Archive for March, 2009

The other Sunday, as I was dropping off Mr Justice at a playdate, I found myself grumbling out loud about how I was supposed to be going food shopping next with the other two children and how I resented doing this on the weekend because I could do the shopping with Pixie and Tiddles any day and, any way, weekends were supposed to be different from weekdays, otherwise What’s. The. Bloody. Point. 

Mr C, who politely listened to my little rant, patted me on my arm and gently suggested that I give up the distinction between weekday and weekend because it might make me happier. 

And at that moment, I saw the days stretch out in front of me as far as the eye could see and I almost fell over with the endlessness of it all. It took me back to those early days as a First Time Mother, carrying Mr Justice around a local park, looking at other older children and thinking “The parents of those children survived…” and feeling like I might just not be able to myself because I could hardly breathe through the crush of unrelenting responsibility for this small angry creature from Jim Henson’s Workshop that I was holding.

And that was before I knew the full weight of it. That there would be wave after wave of requests and demands from that small creature – and the others that followed him – for sandwiches without crusts and drinks with heart-shaped ice and a dash of pink food-colouring in the blue-and-white plastic cup and NOT the white-and-blue one, thank you very much, and for comprehensive entertainment programmes for each day without one single minute left unscheduled in case someone actually got Bored for a minute, if you don’t mind, and for new shoes whose soles seem to have worn-through before we’ve even left the shop we bought them in, while you’re at it.

Of course nobody often says those things in italics, but their gratitude is inferred in their smiles and the way that when Daddy comes home they still want Mummy-Books and Mummy-Teeth and Mummy-Huggles, Mummy-Eskimo-Kisses-In-Bed and, of course, Mummy-Poos (which I hasten to add is where I act as Door Sentry while they do the ablutions – oh, why, oh why did I never manage to have just one child who was a Solo-Pooer?).


Nope, I’m clinging to this weekend concept for as long as I can, I said to myself as I drove off with my screaming children in the back into the car. And adhering to the “a change is as good as a holiday” rule, I decided to do my food shopping at a different supermarket.

Nobody can accuse me of not knowing how to have a good time. Nobody.

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The last time I had a consultation appointment with my oral surgeon, he told me about how one of his patients blew her nose four weeks after surgery and burst a major artery. And then he laughed. 

It’s not the kind of thing that fills you with confidence, especially when this particular surgeon’s surname resembles the noise made by a cash register as it’s opened. In fact, the only thing that was possibly missing from that whole scenario was that he hadn’t walked into the room waving and saying, in a semi-strangled voice, “Hi, everybody! I’m Doctor Nick!”.

But yes, “Dr Nick” is my very own oral surgeon and one who has apparently got a very good reputation – at least according to my dentist, who mostly likes him because Dr Nick’s charging structure makes my dentist look like he’s merely asking for your loose change in comparison.

In any case, I’ve only got myself to blame for all this oral surgery caper. It takes a Very Special Person Indeed to stoically ignore dental pain as long I did before finally taking action and one could argue that the resulting pain, inconvenience and cost justifies why I avoided the dentist so long in the first place. Except we all know that it doesn’t quite work like that and I really do only have myself to blame. Which is a shame. 

And so last week, I went kicking and screaming (on the inside) to Dr Nick’s city surgery to have him perform the second of three (currently foreseeable) procedures upon my person: one of my back molars was being removed under “intravenous sedation”, a drugged state that can best be described as General Anaesthetic Lite.  

Now, it is a little known fact that any time I have to have an anaesthetic, it is automatically deemed to be a Brown Underpants Occasion. A failed spinal block during the emergency c/section delivery of Mr Justice has somewhat spoilt the delightful practice of being stabbed to sleep with needles for me forevermore. Needles now make me nervous, and when I get nervous, I make jokes.  

Unfortunately for me, Dr Nick’s Anaesthetist seemed to have left his sense of humour at home. Either that, or he deemed laughing at my jokes a billable extra which I obviously couldn’t afford.

After failing spectacularly at raising a smile at any of my funnies, he looked at my medical history and remarked “I think I’ve seen you before.”

“I don’t know! Maybe! I can’t remember! I’m blonde!” I said a little too brightly. 

“Nobody every remembers their anaesthetist,” he replied dolefully in the kind of tone that someone might say “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”

And then he left me in his office to wait for Dr Nick. Since I had no book or magazine to read while I waited, I ended up climbing onto the dental chair in the corner and closing my eyes – anything to a) make best use of this child-free time and b) stop looking at his impressive array of needle types and sizes. When the assistant came in half an hour later, I jumped to attention and immediately exclaimed “I was so totally not asleep just then!” in that knee-jerk “I didn’t do it!” way of mine. And you know what? I think she totally believed me. Like totally.

The dental assistant then led me through to The Chair, where Dr Nick and his Straight Man were waiting for me. Dr Nick cheerfully greeted me with some remark like “Are you ready to unleash the monsters from upstairs?” and I looked at him blankly and he and the Anaesthetist started giggling like Beavis and Butthead and I started wondering if I’d already been given the drugs already without my knowledge. Or that they had taken them instead. 

As the Anaethetist started injecting something into my veins, he explained that Dr Nick liked to refer to the anaesthetising process as “unleashing the monsters upstairs”. And it was at that moment that the wall started to behave very strangely indeed and everything went like that scene in Easy Rider when they’re tripping in the graveyard and I knew for a moment what it was like to be on the Open Road on choppers in the 1970s except that I was strapped to a dental chair in the CBD, which could well be the ‘Naughties equivalent. And then I fell asleep. 

And when I woke, after some of the Strangest Dreams Ever, my tooth was gone. But here’s the rub: apparently the bloody tooth fairy doesn’t service the over 35s – instead, she leaves you an invoice for a ridiculous amount of money. I guess she has to fund her philanthropic work with children somehow, but still… 

The moral of the story? Brush and floss your teeth, kiddies. Brush and floss. BRUSH AND FLOSS.

Else you end up at the mercy of madmen, like me. Not Cool. Not Smart. Not Safe. 

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I have long since been an avid consumer of magazines where “close pals” are constantly dishing the dirt on their famous friends. Some pals! But I never thought in a million years that I would become embroiled in a similar situation. Mostly because I’m not famous and, generally speaking, people really don’t give a shit about who I’m seen flirting with at the miniature railway or about how I was spotted stuffing my face with Popcorn Chicken while parked in my Tarago in a side street – except perhaps my husband, who might want to know why the hell I didn’t buy him any. 

Anyway, the other day, I had The Lovely Tattooed Lady and The Mild-Mannered Lawyer over for morning tea. We ended up having one of those conversations where talked a lot about penises. Even when The MML tried to change the topic by causually remarking how the packaging of Imperial Leather soap has not changed in 20 years, we still managed to get back to the X-rated stuff and some personal stories were exchanged amidst much salacious laughter and clapping of hands with glee. 

The MML was later heard to exclaim “I can’t believe a change-of-topic about soap packaging didn’t work”, possibly thinking we might end up like those people on a Brand Power ad, sitting around and earnestly discussing the latest innovations in personal grooming packaging design. But secretly, I think she was secretly relieved the conversation reverted back to penises. She was obviously just covering her arse, following her legally-trained instincts and all. 

That afternoon, the MML’s status on Facebook changed to “The MML can’t believe she has known NDM for three years but has only just discovered that she went out with a sumo wrestler.”

Whether or not it was actually true, I denied it all, of course. And then, after a few “enquiring minds need to know” comments from complete strangers, I stepped forth to clarify my initial denial to “For the record, I haven’t gone out with a sumo-wrestler during the three years that I’ve known The MML.” 

And then promptly changed my own status update to “The NDM wishes she had some dirt to dish on the MML, who is currently spreading wild rumours about her and a sumo wrestler.”

“You’ll find no dirt on me.” was the MML’s response. I swear she would have written”Mwah-ha-ha-ha” except that she is really too mild-mannered for that. 

And you know what? She was almost bloody well right about there being no dirt. Until MGK stepped up to the mark and reminded me of a rumour our entire mothers’ group had started about the MML. Apparently, she was spotted having sex with her husband in the car park of the local supermarket. Which was one of those rumours that wasn’t based on the slightest shred of evidence but instead born of copious amounts of alcohol and a Truth and Dare game.

Still, it was enough. It had to be enough. I promptly changed my status update to include this tasty titbit. 

“Oh God” was the MML’s initial mild response. Followed by a “I will get my publicist to issue a denial. You can’t believe everything ‘close pals’ say.”

It was all I could do to stop myself from hanging a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner across the front of my house. Because, like the Bush Administration’s combat operations in Iraq, it was a dubious mission in the first place and nothing had really been accomplished. But still, there was something somewhere worth celebrating, surely. For one thing, her rumour about me was entirely true whereas mine about her was not. But it didn’t matter. 

It was a little like the end of that book “The Life of Pi” where you have to choose which version of events you want to believe: if you had to choose between believing that the MML had sex with her husband in the car park of a local supermarket OR that I rubbed fatty bits with a sumo wrestler when I was 21, which one would you choose?

No, wait. Don’t tell me. It doesn’t matter. Or so my close pals tell me to my face.

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Believe it or not, even an NDM can have her lazy baking days.

Why, just the other day, I was hosting a morning tea and I decided to take a few shortcuts and made mini banoffi pies out of packet gingersnaps and tinned caramel. It’s the kind of recipe you can make from go to woah without ever having to put that martini in your hand down – if, of course, you were inclined to drink martinis before the morning school run. Which of course I’m not. Much.  

Anyway, after I’d made these oh-so-darling banoffi pies, I still had two-thirds of a tin of caramel left over. And so I googled recipes that used tinned caramel and came up with a brownie recipe which required three egg whites, which I duly made.

Which of course left me with three egg yolks to use up…  

And people wonder why a woman’s work is never done.

Okay, okay, so that particular episode owes itself more to my Obsessive Baking Disorder than to anything else. But let me tell you something: when it comes to the washing of dishes, this woman’s work really never is done. Not. Even. Close. 

No sooner have I washed the lot, all it takes is a quick round of lemon cordials and/or fruit’n’cracker snack plates and that sink is full again. Full! If I had known that I was going to become a Domestic Dish Pig when I signed up for this Stay-At-Home gig, I might have reconsidered my options and become a successful novelist instead. But it all started so innocently: just a few small bowls and baby spoons at first, then building up to colourful plastic plates and drinky pots with intricate valve systems and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cutlery sets. And now it’s lunch boxes and drink bottles and pretty much every dish in the house gets used up in the seven-course meals my kids end up having (pre-dinner snack, main course, side salad, dessert, crackers, cereal – yes, cereal – and then “second crackers” – which is like the hobbits and their second breakfasts, except infinitely more annoying). And voila! I’m rooted to that spot in front of the sink all the bloody live-long day to the point you can see the little grooves in the lino that my feet have started to wear away. 

Which is why I’m starting to see the attraction in disposable plates and cutlery, except of course for the accompanying guilt about land-fill and sustainability (and that). Perhaps I should grow a banana plantation in my back yard and get everyone to eat off banana leaves with their hands… Which would probably mean that my dear friends KT and Uncle B would never be able to come to dinner again because they both hate bananas. And in any case,  I probably couldn’t do until the kids were all 100% certain of which hand was LEFT and which hand was RIGHT – and since I still occasionally struggle with that concept at the age of 38, it’d be an express train to Gastro Central, baby. 

And we all know that whole lotta gastro just makes more work for this woman since my husband’s aversion to excreta of any kind makes it very hard for me to delegate the hosing down of sheets and mattress protectors to him. Vomit and poo I can stomach, no problem – but not all the sighing, dry-retching and dabbing of scented handkerchiefs to the nose of a Man Hard Done-By.

I, of course, go about my work cheerfully, without complaint, and then vent about it on my blog instead. Much more civilised, wouldn’t you say?

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It’s hard to imagine why someone would drive over 800km just to see their niece throw up into a Kenwood Chef bowl, but my sister Belle and her Man in Uniform did just that last weekend.

Okay, okay, so that wasn’t the purpose of their trip. Belle mentioned something about the Man in Uniform’s car being leased and them needing to get some serious kilometres on it. To be honest, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me as you would think with all that danger money the Man in Uniform must earn, they would be able to lease an actual house to live in. Oh, well. I try not to judge. 

Anyway, it was a nice surprise for us to see them both, but the surprise we gave them (or rather The Pixie gave us all) was definitely on the less pleasant side of the surprise spectrum.

Even less pleasant, still, was the surprise I was given a few days later. The Pixie, who we had assumed had recovered from her mild case of gastro – woke up early one morning with those kind of stomach pains that ended in her projectile vomiting all over her mother, because the toilet itself was deemed “too dirty”. I serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure… She even helpfully pivoted on those little Pixie feet of hers while she was doing it, thus ensuring maximum coverage of the walls, door and floor. And me. But not the toilet. Never the toilet. 

When I posted about this delightful episode on facebook, my friend AEB remarked “Perhaps you could scrape it off your clothing, collect it in an oh-so-chic Tupperware container and present it as an explanation for your next Late Pass.” I really liked that she specified a Tupperware container there, because they really do give their contents such a long shelf-life. I’ve long maintained that the Ancient Egyptians should have been putting their dead Pharaohs in a human-sized “rock’n’serve” box rather than stuffing around with bandages and embalming fluid and all that damn stress about whether or not they need to do just one more layer… (anyone who has read my NDM Guide to Making Piñatas and my forays into the world of papier-mâché will know how well-placed I am to talk about this Ancient Egyptian practice with such great authority). However, I am told by a reputable source that Tupperware doesn’t date quite that far back. Whatever. The point is that The Pixie’s chuck would last weeks, maybe months when stored in Tupperware and thus could be used for multiple-late pass occasions. I like your thinking, AEB!

[An aside: interestingly enough, The Suburban Diva actually went to the trouble to ring me later, saying that if I was going to use AEB’s suggestion, that I would be well-advised to use my ‘faux crystal’ Tupperware container to really do it in style. That Diva sure knows how to push the envelope.]

Anyways, as a result of The Pixie’s little tsunami of the stomach variety, I had to do the usual rescheduling of social engagements and appointments, including a check-up appointment at the dentist. I decided I may as well nab her spot since I’d recently ever-so-slightly chipped one of my bottom teeth. Which was one of those events which showed me yet again how lousy my husband would be as a field surgeon because he almost passed out when I showed it to him. 

Luckily, the dentist didn’t pass out when he saw it, though I expect he might have been temporarily blinded by those dollar signs he always sees when he first looks in my mouth. 

And so, there I was: trapped in a dentist’s chair, wearing those dental protection glasses that resemble the 1990s Cancer Council “Whole-Face” shades, having my chipped tooth fixed after enduring one of those dental hygiene sessions where the noise in your head sounds like something that was sampled on a Radiohead “OK Computer” track. And, to add insult to injury, this was all in front of a Britney Spears MTV marathon on the ceiling-mounted TV from which I could not escape.

And I thought to myself, that when I woke that morning I never would have imagined that my daughter’s “ouchy tummy” would ultimately lead me paying the dentist $265 for half-an-hour of torture and the ultimate gift of “Oops, I did it again” in my head for days to come. 

Surprises… pah! Overrated, I say.

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A lot of people say to me “There must be a way to make for you to make some money out of this global phenomenon known as ‘Not Drowning, Mothering'”. And I laugh gaily at the idea that some guy in Paris occasionally reading my blog makes it global. Because it so totally does. And as for “phenomenon”, you could argue that what has recently squirted out of my children’s bottoms is a phenomenon, so yes, “global phenomenon” this blog must surely be. 

But how to make money from it? Getting advertisers on board my site seems near impossible since Huggies won’t touch me because I drink too much and Smirnoff won’t touch me either because I drink too much and all while in charge of small children, no less. And in any case, I could end up like The Bloggess and have to advertise “coochy shaving cream” (True story. See her post entitled “It’s like a cross between being insulted and entertained. I’m insultained.“). Knowing my luck, I’d end up having to do some contractually-obliged and oh-so-casual product placement in my posts (“A lot of people say to me ‘How do you get your coochy so smooth?’…”).

So, other than using this site as a platform to auction off my vital organs, I really couldn’t think of a way of capitalising on Brand NDM. But then a passing comment by regular contributor The Lion Tamer about the nature of the Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady’s costume got me thinking… The next thing I knew, I had stepped into the heady world of custom merchandising and, after a few hours of pissing about in PhotoShop, had sketched out some initial ideas. Here they are:

The Incredibly Pathetic Crying Lady Action figure!


Okay, okay, so her waist is about as thick as my arm and I've got Buckley's chance of walking in those heels - but what's the point of having an alter-ego if you don't get to look Shit Hot?

The NDM Novelty T-shirt Range

“Because if it ain’t worth saying on a t-shirt, it ain’t worth saying”.


Top Tip: Spice your look up with fresh food stains!


For the record, late passes are best eaten pre-salted with tears.


It's funny how just putting it on a t-shirt makes it true.


"Team Aniston" and "Team Jolie" t-shirts are soooooo 2005.

The NDM Apron Range

For the Happy and Not-So-Happy Homemaker in your life… 


As the Viscomte de Blah Blah Blah said in "Dangerous Liaisons": It's beyond my control.


Because too much is never enough


A Mr NDM Concept. He told me: "You can wear while cooking, and I can wear it when I'm a bit queasy after the pub"

The NDM Home Library

Like my five posts a week doesn’t give people enough to read already…

All Amazing True Stories!

All Amazing True Stories!


Not quite an accurate depiction of my family since we stopped cross-dressing Tiddles shortly before he turned 2. But still...


So there you go. Now, if I can just put these pictures in a PowerPoint presentation and add some animated bullet points, I’ll have myself a marketing plan… And once I’ve got myself a marketing plan, I can start doing complex financial modeling (and that) and maybe even knock up a few charts in Excel. Then I can present those charts to the bank and make them give me Free Money. Free, I tells ya! Well, free for at least for 30 years, but by then it will be my children’s problem…

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The Brits call them barn dances. The Americans call them square dances. Then why oh why do the Australians call them bush dances and thus expose me to a torrent of “bush” jokes made by my husband, which quite honestly don’t bear repeating here on this distinctly high-brow blog.

The school’s major fundraiser this year was a Bush Dance in the quadrangle and I duly went and bought a family ticket. Every time the Bush Dance was mentioned and Mr Justice was within earshot, my husband would punch the air and shout “I CAN’T WAIT!!”. Of course, when Mr Justice wasn’t in earshot, my husband had a whole lot of other things to say about the dance, most of which involved those bush jokes again. Sigh. 

And as if that wasn’t stressful enough, I also discovered that my usual school posse weren’t going and, in fact, all looked at me as if I was slightly unhinged to have bought tickets in advance, rather than at the door 5 minutes before it starts only because my first-grader Just. Won’t. Let. It. Go. 

I tried to do work a little on Master of Mother L to change her mind. “I don’t know what you’re doing tonight…” I remarked to her, oh-so-casually. “But I, personally, am planning on supporting the school community…”

“Oh, I’m planning to kick back with a G & T,” was Mother of Master L’s breezy reply. It’s always a bit disappointing when you can’t shame people into doing what you want them to do. And that Mother of Master L is made of stern stuff. 

However, I was lucky enough, on the morning of the bush dance, to run into another school mum (and local Glamour Girl), Lady L, as she left the school. 

“Oh! [NDM]! Are you…” she began and there was something about the desperation in her eyes that told me straight away what she was about to ask. 

“…going to the bush dance?” I finished off. 

And we grabbed each other and jumped up and down like we had won the lottery, until we remembered that we still had to go the Bush Dance. 

And go we did. As we arrived,  my husband and I surveyed  the atmospheric quadrangle, where the band was yet to arrive let alone set up and someone had set fire to something on the sausage sizzle barbeque (I saw Principal Brett rush for the fire extinguisher and secretly hoped that someone had just thrown their Late Passes on the fire to Make A Point). My children immediately decided to divide and conquer and my husband and I found ourselves separated. But minutes later, he came running over to me, almost shouting “[The Restauranteur] got out of the bush dance by making his son sick!”. I could tell he was impressed.

My Bush Dance Buddy Lady L, who happened to be The Restauranteur’s wife, was less than impressed. Apparently The Restauranteur hadn’t exactly made his son sick, but he had “selflessly” offered to stay at home to mop his son’s ailing brow. It didn’t help that Lady L was on Day 10 of an alcohol-free month and couldn’t partake in the bottle of wine my husband and I had snuck in. Or that her daughter refused to dance with anyone except her. Or that, after her tenth attempt at the “Heel and Toe” in high-heeled boots, she received a text message from The Restauranteur that said “Raw Hide!”.

“That’s it!” Lady L announced. “I’m going home to open a bottle of wine.”

I’d like to say that I, too, had left the bush dance, my head held high, determined to drink. But here’s the hardest thing of all to admit: I came over all Kiki Dee and got the music in me. Yes, folks, I got that Urge to Dance. And, sadder still, my own children decided they’d rather fill their underpants up with sand in the playground than dance with their mother. Which, I think you’ll find, is an activity that most people I’ve ever asked to dance probably would have preferred to do, given the choice. 

And so I ended up dancing with Other People’s Children instead, which, considering every other adult on the dance asphalt was probably only there under extreme duress, was a little like actually buying Penthouse to read the articles. Or getting legitimately excited when the Wiggles came out on stage, even swooning a little at that Cheeky Blue Wiggle, whose name I’m not even going to admit that I know.

And as I left the Bush Dance that evening, I felt just a little unclean and uncool. I vaguely wondered if I would have looked better in the eyes of my peers if I’d drunk a cask of wine with a straw, tried to chat up the Italian teacher and then vomited on the Treasurer of the PTA. It was just a thought.

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