Archive | May, 2012

‘Shcool is boring mum’

30 May


Where did I go wrong?

My son signed up to a new online game last night and his choice of password is ‘shcoolisboring’. Perhaps if he paid more attention at ‘shcool’ he would know how to spell the word.

I wanted to raise children who were passionate and enthusiastic about their education. I wanted them to appreciate the fact the got to attend school at all, let alone a good school with good teachers.

I was raised valuing education and I knew it would somehow lead me to a good career, even if my marks weren’t that good. I’d find the subjects I naturally excelled at and follow a career path that took advantage of those skills. I excelled at Economics, English and Ancient History. All my other results were pretty bad but the word ‘diligent’ was used in most of my report cards, as though the teachers were saying ‘she tries, poor love, but she doesn’t quite get there’.

So my son thinks school is boring. He said he likes recess and lunchtime but that they have to do ‘too much work’ and ‘everyone keeps borrowing my stuff’ during class.

I told him he is lucky. I explained that in some countries children his age didn’t get to go to school. They have to work. They wish they could put on a uniform and go to school.

“I’d want to work,” he said.

“What job would you do,” I asked him.

“Make movies,” he answered.

What followed was a speech where I explained that to ‘make movies’ he might want to focus on art, writing and computer studies and choose those subjects in uni – perhaps do some work experience.

“What’s uni,” he asked.

“It’s a school for grown ups but you get to choose what you learn and go to lots of parties.”


So uni is ‘cool’ and ‘shcool’ is boring.

All is not lost. I will diligently reinforce appreciation for education in him…and make him write down the word ‘school’ several times, or lines saying ‘School is not boring and I’m lucky to be able to go to school at all’.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Snot fun

26 May


I love how children sneeze. Babies sneeze with their entire bodies and according to my sister and her newborn, they make a little ‘let down’ sound after. Toddlers produce a lot of snot. Not knowing how to hold back, they sneeze with all their might, shooting out nose debris as far as 2 metres. If any refuse is left hanging down their face they become moaning statues until you run and wipe them up.

Children wipe their noses on their clothes. No matter how many times you tell them to get a tissue, youthful instinct takes over and the use the nearest available snot rag being their clothing and usually leave a snail trail across their cheek which is you’re lucky, develops into a rash.

We’re told not to give our children medication to dry them up. As my doctor reminded me, “It’s better if it comes out. If it stops coming out, that’s when they get infections.” So no medicine, just three children in various locations around my house sneezing their heads off and me running around trying to make sure they don’t wipe it on the lounge/bedsheets/family pet.

Winter sucks and blows (pun intended). I’m completely freaking out over our electricity bill. My mother in law who is lucky enough to be the recipient of most of my financial meltdowns has sent me two boxes full of snuggie blankets to wrap the kids in a bedtime. Still, I think it has a lot to do with their air they breath, although these blankets will help.

When I was little we used hot water bottles. They were fantastic and comforting (although my mum says they used to leak and eventually smell). They were brilliant for period pain. I think Kmart still sells them.

Tissues feel like sandpaper after half a day of blowing and wiping, even the fancy aloe vera ones. We use baby wipes in my house. It’s like fragrant angels are wiping your nose….well it’s better than tissues.

My thoughts are with you during this chilling weather. All I want to do is drink hot coffee and tea, cupasoups and sit in front of the heater, under the blankets, holding a packet of baby wipes and sucking on a butter menthol.

As my mother says on particularly cold days, “It must be snowing somewhere.” It is.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Am I a twit?

23 May

I feel like a twit.

Every day I labor over Twitter. How many people are following me? Have I posted enough Tweets today?

For me, twitter is a marketing tool. I am building up my followers to increase traffic to my blog, my books and my articles. I don’t take any pleasure in it (unless my followers go up significantly).

Facebook is about friendship to me. Facebook is how I continue friendships with those I don’t have time to see. Facebook is an absolute joy and pleasure. Twitter in painful!

Still, I will persevere. I almost have a respectable 500 followers with is minimally acceptable for a blogger apparently. To achieve this I have hand to Tweet and re-Tweet constantly (sorry Laura) as well as follow as many people as Twitter will allow. You can’t follow an unlimited number of people. How many people you are allowed to follow is set as a ratio against how many are following you.

It’s a process. It’s a tedious process.

Luckily I work with some young Twitter-savvy people. One in particular showed me her 800 plus followers and showed me how to use the # (hash tag).

I feel so old. I think younger people enjoy this constant interaction. This constant feeding of thoughts and responding to the thoughts of others is tiring. I literally have to lie down and recover from a few days devoted to Twitter.

So please ‘follow’ this exhausted  and reluctant Twit. Twitter has hijacked my life



Where do you put your iPhone when you’re driving?

19 May

Where do you put your iPhone when you’re driving?

Mine is now on the back seat, in my zipped up handbag, out of reach.

I realised I had a problem when I started checking my Twitter and Facebook accounts at red lights. I work on weekends so with the kids safely at home I didn’t see the harm in having a quick glance. With the phone being on the passenger seat tantalisingly close I got into the habit of checking and even posting messages while waiting for the lights to turn green. Except sometimes when they turned green I was mid-post. I’d finish my message as I moved. DANGER.

In another life I am a traffic reporter so I see the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis. So what if my kids aren’t in the car when I am irresponsible enough to use my phone in the car. What about the kids in all the other cars around me? What about the children crossing the road as I zoom through distracted.

My weakness for my iPhone has left me with no choice but to put it out of reach. I remember a few years back when I lived in inner-Sydney that there was a spate of thefts from cars. We were told to put our handbags behind us in front of the back seat out of sight and out of reach. This is now what I do with my iPhone.

Sydney traffic is frustrating. There’s a lot of it and even when there are no accidents, breakdowns or roadworks, it sometimes crawls at a snails pace, leaving the mind to wander…has anyone ‘liked’ my latest Facebook photo yet, how many Twitter followers do I have now, did I get an email about the most recent article I submitted?

Distracted driving is just as bad as impatient driving. These kinds of behaviours cause accidents! And if you don’t hurt yourself chances are you’ll hurt someone else.

Leave your phone out of reach.

La Dolce Vita and safe driving – Jo Abi

Crying at the shops

17 May


I cried at the shops today, twice. I’m mortified.

I know why I cried at the shops today. I don’t cry often. The more I tried to stop myself the louder the sobs. The first time was just outside of Target and then Gloria Jeans was witness to my pathetic tears.

I cried at the shops today because today, my husband came out of bankruptcy. Life can return to normal (or as normal as it can be being married to an extreme-entrepreneur!).

We lost everything when property values fell at the start of the Global Financial Crisis. Since then we have been living a sort of half-life. We’ve been doing okay. We both have jobs. The kids are unaware of our financial struggles. We rent, pay our bills, pay a huge percentage of our earnings to a trustee and hope the three years of punishment for being stupid enough to try to achieve our dreams is enough of a penance.

President Obama said it best – he wants to live in an America where hard work leads people to achieve their dreams. I want the same but in Australia. I want to work hard and build a dream life. I want to achieve everything.

It’s just that hard work isn’t all that is involved in reaching for the stars. It’s about nurturing relationships, looking out for dramatic market swings, saving for a rainy day and taking measured risks.

We saw the crisis coming. Many did. What we didn’t see was the extent of the damage and while we knew we’d suffer a bit we didn’t expect it to hit so hard. It was difficult to watch businesses being bailed out by government when smaller businesses like ours that had taken investor funds and employed people were left to fail.

It’s over now. As of today it is behind us. The black and white letter confirming our discharge date didn’t do justice to the relief we feel.

My husband is horrified that I am crying today when he is practically skipping. But I didn’t cry when we lost our home, I didn’t cry when they repossessed a car from our driveway, I didn’t cry when our working capital was confiscated by the bank we owed money to and I didn’t cry when we had to put the birth of my second-born on a credit card.

So I’m crying today and according to my friends my emails and text messages have been a little on the emotional side. One replied asking if I was terminally ill. No, not ill, just relieved to have emerged from financial ruin relatively unscathed!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Happy food marriages

13 May

There are some very happy food marriages, least of which is scones and cream.

Mother’s Day for me is all about scones and cream, but it has to be VERY good. So you can imagine my delight when I was booking our movie tickets for tonight when we were given the option of Devonshire Tea for only $5. Hell yes!

Breakfast was coffee and donuts. Another happy food marriage. In fact, if I had to choose between the two I’d have a VERY DIFFICULT DECISION. I love you both the same!

Spaghetti and meatballs. There’s another, but once again it has to be good. Bread and butter. Fresh bread though and good butter (hello Butter Soft).

I’m not a fan of apples and peanut butter or Vegemite and cheese. Salmon and dill makes me gag (I HATE dill). Basil and tomatoes though, oh yeah. Add some fresh mozzarella and a very happy food menage-a-trois is made.

I know I talk about food a lot. I can’t help it. Eat well but not too much. So make sure every bite is AWESOME.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Paranoia keeps kids safe

12 May


The video above is very hard to watch.

A father in China jumps out of his moving car to rescue his baby girl who has fallen out of their car.

These thing happen. When you become a parent you soon realise that no matter how hard you try, you children are going to be in danger from time to time, and you’ll never forget those moments of horror.

The day that stands out for me is the day my little boy almost fell out of a car.

It was my eldest son’s birthday. I had a car full of children so my mum was driving my little boy. They were following close behind us and behind them was my sister and her boyfriend. It was raining, hard. I was driving carefully and we were almost home. I kept glancing in my rear view mirror to check my mum was still behind me when I saw the back door of her car open and close. It was raining hard so I thought I was seeing things. I thought perhaps mum was opening and closing her door because it wasn’t closed properly. Then it happened again.

I pulled over in a live lane, forcing her and my sister to pull over too. It wasn’t the best spot but I had to secure that back door. If my son could open and close the door he could undo his seat belt. I pictured him falling out of the car.

I ran out and told her what was happening. We locked the door and kept driving home.

But I was scared. What if he unlocked the door? What if he fell out?


I hit the car in front of me.

It wasn’t a high-speed accident and thankfully no one was hurt and the damage was minor. We pulled over and I told my mum to take my son home. All I could think of was that I wanted him home safe and out of that car.

My sister and her boyfriend had apparently seen it all happening. They noticed my son opening and closing the back door of the car. My sister asked her boyfriend if she should ring me to tell me and he said, “Don’t, she’ll have an accident.” They rang me anyway and we locked the door but I was so totally freaked out. My mind kept seeing him falling out!

Having children can be terrifying. I remember the time my son wasn’t quite in a car and it started reversing down the driveway and how I yelled. I remember when he slammed his fingers in the door and how I ran. I remember his first severe allergic reaction and how helpless I felt as the doctors worked on him. I remember my baby falling from her chair and how I caught her awkwardly and we both cried with fear and relief.

Being a mother is amazing and terrifying. The movie reel in my head each night as I try to go to sleep is a horror movie of ways my children can be taken, maimed or killed.

Paranoia keeps children alive. If it weren’t for these thoughts in my head who knows what would happen. I try to think of my fear as a gift. It’s my biological instinct to protect my children and I know what to do because of these thoughts that I have.

I don’t want to live a life of fear and suspicion. I think of it more as a little mum on my shoulder, urging me to be careful. Then, once I’ve done all I can to keep my children safe, we live our life and hope for the best.

Have a great Mother’s Day tomorrow. As Oprah always said, “Being a mother is the hardest job in the world, when it’s done right”. Damn right!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi


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