Sunday, February 26, 2012


I just don't write about the crying.

Christmas 2006. 

True, it hasn't been the down on your face, lying on the bathroom floor with the door locked, wracked with grief, sobbing until there is nothing left but that eerie deadness inside, kind of crying since I've been here.  (The day after that I found out I had lost the first baby and I still have to work on convincing myself that that amount of grief did not kill my baby.)

It sucks.

I don't think I am strong enough to go through anything like that again. 

But I think people should know that it hasn't always been this easy.

"I ran away again last night," she tells me. 

And I recall my desperate flight south from Altdorf.  South because north was Stuttgart and traffic.  South because you could just get going as fast as you wanted to without anything standing in your way.  A freedom in the swiftness of escape, in the fields of rape seed flying past at 120 kms an hour. 

A flight south to Switzerland, stopped only by the reality that I hadn't thought to bring either of my two passports and that I wasn't in any fit state - red-eyed, snot-nosed, vacant stare of desperation - to meet either Swiss border guards or German ones on the way back.

Hmm.  Even in the worst of it, there was always thought of a way back.

"At my worst I huddle in a corner, and I can't explain it...there is like this barrier between me and the world."

Uh yeah.  The hairs on my arms stand up as I recall THE NOTHING, the fog that creeps in around you, the heaviness of submersion in it, as if it is a real viscous liquid, making movement difficult, the days that you can barely move your limbs, that just getting the frozen pizza out of the oven and heated for the kids is a chore. 

The days, weeks, months when the fog got inside my brain and erased the person I am.

Ryan and Andrew recall me huddled in a corner in the kitchen.  I didn't know they knew.

It's what keeps me terrified to sleep when I am tired.   What if it's not exhaustion, but the beginning of the fog?

"It's all right.  It's all right."  I tell her.

Most of my closest friends share some of this pain.  Maybe it's what draws us to eachother, before we even know.  Most of my closest friends are also the most creative, interesting, inspiring and loving people I know.  (Interestingly enough the rest of my closest friends - and yes, I mean you Babette - are these totally centred, balanced oases of calm, who seem to be drawn to my whirls of erratic energy, creative in their own rights, but stabilizing as well as inspiring.)

"Everything strong comes from something broken," a friend has written.

"Trust your journey," another friend sings.

Dear friend in my arms, trust that you can do it.

I have to believe it, because I have to believe that I already have.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Awake with the Kookaburras

Uncle Don and I had this competition going when we were up at his place in Mapleton last month.

"So, when were you up this morning?"  he'd ask.

"Up with the kookaburras." I'd reply.

One of our neighbours.
The kookaburras start laughing at you right before sunrise.

Which is about 4:30 AM.

Ha ha.

So that, when Ian DOES sleep through the night  (and I mean THROUGH the night, 8 PM to 5 AM through the night and not the piddling 5 - 6 hours the baby books tell you ought to count as sleeping through the night.  Who are we kidding here?!  Although, in retrospect, I would have paid good money to get that much sleep when I had the twins.  Or Andrew for that matter!)....

So that when Ian DOES sleep through the night he is just my favourite little bald man in the entire universe.

He's totally alert and ready for a morning stroll at 5:30 AM.

This will only keep me amused for so long, you know!
Who can blame him?  I'd love to be carried around the block at that hour too.  Make sure the trees are still where they were the day before.  Come back in for a second breakfast.  And then take a quick snooze right about when the other three boys wake up at 6:30.

Idyllic really.

It just sucks being the mode of transportation and the breakfast cart!

Then again, the sight of the kookaburra sitting out on the fence, never fails to cheer me up.

Never mind that he's only watching out for the cane toads who commit suicide in our pool.

I like to think that he's laughing with me, not at me.

Matthew helping out before school.
As I put Ian in his cot and trudge back up the stairs for the third breakfast seating of the day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

And Another Thing About Dieting

Has anyone else noticed that the weight goes on bottom to top but comes off top to bottom?

July 3, 2006.  Good thing about two babies in front of you is that it makes the rest of you look really really tiny in comparison!

I mean, how unfair is that?

I'd lost 3 kgs (about 6 1/2 lbs) last week when a friend at school asked me if I'd lost weight.

Yes, I admitted shyly, I have been working on it for a couple of weeks now, thank you for noticing. 

"Yeah, your face looks really thin again." she added.

Uh huh.  Three pounds per cheek.

And not the cheeks that needed it either.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reality Diet and Exercise

I've only ever sent one book back to Amazon.  It was a diet and health book written for women.  It began with the words: every woman should take the time to wake up slowly and have some time for herself each  morning.
I was livid.  Who was this lady kidding?!

One week to go
I've had similar issues with a recent diet and exercise plan I signed up for online.  Free.  Through one of the television stations here. 

Even if I did have the time to shop for all the exotic produce on the menu, there is no way at all I would find the time to spend over an hour making up a salad.  Sorry, it's rip off the lettuce, slice a quick tomato and some mushrooms if I got em, maybe a cucumber and sprinkle it with sunflower seeds if I'm feeling particularly fancy. 

Yesterday I simply took the head of lettuce out of the refrigerator, ripped off some leaves, and shoved them in my face on the way out the door to pick up the kids.  Honestly, who has the time?!

Matthew and Aidan eat a rainbow
This morning I poured the granola cereal into the bowl.

And then poured it back into the box before driving the kids to school.

This strategy seems to be working for me.  I've lost ten pounds in three weeks.

I 've tried the so-called sensible diet plans.  Is it just Australia or is everyone eating every two hours now?  I mean honestly, who needs this sort of pressure?!  I'm generally already running behind by 10 AM, combining morning tea with lunch at 2 PM which makes afternoon tea late.  So that I have no appetite for dinner.  And do I HAVE to stay up for evening tea?!

Second brekkies (also known as morning tea) at Aunt Merle's
Can I just stick to boiled eggs, baked squash and tuna fish, please?  Plus that nummy lettuce I can now eat on the go!

Then there's the exercise.  This seems like a reasonable thing to expect.

I started when the baby was 6 weeks old.  Up at 6 AM anyway.  Might as well take a walk.  Even found time for 20 minutes of AM yoga.  And evening too.

The first week.

By the second week Ian had figured out he didn't like the yoga tape. 

So I tried abs.

You'd think I'd get the six minutes in to do abs, wouldn't you?

No really, which one of you kids is going to tell Meka and Opa I'm having a baby?
I gave up until I ran into one of those women at a pool party recently.  There I was, fat and happy, breastfeeding and eating and in walks this petite, slim but curvaceous (still breastfeeding the last one) redhead, her three children, ages 3, 2 and 10 months, all dressed in khakis and grays like something out of a Bennetton commercial.  I put down my chips long enough to think "crap." 

It's bad enough these people exist in magazines ads but do I really need to get to know them personally?!  (Yes, really, her first two are 11 months apart and the third 18 months behind that.  Australian powermums can really put the rest of us to shame!)

I had to admit - she was really really nice too, the bitch! - that if she could exercise with three toddlers I could probably figure out something to do with my four month old.  Who is still more of a weight belt than anything at this stage.  So now I do baby triceps and baby situps and baby squats.  Ian really likes the baby squats.  I had to do them through a Parents Coffee at the school recently to keep him quiet.  He'll actually lift his legs to his stomach and grunt along when I do them.  Baby butt raises work well too since you can sing "Hoopah Hoopah Reiter" to them and bounce the baby on your belly to the rhythm.  He really gets a kick out of those.  He's laughing AT me, not with me, when I do situps, but I try not to mind.

The neighbours are getting used to seeing me carrying him around the block "Minion" style in the Baby Carrier on days when it is neither too sunny or rainy.

Which means that most of the time we end up doing baby laps in the pool.  Until fairly recently this was a private affair since baby laps involves me bouncing around the pool with Ian in front of me singing childrens' songs and dancing.  If I'm happy and I know it clap my hands, bum bum.  If I'm happy and I know it clap my hands.  I also do a mean hokey-pokey now.  I can really boogie.  I got the legs up and the hips a swinging and some really fancy footwork going, thinking I am really good here, I don't need Zumba and....

Then a friend pops up unexpectedly telling me that she just hopped the fence (they DO that here!) because the neighbour's twenty-something year old son told her I would never hear her knocking on the door what with all that singing and dancing going on.

Oops.  Caught.

Baby laps anyone?  11:30 my place most mornings.

And afterwards I promise not to feed you either!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Use Your Hands, Luke!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

Or just this week, on a continent on the other side of the globe...
Hey, how come I have to be Leia?!
my boys are dressed in black and white, chasing eachother around the house with lightsabers.

Matthew, who has always had a predilection to power, is Anakin BEFORE Vader this morning.  He's dressed - to kill as it were - in black sneakers and jeans, an inside out black Spider-man Tee and a black plastic vampire cape we bought for them all when they went to school dressed as Harry Potter for 'Come As Your Favourite Literary Character Day' last year.

Aidan, as Luke, is wearing grey sweatpants and a white shirt. 

Defying the space-time continuum as only childhood can, Anakin and Luke team up to go and combat the real bad guys.

As I sit in the armchair breastfeeding baby Leia. 
(Harry Potter is spread across the sofa immersed in a Horrible Histories book and not taking part in the action this morning.  He's got his list of spells at his side and his hand-made wand at the ready.)

"I wonder who'd win, Darth Vader or Voldemort."  Andrew ponders.

"I guess it would depend on if the Force is magic.  Or if magic can defeat the Force."

Pause.  "I bet Dumbledore can defeat Darth Vader though."  And back to the history book.

We get questions like this all the time and so, as mother to a number of great and powerful Jedi warriors, I have one of my own.
What does it take to get ANY of you people to actually pee INTO the toilet bowl?

Not around it, not near it, not onto the rim and into the corner.

But actually INTO the bowl itself.

Quick hint.  That's what it's there for.

It is not there as a reminder or as a suggestion or as a "give it your best go" as you pull down your pants mid-battle with the enemy and take a vague general swipe in a vague direction.

I'm begging you people, stop peeing on my floor and pretending not to notice.

Ah hell, who am I kidding.  Noone's pretending. 

I'll even leave the lid up for you to make it easy.

But you do have to place your body part somewhere near the bowl to ever have a shot at it. 

That's right.  Slow down.  Put down the light saber.  Well, yeah, THAT light saber, put it down.

Do I have to make you people SIT to do it?  How utterly un-Jedi would THAT be?

Although, if you ARE sitting, because you know, sometimes you about aiming the little guy down in the right direction? 
Luke and Leia with two knights who later swapped head gear for lightsabers and became Jedi
I mean, I'm all cool with the whole "using the Force" thing, really I am.

But when you pee, how about giving it a go with your hands instead?

At least until the Force gets better aim.

I'll be Dumbledore can hit the toilet.

Jean Luc can DEFINITELY hit the toilet.

And as Trek creeps into Wars ( I really DO need to get more sleep).....

To boldly go where no man has gone before.....INTO the toilet bowl.