Archive for January, 2009

The Love Bus has many admirable qualities but functional air-conditioning is not one of them. And so, with the recent heatwave that has hit our fair city, we have found ourselves under house arrest.  

My friend KT rang and said “I don’t know how Anne Frank did it.”

What do you mean? I asked.

“Stay in those small rooms for so long.” she replied. Uh, I expect the fact that her country was being run by people who wanted to kill her might have played some small part in her staying power. The heat – however ferocious – doesn’t quite match the intensity of the Third Reich. 

But still, here we are on Day Three of temperatures of 43° C and above (that’s 109.4° F, baby), with a “cool change” predicted at some point soon, sending temperatures plummeting to a positively chilly 35° C… And all this has dovetailed nicely with the end of the six week summer break, so everyone is on their most charming behaviour anyway. 

I found myself on Day One wondering out loud on Facebook (as you do) about how much TV would be considered too much when it was over 40 degrees outside. ValleyGirl came up with the most reassuring answer:

Um – enough is probably enough when the sun has gone down, they’re all asleep on the sofa and you want to transfer them into their beds. Aww, those tired little glazed tv eyes, so cute.

Meanwhile, another friend, who I think has now converted to Foxtel as her new religion, said that the TV was simply turned on with the air-conditioner the minute the heatwave truly hit. After the TV had been on for more than four hours, her ex-Steiner educated son turned to her and said “This is the best day ever!”. 

Anyway, here’s a little diary I’ve kept of my own TV and air-conditioner usage over the last few days:

DAY ONE OF HEAT WAVE:  Implement stimulating morning program of painting, drawing, waterplay, science experiments, the collective- making of frozen chocolate-covered bananas (etc). Air-conditioner turned on at 10:30AM, TV on at 12:50. Both stay on for longer than my conscience would normally allow. 

DAY TWO: Air-conditioner on before 7:00AM. After shouting at the children for painting each other’s bodies before breakfast, TV resolutely switched on at 9:30am. TV switched on and off throughout the day, as required (turns out it is required a lot). 

DAY THREE: Air-conditioner still on from the night before. TV on at 7am. Most likely will be on all day. Past. Caring. 

At least I have air-conditioning. When friends of mine bought their house a year ago, they tossed up between fixing the garden or installing an A/C and the husband persuaded his wife that the garden was far more important. When I last spoke to his wife, she was muttering menacingly about making him do the gardening in the 42 degree heat when he got home from work that night 8pm. And yes, it really was still 42 degrees at 8pm that day. 

My own husband came up with the brilliant idea of squirting the kids with the hose before I embarked on the short walk to KT’s house for dinner last night. He said it would “keep them cool” and I believed him. Being the responsible parent that I am, I of course informed the kids of my plans well in advance and actually got them all excited about it – after all, water restrictions make the hose even more off limits than the treats cupboard. But when I actually did the squirting, Mr Justice burst into tears because “he wasn’t ready yet”, The Pixie started wailing because I had “RUINED. HER. PARTY. DRESS.” and Tiddles McGee just screamed like I was torturing him. All I could do was laugh the long hysterical laugh of a woman who had been shut up far too long with her children during the school holidays and squirt myself with the hose. And then go to that Happy Place in My Mind during the longest and hottest five minute walk of my life, whilst everyone else managed maintained their rage. 

So to all the other mothers in my fair city – and beyond – who have found themselves confined to small quarters with small people, I lift my TV remote in salute to you all and offer a silent prayer that the cool change comes in soon. I don’t know about anyone else but 35°C is looking pretty good right now from where I’m lying.

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Regular readers of my blog will know that I pay as much attention to sport as I do to the state of my house. However, the other day I stumbled across my visiting mother muttering in a cluttered corner about Australian You-Bewt Tennis Legend, Lleyton Hewitt, and his “imaginary little friend”. 

“Please – no sport-talk in front of the children,” I gently reminded her before asking her exactly what the hell she was referring to. 

It turns out she’s talking about the little Hand Puppet that he likes to say “Come on!” to during tennis matches.


Lleyton Hewitt literally "talks to the hand"

“Come on!” is apparently just an abbreviated way of saying “Oh do come on, my little friend, oh hand puppet of mine. Let us give this racquet-yielding rogue a thorough drubbing!” But in the heat of the moment, it just comes out “Come awwwwnnnnnnnnn!”

I mean, let’s face it: Lleyton certainly does like to talk to the hand during matches. Some people say it is a valid way of pumping himself up, getting himself into “The Zone”. Others say that, especially since he trademarked this duck-puppet gesture in 2008, that it’s just another way of makin’ an honest buck. Whatever the reason, him and his hand obviously share a Very Special Bond. I don’t want to speculate too much about what goes on in the locker rooms but I expect a little stress relief might sometimes be the order of the day, especially on those days where he’s knocked out in the first round of a Grand Slam Competition. And no, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. 

Lleyton shares a joke with a pal.

Lleyton shares a joke with a pal.

Of course, with all the current talk about Lleyton’s career being officially On The Nose, one can’t help but wonder what the future holds for him and his little friend… Well, here at NDM Central, I am not heartlessly deaf to his plight. In fact, I’ve even workshopped a few ideas…

Educator? Entertainer? Former-Prince-of-Pop-turned-Circus-Freak?

Educator? Entertainer? Former-Prince-of-Pop-turned-Circus-Super-Freak?

Really, I don’t know why more people don’t come to me with their career problems. I give the best advice.

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Beneath the Mild-Mannered Lawyer’s mild-mannered exterior lies the heart of a Shit-Stirrer. I began to realise this when I received unsolicited facebook messages from her entitled “Rival Cake Maker”, detailing a certain gorilla birthday cake she had seen at a party, along with cupcakes dotted with green sprinkles and with little plastic jungle animals for the children to keep. 

“[The maker of the gorilla cake] said she bought a gorilla cake-mould. Is that cheating?” asked the MML, all wide-eyed innocence. 

“The use of moulds is definitely cheating,” I wrote back, all the while knowing that the one time I tried to use a mould the whole cake collapsed in on itself. “And as for plastic jungle animals, that’s just trying to buy the children’s love. Pah!”

Pah, indeed. 

Now, I never claim to be much of a cake decorator, although it’s something I enjoy doing and seem to do a lot of. Like a lot a lot. However, my friends The Fabulous Miss Jones and the Suburban Diva are far more accomplished than I. Whenever I am faced with Miss Jones’ icing roses (where every petal has been carefully hand-crafted) or the Diva’s glorious mint-leafed mermaid tail, I always think “Shop Quality”. My cakes fall (crumble?) more in the “Home-Made-With-Love” category, particularly with my last-minute-super-freak-out-patch-up jobs using marshmallows and M&Ms (see “The NDM Guide to Decorating Birthday Cakes” for examples). 

In any case, having a “birthday cake rival” would suggest that I looked upon the Birthday Cake Arts as a competitive sport. And we all know that I don’t have a competitive bone in my body. No, no. Not me. Anyone who has ever read my blog and been pressured to sign up for an email subscription purely to increase my stats will know that. 

And so, I tried to erase the image of this alleged gorilla cake masterpiece and its accompanying cupcakes from my mind and get on with my life as a Wife, Mother and Rabid Monkey Blogger.

But then last weekend, I was just sitting around, minding my own business and obsessively checking my blog stats, when I got another NDM-baiting email from the Mild-Mannered Lawyer – this time with a photo of a Wall*E cake made by yet another of her (obviously numerous) cake-making friends. No message. Just letting the picture do the talking. And let me tell you, them’s definitely fighting words. You see, the MML knows full well that I, too, have attempted the WALL*E cake – it was the “It” Cake for 2008, after all.

So what are you playing at here, MML? Is it a good old-fashioned Cake-Off that you want? Is it?? Well, (mild-mannered) lady, you got it. I’ve subsequently gone and created the first Official “Not Drowning, Mothering” Reader’s Poll. And you’ve only got yourself to blame. 

But hang on one dog-darn moment! Before anyone rushes ahead and votes, you should consider the following:

  • one of the following cakes was made for a child not of the cake-maker’s loins and done for the price of an afternoon’s babysitting of two of her three children and a half-price haircut;
  • one of the following cakes actually resembles the WALL*E character, whereas the other is based loosely on some cartoon version drawn by some non-Pixar-affiliated artist and randomly found via google images;
  • both of the following cakes were no doubt made with blood, sweat and tears – but considering the bladder control issues of one of the cake-makers, urine was possibly involved as well in the  making of one of them.

Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest…. let the people choose cake!


Two cakes, one choice: You. Decide.

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