What does the last of the housewives do?

Category: Kids

A Moment’s Peace

I may have mentioned my youngest son, I like to think of him as the Horror from Outer Space.  My mother-in-law describes him as a dear little fellow, but he is the kind of child who is best in small doses.  And I’ve just had two months of him. And today he went back to school.

Going back to school raised mixed emotions in him.  On the one hand, he adores his school.  On the other hand, a whole lot of new stuff.  His school is all organised and had an introduction to your class morning last December, so he’s met his teacher and knows who is in his class (she’s new to the school and they seem to have given her all of the problem children).  But will she like him? Will she make him sit next to someone he doesn’t like?  Will she listen to his strenuous objections if this is the case?  What kind of punishment will be handed out for strenuously objecting and will it make strenuously objecting worth it or not?  Will these punishments be cumulative or will each objection start from a clean slate?

These concerns cause him to wake up before six which gave him plenty of time to start airing them.  I get up early anyway, from natural inclination and also because builders start meandering through the hall a touch before seven and I like to be washed and clad before that happens.  I thought a bath might be a soothing way to start the day, but the Horror never has any qualms about following me in there. “I wonder if she’ll start off with a timetable?  Mr Pollard didn’t last year, but he did after four or five days because everyone wanted him to.” “I’m sure there’ll be some timetable,” I reassure him.  They have language lessons, art lessons, music lessons, sports lessons with other teachers, that’s not going to be spontaneous. “Yes, but is she going to tell us? How far in advance? Will it be on the website or will she write it on the board?” “You know what?  You’ll find out soon.  Do you think you could go and polish your shoes and leave me in peace to have my bath?”.

Well, that worked for about thirty seconds.  “Look, are these polished enough?  I think they’re a bit tight.  But I don’t mind wearing them for a few more weeks.” I avoid shoe shopping with the Horror, he has some kind of condition that invariably causes him to be thrown out of shoe shops.  “Why are you spraying me with water?” I ask in my mildest tone. “Oh, sorry, I’m just making sure my hair looks very neat, I want to make the best impression.  I’ve packed my lunch, I’ve got a carrot, an apple and a bread roll.  I’ve also got my pencil case and an exercise book and my iPad, I think most people will forget to bring their iPads, but I’ve remembered.  Do you think there’s anything else?” “No, that sounds fine,” I say.  “Well, I’ve got my lunch, my pencil case and my iPad.  I think there should be something else, don’t you think there should be something else?” “How about your sunhat?”  “I KNEW IT!!!”.  Well, that got rid of him for another thirty seconds.  “Hey, do you think we could go to school now?  We could wait in the coffee shop for school to open”.  The gates weren’t due to open for over an hour and it takes us ten minutes to get there.  I remain calm.  “Get out,” I say calmly.  “Get out now”.

After my bath I put him to work finding the Muffet’s school badges that she removed from her uniform approximately nine weeks ago and hasn’t seen since.  I’m not sure how throwing boxes and hitting his sister with an exact replica of Voldemort’s wand was helping, but it kept him out of my hair for a bit (we didn’t find the badges). We did end up leaving early because he actually started ricocheting off the walls.  I managed to talk them into a first day of school photo


Note the merry band of builders in the background, warming up for a jolly day of tossing old roof tiles from a great height into their truck.  Their accuracy is impressive.  If they were any other ethnicity than Aussie they’d be singing some rhythmic tile tossing song, but instead they’re not listening to an easy listening radio station.

Anyway, the car trip consisted of the Horror’s speech getting faster and faster and shriller and shriller, punctuated by his sister throwing drink bottles at him and the Moose trying to stop him from talking by reaching around from behind and pulling his cheeks back towards his ears.  It’s a miracle we ever get anywhere alive.  I eject him at school in the middle of a high pitched musing on the best spots to sit in the playground and which ones would now be vacated by last year’s departing sixth grade, interspersed with a discourse on whether you could really call an open box a locker if it didn’t even have a door, yet general usage referred to it as such.  I could still see his mouth moving as he walked through the gate.  I’m completely sure he will be fine and will have an awesome day.  I’d better make sure there is substantial afternoon tea.

So after I get rid of the other two I am child free.  I also don’t start work for another month and have only a few footling committee bits and pieces that need my attention.  What I would normally do now is get a giant takeaway coffee, take it home, then lie on the loungeroom floor for a bit.  But this is what my loungeroom floor currently looks like.


Actually quite a bit more like a bomb site than usual.  So I treated myself to breakfast at my current favourite local, Single Rosetta.


The butter could have been less stony cold and there could have been more of a sourdough tang in the fruit toast, but I am fussy about my fruit toast.  And the coffee was excellent.  There was a terribly pretentious magazine for me to read, printed on matte paper with lots of tiny interviews with bands that I’m not sure actually exist, and little musings on how nice it is to have breakfast, and isn’t it rotten when all of your friends want to go to a noisy pub that only serves free range chips and beer made in their sink and you just want to lie on your vintage couch that you found in the Mosman cleanup in your hemp pyjamas and hate watch American Idol.  It was very serene.

But now I’m back to reality, and I think my ears have stopped ringing.  I shall attend to my housewifely duties, dust the plaster off the kitten and go and choose some bathroom tiles.  And then I shall be ready to hear all about the first day of school.


Crochet Black and White Beanie and Rainbow Scrunchie

Having looked through many knitting and crochet patterns lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that most of them you wouldn’t be seen dead in a ditch in. What is it about yarn craft and really horrible clothing? Do you know of anyone who’d actually want a woollen daisy brooch? Seriously! No wonder so much of it is intended for babies, they can’t get away.

Beanies are the exception. I’ve seen many beanie patterns that look both possible and good, and I’ve finished two and am contemplating a third. You’ve seen the first one, and here’s the second.

I’m not, you know, ecstatic about it. I think I’ve put the crown in upside down, but crochet looks OK either side. The brim is done in Tunisian stitch, which produces a very pleasing almost material like result, but isn’t very stretchy, so not the greatest choice for a brim. It was fun to do though, you do it on a long crochet hook. You collect all the loops onto the hook in one row, then the next row is almost exactly like casting off knitting. You don’t turn the hook around between rows, so you feel a bit like you’re operating a typewriter. I did a lot of it during Monsters University, which was very cute but not as entertaining as the first movie, which I saw approximately four hundred times before the DVD disintegrated.

But I needed a black and white beanie to watch the boys playing soccer. It actually looks better on.

All the baggy bits stretch out. It’s quite close fitting, so will mess up the wild and free hair thing I have going, which is why the next one I’ll make will be a slouchy beanie. Just have to choose the colour.

I’m also in the process of doing some fingerless gloves, which I’m finding fairly boring. So instead I did a scrunchie.

That was very easy, I did it during Star Wars Three, which the Horror was watching in between jumping on the trampoline and decrapulating his school bag. You just take a hair elastic, the kind you buy in packs of twenty because the dogs tend to eat them if you leave them around. None of the instructions actually tell you how to get the wool on the elastic, they just say sc around the elastic. What you do is stick your needle into a slip stitch. Then you poke your needle into the middle of the elastic and draw the wool up with the hook and through the slip stitch. Then you alternate drawing the wool through the middle of the elastic and from the outside of the elastic as you form each stitch. You just pack as many stitches on there as you can fit. The you can knock yourself out with what you do next. I just sc’d twice into each of the first row, then every second one in the second row and every third in the third row. Makes a ruffly scrunchie that your daughter will immediately wrap around her ponytail when she comes home from pony camp. Could make good birthday presents. The dogs definitely won’t be interested in eating them either.

So next is a slouchy beanie, and then a round one with a brim that I’m going to make in red for a friend. Not sure what pattern I’m going to use yet, but don’t worry. She did ask for it, I’m not inflicting it on her. I should be fairly good at it by the time I get up to that one.

Half Yearlies

The Muffet’s school is probably not alone in having the bright idea that they could run their Year 7 half yearly exams at the same time as NAPLAN, which would enable them to say that they didn’t focus on training for NAPLAN, but if you could study English, Maths and Science for your half yearlies, that would be super.

Study is a new concept for the Muffet. She generally does homework spread out on the lounge or the kitchen bench top and it takes her twice as long as it should because of all the singing, eating and fighting with her brothers that this entails. It has taken a phalanx of teachers all giving her the same advice that has finally persuaded her to try studying at a desk. This has been a little problematic.

You see, I don’t think all kids have to have their own rooms. Just my kids. It’s just the way it’s worked out. To achieve this, we had to extract my husband from his study, and believe me, I’m never going to hear the end of it until she’s moved out of home and he’s back in there. Muffet it is in the study because it is the smallest bedroom and she is the messiest child by quite a long way. It makes perfect sense to me. Not to her, obviously. So I have provided her with a desk in what was the dining room when the house had such a thing. And here’s what it looks like.

I’m sure we could salvage it from underneath all the craft and actual garbage on it, but she really doesn’t like working there. She has got a tiny little desk that pulls out from under her bed, but until two weeks ago that was groaning under even more detritus. Until we decided to put the German billet in there, that required a mammoth cleanup and now it is once again visible.

All it needed was a chair. She has managed to study there this weekend perched on that tiny IKEA stool, but I want that back, it’s my sewing stool. So I promised her that if she found her school blazer, I would buy her a proper stool. This morning I marched her into the school and, holding her firmly by the ear, dragged her into the school office where we found the blazer by the simple expedient of asking the ladies there to look in lost property for it. A whole week it has been missing, and that never occurred to her. Oy vey. So now to my end of the bargain.

I’m fairly horrified to find that you can buy a gas lift chair for twenty bucks.

I’d rather like to buy one that’s made in Australia, but such a thing does not appear to exist. A fully reclinable leather executive chair, yes, but not a dinky little stool. Another thing for me to feel guilty about. It slaps together very quickly, even more so because I decide not to put the back on it for space reasons, and because I know she’ll just end up hanging all her clothes on it.

There. I’ve provided her with seating arrangements, fresh fruit, chocolate chip biscuits and Nutella sandwiches. I have also discussed states of matter, densities and crystallisation with her, somewhat confusing the issue with a tangential discussion on liquid crystals that is never going to come up in her exams. I’ve done what I could. Good luck in your exams, Muffet!