Soldiering On.

I was reminded yesterday, by my husband as we walked hand in hand along the beach, that I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 23 years old. Two years later than most. We already had our firstborn, Deflector, who was probably 6 months old when I finally decided to get my Probationary License.
“That was quite a bone of contention wasn’t it!?” he declared, laughing at the memory.
“Was it?” I never realized it was a concern for anyone.
It wasn’t a concern for me.
“Oh yeah” he says “My Mum was worried you were going to be housebound for your whole life and be a burden on me. End up like your Mother”

Well that’s news to me.

My Mum has never driven a car. Never had a driver’s license. When I was a teenager I asked her about it. she just shrugged and said ‘I never wanted to drive. Never really felt the need.’ Cant argue with that I suppose.

I am reminded of the time, years ago, that Mum told me someone had accused her of ‘staying married’ to Dad for the convenience of his driver’s license. We both laughed at how ridiculous that statement was. Mum married to Dad because he could drive her places?
If you know my parents, you know how absurd that judgement is. They’ve been married for 38 years and they are still hopelessly in love. To the point of embarrassment. (They wear matching jumpers a` la Kim and Kel – and she might now kill me for making that public)
I never found out who made such a comment. She would never tell me who it was.
We blew it off. Someone made a stupid comment; So what? It didn’t really matter to me then. I knew it was bullshit anyway. But now, faced with a similar cursory judgement, this new information that I might ‘end up like my mother’ made me wonder….what would be so wrong with that?

I have to give you some back story. It’s relevant, I promise.

My Mother is strong, and independent and loyal. She is NOT housebound, or lazy, or a burden on anyone, least of all my Dad.
She was a military wife for twenty years. She is no sap. Let me assure you, military life is brutal.
When they first married, Mum made a commitment to Dad that she would be by his side no matter where his job took him. And take him it most definitely did.
She quit her job, a promising career actually, and laid it to rest to stand by him.
I was born, 3 months premature, spent months in ICU and then suddenly our new little family was whisked a thousand kilometers away to live in a new state. Mum made us a home in a place where she did not know a single soul. She, as a brand new wife and mother of a microprem, was taken from her only support network to a place where she knew nothing. Didn’t know a single person, didn’t know where the hospital was, didn’t know where the local supermarket was.
But she managed.
Of course she did.
She found her way in a time when there was no Internet. No Google maps. No GPS. No Siri.  Even without the ability to drive she got me to all of my appointments. She managed the transition into motherhood while her own mother might as well have been a world away. She created a life, and a home and doted on her husband and baby.
My sister was born shortly before we were moved again. From one state to another Mum packed up her house, her newly growing brood and made a new start.
Again, in a town where we knew no-one, she had no support network. No-one to call to babysit. No-one to give her 30 minutes for herself.
Again, while Dad was at work, she managed to get my sister to all her Maternal Child Health Care appointments . She took me to Kinda, She did the shopping and ran errands like most wives and mothers. She never allowed herself to be limited by her inability to drive a car.
We moved interstate 5 times in the following 10 years. Every two years we left one life behind and had to start a new. New town, new house, new people. Again, leave any prospect of a growing support network and start from scratch. Say goodbye, knowing we’d never see these people again and go into our new life knowing we’d be creating short-term relationships that we would again be waving goodbye in another 2 years.
Then live out of a suitcase in a hotel for 3 months while we try to find a house, a school, a life.

She is a pillar.

She carved out a life for us in every single new state that we lived in. She volunteered in our school canteens and our P&F commitees. She found play groups and calisthenics classes and Little Athletics. She made costumes and christmas decorations for the schools. She sewed uniforms for the underprivileged and knitted and crafted and gave to people who were our ‘temporary friends’. She ran a family day care from our lounge room and looked after dozens of other people’s kids alongside her own. She walked us to school and caught buses to appointments. There was the occasional taxi.  My brother was born in amongst all these moves. He never missed an appointment either. She walked him to kinda. She volunteered at his school. She again, looked after kids for other busy working Mums and never failed to provide a steady supply of biscuits fresh from the oven.

Her inability to drive a car was never, and I do mean not one time, a hindrance to us. Nor was it any kind of burden on my Dad. Mum always found her own way. She relied on no-one but herself.

Mum learned the bus routes in every new town. She walked and walked to find us a park to play in. She spent many a day in our newest town walking and making mental notes. There’s the medical centre,. That’s the butcher. Over there is the post office.

If anybodys life was burdened by her lack of drivers license it was her own. It probably would have made life easier for her had she been able to drive. But what I have come to learn is that my mother doesn’t do things just because its ‘easier’. She has grit.

She did not for a second consider not participating in life simply because she never learned to drive.
She continued to be a part of the community.
She continued to donate her time and her skills to others.
She continued to be an unwavering presence for her family.
She continued to hold us tight and kiss our tears when we had to say goodbye.
Goodbye to our friends and teachers and favourite bedroom. Again.
Goodbye to other military families who might have almost been a real support network.
She continued to soldier on. (pardon the pun)
Most of all she continued to stand by her husband with every single fibre of her being.

soldier leaving

Dads job was a rollercoaster. Mum never knew what would happen next. Dad might come home one day and announce that he’d be leaving in 30 minutes and would be back in 3 months. There were times when, in a new town with my father her only ally, he would have to leave us for an undefined period of time. Mum would be left to run family life not knowing when her husband would be home. One week? One month? More?
There were times that he was sent on classified missions, not only did she not know how long he’d be gone, she also did not know where he was.  Didn’t know if he was still in the country. It was classified even to the wives.
There were times when Dad was sent on missions that put his safety at risk. She couldn’t be certain that he would come home at all.

Did she suddenly lose the ability to function without Dad and his car? No, of course not. She ran the house as she always had.
With tenacity and determination. With love and patience. With a bus timetable and her own two feet.
Dads presence was such an unknown quantity that it would have been impossible for her to rely on him or his car. I’m sure that during those times, alone and missing her husband, it was more than his driver’s license that she yearned for. I’d like to bet that it was not even a consideration.

All of this, removed from the networks and interactions and web of support that most of us take for granted.
I never saw it, but surely there was a loneliness in her heart. Now as an adult I try to put myself in her shoes and I can honestly say I don’t know how she coped so stoically.
You’d think all that upheaval and restarting, the uncertainty, the lack of one single person who knows you, I mean really knows you,  would get wearing after a while. If she was ever tired of it my Mother never let on. I never heard her complain.

She is a pillar.

There is only one thing that would make any sane person live that kind of life.
Love made my mother choose that life over and over again.
Dad’s drivers license had f*@k all to do with it.
My Mum deserves more than that kind of flippant ignorance. Much, much more.

So, here I am. Now fully licensed and oblivious to the fact that once upon a time there was a ‘bone of contention’ that my inability to drive might make me ‘end up like my mother’
Perhaps over the years her inability to drive has made her more organized and independent. Or perhaps she would have had those qualities anyway. Does it even matter?
What matters to me is that she has been an example of resourcefulness, resilience and determination.
She taught me how to be a patient and loving mother.
She taught me how to be a committed, loyal and genuinely supportive wife.
She taught me how to be the soft place to fall for my work weary husband, and tired cranky children.
She taught me how to be the ‘Home’ for my family. She taught me that Home is not simply where you live, it is where your heart lies. She taught me that Home is a feeling, rather than a place.
She taught me to take life in my stride and make the best of every new situation.”
She taught me how to love unconditionally.
And, she taught me that the public bus is a perfectly respectable way to travel.

I’m fairly certain that if I had never learned to drive, I would have been more than ok ending up just like my Mother.


This is in no way a sledge against my MIL. I happen to think she is a pretty awesome lady too. She is another Mum who is strong and independent and loyal. She made a snap judgement that was coloured by her own experience. She saw her son’s life through the filter of her own and acted out of concern for him. It is something we all do. Faced with my 3 boys’ girlfriends in the future I will probably have fears for them too. We are human.

To err is human. To forgive divine.

Oh and PS.
The sacrifices my Dad has made for his military career I am still learning. There are things that he still wont tell me about, even now. I hope to tell you some of his story at another time.

Posted in Life and Other Mysteries | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Birthday ‘Lil Sis

My Mother tells me that when I was 21 months old, and my brand new baby sister would cry, I would cry too.

Later, when she was 2 and testing my mothers’ patience, I would come to her defence, 4 year old hands on hips, indignantly exclaiming “Don’t you growl at my sister!”

At 5, I realised that I was my Grandmothers favourite. I ran to her sobbing “You don’t love my sister!” I was devastated. How could you not love this?


On her first day of school I happened to look up from my work and I saw her outside, all alone, crying. It didn’t occur to me to ask permission to leave the room, to ask permission to help her, I just ran. Stood up, bolted out of the classroom, picked her up and took her back to class. She looked at me with her big wet eyes and said ‘I didn’t know where to go.’
That was the first time I got in trouble at school.  It was totally worth it though because my sister was crying!

As teens we would hang out our bedroom window in the middle of the night, smoking, giggling, confiding.

From the day she was born she was ‘my sister’.
I had a protective ownership and fierce loyalty that would rival any mothers.

She is my one true best friend. My other half. She is my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, my partner in crime. My birthday cake baker, and frequent life saver.

Countless times I have called her from my car, stuck in traffic, screaming into my phone.

‘Don’t worry, I’ve got it’ she says, and she collects my cherubs from school preventing them, and their teachers, from thinking their mother has deserted them. She feeds them something fresh from the oven for afternoon tea and has hot tea waiting for me when I finally show up in a frazzled heap. Good English tea. Not nasty cheap crap.

She babysits. Long-long days during the holidays when I have to go to work. After a day of umpiring 5 fighting children she cooks dinner for all 9 of us and then sends me home with a jar of home made chutney or a batch of fresh scones.

She feeds the pets and scoops the kitty litter tray so we can take holidays.

She loves my kids as she loves her own.

She doesn’t judge when I eat 3 pieces of cake.

And she makes me laugh, reminds me that life is for living, and lets me complain about my first world problems.

Mum and Dad, 33 years ago today you gave me the best gift a girl could ever wish for.

Bec, if you ever leave me, I’ll kill you.

Happy Birthday xo

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Posted in Life and Other Mysteries | 4 Comments

There’s a Hole In The…What Now?

Saturday afternoon I was attempting something that is highly unusual for me. Making a cake.
I rarely make cakes these days. My sister makes all the kids birthday cakes, I never even have to think about it. She just shows up to each party with a fabulous cake. But since it’s her birthday, I can’t have her making her own cake now can I.
Can I?

No I can’t. Despite the fact that we all know my kitchen escapades are highly unreliable, I decide that I cannot allow her to make her own birthday cake.

So, I’m in the kitchen attempting this delicious creation.


Click the image to see the recipe at

It’s a healthy not-really-cake cake, and since we’re all on diets we decide that this cake is perfect.
Fresh, light, low fat, delicious.

I’m trying to whip the coconut cream; it’s not going so well and I’m deliberating with my mother and sister on the ideal temperature conditions and other possible variables for whipping coconut cream.

Suddenly we hear a rather loud crash.

Now let me preface this by saying that there’s always a loud crash of some sort happening in my house. Crashes, commotions, crises, catastrophes and calamities are common. More than common, they’re expected.

So I do what I always do. I stop for a beat…listen for crying, groaning or worse – dead silence and when nothing seems amiss, I carry on. Continue chatting, whipping, chopping, agonising because the coconut cream won’t do as it’s told.

You have to understand, if I stopped for every little thing…

So, attention back to the second batch of non-compliant coconut cream, and it’s looking nothing like it’s supposed to.
I’m busy Google-ing ‘how to whip coconut cream’ when Actor walks past the kitchen; iPad in one hand, telephone in the other, en route to the rumpus room he looks back over his shoulder and ever so calmly declares “oh I just fell from the roof” and he keeps walking.

“That’s nice dear” I say. Or something to that affect. There is nothing unusual about Actor stringing a combination of alarming words together, just for effect. He does that, call it a quirk. Combined with his incredibly nonchalant demeanour I assume this is one of those times.

When Princess appears a few minutes later screeching “Did you have to do it in my room?!” I am totally pre-occupied with the defiant coconut cream to really realise that these events are all somehow linked together.

My mother and sister are not so oblivious. Off they go to investigate. I start the third batch of coconut cream. Perhaps I left too much coconut water in the cream……

“Umm Rach…..have you seen this?”

“Yes Ma I know….the roof is leaking a little, Owen is up there fixing it now.”

‘Umm, No. You might want to take a look at this”

This not-really-cake cake has to be good. It has to be perfect. My sis does an amazing job of everything she does for me; I have to get it right. Damn coconut cream! Why won’t you whip!? I’m talking to myself as I wander up the hall to see what my mother is having a conniption about. Probably over reacting, I tell myself, I bet it’s nothing at all.

At Princess’ room I stop, look up.



Call me stupid but my brain does not yet compute.

And then a rush of images and realisation hit me all at once.
Actor – “…fell from the roof”
Princess – “Did you have to do it in my room!”
Hole. In. The. Ceiling.

“ACTOR, Get in here!”

“Yes Mum?” He saunters in, barely lifting his eyes from his iPad.

There are no words. I cannot speak. I point to the gaping hole in my roof.

“I already told you.” He says “I fell from the roof”

“You mean, you fell through the roof? Through? The? Roof?


“What exactly where you doing IN the roof?”

He shrugs. “Looking for Dad.” He says that as though it’s totally normal for children to go looking for their father in the roof cavity. As though it happens every day. He’s looking at me like he’s not sure what part I’m having trouble comprehending.

Incredulous is not a big enough word. I am dumbfounded. “In the roof? You were looking for Dad in the roof?!” Have I just landed in the twilight zone?

My mother told me later that Actor said to her ‘Mum is gonna go spaz when you guys go home’
But I didn’t. Once I got over the shock of the ridiculousness of the situation, I checked him to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself. I told him that I wasn’t angry, just scared because he could have really caused himself a serious injury. Cuddled him while he cried with a mixture of shock and relief, and then commissioned my sister to call a friend who is a plasterer.

Then I shit canned the coconut cream, went to the milk bar and bought two tubs of extra fat double thick dairy cream and two six packs of bourbon.
I made this.

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I ate steak and potatoes and drank bourbon with real coke. I sang happy birthday to my sister not caring about the fact that the healthy cake was not perfect, nor totally healthy. Not caring that my temporary diet hiatus would set me back at least a week, and surprisingly unconcerned about the gaping hole in my roof.

It’s all fixable.

Posted in Kid Wrangling, Life and Other Mysteries | 2 Comments

I am Zen. Almost.

It’s been a while. Despite the fact that I made the promise to myself to write each week, it’s been many weeks. Well, no excuses. I’ll just get on with it shall I? What is that has given me incentive to write? Why that would be my delightful children. The loves of my life, my reason to live, my sun, stars and moon. They are the very centre of my world. They happen to be as annoying, wearisome and exasperating as they are hilarious, adorable and fulfilling. 

Let’s sit with that for a minute… the annoying, wearisome and exasperating…because it’s my blog, and I can.

I always start the day with the best of intentions. I wake up and think “Today is a good day”. I have my morning coffee and observe the scene before me. Actor is already ready for school, every morning he is ready before I even open my eyes. Organised.
Deflector is dressed and is in the kitchen making his lunch. Captain Clumsy is naked and walking around in circles. Princess is a reflection of me. Hair sticking up, rubbing her eyes, dazed and confused. She looks like she doesn’t know where she is or why she’s here. She looks like she could use another 2 hours sleep.

As my senses start to awaken I take a deep breath and decide that today I will be the very definition of calm control. I smile at CC and remind him that he is looking for his uniform. I hug my little Princess and tell her she needs to get dressed.
I put my arm around Deflector and ask him to perhaps lower his voice a little.
It doesn’t take long before my calm is tested.
Deflector is complaining about how ‘lame’ his lunch is. How it’s ‘totally embarrassing’. I’m not sure why it’s lame, a sandwich is a sandwich right? How can lunch be embarrassing? He goes on to whine about how ‘all the other kids’ take Doritos and Coke and blue frosted cupcakes. He continues with ‘Well I guess i’ll just starve then’ I feel my blood pressure rise a little and think about putting him on the next flight to Ethiopia or Cambodia. Perhaps he will rethink his position on lame sandwiches there. I take a deep breath and calmly explain why his lunch is not lame, why I insist he eat healthy 98% of the time, and why he can choose to not take lunch if he doesn’t like what I have to offer.
Calm control. That’s me.

Suddenly I am ripped from my gentle caffeine induced awakening with what sounds like the caterwauling of an injured feline, which I quickly realise is actually my daughter. Folks, if you only have sons, I have to tell you that the shrill shriek of a little girl cannot be compared to anything else in existence. I likened it to a screaming injured cat only because there are no adjectives for this phenomena. There simply is no way to accurately describe the ear-splitting torture that is a little girl squeal. So, I peel myself from the ceiling and decide that because I am so calm and in control I can let it float on by. No need to get involved. Princess and whoever her tormentor is can sort it out themselves.
Look at me; Cool as a Cucumber.

I give my children time calls. This way it’s not a surprise to them when we are leaving NOW.
“20 minutes guys. CC where are your pants? Princess, brush your hair.”

CC appears to be wandering aimlessly with no pants on. He has had an altercation with Deflector, I realise, because he is not wandering aimlessly at all, rather he is shadowing his brother, taunting him with “brk brk brk chicken. Brk brk brk” I gently take him by the shoulders and redirect him to his awaiting pants.

“15 minutes kids. Princess where is your hairbrush?”
Princess is sitting on the floor in the kitchen putting her socks on. The Actor steps backwards and promptly loses a bowl of cereal all over her clean dress. She, of course, starts shrieking, He, bless his sweet little heart, tries to mop up the rice bubbles with a very wet chux.
I bite my lip. No use crying over spilt milk. I lovingly tell Princess that sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor is not a good idea. I tell Actor that an already wet chux is obviously useless. I might swear under my breath.
It’s ok, I Am Zen.

“10 minutes. CC where are your shoes? Princess, brush your hair while I iron your clean dress.”
Deflector has disappeared. I don’t have time to find him and I’m not going to shout. Calm controlled mothers do not shout. I hear the muffled sounds of Sponge Bobs theme song drifting from under the closed doors of the rumpus room.

Surely not.

They wouldn’t dare… would they?

CC, still pantless, lounges on the couch watching Sponge Bob. Princess is dressing the cat. Deflector is perched on the ottoman crushing candies on my iPad. 

Apparently they would.

My voice might be a little….raised when I tell CC that I will not hesitate to take him to school naked. I might have been a little…stern as I tell Princess to dress herself rather than the cat. I was possibly a little …gruff when I snatch my iPad from my eldest who should know better and how the hell does he crack my pass code anyway!?
No really, I’m still calm…just a little…exasperated.

“5 minutes kids! CC! Your Shoes! Princess, your dress!”
Deflector is sitting on the floor at the door. Apparently ready to go, at least he’s out of my way.
Actor and CC are squabbling over shorts.
“They’re mine”
“No they’re not, they’re mine!”
“What size are they then? Show me!”

Argh. Give me strength. “I don’t care who the shorts belong to, CC just PUT THEM ON. Everyone else, in the car now!”

Deflector decides that now is a good time to mention he hasn’t eaten breakfast, despite the fact that he has spent the last 10 minutes sitting on the floor, and who knows how long before that playing on my iPad.
I toss him a packet of ‘Breakfast biscuits’ and we’re out the door.
Princess hasn’t brushed her hair, I can see a few rice bubbles stuck in it. Deflector complains again about the lack of junk food in his lunch box. I take a deep breath. Two more minutes, I can manage two more minutes.
I kiss them goodbye, say I Love You and wave to the other Mums. Look at me. I am in control; I even managed to get some make-up on today.
Yay me.

I get home and notice the chaos that I’m trying my best to ignore. The iron is still on, beeping. The cat is sitting in the milky/watery ricebubbles swirls on the kitchen floor. There is Vegemite smeared all over the bench, and next to it sits CC’s lunch box.
I spend the day cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping. When I find banana skins under the couch I am glad the kids are at school. They shouldn’t hear the words I use until they are at least 18.
The washing I gave CC to put away yesterday is in the machine again. Apparently it’s easier to put your clean red shirts in the machine with Mums whites than it is to put them away. I send my husband a text.
“I might just kill him, I’m not even joking”
“LOL” he says

LOL Indeed.

By the time I pick them up from school I feel like their personal assistant.  I have just spent the whole day cleaning their mess, re washing their clothes, killing the ants that are contentedly munching on the contraband substances that have been hidden in sock drawers, and making raspberry muffins for afternoon tea.
Before we even leave the school gates a squabble erupts over who is going to tell me about their day first.
“I was talking first”
“No I WAS!”

We get to the car and Actor and CC decide they have to fight over who is getting in the car first. There is a stand-off. No one wants to sit in the middle seat, so no one is going to get in first.
Because I am so calm and controlled I close the car door and drive off leaving them standing in the parking lot.
I drive around the block, telling myself that I will not shout. I am calm, I am Zen.
When I get back to the school they are looking adequately subdued. I pull up and they wordlessly get into the car. Smart move boys, Mum is holding on by a thread.

We go home and I do the usual run down. “Kids put your bags away, do your chores and put your washing out. Then, and only then, you can have a snack. And DON’T make a mess in my clean kitchen.”
I disappear for 10 minutes to hang out my now pink whites.

I come back inside to find the kitchen a disaster zone. Squashed muffin on the kitchen floor, a trail of crumbs leads to the rumpus room. They don’t bother to look up from the TV when I open the door. I notice their school bags are spewing papers and rubbish into a pile on the floor, their school shoes and socks flung here and there…

“Guys! C’mon!”

“What?!” Says Deflector

“Hmmm?” Says Actor

“Huh?” Says CC

“Mum, Can I have a Bratz doll?” Says Princess


Someone managed to get a pic just as I lost my mind.

Now they get it. Zen does not work. Calm control does not work with my children. It takes something far more obvious, ie: me losing my shit.

It’ amazing how quickly children can get to work under threat of starvation and house arrest. It takes them less than 10 minutes to clean their mess, do their chores, tidy their rooms. I put dinner on and take my wine into my bedroom. Close the door. Do not kill them.

Oh, and FYI, my closed door translates to “Do NOT disturb unless you or your sibling is bleeding, dying or on fire”.

A short while later I hear the front door slam, then “Honey I’m home!” followed by a chorus of “Hi Dad”, “Hey Dad”, “Daddy!”

They all go running to Daddy, the man who still holds sanity at 6:30 in the evenings, the one who will save them from the crazy lady.

“Where’s Mum?” he asks.

“She’s in her room” says Deflector.

“Think she had a bit of a hard day.” whispers Actor

“She’s a little bit grumpy” says Princess

“We cant figure out why!” exclaims CC


Posted in Kid Wrangling, Secret Mummy Business, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Children Are Brain Damaged

I can hear the PC brigade tutting at me already.
You can’t say that!

Yes I can. I can say that because it’s true.
It might not be PC.
But if Bill Cosby can say it, then I can too.

Today started so nicely. All the kids are doing their chores, things are going smoothly, all is calm on the home front.
I’m straightening our walk in pantry. I notice the shopping bag of chocolates, treats that I purchased for the school holidays, are a little…askew.


The plastic shopping bag, which was tied shut, is open. The Freddo Frogs and Mini Mars Bars are open wide and half missing. There are empty wrappers in the bag.


Why do they leave evidence? Why? If they would just put things back how they found them I would never know. Geez. My sister and I were never this stupid.
Brain damage right there.

So I’m standing in the pantry having a parental dilemma. A debate with myself.

If I pretend I haven’t seen it, I don’t have to punish them….again.
And then they get away with it.
Yes, but it’s just chocolate. Not a big deal.
It’s theft.
I know but is a Freddo Frog really worth the hassle?
Today it’s a Freddo. In 4 years it’s your car in the middle of the night.

This debate goes on for a while. I know that I have to make a decision. I either have to walk away and pretend I didn’t see it. Or I call them in and hold an inquisition. The problem is, as soon as they know that I know there must be consequences.
As much as it might appear otherwise, I really don’t like punishing my kids. I don’t. I hate it. I try not to have to do it. If I punished them for every single thing I’m sure they’d spend their entire childhood in solitary confinement. I have to pick my battles.
Is this one of them?

The things children put you through. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be standing in the pantry trying to decide whether to reveal to my children that I know what they’ve done. Who knew, pre-parenting, that such dilemmas even exist?

So in the end I decide that I have to deal with it.
The frog is small, the bigger issue is, well… big.
I call four kids into the kitchen and I already know who the culprits are. I know their signs.
Captain Clumsy and Princess are clueless. Deflector and Actor and looking at their feet, trying to pretend that they have no idea why I have called them.
This is the point of no return. They know that I know.

“Who stole the chocolates?”
CC: “huh?”
Princess: “What chocolate?”
Deflector: “Umm. I don’t know.”
Actor: Looks at Deflector. He says nothing.

I rephrase my question. You can’t ask children unspecific questions. Who stole the chocolate? has SO much wriggle room. What are you doing Rachael? That’s a rookie mistake.

“CC, did you take the chocolates?”
“Huh? Chocolate? We have chocolates?”
“Princess, did you take the chocolates?”
“No? What Chocolates? Can I have a chocolate?”
“Deflector, did you take the chocolates?”
He pauses. I’ve got him. He mumbles something and I catch the word ‘one’.
A lie. He did not have one. Despite the fact that I tell him repeatedly that stealing one thing is the same as stealing one hundred things, he still thinks if he says ‘just one’ he might get off lightly. Brain Damage.
“Actor, did you take the chocolates?”
“Well, yeah. I did. I had one.”
Sigh. Give me strength.

What happens next you should never ever do. Don’t do this at home people. You’ll only make it harder on yourselves. I don’t know why I did it. Frustration perhaps. I really should know better. I have no excuse.
“Why guys? Why!?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do. You do know. And you know that you are not allowed to take things that do not belong to you. That’s stealing. Why would you steal from me?”
“I don’t know “
“I don’t know is not an answer. Why?”
“I don’t know.”

Mr Cosby is right. I am right. Children really are brain damaged.
And my brain damaged children are now not going to the cinema with their friend this afternoon.


Posted in Kid Wrangling, Life and Other Mysteries, Secret Mummy Business | 2 Comments

Darwin Could Never Have Known…

During the week I attended a Parents Information Meeting at our school. There will be iPads issued to the upper school in the following weeks, and this session was a chance for parents to see how the technology is to be used to further our children’s education. There would be some discussion on cost to parents, school policy, internet safety and the like. Or so I thought.

Our principal, Mrs. C, runs through the details. She shares her nifty little PowerPoint presentation. We watch a YOUTUBE video on education in the 21st century.

It’s all very predictable. She then asks if anyone has any concerns about the new technology and 90% of parental hands fly into the air.

Mine doesn’t.

I’m thinking Internet Safety/Cyber Bullying/ Online Predators…yeah that must be it, what else is there to be worried about?

I should preface this by stating that our family is kinda tech savvy. We are not afraid of technology. We currently have a collective of 2 iPhones, 4 laptops, 1 net book, 1 iMac, 3 iPads and a couple of iPods, in our possession.

So, I’m wondering….What’s to be afraid of??

Mrs. C pre-empts with, “Are your concerns about Internet Safety”?

A couple of hands punctuate the airspace.

Well, what is everyone concerned about then? I’m wracking my brain…..what am I not getting? What is there to be worried about? I only see this technological advancement as a wonderful opportunity for our children’s education. What could I be missing?

I’m about to find out.

“How much time will our children be using the iPods in a typical day? Will it be all day?”

“What about teacher/student contact. If the children are basically being taught by a device, when is there going to be time for teacher involvement?”

“What about handwriting. Will handwriting still be a part of the curriculum”?

My mouth drops open. Really? You need to ask that question?

“And books. Will our children still be reading real books? We don’t want them to forget what real books look like!”

Its all feeling rather passive agressive to me. If it were me standing at the lectern fielding these questions I’d probably be getting quite terse by now. Mrs. C is cool as a cucumber. I realise she is probably used to answering to this particular brand of parental outrage.
She calmly explains that books and pencils will still be a very large part of our children’s education, of course they will.
I cannot believe that she actually needs to say those words.

“RSI and carpel tunnel are a real concern. We’re wondering how you are going to monitor the children’s sitting positions and what you are going to put in place to ensure these health conditions don’t result from this introduction of technology.”

My jaw hits the floor.
I would have replied ‘Well you know a child sitting at a desk with an iPad is no different to a child sitting at a desk with a book. Are you suggesting a chiropractor be on standby for each class? Or just that the teachers should be checking for ergonomically efficient positioning of your child’s bottom on their chair??’

Mrs. C. blinks. She’s looking….perplexed. I’m pretty sure she is as beginning to feel as exasperated with these questions as I am, but she hides it well. She says simply ‘Yes RSI is a concern, that is something we will monitor as time goes on’

Some of the people around me are not game to raise their question publicly but I hear them talking amongst themselves.

“What about art and creativity!? Will they still be using pencils and paints and real tangible tools?”

“Whatever happened to the good old text book?”

“Are all areas of the curriculum going to be made the responsibility of this iPad thing? There will be nothing else! Our children will grow up proficient in ‘ipad101’ and the basics of education will be lost!”

I almost wanted to leave. There was a clear division between parents and teachers. I could almost see a line forming on the carpet between parents and teachers chairs. And I didn’t want to be on the side I was on.
I just sat there shaking my head in utter disbelief.

You know it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t even have computers in schools. I finished my VCE without the use of internet, as did all of my peers. That was only 16 years ago and the very thought is inconceivable today. I wonder if parents were afraid of introducing the humble PC into their children’s education back then. Did my parents think a PC was going to somehow strip me of my ability to write with a pencil? Or destroy my love of reading? Or hinder my interaction with my teachers?
If we go back a little further into the history of education we remember when we used to believe that the only education our children required was the three “R’s,” (reading, writing and arithmetic) together with lessons on how to be good moral, law-abiding citizens. There were opponents of this idea of course, people felt that the child of a blacksmith didn’t need any more education than what was necessary for him to become a blacksmith, the child of a farmer only what was necessary for him to be a successful farmer, our daughters’ only required education was in home economics; sewing, cooking and childrearing.
Earlier still we thought that education wasn’t really necessary at all.

Thank god for those education pioneers in our history who advocated ground-breaking concepts and believed in furthering the education of our youth in new and innovative ways.
Thank god for the amazing advocates for modern education that happen to be responsible for the tutoring of my children.

I just cannot fathom why people are so reticent to embrace such a powerful learning tool. I have no doubt whatsoever that my kids will still learn the fundamental skills of early education. I am certain that they will still write with a pencil and borrow books from the library. The curriculum is not changing; the only thing that is changing is the ability to hold a world of information and educational apps literally in the palm of their hands. What’s not to like?

We can’t change the way the world is simply by denying the changes that have happened. The Age of Technology has caused a huge cultural shift. Once a major shift in a culture occurs, you can never go back to how it once was.

You have to adapt.


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Mum Look #203

Sometimes I find myself amidst a situation that I would swear has been lifted directly from a comedy skit. That or the halls of a mental institution.

Example: This very morning I was sitting on my bed, reading my emails and suddenly my door bursts open and two uniform clad boys erupt into my bedroom. Actor is first, he is holding a tub of butter and looks to be running for his life. He gets to the end of my bed, spins on his heel and crouches, matrix style. Keanu couldn’t have done it better himself.
Deflector follows wielding a butter knife. He stops abruptly when he sees his brother has turned toward him. The knife, in his right hand, crosses his chest and he takes it in both hands, samurai-esque. He glares at Actor.

Actor glares right back at him.

A standoff.

I wish I had a photo of this. My two, old-enough-to-know-better, boys in a Matrix/Samurai standoff with a tub of butter and a butter knife.

They start yelling at each other. “I had it first.” “No you didn’t I had it first!”
Deflector says “I was using it first and I have proof!” He waves the butter knife and flings a glob of oily butter onto my carpet.

Words fail me. I cannot form a coherent sentence. I am stuck somewhere between OneDayIWill KillYouKids and OhMyGodButtterOnMyCarpet.

I see it. The Oh-Shit, We-just-crossed-a-line look that flashes between them.
They both turn to look at me and suddenly they’re on the same team. Standoff forgotten.
Brothers in arms.

I just look at them. I am in disbelief. I say nothing but quickly realise I need to do something.
I pull out Mum Look #203


A you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me/deal-with-that-NOW combo

They silently bend down and work together to clean the mess. They have come together. They stand shoulder to shoulder and wait for further instruction.
And then Actor looks down and realises for the first time how ridiculous they both look with their butter weapons.
He smirks. Deflector giggles. I shake my head.
Is this my life? Disarming buttery battles?
They dissolve into raucous laughter and a boyish slapping of backs and fist bumps as they leave my room and go back to making their lunches.
Hilarity ensues.

Sometimes I can parent without even opening my mouth.

Posted in Kid Wrangling, Secret Mummy Business | 2 Comments