People tell me I’m full of it. I think they mean good advice, so in the coming weeks I’m going to dish out advice for my friends who are feeling a little self-helpless. This week’s post is about healthy food for your kids. Actually it’s not, it’s about my gluttony because feeding children year after year is as dull as Donald Trump. I’m going to help you get a summer-ready body. Just joking, as if I care what your body looks like, I’m too busy feeding my face.
What we consume in summer is not that important. What we eat in winter is of great consequence. At the moment eating is my favourite hobby after sleeping and inhaling chocolate. After a cold northern summer sojourn, where I ate croissants every day and drank some kind of alcoholic beverage every night, I’m fading away to a shadow on the waif diet, too much coffee and not enough cake. I must eat more bacon and egg rolls now I’m back home living with my vegan children. Luckily my youngest is still a carnivore, thank the Lord (whoever she is). Last week my two eldest kids were out when I got some groceries home delivered, and I discovered that the supplier had given me a package of extra fatty porky goodness to sample. Spying it, my baby girl said,
“Mum can we eat some bacon because my sisters aren’t home?”
“HELL YES,” I squealed because no matter what they say, Facon or Veg-acon or whatever they call it is not the same. All those products labelled vegetarian sausages or burgers or tofu or whatever other flavourless stuff that gets churned out in a factory is called tastes like cardboard shavings.
My girls have made me watch some harrowing films lately and I hate what the meat industry does to innocent animals. And I really am very sorry little piggies, you are cute, and the way you are farmed is wrong, I just wish you didn’t taste so good.
Last weekend was a doozy. On Saturday night I went to my oldest friend’s champagne-fuelled party, then on Sunday I took my youngest to a birthday party at an indoor trampoline park so she could go feral and scream with about a million other children. We walked into swarms of kids, mood killer fluorescent lighting, over zealous helicopter mothers, loads of grumpy under-caffeinated dads and a sonic nightmare. The birthday girl was in heaven and her mother and I were certain we’d died and gone to hell.
My friend paid $130 for three kids to jump and climb for two hours. Fork! What happened to jumping off the garage roof?
An assortment of families gathered, made up mainly of these key players:
Mothers who didn’t want their over-sugared kids touching other children or any unsanitary surfaces
Bewildered grandmothers who didn’t understand why they were not just opening a pass the parcel and blowing the candles off a home made cake in the backyard
Toddlers too young to be there being run over by sugar fuelled 12-year-olds on a mission to escape their parents
Dazed grandpas who parked the car, did what they were told, then pretended to be deaf
I was the hungover mother dribbling on the plastic table, absentmindedly dunking my lukewarm chips into my friend’s coffee
Then my girl and her little friends decided they wanted to climb the walls.
There’s nothing I like more on a Sunday than to be greeted by pumping techno music and too cool for school teenage staff who don’t like to explain the workings of the safety harness more than once. In my decrepit state I watched as competitive dads scaled the walls, pushing their kids out of the way. The kind of dads who have their own Instagram inspo-fitness accounts. I closed my eyes as my gal climbed to the ceiling then abseiled down the wall again and again.
One of the day’s highlights was being told off for bringing fresh fruit into the ‘party zone’ by a spotty assistant manager.
As a former children’s party entertainer I despair that our kids are growing up thinking the only place to have fun is a climate-controlled, germ-filled noisy concrete bunker. We could simplify our celebrations and bring back egg and spoon races at daggy parties with our neighbours, a few marshmallows and a homemade cake, in the glorious seasons of Mother Nature, but instead we’re working to pay for experiences our kids don’t really need.
“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.”
Wicked Witch of the West – The Wizard of Oz
One month from today on Sunday August 10 I will be walking 14 kilometres from the city of Sydney to Bondi beach in my best Calvin Clown tracksuit to raise money for Clown Doctors Australia. The Clown Doctors treat sick children in hospital with smiles, fun and laughter when they need it most. We touch the lives of over 155,000 people a year, and ‘operate’ in partnership with 21 hospitals around Australia. The entire hospital community benefits – patients, family and staff. The Humour Foundation provides this service free of charge to hospitals. The work of the Clown Doctors is extremely important and the healing power of humour has been recognised in many studies. Everyone knows that “Laughter is the best medicine,” and research has found physiological and psychological benefits to patients. The outcome of making a child smile at a very difficult time is instant, but one that can have a long lasting effect for both the child and their family. Having an intervention which is able to provide humour and improve health can often be a strong coping technique for a sick kid. I love my job and I love talking and walking so I’d better start bulking up on my carbs (do donuts count?), I need to be ‘match fit’ in one month.
You can donate here: https://city2surf2014.everydayhero.com/au/drquack
Out of hundreds if not a thousand stilt walking gigs in crazy costumes my favourite venue would have to be Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Not because of the humans cackling at our costumes but because of the reactions of the animals. One night, with another performer, I was dressed as a floaty fairy with giant wings (2-3 metre span) whilst on three foot stilts. We wandered from the dressing room down to where a corporate cocktail party was being held overlooking Sydney Harbour at the bird flight show amphitheatre. We mingled amongst the suited guests for about 15 minutes, then the organisers announced that the bird show would start soon. As we spun around in our costumes a bird keeper approached us.
“You guys have to leave now! We can’t get the birds to come out to put on a show with you two around. The owl is terrified, she thinks you’re gigantic birds of prey.” So we walked away from the function as the sun set over the zoo, and as we made our way back to our dressing room we passed the lower part of the zebra and giraffe enclosure. Realising what a rare opportunity this was to observe the African animals at dusk with no crowds around as they ate, I turned to look at the animals. I saw a bongo frozen in terror at the sight of us. I will never forget the look of fear on the animal’s face as he gaped at us, open mouthed. His look said, “WTF is that?” Then I noticed that the giraffes and the zebra had all stopped eating, they were all staring at us with eyes as big as saucers, the expression on all their faces said, “Is that something that is going to eat me?” We walked away as fast as we could, not wanting to completely freak out these beautiful members of the animal kingdom.
The following year we were invited back for the opening of the newly built zoo entrance, with VIPs and politicians in attendance. This time we were dressed in different animal costumes. I was dressed as an emu on stilts and we mingled amongst the kids and families lined up to go in. I looked up as a keeper in khaki shorts approached us. “You guys will have to go. Mika the seal can’t shake the hand of the premier until the weirdo stilt walkers move away. Her keeper can’t get her to come out.”
There is an old Creole saying: The goat that climbs up the rocks must climb down again.
It’s not quite a Jaguar.
Ancient Chinese proverb: Those without a car may have to walk
Call me a freak but when I tell people I’ve got three kids and I don’t own a car they gasp. Australians adore their cars and are very reluctant to give up the idea that city dwelling means not driving all the time. The citizens of London and Tokyo know that living in big cities and driving are not compatible. I love driving, I just don’t love visiting mechanics or car dealers or changing tyres or anything that involves engine parts. So I share cars. I belong to GoGet and Green Car Share. I also have truly lovely friends who have let me borrow their cars when they’re away. Car share is pay as you go, so as a single mum on a tight budget there’s a lot of merit in paying as you use a service. I’m not racking up huge debts to a bank or a finance company. I walk more than I used to and catch buses, and I hardly ever pay for parking (I’m allergic to it).
The only problem I have with car sharing is the owner’s poor taste in radio stations. I have to remember if I book a car to turn off the radio before I start the engine, so I don’t hear rednecks moaning to right wing chauvinistic talkback shock jocks at full volume. Luckily Go Get put CDs in their cars for borrowers to listen to.
Car sharing is good for the planet with so many cars sitting idly on the street not being used. You may have seen me on Today Tonight talking about car sharing but Channel 7 axed the show before my story went to air. Beep, beep.