Tag Archives: trauma

The Slap – my version (without the affairs, brutish thugs and damaged women)


I don’t do smacking. That’s just the way I roll.

But today I crumbled. I’ve done it before and it tears my insides out, sending me into a spin of self-punishment via caffeine, fat, sugar and salt.

I’m tired, sure. I’m a little preoccupied with the ocean of things I want to do vs the teaspoon of things I get to, sure. But that is no excuse, is it?

There’s just some days that I can’t stop the reflex. Little Lion pushes his sister so she smashes her head on the wall, I respond with comfort for her, a short and stern expression of my disapproval to him and I walk away to focus on Blossom. No attention for attention-seeking behaviour. No focus on inappropriate actions coupled with praise and lavishing attention on the good stuff, right?

But he shoves her twice. I’m tired. I don’t have what it takes today, so when he stares at me, opens his mouth wide and buries his teeth into Blossom’s head, I snap. I smack him. His eyes flood with tears and he screams, fire spitting from his eyes.

“Oooooowww! Mummy NO hit LL! Why you hit LL?! NO HIT LL!” and he smacks me back.

I am instantly sick to my stomach. He’s right. Why did I hit him? I shouldn’t hit him. He’s small and frustrated and lashing out in the only way he knows how. He’s asking for help, not for punishment. But I can’t give it. Not today.

So the drama fades. The moment passes and I eat half a pack of Allen’s Chews to camouflage the knot in my gut. He starts drilling Blossom’s back. I divert attention, create a game, do the good mother thing. It lasts 5 minutes.

He’s restless. So we go to the shops. He’s happy… For a while.

We’re in Woolworths. The pasta aisle. He “cuddles” Blossom when I am not looking for the third time, choking her until she cries. I hiss a warning with the finger pointed at him. He roars, pure fury, and again buries his fangs into Blossom’s head. Again, I snap and crack him on the arm.

He sends up a wail that shakes the sauce jars on their shelves. Other shoppers scurry from the aisle. They avert their gaze. It’s too embarrassing to look at the mother who has lost control – of herself and her children. I am determined not to scamper away in shame. I am determined to finish my shopping, screaming duo or not.

And I do. And I stalk calmly to the car, denying LL a ride on Thomas, chocolate milk, ice blocks or treats of any kind. I don’t want to feel guilty for being weak, but smacking my poor little boy just because it’s the easier option, just because it releases the fury in me is no better than him releasing his fury on his little sister, is it? So I gorge on McDonalds for lunch, coke and chocolate through the afternoon, drinks at night, not enjoying any of it, feeling toxic and yet shoving more and more and more down my throat.

Because I should feel bad. Really bad.

(OK, so maybe there is one damaged woman in this story!)


Plagiarism and Thanks


I’d just like to start by saying a huge THANK YOU! to Curious George. In times of crisis, he comes through every time. He is the only one and I love him for it.

Secondly, I’d like to thank whoever wrote the following story that I am unashamedly plagiarising. It came to me in one of those emails, so I am sure it’s an oldie (I am always the last to get such viruses) but it still makes me laugh.

If anybody knows who wrote it (especially those in the US, because it’s a ‘mommy’ story), please let me know so I can send them the enormous pile of comment love I have stored on my desktop perchance I find the wonderful woman. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you rock!



I was due for an appointment with the gynaecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor’s office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 am. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn’t have any time to spare.

 As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn’t going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pyjamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I’m sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

I was a little surprised when the doctor said, “My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven’t we?” I didn’t respond.

After the appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal … Some shopping, cleaning, cooking.

After school when my 6 year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, “Mommy, where’s my washcloth?”  I told her to get another one from the cupboard.

She replied, “No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it.” 


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Kids are talented, some more than most, and Blossom really showed what she was made of the other day.

I had to do some fruit and veg shopping and then quickly duck down to the Motor Registry Office to sort out the registration for my new urban assault vehicle. It was to be a short-ish trip, and The Little Lion wasn’t well anyway, so I decided to go sans snack box. Bad move to begin with.

No sooner did we arrive at the green grocers, did LL kick up a fuss that he wanted ‘fout’. It was quite a fuss that extended to not wanting to sit in the trolley and wanting to ‘queez’ every item on the green grocer’s shelf. But I’m getting pretty adept at handling LL’s moments. I don’t even feel the eyes of every stranger in the store boring through me any more. I just carry on as though there is nothing unusual going on. But this time, LL set Blossom off and it became dire in no time.

They feed off each other, don’t they? One cries and the other trumps them with a howl, then a wail, then a scream. When the volume reaches fever pitch, the coughing and spluttering starts, or the flailing limbs or the flying spittle. It was spectacular and I thanked the heavens I hadn’t attempted the side-by-side trolley thing. At least LL wouldn’t be able to scratch, bite or eye-gouge Blossom, so long as I kept the baby carrier far enough away.

I figured my only chance at finishing my shop was if I managed to calm one or both of them. And quickly. I could see the manager’s hand on the telephone, phone book open to Social Services as I handed LL a banana, making a big deal of adding a single, loose banana to my bag to prove I was not trying to rip them off. I could feel the manager’s fingers caressing the 000 button on his phone.

LL stuffed the banana in as though he hadn’t eaten in a week and proceeded to shred the skin onto the floor, but Blossom kept up the fight. She was screaming and fighting the carrier like it was a straight-jacket, so I decided to turn her around. Maybe she just wanted to see what was going on instead of being tortured by the smell of mum’s milky bosom.

I unclipped her, hoisted her out and in so doing, squeezed just the right amount on just the wrong spot. I have never heard volume like that from a 5 month old before. It reverberated through the shop. It sent shock waves that rattled the cash registers and sent apples tumbling to the floor (OK, maybe that was LL helping himself to an ‘apool’ while my hands were quite clearly full).

An innocent bystander, clearly horrified by my daughter’s lack of decorum, gasped, “Oh dear!”

“Excuse me, well, her, I mean…” and then I realised what she was actually gasping about. It wasn’t so much the ear-shattering noise as the ungodly stench that followed.

Yep. It was enough to wilt the lettuce. It was the kind of stench that you run from, but it lingers and follows and trails you wherever you go, so there’s no denying it’s yours; the kind that burns into your clothing and drifts past, long after the memory has faded.

Blossom was triumphant and as her face broke into an enormous smile, she puked all over the kiwi fruits.

You can guess what we’ll be eating for the next few weeks. The manager was so glad to see us go that he didn’t bother charging me for The Little Lion’s extra banana and he offered to carry my bags to the car.

Later, as we waited in the Motor Registry Office, LL scrawling all over the forms they leave lying around on tables that are just the right height for toddlers to reach, I reminisced about all the cringe-worthy moments my children have given me and had a quiet chuckle to myself. Like the time LL commented on top note when he saw a very obviously very sick man being wheeled out of the hospital, life support buzzing, helicopter waiting, with a wave and a congenial “Night-Night!”. Or the time he tried to kiss every child at the playground because it was time for us go. Or the time he pulled my top up at the bank because “Bubby boobie.” Or the time he did a Poo-Splosion of gargantuan proportions while we were shopping in Spotlight, covering me , himself and the baby carrier in a yellow-green paste…

Yep. If you can’t laugh about it, you’ll die. It’s as simple as that. And given Blossom’s form, there’s plenty yet to come.

Lessons from Last Weekend


Lesson 1 – Take The Arsenal

Never ever ever travel anywhere without an arsenal of every kind of drug available over the counter (or not). This includes kids’ versions of said drugs, but really, anything will do. If possible, include some kind of sedative (for you and/or child). Ensure the arsenal is kept near at all times, but especially at 9.30pm when your eldest child is likely to wake, realise that dad, granny and everyone else is at a party so mummy is vulnerable, and will begin TO SCREAM INCONSOLABLY for no apparent reason. At this point, begin dispensing drugs so that your eldest child does not continue screaming for the next THREE HOURS!

Lesson 2 – Stick To The Plan (otherwise known as Don’t Feel Guilty or Don’t Be Nice)

When, during your child’s screaming fit, you realise that Granny has no appropriate drugs in her house and you ring Husband at party, ensure you have a clear idea of what you want him to do. Advice (or lack thereof) over the phone is not enough. When your child suddenly stops screaming, smiles and says, “Mummy talk Daddy. Mummy cranky. Ha!” DO NOT change your plaintive cries for your husband to return home NOW! Do not be fooled. Your child has not “calmed down”. He has not “settled”. He has simply reached the Midnight Madness which makes your child appear wide awake, jovial, but dissatisfied with everything from where he is sleeping, where mummy is lying, the position of his teddy bear, etc. This is no less torturous than the screaming and you still require backup. Don’t pretend you’re ok.

Lesson 3 – Cake And Tea At 1am Is Not Okay.

When Husband, Granny and Aunty return from party (drunk-ish enough to think your child’s antics are quite funny), do not graciously accept to share cake and tea with them while your child sits on Daddy’s lap and partakes (in YOUR piece of cake, of course). The reason for this is twofold – they will want to share with you all that you missed at the party (including photographs) and they will continue to remind you of how funny it is to be sharing cake and tea with a two-year-old at 1 in the freaking morning! Your nerves will be frayed enough. Don’t do it to yourself.

Lesson 4 – Don’t Go Back For Seconds

Try to avoid repeating the scenario the following weekend. Why? Well, I’ll tell you after this weekend at Granny’s house.

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And so it begins


There is only one way to sum up my day on Monday – 3pm nip. No, that is not a typo. I did NOT mean to say 3pm nap. I meant 3pm nip. In fact, it may well have been a double shot… I can’t be sure. And no, I was not guest DJ-ing on my local radio station, though if I was, the double shot would probably have been an ACDC coupling of “Problem Child” and “Highway to Hell”, or maybe Rage Against the Machine “Know Your Enemy” and “Take the Power Back”, but alas, it was a double shot of Dr Smirnoff’s rescue remedy.

“What?” I hear you cry. “What could drive a warm, responsible, earth-mother goddess to drink at 3 in the afternoon?!”

A 2-year-old, I tell you. A 2-year-old.

I didn’t believe it  was possible. I thought “The Terrible Twos” was a scare-campaign, kind of like Y2K, hysteria perpetuated by mothers looking for something to blame for their children not being perfect minature adults like their outfits and hair-dos suggest they should be.

 Humble pie, people. I’m eating it by the trailer-load.

It began at 5.30am with a warm bottle of milk designed to put him back to sleep. It had the opposite effect of quelling his hunger and sparking him to life. I managed to convince myself that the shouts of “MUUUUUM! MUM! MUM-MUM-MUM!” coming from his room were part of my tortured dreams for a full 10 minutes before I caved in and dragged my sorry self out of bed.

The 5.30 start progressed to a 5.50am tantrum – NO NAPPY! NO-NO-NO! – followed by a 15 minute battle to get a jumper on him, a pair of track suit pants and his slippers. Why do I bother?

This was followed by 40 minutes of raging because I refused to grant his request for George Monkey, even when he brought the DVD to me with a sweet “Preeeeze Mummy”. I don’t know. Is it unreasonable for a mother not to want her 2-year-old in front of Curious George at 6 in the morning? Stupid, perhaps, I mean I was clearly asking for a fight on that one, but surely a line has to be drawn…

Anyway, all attempts to distract him with breakfast failed – No chair. No Weet Bix. No Toast. No no no no no. Tanie? Preeze Mummy, Tanie? Again, is it unreasonable for a mother to want her child to eat something slightly more sustaining and with a slightly less laxative effect than sultanas for breakfast? So I compromised and put the sultanas in his Weet Bix.

Well, wasn’t that the red rag… For those of you unfamiliar with the extraordinary properties of Weet Bix, when thrown around the room and not cleaned up within 75 seconds of hitting any kind of surface, Weet Bix mush dries like cement. In fact, I am considering using it next time I am in need of some cement render. Fortunately, LL was courteous enough to go around picking the sultanas out of the globules of hardening brown slop to compliment the cold spaghetti he had dragged out of the fridge and up-ended on the floor. A nutritious breakfast after all.

It was at this point in our morning’s kitchen redecoration that Blossom woke, demanding to be fed. And it was at this point that LL decided it was imperative that he climb to the very top of my head using only my hair as leverage. Blossom, unable to feed with her brother’s overwhelming presence became increasingly frantic and I lost the last handle I had on my morning’s composure. “Oh, just go away…” I blurted.

That’s right, folks. I said it. And yep, it was repeated back to me ALL FREAKING DAY!

I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my attempts to go the beach with a girlfriend and her daughter (of course forgetting Blossom’s hat on only the sunniest day since February), or LL’s 20-minute cat nap in the car at 9am, throwing all hope of a decent afternoon nap out the window, or his sudden fragility in the coffee shop where we tried to hold a civilised conversation. Nor will I detail Blossom’s increasing fussiness at not having a single peaceful moment to suck to her heart’s content, or LL’s refusal to eat when in said coffee shop and his demands for lunch about 10 minutes after we arrived at the beach, his dissatisfaction at what I had packed and his wails for Chippies when he saw those damned golden arches on the drive home. It was then that I finally gave in to his whim. I needed comfort. NOW!

So we drove through. Him a juice and chips, me a Big Mac with no meat patties and a vanilla thick shake . Yes, you read right. No meat. I know, I know – it’s a lettuce and pickle roll, but I’m vegetarian, so I get the sugar bun with the plastic cheese and the mysteriously enticing sauce and then throw a veg burger on it when I get home. At least, that was the intention until LL pushed a chair to the bench where I had carefully place my burger-to-be out of harm’s way.

It was something about the little shreds of lettuce fluttering through the air before they hit the floor, the way the pickles stuck to the cupboard doors, the way the bun perfectly complimented the strands of cold spaghetti and the splattering of cemented Weet Bix that just did it for me. I cried over spilled burger-to-be, and when LL asked with grave concern, “You arite, Mummy? You arite?” I wanted to scream, “What the fuck do you think!?”

Instead I tried getting him sorted for bed time. This was met with the kind of reception you might expect: “NO no no no no… Run run, Mummy. Run run!”

From past experience, I know this is LL code for “I’m not going to settle down until I have done a monumental poo and that monumental poo is not going to happen unless I am given ample space to move and ample solitude to bear down in private.” So I sent him out the back door with a flourish and settled into the armchair in Blossom’s room to give her the first bit of quiet attention she had had all day. It was not long lived.

She suckled, she drifted, he crashed through the door, trailing and ungodly stench. I held my ground and composure.

“Poo-ey Mummy!”

“Mmm-hmm,” I said quietly,”We’ll finish boobie and then we’ll change your nappy.”

To which LL demonstratively sat down, rubbed his backside from right to left and grinned, “Squish!”

The conversation repeated, to which LL shouted, “NO!” and ripped the velcro tabs of his nappy open and did a delicate little squat to ensure the nappy dropped all the way to the floor. I practically dropped Blossom, whipped the nappy over his shit-covered backside and dragged him to his room amid violent protests (from both of them).

Bed time brought a battle over where to sleep – No cot. No cot. NO COT! – and by 3.07pm, when I had finally managed to get Blossom to bed and The Lion to sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room, I went to the kitchen.

I sat on the floor with my burger-to-be lettuce and cold spaghetti and a glass filled liberally with Dr Smirnoff. Neat. On ice.

And I damned well deserved it.

Patt-a-cake, Patt-a-cake…


My Little Lion will be 2 on the weekend. I currently have a practise cake cooling on the rack. Go ahead and laugh, I’m not offended. If you could see what is sitting on the kitchen bench, you would understand.

Last year I made the fatal error of outdoing myself with his first birthday cake – you should have seen the piping on top! Masterchef eat your heart out! It was a lion, naturally, covered in shades of orange and brown icing, with a textured mane, chocolate nose and the cutest whiskers you’ve ever seen. It was a masterpiece. But now the bar has been set. WAY too high. And The Lion is destined to have a lion cake forever because I want my money’s worth out of that cake tin!

So this year, as I did last year, I have decided to practise. Fortunately, too.

I am a dreadful baker with an oven that is so inefficient it took an hour and a half to bake the cake that the packet said would take 50 minutes. Yes, it’s a packet cake, so shoot me! I considered the real deal for about 40 seconds before I visualised all that could go wrong. Alas, I was cocky after last year’s packet success and decided to get a bit creative.

The idea was to mix one packet vanilla cake and one packet chocolate cake, then stir it around with a skewer so it became marbled. No, it never occurred to me to buy marble cake mix. Sorry. And the marbling idea was not enough. No. I decided to throw in a few milk chocolate chips into the vanilla mix and white chocolate chips into the chocolate mix. Imagine the effect! A speckled, marbled, scrummy cake in the shape of a lion! A bit of two-tone icing, maybe some coconut and chocolate sprinkles… Genius!

So I greased that tin for all I was worth. Last year’s birthday cake stuck so badly, Mr D had to do a midnight run to Woolies for another two packs of butter cake because I was so frantic that he knew I wouldn’t sleep without a lion cake cooling on the bench. I learned my lesson. I poured the two bowls of mix in with extra care and swirled the two together. I licked the bowls with due diligence (ok, the spatula and egg beaters too, but let’s talk about my exercise and diet regime some other time). And into the oven it went.

I didn’t even burn it. I checked it with a skewer, like you’re meant to. And when it was ready, and only when it was ready, I took it out. It smelled DIVINE! and looked like Betty Crocker had baked it herself. I let it cool, as per directions, for five minutes. I pressed the sides gently to ensure it would just drop out of that well-greased pan. I tipped, gave a little jiggle and lifted the tin.


Wouldn’t budge.

Shook with a little more enthusiasm.


Shook and pressed edges simultaneously.




And there it was! Whole… except for the two centimetre layer that was still casing the bottom of the lion tin. That’s right, the part that makes the strange shape actually look like a lion because that’s where the mane and tail and paws and face and stuff are imprinted!


Actually, I lied about the “whole” bit too. The minute it was no longer held together by the tin, it fell apart into eight cakey chunks.

What went wrong?

You mean apart from the marbling that turned vanilla into a grey-looking mush because only after the event did I realise that they required two different baking times?

Or do you mean apart from the chocolate chips that sunk straight to the bottom and made a two centimetre thick smear of putty that couldn’t even be passed off as self-saucing pudding?

Gee, I don’t know.

I’m just glad I have a couple more days to practise.

My Mother’s High-cut Briefs


I know – gasp, horror, applause – two posts in two days! Don’t get used to it, it’s just that I don’t trust the kids to sleep long enough to give me a good chance at shut-eye, so I’ve chosen to write instead. About a momentous occasion.

I have a clear memory from my youth… I have a few actually, and most of them are in my memoir, Wobbles – An Olympic Story (cracking read, check it out, etc.). This clear memory of my mother getting dressed after her morning swim does not appear in Wobbles (really, a cracking read, check it out, buy one, etc… ok, it’s getting lame), and I don’t exactly dwell on it, but it came to me the other night after my bed-time shower – bed-time is the only time when I can shower without the threat of kiddie invasion, in case you were wondering.

Mum used to pull her high-cut briefs right up over her belly button and I always wondered about that particular manoeuver. I could only imagine how uncomfortable it must be to have your underwear riding around your pits. Surely she was just asking for an atomic wedgie, or worse, a wedgie of the front bum kind. I never did ask about it – I figured choices relating to underwear were pretty personal and I knew how annoying it was to hear her thoughts on my Anal Floss. So, the discussion of the High-Cut Brief was never had.

The other night, after my invasion-free shower, I allowed myself the displeasure of a Naked Once Over in the mirror. This is a ritual I only ever indulge in when I am feeling particularly secure on all other fronts. I by-passed the back fat and the breasts that are beginning to invade what once was a waist-line (the absence of a waist-line was duly noted). As I scanned down, turning this way and that to inspect the hail damage and wondering whether insurance would pay for it to be repaired, it occurred to me that the sagging, overhanging, post-baby-belly skin – ok, ok, so there may be a bit of fat in it, but that’s beside the point – IT IS NEVER GOING AWAY!

Never. Ever.

The finality shocked me. Until now I have been living in the fantasy that when I am finished having children, I will shape up and be bikini gorgeous in no time, just like everyone else! But there it sagged, mocking my delusions. I tensed my stomach muscles and the sag was only accentuated. I sucked my stomach in and the sag grew an inch. The baby pouch, the spare tyre, the wobbly-bulbous-stretchy-sack-of-motherhood remained like a bouncing badge of honour.

It was an epiphanous moment (if that is even a word). I took hold of my undies and hoisted them skyward until they rested atop the baby paunch and squished it just a little. It turned the obvious ridge into a tapered surface. Not exactly washboard, but no longer pendulous. Granted, I looked hideous with my dacks jacked up to my midriff, but at least the high-cut brief was not an admission of defeat like the full brief is. Yes, I was slightly disgusted to have to look at my hips in all the lumpy-padded glory which has hitherto been disguised by my hipster boy-legs, but jeans can put those bumps into their place, so I got over it.

Hideous or not, I have decided to give my mother’s high-cuts a go. I mean, it’s not as though I’m trying to impress anybody with my clothes off anymore. These days it’s more about culinary prowess than va-va-voom anyway, and the very thought of wearing the Anal Floss of my youth is enough to send me into convulsions. So, if the high-cut holds me in without slipping into my atomic chasm, I will gladly admit that mother was right. We’ll just have to wait and see.