Type
Article
Category
Writing

Child’s play

(or Strategies for buying an hour and a half of writing time from your eight-month-old)

Turn on the laptop, crank up the gas heater and choose one of the following:

1. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a tub of cottage cheese
2. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with an entire loaf of bread
3. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a pot full of lukewarm spaghetti
4. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with an entire copy of the Age newspaper
5. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a pot full of lukewarm rice
6. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a pot full of lukewarm baked beans
7. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a tub of grated cheese
8. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet with a pot full of mashed potato
9. Sit her naked on a plastic sheet
10. Sit her naked

WARNING: Plastic sheets are not suitable for children of any age and contact with infants may result in serious injury or death. The Age newspaper is not suitable for children of any age and contact with infants may result in serious injury, death or prolonged bouts of depression. Sitting naked is not suitable for children of any age and may result in serious injury, death or nudist tendencies in later life. Playing with or consuming their own faeces is not recommended for children of any age and may result in serious illness or death. Actual writing time is estimated at an hour and a half but may vary from baby to baby and may be as little as ten minutes. Actual clean-up time is two hours.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian author and slam poet of Afro- Caribbean descent. Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the 2015 ABIA Award for Best Literary Fiction and the 2015 Indie Award for Best Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her memoir, The Hate Race, her poetry collection Carrying the World, and her first children’s book, The Patchwork Bike, will be published by Hachette in late 2016.

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Comments

  1. Bwahahaha – hilarious Maxine (especially love the warning at the end) – they don’t need much to entertain themselves that’s for sure (especially not expensive toys – empty cardboard boxes are also great ;) )

  2. Maxine, this comment is very late because I have a 3-year-old. Enough said.

    PS. Do you have any suggestions for a three-year-old? Am thinking about constructing a ‘maze’ that he has to ‘try’ and get out of.

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