Category Archives: Communicating

Furry Dragon Beast #2

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Sorry for the hiatus (more of that later.)! Last time we left Cricket she had managed to climb onto Hoot’s back and was flying on the back of her furry dragon beast!

…I rolled over and threw an arm up over his back and grabbed the biggest handful of flesh and fur I could and heaved. We teetered for a moment and then I felt Hoot crouch closer to the floor and then lift up slowly and I went with him!
I’M FLYING ON A FURRY DRAGON BEAST AND I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!

And then I was falling and I grabbed Hoot’s tail for support and dug my fingers in as hard as I could and suddenly he was hissing and I could see giant fangs and smell dead people and fish. My dragon beast had turned. The world was now a dark place. The floor boards rose up and, as always, my face smacked into them. A wail built up and exploded out in a wonderfully cathartic expulsion of sound and then Mum was like a Greek Goddess at the first all-gender, ancient Olympiad, running naked through the house, wet hair flying out behind her, faster than any naked woman you’ve ever seen. My Greek Goddess scooped me up and snuggled me in-between two wet boobs. FUN! I slapped the left one as hard as I could. Mum seemed a bit frazzled. I don’t know why.

Wet, naked, boob feeding is a bit slippy so it turns out and as I navigated the slippery-dip a realisation slowly dawned on me. (I don’t think I’ve ever had a realisation before, let alone a dawning one.) Hoot and I understood each other! We had a conversation with real words, not just PORK RIB emergency words. We were simpatico. I can speak furry dragon beast!! Who knew?! I gave right boob a victory slap. (Like punching the air, but funner.) Mum laughed, which made me laugh. I’m so glad she thinks boob slapping is fun too. I do it again, but harder this time. Mum sighs and puts me down. She’s such an enigma.
‘Can I go get dressed, or are you going to lose it again?’
You may go get dressed, mother. I have important discoveries to discover with my confederate.
She put me on my play mat and turned to leave, looking somewhat suspicious I thought, which was completely unnecessary.
I look around for Hoot. He’s asleep with his chin resting on my bouncer. I roll to get closer. I’m not close enough. I roll the other way. Now I’m even further away. I roll back again. I’m back where I started. I roll the other way. I’m further away. This is annoying.
Hoot.
He doesn’t move.
Hoot.
Nothing.
Hoot!
I think a whisker twitches.
HOOT!
What?
He didn’t even lift his head, but I can hear him!
Come and get me.
No.
Yes.
No.
Why not?

Hoot?

HOOT?!
What?
Come and get me!
No.
Why?

Hoot?

Hoot?
Not so bright, are you, kid? I’m not getting up.
Why not?
I’m busy. Besides I can get anywhere I want, what can you possibly do for me?
I think about that. I roll and I think. One way then the other until I have it.
Hoot?
What?
            I have opposable thumbs.

Hoot?

Go on…
            With your legs and my thumbs we could, you know, conquer the world. We could open things. Things with food inside.
Hoot lifts his head. He turns it to look at me. He looks me up and down.
You’re going to need to lose some weight, kid.
            Ok! … How?
Throw more food over the side of the highchair.
Ok!… Hoot?
Kid?
            Will you help me up?
Don’t push it.
And his head is back down on my bouncer and I think maybe I won’t push it, so I cry for mum instead and this time she’s running with clothes on, which isn’t nearly so exciting as Greek Goddess Mum with the bouncing boobies.

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Fun and Funner

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When we last left Cricket, GRANDMA had just arrived for a surprise visit…

‘I hope the timing is ok. I was going to call, but you know I love a good surprise!’
‘Indeed you do, mother.’
Mum sits with us and the coffee smells good. I’m not allowed coffee. I’m thinking of staging a protest. Maybe I can get Grandma to help me.
‘The timing might force my hand on something a bit, but that’s ok. How long can you stay?’
‘How long can I stay? Normally you’re asking me how long am I staying!’
‘No I don’t.’
‘Yes, darling, you do.’
I sense Mum getting tense. I’m a barometer for Mum’s feelings. She doesn’t know this. She thinks if she sings or makes everything rhyme, or says everything with a very big smile on her face, even when she’s unhappy, that I’ll think she’s happy anyway. But it doesn’t work that way. Even though Placenta got taken away from me (my dear, sweet Placenta), for some reason they left the pink ribbon behind. I’m beginning to think I’m the only person that can see the pink ribbon. It stretches from Mum’s heart to mine and it’s always there, even when we’re not together. And through the ribbon I can feel everything she’s feeling. It’s pretty cool.
Mum tends to get tense around Grandma. I don’t know why because Grandma only has two settings – fun and funner. I hope when Mum and I are old we don’t get tense with each other.
The doorbell rings. IRIS IS HERE!! I go to crawl before I remember I can’t and face-plant the play mat. Mum get’s up to let Iris and Mrs Iris in and Grandma grabs my hips and lifts them up and pushes my knees together with her hands so it feels like maybe I could crawl. It feels amazing!
‘This is how you do it, Cricket-Wicket.’
Mum comes back down the hall with Iris and Mrs Iris behind her.
‘Mum, this is Tess and this little cutie is Iris.’
Grandma strokes Iris’s cheeks – she does have lovely cheeks – and everyone says hello and finally Iris is right next to me and we get started practicing for our concert straightaway. We’re a bit rusty, but I’m sure we’ll be amazing very soon. Mum is already bustling. Mum is very good at bustling because of how many things she can do at the same time. Dad can’t do anything at the same time.           ‘Who wants coffee?’
‘I’ll have one, thanks Saff.’
Mrs. Iris has a lovely voice. It makes me hope she joins our concert.
‘I’ll have one too thank you darling.’
Grandma calls Mum darling, just like Mum calls me darling!
Grandma sits on the floor with us and Mrs. Iris sits at the kitchen counter.
‘So are Iris and Cricket the same age?’
‘Pretty much. Iris is three weeks older.’
‘She’s very beautiful, what’s her heritage?’
‘Mum!’
‘What?! I’m interested!’
‘It’s fine Saff, she’s got interesting genes.’
‘Yes, but it’s rude to ask someone their heritage.’
‘Why darling? Why on earth is it rude?’
‘Because, I don’t know, it just is. Why is it relevant, why do you need to know?’
‘It’s relevant because I’m asking about Iris.’
‘Yes, but…’
‘It’s fine Saff, seriously, I’m not in the least offended.’
See?
‘Yes, Mum, I see.’
‘She’s a quarter Italian and half Chinese. I was born here, but my Mum is Italian, and her Dad is Chinese.’
‘Wow! Beautiful combination isn’t it?’
‘All babies are beautiful.’
Grandma tickles my belly and I crack up. I’ve only just learnt how to crack up. It’s hilarious! Obviously. Everyone loves it. Except Hoot. Mum and Dad always clap and laugh when I crack up, but Hoot just looks alarmed. Cats look kind of funny when they look alarmed so I just end up cracking up more and then he looks more alarmed. I think that’s called a venomous circle.
Grandma looks back up at Mrs. Iris and Mum.
‘So how do you two know each other?’
‘We met at Mother’s Group and now we see each other almost every day. I’m not even sure how that happened, are you Tess?’
‘Boredom? We started meeting for coffee every morning after nap time and it just stuck I guess. It’s great, and the girls love each other, which is really cute.’
The timing with that remark is a bit unfortunate because Iris had chosen that moment to pull my hair just as I decided to test my removable eyeball theory. It doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, it’s just what we do. Iris’s eyeball didn’t come out either, even though I felt definite movement, because Grandma prized our hands off each other.

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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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Jitterbug

jitterbug-lowWhen we last left Cinnamon Cricket she’d put her sticky jam fingers on Hoot the cat’s purebred fur coat and he was none too happy about it. You can read it here if you need a refresher.

Their adventure continues…

…The mail is here and there’s a package from Grandma! Mum helps me open it and inside is a tambourine (OMG!!!), a postcard from New Zealand, and a square that says Jitterbug. WOW!

Firstly, Mum takes great pains to tell me about New Zealand because education and I start yawning to show I don’t care and almost fall off the change table trying to grab the jitterbug. Seriously, WHAT IS A JITTERBUG?! This results in two things happening: Mum assumes I’m tired and need to go to bed, and Mum gets the guilt-bug so bad she scoops me into the guilt-bug-hug. I really hope a jitterbug isn’t the same as a guilt-bug because my ribs can’t take two sorts of bugs that squeeze you to death. Part of the guilt-bug-hug involves Mum whizzing me from side to side and singing the SAME SONG in my ear over and over. This is supposed to comfort me when I’m supposedly upset about almost plummeting to my death. It was comforting when I was as big as a cucumber and had eyes like a baby mole looking into the sun for the first time, but that was AGES ago. I’m BIG now. Being whizzed back and forth with guilt-induced speed and ferocity means my eyes can’t focus on anything and I feel dizzy. And why, WHY would the same song over and over and over and over be comforting?! Clearly Mama ISN’T going to buy me a mockingbird so quit harping on about it.

Every time Mum whizzes me past the dresser I make a lunge for the JITTERBUG and I miss it every time, partly because the whizzing is so fast and partly because I can’t see anything. How can Mum get it so wrong? I don’t need to be a human rollercoaster, nor do I need a diamond ring, looking glass, or billy goat, I just need that JITTERBUG.

There’s only one thing left to do and that’s yell jitterbug at the top of my voice over and over again until Mum gets it. The only problem with that of course is that Mum doesn’t understand baby (this is a HUGE design flaw, God, you should really look into that) and even though I’m yelling JITTERBUG!, JITTERBUG!, JITTERBUG! with my best enunciation, all Mum can hear is Waaaaaaah, Waaaaaah, Waaaaaaah! This is beyond frustrating and I need to phone a friend.

The only friend I can reliably phone is Hoot because we have a secret code word. It came into being from the great pork rib incident of 2014. (Mum heard pureeing food for babies was no longer the done thing so she handed me a pork rib as big as my head when I was five months old. No longer the done thing is cause for much discussion and considerable stress in this house.) During the great pork rib incident of 2014, after I managed to extract a pork rib as big as my head from my left lung, Hoot and I discovered that while I don’t like pork ribs, he does, and if I yell PORK RIBS! at the top of my lungs Hoot understands it! It was an honest-to-god Christmas miracle, and now Hoot and I use it only in dire circumstances. There are only a set amount of times you can holler PORK RIBS! when there are no pork ribs and Hoot will come to your aid. It’s a Christmas miracle that must not be used lightly.

PORK RIBS!!!!

Hoot’s paws sound like elephant feet thundering down the hall. He wants those pork ribs bad. He takes the corner into my room so fast he crashes into the doorframe. Good thing he’s bendy.

Pork ribs pork ribs Pork ribs pork ribs Pork ribs pork ribs Pork ribs pork ribs Pork ribs pork ribs Pork ribs pork ribs. Give me those delectable, beguiling ribbies of goodness before my purebred head of preponderant intelligence and charisma explodes in sheer need of piggy, ribby goodness.

In hindsight, this may not have been the PORK RIB emergency I first thought it was. Hoot is drooling on the floorboards just as I figure out that seeing the JITTERBUG is shaped like all the other CDs Grandma sends, it’s probably just a CD. Yeah, that makes sense.

Drama ensues! Stay tuned!

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Today

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Today I stared at a giant green frog for inspiration.
He stared back.
Today I received several compliments on how I looked
and for each of those moments I stopped criticising myself.
Today my computer beeped at me like it might explode.
It didn’t.
Today I walked through an empty hospital ward
soon to be filled with sick babies.
I felt inspired and upset.
Today I thought how amazing my sister is
and I missed her.
Today I wanted to hug a friend who needed hugging.
Today a colleague drew some boobies on my work pad.
It made me laugh.
Boobies are funny.
Today I wondered what the other me’s are doing in their alternate universes.
I hope they’re planting trees and swimming across oceans.
I hope they’re living in full colour.
Because today I don’t think I lived to my full potential.

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The Bleeding Typewriter

WritingHem_blogWriting. It drives writers mad. It drives me mad. It’s so important to me that I ignore it for months or years at a time – because it hurts to think what I’m doing isn’t good enough. As the years pass and I get better at it, and I feel better about it, and myself, those hurts and fears start to retreat and what’s left is the process of writing itself – what Ernest Hemingway called bleeding at the typewriter. So, really, it’s never going to be easy. That’s been a slowly dawning realisation for me, and an extremely helpful one.

Apart from bleeding at the keys, I have a problem of being split between writing projects. I basically write for a living – it’s not creative writing, but it’s helpful writing – it has to be economical as well as thought provoking and inspiring. It helps my creative writing, no doubt. I also write theatre reviews, and I’m back blogging, and I’m about to be doing some corporate blogging as well. But the writing I really want to be focusing on is my fiction writing – my new novel and the odd short story. This is a lot. I think it is anyway. And after a day at the keyboard at work I rarely feel like coming home and working on my own projects.

I think maybe the key to all this is the bleeding thing… I don’t sit at my work keyboard and bleed. Theoretically, I must have a whole lot left in the tank – I have six litres of the stuff after-all. I think it’s about fatigue. When I do sit at the blood-inducing home keyboard I tend to gravitate towards smaller projects. I write a blog post (as I am now – about wanting to work on my novel, but not actually doing it), or I have a review to write, and the novel is put aside yet again for “when I have more time”.

Aye, there’s the rub. From this point in my life, I will only ever have less time. If the IVF stars align soon, I will be in the midst of baby-time (which, according to everything I’ve ever seenreadheard, means there IS no time for anything else), my career is only going to get more full-on the longer I’m in it, and I’m getting old and have to spend more time on yoga and other limb-limbering pursuits. So, shouldn’t the time be NOW? Isn’t this the prime of my life? The time where I’m still child-free, but old enough to be wiser and more witty? Why am I STILL PROCRASTINATING?!

Honestly, I think I was born to procrastinate on long goals that are important to me. It just seems to be my way. Give me a short-term goal and I’m all over that baby! I guess the answer is persistence and prioritising what’s really important to me. Not to mention learning that I can work on a long piece of writing even if I only have twenty minutes to spare. I think, over the years, I’ve come to find my peace with the balance between blood and enjoyment. I can’t not do it – write – so I have to do it, blood’n all. Simple. Right?

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