Yucky Days Are Lovely

It was a very, very yucky day in the Swampy Town.

Despite being the middle (or, to be more precise, close to the end) of Summer, it felt more like the very depths of horrid Winter. It was rainy. It was cold. The sky was a menacing shade of charcoal grey. 

It was the sort of day when Outdoor Pursuits seem the definition of loony.

And so Tiger and her Cackle Mummy decided not to do them. They decided, between the two of them, to eschew All Of The Outside Things and, instead, do ...

Precisely not very much at all. Inside.

They cuddled like two sleepy bears in Mummy's big bed. They read an obscene number of stories. They ate banana, custard and rusks (Tiger) and chocolate, chocolate Quik and gluten free biscuits (Mummy).

They rolled on the floor (Tiger and Mummy). They did some research into Pluto (Mummy is still convinced it is a planet). They chewed on a giraffe (only Tiger but it did look like great fun, Mummy thought).

They listened to Triple J and danced to Macklemore and Cosmo Jarvis.

They practised sitting up (Mummy is pretty good at this usually, but on lazy days like this, even she needs practise).

They did some more cuddling.

And they both decided that Yucky Days Are Yucky ...

But they are also Lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids ...

Unless one of those kids just happens to be ...


Because, now, along with Tiger's love of all things dino, we have a new obsession ... SPACE (Where you can NOT RIDE HORSES - I still can't hear the word "space" without thinking of Dear Hugh in Notting Hill).

It started when Tiger fell out of her Boosti. Scrambling madly for Another Thing To Pop Tiger In While Mummy Does Stuff, Daddy Bear found ... A Rocket Ship!

Of course! Why didn't we think of it earlier? A rocket ship is the PERFECT solution to where to pop your eight month old while you do the washing up! 

Obviously, Tiger's rocket ship is not a REAL rocket ship, but when Tiger is in it, she IS a real astronaut (or is it cosmonaut these days?). She is the picture of concentration and studiousness as she practises "flying" her craft with her buttons and controls. And I have taken to reading her astronomy pages from Wikipedia in place of stories, to broaden her Space Knowledge (did you know that there is an extinct volcano on Mars which is the second highest peak in the solar system? The highest peak is actually on a protoplanet called Vesta. Firstly, THERE ARE VOLCANOES ON MARS? Secondly, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A PROTOPLANET???).

I'm loving learning with her. I have to admit I'm a noob when it comes to spacey stuff. Tiger knows approximately as much as I do. Except I refuse to tell her about the controversy surrounding Pluto's planet status. PLUTO IS A PLANET, GOSHDARNIT!

This weekend, I'm hoping to take her to the planetarium at the museum, to continue her "Spaceducation".

In the meantime, we'll keep flying our rocket ship together, off to worlds unknown. And it will be lovely.

We might be there a long, long time ...

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


A Letter from Cackle Mummy and Tiger to Daddy Bear

Dear Daddy Bear,

It is your Cackle Wife and Tiger Daughter here. 

We decided to write you a letter today after we met with Lovely Miss K and The Tall Man at the cafe down the Very Long Road.

We met to say our farewells to LMK, who is going on a Very Big Adventure to live for awhile in the home of Haggis and Harry Potter. No, not Hogwarts. Scotland.

Cackle Mummy and you went there together BT (Before Tigesy) and completely fell in love with the place, and Cackle Mummy knows how much you want to go back.

And we will.

That's what this letter is for: to tell you that Tiger and I have decided we are going to go back. Together. As a Little Family. Because how much more awesome will Scotland be if we add the awesome of Tiger to it?

Cackle Mummy is looking at ways her writing might help take us there, and when we sell the mint green cottage, that will help as well.

So here it is: the goal.

The Little Family will go to Scotland next year. No arguments. Tiger isn't taking no for an answer. Tiger wants to see where her very special breed of Tiger comes from, in part. And Cackle Mummy wants to sit again where JKR sat and penned those wonderful books.

And we BOTH want to see how happy you will be, in the land of your Braveheart forebears.

So are we agreed? Team Little Family to Scotland in 2014?

How utterly, brilliantly LOVELY will that be?

~ Love (always and forever), Miss Cackle (and Tiger) x


My Kitchen Rules

My Kitchen Rules has started again.

It seems strange to get so sentimental over a lightweight reality cooking show, but here am I misting up.

And it's not just because Manu looks so gorgeous he can bring even this non-Francophile to tears.

It's not even because half the food makes this non-foodie feel a bit queasy in the belly.

It's because, for the past three years, I've associated MKR with pivotal moments in my life. While I've been watching, Big Things have been happening in my life.

I watched it for the first time two seasons ago. I watched it not because I was interested at all in the premise - like I said, I'm not a foodie. Cheese, tomato sauce and chip butties are my idea of gourmet heaven. I watched it because my elderly auntie loved it and encouraged me to give it a go. I watched it so we'd have something to discuss on our weekly coffee dates - something in common.

She loved dissecting the previous episode over coffee and cake. She had her favourites and revelled in dissing whoever had been the most "villainous" in the kitchen this week.

Not long after the season finished, my aunt suddenly passed away. 

A year later, remembering our weekly MKR debriefs with fondness, I tuned in again. This year, I was pregnant with Tiger. And, not far into the pregnancy, I became very sick and Tiger's journey into life became a hazardous, tenuous one.

I watched much of this season in hospital. It was a distraction from my anxiety and desperate pleading with whatever powers were out there that Tiger should make it into the world.

As the season drew to a close, she did.

And now she is here. I am watching the first episode as she sits near me on her Daddy Bear's knee, batting his chin with her tiny mittened paw as she does every night before drifting off to sleep.

Tonight, she ate a baby version of bangers and mash for the first time - a special treat to celebrate the first episode of this series.

I'm still not a foodie. But I am, now, looking forward to learning to be, with Tiger at my side. I want to bake cakes and make casseroles and be a "proper" mum. 

And, who knows, one day we might watch this show together, and debrief as my aunt and I did. 

Or, like me, she might prefer television talent shows like The X Factor. We might watch this together. Or we might watch Doctor Who or Friends reruns.

Whatever our traditions are, I know they will be lovely. But, in the meantime, I'm watching MKR and feeling sentimental. 

And wondering where I'll be when it starts again next year.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Stop Being So Hard On Yourself!

I've heard it so often it has almost become white noise.

The people who say it mean well, of course, but either they haven't done this parenting thing before, or they did it a very long time ago, or they have very bad short-term memories.

Or else, more likely, they do remember, they do know, and they are just saying it to make me feel better.

"Stop being so hard on yourself."

They say it when Tiger has a boo boo. They say it when she is teethy. They say it when she throws a tanty (so far, only a one-off). They say it when I express concern I don't respond as well as I should to these little incidents in Tiger's life.

They say it when I get sick and I KNOW I'm not at my best.

They say it when I worry I'm not the best possible mummy to Tiger all of the time.

Which I know I'm not. Some days I'm tired. Some days I'm stressed. Sometimes I KNOW I could do better. Some days I just feel like a Terrible Plop. And it helps me to say this out loud (or on Facebook or Twitter). It helps me to say, "Help. I really suck at this today. I'm not fishing for reassurance, or to be told I actually am a good mum. I just need to let it out. I don't mind if nobody responds, but if they do, it's lovely.

And I do appreciate it when they say "Stop being so hard on yourself."

Because I know I need to. But it's hard. And I know that every single one of the parents, or grandparents, or aunties or uncles who say that to me have, at some stage, been hard on THEMselves, too. Because we want to be the best parents or grandparents or aunties or uncles that we can be and occasionally we fail and it makes us feel terrible. Because we care. Because we know these precious little people deserve the world and the best and we want to give it to them all the time.

I think the fact that I am hard on myself makes me normal. 

I think it means I'm the same as all the other parents - the ones who care.

And I know you all care. And I know that one day you will feel as if you've failed. And you will tell me.

And I will say, "Stop being so hard on yourself."

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Tiger's boo boo

I am officially the Worst Mother Of All Time.

I should have listened to my Tiger yesterday. The Boosti is The Devil, and she obviously knew it. Because today, as I was madly trying to get Stuff Done, I popped Tiger in it and ...

Tiger fell out.

She had got her Link Toy caught on her foot and bent forward to retrieve it and fell, tiny-tiger-head-first onto the lino.


Oh golly gosh, I had never heard a louder or more horrible Clunk in my entire life.

Nor had I heard a louder or more distraught Tiger Scream.

Of course, I did not do the sensible thing (as discussed with Auntie J the day before) of being all calm and happy and pretending it never happened.

I Freaked the Heck Out.

I was convinced Tiger had sustained a horrible and life-threatening skull fracture / brain injury / horrific trauma that would in later life lead to severe PTSD.

I grabbed my baby and I hugged her more tightly than I had ever hugged her before and said, "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay" for about, oh, half an hour - long after Tiger had stopped screaming and had totally forgotten about it and was intent on trying to eat my tee shirt.

She doesn't APPEAR to have any residual injury or upset from her little boo boo, but how can I be sure?

And how can I EVER stop feeling that I am the Worst Mummy Ever?

Tiger KNEW the Boosti was Bad News and I ignored her.

My poor baby. She is Lovely. And I am a Terrible Person.

~ (Somewhat subdued and guilt-ridden) Love, Miss Cackle x


Tiger Does Not Want To!

Normally, Tiger is a very placid, happy and accommodating baby. She is very easy to be around, to take places, and to entertain. She is independent and very content in her own company.

But yesterday, a Series Of Unfortunate Events combined to make Tiger ... well, let's just say the words "tanty" and "mother of all" were used when describing Tiger's mood to Daddy Bear. And perhaps not in that order.

The First Unfortunate Thing was that Tiger got all teethy again: red cheeks, red nose, drool flood, the whole miserable lot.

The Second was that builders came and were Very Noisy Indeed, wakingTiger from her nap.

The Third was that Tiger and Cackle Mummy had to wait for a Very Long Time at the doctor's - way past Tiger's nap time.

And then, when Cackle Mummy and Tiger got home, the builders were still there, being Very Noisy Indeed, so cackle Mummy decided they should wait until the builders were done before trying for another nap.

And THEN Cackle Mummy tried to put Tiger in her Big Girl Sitting Up Seat while she made a quick bite to eat.

THIS was the straw that broke the Tiger's back.

Tiger DID NOT WANT to sit in her Big Girl Sitting Up Seat.

She also DID NOT WANT to lie on the floor. She DID NOT WANT a rusk! She DID NOT WANT HER TOYS OR A STORY OR ANYTHING ...


for a Mummy hug.

Instantly, miraculously, despite Tiger NOT WANTING All Of The Other Things, the very instant Cackle Mummy pulled her into her arms, her smiling, sweet-natured Tiger returned.

And then, once the builders had gone, Tiger finally got a nap.

After her nap, she did want a rusk and her toys and a wriggle on the floor.

BUT ...

She still did not want her Big Girl Sitting Up Seat!

And, even now, she DOES NOT WANT it.

This makes Mummy gulp, as the Big Girl Sitting Up Seat was the last standing soldier in the Army Of Things To Put Tiger In While Mummy Does Stuff.

Now, the only thing for it is to try and hold Tiger while Mummy does All Of The Things.

And work extra hard on the Getting Tiger To Sit Up By Herself Without Thinking It Is Fun To Hurl Herself Backwards.

We're getting there. Tiger just needs to learn that sitting up is not a game but instead a valuable and important part of Being A Human.

But at least for now Tiger's once-in-a-blue-moon tanty is over - and, really, a tanty that is cured by cuddles isn't actually that bad - and she is back to being The Tiger Of Awesome.

And Also Lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


I am going to be SO BAD AT THIS!!!

Yesterday, Tiger and I went for a catchup with Auntie J and Auntie JC*, in a little cafe near to the candy pink house.

Auntie J brought The G Man (18 months) and Auntie JC brought Miss A (4) and Miss E (a super squishable 13 months).

While The G Man ate apple and Thought About Dinosaurs (he loves them rather a lot), and Eleanor ate dried fruit and Thought About Strawberries (she was just that morning discovered stealing them from the strawberry bush), and Aunties J and JC talked about Grown Up Stuff, Miss A and I had Chats.

And it was in the course of these chats that I realised that, when Tiger is a Miss 4, I will be very bad indeed at Explaining All Of The Things.

Here is just a sample of the questions Miss A asked in the course of our catchup.

Miss A: (after I told her hippopotamuses are more dangerous than lions, so, yes, my bad here) Why are hippopotamuses more dangerous than lions?
Me: Um. I think they squish things?

Miss A: (after I told her bees were very important and valuable to the world - again, my bad, but I was trying to make her less afraid of them) Why are bees important?
Me: Um. They pollinate things.
Miss A: What's pollinate?
Me: (*gah*) Um, it means taking the ... pollen ... which is like seeds? You know seeds? How you plant a seed and plants grow?
Miss A: Yes.
Me: Well, pollen is like seeds and bees carry the pollen around and drop it and stuff grows.
Miss A: So why is that important?
Me: Because if they didn't do that we'd have to radically change our food sources. I think. Maybe you should ask your dad about it when you get home. Next?

Miss A: Why are tree leaves green?
Me: Because of chlorophyll. Or photosynthesis. Or ... AUNTIE J, HELP!

Miss A: What's the thing on Tiger's head?
Me: It's called a strawberry. It's a birthmark. Tiger uses it to communicate with martians.
Miss A: Really?
Me: Yes. So. Let's talk about hippopotamuses ...

I'm now dreading Tiger being four. She will have all sorts of questions like this and I am ill-equipped to answer them. If she had questions about, say, Greek Theatre or Thomas Hardy or pointillism or the songs of Take That, I could totally win at that. But what if she asks me about calculus or xenotransplants or (gah!!!) CRICKET???


My theory at this point is I will just say to her, "I don't know! Let's look it up!" but what if she ends up thinking her mum just doesn't know ANYTHING?

Luckily, of course, Tiger's Daddy Bear knows All Of The Things. So he will be an excellent backup.

And I am trying to look on the bright side. Tiger's questions will be an opportunity for me to learn stuff too. We will learn stuff together.

And that will be lovely.

But still ... help!!!

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Creepy Crawlies

Tiger Is Crawling.

Officially. Daddy Bear has confirmed it. 

Cackle Mummy was a bit hesitant to declare the somewhat ... unconventional mode of mobilisation Tiger has adopted as Actual Crawling, but if Daddy Bear says it, it must be true.

See, the thing is, Tiger isn't doing your bog-standard, garden-variety, two hands, two knees, traditional crawling style.

She's kind of adopted the ... well, when I say she looks like a strange, wonky caterpillar, you might get some idea of the visual. Instead of two-hands-two-knees, it is, in fact, more like one-hand-one-shoulder-one-knee-one-foot.

It looks like a slightly demented game of Twister.

But, somehow, that just makes Tiger's method of crawling all the more endearing. Of course my wonderfully mad little girl couldn't do things the usual way. That would be just too boring. And Tiger is - delightfully - anything but boring.

I adore her strange little way of moving. And Daddy Bear and I are both chest-burstingly proud of her. She's developed her own little "Tigesnam Style" and it is funny and sweet and, well, flipping effective. Tiges can cover great distances using her method.

Which is awesome. If slightly terrifying.

But I'm loving watching her doing her Own Sweet Thing and owning it.

She's so very clever. But crazy. But LOVELY!

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


I Can Feed Myself, Thank You Very Much!

I am officially redundant.

My Tiger has decided she doesn't want Mummy to feed her any more. It started with her "yummies"*. Tiger is addicted to her yummies. She gets so excited at yummy time, she literally shakes. 

Especially if it's custard. Oh Golly Custard. Custard is Tiger's Favourite Thing Of All Time. She loves it more than life.

But Tiger would love Custard EVEN MORE if she was able to Feed Her Little Self.

Yep, that's right. Tiger has decided she is too Big a girl to be fed by Mummy any more, so yummy time is now a battle of wills, in which Mummy tries to feed Tiger and Tiger tries to grab the spoon from Mummy to feed herself.

Now, the whole I Can Feed Myself thing has progressed to bottles.

Tiger doesn't want Mummy to feed her her bottle any more. Tiger can do it By Her Little Self. She can hold the bottle! She can put the bottle in her little mouth! Tiger is in control of her own little destiny! 


Ditto Tooth Brushing. Tiger can do that too.

Tiger is a Big Girl now, goshdarnit! She is mobile! She can Say Stuff (in Tiger language). She Does Not Need Mummy, Not One Little Bit!

So Mummy just sits back and watches her little girl turn into a big, independent girl and thinks, "If I'm struggling with this, how in the Actual Heckles am I going to deal with teenagerhood?"

My Tiger. So strong. So independent. So lovely ...

But growing up Far Too Fast!

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


While You Were Hobbiting

Daddy Bear went to see The Hobbit.

By himself.

Even though he knows The Hobbit is my favourite Tolkien novel. Even though, when we first got together, we bonded over a shared love of Narnia and Middle Earth (yes, we are that cool - we used to do Live Action Mediaeval Re-enactments, too ...). 

Even though he knows I love Martin Freeman. Even though he knows I REALLY WANTED TO SEE IT!

But, as I waved him goodbye on his little adventure, surprisingly, I didn't begrudge him it. Surprisingly, I didn't feel hard-done-by or slighted. 

A year ago, I would have.

I've changed.

I was happy that Daddy Bear got to have his little treat of a film he'd been looking forward to, and the cheapest combo available (we are not rich people). And I was more than content to stay exactly where I was.

With Tiger.

And I've heard all of the arguments, about how I need time to myself, and my own life and hobbies and to "get away" from my baby for awhile and yada yada yada but, see, the thing is ...

I really don't want to.

I love spending time with her, much more than I would love a movie. I know that sounds bizarre to those of you who know the old me, who sometimes watched a movie a day when I worked at a cinema. But now, I just know that no matter how good the film was, I'd spend those hours in the darkness wishing I was with her.

One day soon, Tiger will want to see movies. Then, I'll go again. I'll share my love of cinema with her as she grows up, just as I'm now sharing my love of reading and (with our very first trip to a gallery last week), art.

I'm looking forward to that.

For now, I'm happy for DB to go To The Cinema And Back Again, whenever he wants.

I'll stay here, playing on the floor with a squeaky giraffe and a giant set of keys and I will truly feel happier than I ever have before.

Because hobbits may be awesome. But nobody is as lovely as my girl.

And, plus, I'll just watch it on DVD.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Tiger's Week: A Recap!

This week, my Tiger ...
  • Stayed at Poppy S's house by the river for the very first time (post exit of Mummy's belly)
  • Met Auntie Larissa
  • Went to Mures for the first time
  • Met Uncle Stefan from Alice Springs
  • Cut two teeth
  • Started feeding herself her bottle
  • Had her first teeth-brushing
  • Ate her first mashed narnie
  • Stood up holding the couch for the first time (with a lot of help from Daddy Bear)
  • Discovered how much she loves playing with tea towels
  • Saw dinosaurs
  • Went to her first art exhibition
  • Turned eight months old
Tiger is now, understandably, very tired, and asks that you please do not disturb until she wakes to do her next Astonishing Thing.

Until then, she will continue being lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle (and Tiger) x


In Bed With My Tiger

 Today, for three hours, I shared a bed with my Tiger.

It wasn't co-sleeping. Not exactly. I'm far too scared of rolling over and squishing my tiny girl to ever try that (I'm a restless sleeper). 

It was more like co-cuddling.

We're working on transitioning Tiger out of her sleeping-in-the-sling habit, mainly because very soon Tiger will be too big to fit the sling (this would have been impossible to imagine when she was a 1.7 kilogram newborn, but it's true!).

She still wakes up whenever I try to pop her in the cot to sleep, but I've found that if I cuddle her while sitting in bed, until she's in deep sleep, then gently roll her on to the bed beside me, she stays asleep.

Then, I sit or lie curled up beside her until she wakes.

It is utter, delicious, wondrous bliss. 

And it might not be found in any parenting manual as an example of a good "sleep routine". It might not come recommended by "parenting experts" but it's giving my girl some fish fingers-ing good sleeps. She wakes up cooing and smiling and ready to take on the world again. I get three hours of very relaxed downtime, and I get to spend three precious hours a day gazing at my beauty, breathing in her scent, stroking her little cheek and revelling in her sublime baby-ness.

So what if I don't get to "spend her nap time catching up on housework"?

This week has been one of the happiest of my motherhood. For those hours, sitting in the dim light with my darling girl, I am at my most serene. All worries and cares float away as I stare at those long eyelashes; that beautiful little slightly-opened mouth.

And I think to myself, "This is how I choose to parent my little girl. It may not be found in any baby book but it's damn lovely".

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Dino Tiger!

My girl is going to be a palaeontologist!

Well, maybe not. And, as I've always said, whatever Tiger wants to be when she is a Bigger Tiger is just fine by me. Doctor, hairdresser, shop assistant, diver, milliner, baker, astronaut, WHATEVER, as long as Tiger is happy, I will be too.

But ...

Daddy Bear really wants her to be a paleontologist. 

Or, at the very least, to Love All Of The Dinosaur Stuff.


Cackle Mummy took Tiger to the museum today. We've been before, to the Phenomena Factory, and to stare for ages at the water wheel outside, but we were saving the dinosaurs to see with Daddy Bear.

But today, we were naughty.

It was Tiger's fault.

We were passing the dinosaur room and Tiger started kicking her little legs and squealing and Cackle Mummy thought ...

Well, Cackle Mummy didn't really think much at all. The call of the dinosaurs was strong, and Mummy's legs just carried her and Tiger in there. It was beyond Mummy's control. The Ghosts of Dinos Past were just so keen to meet Tiger.


She did her little leg-jig. She squealed. She giggled. She reached out to touch the triceratops. She was in Mini Paleontologist HEAVEN.

Everyone thought she was a bit funny.

And, on the way out, Mummy's legs just happened to carry her to the Museum Shop, where Tiger reached out to the very creature whose bony bits she'd just been delighting in.

We just had to buy him.

Daddy Bear has christened him Michael Cera-tops, and he is Tiger's new favourite.

Tiger might not grow up to be a palaeontologist, but she did lover her some dinos today. And I am revelling in her curiosity about the world. It's magical. It's inspiring. It's Oh So Lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Two New Additions!

A few days ago, Tiger woke up looking slightly different from our usual Tiger.

She had cheeks like little tomatoes, and a little raspberry nose. She was as warm as a little plum pudding, fresh from the oven.

And I have never seen so much drool. In. My. Entire. Life.

Oh, Golly, I thought. It is happening.

Of course, "it" started months ago. The drool began. The chewing commenced in earnest. Sleeping became erratic and there were flashes of Tiger the Grizzlepot. But a couple of days ago, everything got Bigger and More AND ...


WHITE things.

BUMPY things.


Yes, that's right. Along with all of the newly scarlet Bits Of Tiger, there were two new WHITE additions to my little baby girl.

Tiger has teeth. Two of them, down the bottom, and they're not all the way out yet but they're getting there. And by golly she is proud of them.

She has gone from being The Smiliest Girl In Australia to The Smiliest Girl In The Whole Entire World. She loves those little teeth.

Except when they are hurting her, at which time she Hates Those Little Teeth!!!

But I couldn't be prouder of how Tiger has handled the change to her little body. Sure she has been a bit more unsettled and, occasionally, grumblebum-ish, but she has also been such a little Braveheart.

And that smile, that has always lit up even my greyest times, is now even more lovely.

Go my Tiger. Go her little toothies. And bring on this new, bitey, stage in my Tiger's life.

Next stop ... BISCUITS!

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


My "Little Boy"

Before Tiger was born, I was determined that she wouldn't be dressed in "girly" things. 

This wasn't exactly as politically correct and "feminist" a declaration as you might think. It was more that I wanted to have a baby who was able to move and roll and crawl and wriggle with abandon, and I couldn't bear the idea of her trying to be active and mobile through a sea of frills and tulle.

When she was born, my ideas on clothing her firmed even more. Tiger is not a "girly" baby. She looks silly in ruffles and bows ... not to mention grumpy. The few times she's been put in a dress she's spent most of the day trying to get it off (with the exception of a very special purple dress given to her by Poppy S and a funny fruit salad one given to her by Grandma V - both much less frou frou than your average baby girl frock).

Of course, we have been gifted a few items of girlyness, and we've dressed Tiger in these - waste not, want not - but her day-to-day wear is, without fail, pants and a tee shirt or, in warmer times, a little singlet suit. She can wiggle to her heart's content in these things.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise to me when people who don't know her refer to Tiger as "he". After all, she's dressed in a blue tee shirt, she has no hair to put ribbons in, and I call her Tiger.

But still ... to me she looks very feminine. Those huge blue eyes! That little cupid's bow mouth! Those looonnnggg eyelashes!

I'm not ever offended when people call her my "little boy" - in fact, I find it pretty funny - but I am surprised. My girl may not be girly but she does look like a girl, to me!

So tell me, if you saw a baby dressed in blue and trousers, would you automatically assume they were a boy?

Your answers won't bother me! Tiger's gender-bending is in the manner of David Bowie and Tim Curry - two of Cackle Mummy's major crushes. She's doing the androgynous thing like Annie Lennox did in the eighties and it's just one of the many reasons she's so unique ... and lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Crash and Burn

Despite an utterly delightful weekend in the South of my lovely island, amongst the people I adore, yesterday I hit a wall.

A big one. A tall one. Like, right-up-to-the-sky tall.

With Very Big Bricks and Spiky Things on top.

The wall has been slowly building for awhile, as those of you who read this blog regularly will know. Since having my gorgeous poppet, I feel like I've been actually "well" for, oh, maybe a day or two in eight months.

I've had multiple infections, bronchitis, the flu, complications from minor surgery, migraines and two bouts of glandular fever. I've struggled to maintain my weight and have become chronically overtired. 

I was trying to be everything to everyone and, eventually, my poor little body just went: "Stop! Seriously! What the fish fingers are you doing to me, you silly numpty? Right, now, to teach you a lesson, I am going to build a very high, spiky wall. Take that!"

And yesterday I hit that wall. 

Like Boom.

Thankfully, Tiger's Daddy Bear was there to scrape me back up again and look after my precious thing while I worked out how to get my mojo back.

And now, after a day in bed, I can safely say I haven't felt better in a long time.

It took me asking for help. It took me swallowing my pride. It took me ceasing to argue and fight and battle. It took me admitting to Tiger's Daddy that I just couldn't do this right now.

I can see some gaps between the bricks in the wall now. I reckon if I give it a gentle little kick I might be able to knock some of it over.

I might be able to see the sun again.

And go back to doing some awesomesauce playing with my Tiger. Because that's all I really want to do.

Thank you, Tiger's Daddy Bear, for being there. Thank you, Tiger, for - always - being so lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Break in transmission

This will be our last blog post for the next couple of days.

Tiger, Daddy Bear and I are going to stay in The Blue Room, Riverside Drive, for a little bit of peace, relaxation and quality family time. 

We can't wait.

Cackle Mummy and Daddy Bear spent a couple of months in the Blue Room, while we nervously waited for Tiger to arrive in the world, and I am convinced that the reason Tiger did arrive - and emerged so healthy and happy - is because of the serene environment in that little house by the water.

Tiger will love spending time there. We may even see a Turbo Chook or two!

We don't plan on doing anything "worky" at all while we are there (not that this blog feels like work), so we might be AWOL until we return to the Candy Pink House.

Until we talk again, I'll leave you with a bit of news:

Tiger crawled today.

Only for a few seconds, only for a couple of centimetres. But she did it.

And now ... simultaneous happy dances because MY BABY IS MOVING!!! ... and OhGollyGoshes because MY BABY IS MOVING!!!

Where to from here?

Well, it is Tiger. So somewhere utterly lovely, no doubt!

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


(Not Actually) FFS Friday

It just seems wrong doing an FFS Friday post this week, when so many in my state have lost so much - their homes, their workplaces, their schools, beloved pets, memories.

Thankfully, at this stage, it looks like no lives have been lost.

It's times like these that any small problems in my life seem miniscule. 

I have my health - sure I've had a few minor ailments lately, but compared with what many people suffer, I'm hale and hearty.

I have a gorgeous baby girl who brightens my life every day and amazes me with her cleverness and bravery and sweetness. Who hugs me and smiles at me and makes me laugh every day.

My baby girl has a daddy who would do anything for her.

I have a wonderful family - Tiger has a Gran and Granda and Poppy and Grandma and Nanna and Great Nan and Great Grandma and three brilliant uncles who love her to bits. She is blessed, as am I.

I have friends who stick by me no matter what, even if at times I don't give much back.

I have a crazy lovely cat.

I have a roof over my head and food in my belly and shoes on my feet. I have books. I have music.

I have all I need.

This week, I'm not saying For Fish Fingers' Sake. I'm saying Fabulous, Fantastic, Sublime. Because that is what my life is.

And so very, very lucky.

There have been so many times this week when I have thought, "There but for the grace of God, go I".

To all those whose lives have been altered in indescribably awful ways this week, I am thinking of you. My heart breaks for you. And I am grateful for what I have because of you.

Thank You.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x

PS For more FFS funnies, go to


A sad time for our little island

The last few days have not been kind to the little island that our little family calls home.

While Tiger and I have luxuriated in the sunbeams of a gorgeous few Summer days, up North in the backyard of the Candy Pink House, our fellow islanders down South (and, horribly today it seems, on the coast where Cackle Mummy and Daddy Bear grew up), are suffering terribly.

The fires have come to our little island, and they have brought with them ruin and heartbreak.

Summer can be every bit as cruel as it is wondrous.

The Little Family are not rich peoples. We wish we were at times like this, so we could help more. We have watched in huge admiration as people we know have given so much to those who have suffered.

We have especially admired the efforts of Fullers Bookshop, in Hobart and Launceston. If our own home burned, it is books we would miss the most. And, since Cackle Mummy and Daddy Bear were both library-dwellers at school, we are very sad that Dunalley Primary has lost not only its building but its books as well. So we have donated some of our own books to the appeal, and Cackle Mummy is chuffed that others have answered her call to donate also.

We would love it if you'd think about doing the same.

Authors, illustrators, publishers, please think about donating your books. Individuals in Tasmania can drop books off at Fullers in Launceston or Hobart. Interstate Kind People can buy gift vouchers over the phone, to be used to buy books for the rebuilt Dunalley Primary, and to donate to families who have lost everything.

It may not be food or clothing, but books ARE one of the essentials of life, and the people who have lost so much will appreciate what you can give.

Here are the contacts. If you could help at all, it would be so lovely, and gratefully received.

Fullers Bookshop Hobart

93 St John Street Launceston, Tasmania 7250 Australia
Tel: 03 6334 8499 Fax: 03 6334 8411

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


I have a confession ...

I have a confession to make.

I am a terrible, terrible, TERRIBLEhousewife.

I had the best of intentions. Long before I ever fell pregnant with Tiger, even before I got married, really, when I first moved into a house of my (rented) own, I had lofty goals of being a Nigella-esque Domestic Goddess. I know it's not very "feminist" of me, but I always liked the idea of swanning around in an apron, baking and dusting and generally being feminine and maternal.

Of course, I would follow my dreams as well. I could be a writer AND the ultimate Queen Of Homemakers. Maybe I'd even write about the awesomeosity of my homemakerness.

Of course, this didn't happen. I did become a writer, and I did TRY to be Nigella ...

But I soon discovered I burn water.

And I loathe vaccuuming.

And put a toilet brush in my hand and I go "erk" and drop it.

I forgot about my dreams of domestic bliss for eight or so years, until Tiger came about. My grand ambitions reared their Preen-and-Domestos-ed heads again. While Tiger slept, I would DUST and POLISH and SCRUB and BAKE THINGS and Tiger would have the Best Mother Of All Time.

Of course, all of this was before I realised I had a baby who would only sleep on top of me in the daytime.

So, while Tiger sleeps, now I cuddle her.

And when she's awake?

Like Hell I'm going to waste those precious hours polishing ANYTHING.

When she's awake, we play and read and sing and sometimes just be together.

And I have decided I am not destined to be a Domestic Goddess after all. I'm destined to be Tiger's mum. Not Nigella. Not those "how to clean stuff book writer people". Just me.

And I think Tiger is happy with that.

So, for me, that's just got to be enough. And it is. It's lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x



It was the best compliment someone had ever given to Tiger.

We are often told how cute she is, how smiley, how cool she looks in her little sunnies, how amazing her eyes are. We're used to that, and we know each of these comments is true - Tiger is an adorably quirky-looking baby , and a very happy one. We know that and we are proud of her happiness and her funny eccentricity. 

But the best compliment Tiger received was not about her looks or her sunny personality.

We were walking down the Very Long Road together and we passed an older man and his dog, sitting by the chemist. He smiled broadly at me and at Tiger. "Hello," he said to her, and to me he said, "She's an inquisitive little thing, isn't she?"

My heart swelled. Because it's true. Tiger is inquisitive. She's curious about the world, fascinated by everything: trees, flowers, birds, grass, carpet, shiny things, Mummy's necklaces, her own feet. Everything is amazing to Tiger. She loves exploring and discovering and working out how things tick.

I am unbelievably proud of this and I love watching her do it.

"Yes she is," I replied to the man. "Thank you."

He smiled again at Tiger and tipped his hat at me and I walked away hugging my little girl even more tightly.

She is cute. She is happy. But it's her ardent interest in the world around her; her constant thirst for knowledge that makes me most proud.

My girl is inquisitive. And it's wonderfully lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right

There are times - often - when I worry I'm doing a bad job as a mum.

These worries mostly occur when I think about Tiger's daytime naps, which are still sporadic and still occur not in her bed but on top of me.

I worry I'm denying her the skill of being able to settle herself in a bed during the day (though she does a great job of it at night time).

There are also little things that make me question myself, on a day-to-day basis, like when Tiger gives herself a little scratch on the nose because I've missed a sharp fingernail, or when I knock something over and think "what would have happened if I'd knocked that on to Tiger"?

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night, the thoughts that occupy my mind and make me think "Deadbeat Mum".

But yesterday, as I shared with him one of my latest anxieties, Daddy Bear said something that shook me up and changed my perception of what really constitutes a worry.

"Twelve months ago," he said, "when we didn't even know if Tiger was going to make it, if you could see into the future and see that your biggest problem would be Tiger not sleeping well during the day, and that this bothered you so much, you would have thought, 'what a bloody idiot'."

Daddy Bear's words hit home. The fact that Tiger isn't a great daytime sleeper?

Not. A. Big. Deal. Not when you compare it with the struggle she went through to get here. She'll grow out of it. she gets to grow out of it because she is alive. She is also healthy and happy and, in the end, that's actually all that matters.

Don't worry about a thing, because every little thing gonna be all right.

It will be. Because Tiger is here. She is alive. And she is lovely.
~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Sitting Tiger, Proudest Mummy

My little girl is Officially Not Little any more.

Not only is she in a Big Girl Car Seat and a Big Girl Pram AND a Big Girl High Chair, as of yesterday ...


All by her little self.

Sure, sometimes she does still randomly and without any concern for the Brains In Her Head, she hurls herself backwards, so a Mummy or Daddy arm needs to be as fast as a Shane Warne arm to ensure no big oopsies.

Sure she wobbles like a bowl-full of jelly.

Sure it makes her Very Tired Indeed, keeping her little self upright for long periods of time (it reminds me of someone learning to skateboard - it's still very much a balancing act for her), but ....


She just decided, yesterday, that it is something she would like to do, and so she did it.

Because that is how my Tiger rolls. She just sets her mind to something and by golly gumdrops, she does it and she does it GOOD.

Stuff all this "adjusted age" nonsense. Stuff "milestones might be all outta whack because she was born a touch early". Phooey to any sort of "special needs". Tiger is hitting this "being alive" thing right out of the park.

Yes, I'm proud. Yes, I'm being a Braggy McBraggerson.

But my girl?

She's every bit as awesomesauce as she is lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Summer. Tiger Style.

Yesterday was HOT in the city of Launceston.

The kind of hot I - and Poppy S - adore. The kind of hot Grandma V and Daddy Bear hate.

The kind of hot that makes all thoughts of productive days go out the window in favour of much sitting and lying down and Eating Of Cold Things.

I had grand plans for yesterday involving Boxes and Putting All Of The Things Inside Of Them.

In the end, what did Tiger and I do?

Erm. Notsoverymuchatall.

We stripped down to various stages of nakeyness (*shakes fist at people who decided babies can be nudey in public but grown-up peoples cannot*) and sat on the deck and ate cold pumpkin (Tiger) and cold cake (Cackle Mummy), and made sympathetic noises at suffering Mephy Danger.

We played some Taylor Swift and Cat Empire and Josh Ritter.

We worked on our crawling by wearing a Very Cute Watermelon suit, courtesy of Grandma V *.

We had a cool bath.

And then we ...

Oh no. Wait. That's about all we did.

And it was glorious. Summer days with Tiger are extra-especially lovely.

But, sadly, while it was a wondrous day for me and Tiger, people in the south of our beautiful state were suffering. Our thoughts and hopes go out to those who lost homes and businesses and to those who are still fighting horrible fires. Our hearts ache for the animals who were injured and died in the blazes.

Sadly, Summer can have an ugly side. Which is why small moments of bliss with those you love are so gosh-darn important. Life is fragile.

Beautiful moments in a sunbeam are what it's worth living and fighting and persevering for.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x

* Ahem. Please see below for All Of The Cute.


FFS Friday

There aren't too many bad things in my life. How can there be? I get to spend all day with a glorious Tiger, the weather is sublime, I have books to read, CDs to listen to ...

But there are just a couple of slightly less than lovely things going on at the moment. Things that put the Fish in For Fish Fingers Sake. Here they are:

Parenting with glandular fever is hard. FFS
Parenting with migraines that have re-emerged is also hard. FFS
Parenting with glandular fever and migraines and a baby who has decided she doesn't want to sleep much due to teething is especially hard (though she is delightful when she's awake but NEEDS SLEEP). FFS
My new Taylor Swift CD appears to be faulty. FFS
I forgot to buy washing liquid at the supermarket yesterday, so I have to drag my glandular-fevery-migrainy bottom out to the shops today at some point. FFS

Thatisall. That is the bad stuff. And I'm letting it all go, because that's my mantra for this year and also because concentrating on the good stuff is so much nicer. And the good stuff is a cuddly, sleeping (for now) Tiger on my belly, a cup of hot-ish coffee beside me, and a day of sunbeams ahead of me.


In fact, FAALS.

(For Actual, Awesomesauce Loveliness' Sake)
~ Love, Miss Cackle x

P.S. For more (hilarious) FFS, go to


Thankful Thursday

Here are the things that mean something:

Tiger's enormous smile as she gazes up at me in her cot every morning.

Sitting with her in sunbeams, listening to pop music and watching her delight as a bird hops across the garden.

Her little belly, on show today as it's too warm for singlets.

The way she strokes my face, my hand, my arm, so gently, as I feed or cuddle her.

Her ability to change and adapt and take on new challenges without fear or fuss.

Her chubby little legs and ENORMOUS feet.

The long eyelashes that seem even longer in the sunlight.

The way she breathes more heavily when she's concentrating hard.

The cheeky little grin she gives me when she knows she's being naughty.

Her new "head on chest, bottom in air" cuddles.

Reading stories together, hanging out washing together, walking together, just being and breathing and existing together.

Squeals of delight, grunts of frustration, gurgles and coos and "ngahs" and "ayeeees" and "shmerrrs".

Me and Tiger.

That's what I am thankful for.

The rest doesn't matter.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Letting Go

This morning, in the silvery dawning light, I held my still-sleepy baby girl tightly in my arms and kissed her fuzzy head as she made the noises of waking.

I stroked her hair. I kissed the funny little strawberry mark I love so much. 

I smiled at her.

She smiled back.

Her eyes were so, so blue.

"Ngah," she said. "I love you," I replied.

And in that moment I didn't give an Actual Hoot that I didn't do the vacuuming, or that we did not, in fact, do any packing while Daddy Bear was on holiday, or that the house is a bombsite, or that I had washing backed up, or that the kitchen floor needs mopping ...

I let it go.

I gave in to just loving her.

I let myself just be. Just enjoy her and not worry about the bad stuff.

Because I have all I need in that little smile and those big blue eyes and those squishy little arms.

She is everything.

She is a gift and a privilege and so, so, so, so ...


~ Love, Miss Cackle