What the …..

I go and collect Georgia from school a little earlier today (I leave work fetch her and Connor, drop them at home and then shoot back to work).

I pick up her school bag and am waiting in the school play area until she says goodbye to her mates.

This little boy walks up to me, and asks: “Are you Georgia’ mommy …………. or are you her granny….?”

Me: “………………………………….”

I died a little in my soul today.

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Maybe not everyone is the cookie cutter mommy …..

I have mentioned that I chat on Moomie – it is basically a forum geared towards  moms or moms to be, or moms trying to be moms or freaks who like to listen to moms talk about nappies and cracked nipples.

I didn’t switch on to chatting on forums until about 15 months ago, and it is this place where people chat about just about everything.

I really wish I had done it earlier, it is so much cheaper than therapy. 

You get to emotionally vomit about stuff that you want to speak about.  The bizarre (or not so bizarre depending on your vantage point) thing is that what you say – what you have aching say/reveal – will resonate with someone and they will go “yes, me too, me too!”

And then you get to sigh and go, thank g&wd I am not totally out of my tree.

Forums are great for that – they give me that “space” I need to often discuss something that has been bubbling inside for ages, and sometimes just saying it out loud to a group who understands is so affirming – which might explain why Alcoholics Anonymous works so well.

For me I do not really have someone to sit and chat to about how I struggle with motherhood or children as my friends do not have kids.  Of course my friends can pat me on the shoulder, pour me a glass of wine and nod sagely while I go off and spittle forms on my chin – and I am so blessed that they do that for me (and often supply the wine as part of the arrangement).

Even with the best intentions, they cannot REALLY understand my rants and at the same time, they cannot rant back with me about the same subject – which is really what you need to remind you that you are not going certifiably crazy.

I do wish I had cottoned on to forums sooner.  It really would have saved my medical aid bills a ton.  And I might have spent a lot less time screaming at Kennith for something that probably was not his fault in the first place.

Recently someone brought up the subject of mother and baby magazines and what we buy and read.  My problem with mother and baby magazines is generally – and I say this with the utmost respect for publishers, editors and journalists – that they are actually sh*t.

Everything about them is so “saccharine sweet” and politically correct.  The moms all look like they have spent two hours with a hairdryer and a makeup artist, and have that Mona Lisa blissful smile as they stare into the lens – with their left hand on their lap – so you can see their wedding ring.

They are all so darn happy and rosy cheeked that unfortunately it does not nothing for me, and makes me feel even more awkward.  I want real moms saying what they really feel – and that is why forums are so great (and blogs actually!)

The mommy and baby articles are lackluster at the best of days, and it just feels like the same sad information being rehashed.  There is nothing that I feel I can sink my teeth in to or go “wow never looked at it like that”. 

The highlight, for me, tends to be the back pages where the advertiser are.  That is pretty much the extent of my interest in these magazines.

Any the who.  Someone on the forum wanted to know what would encourage us to buy a magazine. 

I realized this was a rather pointless activity as articles that would interest me would alienate half the population, and unfortunately only attract advertisers who were promoting wine, strippers, cheap dinners out and photography gear.

However that being said, these are the kind of articles I would like to see written by distinguished investigative journalists without the aid of stock photography, and copy and paste from google (I had originally posted a similiar list on Moomie):

Article 1

I want his sperm, but then I would prefer it if he did not come near me again for the next 3 – 12 months.

Article 2
Why reasoning with a pregnant woman is a total waste of time.  And other tips for survival aimed at partners/husbands.

Article 3
Why advertisers guilt moms into buying sh*t they do not need. Tips on how to see that crap is still crap, even if it is painted pink or blue.

Article 4
How much sh*t should I put up with from my mother in law until I tell her to shove off? 52 tips like this, one for each week.

Article 5

Why are so many sh*tty creches allowed to trade? We discover the real truth behind these hell holes and speak to parents who have no option to leave their kids there.

Article 6

Crap Pay = Crap Nannies.  Why you get what you pay for – Eve vs Madam.

Article 7

Why exactly has the employer not been forced to pay maternity benefits – and how do woman actually cope with 4 months of unemployment when they need the money the most and they do not have a financially contributing partner? We do an in-depth investigation of this issue, and how it affects women today.

Article 8

Research into Men being able to carry babies put on hold – until the question on maternity benefits paid by UIF has been resolved.  Stunning expose!

Article 9

10 reasons why it is okay to hate your husband as he sleeps and expects you to wake up 6 times during the night. Free couple counseling voucher included with this issue.

Article 10

I love my husband, but why is he acting like a special needs person and seems to have no clue how to do ANYTHING correctly. Tests husbands can take to see if they are acting like a total moron, pencil is included so they do not have to ask you where the pencils are kept.

Article 11

Tips on how to deal with the pushy nurse in the maternity section of your hospital. Written by 2nd or 3rd time moms who have this concept waxed.

Article 12

Signs that you are losing your mind – and it is okay because other moms are also crying in the bathroom at 2am – they just don’t tell you.  Secret photos included.

Article 13

Lies moms tell!  Why they continue the stereotype that all moms are happy fulfilled creatures, and why there is a small group who disagree, and are not afraid to speak out.

Article 14

How to prepare a fun snack of Flings, Oros and day old toast for your toddler. Recipes included.

Article 15

25 tips on how to tell people to p*ss off when they stop you to give you advise, when you have not asked for it.

Article 16
How to choose the birthing method that works for you.  And how to tell people who keep trying to “correct” you to f*ck right off.

Article 17

Medical Aidsthe love-hate relationship with Moms. Exposed!!

Article 18

The Secret of how to actually sleep when your baby sleeps – the myth uncovered. Next month we look at the Loch Ness Monster, another phenomenon people talk about but no one has ever seen.

Article 19

Moms who give up on losing weight, and decide instead to embrace their bodies, drink wine and embrace a bag of Chuckles at the same time as flicking the bird at the moms who are slightly obsessive. Diet not included!

Article 20

How to leave your child in the care of a carer/babysitter/husband without any guilt …. and more tips to surviving the first three months.

Article 21

How not to roll your eyes at a new mom when you hear them gushing during their pregnancy.  When this is all they talk about – while you actually want to slap some sense into them, but instead smile sweetly and say “how lovely!”

Article 22

How to get your partner to realise that you will kill him if he dares to approach you sexually within the first 6 – 12 weeks. You will make the first move when you are ready. Win a taser (with a special LCD light – so you can find it if you drop it in the bedroom) to use on your partner if he comes near you.

Article 23

How not to stress when your baby is not eating/drinking like other babiesit is okay, babies do not read the charts, they do what they want and everyone gets there eventually.

Article 24

Why Mother and Baby Groups are for the insane …. and how to get yourself out of themPart 1 of the Cult Group Series.

Article 25

Believe it or not, you make a wonderful pregnancy person but we do not want to see every f*kn moment on Facebook or Twitter …. really!! How to interact with people and survive 45 minutes without discussing your children or your pregnancy … Part 1 of a series of 5 of how to break this frustrating habit.

Article 26

How not to feel guilty because you might not bond with your baby immediately.  Moms show you how to “fake it ‘til you make it” in the first 6 weeks, when you feel absolutely no connection at all.

Article 27

Breast feeding is wonderful – but it is not actually the Alpha and the Omega.  Lists of Mensa members who were not breastfed as babies and are okay today.  Bill Gates and Robert Murdoch reveal all.

Article 28

The newer the mom, the bigger the pram …. and other interesting observations made by our roving reporter.

Article 30

Stay at Home Moms and Working Moms finally agree on a Truce.  Thabo Mbeki very happy with outcome of peace talks.

Article 31

Resident Psychologist answers: Why it is okay to love your baby, but not like them all the time.  This question answered, and others posed by readers.

Okay I am going to stop now, as you can see, I could/would just go on forever at this rate!

Talking about sex …… again

I bought a book for the kids a few years ago that explained sex and how girls and boys bodies change, and more importantly that girls and boys are different, and it is not bad different it is just different different.

My motivation was that Connor was heading to grade 1 and though I did not feel strongly that 7 years old was a good age to introduce this subject, my concern is that his exposure to older kids would suddenly put him in a position where someone spoke about sex or a pen*s or a vag*na and I did not want him standing there having no idea what they were talking about.

Or worse being ridiculed, or fractionally worse him making ridiculous childish jokes about sex.

So I bought the book. <also because I was at a total loss how to bring the subject up without cringing in embarrassment>

The other problem (because there are always so many) is that I was not going to seclude Connor and I into a room and discuss sex, I discussed the book and the subject while Georgia was sitting there. 

Often them sitting in the bath or when we drive to and from school is a great time to have these conversations.  It turns what often is a slightly awkward moment into a sort of by-the-by conversation and allows me to look out of the windscreen when they say something really inappropriate or that embarrasses me, but I still want to appear like “cool rocking mom!”

Georgia is 3 ½ years younger than Connor, which again is probably not a super great age to introduce this subject.  But that being said, when is a really good age?

I have started thinking that if you discuss in the same tone and seriousness of “do you want pink or brown pronutro for breakfast” it is best.  It really rolls off the kids and it does not become this blood-red-face-and mouth-gasping-like-a-fish-out-of-water subject.

Initially I thought most of it would go over Georgia’s head, and she really would not be interested.  But if she was exposed to the subject in a matter-of-fact-way while she was playing with the bath duck, it would also be fine.

It seemed to work well, and we looked at how babies were made, and what people did to get a baby – slightly unsettling drawing, but my kids did not even skip a beat.  I think it did make Kennith cringe when I had the kids say in unison “Pen*s” or “Vag*na” out loud so they got comfortable with the pronunciation and the term.  Though I still use the term winkie and moomfie – yes it is sort of counter-productive, but I feel a bit Biology teacher using the word Vag*na! 

Kids screaming out sexual organ names is probably not the most natural thing that should occur in any household.

Anyway the book gets hauled out every now and then and then gets packed into the book shelf.  Georgia pulled this book out about 5 days ago and this book stays with her, she even sleeps with it at night.

Friday last week she asked/demanded/insisted that the book go to school with her as she wanted to show her friends.

Now even with my limited grasp of social idiosyncrasies, I realized that this might not be the best plan.

I am fine with MY kids being exposed to the concept of sex and the terms, but I could just imagine the shit storm if Cara or Emma went home and told their mom that they saw a picture of a penis, and that they saw where babies came from.

I explained to her that the book really was not going to school.  I was fine with Connor and her being exposed to the subject, and discussing it with me because there was nothing bad about it, and finding out what it is not a bad thing. But they are my kids and it is my choice to discuss this with them, other moms and dads might not feel it is appropriate to have their pre-school kids learning this stuff, and that is the choice they get to make.

She threw a tantrum and yelled and stamped her foot.

I felt like doing the same.

I tried to reason with her and eventually grabbed the book, chucked it into the book shelf and screamed at her to “Get in the frikn car NOW!”

I figure once we are driving and on our way to school, I have a good 12 minutes to calm her down and reason anything with her in that time frame.

Last night Georgia asked me to read her a story, and pulled out ‘ye old Sex Book again!  Which is not exactly bed time reading, but I was willing to give it a shot.  We chatted about pubic hair and wet dreams – which is not exactly Goldilocks and the Three Bears but there you go.

Blundered through that a bit.  Georgia does seem to be up to scratch with sperm and how it gets in – she however refers to them as ‘little worms!”

This morning on the way to school, Connor said something about sex.  I can’t quite recall the context.  He did not shout out SEX, but he said something about babies and sex, in a very age appropriate fashion (as kids of nine do!).

He mentioned that babies can be made when you have sex, and I said yes, but sometimes people have sex because it feels nice and they might now necessarily want a baby.  (I did quickly jump in with a disclaimer that those people are adults, and sex is something that adults do, and it is not appropriate for children.)

So Connor nodded, and then said “ but you do not always need to have sex to have a baby….”

And I thought ‘wouldn’t that be convenient’ but waited for him to finish the thought – and then he said ‘because you can adopt…”

Clever boy. 

So we discussed adoption and that why parents/moms decide to give a child up for adoption and I had to explain to him that often it is very painful for the parents/mom but they are doing it because they love that child and want the best for the baby, and and and …… I was trying to explain it is probably one of the biggest shows of love you can do to put your child’s needs before your own, and give them a life that you cannot give them. 

And then I had a cry.

Connor sat there awkwardly for a moment, and then checked that I was not going to be putting him up for adoption …. to which I said “well, not right now” ……………

Mrs White in the Conservatory with the lead pipe ….

So the Mario Borthers game was collected from school on Tuesday and it was Connor’s game as it has a game history on it.  So that is not something we have to speculate over any further.

How the game got there is a mystery, but there is obvi0us relief that the game is home and I can stop looking for the stupid thing.

Connor is swearing blind that he has no idea how it got there.   I have indicated (in very measured mother tones) that he has already been punished for the game being lost, so at this point if he admits to taking it to school, he will not get into any further trouble.

But he continues to cling to his story with tears running down his pale little cheeks, as his big blue eyes stare at me pleadingly.

He did say in a rather bleating voice: “why doesn’t anyone believe me?”  which made me feel pretty sh8t all around, as I do believe him, but the game is still at school and unless fairies with teleportation skills are involved, there are not too many other options left that we have not explored up to this point.

But game is home, Connor has two weeks punishment for losing game/not looking after his things,and everyone is skipping along happily.

I feel that there is a trust issue that has been tarnished a bit – I feel I must believe Connor. 

I feel quite strongly about the truth – without getting all righteous on your arse.  Lying for me, has always had bad consequences, and of all the things we were taught that was bad, lying was the real kicker.   You could rob the bottle store, but as long as you tell the truth, you might get to keep the wine.

Lying has always been the deal breaker.  (Listen I have told a few clangers in my time, so I am not going to lie to you here and say that everything that has fallen out of my pie-hole has been as unblemished as virgin snow!)

Ido  naturally believe people – though I am a sceptic. I believe when someone says something it is the truth.  I think it is my “all or nothing” persona.  If I believe someone lies, then I will believe they are lying all the time, so I opt instead to believe that people tell the truth, until proven otherwise. 

We can talk about my niavity later.

Kids do lie, logic tells me this (and Connor sometimes lies that he has brushed his teeth when I discover, on further investigation, that he has not).  We have seen that our kids are no different and can spin a tail with the best of them.  

I just don’t want to admit that my kid might be one of THOSE kids.

Listen I totally get that in about six or seven years when Connor is lying about smoking behind the garage, decanting  my  box of wine, and explaining what the skantily glad girl is doing in his room –  this entire situation is going to be a distant memory, and a bit pedestrain actually.   I will be a lot wiser to the “real world” –  then – I get that.

But this is my first time with a nine year old, and I feel like my innocence is being cast asunder here …. cut me some slack you wordly lot.

Look who is talking …. but not to me

 You know when your kids were born and you are so excited and can’t wait for them to eat solids, walk, talk and so on?  I tend to be one of those moms (or the only mom) who is quite happy to let them get there a bit later, or when they are ready.  I do not encourage them wildly to do it sooner, I am quite happy if they get there when they get there …. and even if it is later that is fine as well.

With Connor when he started talking he just did not stop.  Fast forward 9 years and change, and we are still trying to silence the constrant stream of babble from Connor. 

His eyes open, his mouth opens and that pretty much describes the rest of the day until his eyes finally close.

With Georgia I figured, she would talk when she is good and ready.   And I think there is some benefit in a bit of quiet in the house.

I did not exactly restrain her from talking, but at the same time I did not stand there and encourage her wildly with funny faces and waving arms going coo-coo-ca-chooo. 

I figured she would talk when she was good and ready….and it just might buy us a little time of less talky-talky in our house, as our cup he was runneth over in that department.

The problem, is that Georgia just decided not to talk ….. at all.

The reason (in my opinion) was that she had Connor, who took it upon himself to talk for her.  Connor was acting as the translator, much like those guys at the UN, but with a nappy and mucus on their top lip (actually now that I say it out loud maybe a lot like the guys at the UN after all).

Connor would walk around next to Georgia and when Georgia wanted to say something, Connor would tell us what he thinks Georgia wants to say, without actually giving her the opportunity to either open her mouth or finish her sentence.

The girl clearly got tired of being interrupted and just thought “sod it, I am actually just going to drink my bottle, let this bloke talk for me!” and she just said nothing for the next few years.

She is 5 ½ now, and nearly every day you will hear me say “Connor, let your sister speak for herself!” because he is still talking on her behalf.  Or acting as an interpreter for me.  Georgia says something, then Connor leans over and goes “Mom, Georgia said xyz…..” though we are both sitting equidistant from Georgia, so the sound waves are travelling at the same speed for both of us.

I know it should be endearing, but is actually like seriously annoying.

We are still struggling with Georgia’s speech.  She talks.  She actually never stops talking.  She chatters away constantly. Unfortunately we do not understand half of it.  However to be fair, I understand about 85% but strangers probably understand about 50% of it – as most of it is a babble, and her pronunciation is so bad that much of it gets missed.

You can be in a dead sleep, and you will hear this high-pitched girly voice talking about gawd-knows-what and as you are lifted out of your slumber, your eyes will open to reveal Georgia standing next to your bed…… usually with her face about 15cm from your nose talking to you ….. while you are still sleeping …… in the middle of the night …… while everyone in the house, except Georgia standing next to you …………… is still sleeping.

Georgia has been in speech therapy for about a year and still says “pweez” and “pway” and a host of other things that sometimes I look at her and think “what the hell are you saying!” and then hand her an apple, so she would just stop babbling, and hopefully if she is eating then she is not talking…… hopefully.

Isabelle has come along and she is just over 19 months and still does not speak.  Recently  she started saying “caaaa” but said “caaaa” for pretty much everything.

It was cute, but it has limited applications.  Very useful if you are in a parking lot or in, say, your garage and you point to your car, and she goes “caaaa” then it is a neat trick.  But after you have done that a few dozen times, it sort of loses it’s lustre.

Last night I get home from work and I am making her a bottle and she starts going “maaa-maaa” which if you say it at a certain pace and with the correct tone sounds exactly like mama!

I thought “Finally! Finally! Some recognition for all the work and the caesarean scar!”

I tried to look like it was not too much of a big deal.  You know, because I am too school for cool and all that.   I smiled and then grinned a bit more internally, and let the warmth of this moment wash over me.

Standing waiting for the balance of the 30 seconds to heat the bottle in the microwave and Pepe (our nanny) walks past and goes “good night” – I go “good night, thanks Pepe” and then Isabelle goes “maa-maa-maa” and starts walking towards her.

Once I got over the shock, I tried to choke back a tear.

Isabelle, not to be limited by my feelings of rejection, promptly turned around and started walking towards me again.

Hope I think, there is hope – she likes me, she really likes me.

But then she stopped half way to pick up her pink bike and carried it back to Pepe and said “maa-maa-maa” again, this time with a much higher pitch and much more urgency in her voice.

At this point even Pepe started to get embarrassed for me.  She tried to leave, but Isabelle is pulling on her skirt going “maa-maa-maa!”

Pepe is trying to correct her and goes “I am Pepe, there is mommy…” pointing to me standing rather feebly by the microwave with the warmed up bottle, wondering where it all went so wrong.

So that was my evening in heart ache and disappointment.  I decided to retreat to the tv room and watch entertainment TV and drink my glass of wine.  On a totally non related note, I am starting to find Joan Rivers hysterically funny – it might be the wine talking!

Let them eat cake …..

I am really sucky with many things …. none of the things Kennith would like me to be sucky about … but that no doubt is another post for another day.

But I am totally crap at birthdays/anniversaries/valentine’s day and so on, sometimes (often) forgetting them and just being ill prepared in general.

I really would like to blame my upbringing here and say that we did not celebrate anything, and thus I have not been trained correctly, so all holidays that require gifts throw me into total chaos.

The idea that a holiday/festival is approaching and one needs to start thinking of gifts and an appropriate card did not really start for me until I met Kennith.

But 16/17 years later and I realize that I just suck at it.  I actually love buying a gift and all of that, I just seem to always run out of time, and then instead of getting what I really want, I end up buying what is being sold in the aisle at Ackermans (or some other unfortunate place)!

I start about 4 months before hand and draft a list of potential gifts.  Then I criticize them and think well, that will be fine as a back up plan, but I will think of something better.

Knowing I have loads of time I think “no rush, I can deal with this later”.

Fast forward 4 months, the day seems to jump out of a bush at me, rather than creep up.  I am in a state, and usually have totally forgotten about my list and then have nothing, and realise – usually the day before – that I am in sh*t street and panic!  Like little boy from Home Alone panic!

I usually start looking around my desk for things I can gift wrap.

It is all a shocker, and poor Kennith is usually at the receiving end – poor little long suffering egg.

We have just been away and Kennith’s birthday was on the 11th.

The problem (or one of them) was that prior to us going on holiday I had that little thing of a new job to sort out.   I also had a babyshower for my friend which I had to organise.

When I finalized realized I was going to actually be away spent a few weeks in a tizz trying to arrange the logistics of kids/school/maid etc for while I was away and the usual stressing and hair pulling that occurs when one abandons one’s kids.

I also had to sort out some canvases for a friend’s wedding, and a friend asked me to do some photographs at their wedding – so I was very distracted and just was not getting my arse into gear on any level.

So the short answer is that before I knew it I was in the poo and though I had not forgotten about Kennith’s birthday, I definitely did not have a present to  present on the morning of the 11th.

<in my defense I did buy a birthday card for my husband – which for me is quite a thing – but I bought it and wrote in it, I just felt it was lame to give it to him without a present – so didn’t, still have the card …..>

I did however arrange a dinner for him and some (almost long lost) friends in Johannesburg.  Granted I did not cook dinner, our friend Cynthia did that.  I did not even clean up after dinner – Cynthia and Anita did that.  But it was a really nice evening and great to sit down for a dinner with so many loved mates, who all go back with us such a long way.

I ran out of time and I did not get Kennith any thing.

I think Kennith is still thinking I am going to jump out of a cake with his present, or at the very least pull out a cake from somewhere.  Shame he keeps looking up in expectant surprise every time I walk into a room, only to be disappointed … again and again.

To add to the timing issue, Kennith’s birthday is on the 11th February and then Valentine’s Day is on the 14th February – usually I do get my sh*t together and do a good effort for Kennith’s birthday, but then have totally lose steam for Valentines Day.

Kennith and I woke up this morning in Johannesburg after about 2 hours of sleep.  We went with about 110 000 others to the U2 concert at Soccer City.  It was a fabulous – the concert was beyond imagination.  U2 and his crew of friends totally out did themselves.  Loved the concert.

Bono pulled up a girl onto stage.  Initially I was really excited for her, and then loathed her and wished her a good dose of crabs and body odour as Bono lay on her lap and led her around the stage (as I wanted to be the girl on stage …. or at the very least having Bono lie all over me … on stage, off stage, does not really matter).

She had her hands all over him, and really it was quite unnecessary to be that excited! I mean clearly the girl was just trying too hard and it smacked of desperation.  I was not feeling very charitable towards her.

Then I listened to an interview with her this morning on Highveld while on the way to the airport, and some key points were:-

1.  She arrived at the concert at 12h00 on Saturday – concert started on Sunday at 8pm!

2.  She slept under a truck on Saturday night as they did not bring camping stuff and it rained (there was a  HUGE thunder/lighting/rain storm).

3.  She works for the Department of Labour!

I think once I learnt all of those things, I felt differently and realized had I been next to her I might have hoisted her up on the stage myself!  So good on her. (she has been in the same underwear since Saturday morning, the girl clearly needs a bit of love for goodnesss sake)

Anyway back to me and my problems.

Woke up this morning after 2 hours sleep, got to Lanseria, and got onto a Kulula flight, got home, kids, school, unpacking and so on.

Valentine’s Day was just not high on my list of things I could get to, and clearly there was not much I could shop for, unless Kennith specifically wanted a wire chicken for his collection (or to start one).

We collected kids early from school today (as we have not seen them in 10 days) and thought we would stop at Canal Walk and take the kids to the Spur, we also had an errand to run at the centre.

We walk through and Kennith takes me to Build a Bear and says that for Valentine’s Day I get to build my own bear.

I love Build a Bear – I do realize how naff it is, but I cry when ever they put the little hearts inside the bear.

Yes, now you know on the outside total b*tch, on the inside custard!  I cry at everything: advertisements, opening of Olympics, when I watch wildlife programmes, when I watch a child being born, when someone sings a song that I find moving, when Steve Hofmeyer goes anywhere near the Jikskaai River …. that sort of stuff.

It was really sweet – the helper at Build a Bear got the kids in to it.

To be honest there was no chance I was going to enjoy this moment by myself as Georgia was running around the store like she was on TIK!

We are standing with my Bunny (I got a Bunny and not a Bear) – and the helper Claytin (actually spelt like that, I read his name tag) says that we should all take a heart and rub it and so on.

At one point he looks at Connor and says – what is your mom’s favourite food?

Connor is caught a bit off guard, so he sort of shrugs.  I smile maternally and fluff his hair and I say: “I really love Chuckles…” and then I had to explain to Claytin what they were. (Does this guy ever shop outside his store?  Was he born in a Cave?)

So Claytin goes  “Okay, that is cool…” and he is just about to move on to another subject, and Connor goes (as now the question has caught up with him) – and in his loudest voice says: “My mom’s favourite food is WINE!”

Of course Claytin started to laugh.  Kennith smirked.  I clutched my little satin heart a bit tighter as I realised the magic of this experience was slowly evaporating before my very eyes.

Then Claytin proceeded to tell the story to everyone in the store – individually – whilst I was standing there with my Bunny’s heart in my hand and wondering where I should shove it.

I got my bunny, dressed her in a pink outfit, got her some white takkies and I thought it was really sweet (yes it’s naff, but it is still sweet for me, I am not trying to tell you it is sweet for you).

Kennith is a very good egg, even though I am sucky (or not!)

The case of the missing Mario Brother ….

Recently Connor received a Nintendo DS for his birthday.  He has been wanting one for more than a year.

Initially his argument was because EVERYONE at school had one.  I said: “Everyone?” and he said: “Yes, everyone!”

I indicated that surely everyone could not actually mean all 700 + kids, but he assured me that EVERYONE does actually mean EVERY O.N.E!

Once I ran through his class, it then became apparent that maybe 1 child per grade has one ….. maybe ….. which clearly shows that Connor has the ability to stretch the truth ever so slightly.

But moving back to reality.

A discussion ensued and Kennith and I agree that we are not wildly in favour of flipping a child a R1500.00 (or there abouts) item and saying “there you go enjoy!”

We are more in the school of, well yes we can afford the item, but we would like you to contribute towards it so that if-it-gets-lost-or-gets-dropped-into-the-toilet-then-you-feel-slightly-more-remorseful school of thought.

So we hatched a plan that involved Connor doing odd jobs and sundry and saving half toward the unit.  It was great.  I had a dedicated person-who-picks-up-dog-poo and also can be paid to keep his sister quiet on Saturday mornings so I can sleep in.  There were really only pro’s on this one.

<the con was that he would not do anything unless there was money involved>

Worked well, lad was really committed.  He saved the money.  We took the money from him and went and bought him a Nintendo for his birthday.

Listen I am totally fine with you getting all righteous on me, that we should have let him keep the money and then bought him a Nintendo anyway, but that is not the way we roll.

To sooth the guilt of fleecing our child, we did go and buy him at least 10 Nintendo games to get him started.  He got a super cool game station and a “klomp” (see me rocking it northern suburbs style!) of games for his birthday and Christmas combined.

Anyway, happy lad!

The rule we set in place is that he is not allowed to take the station or the games to school.  They are not to leave the house without permission from us.  Connor agrees, and everyone appeared happy.

Nintendo was a bit of happiness, and Connor’s fine motor and eye co-ordination improved.  He was really good about not playing it all the time, and we were all happy campers over in Parow Land.

About two weeks ago Kennith is doing stock take of Connor’s games and realizes that two are missing.  Kennith goes off his head.  Connor starts to have a panic attack.  Everyone is running around the house trying to find these games.

<the games by the way are about 30 x 20 x 5mm – so not terribly big>

Games are not found, Kennith is really upset, Connor is crying.

I am trying to remain level headed (for once – this might actually be the only time!)  My theory is that if they have not left the house then they are in the house.  If they are in the house they will pop up sooner or later.  Theory make sense.

About a week later Pepe finds one of the games!  Three cheers all around.  Supports my theory that they are just in the house …. somewhere.

But still no Super Mario Brothers.

Still trying to be the voice of reason.

I contact one or two of Connor’s friends and some kids have been over here with their Nintendos and there is a good chance that Connor’s game could have ended up with another kid’s pack.

This afternoon (it’s been over two weeks now) I get an sms from another mom who has a child in Connor’s class.  She tells me that the aftercare teacher has found a Super Mario Brothers game and could it belong to Connor?

Okay so the scenarios are as follows.

  1. It is Connor’s game and it is at school.
  2. It is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.
  3. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it.

The possible outcomes are as follows.

If …. it is Connor’s game and it is at school.

Then young master Connor is going to be in a world of trouble, for two reasons.  He took the game to school against our permission and also has been lying about it after repeated questioning.

If …  it is not Connor’s game and his is still missing.

Then young master Connor has shown that he is actually a bit “loskop” with his belongings, which does not bode well for future big ticket item purchases.

If …. I could just go and buy another game and drop it behind the couch and miraculously wait for Pepe to find it

This seems the most humane plan, however if it gets dropped behind the couch and weeks pass, then my issue is going to turn to Pepe as then I am going to keep glaring at her each day thinking “move the couch and clean woman!!!”

So after the discovery of the game at school, it would seem there is no way to prove whether it is his game or another kid’s.  There is no unique serial number and they all look identical.

Kennith feels strongly that it is.

My issue is that it is circumstantial.

It is the same game, at the same school, in the same after-care, and has been mentioned by a kid who Connor probably spends the most time in his day with.

If this kid knew that Connor NEVER brought his game or the unit to school, why would he think THIS game belonged to Connor? Suspicious isn’t it?

Kennith feels strongly that Connor is lying.

I have to believe Connor is telling the truth, even in the face of overwhelming circumstantial evidence that appears to indicate his guilt.

If I believe that Connor is lying, even though he is standing before me promising me to my face that he telling me the truth, then when can I believe him?

I think of all those kids whose main gripe is that they do not talk to their parents because their parents do not trust them.  The old litany so often heard from kids of “well, they think I am doing xyz anyway, I might as well just do xyz as it does not matter!” goes through my head.

When all is said and done I need to believe that Connor is telling the truth.  I actually can’t believe anything else.

If I believe he is lying about this, then the result is that I probably can NEVER believe him again, about anything.

Or maybe I am being too black and white about this issue.

Maybe kids lie.  Maybe they just do.  Maybe as parents we need to try to always believe that our children are telling the truth.  And when they lie (because all children must at some point) then we must be disappointed, but not allow it to cloud our judgment of our children going forward.

Keep the faith even when they lie and lie and lie to our faces.

Here is the rub, I am struggling with that concept.

I need to believe that no matter what my children do, not matter how much crack they sell at pre-primary, they will always tell me the truth.

I have many faults, but I like to believe when the chips are down and the wine bottle is empty, I am honest.

I have learnt that maybe not everyone wants to hear the truth, so I try to blurt out “truths” unless someone asks.  But I like to believe that I am truthful and if you ask for my opinion or ask me a question I give you the truthful answer.

I like to believe that I have instilled this principle in my children – especially Connor.  I have been telling him the “boy who cried wolf” story since he was a babe on the breast.

I am so hoping we find the Super Mario Brother’s game and then Kennith can be ashamed of believing Connor is a liar.   For me right now I have to believe he is telling the truth, and at the same time appreciate that Kennith and I differ on this issue.

<why does Toys R Us not stock a decent polygraph test? >

Catch you on the flip side ….

We are off to Drakensberg to celebrate the wedding of John and Natalie.    We are so thrilled for them, and dead excited to be part of their wedding.

We fly to Durban in the morning.  Then we drive up to the Drakensberg (I have never been to the Drakensberg and my geography is pretty sketchy, so I am even sure I am 100% sure exactly where it is.  But Kennith seems to know and we have a GPS, so no doubt I can read my Kindle and not worry my pretty head about details like directions.)

The idea is to stay there and do what ever it is that people do in the Drakensberg, attend the fabulous wedding, and hang out with a group of friends who will be joining us there.

Next Friday we drive up to Johannesburg, and stay there a few days.  Seeing more friends and just hanging around sort of stuff.

On Sunday we get to squeeze into a stadium with a few thousand people screaming for Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.  Of course I am sure that Bono will stare into the crowd, and see me back in row 175 and seat 54. and pluck me from the crowd so he can sing me a personalized version of “With or Without You!”

Nothing like a bit of delusional ism to keep you going.

The thing about this trip is we are doing it sans kids.

Usually there would be a split about now in terms of reaction.

Some moms are going to go: “Fabulous, lucky you, wish I could get a break from my set!”

Then there is the second set who are dialing ChildLine as they read this and thinking: ”Who does this woman think she is abandoning her children to go gallivanting all over the country side.  The scandal.   The indignation!”

Then there is a third set which would usually gasp a bit and go: “I could never leave my junior, I couldn’t be away from them for that long.”

I usually am okay with some adult time away from our kids, but I am actually not okay with it right now.  It is also a long time.  We leave Friday and we are back Monday after next.

It is too long, and I have been stressed and anxious this entire week, and right now I actually do not want to go.  I miss Isabelle too much already and I have not even left the house, so this week is going to be torture.  I appear to have moved from the first set of moms to the third set.

I felt out of sorts yesterday, and last night and this morning I have been totally out of sorts.

I woke up around 2am this morning and just could not sleep.  I just felt anxious and stress, and wanted to wake Kennith up and tell him that I was fine to fly to the Drakensberg to attend the wedding, but then wanted to fly home, and then I would fly back to attend the concert, but I did not want to stay away that long.

But I didn’t as I knew he would probably freak his bean, and then we would have a huge fight.

It wasn’t like I had not known about this trip 4 months ago.  I had.  I just had not paid much attention to it.  But it is here now.

My bags are packed, but I am loathe to leave tomorrow morning, but there we go, I am leaving, and it is meant to be this great week, but I am dreading it.    Listen it is a great week that has been planned, and actually I have had to do nothing.  Kennith has organized everything, all I am doing is arriving, but the problem is that because I know how much I am going to miss the kids – and how bad I feel being away from them – I think will take a bit of the smile off this week.

So there we go, I am out of here for a week.  I am going to miss my kids crazy, and especially  Isabelle.  Just tying this is making me feel even sadder.

As my penance I am going for a full body wax at 7am.  I thought I would do it without taking a Syndol just as punishment for abandoning my kids.

<just as extra penance, I was so out of it this morning, I put this stuff called AO Sept – which is like acid for your contact lenses – directly into my right eye ball this morning.

It burnt like a m*therf*cker.  I can’t actually tell you how much it burnt without the aid of profanity.

I thought my cornea was being dislodged from my eyeball.  We are not talking mild discomfort, we are talking silent-scream-while-you-bang-your-feet-on-the-floor-and-claw-at-your-eyeball pain!   I actually called my optom friend because I thought clearly it would require an eyeball transplant or something.

I spent the day walking around with an eye that is so blood shot it looks like I am bleeding to death – I have just started a new job, so that looked totally fantastic.  It was agony and I was in mild to severe discomfort for the entire day.

It is still pretty red and feels pretty grim – oh joy, possibly it will hide my crying tomorrow morning…>

“Jislaaik, that’s a hang of a thing, hey!”

I always lament the fact that I live in the land of two-tone shirts and veldskoene, and my daughter sings Kurt Darren…..

No matter how I try to fight it, we are in Parow country and it frightens me.

Connor now officially goes to school without shoes, which causes me emotional trauma in the morning when I drop him off.  But it makes him happy.  So I stare forward as I rev the car and say “goodbye, love you” and then try not to look at him as he skips off through the school gate.

In December we went to buy him new school shorts.

His school shorts are really rugby shorts, which only adds further insult to the situation.

I sent Kennith to the local school outfitter, and he picks up the shorts  to check them and notices that they are, well short.  Before they had a bit of length and sort of hung mid upper thigh, but now they are real-egte rugby short shorts, where if you sit with your knees-not-touching, your family trinkets might be on view, they are those kind of shorts.

Kennith queried this as he likes to get value for money, and no one is going to stint him on fabric.  So he queried why these shorts were so much shorter than the usual pairs we purchase.  He was told the school had asked for them to be made shorter!

Is there no dignity in the Northern Suburbs?  The shorty-short answer is an inequitable, no.

Beginning of the year heralds the arrival of so many school notices and forms, that it makes your eye sight go blurry and a little forest cry at its loss.

First child, first school you eagerly wait for these notices, and fill them out meticulously.  If something is unclear you take your notice, and arrive early at the school to ask the class teacher for clarity so you can fill in the form and submit it as instructed.

Two children, a few schools later, I sort of bundle the forms together, throw them into my bag, and aim to get to them within the month.

I am going through forms today and realized I have not signed up for the school committee.  I see to have missed the cut off date for that, which is a pity (and a relief) – they do a great job and long may they continue (without me).

I have signed the form now, and will drop it into Connor’s school bag later tonight when he is sleeping.  Then I  plan to rebuke him for leaving this form in his bag for so long.  He will feel bad, and take it class tomorrow and apologise to his teacher that it was his fault the form is late (well that is my cunning plan at any rate!).

There appears to have been a sports day I had no idea even took place, ah, well, will catch it next time.

I missed a meeting with my son’s teacher, clearly not a good start to the year.  But I did send an extra large peach for her when they had the school fruit picnic last Friday.  I am hoping that makes amends for the fact that I stood her up on the 31 January at 17h10!

There were a few other pleas and requests, that I have opted to juggle between “look at tomorrow” and “throw into the black plastic dustbin right now.”

I have signed Georgia up for karate,  I have contacted a company about coming to cost on wooden blinds or wooden shutters (not school related, but it was lost in the paperwork).  I have read the after care notice, and I have jotted down my son’s extra mural schedule,the day seems to be quite fruitful at the moment.

Then a notice caught my eye.

It was an invitation for my child to join Die Voortrekkers.  You can’t make this stuff up.

The problem is the notice is in Afrikaans.  Immediately that forces me to actually read through it, instead of just glancing through it rather flippantly.

I like the opening statement –  it is a definite call to action:  “Beste maat.  Will jy graag lekker saam met ons gaan kamp, oor die kole stokbrood en boerewors braai en hope pret hê?”

Now how can you turn an invitation like that down?

It went on to say that “ons is mos trotse Afrikaners!” and then it referred to someone called “Pappa en Mamma” which I can only assume denotes Kennith and I.

I liked the closing line: “Onthou net, spyt kom te laat, kom kyk wat ons doen en besluit self of jy daarvan hou!!”

I am almost motivated to go and have a look-see, because I am so curious, but it is on a Friday afternoon which is not going to work for me, even with the best will in the world.

So my son is wearing shorty shorts and being propositioned by the Voortrekkers in a bid for him to join their ranks.

I am not sure if I should laugh because it is so funny, or sit in a heap and cry because this is our life and we are those people now.

I recall having a Bishops application form lying around here somewhere that I really need to look in to again ……