Tuesday, January 30, 2007

bits and pieces

Yesterday I mistook my friend's son for a cat (c'mon, children and cats are very similar). I was talking to this friend, whom I am only just getting to know, via IM and webcam. She mentioned something about wanting me to see 'Jake', whom I vaguely knew to be her son. However, before I'd fully registered her statement, my attention was caught by the sight of something round, furry, and wriggling, which was fuzzily visible in her lap.

"Is that a cat?" I typed, and sent. As I pressed send, the webcam picture became clearer. The 'cat' lifted it's head up from its mother's lap, and morphed into the tousled head of Jake. Whoops! How do you recover from that? How do you take your ginormous foot out of your mouth to explain how you thought your friend's beloved child was a feline critter? I did my best.

With Laura at school, I have been spending more one-on-one time with Benjamin. Today we got out magazines and scissors and glue for him to do some collage (no, I'm not always such an interactive mother, but every now and then I do try!). I noticed, not for the first time, Ben's endearing habit of opening and closing his jaws in time with the scissor blades. Cut, cut, cut (chomp, chomp, chomp). It's awfully cute. Apparently Fatty used to stick his tongue out when cutting, as a kid. Sounds dangerous to me. The important thing here is - Ben's weird habit can be blamed on Fatty. Perfect.

Although it is Laura who is spreading her wings and going to school, Ben is also attempting to do more and more for himself. It's a relatively new thing, because for the past 4 years, Ben has spent his waking hours trying to get Fatty and I to run around madly fetching him things and dressing him and making him snacks. This kid was born to be served... but he really lucked out with us for parents!

As part of his newfound independence, Benjamin has been buckling himself into his carseat. Whoo-hoo! Yay Ben! Occasionally, though, he can't quite get the second 'prong' in. Today he was struggling, and the car was stinking hot, so I reached over to help. I was stopped in my tracks by his protest, "Mummy! Why do you have to be so helpful?"

Why indeed. Silly me.

That's pretty much it. Life goes on as usual, for which I am very thankful.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


My gangly gap-toothed girl begins Grade 1 tomorrow, and I thought I would be fine. I smirked when the teacher told us there would be tissues for the parents the first morning. Yet tonight, I find myself tearful and pensive.

Were I to search the world over, I don't think I could find a daughter I'd love more. My Laura-Lou, my oldest, tugs at my heartstrings in a particular way, because she is such a good and true little person. Not perfect, not insufferably and consciously good, just a wonderful, decent kid. A sweetheart. A treasure.

So tomorrow, out into the wide world goes my first-born. She will make new friends, and become more independent. As time passes, she will slowly grow away from her parents, and identify more with her peers. In years to come, there will be times when she hates me, or at least hates the way I talk/walk/act/dress. There may be times when she makes me yell with frustration or weep with hurt.

I hope there will always be this same bond of love between us, to carry us through. I hope Laura will overlook my funny habits, my annoying ways. I hope Laura will love me with all her heart, just as I love her.

Laura, my little Louey, you are brave, bright and beautiful. You're going to be the best little schoolgirl around!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

absence makes the heart .... go to the movies!

I know maybe I should be pining more, but truthfully I am relishing the opportunity to be lazy, and to hang about with my beloved. Yes, it is true, Fatty and I are sans children. My mother has whisked them away. Part of me misses their sweet rosy cheeks, but another part of me can hardly believe our luck!

It started as a simple plea for childcare today for Laura (school doesn't resume here until this coming Monday, and both Fatty and I work Thursdays). Before I knew it, Mum had concocted an evil plan to spirit both my offspring away to the farm - leaving the night before and staying over the next night too. The oddest thing was, our home-loving Ben actually wanted to stay two nights, and has not changed his mind!!

Last night, Fatty was on call, so we didn't go out, but ordered child-unfriendly food (lots of sashimi) and ate it with chilled wine on the back deck. We then ate chocolate and watched a DVD.... without having to attend to kids at all. It was so relaxing to just flop onto couches and watch a movie together.

So, what to do tonight, what to do? Will we eat out, will we see a movie? I think doing both sounds good!

*PS Mum, if you're reading this - wanna do this again next week? he he*

Monday, January 22, 2007

smiling through tears

Today I met 'Marcia'. Marcia used to come to see another doctor in the surgery where I work, until the other doctor recently moved away. Marcia wanted this and that checked; she wanted to ask a few questions. Everything checked out fine, and it seemed the consultation was drawing to a close. Then I noticed a few words in the history section of her chart

'son killed in MVA'

(for those not familiar with the acronym, 'MVA' is short for motor vehicle accident)

If there is one thing, above all else, that makes my heart sink in my chest, it is hearing of the death of a child. Losing a daughter or son is every parent's greatest fear. From the moment our first baby is born, we begin to understand the possibility of staggering loss; we know that with the loss of a child we would unravel, unravel, disintegrate. We know we would somehow have to put ourselves back together again, and we would always bear the scars. Some of you would probably say from personal experience that there is no greater pain. I cannot imagine a more enduring pain.

So when I saw these few words on the screen in front of me, I asked Marcia about her son. I asked how she was coping.

Marcia's eyes began to glisten, but no tears spilled out. She began to talk about her boy, the boy she lost six years ago. She told me that many days she remembered him fondly, and smiled at funny memories. Many days she worked and ate and slept without effort. But there were other days where her grief slapped her in the face and left her breathless, as if to remind her that she would never be free of it. Marcia's voice shook a little as she explained this all to me.

After a moment, Marcia sat up straighter, and smiled.

"I'm really lucky, though. My family and friends have been incredible".

"Oh yes?" I inquired.

"Yes. They still talk about Bobby, and they remember important dates. Like the anniversary of his death, they will send me an e-mail, a text message, or just pop their head into my office and say 'Crappy day, Marsh?' It helps to know they remember. He's not forgotten."

Marcia paused for a minute, thoughtfully. "I mean, obviously I'll never forget Bobby. But it helps to know that my friends and family won't either."

After Marcia left, I couldn't stop thinking about her story. I was impressed by her resilience, and her positive attitude. I couldn't begin to comprehend what she had suffered. But even more than this, I was amazed to think of the kindness and goodness of these people around Marcia - these wonderful souls who take care to remember her boy's birthday, the anniversary of his death, and the memories of him that his mother holds as dear to her as any living love. Six years after Bobby's death, they take the trouble to honour a boy who died, because they know how his mother loved him so.

I know this story is sad, but I think it's happy, too. Because although terrible things happen, there are some mighty fine people in this world. And that can make all the difference.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Fatty and I have just finished watching a movie about the battles fought by Australian troops against the Japanese, along the Kokoda trail, in Papua New Guinea. I am still reeling. I simply did not know the details of this almighty fight.

And oh, what a fight the Aussies fought - outnumbered 10 to 1, in heat and mud, with leeches and biting insects; battling dysentery and tropical ulcers as fearsome as the enemy. I am humbled by the fortitude of these Australian men. Not only did they mount a courageous defence, they forced the Japanese to retreat, and saved our country from almost certain Japanese invasion from the north.

I am reminded of the incredible debt my generation owes to these earlier generations - to the soldiers who were killed or wounded (in body or in mind), to their wives and sweethearts who lost partners, to the soldiers' mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

I hope that somehow they know that I am thinking of them tonight; that all they gave was not in vain; that they are remembered and revered.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

right here, right now

Those children of ours are playing doctor and patient. I would like to point out that it was my mother-in-law who gave our ratbags their medical kit. I myself would prefer they be given chef kits, so they can take over the cooking for me, or perhaps they could be gifted with mops or small vacuum cleaners. After all, I'm aiming to be like Redneck Mommy and have my kids earn their bed for the night!

Fatty is resolutely eating cereal and reading up on the Australian Open tennis. He is a pretty big sports fan and I suspect would read about ping pong if he found such an article.

I'm drinking coffee and reading the fashion section (because Fatty was hogging the news section when I started, and now I have got totally caught up in whether I should be wearing the mini dress or the sack dress this season. I'm thinking either would look fabulous on me. *small cough*)

That's our morning. Hello! from all of us!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

news from the house of Jelly

I can't believe I haven't blogged for so long. Because there has been so much going on here. Groundbreaking stories every hour. Where shall I start?

Well, firstly -

1) the dog has been emitting such pungent aromas (all the while snoring innocently on her dog pillow) that I have been forced to issue denials to Fatty as we watch Seinfeld (e.g. "Just in case you were wondering ...that was NOT me!")

2) sweet Laura has lost a front tooth! Alert all media, release balloons, sound trumpets! She looks adorably gappy. The tooth fairy must have thought so, too, because she left behind five dollars. Kids today are so spoilt.

3) Benjamin the Invincible has picked up a new phrase (?from a movie) and has been trying it out-

"Get me some milk on the double!"

It's a damn fine try at parent-manipulation, but unfortunately instead of rushing to do Ben's bidding, I find myself laughing uncontrollably. I mean, as if!

(* skip this next section if squeamish*)

4) At work, I have been inundated with a plague of festy mucky ear canal infections, pus-filled sores, speckly heat rashes and scabbed-up eczema.

Didn't I just tell you my days were fascinating?

So, how fascinating has your day been so far?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

being true to my name

There's nothing quite like a good old laugh at yourself. Or maybe it's only me who feels this way. After all, I have found myself, over the years, to be an endless source of pea-brained errors and social gaffes.

At any rate, I amuse myself regularly, but here's one of my better blunders.

Last week, I saw one of my regular patients, who confessed to me she'd become ill after taking some diet pills. She told me the name of the pills, which made me raise my eyebrows a little. "Really? Were they really called F** B******?", I asked 'Katrina'. She nodded, and I furrowed my brow. "Hmmm. Maybe they're aimed more at men?" I mused. I checked my medications database, but found nothing by the same name. I wondered if perhaps it was a new tablet.

Later, I carefully documented the name of the pills in my notes. Katrina was well again, and I thought nothing of it until yesterday.

Our practice nurse 'Meg', sidled into my room, smirking. She'd been looking up some blood test results for Katrina, and had seen my notes.

"I think you may have misheard Katrina Fenton", she sniggered.

"What?", I asked, nose buried in paperwork.

"Those diet pills she took..." (more smirking)


"I think they were called 'Fat Blaster'."

(small pause)

"As opposed to 'Fat Bastard'."

At this point we both lost our composure and began snort-laughing and clutching our bellies. I had tears. Meg had tears. I had to take several deep breaths before ushering in the next patient, and even then I think I may have smiled inappropriately. I am still grinning like a lunatic and chuckling to myself as I write this now.


Can't you just see a burly beer-bellied bloke ambling up to the pharmacist?

- 'Ray, I'm going to need another bottle of those Fat Bastards.'