Home | A Clutch Of Pearlies

August 25, 2012

Role Models

...His family are a constant in his life. At any given time of day or night, Mark still knows he can count on his them to be there for him. There will not be any radical changes in their behaviour, nor will they disgrace themselves and let him down. Rather, Markís family provide him with enduring lessons about life, love and family...

Mary Pearl emphasises the value of a supportive family.

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March 18, 2012

Time Out

Mary Pearl conveys the joys and responsibilites of looking after her young grandson - but can a two-and-a-half-year-old understand all the words he uses?

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March 03, 2012

Teaching Rachel

Mary Pearl is delightfully discovering a whole new world of sugar and spice and everything nice while teaching her seven-year-old granddaughter Rachel to cook.

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November 17, 2011

Join The Club

...My youngest son who has a two year old son of his own admitted to me recently that although he loves spending time with his little boy, he feels a guilty sense of relief when he goes to work surrounded by his (adult) colleagues and the tools of his trade...

Columnist Mary Pearl offers more wise words on the fraught business of bringing up children.

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November 05, 2011

An Offer Of Help

...A two year old girl was in a pram and her brother who looked three or four, an energetic bundle, was busy making mischief. He grabbed his sisterís drink bottle and she shrieked till she got it back; he poked her, she shrieked some more, then he tried to free himself from his motherís grasp so he could run down the other end of the bus...

Mary Pearl offers practical help to a yiung mother under pressure.

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September 19, 2011

A Soothing Thumb

"It was Davidís first ever sleepover and both the jelly beans and the thumb were going to ensure the experience was a success. The jelly beans were a onetime treat, but Davidís thumb was his constant companion. He communicated around it, soothed himself to sleep with it and if it fell out of his mouth he would shove it right back without the need of an intermediary,'' recalls Mary Pearl.

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July 23, 2011

Ask Your Father

"When my granddaughters, Dezzy and Rachel want to know something that I donít have the answer to, I admit it. I say that I will try and find out, and I do. Itís much better for both of us that they get to see me as a fallible adult.''

Mary Pearl offers wise advice.

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July 14, 2011

Time For An Oil Change

Iíd like to pickle Eden in amber and keep him that way but as itís not going to happen I think the second best option is to prepare us and him for his future.

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May 19, 2011

On A Mission From Melbourne

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April 21, 2011

The Bribe

ÖI donít believe everything has a price. I think that paying children to help out for example is wrong. Some people say it teaches children responsibility but I think it smells more like blackmail (you wonít get that dollar if you donít clean your room) than a lesson. I think the lesson learned should be that mutual expectations and obligations are expected on both sidesÖ

Mary Pearl brings sound words of wisdom on the rearing children.

For more of Maryís excellent articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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March 24, 2011

Old Farts

"Iím just another old fart tottering past, just a bit of detritus in the way of the next generationís aspirations,'' says Mary Pearl.

But Mary has been given a brand new chance to reinvent herself. She has become a grandma...

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February 28, 2011

When Do You Let Go?

"Adults make hundreds of decisions every day based on life experience and even then they canít count on getting it right every time. How can parents expect it of a five or even a nine year old? I believe that until a child is old enough to protect himself from the wider world itís our duty to be vigilant on their behalf,'' declares columnist Mary Pearl.

To read more of Mary's articles, each one packed with common sense, please click on

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December 09, 2010

Another New Year, Another Resolution?

Faced with another festive eating season Mary Pearl has decided to give up on giving up food.

For more of Mary's brillianht columns on a variety of topics please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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November 25, 2010


"I know that itís a hopeless and impractical thought, but I have always wished that parenting could be a privilege not a right,'' declares Mary Pearl, concerned about the protection of children at risk from their own parents.

Continue reading "Parents" »

November 11, 2010

A Girlís Worst Friend

Thereís no place for an ironing board in Mary Pearlís life!

To read more of Maryís not-to-be-missed columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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November 04, 2010

Terrible Twos

...Two year olds are what is colloquially known as Ďin your faceí day and night. Itís an intense but mercifully short gig. The daily mantra from the moment parents haul themselves out of bed to the second they tuck their little ones into theirs for the night is Ďdonít touch, do share, donít smack.í...

Mary Pearl brings encouraging advice on nurturing the inquiring minds of two-year-olds. Every child deserves a mother and grandmother possessed of Mary's warm-hearted understanding.

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October 07, 2010

Donít Toss A Soy Sausage On The Barbie

ÖI used to think that pulses were what throbbed in your neck when you were angry. They turned out to be a fibre fix and an alternative source of protein. I cooked up a storm and served up chick pea stew, fennel and beans and cabbage soup minus the ham hocks and streaky baconÖ

In this extremely tasty article Mary Pearl tells how she came to terms with preparing meals for a newly-converted vegetarian son,

To read more of Maryís articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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August 14, 2010

Pocket Money

...Some parents ask themselves and each other, what possible good pocket money is if it canít be used to control children...

Columnist Mary Pearl focuses on a key decision in bringing up children.

To read more of Mary's entertaining and enlightening columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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July 29, 2010

Role Models

...I used to buy fan magazines at the pictures each week. Those were the days when airbrushing was at its height. Those actresses were elegantly dressed and made up. They were flawless...

Writing with her now-customary zest, columnist Mary Pearl reveals the identities of the two greatest role models in her life.

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July 08, 2010

Can You Learn How To Write?

...I was really impressed that most of my classmates had brought a manuscript along with them to the course. I felt right out of it. All I had with me was a notebook, a pen and a yearning to have a novel of my own. I did churn out several chapters when studying Novel Writing, but they weren't worthy of being recycled into door stops let alone being published. By the end of the first year I learned that I was never going to be a novel writer...

But Mary Pearl offers the encouraging thought that people who do join writing courses can enhance their skills and find a niche for their written work.

To sample more of Mary's entertaining words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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June 24, 2010

Giving Up Mod Cons

...At some time or another we have all dumped the old in favour of the shiny and new. But we are discovering that progress is a two-edged sword. As a global village we can communicate via a bunch of media in an instant but many of us are not capable of sustaining face to face dialogue. Weíve come a long way since the Wright brothers but flying produces the emission of gases that contribute to global warming. We have refined our foods in the name of convenience and wonder why we are unhealthy and out of shape...

But is Mary Pearl eager to give up any of her mod cons? What do you think?

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June 17, 2010

Tar Very Much

...Once the pall of smoke had cleared, a generationís worth of squatters were screaming for custody of the body the nicotine mafia tramped through my bloodstream in high heels, cha chaíd on my chest and reminded me who was boss. Iíd just take deep breaths and say things like, Ďyouíre fired, youíre history you bastards, give me my life back!í...

Mary Pearl faces up to one of life's toughest challenges.

To read more of Mary's superb columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

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May 20, 2010


"I donít find swearing offensive; Iíve just never seen it as a substitute for reasoned debate,'' says Mary Pearl, then considers the serious business of communicating with one's offspring.

To read more of Mary's illuminating columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_clutch_of_pearlies/

Continue reading "Darn!" »

May 13, 2010

Tooth Fairy

Young Mark was worried. 'Will the Tooth Fairy find me in Adelaide, Mum?'

And Mary Pearl, being the good mum she is, had all the right answers.

Mary tells of the joys of childhood and parenthood.

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May 06, 2010

Empty Nest Syndrome

...By the time I was knee-deep in nappies and anklebiters, it was clear to me that motherhood was like belonging to the mafia. You can never leave it. It may leave you - in fact it usually does after a couple of decades Ė but you can never ditch the job description. Children give you sleepless nights, the terrible twos, and the importuning thirty-twos...when they give you more sleepless nights, heartburn and a chance to give up your Saturday nights all over again...

Ace writer Mary Pearl brings good advice on how to fill a life when the home nest is inevitably empties.

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April 15, 2010

Multi-Tasking Mamas

...I thought of all the mums I have known and realised that the more things seem to change the more they stay the same. We all have a bit of the psychologist in us, a well developed bull dust detector and the skills necessary to kiss 'boo-boos' better. Mums are a mix of personalities and skills all rolled into one. As that song goes, 'we are one but we are many.'...

Mary Pearl gives some idea of what it takes to be a mum - proving as she does so that some mums are also very talented and entertaining writers.

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April 07, 2010

Leaving The Hundred Acre Woods

ÖYou prepare yourself for the time when you are permanently retired from active duty. Every little thing you teach children goes towards making them independent of youÖ

Mary Pearl tells of the incalculable joy and inevitable pain of guiding children towards self-reliance.

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March 25, 2010

I Didn't Do It

... ĎIt wasnít me, mumí echoed down the corridors of time to arrive at this de ja vu moment. I am rested, alert and a lot more composed these days and able to draw on experience and energy. As a grandparent I get to revise some of the things I may have got wrong the first time round...

Mary Pearl brings another entertaining insight into family life.

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March 09, 2010

Tweaking Nature

...Some men and most boys just canít help themselves. When they are attracted to danger and adventure, personal cost becomes irrelevant. Girls are cautious and too imaginative about the consequences to themselves, to risk doing something like that...

Mary Pearl suggests that if nature cannot be changed it can at least be tweaked a bit.

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February 27, 2010

A Grandson Called Eden

...Eden turned his smile on in his seventh week (three days according to his daddy) and he hasnít stopped since. Actually I would call it more of a grin than a smile. And Eden is not selective about the recipients of his benevolence; old, young, beautiful, ugly, everyone and everything in his line of sight gets a big dose. My theory about that radiant grin is that he is expanding his approval to the world around him...

Mary Pearl conveys the unmatchable joy of being a grandmother.

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February 26, 2010

Close the Larder Door

ÖSome people I know can get so absorbed in dinner party conversation that they can forget for minutes at a time that theyíre holding a fork laden down with bits of lamb and roast potato. Not me. Iím not capable of keeping up an impersonal relationship with lamb and roast potatoes. Especially if thereís gravy involvedÖ

Mary Pearl wrestles, to our reading delight, with her over-eager appetite.

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February 14, 2010

A Tender Little Tidbit

...Because a two and a half kilo morsel has brought my mortality home to me in a way that arthritic kneecaps and failing eyesight has failed to. Iíve learned to adjust to my slowly disintegrating body, by ignoring it. The secret to feeling twenty-one when you are fifty-something is to ignore Newtonís law of gravity, and the mirror. Now I find myself checking out sagging chins and crowsí feet. Itís all downhill and across the New South Wales border from here on in...

Despite becoming aware of the aging process Mary Pearl was delighted to become a long-distance grandmother.

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