Twas the night before Christmas 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our flatsNot a creature was sleeping, despite hours of pats

We’d run out of loo paper, and coffee beans too

The presents were wrapped, though we’d lost quite a few

The children were jumping all Over their beds**

While reruns of Disney films danced in their heads
When what to my wondering eyes should appear

A carrot, a cookie and a big mug of beer

And though a kilo of prawns made me feel a bit sick,

I knew in a moment I must be Saint Nick .

I was dressed all in chaos from my head to my toes

When the empty threats started, and my temper arose

“I’m calling santa! He won’t be coming!”

I gesticulated wildly, sent them all running

On potty , on teeth, on bath, on no sweets!

On veggies, no soft drinks, and no tiny feets!

To the top of my game! And To the instructions?

Quick! To the bubbles, before the destruction!

I drank and I ate and I built and I slept

I watched bad Christmas carols, I almost wept

I had a round face, I felt a bit smelly

I’d cooked , and for trifle I had made the jelly

I was jolly and plump, from too many work parties

So I plonked on the lounge, and ate all the smarties

And I heard me exclaim, ‘ere I faded from sight

Christmas Eve, to parents, is a bloody long night.#


** we only have one child. But my husband was also jumping on the bed

# this is almost an entirely truthful & accurate depiction of our Xmas eve.
Merry Christmas.

Maintenance Mondays

Most Mums don’t look after themselves. They are last priority, after everyone else. Which means they are the bit of the to do list which never gets “done”.

I have dedicated windows in the week which are both ‘me time’ and exercise time. I rarely break them. It’s essential to top up your tank. It makes me a better mum. 

But I would cancel three hair appointments before I make it to one. And Physio appointments. And i have to be dying to get to the local doctor. Though I am a bit better now they have a web booking app and I can check out available time slots and juggle everything in my head at 11pm at night while I book.

Recently, I’ve tried to make more of my lunch hours at work by doing yoga at lunch time. And to get more exercise in I took on a fitness challenge that was in your own time at home. 

I’ve had a pretty sore hip for a long time. About six months ago I started getting Physio on it, but I gave up when I couldn’t fit in all the rehab exercises around work, drop off, pick up and dinner.

When I started the fitness challenge recently, the sore hip ramped up a notch. After cancelling three Physio appointments I found a Physio across the road from my office.

I was a bit shocked when he immediately asked me to get an MRI. $300, it had better show something. I argued with him a bit about it, eventually giving in. But the whole Physio then dr for referral then scan then pick up results seemed epic in my busy week. Just not worth the effort.

I thought something really ugly was going on when I read ” bone marrow odema”. It went on to say “stress fracture in pelvis”. Wtf? I’m WALKING AROUND, doing shed loads of exercise, moving furniture up and down the steepest driveway on earth as we got the big boy bed in place for jman, beating myself up for not moving more…,WITH A FRACTURED PELVIS? Sweet Jesus, am I that far out of tune with what I need? Am I that low on the priority list that broken freakin bones don’t count? Not sleeping for pain all night doesn’t count?

I’ve now instituted ‘maintenance Mondays’ with my all female team at work. Every Monday we have to do something we’ve been putting off…even if we just make an appointment. Medical or beauty related. Pap smears, breast exams, eye tests, following up on that niggly hip pain, getting our eyelashes tinted. 

This is the last time I’m last on the list. 

Ladies, please, you are not too busy for you. Keep your medical checks up to date. Look after yourself. Move yourself up on the to do list. Take on maintenance Mondays.

Fur Elise

Dear significant pregnant person in my life,

I want to say some things to you, but I don’t want to be “that person”. The “you should” person. So I’m just going to post on here some stuff I wish I knew when I first became a parent. You can read it, or not. You can take it, or not.

For me, as a parent arising after complicated circumstances (bed rest, almost loss, ivf ) the transition was harder and easier. My road possibly had more potholes than normal. I don’t know how much that changes the transition. It must always be hard. So here goes.

No one can prepare you for how you will feel. You will simultaneously feel as though you’ve been skinned alive, every nerve ending standing to attention and raw, like there is no division or filter between you and the world. You will feel open and vulnerable, like a wound. And that’s ok.

To have a small person around 24/7 will feel perfectly right and amazing and completely wrong all at once.

You will also, simultaneously, feel stronger and fiercer than you’ve ever felt. More powerful. When your mumma bear gut kicks in, look out world. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will get between you and your child. Sometimes mumma bear views everyone as a threat. It takes time to get her to settle down. And that’s ok.

You will feel loss. I can remember almost bawling at my first mothers group meeting. I DIDN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY BABY. I wanted to hear what people DID, what BANDS THEY LIKED, and they couldn’t seem to see their way above the fog of milk haze and sleep deprivation. I was ANGRY at the loss of self. I was hurt that I’d never realise I’d lose myself, the me I knew. I was so upset no one ever warned me. They probably tried, but it’s a lived experience thing. And that’s ok.

You will dream some weird shit. Night 1 I was hallucinating I was giving evidence at a coronial inquest into my baby’s death. That shit went on for WEEKS. It made me feel like I was losing MY MARBLES. You will wake up SOAKED in sweat. Its probably the hormones combined with a bit of hypervigilance. It’s horrible. But its ok.

You will feel the walls closing in, like someone is holding their hand around your throat. You look ahead and visualise what is happening now, ad infinitum. And you want to explode. EVERY night with this little person? EVERY day? Every HOUR? How. Breastfeeding feels like a death sentence.

But in a few weeks, it isn’t the same. And in a few more weeks, it isn’t the same. And in a few months you won’t WANT to be anywhere else. So don’t look too far ahead. Its ok.
You will feel terrified. You will have more than one instance of “what have we done” or “there’s been a terrible mistake that they let me look after this on my own”. Heart in mouth pulse racing terror. It ain’t just you.

I want to tell you there comes a time when you realise you’re back. You’ve been forged in fire and re moulded, but old you is still there. For me, it was the day I could wear dangly earrings again, without fear of having my ear lobes ripped off. It happens. I put them on and thought “I’m BACK”. Try baby steps towards being back, early. Little bursts of “you” time fill up your mummy tank. Put on your own oxygen mask before putting on a child’s.
I’ll repeat that: in an emergency: put on YOUR OWN oxygen before putting on your childs. Top up your tank. Look after yourself. Give yourself time out. Simply because you matter. Additionally because having a full tank makes you a BETTER mum.

I want to tell you to ditch western cultural control ideals, put Gina Ford in the bin or preferably the shredder. Look at your baby. This is not a manipulative schemer who wants to lie in your bed awake 24/7. This is someone who was in a warm muffled balloon and whose brain is now literally melting trying to figure out WTF is going on. You are their tour guide, so try to learn their language. This someone will try to tell you what they need. And this someone will be happier if you try to read those signals, and soothe and respond to those needs. You will be better at this than anyone else.

If you control all the things now, you might feel better. But control is an illusion, and the cost can be an unhappy toddler, an insecure bond, or a stressed child.

I want to tell you some people love blobs. I do not love blobs. I love people. Blobs are boring. Thankfully, your mother told me about this. She didn’t love blobs either. Instant bonding isn’t always instant. Sometimes we bond much more when the blob becomes an interacting interesting person. Sometimes a bond grows very slowly. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a bond.

Speaking of bonds, we have boobs. This makes us pretty loveable to hungry small blobs. Having something physically attached to you 10 hours a day is pretty bond-i-fying. Not so easy for the dads. No boobs there. So first, give dad a job. Bathing was definitely my first choice. Swaddling to a degree of mental-patient –in-a-strait-jacket was my second choice. Hate that slippery little sucker.

Second, step back so he can step up. They aren’t a dad until bub is screaming down the house having pooed a kilo of slime up someone’s arm and you are nowhere to be found.

Step back so he can step up.

Every single week, designate a time, and walk out and don’t look back. EVEN if at first it is for 20 minutes. Make it sacred. Stick to it.

There will come a time when you look in the mirror and you see the weird little mummy paunch mummies get (it takes a while to show up) and you will think “hideous”. And your child will come up and grab a giant handful of squishy bits and say “I love squishy mummy”. And you’ll realise for at least one person in the world, you are amazingly perfect. You are everything. You are the North star, and to some extent for the rest of their lives they will navigate by what you put inside them, in these first short years. And that is more powerful than any size label or skinny jeans. It is a source of strength, and pride. And value.

On that note, read some parenting books. Read good ones. Things about baby led routines, about developmental stages, about the brain neuroscience of a developing child. You are a parent for a lot longer than you are pregnant. So read up now while you have some time and brain space. Get lots of tools in your parenting tool kit. Pinky McKay, Andrea mcNair, John Medina’s Brain rules for baby, I loved ‘how not to fuck them up’ Oliver James, Peaceful Parent Happy Kid Laura Markham would be a few for starters.

You will feel complete opposites at once. Often. You will feel the most amazing rage you have ever felt, and three minutes later when there are little baby snores and drool on your chest you will be transported to Kairos time. It is infuriating. You will think it impossible. You will loathe-love. You will impatient-stoic. You will bond-run away. You will feel power-powerless. You will feel motherhood is everything-nothing. That probably means you’re doing it right, not wrong. This article here BLEW MY MIND with how right it was.

You can name it. You can say out loud when it sucks. You don’t have to love every moment to be an amazing mother. Sometimes, you can be a good-enough mother. You can go off your nana and still have a wonderful bond and an unstressed happy bub. Research says get it right about 64% of the time and you’re looking good. That will never seem enough. But it probably is, so cut yourself some slack.

Feeling loss and freak out at new parenthood is not post natal depression. Your world just went into the tumble dryer. It is normal to feel really thrown and unsure and nervous and a bit sad at the change. But there is such a thing as post natal depression, and post natal anxiety. And If you even vaguely suspect you have it, or just feel very wrong, disconnected, or the hypervigilance doesn’t settle, or you simply can’t feel or you struggle to make decisions about even small things, see someone. If they don’t help, see someone else. And keep asking til it happens.

You will almost weep trying to leave the house. It will take 3 attempts and 2.5 hours at first. It will improve around 1 year old and decline again at 2.5 years old. At first, you will watch the clock ticking as your bub feeds and you’re going to miss the paediatrician appointment and fantasise about walking out of the house with only your keys and phone.

You will fantasise about walking out and checking into a 5 star hotel without anyone touching you. If things get really bad, do it and send me the bill. I. Completely. Understand. Agree in advance which hotel it would be so we all know where to look.

It will change your relationship with your partner. Sometimes, the love for your child seems to eclipse everything so there is no room for three. That can be weird. Then, you will see your partner being an amazing parent, and it is a like a turbo boost for the love you had for him before. A supercharger. Prioritise keeping that relationship on track. Happy supported parents are better parents. And there’s enough room for all of you.

Here’s my guide to the first few months:
Weeks 1-2 Swinging between hallucinating from lack of sleep and thinking “I have this sorted” cooking over complicated meals because bub is entirely nocturnal

Weeks 3-4 Crap, bub is waking up. A lot. What the hell am I meant to do with it? “Can someone google clusterfeeding?”

Weeks 5-6 will this never end. What is with the screaming ? Why is it from 4pm -9pm? What is going on? My ears! My ears!

Weeks 7-12 How long does this parenting gig last for? Do I have to do that needle crap AGAIN? How will I ever…? Oh look at that, bub can…..! Oh, is bub trying to talk? So cute! Stupid baby has still not figured out they are on the outside.

3-4 months – I’m sort of getting this. Bub is starting to seem like a person. A 5 hour stretch of sleep makes you feel drunk and hungover all at once. This is kind of amazing.

4 months + – personhood. It just gets more amazing every day. You don’t want to deal with solids.

5-6 months – you deal with solids. It’s kinda fun.

7-8 months – oh my god you left the room therefore you don’t exist, I’m alone! I’m Alone! And I am going to send you MENTAL with waking up 65 times a night.

8-9 months – I crawl, therefore I sleep. Mostly.

Babies are the world’s property. Every man and his dog (pot? kettle?) feels they are entitled to a comment, a helpful suggestion, advice, questions you’d never ask any other stranger but a new mother. It is ludicrous. But babies are the world’s property. I think it’s a survival of the species instinct thing. Try not to take it to heart. Sometimes it makes the world seem wonderful and fun and friendly. Sometimes its just downright annoying and intrusive. Sip your coffee and see if they’ll burp the little bugger. “Have you only got the one? Gee he’s chubby! Oh isn’t he tiny? What you should do is….”

There will come a time, and it’s a ways down the track, I’d say at 18 months? When you wouldn’t take it back for the world. When you feel as though you were never not this child’s parent. When you feel you couldn’t be anyone if you were not this mother, to this child. You will be reforged, knitted together again. Pre baby and post baby self will become a whole that is so much stronger than the sum of its parts.

Welcome to parenthood. It’s a stupid ridiculous annoying wonderful miraculous joyous ride. You’re going to love it. Maybe not at first. Maybe not every day. Maybe not even every hour. But when you add up the whole, trust me. It is worth it.

Behaviour matching

I recently read this great post on life as a rambling redhead, about pairing your child’s bad behaviour with wine, but I just can’t agree with the wine choices. How do you pair wines with your child’s less and desirable behaviour?

When navigating such a complex parenting decision, I feel it is best to talk through scenarios we may encounter in the every day life of a toddler, then pair these with the appropriate drinks. Food and wine matching is all very well, but that won’t help you when the food is sliding down the lounge room wall now, will it?

  1. Epic threenager meltdowns of the nuclear variety coupled with sweet ramblings

In this situation, your toddler has meltdowns on their meltdowns. So much so that you think some kind of brain damage has either already happened, or will inevitably follow. This is then closely coupled with sitting quietly on the couch with a butter-wouldn’t-melt -in-his-mouth expression, patting your arm and saying “I love you mummy”.

Combination behaviours require a combination wine.

What better wine to pair with this demon wrapped up in a conundrum than a Grenache Shiraz mouvedre? The GSM, as is affectionately known, has vanilla tones from the Grenache to mimic your child’s sweet moments, the punch of the gutsy shiraz (because you know you want to) and it is all held together with a fuzzy blanket of mouvedre. Second glass in you’ll move from rocking back and forth in a fetal position to watching him sleep, lovingly. Mummy’s little helper indeed

2. Come on, mum!

Hey mum! You’re my playmate! Let’s do a puzzle! Watch me! Watch me do this lame thing again and again just to get your undivided attention during your working from home day! Look! Ok let’s run! Ok we’re in a car park and……go! And, paint! And paint and paint! And…

No wine can do 11 hours of this justice. Crack a beer.

3. What did you forget?

Oh thanks mister childcare worker! J-man didn’t feel like his nap today? Cool! That’s good sweetie, that you’re so good at decisions for your own welfare! Aren’t you advanced? I don’t feel like wearing pants, but you don’t see me rocking up to the office in my cottontails, do ya? No, no!

But thanks! Thanks for letting my child assert himself. Its great I now get to spend 3 hours with a psychotic stick wielding banshee. Good choices!

After you’ve lifted his sleeping face out of the mashed potato and peas and popped him into his bed at 7pm, I’d recommend you both drink champagne. Served as cold as a working mother at drop off

4. Throw me under a bus

For any illness involving staying in the house more than 3 days, add a scotch to the following suggestion.

In case of vomit, I’d recommend white spirits. Something like a Moscow Mule with its cheeky vodka afterglow, then cleansing freshness of lime and the stomach soothing ginger for the illness you will inevitably catch. Rinse, and repeat.

In case of amazing quantities of snot, I’d recommend a pinot grigio. This light young Italian adds a fresh cut through which means you’ll be able to sniff your glass out as you dig through the used tissue pile. Very handy. Plus, being fresh and light, it is quite easy to swill. Swilling is important.

In case of anything festy, aka hand foot & mouth, school sores (Impetigo), nits or anything unidentifiable and itchy, it is quite hard to recommend a suitable drink. I think something as close to a disinfectant as possible, so gin or vodka must necessarily be involved. It is also possible to have medicinal vodka whilst showering, or, to drink whilst sitting on the toilet lid bathing your festy child and applying mind altering chemicals to their “festiness”. If nits are involved, one of those cocktails you set alight could be a good thing. Flame has amazing healing powers.

5. Oh my god please tell me he’s asleep.

Again, hate to tell you lady, wine aint gonna cut it.

What this requires, after a bedtime that has involved two different kinds of water, a special cup, a special car, milk, warmer milk, bread, spilling a drink, snoring and waking himself up, the phone ringing JUST AS HE WAS DRIFTING OFF TO SLEEP, requests for the ipad, and repeated call outs just when you thought it was safe…..what this requires is LOTS and LOTS of chocolate. And crappy TV. And Chocolate. And a GIANT cup of tea. Did I mention chocolate?

6. Drinks to save for a terrible, no good very bad day

  • Dark ales such as Guinness. These are handy when the weight of your failure as a parent must be presented in beverage form.
  • That bottle of unidentified sweet crap involving the word “Crème” that has been at the back of your booze shelf since 1984. It should be a weird colour. Save it for homicidal rages.
  • Any kind of infused vodka (eg chilli, gold leaf, other random flavours). I’ve heard these are very handy for the post hospital visit come down. You get a bigger glass if you arrived in an ambulance, and you can pour doubles if there was something embedded in someone.

Under no circumstances should you condone the consumption of sauvignon blanc, or cask wine. I mean, you’re a parent now, right? Someone needs to set an example.

Well that was fun

Oh I’ve had a lot to blog about. And nothing. And everything in between. And not a lot of time. My new job is, well, full on. But it also bought us a house and for the first time in years has left us with something in the bank….so shutup already. It just means not a lot of brain space of writing, or reading, because I do both all day every day. For some reason writing exams & organising learning materials for 3,500 people each offering takes a bit of energy.

Anyhoo. The birthday from hell.

So we decided in the lead up to j-mans birthday to do the split party we’ve done twice already: little friends on one day, extended family on the other. It means the fun is spread over longer and jman is less likely to be overwhelmed. 

Plus, two cakes.

So the week before his party, Tuesday, he gets up out of bed, and there’s faint little red dots. ALL around his mouth. Kind of, well, everywhere. And I think “cool. Ok. We know this is hand foot and mouth, he can’t go to daycare, I’ll ring work..ten minutes in and the whole strategy is in place. And….that would explain why you were so goddam annoying on the weekend.” Whenever I have a few days with jman that just push me to the brink of insanity from his uncooperative clingy ness, it always turns out he’s getting sick.

I book in to the gp, phone work, phone hub-in-boots, and with regret postpone the kids party. We ain’t sharing that kind of love around. Work has been very full on, and I figure the working from home will buy me some brain space anyway.

But the GP isn’t convinced about the rash. She doesn’t know what it is. She shows me some pictures of impetigo and tells me what to look for, and that if it changes to this he needs to come back and get antibiotics. Yep, that’s cool…regardless, he ain’t sharing the love.

So Tuesday Wednesday I work from home, which isn’t hard as he’s feeling pretty crappy and just wants to chill on the couch for a way more than normal dose of screen time while we nurse his Festy looking chin. Poor bub.

Thursday hub-in-boots kindly volunteers to cop it so I can go in and clear some really critical deadlines. Oh and the eczema on my hand has gone apeshit. I blame the extra hand washing.

As I’m leaving Friday , I think “has that rash changed? Must text hub in boots about it later”, then promptly forget.

We decide to go ahead with the family party Sunday, his actual birthday, as everyone knows to be careful and there’s no other little kids. 

Friday evening I remember I’d forgotten, and book the boys in for a Gp follow up on the rash. It looks worse but isn’t anywhere else except his chin.


Change of cream, all good, doesn’t need antibiotics, just a cream.

So Sunday rolls around. His chin looks a bit better, everyone is excited to see the big three year old. He is excited/ blown away to see we’ve turned the entire apartment into a wooden thomas the tank engine train set., thanks to some savvy second hand shopping and a timely house move from someone at work whose kids outgrew thomas. 

We get to grandmas  and he opens a few gifts. But he’s off. He tells me he feels sick in the head. Dizzy? He plays half heartedly, laying his head on the seat every few minutes. I get some neurofen into him.

Eventually, he’s just looking bad, and I take him in my bro’s bedroom ( my old room) for a nap. Family have all arrived. Tables full of amazing party food.

He erupts like a volcano. I am wearing a carpet of vomit. Seriously. Bathing in it. I don’t even know where to start. Somehow, we bundle him and I into the bathroom. I hit the shower while he is rinsed off by family members. We all find fresh clothes. Beds are stripped. Ice blocks are eaten. He looks much better. WE begin to relax.

He erupts again.

Clothes are changed. 

He asks to go home. Sadly. Piles of unopened presents all around us. 

It probably takes us another hour to de vomit, pack and leave. I am wearing my brothers clothes.

He holds it together, all the way home.

Then he erupts. 

His temperature soars. He’s cracking 39.8C (103.6F). He can’t keep down anything. Hours pass. He drinks. He chucks. He eats ice blocks. He chucks. Then he stops making sense. Then he stops talking. Then his eyes start rolling back in his head. At this point, I’m calling it. We try a home dr service but the wait is hours long. Off to the hospital.  His heart is very rapid, his breathing laboured and erratic. Temp still crazy.

In the hospital  they are pretty fast. Panadol suppositories, strip him off, ice blocks. Bing. He starts talking after hours of silence.  And after pretty bad dehydration, we’re in the clear. It was long long day. And I’m wearing my brothers clothes.

We have another two days at home. I call in sick, because, well, he just wants to lay on me. I’m pretty sure I’ll get it. I mean, how could I not? 24 hours after his birthday we sing and blow out candles. Peel off icing and allow plain cake.

Wednesday I’m back at work. We are ok.

So we postpone the party from the 2nd to the 16th. And on the 12th I’m at work and think, my shoe must be rubbing. My foot hurts a bit. But I’m wearing stockings so I don’t look. The next time I wander around the office I think my foot hurts a lot. By the time I am going home, I can hardly walk. Really.

When I get home I peel off my stockings, to find the swollen red mess of weirdness. Impetigo. On my foot. But crazy bad. Of course, I have team members flying in from interstate the next day. Of course I do. In the morning it is so bad I make time to go the GP. He draws around my swollen red foot with a texta, explaining if the red moves, I’m in hospital. NO IFS or buts. Super strong anti biotics.

So i carefully cover it and I go to work.and it swells. And swells. And swells. And he instructs me to photograph it every hour. AND IT gets redder. 

I spend Friday with my work colleague at my house, foot elevated, staying quiet. I revisit the doctor and we kind of seem still bad, but not getting worse.

Sunday, Festy foot is a lot better. And finally, we have a birthday party. A few little friends, pass the parcel, tea party on the verandah, a piñata, they play trains, go hilariously nuts to 75 replays of the wiggles singing ” michael finnegan”…we eat a bucketload of sushi, arancini and chocolate crackles and sing happy birthday. The end.








A thousand and forty one nights

So today, I’ve agreed to go on a brief last minute business trip, against my better judgement. An overnight to Brisbane for a presentation.

I can remember the feeling of the walls closing in when jman was born, when I looked ahead and thought about breastfeeding, about life in general, and thought “crap! I’m trapped. I’m really really trapped”. He needs me every two hours. Get me a paper bag to breathe into.

Somehow, as the blob turns into a small person, and the small person turns into a bigger person, as I adjusted to this new version of myself, the “trap” became what I wanted to do. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, or wanting to be. Mostly. Like any mother I had the Thelma and louise meets disappear to a five star hotel alone without notice fantasy, yep, but mostly,I wanted to be there for him. Mostly, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Tonight, after a thousand and forty one nights, I will be somewhere else. 36 hours apart…the longest separation we have had in nearly three years.

Parenting, where you have to go from separate to embedded and intertwined, wrapped together, and somehow, over time, get back to being separate people. Separate but bound. Tied. Linked. It’s like a personality decathlon for the parent. And I suspect, with this bring our first night apart, this is only about the fourth event.

I’ll be thinking of you, jman. I will also quite enjoy the king sized bed.