So as I mentioned last month, we’ve moved back to the city that literally rocks - Christchurch. We’ve left what books we did bring in boxes, no point in putting them out on bookcases when a decent aftershock will only make them fall out! Thanks so much for your book culling comments too – the winner from that is Scarlet Wilson! Scarlet, please email me at natalie(at)natalie-anderson(dot)com and I can get the book into the post for you!
So we’re settling in, the move has brought some little challenges but it’s really pretty ok. My biggest effort has gone into settling the children – especially the elder two into school. Here in New Zealand the norm is to take a cut lunch from home. My daughter takes a ‘no-wrap’ container with mini containers inside. The son uses a stainless steel tiffin that is the cutest contraption ever (he loves how it all stacks together and has a cool closing device).
He likes sandwiches. She hates them. I do what I can to accommodate preferences. But I noticed that in the first week or so of the new school, neither of them were eating much.
Cue the mummy-alarm-bells!!!
Not eating lunch must been some kind of anxiety, or lack of time, or some kind of problem... The dreaded New School Nerves?
What’s a mother to do?
Well I went to the shop and bought a number of treaty things, anything to tempt them. Worked pretty well for the daughter, but the boy was still coming home with untouched sandwiches.
And then I thought hard about that child. One of his current interests is ancient Egypt and mummification. He likes the whole promise of the apocalypse if you open the hidden burial chambers and all that fun, ghoulish stuff. So, relating that back to the uneaten lunch? I decided to threaten him. I wrapped the sandwiches in the white paper and scrawled across the top in permanent marker:
Eat these or face the curse of the Mummy!
Pretty simple. I drew a bat in the corner (I have no idea if there are bats in Egyptian chambers, but I figured it gave it a suitably spooky look). And guess what?
The sandwiches got eaten.
Now any nice parenting blog will tell you that kids like messages in their lunchboxes – you can even buy premade lunchbox messages which is pretty cute. But to my mind, store bought kind of takes the fun out of it! Surely no child wants the same message. My kids are different – with different senses of humour, different needs – the eldest is the more anxious one, the worrier, nervous about who she’s going to hang with for that never-ending lunch hour. So she gets the sweet messages, the ones where I write something to boost her mood – just that I love her, or am proud of her. The boy is more laid back, has a wacky sense of humour and a fantasy-rich mind. So he gets the curses.
I did make one mistake though – when I labelled the pack as ‘Baboon Snot Sandwiches: Eat Them or Else’.
He didn’t eat them. Because they sounded ‘gross’.
And here was me thinking that was the point! Clearly I was wrong. However the one where if he 'didn’t eat it his toes would fall off’ - that got eaten. So we seem to be working out the right kind of threats and curses. I’ve had to stretch out from plagues of locusts and armies of undead... And of course, now coming up with a Mummy Curse every day is becoming a bit of a challenge – usually I write fun and flirty books for grown-ups, not middle grade ghosty stories!!!
But as it happens, I do have one book about to come out where I had the chance to write some truly wicked messages... Dating and Other Dangers is all about a guy who gets named and shamed by several anonymous wenches on a dating reputation website, he hunts down the web-mistress, takes one look at her and challenges her to three dates with him to prove it was all libel...
So the book is based around those three dates and their respective blog wars about it – and yes, there are some mean messages and curses hurled on those blogs!
This book was such a fun one to write – I think the most fun for me ever.... I guess I have a love of the evil curses as much as my son!
So I’ve a challenge for you now – in the comments, leave a Mummy Curse that I can put in the boy’s lunch box and I’ll put you in the draw to win a copy of DATING AND OTHER DANGERS!
(Winner will be drawn 24 June and I’ll edit this post so you know!)
Edited to add: The winner is Pat Cochran! Pat, please email me at natalie(at)natalie-anderson(dot)com and I'll get your copy into the post for you. Thanks so much everyone!
Natalie Anderson adores a happy ending, which is why she always reads the back of a book first. Just to be sure. Along with happy endings, she loves peppermint filled dark chocolate, pineapple juice and extremely long showers. Not to mention spending hours teasing her imaginary friends with dating dilemmas. She tends to torment them before eventually relenting and offering – you guessed it, a happy ending. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her gorgeous husband and four fabulous children.
If, like her, you love a happy ending, be sure to come and say hi on www.facebook/authornataliea and on Twitter @authornataliea, or her website/blog: www.natalie-anderson.com.