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Archive for the ‘seth’ Category

Kitten mitten

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This morning, in the chaos that is this week, located in the chaos that is this month/year, I received a tearful, panicked call at work from my 8yr old informing me that he had been left at home alone. His father had collected his sister for an appointment but had somehow left him behind, assuming that my fiance would be there. It is the kind of misunderstanding that occurs easily with co-parenting, and particularly so with rather uncommunicative exes.

While my fiance was driving back to my son, something my fiance could do because he is off work recovering from surgery, I promised to stay on the line with my son until they were reunited. But because I was also chairing a meeting at work, I had to put my phone on ‘speaker’ and place it beside me on the boardroom table. My son, still gulping back worried little tears, listened to my voice in the interim for comfort and safety.

I moved the team through the agenda seamlessly, pausing briefly to whisper ‘I love you’ and sign off, when I heard my son being greeted and comforted by my fiance in the background. No-one noticed and I continued on with the current crises at work.

It struck me as this sad little absurd moment of multi-tasking, work-life balancing, women can have it all-ing – all the more poignant because no-one realised.

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One of the nicest things about being re-partnered is that you don’t have any seething resentments towards each other from the ‘baby years’. Seth and I both have children from previous relationships, so all the sleep-deprivation arguments about fairness that happen in those early years of baby-rearing were had with someone else. This makes it a lot easier to find one another attractive.

Because this is so true…

I thought I had married an evolved guy—one who assured me, when I was pregnant, that we would divide up the work equally. Yet right after our baby was born, we backslid into hidebound midcentury gender roles as I energetically overmet my expectations. I was feeding the baby, so I started cooking for the whole family (pre-baby, Tom and I had alternated). I was laundering our daughter’s absurdly large mountain of soiled onesies, so I took over laundry duty. Soon I was the “expert” in changing a diaper.

We’re not alone: A 2015 Ohio State study of ​working couples found that men did a fairly equal share of housework—until, that is, they became dads. By the time their baby had reached nine months, the women had added more than two hours of daily work, the men a mere 40 minutes.

And Tom, while a kind, sensitive sort of person, rarely seemed to notice that I needed a hand, lounging on the couch and happily playing SocialChess on his phone while I simultaneously tended our child, emptied the dishwasher, and made dinner. Social psychologists say that men simply feel more entitled to take leisure time.

 

From Jancee Dunn’s “You will hate your husband after your kid is born” in Salon. 

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Autumn has so far included:

my partner getting quite a bit of surgery

my daughter turning 12

weather too hot for autumn

floods

soup made out of anything left in the fridge

bike riding again, finally

him, oil painting

me, submitting an essay for a book

an engagement cake

the storm shall pass

preparing the kitchen garden for replanting

a new job, and having to take my kids to work for the day because my partner is re-admitted for surgery, and the 7 yr old getting lost after taking himself to the toilet while I am away at a one and a half hour meeting (I know!) and coming across a stately gentleman in the corridors and asking him where I might work and that man, of course, being the CEO, and him telling my son to go down there and hang a right.. and taking my kids home later that evening at precisely the correct time because by then my son was relaxed enough to flip the bird to himself in the mirrors in the elevator.

 

 

 

 

 

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In the subtropics, around the middle of summer things start to die in the heat so Christmas is a strange presence in the season, although I guess not unlike Christmas being situated in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere. Because the season of summer is not associated with new life here, but rather with the onset of destructive storms, bush fires, drought, and burning sun. Kitchen gardens are largely left to rest. The weeds grow furiously but otherwise everything feels very slow in the humidity.

Storms signal Christmas is coming and the garden succumbs to the mix of overgrown and death.

For me, the foods of summer are all Mediterranean, Mexican and Asian and seem to come in the colours of Christmas. And we eat out in the garden unless the mosquitoes are terrible.

My favourite part of Christmas is all the spontaneous socialising. Friends who message you to tell you they have two Cabernets and are waiting out the rain in a quiet corner, so hurry up and join them in the bar… and other friends who invite you and your kids to swim in their pool and share pot luck dinners together, and friends who beg you to be invited over because their kid is going spare and they want to talk and laugh with you, and all the playfulness and, the exposed skin and lying under a fan even, the goddamn craft (which now includes sewing by my kids).

And this year it included for me a writing deadline for (hopefully) another book anthology next year.

Previous views of December here:

2015

Interestingly, I didn’t post photos in 2014.

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

I love to see what December looks like in your part of the world, so if you care to, leave a link to your own December photos in the comment section.

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