Archive for the ‘kindergarten’ Category

Pre-school mornings plunge us all into a state of utter disorder.

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Lauca is a month off turning five. Four has been a big year. Reading and writing*, swimming and horse riding.. and now, riding a bicycle without her training wheels. “Did you know I was this good?” There is no such thing as humble when you are four years old.

* A card to her cat:

Diu Pikso

I wet tow the bridge


Dear Pixel

I went to the bridge


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See previous lists here.


1. You had terrible gastro for almost two weeks and you lost so much weight (which you never really gained back and now you are a little bony – bitzer maloney all skinny and..) and you were so pale, delirious, weak and listless and our house felt so empty of mirth. I completely took for granted how mirthful you usually are.

2. The seriously pathetic breakfasts I give you on kindergarten days because there is no time to prepare you anything better and you are too moody in the mornings to reliably eat anything else anyway apart from ‘vegemite toast‘ (update: you don’t like toast anymore) or ‘a single yoghurt’ or ‘a handful of dry cereal’.

3. The way you completely ignore us when we say “stop that, you’re about to..” or “no, don’t do that yourself, wait a minute and I can do it..” and you go ahead and then you cause some predictable disaster that takes a lot of work to fix.

4. How you carry your baby brother around the place, even though we’ve asked you not to, and even though he often shrieks at you for it.. and especially because you take him from the play room where he was perfectly content and move him to where I am, ruining whatever tiny sanctuary I had established for myself.

5. Your growing scepticism about Santa Claus. Very sad, and boo to your father’s reality-based parenting.

6. The way you scream to express significant negative emotions like frustration, disappointment, offence. It really freaks the baby out.

7. Your increasing flirtation with fussiness. You will eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and legumes but you don’t like spices and fuss. You are not the gourmet’s friend.

8. Your broad Australian accent. I try hard just to accept it.

9. The way you still cry upon waking up. The way you won’t transfer from the car asleep at night to bed. The end of a late night out isn’t “well, that was lovely, the kids had a good time too, we’re tired now, and they’re asleep so let’s put them into bed and call it a night”. No it is you waking up the minute we try to carry you to bed, bellowing  frantically that even though it is midnight you didn’t get your bedtime stories.

10. When you accidentally wake Cormac up. Accidentally, but doing the same things I have warned you not to do about a ba-zillion times – stomping your feet as you walk, slamming the toilet door, yelling out “where are you Mummy” without even bothering to look for me first.


1. Your bad moods. You are very mercurial. Even when you are really happy you take over the space and when you are in a foul temper you make gutteral animal sounds or you roar which equally occupies all the space of the house.

2. Your ability to raise the stakes in the face of my parenting failures. I should have had dinner ready half an hour ago and now you want to eat six biscuits and a Weiss bar and my role as a disciplinarian is to talk you down to three biscuits.

3. Worrying about you now that you are becoming such a social creature. That you will get your feelings hurt. And knowing that the person you are we may never know, that you will keep this stuff inside yourself and worry alone.

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The retrospective collection: biggest hits, sentimental favourites, and experimental B-sides.

blue milk started as a New Year’s resolution.

Very oddly this became my all time most viewed post.

I wrote about how much I hated Bratz dolls. They don’t even exist now.

I had a rough first year of motherhood.

I didn’t fit in.

We found parenthood.. weird (very weird).

And tried to figure out what kind of parents we were.

We moved out of the inner city and into suburbia.

I really struggled with combining work and family, and especially daycare. I struggled with a lot of guilt. And that struggle went on and on.

I discovered that I was supposed to be aspiring to yummy mummydom or Über-mumming or a cocktail version of slacker mummy.

We got our life back together, had sex and stuff.

But lost any sense of cool. And we changed as a couple. (And yet were pretty happy).

I found camaraderie by whining on the Internet.

Having a child re-defined my identity and my feminism.

Then I discovered that there were books out there about this identity and feminism stuff and how it all related to motherhood, and I loved them so.

I enjoyed motherhood too, I just didn’t feel the need to write about that part as much.

Maybe I enjoyed motherhood too much because I became the Go To Place on the Internet for Sexy Breastfeeding Stories.

Then I learnt a lot about toddlers. A lot. In doing so I learnt about myself too. Like, I am actually quite patient.

I thought a lot about the way the world views mothers, and I rolled my eyes a lot.

I got a particularly big fright when I realised so much of the world has such big fucking hang-ups about breastfeeding.

We went on to have a very shitty year, and survived.

The sexualisation of children blew my mind some.

And what to say about sex therapist Bettina Arndt, well quite a bit actually.

I got ever so tired of the martyred mother thing, though I fell for it more than a few time myself.

Motherhood had changed everything about the other most important relationship in my life, the one with my partner. But I didn’t write about that terribly much for the sake of his privacy.

Every now and then we thought we got the hang of this parenthood gig, and then not so much.

Eventually we were no longer novices with babies, just complete dills for every other stage.

We re-visited the work and family arrangement quite a bit.

It took a while to make friends in suburbia.

But mother friends are what makes the world go round.

Sometimes life was just life happening slowly and lightly. Sometimes hard and fast.

I thought about things other than motherhood from time to time too. But mostly it was all still about feminism.

I began to understand that some people hate mothers. Or hate children, which is pretty much the same thing.

And that ‘sexism‘ as a word doesn’t even begin to cover the way we treat childhood, such is the bombardment of patriarchal brain-washing that we undergo. And having a daughter forced me to confront body image issues.

I watched fatherhood from the outside and found it to be very different to what I was going through. He and I tried to have an equal relationship, but we haven’t got there… yet.

Motherhood helped me understand pretty much everything better.

Again, I wondered about the work and motherhood thing. And I got really angry about the fight for maternity leave.

I wrote what became a meme about feminist motherhood, and feminist fatherhood.

I took my first trip away from my child.

I became fascinated in the confessional power of posts about parenting meltdowns.

Then, we got our comeuppance as pretentious hipster parents when our child learned to swear.

We grew a vegetarian, like us.

We took a trip to North Vietnam with our toddler.

We found vulva pride! It was part of an obsession with body sovereignty.

And on top of all that, we got a cat.

Our toddler grew into a little girl, a beautifully willful little girl.

I started reviewing books on here.

I took our daughter out of daycare after a long battle with her anxiety and put her in a Montessori kindergarten instead. It turned out to be the best decision ever.

My feminism evolved and I started thinking, reading and writing a lot more about racism. And queer politics too.

I also started writing for Hoyden About Town, and I was pleased as punch, though not terribly prolific.

I was invited to do a PhD and was awfully tempted until another dream came true and took its place.

And mended my broken heart.

We discovered we were having a boy, which is probably good for blog material because I have been a little focused on the girl side of feminist mothering issues.

But that news also brought its own issues for my fear and loathing of the patriarchy.

I freaked out about birth, again.

I explored intuitive eating with children and managed to take offense and give offense.

If I thought pregnancy was exhausting the first time around that was nothing compared to being pregnant AND also the mother of a small child. All the same, I might love being pregnant.

I got a lot of advice about baby-carrying slings and if you are looking for one, then here.

Then I got so, so, so pregnant.

And finally had a baby.

The second time around with a baby wasn’t nearly as hard, though some of the rocky terrain was familiar.

I still fretted about juggling my career and children. And our daughter made lots and lots of craft.

I kept the blog going this year with a new baby and a kindergartener, but only just. Although, I did manage a spot of activism off-line. And a couple of times this year I actually managed to finish a post on something vaguely feminist (and even once about sex).

I mostly sat in awe of our ability to create an easy baby (relatively easy anyway), and the joy that is watching your first little challenge turn out to be so damn sensible about all this change.

I got to interview Yoko Ono, for a second.

And I was happy, very happy with my adventures this last year.


(Hmm. I can’t believe I have been blogging long enough to do a retrospective, but there you go).

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Lauca now has a best friend at kindergarten and she couldn’t be more pleased. She watched others pair up and began to really want a best friend of her own there. Fortunately for her another child was thinking the same thing, and they find each other quite grand. Even more fortunate, I like the kid’s mother too.

I love my female friendships so I really rejoice in Lauca’s but I ache for her vulnerability ahead too.

P.S. I am reliably informed by the thirteen year old sister of Lauca’s best kindergarten friend that the term is not BFF [Best Friends Forever] but that it is now ‘BFFL’ – Best Friends For Life.

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The trouble with Disney princesses, in a nutshell. See them nicely deconstructed over at love isn’t enough (previously Anti-Racist Parent).

A most beautiful photographic self-portrait of early motherhood by the mother at Soulemama.

The topic of multiple abortions (and, this is me wondering and not the link, but how many is too many before your pro-choice persuasions are tested?) and a very thought-provoking review of Impossible Motherhood at Girl w/ Pen!

Brand new Canadian blog Moms are Feminists Too has a questionnaire for feminist mothers.

The ‘social’ work of motherhood over at a little pregnant… and oh I could say so much about this. Who knew so much of your children’s success (at least in the early years) in their social spheres would come down to your social success with the parents?

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I now worship Montessori schooling in a cult-like fashion, such is the success of the kindergarten for our daughter. I try not to post about it because slavish devotion is boring to read.

But right now my head is completely filled with fantasies of this and this and this for bedrooms and playrooms. These pictures literally make me gasp with pleasure. I can’t believe there was a time I was once excited by naked men.




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zzb beach at night

We’re having some kind of parenting reward moment right now, which I am probably jinxing by saying out loud. But I cannot believe the way Lauca is suddenly growing into herself. She is totally getting it together with the social confidence, and the maturity, and the willingness to try things with new people, and the utter contentment at kindergarten. These are things I thought were a long way off, only a few months ago. And I do love being on this side of all that.

There is a cliché word for this moment in Lauca’s life, and it is ‘blossoming’. Goddamn blossoming. I feel such pride in her and her accomplishments, but again, probably something that shouldn’t be said out loud lest I be tempting fate. I attribute our progress to gentle parenting and time… probably mostly time.

I really must remember all this the next time I am scared shitless over some parenting anxiety.. will probably turn out ok.

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Lauca: Waaaaaaah. I miss the baby chickens. I miss the chickens so much.

Me: You really liked looking after the kindergarten chickens, huh?

Lauca: Sob. Sniffle. Sob.

Me: It is a shame that your turn at looking after them is over. But you know? Something to look forward to? During the school holidays we…  might…  go….  camping with [insert name of one of my close friends] and [insert names of her three adorable children], isn’t that exciting?

Lauca: Ohhh noooo! Not another holiday. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Me: Oh yeah, how long have I been doing this for with you? Four years?

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Something I’ve noticed since being on maternity leave? How differently I respond to any ambivalence Lauca shows towards kindergarten. When she gets a little teary or reluctant about going to kindergarten these days I just don’t feel that kick in the guts that I used to feel when I needed her to be there so I could get to work. Mother guilt, I got it.

There are a variety of factors at play here, it is not just about work, but I’m pretty sure that some unresolved feelings about leaving my child in order to work remains a major one.

I haven’t read this new book by Ellen Galinsky, but I would love to – Ask the Children: The Breakthrough Study That Reveals How to Succeed at Work and Parenting. What do you learn about balancing work and family when you interview thousands of children from different ethnic backgrounds on the topic?

Noted work-family  researcher Ellen Galinsky overturns accepted thinking on quality vs. quantity time and many other guilt-inducing “myths”, reveals children’s one greatest wish for changing how work affects their parents’ lives, shares relationship stories of how families stay close, and outlines a brilliant new set of operating principles to navigate work-family challenges, including: Proven tactics for enhancing life at work; Ways to de-stress at work and at home; How to encourage family communication-and what to say to do once you have your child’s attention; How to decode the messages your children are getting about the world and work; Simple family traditions that foster well-adjusted children; And much more.

And here is an interesting interview with Galinksy on her research. (Loved her terms ‘focused time’ and ‘hang-around time’).

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