Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Days 6 & 7 - Mon & Tues

Hi sweetheart,

I can't believe that, due to my diet, the only vaguely sweet treat type thing in the house is half a box of stale tiny teddies.

Granny came around today, so it was an easy day. She made a big vat of Scotch broth, at my request - I associate Scotch broth with all my childhood family crises, endlessly warming and comforting. I am under the impression that a nice big bowl of Scotch broth can put anything into perspective.

It's so frustrating that it's so hard to get to speak to you! These SMS  text updates are so unsatisfying! But I'm glad things are looking up, and maybe you'll be home in another week.

I started on some domestrivia that was accumulating in a pile beside this [your] computer. Funny, all the things I haven't done for years. I haven't paid the rent on this house before. I don't think I've ever brushed the babies' hair - it took me a few days to realise why Louis and Pearl were looking so feral! And I've really backed away from organising the necessary stuff to get the house ready to sell. Well, I started on them all today. And guess what? They really weren't that hard! I might even try to mow the lawn before you come home...

Louis has been really clingy for the past couple of days. It's so unlike him, he's such a placid soul. At the moment, he doesn't want to be by himself. He won't sit and play trains by himself; I have to come and watch. And that of course, means Pearl isn't getting enough attention, so then she comes in and does something like sit in the middle of the train tracks.  It  could be because you are away - I presume it is - or it could be some other sort of stage.

It was so hot today. Hot and sticky and cranky-making. Granny cooked Scotch broth then we all went out to Seventeen Mile Rocks for a swim. We are having a nice time - I am making sure we are doing familiar, fun things - but somehow without you here it feels a bit pointless. I'm not phrasing that right. Of course it's not pointless, it's just...empty somehow. Incomplete. There's a big gap in our family, if only in the 'wait til we tell Mummy L about this' sense.

Pearl and Louis talked about you more today. Maybe it's starting to feel like you've been gone a while. They both had toy phones out, talking to you, this afternoon, giving you a rundown on their day. They wanted to hear 'Mummy's favourite song' as we drove along listening to Kasey Chambers and the Little Hillbillies. I didn't know which was your favourite, but I told them it was the colours one. Is it the colours one?

Jonathon and Richard dropped in with dinner, but didn't stay long, as they're off interstate tomorrow. They brought back the cutest souvenirs from China for the babies - training chopsticks! Louis's are red adorned with a person laughing, and Pearl's are green, with a cat. We will have to have yum cha directly!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 5 - Sun

Fell asleep again putting babies to bed tonight. It's quite good - means I don't have to bother about getting myself dinner; however I lose the only baby-free time in my day. I hadn't cleaned my teeth though, so had that annoying half-wakefulness where I knew I had to get up and do that...so now I'm up at 1.30am with freshly sparkling teeth.

I'm so relieved we can breathe easier. I don't have language big enough. It's odd receiving drips of information by text message; huge pieces of news in 160 characters.

I have so much support here I feel a bit embarrassed. Everyone wants to do something, and I am the only candidate available for helping! It's lovely, but you & Alice & your mum are the ones doing the really hard stuff, so I almost feel fraudulent.

Hannah and Georgia came over to play with the babies this morning. Two teenage girls for a couple of hours - perfect! They did fingerpainting and playdough and hide-and-seek and dancing in the loungeroom to very loud teenage music (I felt quite middle aged!)  Pearl and Louis were exhausted by midday. Granny in the afternoon - she's so reliably practical in a crisis. Food-washing-cleaning and 'go and lie down for a few minutes'.

And then Julie's party in the evening - the regular crowd plus a few new people. I made Nigella's chocolate cake out of this month's De1icious while Hannah and Georgia were here.  It's odd to be amongst people who are just going on with their normal lives, although I felt a bit more like part of the human race tonight, knowing Alice is doing better. We stayed til 7pm! I think that's the latest I've been out with Pearl and Louis. They just ran wild with all the other children. It was so great to watch. I felt a bit redundant. I'm accustomed to having them constantly dripping off me when we are out and about and it seems that they have suddenly joined a new age group - the age when children find that their natural allies are other kids, not their parents at all! I thought they might just crash when we got home (I knew it was a long shot) but no, they still needed about two hours to wind down. Maybe it's our fault for having a long bedtime routine? - ie baths at 5.30ish then an hour of quiet play before bed. Still, I like our calm evenings and wouldn't change them.

When we got home I was sleepier than they were - struggling to keep my eyes open while I waited for them to calm down enough to reasonably expect them to 'drift off' to sleep. Now I must go back to bed before I awaken myself too fully.

Love to you and Alice and your mum.

Day 4 - Sat

Darling heart,

Sorry I didn't write last night - I fell asleep while I was putting the babies to sleep, at 7.30! Slept til 2.19am when Pearl woke up looking for you. Not upset; more imperious. Like, 'Okay Mummy L, I've had just about enough of this nonsense. Stop mucking around now and reveal yourself this instant!' We checked through the house looking for you and I explained where you were and she went back to sleep with no fuss. I don't think she fully wakes up; I think she's just used to having you there.

Then we all slept til 6a.m, bliss!

They are having their midday nap right now. Louis is in  my arms. I don't feel like now is the time to reinforce his sleeping habits - whatever gets me through is my motto. It just means I can't do the list of tasks I'm accumulating, the one entitled: 'Things to do while kids are asleep.'

Yesterday Granny came with us to our swimming lesson. Pearl went with her and I took Louis. In the afternoon we had our lesbian mums picnic. Our two are really reaching that age where, if there's a bunch of kids around, they just join the tribe and run with it. It's very sweet to watch - our kids, off playing with the big kids!

Granny's just arrived now...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 3 - Friday

God I feel so useless.

The only useful thing I can do is look after the children so thoroughly, so perfectly, that you know that you don't have to worry for a second about us. Save your worry for the real stuff. We are absolutely fine here. Pearl and Louis are happy.

Today we went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary - another great place for toddlers. I love our yearly memberships.

We bumped into Maggie, the lovely woman we met in the park last week. We had coffee together with some other mother-friends of hers, and our children all ran amok in a tribe together, amazed at dingoes and kookaburras and curlews and of course koalas. A couple of the mothers had seen us on the news last week.

We had lunch with Nonie and saw Hugo's guinea pigs. Hugo was at school but the guinea pigs were a huge hit.

Pearl insisted on wearing her pink fairy dress all day. I'm going to need to make a sign that says 'She chooses her own clothes'.

Penny and Dinah dropped in after work. It was perfect timing, just as the kids were getting ratty. Dinah read stories and Pearl and Louis showed off, playing hide and seek. They talked about Penny and Dinah for some time after they left.

Pearl woke up just before dawn this morning, and said to me, 'Hello, Mummy L!' with such a tone of delight that my heart broke for her. I said, 'Go back to sleep, darling, Mummy's in India.' I expected her to burst into tears but she must only have been half-awake, because she did just lie down and go back to sleep. She woke up two hours later, properly, crying out for you. We walked around the house looking for you, while I explained that you were in India but that you would be back soon. Not today, but soon. She was okay with that.

I've really been surprised at how they have taken your absence in their stride. I think it is a sign of what lovely secure children we are raising. They miss you, they ask about you, but when I answer that you are in India and you are coming back, they are satisfied. Louis is particularly interested in the fact that you went on a plane. He was explaining this to our neighbour C, who dropped by this evening to see if I needed anything - 'Milk? Bread?'.

I know you can't read this now. But I hope you both can feel all the love from all of us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Letters to India - day 2

My life is going to be so tiny for the next couple of weeks. It needs to be tiny so you can do the big stuff. Nothing else exists except getting our family through all this.

A car just pulled up out the front, and I automatically stopped and listened, but of course it wasn't you.

The evenings are almost easier, having you away. I know you are not coming home so I must just keep going with the whole going-to-bed routine. I'm not anxiously waiting for you to come and relieve me, and in some way I maintain more energy for the whole thing. I suppose I just stay in the moment, rather than constantly look forward to you walking through the door.

Today we took the train to Southbank. Southbank is like a glorious gift to parents of toddlers. That fantastic playground where the bridges and slides and climbing frames wind over and around the rocky creek; that magnificent fake beach and the water playground; the State Library; the Museum; GOMA; and all those opportunities for babycinos. Tim was singing nursery rhymes at The Corner, of course. Our children do adore him.  They fawned. I think we need to employ him as a manny.

Photo moment: Tim blew bubbles using that latex stuff that makes really strong bubbles.  Louis and Pearl and myriad other children were trying to catch them, and at one point Louis and Pearl were standing there with little bubbles stuck all over them - in their hair, on their clothes. They looked magical.

Louis and Pearl had a big sleep in the pram and I fell asleep reading the newspaper on a couch in the library. I hope I didn't snore or anything.

On the way home a man spontaneously came out of his house to show Louis and Pearl his lorikeet.

Both babies were exhausted and fell asleep really easily.

They've asked where you are a couple of times. 'Mummy home?' said Louis as we headed home on the train.

'No,' I said. 'Mummy is in India with Aunty Alice.'

'India,' said Pearl wisely. 'Aunty Alice.'

And that is that. They are not in any doubt that you will be home. We have lovely secure children.

I think Louis is going through A Stage. You know how he has always been so placid and gentle? Something has shifted, and he is becoming the aggressor much more often. He leaps upon Pearl and wrestles her to the ground. She shrieks, clearly distressed, but he won't let her go. Today it seemed that whenever I left the room for a minute, there would be tears. Of course, she is still determined to have whatever it is he is playing with, even if I offer her another exactly the same.

I don't have any plans for tomorrow.

Give my love to Alice.

And I love you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Letters to India - day 1

My darling,

Where are you at the moment? In a transit lounge in Singapore, flicking through an Asia-Pacific version of Marie-Claire, perhaps? I hope you can take some time to relax, after the frenzy of getting you onto the plane, but before the frenzy of your arrival in India. I hope the in-flight movie was smart enough to be diverting, but dumb enough not to be demanding.

I want to let you know how we are going. In detail, every day, while you are away. Perhaps the minutiae of our daily lives will be too mundane while you are away, dealing with this. I don't think so. I think you will want to know every single thing your family has been doing. How our life goes on in your absence -  we'll be okay, but we're awaiting your return. In all the craziness and uproar you are confronting over there, we're still here, loving you, waiting for you to come back.

The babies stayed asleep all the way home after dropping you off at the airport. They had a big sleep! And consequently were very easy to get to sleep tonight. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about how the overnights will go. I think Pearl will miss you. I've told them you are in India, and that you are looking after Aunty Alice, who is sick. And that you'll be back soon, but not today.

We went to the library this afternoon. I wanted to get some supplies from the shops, and a few library books to read during my solitary evenings. For the first time ever, I put money in one of those rides they have in shopping centres. I've always maintained a barrier: 'No, Grandma does that. I don't make them go.'  I think Pearl and Louis were a bit surprised when I gave in to their pleas!

We also had pink milk ('just like Lola!'), can you believe it? I just couldn't be bothered taking a stand today. "Sugary drinks? Rides? Why not?" I'll probably pay for the lowering of my standards at the next trip to the supermarket.

Wish-I-had-the-camera moment today: Louis and Pearl both put on tutus and practised ballerina twirls through the house. They looked gorgeous!

People are really keen to help. It's so heartwarming. Our neighbours C & M drove over the river this evening to retrieve your car. Sally rang, and Katrine rang, and Sharon emailed, to offer me whatever help they could. Hannah and Georgia are coming over Sunday to play with the babies for a couple of hours. Hopefully a bit of teenager time will completely wear Pearl and Louis out!

I've only just emailed Mum to tell her you are away, I sort of procrastinated. I haven't heard back yet. I'm sure she'll help out lots.

It's going to be harder to stick to my diet without you around. I just wanted macaroni cheese for dinner  - comfort food. I can picture myself every evening on the couch, rewarding myself with a whole block of lindt for making it through another day without you around.

I made the special diet pizza instead. Maybe I'll live on that for two weeks. But I'm finishing off that slice Libby gave you. It's amazing...and I wouldn't want it to go to waste. I'll start again tomorrow.

I've looked up that India is four and a half hours behind Australia. At the library, I pulled out an atlas and said to the babies, 'Look, I'll show you where Mummy L is.'  Pearl looked politely, then said, 'Picture [of] Mummy?' So I had to explain that although I could show them a picture of India, I couldn't actually show them you in India.

Maybe once you've scoped out the place, we can arrange a time to do a video chat.

xx Pass on my love to Alice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I miss youse

It feels weird not blogging. I know it's weird to feel weird for not blogging. And I'm so busy I don't know what to do. You know that feeling? I just keep making lists and ticking off the really small things - "put bins out" - tick. By the time the babies are abed and dinner is over, I only have an hour and a half each evening - from 8.30 pm til 10 - to work on changing Queensland.

I'll be over at the campaign blog for a few more weeks yet. They tell me it should be presented to Parliament then go to the vote by the end of November.

I've made this - it's part of the campaign, but I thought you might like it.

Where did I come from 2 on Vimeo.

Monday, September 07, 2009

It'll only take a minute...

Now, I'm starting a campaign blog at www.ozrainbowfamilies.wordpress.com

It'd be lovely if you could come over and post a comment, just to give the impression that it's a thriving campaign with lots of support.

The witch (that's me) and the wardrobe

My energy is somewhat better than at my last post; thanks for all your encouraging comments.

By the time the babies are abed, we've cooked dinner and cleaned up it's 8.30 - that only leaves me an hour and a half a night to change the world! so this will be a quick entry.

I've been thinking a bit about closets. In my talking with people about the same sex parenting issue, I've come across four people so far who've said, "Oh, I couldn't write a letter of support, someone might realise I'm gay".

I just don't get closets. Well, I get them in Afghanistan or somewhere my very life would be at risk, but why would one choose to live in a closet in Australia?

Okay, one woman was, ahem, older. She said, "I've worked for this [charitable] organisation for thirty years. I don't want to leave in a cloud of disgrace."

So sad, and she's probably totally misreading her organisation (but who knows?) but I do get people who are older being closeted. They've come from a different era. It's the people who are more my age that I don't understand.

Reasons seem to be either career (I'll lose my job) or family (it would just kill my mother) related.

To the first one I wonder - How much would I have to get paid to stay in the closet? To say,"yes all you straight religious freaks are right, I should hide who I really am so I don't upset you"? Maybe if I was an international multimillionaire movie star I'd be tempted to keep it quiet if it would jeopardise all those villas in the South of France.

To the second one: have there actually been any recorded cases of people dying from someone telling them they are gay? My parents and I didn't talk for three years after I came out, but they came around in the end, and now (twenty years later!) they're great. I suppose the point for me is that even if they hadn't come around, I think I would have survived. I couldn't skulk around pretending to be something I'm not. It must just be shattering to one's self esteem.

I was talking to a new gay male friend about it - musing on how closets seem to be much more prevalent in Queensland. Maybe because the "gay community" (such as it is) is smaller, I come across a wider range of people than somewhere like Melbourne where it's easier to find a whole crowd of like-minded types. He was saying he had a rule for himself now - no dating closets. "Sometimes they're really cute," he said, "but it's so insulting to be introduced as 'my friend from work' - and even worse to be co-opted into going along with it".

Now I'm not a psychologist but I live with one so that qualifies me to be able to come up with theories. So theory 1 is that people who are closeted a) have parents who are disapproving and b) haven't worked through that stage of development where you realise your parents are not right about everything.

I mean, it's hard to imagine that someone who is closeted would have loving, accepting parents, isn't it? To be the sort of person who is closeted, you must have got a lot of messages that you are not okay. And then, there's a stage in adulthood where you realise that your parents will not agree with everything you do, and that is okay. You are okay, despite their disapproval.

And why are closets bothering me so much, at this time when I am being more out than I have ever been before - Queensland's representative lesbian mother? Because when I meet a person who is closeted, who feels ashamed of themselves for being gay, who feels that others would reject them if they knew they were gay - well I suppose it triggers the same feelings in me.

I also get cross with them, especially at times like this. Here's a low risk thing you can do to support gay rights! What are you waiting for? Us to get the rights for you? It's your struggle too! By staying silent they're just perpetuating the discrimination. It's like black people saying, "oh no sirree, I'm not gonna go for any rights, not me. Doan wanna upset the massah".

Ah well, it'd be best to avoid the closets then. Don't want to face any dark feelings now!

On with the job!