Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Name Big Heart [Review]

There are certain things in life where the name just doesn’t fit the object.

“W” is pronounced ‘double u’ but it’s actually double ‘v’.

We call them a pair of pants, but there is actually only one.

It doesn’t change the value of the object but it isn’t exactly descriptive either.

When I was offered the chance to try out one of the handmade Binky blankets I was expecting something small, for in my mind a Binky is cute and little. I had missed the line on the website indicating that the blanket was the size of a single bed...

To read out what happened next click here to go to my blog post on Mamadoo and for the chance to win one of two Binky Blankets click here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I was recently asked to write a post for first-time dads, and as neither a dad nor a first timer, I felt unqualified. So I asked my male friends for their advice (that article to follow soon on the Mamadoo blog) and one response was so funny and heartfelt I asked if he wanted to write a guest post for Relentless.

Failure IS an Option: by Glenn Dungate

I can remember clearly the emotion and excitement that I felt as I walked through the sliding glass automatic doors of the hospital the day after Maisie was born. I had gone home the night previous and fallen asleep strangely free of burden and worry and, instead,  filled with pride in the strength of my wife and elation for our “bundle of joy”. The need to clean the living hell out of our townhouse and watch as much Foxtel as possible was also strangely thrown into the mix.

I have never felt peace and excitement like I did in those first few days. Overjoyed that I had a daughter. Overwhelmed that I had seen things happening between my wife’s legs that I was sure would scar me for the rest of my life and euphoric that two was now three. A family. My family. Our family.

Then she came home. Free from the support of Midwives and Doctors, Maisie was now alone with us. I laid her down on a play mat and stared at her. What was going to happen now ? How was “it” going to happen and what was “it” exactly ?

For me “it” was the fear of failure.

I failed at three months after I dropped her on her head onto the tiled kitchen floor. This happened on the first day that my wife had left me alone with her. I was in tears and a major panic as I called my wife, crying down the phone that a lump was appearing on her head. Cradling her as her cries subsided we hopped into my bed and I tried to comfort her. She started falling asleep. I panicked again. Sleep after head trauma equals concussion.  I tried to keep her awake, she didn’t like that. Maybe because it was her nap time and her dad was red eyed and bouncing her up and down singing “Wakey wakey Maisie” over and over and over again.

I failed when she was a toddler and  I grabbed her arm in anger. She wasn’t listening, it was bath time and she had better things to do. She was in a typical Maisie moodI grabbed her right arm as I leaned down to try and reason through clenched teeth and she immediately burst into tears saying “You hurt my arm”. I was heartbroken.  I have always felt that hitting a child in punishment is beyond wrong. The thought that inflicting pain in the belief that it will create reason and understanding is brain dead and pathetic.  Anyone with intelligence knows that there are times that you cannot reason with them. There are times that you cannot make them understand. There are times that you have to think happy thoughts and take deep yoga like breathes. This was one of those times. And yet, I had just hurt her in my attempts to reason with her. More tears from me and a major apology followed.

Then my wife became pregnant. Euphoria soon turned to unbearable sadness when at 12 weeks we had to terminate the pregnancy. The pride in the mental and physical strength of my wife that I had felt with the birth of our first child returned, though in completely different circumstances.  I wanted to take all her pain. I wanted to hold her and not let go. Even though it was nature and even though there was nothing we could have done……. I felt I had uncontrollably failed.

In the months and years that have followed I have experienced the Jane Austin-like highs of love, pride and awe along with the Shakespearean-like battles of sadness, fear, anger and rage that only a child with the combined DNA of two crazies like us can produce. 

Despite my fears I have succeeded many more times than I have either truly or falsely failed. Maisie is now 5 and the “it” has become the realisation that parenting is a glorious burden. Embrace it and every piece of luggage that goes with it.  If you are true to yourself and more importantly to the human in your care, you can’t fail.

Glenn Dungate

Friday, August 1, 2014

Would You Like to Review My Children's Books?

A couple of years ago, stuck in the middle of school holidays with my then-five year old Bombshell, we decided that we would write a book together.

Specifically, I would write it, and she would do the illustrations. I let her choose the most important aspects of the book, such as the name of the main character (Fairy Sparkle Rose), the colour of her dresses, and the 'twist' at the end of the story. It is a story about being yourself and not following the pack.

I enjoyed it so much, I wrote another book 'How the Rainbow Got its Colours' which is a story about sharing.

Then earlier this year, obviously with the 'D' word flapping around the back of my head, I wrote a story called 'My Body My Shape' (yeah, the title is a work in progress) which is a story about loving different shapes and sizes.

I don't know why the image is doing this, but I assure you the books themselves are completely normal

Each story is aimed at 4-6 year olds. They are very simple stories, with painted illustrations by my daughters. I have simply printed them myself on Snapfish, so the production is basic.

But I have a few spare copies, and I will post them to you if you wouldn't mind reading them to your kids, and then emailing me a few lines telling me what you think. Be honest, there's no point telling me they're awesome if you actually think they're crap. If you happen to own a publishing company and you love them, then yes, I am willing to sign a contract.

It's first in, first served, so please email me your name and postal address to (email only please, don't put your personal details on Facebook)*.

Update: thanks to everyone who responded, but I have had more offers to review the books than expected,and unfortunately, there are no more copies available.

I can send packs of two books to the US or Europe (2 on offer) and packs of three books within Australia (up to five on offer). (Sorry about the discrepancy, but it costs a lot to post things across the world).

* I promise not to stalk, harass or sell your personal details to anyone. Just in case you were wondering...

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