what does a horsey say?

You know how you always hear people say ‘my heart jumped into my throat’, or ‘I felt my heart skip a beat!’ or one of the many other ways of saying something really affected you? Nothings ever really happened like that to me before. Other than those times when I was frightened for myself, but, I mean, who cares when I almost get hit by a car?!

The real point of interest here is something outside of yourself having such an impact on your emotions that at any given time it can affect you physiologically.

I was walking around a department store avoiding stepping on E as she picked tiny bits of fluff off the floor, intermittently bopped to Gotye and pulled herself up on the hanging clothes.
She grooved her way over to some boxes and babbled some nonsense to me, stood up and extended a closed fist towards me (you. I don’t know why but I enjoy pointing at her and saying ‘who is the [cleverest, bravest, best eater, most diverse mess maker, nicest singer, accomplished infant pole vaulter]? You. And I point at her).
So I said ‘you, baby. Come tell mama what the puppy dog/pussy cat/ducky/baa lamb/moo cow says,’ and with an envigorated Gotye fuelled bop, the hand still supporting her lost its traction and she wobbled.

I tasted my heart. It wasn’t just in my throat, it stopped, hit the back of my teeth, rattled around, absorbed all the blood in my face and slammed down to the bottom of my stomach with an unearthly thud.

It kind of took me by surprise. I love her and I worry and I get a shock when she bumps her head but.. for the first time it dawned on me that she is literally a human being. And she’s going to do shit I’m not prepared for, or that I don’t see or know about and I won’t always be able to catch her before she stumbles or skins her knee. Or tears the hem on a rack of dresses marked down to $3.50.

I had to get her Nan to carry her around for a while, while my organs realigned.
Of course mum took her to the rocking horses that make sounds when you squeeze their ears – apparently these are the singular most terrifying objects leafy has ever come across in her short life. She actually squealed, tried to climb over and behind mums shoulder and bury her face in her hair. There were tears. Even looking back at them she let out a wail and insisted she be carried inside my jacket till we got back to the car.

We don’t ask what a horsey says.

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Fuck “Sexy”

This lady. These words.
Just… THIS.
Baby leafy – May future you take this message on and run with it.

The Belle Jar

Sometimes I feel like I want to ban the word sexy. Like, take that shit out of the dictionary and impose a fine whenever someone uses it.

Which is pretty funny because I’m super sex-positive and I definitely want people to feel good about their bodies and secure in their sexuality, however it manifests itself.

But man am I ever fucking tired of how we use that word to shame girls and sell them on a bunch of gross patriarchal ideas about how they should be.

Take this picture, which was tweeted/posted by Floyd Mayweather and has been making the rounds over the past few days:


Like, first of all, this is a dude who has been charged with two counts of domestic violence. Why would anybody think that what he has to say about women is even a little bit valid? I am not really down with anyone…

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habit forming

For the fifth day in a row I’ve snuck in to leafys room to watch her sleep.
Ever since the day we went walking and she fell asleep in the pram, when I looked in at that relaxed chubby cheeked monster and thought hot damn I made something perfect, I haven’t been able to help myself.
I dont really know why, she just looks so perfect and innocent and at peace.
And she’s not destroying something, making a mess or leaking bodily fluids onto the freshly cleaned carpet.

I’ve also taken to thinking, almost all the time, how good we are together. Just the two of us. How we could withstand anything, leafy and bambi against the world.
Cause lately it kind of has been just the two of us, and its really become how I want it to be. Long term. All my future images have become just the two of us doing shit, going places. Making messes.
It’s too early for me to know what to do about that kind of thought.

Perhaps I should just stop thinking it.
Perhaps I should stop staring at her like she’ll disappear.

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what not to do when you don’t want to do what they do

I’ve found there’s been far more times in my life since becoming a parent that are cause for previously unforseen meltdowns. Although, it would probably be fair to attribute a large proportion of these blow ups to sleep deprivation (In war it’s used as a form of torture. And make no mistake, it’s effective. Professor Betty, aka uncle pretzel, recently informed me that going without sleep for 18 hours straight is akin the the affect four standard drinks would have on one’s body. I’m a perpetual drunk).
But there’s other parts of the brain that could account for such things, parts of the brain accessed early in the 18 hour stints. These are the parts that, whether innately or learnedly (sleep deprived, gang), attribute rage-a-thons to an emotionally crippled past. To a man who was prone to unneccessary outbursts in unusual situations. Like the dog that paused to sniff at a fence on her first walk in months, the child who just learnt the hilarity of repetetive ‘why?’s, a stubbed toe, a forgotten sandwich, an unforecasted shower on just hung laundry – silly imperfect little situations otherwise known as DAY TO DAY LIFE.

I found myself irrationally upset over whinging. A baby whinging. And today just before I yelled back at her, I realised what I was doing, who I was being (becoming? That’s a thought for another day), and I stopped, took a breath, and instead shared my banana nesquik covered ice cream with her, gave her a cuddle and took her for a nap.

I don’t know if this can be considered progress? I’m supposd to go see a psychologist some day in the next couple of weeks. The couple of weeks of not eating not sleeping not getting out of bed apparently attracted some notice. Maybe a long time coming?
Maybe the realisation born when that… Person (man is too big, I’d like to say something jaunty like ‘fella’, but I don’t want to ruin the word), walks past you in the street, sees you and keeps walking without a word.
I don’t want to be like that.
So what not to do? Nothing.

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How Do You Mourn The Living?


The Belle Jar

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.

If you’re a fairly regular reader here, you may have noticed that I don’t often mention my dad, and when I do it’s always in the past tense. He’ll sometimes come up when I write about my childhood, but other than that I almost never talk about him. He’s not dead or anything – in fact, he lives in the same city that I do. He’s just not a part of my life.

A few years ago my father became estranged from my sisters and I. There’s a whole lot of backstory there, but I’m not going to get into the whole thing here. For one thing, it’s not entirely my story to tell. For another, I don’t want to write anything here that might hurt anyone. So I’ll just say that there was a long, protracted leave-taking that involved a lot of tearful discussions, tentative reconciliations…

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how to teach a ten month old she’s not the boss

Okay I probably titled that wrong. Its less a how to than how not to.

I’m so not a stellar example of parenting. I haven’t been well emotionally for a while, and whilst that’s no excuse, it means I already feel like I’m on the back foot with imposing some sense of leadership over leaf.
She is the most obstinate child I’ve ever met, and I know a lot of people say that, but she is. The worst thing is people hardly notice because its in the most subtle ways that she can manipulate me.

‘Come on now,’ I hear you say, ‘she’s a baby! She can’t possibly boss you around!’
Oh but she can dear reader. She. Can:

When you’re sitting in your chair and your third mandarin becomes spontaneously unsatisfactory, what do you do? Squish it, throw it, and scream at an ungodly pitch and volume until an adequate replacement is suggested.
‘Banana? Cheese? Sandwich? Bikkie? Sultana?’

Ahhh, thinks the mama, the squished nose grin: yes please sultana.

Oops, no mum, you’re wrong. I thought you said banana again. I want banana. Allow me to demonstrate this to you by freeing the sultanas skyward to return to the heavens.

And when the banana is finished? Save the last bite for massaging against your scalp, and sharing with the dog.
Then scream that wonderful scream again, until a sandwich appears. That too is good for scalp stimulation, thought peanut butter stings less in your eyes than vegemite.

If you fancy a walk, simply reach behind you, have faith mama will grab your slippery grubby little fingers, and slip forward over her knees until you feel the ground. Next simply utilise your favourite scream until she gets the message, or loses all hearing and agrees out of weariness.

One of the worst things is when you’re hungry and she’s trying to feed you off a spoon. Like, seriously? Take the spoon like you’re going to feed yourself, but rub it all over your face. She’ll get frustrated, try to take it back, then it’s like you’re reacting to her anger when you move to take the spoon again but you’re forced to whack it as hard as you’re able till she lets go, resulting in the goop she’s trying to peddle being spattered all over everything within a 5 metre radius.

Oh and when you’re in public and you WANT THOSE SUGAR SACHETS/EGGS BENEDICT/PANCAKES/PIPING HOT COFFEE just take them. Your mama might pull you back once or twice but take a couple of moments to allow that third time to lull her into a false sense of security before your final attempt. If you’re still unsuccessful, once again make use of your pipes (what else are they for?) And really let her know. (It’s usually around this point Nan will start sharing the foam off her latte with you. Win.)

A fairly surefire way to get what you want with maximum distraction and minimum effort is to get real close to her face so she thinks you’re being sweet, then give her a good ol’ whack in the face. A few times, in quick succession. This ensures the highest return.

Ps – any of these things are likely to make her more amiable to the idea of sharing whatever she’s got with you, so if that’s really your endgame, use your brains: go all out from the beginning and then what you really want will be the lesser of the available evils. It’s all about planning, people.
Happy dominating!

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outings with leafys

It’s not often we get our shite together and leave the house, but every time we do there’s a long winded decision making process involving several key points:
– what will we be eating, and thus what is that foods capacity for being ground mercilessly into all fabrics worn, hair and items of distraction
– where are we going, and thus how seamlessly are we able to integrate breastfeeding or destructive commando crawling into the floor plan
– who else will be present, and how accepting are they off general baby-isms
– when do we anticipate returning home, and so how many different temperatures and timezones do we need to accommodate?
– How will the dear leaf cope with this event and should we even bother?
– Why do we bother?

This is all bearing in mind of course my indelible love for this child.
But so much effort. So much. Don’t wear that shirt, it’s too easy to expose a boob, don’t wear those pants they’ll show every stain, the laces come undone on those shoes, you’ll fall over.

Being a mother means every single thing is of unparalleled momentous consideration, things that never before occured to anyone ever. Not even a teenage girl on her way to a backyard party where the boy she likes is apparently maybe going to show up, late possibly and she has to decide whether to risk her parents seeing her expose a tad too much cleavage or have them wonder why she needs to take a bag when shes just going to watch movies at sophies house.

I wonder why I don’t think that hard about anything else?
I mean, I do. Everything is dissected. But thats just because I can’t make a choice, not because Im particularly concerned about the outcome.
Why study? Why not? Why work? Why live in Traralgon? Why not Melbourne? Should I get a bigger car? Is it worth saving? Where do I see myself in a year? Five years, ten?
Dunno, I’ll worry about it later. You see where I’m going.

It is essentially impossible to spend that amount of time contemplating every single decision. Sometimes you can explore them endlessly, come at it from every possible angle, and still not know. So why bother?

Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this man?

recurring themes.

I’ve not stopped with my terrible indecision. You’d be forgiven for thinking I was a masochist, and hey – maybe I am.
But there’s more to it than that (I hope).

I like to think that I’m intelligent (interestingly [ironically?] I was thinking intelligent, but the word terrible appeared. Yes hello Dr Freud, my name’s Bambi.), maybe a little rash sometimes, but for the most part I agonize over a decision, and more often than not change my mind after I finally say nope, this is it!
You’d think that because of these things I wouldn’t often find myself in a position of catastrophic moral conflict.

Or maybe you would.

I question everything I think now.

Every thought I have though hinges on how it will impact leafy, what she’ll think of me when she’s capable of questioning me.

How does one make a decision? Filter ones own thoughts?