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Welcome!

Here at Musings Of A Footy Mum I am all about keeping it real, discussing the journey that is motherhood in a lighthearted way, while still acknowledging that some days are just hard work!

Slowly but surely, the more I write about my experiences as the mother of sons, as a 40-something year old woman in the world, I hear the voices whisper “me too”, and one by one our tribe is gathering.

Welcome to our tribe! There is only one rule in the Footy Mum community: be kind, always.

Haunted by The Hunting

I am being haunted by The Hunting.  The Hunting is haunting me. 

What is The Hunting you ask?

It is something I have spent the last two weeks talking about to anyone who will listen.  The Hunting is a new series on SBS, illustrating the dangers of technology when our teens make bad choices. 

From the SBS website:

“The Hunting intimately and dramatically imagines the lives of four teenagers, their teachers and families throughout the lead up, revelation and aftermath of a nude teen photo scandal. When two high school teachers discover students are sharing explicit photos of their underage friends and peers online, the revelation has devastating consequences for the students and their families. Tackling themes of misogyny, privacy, sexuality and sexualisation, online exploitation, masculinity and gender, the series uses this singular event as a way of exploring some of the most pressing issues of our time and offering a vital portrait of modern, multicultural Australia.”

Filmed, at various locations in Adelaide, the content is extremely well written, the characters are relatable and the subject matter is, quite frankly, terrifying.

Having taught students of a similar age, I find I can give real life names to each character, several names actually.  I know every one of these characters because I have taught them.  And at some time or other, I have interacted with every one of the parents represented in the show.  It is that realistic.  That is one of the reasons the show is haunting me.  But it is not the biggest one.  The biggest reason(s) are those pieces of my heart that are currently at school, hanging out with their friends and I can only hope, making good decisions. 

The reality is, despite my best efforts, my kids will not always make good decisions.  They will make some dodgy decisions along the way, and they will no doubt make some really bad choices.  I know this because both of my boys are at the age where their child brain is morphing into an adult brain, while at the same time being flooded with hormones, and that my friends, is not a smooth ride.

Currently, their brains are actively shedding any unnecessary information, while feverishly making new links and connections.  This would explain why, after 8 years of daily reminders to “put your socks and shoes on”, then a couple of blissful years where the act of protecting one’s feet before going outdoors became an automatic one that didn’t need a reminder, you suddenly realise that your teenager has gone for several days without in fact, wearing socks.  Now I know it is trendy to wear ankle freezer pants with no socks, but that is not the reason.  The teenager’s reason?  “I couldn’t be bothered”.  Eight years of instruction, of gentle reminders, that- especially in sub-Arctic temperatures like this – it is necessary to wear socks, gone.  Dismissed.  Shed by the newly forming brain as unnecessary information.

Combine this with the fact that the part of their brains currently developing most rapidly is the Amygdala: the “fight or flight” part of the brain that controls survival instincts and emotions. 

A developing Amygdala means big powerful adult emotions firing haphazardly in the brain, randomly colliding with a flood of hormones.  Meanwhile, the last part of a child’s brain to be rewritten and develop into an adult brain is the Frontal Cortex: this is the part of the brain that’s good at decision making and understanding consequences.  And that is not fully developed (in boys particularly) until their late teens or early twenties.  This fact alone creates the perfect storm for poor choices in adolescents.

In no way am I excusing the actions of the boys on The Hunting, but instead using science to explain why I am so terrified.  Because while I agree that it starts at home, we must teach them right from wrong and send them out into the world with a firmly entrenched moral compass, the unfortunate fact is that we can do all of this and they will still make bad decisions. There will be a period of time when they don’t wear socks in the middle of Winter because they can’t be bothered, or they simply “forget”.  There will also be times when they make a rash choice based on big emotions and hormones rather than common sense and their core values. It does not make them bad people. It just makes them human. There are no “good” or “bad” kids, just good and bad choices.  Inevitably, all of our kids will make both good and bad choices several times over.

I know it seems like a lot of hand wringing over something that generations have experienced and come out the other end alive, mostly.  But we are the first generation to parent the “igeneration”: kids who have never known life without technology and social media.  We handed our kids this technology thinking we were doing the right thing, keeping them safer, but we have also handed them a device that, combined with big emotions, impulsivity and poor understanding of consequences, has the potential to blow up their lives.

Rather than carving their initials into a tree, or writing their love interest’s name all over their pencil case, these teens are proving their affection by texting intimate pics meant only for each other to see.  But of course, this is not always what happens, is it?  All it takes is a dare from a mate, a misunderstanding, a jealous comment, and all bets are off.  Suddenly that intimate pic is potentially seen by hundreds, even thousands of people.  Sent to other kids who innocently open the message and simultaneously open themselves up to the possibility of a police record for viewing child pornography.  That is how quickly things can go pear shaped.

As I said: terrifying. 

This is why I am being haunted by The Hunting.

It is why I keep talking about it.  Even so, I am aware that my thoughts go round and round in circles, probably much like what I have written above.

My incredibly intelligent and articulate friend Lucy puts it much more eloquently than me when she says:

“The thing that hits home for me about this issue is that it has the potential to devastate all families of all socio-economic groups. Kids from “good” loving families – kids who are naive, AND kids that are savvy. Gentle families, tough families. Families with working parents, parents with liberal attitudes, parents raising resilient, happy kids. Everyone.

I am so aware that I have no real clue about my kids digital usage and I’m, in theory, a “good” parent who sets tough boundaries on device use and access to social media. 

My girls are aware and passionate about the levels of self respect they uphold toward their bodies and their privacy.

My son has been raised in, and influenced by, a home based on respect for women. He has a core character that is kind and gentle and considerate.

My kids generally don’t bend to peer pressure.

BUT: none of this matters if one of them makes one bad choice”.

So what can we do? 

Keep talking about it.  To our teens / tweens.  To other parents.  To each other.  Freely admit that there is no rule book for how to parent these kids and their use of technology.  Recognise that all of our kids are going to stuff up.  Make mistakes.  And so are we.  We can stop pretending that our parenting is as perfect as the lives we present on social media. And hope that loving them is enough.  That with enough love and guidance and leading by example that one day their frontal cortex will be developed enough that they will make good decisions more often than bad ones.  And they may actually remember to put on socks once in a while…….

The joys of the school pick up line

Welcome to Term 3!

I know Term 3 is hard going.  You have been slogging through those school lunchboxes and drop offs and pick ups for two terms now, and now you have to do it all again for another ten weeks, except it is now freezing cold and everyone is still tired and probably a bit sick from our “worst ever flu season”.  On top of all that, Term 3 signals the race towards the end of the year which makes everyone a bit batshit crazy and who said there was 22 Saturdays until Christmas and wasn’t it Easter like last week and I’m not ready for any of this…..

I get it.  I do. 

Which is why I am trying my hardest to be understanding of the fact that so many of you seem to have lost the ability to drive like a sensible, rational human being at school pick up. 

What the fuck people??

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start.

Actually, yes, I do.  At the very beginning.  With the kindy parents. 

Dear sweet kindy parents, with your dear, sweet little munchkins.  Your kids are gorgeous.  Truly precious.  But not so precious that they cannot possibly walk more than two fucking steps out of the school gate before hopping into their nice warm car. 

Until now I have held my tongue, because you are new to our beautiful school community and I was channelling the spirit of being warm and welcoming, which is what our community generally is.

But it has been two terms, and you still appear unable to read the signs that very clearly state NO PARKING in the school pick up zone.  Hell, your child has been at kindy long enough that they can probably read the signs on their own now. 

But where am I meant to park, you cry?

How about the car park (the purpose of which is exactly as the name implies), or alternatively, try one of the seventy billion parks in the neighbouring streets.

And yes, that does mean that you may have to in fact take your baby out of the car, instead of leaving them unattended in your parked car on a public street while you go in to collect your child from the kindy, sign them out, load your arms with their 5 thousand pieces of precious artwork, wait at least 10 minutes for the 4,999th painting to dry, bundle your cherub into his / her parka and return to your car.

But maybe I should cut the kindy parents some slack, it has only been 20 weeks. 

What do the rest of you have to say for yourselves??

Some of you have been doing the same shit every day for YEARS.  This is not a one off situation where a police car pulls up behind you and suddenly you forget how to drive.  I understand that anxiety.  No, this is a situation that is as predictable as tying your shoes.  Every day, as surely as the sun sets and the sun rises, you will have to go and pick your kid up from school.  There is no anxiety here.  Just common sense, and common courtesy.

Unfortunately, neither of those things seem to be very common at all.

The number one rule of the pick up line is: get in the line.  This doesn’t mean speeding at 60kph down the right hand side of the road and then slamming on the brakes and cutting in on a 90 degree angle when you see a space of approximately 30cm between two cars.  The only thing that is going to fit into that space is the plastic ruler in your child’s backpack.  Not a two tonne motor vehicle.

But you have places to be?  After school sport?  Other school pick ups?  Want to get home in time for The Bold and The Beautiful?  Guess what? So do the rest of us.

In my case my eldest child is dismissed from his school (several suburbs away) exactly 5 minutes after the bell rings here.  What can I do to change that? Nothing.  Except wait in line.

The exception to my wrath is if you are turning from the adjacent street into the pick up line and myself or another member of our lovely parent community has waved you in.  That’s not cutting in, that’s just good manners.

What is not good manners is cutting in to wait on the SOLID yellow line.  Y’all know what that solid yellow line is there for?  Not solely to inconvenience you and hold up the line (although it is pretty inconvenient); it is for emergency services vehicles.  Well, that’s what the front office ladies told me and I’m going with it.  So next time you cut in front of someone and find yourself on the solid yellow line, you are not only risking a fine from the council (those of you sitting there yesterday afternoon can be expecting a present in the mail any day now), you are making a statement about the needs of your child being picked up being potentially greater than a child who needs a fucking ambulance. 

Lastly, the line needs to MOVE.  If you are using the opportunity of being in the line to stop every 2 metres and chat to parents walking past, you should not be in the line.  I am writing this to myself as much as I am writing it to you, for as you may well know, I am partial to a good chat.  So if you are in the line and some inconsiderate fucktard is not moving forward because they are having a good old gossip, feel free to beep and yell at me as you speed past and cut sharply in front, nearly taking out the front end of my car.

However, if I am obeying all of the rules of the school pick up line, and you speed up next to me on the wrong side of the road and yell through a closed window that I am a “fucking bitch” as you did the other day for whatever unknown reason, you may need to be prepared to back that up when I approach you in the quadrangle……

But as I said at the beginning: Welcome to Term 3!!

Footy Boots V Dog Poo

Twice a day on the school run, I drive past the local oval.  Seeing the dogs of all shapes and sizes playing on the grass always makes me smile.

Twice a week I return to the oval in the evening for my son’s footy training.  At this time of night the dogs and their owners have all gone home.  They are replaced by 26 eleven year olds practising their kicking, marking and tackling.

There is only one problem.

While the dogs of all shapes and sizes are nowhere in sight, there is still plenty of evidence of their existence. 

You guessed it.

Piles of poo (of all shapes and sizes) are dotted around the grass, long after the dogs have left.

No dogs.

No owners.

Just plenty of poo. 

And 26 eleven year olds. 

Wearing footy boots.

The astute among you can see where this is going, can’t you?

For those who are unaware, footy training at any age almost certainly begins with a lap of the oval.  It is generally accepted that the team will run together as a close group around the boundary of the grass.

Unfortunately, this also seems to be the preferred location for our aforementioned furry friends to empty their bowels.  Sometimes in large piles, sometimes in small pellets of partially digested “Pal” scattered over several metres.

By the time the first stride has been taken, we have reached a foregone conclusion.

These kids are running into a shitstorm of epic proportions.

The sprigs on the bottom of their boots pick up poo more efficiently than children pick up germs from play centres.  This poo is then launched up into the air, either flicking up the child’s back or – given their close proximity to one another – onto the chest of the child running behind them.  If they are really lucky – or it was an exceptionally large dog – they might cop a bit of digested dog food in the face.

Fun times.

Yes I am being a bit facetious.

Just a bit of humorous banter.

But this is the point where “shit gets real”.  Literally.

You see, once training is over, those 26 kids – tired after a full day of school and then footy – hop into their parents’ cars for the drive home.

And each of them brings a little reminder of those happy, frolicking dogs home with them.

I perhaps shouldn’t speak for all 26 families here, but personally, this is where I lose my shit.

Because those – somewhat smelly – reminders embed themselves on the carpet of the car, on the car seat, on my front porch, down the hallway, through the kitchen and into the laundry.

It is then that I have the delightful task of removing all traces of said smelly dog poo from my car, my porch, the floor of my house, as well as my son’s clothes and boots.

Twice a week.

For the entire footy season.

This is absolutely a task I relish doing while trying to simultaneously cook dinner, supervise homework, baths and bedtime.

I am absolutely not cursing the irresponsible, lazy dog owners as I spend my non-existent spare time cleaning up after their dog, nor am I thinking up scenarios in my head where I confront them with every single swear word I know, and even some that I don’t.

I mean, if you were to calculate the extra, unnecessary time it takes me to clean up the mess left behind by somebody else’s dog, then multiply that by the 25 other families who have to do the same thing (twice a week, for an entire footy season), the result is mind boggling.

Especially when it takes the actual owner of the dog no more than 30 seconds to pick it up themselves immediately after the event.  And I’m being generous: I have a very large dog who does even larger poos and I can pick up a steaming pile of poo in under 10 seconds on a good day.

Trust me, I know my shit.

To those dog owners who can’t see what all of the fuss is about: Yes, I could absolutely ensure my child takes his muddy, shitty boots off before getting into the car.  I could even bring a change of clothes, to safeguard my car seats from any random smears of canine excrement being transferred from his training guernsey onto the fabric of my car seat.

But you know what?  Sometimes it is raining.  And freezing cold.  And dark.  And my eleven year old son is soaking wet and just wants to hop into a warm car and get home.

Alternatively, rather than me (and 25 other parents) spending an extra 10 minutes after training disrobing and reclothing our children, perhaps you could just bend over and pick up your dog’s shit. 

A thirty second action that could save the rest of us so much time and aggro.

So, each day on the school run I will still smile at the playful frolicking of the dogs – big and small – on the oval.  But if I see one of them start to assume the squatting position, know that I will be watching like a hawk to ensure that you squat too to pick it up.

If you don’t, you can fully expect this crazy footy mum to stop my car and come after you with plenty more choice language than I have used in this piece.

For the sake of our sanity, and our kids, and our washing machines, please, please do the right thing.

And for those who do.  Thank you.  Seeing your dogs running freely really brings me joy.  I hope that seeing the smile on our children’s faces running on the oval, kicking the ball and getting muddy (sans shit) brings you joy too.

Stop The World I Want To Get Off

Today I had one of those “stop the world I want to get off” moments.  As I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I came across an article titled: “How To Decode Your Child’s Snot Based On The Colour: A Detailed Guide”.

Yes.  You read that correctly.  

For fuck’s sake.

Can someone please tell me why we need an article – nay, a “detailed guide” – on “decoding” the colour of boogers, and written by a doctor no less?

(Actually, the jury is out on whether “Dr Sam” is a real medical doctor.  Like Dr Chris, Dr Phil or Dr FeelGood, he could indeed be a vet, a talk show host or even a sex therapist.  On the other hand, Dr Sam might truly be a “snot specialist”??)

To save you rushing off to search for the article (let me assure you it is certainly riveting reading), here is my somewhat less detailed guide to the colour of your child’s snot:

If it is clear and constantly streaming down their face: they most likely have the beginning of a cold.

If it is thick and green and sticky and the physical process of blowing it into a tissue sounds like the foghorn on a large ship: they are most likely nearing the end of the aforementioned cold.

Lastly, if it is red and streaming down their face: that is red snot.  Otherwise known as blood. It is either an extremely hot day or they have copped an elbow to the face.  Most likely courtesy of their sibling…

Look at me, gifting you all of this common sense information, and I don’t even have a medical degree!!

Yes, I am completely taking the piss but let me be clear: I am taking the piss out of these stupid parenting websites that pressure mums (particularly new mums) into thinking that this stuff is crucial knowledge.  Mums, and especially new mums, need LESS pressure, less “detailed guides” to study and more compassion and understanding.  (Oh, and someone to wash the dishes and wipe down the kitchen bench once in a while would be awesome too!)

I am not however taking the piss out of the mums who buy into the bullshit and do treat the “detailed guide” like gospel.

After all, that was once me.

But not with snot.

With shit.

When my eldest son was born, the second thing the nurse handed me (the first being my son) was a pictorial chart, detailing the sequence of poo to expect from my newly emerged bundle of joy.

If you haven’t lost all dignity during the actual birthing process, there comes a point where you have happily ticked off the meconium poo (aka the road tar disaster) and are eagerly searching your baby’s soiled nappy for poo that resembles “mustard seeds” and there it is: that is the point that your dignity has well and truly gone.

From then on the only way to sink lower is to frequently discuss your baby’s poo with numerous other people, and spend your valuable time while the baby is napping learning how to “decode” the colour of their snot.

Has the pendulum swung so far in the pursuit of perfect parenting that we think ticking off poo diagrams and learning how to decode boogers is vitally important?

Does it really matter at the end of the day?

I say Fuck No!!

I learned this more casual (some would say fatalistic) approach the hard way, after the birth of my second son.  Watching the doctors desperately trying to pump out the meconium that had settled so stubbornly in his lungs, all thoughts of pictorial charts went out the window.  Because THAT is when shit matters: when it is in the seriously wrong place.

Besides, one day they are going to grow up and become teenagers and let me assure you – there are no “detailed guides” that can prepare you for that.  (Not unless it’s titled “Armageddon”).

And once they are teenagers the only time you will think about snot is when one flicks it at the other, then the “flicker” ends up with “red snot” streaming out of their nose because the “flickee” has taken umbrage to having snot flicked at them and has inflicted a headlock, and possibly a couple of well placed punches to the face.

Or is that just in my house?

What is the most ridiculous “how to / guide / advice” re: raising children that you have come across?

I dare you to share…..

Emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback

Today, I feel bereft.

It is the kind of grief that follows you around, leaving a hole inside you and an ache in your heart.

It is ok, nobody close to me has died recently.  Not in a literal sense.

No, this is a self-inflicted grief.

You see, I have just finished reading an amazing book: Markus Zusak’s ‘Bridge Of Clay’.  I knew that it was going to be special before I opened the first page.  Zusak is my favourite author, and I have waited twelve years for him to complete this work.  I also knew that I would feel this way when I reached the end.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

I continued to read the 579 glorious pages, stopping occasionally for a brief interlude to read a different book, trying in vain to prolong the experience, not wanting the story to end.

Five hundred and seventy nine pages of dense, highly crafted prose.  After 400 pages my beloved favourite character died and yet I continued, riding the wave of grief I knew was going to peak to a king tide by the end.

For what else could I do?

As the narrator of Bridge Of Clay states:

“We can’t do anything.

One of us writes, and one of us reads.

We can’t do anything but me tell it, and you see it”.

He tells it.

I see it.

And I feel it.

Deeply.

So why am I writing about it? Because there is an intrinsic need in us for our grief to be a shared experience. I know others have felt this type of grief.  For some it’s books, others films, for others it is TV shows.

Game of Thrones anyone?

My husband still laments the way Sons Of Anarchy ended, insisting there needed to be some kind of alternative ending, simply so the series could continue.

A good friend was heavily invested in Offspring, and cried over Patrick’s death with the same ferocity as most of the country did when Molly died on A Country Practice.

When I first started reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars just after midnight one night in a bid to help me fall asleep, I kept reading until the end of the book found me at 3am, and kept hold of me, weeping uncontrollably until dawn.

It was the same when Izzy took Denny Duquette off the L-VAD machine in Grey’s Anatomy and he died of heart failure.  I wanted to lie on that bathroom floor with Izzy and never get up.

It is possible that some people even felt this kind of grief after the last episode of MAFS…..

Please understand that I am not trying to trivialize loss.

The good thing about this type of loss is that it is bite sized grief: it may initially take your breath away, but then slowly you are able to fold it up and carry it with you in your pocket.

It is not like the other type of grief, which can be all consuming, sitting just below your ribs, knowing it can squeeze your heart and suffocate you when you least expect it.

Still, today I feel bereft.

I will allow myself to feel this way for a week or two.  Maybe more.

But then.

The best bit.

I will open Bridge Of Clay to page one (after smilingly reading the hand written inscription from Zusak himself) and I will dive in, delighting in every one of those 579 pages.

Again.

I cannot wait.

Memphis

When we brought our newborn home from the hospital over 8 years ago, there he was at the gate, waiting for us with a big smile on his face.  His little stubby tail wagged furiously as we lowered our son down so he could sniff him, become used to the smell that was to signal the new world order.  Then we whisked our baby inside and shut the door, into our closed off world of first time parenting, largely oblivious to the loyal creature that lay down on the doormat, ever vigilant: watching, protecting, loving.

In the blur of those first weeks and months of ensuring our baby son was well looked after, Memphis – who in so many ways had been like our first son – endured the minimum.  Minimum attention, minimum affection.  Yet he always reciprocated tenfold.  He didn’t make us feel guilty for how little time we had for him, or how little affection we could spare: he took what he could get.

As our son grew older, routines were established, and Memphis was acknowledged with pats and walks more frequently.  No longer our number 1, there was no jealousy, no anger or aggression, just an acceptance of “what is”. 

Then it happened all over again as he slipped further down the rung with the birth of our second son.  Again he existed for a time on scraps of kindness, fleeting pats and “good boy”s.   Time we did spend together helped to restore our inner calm: he always gave back so much more than he was given.

Our boys have loved growing up with Memphis.  They have played ball games together (“Mum, Memphis has taken the ball again”), spent endless hours squealing and laughing on the trampoline as he barks at them from below; even swum in the ocean together.

Now, Memphis is in the Winter of his life.  Large polyps have grown in his ears and dulled his hearing.  A form of congestive heart failure has taken away the playful leaping and inexplicable joy of chasing a ball.  He can be grumpy, and stubborn.  He is a grumpy, stubborn old man.  But he is also so loving, so loyal, so devoted.

Last Wednesday evening we arrived home to find him heaving, belching up great mouthfuls of foamy, frothy gunk.  His stomach was bloated, tight as a drum.  A panicked rush to the emergency vet and we were confronted with two options: operate, or euthanize.  Euthanize?  My brain couldn’t even make sense of the gravity of the word let alone contemplate it.  Was she really offering that as an option?  Willingly end the life of our best friend?  This amazing, dedicated member of our family?  Operate it was.

“But his heart” they said. 

“Odds stacked against him”, they warned.

“Order to resuscitate?” they asked.

As a family we lovingly patted and stroked our beautiful boy, whispering to him our gratitude for his years of faithful service as he drifted off into the pain free world of anaesthesia.  I was comforted by the tears streaming down the face of the vet nurse, her face mirroring all of ours.  She knows he’s loved, I thought.  Yes, she will look after him.

Hours of anxious pacing and nervous waiting followed, all the while the vet worked feverishly to untwist a stomach that had bloated and flipped over on itself, and then remove a spleen with a nasty looking lump smack bang in its middle.

Our strong, fearless boy, who has not had a normal heart rhythm for nine months, maintained a heartbeat and good blood pressure throughout.

Our rockstar dog made it through.

Memphis was home by Friday night and is slowly recovering, sporting a weird haircut and a raw looking line of stitches the entire length of his abdomen.  He is happy, if a little bewildered by the non-stop attention and affection he is receiving.  We are happy just to have him home where he belongs.

I don’t know how many more days I will wake up to his smiling face.  How many more times I will feel the lean of his body against my leg as I hang out the washing.  How many more nights I can lull my children to sleep, secure in the knowledge their faithful protector is just outside, and all is well with the world.  How many more times I will look into his big brown eyes and see only unconditional love.

For now, I will take what I can get.

**Just a few short months after I wrote this, Memphis’ heart could no longer take the strain and we  had no choice but to end his pain.  He died 5 years ago today, and we have missed him every day since.

That Easter trip

The other night we were discussing possible Easter plans and whether or not we will go away this year.  As we were talking, I could not escape the niggling memory in the back of my brain, one that I had locked firmly away into that vault labelled “better forgotten”, but was now desperately clawing its way back into my consciousness.  I could vaguely hear the words “remember that Easter trip” being urgently repeated over and over again. 

Remember that Easter trip?  How could I possibly forget…

Easter 2012.

After spending a few days away on the coast over Easter with blissful weather we packed up and started to head home on the Monday night. Unfortunately, at least a thousand other people had the same idea and seemingly decided to leave the peninsula at the same time in the evening as us.

After 10 minutes in the car we had to pull over as our 6 year old wanted to take his jumper off. Five minutes after that he was asking for water.  Five minutes after that he complained his tummy hurt.  I said: “You don’t feel like throwing up do you?”

“No”

“Well, here is a little towel just in case”

Two seconds later: “Bllleeeuuurrrgghhh”.  The big vom.  Then again. We had no choice but to pull over in busy traffic on the main highway. I got out and ran around to his side of the car as he vomited again.

Problem: One small hand towel is no match for 3 massive vomits. Especially as instead of vomiting into it as you or I may do, he had tried to stop the inevitable from happening by holding the towel against his mouth (remember being a kid and trying to stop the vomit from coming out??). This meant that it kind of EXPLODED all over his face, up his nose, over his glasses, all over his pjs, and generally over the entire back seat of the car.

There I was, on the side of the highway with the back passenger door open, sizing up this vomit explosion, with about 1 million cars and road trains whizzing past me at 100km all in a hurry to get, well, past me. Squinting my eyes against the dust and exhaust fumes I opened the boot and wouldn’t you know it, all the kids clothes and even the dirty clothes bag had been packed on the bottom. My helpful husband suggested it was only 5 mins to the next town where we could stop and deal with our situation appropriately. My poor son. I tried to reassure him it wouldn’t be long as I shut the door on this vomit covered munchkin, who was now also shaking from the cold and the fact he had just purged all the heat from his body.

Remember all of those cars and trucks that were whizzing past at 100km hour just a minute before? Each and every one of these vehicles created a bottleneck as we approached the town, turning our 5 minute trip into 20. Twenty very silent minutes in our smelly, smelly car.

That was plenty of time for me to repeatedly hit myself over the head with the metaphorical guilt stick, replaying our conversation at the dinner table when I had insisted he eat his lasagna as he had been “eating too much chocolate and you will have some real food, blah, blah, blah”, even though he kept protesting that he didn’t like it and it was making him feel sick.

Finally, we arrived at the service station and pulled over. Had to smile as I lifted up the centre console to get the tissues and guess what else was there: a sick bag. Anyway, I lifted him out of the car, stripped him off and wiped him down with an entire pack of wet ones, and redressed him in some trackies and jumper I managed to find. I then wiped down his car seat and the back seat and put him back in the car sitting on a clean towel, with vomit bag firmly in hand.

Now everything was sorted I opened the other door to give our 3 year old a kiss and what did I see? The poor boy’s face covered in his brother’s vomit. It had been for over 20 minutes. He did not say a word, nor even try to wipe it off. Just sat there through the whole ordeal with that horrible stinky vomit on his face!!!

So that will go down in the annals as OUR family Easter story.

I think we might stay home this year after all………