When you have your first baby you are usually invited by the Sister at your Baby Health Clinic to join a Mothers’ Group. These groups start off meeting once a week at the Clinic and it’s a fantastic opportunity for new mums to meet some women in a similar situation. Some of these groups are so successful that many of the mothers become life long friends.
When Archie was born the Clinic Sister let me know that there was a Mothers’ Group that would be starting in four months that I could go to. I impatiently bided my time as I didn’t have any family or friends nearby with a newborn and was looking forward to meeting some new mothers.
The day of the first meeting finally arrived. I didn’t live far from the Health Clinic and being car-less, I walked there, pushing Archie in the pram. When I arrived I noticed a very posh BMW pull up and the woman driving it (despite it being a very hot day), was wearing black leather gloves that matched the interior of her car. She removed her gloves and threw them on the front seat then she reached into the back and pulled out a baby capsule. That’s when I realised this woman who looked full of confidence, was going to be part of the Mothers’ Group.
Once we were inside the clinic she came over to me and said, ‘Hi, I’m Terese’. And most people I know with that name pronounce it ‘Tereeze’ but she wanted it pronounced, ‘Te-raise’. And then she told me her surname and I looked at her blankly. She looked puzzled and said, ‘You know, I’m from that family. We own ski resorts, hotels, cinema complexes and business magazines.’ I said, ‘Oh, right’, because I’d never heard of that family but I was about to hear a whole lot more. She told me that she didn’t have to work because she has a trust fund. Every quarter a lump sum was put in her account and that a trust fund had just been set up for her daughter. She had named her daughter after an American singer who had a few number one hits at the time which today would be like naming your daughter, Beyonce.
Terese spoke very loudly and thought she’d be good at being in charge of the Mothers’ Group. Once we had completed the series at the Clinic, Terese suggested that we next meet at the Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour because that’s where she and her husband were married. Terese had married a Chinese Australian and he was so quiet and shy. He was a chef but he didn’t work because Terese liked him to be at home.
I explained to Terese that I wouldn’t be able to get to the Chinese Gardens because I didn’t have a car and it would take me an hour and a half to get there by public transport. She wouldn’t hear of changing her plans nor did she offer me a lift in her BMW so I didn’t go.
The next get-together she organised was Yum-Cha at her favourite Chinese restaurant and ‘everyone just bring your prams and it will be great’. But I explained to Terese that Archie wasn’t the restaurant type as he was a baby who never slept and he hated being confined to a stroller and as he was now crawling, would be screaming and arching his back and struggling to be out of the stroller and I didn’t think the restaurant would like that. But she wouldn’t change her mind and so I didn’t go to that Mothers’ Group meeting either.
After a few months the Mothers’ Group was completely splintered and fractured with most people not turning up because one person was orchestrating events that most of us didn’t want to attend. We would say, ‘But I think the idea of Mothers’ Group is that you just keep it simple by meeting in each others’ homes. If people want to do other things during the week then that’s up to them.’ But Terese couldn’t understand why we didn’t want to get out of our homes. Everyone stopped going and the group dissolved.
I completely lost contact with Terese but I do know she had another daughter and named this one after a Canadian singer who had some number one hits which today would be like calling your daughter Pink or Gaga. She sent her two girls to a private school on Sydney’s North Shore but wasn’t happy with the school and removed the girls. She sent them to boarding school in Switzerland. She and her husband then traveled for a few years before she filed for divorce.
Despite the fact our Mothers’ Group was completely dysfunctional I did make two life-long friends. One of the girls has two daughters the same age as Archie and Arabella and we have had many great times and even some happy holidays together.
Have you ever been to a Mothers’ Group?
When we were allowed to meet in each others’ homes, we would bring homemade treats to share. I used to like making this Hummingbird Cake.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: It doesn’t cost a lot to make this cake especially when you compare the price with buying a cake from a quality cake shop.
- olive oil to grease
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds
- 1 3/4 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 x 440g can crushed pineapple in natural syrup
- 3 small ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 3/4 cup extra light olive oil
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 x 250g packet cream cheese at room temperature
- 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 cups icing sugar mixture
- 3 tspns milk
Brush a round 22cm cake pan with olive oil to grease. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Spread the flaked coconut over a baking tray. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until toasted.
Combine the flour, sugar, dessicated coconut, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, banana, olive oil and egg and stir until combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake in oven, covering the cake with foil if ti browns too quickly, for 1 hr 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting:
Use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Add milk and bet to combine. Place the cake on a plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds and serve.
This recipe is by Debra Dickson.
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