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Ch 41: All I want for Christmas is..Boxing Day!

We are one week away from Christmas Eve. It's here, the final week before the fat man and his reindeer embark on one very tiresome journey around the globe delivering Christmas cheer.

Now I'll be honest with you because at Christmas time you tell the truth. So I'll admit that I have a love hate relationship with Christmas.

One moment, I'm Mrs Claus busy baking sugary goodies in the kitchen, Bing Crosby on the wireless, flashing Christmas tree earrings dangling from my earlobes, occasionally guzzling a glass of bubbles.

The next, I'm Ebenezer Scrooge. Well Scrooge McDuck to be exact..you know like Donald Duck's old man, or Uncle I think? Counting pennies, groveling about the latest electricity bill and generally being an unhappy duck with too many people to please, too much to do in so little time and wishing for December 25 to be over...all with a black lump of coal in hand.

How sad. But then I mix up another batch of sangria and within no time I'm belting out Here Comes Santa Clause with Bing and kicking that coal to the curb. Happy as.

So upon reflection of my two festive seasonal personality extremes, here are my best and worst of Christmas festivities.

Obsession with the pre-Christmas catch up.
I've got to see you before Christmas! I must! Yes, it HAS to be before Christmas.

We've all heard and probably said it before, right?

This obsession with seeing every person you have Facebook friended, unfriended, friended again, occupied a work cubical with, played sport against or perhaps shared a house with.

You HAVE to see them between 1 December and 24 December. You must. Because apparently the world ends in January.

But even more importantly, unopened Christmas presents self-destruct at 12.00am on 26 December.

Exterior decorations
If you weren't already aware of the upcoming festive season by the fact that Christmas cards hit the stupidmarkets in October, you have been hiding under Santa's sack. So just in case you missed it, we've taken the liberty of mixing electrical wires, flashing bulbs and plastic Santa lookalikes with bricks and tiles to showcase to the neighbourhood that Christmas is indeed here.

The trick to house Christmas decoration is to humbly outdo your neighbours and to gain as many oohs and ahhs from passing children dressed in their pyjamas doing the neighbourhood round after dark. If your house is really special, you might get a photo in the local paper. Joy.

So if that means stuffing a giant sized inflatable Santa half way down your chimney rocking to the gangnam style tune, choreographed with flashing lights and break dancing reindeers, then do it. It's for the children. And the local paper.

Christmas trees and what we put on them
With the little master crawling around with also with limited space, this year our Christmas tree has been relegated to our spare room at the front of the house. Our tree is an average, plastic 5”0 tall triangle filled with colourful tinsel and Christmas balls. Our Christmas angel on the other hand, is really the centrepiece of our tree. As it should be. Especially when the Christmas angel is a miniature Humphrey B Bear dressed in a while t-shirt with plastic wings and tinsel as a halo.


Oh and there's a Christmas ball hanging from his furry ear. You know, just because he can.

This has been my tradition (abandoned by my four siblings years earlier..shame on all of you) since I was a teenager when our antique Christmas angel's head fell off one year. The only alternative when you have limited access to shops (we lived on a farm out of town) was my beloved bear. I'd say it was quite creative. Don't you? And doesn't he look dashing..

Christmas Eve Mass
Although mass is meant to be a time for peace, harmony and reflection, the moments leading up to the commencement of the 6.00pm Christmas Eve carols is one of panic, angst and competitiveness.

You see, Christmas mass is like getting the good car park early so you can get to Myers with enough time to be at the front of the line in time for the Boxing Day sales.

If you don't get there at least half an hour early, you won't get a park in the church grounds, then you won't get a good seat unless you have a preference for sitting up on the altar with the seatless, hyperactive kids (the only time the Priest ever lets kids sit there is on Christmas). Now a good seat at Christmas mass is towards the back of the church, but not too far back because that can look quite rude if you're there too early, and preferably on the end of the pew.

It's all about the ability to breathe and the quick getaway. So if you don't get there early enough to get the good car park and the subsequent good seat then you risk being in the position of being caught in the swarms of elderly pedestrian traffic upon conclusion. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the see ya later...!

Fruit cake and plum pudding
My dear husband doesn't like Christmas fruit cake or any kind of cake or pudding containing fruit like goodness.
It pulls at my heart strings so much that I can't even talk, or should I say write, about it.

Overconsumption of meat
On a normal day, my lunch tends to consist of a salad sandwich. Pretty simple really. Occasionally I will add ham or chicken and usually finish with some fruit.

Yet on Christmas day we are expected to shovel the following forms of meat into our gobs in record breaking time:

Turkey. Ham. More Ham. Little more turkey please. Chicken. Beef. Lamb. Lamb? Why not. It's Christmas. Chicken. Small slice of Ham. Burps. More turkey to finish off. Oh the pork. We forgot the pork. Can't forget the pork, I made apple sauce. More pork please. On the fork..yes that's enough. Apple sauce.

And then the conversation over the meat comprised dinner table revolves around how Dad has been coping with his latest episode of gout.....need I say more.

Christmas movies
I'm not ashamed to admit that the annual viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is one of the highlights. It's the kind of movie you could watch all year round. In fact, I have, over the years, watched the Griswolds, cousin Eddy and Aunt Bethany when home from school sick, on a Saturday night bored and alone and of course on Christmas Eve, after returning home from mass of course.

Unfortunately my dear husband, at times doesn't quite share the same sense of humour. He does, however, laugh at me giggling continuously at the TV, glass of wine in hand over the following Clark W. Griswold legendary moments:

The most enduring traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the thspirit of the Griswold family Chrithmath. 

Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.

I'm gonna burn some dust here. Eat my rubber!

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny fu*king Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

To Clark W. Griswold – thank you. So much.

Sad stuff
From Griswold giggles to reality. Life. Sad stuff.

I find Christmas difficult. I think about those who are alone at Christmas. Those who are unwell. Very unwell. Parents who can't afford to give their children presents or Christmas lunch. Those who have lost loved ones. I think of my best friend who I lost suddenly ten years ago. I think about his family and what he would be doing today if he was still with us. I think about my mother. Where is she, is she alone? I hope not. I think about sick kids in hospital and those who are homeless. I think about the pressures Christmas brings and for many this happy festive season is the hardest time of year.

As it is the season of giving, please give to those who are less fortunate. I have and hope you will too.

Childish smiles
This is the little master's first Christmas. Although at 11 months old he really has no idea what is going on, I look forward to seeing his and his cousin's smiles and hearing their squeals of joy on Christmas morning. I look forward to seeing his eyes gaze into Christmas lights, his persistent action of throwing the Santa hat placed on his little head onto the ground, his giggles at our buddy dog dressed up in a Santa suit and the endless array of cuddles from friends and family.

So there it is folks. These are the things I laugh, cry, cringe and burp about in December.

And to reiterate the words of Clark W. Griswold:

We're gonna have the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny fu*king Kaye.

Merry Christmas!


Ch 40: The day I made a hoon driver blush

Another day, another morning run with the pram.

It was a happy day, feeling great. Sun shining, no clouds and the locals with their canine kids we passed on the trail behind my house, were full of smiles and general pleasantries.

Maybe it wasn't such a bad place to live after all. Perhaps I've been harsh..just a tad. My response to the 'do you like where you live?' question is generally met with a built up frustrated rant of how my suburb is soulless, has zero community spirit, has not enough accessible infrastructure and is full of bogans and hoons. There are constant tyre skid marks on our street and I am woken in the middle of the night most weekends, by the sounds of motorbikes burning rubber along the trail I run along every day.

Plus you can't get a decent coffee anywhere. Anywhere.

Anyway..back to it.

Upon arriving home I realised the little master was still asleep. Not keen to risk waking him, I backed out of our door way and continued walking the pram up our street (much to Buddy dog's disgust and pleas from behind our fence of 'take meeee with youuuu, wooooof!').

Then I saw him.

I had just crossed a road and in his hotted up blue Astra (Astra? Yes..I laughed too) he flew around the roundabout past me, fumes streaming from the exhaust then cornered the street that I had just walked over.

I turned back to shake my head and out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of the car spinning down the street.

Oh my Astra, he has lost control.

I started running back towards the street. Little master still dozing away. I had already started mentally playing out images of me shaking my finger at him and his smashed up car shouting 'that's what happens when you hoooon!!' tusk tusk!

But the car was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he hadn't lost it. But he was flying and I swear I saw that car spinning.

I slowed down my pace and power walked down the street which was actually a court. I found his car at the end of the court parked. But he was gone. Damn it. I didn't know why I was so drawn to finding him. But there I was, rocking my pram, hovering between his car and his front yard. Feeling defeated, I went to walk away.

Then he appeared.

Then I shat my pants and questioned what the hell I was doing.

I don't know this person, he could be anyone. Yet with council workers spraying weeds only a few meters away I felt like I had a security buffer.

He was young, probably mid 20's, fit looking and had a friendly face.

He took one look at me and realised why I was there. He knew very well who I was.

Then the following occurred.

Hoon who drives a hotted up Astra: Smiles, 'G'day, how ya doing?'
AP: Damnit, I'm a sucker for a friendly smile and he seems not bogan like at all. 'Hi there, I'm alright thanks. Was that you before? In that blue car? Did you come around that corner?'
Friendly hoon who drives a hotted up Astra: 'Yeah, just before, yeah down this street?'
AP: 'Yes, in that car did you fly around that corner and the roundabout? I had just walked over that road..'
Coy looking hoon who drives a hotted up Astra: 'But I saw ya..'
AP: 'Yeah I know you saw me and that's great but you were going so fast.'
Repetitive hoon who drives a hotted up Astra: 'But I saw ya..'
AP: 'Please, please just slow down. I ran back because I thought you had lost control. One day you could hurt someone..or you could hurt yourself.'

Then..wait for it...wait, it's a douzy. I said this:

'And...and, well..you seem like a lovely young man and it's just not worth it.'

Hazzah! Lovely young man? What? Apparently overnight I turned 80. Happy Birthday to me!

The lovely young man who drove too quick in a hotted up blue Astra, had his head down. He looked up and then I realised he had blushed. He replied with 'yeah, ok..thanks, sorry.'

He jumped in the white van with his mate and they left. I wondered home with the little master still asleep.

I did it. I told off a hoon and made him blush.

However I don't think I'll be making a habit of approaching guys hooning in high powered cars..or Astra's for that matter.

Ha. Astra. What was he thinking? It's a girls car ya goose!

I will probably continue to shake my head and mutter obscenities under my breath upon hearing those screeching tyres, but fingers crossed there will be one less skid mark on our street this weekend.


Ch 39: Dischevelment – it's the new black

Today in Melbourne is Oaks Day. Or rather more commonly known as Ladies Day at Flemington Racecourse.

Glitz, glamour, heels, colour. 90,000 plus race goers admiring the finest fillies, on and off the course, under Melbourne's glorious spring sunshine.

From picnic rugs on the lawn to the ritzy marquees in the Birdcage, Melbourne women know how to turn heads with style, elegance and every so often a drunken stumble. Not that I've ever done that at the races, I swear...*cough*.

Yet over here, only a mere 15kms from Flemington, in the land of nine month old child and seven year old dog, tales of elegance and beauty are currently few and far between.

Especially today. Ladies Day.

Without providing a minute by minute account of what went down here today (dear husband has already copped that as soon as he arrived home), here are a few words to describe my equivalent of Ladies Day.

  • Morning sleep in the pram out the window, woken by screaming toddler at stupidmarket checkout.
  • Gives smile to mother. Met with a filthy look. Thanks, I was trying to be nice.
  • Home. Little master decides to give favourite plastic toy turtle a kiss hello.
  • End result – a bruised gash under right eye. His first tumble.
  • AP attempts to distract inconsolable little master with an early session of The Wiggles. Wins.
  • Lunchtime sleep brought forward by one and a half hours thanks to screaming toddler in stupidmarket.
  • Lunch meal missed.
  • AP bakes cake for dear husband's work colleagues. I know..I know, I've turned into one of those wives. Shame on me.
  • Lunch meal eventually taken at 1pm after short nap.
  • Little master attempts to eat table on high chair.
  • Little master's nose comes off second best.
  • Tears.
  • AP rubs face, eye starts to twitch.
  • Red nose to accompany black eye.
  • Avocado and cream cheese in AP's hair.
  • Buddy dog munching on left over sandwich fallen on his head.
  • Grizzles continue into mid afternoon.
  • Eye continues to twitch.
  • Hair not looking any better.
  • Walk in pram to settle little master down with the aim of sleep.
  • Little master grizzles entire hour. Does not sleep.
  • AP turns earphones up and up..thongs cutting into feet. Sweat running down chest.
  • Home. Stinky. Discheveled. Both of us.
  • Wiggles on. Who cares. Milk feed. Ugg boots on, comforting sore feet.
  • Covers cake with chocolate frosting. Looks great. Hazzah. Slaps self on back.
  • Starts to get little master's dinner ready. Grizzles and rubbing of eyes coming from lounge room.
  • AP rubs face. Again.
  • Dinner almost finished.
  • Buddy dog walks slowly into kitchen.
  • AP looks. Holds breath. Says out loud 'just let it happen, it's ok'.
  • Buddy dog vomits substantially. It's green. It's lumpy. It's going to be ok. Cake unharmed.
  • Carries Buddy dog outside. He looks sad.
  • Hands and knees, cleans green vomit from tiles.
  • Washes hands for several minutes. Washes hands again. Finishes dinner.
  • Plonks grisly child into high chair. Feeds dinner.
  • Little master attempts to eat table again.
  • AP diverts attention away by playing aeroplane with spoonful of food.
  • Aeroplane crash lands into eyeball.
  • Fail. Tears.
  • Rubs face again.
  • Buddy peering through window.
  • Bath time.
  • Runs bath. Unwraps nappy from nudie rudie little master.
  • Greeted by the biggest, ugliest, meanest poo received in nine months. Introduction of cauliflower blamed and cursed.
  • Bath over. Dressed. Milk feed. Cuddle with Dad, goodnight to Buddy dog, goodnight to turtle, goodnight to the Hawks, bed. Sucking thumb.
  • Out like a light within four minutes.
  • AP notices poo on her forearm. Brilliant.
So there you have it folks. Hello Ladies Day!

Although I finished the day with bad hair, sore feet, tired eyes and a glass of wine in my hand I have a feeling there were plenty more Melbourne lasses doing the exact same thing.

The main difference though (aside from the poo on the arm..I hope) I get to do it all again tomorrow! And quite possibly with some leftover chocolate cake nearby.


Ch 38: When did I become such a...Mum?

The transition to impending motherhood wasn't exactly subtle – think bulging pregnancy belly, car seat fitted with dangly toys hanging from the window, pram parked in the hallway and a wardrobe full of oversized stretchy tops, pants, leggings and under dacks, more commonly referred to as overpriced maternity wear.

Yet since the little master arrived, the visible transition to real motherhood has occurred through actions and words rather than the obvious signs such as a screaming child hanging off my hip and vomit stains on every single piece of clothing.

Recently, dear husband and I went to the best house party we have ever experienced. Think huge marquee, staffed by waiters and waitresses, endless supply of champagne, amazing food, disco ball, fairly lights and fabulous music from the 70's and 80's. Fun fun fun!

The little master was tucked away in bed with a babysitter and was the last thing on my mind as I downed glass of bubbly after glass of bubbly.

A few hours in and after an impromptu dance of the tango with the hostess, dear husband pulled me aside and gave me that 'we should better hit the road' look.

AP: Noooooo! But I'm having SOOO much funnnn. And there's a disco ball!
DH: I know you are but we said we would have left by now...we need to let the babysitter get home.
AP: Oh boo hisss. Gulps remaining bubbly, shovels as many falafels into gob as humanly possible. Stumbles around dear friends saying goodbyes, loved them, missed them, loved them again, loved them even more. You're the best. No you're the best. Blows a kiss goodbye to the disco ball. Burps.

I knew we had to go and we had made the right decision, especially considering I had committed to a fun run the next morning. Yep, you read it right. Fun run hours after my first house party in goodness knows how long. Silly me.

The following day dear husband mentioned how he loved seeing the old AP back in action at the party. The old happy AP, having a few drinks, eating too much, chatting, laughing, telling bad jokes, making an ass of herself on the dance floor and making new friends where ever she goes.

I loved it too. I felt energised, happy and carefree (clearly very carefree considering how many falafels I devoured..not to mention the cheese..).

After wailing to dear husband about how I'm such a boring Mum now that does Mum like things, I pondered on how AP with a baby has now transformed into AP as a Mum.
  1. When greeting friends, replacing the welcoming peck on the cheek with an unexpected raspberry blowing session on friends belly. Followed by giggles from AP and then one very long and awkward moment.
  2. When clothes shopping, pushing tops aside that would show any sign of back fat, flobba dobba arms, stretch marks on hips or even the slightest chance of what was formerly known as a midriff, all whilst muttering obscenities about how the post baby body is all worth it.
  3. Finishing every verbal request from dear husband with 'Pur, Pur, Pleeeeassse?' Then barking on about how good manners is a sign of consideration and care for others / need to set good example now that we have a child / blah blah blah. Thank you.
  4. Celebrating Melbourne Cup Day at a BBQ with friends. Offered wine or beer. No thank you, soft drink for me please. Cries. But did you notice my manners? Impeccable.
  5. Replacing perfume and make up in the handbag with hand sanitizer gel and baby wipes. In fact, replacing handbag entirely with an oversized, bloody ugly nappy bag full of every single piece of baby like crap you can think of. Then times that by ten and lug that around for fun.
  6. From using Lucas' Papaw Ointment balm on my lips as a fabulous moisturiser to using Lucas' Papaw Ointment on everything that looks sore including nipples, lips and red bot bots. Including dear husband's....(sorry!).
  7. Regularly using the words 'bot bots'. Apparently the word 'bottom' is just not cute enough.
  8. Having a spare hour or two free inbetween feeds whilst dear husband looks after the little screamer and as such relishes the opportunity to spend every single moment.....in the stupidmarket. Runs wild down stupidmarket aisles, screaming 'I'm freee, I'm freee!'.
  9. Squealing with disgust at the scheduling of a netball final at the hideous hour of 9.00pm. Because 9.00pm is when I start the housework, you know?
Now I'll be honest, I haven't really greeted my friends with a raspberry. However the temptation has certainly been there and given another champagne or two at this party, it would have been raspberries for everybody! And quite possibly on their bot bot...


Ch 37: I wrote to the zoo to send me some....sanity.

Like many of us, when I was working full time, Sunday evening would arrive and with it, a serious case of the Sunday night blues. That sinking feeling of dragging your boring black leather heels through the concrete slabs that comprise the city. The Monday to Friday grind of time wasting meetings, office politics, managing up, managing down and moving briefs from one tray to another.

Now don't get me wrong, I do actually love my work. The sense of achievement, the relationship with my team mates, my portfolio of clients and the programs I manage.

It is the unavoidable incidentals such as the fast paced rat race, the hour long (on a good day) commute into the city and the small minority of challenging personalities that dampens the idea of rolling up on a Monday morning. And besides, weekends really are much more fun. I would so rather be on a long morning run than sitting idle on a freeway car park.

I am now ten months into a 13 month maternity leave arrangement from my workplace. The little master is nearing nine months old. He is growing and developing in leaps and bounds. On three solid meals a day plus milk feeds, he is sleeping all night, self feeding at lunch time, will take a bottle if I (heaven forbid) have a few hours away from him and is generally a very happy baby.

However, there's a slight issue. Upon starting my maternity leave, I relished in kissing the Sunday night blues away.

But they're back. Over the last few weeks they have started to rear their head again. In fact, today they crept in earlier once dear husband left for a Sunday afternoon golf game.

Like a toddler with my face pressed up against the window, I'm sure the neighbours could hear me wailing 'you're leaving me with him?! It's Sunday! But when will you be baaaackk?'*

It's not that I don't love the little master. I do, more than anything on this planet (sorry Buddy dog, you are a close second. Sorry dear husband, I guess that makes you a close third..?).

But it's official. I'm tired of looking after him 99 per cent of the time. I'm mentally fatigued, done with the nursery rhymes, the whining from new teeth pushing through those sore little gums, the repetitive mind numbing games and the busy yet mundane nature of feeding, settling, terribly bad singing, terribly bad dancing, bottom burps, banana vomits, banana and yoghurt vomits, face wiping and bum cleaning. Plus, if I have to read Dear Zoo one more time I think I'll end up in one.

Unlike my workplace, there are no pay rises for mothers at home, in line with CPI or workplace agreements. There are no formal performance reviews or opportunities for someone to sit down with you and tell you you're a superstar and that you're doing a marvellous job.**

Instead, many mothers at home, on a daily basis, grapple with the notion of being critiqued for our parenting styles, the size and shape of our baby, what they're eating, what they're not eating, are they crawling, are they walking, are they tap dancing yet..?

Although I have committed to seeing through my maternity leave arrangement, late last week I secured the little master a place in the most amazing child care facility for January 2013.

Whilst walking through the playground, the little master kicked his legs with excitement and I, holding back tears of relief, mentally wiped out the images of other centres we had toured through over recent weeks.

This was the Rolls Royce of centres. Amazeballs is an understatement. Plus it is less than a ten minute hop, step and wiggly jump from my work. And they have chickens. Real chickens...I know, I know.

I can't wait to send him there, to further develop those skills he has learnt at home and to flourish in a social, learning and nurturing environment. Did I mention the chickens?

As for me, bring on Monday mornings, my white crisp shirts, suit jackets, performance reviews, all day meetings, briefings, agendas, bits of paper.

Although it won't be easy and I can guarantee an array of tears from my behalf after dropping him off at childcare on day one, but I believe combining work and parenthood will make me a better mother and a better employee. I will value every moment I will share with the little master of a morning, night and on a weekend. I will work to live, not live to work and will very much look forward to reading Dear Zoo every single night. Over and over and over again.

* Dear husband did offer to cancel his golf game this afternoon out of respect for my sanity. However I refused his offer to stay at home, he too needs the time away to refresh himself..pity it takes five solid hours on a golf course to do so!

** Dear husband also does praise me every day and tells me I'm doing a great job. But as my husband, he has to do that...but I love him regardless. Thanks DH.

Oh, and I really do love Dear Zoo. That is all.


Ch 36: Saturday is Caption Day

Our first Saturday is Caption Day entry - hazzah!

The little master giving one of his famous 'I'm not very impressed' looks.

Caption away!

Oh and check out mammasaurus for more Caption Day funnies.



Ch 34: There's more to life than footy? Really?

Earlier this year I was at the footy and was pleased to meet the new girlfriend of one of my mates. She doesn't follow the game but was keen to come along to see what all this AFL buzz was about.

I welcomed her to the world of our brown and gold existence, the Hawthorn Hawks, with a spare scarf I had at home. She grinned and wrapped it around her neck. Then I told her that she wasn't allowed to come along again unless she wears it...with pride. We laughed. She agreed. Ice broken. Another supporter recruited.

For those of you who know me, to say I am a die hard, passionate and at times slightly arrogant Hawthorn supporter, would be a sure bet right?

Ok, ok, I can see you nodding your heads profusely, including my dear husband who on many occasions has called himself the football widow in our family. I think he's right.

I love my Hawks, the game itself and the comradeship with my fellow Hawthorn supporting friends. Let's just not mention my love of the umpires though..

Over the years, and I mean around 25 years, there have been buckets of tears, child like tantrums, broken flags, random hugging of strangers, interstate trips, jumping over the fence after the 100th goal is kicked (thanks Dunstall and Buddy), premierships won, far too much money spent, an overflowing swear jar, copious amounts of pies consumed and countless moments of elation and joy.

And that's just on a Saturday afternoon.

My mate's new girlfriend came along to another game during the year. The Hawks were a few goals down at half time and were not playing well. Our tight-knit group were anxious and frustrated. This was clearly visible to our newest recruit so at the half time break she turned to me and the following conversation occurred:

New scarf wearing recruit: I've only ever been when the Hawks have won.

AP: Ah ha, sighs, squeezes tomato sauce over beef pie.

New scarf wearing recruit: He doesn't handle it well when they're losing does he?

AP: Nup (thinking neither do I, love!). Blows on gravy beefy pie goodness to cool it down.

New scarf wearing recruit: I'm going to have a talk to him about getting some perspective.

AP: Spits gravy beef pie goodness onto the ground. Ohhh ok. Umm, hang on, might want to wait until after the game. In fact maybe tomorrow morning. Yes?

New scarf wearing recruit: Laughs. Oh yes, ha ha. Alright then. Sure.

AP: Frantically trying to figure out how to give her friend the heads up about an impending 'there's more to life than football' lecture from girlfriend. Abandons heads up plan, too hard and besides, she's not my girlfriend and I have a pie to eat. Continues devouring remaining pie.

Fast forward three months and the mighty Hawks have reached that last Saturday in September.

Grand final day 2012 and we were in it!

I was anxious, not overly confident but very hopeful. The lead up to the day was enormous. Nervous butterflies all week, wide awake each morning at 6am too preoccupied and excited to sleep.

The last time Hawthorn lost a Grand Final was in 1987. I was six years old. We won in 1988, 1989, 1991 and 2008.

Therefore, I had never really experienced the pain of losing a flag.

Saturday 29 September 2012. The Sydney Swans defeated Hawthorn by ten points to claim the 2012 Premiership.

I was numb. Heart broken. Disappointed. Lost.

I got out of the MCG as fast as I could. In a sea of brown and gold scarves my wobbling chin and I said goodbye to my football mates and jumped on a train home.

Home to see my little boy. My happy and beautiful bundle of chubby goodness. Oh and dear husband too. From the time they dropped me off at the footy to when I got home was eight hours. The longest I had been apart from the little master since his birth eight months ago.

He grinned his little face off at me and my heart melt. I had missed him. Very much.

In the background, my dear husband could be heard whispering on the phone: 'She's ok, I think. Hasn't said much. No, the world hasn't fallen in..'

He was right. And so was my friend's new girl.

It's only taken a quarter of a century but I, for a moment, managed to 'get some perspective'.

Rather than dwelling on the Grand Final defeat, I gave thanks to having such a fulfilling hobby as part of my life that I can share with my little master. Or should I say, little hawk..

I will teach him to be a good sport, a loyal supporter who stands by his team in good times and bad, and he will learn to persevere and work hard to achieve his goals. He will be kind to the umpires and I will push him over the fence when the next Hawthorn forward kicks 100 goals. In fact, we will leap over the fence together. Some things never change.


Ch 34: Whoa, check out those snowballs

My dear husband, the little master and I recently had dinner at a friends house. Another couple with a family, lovely pair, beautiful kids and a great home. We are, however, still getting to know each other.

So waltzing in without knocking, helping myself to their finest drop then kicking back on their couch, whilst wrestling their ten year old son to the ground is kind of not where we are at yet.

It was a mad scramble to time our arrival to a tee so that we could set the little master up in his portacot and wind down for his usual bed time. He was perfect, went down so easily without a fuss so his parentals could get stuck into a scrumptious roast dinner.

Yet only a few minutes prior, rather than settling into the conversation around the kitchen bench about the usual – work, kids, school, I found myself trying to come up with complimentary comments about the hostess' bust size.


I know, I know..how does this happen literally only a few moments after arriving you ask?

It was a bit of a blur. I do recall the hostess receiving a photo text message – an image of her friends new errr...'girlfriends' she recently paid $10,000 for.

Then the hazy words such as lopsided, breastfeeding, three kids, double D, wow and Thailand were also thrown around.

Picture AP: nodding, ah ha, oh, yes, hmmm, wow, ah ha, right.
Oh look, the little master is riding your dog, excuse me a moment.
Gives dear husband desperate look of OMG WTF?!
Retrieves little master and scurries off to the spare room to put him to bed.

Baby in bed, dinner time. Great. Footy half an hour away from starting. Wine poured. Brilliant. Awkward lopsided boob conversation over. Even better.

With a mouthful of roast potatoes, we manage to keep the conversation to pretty stock standard topics – footy finals, childcare updates, local suburb issues, mutual friends. You know, the usual, boring comfortable stuff. Not a lopsided boob comment in sight.

After retiring to the couch to watch the footy final, the wine and beers continued to flow. And so did the marshmallow snowballs. Yum!

With half an ear tuned into the footy commentary I continued to chat smalltalk with the hostess whilst the boys muttered throwaway remarks regarding free kicks, goal reviews and umpires.

Then it happened.

She said the unthinkable.

The one thing every teenage boy, actually make that ten year old boy, would curl up and hibernate under their doona forever for.

Hostess (gin and tonic in hand): We've caught him playing with himself before. He's only ten.
AP: chokes on marshmallow snowball.
Hostess (takes another swig of the hard stuff): It's not my role to chat to him. It's up to HIM to do it (points to husband who has no idea of new found responsibility, barking obscenities at the TV)
AP: barfs up snowball onto the carpet, dear husband patting her back.
Hostess: They're starting so much earlier these days, if he wants to do that then fine, but he needs to know what it means.
AP (swigs wine): nodding, ah ha, oh, yes, hmmm, wow, ah ha, right.

It kept going. The topic then changed to her teenage daughter and how many bases she had covered with her boyfriend of six months.Wow.

For someone I hardly knew it was too much. Far too much information. On the back of the awkward boob conversation upon arrival, plus the ten year old son discovering his man bits, I just didn't feel comfortable enough to contribute or suggest how they should tackle such issues. It just didn't feel like it was any of my business.

So I sat back and listened, nodded, ahhed, ummed and devoured copious amounts of snowballs and red wine.

I figured, maybe it was just something she needed to talk about and get off her ummm..chest?

Pun unintentional. But it's there. 

The footy finished, we cleaned up, woke the little master, thanked our hosts for a great time and dear husband drove us home. 

Upon our return, dear husband pleaded with me: 'when the little master is a teenager can we not discuss his err...habits with our friends? Pur-leeease AP?!'

Agreed. In fact, two big snowballs to that.


Ch 33: Silent Sunday


Ch 32: We have a biter and it's not good.

Asleep. It's night time, another day over. Joy.

Well folks, it's official. We have a biter.

I previously wrote about my failure to recognise the little master's first round of teething and as such received a welcome gift from his new white sparkly mates upon arrival. A bite whilst feeding.

It happened once. I went cross at him. He smiled. Thought it was hilarious. I frowned. Life went on.

One week passed and it happened again. In the parents room of a major shopping centre of all places. Lucky me. I went cross again and ended the feed.

Third time round at home, he ended up on the floor with a cross Mum and scared Buddy dog hovering nearby. He then rolled onto his tummy for a play and barfed up his feed. Great! What a waste and more washing for me. Ahh laundry, something different to occupy my day. (insert roll of the eye balls here).

Fourth time round, he got a slight pinch on the arm, a cross Mum, an early end to the feed and straight onto the floor, again with a frightened Buddy dog hiding under his day bed. Yet, the little master gazed into my eyes with a half smile, half not quite ready to get upset, not really sure what is going on kind of look. Got it? Good.

Each feed is now met with sweaty palms, an increased heart rate and not to mention deprivation of oxygen to the brain, as the only method of bracing myself for the imminent pain is to hold my breath. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

I am 7.5 months into feeding the little master and have every intention of continuing until 12 months. I have busted my chops to feed and to feed well over this time. I'm not willing to let this beat me. I can't. I won't.

In fact, over recent weeks I had thought I would continue for a few months beyond one year. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy it..gasp! If you had of told me that during his two, four and six week growth spurts I would have thrown my nipple shield at you. Wha? Too much again? Sorry.

Ok fine, I would have thrown a breast pad at you..bang! Better? Hur? Worse? Oh. My bad.

Anyway nipple shields and breast pads aside, my gut feeling is that I'm in a bit of trouble. I will continue to cut short the feeds, put on my best angry face whilst blubbering a few stern words to the little master, who by now, is sitting on the floor wondering whether or not he should laugh or cry. Or do a bit of both.

Wish me luck.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how to combat this, please drop me a line.

Buddy dog will be forever grateful!

Awake already..resettling on his own. Guess who is teething again? I know, I know..the timing. Hillare. Not.


Ch 31: Love a duck!

This morning as dear husband was leaving for work, he posed something quite frightening to me.

DH: What are you going to write about today AP?
AP: Ohh I don't know, I got nothing. Bloggers block. Sigh.
DH: Why don't you write about your mother?
AP: Spits coffee all over buddy dog. WHAAAT? WHYYY? My gawd..nooooo.
DH: Why not? Just write about what it's been like raising a baby without your mother?
AP: Toweling down buddy apologising profusely with liver treats in hand, scratching head, rubbing face.
DH: Have a good day AP! Love you. Closes door.
AP: Whatevs. Sighs again.

So he put the idea in my head and now of course I can't get it out. Pondering over it all morning (it is now 11.30am) I have decided to cave. Fine. I'll write about it. Here it is. But it will be brief 'ish'.

I'm the youngest of five and my mother left the family six months after I was 18 and moved away to go to uni. She stayed until the baby had grown up and left the coop.

That was just over 13 years ago. Oh darn it, now you know how old I am. Boo hiss.

The decision to cut ties with us was hers. We will never really understand why. There have been several attempts to make contact by some of us, all met with a closed door.

I won't go into any more details, it is what it is.

Over the last 13 years she has missed three of her daughters weddings plus the arrival of four grandchildren. The latest one being my little master in January 2012.

I don't discuss this situation very much and only those close to me know the details. The reason why I don't openly make it known is that unless people know me really well, I feel as though they just won't understand and as such would judge me in being the worst daughter in the world. Plus unless they have been in my shoes how could they possibly comprehend what this has been like.

So keeping this close to my chest has made for some awkward moments during general conversations over the years, especially when I was pregnant.

Work colleague: Oh your mother must be so excited that her daughter is having a baby!
AP: Yes, actually the whole family is excited, thanks. Oh look, a bird just flew into the window. How 'bout that!

Work colleague: Will your mother come up and stay for a few days once the baby arrives?
AP: Oh err..no..no she won't. Actually she would drive me mad! Laugh laugh, rant rant.
Work colleague: Oh I know, my mother drives me mad too! Haa haa.
AP: Quietly exits the lunch room, does a few commando rolls under the desks to escape.

Friend of friend: I just don't know what I'd do without my mother, we are so so close, you know?
AP: hmm yes, indeed, how lovely. Need a top up? I'm heading to the bar. Bolt.

That's how it is. Not discussing it time and time again relieves me from the painful conversation and possible judgement from others. And besides, it can be too draining especially when I just want to get on with my work day or be out having a good time.

On the upside, I am an expert in changing conversations at the drop of a hat not to mention my commando rolls.

So how have I managed over the last seven months without that one person that many new mothers rely on so much.

You may have noticed the photo of the mother duck with her baby ducklings above. I took this photo this morning whilst walking to the shops. How gorgeous.

One mother duck with her offspring. Watching their every move and gently guiding them along the way.

The next photo below shows the same mother duck with her brood but surrounding her are other ducks. They may be her mate, friends or ducks she has bumped into along the way.

It doesn't matter where they came from. What matters is that she is surrounded by others who too are keeping eye on her and her duckings. They don't need to be related but regardless, they are her family.

Starting to get my drift? Joining those dots are we?

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by my husband, father, siblings, in-laws, friends, other mothers and past work colleagues. Especially my sister, who at times has been my big sister, best friend, pediatric nurse, chief boob squeezer, tear wiper, chef, counselor and mother all in the one day. Actually make that one hour..

I am so lucky. We are so lucky.

Who knows what the future will bring with regards to being in touch with my own mother. I think about it every day. Time will tell.

In the meantime I will carry on with my own brood and happy little master who his adoring fans just love to pieces.

That is all. Rant over, but now suddenly I feel so guilty for devouring that red duck curry on Saturday night...quack.


Ch 30: Silent Sunday


Ch 29: And then I farted in the gym. Seriously.

Asleep – in bed for the night. Another day over.

Today I read an excellent article relating to how mothers, without realisation, scare the daylights out of their girlfriends by showcasing the array of low lights and frustrations of raising children.

The girlfriends are either mothers to be or they hope to be in the future. These friends have been caught up in what was described as 'mum bonding' sessions over coffee.

Whilst reading the article I found myself nodding, rolling my eyes and rubbing my face like I always do when I'm a tad stressed or anxious.

The reason? It flooded back memories from when the little master was cooking away in my oven – my first child, my first pregnancy, my first baby bump.

Rightly so, I had no idea what the future was to hold.

From the heavy belly stages of trimester three which included burping uncontrollably in work meetings, passing wind with any form of movement at the gym, through to the labour, bringing the little master home and not to mention grappling with breastfeeding and growth spurts.

It was my journey. Our journey. And we're still on it.

However as time has passed, I have grown..well to be honest, kind of pissed off at people, many of whom are mothers, who relayed the following sentiments to me, all whilst with a growing baby belly:

'Oh labour isn't painful at all!'
Said in a sarcastic manner then laughs and rolls the eyes. Thanks I'll sleep better tonight.
'Better enjoy your sleep now before the baby arrives!'
Right so you can bank your sleep and use it later yes? Thanks, real helpful.
'Gee, you're not very big..?'
Oh shuddap. We're healthy, the baby is growing great and is perfectly fine. Oh did you notice that I'm 5'0' and my husband is 5'8'. What do you expect me to produce? An NBA player?!
'Then when pulling him out they had to dislocate his shoulder.'
That's my personal fave, I was eight months pregnant at the time and the woman was drunk. I cried all the way home.

But it doesn't stop once the baby arrives. The focus simply moves from the bump to your bundle of joy. All real examples again:

'How old is he? Four months? Gee he is big.'
Would you prefer I starved him? Actually he is average weight, not an ounce above or below. Wish I could say the same about you, love.
'Oh he's not sitting up yet?'
No he rolls and rolls and rolls. He'll get there and I'm not worried. Are you?

The list could go on, but you get my drift.

So this is a call out to all the mothers, expectant mothers and women who would one day like to be a mother:

You look great, blushing in fact. I hope you have been keeping well.
You're doing an amazing job.
Well done to you, Mum and Dad! Keep it up.
Your baby is just gorgeous, perfect in fact.
Cherish every day – the smiles, eye gazing, finger holds and giggles are amazing.

Oh, and if you unexpectedly let off a bottom burp, I will happily join you in blaming the dog.

That is all.


Ch 28: Chocolate cake karma

Further to my post below, whilst woofing down three slabs of chocolate cake this afternoon, I was making the little master pureed broccoli for the first time.

It smells like off grass. 'Normal' apparently.

I think I'm going to sick up that chocolate cake..and the whipped cream. Yarrrrk!

That is all.


Ch 27: the joys of breastfeeding

That would be slice number three this afternoon!

Say wha? You thought this was going to be another article about how breast is best?

Sorry to disappoint.


Now where's that whipped cream..


Ch 26: For he's a jolly good fello..

Happy birthday dear husband, your first as a father!
P.S - sorry about the ugg boots...



Ch 25: Dear Winter - bugger off.

Dear Winter,

I'm pleased to advise that your time here is coming to an end. 

You have performed well in 2012 – short days, bitterly cold nights, frosty car windows, adequate rain not to mention a storm or ten. I heard it was a good ski season too..but I wouldn't know. The thought of frolicking around in the alps makes me want to kick a snowman in the head. Too much? Sorry.

However, we caught a glimpse of Spring today and to be honest, she's looking pretty good. The little master and I welcome the thought of not being so housebound for days on end and Buddy dog can't wait to lose his winter locks not to mention those comfort food kilos.

Plus, these two kids are getting sick of the sight of each other. Poor Bud copped a kick in the head today from the little master...out of pure boredom. Ouchy.

So Winter, enough is enough. We're done for another year. So pack up your thermometer and be on your way. You know where the exit is.

Oh and don't let the door hit your frosty bum on the way out.

Kind regards

Dear Spring,

Welcome! Oh how we have missed you!

AP xoxo



Ch 24: What's with the sour face?


Awake, kicking in his bouncer.

We have just arrived home from a lunch date to a new local cafe with our dear friend and bub.

And when I say just arrived home I meant it. Wha? You're typing already?

Yes indeed, I need to get this down whilst the steam was still filtering from my ears.

Girls, women, ladies, mothers. I ask – when did we lose the sisterhood?

When did we stop looking out for each other?

Ok, pipe down AP. Breathe..breathe. Fine.

As I said, the little master and I wondered off to check out a new cafe in town with his super cute mate, Mr F and his mother. Excited by the prospect of chowing down a hearty lunch with great views of the city, not to mention fabulous company, we had an extra spring in our step as we arrived.

Situated in a new housing development, it was relatively quiet for a Thursday lunchtime. Even better, me thinks. Quick service and we can have the place to ourselves.


The 'baby on board' stickers upon several cars parked out the front suggested we weren't the only mums getting out of the house today. Not a problem from my end, happy to coo over other gorgeous bubbas.

Yet my entry to the cafe was not met by the same warm welcome.

AP (standing in the cafe entrance, dear friend holding the door open for me): 'Excuse me, sorry can you please..umm excuussse me? Hello? I just need to pop past..excuse me?'

We've all been there right? Not that hard to move slightly to the side to allow someone to get past.

But did you experience this?

Sour faced looking mother eventually manages to glance in my direction, gives me a look that suggested I was a filthy whorebag and how dare I even attempt getting past with my pram.
How dare I.
And yes, I said whorebag.

Her response: 'You just need to move the chair..' (picture said sour faced mother condescendingly instructing me to move the chair which was actually right next to her and was also pressed up against a toddler. With reluctance, but still with a half smile on my face, I moved the chair. Sorry kid).

Stuck. Still.

AP (embarrassed, slightly frustrated but with smile still on face): 'I'm sorry, I still can't get through..?'

By this stage there were now three mothers pretending I didn't exist or need any assistance, rolling their eyes still refusing to budge or move another chair or, heaven forbid, touch their designer nappy bag.

Enter mother number four who has just ordered from the counter, on her way back: 'Here, let me help you as she guided the front of my pram through their marked territory'.

Unfortunately her tone also reeked of reluctance, abruptness and basically down right cat like behaviour to be completely honest.

With the smile still etched on my face and with dear friend behind me (there was no room for her to get past and assist...just in case you were wondering), we took the three whole steps past the group, who were now tucking into a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and gracefully thanked mother number four for her assistance which was 'much appreciated'.

Unbeknown to me, but on the record from my dear friend, the cat like snarls continued to burn in the back of my head as we made our way to a table.

How sad.

Was it something I said? Something I did? All I did was turn up to a cafe with a pram, just like they did.

Although we were both shocked and quite pissed off by what we just encountered, we carried on and had a great lunch.

The service was lovely, the food was fresh and tasty and the coffee really hit the spot. Winner.

But what I shame I still managed to leave with such a sour taste in my mouth.

Asleep  now in his bed. Heavy rain outside, how timely as a thundery storm is about to pass.


Ch 23: What's for dinner Mum?

Asleep. Morning nap time.

In one week the little master will be seven months old.

But by the way he is devouring three meals day, plus feeds, you would think he was 17.

Aren't teenage boys, not seven month olds, meant to eat you out of the house?

I swear I caught him the other day hovering at the fridge, in his new Dunlop Volleys (cuute!), opening the door, sighing then slamming it shut muttering 'there's never anything good to eat...grumble grumble.'


Not quite. However he has managed to master the art of tapping his little boy hands on his feeding chair table demanding more potato, more pumpkin and yes please I'll have some apple for dessert.


I should be thankful, he hasn't been a fussy eater, has had no allergic reactions and he is a very content and happy little man.

I am thankful.

Besides, I get to dress him in his fabulous Super Mario inspired feeding bib! Joy!
(reliving the early 1990s playing our very hip Super Nintendo. Ah yes, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Bowser..*tear*)

Anyway, the bib is a necessity..pumpkin does stain you know..

So apart from one small but painful biting episode, all things in the food department are cruising along in leaps and bounds.

The downside – the countless hours of peeling, washing, chopping, steaming, blending, freezing and finally defrosting baby sized portions of fruit and veggie goodness. And you wonder what I do all day..*rolls eyes*

A couple of small items to help me along the way – hello Avent Steam Blender and many thanks to AussieFarmers Direct for their amazing box of goodies. Love!

Righto enough jibber jabber, I'm off to peel some carrots..in my Yoshi slippers.


Ah, actually make that awake. Timing..

And yes, I really do have Yoshi slippers.


Ch 22: Then he bit me

Well we have had milestones galore coming out our nappies over the last three weeks.

Some good, some not so good.

Remember our first cold? That was nasty.

But now we're goober free and sleeping much longer at night – bliss!

Then there were the reflections on the past six months. Not to mention the increasing array of pureed vegetable and fruity goodness now in the little masters diet.

Mr Potato is still prancing around with Miss Pumpkin AND Ms Carrot..(man whore..) and the little master is growing every day.

But behind the scenes something else was going on. Something pretty significant. Something I was secretly dreading.

When we were knocked down by our first cold, we introduced our new friend the Vicks Vaporizer to the household. As pleased as I am with the warm vicks like smells drifting through the house (insert reliving childhood here), I did have a rant (or ten) to my dear husband about how disappointed I was that it didn't seem to be making any difference to his night time wakings.

I was convinced it would cure the stuffy nose and help the little master sleep longer and re-settle easier of a night time, however comfort feed after comfort feed for ten nights, I succumbed to the fact that this winter bug had won hands down.

But I was wrong. Silly Mum. Here we go again..

It wasn't just the cold causing the pain.

A few days ago I caught glimpse of the little masters new mates. Two white sparkly teeth.

Yes, not one but two of the little fellas pushing through his bottom gums.

Well hi there! Welcome!

Finally, it all made sense. The grizzles, the crankiness, the night time wakings. The poor little thing had tooth pain.

With my proud and excited Mum hat on, I sat the little master up in his bouncer and like a zoo keeper prying open the jaws of a crocodile, I had to have a feel of the teeth just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

Oh yes, there they are! Picture this - squealing AP dancing around the pissed off little master who was wondering what the heck is wrong with his mother and why did she have her hands down his gob?!

To repay me for the unwelcome dental inspection, the little master decided to give me a small gift the following day.

My first bite.

No, don't goo and gahh. He didn't bite me on the hand ok.. Ever heard of the term nipple cripple? Well times that pain by ten. Actually no, make that 20. Oh and perform the cripple with a set of sharp pliers. Get my drift? Oh yeah..I can hear you cringe from here.


Awake and ready for a feed...eeek!


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