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1. This morning was perfect: the six year old crawled into my bed first thing, as he generally does for a cuddle when I’m awake but sorta meditating but sorta just thinking because I’m not good at meditation, and then he fell asleep against me.. and so this morning was even better because after I’d basked in the sweetness of him sleeping I got up and the ten year old and I had breakfast as just us, and we talked about nearly everything, in the kind of way that you can only do as two people together.

2. Cormac, the five year old making sense of his good fortune when his health-conscious mother bought him McDonald’s fries on today’s road trip – “Mum it’s ok because a) you were really, really hungry, b) there weren’t many other options, c) you didn’t want complaining kids all the way home and d) you just …couldn’t help it”. (Am not as judgey as Cormac makes me sound. I love hot chips).

3. The ten year old, Lauca, who comes from politically obsessed Labor families on both sides confessed to secretly testing herself on the voting compass. Me: really? Did you manage to understand the policy trade-offs being asked? Her: I think so. (Guilty expression). But I came out more a Greens voter. Me: We all do.

4. Cormac (age 5): When I grow up I’m going to be a parent who stays home with the baby.

Me: Really?

C: Actually no. My partner will look after the baby.

Me: What will you do?

C: Go to Bunnings and pick up some stuff.

Lauca (age 9): Have you asked your partner about that?

C: I haven’t met her yet.

L: Good luck making that relationship last.

5. Tucked Lauca, the nine year old into bed. Asked her what’s this latest book she’s been reading all night. Siblings Without Rivalry. A parenting book I bought and meant to read ages ago. “It has some good ideas but I don’t know how much you’ll find they can apply to Cormac and I”, she said.

6. Cormac lost his second tooth tonight and is insisting on cleaning it with toothpaste before putting it out for the tooth fairy. Never too late to fake cleaning your teeth regularly.

7. Me: Cormac, go and clean your teeth. Cormac: All you are about is cleaning teeth and looking pretty.

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Cormac in the Gallery of Modern Art.

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More thoughts from me on art for kids (everyone).

Small child in the art gallery.

Play to your strengths.

Overheard in an art gallery.

Black people don’t go to art galleries.

More of December takes a strange turn.

“simple criteria when buying art: it had to be inexpensive, small enough to be carried on the subway or in a taxi and it had to fit inside their one-bedroom flat”.

When she turned 9.

I die of love.

Inspiration for your own plastic bag collection.

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Picnic lunch watching my brother-in-law play cricket. He’s the one batting below.

(Note the black armbands all the players are wearing in memory of the dead cricketer, Phillip Hughes).

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In my garden.

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Baby asparagus shoot.

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Cormac, aged 5.

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So many eggs.

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This weekend:

I felt contented, for the first time in a long time.

I mended a broken door, all by myself like it was no big deal and these things don’t completely baffle and/or terrify me.

I cooked. Rosemary and lemon roast. Spinach quesadilla. Tomato and basil risotto.

I took the kids for a bike ride first thing in the morning.

I bought them advent calendars, the old-fashioned cardboard ones with windows. I let them open a window early because they go to their dad’s tomorrow night.

I laughed at text messages.

I watched Boyhood.

 

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What do you do if you’re 5 and your computer time is up for the weekend and now you want to sneak back on for some watching of favourite youtube clips while your mother is off reading in bed but you can’t spell much? You ask your mother, very innocently, if she can write the phrase “Lord of the Rings, War in the North” on a piece of paper cos no reason, really.

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This weekend we had a child to stay for a sleep-over and I am really a bit worn out and I wondered what we could offer in the way of fun things to do at our house. Because I can’t even get movies to play on the TV at the moment. And I don’t have the spare energy to figure it out nor the spare cash to pay someone else to figure it out.

But it was Anne Lamott who said something like you play to your strengths as a parent and this is what I’m good at… pulling unusual ideas out of my arse. So, I remembered an abandoned house I’d noticed on my morning walks and I asked the kids if they wanted to explore a haunted house and … bingo!

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Doesn’t it look like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road?

“Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”

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Back at my home..
I have exceptional taste, yes. I bought the arse tea cosy here.

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Last month my father came back to Australia and stayed with me for a week. He was exhausted on the first night and after he went to bed I stayed up and wrote my column at the kitchen table. The next night I was incredibly tired and he stayed up alone for the very sad task of writing his mother’s obituary.

He read that obituary at the funeral the following morning. His writing was beautiful. It was all about how accomplished and yet unappreciated his mother had been for her domestic talents. My column about being accountable one day to my children’s future therapist was published that same day, and in a way, I realised my father and I had both written about feminist motherhood.

Every time I look at my kitchen table now I remember how we both sat and wrote our words there, one night after the other.

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A doctor friend collects these little empty bottles from his surgery and gives them to me to use as tiny vases. Morphine and Ketamine can be the name of our hipster home decorating shop.

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