Surprise! I'm a single parent

road trip
July 16, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: whatever

We were getting ready to visit Rotorua for the first time.The kids are now of an age where I think they should be able to take an active park in packing. I was trying to get them thinking about what they’d need.

Me: what if we are driving over the desert road and its snowing – and we want to make a snow man. What do we need to have packed?

13 year old: A remote controlled robot.

8 year old: Brownies. And boy scouts.

I’m teaching them girl packing skills not Boy packing. Girl packing is thinking about what you might need and packing for eventualities (might be hot, might be cold, might go out to dinner, might need walking boots…)

My girlfriend visits every winter, she has 17 year old twins, a boy and a girl. Every year the boy packs …. well almost nothing. We go out to dinner he is wearing surfer shorts, t shirt and sneakers.  We go to a play hes wearing the same thing. He is cold.  The girl has a different outfit for most of the stuff we do.  She is warm, water repellent, wind resistant.I admire that my girlfriend does not feel she has to pack for her son as I think I would break down and do it for him or spend huge sums getting him warm.

Anyway the girls ended up packing well and we had a great road trip up the island. The eldest suggested we borrow talking books from the library and what a great suggestion. Rotorua was sunny and much warmer than Wellington – it has been one of the wettest winters ever and it was so good to see blue sky. It made such an impression on us we even photographed cloud formations.

When we arrived we grabbed lots of brochures, set a budget and then picked the activities we’d do. The girls made good suggestions about dinner and lunches we could make ourselves and negotiated well about what they’d like to see and do. Its been a trying time lately and when things go wrong with my kids I often think it must be because I’m a fundamentally flawed parent. Seeing them acting like well adjusted bright happy kids was a great tonic. The whole break made me realize that holidays can be very affirming.

I got some bad news when we came back to town and Ive have been experiencing that kind of physical sadness you get with grief. I think it would be worse if I hadn’t been away – so I’m starting to plan our next escape

kids are literal
August 8, 2009, 10:21 am
Filed under: whatever

Years ago I was in Farmers with my, then, young daughter. As we walked through the linen and towels section in comes a guy on some kind of shopping mission and he has three kids in tow.  Looking back now the family looked a bit like a Wellington version of the West family. The kids were everywhere picking things up and being loud – but not noticeably being bad as far as I can tell. The guy wasn’t happy. He said: If you kids don’t behave, when you get home you are getting a good hiding.

That night I read my daughter her story and as I leant over to kiss her goodnight she said: Now Mummy – I’m going to give you a good hiding!

Oh no! I thought back to that fathers words earlier that day. And I was confused – what had I done to inspire her to give me a hiding?

Oblivious to what’s going on in my head my daughter smiled and dove under the covers, she giggled a bit and then popped out again. Ohhhhhh I get it – a good hiding! Ooohhhh wasn’t it nice that she wasn’t about to commit a violent act.

who me?
June 12, 2009, 2:33 am
Filed under: whatever

Driving to work I picked up a woman who’d just missed the bus. The bus stop is close to my house. She asked me if I lived close to the solo mother. I thought about it and said no I didnt think so. We chatted on and then back came this question did I live close to the solo mother… finally….. I’m so slow….. I get it…… that’s ME!

Mum literature – a new genre
October 6, 2008, 1:10 am
Filed under: whatever

Did you ever see the movie Fargo?  Great movie on lots of levels. A super cool thing about it is the protagonist – a female cop in a snowscaped rural america – is very very pregnant as she investigates a murder or two. This got me thinking (oh i dunno maybe it didn’t but i know at some stage i got to thinking) and the think I was mulling over was how protagonists (the main characters in books) are usually single and no kids. 

An unfettered hero is great for a writer. No need to stop the plot while they go to work,  find a baby sitter, cook the family dinner, wait on the phone to sign up for next terms swimming, or hold out till pay day before they can afford to travel to the next point in their journey. In fact part of the happy ever after is often settling down to a life where ‘adventure’. 

Anyone who has been reading this blog knows I’m living in post happy ever after. 

Well it’s often ocured to me we need more stories like fargo – in fact farther along than fargo. Stories of Mums having lives as well as kids would be cool. I’ve thought of writing them mysef but I’m so fricking busy being a Mum and working and the occasional blog. But then I was reading up on my new weird fascination: Sarah Palin and I came across reference to ‘Mom lit’. Wow really? 

Of course then i was dissapointed. It turns out Mom lit is the spawn of chick lit and the apple isn’t rotting far from the tree. Boo. I am always a person to judge a book by it’s cover and chick lit is just too pink and kooky Mary Quant looking. (Hmm what would Sarah Palin think?) 

But here’s the thing – in the instant when i thought I knew what Mom lit was (the sort of Mom lit I wanted to write) I was all excited but I was also thinking to myself why wasn’t I writing that and now I’ve discovered there is a job still out there to do! Much more interesting than vacuuming.

May 13, 2008, 4:10 pm
Filed under: environment,whatever

Mornings are not always perfect in our household. This morning was a pearler. I think the ingrediants for success were these:

1. Six year old was in bed early and thus not a major grump. Really she was born needing coffee in the morning but I don’t think we should introduce this to her till she’s 16 or 17. (Hmmm is there a market for junior coffee? Some sort of wake up elixir that doesn’t give them the jitters at play time when the effect wears off?) I’m JOKING please don’t bother to send me a comment on that.

2. My 11 year old got busy and made most of her own and her sister’s lunch while I walked the dog.

3. I didn’t ask if they had breakfast and they didn’t tell me that they didn’t – so I didn’t feel compelled to insist. The six year old without coffee just can’t seem to cope with the thought of eating first thing. Her stomach just doesn’t register hunger and she gets really antsy when you are asking her to make lunchbox choices too. It’s like she can’t project to a time later in the day when she might need food. This week I compromised and bought her white bread which she is viewing as a treat and its certainly is a treat for me. Instead of a grumpy child after school who didn’t have breakfast and dumped her healthy lunch Ive got a lovely wee thing who chowed down on a vegemite sarnie.

3. The dog and I had a good walk. I watched the sun rise all pink and purple and yellows and he chased a rabbit.

4. Ive finally got enough flexibility in my work hours (thanks to my Mum) that I’m not frantically trying to get out of the door to clock on. It makes so much difference not to be in a rush.

5. I got a good nights sleep myself. I forget all the time that 8 hours of sleep and Im a much nicer person. Go figure.