I used to draw all the time. Then, like so many things that fall away with age or expectation or exhaustion, I stopped. Now I do a page a night; mostly hand lettering for now. I’m excited about where it’s going. The ‘crazy right’ you see there is a trace from the previous page. Serifs are hard to get looking evenly fat. / Little Mabel feet hiding in the curtain. And yes, they’re on the wrong feet. And no, she doesn’t care. / Washing shells collected in a polka dot bag and carried home from Sumner beach. / We think we’re clever. / ‘Look, Mama! The drawer has a moustache!’. / It’s hard to say which is my favourite; the ‘E’ he drew in his name, or the hair on the self portrait. / Florals all the time. / Project! / And something so exciting made for me by sweetest Yas at Quill and Fox.
Mabel: I want crack!
Alice: …excuse me?
Mabel: I WANT CRACK!
Alice: I beg your pardon? You want crack? Do you mean a cracker?
Mabel: CRACK! WHERE’S MY CRACK?!
Mabel: CRACK! I CAN’T FIND MY CRACK!
She meant Croc.
I’ve let them stay in the bath too long; their little fingerprints turning into raisins.
Alice: Put your pyjamas on please, Theodore. It’s cold.
Theo: …Mama…are you happy?
Alice: Yes, darling. I’m happy. I am just using this tone so you know I’m serious.
Alice: Seriously happy.
How could you not be?
Theo: What’s that?
Alice: Jabba the Hutt.
Theo: German the heart?
Alice: Jabba. The Hutt.
Theo: …Are you speaking English? I am asking the name of that very big creature.
You will need:
Sheets of card in your desired colour way.
I went with for sort of toned down disco. Like, disco for ladies. You want to dance all night, but you also make a hell of an ice tea. Do not feel limited to using card. Fabrics. Maps. Wrapping papers. Pages from children’s books. Though you may need to back these for weight. A texture wall would be great in a kids room. Or for drunk people at parties. Confetti made of fake fur. Foil. Sequins and sparkles under Duraseal. Let your imagination run wild. Channel Yayoi Kusama. Invite me over.
A pen, scissors and a template in your desired size. A side plate is perfect.
Blu-tak. Those tiny stick dots they use for photographs, maybe? I don’t know. The preferred adhesive of the person who owns the walls you are about to confetti.
You will need to:
Bake a large cake. Lay out a drop cloth on the floor in front of the television. Find the least watched most watched children’s animated feature you have. On drop cloth lay all the items the children could ask you for in an hour. Water. Face cloths. Batteries. Remove all items you would usually confiscate in an hour. Water. Face cloths. Batteries. Give the children half the cake each. Roll film.
Draw as many circles as you can fit on your card. This will take some time, but will be strangely fulfilling in the way repetitive menial tasks can be. Cut out all of the circles you have drawn. This will take some time, but will be oddly meditative in the way strangely fulfilling way repetitive menial tasks can be. Breath in and out uninterrupted. Then confetti what needs confetti-ing.
You know how they say, always take off one accessory before you leave the house? My answer to that is to put on an Octopus necklace. / Iggy Pop in her book fortress. / Tiny dancing feet in warm socks – we’ve all had terrible colds. / A photograph Theo took. That’s me in the box. Texting. It was quite peaceful actually. / Nothing like a hideous pair of men’s socks when you are feeling poorly. / Thrifted: A handsome copy of The Great Gatsby – found at the local Sallies for free. / Thrifted: Side plate for the wall in the kitchen. I adore the boats! 50c from the Salvation Army. / Crisps are an essential part of the crafting process. / What vegans eat: Chick pea + 3 bean salad with tomatoes and spinach. Salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and parsley.
Mabel: Here’s your money, Mama! For doing a good job!
She says as she palms me a small handful of Lego.
Mabel: It’s $20. In triangles.
You’re 4. Right now. Today. Sitting on our yellow couch watching Sesame Street. There’s popcorn kernels in the hallway and a slice of bread on the floor of the lounge. These things are not indicative of it being your birthday; they’re just indicative of how things can be sometimes. Things that will probably end in ants.
You’re 4. Right now. Today. And I remember so clearly, the moment you were born; in a plastic paddling pool in my mother’s kitchen. How heavy you felt; out of my body and in my arms. Finally; after 9 months, after 2 days of labour, after my whole life changed. You made me a mother in that moment, physically. You have made a mother of me every day since. I had so little idea, really, of what that would mean. That with you would come such meaning; a complete purpose; a new identity. It was always important to me that I not lose myself to my new title, that I held on to some semblance of balance. That who I was before was not eclipsed by who you had made me. So I mother you with who I am. Because as much as we are one another’s, we are separate. Even though we are made for and from each other. I respect you for who you are, as your individual you.
You’re 4. Right now. Today. You have taught me more about myself than any introspection has. The practical application of caring for you. The strength and patience and resources it takes you treat you in the manner you deserve to be treated. How being connected to you has connected me with everything. Son and sun at once.
You’re 4. Right now. Today. The house needs vacuuming and I haven’t decided what to cook you for dinner, though you’ll just want pizza. I’m looking at you now, I feel like I’ve spent your whole life just staring at you. You’re wearing stripes and jeans and your favourite boots. You’re playing with your hair. You’re balancing a helicopter on the back of a plastic truck. You’re talking to your sister.
Happy Birthday, darling.
You are endless to me.
Love, Mama xx
The hardest button to button is probably the cutest. / Thrifted: Blue Willow platter. So handsome. / Ranunculi are my favourite + washi tape picture rails / Thrifted: Blue Willow teapot and 6 pretty cups – perfect service for a spot of tea in the watery Winter sunshine + Snapdragons & Carnations – Mabel’s choices from our fortnightly trip to the flower market. / Thrifted: glorious yellow sifter; how happy you make me. / Five Minute Fix: Hanging new curtains (also thrifted this week!) / Spot the Sausage Dog. / Mabel’s new tattoos. “This one is a fish! And this one is a spider!”. But which is which? Answer on a postcard to the usual address. / Spring is sneaking into our garden. I couldn’t be more ready.