I should have said I’d make him into a purse. – A Children’s Story (with Stage Directions)

There were a lot of Crocodiles in our house today.

They sat on the couch and hid under the pillows on the bed. There was one in the pot cupboard before lunch and Mabel claimed to have one up her jumper at one point; though on investigation it appeared to be her own arm – but we took it off and jumped on it, just to be safe. Her jumper, not her arm. That would be silly.

Naturally, this infestation was keenly discussed at bedtime; where it is common for me to make up a story with whatever prompts the children provide. They weren’t interested in a fanciful tale this evening, oh no. They just wanted to know how I was going to deal with all these bloody Crocodiles.

“First!” I told them, “I will sneak up on them, very slowly, like this”( – Exhausted, unwashed Mother sneaks across Lego strewn bedroom.)

“Then! I will look them right in the eye, and tell them firmly BE STILL CROCODILE!” ( – Exhausted, unwashed Mother does best Crouching Tiger.)

“Then! I will leap upon its back and tie a bright red ribbon around and around its snappy jaws! I will tie it in a bow, nice and tight.” ( – E.U.M demonstrates much wild yet determined miming of clutching and winding, ending in an elaborate bow tying flourish.)

“And I will kiss its Crocodile lips, like this!” (- E.U.M furiously kisses squealing children.)

“Then! While the Crocodile is dazed from my kisses, I will slip a collar and leash on to its neck and walk it to the bathroom” ( – Pretty straight forward, really. Leash over head, strut across Lego strewn floor. Not my best work, but it was solid. I stand by it.)

“Where! I will throw it in the bathtub and gurgle him down the plug-hole!” (- E.U.M snatches up Crocodile before flinging him into the bathtub, throws arms in to the air, triumphant big finish.)

“But…what if the Crocodile eats you?” Theo asks.

“He wouldn’t dare! Look how tough I am!” (Exhausted unwashed Mother flexes arm muscles.)

“BUT! What if he eats Otto?! Otto would be sad!” He remains unconvinced.

“I would have that Crocodile down the plug-hole before he even got the chance. Remember?” (More arm flexing. Both arms this time. Draw up sleeves of my ever-present shrouds for effect.)

“Mama?” He sighs. “That’s not a very good idea.” Jeeze, kid. Don’t let me go on or anything.

“We should just take the Crocodile outside and lock the doors and shut the windows.”

“Well, sure, Bubba.” (E.U.M scrambles to regain some credibility.)

“That’s a great idea too. But we don’t really have to worry; there are no Crocodiles in New Zealand. That’s the country we live in.”

“…What about pretend Crocodiles?” Mabel chimes in.

“Well…yes. There are pretend Crocodiles in New Zealand, I suppose. But-…”


It’s going to be a long night.

Let That Be A Lesson To You – The Story of a Saturday Morning.

A morning with the house to myself. I sleep in and make a lavish breakfast that no one asks me for a bite of. I roam the internet with abandon, even though there was a beautiful day at the door. I do all the things that seem like indulgences to those with children, and like a regular Saturday to those who don’t. You lousy ingrates.

I hear the hound; whimpering and wailing and tearing around the property. ‘Cat’, I think. But his behaviour persists long after any cat would stand for this nonsense. Then I hear it; not one, but two sets of scrabbleclaws raging around in my kitchen.  I storm through the house with those footsteps you use when Someone Is In Trouble.

And there she is; Otto’s Girlfriend. A Pitt-Dober-Weiler with a belly of saggedy nipples.  As I approach her she takes off, hauling her heft over my 6 foot fence. She’s had a lot of practice at this, you can tell. Otto is naturally forlorn at the hand love has dealt him – she was delivered to him, his dream girl of questionable morals, only for her to be taken from him as quickly as she arrived. He has not spoken to me since.

I tell him that no nice girl has even had to haul ass over a fence to escape a boys mother. And then remember, I have been that girl.

Which has produced the pervading thought: NEED TALLER FENCE.

A Children’s Story from Christchurch.

One sweet Spring morning, the sun woke us up with the promise of adventure.

We filled our bellies with toast and jam, turning our noses up at slices of apple; prefering to feed them to the dog, who ate them greedily.

We fought our way out of our pyjamas, the ruthless adversaries of every morning, and dressed for the new day.

We hunted our shoes; they would always split up when they knew we were coming for them. It could take us a good long while to capture and reunite them. But we do; because Mother says it is too far to walk in gumboots, and no, she won’t carry us.

We walked to the park, excited about what we would do there. First, the swings! We thought. Then, the birds! We agreed. Last, the slide! We could not wait. We had been so good and walked so far and had hardly rowed at all!

But then!

‘Where is the playground?’, asked Theo.

‘WHERE MAE-MAES SLIDE?’, cried Mabel.

‘Fuck’, whispered Mother.

‘They are fixing the playground!’, She told us.

‘Aren’t we lucky!’, She reasoned.

‘Bloody wobbles!’, She concluded.

And we agreed.