Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another technology driven PC detox

I think the Hill PC has finally carked it this time. My usual tricks to coax it back to life are failing. And giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to an inanimate object is beginning to look a little suspect. Desperation isn't pretty. So I am falling back on my blessed library, again.

Its been a wet week here in Central Queensland. It has rained daily for most of the day for about two weeks and is forecast to continue for another week. As you know we live in a shed. Cooped up in a 56 sq m space with two boys and NO INTERNET ACCESS is driving me a little loco! All the things I could be reading, writing, researching.... but alas no. Time is spent mopping up the water that seeps (gushes) in under our door due to the overflowing gutters, and attempting to wash the boys clothes after they frolick in the muddy puddles. Am beginning to think my pledge to never buy a clothes dryer is under threat.

Twice this week the bridge to our township was closed due to it being overtaken by the flooding waters of Reliance Creek. Its a phenomenal sight. But better if you are on the side that you want to be, and not waiting on the other for it to subside

I'll show you photos if ever the PC is resurrected.

I hope you are all well and dry and enjoying some sunshine. Send some my way, won't you, please?

Until I grace the local library again, keep well.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Yesterday was the 4th Anniversary of my Wedding to Alan. I remember it is four because it is one year less than my eldest sons’ age and one year more than my youngest sons’ age. We’ve fit a lot into our four years of marriage (six years since we met at The World’s End Hotel – so apt!). There’s been a son, a wedding, another son, an interstate move, an intrastate move, a move within a town and a move up a hill. We are both Arians – perhaps this constant need for change and moving forward is indicative of that? Or we just bore easily. Either way, we like to put ourselves through experiences that constantly seem to rank in the top 10 most stressful things to do. Thankfully thus far we’ve avoided the awful ones of divorce and death (and long may we continue to avoid those!).
We don’t tend to celebrate our wedding anniversary very fancily. Yesterday morning I gave him a card and his present – two packets of Natural Confectionary Company Licorice (his favourite).  Yesterday evening he brought home take-away pizza and gorgeous cakes for a family dinner al-fresco. (We were going to be all posh and eat in a restaurant but given the bridge had been flooded out earlier that afternoon I’d decided to stay put. Given the wetness of the wet season so far, someone is going to be getting an inflatable raft for Christmas).
But that’s us though. Low-key. Family oriented. Our wedding was lovely. We had our ceremony and reception at a homestead in their beautiful garden. All in one place so no traipsing about; everyone available for photographs.  Our wedding cake was a delicious croquembouche – yay for eating with hands. Our music was played and sung by our immediate and extended family - I walked in to my sister-in-law singing John Denver's 'For You'. (Read Bern Morley's post for more 'wedding songs').  It was intimate and peaceful and friendly and fun. We drove ourselves home in our full wedding outfits singing ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ to our very well-behaved but very tired by then 11 month old son.

You don’t have to be married for long to realise that despite all the organisation of the wedding day, it is but one day out of many days and will soon become a distant but cherished memory – a bit like childbirth in that respect.  It is all the days ever after that require the preparation and effort and care and attention. And so it should be. I like being married and I like being a mother and although it can be tiring and draining, it gives me joy enough to want to do it always.

Sometimes it can feel like this

So, to my lovely husband thank you for four marvellous years and here is to many more. May they continue to be joyful and interesting and loving. And I re-iterate here as I did four years ago these few words from my vows to you:

I asked for a man who would make me happy, and I got that, and much more besides.  I got a man who knows that the most important ingredient in any meal is the love and care that went into making it; who makes music that can break my heart, soothe my soul and make me dance with wild abandon, who makes me feel so comfortable and at ease that I feel I’ve known you all my life and perhaps beyond.

I got someone who I trust with my life and my love. I am so very lucky.

And I give to you, someone who will always appreciate you, who will honour your trust and commitment, who will share your dreams, return your affection and join in your laughter. I give you someone who will love you all the days of her life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Semi-self imposed PC detox

The computer is stuffed... again! It has been playing up for months and months and has been repaired twice but to no avail. Think the monitor (LG - 2nd one to stuff up on us) is the culprit but can't prove it - all evidence thus far is circumstantial.

I'm currently on the pc at my lovely, awesome local library (I am the loudest, but FASTEST typer here!)

Have decided not to rush out to get the computer fixed. A) have better things to spend money on - bills (!), speeding fines (!!) and my big boy's 5th birthday. B) it is running my life instead of the other way around.

I am looking forward to the detox actually (although not completely stopping as my mobile phone has Tribe and can access FB and Twitter for free). However, no computer at home will hopefully give me one less but very big distraction. Time to actually engage with my two boys instead of thinking about something to Google. (Look up SunnyMummy for a great blog entry re 'engaging' again).

I've got lots to do this time of year, as we all do. My H's 5th birthday for one, and getting him ready for school the other. Uniforms to buy, trips to the school to get him acquainted. Can't believe I'm 'grown up' enough to have a school boy son!

Have finally decided on the school. Possibly the one that will be less convenient but the one that we think will be best for H. It has a separate little campus for the Preps, a Junior Campus (Yrs 1 and 2) and a Senior Campus (Yr 3+). I like the idea of little areas and moving campuses as a way of moving up the year levels. It seems a lovely little (700+ kids!) so far.

So I will be endeavouring to enjoy some 'dis'connected time from technology and a reconnected time with what is truly important. Hell, I may even do some housework.

So until I come into my lovely library again, wishing you good health, wealth and happiness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Asking life's big questions...

Yesterday evening whilst dining alfresco on a sumptuous meal of home-made (man-made by hubby and the boys) pork schnitzels and red cabbage and apple, I was absent-mindedly peeling the label off the back of the beer bottle (James Boag if you need the detail). From across the table comes a sly wink and ‘how ‘bout it’ kind of look from my husband.
In my young adulthood (and probably a little bit before) it was decided by whom, I do not know, that peeling the labels off beer bottles was a sign of sexual desperation or as we’d probably have termed it ‘horniness’, or ‘gagging for it’ or something equally as sophisticated and erudite.
Being from South  Australia it was quite common to go out and see labels of Cooper’s Pale Ale and Sparkling Ale lying on pub tables, and occasionally stuck to the sweaty forehead of some utterly trousered young ‘un.
Your Shout!
It has been a long time since I’d drunk in a group of mates and certainly not among ‘young people’ for a long time and I was wondering, does this supposition, that label peeling is a deep-seated psychological indication of sexual neediness, still hold true today?
What do you think?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Sunday I am looking forward to

I love Maxabella's 'This Saturday I am grateful for' and thought I would follow it up with my own 'This Sunday I am looking forward to'.

As a school kid and an employee, Sunday evenings were filled with a little bit of dread at the week ahead. Well, lets turn this around and decide on things that we will look forward to instead. (And now that I don't work outside of the home I don't have that 'job dread'  but do have 'job envy' instead!).

This week I am looking forward to:

  • being clearer headed, reducing distractions and getting down to the nitty gritty. Time to get my caca together!

  • getting more engaged with my boys. I am an 'observer' by nature but my boys will only be young and un-self-conscious for so long. Time to get involved IN the silliness. They especially love singing the Beach Boys' 'Don't worry Baby' (although for a while it was 'Don't worry Marvin'. I don't know who Marvin is?!), so we'll play and sing and dance along to that I think.

  • Hubby came home saying he had a 'surprise' on Friday night for this coming Friday. He has organised a babysitter so we can go out for a wedding anniversary dinner. I'm looking forward to this of course. Also have to admire hubby's smarts for telling me a week in advance so that a) I can prepare but B) so that he can dine out on the brownie points he's earned for the week in advance AND the week after!

  • I am looking forward to the sunshine that I am hoping will come after a week plus of overcastness and rain and drizzle, which I'm sure the whole east coast is experiencing. I'll try to enjoy it for more than just its practical ability to dry my washing!

  • And if this fine weather keeps up I'll take the boys to the Harbour to the playgrounds (old and new) where I can take in views like this of the Whitsunday Islands (and dream...).

What are you looking forward to this week?

Link up here and let us know what you're looking forward to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Saturday I am grateful for...

In keeping with Maxabella Loves ‘this Saturday I am grateful for:
·         Modern medicine – hello anti-depressants!

·         For friends near and far, relatively new and those I’ve had for more or less half my life. For reading my posted-unposted-posted-unposted blog entry about the return of my little black cloud of depression. Who gave me ‘we’re thinking of you’, ‘we’ve been there’, ‘you’ll kick its butt’ words of encouragement and support. A kazillion thank yous

·         For my husband. The eternal optimist, the conqueror of problems head on. For him coming to realise that listening is helping, and that giving me a hug is a powerful black cloud combatant

·         For my boys for being joyful and silly and funny and loving. You’ll get me through.

·         For the Beyond Blue website for all its information and assistance. And especially for this little reminder about why I am prone to depression
             High-risk personality being: 
·         A lifelong worrier
·         A perfectionist
·         Sensitive to personal criticism
·         Unassertive
·         Self-critical and negative
·         Shy, socially anxious and having low self-esteem.

A good reminder so that I can keep those rampantly negative, nasty, pessimistic thoughts at bay
·         For all the blogs whose owners admit their own depression. So comforting to know we are not alone. For blogging full stop for giving an outlet to creativity, self-expression, a safe place

Today I am especially grateful that my husband is doing the grocery shopping (he is much better at it) and who is braving the barbershop with Mr 3 who vocally and vociferously detests getting his hair cut. Thanks Hon! x

If you or anyone you know is showing signs of anxiety of depression. Beyond Blue is a great resource. http://www.beyondblue.org.au

Friday, November 12, 2010

The house that Hooli (wants) built

As shed-dwellers you can imagine that the building of ‘the house’ is a common goal and much speculation goes into what kind of house we would like, what rooms we’d have and where, and especially how to take the most advantage of the almost 360 degree views (without spending $300,000 on glazing...). While pouring over my latest, gorgeous copy of Sanctuary Magazine (eco-builder wannabe porn) I have given some more thought to the idiosyncratic features I would like my ‘dream’ house to have (warning: more dot points).

·         My sons will have their own bathroom, 90% of the floor will be a drain. 10% of the floor will be a very narrow bridge between the door and the bath/shower. We will collect the greywater from the bath via the drain and that alone will sustain the 1 acre of semitropical rainforest on our hill. It is a complete circle of life – the mud they subsume into their clothing and skin from the property will be returned to the property.
·         80% of the ceiling of my husband’s own private toilet will be exhaust fan. Self-evident.

·         My toilet will have its own bookshelf. And a reclining toilet if such a thing exists by then.

·         I will follow Virginia Woolf’s advice and have a ‘Room of My Own’ (and the current $AUD of $500 a year – hopefully). In MY room I will have all the furniture that I have had to prevent my husband from donating to hard rubbish collection (he lacks all sentiment for my childhood bedroom furniture). It will contain all my books (including outdated uni textbooks). It may possibly also contain a home brandy distillery and a life-size cut-out of Colin Firth. It will be double-insulated to be soundproof. Whether this insulation will take the form of padded walls is yet to be determined.

·         It will have a big, open concrete bunker-esque type rumpus room – aka The Boys Domain. They (husband, two boys) can run amok here. Drum kits, pool table, Wii – whatever – they can do their boots. I will not hear them in my womb room.

From New Directions in Australian Architecture, Stutchbury & Pape Architects

·         This concrete bunker will also double as our cyclone shelter. At first warning of the approaching cyclone I will be airing this room out of all congested testosterone induced aromas *shudders*. Windows will only be closed at the sight of the first cow flying over our roof. Boys stink.

·         It will have a freaking awesome verandah (sorry, outdoor room, entertaining area – whatever Jamie Durie is calling it) on which we ‘will watch lightning crack over canefields, laugh and think that this is Australia’.

·         It will have a gourmet kitchen with European appliances in which my husband will whip up sumptuous meals while his apprenctices (the boys) assist as part of their training to be the 2015 and 2017 Junior Masterchefs.  It will also have a microwave for the nights ‘Mummy’s cooking’ so I can reheat the leftovers.

·         It will be so freaking environmentally sustainably, passively solar, wind-generated (from the inside – boys!) that David Suzuki will ring and ask to board with us.

·         Cupboards and drawers won’t have handles. I hate clutter!

·         It will be self-cleaning. That was a given, right?

This isn’t too much to ask is it? I’ll be the perfect client for any architect, builder, tradesman (shirt on or off). As long as the final product is so awesome that Kevin McCloud  (pause for Kevin McCloud *swoon*) flies out all the way from the UK to do a special episode of Grand Designs. That can happen, right? Now where is my 2B pencil and graph paper - I have a home to build.

What rooms or features would you like in your dream 'if only' house? Especially, just for your benefit...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'Its all academic'... a little self-indulgent reminder...

I'm trying to find my old university assignments on the external hard drive thingy. Its been updated semi-regularly, generally when there is a cyclone approaching. I just wanted a little trip down memory lane to remind myself that before pregnancy hormones and years of breastfeeding (can intelligence leak out through the nipples?) that I did once have a fairly good brain.

I may be cheating with the majority of this post in that I am going to include a poem I wrote as part of my Honours thesis five (5!!) years ago. And let me tell you, I ain't no poetry writer. Not having studied poetry (avoided as much as possible), I don't know if it is any good. It may be a little too tied up in my thesis (a thesis about women and comedic writing) to be understood generally. I'll introduce it only by saying 'it came to me' while soaking in a bath, during my thesis writing years.

Here goes...(complete with footnotes perhaps?)

A Womb of One’s Own

A ‘womb of one’s own’ at the End of the Mile
But for the dog’s whine conversing with the gurgling of my belly

Pitch dark
No candles even, to seduce myself with
Amniotic bath water

And like a HB pencil shaded over a coin
It will reveal the imprints and ridges of today’s massage
I feel tomorrow’s bruises today
I’ve been worked over and over
Pushed and pulled and prodded
Looked forward to it for days
It has wiped me out

The silence is deafening
(To use a worn out cliché – but I feel just as worn)
I’ve avoided this silence for weeks
It loomed too large
My mind is unmoored
It soars away from this floating body
I worry that I will never get it back
But I also worry that I will
Would be a shame to reign it in so soon after release

My mind is quieter with external commotion
It is soothed by white noise – it’s boisterous Other
Random, unorchestrated, omnipresent sounds
Noise which comes from nowhere and everywhere
Saying everything, meaning nothing
Does this make white noise ‘feminine’?[1]
Externalised, Othered, illogical and multivoiced
Many theorists would say so
How can ‘white’ noise be feminine?
It contravenes binary oppositions

Darkness penetrated by sensory light
Tripped in neighbour’s yard
Lights, camera, action
Star in my own ultrasound video
Study my hands and fingers
Moving like a flamenco dancer’s, only slower
Rediscover proprioception
Where am’I’, in relation to my-‘self’?

He answers another emergency call
‘She was staggering down my street’ he blathers
‘She’s holding her baby in her arms
There’s blood
It’s everywhere
How do I cut the cord?
The umbilical cord, how do I cut it?’

You’re asking the wrong girl
Mine’s still attached
It is a long cord of cables, wires, optic fibres, bits and bytes
Hello and Goodbye
Open and Send
‘Mum, make him leave me alone’
‘Mum, what’s for dinner’
‘Mum, can I borrow $20 bucks’
‘Mum, he’s leaving me alone, how can I make him stop?’
This cord is strong
Stronger than vines
Like Tarzan we will swing from these cords
Through our own jungles

The releasing of cords starts outside my office window
Men and women escaped from the maternity ward
It is too real in there
They pace
And pace
Squats punctuate contractions
‘Get a room!’ I scream at them, silently

Inhale, I float
Exhale, I sink
Simulated hypothetical drowning
Unlike Virginia at the end of her life
The womb of her own
Was not a small domestic suburban bath
But a river
That had been somewhere and was heading elsewhere
But I’ve never been ambitious

I want to stay in this bath forever
A second chance
A reincubation
I could develop again in this womb
Play me music through the locked door
(Puccini, I like Puccini)
Speak to me, so that I will know your voices when I am reborn
Intellectual stimulation in-bathroom (not in-uterine)
I would regenerate
To start anew
But could I survive out there?
Born agains can be difficult to bear

Obtrusive mobile vibration and precocious beeps
Disrupt my reverie
If I were to drop the phone
Would I die in my womb of my own?
A circle of life
Just like technology wants

Cordless, remote and senseless [3]

What do you think? Should I give up my day job? ;-)

[1] ‘… it is quite common for women’s writing like their speech to be regarded as trivial: “’The silent sex’ was never considered to be actually non-speaking.  Talking constantly, women emitted chatter, gossip and foolishness.  Gushing forth torrents of empty words, babbling contradictorily, all sense cancelled out, leaving merely white noise”, Gallop, 1980: 274 in Mills, S. (1993) Discourses of difference: an analysis of women’s travel writing and colonialism, Routledge, London and New York: 118
[2] See M. Klages,1997, ‘Notes on Hélène Cixous “The Laugh of the Medusa”’, University of Colorado,
http://www.colorado.edu/English/ENGL2012Klages/cixous.html, [accessed online 26th September 2004]

[3] With respect to écriture féminine, ‘…Cixous stresses that the inscription of the rhythms and articulations of the mother’s body which continue to influence the adult self provides a link to the pre-symbolic union between self and m/other, and so affects the subject’s relationship to language, the other, himself and the world’, S. Sellers, (ed),1994, The Hélène Cixous reader: edited by Susan Sellers: with a preface by Hélène Cixous and foreword by Jacques Derrida, Routledge, London and New York: xxix

Monday, November 8, 2010

Elegant sufficiency

We have a little tradition in my family that once we have finished a meal we declare we’ve had ‘elegant sufficiency’.  Which whatever its origins  (elegant sufficiency definition)  , is a beautiful thing to say. I’ve had enough and what I had was elegant and I enjoyed it.

We don’t seem to use the word ‘sufficient’ any more. And certainly not in relation to what we have. It seems increasingly difficult to find that emotional/physical line between what is enough and what is too much.

As I’ve mentioned before I live in a shed with my husband and two sons. You can see a photo below. It certainly isn’t fancy, it certainly isn’t big at 56 square metres. But it is sufficient. It is shelter that keeps my family dry in a very rainy wet season; it keeps us comfortable - warm when it is coolish and cool in a warm, humid sub-tropical climate. It has so far kept the winds out and we will find out in a predicted prolific cyclone-season whether this will remain the case. But so far, so good.
So my ‘laundry’ is outside – a washing machine under a verandah – but it still washes the clothes. Sometimes to free up space in the shed we move the dining table under the big verandah – we are happy to dine al-fresco and look out over our verdant, hilly, cane sugar and cow strewn surrounds, serenaded by cicadas, kookaburras and gobbling bush turkeys. Yes, we use a dinner set that I bought for my ‘glory box’ (oh I was so old-fashioned and daggy) over 15+ years ago but they hold our food perfectly, the cutlery set I got for my 21st, on tablecloths (when we’re being posh or have guests) that my mother handed on to me from aunts before her.  I sleep on pillow cases I bought when I was 18 years old and my boys sleep on a Holly Hobbie pillowcase I had as a little girl. I’ve managed to hang onto a ‘hutch’ (bookcase/ drawers) that was my brother’s and I first piece of bedroom furniture.  
And I am completely comfortable with this. They may not be new, or pretty or ‘trendy’ but they are functional and they have history. Why discard something that remains useful?

I love op shops and the hunt for perfectly good, sometimes funky, items of clothing (a gold cheong-sam my all time favourite find). And it isn’t, as someone once told me, due to low self-esteem and my not feeling ‘worthy’ of new or expensive clothing. (!!!) It is because the items still have value – their $ price is irrelevant to their usefulness or prettiness. It saves the planet from having to produce the resources to make more stuff. And the money goes to good causes. Buying brand new seems to make less sense from any rational viewpoint than re-using and re-imagining already existing items.

‘Minimalising’ is popular and there is a movement of people who are endeavouring to have less in order to have more. To consume fewer physical things, so that we personally aren’t overwhelmed with clutter and the inherent responsibility to store and maintain what we own. To be less busy doing things we feel obligated to do or don’t enjoy doing in order to spend more time with loved ones in soul-giving pursuits. It would do us and our planet a favour to embrace sufficiency over excess. Adequacy over endless growth.  Appreciate what we have before pining for a new thing that will satisfy for only so long. And often isn't it for show, the proverbial 'keeping up with the Joneses'? And how often, deep down, do we really even like the Joneses? Why is their opinion the gauge of our self-worth?

This isn't to say that I don't covet the new or want pretty things. And it certainly isn't to say that I know the 'sufficiency' line when I am eating! I don't as my waistline and arse would attest. 

However, I do think we should bring ‘sufficiency’ back and brand it ‘elegant’ once again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'd rather my child was gay than...

In follow up/ conversation with these preceding awesome posts Nerdy Apple Bottom and Woogsworld, I have come up with another list (damn my love of dot points) in response to those people to whom being gay or looking like anything they perceive as gay or effeminate is too much to accept.   This is at the risk of putting forward any of my own (mainly political) prejudices.
These are in no order other than how they sprang to mind:

I’d rather my child was gay than a heterosexual...:
·         bully
·         rapist
·         paid up member of the Ku Klux Klan
·         paid up member of the Republican Tea Party
·         Sarah Palin
·         wife beater
·         child abuser
·         person who is disrespectful to little old ladies or men
·         fraudster
·         armed robber
·         corrupt cop
·         that abuses their position of power or responsibility
·         unable to take responsibility for their own actions
·         who commits genocide
·         bigot
·         who destroys or denigrates the environment for their own gain
·         who claims to be Christian but lives a judgemental, closed minded life
·         member of the board of the Commonwealth Bank and voted for a doubling in the mortgage rate rise. (See Bern Morley's The only way is up - baby for a fantastic evisceration of banks).
·         moronic thug footballing type of any code who does what his mates do because he can’t think for himself
·         exploiter of others

I know from experience the difficulty gay people have in coming out, and in continuing to not be themselves to those they know won’t understand or accept them. It is such utter bullshit that they feel they have to do that.
I for one believe that homosexual couples should have the right to marry and to have children if that is their wish. When that happens it will go some way to de-stigmatising homosexuality or bisexuality or whatever.  When all people share the same rights and responsibilities then hopefully differences or variances in sexuality or any other aspect will be so utterly irrelevant as to not be a point of discussion.
It will start with us and our kids and we can make it happen.
Do you agree? Feel free to add more.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You know it is going to be a long wet season when...

Your sons get creative with the mud that surrounds your house like a medieval moat. And relax, I know it is mud, although it looks more sinister and worthy of psychoanalysis.

Oh God I hope it rains before the mud sets and before hubby gets home - I can't be arsed washing the car.

Only 3-4 more months of this. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Two reasons to be grateful

My second son is turning 3 years of age in 3 sleeps and my first born son will be 5 in about 7 weeks. I am very lucky. Not every woman is so lucky. A good friend of mine has written a great blog – a personal and insightful blog about the trials and tribulations (in a very real sense) about trying to conceive through IVF, frustrated by a series of gynaecological problems and the added issue of being in her 40s. Please read TickingClock67@wordpress.com

Of all the luck I’ve had in my life (which isn’t the lottery winning kind, just the lack-of-trauma kind of luck) falling pregnant without trying, on both occasions, is one of the life altering ones. And one I admit to have taken a little for granted. In fact, when I did fall pregnant I focussed more on my good fortune to fall pregnant to this man I adored than to any of the other mistakes drunken fumblings  potential sperm donors it could have been with.

I fell pregnant 6 months after meeting my now husband. With my first pregnancy I initially couldn’t work out why my PMT was lasting for weeks without resulting in a period... d’uh! Shows how much my brain was taken up with ‘lurve’.  So it was a good 6-8 weeks before I knew I was pregnant. (And upon doing the test, at home, alone, did a very good impersonation of Hugh Grant in the opening scenes of Four Weddings and a Funeral).  We ‘planned’ the second pregnancy, if, by planned you mean, ‘is it time we tried for a second baby?’ ‘Yeah, sure, why not’.  And within weeks – bada bing bada boom. We deliberated more about moving interstate than we had to about having children.

So fortunate, so fortunate.

And I know now from this friend and from others, that it isn’t so easy for all. That so many women who want children don’t get to have them at all, or don’t get to have them without a major cost financially but more importantly physically and emotionally. 

And of course I feel so sad for them, for having even the merest inkling of what it is like to so keenly want something it isn’t entirely in your power to get. I always wanted to have children. I was the kind of girl who would ask to hold any baby within sight, who would so happily rock other people’s babies to sleep. And in my 20s, single, I started to hear a very feint tick of my biological clock too. I remember late one night sitting on the couch and imagining and even feeling the weight of a baby lying on my chest asleep. It was so real and so wanted it brought a tear to my eye and caught my breath. I can only imagine the pain of wanting a baby more acutely and desperately and passionately than that. To willingly subject your body and your relationship with your spouse to so much intrusion and pressure in the hope of conceiving, carrying and birthing your own children.

But now I’m a mother myself I wonder other things too. Now that I’ve had the children I always longed for I realise that they aren’t the be all and end all that I imagined. That while they are fulfilling they aren’t all consumingly fulfilling – that they fill a void but not all the voids. It is an open secret among brave women who admit the truth, that having children can sometimes feel a bit of a let down; that it doesn’t live up to their expectations. That motherhood doesn't live up to all its hype.

And I worry about the women on IVF who undergo so many medical interventions and sometimes so many cycles of hope and joy and disappointment before falling pregnant (if they are lucky). Will they experience a much more pronounced sense of shock when they have their long desired children and they find out it isn’t what they hoped or imagined?

Or in fact, are they (for the most part, we can’t generalise here as anywhere) more grateful for their children and less likely to dwell on the more dreary, mundane, depleting aspects of motherhood? Are they so grateful to have their babies that 3 am feeding time is an unutterable joy? Can they wait through a 2 year olds’ temper tantrum with good grace? It’s not that black and white, I know. Motherhood is nothing if not a grey area.

I do know that despite all the drudgery of motherhood I should be grateful for the safe arrival of my children into my life as if I did have to fight and struggle for their existence. That in the ‘shit sandwich’ that is motherhood that I focus more on the bread and less on the shit (although there is so much actual shit...).  I have been so very blessed to have children of my own and I should (though won’t always I know) remember that before I whinge, raise my voice, or wish myself away to a deserted tropical island. 

To those women who can’t have their children as easily as me, I wish you all the luck and grace the world can offer, and all the strength required to cope with having children or with not having them. Mothers, if you need a reason to be a little more grateful for those little creatures that gave you stretch marks, incontinence and who test your patience at every turn then click on Ticking Clock (in my Blog List). It is written with honesty, humour and hope - balanced out with reality. If you or any friends are facing IVF, they might find it helpful.
Motherhood isn't easy before or during, but it is a worthwhile pursuit for those who want it. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What does bread have in common with feminine hygiene products?

The things you read on a bread bag. 'At Helga's we like to make our bread happy and carefree'. Really? So apart from anthropomorphising a flour and yeast food product and endowing it with human emotions, they are marketing this product with the same lines that promote tampons and associated 'feminine hygiene' products?

I can picture it now... a sunny day, a sandy beach, waves crashing, a loaf of bread and a slimline pack of tampons frolicking carefree ... or windsurfing perhaps?

Whatever next?

What other odd ads like this have you seen?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Presents not just my presence will be required

My second son turns three early next week. (Three years of age going on about 15 years as far as I can make out from his attitude!). We live a fair distance away from our families, as in the 1000s of kms. Grandparents have already asked for gift ideas and so I have given out some that I've been able to rustle up. However, that has left me short of ideas for what to give him from us! I struggle to think of gift ideas for anyone, including myself when anyone asks me what I want. Although the older I get the more 'diamonds' seems to be a fitting answer.

I went to Toys R Us today and wandered the aisles seeking inspiration. As is often the case, very little was forthcoming. I just so resent spending $50 for plastic rubbish that serves only a single function - and a pointless and not very interesting one at that. A dancing Buzz Lightyear? What's the point? Surely any kid could use any doll and make it dance, at the very least in their own minds eye. And as for other horrendous toys to purchase, check out WordWigs blog http://biancawordley.blogspot.com/ for the hideousness of modern children's toys.

And given we live in a space of 54 m squared - including cupboards and furniture, less will have to be 'more' for the moment.

I have tried to get a gift that can fulfill each of my son's talents and interests - he is arty so I've got some paints and stamps (soon to decorate our walls no doubt); a bag of bouncy balls to satisfy his throwing and hitting urges (he's got better hand-eye coordination than his mother), a plastic lawnmower so he can mow the lawns (all 2.5 acres of it) with his Dad, and more Hot Wheels cars - because we can't seem to have enough.

Individually wrapped and included with the gifts that will arrive from grandparents and a few friends for a party, he will hopefully have a good day. And if that fails, he doesn't have long to wait till Christmas (*shakes head in gift thinking horror*.

How do you think of the right gifts?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'd rather be...


Obviously right this instant I am writing. But this is just a quick writing. I want to be doing looooooooooong writing. The kind of writing where my mind is detached from my physical self and is plotting, constructing, dreaming and scheming. Alas, today that will not be.

As I've said before I am the Mum of two boys. We are home from a lovely weekend away and today I need to wash the clothes and restock the fridge, and, probably, pay my children some kind of attention. I need two selves (as a minimum).

I'm new to this blogging thing and am really excited and invigorated by it. By reading everyone else's blogs and writing my own. But admittedly I am struggling with how to fit this in with my real, physical life. I am a 'head' person. A daydreamer, a reader. Its hard to do this and be a Mum and wife. There must be a way because you are all doing it with such style, grace and elan! I will read and learn. If any of you need a mentoree then I'm your gal!

So excuse my quick, self-focussed blog entry today. Tomorrow and the next day I (semi)shamelessly have my two boys at child care ('kindy' for the almost 5 year old). Tomorrow I will burrow myself into the Shed, and into my head and worm my way out with hopefully some coherently worded sentences and fully realised thoughts.

Here's hoping!

Meanwhile I must convince the almost 3 year old that peanut butter and Vegemite (although wonderful on their own) really don't work in symbiosis.

Till tomorrow, take care.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boy mothering

I am the mother of two sons, almost 3 and almost 5 (I didn’t plan well – I have 2 birthdays, a wedding anniversary and Christmas all in the next 3 months). #familyplanningfail

When I was younger and hubby and child-free I always wanted three children – two boys then a girl. I actually didn’t much focus on the husband aspect, given that I always knew it was easier to fall pregnant than to find a male to want to spend the rest of my life with. Fortunately for all involved I found one (in hindsight single-motherhood is not something to opt into if given a choice). I imagined that the two older boys would be the protector of their younger sister – pseudo-bodyguards of a sort.

So life goes on, meet lovely man, fall pregnant, have son, get married, fall pregnant, have another son. Second son not a sleeper, little high maintenance and within 6-8 weeks I turn to husband and say ‘you need a referral to a surgeon, get that thing snipped – we are not going again’.

There was NO argument.

And I wonder sometimes how I’d cope with a third child (answer: I would but probably not well) and especially a girl. I’ve been a girl. It’s tough. I’m glad I don’t have to raise one. In wanting sons perhaps I remain blissfully ignorant about what it takes to raise boys. I probably thought it was a little like husbands and dogs – keep them fed and rub their tummy occasionally.

Whatever awaits me, I know it isn’t as easy as that – I’ve read Steve Biddulph’s ‘Manhood’ (and there is another book about raising sons given to me by my mother-in-law somewhere – she must think I need the help). I have the usual fears about boys and their increased penchant for risk – fast cars, faster women but overall I am loving the boy mothering. Here’s why:

• I’m the special one in our family. The only one without a ‘doodle’. Thankfully they haven’t asked for a name for what I do have, they just point at my absence (I could write a whole feminist essay on this quoting all the relevant French theorists, but I can’t be arsed). I am the ‘other’ but am happy with it in this instance.
• I get to show them and teach them about the right way to treat women. Politely and respectfully. I will soon teach them that diamonds are the answer to every problem.
• They like being physical – running, jumping, lifting, wrestling, playing in mud – they make full use of the bodies they are given and are sensible risk takers.
• They’re extremely happy in their own skin. Mostly naked. Sadly most of the funny things they do is when they’re naked which means I can’t share it with their family over the www because one or the other of us could be arrested.
• They have good imaginations – they ‘fish’ off the top of the rainwater tank – not into the tank which is fully enclosed, please don’t send DOCS.
• They don’t panic or get too frightened of anything. The other month our property caught fire, slowly moving up the hill. While the Rural Fire Service put out the fire, my boys were demanding crumpets with honey and the making of a Thomas the Tank Engine track. If two fire trucks and 8 firefighters don’t get their attention I’m not sure what will. But we don’t have any nightmares.
• They’re just as happy to get a $2 Hot Wheels car as anything else. Cheaper and healthier than lollies – although slightly more difficult to pass through the digestive system
• They like to ‘help’. No #1 son thinks he’s old enough to work the microwave and the electric frying pan. No #2 son thinks he has the knife skills of a Japanese Tepanyaki chef. However, he also loves to clean the toilet with the toilet brush (score 1 for Mum!). Turns out Toilet Duck isn’t a childproof bottle.

For all the arguments, roughing up and aggressiveness that can sometimes be the life of boys, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Seeing the gentleness of my boys with each other and with their friends, and for all the cuddles, kisses and raspberries on my tummy – for all this I am a grateful boy-mother.