Dog Shaming: in which the terrible dog ruins the dinner.

After being shut outside for humping the children, I managed, somehow, despite my obvious shortcomings, to get myself on top of the outdoor table.

There I found the chicken that was defrosting for dinner.
So I ate it.
All.
Including some of the plastic bag it was in.
The chicken still being frozen made it quite difficult.
But I persevered.

Once I was caught and chastised severely, I came inside and grew very quiet.
I sat still for a long time and thought about my behaviour.
Then I got up and walked swiftly to Mothers bedroom to vomit the frozen chicken I had just devoured under her bed.
Then I ate it.
All.
Again.

I now lay prone on the couch, unable to move.

I feel no remorse.

I am a bad dog.
Dag Shaming

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A Snapshot.

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You are reading books in a tent in the lounge. You both still have bottles in the afternoon.

Mabel has just come through to the kitchen, where I am sitting at the table writing. She mimed ‘I love you’. Her eyes. Her heart. Her mama. ‘Don’t forget to look after yourself’, she said to me, over her shoulder, as she left the room.

The Kale we sowed from seed has sprouted on the windowsill. 4 white plastic containers we filled with dirt, and watered and left to sleep in the sun.

You made your own sandwiches for lunch, tearing the crusts off and feeding them to the dog, as we sat here, all together.

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mama

September.

Dear Babies,

You’re not really babies anymore, you know. And you do know. You tell me often. “I’m big!” you say. Though sometimes you’ll concede “I’m little”. I kiss you to sleep, as I always have done. And you wake me by making a racket, as you have always done. Though times they are a changin’. Though the song remains the same.

Right now I am sitting on our blue couch. There’s an orange cat pressing his tickle whiskers to my arm, making it hard to type. I’m listening to all the different versions of ‘Dream a Little Dream’ I can find. Everyone that hears me type says I hit my keys too hard. I’m really writing this, you know? I am really here, in this little wooden house as you sleep across the hall in your little bunked beds. There are flowers on your sheets and there are cars on your sheets and there’s Dora on your pyjamas and there’s Thomas on yours. And in the morning it will be Mabel’s birthday. There’s a grey cat on the coffee table, and she has little silver feet. There are cherry blossoms on the mantelpiece.

My love for flowers is something you know about me. You tell other people ‘Mama loves flowers! And dancing! And her favourite colour is yellow’, all of which are true. You’re my biographers. You are telling my story to me and my fingers are flying trying to take it all down. Bang on the space bar. Smashing the full stop. There are notes of our lives over everything. On calendars. Throughout my phone. On receipts in my purse. Marked on my body. Scrawled on walls in crayon I can’t bring myself to wash off, because it’s you telling your story. So there’s nail polish on the doors and paint on the floor and pen on the paint work. Because, even now, I can’t believe you’re here. That you’re mine. And this is the place we do our living. You’re telling your own stories here, too.

I walked an enormous coffee table, another roadside find, several blocks home today. It’s the perfect height and the perfect length and it has tiny carved flowers on the legs. And I want to love it. Really. I’ve spent all evening looking at it, thinking how I will make it work. The possibilities. The purpose. Because it seems like it should fit right in. I can see you drawing on it and building on it and it being strewn with cake plates and tea cups and climbed all over. But I’m not feeling it. Because a lesson I have learnt in learning the lessons I’ve learnt to learn is, less really is more. I used to feel like, the more I had, the more real I was, somehow. As if owning things connected me in some way. Identified me as a person. With things. And, sure it is easy to say, over here or out there or after, that what I was trying to do was to fill some void; to find what was missing. When really, nothing was.

And that’ll bowl you over sometimes, that nothing is missing. That you have everything you need. And you do. Right now. Even though you mightn’t believe it, or though you might be working so hard to convince yourself otherwise. Because just you is enough.

Just you is enough.

Theo: you lost your smile for a little while there. Somewhere along the line that 4 has walked us. Things got hard again, as they do in times of change. And you don’t want to say ‘oh, that’s just 4!’ because, how reductive. And I’ve been 4 and 10 and 13 and 18 and in the last weeks of 28, and you could say ‘oh, that’s just!” to any of those and be right and wrong. But it’s back now, your smile. And it’s not an ear to ear. No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s a chin to eyebrow. Your face lights up.
You talk with your hands and when you’re asking me a question, in conversation, you extend your right hand. And it’s as if I can see the words walk off your palm and out into the world. Your questioning strengthens you, darling. Don’t stop asking. You are so brave. I hope I’m half as brave as you, when I grow up.

Mabel: you sing to everything. Songs you make up. The ones you hear. From Bonnie Prince Billie to theme songs on the movies we watch and watch. You walked into the lounge the last week, ‘right’ you said, clapping your hands, as I always begin, ‘you’re gonna play the drums and you’re gonna play the pianey and I’m gonna do this!’ this, of course, being your beloved harmonica. It’s only vexation being that you can’t sing and play it at the same time. We had friends over the week before, and as they left, you came slowly inside after waving them off. ‘What’s wrong, little love?’ I asked your small down turned face. ‘Alex and Hazel have gone home.’ You sighed. ‘And we were making a band!’. You stroke my cheek when I tuck you in at night ‘sing the songs when I was a little baby’ you ask me, and I do. The same as my mother sung me. As her father sung her. When I sing ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ you yell ‘I’m not going!’. When I sing ‘This Little Light of Mine’ you sing ‘I’m gonna let it shine!’. And you mean it. And you do.

Let it shine, baby loves.

And make sure you really love the coffee table, before you walk it all the way home.

I love you. I love you. I love you.
Mama xx

January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August

Three Hundred & Sixty-Five – Days at Home: Week 38

Sweet faced daffodils and perfect pink tulips from the garden / Brown rice + soy milk + a sprinkling of yum for breakfast. And a cup of tea. / Every day dance parties / Carrot cake on pretty plates + newspaper wrapping and handmade cards. Because it’s the thought that counts. Because what’s important is showing someone you love them, as best you can. / Almonds + seeds + cranberries. In cakes. For snacks by the handful. On brown rice for breakfast. / More of my Mothers casual wisdom, handwritten by me 1 + 2 / This little love will be 3 so soon. Time’s flown.

Three Hundred & Sixty Five – Days at Home: Week 37

Running away from home to stroll streets in Dunedin for a weekend / Little helper hands mixing carrot cake / Theo at the kitchen window / Stealing 5 minutes peace in the afternoon sun. Can we all just agree to add an extra day to the week dedicated solely to reading? / Tulips blooming in the garden / Cardigan dying 1 + 2 – cross your fingers for me / Lavender for borders and bees / And wonderful news! Dear friends are engaged. So begins a series of parties to celebrate, each more elaborate than the last.

A letter to my 2 year old daughter, after we fought over a sandwich.

Dear Mae,

You wanted to make a sandwich, like your brother now can.

It might seem odd, to row about a sandwich. But anyone who has ever cohabited with anyone will be sure and tell you, when pressed, or barely pressed at all, of the suffering they endured at the hand of a person they shared their house with.

You got the bread out of the bag and selected your slices. You would only be contented with tomato sauce as sandwich filling, which I am sure I should feel more shame than I do about telling the internet. I, personally, am not one to judge a person on their sandwich preferences. That’s very personal. But, you know how people can be. It was on white bread too. Which we only ever have in emergencies. Like, when I simply cannot face the supermarket and we have run out and I have to buy a loaf from the dairy. So, a lot.

We have this kind of high-powered tomato sauce, you know? One of the ones with the lid at the bottom? And it’s fairly full. So you’re standing there, using a dining chair for your table, bread laid out just squeezing the ever-loving crap out of this bottle of tomato sauce, which is, in turn, shooting over, not only the bread, but the chair and the wall, because this is real life, and that’s what happens. And I am trying to let you do your thing; it’s only mess, there’s worse things already dried on that wall, I’m sure. Saying supportive things like, ‘That’s wonderful, darling! You’re doing such a good job of getting the sauce out of that bottle! Do you know who Jackson Pollock is?’ When you begin to weep.

I ask you what’s wrong, only as taken aback by this sudden turn of emotional events as anybody who has spent time with a toddler would be, as these big, perfect Man Ray tears are rolling on down your little apple cheeks.

‘IT DOSEN’T LOOK LIKE MY NAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMEEEEEE!’, you tell me. In between sobs.

And I remember all to well, that feeling.

The abrupt realisation that things were not turning out as you imagined.

I help as best I can. Offer solutions, many and varied, all of which you reject. Because sometimes there is no helping things. Some times all you will want is for your tomato sauce sandwich to read your name, though you can’t spell it, and that’s just how things are. There’s nothing else for it. And I get that, darling. I hear how frustrating things can be. How trying. But feeling those feelings is part of this whole thing we’re doing. Connecting and growing.

Because, one day, you’ll sign your name to all sorts of things. Things you’ll make. Futures you’ll envision. And some of them might be challenging. And some of them might yield more happiness than you could have ever imagined they would, when you dared to dream of them. You have to begin somewhere.

 

This isn’t what the row was about, obviously. The row was when I went to put the top on your sandwich, and you lost your tiny mind, yelling at me that I had done it wrong.

‘THAT’S NOT THE LID, MAMA!’

It’s not?

‘THAT IS THE PLATE I MADE FOR MY BREAD! I MADE IT FROM MORE BREAD!’

Which? Totally genius. And so you.

Though you ended up covered in sauce and asked that I kiss your cheeks to clean them.

Which? Totally adorable. And so you.

And then your brother poured you both a glass of milk and asked you if we were having a celebration. And you told him you had some paperwork to do.

And I stood there a moment, in this green kitchen we spend so much time in, and I thought about writing this down for you. Because one day, maybe, you’ll be here, or there, and this kitchen will no longer be the centre of our universe, and you’ll be having bigger and better arguments over the same feelings. So here is some relativism for you.

It so often starts with a sandwich.

I love you,
Mama x

Three Hundred & Sixty Five – Days at Home: Week 36

Kings Seeds / Homemade hummus every week / Hiding on the trampoline / Hummus fixin’s for little hands / A page of hand lettering every night. ‘You have to live until then’, just some casual wisdom imparted by my Mother, drawn by me / Alphabet couch / Always  drawing, belly down on the living room floor / My Grandmothers collection of miniature teapots. There’s 127 of them. They’ve moved with me 7 times in the last 10 years. They’ve been packed away for the last 3 years; trying to keep them from Earthquakes; from tiny hands. Here they are after a bath. Preparing to have a cabinet made, finally / Thrifted: Floral sheets. I’m going to make these into a little tent and hang it in the garden to have tiny tea parties in.