No more eleventh floor

You walk across windswept and perilously stark polished granite to an intercom box. Dial the number. Bells ring somewhere high above you.


Hi, it’s us.

Come on up, eleventh floor.

High above ordinary suburban Canberra there is an apartment. It is all boxes and suitcases. There are only four toys now. The last minute details of a life are being finalised, completed and packed. This apartment has been home to some very special people. Read More

Coffee – a love story

Last Friday, I confused the coffee folk. On my return to work I was delighted to discover that the coffee shop I usually frequented during work hours, had opened an annex – even closer to the office. Result!

I stopped in on the way to the office on my second working Friday, I ordered two low tide lattes, one here and one take away. ‘You mean piccolo’ she said. Well yes I did, but my test run of the size of the glasses in the annex lead me to think that ‘low tide latte’ was actually going to give me the coffee I wanted. This was the most unclear order the waitress had had for a long time. Read More

Sometimes my planning just fails – I’m double booked!

Today I went to work. I received an email asking me about my anticipated days of leave during the Easter break. In the peaceful, relatively quiet silent office, I check the diary. I looked up the book club reminder email about next week’s meeting and sorted out my leave days for after the Easter break. These days of leave are to ensure that I can travel to Sydney to go to a book launch. Not just any old book launch but the launch of Kerri Sackville’s book, When My Husband Does The Dishes. It was a quiet audible expletives deleted exclamation of surprise when I realised that next month’s book club date was Thursday 28 April. Next month I am presenting for book club, Kylie Ladd’s first book, After The Fall. In case you are not keeping up with what a total balls up this is, let me explain.
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I’m the bloody .5

In discussions about ‘working families’ as we are now all calling them, the key assumptions are that the male person in the family works full time and the female person works part-time. Usually half time. This is not the way it is in a large number of households, but when describing ‘working families’ it is usually what is implied Read More


I find auctions very odd. The weird drama of it. The strangeness of the groups of people clustered around a backyard or a front yard or standing around a dusty room; all pretending they are not really interested in buying the house. All the real-estate stooges playing their roles. I am always tempted to burst out laughing at the wrong moment. Read More

It’s my birthday

Today is my birthday. I do love a good birthday and I am especially pleased with this one so far, and it is only 07:45.

On Sunday, I received a text from one of my dear friends asking me if I would babysit for her on Monday night. The thoughts I had, in order, were: of course ~ out to dinner on a Monday? ~ is it a special occasion? ~ her birthday is in July ~ wonder what is going on? Read More

Friday – this week I am grateful for … resilience


This week I watched Life at 5. The synopsis from the ABC website offers this:

The LIFE series aims to unlock the secrets of child development to find out what gives a child the best chance at life. As these 11 young Australians grow up we’ll witness their lives, we’ll test their progress and discover what makes us who we are. Join us for the beginning of an extraordinary and groundbreaking journey.

I watched fascinated, and for most of the time with a heavy heart, as several sad tales were told of the 11 children and their families. Some of the families have broken up, some of the children have suffered great hardship. The first thirty minutes in particular were really hard to watch as the film makers summarised the past two years of these childrens’ stories.

Then suddenly, among all the pain and anguish, there was a little bright ray of hope. Read More

Valentines Day 2011

Aw sweet!

Robert and I have had some lovely Valentine’s Days. While neither of us are particularly in favour of the day itself, we do chose to do something nice for each other. Today was quite a difficult day. It was Monday. We had visitors at the weekend. Our baby was sick. Here’s our Valentine’s Day 2011.

Text message exchange –  14/02/2011 8:53am

Him ~ Happy Valentine Day

Me ~ Didn’t anyone tell you? Romance is dead.

Him ~ Bugger, what have I been doing all these years?

Me ~ I love you more than valentines day.

Him ~ Do you love me higher than I can reach?

Me ~ Much much higher than even when I am on my tippy toes.

Him ~ Higher than I can jump?

Me ~ That’s pretty high.

Him ~ I can jump over the moon.

Me ~ Wow that’s pretty high

Him ~ But not as high as my love for you.

(with a few apologies to Sam McBratney, author of Guess How Much I Love You)

Date night … where to go? What to do?

Robert has a lot of good ideas. He has also been a parent before and he knows secret parenting things that first time parents don’t. Things like how to fit car seats. How to get rid of poo – magically like it was never there. How to do things one-handed. He also knows about baby sitting. And round-robin baby sitting circles. Robert values his family and his relationship. He knows that couples need to spend time together away from their children to stay sane.

So we set up the baby-sitting circle. What a brilliant idea. One couple go out, another mum minds their baby. The dad minds his own baby. The babies get to stay home. There is couple time and then also the bonus of alone time for the other two. Last week I packed my book and my nail file (of course!) and headed over to mind my lovely favourite baby girl for my friends. It went well. The gorgeous baby slept. The was dinner delicious. My nails got done. Their stereo is better than ours – much better. Another bonus, a night off jobs! No work to do at someone elses’ house!

This week is our turn. Tomorrow! I have no idea where to go or what to wear. Not much time now to decide. Adult conversation here we come! Ideas please.


Unexpected moments of bliss in sickness

Everyone is sick. All the mamas and all the bubbas. The Tuesday morning mothers’ group only had five mums and bubs. The babies are snotty and grizzly. It’s Canberra. The weather is on the turn and the wind is blowing.

While we all struggled through the week, on Friday there was a little golden moment of peace and bliss. In the mid morning, Benedict fell asleep on my lap. He hasn’t fallen asleep deeply in my arms since he was a tiny tiny boy. He is now too big to fit neatly but his languorous limbs fall gently over my lap and on to the chair. His little face was pressed into my chest and he slept peacefully for a while. His rhythmic breathing and steadily beating heart were soothing to me as well. I had plenty of time to study his outrageously long eyelashes and sweet features.

The surprise was that he did it twice. On Saturday it was an hour and a half. Luckily I was prepared with blankey and book. Glorious to comfort your child so completely just by lying still.

Keeping on keeping on – Jenn this one is for you!

I promised to blog today. Benedict woke up at 1-30am and then again at 5am. I went in a 5am to find him face down and unable to get himself right side up again. After a feed and a cuddle with mama the day officially started at 06-30.

I took the chance at 08-30 to have another thirty minutes sleep and not have a shower. I knew what this would mean. To have a shower with an awake baby is not easy. I set up a great activity centre in the hall – closed all the doors. Benedict was sitting in the midst of his fun filled hall and I went into the shower. I was all wet when the little hand appeared on the tiles – having crawled in to find me he discovered someone had locked his mama in a glass box and turned on the water! For the next two minutes I tried to have a shower while he wailed and banged on the door. Great! That 30 minutes of sleep though – still worth it.

Now I have been home alone solo-parenting for 5 days. I am tired. My throat is scratchy. I have taken a number of shortcuts. I have stopped changing the night singlet for an under onesie in the day time. One less piece of washing. I haven’t wiped the highchair after every single meal. I left Benedict in the car outside the coffee shop while I got my coffee. (He was in plain sight all the time and the windows were down. He was wide awake and able to scream his lungs out if necessary.) He didn’t even stop smiling.

I had a long chat with the other mums at mothers’ group about our various concerns. To some extent we are all up against it. Even now. Even though some of the babies are nearly 9 months. We are all still learning. Some of us are getting dangerously small amounts of sleep. But we have to keep going.

My challenge at the moment is to keep on keeping on. Or as they say in England – Keep Calm and Carry On.

Grandparental tour … rescuing ducks

Having safely arrived in Coffs Harbour and spent the night, the trip story has to wait, we were feeling good and about to go visiting our friends.

I had organised everyone, dressed Benedict and was heading out to the front gate to get into the car when I heard car horns and shouting, first from my mother and then from some men – in French.

I opened the gate and there was a line of traffic at a standstill, my mother waving her arms and two Senegalese refugees who live opposite shouting and gesticulating on the road. Oh and the four ducks that were attempting to cross High Street in the five minutes that is peak hour in Coffs. The panicked ducks were attempting to waddle across the road and being herded this way and that by the confused and amused Senegalese. I was holding Benedict in my arms who watched fascinated while three adults stood in the road and waved their arms.

Eventually the drake and two of the females made it to our side of the street. One remaining female was stranded and was waddling up and down trying to work out what to do. The men helped mum herd the three ducks into the property next to ours where they made it safely into the backyard under the mango tree and then took off with a frenzy of flapping and quacking. This prompted the remaining duck to panic and run back on to the road. She was shooed across and then she too took off into the sky.

The Senegalese were laughing and shouting Avez-vous voir? Voir les canards? and probably Qui sont ces fous femmes? but I can’t be sure of that!

Robert appeared when all the shouting and gesticulating was over and mum excitedly described the scene. What sort of ducks, he asked. What colour was the drake? Brown ducks and the drake had a beautiful blue neck she replied. Ah, Robert said. Wood ducks. And a mallard drake – they are introduced you are supposed to shoot them on sight! Apparently the mallard drakes interbreed with the wood ducks and pollute the wild gene pool.

So somewhere in Coffs a lucky mallard with his stolen harem lives to quack another day.