Wednesday, July 29, 2009

YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER


I grew up fairly poor.

Don’t get out the violins. See I didn’t know I was poor. Which was either my naivety or the fact that the difference between classes wasn’t quite as obvious as it is now.

I was made aware of this in 1987 when a boy called Christian told the playground I lived in a shag on a rock. I was pretty sure that was not a good place to live by the reaction of the classmates.

So it came as no surprise that Uni was not an option. No one told me about HECS. NO one sat me down at school and said, you know what sunshine, you get pretty good marks, you can go to Uni and pay it back for the rest of your freaking working life, but it is an option.

So I did what a lot of kids did after finishing year 12 – Shit themselves. I came back, fresh from Schoolies in Byron Bay (I highly recommend it) realised I was dead broke, with no job prospects and applied to all the junior ads in the paper. I scored a job at an Accounting practice on and the rest is history.

The kids these days are no longer in the dark. Both parents and educators are outlining options from an early age. My 9yo changes her ideal job every week. The difference being, if that’s what she wants, we will do all we can to help her on her way.

But what if you give your kids everything and every opportunity and they still don’t become “someone”

There is such emphasis on careers and schools – public v private. Then private – the best one to be at. There was no such thing as moving to the best area to get zoned for the “best” public school. In fact my brother went private, I went public. We turned out the same. Jobless and clueless come Year 12’s end.

So this post is nothing more than an observation of my limited experience in life and plans. We can make them but at the end of the day obstacles, bad luck, good luck and outside forces take a lot of the planning out of our hands.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

80's Children


I believe, and sure I'm probably biased, that I grew up in the best decade EVER.


Big Call, but yep, starting year one in 1981 was AWESOME.


Well perhaps not Year one. I don't remember much about 1981. (Song that reminds me of 1981 - 9-5 Dolly Parton)
I remember even less about 1982. (Song that reminds me of 1982 - Gloria, Laura Branigan)


1983 I remember telling my friends I was adopted and they accused me I was just trying to emulate Sons and Daughters where it was a major story line. I also remember being let loose at a footy game whilst our parents got blind and cut my foots on a broken beer glass and being driven to the GC hospital - parents blind - to the ER ward (Song that reminds me of 1983 - True, Spandau Ballet)


1984 My first album. Hot Hits 1984. Careless Whisper played on rote. I was tragically in love with George Michael and for all intents and purposes, he was singing that song to me. Dirty bird and his guilty feet. It was also the year I was introduced to Kevin Bacon and his loose feet. (Song that reminds me of 1984, toss up between Careless Whisper and Like a Virgin - being 8 I clearly did not no what a virgin was however that did not stop me from singing it very loudly when mum had friends around)


1985 First time I was bullied. Some chick in my class rang me before school one day and called me a fucking bitch. Sure. I had never used the word fuck in my life and vomited on the spot. (Song that reminds me of 1985 - Take on me A-ha)


1986 School camp. Short hair. Mum paid me $50 to get my hair cut short. (She's old, hard to explain) I took in a Dolly mag to the hairdresser to show how the model looked HOT. Showed the hairdresser the pic, she smiled, started cutting and I end up looking like a guy. See I've got very frizzy, curly hair. Clearly the model did not have this kind of hair. Easiest way to explain the situation - no one spoke to me for 2 weeks. I got the title of Miss Milk Maid because I milked the cow best on School Camp. Oh yeah, I was the shit. (Songs that remind me of 1986 - Kyrie, Mr. Mister)
1987 MY YEAR I became the funny girl at school. Hair grew out. I started a mini business (sending away for free shit from Free Stuff for Kids for classmates for the cost of a postage stamp) . Sure I was actually losing money when you take away the envelope cost, but I was liked and included. I could suck up the business loss. You wore a ra-ra skirt or you were dead. It was the year of Mannequin the movie and my love affair with Andrew McCarthy. My first ever Dolly magazine. (Song that remind me of 1987 - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship)

1988 HIGH SCHOOL Let's call this the year where I was invisible. Well not totally, I had friends, I fell in love (wasn't returned) Still no period. Still no kiss. I was desperately trying to be cool with a mother two generations in front of me and unbreakable rules. It was also the year of school socials (dances) high top converse (fakes ones, Mum too tight) and rara skirts and midriff tops. OH lets not forget the MASSIVE teased fringes. Gel and hairspray was a solid gold commodity in our house. It was also Expo 88. It was the year of lining up 5 hours to get into pavilions and getting my first official penpal. (Songs that reminds me of 1988 the most -
Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes, I Should Be So Lucky – Kylie Minogue, Run To Paradise – The Choirboys, That’s When I think Of You – 1927, Bros - When will I be famous (Thanks Ninny
)
1989 - Last year of the eighties. I became a WOMAN. Probably far too much information but every woman remembers when. Still no kiss. Tragic. This year I probably remember the least. Perhaps this the year I discovered alcohol. (Songs that remind me of 1989 - Listen To Your Heart, Roxette, I'll Be Loving You (Forever), New Kids On The Block, Toy Solider, Martika (DeGrassi Jnr High tragic)
That was it for my 80's living. Then I had to grow up. The next decade brought jobs, sex (sorry), boyfriends, moving out, moving back home, moving out again, getting married and having children.

Monday, July 27, 2009

SCRUFFY ALLAN


2008 was a pretty defining year for us as the Morley family. Our son Sam, who is now 7, was diagnosed with Aspergers.

Not that getting a label changed anything. Sam was the still the same Sam we had the day before.

Sam is in a word: contagious.

He is often obsessed with one particular genre. At some point he has been obsessed with:

Trains
Lego
Boats
Excavators
Monster Trucks
Transformers
Power Rangers

And as of this week, Tornados


And when I say obsessed, I mean he will work some kind of fact about say, tornadoes in most conversations we have. I say a lot of hmm and yeps. And dear God, if I ever have to watch “There goes a Monster Truck” again, more than likely you’ll find me in bath in the foetal position.

Oh and he hates wearing buttons. HATES. I have tried to pry from him what he thinks the buttons will do to him. Often he says he doesn’t know, but we have learnt enough to know it’s his thing, it’s sensory and to just get over it.

We always knew something was up with Sam. He was in and out of hospital many times before he turned 3, had a hernia operation, had an intussusception (basically, the bowel folds back in on itself) RSV and Severe Influenza A.

He had been checked by doctors, specialists, naturopaths, osteopaths - everyone medical, we saw. No-one could tell us anything other than he lacked iron. No one could tell us why.

In 2007 Sam started Prep in Queensland. After about 4 weeks, the head of the SEU (Special Education Unit) at the school, called me to one side and proceeded to tell me that “he sees kids like Sam every day of the week and I need a diagnosis and blah blah blah”
I couldn’t really comprehend what he was telling me. I mean I knew something was wrong but when he started drawing diagrams and telling me Bill Gates has aspergers and some of the most successful people in the world have learning difficulties, I just couldn’t, or didn’t want to believe it.

First and foremost I and my husband had to get over ourselves.

See I think without meaning to, we take any criticisms or problems with our children as our own failings.

I had googled Autism and Aspergers. Usually I would read up to about 5 symptoms or characteristics of an aspergers child, realise Sam was hitting every mark and flick to something more cheery. Like EBay.

Deluded - yes. Poorly dressed – No.


So although we had a hard time getting our paediatrician to give him “a label” we got one and it also meant Sam could get extra one on one help in his classroom.


My worry for Sam is his future. Although we have not been given a death sentence for Sam, we have been given a wakeup call.

Will Sam finish High School? Will he have a girlfriend? Will he have the skills to get a job? Will he live independently?

With most kids, although we never know when, the above is a given. With Sam, my heart breaks to think he may miss out of some of life’s simple pleasures.

Sam is a beautiful hearted child who unfortunately has the habit of dobbing on the naughty kids. This backfires in two ways; the teacher gets sick and tired of “Missssss” and it also makes him a target.

His school has a shall we say, rougher element to it. He has come home to tell me he got “punched in the back of the face” (Back of the head I’m guessing). My husband’s solution to this is to “hit them back”. I try to tell him to tell the teacher and tell the boy to “stop I don’t like it”. My husband is pretty sure the kid will have knocked his teeth down his throat by the time he gets to “like it”. Yep Sam, hit the little shits back.


At the end of the day we are lucky to have Sam and all three of our kids. I have made some great friends I more than likely would never have met and I think it's made me a lot less ignorant to the world of disabilities, be they obvious or hidden.

This brings me to Scruffy Allan. Years ago, when we couldn’t get a dog, but Sam desperately wanted one, I got a big flip up clothes hamper in the shape of a dog to hold his dress-ups. I asked him if wanted to name it. Without missing a beat, he said - Scruffy Allan.

Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cross Dressers and Mark Philippoussis

OK interpret this dream:

Last night I had a dream my husband took me to a coffee type shop but it was gambling house (too much CSI) and said to me:

There is nothing wrong with gambling establishments, not if you are in control

I turned around, checked out the cashier, looked back at him and he had turned into a cross dresser. Full kit. Only thing that gave him away was small whiskers below his nostrils.

I asked him what the fuck was going on and then looked to the other tall bar benches and they were all men dressed as women. 1950 esk women. Handbag, floral dresses, hats and court shoes.

He then proceeded to tell me that he doesn’t understand why I have an issue with this as he only does it once a month tops and it makes him happy. K

I then said I needed time to think and walked to the Sunshine Coast (I live on the Gold Coast). I nearly reached the Sunshine Coast and Mark Philippoussis was there to tell me he loved me and had always loved me.

I couldn’t make this shit up. Interpretation if you will

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There will come a time

Ok this is not a blog against smokers.

Go for it.

In fact, my brother and I grew up with the burning sting of log cabin tobacco in our eyes after sitting down to innocently watch A Country Practice on our lounge room floor almost every Sunday night.

We also sat in the back of his EJ (unbuckled of course) whilst he drank drove (OK back then) in a cloud of his unfiltered tobacco smoke.

All, I used to think, OK.

This however is a rant against people smoking around children.

It is not OK to smoke whilst they sit in the backseat of your shitty Commodore Sedan and blacken their lungs.

It is not OK to smoke at the school gate and offer a welcoming plume of poison to the kids going in the gates each day.

Frankly It is not OK to smoke anywhere where little kids have no say in the matter. It is not 1984 and you ignorant dipshits (no other adjective comes to mind - sorry) need to stop and more importantly, it needs to be enforced.

Plus, do not flick your dirty cigarette butt onto the ground, you dirty pigs.

Lastly, again, we all have our vices and I am the first to admit I have many. This is a blog about changing the use of cigarettes around little ones. Please contribute.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Award for Mother of the Year goes to

We are often joking about ourselves being a candidate for the #motheroftheyearaward for something we clearly shouldn't be rewarded for. For instance, 9yo went in MS Readathon this year, more so to get a useless prize than to help (she's a giver). Anyhoo, who just found the money and receipt book in a very special hiding spot in our house?

Me - mother of the year. Not only will she now not get her prize for reading a gazillion books, I'm pretty sure there is some sort of legal repercussions.

This is of course is only one in the many instances in my life both being a daughter and a mother when an award for #motheroftheyear should be handed out.

There's the time when I pinched my then 2 week old baby's inner thigh in the car seat buckle. Took me, oh 10 seconds to realise that was what she was complaining about.

What about the time my mother told my brother to "give up trying to get into the Police Force, you're clearly just not good enough" Come collect your award for being an awesome and encouraging #motheroftheyear.

There's the little things. Like I should enforce the brush your teeth twice daily or they'll get black and fall out rule. Do I? No. Do I get an award - yes, yes I do.

Anyone else's special mothering stories are welcome.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


OK so this seems to be the way to go, blog, I mean. I must have thought about doing this before because 2 of my email addresses were already assigned to blogs. What the hell those other two blogs are, I have no idea.

I guess a little about myself.

34 years of age, 3 children, married, renovating an older small house that doesn't appear any closer to being finished than it did 2 years ago and working 4 days a week.

Standard 2009 woman I guess or some variation of.

I have recently started twittering. I guess when I say recent, 3 months ago? Feels like forever. I think I have actually made some lovely friends from Twitter, even though I would never thought that possible a year ago. Horrible to say but I used to think the only kind of "friends" you made on the internet were the type who were looking for a, well for want of a better word, root. And that is not me.

Anyway. That's it for now. Above is the very very rough draft of a book I was kinda writing a while ago. All opinions and comments invited. I know it is far from perfect and is a total work in progress.