This is just a straight up brag post. Elspeth, who is not yet five, is pictured here reading Henny Penny to Evelyn. Sounding words out, correcting mistakes, clearly not simply reciting from memory. Elspeth’s reading is just incredible and I am constantly amazed at what she reads, and how quickly she reads. The other day she glanced at my computer screen for a moment and then said, “I saw you type ‘eye roll.'” She’ll read product and brand names in shops, even things we don’t buy or have in our house. She’s quite the clever clogs!


I think just about everybody is aware that becoming a parent is going to involve some sacrifice. You give up work for a while, you have to forgo certain social activities, you can’t sleep whenever you like. But over the last five years of motherhood, it’s the smaller things that stick out.

Music choice: I can’t listen to my own music without somebody saying “But I wanted Disney songs!”

TV and movies: Ditto, if it isn’t Disney or Pixar, it just doesn’t happen.

A leisurely meal: Any meal is inevitably going to be interrupted, either by the need to go and assist a child with something or by a child wanting some of what I’m eating.

Daydreaming: Doing nothing sends children a clear signal that now is a good time to need me.

Silence: What is that?

Walking: I can’t just stride off anymore, I’ve got to modify your pace to suit shorter legs. This has also lowered my level of fitness and my weight; I used to briskly walk everywhere, but now I either dawdle or take the bus.

Belongings: Nothing is really mine anymore, not if somebody else thinks it looks appealing. Without constant vigilance and repeated “That is not yours!” things get lost or broken.

Personal space: I can’t move without elbowing somebody in the head.

Doctors, dentists, and hairdressers: I prefer not to have two bored restless children hanging about while people are trying to do delicate or precise things to me.

To answer Darek Isaacs…

Darek-IsaacsThis guy here is Darek Isaacs, a “creation scientist” (I hate that term; it’s not science) with a history of saying stupid things. They include the claim that dragons were real. He pops up on my radar every now and then and always makes me roll my eyes, but this time I just had to say something.

His latest anti-evolution rhetoric is to imply that if evolution is true, then rape must be acceptable. The logic goes like this: if evolution is all about lots and lots of breeding, how could it be wrong to force a woman to breed with a man? In his exact words, “If evolution is true … is rape wrong”?

I’m sure an evolutionary biologist or other scientist could refute this with ease, but even I can immediately come up with a couple of very good reasons to give Isaacs a resounding yes. Rape is always wrong, and so are you.

Firstly, evolution has never been all about males, and it has never been all about males breeding with whichever female they want or doing so forcefully. Many animals operate under a “female choice” system, where males put on a display of some sort and the females choose the male they find most suitable. All evolution relies on (in sexually reproducing organisms) is the mutation and recombination of DNA, and both genders contribute equally to the DNA of the offspring. If rape were the way to transmit your DNA, a male would only be transmitting it to individuals incapable of fending him off (for a variety of reasons, including physical weakness or lack of familial protection), thus potentially creating offspring – both male and female – with inherited vulnerabilities. Hardly a long-term strategy.

Secondly, cultural evolution is just as real as biological evolution. Regardless of what biological imperatives we operate under as animals, humans (and indeed many other animals) have developed various ways of navigating the intricacies involved in being sociable. Moral codes are one way in which social animals ensure they can function cohesively, morality enables us to be a society rather than a collection of squabbling individuals. Morality, in modern western societies, forbids rape.

Darek Isaacs is one of a great many creationists who attempt to deny evolution whilst knowing absolutely nothing about it. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort, not even a degree, to obtain a basic understanding. Even a simple Google search could easily fill in the vast gaps in his understanding of what evolution is, what it does, and how it does it. I’m not even asking him to stop being a creationist, only to have some knowledge of what it is he attempts to refute so that he can argue effectively. Instead, he creates a strawman – he presents arguments against points that don’t exist, he denies things that no evolutionary scientist actually believes. How is that a discussion? It’s childish.

Evie and I don’t like getting up early

IMGP9170Wednesday mornings are tough. We’ve had four fairly restful days, and suddenly Elspeth’s back at kindergarten starting at 8.15am. Early! Yikes. Evelyn didn’t want to get up this morning, not that I blame her, so I had to pull her blankets off and let the cold wake her. She bore it well, and was cheerful throughout preparations, the walk to kinder, and shopping immediately afterwards. When we got home, though, she jammed her finger in the front door as she closed it. The grumps seemed to remind her of the tiredness, and it wasn’t long before she passed out on the couch!

People aren’t just one thing

message board poster


Whenever you see an article about somebody’s amazing achievement or criminal endeavour, the person will be described as a “mother of three”, a “grandfather”, a “youtuber”, a “seventeen year old”. All of these tags make these people seem relatable; we all know grandfathers and we’ve all seen a video on YouTube. They make it seem like what’s been done is something anybody could do. Any teenager could find a cure for cancer! Any teenager could beat and rob an old man! We were all teenagers once. They simultaneously encourage us, depress us, and mislead us.

Because let’s face it: none of those people are only that. That grandfather might have been a pioneer in IT and have years of study and experience behind him before becoming an entrepreneur. That mother of three might have been abused herself and then failed by social services before abusing her own children. We never know the full story, we never seem to question much beyond a very simple identifier.

I’m sick of it. Hoping for advice or insights, I click on articles about mothers becoming successful business people, but they never give the essential details. They never say what qualifications, experience, or contacts those mothers had first. They’re not helpful, they’re barely even interesting, they’re more like advertising for the new business than encouraging words to others. That “message board poster” in the image above might have had an advanced degree in cryptography for all I know. The article doesn’t say.

People cannot be so easily defined. People are like ogres and onions: we have layers. We have facets. We are not one thing alone.