Deadlineroonie ...


This is just a very short post to say ... um, well, I won't be posting. Not for the next few days at least.

I am, as we say in the mummy-slash-author industry, a trifle busyish.

But, as of next week I will be free as a bird and blogging like ... a VERY BLOGGY THING.

So, I'll just toddle off now to hyperventilate into a paper bag immerse myself in my editing.

I'll see you on the other side. And, in the meantime:

Just because.


The More Things Change ...

I'm listening to John Mayer.

And yes, I know that admitting this may be met with many eye rolls and head shakes out there in Cyberland. After all, John Mayer hardly has the hipster cool "I-liked-them-before-they-existed" cachet of the uber-cool wunderkinds you're probably listening to. Like The National or ... whoever.

But I like John Mayer. Same as I like Robbie Williams and The Spice Girls and Travis and a thousand other possibly daggy bands that you would also like if you realised they are MADE OF AWESOME. 

But I'm digressing here. My point (and I do have one), is that I'm sitting here listening to John Mayer's 2003 album, Heavier Things, and I am reminiscing. Heavier Things came out at a pivotal time in my life. I'd just finished my first uni degree, I'd just left a relationship I'd been in since I was sixteen, I was deciding what to do next, where to go, where to live, who to be. I look back at my life then and think how very much has changed since.

I completed two more degrees.

I met the love of my life.

I bought a house.

I worked as a librarian, a barista, a cinema projectionist, an art seller and (my favourite), a children's bookseller. Then ...

I had three books published.

And then, the biggest thing of all, I gave birth to the most incredible creature who ever existed.

So much has changed. And yet, on Tiger's first birthday this week, I got messages, cards and well-wishes from the girls who were my best friends ten years ago and still are today. They were my rocks when I was going through that time of upheaval. I still don't know how I'd cope without them.

So much has changed. And yet, yesterday, I spent the day with my family - the people who matter to me the most. The people who took me in and picked me back up as I put the jagged pieces of my life into some semblance of a new whole.

So much has changed. And yet, yesterday, I talked books and music with my dad. I laughed with my mum. I made fun of my little brother. I soaked up the sheer joy that is my dad's partner, Tiger's Nana L-L. I hugged my nan as hard as I could because she is the most incredible person I've ever known. 

They are the Tigers and Tigresses behind me. They are my people. I love them so very much.

So much has changed and yet, it is still the same. I am still the same. I'm still partly broken, still not entirely whole. Still floundering, still unknowing. Still so small and uncertain. And yet, I'm different, too. I have a new strength, now I'm a mum. I have a new wonder at a world seen through her eyes. I am renewed by her.

And as I listen now, home from a beautiful weekend with all the people who matter most to me, to a singer who might be daggy, but whom I love despite (or perhaps because of), it, these words resonate with me:

"Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
And the drama queens
I'd like to think the best of me
Is still hiding
Up my sleeve"

I was never a prom queen. I was never cool. I always thought my "real life" - the time when I would become the superhero awesome person I was destined to become - was just around the corner (possibly heralded by a fairy godmother or, like, Hagrid maybe).

In 2003, I was waiting for "the real world" - my real life - to begin.

Now, I realise this is it. I'm living it. I'm glad of everything I've been through. All of it has contributed to the person I am today. And I am blessed to be this person, living this life, in this moment. But, as things change, and stay the same, and move and transform and grow, I'm increasingly aware that this moment is all we have.

And it's lovely. 

~ Love, Miss Cackle x 



Ahem. Tiger and Daddy Bear and I have something to announce.

And it goes a little somethin' like this:

Tiger. Is. ALL OF THE ONE!!!

This is Tiger. She is one.

Thatisall. We are off now to have the sort of adventures only Big People have. This may or may not involve ice cream and crunching in leaves.

You may now recommence usual activities.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


I'm really glad I've got you in my corner ... *

Being a Tiger Mummy is the best thing that ever happened to me. I have never felt so utterly, heart-wrenchingly, perfectly, blissfully, elatedly, huge-smilingly, bouncingly, floatily, heavenishly happy ever. Ever. 

Not even when I met Paul Kelly.

Not even when I met Melina Marchetta.

Not even when I saw Josh Ritter play live on stage in Oxford.

Not even when I went to Hogwarts.

Not EVER. Tiger is it and a bit and the cat's pyjamas and the bee's knees and the duck's guts and I love her more than hot chips and tomato sauce.

But, as every parent or carer knows, there are challenges to being responsible for a Whole Human Being.

Tiger is a very, very, very easy baby to be around. She is cheerful and funny and well-behaved and generally effervescently happy ninety nine percent of the time. So what is my challenge?

In one, little but very scary word? 


It's taken me a long time to say this. But it's true. The way I wake up in the middle of the night, bawling my eyes out because I'm worried she'll die; the way I don't sleep at all, most nights, nearly a year after her birth, because I'm worried if I do she'll stop breathing; the way I have actual panic attacks thinking of all the ways the world could hurt her?

That's not normal.

Except, of course, it is. Because I'm not alone. 

According to the Beyond Blue website, "Anxiety is the most common mental
health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men - will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a twelve month period over two million Australians experience anxiety." (

I do my best to keep my anxiety from Tiger. I think it's a testament to my ability to do this that she is such a happy girl. She hardly ever cries, is very sociable and secure and independent. This is because she knows she is loved, is cuddled lots and made to feel special. And (though it is difficult for me), I make a point of not being a "helicopter parent". I do my best to keep her safe, but I want her to explore and have adventures. I do not for one second believe my anxiety is affecting my ability to parent her well.**

But it is affecting other areas of my life. And I don't want it to any more.

So I'm working on that.

But the purpose of this post is to thank every single one of you who have helped me - most of you without knowing you were doing it - to combat my anxiety daily. A phone call, a text, a Facebook comment - all of these are much bigger helps to me than you know.

I love you all. And I want you to know, if you are one of the millions of Australians who have anxiety, you are normal. You are not weird or crazy or weak. In fact, you're probably stronger than most people because you have to deal with this on top of all the other stuff this messed-up world throws at you. So be kind to yourself. And, everyone else? Be kind to each other. Be gentle with the people you come across, because you have no idea what they're dealing with.


Wave at babies when they wave at you. It makes their mother's day.

And thanks again, everyone. I'm really glad I've got you in my corner ...

More information and a scary new video featuring the super-spunky Mr Ben Mendelsohn, can be found here:

~ Love, Miss Cackle

* With lashings of thanks to the incomparable Mr Bob Evans for the quote.
** Also, I made biscuits tonight. For those of you who know me and my supernatural ability to burn water, you'll know that this is WIN!!!


My first Mothers' Day

This morning, I didn't sleep in. 

I was up, like every morning, at a quarter to five, writing and editing.

This morning, I didn't get breakfast in bed. I made breakfast for my family.

This morning, I didn't get flowers and chocolates. I did get a packet of gluten free pancakes I'd been coveting (at $8 a pop they are well outside of our limited budget).

This morning I didn't get shipped off to a spa or a massage parlour while Daddy Bear hung out with Tiger. I hung out with Tiger while poor Daddy Bear had to work.

And we had the best day.

We wandered in the park and crunched in leaves and ate a cheap lunch together at Morty's and we read ten books and we played "ta" and peekaboo and she slept in my arms and I kissed her little head a thousand times and we sat together by the fire and I whispered to her that I loved her more than all the stars and planets and blue sky and hot chips and tomato sauce. 

And then, when Daddy Bear came home, we went supermarketeering, which is one of Tiger's very favourite things to do, and we bought ingredients for her first birthday cake, and party hats and balloons and then we came home and Daddy Bear put Tiger in a silly hat and she crawled around creating mayhem and now she is eating banana sandwiches and going "yum yum yum".

This morning, I didn't sleep in. 

This morning, I didn't get breakfast in bed. I made breakfast for my family.
This morning, I didn't get flowers and chocolates.

This morning I didn't get shipped off to a spa or a massage parlour ...

And to all the mothers who did, I hope you had gorgeous days. But I had the best one. Because I spent it with my little girl, utterly grateful and privileged to be in her company. I spent the day thinking of how close we came to not having her at all and how phenomenally lucky I am that she is in the world. I spent the day stroking her fat little legs and kissing her funny feet and rubbing my cheek on her fuzzy head and saying, "thank you," to the universe that she is mine.

That's Mothers' Day for me. Because having a child is not a burden, it is not a trial, it is the biggest privilege you can ever be given. And to have one as special as Tiger?

I have no words for it. I am supremely blessed. And every Mothers' Day all I want is her, and to keep feeling this grateful.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


That's the planley, Stanley

I've never been good at making plans. Or keeping them. Or being, in any way, organised like other grown-up people are.

I'm notorious for forgetting coffee dates, turning up late to appointments, clean wiping from memory all memory of having made any plans to meet people. I was like this Before Tiger. Now, I'm utterly hopeless.

I'm the queen of the "I'll deal with it tomorrow". It's not a procrastination thing, not really. I'm actually really good at knuckling down and working hard. I never miss a deadline, never turn in work I'm unhappy with. But when it comes to making plans for the future, I'm always a bit ... overconfident. I think, "It's in a week. I'll have myself together by then. I'll be on top of things. I'll deal with it then."

And then I forget about it. Usually until a reminder on my phone goes off if I remembered to set one. At which point I am usually not on top of things. Or, more often, when I get a call asking where I am. Which is usually not where I'm meant to be and not close.

Tiger and I live a fairly "in the moment" existence. Today, on a whim, I took us to crunch in leaves in the park, and we stayed there for an hour. On other days we might go tot he museum or the Seaport or to see the monkeys, or for long walks, or we just lie on the lounge room floor, playing with blocks for hours. And Tiger has this special magic power where minutes turn into hours and, before you know it, a day is gone. Little things seems immense and exciting to her, and they become so for me too. I can spend what feels like hours with her, staring at birds or the clouds, or building block towers and knocking them down again. This is my life now, and I love it. Apart from the couple of hours a day I spend before she wakes, writing and editing, I'm at the mercy of a Little Person, and I love it.

But all of this means plans are not my friend. Weekends are an exception because having Daddy Bear there makes me kick myself into gear and do all the things I meant to do during the week. But otherwise ...

All of this is a big, long-winded way of saying "sorry". I'm sorry to anyone I said I'd catch up with and didn't. Sorry for being late. Sorry for being distracted. I'll get the hang of this "being grown up" thing one day. I'll stop being so utterly enthralled by my little girl that I lose whole days.

I'll get there. That's the plan, anyway.

 ~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Little Lion Man

For Leo

In your mother's arms,
You are a lion,
with courage a badge on your
small, strong shoulder.
And they encircle you,
your pride,
growing in numbers as they learn
of your mastery.
You command small diggers,
You have learned new languages.
"No," you say, with authority.
You steer your army through
wilderness where rogue
kangaroos treat you as king.
You are not tiny to them,
but a big and fearsome thing.
You are Leo.
You are awesome and mighty,
and there is no hospital room
big enough to contain the roaring
of your spirit.
You are Leo,
and there are no white coat
pale enough to fade you,
no too-bright light dazzling enough
to shade you.
In your mother's arms,
you are a lion,
one spoken of across vastness.
You are a warrior,
whose name is intoned in awed whispers.
And your mother is a lioness behind you.
In her arms you are safe,
but do not forget,
even as she rocks you to contented sleep,
you hold within you the strength of thousands,
you hold within you a roar that will echo
for a thousand years.


Lose Yourself

Today, Tiger and I got lost.

Not deliberately. Not in a sort of Zen "losing oneself in order to find oneself" sort of mumbo jumbo.

We got actually, terribly, horribly, no-good-ly lost. In Launceston. Yes, Launcestonians, I can hear you all snorting with derision into your cups of Earl Grey (or Darjeeling or Orange Pekoe. I don't know why I picked Earl Grey. Maybe just because I don't like it, so I think all people who snort with derision must drink it). I mean, how can you get lost in Launceston? It's approximately as big as the backyards of people who live in the richer suburbs of Sydney. It's miniscule. It barely deserves the title of city. Really, it's a one-horse town with delusions of grandeur.

And, indeed, after living here for a total of six years (with a spell in Hobart in between stays), I didn't think it was possible. I thought I knew this town like the back of my hand.

Nope. Got lost. Even with the help of Google Maps. Google Maps can eat my bonnet. It has no idea what it's on about.

We were looking for a foodstore, which apparently has one of the best gluten free ranges in Launceston. 

It may well do. After forty five minutes of looking for it, as opposed to the twelve Google Useless Mapspants said it would take, traversing some of the highest hills in Australia, I did not care one jot for gluten free sections. I just wanted to go to bed.

But the thing is, Tiger loved it. Tiger had a grand old time, walking up New Streets and seeing New Things. And, on the way back (where there were fewer hills or, at least, ones that went down, not up), I started to enjoy it too. The part of Launceston we were in was actually very pretty, full of old houses and sweet gardens and parks. 

It was, I decided, an Adventure. And as Tiger squealed and exclaimed, I found myself having fun being lost. Or at least not quite found yet.

So it was sort of Zen, in its own way, in the end. And maybe symbolic. In my own life, I'm trying to take a path less travelled by. Maybe today I took the first steps. I got lost and I let myself enjoy the newness of being lost; the wonder of it all.

Tiger does that to you. She makes you believe in magic. And possibility. And hope.

It's a shame she doesn't come with built-in Google Maps.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Hold your little ones close

It's all too easy to get bogged down in the little things - in the petty minutiae of life.

It's all too easy to focus on the annoying, frustrating things. The stresses and the worries. The not-enoughs and the too-muches.

It's too easy to think life is hard and the days are long and the rewards are too few. 

But the days aren't too long. Life, it seems, is far, far too short. And the ones we hold dear are only with us for the blink of an eye.

Parenthood has its trials and its challenges. But, in the end, it's an utter privilege. To love and be loved by a precious, precious little human being - new to the world and besotted with its wonders. This is the most marvellous gift we could ever be given. Not money. Not possessions. Not achievements. To love someone like this ... it's what matters. Love is what matters.

And it's easy to forget that, in this busy world, as you run from this place to that, wishing life could just be easier. 

And then something happens - something horrible - that makes you remember just how lucky you are.

That something horrible happened today. Not to me, but to someone I've known for a long time. Someone I respect. Someone who has gone through the most unimaginable horrors and is the most courageous person I know for enduring them.

And because of that, I am counting my blessings, not my curses. I am holding my own little one close and telling her how much I love her again and again. 

Every day I am grateful for Tiger. Today more so than ever.

Hold your little ones close, people. Hold everyone you love close. Because life is very, very short and it is those moments you have with the people you love that are the abiding things.They are the meaning of us.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x


Watch your tongue!

Tiger has discovered her tongue.

Or, more specifically, she has discovered how to stick it out. 

The first time she did it, I called HB in a panic, sure she was having some sort of anaphylaxis and her tongue was too big to fit in her mouth. We decided to "keep an eye on her", just in case. After an hour or so, we determined she wasn't having an allergic reaction.

She just liked sticking her tongue out.

Since then, the tongue business has become a "thing", like her constant waving and smacking of lips together to make a kissing noise (cute when she does it to us, a bit disconcerting when she does it to the scary looking biker dude in the alleyway behind the Birchalls car park). It's just one of the ever-growing little bag of tricks she is developing.

And I know, I KNOW it is "rude to stick your tongue out", but by golly she looks cute when she does it, and I can't help being a teensy bit proud at how quickly she worked out that I was doing the same thing she was doing, when I stuck my tongue back out. And so now we stick our tongues out at each other.

And I swear I will stop when she's, I don't know, whatever age you're supposed to start being a strict disciplinarian. But for now - just as I hold yelling competitions and laugh at her pop-offs and when she says "bum" - I'm going to keep doing it. Because I may be thirty-one, but I still laugh at pop-offs. I still take great pleasure at poking my tongue out behind the backs of nasty people. I still, on occasion, pick my nose.

And I turned out okay. Kindness is vastly underrated. I think, sometimes, "politeness" is overrated. If the alternative is fun.

And Tigesy and I? By golly we have fun. And it's lovely.

~ Love, Miss Cackle x