A bob, Mark, a BOB.

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We last left Cricket witnessing a discussion between her parents about whether she should have her own mobile phone after she carefully dunked her Mum’s phone in the cat’s water bowl. Hoot was so alarmed, he wrote another letter to the Management announcing his intention to roll a poo across the familial abode.
… ‘I know it seems ridiculous, but this generation will be connected from the very beginning, so maybe it’s not such a big deal, Mark.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure the very beginning needs to be before Cricket can even talk.’

Talking is going to be the most epic thing that will ever happen to me. I’m going to call the CEO of the world the day I start talking. I’ve always wanted to talk to Mem Fox.

‘Well obviously it’s not to make phone calls on, it’s just so she isn’t so obsessed with mine. She can have my old iPhone 4 and we can just have music and photos and videos on it for her.’
‘I don’t know sweetheart, it seems wrong to give an 8 month old a mobile phone.’
‘Yes, it does, and I’ve already acknowledged that and I don’t disagree, but you don’t have to spend all day wrestling with her and then find your phone in the bottom of Hoot’s water bowl.’
‘Did you put it in rice?’
‘It was immersed, in water and cat spit, possibly for hours, I’m pretty sure it was beyond rice.’
‘You didn’t look at your phone for several hours? Really?’
Mum gave Dad a withering look. I know what withering looks are because I’m usually the cause of them.
‘The empathy is overwhelming Mark. And no, it probably wasn’t hours, but it was at least one hour. I do have other things to do than stare at my phone all day.’
‘I don’t doubt it, but I do wonder if you hadn’t used your phone so much around Cricket in the first place we wouldn’t be having this problem. Wasn’t it one of the mums from your mother’s group who said you shouldn’t expose a baby to a mobile at all?’
Gasp! My life without the magic rectangle would barely be worth living.
‘Yes, darling, the very same mum who sews her own baby wipes and thinks the 100% organic veggie pouches from Coles are devil’s food and most likely sterilizes her own nipples in 500 degree steam baths before each feed. The mum I’ll never ever ever match up to, whose breasts are gravity-defying alien life forms, who wears perfectly appointed make up every day and has a blonde bob. A bob, Mark, a BOB.’
Mum burst into tears. Not the pretty, quiet, Hollywood tears where people smile kindly and hot air balloons drift across an orange sunset – the loud, snot dripping kind that sound like Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter.
‘What you mean she makes her own baby wipes? How do you make a baby wipe?’
Even at 8 months old I know that that’s not what Dad should’ve focused on from all the things Mum just said. From my vantage point sitting on the floor, it’s hard to see Mum’s face properly, but I can see her feet and she’s stuffing them into her shoes with some ferocity. Shoes means business.
‘You’re an arsehole. I’m going for a walk.’
It took me a few precious seconds (I was still musing over ‘arsehole’) to realise Mum was going for a walk WITHOUT ME.
WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH!
‘But she’s crying now!’
‘Yes, she is, you need to comfort her.’
I strain my whole body as far as it will strain towards Mum. I move about an inch. My existence is just one, big exercise in frustration.
‘But she wants you.’
‘So she does. Good luck.’
And she’s gone and I’m beside myself with grief. Dad picks me up and I scream into his face as loud as god will allow, IS SHE EVER COMING BACK?! Dad looks alarmed which confirms my suspicion that’s she’s never coming back, so I cry louder and harder then I ever have in my long and illustrious career. Dad panics now and grabs his phone out of his pocket (I guess he’s not keeping it in his Doodle Bag today) to ring Mum to come back but it doesn’t connect and I shove three fingers hard into his right eye socket and scream into his left eye socket as hysterically as I can – I DROWNED MUM’S PHONE IN HOOT’S WATER BOWL, REMEMBER?! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WE’RE DOOMED!!
And just at that moment, Hoot walked past us pushing a big round poo in front of him like he was an elephant in the circus pushing a barrel of monkeys.

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Doodles are amazing

IMG_5486-755958When we last left Cricket, she’d just heard that Grandma might be coming in a few weeks! There’s a chunk of text missing between that last post and this one because I haven’t finished it yet. Basically it’s a bit of background about the Mum thinking about doing IVF again.

Dear Management, 

Electronics in my water bowl. Really? This is really how much control you have over your mutant spawn? You really want to watch me shuffle off this mortal coil with sparks flying out of my whiskers? You’re not the people I thought you were. I knew life would change, you would change when the mutant barreled it’s way into our lives, but you care so little about me that you’re ok with your phone taking a swim in my water bowl? I repeat – really?

            The funny thing is I don’t feel all that injurious towards the Cricket; my murderous feelings are faced squarely towards you, Management, for your increasing and inexcusable lack of control.

            I’m currently feeling too sensitive to demand emolument. I’m going to do a poo in the kitty litter and then flick it out of the kitty litter and then roll it across the floor to an as yet undisclosed location. This is extreme, granted. I do not enjoy dealing with faeces, even my own. But I feel the need to roll some across the length and breadth of the abode. My food and water must not be trifled with. The very core of my being has been profoundly disturbed. Ergo, it is my biological obligation to execute an act proportionally disturbing. It’s biology. May you soon feel the wrath of my biology. Biology.

Insincerely,
Thiha Archibald Hootentoot the Third

Hoot and Dad are both boys. Boys are funny. They have doodles and doodles are AMAZING. They carry a HANDBAG! I wonder what they put in there?! I hope it’s books. I love books. I also love phones. Phones are magic rectangles that play music and have VIDEOS OF YOURSELF in them! I think Dad might carry his phone in his doodle handbag because I don’t see his phone very often. But Mum’s phone is FAIR GAME because she always has it out and I always want to play music and see videos of myself.

Mum’s starting to get very frustrated with my insistence though. Now I have the manual dexterity of a human being instead of a Labrador it seems she doesn’t want me phone-fiddling anymore. Sigh. We used to share everything. But that’s ok because I’ve demanded my own phone. I did this by hiding Mum’s phone so she’d realise she’s officially lost control of the situation and the only solution is for us to have our own phones. I very lovingly placed Mum’s phone in the bottom of Hoot’s water bowl so it would take her a while to find it. It turns out that Hoot found it first and he let Mum know by puffing up into a puff-ball and circling the bowl, making these funny growly noises. I thought it was hilarious!, but Mum didn’t. She was still upset when Dad got home from work.
‘I know it seems ridiculous, but this generation will be connected from the very beginning, so maybe it’s not such a big deal, Mark.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure the very beginning needs to be before Cricket can even talk.’
Talking is going to be the most epic thing that will ever happen to me. I’m going to call the CEO of the world the day I start Talking. I’ve always wanted to talk to Mem Fox.

… stay tuned …

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kiss me back

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I just found this. It was written almost four months ago when Charlie was four months old.

I want to stop time. Today, yesterday, last week, tomorrow. Before you came into the world I had no idea how much I’d want to stop time. I had no idea that every age would be the best age. I want to stop time and stare at your milky 16-week-old skin forever.

I wanted to stop time at 11am this morning when you giggled at my song and my heart exploded at the sound. I wanted to stop time yesterday when you snuggled into my neck the way a new kitten does because you were tired and I am the only thing that still truly gives you comfort.

I wanted to stop time last week when you said your first word and it was Mum. I’ll want to stop time tomorrow when I wake you up after your first nap and you uncurl yourself like a cat in the sun and smile a sleepy smile at the curtains. I have no idea why you smile at the curtains and not me, but even that makes me want to stop time and marvel in the uniqueness of you.

I wanted to stop time when you were 10 days old and I was still in a bubble of a love so astonishing my heart seemed to crack open further and further with every day.

I wanted to stop time when I placed you in your grandfather’s arms for the first time and I wept with joy that you had a Grandfather when I never did.

I wanted to stop time on the operating table when the doctor brought you to me and my first whispered words to you were “you’re safe”.

I wanted to stop time when I saw you discover your hand. I could see the concentration on your face and almost hear your little exclamation – look Mum, a hand!!

I wanted to stop time the day after you were born when I heard a funny sound from my hospital bed and looked over to see you in your Dad’s arms as he sobbed with joy over the top of your tiny, perfect head.

I wanted to stop time when we brought you home from the hospital and showed you your nursery I’d spent so many years imagining.

I want to stop time every time I see you fresh out of the bath, naked and perfect on a warm towel, skin glowing and eyes big.

I wanted to stop time when I saw you in my sister’s arms. One day I’ll tell you what IVF is and how your Aunty was one of my biggest supports for those six, long years.

I’ll want to stop time in a few months when you heave your determined little body forward into your first crawl. I’ll want to stop time on your first birthday when everything will be pink and green and there’ll be too much cake and I won’t care if people think I’m silly.

I’ll want to stop time when you take your first step, wave your first hello, eat your first food, kiss me back.

I want to stop time so I can remember all of these things. There is you and me, and daddy makes three. And that’s enough. You are enough. You are my light and my joy and my heartsong. So I remember all I can – all the minutes of joy, each second of wonder and fear and surprise. And it’s ok if I never get to repeat them because I had them with you, my miracle, my heartsong. My love.

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Art and Life

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Mum in the 60s in her amazing boots.

I don’t know if it’s a case of life imitating art, or the other way around, but Grandma really IS coming to visit! I told Charlie and she threw her chicken, apple and cinnamon mush up over her shoulder and high into the air in excitement. Ok, so it may not have been because she understood that Grandma-Dawn (GD) was coming, might just have been because throwing things in the air is a hoot. Or maybe she thought chicken, apple and cinnamon mush has the same result as salt when thrown over one’s shoulder. Who knows what babies are really thinking?

Mum hasn’t seen Charlie since she was about three months old and obviously a lot has happened since then – she’s solving complex mathematical problems, she’s joined a band, she’s ompleted her first ultra-marathon, and she’s now an apprentice chef. Ok. Ok, she’ll look at a book with numbers in it, she bangs things together, she can smoosh across the floor in a weird, crawly, snakey type way, and she’s now eating actual food. What? That’s close.

The thing about Mum is that I’m starting to think of her as the Grandma from my new book (as yet untitled) and that’s confusing. The idea for the book did actually start with my Mum. Mum and Charlie have been texting each other from soon after Charlie was born and some of the texts are really funny and both Mum and I really enjoy them. It’s also been a great way for Mum to feel involved in the day-to-day goings on of Charlie’s life. I remember laughing over a funny exchange between Mum and Charlie about me saving some of my clothes from this era for Charlie to wear twenty years from now and Mum telling her about an amazing pair of boots she had in the 60s she wished she’d passed down to me, and I thought it would be lovely in a book. Of course you can’t really write a book of text messages and Charlie is a very easy baby so some artistic licence was needed and suddenly I’m writing a novel half based on Mum and Charlie and half pure fiction about a famous dancing Grandma and a baby who understands the English language. See my confusement?

It’s great fun though, looking at these two people I love so fiercely and then making them different – louder, softer, naughtier, funnier. Who knows what either of them will think with the finished product, but hopefully it’ll be a tribute to them both and something they’ll enjoy.

I still think I need to put all of Mum and Charlie’s texts into a book for them. I know all three of us will be glad I did down the track. Here’s an exchange between them from early February. How cute are they?

Charlie:     GD I ATE FOOD!!!! … It was awful!!
GD:              Oh no Darling! What did they give you?!! Poor poppet xxx
Charlie:     Carrot!!! I wanted cake and coffee. I’m not a farm animal. Stupid parents :(
GD:              Indeed my darling. I’m with you!
Charlie:     Thought so. Good talk, GD.

 

 

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GRANDMA IS COMING!

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Cricket has told us the story of her birth and now moves onto the things at hand, like GRANDMA is coming!

Turns out Grandma is in New Zealand because she’s famous in the REST OF THE WORLD TOO!! Grandma was in a movie about dancing a long time ago, when gay meant happy and Facebook was called visiting. Grandma’s movie made everybody feel very gay so now it’s got all these very happy people who like rainbows and kissing obsessed with it.

Like Auntie Jack. Auntie Jack is Mum’s best friend and she has boy hair and big boobs and wears lots of eyeliner and her Mum’s ITALIAN! How EXOTIC! Her Mum isn’t called Grandma, she’s called Nonna, and she doesn’t give me cake, she gives me torta. WOW!! Sometimes Nonna fills in for Grandma because my Grandma doesn’t live here. I think this might mean that I’m exotic by proxy.

Auntie Jack came over today to help Mum with laundry and cooking and me, which means Mum makes Auntie Jack coffees while she runs around doing laundry and cooking and Auntie Jack flicks the occasional toy in my direction. Auntie Jack doesn’t have any kids so she doesn’t understand how someone as small as me can make so many loads of washing and eat so many vegetables. But she also SINGS! Not like Mum sings, she sings like she’s swallowed a dinosaur! – a dinosaur who can SING! It’s REALLY LOUD! When I’m grumpy she sings me Ave Maria and it makes Mum cry. I don’t know why Mum cries, it cheers me right up!

Auntie Jack flicks me my phone with the big buttons. ‘Knock yourself out, kid.’
Seems a tad aggressive. Maybe I’ll just make a phone call. I think I’ll call Dad and tell him how I pooped out a fully formed Baked Bean this morning. I think that’s newsworthy.
‘Is your Mum coming over after New Zealand?’
‘Yeah, I think so. We’ve barely spoken since she’s been there.’

WHAT???!!! GRANDMA IS COMING??!! I’m so excited I throw my phone in the air and then faceplant my xylophone. It really hurts.

Auntie Jack is sitting on the floor right next to me watching Mum cut vegetables and my scream makes her jump two feet in the air.
‘Holy mother of shitting shitballs, that’s loud!’
‘Jack!’
Mum is already at me, scooping me up before Auntie Jack has time to retract her swear.
‘Sorry Saff. Cricket, my girl, would you like a song?’
I make it a habit of never saying no to Auntie Jack’s offer of a song, even when it hurts my ears and makes my eyes bug out a bit. I stop crying long enough to request Let it Go from Frozen and use my phone to call Iris so she can listen too, but Auntie Jack does Un bel di from Madame Butterfly so I hang up. It still cheers me up though.
‘That sounds amazing Jack. You been practicing?’
‘A bit, yeah. Soph likes that one.’
Soph is Auntie Jack’s new girlfriend. She loves Auntie Jack’s voice even more than Mum does. She’s always telling her to go on the stage, but Auntie Jack just laughs and says that’s over with now.
‘You ok, Poppet?’
Yes, Mum, thanks for asking.
Mum goes back to chopping vegetables and I bang my phone against Auntie Jack’s leg because I like the slapping sound it makes. I’m also praying to the God of Arendelle that there’s no cauliflower up on the bench.

Was there cauliflower on the bench? When is Grandma coming? Can you stand the suspense?!

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I’m a Human Being – part three

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We’ve come to the end of the story of Cricket’s birth. Had you in suspense, right? Here’s where we left off last time…

…I could hear the womb-doctor asking Dad if he wanted to cut the cord.

You what, now?

CUT THE CORD??! I thought they wanted a live baby? This is worse than a Shakespearian tragedy. Maybe they didn’t realise Placenta had to come with me? They’d never done this before after all.

Here’s what happened:

I unwedge a hand just long enough to grab a big handful of Bungee and sling it around my neck a few times. There, that should show them how attached I am to Placenta.

Suddenly the womb doctor starts pulling and tugging at me way too hard. This is very alarming and my neck is starting to feel a little bit… constricted. Mum’s whole body is being rocked from side to side and she’s locked eyes on Dad as if he’s the only person in the room, but he isn’t. And now there’s one more. The womb doctor called in another womb doctor to help her and now she grabs one side of me and he grabs the other and they obviously think I’m perforated down the middle because they’re pulling me in opposite directions.

I’M NOT A ROLL OF PAPER TOWEL, I’M A HUMAN BEING! I squawk through my rapidly closing esophagus. But all that comes out is a squishy sounding wah-wah-wah and I get my first, bitter taste of the crushing disappoint that is baby language.

The womb doctor is sweating now and her accomplice is swearing. This is a cardinal sin in hypno-butter-birthing. You basically have to abandon that baby and start over if that happens.

Dad had long ago abandoned the camera and is holding onto Mum’s face as if his life depended on it and just as I’m about to faint, I see a giant silver claw aimed right at my face.

SPARE MY EYEBALLS! I yell, as I swim in and out of consciousness.

None of this is what I prepared for, especially being drawn and quartered and the face-eating claw of death. Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so… resistant. But suddenly, there’s a pop and air floods in and my head is poking out of Mum’s insides! And I can see! Sweet Jesus they spared my eyeballs! Look!, there’s Mum’s small intestine! And then another big tug and the rest of me is out and I feel like someone air-dropped me in the arctic with no snowbooties and everyone is shouting, but through the glare of the lights someone lifts me high in the air and I see her face and there’s not a hypno-butter class in the world that could’ve prepared either of us for that moment. “You’re safe”, she said to me, with tears streaming down her face. “You’re mine”, I said to her. Then someone wrapped me in a scratchy towel and I’m plonked in Mum’s face and I squish her nose with my hand and then I’m whisked off to the other side of the room where we were all going to sit and have a civilized discussion about Placenta coming home with us, attached to me, where she’s supposed to be.

Placenta got left behind. They told me she’d go to a loving home, but that she couldn’t come with us because Mum and Dad had only ordered one baby and that was me, Cinnamon Cricket. It was my first bone-crushing disappointment in this life. Goodbye Placenta, fare thee well.

The rest wasn’t so far removed from how a hypno-butter-birth is supposed to go. I did get to put my bare skin body on Mum’s bare skin boob and I did find my own way to that colossal. It was ok. Cake is better. And then I slept for three days while Mum bled and cried and Dad drank whiskey and cried and the room filled up with flowers and people and the nurses gave Mum gianter and gianter pads until she disappeared under a mountain of cotton wadding and giant basketball boobs. And oh how the milk flowed. It was pretty cool.

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I’m a Human Being – part two

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We last left Cinnamon Cricket telling us the story of her birth. She was two weeks overdue and had decided she was never ever coming out…

But suddenly we were sitting in the womb doctor’s room and Mum was being told they were doing a caesarian the next day. Scarlett had looked up caesarian in the manual and she said it’s the opposite of being born serenely by a deer in a forest. That didn’t sound good to me. When we got home Mum sobbed into Dad’s best work shirt for three hours. Frankly, I thought it was a bit selfish of her. I mean, wasn’t this whole birth experience meant to be about me?

A caesarian is the exact and total opposite of a butter birth. In a hypno-butter-birth there’s supposed to be low lighting, no sound, and hardly anyone in the room when you slide out. The first voices you’re supposed to hear are your mother and father’s. You’re supposed to slide out of that canal with no pain and then be held against your mother’s naked skin with Bungee held higher than your heart at a 48.7 degree angle for three minutes, or as long as it takes for Bungee’s blood to drain into you and not be wasted in the rubbish bin. Then you’re supposed to go immediately (quicker, if possible) onto your mother’s bare skin boob with your bare skin body and get on that boob sucker and drink the colossal.

But we didn’t do that. Instead, Mum got into a white gown and was bundled onto a white bed with wheels and got wheeled into a very white room with LIGHTS AND BUTTONS EVERYWHERE! Then the doctor next to the womb doctor got out the biggest needle you’ve ever seen that goes in Mum’s SPINE and Dad got escorted out because apparently Dad’s can’t deal with seeing giant needles in their beloved’s spines.

Then it really got interesting. The womb doctor CUT MUM’S TUMMY OPEN AND I WAS IN THERE!!! By this time Dad was allowed back in and he had the camera poised and ready because the womb doctor told him it was all about to happen really fast… Except now I’ve got stage fright… and I’m not coming out. Ever. Now Mum’s tummy is open I can feel a VERY cold draft coming in and the lights are very bright and there are too many voices and I think maybe a life on the stage isn’t for me after-all. There’s only one thing to do. I spread my arms and legs out as wide as I can and hold on for dear life. Dear, sweet, womby, placentary life.

Scarlett had told me that on the outside you couldn’t take Placenta with you. I didn’t believe her obviously, because that would be ridiculous, how can you live without Placenta? I ADORE Placenta. Placenta is my only friend. But now I could hear the womb-doctor asking Dad if he wanted to cut the cord.

You what, now?

CUT THE CORD??! I thought they wanted a live baby? This is worse than a Shakespearian tragedy. Maybe they didn’t realise Placenta had to come with me? They’d never done this before after all.

Here’s what happened:

Stay tuned for part three!

 

 

 

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