Wednesday, June 29, 2011

She was there to sell makeup but the father saw more

What, pray tell, did he see beyond a scantily-clad boofie-haired gum-chewing loud-mouth saleswoman?

I ask you, what kind of irresponsible single parent could possibly hire someone to nanny his children on these few flippant facts:

She had style
She had flair
She was there*

That's all! That was the extent of her resumé and the basis on which she was hired. Apparently the girl they described, was just exactly what the doctor prescribed. Really?? For serious? He should have at least asked her to say something, because I'm sure that squawking would've changed Mr. Sheffield's mind.

Suffer the little children, indeed.

* Disclaimer: I do NOT watch The Nanny. I was just flicking past. On my way to the Biography Channel. Honest injin. And I only know the father's name because it's well quoted by Nanny Fine and has become like a catch phrase. Oh, and I only know her name is Nanny Fine because..... just because. But I swear, I've never watched an episode. Okay, well I've never watched a FULL episode. I'm going now.

This was originally posted on my old blog - the funnier one - on Sept. 11 2006. I keep bumping into these old ones as I trawl through looking for relevant posts to dig up for you on my Infertility & Loss page. Have you checked out the new ones there yet?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Putting patterns into perspective: Part 1

Have you ever had a moment like Jerry or George from Seinfeld where your censoring system guy - who sits in your head and watches everything you say to protect you from any slip-ups - goes for a coffee at an inopportune moment and leaves you driving your mouth (or fingers on a keyboard) and then you end up wishing you could take whatever you've said back but it's too late?

Image source

I had no idea when I made this tongue in cheek post about Ebay buyers a few weeks back that I was set to encounter a huge lesson in a way I would never have imagined I could.

See, I have been trying (still) to imagine I'm not as connected as I actually am to the unseen dimension of energy. Rather, the energy we all have - that scientifically prove one, the one that's like a force field around each of us - and usually go around obliviously delivering on others. I'm very mindful of mine and how I impart it. I'm still really sucky at walking right in, sitting right down and then getting absolutely lambasted by someone energetically, as if I never saw it coming. I am slow to integrate my lessons, it would appear...

So there I was the Thursday before last, apparently minding my own business on that lunar eclipse/verge of full moon day. I woke to an email that morning from an Ebay buyer. She had received her item and was not happy. Her email was efficient and business-like, not rude by any measure and made a fair point. But I got confused by it. I didn't know what she wanted from me. From my perspective, she merely contacted me to dump and give me a bit of a back-hander. I received it as I sensed it was intended: an "elder" berating a "younger" and showing in a not so subtle way that "this is not how we do things, young lady." It made me bristle slightly. And that should have been my very first clue/warning sign. I overlooked how it began to churn my insides. Completely ignored my own adequate instincts and kept steering myself headlong into a stirring battle.

She didn't want me to do anything. She did not want to return the item or get a refund. She simply wanted to tell me she what she was going to do. A healthy dose of martyrdom, if ever I noticed it. I didn't have to fix anything and there was essentially nothing wrong. But still... she contacted. She dumped. (I don't want to go into any specifics whatsoever, hence the hint of cryptic analysis here) 

So what did I do? I saw this as a "let her have her say and feel heard and she'll be on her way" sort of scenario. I replied in a detached "I'm not taking this on" tone. And that was my second mistake/warning sign. I didn't really know what she wanted from me so I made up my own assumptions and dumped back (in hindsight). There were enough hints in her email that I gathered her to be a woman of high standards with a fair few years (probably decades) on me.

I sent my reply. It was received somewhat negatively. I did not say what she wanted me to say - after all, I did not know (for she was unclear) why she was contacting me so I basically sent a "I'm sorry you feel that way *shrug* Let me know if you want a refund" back. For some reason known only to her at this point, it riled her.

It appeared I had somehow said all the wrong things. She upped the ante. And hit "Send" back at me with her own heightening frustration at this strange situation. I was literally told I was wrong. That I "should have said/offered" this and that. And that is where I got slurped in to her version of things. Her story.

Being the instigator (or aggressor), she has the upper hand here. The agenda, if you will. She can watch me react and remain lofty, for she knows exactly what her script says. And I have strayed from it. So she continues, over the course of the next 36-48 hours, to fire off emails back to me in an increasingly firm tone. And I am thinking about what her next reply is going to be. I start hiding from her emails, so much so that I actually quit my email program - THIS, if you know me, is quite unheard of for me and something I never do - and I am feeling rather hit by a truck. I am exhausted and I realise it is all to do with my energy being leeched. Nothing physical at home is taxing me, there is no discord here. My strength, my energy, is all going into this mental battle of wills and I actually find myself grateful for recognising it quickly this time.

And that is when I realise. Smacking my palm to my forehead. I've missed it again!

I walked right in to it. I got slurped up into another's energetic pattern. Only this time, I was fairly and squarely in this situation of stranger-to-stranger pot-shot-taking. What the hell?? At various points, I was called rude and my whole demeanour was assumed and pulled apart and dissected. I was "rude" because, as far as I can still tell, I had not adhered to her script... I had not said what she expected me to say. I am telling you, it was astounding. Very smooth, no stooping to name calling, no outright losing control of herself, all very high-brow. But tinged with an air of superiority, all the same.

And I (stupidly) kept replying. About three exchanges before I couldn't physically take what it was doing to me. Her emails kept coming, little facetious updates, little digs, little niggles.

This kind of huge physical reaction (the exhaustion and desperate need to shut myself off from everyone outside of those I live with), for me, signals that a huge personal lesson is taking place. It doesn't happen to me so blatantly usually, more often it is little discords here and there that I can energetically ride out, as we all do - without realising - day in, and day out.

Now I was watching the train hurtling towards the other train at breakneck speed but still I didn't slam on the brakes. What was I thinking?

Well, I was thinking by this time, "What is it about this woman that is bringing this feeling out in me?" I had begun to consciously explore, with growing fascination, why the things she was saying were bringing out a reaction in me that was - given the extremely loose (if any) connection to this woman that would end as soon as the Ebay matter resolved - causing such a huge reaction in me. The obviousness of this, the very fact it had made me take notice and look more closely at the exchange, has been a lesson in and of itself.

To a lesser extent, I was also pondering what it might be about me that was grating on her so - I say "lesser" only because this is not for me to know - and whether she was having any lessons of her own by now.


And now I am going to have to make this a cliff-hanger. Sorry! This has gone on far too long so I'm going to continue it in a few days. I have work to do, you've no doubt got more blogs to read or sunshine to feel on your faces. But I wanted to begin this - it's been sitting in my Drafts folder for a week as it is and I've had to change much of it to past tense.

A very, very surprising conclusion came several days after I was planning to post this. God I LOVE how the Universe delivers like that.

Looking forward to sharing the next part of the learning with you, though. I want to discuss how the "patterns" part comes into it.  So check back soon if you're interested!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Party pissa: My kind of party

The LGBB and I have handed out all her party invitations (except for a few who will get letterbox dropped shortly).

It started with "You can invite TEN. Only ten." She wanted a disco karaoke party. I know. Did you just groan and laugh at the same time like I did? Weighing up the ratio of room size:her ability to befriend any child, I knew I had to set a limit early. But I also had a feeling it wouldn't be just ten in the end. Despite her initial statement - "No boys" - I also kinda guessed she'd try and sneak some boys in to the list when she realised she wanted them here. It's a recording that's made its way in to her head via some other little girl's vocabulary. Lolly has plenty of boy friends. She just sometimes forgets. And I sometimes forget to encourage her not to forget.

I admit, I took the easy way out. I was thinking of the head count only. If she said she didn't want boys, then that would instantly make it easier to keep the numbers down. "Fine," I said two weeks ago. "No boys then." Not that my floors and walls are the most spot-free in the world, I didn't relish the thought of a huge number of children descending in a party-frenzied furore on my house and furniture.

Fast forward to last weekend, after much gnashing of teeth and also realising that not only did she want to invite three boys from kinder, she simply HAD to (evidenced by the writhing on the floor holding her stomach as if she was trying to digest her own bad acting) have her cousins here as well, my little girl was not able to be convinced. I was secretly very glad that she had found her own way through it and realised she did want her boy counterparts to come and share in the fun.

Initially, I tried to advise her we could have a "family dinner" with her cousins and two of her other family-friends boys - make a night of it at a pizza place, I thought, which sort of helped smooth over my own social etiquette-bound self (I assumed all along that her beloved boys would not want to come to what was being touted by Lolly as a "disco princess fairy dance party"). And I wrote the five boys' names down and explained to her that they probably wouldn't want to come, and I talked up how fun a pizza night with her and them would be. She was confused. She wanted to invite them. It was boof-head ME who fed the stereotype.

It was sorted. For a few days. Lolly got to work drawing a poster in honour of her own birthday. It had balloons on it and pieces of pizza (spelled "pissa", which was, very much, a "pisser" to me and her Dad) with smiley faces. She was extra specially careful to ensure lines went from the pizza slices to each of the boys' names. So they wouldn't miss out.

Pardy piss-aaaaaa. Whassuuuuuup!

It broke my heart a little bit. And I gave myself a verbal shake and said "Wake up, ninny!" She was showing me in plain scribbles that her kids were segregated. For no real reason she could understand. I mean, who can be bothered listening to their mother crap on about how hard it is to keep the house clean? Right?

So the list grew. My limit blew out to fifteen. "Okay," I said, "FIFTEEN... but that is IT," I said.

And she nodded and did her wide-mouthed old-soul matron grin and presented me with 22 names. Off the top of her head. It was pitiful, the indecision over who she had to leave off if she absolutely HAD to invite another. In the end, I couldn't do it to her. She is the sort of kid, I suspect, who like me would take in any number of strays (people, animals, she doesn't discriminate).

After negotiations were finalised, I wrote a number down and slid the paper across the kitchen bench to her in silence, nodding suggestively - This is a good number, take the deal - and she nodded back at me. We settled. We're idiots like that. She doesn't even know what I was parodying. But she thinks I'm a cracker crack-up. Whatever.


A post from the incomparable Mrs Woog has stopped me in my tracks this morning. It reminded me of the message I was unwittingly sending to my daughter and I was relieved that I had not encouraged her to go with her no-boys rule. Go read this: Performing Princesses.

I'm not saying I don't think boys *want* to dance or come to a fairy/princess/girly-girl party, but I am saying I sometimes get so blinkered that I just expect they'll not want to come. I almost supported my daughter's decision not to invite who she truly wanted to be here. Based on gender. When it wasn't really what she wanted anyway, it was what she had heard in "the playground."

I am lining up for a smack. Take a number. I'll bend over shortly.


Nineteen invites are going out today. Eight of them are for boys. I came home from distributing them into the parents' folders, made a cup of tea and sat down to discover that post. I read it and felt humbled and confirmed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To all you intuitive mothers out there (and mothers in the making/waiting)

Today, a book recommendation, something I don't do lightly.

This is an old post, dug up from my old blog - originally posted in March 2007 - when the LGBB was a mere 8 months old. Given that it is an age-old topic (new mother insecurity), I thought I'd repost here for any new mums out there, or those taking note for when their time comes. I do hope it reaches the screen of someone who needs to read this recommendation today. You're not on your own in this! x

Do you ever read something, like a book or an article, and think, "Hang on.... did I write this for myself and forget?" It's something so very inline with how you see things that it's as if your central nervous system has a spare body floating around that it uses to do things you could have done/said/written yourself. I do. Not often, but sometimes. Especially in written form, I get this quite a bit.

I have found the Mother *boom-tish* of all such books. I am only wishing I'd found it when the LGBB was about 7 weeks old and I was going through the motions with a fake smile plastered on my face. I was so worn down by sleep deprivation and had been hung upside down (or so it felt) for so long that to find my right way up seemed so impossible that I was quite happy to just hang there and wallow, thank you very much all the same, kind Sir.

I was so moved and my confidence in my own instincts so honoured as I read this book that I actually wrote and thanked the author. She's certainly taken the writer's claw out of my task - because I have been jotting things down as they come to me - it seems they're all here in this book. In plain English.

With a cherry on top.

It reminds me of one of my favourite, well-used Steve Martin lines (shit... was it Steve Martin? I can't remember! Noooooo! Damn you, baby braaaain! *shakes fist to heavens*): "That's just what I've been trying to tell these people", except in this case, "these people" is me. This book has somehow given me the confidence to trust what I already know. I am sure it would be the same for anyone who reads it. What a gift!

It's full of wisdom I've been trying to tell myself.

I have found Intuitive Mothering, for me personally, to be one of those nuggets that speaks to your core. That inner You whom you know, maybe very well but more often perhaps not so intimately - the authoress herself professes to not really know where the book came from and I find that fascinating as much as it is affirming that it comes from a divine and pure source, devoid of much of the ego you find in other books of its kind. I know exactly what she means because there have often been times where I will write something and go back and read it later, to find I feel like I'm reading it for the very first time. Ella's "Parallel Story" was written like that. In fact, both the stories about her that I wrote for her pages came from thin air (not to say they're not completely factual, it's just that I sat down, put my fingers to the keyboard, got up and went away and there they remain, unedited bar a few spelling errors, no reworking or the likes).

This book has given me the affirmation I really needed at a time I really needed it in order to stand taller and realise I don't need peripheral parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, professionals... ANY outside source... to give me the proverbial pat on the back I thought I needed in order to make it the "right" or "correct" thing to do.

Mind you, the irony isn't lost on me that a book (in itself an "outside source") has led me to this conclusion!  Hmmm.....

I think the difference is that I feel far more empowered by seeing the book on the shelf (the slimmest paperback spine in amongst the other Parenting manuals, just leaping out and going "Pick ME! PICK MEEE!", having the follow-through to purchase it (I was on a "date" with Steve at the time and we'd just meandered in to a large bookstore and sauntered to our favourite sections - he Quantum something-or-other, me Parenting) and then realising what a pearler it actually is right from the first page.

It shines a truth. It speaks to my innermost mother instinct. Reminds me to trust what I feel is right, for me and the LGBB. It goes and sits and has a yarn with that real deep knowledge we all have that, without all the "assvice" and interference and uncertainty that builds up in you when you defer to others to tell you if you're heading in the right direction, you most certainly ARE doing exceptionally well for YOUR baby and everything is going right (despite what any general book or MCHN tries to tell you).


Just yesterday, I had a nightmare day: went for the LGBB's 8mth check. Was told I was sitting her too much and "that's why her legs are bent like a frog, if you keep doing it she'll have problems and need physio" and rah de rah de rah. It made sense, there were no "that doesn't sound right" alarms ringing in my head. I simply went "Ok" and began doing more tummy exercises with L from the time we got home. Don't think it's a coincidence that the poor kid had the most miserable afternoon - she cried and cried almost non-stop, big sorry-for-herself sobbing - and by the time she got to bed last night we were both exhausted. By the time I went to bed, I'd realised (again) that I'd allowed someone else to tell me what was best for my child. It resulted in an extremely uncomfortable day for both of us.

I always vow I'll never do it again, that I'll be more aware of it next time.... and I always slip! I'm not hard on myself for that, I am realistic about it and the fact that by my very nature, I aim to please/do right/do it well. But when I walk past that book on my end table, it snaps me back - the pendulum might get out of whack but if it swings back to centre, all is not lost.

I don't profess that the book has ALL the answers or that it is for everyone, merely it is a bloody useful tool now for me to dip into - full of reminders I could have written to myself, but so nice to see it in print, published, as if anything written in a book is fact and "right".... except this time, with this book, intuitively, I know that for me, it IS right. Because it speaks to my truth. The comforting thing about that is, if it has been written by someone else, and yet it is full of what my deeper wisdom would have written had I not buried her with fear, cynicism, loathing and the best of intentions, then surely it is going to also make someone else's soul squeal with delight.

So therefore, I feel it my duty to pass on to anyone who considers it might be something they'd like to have on their own shelf.

I give you...

Intuitive Mothering by Lyn MacPherson, published by, ISBN 174110352-5, available in all good bookstores...

Some small favourite extracts:

"Things" are not important to your child, but you are. If you are happy and around and interacting with your child, that will mean more to them than anything you could ever buy them.

The better we look and the tidier our house is does not reflect how well we are coping. DING DING DING DING!!! This is the gold-star sentence for me. I was blinded by the lightbulb that went off in my head when I read it. I look around and see others' perfection. It's SO NOT perfection. It is the illusion of same. Key here for me is: don't waste energy on assuming what you're seeing (in others and how they cope) and then using those assumptions to fill in the rest of the picture. And don't be ashamed of your own dirty floors/toilet/shower! They won't always be dirty. They might be today, but what needs doing today (or tomorrow) might not be cleaning them! Do what you want to do, not what you think you should do (see the next paragraph!)

Confronting and releasing expectations: Make what we "should" do what we "want" to do.. or don't do it. Another barrier to tuning in to your child lies in expectations. They are everywhere, from mothers to friends to doctors - and especially the expectations you heap on yourself. The key to liberating yourself from expectations is to take the word "Should" out of your vocabulary. Every time you hear yourself thinking you "should" do something, ask "Is this really something I want to do? I it the right thing for me and my child?" If you are able to say "yes", that is great - it has now become your choice - not something done because it is expected. If your answer is "no", choose not to do it. (If I had remembered this yesterday, my Bullfrog-Legged baby and I would have had a much happier afternoon, wouldn't we! I didn't listen to my instincts until last night, and I couldn't wait until this morning to start a fresh new day with her when she got up for the day)

Be proud of your decisions and choices. If you feel the need to reassess one of your choices, do so for you, not for others. Avoid the bombardment of influences out there..... Throughout your journey with your child, just be who you are. Do not expect to feel anything, just let yourself feel. Let it all flow. Neither of you have ever done this before - it's a new relationship for you and your baby. Every woman is beautiful and unique. If we were all the same, life would be very boring. Every child is also beautiful and unique and every mother is beautifully equipped in her own unique way to understand, nurture and raise her children. See the beauty and the mystery of the discovery, and the true freedom brought about by feeling rather than thinking.

'Intuitive Mothering' is more than another baby care book. It is a warm and friendly tool for the new parent negotiating the maze of apparently conflicting, prescriptive advice about parenting styles and approaches - Dr Bronwyn Gould, Chair, National Assoc. for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Feeling a little sluggish

Isn't it always the way?

You get your blogging mojo back and then... BAM! Life gets in the way. Busy. Gets in the way.

So here I am, busy as all get-out, inspired up to the whazoo. And not a moment to write any of it out. Too much work going on, kids! Plus all the kindergarten work. My other unpaid job *grumble*

Image source
In the meantime, would you kindly take notice of a little fellow who sent me a message tonight just as I was getting out of the shower. A slug. A tiny baby slug. For some reason, on the bathroom floor. Hopelessly lost, obviously, and probably trying like hell to find familiar territory as opposed to the cold hard alien tiles.

I stared down at this small creature as I towel dried my back. Why was it there? For some reason, my mind was focusing on the fibres of the towel on my back. They were so soft. The towel was so dry and comforting. I really appreciated it. I found myself slowed to a pace where I truly appreciated the fact that I was able to have a warm shower. With clean water. In a large clean safe shower. Inside a house. My own house. A safe house. I stood there as my mind then wandered to think out to those who aren't home tonight. Those in hospital, those unable to lift an arm let alone have a shower. I then gave thanks that I was standing. That I was in no physical pain. That I was breathing, blinking, moving.

It was quite the profound shower.

And so, this little slug guy. He sent me this message. He was so slow, so prominently brown on my pale bathroom tile, that I had no option but to take notice of what he had to say. I got dressed, came out, looked up Snail & Slug. In amongst my work, for me to share with you, was this. I'd love to hear from you if you have anything to share that comes out of this for you. And if anyone wants any further reading or connecting totems/mandalas, please contact me. Email is probably best.


A Snail carries its home on its back and is able to guard against predators by returning inside its shell. This is a reminder to you to be aware of your vulnerability and how to manage and protect your emotional and spiritual sensitivities. This could be a time to be more self-protective and withdraw within to shield yourself from interferences from the world’s busy-ness.  Ask yourself, what are you dealing with when you encounter a Snail (e.g. on your way to work or when you are cleaning up your garden etc), as this could show you where to focus your energy in a relationship.  Meditating with Snail could highlight how best to protect yourself from unwanted energies, especially those energies that try to prevent you from continuing on your pathway of spiritual service to humanity.

Snail energy is about the softer, more sensitive side of your existence.  It represents the gentle, strong heartfelt feelings of the inner child and the manner in which you need to house and protect those sensitivities.  Now could be time to withdraw into your shell to contemplate your situation.  Ask yourself if you are perhaps hiding from your spiritual responsibilities, or overexposing yourself to the fear-based ridicule of others.  Snail wisdom will help you not to be too discouraged in broadening and grounding your spiritual conviction, for as a Snail grows, it lays down more shell thus enlarging its entrance and its existence.  This suggests that as you grow in understanding you should expand and broaden your etheric space to make room for greater commitment.  As you expand this space of spiritual conviction, you should be prepared to be of service to humanity.  Just as the Snail leaves a trail wherever it travels to help it over rough ground, you can leave a trail of good example for others to follow.  This will require your strength, courage and will power.  

Incidentally, when Snail energy connects with the energy of Horse, you will be further supported in your spiritual quest.  An understanding of the Snail and Horse will assist you to master your own vulnerability courageously.  There is an often overlooked partnership in spiritual lore that provides complete understanding of how best to weather the storms of life while remaining committed to being of spiritual service.  The spiritual sustenance which Snail and the Horse can provide is able to carry you forward when you are faced with the ridicule of others or are assailed by your own suspicions that in some way you are being conned into doing something false.

Horse energy sustains you for the long haul while Snail energy contains and conserves your commitment by having your safe home always with you wherever you go.  As you journey onwards, both Snail and Horse wisdom are able to offer guidance so that you can contain your inner psychological stability and provide yourself with necessary shelter from the outside world’s harshness.

Key words: Sensitivity   Vulnerability   Strength   Courage   Home   Safety    Inner Child   Shelter

Connections: Mandala 57 - Shelter in the Paddock, Light Russet, Epidote, Sound Chord G minor

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Photo-Bomber returns

This is a chair. 

It's a very deep-seated, comfy chair. I won it on Ebay the other week. It needs a good scrub and a change of cushion cover and then it will be good as new. Well, as close to good as new as a forty-year-old chair can get.

This.... *sigh*..... is Jazz.
Jazz doesn't like camera flashes. Obviously. However, she does
love herself a good photo shoot. 
If you have ever met Jazz, you will know the reason for my sigh. Even our builder, who was onsite here for about six months during the extensions, got to the stage of greeting her with an exasperated yet affectionate, "Oh yes, hello, JAZZZZ." Because as annoying as she is, you can't help loving her. She shits me to tears. I still adore her. The time that builder accidentally let her escape (which you can read about here) proved it to me: I do love her enough to know I would desperately miss her joyous energy around the place.

Still, she can't help herself. Whenever she sees a camera, she owns it *snaps fingers in imaginary lightning bolt shape* And don't let this photo of her fool you. She is NOT old, decrepid, slow or docile. By any stretch. She is the most boisterous, bouncy, belligerent seven year-old dog I have ever come across. I blame it on the Labrador in her. And the me-me-me's she's got about her? I blame her jealous Kelpie streak.

Below is what happened when I tried to take a photo - just one, that's all I wanted! - of my Ebay score to show you the fabric I'm planning to use for the new cushion.

How do you think I went with that one then? Eh? I'll let you decide.

You get the picture.

But can you see the fabric?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Worst cringe moment - what's yours?

I remember it clearly. I still recoil with embarrassment when I think about it.

Oh, and then there was that time I called out, "I'm on the toileeee!" when I heard what I thought were Steve's footsteps coming into the ensuite. They weren't Steve's. They were the carpet layer's. You may well ask yourself why I had a) not closed the door (not that the ensuite was anywhere near where anyone could see or hear someone was on "the toilee", b) why I had not remembered in the first place that there was a tradie in the house (for I had clean forgotten), and, most importantly, c) why I had called it a "toilee".

But I digress.

That was not my most cringe-worthy moment, no. No, that moment came when I was sitting beside my three week-old daughter in the NICU with Steve, enjoying a chat with my Obstetrician who had dropped by to say hello. He did this often, almost daily. It endeared me to the guy for life. In fact, he was the most frequent visitor we had. And I will never forget his care and kindness. Willing our girl on, with us. Come on, what's not to love about that?!

On this day, as we briefly chatted about this and that - his visits were never longer than a few minutes - he was talking about his wife (whose name I will change to save myself any further cringe-worthy embarrassment).

"Helen's left me..." was all he got out.

"What!? Is she insane???" I gasped before I could stop myself. It was involuntary. I couldn't help it. To this day, I desperately hope that if he remembers the speed with which I blurted out my sentiments and how ready I was to question his wife's decision, he will factor in my heightened hormones and that I was not of clear mind.

Everybody who has ever had a baby (rather, anybody who has been under the care of a nice Obstetrician to start with), I am sure, would be well aware of the phenomenon that is being under a giddy trance and loving him (or her?) with an almost fierce protective ownership. If you've had a good rapport with him during your confinement, chances are you take quite a shine - almost a worshipping - to the fellow by the time he delivers that baby safely. Particularly when you go into spontaneous early labour, like I did.

Well, anyway. Didn't I play my Blatantly Obvious card that day? In front of my highly amused, tight-lipped "You're On Your Own"-looking husband standing just behind and to the side of my beloved Ob.


My Obstetrician gave a polite laugh as he continued, "No, she's left me with the kids while she goes over to England to visit her aunt."

Oh. That kind of "left you".

Why does the ground never actually swallow you up when you want it to?

Can you tell me your most cringe-worthy moment? 
You know, the one that, when thought of, causes an involuntary audible groan to escape you. And makes you flap your hands or slap your knees or run on the spot or do the "la-la-la's" to drown out the image if you think about it.

Come on, spill. Promise I won't laugh. Much.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Come on, folks, this isn't kindergar... oh wait. Yes it is.

Subtitled: Rage against The Machine.

A sizeable chunk of my chill days away from the blog has been spent bobbing around in a stormy ocean of kindergarten politics, gripping tightly to a flimsy little makeshift raft that I had to hastily fashion from committee meeting notes, agendas and a spare pipe cleaner or two. The antics going on right now are in the realm of the unreal, to me, the likes of which I had heard about on various grapevines but never properly accepted as real or ever bound to happen - I thought those telling the stories were surely exaggerating or had just encountered good old-fashioned bad luck.

But no.

Kindergarten committees in Victoria. Ahhhh. The stuff of legends.

A place where a select few parents come together once a month and pretend (or not) to be a cohesive group for the sake of the other 50-odd families they are effectively representing and pulling the weight for. Who knows, perhaps of those other 50-something families, a large portion have "done time" in previous years and vowed never again would they go on the kinder committee. Their hair (the preservation of) and their health were more important to them.

I get that. Now.

Did you know, Victoria is the only state/territory that doesn't have some form of Education body as the provider or responsible agency for its preschool facilities? The Department of Human Services governs the structure of this branch of my child's early learning life. And now, seeing the inner workings of a preschool committee in this state, I'm not entirely sure it's the best or most appropriate way to conduct the program.

Our teachers are great. Love both of them. The kinder itself is wonderful. The care and environment they provide is very sound. But when it comes to costs of running it all? That's where the system can fail abysmally. See, here, a kindergarten is only as good as its fundraising efforts. A preschool with the latest educational/teaching aids and learning toys and so forth has only gained those by way of a combination of savvy teacher and clued-in parents on the committee getting their collective act together to ensure a steady flow of funds during the year. Basically, a preschool in Victoria is only as good as its previous year's committee and how well they grovelled for cash. How well they pretended to be ex-lepers haggling for a spare sheckle.

Is this fair? Is it right?

Actually, it's not the fundraising I have an issue with. It's the structure of the voluntary parent committee I see as problematic. I thought (HA) I could get past any concerns or hiccups. It's only for a year, I told myself when I signed up as Secretary. It's for the children, I reminded myself when cracks began to appear and the true sluggish nature of a group of overworked and unpaid parents kept coming together once a month. Our well-meaning little group has denigrated to the point of no return.

Now, we are on the verge of a show-down to rival the WWE. It's astonishing.

And all I can really do is put my student's hat on and take notes on the sidelines. Detach and observe. See how large personalities are gorging on their over-important egos, muddying the real job we have got to do here. This is not a battle about who's more important or who's got more say over whom. This is about putting one unpaid person at the helm of a group of unpaid people and giving them a modicum of power (usually in title alone - President) to get a rather large task seen to. Let's face it, this mob has nothing to lose if they are not in the business of acting decently towards others. A woman scorned is a scary thing. I've seen it at point blank range.

All of this isn't even to mention the anger, people. The anger! Where does it come from? I know I've got some. I've got lots of the stuff. Or so I thought, until I came across that intriguing creature known as the kinder committee member with an axe to grind. Wow. It seems my pocketful of kryptonite is not as radioactive as I imagined. My rage is nothing compared to this. And there is one reason why I don't even bother getting so pent-up: This, this kinder committee, this year - quite possibly the only one Steve and I will experience with a child of ours (yes, he is on the committee too) - is not important enough to spend so much of my energy. Over what? Something that will last for another 5, 6 months tops. My aim is to work with whomever is left on the committee to the end of the year and hope like hell we're not leaving the bank balance in an embarrassing state. Despite the fact that it personally represents a bittersweet turnstile year for our only surviving child, the antics being pulled by the blinkered few are just disappointing.

When it comes down to it, the volunteer committee represents society in some respects. There are the "gunners", the "doers", the committed, the rubber-neckers. There are the outspoken, there are the martyrs. There are the peace-keepers and the silent. And there are the downright missile-seeking train wrecks.

What would happen, I wonder, if people could get out of their own way a little more often and accept responsibility for their brazen energy-spills? What if they were able to rein in some of their rage - or actually, not feel it over such unimportant stuff in the first place?

Is it possible to talk your ego down from the ledge? Do you dissolve situations in your mind easily once you step back, detach and realise it is not the place for you to be taking anything personally? Do you hold on even once you see something was not directed at you personally? When you're in a committee, how do you handle yourself? Do your own internal rules change - do you blend in to the collective, or do you stand out and stand up for things you believe are right? No right or wrong here, I'm just interested.

In this situation - the good old kinder committee - I just don't feel it enough to make it about me. Even if someone else was making it personal, against me, an "attack" by a committee member would be difficult for me to take on. Because I can put other things aside and get on with the job (with whomever is left after any stand-offs and walk-outs and sackings and resignations).

Is that too Pollyanna of me?  Eh, suck it up. I'm the best and worst person to have on your committee. I am your Homer Simpson to their Drederick Tate.

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