Another Bad Idea

So, you know that thing when you have five kids, and a dog, and you think vaguely that it would be quite nice to have another baby, and so you are a bit casual about contraception (i.e. coil removal) but you just don’t get pregnant and then you think it is because your eggs are old, and you are old, and so is your husband, all of us all Too Old, then you get quite used to the idea that the former fecund and youthful ripe-like-a-bursting-pomegranate juicy you is actually just a dried up floppy bag of stretch marks and ruined boobs, and then you find out you are pregnant? You know that feeling?

Just me, then.

Apparently, there will be a sixth kid born to this elderly and overrun family on April Fool’s Day. Surprise! It turns out that human biology still works like it is supposed to, even if it is a little sluggish and tricksy. And I am a bit worried, and a bit embarrassed. It’s all a bit noticeable now; cocktail consumption shrunk to nil, jeans won’t fit, gut protrudes, and everything smells so, so bad. The worst things are:


burnt toast

clean laundry






And food is no longer my friend. I get hungry all the time, and desperate, eating-in-the-middle-of-the-street desperate, shopping bags cast asunder, baguette ripped open, butter  opened and spread all over it by my fingers, ham slapped in the middle, sinking into the bread like a starving dog. Then immediately I feel like my insides will burst from the pressure. My stomach is repulsed by the food-intrusion and the metallic taste takes over and I make ugly faces from the biliousness of it all. Burping. Eyes closing at 7pm. Cranky and weeping. No vomiting though, just a feeling of perpetual hungoverness. And shame; because

  1. I have enough children already.
  2. The planet! The PLANET! I’m taking too many resources and using too much water and emitting too much gas!
  3. The other children will have less of us to go around and they will feel neglected and will have to spend many years in therapy.
  4. Mark. Poor man. He should be retiring on a boat somewhere or something.
  5. My career. My poor, poor career. The one that hasn’t started yet.
  6. Where will we all fit? Can six children sleep in triple bunks in one room? How traumatising for them. We will have to move back to New Zealand so they can have more room to grow and run. So what if we will be in the car all the time.
  7. People think we have so many of them for cultish religious reasons, and that’s embarrassing.

The jokes shame me too. The one about not having a TV, and the one about Mark not knowing how it happens yet. The football team thing. The jokes about vasectomies. The way that people tell us that if it is a girl, it will be worth it – meaning, probably, that if it is another boy we should bury it in the back garden. The concerned, kind faces from people who are worried for my mental health. The terrible domestic workload that another baby will present. The dog – how the dog should probably go, because we will all crack under the pressure that taking the dog out for a daily stroll will take on us. And the little hints that, well, it is early days, and the pregnancy mightn’t be viable, anyway.

So, it’s pretty much agreed FROM THE WORLD THUS FAR that this is bad news, and an all-round Bad Idea.

List Of My Other Bad Ideas

  1. My mullet haircut at age nine, though I think I can put some responsibility onto the walk-in, no-appointment necessary cheap hairdressers in Whangarei that I was taken to for the fateful cut. Puberty kicked in almost immediately, the short bits became massive curly side-wings, like Princess Diana’s hair when it was at its most bouffant, though with long silken strands hanging down my back. Almost impossible to grow out. Such a bad idea, that one.
  2. My law degree. Should have volunteered at a radio station. Learnt how to tell stories and broadcast them to people. Law was only good for making me feel a bit out of my depth. And for sending me into debt.
  3. Forgetting to get a proper job. Thinking that one would come to me because I was a bit awesome. This is a terrible idea. I should have chased one when I was young and unencumbered. Also should have been less arrogant.
  4. Trying my hand at product development. Money = firepit.
  5. Accepting that fishtank from Fiona.  The remaining brown tiny boring fish still hasn’t died. It’s like a wet cockroach who weathers inconsistent feeding, bangs to the tank, constant Pokemon on the telly. He should have been floating belly-up years ago.
  6. Eyebrow plucking. They are wonky and weedy and sad-looking. I am destined to colour them in for the rest of my life.
  7. Dressing in secretary suits when I was 14. Mum and dad showed us home videos from the 1990’s when I had luxurious afghan-hound lampshade-shaped hair and massive glasses and inexplicably, I was wearing a turquoise linen skirt suit. I also remember a banana-yellow one, a brown one, and several suits in shades of green. I am sure everyone else was wearing flannel shirts and jeans in the manner of Kurt Cobain. I have no idea where the secretary dressing-up idea came from. Precocious eejit.

You see? Full of bad ideas. And the mean neighbour had a shouty fight with me about my appalling children and my terrible parenting and so we called the police. She was very cross because, over the summer holidays, the kids were variously:

  1. playing with a ball outside out flat
  2. playing on the stairs outside our flat, opening up one of those fake fossil things where you dig and smash it to get it open
  3. playing a game where an old nike shoe was tied to a string, and they lowered it up and down over the stairs outside our flat like they were fishing
  4. playing the our communal garden and running around.

These things, she said, have driven her over the edge and it is my fault because I am extremely bad at controlling them. And during this shouty, dramatic, upsetting street-fight,  I’m was thinking OH MAN JUST WAIT TIL YOU SEE THAT I’M GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER UNCONTROLLABLE KID – PROBABLY A BOY. She’s totally going to go postal and throw rocks or something.


Anyway, in the meantime, this uncontrollable kid turned three:


And my hair went right:


It’s the little things, eh.





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29 Responses to Another Bad Idea

  1. Clare says:

    Wonderful news!! Forget the negatives, you know they are all paltry compared to the joy of holding your new tiny soft baby in your arms. Your boys big and small will all be fine because they are a team. Love your blog, not usually a commenting sort but my heart did a little leap for you so had to send congratulations!!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations! I think this is very good news. I look forward to seeing pictures of the little guy or girl out and about in London in the spring. 🙂 And really, once you have five, you might as well go ahead and have a sixth! (Says the woman with one….)

  3. raccontando says:

    I totally understand the ambivalence and the worry but – CONGRATULATIONS! It will all work out in ways you probably can’t even yet imagine but in the meantime – enjoy being up the duff! 😀

    • theharridan says:

      As soon as everything stops tasting of metal coins, I will try to enjoy myself. NEED. BIG. ELASTICATED. PANTS. SO. BADLY

  4. textpatwives says:

    What brilliant news! Babies are fabulous. (Well, other people’s babies.) Big huge, butter-slathered, cheese-laiden congratulations.

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! Cheese of the pasteurised kind, right…? I did enjoy a bit of stinky camembert last night. Baddest of bad mums.

  5. Tania Blake says:

    Hey Jodi the house next door to is is for sale it’s huge and an amazingly huge back garden you have a builder for a husband done move back To NZ just move to Bounds Green love Tania x

  6. Jo says:

    This is lovely news, I am in the midst of a baby boom at the moment lots of my friends are pregnant with their first baby where as mine are finally both at school, weird out of sink feeling.. Your babies are all beautiful look fwd to seeing the new one! Xx

  7. Georgie says:

    I love reading your blogs Chodes. And I honestly miss them when I’ve finished. Your real career ought to be to put all your prior pieces together, add some new stuff and sell it as a book. I know we’d all buy it.
    Also, congratulations my friend, you know how awesome me and my 5 siblings turned out and I’d NEVER change there being so many of us. Best upbringing and teammates in the world.
    If I hadn’t left it so late to become afflicted with a human parasite, I’d’ve had more. (I really want one more but am dreading the realities of it all; your brilliantly written about morning sickness!! Hard going and SO AWFUL!
    I miss you and selfishly wish you would move to New Plumouth (been here for 4 days now) it’s pretty nice but would be amazing with you here.
    Nick has already made a pig hunting friend in the guy we bought a bed and couch off at the shop. Mark heaven.
    Hang in there. Xx

    • theharridan says:

      Oh, pigs! We saw Hunt of the Wilderpeople and Mark was nearly weeping with longing when the Terminator Pig came on screen. Poor man. Anyway, you know the Henderson clan numbers have always been my hashtagGOAL. You all seem to have turned out ok. PS Have another baby anyway! Never mind the sickness, the fatness and the months-long misery!

  8. nicolap27 says:

    I’m just a follower of your blog – but feel genuinely chuffed at your news. Hearty congrats. And, I can totally relate to the mullet thing. I have had SO many accidentally cut in. Whenever I hear a hairdresser exclaim I have a lot of hair, I know they’ve lost control and are wildly cutting in which always ends in a mullet.

    Oh, and your bat-shit crazy neighbour? Let her complain, what can she do? I mean really…

    • theharridan says:

      So sorry to have met another traumatised mullet-victim. We should post pics so everyone can see the horror of which we speak. Neighbour has hopefully been scared off by police, but she’s REALLY mean, so we will see….

  9. Penny says:

    Been reading your blog for years.never commented before.Congratulations! Babies are wonderful!This little person is obviously meant to be.Love the stories about your boys.Horrible neighbour must be a little unhinged.Cheers from a granny in Auckland.

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you for commenting – it is lovely to have a reader say hi and especially a granny from Aucks! And yes, babies are wonderful…I am lucky to be doing all this again x

  10. dorothy says:

    Congratulations!! Well done you and Mark. A baby is a joy and should be celebrated as should the mama!!
    Shut up, naysayers, it is not your life.

  11. jacks says:

    holy moly! thats big news!
    All I can see is you making millions of dollars writing a memoir of your family life and I’d pay for that book.
    Congratulations on the latest addition. I can’t wait to read all about it through your glorious blog. (pretty much the only blog I read these days)

    PS and the SNIP n Style Whangarei is still going strong!

    • theharridan says:

      How did you know it was Snip’N ‘Style? It totally was! I had forgotten but it’s all coming back to me now!

  12. catalpa99 says:

    Wow, fantastic – very thrilled for you. You are Awesome! Hope you start feeling better soon.

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! The smells have stopped being so offensive and I an manage coffee again. PHEW. It’s been a rough few months 😷

  13. Old Jane says:

    Fabulous wonderfulness! Thrilled and hope this keeps you not doing other paid work but instead you have ‘Time to Spend Blogging for Us’ ~ your readers who so appreciate every word you share to us. You have lovely children and the battle-ax neighbor needs her mind cleared and some extra chocolate in her diet as, clearly, in her deprived state her judgement has left her behind. SUCH JOY for all of you. I am VERY happy for you all!

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you! Yes I will try to write more (maybe even a compilation of some of my stuff) though I did just get a lovely writing gig for i-D magazine and Chanel (!!!!). SCREAM

  14. cyclestand says:

    OH MY GOSH! I’ve only just stopped apologizing for my brood of four, you are a WONDER. And a maker of excellent babies. Bah humbug on the haters. Lots of love and good energy and lovely karmic vibes etc. from an avid long-time reader of yours 🙂 🙂

    • theharridan says:

      It’s lovely to meet you! Hello and thank you for reading my stuff! And it is always nice to know there are others out there with big families who feel a bit conspicuous and a bit shamed. Gah

  15. leoniekate says:

    Long term reader, never a commenter until now. But I love love your writing and I am really thrilled for you! Congratulations! Xxx

  16. Do says:

    Congratulations! A baby is ALWAYS happy news, really, in spite of all the (many) negatives. And perhaps the older boys will be great at helping? Best wishes for it all, from Linlithgow, Scotland. 🙂

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