m i a o w


Tag: suburbia

Chicken little

Our six-year-old neighbour came to the front door on Sunday night. She was holding a fluffy grey feather.

“Have you seen a chicken that looks like this?” she asked, all gappy teeth and crazy fringe. “It’s called Thunder.”

“Um,” I said, immediately concerned. “I haven’t, but if you wait a second, I’ll check the backyard.”

No dice. No chicken.

“Sorry,” I said to her, as she waited in the doorway. “No chook.”

M, meanwhile, had begun flapping about the room and then almost ran to the fridge. He came to where we were standing, grinning hugely.

“Does,” he began thrillingly, “Does your chicken look like this?” He flourished a plate covered in cling wrap with three cooked chicken drumsticks on it.

My mouth moved. And I think it said, “I can’t BELIEVE you just did that.”

Neighbour-child stood unmoving, looking mildly perplexed. I couldn’t figure out if this was because she didn’t know what that weird man from next door was on about, or because she was about to totally lose the plot because we had obviously eaten at least some of Thunder the Chicken.

Thankfully, they found him hiding in a potplant not long afterward. And you would rightly assume that I am still giving M small kicks whenever I pass him in the house.

N.B – this was all very timely, as I’d just finished Fat, Forty & Fired by Nigel Marsh, in which he tells his five year old son (who is on the other end of a telephone on the other side of the world) that happy clucking chickens are the same chicken that are also in sandwiches. And his son starts crying and drops the phone…. Nice one, Nigel.

Skittery Skattery…

It’s been one of those days…

M’s car has a generator problem and therefore has no headlights. He tried swapping out a part from my (allegedly the same) car. No dice. He took my car for the day. Thus we did not go to Balnarring Playgroup and instead…

Caught up with our friends and walked towards the local playgroup but decided to head to the park instead. We were on the main street, I wasn’t keeping a good eye on Small Z, who had decided to lift up her sister. She lifted her, then stumbled, fell forward, and – in her own words, “Fell on Doonie like a big soft cushion.”

Small DB, squashed under Small Z’s weight smacked down head first on to the pavement grazing her cheek, her forehead and cutting her lip. Blood. Baby blood – the worst kind 🙁 The sound of the smackdown is not something I wish to relive.

Onwards to the park where all was soothed with swings, slides and snacking. We all wandered home under looming cloud… Small DB looking like some kind of advertisement against child abuse. Bloodstained but valiant.

I was greeted by messages galore. Had forgotten my phone. The amount of sleep I’m getting is directly related to my brain power at present. Zilch. I had forgotten to mail in the hard copies of my work files on Friday. They needed them for tomorrow. I had no car. I telephoned couriers – who all quoted me $60. I called M – who said he would do it tonight, no problem. BILLIONS OF THANKS!!

Got a bolognaise going in the slow cooker and decided to take my first bike ride with Small DB on the back of the bike and Small Z on her own wheels…

We were going well when halfway to the library, I felt odd. I had forgotten to wear my helmet. First time ever. I prayed for no bored police cars to drive by and book me. All was well…but the library was closed…

We proceeded to the Health Food Shop – drinks all round and a lollipop for Small Z. A bit of time letting the Smalls run around crazily…

It’s now 8.15pm. I have finally done their dinner, bed, etc. M has left to deliver the bloody files. I am consoling myself with the quiet and a glass of red wine from a bottle that my dad apparently dropped off at the boatshed today. (Thanks, dad!!) There is also some nice cheese left from our visitors on Saturday – that’s helping too…


There is a house I walk by once a week or so. It’s a brown brick featureless box with big windows that always have curtains over them. There’s a broken pram near the carport. Often a big ugly sounding dog straining to get past the gate that keeps it in the back garden.

We were out particularly early one day, the Smalls and I, and I saw four children, two each side of the car, standing in silence waiting to get in. It was eerie. They weren’t talking, pushing each other, twirling their hair, scuffing their shoes. They were just, waiting. Too quiet.

Every time I walk past that house now I look at it hard. I wonder what goes on in there. I never hear those children. The front garden is always scraggy with bits of broken pram or scooters or car parts. Tonight I could see a big screen television going behind the curtains. I’ve never seen any adults. I keep wondering… wondering if I’ll see that house on the front of a local paper with headlines screaming about neglect or abuse… or whether I’m just concocting scenarios to explain what I don’t understand.

Welcome October. Come on d-o-w-n…

Down to my level, I mean. Down here, where I’ve spent the day negotiating the Somme…oh, sorry, I mean ‘trying to deal with face melting tantrums from both Smalls without completely losing my mind’. They don’t happen at the same of course – no, they stagger them just to fill my heart with a little more joy and laughter.

Sorry to begin the month on such a crappy note, but since getting conjunti-fucking-vitis on 11 September? The Smalls have been sick. C-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y. And M joined them about a week into their malaise. And each time I think they’re all getting better? It’s a trick. They get worse.

Just to put the icing on that particular cake, two days ago Small DB got her tantrum suit on. The one with all the bells and whistles – the spitting, the biting, the smearing her face with saliva, the scratching, the kicking and sometimes? She tops it all off with the vomiting.

Have I mentioned the humbling aspect of parenthood? The first time around it’s humbling because you had no concept of how fucking hard it could be. So hard that you were happy to have remained mentally and physically intact by the time the first year came around. The second time? It’s humbling because all those things your first kid didn’t do and you thought other kids were weird for doing? (And here I mean the Nappy Change Resistance Movement which has seen me contorting myself, pretzel-like, to pin down the bits of her I need to keep still in order to get a nappy on her butt – and I mean the Running Into the Road Because I’m Mad At You game…)

Small Z never did either of those things. I used to watch other people change their screaming writhing toddlers and just kind of stare blankly and unhelpfully. Uncomprehendingly.

Not anymore baby! I know Small DB is not well yet. Our sleep is again shot to hell. She is half sick, tired, frustrated, but ohhhh – my patience snapped tonight. She scratched me, hit me, kicked me and finally bit me. So… I bit her back. No – I didn’t rip a meaty chunk from her baby arm, but I didn’t gum her either.

I gave her a nip. I am sure that this is not the prescribed method for child-rearing, but my main aim is to teach her what I will not put up with. And also, this has been the hardest day that I can remember having for months and months…and months. Which didn’t exactly stack things in her favour. She got a shock and returned to the scratching and kicking approach while I drowned myself in motherguilt. How novel.

Three hours prior I got to participate in Small Z losing her sauce in the kind of spectacular fashion that you only think of in the context of Other Peoples Children. But this time it was my nearly five-year-old lying kicking on the ground screaming, “If you don’t buy me that pack of stickers I will….I will….”

(It used to be that she would then say that she would flush me down the toilet with no life jacket and no canoe and would not hug me until I was dead. Maybe she has lost her edge a little?)

“…I won’t let you have any tea. When you want a cup of tea, there will be…NONE FOR YOU!! And you won’t have your PHONE either.”

She zeroed in very precisely to they two things that get me through my days! Nicely done. Less wonderful was her screaming, “BAD MAMA. You’re a BAD MAMA!” whilst clinging prone to my leg. I sat down with the Biter, sorry… the Bolter, sorry… Small DB, to sit it out. I had bought them a packet of stickers each…but Small Z found another one that she couldn’t live without… “YOU ARE GOING TO BREAK MY HEART! YOU’RE BREAKING IT!! YOU’RE BREAKING IT”

I had several thoughts on what I wanted to break. It wasn’t her heart. Actually, I had more of a Queen lyric in mind… I want to break free….

Prior to us leaving the house on our ill-fated journey, M had come home looking grey. He had felt much better this morning and had obviously pushed it too hard. I have very very rarely seen him sick enough to just crawl into bed, but that’s what he did. That lucky, lucky man. So it wasn’t like I even had him to take the reins for ten minutes when we got home – which would have enabled me to either;

a) run to the bottle shop for alcohol
b) gone and given the back fence a good kicking
c) gone and…well – just GONE! – hello desert island…
d) all of the above

So we just got through it, taking Small bites. (Ha ha ha…yeah…not really so funny.) In the four hours since dinner I have had to change Small DB’s nappy twice, and both times it has been like trying to give a tablet to an enraged cat. It’s disastrous, horrible…and if it was anything BUT the nappy I would just abandon trying. But seriously – the alternative is poo and wee throughout the house, or rampant nappy rash. Not an option. I’ve been consoling myself reading every comment on this post

And just while I’m signing off, for those that have managed to read this far into the whining drivel of my existence…let me finish with a flourish. I have to mention the EXODUS that has happened, one that is not improving my mood. My two friends – my lovely J in the next street, and my lovely neighbour? They’ve both moved away in the past few days. It’s like a conspiracy of isolation 🙁 No more Friday night G&T’s delivered to my door… no one to make me cups of tea on days like today when I feel my grip on the world start to slip.

I’ve known about J leaving for months, but decided not to think about it because it wasn’t going to be pleasant. But now that it’s happened…I realise just how much I will miss her. We’ve been propping each other up for a year or so now, counselling each other back to sanity every other week. Of course we will go and visit…but we can no longer just ‘drop in’ on our way back from the shops. J – you were my emergency contact for Small Z at kindergarten…I don’t have anyone else I can put down that doesn’t live an hour away!!! Why must you insist on getting on with your life?!

Gah. I’m going to return to being a tough loner.

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