Monday, May 25, 2009


So I went to the theatre on Saturday evening with Screenwriting Mummy. 

My playwatching quota has plummeted since Tricky was born and that's just pants really, what with me being a playwright and all. 

Years ago I remember seeing a postcard that said: "Why are there no great women artists?" 

The postcard had a drawing of a woman in a long medievally type frock standing in front of a canvas. She had a paintbrush in one hand which was outstretched towards the canvas and a soup ladle in the other. She also had two kids dragging at her skirt and was unable to see anything much because there was a whopping big saucepan over her head. 

I guess, thanks to the Jolly Big Funshop that is infertility, I had plenty of time in the past to put brush to paper and be a 'great woman artist', if only I hadn't spent all that time rolling about on my bed crying because I couldn't get pregnant. And now, look! I've got the baby and I'm complaining that he takes up so much time. Sheesh. Ungrateful or what.   

Anyway, it was great seeing this play, Inside Out which was about a mother and a son. The son is funny, witty, arty and has a great relationship with his mother. Except, early in the play we realise there's something wrong. That something turns out to be him having schizophrenia and the play moves through a horrific nine month period with, thankfully for the audience, a glimmer of hope at the end. The writer (Mary Rachel Brown) interviewed carers, health professionals and people living with mental illness and you could hear that in the work, it rang frighteningly true. 

I looked around the audience at times and I could see shoulders shaking and hands rubbing at faces and I realised that these were those people, not necessarily the ones the writer interviewed but others, parents and friends who had lost people, and even here and there the lost ones themselves. They were seeing their story, and the story of those they loved.

And for me watching, with my tiny boy tucked up in bed, and for my friend with her even tinier boy, it was also like seeing One Of Your Greatest Maternal Fears playing out on stage, not just the illness but the way it affected the relationship between mother and son, the heartbreaking accusations and abuse, the enormity of patience, the depths of fear. 

In this story, this story made up of lots of stories, the mother got her son back. A woman I met a couple of years ago was not nearly so lucky and I will never forget her description of walking the backstreets of the city and finding the sad little corners and nooks where he had sheltered for a few days before moving on. Her only son. Her only child.

After the play we went out and had dinner in a noisy Thai restaurant where we ate squid and betal leaves and drank wine and shouted over the table at each other. It was a good night with lots of talk, not just about the play and what it meant to us, but about writing and mothering and finding a way to bridge the two without being a shitty writer and/or a shitty mother.

It could be an attitude, I decided later. It could be that the word "great" is too much baggage anyway and once you get rid of that baggage, the job's so much easier. 

And maybe we just do what we can, and take time off where we can and meet friends where we can and watch as many plays as we can and that will be enough.

But also I thought I might get rid of that big heavy saucepan, replace it with a colander maybe. 

Then at least I can peer through the holes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

boys things

C and I are at the local council getting a directory on kindergartens in our area and I see a poster for a kids' writing competition. 

It's for 12 to 18 years and you can win an iPod and so i think Naughty Nephew 1st might like to have a crack. Also you have to write about Inspirational Women and I approve of that, I think that's rather good.

So then I pick up an entry form and I see that it's for GIRLS ONLY and I'm a little torn here. 

On the one hand I think it's good for girls to be given opportunities and special events. 

I think if I was a 12 to 18 year old girl again, I might feel a bit shy and lack the confidence to enter something like a writing competition. I might also appreciate that fifty percent of the competition has just been knocked out of the ring and I might say that after all there are plenty of activities dominated by boys.

But why is it only girls who get to write about inspirational women? Boys can be inspired by women too. God knows we get to hear about a helluva lot of male heroes that both boys and girls can be inspired by. 

And actually i think it rather good if boys in particular are encouraged to think more about the inspiring qualities of women.

Thanks to some rather ghastly Australian football player shenanigans, there has been a lot of discussion recently about respect and attitudes towards women, but this is an old argument, an old discussion. I just think this competition missed an opportunity to encourage respect and positive attitudes.

The entry form says things like: Have you ever read a story about a woman's bravery and thought: "What an inspiration."?
Is there someone in your family who has had a profound impact on your life?

And these are good things for all kids to think about, genitals aside.

But in the end I think what really threw me was the literary quote on the front of the brochure. 

Sadly, competition organisers had chosen a quote from a male writer which seemed contrary to the whole girlpower thing.

And bizarrely that quote was this:

"The pen is the tongue of the mind."

And agreed at first i just glanced at it, and also I am one of two sleep deprived, overworked parents, but i cannot be the only person who looked at the quote on that page and read dick.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scurry faster Bloody Mary elves. Faster!

I feel I have to add this because otherwise it may appear to the untrained eye that events described in my last post, written just after Tricky had finally fallen asleep, may have ended peacefully.

No, they did not.

Asleep, maybe an hour tops. 

And then...sweet mother of god... the crying started. But not crying as we know it. Whining moaning crying with eyes firmly shut. The kind of crying that cannot be shushed or cuddled or comforted in any way. 
What is the matter little boy? I would ask him and he just cried and cried and seemed to be trying to say something important but was impossible to decipher. Is it your ear? Is it your tummy? Do you have a sore tummy?
Sore tummy he mumbled back but then he also mumbled sore ear...
Should we go to the hospital? C and I looked at each other, worried, tired and then... Tricky seemed to settle.

For about ten minutes.

And repeat until 4am. 

There were slight variations on the theme. At one point he really did need to poo and this was done (in his nappy) standing up, clinging to my head and crying in my ear. When C changed him Tricky shouted THE LIGHTS ARE TOO BRIGHT. There was slight relief here, I understood this kind of shouting/crying.

DOONA ON... TAKE DOONA OFF...I WANT A SHEET...SHEET OFF... eventually I was too slow to respond and he just lay in his bed shouting DOONA ON DOONA OFF. For the sake of the rest of the house I tried to calm him and quiet him and interestingly, despite the horror, I never lost my cool. Yay me.

Around 4 he was crying for milk and saying he was cold. I put him into our bed and told him to stay there while I got his milk and when I came back in he was asleep. Asleep and outstretched over my side of the bed. So then, the constant gentle shove routine so I could claim a few inches for myself and...we all slept. Till 7 when C and I woke because my car had to be taken to the garage (massive 4 wheel drive ute backed up on my bonnet, all ok but man that was some crap day yesterday.)

This morning, I stumbled downstairs to talk about the night with my sister in law. She said that Naughty Nephew 2 displayed similar strange sleeping-crying behavior that could go on for hour. What worked for them was taking him into the bathroom with the lights on and giving him drinks of water until he woke, often with a start and the grumpy demand: "Bed!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hand me my Bloody Mary pronto.

It is bed time. Past bed time.

The Screaming Tomato is back. 
The Screaming Tomato is angry. 
The Screaming Tomato wants his DIZZZZORT NOW. This should be YOGHURT or ICECREAAAAAAAM.

The Screaming Tomato wants his mother to GET AWAY FROM ME. Hang on, wait, are you actually leaving the room? Then in that case I WANT MY MUMMEEEEEEEEEEE. And also WHERE IS MY DADDDEEEEEE? Here he is making the shushing noises and trying to give me cuddles and saying in a soothing manly tone: here's your daddy. In which case DON'T TOUCH ME DADDY, JUST GO AWAY.

The Screaming Tomato does not want his bath.
The Screaming Tomato does not care to be placed in the bath when he has made his displeasure known.
The Screaming Tomato shall make his parents rue the day that ears were invented.

Cunningly, the Screaming Tomato suddenly transforms into smiling curly headed infant and bat eyes in fetching fashion. This shall be called: Story Time.

Story Time ends after a selection of fine toddler literature.

Screaming Tomato promptly returns.

Parents attempt to wrest Screaming Tomato into bed.

Screaming Tomato plays Trump Card. This shall be I NEED TO DO POO POO.

Parents have already caught themselves on previous nights crying wearily; "But it's so late. Can't you just do it in your nappy?" This makes them feel like Crap Parents. 

So once again Screaming Tomato is perched on potty. Pyjama trousers must be completely removed and preferably placed in another room, or state. More stories must be read to hypnotise the Screaming Tomato digestive system into, the much shouted about, motion.


Mummy of Screaming Tomato tells Daddy of Screaming Tomato that "that's it." 
Mummy then does something nasty to her back. 
Daddy attempts to re-clothe infant son and must suffer indignity of being told at top of voice: NO DADDY, GO BACK TO WORK.

And later, when he falls asleep, I think about different things we could have done; fed him earlier, bathed him earlier. I didn't smack him but maybe I should have, I didn't insist that he brush his teeth but maybe I should have. I wonder if we're spoiling him or if we're giving him confusing signals, or if he's going through a stage of temper tantrums that are only worse because he's bigger

And I think about his curls and his eyes filled with tears and his red straining face, and his soft kisses when finally finally he relaxes into his bed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This just in (or out)

Potty Drought Officially Broken! 

Thanks go to:  fibrous diets, big boy underpants, Charlie&Lola stickers which enliven any small person's toileting and chocolate frogs- the official bribe for Number Twos.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I waited all those years for a day like this...

...cuddles in bed and appy muzzahs day mumma and what would you like for bekkfuss mumma and daddy pancakes and oh oh change of picnic plans cos its pouring outside and more cuddles proper ones with arms around necks and one thousand proper kisses or at least five with love and real coffee with frothy milk and hallo misselle appy muzzahs day hallo cordia hallo morgin hallo hallo and muffins and sandwiches eaten on the carpet and running up and down and up and down and up and down the hall and a break in the weather sends us scurrying to the playground and running up and down and up and down and up and down the playground and oh dear that little boy is drinking tricky's drink and home for dumping on da tampoleen and champagne for mummies and dadda and babycakes for small people and more dumping and dinner with nephews and more running up the hallway but with nephews this time and all in the bath and all out of the bath and bye bye and I DON'T WANT TO GO TO BEEEEEEEED and mummy use her firm voice and no more stories bedtime now and oh all right just one I mean just six and the gruffalo is the very very very last one cuddle cuddle night night kiss kiss...

...and lucky and lucky and lucky and happy and glad and love.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tricky and Smeagol in Conversation.

(Tricky playing nicely on mattress with armful of stuffed toys. Mother spies him and hearing delightful chatter thinks it might be nice to write down what he says and does.)

It goes...
Which way it goes?
(Leaps to his feet and waves fetchingly. Mother smiles at gobsmacking cuteness. Assured career as actor in the hugh jackman style)

That way it goes. 
On top of hill. 

(Heaps doona into hill shaped lump. Mother impressed at improvisation skills and also potential engineering career.)

Go top of hill. 

You push this one here.
(Picks up Snoopy, abruptly bites his face and then flings him away. Mother deeply shocked.)

Which way did that go?
(Tenderly retrieves Snoopy. Mother relieved.)
(Flings Snoopy away again. Mother concerned)

Which way did that go?
Off a bed?
Why did we throw it off bed?
We didn't throw it.

(Much effort as he tries to wedge himself in corner between mattress and wall and arrange stuffed toys around him. Mother feels faint hope, perhaps he will be a social worker.)

This one here... (selects small sad looking toy.)

(Throws it) having long long...

(retrieves toy, returns to position, throws toy. Mother trying not to make eyecontact. Wondering if she stopped breastfeeding too early.)

It falls off again.
But we did...too...much.

(Sits Snoopy tenderly in his lap as he speaks. Throws him away. Gets up to retrieve him. Back to first position. Throw. Repeat. Mother sees dreams of child joining Medicine Sans Frontiers as music therapist go up in smoke)

Throw it too much.

(Puts pyjama pants on knees.
Sits Snoopy on knees.
Bites Snoopy's face. Gives it a considerable gnawing with accompanying noises.
Throws Snoopy.
Retrieves Snoopy.

Mother creeps out of room, muttering my precioussss and clutching at notebook.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I found my scroll bar!!!

It's back because Anna suggested I look in my Word Preferences! 
And I did!
And lo, there it was.


Also I am back online. 
Also I now have a gmail account so i shall never have to rely on server again.
Now I shall go write.

And...anyone remember the last line of the book above?

oh i am so embarrassed

Monday, May 04, 2009

Home is where the heart is

This is going to be one of those dull, whining, self indulgent posts that various non-blogging people will think is proof that bloggers really are dull, whining, self indulgent...I was going to say "fucknuckles" here but then i remembered some of the people I know who read this post (but never comment, thanks lurkers) and I know at least one of them will think this language a little, well, strong, so tonight...for you...I'm just going to ask you to replace the f-k word with the word "plonkers."

To start new computer. I don't understand how it works, I am ignorant and therefore I hate it with a cold, intolerant, irrational hate. It has infiltrated every part of my writing life - take this blog for instance: I don't know why for no apparent reason, a brush of my hand against the mouse pad will suddenly shoot the font size up like swine flu stats on a cold day. Or why I can't put more than one picture on a post. I hate that I can't just cut and paste a document straight into the template like I used to and also I hate that there seem to be way less commenters. Yes, I shall blame that on the computer. It's what we rednecks do.

I also hate that the spanking new cord on the new computer packed it in almost from day one. No reason, although the people at the computer shop bagged on about the incorrect winding of the cord. What sort of bollocks is that, computer shop people? I have have had several variations of computer over much of my adult life and wound cords merrily as required and never had one just flake out like this one did.

Now I move on to briefly mention the way that the new computers Word program creates documents that don't have a sidebar. No sidebar, sidebars are so last computer. Thus when I create a seventy page script for instance I have to tippy tap through the document if i want to go back to the beginning say, or skip to the end. And for some reason this keyboard has no Home button. Even tho pressing the Home button (plus some other shitey little buttons) is meant to take me Home. So this makes me grind my teeth and froth and STOPS ME WRITING and yes of course it's all in the Set Up or other folder or drawer or pigeon hole BUT WHO HAS THE FUCKING TIME? 

(Replace the f-word with "jolly". You know who you are.)

But finally, tonight, what made me completely sully my pretty toddler worship blog is OUR SODDING SERVICE PROVIDER. Our new service provider has not provided service. Our old one has dutifully cut us off. I have about ten scripts that are supposedly emailed to me today. I have one script, written by me, that I am meant to be emailing to others. I am using C's wireless modem and racking up his bill just to type this post and alleviate some frustration but cannot get my emails out of the black limbo they have been banished to. 

Also, we can't call so called "service providers", because it's night.

I have run out of words to describe my fury. I blame that on them too.

Apple, Iprimus, Telstra - you're a pack of CUNTS. 

(You, replace the C-Word with "fucking cunts".)

Friday, May 01, 2009

feeling much better...

Tricky has moved through the vomiting stage, and the floppy stage with lots of cuddles and sleeping and has now moved into what I like to call the "Camille stage" where he lolls back on his bed and demands servants to adjust his doona or bring his sippy cup to his mouth or carry him to the couch so he can better see Charlie&Lola. 

Also he makes small groaning noises in between begging for jelly dinosaurs. 

Also every one of his toys must be brought to his bed for his viewing pleasure and then no no what are you doing mummy take them away take them away and YOU GO AWAY TOO.

I can't continue this post, young master is waving one lily white hand and calling for pancakes.