Tag Archives: kids

labour of love

Written for the dVerse quadrille Monday prompt “learn to labor or labor to learn“, 44 words exactly, including the word work (and dedicated to my darling twin boys and my husband who I didn’t listen to):

three years of hoping
nine months of waiting
twenty hours of labour
(two panadol)
two thousand loads of washing
twenty thousand meals
for two lumps on the couch
grunting and picking their pimples.

You were right dear,
a dog would’ve been less work.

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it’s not an effing restaurant

A collaborative effort by the whole family, in response to the dVerse prompt “at the restaurant“, starting with the title which is something I say at least once a week…

 

“It’s dinner time my darlings!
it’s time to come and eat,
turn off your screens, my dears,
take a plate and have a seat!

“I’ve made this food with love
Why won’t you eat your fill?”

“’Made with loves’ all well and good,
but we’d rather ‘made with skill!’

Why won’t you make what we want,
why won’t you let us choose?
It’s always half-raw vegies
or brown, mysterious ooze

“You’re always free to help me
and then you’d get some say!
Some help around the kitchen
would really make my day!

But until that happens,
I’m here to tell you, bub,
there’s two things on the menu
and they’re both avec shut-up”

You must be really stupid,
you must be such a dolt,
you always cook the stuff we hate
but expect a new result!

And then when we won’t eat it
you’re always full of sadness.
You do the same, expect a change –
now that’s a sign of madness!”

“It’s not an effing restaurant,
it’s not even a café,
if you don’t want what I’ve cooked
you can bloody go away!

You’ve always got a choice,
you’ve always got an option
you can eat what’s on your plate…
or you can go up for adoption!”

 

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Sutton bonfire night

Flames rise, pouring sparks upwards –
red specks flickering
among the billion bright
diamond points
of a black winter sky.

Faces glow in the firelight
while buttocks freeze,
then vice versa,
as we all enact
a slow human rotisserie.
while as the flames die down
leaves and branches gone,
back to the air they grew from,
we edge inwards
towards the great stumps and trunks
that will still be smouldering tomorrow.

(Imagine us from above, seen in time lapse:
we dance a slow, primal country dance –
spinning on the spot in concentric rings,
which gradually close around the flames.)

A blue dragon dances
past the towering fire,
head swinging to a drum beat
body swaying gracefully,
and followed behind
by a dozen children
gathered from the dark depths
by its glowing lure.

A pair of buskers,
adequate to the occasion,
lit by the church-hall porch-light
provide a backing track
to the how-have-you-beens
and did-you-hear-abouts,
exchanged by the fire.

Firefighters stand around,
poking un-burnt branches into the flames,
the red and blue lights of their engines
flashing in the background,
and the reflective strips on their suits
catching the firelight as they move
sending ripples of light across them
like deep-sea creatures.

As the flames sink
from white-yellow towers
to orange-red mounds
darkness creeps closer
and young blood is overwhelmed
with the sugar of too many
melted, scalded,
or blatantly blackened marshmallows,
and the knee-high and hyper
run in packs like ferals –
appearing
for a moment
from the dark
then disappearing again
trailing laughter.

Swaggering teens cluster
their swearing still sitting,
uncomfortably,
like sharp stones in their mouths
to be spat out from their hoodies
with awkward bravado
as they light sticks
in the marshmallow-toasting fires
now abandoned by their smaller siblings.

And so we are separated by age
(or volume? mass?)
by this strange centrifuge effect –
slowly rotating adults by the fire,
then gangling teens in their half-lit clusters,
and then the little ones,
running rings around us all in the darkness.

Until, dad’s beer and mum’s wine finished,
the sausages, served with bread and gossip,
savoured and swallowed down,
the rings start to mingle,
disperse,
as by ones and twos and threes
parents gather their teens,
their little ones,
and walk away into the darkness
under the billion bright
diamond points
of a black winter sky.

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2004 – 2022

all those moments
when the inside didn’t match the outside
when no one looked closely enough to see
all those moments
when I couldn’t say just what I felt
when I said nothing instead
all those moments
when we were together
when I was so alone
all those moments
of trying to understand
of trying to be understood
all those moments
of wondering why I am here
of wondering whether I can bear to stay
all those moments
will be lost in time like tears in rain
will be over as the rope snaps taut

 

This was written for the dVerse “words of departure” prompt, and to help me process a death I’ve been struggling to come to terms with. I’ve been wanting to write something about it, and while when I first saw the prompt I didn’t think I’d be able to write to it, it actually tuned out to be a way to begin processing this. The prompt required the inclusion of a quote from a selection. I chose “all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” from Bladerunner (one of my favourite films).        

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say it, spell it, say it again

For the dVerse Monday quadrille prompt “casting a poetic spell“:

 

Waist high and terrified
they approach the microphone
and await their word;
enunciated and exemplified.

We wait,
no one breathing,
as they say it,
spell it,
say it again.

Then sigh in shared sorrow
or breathe out in shared relief,
whoever’s child it is.

 

Years ago one of my sons made it to the NSW state spelling bee final. My proudest mum-moment was at the end of the regional finals when he got a second word after stuffing up a first, and then the only other remaining contestant stuffed hers and didn’t get a second chance.  He was declared the winner. And he went and told the judge that the other contestant should have had a second chance too. I know he reads my blog sometimes, and I hope he knows how proud he makes me, not just that day, but always. 

But on the whole I dislike spelling bees. The poor kids looked so tiny and so frightened, and it was painful watching any of them when they got a word wrong and their little faces crumpled no matter how stoic they tried to be.  I think every parent felt that, based on the collective sigh of sorrow whenever any child went out.  

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success couching (redux+)

This is a re-post from a year ago, with an update…

We’ll get us a success coach
to train up our success
he’ll pump us up with slogans
until we are the bestest.
He’ll elevate our excellence
right up to the sky!
And as the gas comes whooshing out
our excellence will fly! Continue reading

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another Easter egg hunt

This year, Easter has come early. Instead of the great Easter egg hunt being held on Sunday, it was today because my husband is taking them away tomorrow to visit their grandparents for a few days.

Last year I posted about how we make our poor unfortunate children solve puzzles and do maths to get their Easter eggs. No wonder they say we’re horrible parents…

The kids have to follow the clues, each clue leading to an Easter egg and the next clue, until the final clue leads to an Easter bunny.

Some of the clues need knowledge of the property, for example that we have a small hexagonal yurt with its own water tank, and a sitting tree, and a dam with a pump located at it, and the kids have a bark hut they built. The animal feed is stored in feed bins which are home to rodents no matter what we do, as is my greenhouse. Oh, and our only heating is a slow combustion wood stove.

With that in mind, here are some of this year’s clues if you want to have a go at them (answers posted at the end):

For the 9 year old:

Unjumble

Write the notes and fill in the gaps

Some maths

Some shapes

and word puzzles:

(my photo was too blurry, so I’m typing it out)
Busy as a _____
What horses eat, minus the aitch _____
What pirates are reputed to say _______
Turn it on it’s side (drawing of a sideways K)    ______
leave a space, and then:
Your age minus one, and add a “ch”   _____
Not me, or him, or her, but _____
You can put a small white ball on me  ______

 

For the 14 year olds:

More difficult maths, both simultaneous equations:

and some simple graphing (follow the directions):

Some science (physics, chemistry and biology):

I’m typing this one out because apparently my handwriting was too hard to read:

Rapid oxidation
occurs inside my tum
then CO2 and H2O
come flying out my bum!
My colon’s very long and tall
it reaches to the sky
releasing clouds in winter time
gassing birdies flying by

And some playing with words:
(this one was dropped and lost, so I’m typing it out too)

Say a mild oath, with a missing end,
are you feeling the pressure now, my friend? 
Solve this cryptic clue, then run
to get your egg before it melts in the sun. 

 

and here are the solutions (top to bottom) (scroll down… ):

.

.

.

.

woodshed, deck table, gate, between the yurt and its tank, bark hut, yurt, deck, green house, wood stove (fireplace), feed-bins, dam pump.

 

 

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mum’s hairdressing salon II

It was 30C and humid here today – and try as I might I couldn’t channel coldness for Frank’s dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “winter“. Maybe if we had air-conditioning I could have done better. 

 

She carries spring in her step, so what need could she have for its green in her hair? What need, when her hair is yellow-brown as a summer wheat field, and her skin stores the sun and the boundless, cloudless sky is in her eyes?

I offer pink, mauve, blue (roses and lilacs, summer blooms under clear skies).

But no, it has to be green. So, I take the small bottles from my own (winter defying, winter denying?) palette: apple green, electric lime, sweet mint. I twine the colours (tendrils, vines) through the summer of her hair. And in the end it is not so much like spring come to awaken winter fields (as I want to believe it is in my hair), as like rain-wakened ground after the drought ends. As she waits, I do my own.

 

The snow in my hair

will not melt away in spring.

But it holds apples.

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no, we won’t “see what happens”

Another day,
another dollar,
another week,
the kids are taller,
another month,
my figure’s fuller,
another year,
my mind is duller.

And so they flow,
future to past,
this present instant
cannot last.

All these years,
my face can’t hide,
all these months,
can’t be defied
all these weeks,
soon put aside,
as all these days,
wash away with the tide.

But I’ll face each one
head high with pride,
and I’ll choose the path
down which I stride.

 

I’ve been thinking about aging a lot lately, because I’m spending a lot of time trying to sort things out for my parents who never did any planning beyond “we’ll see what happens”, which is my mother’s catch phrase.  That phrase has become such a trigger for me – I just want to slap anyone who says it now, and yell “no! take some responsibility for your life!”.  My parents have always been irresponsible. They’re truly dreadful role models. But brilliant cautionary examples.  Anyway, trying to sort things out for them now, from interstate, in a pandemic, is a nightmare. Not that it would be much easier if I was there – they simply have no records, no paperwork, no plans, no ideas…  And it’s made me think about where I want to be after I retire, and what happens when I can’t manage on my own anymore, advanced care directives, administrators and executors. It’s a bit depressing. But at least if my kids do want to slap me in 30 years, it won’t be because I’m just waiting to see what happens, but because of what I’ve chosen to do. I hope they want to slap me for blowing their inheritance on a sports car and a toy-boy and really expensive champagne.     

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The adventures of Beaky McBeaky and Baby Barry I

A collaboration with my daughter:

Beaky McBeaky was ever so cheeky,
his brother, Baby Barry, less so.
Through the coop, Beaky sneakied,
and right after him Barry followed.

As Soup cock-a-doodled,
and the Meepers were cheeping,
right up to the foodles
the naughty McBeakies were creeping.

With their beaks in the trough,
they ignored pecking order,
until Cream chased them off –
the great fluffy-knickered coop warder.

But Beaky McBeaky, always so sneaky,
just hid ‘hind the back of a stump,
when Cream looked away, ever so cheeky
out of hiding McBeakies did jump!

Beaky McBeaky ran straight to the trough,
his baby brother behind,
beaks down see them scoff
at the pecking order defied.

 

The McBeakies, Beaky and Baby Barry, are the most recently hatched chicks and the Meepers (Laveen, Altona and Little Big Fred) are the previous clutch. Cream is one of the hens and Soup (what’s in a name?) is one of the two remaining roosters.  

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