Monday, January 26, 2015

A Story in Two Parts: Part Two The Sweet

“I’m Clarissa the Rock fairy,” the Mop announced.

“The what fairy?” I asked.

“The Rock Fairy,” she said. “I like to rock!” I could see her eyes rolling at my ignorance as she strummed her air guitar.

“Ohhh, a Rock and Roll Fairy,” I nodded.

“That’s my talent,” she said proudly.

“What do you play?” I asked.

“The giddar,” she replied.

“And do you sing?” I wanted to know.

“Of course,” she sighed dramatically.

“That’s awesome. Now go to bed so you can get up tomorrow and rock some more.” I was so tired my eyes were sticking together and I couldn’t walk straight. School holidays were doing me in.

The Mop flounced off in the direction of her bedroom.

Walking in to her room a few minutes later I saw her sitting on her bed holding a toy bilby. I collapsed on the rug.

“Maybe I should be a aminal fairy,” she said stroking the toy. “I like aminals. Maybe I can be both.”

She looked at me lying prone on the floor. It felt like the day would never end.

“What’s your talent?” she asked.

“I’m the Sleep Fairy,” I muttered, my face buried in the rug.

“You mean a Moon Fairy?” she asked. “You bring the moon out to make people sleep?”

I sat up and looked at her, now feeding her little toy with a plastic milk bottle. She looked up at me and smiled.

A Moon Fairy. What a beautiful concept, I thought. Suddenly the day didn’t seem so long anymore. I wish I could capture this.

[And I just did]

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Story in Two Parts: Part 1 The Crazy

Ding dong ding dong.

‘Groceries are here,’ I cried, dropping the towel I was using on The Terrible Third’s tangled hair and running down the hall.

It was about 7pm on a warm Perth summer night. There was still plenty of light left in the sky and a young guy was standing at the door with a trolley stacked high with plastic crates. I opened up the door and wedged the security screen open. We started unpacking the bags of groceries out onto the floor.

‘Hi Mamma,’ a little voice said behind me. I turned to see my not-quite-three year old standing nude, trailing her towel, a massive grin on her face.

‘Hi Bubba,’ I replied. ‘Can you go and get dressed please?’

At that moment she spotted a large jar of Nutella in one of the bags. ‘Mine,’ she said, grabbing at it. I reached over and pulled it out of her grasp. She immediately had a break down like I had pulled off one of her arms.

Meanwhile the young delivery guy had been telling me that he was getting married in April and their first baby was due a few months later in August. As The Third’s tanty amped up, his eyes began to widen. She threw herself on the floor, knocking over jars and sending some tins of tomatoes rolling across the floor. Her nudity was centre stage as she flailed around, legs kicking. I stepped in front of her, more for his sake than hers.

‘We’re going on a honeymoon,’ he said, ‘but she’s probably not allowed to fly right? So I’m taking her on a camping trip.’

Wait, what?

‘Umm,’ I said as I picked The Third up and shoved her in the direction of her Dad who had appeared to see what the noise was about. ‘But you can’t take your pregnant new wife camping for your honeymoon.’ I had visions of this poor woman sleeping on twigs and enduring endless trips to pee behind a tree, lugging her huge belly around as she clambered over logs and rocks. How was she going to satisfy her KFC chicken and cookies-and-cream sandwich craving when they were in the middle of the bush?

The Third reappeared wearing mis-matched pyjamas, a Dora beanie, a backpack and carrying a large bubble wand which she waved in front of her like a samurai sword. I really was going to have to stop the kids watching Ninjago, I thought to myself.

He looked her over with a mixture of concern and distaste. She began beating an 18-pack of toilet rolls with her sword. He looked terrified.

‘No really, it’s awesome, it is,’ I stammered quickly. ‘They don’t come out like this, remember. And they’re not all this loud. It’s taken her three years to become this crazy.’

Clearly the wrong thing to say.

I took a deep breath and looked him in the eye.

‘They give you plenty of time to love them before they turn into Frootloops,’ I said with what I hoped was a reassuring smile on my face. A roll of toilet paper bumped into his foot.

‘Good luck,’ I called as he packed his crates up and ran back to his truck.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Party Idea That Will Blow Your Mind

Prepare to be amazed ladies and gentlemen because I am going to share with you the most amazing party idea ever.

No child has ever asked for this. I am pretty sure it is a world first.


A Frozen party.

I know right, it’s the world’s most unoriginal party idea.

When my middle daughter told me she wanted a Frozen theme for her 5th birthday I admit I shuddered a bit. Even if the parents forgave me, would the kids? Surely every girl under the age of ten has been to at least half a dozen Frozen parties in the past 18 months.

But it’s what she really wanted, and her enthusiasm didn’t wane, so that’s what she got. And I admit, it was refreshing to see a bunch of little girls and even the house itself decorated in blue rather than pink. Even if it meant buying Dinotastic sprinkles for the fairy bread (blue and white sprinkled with tiny little dinosaurs… I don’t think anyone noticed the dinosaurs).

I threaded a bag of cotton wool balls onto string and presto – it was snowing.

I used a Christmas meringue tree as a centre piece, stuck on a couple snowflakes and presto – wintery wonderland.

First up was something that we always did as kids – decorating cupcakes. One for now and one to take home. I set the table beautifully, eagerly anticipating a houseful of little girls.

Baldy Baby (aka Third Terror) couldn’t cope with the concept of waiting, and even before the party started cupcakes mysteriously went missing.

The kids thought it was fabulous. Some of them would decorate the cakes, eat all the icing and lollies off the top, and then decorate them again. Pretty clever, I thought.

Part way through, The Third Terror added some Dora accessories to her Elsa outfit.

The finished cakes were pretty impressive, and turned everyone’s tongues a fetching shade of blue.

Uh, hang on. I think you’re at the wrong party.

We played Pin the Nose on Olaf. They were all too young to put the nose anywhere naughty.

Layered jelly. Nothing weird or artificial in there, right? That blue has Mother Nature all over it.

My husband led the girls in a rather athletic game of Musical Snowflakes. There were no winners except the other adults who had a good laugh.

The birthday cake needed to be frozen icecream. I mean, surely it would break some sort of law if the cake had been… cake. I printed the image (probably illegally) off the internet. See how I cleverly covered up the fact I accidentally cut off Elsa’s hand. It took me two days to make.

The Curly Mop blew the candles out twice before I had even finished lighting them. I can tell this will become a staple in her repertoire of annoying behaviours.

Then she made her grandfather eat all her cake.

She didn’t even try it.

What did she get for her birthday? What do you think?

And today (the day after the party) a massive order of snowflake decorations that I ordered months ago arrived in the mail. 

The Bombshell had a look at them: "Can we use them at my Frozen Party?' she asked.


Happy Birthday Mop.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Diagnosis: Disaster

‘So Shannon,’ the doctor said leaning back in his chair. ‘How can I help you today?’

I gestured towards my youngest daughter, sitting on the floor playing with a toy. ‘I’m worried about her speech,’ I told him. ‘No one understands her.’

‘I’m not sure how much of it is just being the youngest child and the fact everyone speaks for her, but she is significantly less articulate than any other three year old I know.’

My daughter was smiling wildly at the doctor who then produced an otoscope. Her smile dropped and she moved behind my chair. After watching the ‘let’s look in Mummy’s ears’ charade, and having succumbed to her own ear examination, she then started to explore the room.

‘I asked the teachers at day-care, and they said they had actually been discussing it and think it needs to be checked out. And if they think there’s a problem, then I am very happy to take their advice.’

My daughter climbed up onto the examination table and proceeded to throw the pillows and sheets on the floor. I stood up and manhandled her back onto the chair, replacing the pillows and attempting to straighten the sheets.

‘Cwacker mummy,’ my daughter said beelining towards my bag. I hastily unwrapped a rice cracker, which she licked and then handed back to me.

The doctor had turned to his computer to find the details of a local speech pathologist, and when he turned back, she had closed the curtains that shielded the examination table, and was doing ‘ta-das’ very loudly as she threw them open.

‘I think it’s good to get these things started,’ he said as we watched her twist herself into the curtains, nothing but a pair of little yellow sandals visible, and hysterical giggling from within.

‘It’s good to get these things looked at,’ he said. ‘No harm done.’

‘Yeah,’ I agreed, watching her throw the pillows back on the floor. ‘If there’s nothing wrong with her speech and hearing maybe they’ll just diagnose her with being obnoxious.’

He smiled wryly.

‘I don’t think you’re overreacting,’ he said before closing the door gently behind us.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Third Child in Foreign Lands

Faced with a list of tiresome chores and no writing mojo to be found anywhere, I decided to indulge in a little private time this morning. I did something we all do, but rarely admit to, like pee in the shower or pick your nose just to look at it.

I googled myself.

The first page was pretty much what I expected. My blogs and Relentless came up, as did my profile on WeekendNotes. There was my LinkedIn profile, gathering cobwebs and dust, various reviews and old academic papers, plus lots of mentions of my Brutal Truth About the Third Child.

I was chuffed to see my Master thesis get a mention on Google Books. Zero reviews and zero stars… probably because the only copy is sitting on a shelf somewhere around here gathering dust.

I had really begun to enjoy myself. No nude photos. No websites dedicated to destroying me. No embarrassing Facebook shots that someone else had posted.

But then a site came up that I didn’t recognise, and I got a little squeezy sensation in my stomach. 
Had someone stolen my words or had they written someone awful about me?

This is precisely why they say don’t google yourself. Sometimes it’s better not to know what others are writing about you.

But I had to find out. Besides, it was in Italian.

There was a picture of me and my family (a picture they don’t have permission to use, but we’ll ignore that) and my name. I could guess at a few of the words: ironia, testimonianza, blogger Americana.

Uh, hang on.

I went back and hit the google translate button for the page. Then, in a fabulous mash of Italian and English, appeared an article that was designed to look like I had been interviewed, but really was just a bit of a cut and paste of my Brutal Truth article.

The translations are even better than my original article: "You can doze and sleep all day and as a priestess stroll touching your belly waiting for a football.”

Some of it is pretty funny because it still makes sense:
“Are you happy of nausea and vomiting because it means you can have five minutes to get you in the bathroom?”

And other parts are completely mystifying:
“Rilavi reluctantly the vestititi used with a normal detergent, throw some broken play, refreshments sheets cradle. Your son has already managed to dismantle all sure that you put in the house and survived, so it is not necessary to reposition the newcomer.”

I liked how the Italians automatically assumed I had sons.

The French version of my ‘Letter of Apology to my Middle Child’ described it as “a mother issu[ing] an apology letter to his middle child”. And I thought I had difficulty with French pronouns.

“Shannon notes that this has forged the character of its small second. She teases threats, disputes, compromises. All you seem to want, and that is so hard to give is my complete attention. It's hard because I have three children, a house to manage and my writing."

“Shannon reassures: "I see the fire in you and I know you traceras your own way, despite your place mid or maybe because of this site?"

I particularly liked being referred to as an ‘its’. Thanks French people.

The Portuguese translation of The Brutal Truth was possibly my favourite, especially how they introduced me:

“Shannon Meyerkort is a writer, blogger and mother of three girls under seven years. His love for writing is not simple, because it implies that you are sitting to do so.”

I love how they aren’t beholden to gender assumptions about mothers being women. How refreshing.

The translation seems to make things worse than they really are:
“It seems that is six months pregnant by the time we hit the second quarter. Sit persecuted and cries a lot.”

And then go a little hard-core with the language:
“People who have just given birth, begin to upset her with all the talk bullshit about babies.”

Then they go hard-core with the parenting:
“Push your child out of the crib, take them cuddly and dispose of them in a weekend.”

That’s a bit rough, even for me.

I haven’t yet ploughed deeper into the world of Google to see if the Chinese have their own translations of The Brutal Truth, but if it’s ever found - please let me know.

It is basically impossible to get a decent photo of three kids at the same time

Friday, December 5, 2014

Put Your Cock Away Now Please

‘Look mum,’ my four [almost five] year old told me. ‘It looks like a peacot.’

‘A what?, I asked distractedly.

‘She means a peacock,’ the seven year said pointedly.

‘Yes. A peacot,’ Curly Mop said pointing at the fan she had splayed out in front of her and was now swivelling in her hand. Yes, it did look like a peacock, I had to admit, but what the hell was with her pronunciation, I thought.

‘Peacock,’ I said clearly.

‘Peacot,’ she replied.

‘Peacock,’ I said louder, because everyone knows that will work.

‘Peacot,’ she replied.

‘K’ I said, getting my crankypants on. ‘Say k’.

‘K’, she responded.




‘Say sock,’ I beg.




‘Good,’ I respond. ‘Say lock.’

‘Lock,’ she replies.



 ‘Cock, say cock! It’s cock,’ I practically shout in her face, not thinking all about what I am yelling at the top of my lungs.

‘Cot,’ she yells back.


‘It’s cock. Why can’t you say cock? It’s just COCK.’

Then that part of my brain – which should have been functioning long before now – wakes up and tells me to stop shouting obscene words in my daughter’s face.

‘Don’t you think it looks like a Peacot Mummy?’

‘Yes. Yes I do. Now put it away please.’

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Solution to the Wet Butt and Bather Problem [Review]

If I had to list one of my pet hates, it would probably be putting on undies when your butt is still wet. And if it’s someone else’s butt, then you can just double the frustration factor.

So as much as I love going to swimming lessons with my girls each week, I used to dread the part afterwards, where after a very dubious drying session with their ancient beach towels, we would attempt to drag their clothes back on without removing any skin.

So when I received a care package from Mamadoo containing two beautiful hooded robes from MooMoo Kids, it was like all my problems (or at least this particular one) had been solved.

To read the full review click here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Will A Third Child Make You Happier?

Last week I was contacted by a Yahoo journalist seeking a comment on some new research from the London School of Economics and Western University, Canada suggesting that having a third child won’t make you happier. Due to her deadline, and my being across the globe and in a completely unfriendly time zone, I never got to make that comment.

But her piece has been followed in recent days by plenty of other people commenting on the third-child-won’t-make-you-happy syndrome. I am a researcher by training so I know that you can often find whatever results you want within the myriad data you collect (you can find a summary of the results here). 

But without looking deep into their research methods, I am pretty sure that that the results are accurate. Did having my third child make me happier? Ah… no. But did having my first or second baby actually make me happy? Uh, can’t remember, probably not.

What the hell does ‘happy’ mean anyway?  The Oxford Dictionary says it means ‘feeling or showing pleasure or contentment’. Merriam-Webster says happy means ‘feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation etc’.

You know what I think of those words?

Let’s talk about the real words that describe how we feel when we have kids: 

I certainly never considered that I would be ‘happier’ after having children. That’s not why I did it, and certainly not why I had Number Three.

Who’s to say that the parents who registered as being less happy when baby three arrived weren’t overwhelmed by other factors – the physical toll on their inevitably older body, the emotional pull between partners and children, older kids causing grief either as toddlers or tweens, losing older kids to friends and school, less time with your partner, giving up work, having less money etc.

If ‘happy’ means all those words I listed before, then I am definitely more ‘happy’ with three kids. I feel more stable and grounded (even if on a minute-to-minute basis I might appear more flummoxed.) I felt pretty good with two but if I had been completely, 100% happy, then I doubt I would have chosen to have Baby Number Three.

Three for me feels more like the whole package, we are more self-contained. If two kids are fighting, there’s still another to fill the gap. At any point in time there is at least one of them not pissing me off (hopefully). And if some of them are at school or having a sleepover, then having the remaining one or two is easy, almost like a holiday. But, as I have come to realise, it’s not as easy as having three because that’s how our family was meant to be. And every family is going to be different

But I don’t agree with the basic premise of the research because it implies that we have children to make us happy: that our personal happiness is an actual factor in the decision to breed. I actually can’t remember why I decided to have children: it may have just been because it was assumed that’s what we would do. I may have felt a strong biological urge. Perhaps a less strong psychological curiosity. But it’s irrelevant now.

I am also concerned that their finding that baby number 1 and 2 only ‘briefly’ increases our happiness, before returning to pre-baby levels of happiness. Who are these poor, sad souls that were interviewed for the research?

I can categorically say that I am much more relieved-overjoyed-overawed-content-terrified-joyful-intimidated-fortunate- ecstatic-fulfilled -passionate now than before I had children. I think I am a better, more well-rounded, appreciative, empathetic and involved person for having them.

And if that doesn’t make me happy, then I don’t know what will.

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