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Why the Frown? (It’s Bitchy Resting Face)

Why the Frown? (It’s Bitchy Resting Face)

Oldest Daughter: “Why are you always frowning at me when I talk to you lately?”

Me: “Because the Botox has worn off and I have ‘Bitchy Resting Face’. Sorry.”

This is something that has bothered me for years without my having any idea what it was; ever since I was in a restaurant with a group of friends at around the age of 20 and the glamour-boy lawyer sitting next to me suddenly said, with no preamble, “Why are you so serious all the time?”

If only we’d had the Internet back then in the eighties (actually, I thank the Lord above we didn’t).

It’s all over the web right now: Bitchy Resting Face (BRF) is the syndrome of one’s neutral expression looking like one has just swallowed half a lemon, or is gearing up to belt someone in the head. Or is simply a total bitch. Usually the person who has this affliction is thinking nothing more cantankerous than whether the sheets need changing, or whether anyone remembered to lock up the chicken that night.

There are some famous people who share this affliction with we everyday people: Kristen Stewart aka Bella is the poster girl for BRF.Kristen Stewart

My BRF pin-up girl is Anna Paquin aka Sookie Stackhouse – frowny forehead and yet absolutely gorgeous.

BRF Sookie Stackhouse

.Sookie Stackhouse Anna Paquin

A few men even suffer too, often called Resting Asshole Face for the guys. Kanye West does it best and Robert Downie Jnr scares young children with his.

BRF Kanye West

BRF robert downey jnr

As we age, our neutral, or ‘resting’ face is the one that becomes etched deeply upon us. For some lucky souls like the lovely Jennifer Aniston, this will be laugh lines.

BRF Jennifer Aniston

For many of us however, Bitchy Resting Face it is. Even the ever-beautiful Jessica Lange.

jessica lange

For we sufferers from Generation X, how different would our twenties, and even thirties, have been had this been a recognised ‘thing’ then? I, for one, wouldn’t have sweated about being ‘too serious’ for about a decade and just worn a brooch announcing ‘I’m Not Unhappy, I Suffer From BRF’.

Clever Man: Man Up.

Clever Man: Man Up.

“Poor Rob” as people sometimes refer to my husband has a terribly sore back. He recently had to forgo several days of surfing while on a surfing holiday. This is him after a recent visit to the physio:

sore back

Coincidentally, at this time his buddy (today’s Clever Man) Henry Willis has been expounding the virtues of the Standing Desk, something he has had great success with himself.

standing desk 19th century

Rob has leapt to his feet fast on this one, and ordered a standing desk from Bad Backs, According to Henry if you have a sore back, walking into the store is as exciting as it was walking into a lolly shop as a kid.

msf standing desk RN

Ernest Hemingway was a big fan:

art manliness ernest hemingway

The article itself was on a fabulous website that is going to take up a good chunk of today’s online surfing time if you’re a fella:

The Art of Manliness

art of manliness logo man

The site is filled with wonderful, manly advice. Who has experienced the floppy fish or too strong handshake? Who worries that we’re not shaking hands enough anymore? Here’s how to do it right:

art manliness handshake

There is a whole section on relationship advice such as Being Neighbourly, How to Communicate Your Needs in a Relationship, How to Create a Lifelong Brotherhood and my favourite: Fathering with Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture:

“Understand this: A family culture happens whether you’re consciously creating it or not. It’s up to you and your wife to determine whether that culture is of your choosing. If you want a positive family culture, you must commit yourself to years of constant planning and teaching. A culture isn’t something that’s created overnight; it requires daily investment. But the payoff is definitely worth it.”

art manliness breakup

Do you actually know the right way to break down a door? It could come in manliness break door

Yes, it is manly to carry a handkerchief like our fathers and grandfathers did. You’re not likely to be robbing a stage coach but there’s something rather attractive in a Don Draper sort of way about a man whipping out a handkerchief to mop his brow.

Art Manliness handkerchief

Not sure how to dress for a particular occasion? It’s all sorted here. There’s even a how to on shoe shining, which buttons of a jacket to do up and what to wear when an invitation says formal, semi formal or smart casual.

Art Manliness Casual Office

Thank you to our manly Clever Man Henry for this little gem of a website and for easing Poor Rob’s pain.


Easy Peasy 1970s Silverside

Easy Peasy 1970s Silverside

Another one that surprised me with its simplicity recommended by former country lass and fellow child of the seventies, Sara: Corned Beef, or Silverside as we knew it.

No wonder my mother made this for us regularly when we were young and she was living the feminist dream of raising three kids, putting food on the table, reading us stories, working and studying at uni all at the same time.

Corned Silverside

(recipe from and adapted for the slow cooker)

This is for the meat part only – for the white sauce use your thermomix if you have one and add in some chopped parsley and grainy mustard if your kids will bear it or use your favourite white sauce recipe.

  • 1 pack of corned beef/silverside – mine was $8.40 for 1.4 kilo piece)
  • 1 onion (stud with cloves; I had none so threw in a quarter tsp ground cloves)
  • 1 carrot big chunks
  • 1 celery stick big chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves smashed a bit (don’t bother peeling)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  1. Put silverside in a pot on stove and bring to boil.
  2. meanwhile chop other ingredients and put in slow cooker on low.
  3. Once beef is boiled drain and add to cooker and cover with water.
  4. Once done make a white sauce and serve with veggies – my favourite at the moment is mashed cauliflower.

msf corned beef silverside 5

msf corned beef silverside 1

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the finished product as it was devoured so fast, however I did find one online I have posted below which is an honest-looking shot. It’s a shame as it’s a tres ugly dish before serving and once cut a lovely silvery pink. I reserved the stock it was cooked in to make some soups.




My corner of Australia is rife with head colds at the moment. I tried to dodge the one after me but have succumbed gracelessly. Winter is officially upon us and while is sunny and crisp, bugs abound, so I’ve had time to lie around reading the paper and surf the world-wide web.

Because of all this downtime, I made it all the way to the technology pages of the newspaper and discovered a couple of interesting blogs:

STFU Parents is hitting the news at the moment as the blog author, Blair Koenig has just released a book of her posts. People send in snips from social network sites like Facebook and tumblr with parents’ status updates that are the very definition of TMI (too much information).

There are entire categories for different over-sharers, such as Sanctimommy (my personal favourite), Onesies, WTF of the Day, Woe is Mom and MommyJacking, where someone may post a note that they got a job promotion and in comes mommyjacker with a comment about how that’s “nothing compared with raising kids!”.

stfu parents stfu momyjacker 1

Then there is the Gross Out Factor section, not to be viewed while eating.

stfu parents gross

Most of we Generation X-ers who are on Facebook, the last of the adults to reach adulthood without the Internet, know that there is a line not to be crossed when it comes to over-sharing – so far I haven’t had any look-my-toddler-pooed-all-over-the-room shots show up in my news feed. Then again I have very few friends whose kids are still toddlers these days.

But is there a place for mummy-sharing online that isn’t going to get you a featured spot on STFU Parents? It’s a question Koenig gets asked often. Can I share my ultrasound photo or is it going to end up here?

As she says “We’re entering a new phase where placentapics may occasionally inspire more organ appreciation than nausea.”

Good thing or bad thing? It’s up to you. I agree that we are becoming more desensitised to the over-share than we used to be however for some this is the forum for which mums and dads share baby news with their distant family.

If the snippets of parents who should probably not own a computer or smart phone (or be parents) fills you with dread for the future of civilisation at this point, perhaps don’t read on.

The Bun in the Oven section of STFU, Parents is just plain gruesome. Here we have the pleasure of mu-to-be Stormie’s update regarding the approaching birth of baby Memphis by C-Section:

stfu parents c-section

You don’t really get the whole picture just by reading these snaps. What makes the blog un-put-downable are the comments by Koenig that accompany each morsel. Her writing is clever and funny and while cutting she isn’t cruel. More incredulous.

The other blog is Reasons My Son Is Crying by Greg Pembroke, a 32-year-old New York father. If it wasn’t so funny it would almost qualify for a spot on STFU Parents, but as you look at each photo and the caption it gets funnier and funnier. Pembroke has two little boys and has started a blog in which he captures a photo of one of the kids in tears along with a single sentence caption describing why.

This one is titled “his sock wouldn’t come off”:

why my son is crying sock

Others have captions such as “A fly landed near him”, “He saw a beetle”, and “I wouldn’t let him get a tattoo.” The blog has only been around for a month or so and has already gone viral and earned him a spot on Conan O’Brien. It’s raised some interesting discussion about bringing parenting to the online world. Is Pembroke damaging his little fellas in some way by publishing their every tear? There are plenty of mommy bloggers up in arms about how despicable this is, and others who see it as harmless fun:

At GeekMom in the comments section of a blog post entitled 3 Reasons To Detest “Why My Son Is Crying” Suburban Snapshots writes:

“Let’s not assume that the rest of these kids’ days aside from the 4 seconds it takes to take and post a photo of their tears is not spent full of love, reassurance, giggles, discipline, play, and everything else that nurtures kids. I’d guess that they spend a LOT of time laughing, because their parents clearly have excellent senses of humor. I’d rather my child be raised knowing how to laugh at herself than raised to write blog posts critiquing the parenting of strangers.”

While Lisa Quimby counters with:

“What a despicable thing to do to a child! Toddlers face each day being shorter, slower, weaker and less coordinated than most everyone around them. They are trying to figure out the rules of a world that seems so unpredictable. Of course there will be meltdowns when expectations (a favorite cup, for example) aren’t met. As parents, it’s up to us to recognize the struggles that seems so small to us and help our children learn to handle their emotions. If we don’t treat them with respect, how will they learn to respect others? And what about when this kid grows up and finds his crying toddler face all over the internet?!”

My vote goes to Pembroke who told

“Kids have meltdowns 20, 30 times a day. You can drive yourself crazy or you can laugh and just accept it.”

He is now taking submissions if anyone reading this happens to have a camera and a crying toddler on hand…

As for frowning at Pembroke or laughing with him, I’ll take laughing. He sounds like a genuinely nice guy having a bit of fun with sweet, normal little boys.

I [sort of don’t] Quit Sugar: Granola

I [sort of don’t] Quit Sugar: Granola

On the advice of a sensible friend who recently quit sugar and has not cried into her vodka soda once about it, I picked up Sarah Wilson’s new cook book in the flesh the other day. I already had her book on kindle but since I decided to catch up on six seasons of Mad Men I don’t even know where the kindle is. There’s nothing like flicking through an actual real life book when cooking.

It’s called I Quit Sugar which I know is going to put some of you off and draw others like a bear to honey. Perhaps, like me, you fit into both categories.

This is a fantastic cookbook although I am not sure about the name. While it will immediately appeal to the anti-sugar purists (I tried and failed this and am now simply anti-purist) it has loads of really gorgeous recipes suited to the committed sweet toother. Some of the really beautiful ‘sweet’ recipes in it that are actually sweet enough on their own, or alternatively lend themselves really well to a few glugs of maple syrup or coconut sugar (my two favourite sweeteners).

Coco-nutty Granola Sarah Wilson

This is my own version (very close to the original) of Sarah’s Coco-Nutty Granola as I have made it twice now – the first time it was quite easy, the second time it was ridiculously easy and “ridiculously easy” is a pre-requisite for getting a recipe up here. I’ve linked the title above to Sarah Wilson’s recipe at her website.

Coco-Nutty Granola Ingredients
These storage jars make finding stuff in the pantry and fridge easy – from IKEA.

Coco-Nutty Granola


  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded)
  • 2 -3 cups nuts (I used almonds, brazil nuts and cashews)
  • handful chia seeds
  • handful goji berries (optional)
  • 1 tbsp spice (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
  • 80g coconut oil
  • big splash of maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup raw muesli (fine without this)
  • a few apricots


  1. Preheat oven to 120* C.
  2. Use a food processor/thermomix to chop nuts, apricots – not too fine.
  3. Combine all ingredients and spread on a baking tray covered with baking paper (it doesn’t matter if it’s a little deep).
  4. Bake for 20 mins, toss and turn, keep baking till golden brown.

coconutty granola

Sarah’s recipe calls for a total baking time of 20 mins but mine took closer to 40 so just keep an eye on it.

Brazil nuts are a good inclusion if you want to up your selenium intake as they are a very rich source. If you’re having trouble finding unsweetened coconut flakes, try the link in the recipe or here and check out Supercharged Food, it’s a great site for whole-foodies and a flat shipping fee of $10.50.

Easy Peasy: Persimmon Brekky & Stuffed Spuds

Easy Peasy: Persimmon Brekky & Stuffed Spuds

Food Prep: Hate it (mostly).

When I want to paint a room, the only way to do it is buy a big tin of paint and pour some into a tray, roll a roller into it and start painting. I have not left out a single detail. My husband Rob boringly always says “preparation, preparation, preparation” and says it the three times, irritatingly. So now we only use Barry who does all our painting for us. Being in a very old house with a lot of timber there is regularly some painting to be done.

It’s the same with cooking – because I do not want and could never afford to have Barry do all our cooking and food prep, I will spend a day having a Condiment Day, where I make all the things that are so nice added to food like pesto, tomato sauce, béarnaise, mayonnaise, pasta sauce, umami paste and so on. All so that the rest of the time I don’t need to bother with all that.

In light of all that here are two meals that have pleased us all here and are perfect for the busy working/stay-at-home/unemployed mother:

Baked Spuds Stuffed With Whatever’s Handy

No one needs a recipe for this – it’s just more of a reminder.

Bake however many potatoes you like, takes about an hour and can be done the day before if need be.

Once well-baked cut in half, scoop out the soft potato and sit skins on baking tray.

Bake skins to crisp them up a bit sprayed with oil and salt/pepper for 20 mins 180 C

In a pan saute onion and bacon with maple syrup, salt and pepper, then add fresh vegetables, chopped and herbs.

Mix with the potato, stuff the skins, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

stuffed potato skins stuffed potato skins before stuffed potato skins cheese

The other one is the result of The Local Grocer. I had a Seasonal Box delivered and with it came two persimmons which I have never before bought or eaten.MSF persimmon

I chopped one up in my food processor (thermomix) along with some shredded coconut, gogi berries and chia seeds (superfoods alert!) and it was amazeballs. Try it with a few macadamia nuts as well.

persimmon brekky persimmon brekky 2 persimmon brekky 3

You Are So Beautiful

You Are So Beautiful

Sometimes when I get on the Internet I feel like everyone is young and beautiful.

So a sensible, successful, beautiful friend said to me this morning and it got me thinking (kids back to school today so finally for the first time in two weeks I can think rather than just do). The world-wide web is like an insidious competition for who is doing it better than us. Often, rather than feel energised by dropping off the edge of reality and wandering for an hour or so in the world of the almost-real we can be left feeling a little….inferior.

I’d heard that being a middle-aged woman could leave one feeling a bit invisible, but never really believed it. I thought all those older women were being a tad whiney and precious.

They’re not.

I waited at a bar recently for ages while hordes of gorgeous young things got served either side of me. Then the next row of them got served, and the next. I was halfway sober by the time I finally got my vodka and soda.

And yet I look around at my sensible friends and their friends and I see a sea of truly beautiful women whose beauty is born of the experience that lies comfortably in their faces. I don’t love that my triceps rock to their own beat when I am waving at someone, but I do love that I really don’t care all that much.

My oldest daughter is seventeen, so the house is often filled with strapping young lasses with praying mantis figures wearing tops they call dresses: God they are gorgeous! But in their eyes is a wide-eyed innocence that lacks the beauty of a life lived, with all its joy and sorrow.

At my mother’s seventieth birthday party on the weekend all her friends lit up the house with their laughter and wonderful stories and anecdotes. They came bearing platters of food, genuine warmth and fun: now that is beauty.  What’s more they didn’t have to wait a second for the next drink.

I was the only one waving though, so still a few tricks to learn…

Age is something that doesn’t matter. Unless you are a cheese.

~ Luis Bunuel


Perfectly Perfect Parents

Perfectly Perfect Parents

There’s nothing like a tropical holiday with the whole extended family to bring ones parenting skills out of soft focus and into the bright sunshine. I’m wondering if there’s a statute of limitations on how many times I can say “I think she’s just very tired” when I’m actually thinking “my six year old is simply a rather unpleasant child. Sorry!”

A tad ironic then that the one article I printed from The Atlantic Magazine for fun holiday reading is called How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb, my new parenting pinup gal.

I’m typing this on an iPad so will keep it short (first world problem in a third world country…) and there will be no links or pics as my other first world problem is a third world Internet connection.

Gottlieb, a therapist and mother, writes about how being the perfect parent can really stuff up a child. At university she and her colleagues were taught to always focus on how a lack of parental attunement affects a child, but after seeing countless young adults on her couch who had come from spectacularly attuned parents and who were sad, adrift, lost, Gottlieb began to wonder if being too attuned had its own bag of problems.

Being a crappy parent will do your child no favours, but being a perfect parent could stuff them up too. It seems Donald Winnicott was on the money when he coined the phrase “good enough mother” in the 1960s. On a side note, do have a read of his work if you want to follow this further. His work on the real self and the false self is very good.

I have a bit of a beef with “happiness” and the desperate, relentless pursuit of it I see everywhere. As Gottlieb writes “nowadays it’s not enough to be happy—if you can be happier. The American Dream…has morphed from a quest for general contentment to the idea that you must be happy at all times and in every way.” This has been championed by books like The Happiness Project, where happiness is good but more happiness is even better!

if you want happy kids to grow into happy adults then one of the worst things you can do is deprive them of sadness. It takes a conscious effort to allow your child their unhappiness, disappointment, even despair. When they are young it seems natural to be the fixer. We scoop our toddler from a fall and comfort them before they’ve had a chance to work out whether or not they are really hurt. I’ve tried not to do this, but I have. I get scared when I see my kids feeling devastated, wretched, sad. I worry I won’t be able to fix them, when in fact it’s not something that should even be fixed, but more something for a parent to guide a child through and perhaps hold their hand to just let them know that while their sadness is normal and difficult, you’ll be there to watch over them while they feel it.

There’s been a lot of talk for several years now about letting kids get dirty. Let them play in the mud and eat a snail, it strengthens their immune system to be exposed to a bit of filth early on. Gottlieb quotes child psychologist Dan Kindlon, as saying that if a child can’t experience painful feelings, they don’t grow psychological immunity.

Parents call the school if their child doesn’t get on the school soccer team, if they have a run in with another child. What you get in this sort of environment eventually is a teenager with no experience of hardship, Gottlieb writes. We are raising teacup kids.

When I was training for my first marathon (see how I managed to work that into an article on parenting? Still got it), I hired Pat Carroll to give me training advice via email. He assessed me, through my stats and personal info as a “teacup” marathoner. He explained that a marathon is like a dishwasher. It’s full of teacups and mugs. The mugs are tough as boots while the teacups are delicate flowers who have to be careful of overtraining and getting injured.

By saving kids from small growing up pains, we set them up to shatter like delicate teacups when they’re bigger and the pains are bigger and we are no longer around on a daily basis to smooth the path ahead for them. Better to let them grow up with a few chips and superglue.

So how do we not be perfectly perfect parents? I don’t know: after the kids headed off to the waterbom park this morning, I went into their hotel room and neatly folded all their clothes and popped them away. Just to make their happiness that bit more happy. According to Kindlon, this sort of behaviour is “parental over investment and is contributing to a burgeoning generational narcissism that’s hurting our kids.” I completely agree. But I also just didn’t want the room cleaner to see how disgustingly messy they actually are.

The final word seems to be “our children are not our masterpieces” a relief for both parents and kids I imagine.

What’s on the Telly (2)

What’s on the Telly (2)

There I was a few weeks ago, having a lovely time plodding through Downton Abbey which needs no explaining as I don’t believe there is anyone left on the planet who hasn’t watched it.

Just as I was getting comfortable,  good friend Pippa sent a text: “have you seen American Horror Story yet?”

american horror story

Wow and wow. Forget Dexter, this is the bomb.

Firstly I just have to say this: I love Jessica Lange, remember her? She has just the right amount of loveliness, sexiness and creepiness to make the whole show worth the ride. Secondly, this is not my usual genre. While I have dabbled in zombies and vampires, ‘horror’ is not really my thing. American Horror Story is such a tightly wound little drama, however that it’s perfect for those Downton Abbeyists who just need a break from the Abbey for a bit of “captivating style and giddy gross outs” (Washington Post).

american horror story lange

Each season is self-contained so it doesn’t matter whether you see them in order or not. In the first season, a family of three, psychiatrist Ben, Vivien and Violet move into an old house, unaware it is haunted. They get to know their neighbour, Constance (Lange) when her special needs daughter Adelaide (Addie) visits unannounced regularly, sensing and seeing the evil that lies beneath the veil of the living. Constance is a failed actress who has a complicated relationship with her daughter and those who dwell in the house.

The relationships within the little family are also complicated with Ben (Dylan McDermott) trying to win back his wife’s trust following an affair, his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) trying to recover emotionally from a miscarriage and their sweet but sullen teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) suffering from depression and struggling with every aspect of her life and her parents complicated situation.

american horror story family


The second season, American Horror Story Asylum, takes place in a sixties mental asylum, Briarcliff, run by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) and Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) overseen by Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes).

American Horror Story Asylum


It seems to be almost a caricature of a 1960’s mental asylum, with people being locked up for being gay, people being locked up and treated for insanity for racial reasons, patients having no voice, being trapped for decades in the brutally run asylum. The story follows four inmates specifically with many others providing fill. One is Lana (Sarah Paulson) whose lesbian lover is tricked into committing her when she comes to Briarcliff to write an expose piece on the place.

american horror story sarah Paulson


Jessica Lange is again superb in this season. She grows increasingly suspicious and unhinged as dark supernatural (or are they?) forces conspire to make her as mad as some of her patients. As one reviewer wrote, it’s hard to look away, even though you feel you should.

jessica lange American Horror Story Joseph Fiennes


The third season is in the works and probably called American Horror Story Coven. Can’t wait. I had to put down the iPad and start reading good old books again after this one.

The first two seasons are available on iTunes. My vote is they are both worth it. Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you think if you do.

Year Twelve Hurts More The Second Time

Year Twelve Hurts More The Second Time

That final year of school is tough: you have assignment after assignment to contend with. Pesky teachers on your back about ‘progress’.

Your parents just don’t seem to understand or remember how hard it is. You wish you could just cruise around in the car alone for once. You fantasise about solitary road trips to Margaret River to watch boys surf.

You never have time to read just for fun. The stress that gets dumped on you is almost unbearable. The tears, the lack of compassion from friends, the parties you have to either miss or leave early….


…why didn’t anyone tell me that Year 12 would be this hard the second time around?

I can only imagine what it’s like for my daughter, the one actually having to show up at school (most days); parents pretending not to be completely strung out, whispering to each other late at night about the logistics of taking an escape break somewhere without the kids. Mostly, stupid cruel parents making her to go to school. Every friggin’ weekday. And so it goes until 3.00pm November 28.

How to get through? Some lucky mothers have jobs to go to. Escape to there, make it your happy place. Those of us unemployed need other distractions. While I do wish ASOS wouldn’t keep doing their irresistible 20% off everything every second day, that has provided a little exciting spike in amongst the spiky angst. Thanks to some very stylish friends, I picked up some great biker boots the other day, it was the day before two quite big tests (Geography and French, I believe) so they were fairly expensive.

Then there’s yoga, only beware buying a ten-pass voucher and letting it expire past the extension you asked for because you just haven’t had a moment calm/alone/organised/motivated enough to get yourself to a class. It’s stress-loading yoga when you waste a whole pass, not stress-relieving.

Running – and talking about running – has probably been the greatest saviour physically for me. Alone with the dog, the wind in my hair, sometimes some music on my iPod. Below is what I listened to this morning.

Later I had coffee with one of my running pals, she of the fabulous red hair and extensive Lululemon wardrobe and we talked splits, tempo runs, mileage, races: it was like taking a short weekender losing myself in run-talk.

My oldest daughter has really good taste in music and she happily shares it with me. She has discovered the eighties (soundtrack to my life, sista!) and while I have done the right thing and put her in front of Sixteen Candles for research purposes, she has come up with some great stuff without any help from us, such as this little gem – a cover version by Ohio band Cobra Verde of New Order’s Temptation. They also do a haunting slow version of The Rolling Stones Play With Fire.

If I am completely honest my two daughters scare the living daylights out of me. They are much smarter, more determined and confident, savvy and beautiful than me. I’m not quite sure how it should all work, and I am quite tough under this soft (don’t laugh!) exterior so imagine how bamboozled my poor gentle peace-loving husband is. He lives in perpetual bewilderment.

Fortunately there is the best relief of all – friends who have been there, done that and are undamaged enough to be able to recall the terror of seeing their own kids through the end of school and pass on words of wisdom or comfort, like “it only lasts a year per child” and “don’t attempt to give up wine or chocolate for Lent” and “there, there, it’ll be okay.” Seriously all anyone really wants is to know that someone else has trod this path, whatever path that may be, and gets where you’re at. It applies to pretty much any stress we encounter in life, big and small.

Sometimes we just need someone to cry with, even if there’s no actual crying involved.

I suspect things will be quieter as our son goes through this in two years time, but just for a laugh we have another daughter headed towards Year 12. Although not for another eleven years. Rob has suggested we use this time gap to regroup, travel a little, swim regularly, perhaps a little counselling.

Apparently there’s a maths assignment due tomorrow so I may just pop off now and have another look at that nail polish I was reading about the other day…

tshirt you dont scare me

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