Chicken lessons

First published in Mothering Magazine in 2006. We thought getting chickens would teach our family about new life, but it turned out we had a lot to learn about death first. About a year ago our friend from the country offered us three 4-month-old chickens. We were dubious, but our three pet-less boys begged. Somewhat reluctantly, we agreed. On the chickens’ […]

We were kids once

First published in Melbourne’s Child 2006 The penny dropped while we were playing a mad game of Marco Polo in my parents’ swimming pool last month. As I lunged after them, eyes squeezed shut, yelling “Marco” I could hear my boys bursting with giggles and surprised delight. “Polo”, came their water-logged reply. What was their […]


First published in Melbourne’s Child in 2005 “What do you have to do to become a tooth fairy?” queried my 6-year-old son from the back seat of the car one day. Not having much experience with tooth fairy training, I was struggling to come up with the requirements when he added, “because that’s what I want to […]

Primary stress

First published in Melbourne’s Child in 2006 (Also published in Sydney’s, Brisbane’s, Canberra’s, Adelaide’s and Perth’s Child) School is much harder the second time around. Back when I was in primary school I didn’t worry about my lunch, except if I got an egg salad sandwich, which was very bad news indeed. I hadn’t heard of […]

Travelling light

First published in Little Bitz in 2005 I didn’t bring the bathtub on my first-ever international trip with a baby, but that was about all I left behind. It wasn’t so much my 40 kg suitcase that drew attention in the airport, as it was the heaping mound of carry-on luggage. In retrospect, it’s a miracle […]

Our musical mystery tour

There are some decisions that you regret even before you make them. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those. A bit like trying to get in a few quick minutes of work at the computer while the kids do some unsupervised painting, with non-washable paints and the dog. You end […]


First published in The Age in 2008. Throughout last year Ellis, my not-quite-Prep child, was repeatedly peppered with questions about Prep: “When are you going to Prep? Where will you go to Prep? Are you looking forward to Prep?” The queries came in the post office queue, at his brothers’ school, on the neighbourhood swings, even […]