Controlling a hurricane: I tried really hard not to swear in this post

I don’t usually publish stuff like straight away but I am tired and I just got back from this thing and I wanted to tell you about it.

Sometimes I am invited to things and I think – that would be nice to do if my kids weren’t the age they are and the particular combination of whirlwind energy that they are. I don’t feel particularly upset about it because evening is either my wine drinking time or my lose all hope that the children are ever going to blimmin go to sleep time. And I don’t particularly want to share either of those things with Greater Wellington.

But when I was invited to the launch of the Capital E National Arts Festival I said yes, because I love the folks at Capital E.

I was optimistic that despite the fact that the launch was being held during The Witching Hour, and my children are not the children I’d imagined I’d have, it would all be totally fine.

When I say that my kids are not the kids I imagined they’d be – that’s on me, not them. They’re better than I could have imagined – I was just very stupid and imagined children as sort of half-human accessories that were mainly just Very Cute and That Was It. I didn’t factor in that kids are little human beings who get tired and too excited and overwhelmed and everything in the world. I used to say some REALLY DUMB SHIT before I had kids.

Dumb shit included but was not limited to:

  • “We plan to take our kids everywhere because that’s how you get them to just go with the flow”
  • “They need to fit around us, not the other way around”
  • “They just need you to be calm and then they’ll be calm”
  • “I’m not going to be one of those parents whose life is ruled by her child’s routine”
  • “They won’t be like those other kids because I will set boundaries”

Why was I so insufferable? Why? Who knows. Maybe deep down I’m just a douchebag. Having children has been a thoroughly humbling experience because I have learned that my assumptions were wrong and stupid.

The reality is that my children, in the evenings, at this age, are often cranky as shit and totally hyperactive and barely able to concentrate long enough to hear me say FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TOUCH THAT.

I learned this long ago, adapted, and was fine with it. Because you know – they’re only young for a short time and I can cope. They’re not behaving in any way that is designed to upset me or anyone else. And frankly, I’d rather just go out without them in the evenings.

But today I decided to go to this Capital E launch and almost instantly it was Too Much and there was Great Regret.

Within three point eight seconds of arriving my two year-old had knocked over two glasses of water all over the craft table. His older brother whacked him for getting water on his picture and then he whacked his older brother and then his older brother whacked him back and then they screamed at each other like two wet cats while two perfectly behaved angel (older) children looked on in horror. My oldest ran screaming across the room and the baby chased him and the (older) children there stared in wonder at these shrieking creatures.

I mopped up the mess on the floor while saying I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry to the waitress who assured me it was fine but honestly I am so sorry and the children belted each other and threw pens on the floor. A lovely lady picked up the pens and my youngest thought that was hilarious as he threw them on the ground again. Instead of drawing on the carefully prepared colouring cards my youngest drew on his arms, his feet, the floor, the chair, the desk and my hand as I tried to wrestle the pen from him. I cleaned as he ate some glue stick and I began to sweat.

It was hot. Everyone was hot. There was wine but I couldn’t reach it which turned the whole thing into some kind of horrific desert nightmare to be honest.

I tried to have a conversation with someone I was really happy to run into while also trying to stop my children from CLIMBING ON THE TABLE I MEAN WHAT ON EARTH. They know they’re not allowed to climb on the table. Why would they? They would never do that at home?!?

“I don’t know why they’re being like this” I hissed as if I didn’t know that they turn into Hellspawn at 5pm if they’re not at home snuggling in to read a book and having down time. More water was knocked over and my son touched at least six eighths of the canapes without eating them at all. BECAUSE WHY WOULD HE EAT DELICIOUS FOOD WHEN HE CAN JUST SAY MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM MUM I’M HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNGGRRRRRYYYY over and over and Fffffffffffffffffffff over again.

And then they ran outside and decided to pull at a fluffing basil tree (is it a tree? I DON’T KNOW I AM STILL STRESSED OUT THINKING ABOUT IT) as if I don’t fucking hate basil enough I MEAN REALLY.

And at one point as they were making SO MUCH NOISE my life force just kind of left me and I abandoned hope. I texted my husband something that cannot be repeated here because I far too often actually say things like – Let kid’s be kids! And I was trying to think of that as my youngest turned into a furious potato because I wouldn’t let him brain himself on the concrete by climbing into a pot plant.

The text signalled to my husband that he needed to stick a fork in me because I was DONE with these kids that I had willingly chosen to bring into the world because now they were throwing rocks like they were honestly desperately trying to be content for some kind of ready-made column by someone who hates kids. It’s like trying to control a hurricane. I mean I can see it now:

“These children threw rocks and the mother just stared at her phone blankly because she’s an awful parent who should never have had kids”.

So I got my phone out and put ducking Bob the rucking Builder on while I got down on my hands and knees and picked up rocks. I kept looking at everyone’s nice shoes and I kept thinking I should not be here. I should not have come! Why did I think this would work? They’ve been at kindy all day, no naps, and they didn’t sleep last night – of course they’re going to be ratty and shitty!

The kids stared at my phone like brain dead zombies and I once again considered that without screens I’d be an even worse parent than I currently am.

My oldest began a slow whinge that sounded like nails on a blackboard and I lost it and said I WILL CALL SECURITY ON YOU OK IF YOU DON’T STOP THAT NOISE. I mean, I went there. And another parent there saw me and I didn’t even bother trying to cover up my crap parenting. I was just like I AM TIRED AND HOT AND THIS IS TOO HARD OK.

AND WHERE WAS MY VUCKING HUSBAND TO PICK US UP? I got a text saying Nanna was getting us because he was still working. I heaved my Ham onto my hip and he became entranced by a beautiful baby and I know people thought it was cute but I could also see a look in his eye that nobody else could see. And it was the spark of a thought process that included “I wonder if I squeeze this baby’s foot really hard will it make a loud noise” or maybe it was “What would this tiny baby hand taste like if I just bit it like a little bit”. I did not want to add “Her child actually ate part of a very cute baby” to my list of misdemeanors for the evening so I hustled us away.

Eddie punctuated Mayor Justin Lester’s speech with “MUUUUUMA MUMA MUMMMMMA MUMAAAAAAAA MUMA MMMMMMUMA MUUUUMMA MUMAAAAAAAAAAA MUMA I’M BOOOOOOORRRRREEED!” and I actually clamped my hand over his mouth which he thought was hilarious because of course he did.

Reader, I’m ashamed to tell you that at this point I considered drinking the dregs of somebody else’s wine. Somebody who was smart enough to not bring their kids to something they knew their kids wouldn’t be able to handle.

And then I got a text from my mother-in-law saying she was in the carpark. Just as the performance began because of course. Ham was playing a really fun game of “Let’s see if I can run into 6pm traffic on a main road” and so I scooped him under an arm and raced to the carpark. I barely stopped as I threw him at my mother-in-law and yelled “I’ll just grab Eddie”. When I got back in Eddie wasn’t where I had left him because of course. I searched at knee level and still couldn’t see him. I started to frantically whisper “Have you seen a little thing like this big” and I checked all of the toilets as I tried not to panic.

I was gone three seconds. Honestly. I swear.

My alarmed face attracted a small amount of attention from those outside and a few people helped me look.

This was it. It had been too much of a qucking day and I was exhausted and hot and over it and what the HELL? Where was my kid why is this gig so hucking hard sometimes! Why do they do this? My oldest is not a runner, so where is he?? I cannot with these kids right now! I am SO OVER IT. I AM SO OVER IT. God where is he???

I went back inside and searched between legs again and then I saw him.

He was standing at the front of the room – staring at the performers. His eyes wide and full of wonder. For the first time in an hour and a half (possibly all day, let’s be honest) he stood perfectly still. Every little tiny tooth sparkled as his face lit up with his most beautiful smile. He looked utterly enraptured. He looked so very happy. I could see that he could only see and hear the performers. They made every child in the room feel as if they were the only ones there.

The preview was of a show called Cheese and I watched Eddie hand feed a woman dressed up as a cow which sounds super weird but honestly if you’d seen his face! If you’d seen his little face! His head thrown back in beautiful laughter. His little hands clutching his cheeks red with joy. It was perfect. And I forgot every second of the last hour in that moment.

And gosh I was thankful for those people who see the magic in kids when we are too exhausted to. I am so grateful for those people who always see our little ones as little joys and create art just for them. JUST FOR THEM! How lucky are we? How honestly lucky are we? All of these people devoted to making our little ones happy! I am so glad they exist, that they do this. That they create these smiles and fill these little lives with wonder when we as parents are over it and unable to see beyond this moment of irritation and annoyance.

I think I always took for granted that we have a not-for-profit organisation set up just to bring arts and culture to our babies. That makes this accessible to all kids – no matter their needs. They’re just dedicated to bringing joy to our kids. It’s delightful – a whole festival for our children.

“Nanna’s here” – I said to him, reluctantly pulling him back to reality. “It’s time to go”.

“But I want to stay!” he said.

He grabbed my hand, “Look! This is the best time of my life!”

***

 

Awww nice! Capital E have given me a family pass for this post. I’d already bought tickets to see some of the shows with Eddie so I’m giving it away! Click here to enter. 

I’m taking some time

When I was pregnant with our first baby, my husband and I would sit for hours and play the what will baby look like game.

I hope he has your teeth – well obviously.

I hope he has your hair.

I think he’ll have your nose surely.

The family ears are big so he might have those.

Will we skip a generation and get curls?

These chats always began in a very light-hearted way but then there was always a thought that began clanging around in my head – louder and louder, like thunder, until it filled the space between us.

Read More

I am doing things despite feeling like I cannot do them

So I’m busy writing stuff and editing The Spinoff Parents. I hope you like it there. It feels like such a privilege to share such amazing stories there.

Read More

The things we said in the car on the way home from Assassin’s Creed

I went to Assassin’s Creed with my movie bestie Chris. Neither of us have seen the video game. The basic plot of the movie is that Michael Fassbender is a crim who killed a pimp and his mum died or something he gets attached to a big machine that sends him to fight olden day baddies and find an apple, they need to protect the apple from the Catholics. Also probably from other people. Like everyone. They are Assassins and they have a creed which is where the name comes from.

Here is an abbreviated version of what we said in the car on the way home.

Read More

COFFEE GIVER THING FROM SPACE – the Dolce Gusto Machine review + recycling ya pods

I need coffee. Coffee is very important to me. When my coffee machine died, I cried. And then the nice folks at Terracycle and NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto sent me a new coffee machine. And I asked if you could have one too! And they said yes! SO NICE. If you want to win one – just comment below or on the link to this post on my Facebook page. I’ll draw it on 19 December. Thank-you to everyone who entered. Our winner is KAREN OLSON. Congratulations Karen. 

I was so excited when the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Melody machine turned up. IT IS SO FANCY. It is honestly like some kind of Coffee Giver Thing From Space. I tried to take a photo of it but the kids were getting into everything. I wanted to be like an Instagram mum and do a flatlay or whatever it’s called but then I was tired and couldn’t be bothered. And then the kids…

Read More

Assorted tales from a stairway covered in shoes

Oh poor neglected blog. Now that I have abandoned you for a better, brighter, more scintillating and stimulating lover (The Spinoff Parents) I barely see you anymore.

I keep trying to come back to you but I don’t have much to say here. I have been noting things down, not particularly interesting, but they’re things I can assure you.

Beginning here:

I

Children trust us utterly and completely. The fact that they accept our unique and (let’s face it) quite ridiculous customs without question is surely an example of this. Eddie’s father came home with brass cups rescued from his mother’s shed. Prizes for running races or maybe playing hockey as a child, I don’t know – I didn’t care enough to ask. The children have taken a shine to the cups. They love the sound the water in the shower makes when it hits the brass or maybe it’s tin. “Usually cups have your name on them” my weary husband says to the boys in a tired attempt to explain…cups. “Why?” Eddie resorts to his usual call. “So you know the cup is yours, and nobody else’s. Because you won it”. “We-as your name then deddy?” Eddie asks. Here – he says: “This cup still has my name on it”. And he reads out his full name from birth, and aged six or maybe nine I don’t know. Eddie is scandalised by the last name he has never heard. “What is that name?” “It’s the name I had before I married Mama. When we got married – her name became my name and our name became your name when we had you.” Eddie stared blankly. “One day…” my husband looks at me with a pained expression and I give him a look like – excuse me I had to explain what a crematorium was, you have to explain marriage. “One day if you want to marry someone..” Eddie cuts him off “I do want to marry someone”. “OK, well when you find someone to marry and if they want to marry you too you’ll chat to them and you’ll either take their last name or they will take your last name or maybe you’ll just pick a new last name together” Eddie stares. “Or actually, maybe you will both keep your last names and not change them at all. You can do that too”. “Why?” the small blonde child asks. “I don’t know, because you want to be a team so you have a team name”. Eddie returns to his game of catching water in his cup.

Finally he says:

“Is this like when you put your person in a box because they dead and don’t move no more and then you cut them up to small things and you turn them in ash so you can carry them in a small an box an you take them on the planes to go in the ground is it like that?”

II

A conversation at 5.30am after 30 wake-ups that began half an hour after the youngest went to bed at 11.37pm.

Me: This woman will do a consultation for 45 minutes for us for free.

My husband: I thought we weren’t doing sleep consultants.

Me: She’s not a sleep consultant.

My husband: What is she?

Me: I think she’s a counsellor.

My husband: A baby counsellor? What the fuck is she going to talk to him about?

Me: I think, like past life trauma.

My husband: …

Me: Look, I mean…maybe…I-

My husband: He doesn’t have past life trauma and even if he did how is she going to work that out? She’s going to lay him on a couch and he’s going to say cracker over and over again.

Me: Maybe in a past life his parents never gave him crackers.

My Husband: But he gets crackers now. He eats crackers all the time.

Me: Maybe he killed his last parents?

My husband: Then we have to live each day to the fullest until we die and get some sleep.

III

Today, Eddie said he had a gift for me. Princess drink from a plastic cup.

“Drink it” he said smirking.

I raised the empty cup to my lips and a horrified look flashed across his face.

“I sorry mama!” he yelled and pulled the cup from my hand.

“What?” I asked him.

He hung his head in shame.

“I farted in the cup so you would drink my farts” he whispered.

IIII

A website I have never heard of before wants me to write a gift guide for boys.

Boys want:

  • To overthrow the Government
  • Lace gloves
  • Finding Dory slippers in the shape of fish
  • A framed photo of 1989 Patrick Swayze
  • An end to rigid and pointless gender stereotypes that insist boys and girls must have separate gift guides for Christmas rather than parents choosing gifts based on the personality and interests of their children.
  • A fart in a cup

They turned down my gift guide and I am crushed because I needed the exposure.

IIIII

I never learned Roman Numerals in school.

IIIII

If I were to really give you a gift list it would be:

For kids (based on my son’s favourites)

  • Capsicum Capsi Go (buy it here)
  • The Day The Costumes Stuck  (buy it here)
  • The Genderific Coloring Book (buy it here)
  • Kuwai’s Very Shiny Bum (buy it here)
  • Some shit Fireman Sam book that I have to read 50,000 times a day

For adults (based on what I think is good)

Books I want:

IXI

I read a blog post that said that babies don’t sleep because of powerlines outside their windows. I bought an axe from The Warehouse today. If I’m electrocuted put “Frisky Wine Mum” on my grave.

***

If you liked this, follow me on Facebook for more of the same. Also I have a book coming out and you should buy it. If you want me to speak at your event email me at emilywritesnz at gmail dot com. if you want to be a jerk and say mean stuff to me or lecture me on parenting you can email me at go fuck yourself dot com.

Sponsored post: Dear Santa I LOVE YOU HONESTLY I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN

I unashamedly love Christmas. I love decorations. I fucking love Christmas music. I love presents – mostly giving them. I love the idea that people all around the world are taking time out from life to really consider what will make someone else smile.christmas

When I finally got knocked up I was so excited about the Christmases to come. I couldn’t wait to begin new traditions for our new family. I was happy to finally have the Christmas I wanted. Every Christmas would be beautiful and joyous from now on.

Our first Christmas Day was Wellington’s hottest day of 2012. It cracked 30 degrees that day. We drove around all day trying to get the baby to sleep. Every car we passed had exhausted looking parents in it and babies in car seats in the back – most of them screaming like ours. I had a sip of wine when we got home and promptly fell asleep. My husband who had spent a significant amount of time cooking a roast was not impressed.

Read More

Confused sexual feelings about Ben Affleck

Like probably everyone I’ve been feeling very anxious since the quakes. As soon as I start to feel a tiny bit calm there’s an aftershock. I’m struggling – like a lot of people. I’m worried.

I worry a great deal about passing my anxiety onto my children. The quakes have really grabbed this fear I have and put a big, bloody spotlight on it. I have tried not to ask leading questions like “are you scared?” when I might really mean “I am scared”. I have tried to use distraction – picnics on the floor, tending to a parade of injured sentient objects that my son insists have been hurt in the “earfquapes”. I haven’t said “Did you feel that?” after every aftershock. I’ve tried to hide the tension in my body every time the earth rumbles. I know we are lucky that we have no damage, unlike so many others.

I’ve been thinking so much about those who can’t hide this from their children. It must have been so much more terrifying in Kaikoura. And then to be stuck there with the shaking. And to not be able to go back to your home. It’s a nightmare. I feel so much for the parents trying to calm their scared children as they deal with their own fear and grief over losing so much.

I’m feeling a strong urge to burrow. And burrowing isn’t good for me. And I don’t want to write which also isn’t good for me since this is how I support our family.

Read More

An update

Oh thank you for the nice things you said about my interview with Kim Hill. Kim Hill! It was so exciting I have to tell you. I was basically almost mute until we went on air because I was just like

Kim

Actual

Bloody

Fucking

Hill

I mean she’s a legend. The best. And I was a bit (like very fucking) intimidated. And worried I’d swear. And worried I’d say something about my vagina or something really terrible. All in all I just said tits, shit, and that we should genocide old white men. So it was fiiiiine.

Read More

I was going to interview Alexander Skarsgard

Ok two things I want to talk about – actually, wait, make that three things…

  1. I am not writing much here because The Spinoff Parents is taking up so much of my time. And if you haven’t already you should like the page on Facebook and check it out. That would be super nice. Most of my parenting stuff will be there. And my blog might become semi-abandoned given I’m just one person struggling under the weight of all of this work while raising my beloved but totally actually wild children. Don’t think that I’m keeping it together, because I’m not. Every time I try to write something when the kids are awake, this happens:image
  2. OK so can we just talk about this video for six to eight hours.
    It has been CONFIRMED by Alexander Skarsgard that he does not have the Tarzan muscles anymore and like I’m actually OK with that because I bet like what is that art work that makes you cry every time you look at it because it’s so beautiful? That is Alexander Skarsgard. Like, you can’t function with that just around all the time. The Sistine Chapel or whatever probably looks slightly not as good as when it was first painted but it’s still like perfect right? Alexander Skarsgard is the Sistine Chapel of hot men that I want to bang like a barn door. What about when he says his drag name is Lady Libido and whoever that guy is says – ‘That’s a lot to live up to’ and Alexander Skarsgard says I try. I MEAN COME ON ARE YOU INTENTIONALLY DOING THIS. Look at how he looked kind of at the camera like he knew that somewhere a mum of two was changing her baby who had just done a six wipe poonami while watching this interview and he knew that she hadn’t slept in ages and she’d read a thing about bum worms and was now terrified of worms and a nappy had gone through the washing and he just looked at her and said:
    I TRY
    He should get a humanitarian award for services to sexually frustrated suburban housewives. And what about how he joked about his dick size and like totally unselfconsciously dressed up in what could be considered – if I was totally reaching which I am – as a display of solidarity and a rejection of toxic masculinity. Is he the feminist unproblematic fave of my dreams? IS HE? HE IS.
    And what about how that presenter joke-kissed him but then actually like looked into those sad eyes and saw the tallness and was like ACTUALLY I NEED THIS.
    Look I need this.

    The Skarsgard effect

    The Skarsgard effect

  3. THIRDLY ARE WE AT THIRD YET – Thirdly, so I was meant to interview Alexander Skarsgard. I was. NZME contacted me and were like he’s doing a new movie called War on Everyone which I’m going to see because of course I am (apparently he gets his kit off thank you Jesus) and they were like do you want to interview him and I was very professional and chill about it
    alexiv2 And then his publicist just never booked the interview which is crazy like did they think I was this totally unprofessional, unchill person who was going to sexually objectify him and talk only about his V or maybe, maybe pitch a movie idea that I have?
    alexiv
    HERE IS THE MOVIE IDEA I HAVE:
    MAGIC TARZAN LORD OF THE JUNGLE: TOO V-AST TOO V-URIOUS
    SCENE: (Is that how you set the scene by just writing scene) Alexander Skarsgard is Tarzan and he’s in the jungle with Dwayne The Rock Johnson (who is wearing a baby and cooking small chocolate lava cakes) and Channing Potatum (who has a paper bag over his head but is wearing very low pants and is dancing to Pony which is on repeat from the jungle ipod dock) and Jason Momoa who is wearing like nothing really and is lifting weights from a jungle weights machine. He is being urged to lift more heavy things by that hot dutch guy with the beard on Instagram. Charlie Hunnam is having a jungle shower.
    In walks: A suburban mum of say two small boys who is wearing maternity leggings that are four and a half years old and have a small rip in the crotch. She has bags under her eyes and is working too much because GOD KIDS ARE SO EXPENSIVE. Dwayne The Rock Johnson, carrying his quiet but adorable baby, walks over to her. He tells her she is a good mother and that actually sometimes Janet Lansbury is just wrong OK. You totally aren’t a bad mother for watching video clips of Alexander Skarsgard while you change your baby’s nappy instead of being present and in the moment. He gives her the baby which is asleep and just very cute. He massages her feet and tells her that it’s totally normal to have to reintroduce white noise to your baby when they’re fucking 20 months old or whatever because they won’t fucking sleep I mean Jesus fucking Christ.
    Channing Potatum begins to choreograph a dance THERE IS NO DIALOGUE FROM CHANNING POTATUM.
    For around six hours – Charlie Hunnam just jungle showers and Jason Momoa and the Hot Dutch Instagram Guy just lift weights and smile a lot and say things like DAMN YOU ARE AMAZINGLY HOT FOR HAVING TWO CHILDREN AND NOT SLEEPING IN APPROXIMATELY 16 YEARS.
    Dwayne The Rock Johnson folds sheets and does dishes in the jungle kitchen.
    I – I MEAN THE TOTALLY RANDOM WOMAN CHARACTER – drinks pinot gris and just runs her hands up and down Alexander Skarsgard’s rock hard abs while discussing feminist theory and laughing about how men think the objectification of men is a thing despite there not being any power imbalance and THAT’S THE THING THAT MAKES IT A FANTASY HELLO.
    The central character is joined by her best girlfriends. They get drunk in a jungle spa and sing All Saints hit(s) and watch a well-choreographed naked dance led by Channing Potatum with a paper bag over his head and somehow that Joe Manjello guy is there – HELLO!
    Nick Cave appears and sings to them.
    Everyone goes to bed after (look I’m a lady I’m not going to go into details but needless to say everyone knows that Alexander Skarsgard goes off like a frog in a sock OK everybody knows that just look at him – that is the confidence of a man who knows what he’s doing, that is a man who would just totally verb the adjective noun if you know what I mean).
    AND THEN – she sleeps for 15 hours.
    She wakes up naturally just when her body is ready to wake up. That’s a thing that sometimes happens – you go to sleep and then you just wake up WHEN YOU WANT TO.
    Like nobody is crying and the baby monitor doesn’t even work because you are in the jungle except under a mosquito net in one of those flash tents so there are no bugs and if there’s a gorilla or something Tarzan will just fuck it up and you can watch while you have a martini bought to you by Jason Momoa wearing absolutely nothing except RAW ACTUAL SEXUAL MAGNITISM. Just if you want.
    There is a V-off.
    The end.

So, clearly, it would have been great to have me interview Alexander Skarsgard. I had many great questions including – How is your face just like that and why are you sad and how tall are you actually. And maybe just if the opportunity arose I would have pitched this movie which I bet he would have been into just saying.

But truly – I would cry in the face of such beauty so it’s probably for the best. Though my movie would kill and would absolutely sell out more than Bad Moms or anyone of the other stuff that’s aimed at us.

***

If you liked this, follow me on Facebook for more of the same. Also I have a book coming out and you should buy it. If you want me to speak at your event email me at emilywritesnz at gmail dot com. if you want to be a jerk and say mean stuff to me or send a 8000 word essay on how I can’t objectify men and a mother shouldn’t talk like this you can email me at go fuck yourself dot com.