teenagers

My Muscles Are Busting Out of My Shirt

hulk

Big Son came to tell me that he had gotten Bigger. Over the holidays. He was wearing his school uniform. He stood in the doorway and flexed a muscle boy flex pose. “See Mum? I think I need new shirts. My chest, my back, my arms – they’ve grown and I cant fit these shirts anymore.”

He is triumphant. Because the boy  doesn’t want to be Big Son. He wants to be Bigger Son. And to that end, he works out every day. Consumes disgusting protein drinks that his father bought for him. And eats way too many egg whites. (He also pesters me to buy steak and take him to Burger King everyday which is supposedly meant to be rocket fuel for big muscles in some teenager boy’s fantasy universe – but dont worry, I’m not stupid. I dont fall for it. I tell him to eat cornflakes for dinner like all the rest of us. I mean, heck, its working for me. Look how much bigger Im getting?)

So yes, Big Son has been working very hard on his muscular development. And is rather pleased with himself and his progress. I look at his shirt that is streeeeeeeeetching to the point of wardrobe malfunction and yes, I can concede that Big Son is indeed getting Bigger.

But I’m not happy about it. Because school shirts are expensive. Like chop my arm off and sell it to science expensive. And this is Big Son’s last year in high school so I don’t want to spend precious dollars on new shirts that he will only wear for a mere twelve months. (I mean, how am I supposed to get my nails shellac’d if I buy this child new shirts? Pay for hotels and lovely dinners in lovely restaurants? There goes my plans for expensive illicit nights out with the Hot Man…)

So no. I dont want to buy Big Son new shirts. “You dont want to get bigger shirts son.”

“I don’t?”

“No, these shirts better emphasize the contours and definition of your new muscles. If you get bigger shirts – how will all the girls SEE your fabulous new build properly? Trust me son, I know what I’m talking about.”

He is unconvinced. “Whatever Mum. You just dont want to buy me new shirts.” Why does this child have to be so clever for? He shakes his head and walks off.

I dont give up. I call after him, “Hey, just think, with tight shirts like that, you could have a wardrobe malfunction at school like Sonny Bill Williams! And we all know how much buzz THAT caused. That could be you! Go on,  imagine you’re standing in school assembly and your shirt rips to bits and now practise taking your shirt off in a very athletic way…”

He makes a puke face. Big Son is not a SBW fan. I try again and yell after his retreating buff’d back. “No, you know who you look like in that shirt? The Hulk! You could be the Hulk of your school. No girls will be able to resist you. Go on, do a pose – say it, ‘Hulk Smash!'”

For some odd reason, Big Son doesnt want to listen to anything more I have to say on the matter.

I cant imagine why.

He’s Taking Over the World.

I did something stupid and bought Big Son the latest Halo game. I told myself he would finish it in one week and that would be that. Ha. I should have done my research first. Because yes, Big Son finished every level in Halo4 in one week. But then he hooked up with the entire world that is playing Halo4 online and now he’s lost in a world of gamers that involves him sitting there with a headset on, muttering to his Clan. Or his Tribe. Or his Secret Combination of Gadianton Robbers. Or whatever they call it.

If you’re as ignorant as I was – let me enlighten you. Before you too are as dumb as me and get YOUR kid Halo4. And a broadband connection. Apparently, one can link to anyone and everyone who is playing Halo4, form alliances, play against other evil alliances and work one’s way up the rankings so that one can eventually achieve WORLD DOMINATION. And be the King of Halo4. It means Big Son rushes to get all his chores done so he can put his war gear on, park his skinny butt in front of the giant screen and plot world domination strategies. (I find it personally offensive that this child can eat the way he does and SIT in front of the tv as much as he does and yet not gain an ounce. While all I have to do is look at a picture of  a donut and have it go straight to my hips.) He has a gamer tag name. And converses with other gamer tag named individuals. And all of them are entered in the Halo4 Infinity Challenge. If you’re awesome enough and make it to the top 200 in the universe, then you get to enter the finals with a bucketload of fantabulous prizes.

Big Son is overjoyed to inform me that, “Mum, I am in the top tier ranking of the Infinity Challenge!!!” He seemed disappointed that I did not fall to the ground in a stupor of amazement at this news.

Really son? I’m supposed to be excited and proud about this achievement? Are you for real?

Big Son is the very first child I ever grew which means he got the very best (and worst) of my parenting enthusiasm. I think about his SHAMAHZING Halo4 Infinity Challenge prowess and I remember the hours I spent with earphones stuck to my pregnant watermelon-belly so his unborn self could sprout genius brain matter by listening to Mozart. The sleepless nights I read him Wordsworth, Shakespeare and Keats while he consumed endless amounts of milk. The looooong afternoons dedicated to teaching him multiplication tables and spelling lists. The evenings I read him not one, not two, but the ENTIRE FREAKIN SEVEN BOOK SERIES of Harry Potter, one after the other. I remember all the days I volunteered as a Parent Helper in his Grade Two classroom – official explanation was because I was an enthusiastic mum who cared about education but the real reason was because I wanted to spy on the kids that were possibly bullying my shrimp’ish, overly bright, overly loudmouthed child. (And then maybe, just maybe I wanted to secretly whack one of those aforementioned bullying kids…just maybe.)  I was the mum who forbade television and spent thousands on books. I was the mum who hoped for great, fantabulous things from her fantabulous child, taking over the world type things! Yay!

Yeah, I remember all these things as I see Big Son strategize with his invisible global Halo4 Alliance – and I’m so-NOT excited. This is not how I envisioned he would take over the world.

She’s Got Six Boyfriends.

There was a disco at Bella’s preschool tonight. She’s been super excited for days. She picked out what outfit she wanted to wear and as I helped her get dressed, she said, “I’m gonna see my boyfriend there.”

I’m calm, cool and collected.  “Oh really? Who?”

Bella fluffs up her skirt and answers, “Brayden. He’s my number one boyfriend.”

The Hot Man is not so calm, cool and collected. “What?! You have more than one boyfriend?!”

You can tell Bella thinks that’s a dumb question. Hands on her hips. “Yes Dada, I have six boyfriends at school.”

Bella is a bad-ass.

I laughed. But I also wanted to cry. Because I miss that. I long for that. The honesty, opennes and directness of a four year old. Because Big Son is seventeen and secretive. Furtive. Holding information close and his emotions even closer. There was a time when Big Son was Little Son. When he confided everything in me. Asked for my advice on everything from homework to hairstyles. From pimples to presents for the girl he had a crush on. There was a time when his hurts were mine. His worries kept me awake at night. His fears were mine to overcome. His joys were beribboned packages that we opened together. Big Son taught me how to love. How to place another’s happiness above my own.

Now? Now Big Son puts up walls. Throws up smoke screens. Chucks angry rocks. At times it seems there is an ocean of distance between us, between me and this child who was the first to hear my heart from the inside. Yes,  I know our children must grow up and away from us. I know they must have privacy, independence, secrets and autonomy. Fall in love. Do stupid things. Make weird choices.

But it still hurts. And I miss him.  And it’s hard. To try and forge a new relationship.With the adult, the young man that he is becoming. To make sense of the confused mess that we’re in right now. To assert new boundaries and redraw the lines of our relationship.

What do I want? What do I hope for? Long for?

I want for him to confide in me.  I want us to negotiate a space where we can laugh, cry and contemplate the mysteries of the universe. (Diet Coke and Doritos optional.) I want to be the mother that he can talk to about anything and everything.

Even if its to tell me that he has six girlfriends. (Or boyfriends.)

Do you think that’s possible? For those of you out there with teenagers and adult children, please tell me how you do it? How do you let go but still keep them close?

Deceit and Dorkville

Winter sales are wonderful. I bought Bella some new clothes for preschool. I love them. She doesn’t. She doesn’t want to wear new purple sweatpants from Cotton On Kids. With a matching hoodie top. No, she wants to keep wearing the pink pants with holes in them from TnT KidsWear that she’s been wearing for over a year now.

“No mama, these are my favorite. I don’t like those new pants.” She pleads. Stamps her foot. Yells. And generally acts like a spoilt brat. But I am emphatic. I don’t want my daughter wearing pants with holes in them. I don’t want her wearing the same freakin pants she’s been running wild in all year. Just For once, I want my kid to look like she stepped out of a catalogue. Just once, I want my kid to look like she has a mother who knows what fashion, style and color-co-ordination mean. And yeah, I’m well aware that this freakish desire is all about ME, but I don’t care. Because everyone has to think about ME sometimes. So why can’t this be one of those times?​ Let’s agree that today, we’re all going to think about ME…

So I am firm. Calm. Composed. Authoritative. I make that child wear her purple pants. And she looks fabulous. Which by osmosis, makes ME look fabulous. I feel good.

Until six hours later when Bella comes home from preschool. Wearing pink pants. With a hole in them. Looking like a child who’s mother dressed her in a dumpster. I ask her, ‘What happened to your purple pants?’ Because you know, there are any number of inexplicable events that can happen at a preschool. Things involving paint, playdo, playgrounds and/or pee. Yes, it’s entirely plausible that Bella could have fallen victim to any one of these things.

But no. She shrugs. Waves a hand at me with careless ease. “Nuffing. I was take my favorite pants in my bag to school. Then when you gone and you not looking at me, I take off the ugly purple pants and wear the pink ones.”

What-the-purple-pants-hell?! I stare at Bella in awed horror. I am speechless. You are FOUR years old. And you’re already sneaking alternate wardrobe options in your schoolbag so you can get changed when your mother isn’t looking?! The last time I knew someone who did that, her name was Lani Wendt. She was sixteen and smuggling a black mini-skirt to school so she could change out of the dork clothes from dorkville that her mother made her wear.

Bella stares back at me. She gets tired of waiting for me to speak. She runs off to play on the trampoline. In her pink pants with holes in them. Looking like she has a mother who dressed her in a dumpster. I shudder. Today, its ugly pants. What’s tomorrow? Stiletto heels, pink fishnet stockings and a spandex Dora bodysuit? If this is what my devious child can do when she’s four, what will she dare to do when SHE’S sixteen?

The future is flashing before my eyes.  And it’s saying to me.

Lani, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Google Loves me More than My Mum Does.

What Big Son is wearing this week. 

You know what I hate? The law of the universe which dictates that your child
* will only ever have a volcanic raging fever – in the middle of the night. Play all day, run wild outdoors then clock strikes twelve? Pumpkin coach explodes. Fever, crash and burn.
* will only ever be mortally wounded – in the middle of the night. Climb a tree in the moonlight because they think ‘it’s fun’ and rip their leg open bad enough that they need emergency surgery.
* will only ever suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction to their pain meds – in the middle of the night. Play X-box all afternoon. Sleep. Eat. Play more X-box. BAAAAAM, ‘I’m dying, help me.

I also hate that secondary law of the universe which dictates that all of these bad things will only ever happen to your child when your partner is an ocean away in Samoa/Australia/NZ.


Last week, Big Son had his wisdom tooth extracted. There was crying involved. From me. There was pain, suffering and swelling. For him. He was doped up with 3 different types of medication. By the second day, he was feeling worse than the first. I soothed him and told him ‘this too shall pass. Be strong. Be patient.’ By the third day, he was feeling super worse than the second. I was a little irritated with him. Because of course, I am a busy multi-tasking mother who has way more important things to do than coddle a seventeen year old who’s practically a MAN already. I brushed him off and told him ‘you’re exaggerating. Get over it.’ He went and played X-box. An hour later he came to tell me “I feel really weird. Dizzy. Breathless.” I told him, “X-Box has that effect on people. Its a scientific fact. Go away. I’m very busy.” Night time comes. Big Son staggers over to me and shows me a google page printout. “I think you should take me to the emergency room. According to Google, I’m having an allergic reaction to codeine.” 


I am ashamed (now) to tell you that I rolled my eyes. And complained loudly. All the way to the afterhours A&E. And I muttered words like…’hypochondriac…bloody Google…giving sooky teenagers ideas…’ as I thought about all the writing that I WASNT doing because I was taking this kid to the doctor. My annoyance  continued right up until we got to reception and I noticed that Big Son’s face now resembled that of a lopsided blowfish. And he was red in the face. And struggling to breathe. And doctors rushed him down the hall, hooked him up to machines, pushed the panic button, loaded him into an ambulance and drove away.  Huh

“What’s happening?” Your son is having an allergic reaction. We need to get him to the hospital immediately. Just like that, Big Son went from being ‘Annoying Big Sook Son who is Fiapoko enough to google imaginary illnesses’ – to Big Son who Might Die and All Because His Horrible Selfish Mother didn’t Look After Him Properly. 


Some hours later, Big Son was alright. Disaster had been averted. And I had to deal with the next awful challenge. Telling his faraway-father-in-Samoa what had happened.  Saying, “But he was playing X-Box all afternoon and he looked just fine dammit!” was a little bit helpful for my case. But not much. Especially not when Big Son tells his Dad on the phone ( in a very weak, sad voice) “It’s so lucky I turned to Google.” Because my mum ignored me. Google loves me more than my own mum.  “It’s a good thing I kept asking mum to take me to the doctor and didn’t give up.” Because my mum is a cruel heartless creature. I could have passed out on my bedroom floor and she wouldn’t have noticed I was dead until rats started gnawing on my body.


I want the universe to witness that I have apologized profusely to my son. All this week, I have been creeping in to his room when he’s asleep to check that he’s still breathing. (I havent done that since he was a little boy that believed I was the smartest, bestest person on the planet.) I have also stopped complaining about how much I miss living in Samoa. Because I’m feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for excellent medical care in NZ. I am also very appreciative of the majesty and wonder of Google.

Can I just say though, that it’s been a week now and Big Son is STILL workin that guilt trip? “It would be nice if you bought me some ice cream/gave me an extra ten dollars/excused me from chores…you know I could have died last week? Remember how you didn’t listen to me? You didn’t care? Remember that?”

Parents everywhere, let this be a lesson for you – Never ever be too busy to pay attention to your sick kid. Because if he has to end up Googling his own symptoms? Then he will NEVER let you forget it.

The Problem with Aliens

Oh yeah – I know how you feel Sigourney…


One thing they never tell you before you have kids – is how your space, your room, your air, your thoughts ( even all the ones you havent even thought yet) – none of it will ever belong to you again. Never, ever.

Children start taking over even before they’re born. From the moment that diehard sperm battles through overwhelming Hunger Games type odds to be the lucky victor. From the moment that feverish creation party starts happening in your uterus – your very body is no longer your own. Especially if you’re the kind of woman who is lucky enough to puke for five months straight when you’re pregnant. And sink into the abyss of depression because you’re sick all day, everyday. Many times as I hovered over a bowl of vomit, alternately crying and cursing, I would refer to the speck of new life growing inside me, as “the alien…the parasite…” Even though I had knowingly, willingly chosen to grow a child – I quickly changed my mind once the puke took over. (If you’ve seen kick-butt Sigourney Weaver in the movie Alien, then you’ll know exactly how I felt about my alien.)

The joy only multiplies when they actually emerge from the chrysallis. You can never ever leave the house again without taking that baby with you. Without taking all that baby’s assorted ( but necessary) junk with you. When they’re bigger, you cant even take a shower or go to the bathroom without that child trailing after you. Standing outside the door wailing. Arguing. Telling tales on their sister. “Muuum, she won’t let me have a turn on the X-Box…muuuum…muuuum…can you hear me in there?” No, I’ve melted from the sheer misery of my existence and I’m swirling down the drain even as you speak. They sit beside you while you’re trying to read a book. Watching you. Breathing your air. Suffocating you with their very presence.

When they’re teenagers, they tend to stop following you about and instead they disappear into their rooms a lot – rooms which resemble pits of infernal darkness – but then your brain is consumed with worrying about them. Oh no, what if he has a girlfriend? Oh no, what if he never gets a girlfriend and is that loner that nobody likes? Oh no, what if she studies too much and never experiences life outside a textbook? Oh no, what if she never studies at all, fails everything, never gets a job and never leaves home ever? Is he sad/happy/depressed/contemplating shaving his hair off/ pondering the pros and cons of joining the Mongrel Mob? What does she REALLY mean when she stomps into her cave, snarling “I’m fine. Nothings wrong.” Children of any age, possess and consume you.

Which is why ‘me time’ is so important for a parent. Those moments when you run away. Hide in a closet and read. Go for a powerwalk just so you can get away from them.

Which is why my ideal Mother’s Day is having the Fab5 disappear for twelve hours.

Which is why I was so incredibly insulted when Big Son told me that “No, you can’t come downstairs and work out with me in the gym. I want to be alone.”
“Excuse me?! I want to train on  the Bowflex machine and its too spooky in the garage by myself at night. I’ll workout while you’re there.”
“No, I don’t want you to. This is my me-time. My alone time. Time to myself. I need this.”

Is this child really trying to talk to me about his need for ALONE TIME? For ME-TIME? Is he deranged? He’s sixteen. Childless, job-less, flying solo, fancy free. And clearly clueless.
“Are you kidding me? You are too young to need ‘alone time’. Have you ever grown a baby? Has your body ever been invaded by parasitic creatures that then take over your life, your every waking and sleeping moment? I don’t think so. Is every minute of your day consumed by children pestering you for something?” And then I’m on a roll of epic proportions. “I gave you life.” (No matter how many times I say it, this child just doesnt get it.) “I wouldnt NEED to workout if it wasn’t for you and your siblings. I used to be beautiful once, until you all ruined me forever…blah blah.”

He listens. To his credit, he tries not to roll his eyes at me. But I know my words are going in one ear and out the other and its infuriating. I shriek, “You have not earned the right to crave ALONE TIME. Or ME-TIME, you hear me?”

I have decided. I am going to stalk this child to the ends of the earth. Harass him with attention. Suffocate him with my presence. He is not getting any alone-time, ever. Not on my watch. Damnit all.

An Author Meets a Gladiator.

In the weekend I was a guest speaker at a super awesome conference that targeted Pacific youth in South Auckland. Organized by Accelerating Aotearoa, their aim is to help connect young people with potential careers and training opportunities and other really useful stuff like that. I was honored to be invited and put a lot of time and thought into what I would say, keeping in mind that teenagers are the toughest audiences. Right after pre-schoolers. Because if you’re boring, adults are good at pretending to be interested whereas teenagers – will roll their eyes, start texting, do their nails and basically tell you to get lost. 

I had learned my lesson from the Wellington Wardrobe Fiasco though – and dressed for comfort. I had a moment of panic when my GHD fried itself, leaving my hair in a shocking state of untamedness. But I whipped it into Pocohantas braids and was ready to go.
I went. I listened. I learned heaps. I was inspired. And then it was my turn to speak. And I don’t think I sucked. Nobody snored. Or threw stuff at me. Or puked in the aisles. I was hopeful that my scintillating words of wisdom would be useful for the young minds of our nation.
And then the next speaker walked to the podium. He looked like this:
And all the teenage girls in the room sighed. And sat up straighter. And there was whispering and muffled giggles. And then absolute INTENSELY RAPT AVID CONCENTRATION as he started to speak. 
 
Why? Because they were all seeing this…
                   Joseph Naufahu acting in Spartacus.
And this,
                Joseph Naufahu acting in Go-Girls.
And he talked about working hard to pursue your dreams. (Even in the face of challenges like busting up your knee and ending your sparkling rugby career.) And he challenged everyone to ‘unleash your inner Gladiator’ because he owns a gym with a gladiator theme. And all the teenager boys were going, ‘damn, I wanna be like him…‘ (and of course the teenager girls were sighing some more.) 
 And even I was inspired by the ‘unleash your gladiator’ message. I wanted to run out and do some push-ups right away. And I wished that I had brought my teenagers with me to listen to his message ( and the other speakers as well.) 
BUT, do you think ANYBODY is going to remember a single scintillating word I said after seeing and listening to all of that?!
No. I must glumly concede that a boring writer cannot hope to be scintillating next to a rugbyplayer-turned actor-turned Gladiator. 
What do we learn from this?
1. For all future speaking engagements, I must respectfully request, that NO gladiator actors are allowed to speak before me, after me, or anywhere near me. Not if I want to have a hope in hell that anyone will remember anything I say. 
2. I must take some attention-grabbing props with me. Like a flame thrower. So I can turn it on for a fiery pyro show and  invite the audience to ‘Unleash your creative fire! Just like in Telesa…’
3. I really need to do some push-ups. And stop eating Doritos and donuts at midnight.  (Hmm…but then we already knew that one, didn’t we?)

Who’s Pregnant/Doing Drugs/Getting Wasted Everyday/Running Away?!

A while back, Big Son was in a weird mood.  “You know I’m going to be seventeen soon? And then I’m going to finish high school?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, seventeen is soooo old! What have I really done with my life? What have I achieved? Where am I headed? It all seems so meaningless right now, you know? I don’t know what to do. I’m so confused.”

His angst was freaking me out. I went into “No-nonsense-Mother-Mode.” (Embedded in my psyche from years with my own mother.) “Is this where you tell me you want to quit high school?”

“No.”

“Is this where you tell me that you’re doing drugs? Getting wasted at school?”

“No!”

“Okay, Is this where you tell me that your girlfriend is pregnant?”

A very emphatic, “NO!”

“Okay, well you know if any of those were true, I would still love you and I would hit you over the head if you didn’t talk to me about it. So what is it then?”

“Nothing. I’m just questioning my life and the path I’m on. High school is nearly over and  it feels like there’s nothing left out there for me. Im so old and I havent achieved anything meaningful.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh puh-leeaze. You’re only seventeen. Way too young to be freaking out over what you think you have and haven’t achieved. Get a grip. Go do your homework. And clean your filthy pit of a room while you’re at it. The mold growing in there is doing bad things to your brain.”

Fast forward to now. I’m thinking about my upcoming birthday next month. Deep sigh. I confide in Big Son. (Because who else am I going to talk to?! The neighbor’s cat that scrabbles through our garbage?)  “I don’t want to be one step closer to forty. It’s soooo old. I don’t feel really old. I feel like I havent even started living yet, you know? I mean, what have I really done with my life? There’s so many things I havent achieved yet, so many things I should be doing. I don’t want to have another birthday. And  time is running out. And I’m in a capital L for Loser place in my mind, you know?”

He raised an eyebrow at me and said, with a completely deadpan face. “Is this where you tell me you’re on drugs? Getting wasted every day when we go to school?”

“Huh? No.”

“Is this where you tell me you want to quit being a writer, quit being our mother and run away to be a plus-sized supermodel in a KMart catalogue? Or a professional Ryan Reynolds stalker?”

“No!”

Then he looks worried. For real. “Is this where you tell me that you’re going to have ANOTHER baby? And I’m going to have to babysit and look after ANOTHER little brother who steals my stuff or ANOTHER little sister who hogs the Xbox?”

“Hell no!”

A shrug. “Okay, well in that case – puhleeaze, you’re only 38 mum. Way too young to be thinking about what you have and haven’t achieved. Get a grip. Just hurry up and finish writing your next book already.”

I’m miffed. “Thanks for nothing. That’s not a very nice thing to say to your mother when she’s having an inner crisis.”

Another shrug. “Just doing it your way.” A huge smile. “How does it feel?!”

I scowl. “It sucks. And you forgot the bit where you tell me that you love me no matter what. I think I’m going to go do drugs now. And get wasted. And quit being your mother and run away to be a show-dancer in Vegas. But first, I’m going to have twins so you can have ANOTHER little brother and sister to drive you nuts. Ha! You’re going to be soooo sorry that you weren’t more sympathetic and helpful to me in my time of need.”

Big Son didn’t look worried at all. Or even the littlest bit regretful. “Whateverrrr mum.”

I think I’m going to talk to the neighbor’s cat next time I have a pre-mid-life crisis. Talking to one’s children is highly overrated.

Can I kiss you?

                      See? this baby looks happy to hug!


One of the nicest things about children is that you always have someone to get your daily requirement of physical affection from. Children give the bestest hugs and the nicest kisses. Especially when they’re fresh out of a shower and NOT dirty/sweaty or sticky with peanut butter and jam. But unfortunately, children have a tendency to grow up. They become 6yr olds who are impatient to run and play and they start wriggling away when you hug them.They become 10yr olds who will only kiss you if none of their friends are looking. And even then, they will grimace as if you are subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment. They become teenagers who are happy to hug and kiss you…when they want something, when they’re actually on a covert mission to weaken your defences, get you to lend them money, go to that movie with their friends, or buy them that new shirt they don’t even need. So every time Big Son greets me with enthusiasm and a generous hug, I’m instantly on guard. What do you want?! And he gives me that aggrieved, innocent face, Nothing! Can’t I just hug my mum because I love her? Ha. I’m on to you….

Thankfully, my ‘baby’ is still only four years old, so I have a few more years of abundant hugs and kisses. Or do I? The Bella Beast is getting far too smart and independent because already, she is getting irritated with abundant physical affection. As these examples show…

“Can I hug you Bella, please?”
“But I hugged you the other day.”
“Yeah, but can I hug you now?”
Big sigh, rolls her eyes. “Alright.” Face lights up, aha moment. “So can I play XBox now?”
I have to pay for my 4yr olds hugs. With Xbox. Just stamp L O S E R on my forehead…

“That’s not a hug Mum. That’s a squash.” Bella reflects and deflects my enthusiastic love.

“Let’s play animals. I’ll be an elephant. What are you gonna be Mum?”
 I really dont want to play this game. It’s 7am and I’m not ready to be anything other than a sloth. “Umm, I want to be an ant. A sleeping ant.”
“Ants don’t sleep. They work all the time.”
“Fine. I’m awake. I’m a kissing ant. Can I kiss you?”
“No. Ants don’t kiss.”
“Don’t they kiss their mums?”
“They don’t got any mums. Just a Queen who’s the boss. I’m the Queen Ant and I say no kiss.”
When did this child get so smart?  Queen Ants? Worker ants? When did she get so bossy?  And since when did Queens not want a kiss?

“I love you mum. You’re a big, fat beautiful Princess Mum. Here’s a hug for you. But ONLY one. That’s enough for you. ” Bella masters the art of a double sided compliment. And institutes hug rationing.


“Good night Dad. I love you.” Big hug for Dad.
“Hey, what about me?”
“Good night Mum, I love you.” Walks away. “I already hugged Dad. Tell him to share it with you.”
More hug rationing. My child is putting me on a hug diet. Thank you. Thank you very much.


The future of abundant hugs and kisses for me does not look bright. I can’t have anymore children and I do NOT want any grandchildren showing up anytime soon. (do you hear me Big Son and Big Daughter!)  What am I going to do?….Bella, do you want to play XBox?!

Get this Mother on an Airplane.

So I’m flying to Samoa in a few hours. I’m a mother of five children who doesn’t get to travel very often. Because, these are the things that I’m excited about:

1. Walking through the departure zone very slowly. Meandering through Duty Free stores. ( Who cares if I can afford to buy anything or not.)Stopping at the Bendon shop so I can trail my fingers along the silk and lace, lustfully – like the lingerie whore admirer that I am.
2. Wearing my Grown Up, Independent, High Heeled Hot Woman shoes as I meander my way to the airplane. Because I don’t have to carry one whiny toddler. Chase after one ADD 8yrold. Stamp my foot after two teenagers who want to walk far away from the rest of us because they are ‘too cool’ to hang with this old bag and her little kids.
3. Sitting on a plane for 4 hrs and watching my own movie on my own movie screen. Without refereeing the squabbling rabble as they fight over food, seats, movies and games. Eating my own food. Slowly. Like big people with no kids do.
4. Only going to the bathroom when I WANT TO. Not fifty million times to take that child who keeps inventing bathroom breaks because she wants to roam around the airplane, smiling at strangers, sticking her finger in their food, crying when someone says hi to her.
5.When the plane lands and we disembark, I will get my ONE suitcase and make my way through Customs. Without chasing children everywhere. Without telling them to shut up be quiet every 5 seconds because the whole world DOES NOT want to know that you have just pooped in your diaper thank you very much. ‘But mum, it’s yuckie!’ So what. Just wait until we get through this line of a hundred sweaty people and then mum will change you. But mum it’s so yuckie! Be quiet, life’s yuckie! Just deal with it!

Yes, I am a woman who doesnt get to leave the house very often. I will be childless for four days. Oh the joy, the excitement, the bliss of it! Think of all the wonderful things I will be able to do WITHOUT this pack of feral creatures!

So how come, I’m sitting here crying. Sniffling. Missing my babies already. And I havent even left the house yet?!