Saturday, 25 July 2015


over the past few years i have joined a lot of facebook groups: australian doulas, sydney doulas, postpartum doulas, a hippy mums group and one promoting a more inclusive church (just to name a few)
it's a funny old thing, the facebook group. some of them have almost no rules, some have long lists of rules. the "please be civilised and nice rule" is expressed in many ways but it's mission is always the same: to avoid offence. I see the point of it but sometimes i would love to see a rule saying something like "if you behave like an idiot in this group we wont kick you out or delete your posts, we'll leave your rudeness and stupidity right there so everyone gets to see who you really are" It would be way more informative than having the nice police everywhere.
a week or two back i joined a nanny group. I had to pass a rigorous approval process, becoming "friends" with the moderator so she could see all my facebook business, then being unfriended so i couldnt see all her facebook business. three days after approving me she private messaged me saying only "please adhere to the guidelines" It was a little disconcerting. i re-read the guidelines and didnt seem to have broken any, i even PM-ed back to ask if i had broken the rules. she never answered. i guess it was a pre-emptive strike. very weird.
it's just a theory of mine but i think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they run a facebook group.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

the twin thing

Mothers of twins are asked some standard questions: are they identical? (i dont know) which is the oldest? (Briony) are they very close? (yes) are they in the same class? (mostly)

so many times I have been asked about whether my girls are in the same class and would it be better to separate them, and how does a parent decide on such a thing?

my answer has usually been "they are in the same classes, they are both doing well, there doesnt seem to be reason to change  things"

after having this conversation again recently, i finally have the answer i want:

i think that our society is distinctly uncomfortable with some relationships and will make up any kind of story to support the unnecessary disruption of these relationships.

not too long ago the powers that be in Australia removed Aboriginal children from their families, we still separate some babies from their mothers at birth, we still encourage new parents not to sleep with their babies or to let them get "too" attached and "spoilt", we are still grappling with equitable acknowledgement of same sex relationships, elderly people are frequently separated from their lifelong partner when one is moved to a nursing home (or worse, they are moved to separate homes) and teen boys in school still find it appropriate to affirm their "non-homo" status if they make any display of affection to another boy.

sometimes, one would  think that young, heterosexual, romantic love between gorgeous looking individuals, is the only type of relationship that is encouraged.

I think that young twins are very often victim to the culture of separation just because their close relationship is foreign to the people doing the separating. if a pair of twins are useful members of their society, does it matter even if they never become independent of each other? would it matter if they never had romantic partnerships? would it matter if they worked in the same place? is there a genuine reason why they shouldn't live in the same house? are we silly enough to think that a set of twins must be forcibly separated at a young age because they won't naturally develop a desire for independence later on? what is the real concern about twins? why such an emphasis on their "independence" and "not relying on each other" ?

i claim no particular brilliance for allowing my girls to determine their own level of independence, it was more an instinctive or default choice than a carefully reasoned one but now that i have managed to articulate my ideas i will always encourage parents and friends of twins to let them  find their own way.

singletons and twins alike, we know what we need, if only we are given room to figure it out.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

What did Your Grandma cook?

I saw this question on a facebook thread recently and it was a great conversation starter.

There were hundreds of answers ranging from tomato sauce sandwiches to apple pies, roast dinners, pavlovas, banana & passionfruit on toast, pasties and yorkshire puddings, scones and melting moments.

I don't remember much cooking from my grandmothers: one lived in New Zealand and died when I was about eight. I know I have eaten Nanna Violet's recipes as cooked by Mum but I don't know which recipes were handed down that way. Golden syrup dumplings, I think and chocolate steamed pudding. Cornish pasties maybe?

My other grandmother had a major stroke, also around the time I was eight. She continued to cook a little bit but it wasn't like she was making dinners for the grandchildren. I learned about the recipes Grandma was proud of, though. Apple pie, baked apples, apricot chicken and the smoothest most delicious custard were all part of the lore around grandma Ruby.

I asked my kids what they will remember their grandma cooking and the answers were quite extensive: shortbread, anzac biscuits, pizza on Turkish bread (a lunch special in school holidays), baked dinners and pavlova. I  remember my mum feeding my kids scrambled egg and cheese on toast when they were very young and their paternal grandmother made rice porridge for at least one of them.

Isn't it interesting that nearly every food I have mentioned, from my own family and from the facebook group, are comfort foods. There are no fancy foods to be seen (unless you count pavlova as fancy)

What do you remember from your Grandma's kitchen?