently mocking seniors in my head, they have spent all morning engaged in light erotic banter and unpressured research. Meanwhile I have a busy afternoon in front of me full of cooking, cleaning, chaffeuring and refereeing who 'started it'. I am the twit. I am the twit.

10. Mmm. Retirement.