We have a grapefruit tree in our backyard that is ancient and diseased and bears ugly fruit and is under constant threat of the chainsaw.

Our three children climb up into the tree’s canopy and hide, then swing off its branches onto the grass below, and they find new climbing routes up its gangly limbs.

When I was a kid, I recall being angry with my Dad for not consulting me about changes to our backyard. When I was seven, living in Hamiltion, our macrocarpa hedge had grown a limb that extended over the grass in a gesture that asked us to a game of see-saw. It wasn’t so much a tree as a character in our games, morphing from a horse to an aeroplane back to a see-saw. One day Dad gave it the chop and I protested, then moped.

A few years later we had moved to Auckland and our house had a big section with a long curved gravel drive running through it. One day the concrete trucks arrived, and there was no satisfying crunch underfoot, or gravelly sound underwheel. It felt like our sanctuary had been infiltrated by the busy road at the top of the drive. The city had come to our house.

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Noun, A person who enjoys the warmth and simple pleasures of being at home (circa 2018)

Perhaps I’ve always been a homebody but now that it’s cool to have a great night in, it’s time for me to wear that title like a badge of honour.

It sits alongside other badges I’ve earned for jobs such as picking corn kernels out of the washing machine after bad bouts of sickness in the family.

The highlight of my week? Friday night in front of the telly with a glass of wine. I’ve earned my homebody status in a way no millennial could claim it off me.

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On a recent Monday morning my four year-old son played with Lego while I typed, deadline looming.

He sat on the floor by my desk, stirring Lego around a big plastic container to find the pieces he needed to make a racing car from an instruction booklet. This worked well until the rattling of Lego reached an angry crescendo, ending in demands for me to find a long black piece.

And so our search began. We started with a systematic stir of the plastic container, rattling Lego here and there, then checked the pieces he had strewn on the floor. Then under the bed. To put your hands under a bed in our house is to come up trumps with all manner of discarded items. Over the years, in no particular order, I’ve found:

• Apple cores
• Used tissues
• Lolly wrappers
• Banana skins
• Long forgotten pull-ups
• Unidentifiable Goo

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The sales assistant at the sunglasses shop has her sales pitch ready for people who visit the mall in their lycra.

I was clad like a sausage because I had to make a last-minute dash to the shops to buy sunglasses after a gym class. My sunglasses had broken, and I’d been wearing an old pair rescued from my kids’ dress-up box that were scratched like an Instant Kiwi ticket. Sunglasses shopping was urgent.

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cassette tapes
Time is a mysterious thing that marches forward regardless of how we feel about it. Last week I was 39 and this week I’m 40.

Before my birthday I wanted people to ask after my age, so I could revel in my thirties for those final days.

Each day I told my children I’m 39. My four year-old son Luke is slowly coming to grips with time. For him, there is only today. Yesterday and tomorrow are muddled. He often asks me if Grandad is older than Great-Granny, or if Daddy is older than Grandma.

Last week he pressed my cheeks together like playdough, looked deep into my eyes, and said; “Mummy you are getting old now. You have a moustache growing.”

The turning of any decade is a milestone and I can remember feeling excited about the first two, some trepidation about being an actual grown-up for the third, and the fourth?

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reading to dogs
I took my kids to the library and they read books to a dog.

It wasn’t just any dog, it was Wilson, an 8 month-old trainee guide dog who had been invited to the Mt Albert Library to listen to children read.

Despite what you may be thinking, the library hasn’t gone to the dogs – this is a novel approach to encourage children to enjoy reading in a fun environment – after all, dogs don’t judge.

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left handed
When it became obvious my three children are all left-handed, I felt like I had conquered the gene pool. Then I began to wonder if it was nurture over nature.

The numbers defied the odds – just 10 percent of the population has a dominant left hand, yet my husband is the only right-handed person in our family of five.

Could I be teaching our kids to use their left hand?

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I have a confession to make: this is my third attempt at writing a blog post. It’s not writer’s block I’ve suffered from – it’s writer’s anxiety. I struggled to hit publish because I like having an editor who can cast an independent eye over my work. But this is different so…

Welcome to Amy Writes, my new place online. I’ve dreamed of having a blog but for a long time couldn’t decide what to write about. I mulled over different ideas for about a year. To solve this dilemna, I’ve decided to write about anything that captures my interest.

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