Magic Kitchen Fairy

We have a Magic Kitchen Fairy.

It’s true.

She’s amazing.

For example:

If you spill something on the bench, you can just leave it and the Magic Kitchen Fairy will wipe it up.

If you pull the inner seal off a bottle of milk, just leave it on the bench. The Magic Kitchen Fairy will pop it in the bin for you. The same goes for empty packets and wrappers.

Dirty plate or cup? Just put it down wherever you’re sitting. The Magic Kitchen Fairy will be along soon to collect it for you.

Whenever you make a sandwich, don’t worry about the cutting board, knife and crumbs and stuff. The Magic Kitchen Fairy will clean that up for you.

Oops. Had an overflow in the microwave? Not a problem! Just go about your business and the Magic Kitchen Fairy will wash the tray and make that microwave sparkling clean again.

If you forget to put that box of cereal back in the pantry, not to worry. The Magic Kitchen Fairy put it away for you.

See? She’s amazing!

She hates me.

No, listen, she really hates me. I’ve tried doing those things and she never cleans things up for me.

And I swear when others leave a mess and I’m around, she hides and leaves me to do it.

She hates me.

You don’t think she exists, do you? But she does. I know.

How do I know she exists?

Because I know my husband and children definitely believe in the Magic Kitchen Fairy.  They trust her completely to clean things up for them. Surely four people can’t be that badly mistaken, can they?

I mean, if they don’t believe in the Magic Kitchen Fairy, then they must be leaving those messes for me to clean up. And that can’t be right, can it?

We have a Magic Kitchen Fairy.

Magic Kitchen Fairy (2)

A House Full Of Boys Doesn’t Equal A House Full Of Balls

Baby Boys

I am a mother of boys. As in, only boys. Outnumbered in the gender stakes, I have no female allies in the house. (Even the cat is male.)

Mothers of only boys are a unique breed. So much so, there are even clubs you can join to meet other mothers without daughters.

Mothers with both sons and daughters can get a bit narky when you claim special standing for having only boys.

“But we deal with that, too,” they’ll say when you complain of stinky bedrooms and an inherent ability not to notice a household task that needs doing.

Yes, but you also have someone you can nudge when the male offspring are suffering from man-flu and share an eyeroll. Mothers of boys can only eyeroll inwardly.

We will never be the Mother of the Bride or the Maternal Grandmother both of whom seem to hold a higher standing in society than the paternal equivalents.

I am not one of those mothers who wishes she’d had a daughter so she could buy pretty dresses and play with Barbies. I was never that kind of girl myself, preferring to climb trees and play with Lego and I had a passionate objection to wearing dresses. I hate clothes shopping and the pink-themed aisles in toy stores give me the heebie jeebies.

But sometimes I can’t help wondering what my life would be like if I had another person in the house whose brain was wired similarly to mine. Maybe I’d feel a little less like an alien in my own home.

So you can imagine how keen I was to open up an article in the weekend magazine of one of our national newspapers to read about other mothers like me.

Boy Oh Boys

Click on the image to read the article.

At the first line – “Neck deep in dirty footy tops, toy soldiers and cricket balls…” – I sighed. As I read on, I sighed some more. By the end, I was more than a little annoyed.

A household full of boys does not automatically equate to a household full of sporting equipment. I do not bond with my boys over football matches. We bond at superhero movies. I do not trip over basketballs in the house but over stacks of Japanese comic books. Our television is more likely to be tuned to the sci fi channel than the sports channel. I do not spend my time managing their sporting schedules but managing how much time they are spending in front of a screen. I don’t have to learn the rules of cricket scoring but I do have to learn how to use the parental controls on the wifi router.

It’s not that we didn’t give them the opportunity to pursue sports. Their father grew up in a sporting household and is a cricketer and tennis player. Cricket, tennis, football, basketball…we offered them all at various times to each of the boys. None of them stuck. It’s just not in their nature.

Boys don’t have to play sports.

Yes, they need activity, especially in the early years. So there were lots of trips to the park, the beach, the indoor play centre. And you have to watch them every second because they will take risks. But I’m more likely to be trying to get hair dye out of a costume shirt than grass stains out of cricket whites.

I suspect I was destined to have boys. My husband is one of three boys. His father is one of two boys. His uncle had two children who were, you guessed it, boys. Let’s face it, I was never going to have a girl.

And that’s okay. Because I consider myself lucky that I scored three boys who love things I love – fantasy books, sci fi movies and cosplay – and I don’t have to trip over cricket balls in the backyard.

Being a mother of boys is a challenge but a house full of boys doesn’t have to mean a house full of sports any more than a house full of girls has to mean a house full of dolls.

Boys are different – I’ll never understand the tolerance for a floor carpeted in dirty clothes and the lingering smell of rotten apples – and being a mother of boys is different to any other parenting experience.


I wouldn’t change it for all the sonic screwdrivers in the universe.

And yes, that title is a sniggering play on words. I live in a house full of boys, remember?




HOME button Able Theme small

Never Make A Christmas Cake With Baby Brain

Merry Christmas 2

It was a week before Christmas and the MOSY household had only a few weeks before been blessed with the birth of a son. Another one. To match the pair they already had, aged two and five. Life was…busy.

For some reason, Mother Me had offered to make the family Christmas cake. [1]

For some other reason (or possibly the same one), she had also decided to ice the cake. Despite the fact that it was usually left plain. Despite the fact that she had never iced a fruit cake in her life. [2]

So just before Christmas, on a hot summer day, when the baby had gone down for a nap and the other two boys were occupying themselves upstairs, she set out to tackle the challenge.

After a while, it occurred to her that the house was a little too quiet. Going upstairs she found the two boys in the bathroom, standing on a stool together, playing in the basin.

“At least they’re amusing themselves,” she thought. “So they might get a bit wet. It’s a hot day. What’s the worst that can happen?” So she left them to it. [3]

Some time later – a time that was filled with swearing, tears and cries of “why the hell did I decide to do this” – the cake was finished. It was hardly masterful – she’d tried to hide a patched corner with a sculptured bit of icing holly – but at least it was done.

She went into her bedroom to check on the baby. Hearing a faint noise, she leant on the bed to try and work out what it was and found it wet. Very wet.


She ran upstairs. Even from the end of the hallway, she could see the large spreading dark stain in the carpet outside the bathroom door.

The boys were standing on their wooden island in a sea of water. They had made the scientific discovery that if you put the plug in and leave the tap running, eventually the water volume will exceed the capacity of the basin. They’d obviously decided to test the theory to extremes.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much water on the floor as there should have been. ‘Unfortunately’, because most of it had run down the heating vent in the floor. [4]

The nearest exit was the vent in the ceiling above the bed.

As she set the two miscreants to mopping up the mess with every towel she could find in the linen closet, she went downstairs to call the Maternal Parentals to come and collect said horrors so that they might live long enough to see Christmas. Or even dinner time.

Going back into the bedroom, she discovered not only was the bedding wet but the mattress, the mattress base and the floor. So, quite a bit of volume versus capacity testing, then.

She had, of course, just changed the sheets on their bed the day before, so she hauled the doona off – cover and all – and lugged it outside to the clothesline.

In the midst of gardening works, the rotary clothesline was not in its usual hole in the ground but leaning against a brick wall and tied to a couple of stakes where it had been functioning quite normally for a number of months.

She threw the sodden doona onto the clothesline.

It fell down. [5]

She started to laugh. She laughed and laughed until the tears flowed freely.

What else can a mother do?

* * * * * * * * * *


On Christmas Day, she proudly cut the Christmas cake that had caused so much havoc. It was raw in the middle. She’d doubled the recipe but forgotten to increase the cooking time and had not checked to see if it was cooked before taking it out of the oven.

She’s never made a Christmas cake since.


1. Those who have read this blog are not surprised.

2. All together now, “Of course she did!”

3. I know, I know.

4. Honestly, who puts a heating vent in a bathroom floor??

5. Of course it did.



HOME button Able Theme small

The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

The following report is from our foreign correspondent, Heath Dempster, based in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Information is just coming in that rebels in the Central Republic of Kitchen – who have for some weeks been waging a toast crumbs guerrilla war in the Bench fringes of the country – are being supplied with higher grade weapons from the subcontinent.

Locals say the first appearance of Basmati Rice was thought to be a one-off but there are eye witness reports of increasingly brazen use of this dangerous weapon in all areas of the Bench.

It is assumed that the weapons are being smuggled into the country via the secretive enclave of Pantry. The CRK has been in trade negotiations with the rogue state to open up trade routes but talks were abandoned last week over the suspected misappropriation of Biscuit Funds.

Government forces have been sent into the region to track down the weapons and to capture those responsible. However, it is feared that should the Basmati Rice supply route be shut down, the rebels may resort to the more lethal Jasmine Rice.

Observers from the United Household Nations are monitoring the situation.

More reports as information comes to hand.


Evidence of the rebels’ use of the new weapon Basmati Rice. (Image copyright: Fisher Paykel, CRK)


In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order



HOME button Able Theme small

The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

Central Republic of Kitchen

Our local presenter, Nigel Havenstock, speaks to foreign correspondent Heath Dempster about the latest developments in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Nigel: Heath, thanks for joining us. Fill us in on what has been happening in the CRK.

Heath: Thank you, Nigel. Well, it seems the situation here has worsened considerably in recent days and there is a great deal of tension in the region.

Nigel: Tension? Why?

Heath: As you will be aware, the leader of the CRK, Mother, attempted to force Clean Up After Yourself legislation through parliament a fortnight ago in order to combat an insurgency in the outlying Bench areas of the CRK. So far this move has been unsuccessful. For the past two days, Mother has travelled outside the country to consult with members of the United Household Nations. It is believed she has appealed for international support for these harsh measures.

Nigel: Yes, our reporter Beryl Maynard was present at the talks. We understood that some support was likely.

Heath: Yes, I believe the news that came back from the UHN Headquarters was that the talks were positive. However, it would seem that the UHN ultimately cannot affect any real control over the situation in the CRK.

Nigel: You said that the situation had worsened. Can you tell us what has happened?

Heath: Well, Nigel, it appears that while Mother was out of the country, all civil obedience was abandoned. Standard civic services, such as Dishes and Hanging Up Towels – that had until now been carried out without issue – were discontinued in the leader’s absence. This has lead to increased chaos and a deterioration in living conditions for residents of the CRK and nearby areas.

Nigel: But who has been responsible for this rebellion?

Heath: Nigel, that is the surprising thing. It was expected that there could be some trouble from the rebels who have been waging a guerilla war of crumbs in the Bench areas of the country. However, it would seem that much of the rebellion has been orchestrated, or at least been allowed to occur, by the former Deputy Leader.

Nigel: Oh yes. Father was ousted from his position as Deputy Leader recently by Mother, was he not?

Heath: That’s correct, Nigel. It is thought that his demotion from the Cabinet may be behind the recent encouragement of civil disobedience.

Nigel: I imagine that did not go down well on Mother’s return?

Heath: [laughs wryly] No, Nigel, it certainly did not. Mother immediately invoked her emergency powers of Clean Up Now which caused considerable tension in the region, particularly among the rebels. Order is slowly being restored but we are keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

Nigel: Do you think there will be a need to evacuate?

Heath: It is difficult to tell at this stage. Things are reasonably quiet at present but the clean up is still underway in the outlying areas and, of course, the Northern States are still a problem. It is possible that the rebels could step up their campaign in protest at the compulsory National Cleaning Service currently being invoked through Mother’s emergency powers.

Nigel: Thank you for joining us, Heath. I suppose things will depend on Mother’s success in forcing through the Clean Up After Yourself legislation?

Heath: Yes, that is certainly what the international community is wondering. Thanks, Nigel.

Nigel: That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen. It certainly seems that order may yet be established in the region following Mother’s return from the UHN but we continue to monitor the situation.



HOME button Able Theme small

The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States

The following is a transcript of a radio interview with our foreign correspondent in the Central Republic of Kitchen by our local presenter Nigel Havenstock. It follows on from recent reports about The Crumb Wars on this same station.

Nigel: We recently reported on an unsettling development in the Central Republic of Kitchen where the leader, Mother, has recently declared Dishcloth Law.  We have just received news from our correspondent Heath Dempster in CRK that there has been corresponding developments in neighbouring states. Heath, tell us what is happening in the region.

Heath: Yes, thank you, Nigel. As listeners are no doubt aware, the leader of the government in the Central Republic of Kitchen recently declared Dishcloth Law in response to attacks by rebels in the bench fringes of CRK. It now seems that the CRK may be attempting to invade nearby states in an effort to gain control over Housework Laws in the region.

Nigel: So where exactly does the CRK hope to take control?

Heath: Well, Nigel, the key problem areas seem to be in the northern states of Boys Rooms. While the media has been warned from entering the states for security reasons, reports from local residents indicate that the situation is truly out of control. It is thought that the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting have been abandoned completely and it is uncertain when exactly social order was last enacted in these states.

Nigel: What is the international community’s response to this, Heath?

Heath: It’s difficult to tell. Until now, it seems that the international community and particularly the United Household Nations, has allowed the situation to continue as things have seemed stable. While the conditions in the countries in question have not been ideal, it has not been deemed sufficiently dire to warrant the introduction of suitable sanctions.

Nigel: And just what would those sanctions involve, should they be introduced?

Heath: The most obvious is, of course, financial sanctions – the cutting off of all financial support to the leaders of the states. That would be the first option. Should the northern states still not respond, it will be brought to the UHN for consideration of further restrictions on the supply of technology support, food aid and the provision of transport services.

Nigel: Heath, is there any hope for peace?

Heath: Nigel, from my view, peace is only likely in the event of a voluntary reinstatement of the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting by the leaders of the northern states. Of course, this will not be possible until General Tidiness is restored in the region.

Nigel: Thank you, Heath. That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen on the suspected expansion of troubles into the northern states. A spokesperson for the United Household Nations was approached but refused to comment on the grounds of being locked in negotiations in the Kingdom of Laundry.

Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

Video: Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.



HOME button Able Theme small

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench

Crumb Wars 1

Scene of the latest outbreak of hostilities.

In what can only be described as an outbreak of domestic tension in the Central Republic of Kitchen, the leader of the country has declared Dishcloth Law.

Mother, until now generally viewed as a benevolent dictator by the international community, has stated that unless all citizens implement the Clean Up After Yourself legislation being forced through parliament tomorrow, food supplies will be restricted and all citizens will be required to report daily for compulsory dishes duty.

A small rebel contingent in the country has for some time been waging a guerrilla war of toast crumbs in the bench fringes of the country.

Yesterday, Mother sacked the Deputy Leader, Father, as Secretary of Cleanliness. An anonymous source close to the leader said the Deputy Leader was found to be in line with the rebels. “He’s just as bad,” Mother is reported to have said.

The United Household Nations is monitoring the situation. At present, they advise there is no cause for alarm and it is hoped that the rebellion will be quelled peacefully and the country returned to its normal state of General Untidiness within the month.



HOME button Able Theme small

Parenting By The “Making It Up” Book

The Number One thing you learn when you become a parent? There is no instruction book.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Go into any bookshop or search online and there are many, many instruction books about children and parenting.

The problem is that there is no instruction book for you parenting your child. Or you parenting your other child because, trust me, the books (if they existed) would be completely different.

The books that are out there are not totally useless. They can tell you that if your baby is crying it’s probably this, this or this. But when you’ve tried fixing this, this and this and your baby is still screaming that’s when you want to hold your smartphone up to his* head and get a digital readout of what he’s thinking. Where’s the app for that??

Those books will tell you developmental milestones come at “about” X age. Mind you, “about” can have a range of anything up to a year. So when your child’s peers are all running around the park and yours is still crawling across the grass on his elbows looking like the world’s tiniest commando, you try not to worry.

And when do you worry, anyway?

When your child is three and is showing no interest in toilet-training, when is it still part of “normal” development and when is it time to put out the call “Houston, we have a problem”?

Think it gets easier when they get older? Think that if they can walk, talk, feed and toilet themselves, the hard yards are over?


The difficulty when they are older is trying to help them with things for which you do not possess the skills. And I’m not just talking about differential calculus.

How do you help your child establish solid study patterns for his final exams when you always used the “stay up until 3am the night before” study method?

How do you help your child navigate a tricky bullying situation at school when you were bullied as a child and never really got over it?

How do you encourage your child to pursue educational opportunities overseas knowing that you would never have done it yourself?

How do two parents who are introverts help their introverted children survive a world designed for extroverts when it’s a struggle for themselves?


You make it up.

You pretend you know what you’re talking about. You act like you know what you’re doing.

And you hope nobody notices.

Parenting is not an exact science. It’s not even an approximate science. It is jumping out of an aeroplane when you’re still trying to order the parachute from the supplier. Repeatedly.

Sometimes it all comes together and you soar and float in blissful success. And sometimes you go ker-splatt.

I guess the trick is to scrape yourself off the tarmac, get back up there and try again. And hope in hell your kids survive and thrive in spite of you.

Freefall Parenting

Freefall Parenting

*All the pronouns in this post are male not because I believe in the patriarchal habit of using the male gender for general reference but because I only have boys. Referring to girl children is just not in my vocabulary.



HOME button Able Theme small

Peace In The House Of Testosterone

Peace. Blessed, blessed peace.

The kids are back at school, the husband is at work and the MOSY House of Testosterone is temporarily cleansed of its pervasive masculinity.

Well, except for the cat. But he’s neutered so doesn’t really count.

Testosterone actually has a physical, airborne presence. Did you know that?

That’s not science. That’s just me realising that I can actually breathe today. And hear the birds outside. And find room in my head for my own thoughts.

It’s almost shocking.

As has been previously well-established, I am not a girly girl but even my little oestrogen being can find it tough going against the storm cloud of ‘boyness’ that permeates my house.

Much like the smog you don’t notice when you live in the thick of it, a testosterone-filled house is just my daily reality that passes mostly without question. But the end of school holidays can be like a trip up the mountain to rediscover the fresh air and look back with amazement at the conditions I was living in for all those weeks.

Of course, it’s a fleeting escape. The testosterone horde will return this afternoon, their rampant maleness all the more dominant for the brief respite I will have enjoyed today.

In the meantime, I’ll take all the peace I can get.

A Mother's Peace



HOME button Able Theme small

A Member of the MOB

A friend of mine recently gave birth to her first baby, a boy. I was inordinately excited not only because it was a long-awaited child but also, I soon realised, because she’d had a boy.

“Welcome to the MOB!!” I exclaimed excitedly in an email reply to her announcement.

Mothers Of Boys. We’re a unique…um…mob. I’m sure mothers of only girls have their unique challenges too but there’s something about being the one outnumbered in the household gender stakes that makes life more interesting. (Any fathers of girl-only households reading this are welcome to write their own blog post perspective.)

It’s quite possible that my friend, down the track, may become a Mother Of Boys And Not Boys but for the time being she is a part of the club. A club in which I am a more-than-paid-up member.

A Member of the MOB

A Member of the MOB

After my first two boys were born and I was pregnant with my third child, I lost count of the number of people who asked “So, are you hoping for a girl?” It got a bit boring so I took to looking at the enquirer in horror and saying, “Oh, goodness, no! Why would I want one of those? I wouldn’t know what to do with one.” (I still don’t.)

Do I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a daughter? Of course. Do I ever wish one of my boys had been a girl? Never.

Besides, from listening to my girlfriends, bonding time with daughters seems to mainly involve clothes shopping. I’d rather be poked in the eye with a blunt stick (I believe it’s more painful than a sharp one). Give me a Joss Whedon movie outing with my boys any day.

In the hospital, after the birth of my third son, a cleaner told me that when my children were teenagers, I’d be glad I had boys. I held on to that promise through the years of small boys running amok in playgrounds, picking up any remotely pointed object to be used as a weapon, through the three-year-old penis obsessions and the pre-teen biffo and insults. And now, with two teenagers and one on the cusp, I can honestly say she was right. As I watch mothers of teenage girls struggle with the hormonal nastiness, psychological bullying and body image issues, the full-on early boyhood years seem worth it. Boys – my boys at least – are so much more straightforward. Well, as straightforward as parenting any teenager can be.

I can’t wait for the possibility of a cuddle with this newest member of the male race and to recall those thrice-heard words,

it's a boy



HOME button Able Theme small