On the pains of making food for children

by Veronica on February 3, 2015

in Headfuck

One of the hardest things about being a mother, I think, is feeding children. Other mothers may disagree with me – but clearly you’re the lucky ones. Your children eat everything you put in front of them, or you love preparing fifteen different meals a day. Either way, take your smug away from me you lucky bastard.

I hate feeding my children because they always want exactly what I’m having. Only, not exactly what I’m having. They’d like ham instead of chicken, and cheese instead of mustard and tomato instead of lettuce and hey, maybe they’d like it in a bowl, not in a sandwich, and could I possibly cook some pasta to go with it?

Right up until there are so many tweaks to what I’m having that I end up making three different meals using all the plates and utensils available.

And I’m happy to tweak things, up to a point. But when it gets ridiculous (oh, you’re making a tuna salad in a bowl? Can I have that, but only ham, and no lettuce, and the other cheese, no not that one, the other one, and can you grate me a carrot as well and do we have any tomatoes or cucumber and why can’t I have …)



No you may not. I can make a large version of this thing I am eating, or you can all make your own and god help you, please put everything away when you’re done.

It’s killing me, to the point that yesterday, I realised at 3pm I hadn’t actually eaten anything because I was avoiding having to play the substitutions game with the children.

Sure, they’d all fed themselves (and I fed Evelyn, god, I’m not neglectful), but they’d had things like weetbix and cheese slices and apples and carrots and some more cereal and a sweet biscuit and another piece of fruit.

But I hadn’t eaten anything because preparing food for myself just seems to invite a nightmare.

I find myself dreading mealtimes, dreading cooking, dreading the inevitable cries of “we’re hungry, what can we eat?” because I just don’t enjoy feeding anyone anymore. Everyone has an opinion they’re more than happy to shout at me.

Maybe, it would all be easier if I was a bit less busy, and a bit less tired, but seriously. The fussiness is killing me.

And no, I don’t want your solutions. I don’t need to know how to hide vegies in muffins or spaghetti sauce, because no one is eating muffins with things in it, or spaghetti sauce anyway. And no, I don’t want to hear about your miracle child who eats everything you set in front of them and maybe if I’d never even allowed sweets in the house we wouldn’t have this problem anyway.

Go bother someone else.

But if your kids are like mine, speak up? I’d just like to know I’m not alone.

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New carpet and new directions

by Veronica on November 27, 2014

in Gotta Laugh, Headfuck, Soapmaking

We got new carpet yesterday. We’ve lived in this house for almost seven years, just dealing with the crappy carpet hand we’d been dealt and suddenly, care of an exploding light bulb raining molten glass all over the living area and hallway, we get new carpet. It’s a bit weird. NEW STUFF. In our really old falling apart house. Something NEW AND SHINY.




It had been a while since we looked at our dining room floor. Out of sight, out of mind is a great thing when you know you’ve got giant holes in the floor covered with random bits of board, but yesterday when we tore everything up it was hard to ignore the giant holes.

Even harder to ignore was the corpse of the cat which had gone missing a few days previously. Poor Amy, she’d been holding out hope that some kind person had thought Alley was lost and picked her up.

Alley, who was my least favourite cat, has, in death, made her way to the top of the favourite cats list. Mostly because she died right underneath the only bit of under the house we can actually access. Smart move, cat.

But I digress.

Giant holes in the floor. See here for when we first discovered them, a really long time ago oh god why have we been procrastinating fixing this floor.

The holes were ahem slightly worse than that old post shows, care of people occasionally falling through the rotted floor boards and making new, larger holes.

Don’t judge me. If you could ignore holes in your floor by covering them with shitty carpet and furniture you would too.

SO. We removed the cat corpse, had the carpet laid through the entire living area and hallway and were given strict instructions to fix the dining room floor so they could finish laying the rest of the carpet another day.

Procrastination always takes a back step to the reality of hey you could lose a small child or three under your floor and fix it so you can have shiny new carpet you procrastinating idiots.

I had not planned to spent a lot of money buying new flooring for the dining room this fortnight, but hey, needs must and can I please just cry in the corner now.

WOO. New carpet and debt! YAY US.


I deleted my veronica@somedaywewillsleep.com email address today. Up to 500 spam emails were coming through a day (A FREAKING DAY) and my email spam filter wasn’t catching all of it. Now it’s gone. Deleted. If you want to email me veronica [at] veronica foale [dot] come still works, as does my business email veronica [at] veronica foale essentials [dot] com [dot] au . Just a heads up in case your emails to me start bouncing because god knows I am so popular these days.

And finally, if you’re looking for something AMAZING to give as a Christmas gift this year, may I recommend soap?

Handmade soap is gorgeous, good for your skin, smells amazing, and is good for your soul. You know you want it.

Use coupon code WELOVEXMAS at the checkout for 15% off up until the 18th December.

To make sure your order reaches you we recommend ordering no later than December 13.

Cool Mint



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In summary: No one died.

by Veronica on July 19, 2014

in Evelyn, Headfuck, Soapmaking

Internet, I cannot tell you how nice it is to be home. I’ve spent the last three days in hospital with Evelyn after she caught RSV and gastro together, making her horribly unwell.

Evelyn sick

Three days of IV fluids and a little oxygen and we were allowed to come home yesterday for a trial to see how she does. I am grateful to say she rocked the trial and we are still home and she’s feeling a little better back in her own routine. Not well enough to run around the house, but well enough to have opinions about putting on pants this morning.

We were worried and we’re so glad she’s on the mend now. It will take her a while to gain back the strength and weight she lost, but she’s eating a little and toddlers are excellent at bouncing back. Unlike Nathan and I, who are still getting over the effects of the gastro and RSV Evelyn gifted to us.

On the being home front, there’s nothing like sitting next to a toddler who is too unwell to do anything but sleep, watching her oxygen drop lower and lower to make you appreciate small things like a hot cup of tea and being able to potter around the house without worrying someone is going to cough themselves into unconsciousness.

Not to mention the bliss of sleeping in my own bed last night after the hospital pull out and previously, a mattress on the floor so I could monitor Eve’s breathing.

Things have been quiet here while I tease out what I’m doing. Evelyn update above aside, I’m not a Mummyblogger any more. So I don’t know what I am. Tired, mostly.

The fortnight of serious illness coupling as it did with the school holidays means I am seriously behind on soap work. There is 24kg of soap needing to be stamped and honestly, I’m not sure I’ve caught it in time. It might be too hard to stamp and I’m loathe to ruin any soaps trying. So I may just ignore it and send them out unstamped.

My routine is thrown out, and I’m struggling a bit, stepping back into the role of maker, writer, business owner, mother, nursemaid. Taking a fortnight was the only choice I had, but it’s hard now, playing catch up. That’s the problem with working for yourself – if you’re too sick to work, the work just waits for you. No one else does it for you.

It will be okay. I’ve only got eleventy hundred soap buckets to scrape out and wash, and like, five hundred soaps to label and wrap. When I get around to buying the paper for labels. And designing the labels. And printing them.

Holy mother of god but I need three more of me. And minions. Lots of minions.


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It’s been 18 months since I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, and twelve months since my brain was stable enough to come off my antidepressants and begin coping again. But the process of depression, like a lot of things, is not linear, and I find myself slipping back into old thought patterns quite easily these days.

Worry over starting a business is part of it, of course – we’ve invested time and money into this venture and as the launch day sneaks closer (September 12!), my stress levels rise.

But it’s more than that I think – a series of little things really. The anti-disability sentiment hanging around the joint lately doesn’t help. When a good portion of society is screaming that you’re worthless, it’s easy to dwell on all the things you can’t do, rather than the things you can.

And if I hear one person say “There’s no such thing as can’t” in a smug self-congratulating way, I may just hunt you down and personally stab you with a chopstick repeatedly until you can’t move.

It’s a lot of things and it’s nothing. Nothing and everything.

I’ve got an appointment with my doctor next week, ostensibly to fill out the paperwork Centrelink has demanded in giant red letters, asking me to prove my (degenerative, incurable) disability hasn’t magically improved, but I will be discussing the possibility of remedicating at the same time.

At any point when I stop writing, or leaving the house, it’s usually when I know I need help. So I’m asking for it.

The process of reassessment for disability support is also a factor here of course. Having to prove, over and over again that you’re telling the truth, that you have a problem, that it’s real, that it causes your life to be impacted in ways they can’t understand – it’s stressful.

I knew this was coming. I’m under 35 (clearly disability is harder to catch if you’re young) and I’m exactly the person the government is targeting with their current hate campaign, but I thought we’d have a little more time before I had to jump through metaphorical hoops. After all, the budget legislation hasn’t even passed yet.

But no matter. I can’t change it, I can’t fix it and I can’t magically fix the genetics which made me who I am and therefore start ‘contributing to society’, so I may as well just suck it up.

It’s still a bitter pill to swallow, to be beholden to a bureaucrat who decides whether you starve or not.

Someone, quite snarkily, told me I was not my genetic condition and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Because I am. Because this disabling condition is as much a part of me as motherhood, or the love of books and writing, or the fact I have black hair and hazel eyes. It’s part of me, sunk deep, and it impacts every single choice I make every single day. I can’t just take it off and have a break every now and then – it’s ME. It IS who I am, and I find myself resentful that someone would assume I could just delete part of my own story to… I don’t know? Stop talking about it maybe? Stop making them uncomfortable with the fact that disability can strike anyone?

I don’t know, but I still stew over it occasionally. “You are not your genetic condition” like somehow, my experiences as a disabled woman don’t matter. Like somehow, my disability is “other” to my identity.

Clearly this is a complex issue for me and I’m still working through it in my own head, but telling me I am not my genetic condition is akin to telling me to just get over it. To just ignore it and be … someone? someone else?

I don’t know.

It’s so much more complicated that a simple throwaway line suggesting my disability is not integral to who I am.

There have been a number of deaths in the Ehlers Danlos community lately. No one I knew, but friends of friends and it’s impossible to not be touched even slightly by the knowledge that EDS kills.

I am lucky in that my subtype is unlikely to cause aneurysm and death, or organ rupture. Crippling pain and dislocations, sure, but my doctors and I are pretty sure I won’t die of EDS related complications.

Not everyone is so lucky.

In the meantime, I will continue to potter around the house, doing the bits I can do and napping when I’m done. I’ll deal with yet another series of complaints when I can’t attend family gatherings because I’m too exhausted. I’ll hug my children, read a book, make some soap.

And hopefully, the antidepressants will help me get my head in order again soon.


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Darkness and light

by Veronica on June 24, 2014

in Cancer, Grief, Headfuck

Five years ago, we clustered around a bed in a palliative care ward, waiting. Holding hands, talking, but mostly, waiting.

It didn’t take long in retrospect, although the hours felt interminable, waiting for the next breath to come, the death rattle heavy in the room.

Until the next breath didn’t come and it was over. Months of appointments, of waiting, of saying goodbye over and over, culminated in one sharp moment when it stopped.

And then we all breathed again and had to go on without her. She stopped, but we failed to stop with her, and the hole of her leaving grew bigger as we missed her.

The first sign: wild ducks fleeing, circling frantically overhead like a crowd of mismanaged school children, no one sure where to go next. They hide in the trees and fall silent.

Not a bird in the sky, until we look closer, and see them, circling. Hunting maybe, or courting.

Round and round the eagles go, my eyes spotty from looking up at the bright sky, a cup of tea warm and heavy in my hands. The undersides of their wings glint gold in the sunlight, bright enough to make my eyes tear up as I look away.

We watch until they disappear over the horizon.

The crows return first, flying over, cawing their life loudly. Then the sparrows. A rosella. Our neighbours pigeons.

Life goes on, even with the shadow of death hanging over us.

Forty minutes to make three kilos of soap. Twenty minutes standing outside. Ten minutes reading. Today is broken up into blocks of minutes as we count down.

For a moment, everything will stop.

And then I’ll draw breath again and on we’ll go, into our sixth year without her.

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