Archive for December, 2009

As elaborate lies we tell our children go, there are none larger than the whole Santa thing. 

I mean, let’s just imagine for a moment if Santa was actually real. For one thing, let’s think about what kind of administrative support he would be needing. The database required to keep track of current postal addresses would be a complete nightmare to update, let alone provide technical support for.

Then there’s all those letters that roll in from children all over the globe. Someone would need to sort, open and translate them, enter the requested items into the database and then file the letter away in a filing cabinet the size of Western Australia. Because, if you think about it (which I obviously have), those letters would probably need to be kept for seven years, in case of some kind of audit, right?

Then there’s would be the job of coordinating Santa’s diary – you know, fitting in all those public appearances in shopping centres, community parties and street corners in the weeks leading up to Christmas. And let’s not even start on the travel arrangements for Christmas Eve and the stress of off-setting his carbon footprint. And I’m pretty certain there’d have to be a large team of logistic (and house-breaking) experts dedicated solely to planning his entry and exit points for each home he has to visit. 

And then there’s the whole “who’s been good and who’s been bad” thing. Would Santa have surveillance teams working around the clock, spying on every single child on the planet all year around? Wouldn’t that just creep you out a little if it were true? And, most certainly, the definitions of “good” and “bad” behaviour would make for very tricky work for Santa’s legal team. 

Luckily, most children haven’t worked in an administrative capacity, like I obviously have. They’re like top-level management who think that the stationary cupboard magically restocks itself and that the Food Fairy makes and delivers those plates of little triangular sandwiches and jugs of iced water. 

Of course, my own children – like many others – occasionally ask a few logistical questions: “Our gas heater blocks the fireplace. How will Santa get in?” or “Who will tell Santa we’re going to be in Perth this year?” or “Why don’t you think I’ll get a Nintendo DS from Santa? [So-and-so] got one from him last year.”

[For the record, my answer to that last question was: “Mummy and Daddy have a special arrangement with Santa where we get to give you the really cool stuff and Santa gets to give you a box of sultanas and a plastic rainbow slinky.”]

And I’m sure questions that might be asked in future years will include: “Does Santa drink beer at every single house he visits and does he get absolutely rat-arsed?” and “Where the hell does Santa get off saying whether I’ve been good or bad this year?”

So why do we spin these tales of flying reindeer and magical elvin sweatshops? 

Because everyone loves a good story. 

Because small faces that burst into smiles when they see that Santa’s visited in the night are precious. 

Because many of us remember what it was like to be a child and to see a world untethered by policies or procedures and instead full of magic and possibility.

Just because.

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I confess: in the past I have made fun of bloggers and the awards they like to pass around to each other. I think my exact words on the subject have been something along the lines of how I’d be all “Oh, great! I’ve been given an award… which is just a stupid jpeg… WHERE’S THE FUCKING CASH?”

If someone – say, a psychoanalyst or a civil court – were to examine me further on why I don’t like blogging awards as a general rule they might uncover the following reasons:

  • They are uncannily like those chain letters I used to get as a child that contained barely-disguised death threats for not passing them on;
  • When I *do* choose someone to pass them on to, I worry about the people I didn’t choose because they might feel left out. And then I worry about the people I *did* choose because I might be legally required to kill them if they don’t pass the award on;
  • Nobody ever gives me these awards. I think they’re afraid they’ll award it to me on the same day I’ve decided to prattle on about “lactating asian babes” or “online scrabble sex” and they’ll be tainted by association. I’m like the drunk-uncle-at-a-wedding of the internet world.

Anyway, now someone’s been brave enough to actually give me a blogging award, it’s suddenly no longer just a stupid jpeg. It’s like how I used to feel about people who wore Birkenstocks before I actually tried on a pair: suddenly it was no longer a fugly overpriced smurf shoe, it was a ‘lifestyle choice’.

So yes, last Friday, Bern Morley, twitter-friend and ace blogger, gave me this award:

I was particularly chuffed to receive it from Bern because, when it comes down to it, she’s the kind of person who’d be picked for a team in sports way before me, whether she was good at the particular sport or not. She’s just the kinda girl you really want to have hanging around: smart, sassy and funny.

Also, the award came at a time where I really needed a little bit of cheering up, mostly because of a vomiting child who curtailed my revelry at the mothers’ group Christmas Party and potentially created a sub-type on The NDM Children’s Vomit Scale entitled “The Blue Heaven Milkshake and Dill Pickles Combo”. 

So, as these things go, I have to pass the award on. After much agonising deliberation, I’m passing it on to @Gabfran over at Caveat Calcei, who has made me realise through the power of her majestic prose that there is way more to the world of quality footwear than I could ever have imagined. Not only is this budding blogger a passionate shoe advocate and mistress wordsmith, she’s also a great person to have in your online corner. 

I guess this is the point where I have to say to @Gabran: “Now you must pass this on within 5 days or cute puppies will die.” Which is effectively what Bern said to me. No, really, she did

But now, Bern, where’s my fucking cash?

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When it comes to wrangling the children at shit o’clock each day, my husband and I believe that “one pair of hands is often better than two”. That is to say, why should both of us be on duty, when one of us can so easily be lying supine somewhere, with a glass of vino and a good book at hand?

And so we often play “swapsies” of an evening. For example, I might cook dinner and bathe the children while my husband has a lie down. And then a little later, I might go off to the shed-slash-study and blog for an hour, while he reads books with the kids, brushes their teeth and puts them to bed. For example.

However, the other night I came back in from the shed-slash-study to find the children exactly as I’d left them and not a single step closer towards bed. Which begged the question to my husband: “What the fuck have you been doing all this time?”

Apparently they had been ‘Folksonging’. And yes, I’ve spelt that correctly. You’re probably thinking of ‘Folksinging’ which is a group of people joined together in tuneful verse. ‘Folksonging’, however, involves my husband playing ‘hippy shit’ on the guitar with his Best Guitar Face on, oblivious to the fact the children are running around wantonly destroying property.

When I intimated as much to my husband, he scoffed. “You don’t have an appreciation of the power of Folksonging” he said. He was obviously thinking back to the very first time he’d sung me a song on his guitar and I’d burst out laughing when he came to the whistling bit.

“It’s part of their musical education,” he added.

“We also watched ‘Beat It’!” The Pixie piped up, referring to the Michael Jackson tap dance tribute from her Dance Concert DVD. “Three times! Daddy slept on the couch!” 

I shot a look at my husband that clearly said “Musical Education, my arse!” and proceeded to get the Bedtime Express back on track in a way that showed I was mightily displeased – you know, with lots of tutting and eye-rolling and harumphing. That showed him real good. 

And as I continued to harumph my way around the house, stepping over the basket of clean laundry inexplicably dumped right in the bedroom doorway and knocking a pile of uncased DVDs perched on the edge of the piano, I started to look at our house with fresh eyes. It had the look of a $2 shop that had exploded – there was plastic crap and paper and clothing everywhere. And I wondered if my husband ever came home and looked around at the debris and thought of asking me: “What the fuck have YOU been doing all day?”

And if he ever were to ask that question, I would probably have to answer something like “community building” – which, roughly translated, might mean idly gossiping with other mothers outside the school or at the local cafe or cracking open a bottle of cheap champagne with KT and Mistress M at 4 o’clock.

And I realised that whether it was community building or folksonging or whatever, sometimes there are some little detours you just have to take to get through the day. And I thought next time my husband pulls out the guitar at shit o’clock, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and sing along. Of course, I’ll draw the line at joining in with the whistling bit. Never the whistling bits. 

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