Catching up with the muse

My Silly Mum was inspired by “mum moments” – those embarrassing, face-palming but ultimately, loveable, moments we all know.

In turn, the mother in My Silly Mum was inspired by myself, and my “mum moments” with Bear and Monkey, and by my own mum. When it came to illustrations, the mother ended up with Mum’s hair – see below for comparison (it’s how I remember her as a child) – and my glasses.


Mum’s visiting me from Sydney this week and she finally got to read My Silly Mum. It was heartwarming to see her smiling and laughing as she turned the pages, although she did reserve the right to point out which were her “mum moments” and which were mine. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who has made food into silly faces (although she does this for her guinea pig, Gertie, and I decorate Blue Eyes’ plate “just for fun”).

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Since then, we’ve been walking down memory lane, chatting about our memories of each other. She remembers the time I made her a fairy bread sandwich for work, the time I bit her toe (don’t ask), the orange and coffee flavoured chocolates we kindly shared, and the multiple times my sister and I snuck strange items into the shopping cart to see if she’d notice. I remember the times she “borrowed” our Easter Eggs, “moo-ed” in the butcher’s, the cringe-worthy mum jokes, and when she dressed up as a stick of licorice. We also remember watching Hitchcock movies together, staying up late to watch tennis, and that awful Bumblebee song my sister and I used to sing on purpose.

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Mum’s also been careful to remind me that I had plenty of “kid moments” that embarrassed her … like the time I hung a bra on her car, gave her super-salty licorice to eat while she was standing in a queue (and then pretended I couldn’t hear her calling for something to spit it into), and paging her in a shopping centre (it was before mobile phones). Then there’s the time I limped with the wrong foot to make my grandmother feel sorry for me, helped myself to a loaf of bread and ate it while I was in a pram (I was a baby), publicly announced mum had “nice breasters”, and ran naked through a university library (aged two!), and other toilet-related stories.

But that’s for another book.