Archive | January, 2013

No one said marriage would be easy.

29 Jan Holsbys wedding day

Holding hands on our wedding dayI caught up with a girlfriend recently and she was all ablush with the first glow of love.

She had met someone amazing. He inspired her, he understood her, their physical connection was electric and her whole world was turned upside down.

She thought she had met THE ONE.

Exciting stuff, right?

One minor issue stands in the way……

Not that long ago I stood on a hill, one summer afternoon, and I watched her say ‘I do’ to the man who was then The One.
She has grown disillusioned by her marriage, and disconnected from her partner.

I do not judge the situation, nor her actions, but the conversation we had that night has brought up a lot of questions for me.

I asked how things had been going in her marriage lately and as you can imagine, things hadn’t been dandy. She felt they weren’t connecting, he didn’t understand her anymore. The spark of electricity was replaced by a smoking fizzle.
They just did the day to day stuff. Work, home, food, kids, bed, and do over every day……..

‘IS THIS IT?’ she posed.

It’s a damn good question, because when you say ‘I do’ you’re vowing to be together forever and, in reality, forever is a really long time.

A long time to never have the butterflies of a new admirer.

A long time to never have another first kiss.

A long time to never feel the electric moment someone’s bare tummy touches yours.

She asked me if I was happy and I told her that I was, and that I was content….she replied ‘what the f*ck is content?’

Is content a bad thing to be?

I’m no relationship expert, as you know. This is my first long term relationship (over 12 months) so I’m really making it up as I go along, but one thing for know for absolutely certain -

MARRIAGE IS BLOODY HARD WORK.

I don’t mean hard work like Sudoku, I mean hard work like Burma Railway.

Marriage is hard because after the excitement of the first kiss and the first bare tummy rub (or other bare rubbing parts) dies down, what’s left is actually fairly unglamorous. What’s left is a roundabout of peaks and troughs that sometimes feel like you’re lost at sea, and you can only hope your boat is seaworthy.

Mortgage payments, phone bills, broken toilets, sleepless nights, finding time for yourself, arguments over housework…..this is the shit that makes relationships difficult. None of it is ground breaking stuff……but it is the toiling grit of daily mundanity that grinds you down in time.

We live in a fairly disposable society these days, so it comes as no surprise that the divorce rate is so high. You know, when the going gets tough (and other Billy Ocean songs)……

Do you not think the previous generations have felt marriage disillusion or dissatisfaction?

Of course they did. So, why is the divorce rate so high now?
Do we quit too quickly? Give up too easily and just keep on moving on to the next thing, like we do with phones and computers and shoes?

You know the secret to a successful marriage?

Wanting it bad enough to work at it.

The thing about these feelings of dissatisfaction is that you must address them head on, for the elephant in the room will become the size of Godzilla and this will only breed contempt…..and contempt will kill your relationship faster than a crying toddler kills your sex drive.

You need to stop looking at the bits that give you the shits and focus a little on what you do like about them. Maybe once you remember those bits, the faults won’t seem as massive and unconquerable. We’re not ever going to change our partners. Sure, you can train them somewhat, but you can’t change them, and trying will only cause rifts.

I think that marriage is a choice, and I know that fidelity is a choice, too.

I’m sure it’s exciting to feel all of those thrilling ‘firsts’ again, but you really need to remember why you married someone in the first place, and if you stood face to face in front of your family and friends, and pledged forever, then maybe you owe it yourselves to try to find your balance again. I think you can reconnect, but I think you really have to want to.

Because it’s hard.

It’s hard considering someone else. It’s hard being honest about your feelings all the time, and having round tables when you just feel like going to bed. You have to work out those niggles before they become relationship cancer.
And you’ll fight. Of course, you will….. But do it with respect, and sit down and listen to each other after.

Obviously, if it’s over, it over. Sometimes people drift apart and the chasm between them is too vast for the tenuous fingers of love to reconnect, and I’m never going to advocate trying to flog a dead horse.

Someone I admire said to me recently ‘No one ever said it was going to be easy’, and I had to smile.

Bastards. Could have warned us.

Do you know someone asking the big questions about their marriage? Share this with them….maybe it will help in some way.

What do you think keeps a marriage strong?

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Middle Eastern inspired BBQ lamb fillet with broccoli tabbouli

28 Jan

lamb and broccoli tabbouli ingredientsI’m not entirely sure how lamb became the unofficial meat of Australia Day. One would be more inclined to think it should be sausages, but some very clever advertising from the lamb industry has rendered them the star of many bbqs on the day that we celebrate the ‘discovery’ of Australia.

I use inverted commas because, of course, Australia was discovered a few times before this official date, and let’s not even go there on the fact that it didn’t really need to be discovered at all because a very noble people already owned the land and had done for a very long time……but I digress. This is a recipe, not a political statement.

Back to clever advertising, I reckon the Sam Kekovich lamb ads are great. This year is not my favourite but after working in advertising (audio side) and seeing a gazillion crapola ads, clever writing stands out of the pack. I often have a giggle at the Australia Day ads that’ve been released annually since 2006.

If you’re not from around these here parts….check it out. This was the first one, and there’s one every year….this year the old boy even gets his Gang Nam on whilst trying to recover from Lambnesia!

This recipe was supposed to be up in time for Australia Day but we’ve had a little blip in our schedule this week and things have not run as smoothly as the corporation would have liked……thankfully, this lamb can be eaten any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the…..yeah, that.
This rub works on lamb chops too, and to be totally honest I’ve actually put it on chicken and fish also. It’s a super simple Middle Eastern inspired crust.

Broccoli tabbouli is a new discovery for me. My trainer was talking it up recently and the idea piqued my interest no end. I like broccoli, I like tabbouli – what’s not to love, right?
It’s incredibly good for you, and although I used freekeh, which I just adore the nutty taste of, you could use quinoa, or burghul, or cous cous or whatever.

Yield : 4 plus leftover salad, which rocks with tuna FYI

What you will need :

  • 500g lamb loin
  • 2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • a head of broccoli, wizzed in the food processor until finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup freekah, or burghul
  • half a bunch of mint, chopped finely
  • half a bunch of parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/2 large red capsicum, chopped
  • a couple of sweet grilled pieces of capsicum, grill your own or from a jar (optional)
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 spanish onion, finely chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • good quality olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons hummus
  • 3 tablespoons Greek style natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa or chili sambal (optional)
  • sumac and/or dukkah to serve

What you will do :

Cook your freekah according to packet instructions.
Place all of your spices into a clean plastic bag (ensure it has no wholes because that would suck), and mix them together. Toss your meat into the bag and give it a good shake around making sure all of the meat is covered.

Pop your meat on the BBQ or under the grill, or whatever. Just cook it good. I’m a medium rare kind of lamb girl, so I do about 5 – 7 minutes per side depending on how thick the piece is.

Chuck all of your salad ingredients into a big bowl, including your drained freekah, and toss with the olive oil and lemon juice.

Mix your hummus and yoghurt together, adding chili if that’s your bag. Drizzle on top and spinkle with your sumac or dukkah. I used both because I like bags of flavour.

Plate it all up and devour. Yum.

D Man liked this wrapped up in a pita bread….I think the tabbouli was a tad tricky (judging by the state of my floor), but mixed with the hummus sauce in a wrap changed the consistency to something more manageable.

Do you have a friend that needs healthy, affordable ideas for feeding their family?

Flick this recipe over to them, maybe they’ll love it!!

middle eastern lamb and broccoli tabouli

Is it kosher to ask someone to shut their kid up in public?

24 Jan

public tantrumI was recently sent a link to the Sydney Morning Herald story about a fracas in a cafe involving the parents of a ‘problem child’ and the peace of other patrons by one of my readers……

Firstly, I was a little bit chuffed. I loved that HE (yes, one of my two non-related-by-blood (to me, not each other) male readers – high five, dude!) thought of me when he read this, but secondly, he was interested to hear what I thought. Just to get you up to speed before I mouth off with my opinion, it went a little something like this.

In a nutshell, this couple, one of whom is the writer of the piece, were trying to enjoy their brunch at a busy cafe when a child at a nearby table started shrieking, not crying or whinging, but shrieking with a ‘piercing, shrill cry that sounded like the child was in pain’.
It continued for a bit and some people left, then it stopped for a bit (presumably when the babycino arrived), then it started worse than before(afore mentioned babycino finished) and continued for ten minutes before the writer’s husband went up to them and suggested they take the child for a walk.
Nastiness ensued, blah, blah, blah, the F word was slung and the bird was flipped. Cafe staff said they’ve had trouble with this particular family before and the child is a ‘problem child’.

Now…..what do I think?

Hmmmmmmm, before I had kids I would have been all ‘hell yeah, shut that freakin’ kid up, yo’ (Breaking Bad has a lot to answer for), but since having kids I’m much more tolerant. I’ve been on both sides of the coin and when the lady glared at me at Fratelli Fresh whilst I was trying to bolt down my pasta and glass of medicinal vino and the two babes at our table, whilst not crying, were definitely not being seen but not heard, I may, or may not, have told her to schmuck off, or something to that effect.

That said, I do think, in a crowded cafe, you have a responsibility to other patrons. Hence my discomfort in that situation. Although I do feel parent’s are absolutely entitled to eat out too, you really shouldn’t do it at the expense of everyone else’s experience.

Cafes are a bit of a nightmare with kids, every parent enters at their own peril, so if it all goes pear shaped, I get embarrassed and high tail it with my skinny latte -one sugar- in a go cup if need be. I get annoyed at my own kids chucking a wobbly, so yes, I do find other people’s misbehaving kids annoying. I think it’s our duty, as parents, to keep our families nice in public as much as possible……not always doable, of course, but something we should aspire to.

The part that kind of makes my alarm bells ring (Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!) is the ‘problem child’ part. It’s a fairly ambiguous thing to say, but if you had a go at someone with a disabled child because they were disturbing your eggs benedict, you do look like a bit of a douche.
It is a basic parental right to have access to coffee, and I imagine if your child had special needs, this is more valid than ever.

So, let’s take this situation away from the parenting vibe for a second and discuss a different kind of disturbance….If a couple had a loud argument would I suggest they go for a walk?
Probably not.

We saw recently when that poor French woman was verbally attacked in a racial slur on the Melbourne bus and NO ONE came to her defence that people, in general, do not intervene in altercations, so why do we see fit to criticise others’ parenting?

I guess I’m sitting on the fence here. I probably wouldn’t have said anything and bitched about it the whole day, so I really can’t blame the dude for taking the bull by the horns. As for the parents, they probably should have eaten their breakfast in shifts whilst the other distracted the kid outside. Not relaxing, but it doesn’t sound like they were having a particularly relaxing time as it stands.

Long story short, enter cafes at your own risk, and try to keep your kids nice, or get it in a go cup.

What do you think? Would you have said anything or let it slide?

A Letter from my Heart to my Bosom.

22 Jan

the girls Dear Girls,

Boobs have featured heavily in the media this week but this isn’t about that. This is a much more personal matter between you and I, and I think it’s time I addressed the issue.

We’ve had a good run with much glory, but I know you’re feeling really sensitive right now.

I know you’ve done it really tough for the last 2 months. You’ve been plagued with infections and bleeding sore bits, but I just want to take a moment to explain to you why I have not given up on you and your ability to continue to feed.

We had a pretty smooth old ride with D Man, huh? We were an awesome team. There was barely a blip in our feeding and you were seriously producing prodigious amounts of the good gear. His fat cheeks and my leaked upon shirts at awkward moments were testament to how well we worked together.

I was proud of you.

In a totally different way to which I’d been proud of you before (trussed up, poked out, hello boys kinda pride), but this was a gentle pride, that you were awesome at your job.

I knew then that the other kind of pride probably wouldn’t feature so strongly anymore, as instead of proudly pointing to the sun you kind of hung of your head a bit and bobbed about like day old, melting Jello, but that’s cool. They make cracking scaffolding these days and, with a little help we can lift and separate like the old days. You have excelled at the one true job you have…..we lose sight of your true calling in the fun bag fracas.

Many people, my doctor included, gently suggested that this issue we’ve struggled with for the last couple months was perhaps an indication that it was time to stop, to let you go into retirement, but I just want to let you know why I was so doggedly insistent to fix things, so we could just go back to the way we were.

You see, dear ladies of my chest, deep in my heart I think this will be your last tour of duty, and I don’t want it to end on bad note. I don’t want to hang up our feeding bras until we’re ready, until we ween on our own terms because we’re ready to set our little one free…..one more little inch of letting our baby go.

I know she’d be fine. Of course I know that. She scoffs her meals like it’s a pie eating contest, and her thighs could body double for the Michelin Man. She’s ready to stop if need be, but I’m not.

Not because of some stupid infection.

So, that’s why I persevered, and I totally understand why someone wouldn’t. It was shit.

And it made me blue, it made me cry……but we got through it, and now you’re better, mostly……and I can go back to being lazy and not sterilising and pumping or organising everything before leaving the house, because you’re already packed.

And you’re feeling ok.

Welcome back. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be calling on you for, but I’m happy we can decide together. You guys, Kiki and I…..all four of us.

You rock,

Me.

PS I breastfeed everywhere I go. I do not cover up, never have. Can’t be arsed.
I’ve fed in restaurants, on planes, at the beach, on trains, in carparks, parks and cafes. In cities, in the country, in Vietnam, in Germany, in Holland, in Bali, in Singapore…..in fact, anywhere I go…….I will not argue my right to do so, because it’s ridiculous.

PPS This letter is to my bosom. It does not imply for one single second that whatever happened with your bosom is anything less than perfect for you and your girls.

Viva la Bosom Buddies.

 

Hooking up with the lovely Jess over at EssentiallyJess for IBOT……

Messy play ideas for you and your kin

19 Jan

messy playGetting down and dirty is so much fun when you’re a kid, but as parents we often only think of the mess….the endless mess that fills our days!

I wrote a little article for Be A Fun Mum yesterday with a few simple ideas of messy play that is not that messy, but loads of fun.

When you’re cleaning about 5000 little messes, a few hundred big messes and seemingly endless poo every day, it’s really easy to dread the very thought of creating more mess.

When my son, D Man’s, favourite toy was his blocks, I could be picking up those lurid little cubes up to a gazillion times a day. He’d toddle up to me with the bag of mega-blocks in his paw, and sometimes I think he loved the sound of all the bits falling onto the wooden floor, more than the actual building.

I can remember once asking my mother-in-law, with the full air of a martyr, “How many times do you think I pick these up in a day?”

“If you were smart, only once,” was her sage response.

Nice.

To read more go here

From my garden to my table – Warm beetroot salad.

18 Jan beetroot harvest

beetroot harvestOne of the redeeming features of living in suburbia is a big garden.

I always dreamed of having a vegetable patch, not because I’m adept at farm husbandry nor even possess a particularly green thumb, but because I wanted to teach my kids about where food comes from.

Thus far our lettuces have been prodigious and our spring onions have certainly sprung. Our truss tomatoes are also worthy of a special mention as there is nary a day that we can’t harvest a luscious, sweet fruit from the vine.

beetroot harvest I’ve had my eye on the beets for what feels like months……the leaves were fab and green, then died, then grew again, and the beets themselves, well…… they’re organic.

I was expecting greater things from my first round of beetroot. My Dad said to pull them when they were the size of snooker balls, but they sort of stopped at an assortment of testicles and eyeballs. I kept hoping for another growth spurt, alas, I think they’d done all they were gonna.

I shuffled a few around in vain hope that they would do something spectular but thus far they’re looking sad, with the leaves lying down and resting (not dead, resting).

This is one of my favorite salads of all time. It’s super easy, quick and tasty and spectularly good for you. I would like to add at this juncture that it also make a fascinating talking point for potty training toddlers, because it is most startling to a novice.beetroot salad ingredients

I admit that I usually make a much larger amount than this but my yield was a tad paltry.

Mess with the amounts to your taste. I like lots of nuts and tangy balsamic.

What you will need :

  • one bunch of baby beets or a few large beetroots, leaves intact, washed.
  • a small handful of walnuts
  • a chunk of fetta, add to taste (I’ve used sheeps this time but whatever tickles you)
  • a splash of olive oil
  • a splash of balsamic, or a squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

beetroot salad
What you need to do :

Preheat oven to 180C

Wash beets and remove, but save, the leafy tops. Wrap beets in foil and place in hot oven for about 30 minutes (depending on size. These took only 15 minutes. Give them a poke and if they yield , they’re ready).

When cooked take out of oven and leave to cool. Take off foil and slide the skins off with a firm thumb.Discard skin and foil.
Chop beets into desired size.

If your beetroot is store bought, your leaves will need to be chopped a bit.
Mine were still little and tender.
Add olive oil to a large fry pan and toss in your leaves, stirring until just wilted.

Chuck in some balsamic or a squeeze of lemon juice. Add beets to pan. Break your walnuts up a little and toss them in, season and take off heat.
Crumble your fetta through, and voila!

Warm beetroot salad loves steak, pork, chicken or fish so it’s super versatile. Roast some potatoes, steam some beans and you are well on your way to food nirvana!

beetroot salad finished

……my littlest heart meets the sea.

15 Jan my girl and I

kiki at beach 8 monthschecking the surfkids playing at beachkiki ok D Man screaming!loving the waterall of us at the waters edgekiki at beachcity horizonkiki happy at beach

 

Shocking Crimes of Nature in Suburban Backyard

13 Jan channel billed cuckoo

Just when you think you live in a sleepy little suburb, you discover something going on in your own backyard that is more dramatic, more shocking, than a long running television series that has mastered the lingering stare (insert Ridge glare here).

This tale involves deception, betrayal, starvation, death and parental abuse and ultimately abandonment, and then hopefully I shall have relief from the constant keening.

A child crying constantly from hunger is, of course, upsetting, but this entire situation was so shocking to my ears that I immediately wanted to help the poor mother involved, but as with neighborly disputes, I knew not what to do.

How best to help?

Let me tell you the story, and you can share the burden of such horror in my yard.

A few months ago, a young mother cruised into my neighbourhood and clandestinely left her baby in someone else’s house. The matriarch of this house has many babies and didn’t notice another, so she takes it in and loves it as her own. Admittedly, she is not known for being especially bright, but she has a big heart and tends to her young’s needs as best she can.

The true parents of this false child go off on a holiday, happy in the knowledge that someone else is raising their kin and they’re free to flit about in the sunshine, lounging by pools and drinking cocktails all summer long. They plan to go and pick their child up when all of the hard work is done.
To be honest, I can see the merit in the plan, but my code of ethics cannot condone these actions.
Stick your kids in a cellar? Sure, but leaving the work to someone else?
Shocking.

As the surrogate child grows, it is evident that it is hungrier than all of the other children so the mother is forced to give it all of the food. The bigger-than-average baby cries all day for food and it’s voice is so much louder than her own children. It bullies her and pushes the other children away, monopolising all of the food and still wailing for more. Within a matter a weeks, her own babies starve to death and are thrown out of the house. This lone remaining child bullies her tirelessly until she is exhausted trying to quell it’s hunger and it just grows and grows until it far outweighs it’s tiny surrogate. It yells at her for hours on end -

‘Food! Feed me!’ it screams whilst chasing her around the house menacingly.
After months of being abused and harrowed, she still tends to this monster baby as if it’s her own, until one day the real parents arrived back on the doorstep to claim their kin.

“Hey, babe”, they say “have you ever noticed that you don’t look one single scrap like your mum?”
“Ummmm?”
“Look, she’s black, you’re not. She’s obviously not your mother, but look at us. We’re just like you. In fact, we’re your real parents and we’ve come to take you away with us to a tropical island destination. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”

And away they go off to Indonesia or New Guinea to bask under palm trees for the winter, leaving a poor confused, probably slightly relieved, if heart-broken mother to cope with her sudden empty nest syndrome.

I have observed this orthal ornathalogic bird saga now two years in a row, and I have a feeling as long as I live in this neighbourhood I shall bear witness to similar annually. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress, and the Channel Billed Cuckoo is a parasitic, if majestic bird.

I’m sorry about your babies, Missus Magpie.

I’m afraid it’s really out of my hands.

channel billed cuckoo

Chewy Salt Caramels…..or Tooth Pullers.

10 Jan

chewy salt caramelOk, so I have a confession to make….I made these before Christmas and totally meant to blog them so you cats could give them away as tightarse gifts too….alas, I had a little issue with my steam running out and I kinda let this one slide.

I needed to do a pick up shot of the ingredients and I just, well, I couldn’t be arsed. It’s only three things…..here, let’s play a game…..close your eyes. No, no, you won’t be able to read this. Forget that bit.

Imagine white sugar, brown sugar and cream all sitting on a wooden chopping board in the most fabulous arrangement humanly possible…..there it is. Probably more interesting imagined than real!

If you’re feeling like making people Australia Day goodie bags then these are awesome, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing anything that patriotic. Aussies are more about sausages, lamingtons, beer and sunburn (and Triple J Hottest 100, yo!).

Pop these into your arsenal (snigger, she said arse) for another day because they truly are delicious.

I have only three things to say to you regarding making caramels….

1) WATCH YOUR TEMPERATURE

A candy thermometer is cheap and cheerful.
You *should* check to see if it’s accurate but who can be arsed? You know I’m a cowboy so I’m not going to try to say I did. You do need to try to get it kinda close to the temps here thought otherwise it’ll be too soft or crystalise.

My first batch was gold, and my second batch crystalised and turned to sandy , crystally, tasty mud. The reason for this was because I made not one, but two, of the toffee making cardinal sins.
Don’t overheat by a single degree, and don’t make on a humid day unless you’re in aircon.

2)DON’T BE TEMPTED TO LICK

Obviously, only an idiot would need this advice because everyone would know that it’s not just over 100C but it’s sticky and impossible to get off, and melts flesh on contact.

I’m still waiting for taste buds and fingerprints to grow back.

3) MAKE SURE YOU USE A LARGE POT

It bubbles quite a bit and I had a toff-tastrophe. Mine boiled over and I didn’t want to mess with the temperature so I had to heat a new saucepan and just watch it spill all over the stove……d’ya think that’s easy to clean up?

salt caramel boiling over

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons good quality salt, plus a sprinkle (I use Maldon)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

What you need to do :

Line a 20×20 tray, or thereabouts, with baking paper.

In a heavy medium sized saucepan, stir together the cream, sugars, and salt.
Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Once the mixture boils, with a silicone cake scraper or wet pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water, wash down the sides of the saucepan to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed.
Boil the mixture over medium high heat (do not stir) until the temperature reaches 118C. (If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, wash them down with a heatproof pastry brush that has been dipped in warm water as the crystals will encourage crystalisation of the whole lot.)

chewy salt caramel sprinkled with salt

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into your prepared pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and let cool, undisturbed, for at least eight hours, or overnight.

With a hot sharp knife, and elbow grease, cut into squares or rectangles.It’s not brittle so does not snap, it’s chewy so you really need to heat that knife. I dunked it in boiling water.
After two batches, I ended up with RSI and after moaning about it on Facebook my friend over at Mrs D’s Maunderings sent me a toffee hammer in order to beat up my next batch to show it who’s boss.

These caramels can be stored at room temperature, between layers of baking paper, for several days. Wrap in cellophane or baking paper so they look all purty.

Makes about 48 pieces. Preparation time 40 minutes.
chewy salt caramel wrapped and packed

 

Lessons in Letting Go……Lesson One.

8 Jan

Dex first day of school2 years
8 months
23 days
15 and a half hours

That’s how long D Man has been by my side. Every day. In fact, with no family support, it’s been almost every minute of that time.

They say you forget the pain of labour, but you don’t really. I remember it like yesterday.
I remember feeling as though my entire lower back was opening up, splitting in two, like some weird bi-fold creature, as I pushed  the child I’d been nurturing inside myself free into the world.

I suppose that was the first letting go.

Even though he was placed directly in my arms, upon my bare breast, he was no longer encased in my flesh, where he was safe from harm.
I also remember that little, pale blue, baby lying on my chest in the seconds after his birth and he looked straight into my eyes.

I know you, his eyes said.

I know you.

We’ve loved and grown and struggled, and loved and laughed, and played and yelled and loved and cuddled ourselves to this point we are at today.

This little dude has taught me so damned much about myself, and about life, and he’s made me a better person……

I’m more patient, most of the time.
I’m less selfish.
I’m more open, not just to him, but to the world.
I see things differently now.

Yesterday, I took D Man for his first day at school. It’s just day care. Two days a week.

I always said not before three, but if I don’t do it in the January intake, I have to wait another year……. and he’s ready.

He needs more than me now, because I can’t do everything cool and fun and messy everyday.

I’ve taught him to put on his shoes and take them off again, and to ask for what he wants with nice manners. This week we toilet trained so he can be a big boy because he doesn’t like just anybody changing his nappy……..that’s private boy’s business, you see.

I suppose that’s all we do from the moment that they are born, really – teach them stuff, to make ourselves OBSOLETE.

ouch

Then we can set them free and hope we’ve done enough.

I didn’t hang around. I hung around in the orientation mornings. Yesterday was not a day for hanging around.
I showed him where his bag went, put his water bottle with the other kids’, took him to the toilets and told him who to ask if he wanted to go.

‘Where you going, Mummy?’
‘I’m going home’

‘Oh’.

Of course, we’d talked all about it, what was going to happen on this day, but still, neither of us were quite prepared. You never can be fully prepared for that umbilical cord getting a little more severed.

We had a quick kiss and I left, with Kiki on my hip.

But I made the fatal error……I looked back.

You shouldn’t look back.

Never look back.

He was crying at the door, my big boy. His little face was creased up in a look that made me want to never set him free. To keep him with me forever (oh my god, can you imagine when he was a big, sweaty, 45 year old? We’d probably have loads of cats too. Ew.).

I stood outside and cried. I didn’t mean to but I couldn’t help it. I felt like a bit of a tit because one of the other mums (an old hand, obviously) walked past me and smiled knowingly.

Ten minutes later I received this picture and a text……

Hi Mum, I’m doing so well, you would be proud.
I’m colouring a picture of Spiderman and telling all my friends the colours
xxxx

school pic

So, I dropped my mummy guilt, danced all the way to the shopping centre, shopped in peace, painted my toenails in silence and ate all of my lunch without sharing.
I reckon we’ll adjust quickly.

 

Today I’m hooking up with Jess, for IBOT, over at EssentiallyJess, go check it out. It’s a whole community thang……

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