Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This time a year ago, my family was busy celebrating the marriage of one of my brothers, a fantastic party including a game of two-up played with 'bride money' (pretend money made using a portrait of my new sister-in-law).
It was a wonderful event somewhat overshadowed by the memory of having to breastfeed 17 000 times throughout the day, getting my cans out of the only fancy dress I managed to find that didn't require a complete strip in order to feed my human.

But that's a blog for another day...taking your baby to a wedding is lame. Next time, I will be sure my baby takes the bottle. Even sitting on the couch milking myself like a cow to prepare for the event, would be preferable to negotiating a 5 month old at a wedding.

This year things are a little different. This year we're celebrating the fact that another brother is half way through a tour in Afghanistan and grateful he and his mates are safe and well.

I never really imagined myself to have much to do with the military. It's not really my style. Before my brother became involved, the closest I'd ever come to it all, was the festival scene when I did a production of The Sound of Music. You know the scene, the one where the Von Trapp family is singing Edelweiss surrounded by Hitler's Goons. I was a nun in that production, so we weren't in that scene, but I seem to recall we took it as a fantastic occasion to commit whatever antics were required on the side of stage to make all the male chorus men dressed in Hitler pants and holding wooden guns break on stage.
So mature.

I'm not much of a rally person either. Crowds drive me a bit mental. Although I did do the 'sorry march' across the bridge. I prefer to sign a petition. Or write a letter. Does anybody write letters these days?

Am I against war? Sure. Who isn't?
But I also very much like the quality of life afforded Australian citizens and it's something I think worth preserving.
Do we have to fight for it? I don't know to be honest.
New Zealand seems to be maintaing their high standards of living without engaging in battle.

But I tell you what is worth preserving. My brother. And all the brothers like him, wherever they are in the world.
Yes, they agreed to go. No, they weren't conscripted, the choice was entirely theirs. But what we don't necessarily know is their reasons for making those choices.
While we sit on our couches enjoying a public holiday, our impotent inertia is perhaps a tad insulting. Particularly to the innocents caught in this brutal crossfire.

I wish things were simple. Hitler was bad. So was Stalin. And Mussolini. Not many people would dispute that.
But this conflict is not simple. In either warfare or ideology.

It's so sad to me that we haven't really learned from the fallen men and women of yesteryear, at least not enough to stop repeating the same behaviour. Just like they didn't learn from the people who fought before them.

We're not that smart, are we? Well, we're all programmed to fight to survive, so at its basest, we're just following our natural instincts, I suppose.

But right up there with survival though, my other natural instinct is to love. I suspect that's why we want to survive in the first place. To be with the people we love.

I love my little brother very much, and I love my daughter with a fierceness known only by other parents.

I would fight for her. For her rights, her freedom, her very life.
And I know I would do it with a ferocity seen only in a lioness.
Every animal instinct would emerge to protect that human that I made with my very own flesh.

See, that's why it's so complex, we just don't know what's driving other people. What their love is.

Q and I will make ANZAC biscuits this afternoon, and box them up to send to my brother overseas.
It's a small and completely ineffectual gesture.
But those biscuits will be made with thought and love. Conscious of the lives being lost in conflicts all over the world and with a gratitude that at our basest, I pray our natural instinct is still, and always will be, to love.

Stay safe little brother, you're in my heart.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Q has a cold.
Punch me in the face.
I blame daycare.
I sent her for two mornings last week, 9-12 on Wednesday and Thursday so I could get some work done for this restaurant that is supposed to be opening in less than four weeks time.

But now I've spent the last 56 hours not sleeping and dealing with my 'responding like her father to what is in fact just a common cold' daughter, which means I'm now 50 hours behind and exhausted to boot, so daycare has turned out to be a total, utter waste of time.
And money.
But that's another issue in itself - paying on a public holiday even though they're not open anyone? What's up with that the tightarse in me wants to know.

And what's wrong with sick kids anyway?
Don't they know it's a perfect excuse to curl up on the couch, tuck in a rug, sip hot drinks and catch up on Oprah?
When they actually have a clue, they'll be wishing they could do it.

But not Q. Oh no, there's not enough action in tv.
It's engaging for about the first twelve seconds until she realises it's a one-way communication device.
Where's the fun in that?

And to add to it all, it is, of course, raining.
And we live in a one-bedroom apartment.
So she gets cabin fever and I want to stab myself in the eye with a dull pin rather than listen to her whinge  anymore.

This stay at home parenting gig is for the birds. Where's the escape clause?
I've eaten the entire cake my friend made me, and almost all of my sister-in-law's birthday cake. (I told her if she left it here, I couldn't be held responsible).

She's sleeping now, but I've squandered nearly all her nap time talking with Optus (nearly as much fun as caring for a sick 16 month old) and having a whinge on this blog.

If she doesn't wake up feeling better, I'm going to pour the panadol bottle down her throat and chase it with a rum toddy.

Last week started out so well, what with reconnecting with my childhood school buddy Cadel Evans (I think fame by association suits me to be honest).
But if today is an indication of the week ahead, there isn't going to be enough cake in the kingdom.

But for now, there's one piece left. And I'm determined to eat it before she wakes.

Perhaps they should serve this in parliament and we could get this
gay marriage issue done and sorted once and for all.
Post script...I am certain the blame lies with daycare. No way is it because I let her pal around in the rain for an hour last week with her buddy, while the other mother and I watched from under cover. No way at all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


According to that learned journal, Wikipedia, Marie Antoinette never actually said 'feed them cake'. She was far too busy eating her own to even notice the famine going on at her feet.

Now, while we may be working to a fairly tight budget these days, no one is going hungry. Q sees nothing wrong with Tuna Surprise, Breakfast for Dinner and Crock Pot Invention.
I think they appeal to her sense of chaos.

And I see nothing wrong with cake.
Whether you're starving or very well fed.

And this morning at approximately 11.15am, my very own Marie Antoinette knocked on my door and dropped off a delicious orange and coconut cake.

Check out that icing. Slathered on nice and thick. And since no one has seen it but me, I was able to lick all the extra icing off the paper without having to share and they'll all be none the wiser.

Her name isn't Marie, it's actually Marnie. And she lives on the hill by us, so I call her Marnie on the hill. I'm terrible with surnames, so everyone is in my phone with their first name and the last name identifying how I know them.
Marnie on the hill.
Ed Coffee
Dave Sparkie
and so on...

Makes it a bit difficult to sink your details with your email and whatnot, but I've never been up to speed on all that anyway.

A lot of the men in my contacts list, I met through their women, so they're in my phone as
Chris Sheryl and
Paul Christies Man (Christie having her own title of Christie Mothers Group).

It actually makes a lot of sense, particularly if you've never recovered the brain cells you lost growing and then feeding and raising your own human...which is the reason you need cake in the first place.

She's lovely that Marnie, we met because we both get cabin fever staying inside too long with our little humans, and have bonded over such contentious issues as:

  • is co-sleeping because you're too lazy to move them back into their cot bad?
  • where can you buy a wedding dress for $500 or less
  • and the latest issue on our street - what's your stance on nanny's who smoke. Seriously hot stuff. This one could cause a feud if we're not careful.

So, with Q off napping - growing while she does - I've just indulged in 2 pieces of delicious homemade cake right now and it's my sister-in-law's birthday tonight, so I'll back up with a piece of ginger cake then.

If you consider that both cakes are based on fruits, (well a fruit and a rhizome to be exact. And no, I didn't know that off the top of my head, I had to google it) I'm really just eating according to the food pyramid. Carbs down the bottom, then fruits and a bit of sugar above that.

As long as I come out on top, the rest of the day will be easy as pie.
Sorry, terrible pun. Blame it on the sugar rush.

I didn't actually use the spoon.
I just put it there to look fancy.

This post has been sponsored by Marnie on the Hill. Widely known in these parts for her skeleton leggings, flower wreath headband and generosity of spirit. Thanks lady. xx

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


This week Q is growing, which means she eats more than me (instead of just the same amount) and she sleeps in.
Instead of the usual 5.32am wake-up call, we've been rising at the dignified hour of 7, sometimes 7.14, once even 8am!!!
Of course, I don't use this time to enjoy a coffee in peace instead of gulping it in between shovelling spoonfuls of warmed weetbix into Q's mouth, no instead I sneak peeks into her cot every 30 seconds as a sleep-in is so rare, I fear the worst.

Now, when you're going to bed at 12.30 (that's what happens when you're opening a restaurant and co-owner of a 16 month old) waking up at 5.32 hurts.
It just hurts. Your brain, your gritty eyes, your soul.

And come 2pm that afternoon I have hit such a state of desperation, the only substance capable of dragging me through till 12.30 that night is sugar.
Sugar in all its nasty unrecommended by the Department of No-Fun forms.
Cookies, chocolate, Nutella straight from the jar, my world famous microwave brownie.

I'm not that fussy really. Just give me sugar with a hot cup of decaf tea while my tornado girl takes a brief break from life and I can carry on.

Now, I have made an interesting discovery over the past three days of extra sleep...
I don't need the 2pm sugar hit. It appears that more sleep decreases the need for sugar.

And by 'need', I mean need in a manner so intense, I've been known to break into my landlord's house and steal his eggs so I can make afore mentioned brownie if he's not home to ask. (I replace said eggs as soon as possible, and for the record, our landlord is a family friend so the boundaries are rather blurred. Let's just say he drops in for tea, wearing his dressing gown having just gotten out of the shower. Whether or not he is dressed underneath that dressing gown is a mystery I wish never to solve).

So now I'm in a quandary.
I have such a serious 2-dessert a day habit, that suddenly forgoing one portion, would cause such a disruption to my system, I fear a complete and utter productivity meltdown.

With a restaurant to open and a 16month old to wrangle, that, my friends, is just not an option.

And so, after great thought and consideration I announce my intent to continue my 2-dessert habit, as the side-effects are just too massive and all encompassing to contemplate.

Change only happens when you're ready to tackle the problem, and I ain't ready. Not by a long shot.

I can hear all you celery eating yogis out there shaking your organically shampooed hair and scolding;
He who rejects change is the architect of decay.

Yeah? Well, the only thing I'm decaying is my teeth people.
And right now, that seems like a small price to pay.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I live fairly close to the Bay Run, so once or twice a week, Q and I walk it with a dear friend, our mouths moving as fast as our legs.
The other day my sister-in-law joined us, so I walked ahead pushing Q and yelled my comments back so we didn't walk 3 abreast and hog the entire footpath.
Which brings me to the point of this post - cycling etiquette on a shared path.

I have absolutely no objection to those using the Bay Run as a commuter route to work, their sensible office shoes in a backpack on their backs, their suit pants tucked into their woollen blend socks.

But the serious cyclists, identified by their Cadel Evans Silence Lotto uniforms (he's not with them anymore you ninnies. He won last year's tour racing for BMC), hooning around the Bay like it's the Champs elysees. Seriously?
Go find a hill.
The Bay Run is 7km of dead flat track. You can walk it in under 50 minutes. (To be fair, us three ladies are all at least 5'10" so we do have a long stride, but the fact remains that it is not one of Sydney's most challenging courses).

Perhaps I wouldn't feel so affronted by these MAMILS (middle aged men in lycra) if they didn't whizz past me so fast I got whiplash from their slipstream, and just the other day have one of them shake their head at my 16 month old girl toddling along on the correct side of the path and well out of their harm's way.

And as for the series of slow down gates by the Leichhardt Rowing Club, there is a sign that says DISMOUNT FROM BIKE. 
Not skid to a halt and chuck a filthie at the distinguished older gentleman who walks the route every day with his dog Missy.
His name is Peter, you bike-riding bullies, and he is a very nice man.

It would be my assumption that if you're wearing all the gear, sucking on a gel pack and sporting those ridiculous bike shoes, you consider yourself a fairly proficient rider.

Might I suggest then, one of two things.
Either you find a route that matches your outfit (all I'm saying is my daughter can walk 1500m of this 7000m track), or you stop picking on those of us with a slower form of recreational movement and learn to share the road.

As I'm always telling my girl, sharing is caring.

We went to Primary School together. I like to think he remembers me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It is 10.20pm at night and I am trawling through the desk drawers trying to find a texta that works so I can write Q's name in her hat.
The only ones I can find have had their lids left off, so the ink has all dried and 'Quinn' now looks more like Gwmm which is not a very nice name at all.
I also have to locate a water bottle that does not look like it has been chewed by a dog and add her name to that too.

I am doing all this because Q is going to daycare tomorrow.

For real.
Last week was just the dress rehearsal.
This time I actually leave the building.
And cower outside, hiding behind the Rhododendrons.

No doubt most other mothers have already stitched their hand crocheted name tags into their child's hat weeks ago.
It's not like I didn't know this was happening.

And they probably had stickers printed with their child's name on it, which can be easily and un-embarassingly added to a water bottle free of teeth marks, and preferably not the free one I got from the gym.

They also no doubt, were prepared for the change in weather and had already purchased winter shoes, that their child had worn around the house to break them in.

Q is going to have to wear socks and sandals which I suppose is fitting given that Jesus did and Easter is just over, but will she be able to rise again from being humiliated Day One in the playground?

What kind of mother am I?

I've done everything I can do sabotage Q's acceptance to daycare. I didn't put her name down when she was conceived. I lost the application form to the one place I applied to. I stalled on visiting. I didn't pay the deposit. I asked for a change of day...the list goes on.

And yet despite my protestations, tomorrow is the day and it's going to be bloody good for both of us.

I have always believed it takes a village to raise a child and I don't want to (nor do I profess to be able to) be everything my daughter needs.

So get over it Hart. You've wasted 20 minutes writing this sob story and you're still no closer to changing Q's name from Gwmm to Quinn and finding an acceptable water bottle.
As for the shoes...unfortunately for Q, there's nothing much I can do.

Monday, April 9, 2012


If I had a job that required accuracy and precision, I would never have been able to return to it post baby.

Q stole by brain cells while I was growing her and she's never given them back. (She also stole the curl in my hair, which is really annoying because curly hair is a lot easier to manage. ie you don't have to do anything to it).

Most annoying is the fact that Q's hair isn't even curly, it appears my curl disappeared with the exhaustion of breastfeeding.
Yes, despite what the breastfeeding nazis might tell you, breastfeeding does drain the mother. Trust me, I did it exclusively for 14 months and my nails have only just started to grow again.

The original point being that ever since Q stole my brain cells (and particularly my memory) life has been a tad tricky.
Add opening a restaurant to that, and it becomes abundantly clear one needs to find a new way to survive.

And so I set about de-cluttering my life.

  • I spent a good hour consolidating all my passwords into one because I had taken to recording them in a notebook and carrying it around with me so I could access things when out and about. (And no, it is not an easy password. It is unique and very Naomi-centric so you wouldn't have a hope in guessing it).
  • I am cooking only things that immediately come to my mind. Any additional thought of new herbs, spices or (dare I say it) a recipe wastes precious brain power.
  • Write everything down. Including where your daughter is going to be. Yes, typically she's right by your side, but sometimes you might forget that and that can be very awkward to explain.
  • Systems. Have a 'to-do' box, a 'to-be-filed' box and a 'can't-deal-with-it-now, she'll be right, leave it till later' box.
  • Stop making promises you know you can't keep. It will only cut into precious sleep time as you lay there stressing about how you've let someone down.
  • Breakfast for dinner is perfectly acceptable. 
  • Several times a week.
  • Say 'no' if you have to. Less yes means less clutter. 
  • Keep doing the one thing that gives you peace...for me that's running, but eating chocolate brownie is a close second.
  • Reassess your priorities. Do the quilts really need dry cleaning? It's just another thing you have to remember to pick up.
  • Don't take on other people's clutter. This is most easily avoided by steering clear of social media. Twitter and facebook updates are the ultimate clutter-ers. All of a sudden you're worried about somebody else's grandmother!
If you find any, all (or none) of these helpful, feel free to take them on board.
Just don't tell me, because then i'll feel obliged to check up on how you're going and that would be the ultimate de-cluttering disaster.

Friday, April 6, 2012


We are working to a bit of a budget these days, which means I've returned to the glory days of Tuna Surprise, Veggie Surprise and anything else I can think of that can be assembled for less than 5 bucks and constitute a meal by the very basest of definitions.

In addition to being the modern day depression survivor, I also fancy myself a bit of a baker, and since we've roped family and friends into painting the restaurant this weekend, I figured the least I could do is make them delicious treats so that they don't resent us too much for spending the last vestiges of Summer getting a crick in their necks painting the ceiling of our livelihood.

In theory these are the same biscuit. But the first batch (those on the left) clearly didn't work, so I added more flour. Now they resemble soft hockey pucks. They're like a resistant sponge.

I genuinely don't know what happened. This time I was actually trying to follow the recipe. 
But Gregory (who, lets remember is a trained professional) gave me a baking book for christmas that has the measurements in ounces.
Who uses ounces anymore?

But, not to be deterred, I found a receptacle that records such ancient measurements (the old jug we use to rinse Q's hair in the bath) and I was off on my merry way.

It's so disheartening to mix and bake and crack eggs and spill flour everywhere and get the sifter wet by accident and have the oven on the wrong temperature and burn yourself on the hot tray and drop the muffin patty cases all over the floor and run out of milk and do countless loads of washing up, only to have your creations totally, utterly fail.

I've got one last card. My ace. My hidden hand...choc chip cookies.
The recipe I have seems to be Naomi-proof, and the result is always delicious.
I just can't be arsed doing anymore washing up.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This morning I had a casting for a toothpaste ad that happened to be at a studio right around the corner from Q’s new daycare. A daycare that’s so new it isn’t even open yet (owing to evil landlords and government bodies moving offices the week before easter), so I was able to bond with the owner over our mutual set-up and lease disasters and we are now fast friends.
I was in and out of the casting within minutes, which could be a good or a bad sign, you never can tell, but at least it was disaster free in relation to Q…except that she drew on all their application forms and stole their pen. But relative to some of her other performances when left momentarily unattended, that was pretty tame.

So then we toddled off to the daycare because yesterday when I’d gone in to return her forms, the delightful carers in her room suggested I bring her back today to familiarise her with the space…because I was talking a mile a minute and they had me pegged as a neurotic over protective mother the second they laid eyes on me.
I am having a tough time letting my girl go.
A really tough time.
Particularly given that she has more stamina than an LED lightbulb, craves other people’s attention and adores other children, loving them till they run away and hide or cry.

As I said to them, ‘it’s the mother having the problem here, not the child.’
And so I took them one of my famous four-minute brownies so that at least now they might say; ‘well she’s crazy, but she did make us brownie,’ rather than just saying she’s crazy, which is what they would definitely have been saying yesterday. Filing it away in Q’s notes, ‘warning. OOTM (one of those mothers).

Look, it’s nothing new. I’m certainly not original in my distress, and mine runs the whole gamut of concerns from:
·               What if nobody likes her?
·               What if somebody steals her? (Slightly arrogant to assume that out of 70 children a baddie would choose my girl over every other delightful child to steal, but I think I’ve established that not much of this is rational to begin with).
·               What if she needs me and I’m not there?
·               What if something happens? ‘Something’ being anything at all really, from not eating her sandwich to aliens landing in the sandpit.
·               And of course the real clanker…can I allow anyone else to care for my child? Freud told us that not wanting to leave your child with anyone means you don’t trust them.
No shit Sherlock. I thought Freud was meant to be a smart guy. Of course I don’t trust them. At least not initially. And then it’s not trust exactly, but I certainly doubt everyone else’s ability to do as good a job as I think I’m doing. Even Gregory. My husband. Q’s dad. Yes, I might be crazy but I’m also her mother. I don’t reckon I’m alone in this belief, I just might be the only one willing to publicly admit it.

So when we turned up at daycare, (me layden down with Q, her backpack, my handbag and a brownie) Q promptly got down, found herself a baby doll, told everyone around to be quiet because the baby was sleeping, walked up to Daniel the carer, coerced him into sitting down, climbed into his lap and read him a story.
For a while his name stumped her, because her baby cousin is called Daniel and she knows to be quiet around him because he might be sleeping, so we’ve established that this guy is Big Daniel instead.
Jeez it must be complicated in a kids’ mind.
Then she terrorised the outdoor area, marking her territory by driving any movable object until it hit and marked a freshly painted wall, and we rounded off the whole experience with a tantrum because I tried to make her eat lunch when clearly there was a puzzle to put together.
She regrouped, and we left with her waving and saying bye-bye-bye to everyone she had introduced herself to.
As I said before, the only person with a problem in this situation is the mother.
And so next week we go for real. I’m planning a half day at first, so I’ll drop her off around 9, find myself a local cafĂ© and sit there, anxiously waiting for them to call and say she’s flipping out.
Seems like I could be sitting there for a rather long time.

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