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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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At my 21st birthday party, my sister Belle stood up and made a stirring speech in which she casually mentioned she used to tie me to the bed and whip me with shoe laces.

“But… but… but…” I spluttered at the time. “We were playing a game! She was the Master! And… and… and I was the Slave!”

Which really didn’t further my case One Little Bit. Still, at least I was able to defend myself, albeit poorly. 

It was a different story for the parents of the six year old little friend who visited us the other day. He suddenly – and most cheerfully – informed us that his dad slept in nothing but his underpants and that his mum had been caught by a policeman that morning for driving too fast.

I almost smiled at his candour but then had one of those chilling moments when I imagined my own six year old boy merrily telling another parent “My mum is hungover like a bastard!”. Which I did happen to be at that moment. But I had my reasons. Reasons, I tells ya! 

I then thought of some other beans my son might inadvertently spill:

Son’s claim: “My mother tried to walk to school when she wasn’t wearing any trousers!”
In my defence: It was a joke! A JOKE! Of course I know I’m not ready to walk to school before my trousers are on. Although my trousers being inside out is another thing altogether.

Son’s claim: “My mum sings songs about my bum!”
In my defence: “Bum” rhymes with “tum” and “mum”. And at least I’m not using the obvious rhyme “cum”. Or, worse still, “Heidi Klum”. 

Son’s claim: “My mum let my brother poke her boobies while she was on the phone to the phone company!”
In my defence: Well, I think we all know that story by now. 

Son’s claim: “My mum called the cat a rude word!”
In my defence:  The cat refuses to eat any Actual Cat Food I place before His Royal Catness and yet, at the first opportunity, will jump up on the kitchen table to feast upon the children’s unguarded milk-sodden Weetbix so he can then happily slosh diarrhetic cat-shit on the back step. Believe me, that cat had that rude word coming…

Son’s claim: “My mum hit me on the head with a Barbie doll!”
In my defence: He was asking for it. No, really. He claimed it didn’t hurt when he did it to his sister and insisted that I do the same to him to prove once and for all that it did not hurt. Turns out it did actually hurt. A lot. 

Son’s claim: “My mum says she’s taking a hip flask to the next School Concert!”
In my defence: Because I sat through last year’s concert without one and… and… and…

My conclusion? Slap a gagging order on him until he’s 18 and old enough for me to sue him for defamation of character. It’s the only way to protect my Good Name. Or at least give me first dibs at spilling the beans myself on this blog.

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Let it be known that I love a good quiz night as much as the next person. As long as that next person is not my husband, of course, who doesn’t like them much at all.

But I have to admit I was just a little bit worried when I bought ten tickets for the Teeny Tots Jazz Ballet Fundraiser for a Mothers Group Night Out. As I handed over my money, one of the organisers rushed forward to hug me and, with tears in her eyes, told me she loved me. 

My train of thought went something like this: Oh shit…We might be the only table there… But then at least we’ll win… Unless, of course, we begin competing with each other… In which case it will get pretty damn nasty… And will probably end in some spontaneous naked jelly wrestling. 

Actually that last thought was my husband’s. Stupid husband thoughts. 

On the morning of the quiz night, I confessed my fears of a Dud Night to the Mild-Mannered Lawyer.

“Whatever happens, we’ll have good food and cheap fizz,” I philosophised. “It will be what it will be…”

“… and that is rowdy,” the MML concluded and I agreed. And we may even have then both punched the air and shouted “QUIIIZZZZZZZZ NIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHHTTT!!!” in a spontaneous expression of our sheer excitement.

But when the MML and I first arrived at the quiz night that evening, our rowdy excitement was somewhat quelled. Something about the flourescent lighting in the cold Scouts hall and the family groups sitting around eating bowls of Cheesels and drinking soft drinks that made us both nervous.

“Do you think we can open our champagne?” the MML whispered, ever-so-slightly panicked. “Nobody else looks like they’re drinking…”

“Oh god, there are small children present!” I whispered back.

Luckily the rest of our table arrived, as did other people, and soon the hall was buzzing with conversation and our (numerous) bottles of wine weren’t quite so conspicuous.

“Of course, it will be a different story at the end of the night when we have to sneak out all the empties,” I observed quietly to the MML. “But by then, we will probably be too drunk to care.”

And sure enough, that “Beyond Care” moment came, but quite possibly a little sooner than I would have liked. I knew it was upon me the moment I accidentally tripped over something and, so that people didn’t think I was drunk, I just kept on walking. Of course a sober person might turn around to look at what they’ve tripped over. Or, arguably, not have tripped over at all.

But listen, in my defence, it was The Night After The Day Before (see “A Normal Person“) and I had just a little bit of unwinding to do.

And no, I’m not proud of my behaviour. I’m not proud that I tried to bribe the quiz night judges by giving them cupcakes. Nor that I manually altered the results on the whiteboard by adding a digit to my team’s score. Nor that I ended up screaming “Luscious Lushes!” repeatedly in the Quiz Master’s face while my stockings fell down. Nor am I proud that I texted the lyrics of The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” to my husband – although, admittedly, that was the MML who did that and I’m actually proud of her for doing it and quite possibly would have done it myself had I not been so bloody drunk.

The next day, my husband looked at me nursing my aching head and asked: “Do you think they’ll ever let you attend one of those quiz nights again?”

“Why of course they will! Everyone in that room would have regarded me as a bon vivant of the best kind…” I replied confidently, before adding: “As long as they were as drunk as me.”

Unlikely.

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Sure, a normal person might not have phoned her Internet Service Provider to sort out her flailing internet before the school run. 

And during the ensuing 45 minute conversation with the Nice Young Man from said ISP, a normal person might not have attempted to get dressed for the aforementioned school run. 

And the small son of a normal person would probably not have cried “Boobies! Boobies! Boobies!!” upon sighting his mother’s naked breasts. And most certainly would not have then started wailing “I want to touch the boobies!” when the mother rapidly tried to move away from him, all whilst still on the phone to the Nice Young Man from the ISP. 

And a normal person definitely wouldn’t have then given in and let her small son poke her breasts and make a delighted “Dee-dee-dee-dee!” sound while she was trying to type in DNS settings on the instructions of that Nice Young Man from the ISP. 

Other things normal people would not do:

  • let a four-year old ride her scooter on the 1km walk to school when they’re already running late, determining her readiness for such an endeavour on a 10 second scootering “audition” around the backyard. In the end, the daughter’s scootering turned a 10 minute journey into a 25 minute one and earned her mother a) a late pass and b) a reputation for being a screaming-crazy-bitch.
  • not check how much money she had in her wallet before she ordered food at the local cafe. Apparently chocolate money is not considered legal tender in this country. Go figure. 
  • ignore her small son’s plaintive cries as they walked home from the cafe in the rain – YES, THE RAIN – only to finally turn around and see that his trousers had fallen completely down. And that there were tutting onlookers in a nearby parked car. 
  • incentivise her two youngest children on that agonising final stretch home by promising a showing of “Power Rangers Ninja Storm”.
  • get home all wet, tired and cranky to discover her eldest son’s lunchbox on the kitchen table.
  • side step the contractually-obliged showing of “Power Rangers Ninja Storm” by promising McDonalds for lunch if everyone got into the car as quickly as possible to take the lunchbox back to the school.
  • change both children’s wet clothes in the back of the Tarago directly outside the school so that they were both semi-naked and jumping up and down shouting “McDonalds! McDonalds” JUST as a group of parents walked out the school gates. 
  • have to listen to the doctor explain that she’s developing premature osteoarthritis while her eldest son was doing “The Chicken Dance” behind the doctor’s back.
  • lose her car park ticket while groveling around the floor of Kmart trying to find the matching size 2 Ben 10 “light up heels” sneaker and end up having to pay $13.50 for 45 minutes parking even though she smiled her brightest and prettiest smile to the car park attendant.
  • drive home sobbing because of the stupid car park ticket, because she’s getting osteoarthritis and she’s only 38, because her daughter’s the slowest “scooterer” the world has ever known, because her handbag is full of chocolate money, because of everything. Everything. 

No, a normal person wouldn’t have to do any of those things. And yes, I did do all those things (and more) yesterday. Because I’m not a normal person, I’m a mother.

And mothers know there is no such thing as normal.

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Recently I had a faux-affair (also known as a “faux-fair” – well, at least by me) and it was all my husband’s fault. No, really.

You see, it all started when my friend MGK had to skip the state and decided to offload some of her excess clothes on me. Yes, I got myself a whole new wardrobe without having to squeeze into a changeroom cubicle with two children under 5 and what is very possibly in the Guinness Book of World Record as “The Widest Pram in the World” only to find I’d gone up a size and have some shop assistant try tell me that “Papaya Whip” was sooooo my colour. So you can imagine how grateful I was for such a gift from dear MGK. 

My husband was a little odd about it all, though. Whenever I wore any of my new acquisitions, he would say that I looked like MGK. After a few such remarks, I turned to him and said: “Is that how you like it, Big Boy?” To which he curtly replied that he thought RR (MGK’s husband) probably gave me the clothes just so I could dress up as MGK for him. 

And that is exactly what he told the Mild-Mannered Lawyer as he chauffeured us in the Love Bus to MGK and RR’s leaving drinks.

“Oh, that’s just great!” I exclaimed. “Thanks for sharing that! With the MML! Of all people.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly enough will know that the MML is a shit-stirrer under that mild-mannered exterior of hers. But since my husband never reads this blog, he probably can claim that he Just. Didn’t. Know. Which is probably something we can safely assume about him when it comes to Most Things. 

So the first thing I had to do when we arrived at the bar was to launch straight into damage control. I marched right up to RR and, bypassing the usual chitchat reserved for such occasions, launched into a rushed explanation about why there might be rumours circulating about him and I having an affair.

“And… and… it’s because of the clothes!” I concluded.

And RR gave me one of those looks which clearly said “What are you talking about, woman.” Believe it or not, I get that look a lot.

But luckily for me, even the lamest of jokes can be revived with the excessive consumption of alcohol, and soon a few others – including the extremely good-natured MGK herself – were joining in the fun. We were all ha-ha-ha-ing and he-he-he-ing as RR began asking me to put on MGK’s jacket and calling me MGK. Which was a relief because there’s nothing worse than being at a party where there are false rumours about you having an affair with someone and That Someone is looking at you like you just pulled your underpants out of the microwave

Anyway, at the end of a fun-filled night, MGK and RR gave me a lift home. RR, a good sport to the last, bid me goodbye by saying “Go to your husband now…”. And my brief faux-fair, dear friends, was over.

(Psssst. Are you reading this, RR? I’m wearing the green polkadot dress… And my husband would like you to know that he’s wearing the pink top…)

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