Archive for the ‘school kids’ Category


Tender hearted six year old fed the hens for me but couldn’t watch them for long because “too sad seeing them fight”. He, who spends his mornings bickering with his sister. I tried to reassure him that they’re hierarchical animals and that there is plenty of food for all but he was nearly in tears recalling how he’d tried to instill fairness down there.

Oh darling.

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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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.. was about the Productivity Commission’s report on childcare and early childhood. (Whoops, I forgot to tell you).

I snuck in some talk of universal minimum incomes, too.

I don’t regret being a work-outside-the-home mother. There are many advantages to having parents in the workforce – higher family income and social capital opportunities, to name a couple. And as a, now, single mother I can attest to the benefits of staying attached to the workforce in terms of the longer term security it provides me. (Which is why it can make economic sense to work during the early years of motherhood even when part-time work and childcare costs mean you may not lodge a profit. Think of it as an insurance policy). But if we’re going to encourage higher participation rates for women, and quite frankly our economy now depends on such, then we need to think about how we incorporate care into economic systems rather than segregating it outside the system. We must recognise that love and reciprocity are drives as fundamental to us as self-interest.

File all of this with notions like a guaranteed universal basic income and other economic possibilities for happiness that might actually be a real option if we were ready to consider them. Because, we are not talking some stagnant old debate here between capitalism and communism. We’re talking about ways of better organising our economy and care. And it starts with framing the debate around the understanding that children are in many ways a public good and warrant public support accordingly.

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aa school hols

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I was very flattered to be a guest writer for Meanjin this week for their series on writers reading. I was told to be very reflective on my year and.. I was that. Eek.

There’s a small child in the bed with us. I hold the sheet over me and reach down blindly to find clothes on the floor. Under the sheet I slip my underwear and t-shirt back on. So, this is dating now.

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Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Right. It’s ridiculous.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?

Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.

From an interview with Chris Rock by Frank Rich in Vulture.

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