by Lori Dwyer on September 19, 2013 · 2 comments

Softly, softly, softly. That’s how we do it here, every day, for now.

I watch my children adapt and warm to living with a new person in our lives. I watch with amazement as they take things in their stride, as they assess what goes on here and assimilate it into their tiny frames of what life is like.

As those of you who’ve done this before me know, introducing a new parental figure to the family mix is done with care and trepidation, and a definitive sense of not pushing things too far. 

Softly, softly.

Small invitations to intimacy are made. The Most Amazing Man offers the Chop a hug before bed, and he responds with his arms wide open. I see the hesitation more with my son than with my daughter. My Chop is hesitant to trust too much, to get too close. He remembers what it’s like to be left behind.

“I will leave you!” The Most Amazing Man says to me, taunting and joking, and I poke my tongue out in response.

Neither of us realised my son had heard that exchange, until his head pops up with shock and he asks “What? What did you say?”

“Joking, baby. We were joking, I promise. The Most Amazing Man is not going anywhere.”

Everything is done in tiny pieces, tiny increments of trust and discipline. Tiny offerings- a hug, a bedtime story, a family day out. All those ‘normal’ things you do with a dad, that my children have been missing for years.

Softly, softly. One tiny baby step at a time.



Urban Bliss.

by Lori Dwyer on September 10, 2013 · 16 comments

I’m a little bit in love with the suburb we’re living in. It feels like all neighbourhood-like. We’re at the point where I’m singing Sesame Street melodies in my head whenever I leave the house on foot.

It’s just nice here. People are friendly. I smile and nod hello to everyone I pass. Old men say “Good morning Bella!” to my daughter as she cruises past them on her way to daycare (which is called ‘kindergarten’ in Victoria, I’ve discovered. And what was kindergarten is now called ‘Prep’. Colour me confused)


Walking to school, Melbourne-style. Which translates to 'with an umbrella'.

Walking to school, Melbourne-style. Which translates to ‘with an umbrella’.


This area is filled with young parents, and there’s that aura that is everywhere in Melbourne– we’re all in this together- and most strangers are defaulted with trust rather than suspicion. My son takes a spill on his bike, riding 10 metres ahead of me, and another mum picks him up and dusts him off. I find myself doing the same thing for a little boy who’s fallen from his scooter. And the cycle continues.

We’re within a healthy walking distance from main roads and trams. Tiny corner shops- bakeries, milk bars, the odd bizarrely placed speciality store- dot the streets surrounding us. My car hasn’t left the driveway in days and I’m saving a fortune on petrol alone.

I’m also healthier, and feeling it, after just two weeks of this new, suburb-specific lifestyle. So are my children. They’ve taken to riding their bikes to school and kindergarten every day while I keep up a brisk pace beside them. The majority of food in our house is healthy and simple, and the Most Amazing Man ensures I eat a proper meal every night. I’ve given up Coca-Cola (it’s day four. My head hurts.) and I’m drinking water instead.

I soak up the aesthetics of where we are living. Houses in this area of Melbourne all seem to have the same basic structure. High ceilings. Wooden floors. Ancient light switches and electricity meters. Ducted heating and oddly-shaped backyards. Despite their sameness, they’ve all been here long enough to be quirky and inherently different, with years of lives lived, and changes made, tacked onto them like their typical  two room extensions.

I love walking around, soaking up the goings-on around me. There were a lot of shops along these roads once, it seems, small boxes with a house behind. And so many of their new owners here have incorporated both the shop and the house as a living space, designed around it rather than tearing it down. The concrete storefronts have become the back ends of houses, or airy front entrances hollowed out with a garden hidden between the front walls.


Clothes by Not sponsored- I just adore them.

Clothes by Not sponsored- I just adore them.


And the flowers. There are flowers everywhere here. People’s gardens are magnificent and diverse. Veggies grow in small front yards, daisies and roses are planted on nature strips. On the days the Bump and I walk to her kindergarten, we stop and admire everything in bloom, and I pass on to her what my Gran taught me. “These are hibiscus. These are geraniums.” And lilies and paper daisies and lavender and jonquils.

It’s difficult to miss the TinyTrainTown when I take full advantage of being where I am right now. I love it here. It’s all tiny lane-ways lined with blue stone, happy people and urban farmer’s markets. It’s diversity and it’s acceptance and it’s Melbourne.

This place, it speaks to something in my soul.



Father’s Day.

by Lori Dwyer on September 3, 2013 · 22 comments

My kids and I celebrate Father’s Day for the first time in three years. We acknowledge the day, do something for it. There’s an excited exchange of presents first thing in the morning, a family dinner in the evening.

It’s bizarrely unexpected, by The Most Amazing Man and myself. I had thought-as had he- that this would be a quiet day; one we slid into and bumped out of, glad that it was over.

But my children, to my continual surprise and amazement, have other ideas.

It’s not something I’ve ever mentioned to them, and certainly not something I’ve pushed for. But my son’s flawless five year old logic kicks in when making Father’s Day gifts at school. “I can give this to the Most Amazing Man.” He tells me matter of factly. “Because we are living with him now, so he’s kind of like our dad.”

I can’t argue with that. I don’t even want to.

The Bump is easily swayed by her brother’s opinions. Once his actions give her the green light, she becomes an accomplice to the celebrations. We start a small pile of school-made cards, hidden in a kitchen drawer, and they grow exponentially as the weekend grows closer.

Sunday morning is a flurry of cards and presents, of over-excited children. It’s a whole new experience for the The Most Amazing Man.

It’s entirely lovely, completely gratifying. Watching everything fall into its place… right now, it feels too good to be true.


Sunday lunchtime, The Most Amazing Man mows the back lawns of The New House. The grass is thick kikuyu, and it’s easier to just remove the catcher from the lawn mower completely, rather than emptying it every two minutes.

As a result, there are grass clippings flying through the air, catching and swirling in the breeze.

The Chop and the Bump think it’s marvellous- a snow storm of grass, a fairy world to dance in.

The Bump giggles uncontrollably. “Most Amazing Man!” she laughs. “Just look at what you are doing to our world!!”

That seems to be the most fitting statement, for all of it.

Most Amazing Man… just look at what you are doing, to our world.