Car­rie Bick­more says hol­i­days with kids are not time off – but do make mem­o­ries.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - CAR­RIE BICK­MORE

Hol­i­days with kids need to be called some­thing else. Google the def­i­ni­tion of “hol­i­day” and your com­puter will spit back words at you like “re­lax­ation”, “leisure” and “time-off”.

I don’t know about you, but our hol­i­days are about as re­lax­ing as do­ing an al­ge­bra exam. As for the time-off? Hol­i­days y are time-off from work, but still work of a whole dif­fer­ent kind. Google oogle needs a new al­go­rithm. It all starts with the pack­ing. It took me weeks to pack for our re­cent beach h break as I tipped al­most everything ything the kids owned into four dif­fer­ent suit­cases: Panadol dol in case they got a fever; er; Imod­ium in case they got the runs; board games es to stop them play­ing on the e ipad; the ipad; charg­ers; gers; lots of charg­ers; a beach h cricket set; swim­ming nap­pies ies (why can’t they just poo in n the ocean or be­hind a bush h like we did when we were ere kids?!); sun­screen; aloe vera; puz­zles; a book for me e that I’ll never get time to read; and enough “rug­gies” ies” for our twoyear-old, old, Evie, that should a bush h tur­key storm our house e and take one, there would d be enough spares for her er not to no­tice. You laugh, h, but it could hap­pen. I re­call my child­hood hol­i­days be­ing sur­rounded with friends and fam­ily so, in that same spirit of gen­eros­ity, we now had fam­ily and friends stay with us. This meant for a week the adults were out­num­bered by peo­ple aged un­der four. The days started early – 4.15am early, as the des­per­ate cries of an 18-month-old rang g through g the house. The dad, wor­ried about wak­ing the rest of us, popped him in the pram and took him for fo a two-hour walk in the dark! One kid go got stung by a jel­ly­fish, an­other (ours) got in an al­ter­ca­tion with the afore­men afore­men­tioned bush tur­key. The same child was a also learn­ing to toi­let train and took a wee in the lobby of a re­sort we weren’t even stay­ing at. Ev­ery­where we went, I h had to carry a potty seat around should na­ture call. Mar­shalling a trip to the beach re­quired mil­i­tary-level c com­mand. Chil­dren needed to be dressed, dr sun­screened, hy­drated an and then trans­ported by foot or pram pram. (Why take a pram to the beach?) Once there, a look­out was re­quired to re­main vig­i­lant should any child de­cide to take a solo mis­sion into the surf. Shel­ter on the beach came from an “easy-to-put-to­gether” “easy-to-put-to­gethe beach tent. I’d rather as­sembl as­sem­ble a ma­chine­gun – which would be safer. When a strong wind picked up there was ev­ery chance of an in­no­cent beach­goer re­ceiv­ing a tent pole to the back of their head. Plus, it al­ways started an ar­gu­ment. You hold the pole. What pole? The one in your hand. Now hold the canvas, be­fore the wind gets it! I don’t think it’s made of canv… it blew away. Baaaaabe… where’s Evie? Ah, bug­ger. Over there, near the wa­ter. Then we both let go of the tent, and it col­lapsed in the sand. I’m sure go­ing to the beach was sim­pler when we were kids.

De­spite all this non­sense, our minds have a way of edit­ing our mem­o­ries to fo­cus on the good bits. When I sit now at work and re­flect on our hol­i­day, I don’t think of the de­layed flight, sandy crack, or early starts. I think of jump­ing in the waves, the kids laugh­ing with de­light, eat­ing fish’n’chips, af­ter­noon naps, sun­sets and fam­ily time. Hol­i­days with young chil­dren may be hard work, but spend­ing end­less days and nights with the kids, and noth­ing pulling us in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, cre­ates mo­ments that are the foun­da­tions of our lives to­gether. Fam­ily hol­i­days are not al­ways hol­i­days by any cur­rent English dic­tionary def­i­ni­tion. But they are spe­cial in any­one’s lan­guage. Car­rie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm week­nights, on Net­work Ten.

“A beach trip needed al­most mil­i­tary-level com­mand… and why did we bring a pram?”

I loved writ­ing with Aus­tralians and see­ing those songs get up, com­pared to writ­ing with big in­ter­na­tional names, like I had, and those songs never see­ing the light of day. This al­bum is au­then­ti­cally Aus­tralian. One song even slams the demise of both the in­fa­mous B&S balls in ru­ral Aus­tralia, and the im­pact of lock­out laws on live mu­sic venues in cities. We used to play a B&S ball back in the day out in ru­ral NSW. I think there used to be about 48 of them in the state; now there’s two be­cause they can’t get in­sur­ance for them. I guess that’s sim­i­lar to what has hap­pened with the lock­out laws. And a lot of the RSL clubs now don’t pro­vide rid­ers [for back­stage drinks] be­cause some guy some­where got drunk on the rider and crashed his car on the way home. Af­ter your in­ci­dent out­side the Crazy Horse strip club in Ade­laide last Jan­uary, you said you would stop go­ing out for drinks af­ter gigs. A year on, how is that go­ing? We don’t do it any­more and not just be­cause of that. Tour­ing is a lot of late nights and then early morn­ings; 4.30am lobby calls to drive four hours to get a flight. I’m older [at 42] and wiser, and you just don’t bounce back as eas­ily. It’s about my voice, too. I’ve been re­ally proud of how I’m singing and I want to put the em­pha­sis on giv­ing fans the show they de­serve for what they have paid. You said you were in the “dog­house” for a while with your wife Rochelle af­ter that drama. You’ve ded­i­cated a love song on the new al­bum to her. Yeah, es­pe­cially the verse about her be­ing the glue hold­ing it all to­gether for our fam­ily; the sin­gle par­ent when I would be away for six to eight weeks at a time. She had to run the whole show. I ap­pre­ci­ate she saw some­thing in me, be­lieved in me – be­fore the TV thing even hap­pened. She fell in love with me, not the per­cep­tion of me. Un­bro­ken is out on Fri­day. Shan­non Noll tours Aus­tralia in May; shan­non­noll.com.au.

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