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Archive for July, 2009

Ever been on national television with your hair disturbingly unbrushed and your bra showing?

I have.

Ever pimped your children on national television in order to get free stuff?

I have. 

Ever said when being interviewed for national television that “If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the front yard is the window to your home..” and then kept talking crap as if on automatic, all the while furiously thinking “No, NDM. The front yard is not the window to your home, the windows are the window to your home, you stupid stupid woman….”?

Yep, that was me. 

“How on earth did someone as high brow as you, NDM, end up on a current affairs show of ill-repute?”,  I can hear the usual people asking. 

It’s a fair question and one that is far too long and boring to answer. Plus, in answering, I not only might reveal information about my True Identity, but also be forced to admit I sold out to a certain degree. Let’s just say that it was all for a good cause and you will just have to believe me.  And before you start muttering words like “media whore” and “mother pimp” please kindly remember: in surfy culture, I am revered as a God, okay? 

Anyway, for months I went around jokingly telling people I was going to be on [insert name of disreputable current affairs show] as part of some “Suburban Menace” exposé. Of course, all the while I was secretly worried that the camera crew might have secretly filmed the contents of my recycling bin and changed the angle of the story from “suburban mum done good” to (donning best TV presenter voice:) “these children’s shoes have holes in them and yet, look how much alcohol their Alleged Mother consumes in Just One Week…”

But of course my biggest crime of all was that I made friends and family all over Australia sit down watch the show in its entirety on the night of our big appearance. Before the presenter had even finished introducing the show I was already getting texts saying stuff like “I can’t believe you are making me watch this shit” and “My eyes and ears are burning...” 

But before you pity them too much, consider the plight of the friends and family watching on the West Coast who sat through the whole show without even seeing our segment at all. 

One theory is that the segment was deemed not to be “local” enough for Western Australian audiences and was replaced by “local” content for “local” people. My own personal theory was that the TV station in question’s switchboard had lit-up like a Christmas Tree shortly after our segment was aired in the East, mostly with complaints about my unkempt appearance and peek-a-boo bra (citing “decaying moral standards”, etc). And so they’d been forced to pull the segment in the West. 

Whatever. 

Still, at the end of the day, the segment wasn’t too bad. Some might say that the greatest thing about it was that it ended with us all laughing (and my bra showing), like the last scene of those 70s cop shows where someone’s discovered the Alsation has eaten all the donuts and vomited on the Chief-of-Police’s desk (for example). 

But actually – if you ask me – the greatest thing of all was we got the “Segue Laugh” – you know when they cut back to the main presenter and he’s all “Ha-ha-ha!” like he’s been directly infected by our mirth.

I literally punched the air when I realised that I had achieved this life-long dream of mine.

“Segue laugh… CHECK!”. 

Next goal? To be filmed punching the air on breakfast television.

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Okay, okay, so it turns out I have osteoarthritis. But please don’t ask me anything about it because I honestly don’t remember anything about my diagnosis other than my doctor saying:

“Looks like you’re getting osteoarthritis… blah blah blah blah… of course it’s easily confused with osteoporosis… blah blah blah… will probably spread across all of your knuckles in both your hands over time… blah blah blah… you could try glucosamine but its success is largely anectodal… blah blah blah… Dennis Lillee… blah blah blah… debilitating pain.”

Now you might thing that many of the “blah blah blah” bits were simply spent watching Mr Justice doing his now-famous chicken dance in the background or sliding off his chair or even doing the chicken dance while sliding off his chair. Try it: it’s not as easy as it sounds.

But quite frankly, I would have been none the wiser even without my darling son’s chicken-dance antics. You see, many years ago in Japan, I developed the sanity-saving ability to go on mini-breaks of the mind while some random stranger took three minutes to spit out the single sentence “Can I please practice my English together with you?”. Unfortunately since that happy time, the mini-breaks have become increasingly involuntary – a good thing for when generating material for my blog but not for when trying to absorb important information.

For example, a friend can start by telling me “Oh my god, NDM, I was just at the supermarket…” and before I know it, I’m off! Away! With the fairies! And returning just in time to hear them conclude “… and they say they probably won’t press charges.” It’s very hard to ask them why when, from all outward appearances, I really looked like I’d  been listening quite intently.

So the terrible truth is that while my doctor was talking, I was looking at Mr Justice and wondering if it was Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius or Chicken Little where all the grown-ups were made to wear mind-control headsets and do the chicken dance and, if I were to be tied to a chair and forced to watch either film in perpetuity, which one would be the less likely to induce chronic psychosomatic diahrea.

And after I returned from this little mini-break to find the diagnosis was over, I decided to try and ask my doctor some carefully worded questions to find out what I’d missed.

“So… uh… do I have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?” I asked, tentatively.

“Osteoarthritis,” he said, looking at me like I was a moron.

“Um… so… er…. will I be all hunched over and gnarled by the time I’m 40?” I asked (the important question).

The Doctor had a quick look at my DOB on the screen in front of him.

“Not by 40, you won’t.” the Doctor said and got up to show me (and my chicken-dancing son) the door.

“Great!” I thought to myself, as I walked out into the reception area. “I’ll be all gnarled and hunched over by the time I’m 45! And I’ll probably be chair-bound and they’ll force me to watch Jimmy Neutron or Chicken Little and I won’t even be able to make it to the toilet by myself when the diahrrea hits!”

But when I got home, my husband came up with a solution: we move to the coast and start hanging out with surfers because in their culture “gnarly” is a compliment and I’ll be so gnarled that, among their people, I’ll be considered a God.

Yep, them there’s Comedy Gold, husband dear. And why on earth I managed to stay focused and listen to that little pearl of wisdom in its entirety but not my actual diagnosis by a trained physician, I’ll never ever know.

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There’s one thing that a Not Drowning Mother of small children dreads more than a Gastro Trifecta (that’s three children vomiting in the same night for the uninitiated) and that’s The Teenage Years. (*Shudder*). And I have good reason to dread those years: The Pixie, at the ripe old age of four and a half, is already showing incredible form as one helluva Teenage Girl.

Just the other day, I took her to a particular park at her insistent request.

[An aside: I have made no secret of my disdain for park-going on this blog but I take my children to the park because a) I love them and like to make them happy; and b) it is an effective way of killing time on Those Days Which Seem Like Months. For the record: I think parks would be vastly improved by having swiveling chairs in the middle of the playground, allowing parents 360° supervision without ever having to leave their seats. Remote-control operated swings, self-draining slides and free champagne-fountains are amongst my other park innovations. And yes, I'm an ideas person.]

ANYWAY, after an hour of Top Shelf Parenting, including pushing both The Pixie and Tiddles McGee on the swings, holding their full weight so they could “swing” on the monkeybars and getting tanbark in my goddamn shoes, I managed to shepherd them back into the car.

I had just strapped them both in and handed out my Exit Strategy snacks when The Pixie suddenly announced: “That wasn’t the adventure park I meant. That’s the Wooden Adventure Park. I meant the Airplane Adventure Park.”

Then, before I’d fully registered what she had just said, she cheerfully added: “Today is a great day because we get to visit two adventure parks. Yayyy!!!!” And she started clapping so enthusiastically, that Tiddles McGee started clapping and going “Yaayyyy!!!”, too.

Luckily, I had a planned visit from The Pixie’s beloved KT to play as a trump card. “Oh, we haven’t got time to go to another park because KT’s coming over!”, I said in my best “Oh what a pity!” voice. And I merrily started driving home.

After a little while, The Pixie piped up again.

“Mummy, can I go to KT’s house after she comes to our house?”

“No, sweetheart. Not today.”

The Pixie then smiled very sweetly at me through the rear-view mirror in that way that beauty counter attendants do when they’re about to call the manager.

“Let’s see what KT says,” she said.

“I said ‘No’, sweetie.”

“Okay. But let’s see what KT says.”

“It doesn’t matter what KT says, because I’ve said NO!” I said somewhat emphatically, before practically growling: “And I’m the Mummy here.

“Let’s just see,” she replied, unperturbed.

“I SAID ‘NO’!” (Yes, screaming crazy bitch time).

There followed a brief shocked silence in the car when I almost thought I might have reasserted my authority… But then… The Pixie started whispering “Let’s see what KT says” to herself under her breath like some kind of mantra All. The. Way. Home.

Luckily for me, I’ve already convinced my very fashionable friend GT to have The Pixie during her teenage years on the pretence that GT can “teach her about hair, makeup and fashion.” And “GT will have her! GT will have her!” became my little mantra as I drove that exceedingly long 5 minute journey home, punctuated by the occasional “Sheesh!” and “I’m the Mummy here!”.

Ha! Who am I kidding?

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