by Zoë on May 14, 2008

I’m so sick.

I’m sick of being financially irresponsible and on the verge of bankruptcy. I’m sick of doing the kitchen and dishes. I’m sick of the elimination diet and having to ask what is in food all the time and check ingredients. I’m also sick of reacting to foods, and my kids reacting to foods. I’m sick of irritable bowels, irritable skin and irritable behaviour. I’m sick of washing and folding and sorting clothes, and I’m even sick of the children growing out of them so I need to get more. I’m sick of looking at the mould on the bathroom ceiling. I’m sick of not having a back garden that kids are safe to play in. I’m sick of living under the flight path. I’m sick of driving in peak hour and parking and idiots in large SUVs doing illegal stuff. I’m sick of grocery shopping. I’m sick of my son being phobic that there is a dinosaur living in the washing machine and dryer so I can’t do any loads of washing while he is in the house and awake. I’m sick of paperwork, paying bills, forgetting to do my BAS, and having a husband who was too afraid to file tax returns for years and years. I’m sick of not having gutters. I’m sick of trying to explain to men that our car is making odd noises, and yet none of them can hear them. I’m sick of my son refusing to eat anything that isn’t mashed potato. I’m sick of the baby crawling and climbing and teething. I’m sick of explaining how dinosaurs died and what makes gas and how ovens were invented and what makes wind and how far away the stars are. I’m sick of people telling me what my daughter “did” to others today. I’m sick of demands being made by uninterested self absorbed far off in the distance in laws. I’m sick of having a twisted pelvis and disk problems and vision problems and sleep problems and curly hair and bad dreams and size 8 feet. I’m sick of being a mother, I’m sick of people judging me because of my choices, I’m sick of hoarding things, I’m sick of dragging the baby out of the bathroom and him screaming at me. I’m sick of technology and phones and cd players that break down. I’m sick of crap telly and everything costing so much. I’m sick of living in the wrong catchment area for good schools, I’m sick of chuggers and charities and phone calls from India. I’m sick of the never ending ness of this life I lead right now. I’m sick of being asked to get drinks, change nappies, get snacks, open things, get things down, read things, clean things, hand feed people and not make loud noises. I am sick of negotiating, explaining and describing and repeating and requesting.

I just want to be still. And silent. And alone.

Mostly I’m just sick. Ill, tired and run down, out and over.


excuse me, i’m in my way.

by Zoë on May 13, 2008

Yes, I don’t use capitals when i ought to.

I’m sick of being in my way.  Like so fed up.
I find it very difficult to take the next step with things. And as soon as I get to a point where I’m super keen to take the next step, I get ill, or the kids get ill or something weird happens.

I’m so desperate to stoppit.

Articulate bad, so here is a photo.

except that the easy-as-pie media/picture button isn’t working.



by Zoë on April 28, 2008

So, yesterday morning I was thinking in the shower. It is my most favourite place to think, although with water restrictions I have to thinker a little faster or think a little less. I have great moments of clarity in the shower. I hate baths. My nose itches, and my hair goes weird and I get cold. If I lie down I get water in my ears and my knees stick out of the water. If there are bubbles, then all I can hear are bubbles popping. Its just awkward and not me, but, showers!

Anyway, I was thinking about what I would do when life slows down. Slows down? Its freakin’ May, and I’ve painted a bedroom but never re-arranged sleeping quarters. I’ve had to get hex and a professional gardener friend to clear some of the jungle out the front. (I finally admitted to my gardening friend that, yes, he told me so, I DID over-plant the front garden two years ago, and yes, I know, I’m gunna have to make some tough decisions about larger bushes. And OK, fountain grass is best planted in pots, or at least in less prolific quantities.)

I’m nowhere near higher levels of production on the mouspocket front and house is neither more tidy or organised. We haven’t turfed the back and within 8 months my eldest child will have started primary school.

Each week we race about with osteopath appointments, dancing classes, groceries, conference calls and housework which all entail hours of driving in usually peak hour traffic.
Then there are the added bonus activities like driving 3 kids 2 1/2 days interstate for a funeral and husbands who have to go o/s for work, and sickness and birthdays and television competitions involving makeovers with celebrity stylists.

Life is just never going to slow down is it? This is just it, there is no point in waiting for the slowness, cause it just ain’t happening. And in order to slow down, you have to buy a little pocket of it, in the form of a holiday somewhere, or you have to work out how to sabotage the household technology so none of the adults are tempted during a week off at home, to do some fiddling about or surfing.

And even if you manage to sort a pocket of slow for yourself, your back goes, or your husband gets pneumonia or the children develop some dreadful skin condition you though they had isolated to a small colony in darkest Africa.


life and everything.

by Zoë on March 25, 2008

Its been a busy while!

Darby is crawling, cruising, eating (well, in that “I prefer mummy milk, but I wanna do what you are doing” fashion) and last week I caught him walking by pushing a chair across the room. He is all of 9.5mnths. He looks like Billy Corgan.

Zephyr is still totally phobic of washing machines, tumble dryers, showers, dishwashers, blenders, hair dryers and any mention of the above. He needs another haircut (his curls are getting quite Jewish, one friend commented!), and he is shooting everything with pretend guns. We have no idea where that came from, as we are a fairly strident anti-gun household (bar Dish Pig’s loopy thing about “relaxing” by slaughtering things in pc games. he is banned from owning playstation/wii). He also won’t eat anything. It is driving us nuts.

Willow is writing like crazy, singing beautifully and dancing. She write letters to people constantly, and makes picture books out of sketch pads. She illustrates and gets me to write down her stories to go with them. They are very good, and have a wonderful flow and even resolution at the end! This weekend she has been drawing pictures of people hang-gliding, and also crocodiles and elephants (with tusks! gotta have tusks!)   We have been doing basic maths off and on and also getting into some of the tricker stuff like death (see below) and life and gardening.

I was prepping for a new and fab market in Sydney, refining some old garments and miracle-ing new ones. There was a deadline and lots of stress, but Dish Pig’s maternal grandma died on the 16th March, so we packed the car the following morning and, with a bit too much optimism, drove our 3 under-5’s to Adelaide for the funeral. I missed the market deadline, perhaps a blessing in disguise? Who knows! The trip there was good, with stops in Wagga Wagga and Mildura. It was hot (38C) but ok, if not hard for me, as Dish Pig can only drive for about 45mins when he starts drifting off to sleep. The funeral wasn’t too bad, bits of weirdo family politics we dodged, spent a huge deal of time with Dish Pig’s 92 year old grandpa, (who I lovelovelove to pieces, he is just such a human human and so commonsensical, and there are great moments of silence between us were we seem to communicate so much, and I learned much about roses and turf.) and then we drove home again.   The children were ferocious in their misery. The baby began wailing every time we went back to the car, Willow and Zephyr spent hours baiting each other and screaming.

Near Picton, on the side of the freeway, we pulled up, turfed them out on a rock, and left them there to scream for a bit while we sat in the car. They then had some food and fell asleep, finally.

I don’t blame them really, 5 out of 6 days strapped in a car seat is pretty horrid, even with Mary Poppins playing on dad’s laptop.

Now we are home and happy, with mine and garth’s birthdays looming next week, me trying to find some way of sewing and cleaning the house at the same time and wincing our way through the financial crunch we are in.


several ways to apologise…

by Zoë on February 13, 2008

*stay up until midnight making appropriately apologetic couture for sisters and offspring.

*wake up at 3am, pack car, shower, dress,kiss older kids, leave house without eating (or coffee, no more coffee, waaaaa).

*discover the entrance of the M5 is closed for roadworks, double back and head along Hume.

*drive for 3 hours with 2 baby-feeding pit-stops.

*arrive in Canberra to the most stupid peak hour, worse than Sydney, at only 8am.

*Park in the CBD next to the theatre on a hunch (and good advice from Nikki) and meet some others up from Melbourne, check the time, panic, drag prams up stairs, start “jogging” (briefly, then die from poor fitness and minor cold)

*keep jogging, for eternity, across the bridge, across several busy roads and feel as though the parliament house is a loooong way off. All in all, 45 mins of desperate hurry with 2 prams and inappropriate footwear. Passed often by others running, or on bikes.

*begin hearing the voice echoing off the buildings, follow an uphill path, and see before us a sea of silent Australians. Get goosebumps, try not to cry.

And so we listened, as Kevin Rudd delivered a sensitive and dignified acknowledgment, not for the cleansing of the guilt of white suburban Aussies, but in empathy for the suffering of the Stolen Generations and their people.

The crowd was silent, people had come from work, on bikes still sleepy-eyed, from school, from the bush. Many had driven far, many looked tired, many looked sad and happy and relieved.Kids darted in and out of legs with paper flags; Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait. There were tshirts, hats, flags and 2 beautifully crocheted Aboriginal flag shawls. The was a dash of morning sun coming through the thoroughly Canberran grey clouds and morning dew. Xanthe and I stood under an old Stringy Bark and listened and photographed. We looked down at one point and Arlo and Darby were holding hands.

There was clapping and cheering and tears and relief, and then, as Brendan Nelson stood and spoke there was silent fury, and members of the crowd began silently turning their backs. Then the clapping began, long slow and deep, to block the sound of his voice, of the vile things that marred the warmth and humility of the first speech. However the crowd remained dignified in all of this, and the the goosebumps stayed on my arms for a long time. People began to leave. A peppery sweet smell filled the air and across the crowd you could see were people had started smoking ceremonies, perhaps to clear away the words being broadcast.

Then all the things were put and “Aye”-ed and clapped and cheered and the crowd was quietly pleased, hooraying and clapping and whistling.

The sense I got was that this wasn’t an empty occasion, a media stunt, but a part of a very difficult grieving process for our nation. The people who had come were there because to them this was a communal and patriotic and appropriate thing to do. It was fundamentally Aussie, and possibly, for the first time in my life, I have very honestly felt what it is to be Australian. Everyone was talking with each other, calmly jovial and there was a wonderful celebratory feel as the broadcast ended and the music began.

It was a really amazing experience to have, and I’m glad we did it spur-of-the-moment. I’m glad we ran for 3 kms with prams in the morning peak hour, uphill and across the bridge. I’m glad we listened, I’m glad we turned our backs and clapped deeply and angrily. I feel like I have been present in a democratic process with much more weight than an election. I’m glad the mothers and fathers and children of this land have been finally treated with some dignity and respect.

And today I am really proud to be an Australian.

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when the season is it?

by Zoë on February 10, 2008

14.8C at 7:20am 10th Feb 2008.

This is nuts, I have sniffed Autumn twice this week, and yesterday we wore jumpers to Bunnings (and grimaces out of Bunnings). The poor children are going mental indoors, and refuse to go out as they don’t like feeling wet, apparently. I cleaned up the living room last night and today they seem happier and less argumentative, although it isn’t even 8am, the day is young!

There also seem to be a slight break in the weather, so maybe the planned excursion to the Chinese Lunar New Year parade will be less damp 😀



by Zoë on January 31, 2008

After almost half a decade, I’m finally getting the hang of some of this motherhood organisational stuff. I’m now able to keep the cloth nappies washed and back where they need to be for bum changes, I’m able to put a loaf of bread on once a day (in the bread machine, I’m not totally bonkers), I’m even able to sqeeze a grocery shop in once a week.

If we don’t go anywhere or do anything with the children (of whom there are 3) then I can get all the clothes washed folded and stored, and vac and mop the floor.

As we are on the Failsafe Elimination Diet, I have to do my own stocks from scratch and a whole bunch of other slightly more complicated manouvers which require extra kitchen duties. I breastfeed my baby (that allows more time with him, and a bit ot sit down for me.)

Dish Pig the Uber Geek is a PC-renovating man, not so useful round the house and garden, and the bathroom is lucky to see the srubbing side of the sponge once a month. I’m managing to keep the car vaguely tidy and the baby got washed yesterday.

Is it possible to do the house, the kids, the cooking and actually do anything else with my life? I’ve been watching a show recently where the parents are both Little People, and they have 4 kids, one of whom is a Little Person requiring a lot of surgery. They live on a functioning farm, out of which they run agritourism events and also sell produce. The dad runs a step ladder business and the mum also teaches. I often think to myself how brave these people are for letting film crews into their home when it is so cluttered and crazy (not dirty, just cluttered and normal, I suppose).

The other night, while dismantling 2 bedrooms to prep for wall-painting activity, I realised that my home looks like theirs. I cannot keep it all under control and if I did, I’d be somehow kidding myself. Not to mention diddling my kids out of an involved mother.

Whilst I muse that yesterday I tidied the living room and calmed a wretched baby, I also managed to do an entire coat of paint in one bedroom. AND COOKED DINNER FROM SCRATCH. (which neither of the stinking pre-schoolers ate.) Thats not something to be sniffed at!

Today (before midday) I managed to prep 3 kids to go swimming, including Failsafe packed lunch, got everyone home with no tantrums, hung a load of washing out and put a second on. Ok, so we’ll be having rice milk and sugar for lunch, but given the fab morning tea they had (including 3 things they had never tried before!) I really don’t care.

At some point tonight I have to get Dish Pig to cut in around the ceiling and then I’ll do another coat of paint (bring on the Southerly change this arvo!) before family arrive on Saturday, but then I’ll have finished painting!

I’m gunna not sweat the small stuff for a bit. Plenty of tie to pick crap up off the floor. hehe, it might be so long the kids’ll figure out how to do it themselves…..and there is about as much chance of that as there is of Dish Pig turfing the backyard this weekend.

What have you gotten done this week?


title left intentionaly blank

by Zoë on January 21, 2008

I can’t think of one, so there.

As with the last 4 years of my life, I have commenced the turning of the new year with a new patchwork quilt. I have done one for mum and dad, a HUGE and heavy queen sized colourwash quilt in blues, my first ever, and dreadfully nasty as an introduction to quilting. I actually started this one 5 years ago, but took my time getting to the end….

Then there was the same quilt again in the same size but with purple colourways for Benno and Claire’s wedding gift. That one was completed in 8 weeks from scratch, dragged to Tasmania on the ferry from Sydney, worked on by candlelight by a wood fire on a remote island off and island off an island, then hauled and completed from Tassie to Melbourne.

Then came my first, and highly beloved Kaffe Fassett Sophisticated Play lap quilt (minus the checkered suffolk puffs). With a bit of help from the ladies at Material Obsession I wound up with a floral twist to an otherwise deeply masculine palette, and I hand quilted it into the end of my most recent pregnancy. It kept my feet warm last winter.

I began this new year cutting my next Kaffe quilt, a bright red striped handkerchief squares number, with geometry that is simple for some and slightly offputting for me. I’m not sure when this one will be completed, it too is Queen sized and I’m tempted to send this one off to be quilted, but I do love quilting as a winter thing to do.

Today I continued working on a quilt I cut this time last year for my friend Emily’s first birthday. being pregnant and hot I gave up, and she got a frock and some re-jigged curtains for her room instead. This year, with 4 weeks to go, I’m hooking in and things are, dare I say, going well so far.

I’ll do some pics at some point, but its in oranges and yellows and some light greens, all squares in single size, and some fiesty mod-style applique is planned for the top.

They all seem to start one year, get completed the next, with each starting or ending on a new year.

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Mothering had a shaky and wrinkled beginning. Pre and post natal depression, an awkward first birth, no localised support/friends etcetc. Also didn’t help that my baby didn’t sleep during the day, fed like a leech and then screamed. As she got older, she still found it hard to communicate her needs, still had sleep problems and could never concentrate/sit calmly/walk calmly.

It took a surprise second pregnancy, some clever medical intervention with anti anxiety tabs, the ABA to make some friends and Willow getting glasses at the age of 4 to help take the edge off.

Recently I’ve started enjoying her company. She has a great sense of humour, loves word play and dances like, well, something amazing to watch. She would stick her whole arm up her nose if she could, she sleep talks and likes to drink the bath water, and still doesn’t ever seem to register the words “wait”, “no” and “not yet”.(I think she gets those traits from me…) This year, her last before primary school starts, she is spending 2 days at her child care, one day a week at home with me (and the baby) and then 2 days with me and all 3 kids (as well as the weekends, of course).

This morning was our first lady-day, we went to our library and read books together while Darby climbed things and fell down. We borrowed some books with the nice automated system, and then went for lunch. She sat, walked and behaved like a kid who can be calm. It was amazing. We came home and read some more, did some drawing together and now we are having some calm time, me paying bills and posting, and her watching KiKi to JiJi on DVD.

There is a very silly part of me urging to book up Wednesdays with lessons or gymnastics or singing or something. But I’m not going to. I’m going to do whatever happens on Wednesdays.

I’m keen to see how things change over the year, if behaviour settles, if we argue even less. We are also doing elimination diet to exclude naturally occurring syllicilates and amines from our diet to see if that helps us all.

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by Zoë on January 8, 2008

Today was an “Ikea day”. You know, the one where you stock the car, wear your most swedish clothes and drive through peak hour traffic on Parramatta Rd to Rhodes (because all rodes….ya gettit?) so you can walk in single file past all the uncomfortable sofas, get lost and then forget why you were there in the first place before buying some cable organiser, a cd rack and a washing up sponge?

Yeah, well, one of those days.

You see, being long term co-sleeping parents, it has come to our attention that our almost 5 year old would like to, ahem, move out. Probably timely, she has started sleep talking, sleep yelling and sleep squabbling with nobody in particular. That will narrow it down to Mr Sideways and Mr Base Jumper. Scraping the infant’s brains off the floor and plucking the toddler’s toes from inside my ears keeps me awake enough.

So we (I) have started working on plans to move her out. I’ve been sniffing round the Ikea website, “to save time”, and settled on some nicer end day beds, which ss it turns out, will be huge and expensive.

So I’m now looking at the low bunk which can be a low bunk, or flipped over to be a floor bed with a four-post kind of feel. She likes nooks, so this one tickles my fancy.
Anyways, today we went and looked at them. I made Nikki and her offspring come so I didn’t buy any fabric/kitchen cabinets/towels. After going past the uncomfortable sofas,  getting lost, forgetting why we were there we then left with an ice cube tray (for Nikki) and some super cheap xmas cards for me.

So now, from the comfort of my puter and lounge, I’m doing the final research. Ikea’s website have an “Ask our online assistant Anna, and she will help you.” An animated chick doing better eyebrow manouvers than Brooke from B&theB, she is pictured wearing a call centre headset. WTF? Ok, so I type in a  vague description of what I’m after, find it, and then decide to see what happens if I type random potential Ikea product names into the search field.


“It’s not always possible for me to fully understand what it is you mean. This is one of those times.”

I’m still laughing.