Thursday, March 30, 2006

bedtime song

Every night, Fatty and I put our kids to bed in the same way. It is a fairly elaborate ritual involving two books being read aloud, two made-up stories being told, and then a song being sung to each child in their bed. We have friends who laugh at our folly, and think we are nuts for committing to this complex bedtime pattern. My friend KP tells me sternly that she has a strict 'one book, then bed' policy. But I like our carryings-on. It is a time when I focus completely on my kids - snuggle with them, chat with them, and sing to them softly.

When I was a little girl, my mother sang to me every night. My favourite song would change over time. At one stage, Mum would sing 'Yellow Bird' to me each night. There was one part of the song where she didn't know the words, so she would sing,"da-da, da-da-dum, da-da, da-da-dum.... you're more lucky than me!". Now, I sometimes sing this same song to Laura. For ages I sang the 'da-da, da-da-dum', too. Now I have googled the song, and know all the words. Funny, doesn't sound as comforting without the da-da's.

When Fatty sings the bedtime songs, he often sings the first 2 verses of a song called 'Two Little Boys'. It is a sweet, sweet song, that brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. To hear my children singing these words in their their lisping, clear little is one of the most beautiful sounds I've heard:

Two Little Boys by Edward Madden (first two verses)

Two little boys
Had two little toys,
Each had a wooden horse;
Gaily they played
Each summer's day -
Warriors both of course.
One little chap
Then had a mishap,
Broke off his horse's head;
Cried for his toy,
Then cried for joy
As his young playmate said:

"Did you think I would leave you crying
When there's room on my horse for two?
Climb up here, Jack, we'll soon be flying;
I can go just as fast with two.
When we grow up we'll both be soldiers,
And our horses will not be toys,
And I wonder if we'll remember
When we were two little boys."

Monday, March 27, 2006

and the winner of Most Exciting Parent 2006 is....not me

We share the child care, my husband and I. That is to say, he looks after the children one day of the week, and now thinks he's Mr Mom as a consequence. It's not just Fatty who thinks he's terrific, either...other women of our acquaintance are forever fawning over his perceived goodness and fatherly prowess and gushing over his wondrous ways. My mother thinks the sun shines out of his cute little butt. Huh! Does anyone praise me for taking care of my progeny the rest of the time? Not likely.

So anyway, the day that Fatty is the SAHD, he drops our daughter off to school, and then whizzes off to do something dazzlingly interesting with Ben. They go to the museum; they go eat donuts; they go to the library. Daddy is a veritable one-stop fun-shop. He says 'yes' to almost anything, food with any nutritional content is optional, and the house looks like a construction site when I pick my way gingerly down the hall after work.

Then there are the days I'm in charge. On these days, I must grocery shop, take kids to swimming lessons, take kids for haircuts, cut their fingernails, do washing, fold clothes, take kids to the dentist...blah blah blah. Do you see what I mean? I am simply no fun to be around. I get all the boring bits.

Now, in case you're about to tell me to let the house get dirty, forget the washing, and just go have some fun...well I do try to manage some small outing or new experience with Ben, while his sister is at school. I fit it right in between grocery shopping so we have food to eat, and taking the dog for her shots, so she doesn't die of rabies...or dog whooping cough..or whatever it is that dogs need vaccinations for. We still have good fun, but I suspect never as much fun as when time is unimportant; when Daddy is in charge.

Today, Fun Parent took Ben to the water's edge, to explore the mud flats in his Batman boots (I believe that -completely coincidentally - there happened to be some water birds in the area. And you know how my dearest Fatty feels about anything avian).

Tomorrow it's my turn. If the photo is anything to go by, I reckon the boots and the mud are going to be hard to top.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


The sometimes serious, sometimes hilarious, and always fascinating blogger, cmhl, recently wrote a guest post for another blogger. cmhl bravely told a cringe-worthy story of a ski trip she once took, where she was embarrassed and humiliated in front of her then-fiance (now husband) and his oh-so-cool friends. It is a very funny story. Go here if you want to laugh WITH cmhl (scroll down to last Monday's post).You could probably even go there if you want to laugh AT cmhl. She's a pretty good sport, I can just tell (cmhl, am I right?!)

cmhl's tale reminded me of one of my more embarrassing blunders. I think I will share it with you. I will warn you in advance that there is nothing remotely as cool as skiing in this story.

All through high school, I played the violin in the school orchestra. Yes, I am a nerdy violin player. Our school orchestra was quite highly-regarded (as school orchestras go, that is!), and almost every year would win the all-schools title in our state-wide competition. So when, in my final high school year, I was made deputy leader of the orchestra, I was SO proud. I knew that I would be the one to lead the orchestra onstage for each performance (so that the leader could come on after the orchestra had seated, to her own round of applause). I would probably have a short solo here or there. I thought I was the bees knees and the ants pants.

One afternoon, our orchestra was performing in the city hall. I was excited. There would be a large audience. Two of my closest friends were watching. A boy who had just broken up with me would also be there. I had practised the music over & over, and knew it well. Now was my chance to shine.

I strode onto the stage, violin tucked neatly under my arm. I was also carrying an electronic tuner which our slightly tone-challenged conductor used to tune the orchestra. I circled around the back of the violin sections, making my way towards the front of the stage. It was dim light, and a large, plush curtain hung almost touching the chairs at the back of the violin section. Head held high, I stepped behind the last chair......felt my foot descend into nothing but air.... and landed in a small stairwell. CRASH! - my violin came down on its bridge, WHAM! the tuner hit the deck, and batteries rolled across the stage. OOOOOOH! inhaled the audience, in a rush of surprise and concern. I lay, half in the stairwell, half on the stage, for a moment, hearing the rumble of murmuring concert-goers. Why? Why do I always find a way to commit social suicide? I asked myself bleakly. A man climbed onstage and retrieved the batteries, handing them to me. I scrambled up awkwardly, pretending mild amusement. I wanted to run off and hide in a cupboard.

I had whacked my hip very hard in landing, but no way was I going to add to the drama by crying or limping. Making what I hoped was a 'rueful but unfazed' face, I continued to my chair and sat down. I played as usual, I smiled, I bowed with the orchestra at the end as though feeling perfectly fine. When I got home later, my hip was sporting a bruise the size of my hand.

After the orchestra's performance, I slunk into the audeince to watch other orchestras play. My friends greeted me with a muttered, "Are you OK?". There was something odd about the way their mouths were held - as if they were desperately trying to resist some uncontrollable movements. The second I affirmed I was, indeed, still physically intact, my friends bubbled over with muffled mirth...

"Oh my God, that was so funny!!! You should have seen yourself! You looked like you were trying to DIVE across the stage!"

They sputtered into silence as I looked at them in utter despondence. Kirsten tried to pacify me.
"Um, Michael didn't laugh. He seemed worried. We were with him when you - you know - fell. Down those stairs."

Great. He dumped me, and now he's witnessed me dump myself.

I rolled my eyes at my friends, but managed a small smile. I had to admit, I must have looked pretty funny - walking on with such proud, dignified bearing, then splatting onto the stage. Iris and Kirsten grinned back at me. Every so often Kirsten would start with muted laughter. Iris would shush her, and then we would all start to giggle again.

They say pride comes before a fall. I like to take these things literally.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

black belt

photo by Neenjaw Tim

Today, I thought I'd simply post a picture. It is not me, obviously! Those of you who follow this blog will understand.

I am going to drink some champagne tonight!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

defeated by a bee

Do you see these assorted insect parts? Do you see the smeary marks on the table? Now, do you think that this photo in any way resembles a bee????

Of course it bloody doesn't. It looks nothing like a bee. At the Pom Pom Pals factory, they obviously produce art packs designed to defeat and humiliate adults, never mind 3-year-old children. I bet every night those pom pom pal designers go home and snigger to themselves, wondering how many fully-grown men and women they have reduced to tears that day. Hmmph. Pah! Bugger bugger double bugger. I've no inclination for tears, but I'd love to flush this goddamn bee!!

I would have been tempted to rip the bee's head off, if only the bee's head was attached to its' body. It seems there is no glue sticky enough to unite head and body. The glue seems to stick to my fingers extremely well, yet strangely has no affinity with the pom poms. I don't really know why I persisted beyond the first step of trying to attach the eyes. Those little suckers were determined to resist me from the get-go. They were free spirits; wild, roaming eyes. I could not tame them.

I think this bee is representative of how my day has been in general - badly-organised and ultimately quite unsuccessful. My frustration levels are...well, elevated. Nothing so terrible has happened; nothing has gone very smoothly, though. I tried to be an interactive, hands-on mother and ended up swearing under my breath at a bee. A pom pom bee. Well yes, pieces of a pom pom bee, to be precise. I know! - get a grip, woman!

Ah well, I'll be much better in a couple of hours. The cure to all stress awaits ...... my karate class! Whoo-hoooooo!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

a fanciful child

The more I get to know my daughter, Laura, the more I see traits in her that I remember from my own childhood. Perhaps I'm partly imagining them. Perhaps I'm projecting certain emotions onto her behaviour, which she may not truly be feeling. I don't think so, though. My Laura Lou is a sensitive, slightly serious creature, given to fanciful thoughts, and rapt in stories of princes and castles ... strangely similar to her mother at the same age.

The other night, when feverish and dull-eyed, Laura sighed and tossed in her bed. I sat at her bedside, and asked her what was wrong. Laura sighed again, shook her head, and murmured, "You'll think it's silly".

"I won't. I promise I won't think you're silly. What is it?", I queried.

"It's just.... my head feels too big for my neck. My neck is too skinny and my head is too big."

The thing is, I knew exactly what she meant - that thick, heavy-headed feeling that high temperatures bring. I smiled, and told Laura I understood; that what she said made perfect sense. I went to fetch the Nurofen.

When I was small, I remember trying to explain my odd thoughts to my mother. I don't ever remember her laughing, or telling me I was silly, but I have a vague memory of her seeming concerned, and loving, but slightly perplexed. My mother is a very down-to-earth person. I'm not sure that she knew what I was rambling on about much of the time.

I recall one summer being terribly un-nerved by the sound of slow knocking. Any sort of slow, insistent banging gave me the creeps. I remember trying to demonstrate the scariness to my mother, by rapping my fist in a rhythm on the wall, with long pauses between strikes. In my memory, my mother made some supportive sort of response, but I could tell she couldn't comprehend the fear. I was an odd sort of kid, I suppose.

Another time, aged 7 or so, I remember being very worried by the fact that over about 3 days, every time I burped, I could taste grilled cheese sandwiches. I kept telling Mum, " It's happening again! I can taste grilled cheese!". I felt like I would never escape the clutches of the melted cheese sandwiches, that Grilled Cheese had taken over my body like some sort of a demon. I probably didn't know about demons, then, actually. But I definitely was distressed. I'm not sure what my poor mother thought.

Then there were the strong feelings I had about numbers. Odd numbers were shady, shifty, mean sorts of numbers - not to be trusted. Even numbers, on the other hand, were honest, straightforward and decent. So if asked to choose a number between 1 and 10, it was always going to be an even number. Two was too few, eight was too much. Four was OK, but to be frank, not quite enough. Now, SIX....well, how could you go past it?? The number six was obviously the perfect number. I am still a huge fan of six.

Perhaps I wasn't such a strange child - perhaps all children have these weird thoughts, but just don't tell each other. Instead, kids confide in their old, sensible parents.

I may be old, but I'm still not completely sensible. And when it comes to parenting, that's not always such a bad thing.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

things left unsaid

You know, I've been thinking about what I said yesterday, when I joked that I had lost all ability to write. I was kidding around, but I also genuinely thought I had nothing to say.

Today, I realised I have plenty to say, but it just isn't anything profound, or funny, or especially entertaining. I suspect I may be editing myself, just in case you guys get bored with me. Now, as much as I don't want to send any of you into some kind of catatonic state, I also don't want to get too self-conscious, either. This is my blog, and if it's occasionally a blustering, bumbling and basically bloody boring blog....well at least you'll be proud of my alliteration.
There are three things on my mind at the moment, and they're sitting in the centre of my brain, taking up almost all the space. (The rest of the space is occupied by fat, if you believe my dear husband).
These are my current musings:
1) I have a karate grading in just over a week. I am going to attempt to get my first black belt. I am very nervous, and can't stop thinking things like - 'What if I freeze up, like I did that time last year?' and other self-destructive thoughts.
2) My daughter has had fevers, just fevers, for 4 days now. Although she isn't too unwell in herself, I worry a little. Sometimes being a doctor helps, because I can check her throat, her ears, her chest. However, I can also imagine all the rare things she could possibly have (and almost certainly doesn't have!).
3) One of my patients died this week. She was in her late 70's, with widespread cancer, and it was an expected death. But to me, every death is sad in some way, no matter what platitudes people mouth about 'it's better this way' etc. It would have been better for this stoic, beautiful lady to have done Tai Chi and played suduko and had the odd glass of wine, and lived in ruddy good health until she died in her sleep, aged 90, after a laughter-filled evening with her family. It would have been better that way.
I didn't ever get close to 'Marjorie'. When I told her, gut twisting, that her cancer had spread, Marjorie took it all in her stride. She asked, dry-eyed, about treatment options. I never saw her shed a tear, even during several home visits towards the end. I know Marjorie must have cried sometime. I honestly believe, though, that she was a woman who took what life threw at her and did the best she could with it - good or bad.
I was not close to her, but I had the privilege of attending to her in her last days. Marjorie, rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

garden happy-snaps

OK, it's official. All rational thought has been eradicated from my brain
by the grocery shopping, the sandwich-making, the clothes-folding, the fight refereeing...

I must now resort to merely posting pictures. I may have to re-name this blog 'Jellyhead's Gallery'. I will simply snap, snap, snap all day, and show you what I've discovered, wordlessly. Or at least, with only a few succinct words.

Actually, I have just done a 'guest post' for a fellow blogger. It was a nerve-wracking experience. I didn't want to embarrass this blogger in front of her adoring audience. I squeezed my last tiny drop of creativity into writing something for my friend. Now I am a hollow vessel. A remarkably talkative hollow vessel, you may remark. Shush up. I'm going now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

triple chocolate muffins

Yesterday, I did a bit of cooking with Laura and Benjamin (see pictorial evidence). I find that my children provide a great excuse for me to go ahead and bake all kinds of wicked treats. They'll enjoy pouring and mixing, I tell myself. It's something we can do together, I rationalise. I suppose the kids and I could bake some healthy, oatmeal-encrusted, dried-fruit-loaded, yoghurt-based slice. But we don't. We make naughty, iced patty cakes, peanut butter biscuits (cookies) and chocolate cake. And now these gooey, chocolate-y muffins.

I blame Flossy for this latest venture into Sweet Toothery. She should never have posted a recipe for triple chocolate muffins. It was quite irresponsible of her, really. What about the diabetics? What about the people with high cholesterol? What about the greedy women in their mid-30's who have husbands who wear their socks too high, and thus need consolation in the form of chocolate??? Did Flossy consider any of these minority groups when she so selfishly posted her favourite muffin recipe? Nooooooo, she did NOT.

Some people are just all ME, ME, ME.

PS Flossy, these were very yummy - thanks!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

a legacy of love

I visited my grandfather this week. Grandpa still lives in his own home, at age almost 92, and is still as sharp as a tack. Two days before I visited, he had overbalanced and fallen, bruising his hip and shoulder. Thankfully there were no other injuries, besides his wounded dignity. We ate some fruit loaf together, and talked.

Visiting Grandpa is always tinged with a little sadness, because my Grandma is no longer alive. Grandpa and Grandma were a real team, and my grandfather still misses her keenly, although it has been 11 years since she died. Grandma and Grandpa had such a profound love for each other - I suppose that kind of love doesn't just die when one partner dies.

As a teenager, hoping to one day find a long-lasting relationship myself, it was my grandparents' marriage that I held up as an ideal. This was partly because my parents' marriage was clearly not something I wanted for myself. This was also because, although they occasionally quarrelled, Grandpa and Grandma never disrespected each other, and in daily life they were loving, affectionate and playful together. They thanked each other for chores one did for the other. They kissed hello and goodbye, even if my grandfather was merely going out into the paddocks for a few hours. They laughed at each others' jokes. Anyone who spent time with my grandparents could see the happiness they brought to each other - it glowed all around them like a double aura.

My grandparents were married for over 50 years. They worked hard to establish themselves; Grandpa built their house himself, and Grandma made it a comfortable home. They raised 2 children, and saw their children have children. They travelled together, to Europe and to North America. They shared many joys, and few sadnesses, in their life.

My Grandma was ill for many months before she died, but she was lucid up until her last few hours. Grandpa cared for her at home, and Grandma died in her own bed, with her beloved soul mate beside her.

Just a few days before Grandma died -when she was painfully thin, and weak, and barely able to whisper - Grandpa came into their bedroom to check on my grandmother. Finding Grandma on his side of the bed, Grandpa teased his girl, saying, "What are doing over here, pet?". Grandma smiled, and touched a hand to his cheek. "Looking for you, Romeo!", she replied.

I wasn't present in the room during that brief exchange. My grandfather told me the story. It's a story I'll treasure and remember always.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

birds on the brain

Before I say anything, let it be known that I am myself a person of great nerdiness. I was born nerdy, grew up nerdy, and have remained so. I have never entered the ranks of the cool people. I am quite comfortable with that.

But there's nerdy and then there's beyond nerdy. There's regular, slightly-unfashionable-and-occasionally-socially-awkward nerdy and then there's HUGELY, no-need-for-contraception-when-your-husband-is-this-nerdy nerdy. My husband has definitely approached this threshold.

Yesterday, Fatty had an afternoon off work. So what would any good birdwatcher do? Of course, he donned hat and sunscreen and disappeared off to the bush with his camera. But just before he left, our 3-year-old Ben starting crying, bleating, 'I don't want you to go bird-watching, Daddy'. Guiltily, Fatty promised he'd meet up with us at swimming lessons in an hour, and then he slunk away to get his birdie fix. Tweet tweet.

Ten minutes into the kids' swimming lessons, I figured Fatty probably got distracted by the striking markings of a blue-faced honeyeater. Understandable, really. But alas this was not the case. Striding towards me along the length of the pool was a sweat-streaked Fatty, in tucked-in polo shirt (ugh), yard shorts (hmmm), with belt (what?), and some grotty running shoes, with socks sneaking towards mid-calf region (who *is* this man?!). The whole ensemble was set off by the fact that Fatty's hair, having been compressed under his Akubra hat, had morphed itself into a kind of comb.....rooster-like. I bravely smiled in greeting, and tried my best to look loving and accepting. Perhaps I could pass him off as my brother.

It seemed all the other fathers there had trendy shorts, or funky shirts, or earrings in one ear. They lounged, casually, as Fatty whipped out his camera and started furiously snapping shots of our aquatic-dwelling offspring. He refused to sit down, preferring to remain standing and snapping. I furtively tried to smooth down the peak of hair on his head. He snorted derisively, " Who cares? I'm not here to hit on anyone, I'm watching my kids swim!".The woman next to me glanced at my shiny, rumpled husband, and politely averted her gaze again.

Now you all know I do adore Fatty, and I'm not so superficial as to think any less of him just because he publicly humiliated me at the pool. But let's just say that when Fatty's been out birding, the blue-faced honeyeaters probably want to be close to him a hell of a lot more than I do. And even they take flight.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

kid conversation

In my experience, life is rarely dull with kids. Exhausting, yes; frustrating, it's true; but hardly ever boring - especially with slightly older children, who have plenty to say.

Both my kids seem to have pretty good memories...way better than me, anyway. I told one story about Princess Missy Moo and Brave Knight Steve (who incidentally wasn't very brave at all - kind of whiny really- and Princess Missy Moo refused to marry him, which unfortunately caused Laura to cry, and made Fatty remark that my stories are way too feminist) and then several weeks later Ben was requesting a story about 'Brave Knight Steve'. I sniggered at the name before slowly remembering that this fictional character was created by me. Er, right....more about Steve then...

Laura also has a memory like an elephant, and will dredge up memories from when she was two or younger, just to torture me...

"Remember Mum when I was really sick, and you had to put medicine in my bottom?". Yes, well, I do remember that now; thanks for reminding me.

Of my two kids, though, Benjamin is the more vocal - he talks an awful lot. When we are out somewhere together, and I become aware of someone listening to our conversation, I realise just how much Ben loves to chat. I spend hours listening to his ideas, exclaiming over his fanciful tales, and answering a gazillion questions. Today in the supermarket, Ben asked me, "What does EGGZILLERATING mean?". He'd heard it on TV. I did my best to explain.

Some of the best amusement I get, though, comes from Ben's ability to recite phrases from movies, television, or overheard adult conversation. He stores these little gems up, and uses them at the oddest of moments. Last week, in the change-rooms at the swimming pool, I left Ben perched on the toilet, as I ducked around the corner to help Laura turn the shower on. There were mothers and children dressing and showering everywhere. Ben's cheery voice came echoing off the tiled walls....

" Now that's something you don't see every day!".

I busied myself with Laura. No way was I going to admit to being his parent.

Friday, March 03, 2006

looking back in time

Mackeydoodle, that wicked Canadian, has tagged me. I am not very obedient when it comes to tags. I thought I'd try to appease by at least answering the first question:

What were you doing ten years ago?

Ten years ago, I was working in a hospital. It was my second year of work, but I was still very nervous about my job (heck, I'm still nervous NOW!). It didn't seem quite right that I should be doctoring, because that was supposed to be for wise, confident, knowledgeable people who strode about proclaiming The Diagnosis and ordering The Treatment. I felt like an impostor, fearing discovery at every turn.

Early in the year, I was rotated into a job on the paediatric orthopaedic ward (that's kids bones, for anyone scratching their heads). This job was pretty easy - I just had to check the kids over prior to surgery, hold up various little people limbs during surgery, then make sure the children recovered safely afterwards. I settled into the job with relief. There was nothing too tricky, and the hours were good, too.

Often in the mornings, I would come across a serious, messy-haired man who was the anaesthetic registar (ie training in anaesthetics). I thought he was cute, but reserved - the brooding type. And perhaps because he was just that teensy bit cool towards me - why is this so true of many women?! - I found him terribly intriguing. I figured he probably had a long-term girlfriend anyway. Ah, what a shame, I mused.

Then one day I found myself holding a leg in the air in the operating theatre (yes, all those long years of medical school had taught me special leg-elevating skills), whilst shaggy-hair-man kept the small patient asleep at the head of the table. The two training-to-be orthopaedic surgeons doing the actual operating were going on with their usual macho b***s***. I really found it hard to maintain basic politeness towards these archaic cave-dwelling creatures. It was nothing for them to comment on my appearance, remark that I should be getting married soon, or send me to do any tedious non-medical job that they preferred not to do for themselves.

I was getting tired of keeping quiet and listening to their crap. So this particular day, I started countering everything they were saying. When they started ribbing me about how I'd soon be wanting to find a husband, have babies and stay home, I countered by retorting that I had no intention of marrying unless someone truly spectacular came along. If for some reason I did choose to procreate, I rambled, I expected to continue to work, and my husband could stay home with the kids. They laughed and went on with their blokey hammering and nailing. Turns out they were quite right to laugh, but let's just gloss right over that, please.

Suddenly the messy-haired man spoke. He said he'd been reading in his textbook about how women's bodies had much higher percentages of fat. Therefore, he concluded, women's brains must, compared to men's, be full of fat.

I was appalled. I thought this guy may be cute, but he's a jerk and a male chauvinist. In fact, this was my dear Fatty (as you've probably guessed), trying to get my attention by provoking me. It was similar to when you're a schoolboy, and you pull the pigtail of the girl you like, I suppose. You can most likely deduce that I soon figured out Fatty was actually not such a jerk. I also came to realise that Fatty's reserved manner was more to do with shyness than arrogance. So when he asked me out one day, I was buzzing with excitement. I had a feeling that this was the start of something huge. Even as a romantic, hormonal teenager, I had never felt so energised. A voice inside my head was telling me - this could be The One. As it turns out, he was; he is.

To summarise - ten years ago I was tentatively bumbling my way through my job, verbally defending myself against sexist pig registars, and falling head over heels for a man with hair that was perpetually in need of a cut.

I think that about sums it up.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


In case you didn't notice from the comments section of my last post - I have been exposed and identified. My blog address is now known to my mother, an aunt and two cousins. I feel a bit like you do in that dream where you turn up to school in just your undies.

Having read a post from my blog once, then cleverly remembered the address, Mum has been reading my blog for a couple of months now. I didn't much mind having Mum perusing my posts. She's a very uncritical mother, and we've always confided in each other, so I didn't feel self-conscious, knowing she might be reading. But no-one else knew but Mum until just now. I think her mother's pride got the better of her. She was irresistably compelled to show my writing to her sister, who then mentioned it to her 2 daughters.

I was cranky with Mum when I discovered - I was sure she knew I wanted complete anonymity. It never crossed my mind that she would tell anyone else how to access my blog. Now I am no longer mad, but I do feel weird about this blog. I hardly knew how to start writing tonight. And this is in no way any comment on my aunt or my cousins - in fact they are all very warm and lovely women - it's just strange trying to write with readers who know you. I feel vulnerable.

I'm not sure what the solution might be. I'm trying to 'act normal', and in this case, my 'acting normal' involves writing about a situation that has distressed me, in the full knowledge that the people involved may well read these words. It feels bizarre. I don't want anyone to feel slighted, and I don't want my mother to feel worse (because she knows she's upset me, and she already feels bad enough).

I guess in time I will forget I have relatives reading, and will just write as always. I hope so. Tonight I am practising continuing to write what's on my mind. No doubt it's less than a rolicking read, but sometimes blogging is like that.

I know many of you, my blogpals, have family and friends who read what you write. Does this cramp your style? Are you more guarded in what you write than you'd like to be? Any solutions for problems you've encountered? I really want to get over this small hump, so your advice is much appreciated.