Ten things I’d really have liked for Mothers Day

Okay.  I know this is an easy target.  And there are probably a lot of these lists going around.  And of course, if I really could have anything I wanted, I would wish for world peace and end to poverty and a cure for cancer and MS and every other bastard degenerative disease out there.  I’d also wish for a happy ending for all of the women who so desperately want to be mums, but aren’t yet.  Excruciating.

So thank you to my beautiful children, and their handmade cards and gifts.  And thank you to my husband for buying me flowers and vacuuming the car and making me dinner.  I salute you.

mothers day delights

Here are ten things which would also have been awesome Mothers Day gifts:

1.  It would be really nice if, for once, my daughter nailed the ‘what I love about Mummy’ question, at the school mothers day morning.

You know – the bit when you all sit around in a circle, and every child has a turn at saying something nice about their mum?  In front of EVERYONE.  And I see her start to squirm… Some acceptable examples, as voiced by her classmates last Friday, were:

  • She’s AMAZING
  • She’s beautiful
  • She’s the best mum in the world (5 children said this!)

And what I got was:

  • She cooks me food

Now this is a true statement.  I do, in fact, cook her dinner most nights, and pack her lunches every day.  And yet… I’ll admit to being a little underwhelmed.  Surely an adjective or two wouldn’t go astray here?

fish finger guys

(I do make awesome dinners)

2.  I would love a shoe re-homing device

Like a Robomaid, only it specifically seeks out shoes (must be able to climb walls to reach those placed on the mantle piece out of the puppy’s reach) and returns them neatly to the correct closets.  Just a little thing, but I think it would make me immensely happy.

my mantle piece

3.  I’d like my children to remember to flush the toilet and wash their hands

Again, just a little thing.  And not a terribly difficult concept to grasp, one would think.  But do you know how often it is that I walk into the bathroom to be greeted by Mr Hanky staring back at me?!  Far too often.

I think what I need is one of those space aged booths with automatic flushing and a lock-in system which denies exit until you’ve washed your hands (with soap Goddamnit).  This would also eliminate the ‘did you wash and flush?’ question, which I currently ask at least five times daily.

And while I’m on the subject of toileting,..

4.  Is there such a thing as doggy toilet training boot camp?

And if not, can I maybe have that Chesty Bonds Vet man from the tele come over for some intensive toilet training assistance?  And I can make him cups of tea and regale him with cute puppy stories..

Why are you looking at me like that?  Did I say that out loud?

bondi vet man

What? Are you saying I’m the first person to have this fantasy?

Oh and one more while I’m on the subject:

5.  Can I please be allowed to go to the toilet in peace?!  PLEASE!?

This means no barging through the door as soon as I have closed it.  Or, for that matter, trying to hip-and-shoulder the door down if I lock it.  And no thumping on the door and asking me questions.  And no wailing MUUUUMMAAA I need you!

And finally, no slumping heavily against the bathroom door and breathing loudly until I am finished.  Just NO!  Okay?!

6.  I would like a mute button for the children

Now I don’t wish to sound harsh here.  I adore my children.  And they say some of the most delightful things.  So I would just like the option of the mute button for emergencies, and I promise I wouldn’t use it too often.


7.  I’d like a CCTV slow motion playback / external referee to sort out the children’s arguments

Imagine how much easier this would make my life?!  All I’d need to do, in the event of the screaming match / sobbing child / mysterious chocolate swindle, would be to make that special sign they do (where you draw the outline of a screen with your fingertips, and look up to the heavens).

I might use my mute button whilst waiting for the decision.

red card

Sorry kids – official decision is final

8.  I’d like the children to call out ‘DADDDYEEEEEE!!!’ in the middle of the night, in the event of a wet bed / tummy ache / evil Kermit in the cupboard / unexplained night terror / pending vomit

Enough said.  Moving right along..

9.   I’d like an extra 5 minutes sleep for every F&#KING loom band I find around the house.

I mean SERIOUSLY!  These things are everywhere.  And the dog tries to eat them.  And then I have to chase her.  And then she thinks I’m playing with her.  And then by the time I’ve finally caught her and prized open her jaws, I’ve forgotten what the hell I was doing in the first place.loom bands

10.  I’d like a four day mini break in Noosa with 7 old friends, a rooftop spa and and an afternoon beach cocktail party

And that, my friends, is exactly what I’m doing this weekend!  Come Thursday morning I’ll be boarding a plane (without a million activity pads and snacks and changes of clothes) and ordering myself a glass of sparkling.

It’s a Mothers Day present I’m giving to myself.  And it’s going to be awesome.


Burnt chop syndrome (and other real life lunch scenarios)

Well I can’t blame an evil publishing giant this time, but tonight I’m clambering back on to my school lunch soapbox.   You see, last night it took me no less than 40 minutes to assemble three sets of kinder/school/work lunches.  Seriously.  And as I finally snapped the lid on the last box I wondered – what is wrong with me? Surely it shouldn’t be that hard.

But after debriefing with friends today, I find it’s not just me.  Evidently, there is a certain state of mojo required to expedite a school lunch.  And if you’re not feeling it, you’re in trouble.

Now in retrospect I have to admit that the wine (and the resultant CBF state of mind) probably didn’t help.  But I also blame the cute kleptomaniac who now lives with us.


I’m sorry? What is the sweet potato you’re referring to?

At one stage I had to give chase in order to wrestle a sweet potato from her jaws (mental note: never look other way with pantry door ajar).  A moment later I turned around to find her balancing on top of the rubbish bin – looking simultaneously gobsmacked and delighted by her own daredevil feat.  And seemingly every two minutes from that point, I was downing tools to rescue various household objects or human appendages from her needle-sharp choppers.

Added to the amusing puppy antics, it seemed like every plastic container I sought out was either missing a lid, needing to be washed, or had mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth.

So what did the lunch boxes finally consist of?  As you can see below, I seem to have peaked early, with child 1.  By the time it came to packing my own lunch, I was functioning solely on autopilot, and all I could muster was a Vegemite sandwich.  I was suffering a bad case of burnt chop syndrome.

burnt chop syndrome (school lunches)

Anyway, burnt chop or not, it got me thinking about the other unfortunate school lunch scenarios I’ve encountered over the years.  And here’s a sample of my top five.

Can I hear a few ‘HELL YEAH‘s in the house?!

Scenario 1.  The Incorrect Fruit

Mother:  (unpacking lunch box)  Why didn’t you eat your banana today?!

Child:  (looking revolted) Because I hate bananas.

Mother:  No you don’t – you like bananas.  You can’t tell me you don’t like bananas.

Child:  No I DON’T like bananas and you don’t know because you’re NOT ME.

Mother:  (breathes deeply) You ate two bananas yesterday.  Of your own volition.

Child: (sulking) Well I don’t like them when they’re black and squishy.

Mother:  Now come on – I put that banana in your lunch this morning and it was not black and squishy then.  It’s black and squishy now because it’s been thrown around in the bottom of your bag all day.

Child:  (stoney-faced) Well I don’t like bananas anymore OKAY?

Outcome:  Mother mentally crosses banana off ‘acceptable fruit’ list, sighs and absentmindedly takes bite of squishy banana (then forces self to chew and swallow when realises child is watching intently).  Mother looks at bowl full of bananas purchased that day, and inwardly screams.

Banksy bananas

(image: Jez)

Scenario 2.  The Incorrect Cheese

Mother: (unpacking lunch box) Why didn’t you eat your cheese today?!

Child:  Because it looked funny.

Mother: What do you mean it looked funny?  It was just cheese.

Child:  But it didn’t have a picture on it.

Mother:  That’s because I cut it off a block of cheese.

Child:  (withering look) Well I only like the wrapper cheeses.

Mother: But the wrapper ones cost $60/kg, and the block of cheese is the same thing but costs $15/kg. I don’t see what the problem is?

Child:  It IS NOT the same!  Your cheese is disgusting!

Outcome:  Mother feels defeated by marketing conglomerates and pours glass of wine.  In future, mother buys ‘pretty’ cheese with strange girl or robot faces on the wrapper in order to provide cheese option which child will actually consume. Child / marketing company celebrate.

Acceptable cheeses

Scenario 3:  Sandwich Rage

Mother:  Okay, quickly now, would you like ham/cheese/tomato, or turkey/cranberry lettuce, or tuna/celery/mayonnaise in your sandwich?

Child:  Jam.

Mother: (visibly tenses) I didn’t offer jam.  What about cream cheese/carrot/sultana?

Child: (deadpans):  Honey.

Mother:  (through clenched teeth)  Are you serious?!  ARE YOU!?

Child: (defiantly) Well I don’t feel like any of those options!  Why can’t I just have jam?

Mother:  (in small, tight voice) Because you had jam yesterday.  Because you can’t have jam every day.  Because you need to eat VEGETABLES!

Child: (sighs dramatically) Okay well give me cheese then.

Mother:  (no words… Stalks to fridge, takes cheese slices and slams into sandwich, throws into lunch box)

Child: (face crumples and begins to wail dramatically) Why do you have to be so grumpy at me?  You don’t even LIKE me!  (stamps ridiculously out of room).

Outcome:  Mother feels simultaneously furious (for being stamped out on), dejected (over recurrent lunch drama), mean (over shouting and sandwich slamming) and exhausted (always exhausted).

Husband enters kitchen with ‘what’s all this about’ look on face and receives ‘don’t look at me that way’ face in return.  Mother wonders what is wrong with her as she is already shouting at 8am, when she had vowed it would be a shout-free day.

The terrified sandwich

The terrified sandwich (image: Sakurako Kitsa)

Scenario 4:  The ‘Forgotten’ Lunch

Child:  What’s for afternoon tea?  I’m starving.

Mother:  (staring in disbelief at contents of lunch box)  You didn’t eat ANY of your lunch today!  What is going on?

Child:  Oh.  I forgot.

Mother:  (still incredulous)  What do you mean you forgot?  How can you forget to have lunch?

Child: (looking furtive)  Well it was Lucy’s birthday and she bought in cupcakes.

Mother: Yes…?

Child:  And Charlotte’s mum was on canteen so we got a lolly snake and Jumpys.

Mother:  And so I wasted my time packing you a healthy lunch today, so that you could eat lollies and cake all day instead?

Child: (angelically)  I didn’t waste ALL of it – I ate the Tiny Teddies at recess.

Outcome:  Mother throws sandwich in bin, feeling her life is one big cliche, and curses self for implementing spartan Mon-Thurs no drinking rule.  Mental stocktake of house for any form of liquor uncovers half bottle of sticky in fridge from weekend entertaining.  Mother wonders at acceptability of drinking dessert wine before dinner.

Is this a thing?  This should really be a thing..

Is this a thing? (this should really be a thing)

Scenario 5:  No Bread In House

Mother:  So sweetie, we seem to have run out of bread.  You’ll have to have biscuits and cheese today.

Actually..  sorry.. I think these biscuits are a bit stale.

Child: I’ll have to have a lunch order!

Mother: (sounding upbeat) No no, I’ll just make an antipasto plate for you – you don’t need to have bread every day.

Child: (uncomfortable with deviation from the norm)  But I just want a sandwich…

Mother:  How about some…. baby beetroot… and some crab dip… and some chorizo and rice crackers…?

Child:  (panicking now)  Why haven’t we got any bread!? I can’t eat any of that – I need a lunch order!

Mother:  (slowly losing resolve) But it’s good to try something different!  You might start a new trend amongst your friends – I bet they’ll all be jealous… ?….

Child:  (detects weakness and goes for the kill)  Everyone will laugh at me and I’ll have no friends and I’ll be hungry and (sobs) I – just – want – a – lunch – order (sobs again while peering through hands).

Mother:  (dejectedly) Oh okay I suppose.  But no party pies.

Child:  (Miraculously recovers from lunch panic and beams triumphantly).

Outcome:  Mother sips tea and tries to look at upside – calculating minutes of free time bought by lunch order.  Contemplates drying hair or putting on make up, then looks over at younger child and realises kindergarten does not have canteen.

Mother takes deep breath, channels Zen state, and returns to fridge…