The Odyssey!

Packing lightThis time next week, we will have (hopefully!) just stepped off the first flight of our next adventure.

We are off; it’s a Euro Extravaganza! The Big One. Visiting some of Daddyo’s family, skimming the surfaces of a couple of gorgeous cities. An introduction for the big boys to other worlds. Planes, trains, boats, and automobiles.

I’d hoped to write more about the planning part of this journey over the past few months (because there have been mega plans to plan) but, you know, real work and that very important business of bending over and picking up crap from every floor in this house on a half-hourly basis just kind of eroded any spare writing time.

The plan.

Armed with a block of time, cheap fares to Paris, and broad expectations, we flung a few options around the dinner table. The thrust of this trip is to celebrate a significant birthday for the family patriarch, so time spent in his ancestral highlands was one requirement. Cue the camper van. Son #1, the S-Man, is studying Greek, and son #2 studies Spanish, so that informed their requests. And there are some continental destinations that it seems timely to introduce the pre-teens to, just to whet their travel appetites. Usually we’re fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants travellers, quite lassez-faire with plans and bookings, but the reality of a family of five (one a toddler) hitting some of the big stops during European summer meant we needed to book, and plan, and make lists, and be generally pseudo-military about it all.

Over evenings and in stolen half-hours, bargain flights were scored, cars rented, airBnbs and private apartments and hotels and syrma locked away. Serendipitously, we are travelling during the Euro2016. The boys are soccer fanatics. I sold a kidney and bought them tickets to a quarter-final for their birthdays this year.

The DIY itinerary stretches to 3 pages (and the font’s 8-point). We’ve stuffed it full of goodies. Tempted by some ridiculously cheap air travel, and with more than a little air-mile guilt, we’ve overloaded our plates. And, though daunting, that’s pretty bloody awesome. I’m a little excited.

First stop, Sydney.

The pram.

Despite all of our family’s other prams being bought secondhand, for this trip I’ve invested in a new carry-on extravagance: a Mountainbuggy Nano, and I’m already infatuated with it. Hell no, we’re not sponsored, but I’m quite happy to report on its progress as we go. So far, the nearly-two-year old’s already taken to it, and (joy!) sleeps comfortably. I have invested my faith in this object’s ability to maintain our sanity. I have become a pram nerd.




Time mis-management

Downgrade your expectations of achievement

I’ve got it. The secret.

Since things are going to be slow (climbing stairs with a 20-month-old, anyone?), this moment is life’s big opportunity to live in the present. Hell yeah. Nothing encourages mindfulness like being in a garden, or pushing a toddler on a swing. A toddler on a swing in a garden? Hours freeze.

So my revelation: ditch it. I start with the usual expectations of all those things I think need to be achieved today, this week, etcetera. Then, as the hours slide aft, empty of all accomplishment save time spent with a tiny human that I’ll never have again, I prune those intended achievements. I like to start with general housekeeping. As long as a certain standard of hygiene is met, who really cares? One could continue a full jettison of all duty, right up to least favoured clients (tempting, but drastic, and financially awkward). Which explains why there are few recent posts on this blog. Intention, I assure you, was there. Time, I realise now, is not on this blog’s side. Perhaps there will be more posts. I plan so. Perhaps there will be less. This may be so.

How very zen.

P.s. Inspirational quotes in swirly writing are scourges of internets.


Right now, I have the answer to EVERYTHING. And it’s just one word. Which is great, because this sleep-deprivation shit plays havoc with your vocab.


- You look tired. Are you not sleeping?

- Toddler.


- Why does the house smell like cinnamon?

- Toddler.


- Why is the front lawn covered in duplo?

- Toddler.


- Why is the cat cowering in the bath?*

- Toddler.


- Why are the chairs all on top of the table?

- Toddler.


- Why is the loungeroom floor covered in a fine layer of talc?

- Toddler.


- Why haven’t you washed/brushed your hair this week?

- Toddler.


- Where are my keys?

- Toddler.


- Where is my mind?

- Toddler.


You may choose to add a little courtesy.

- Would you like to come out for dinner with us tonight?

- Sorry, toddler.


It even works as a reply to simple statements.

- That’s a lot of washing you’re doing.

- Toddler.


But it’s best reserved for existential angst.

- Why? Why me?

- Toddler.



*Just kidding. We have neither cat nor bath. (But the neighbours do.)

Today’s lesson: Don’t make the toddler laugh when his cheeks are stuffed with banana.

Life with Pollyanna

It’s been one of those weeks, where you arrive on Friday sweating and shaking and gripping onto the side of the week with ragged fingernails and white knuckles, just hoping to slide into the weekend intact.

The toddler’s teething. Which means if he lets you sleep for more than say two hours in a stretch, you’re laughing. Or at least able to form coherent sentences, or something like that. Up every hour, most nights.

So this morning, after battling peak traffic both-ways across town to drop my hot car to the air-conditioning magicians, and then into the city, baby sleeping in the back,* Daddyo says to me, “Look on the bright side” as I’m sitting there, exhausted, wondering if I’ll risk another coffee or if it will just make me super anxious. If it will make me nervy-shaky, not just tired-shaky.

Stuck in the enough-not-quite-enough caffeine limbo …

… with tired eyes, sore eyes that make me feel as if there’s someone pinning my lids back, Clockwork Orange style, but with pure chlorine being dripped in.

And Pollyanna says, “Well he slept from 1:30 and 4:30 this morning, that’s about three hours straight sleep last night, that’s good, isn’t it?” all sparkly and fresh-like.

And I say,

“No, it fucking isn’t.”


*Baby-sleep in car! Wasted sleep opportunity!

Just dropped a container of defrosted taco mince across the kitchen floor. Freshly mopped yesterday, that floor was.

This is what comes from attempting to be organised.

Cate Blanchett, on any day

In the morning, someone says, “Those sunglasses are cool. They make you look like Cate Blanchett… on a bad day.”

Later, the young supervisor at pilates plays something by One Direction. It’s unfamiliar. Then, something else: “Surely you’ve heard this one.”


“I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t know One Direction,” she says.

I’d say this day was one full of compliments.

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