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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Four

It was dark and I heard a little whimper then: “mama?”

A little body quickly climbed into my bed and huddled up closer reaching for my hands.

I pulled my arms around him and softly stroked his hair.

“I saw a shadow”

“It’s OK baby you’re safe”

“Can I come in bed even when I’m four if I see a shadow an is a scary man?”

“Of course”

“Can you tell me a story so I don’t cry?”

I was tired. But he was almost four.

“What story?”

“A story about a monkey been my best friend”

I whispered into the dark about the little monkey who wants to be best friends with the little boy. They build a house of flowers. They’re always safe.

The story ends the same every time.

“You finish it – mama is tired” I say.

“An den that little boy found his mama and she carried him up the big hill to the house and she cuddled him to sleep”

“Goodnight baby” I said and a short silence followed and then…

“Even if the boy is four does he keep his mama?”

“Yes”

“Even if the boy is..” he struggled to free his fingers to hold up six or maybe eight – finally ten. “…this many?”

“Yes. Go to sleep”

He wants to be a big boy but he fears it.

And tomorrow he will be four.

He wants big boy clothes and big boy toys but he also wants cuddles in the night.

He wants adventures – pirates and monkeys and houses of flowers but he wants his mama to carry him up the hill when his legs are tired.

And today was his last day as three.

He wants to DO IT MYSELF but he wants the crook of my arm, my shoulder, the space under my ear, the arch of my back, his hand in mine.

I try to reassure him that four isn’t a threshold to cross where everything changes. It’s just another day but on this particular day the answer to “how old are you?” is a new one. And every time you say it it’s a little less new.

But it’s a hard concept for an almost four-year-old to fathom.

And I’m not good at explaining. Because I look at that little button nose, and the flushed red cheeks, the golden locks, and pointy knees and the little ears and I fall over myself trying to say what four is.

Four is how did you get so tall when I remember saying to your father “quick, quick – now” and he would rush to me and put both hands on my belly. He wanted to feel you move and now you run between his legs and climb him like a little monkey on a tree.

Four is folding you up like origami so I can hold you in my arms like I did when you were born. I put you in a sling and sang to you as I walked around the kitchen.

Four is trying not to laugh when you flail around dramatically demoting me of best friend status at any given moment. And trying not to be too pleased when you say “I didn’t mean so, you are my bes fren”.

Four is trying not to cry when I drop you off at kindy and you say PLEASE MAMA I MISS YOU. I miss you too don’t you know? I’d rather have you on my knee but there are bills that must be paid.

Four is trying not to curse everything when you tell me other kids are mean and there are all these rules about clothes that you don’t understand. I don’t want you to have to change for anyone.

Four is realising every birthday that I’ve learned so much from you and there’s so much more to learn.

Exhausted on the couch after the fourth birthday party I said to my husband – I’m too tired, my eyes are going to fall out of my head.

He kissed me on the forehead and said – yep, maybe four is the year of sleep.

But maybe I can take one more year of little visits to my bed.

Little arms around my neck.

One more story.

One more trip up the hill carrying a little boy with tired legs.

I could do this just a little longer to keep you all mine.

Maybe four. Maybe more?

Maybe forever.

Maybe that’s what four is?

It’s so many, many things.

One thousand four hundred and something days of sleepless nights that you wouldn’t swap for pockets full of gold.

A house of flowers, a tired baby, a best friend, lessons learned, a button nose.

Yes, you’ll always keep your mama.

As long as you need me I’ll be here.

Happy birthday baby.

image

 

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 tell me nobody cares especially not you even though you’ve spent six hours perfecting your shitty missive at me you can email me at go fuck yourself dot com.

Goodbye, old friend

I said goodbye to my friend today.

The longest relationship I’ve had.

I was 10 when I got him. I didn’t like him at first. He looked like a rat. But he slept behind my neck. He used my hair as a blanket. He got rounder but never much bigger.

He went everywhere with me. He was my friend. When I moved to New Zealand he came too and he was my home so I wasn’t so homesick. When nothing felt sure or stable – he was there.

When I felt lost and hopeless trying to find my place in the world he was my companion. I felt as if I always had this funny little friend who would accept me.

When I became overwhelmed with life and it all seemed too hard I often thought – well, he’s still here, I’ve still got my friend.

When I met a very cute boy and moved into my first flat with him – my friend joined us soon after. This boy had never had a friend like this round little thing. They became best friends too. And when we got married our friend was there in the front row.

When I finally, finally got those two lines on a stick – our friend ran around our legs as we hugged. It’s all going to change now we told him. And it did.

Everything changed.

One baby who followed him everywhere, then two.

And he was old and tired and he was too little and frail to reach the bed to sleep on anymore. He was moved to the corner. I had less time for him, I didn’t stop as much to cuddle him. He nipped at the kids and he growled and he barked and woke the baby. And we stopped talking late into the night.

And then last night – out of nowhere – he came to me as I was watching TV. He never does that.

What’s wrong? I asked. It had been so long since we’d talked. He lay down at my feet and I lifted him up. He was so light. He rested his little face on my arm. I gave him a cuddle then took him to his blanket. I had a feeling.

In the morning I got up before the children to check on him. His eyes were closed. Then he opened them just as I thought – oh.

He lives, I almost laughed.

The immortal Otis.

He’ll always be there.

I began to get the kids ready, quickly did a bit of work in a stolen moment, then my husband said from the bathroom “hon, something is wrong we have to take him in”.

He had gone into the bathroom and I wonder if it was to hide from the children.

My husband stayed with him, I got the kids in the car, then we carried him in his blanket. I wasn’t sure how he’d react to a car ride, but he was quiet. Calm.

Why is Otis in the car? Eddie asked. I thought back to all of the car trips we had with him, and realised after the children arrived we stopped taking him out. He was to old and always needed to be carried. It was too hard, a baby and this old little thing. So he stayed home. To my son he just never goes in the car – but I’d had decades of him riding on my lap. We had driven all over the country, moved house, beach every day…a long time ago.

“He’s going to see some old friends” I told my son.

As I dropped the kids at kindy I started to cry and I was grateful for a kind teacher. I got back in the car and we drove slowly so our friend could see out the window. He watched the scenery pass and seemed to enjoy seeing the hills and the water one last time. Before we reached the place though he’d rested his head against my hand. His eyes hidden beneath my fingers. We were taken straight through which was a small comfort. Inside a kind man talked us through what would happen.

We both began to sob. I did not expect it to be so hard.

We told him he was such a good boy. We thanked him for being our friend. Always. All these years. A constant companion. We said sorry for how things had changed. I wish we had taken you to the beach more. Tried harder when the babies came. We love you. We do. He just closed his eyes and lifted his head toward us. We scratched between his ears. We smoothed his fur. He went to sleep. And then he was given a final helping hand to leave us. And as we cried that little heart stopped beating and we said goodbye, finally, to our friend.

I carried him home on my lap wrapped in his favourite blankets and that’s how he’s buried. With his collar and lead. Covered in flowers. Ready to run along sand dunes like he used to. To chase butterflies somewhere. Somewhere where there’s lots of crumbs. And no children. And laps to sit on. And a space on the bed.

Tomorrow, if it’s sunny, we will plant wildflowers in the part of the garden that now belongs to him.

As I tucked my babies in tonight Eddie said “was Otis your best friend when you was little?”

He was, I said.

“Was he deddy’s best friend too?”

He was, I said.

“He was a good best friend” Eddie said.

“He was”

The best.

Rest in peace Otis.

image