Etiquette tip: More people will get out of your way if you say “I’m gonna puke!” than if you say “Excuse me”.

We headed up to spend Easter in Hermanus – as we usually do.

It rains each Easter  without fail – but like Lemmings we head up any way, in the hope that maybe this year it would not rain and we could get a last weekend where the kids could play in the sea sand and mom could drink wine and read her book.

Unfortunately fantasies are just that, illusions created in our minds, that disappear in the harsh light of the day after.

This Easter weekend was no exception.

Kennith had come down with a form of the Ebola virus which had him coughing up parts of his lung. 

If I was lucky, he farted at the same time as he coughed.  Unfortunately after the first dozen or so times, it was no longer funny.

The kids were all ill.  All three of them had huge chunks of mucus sliding out their noses and resting on their respective top lip.  The only mildly interesting part was me, comparing whose was less green and whose would get to the top lip first.

The weather turned dreadful and we were stuck inside.  My mother’s house has wooden floors – three kids+wooden floors+no wine for sale on religious holidays = mom having a hemorrhage of her own.

Anyway, Kennith proceeded to get sicker and sicker.  He was looking and sounding really bad – like rush you to the ER bad.

But I was lacking in sympathy for a few reasons.

  1.  We were sleeping in the same room – Kennith is not coughing as much as taking a lung biopsy on himself – so I lie there while this retching coughing is going on and on …. I am not exactly sleeping.
  2. Kennith is retching and retching and when he has stopped retching and coughing, and finally falls asleep, Isabelle who is sharing our room wakes up – so if I am not awake listening to Kennith expel bodily fluid, I am attending to Isabelle who is coughing and crying.
  3. Morning comes, and Kennith is exhausted as he is sick and has been coughing, so he will lie in and sleep late – but me who has been listening to coughing and alternating sorting out Isabelle, is up at 6am with the kids as Kennith needs to sleep.
  4. We are trapped inside and it is so just not fun!

Anyway, we decide that we are going to head home on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

We all get in the car.  Kennith opts to drive as he does not like to be a passenger/my driving/feeling emasculated by letting a woman drive (leave which ever is the most relevant) and we head home.

It is all going quite well.

Traffic not too bad – kids are in varying degrees of “not feeling well” so are a quite ‘medicated’ and thus sleepy.

We are on the R300 about 15 minutes from home.

Connor goes:”Mom I am not feeling so good.”

Me: “How are you “not feeling so good? i.e. point to a place”

Connor: “Here” – indicating his throat – “it’s sore!”

Me (relieved it is not nausea): “Okay my boy, just sit tight we will be home in a few minutes.”

A few moments pass.

Connor: “Mom, I am not feeling goooooodddd…”

Me – looking a bit more panicky – “where?”

Connor indicates his throat, and I judge by his slightly green complexion, and that strange thing people do with their throats when they are about to expel the content of their stomach, that things are about to get very chaotic. 

I am buckled in to the front seat.

Three kids buckled up and packed in tightly with luggage in the back seat.

I indicate to Kennith in a rather insistent voice that he needs to pull over NOW!!

Kennith can’t pull over – and drives faster, which is making it harder for me to get out the car and get Connor out the car.

I realize that things are going to go from bad to really bad in no time, and Connor is really starting to look violently green.

I quickly glance around the car, and realist that my handbag appears to be the only receptacle available. I eliminate that as an option, as I am not quite ready to throw the bag away – and look some more.

Connor unfortunately has run out of patience and he starts doing that “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” sound that every parent recognizes.

I grab Isabelle’s pink blanket and attempt to make an origami swan, and when that fails I create a sort of loose bowl-shaped object and get it under Connor’s mouth.

Slightly too late – I should have spent less time on the design.

Connor is puking – Georgia – in her defense is just looking at him (she is sitting right next to him, so really she is the one with the most to lose!).

Isabelle is too stunned by the now violent “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” coming from the backseat to cry about her blanket being snatched away from her.

It is mayhem.

Connor is projectile vomiting.

We still appear to be driving.

Connor vomited the blanket-bowl full.

I was trying to fold it over and make a new bowl without pouring it over the car, while Kennith is doing 180km on the R300 and I am screaming for him to pull over, and he is screaming that he cannot pull over and Connor is going “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh”!!

I fold the blanket-bowl to make a new bowl area, and then Connor does a bit more vomiting – it is quite impressive how much managed to come out of him, and how much the fleece-pink-blankie bowl managed to hold.

I did catch most of it in the blanket – I must really applaud the girls who sat there in stunned silence while total fekn mayhem is going on 30cm away from them.

I am still buckled in to the front seat, but twisting around and reaching over to catch vomit in the pink blankie!

Connor is apologizing for vomiting.

Georgia in a small voice is going: “Accchhh, Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I am trying to keep calm, because actually I could use a good vomit about now.

Connor is still apologizing for vomiting.

So I catch all I can.  I am trying to fold blanket up so that it does not all go sloshing all over the kids.

I am trying to undress Connor as he has got vomit on his jersey, his pants, his belt – and I really do not need him to vomit when he sees vomit.

I get all the stuff off him – while we are doing 180km and all buckled up – I put all the vomit-paraphernalia at my feet in a ball, and we all turn around and face front and try to get home in one piece. 

I know there is vomit at my feet as I can feel it against my foot and my leg!

Georgia still complaining in a small voice: “Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I reassure her that it is fine, we can wash doggie and everything will be as it should be.

We get home, and unpack – and guess who gets to flick vomit off the pink blankie before she does 5 loads of Easter washing?!

I better get a good bloody present this year come mother’s day, I will really get annoyed if all I get is a damn macaroni necklace again!!

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Dropping the ball …

 

I really feel that I am failing on so many levels at the moment.

My biggest issue right now – tomorrow I will have a new one – is that I am failing with Isabelle. 

I am just not available for her at the moment.  I either leave for work in the morning, and she has not woken up, or I spend 20 minutes with her between me getting ready and her waking up, and then I abandon her as I rush out the door.

Most days I home at about 18h30 or later and she goes to bed at 19h00.

I have noticed she has got very clingy and very whiny around me – and insists she is near me,  or I hold her hand.

She takes my hand and leads me to where she wants me to sit or stand.  She pulls at my clothes if I am sitting down and she wants me to come with her.  Then if I try to leave the area, she throws a mother of a thrombie!  She gets visibly distressed and the tears run down her chubby little cheeks.

I feel guilty.  I feel disappointed and then I feel angry.

And then I take my anger and frustration out on Kennith, because who else is available?

When I am with Isabelle I am aware of the short time, and I start dreading the end.  When I leave for work, she cries, and hangs on to my hand, and I have to hand her to Pepe while she makes those dramatic “mommy grabby arm” movements …. more heart wrenching it does not get. 

When the night ends and I put her in bed, she goes ballistic.

So even when I am with her for the precious little time there is, I am already dreading “the end” and knowing that the inevitable parting must come.  Then instead of delaying it, I decide to shift it up a gear and do it a bit earlier, as I am dreading it so much I want it over with – of course this cuts down the time I spend with her, but increases my guilt.

Make sense?

No, but I seldom do.

I enjoy work, I like my job, but it is not the kind that lends itself to flexibility of hours.

The good side is that I start at 9am, so I can drop the kids off at school in the morning, with less of the “tuck and roll out of a moving car” that I used to do in the past. 

If Connor reminds me that he needs something for school – as he did at 7am this morning – it is not a panic.  I can stop on the way to school and get it for him – the morning madness is still madness, but it is not overlayed with me stressing about being late for work.

But I can’t spend more time with Isabelle as I still need to leave the house in time to get the kids to school.

I just feel sh&t and well not-good-enough right now.

My thinking is that I will put my head down and get through this year.  I will suck it back and just get through it, and make a decision in December on how to tackle 2012.

Next year Georgia starts grade 1, Connor will be in grade 4 and the pressure of school and homework will escalate.  I need to find a way to be more available and be able to offer my kids the support they need. 

I know I often make remarks about how I outsource their needs to staff, but you do get that I am being flippant and that I do care deeply that they are provided for on all levels?

I worry that I am doing Georgia a disservice.  She needs more attention right now to get her speech up to scratch and general assistance so that she gets through Grade R confidently and then gets through Grade 1.

I do not want to be a stay-at-home mom, I really do want to go work, I just need flexibility – but I am quite attached to my pay-check, so would like flexibility and a paycheck! < which is the lament of most if not all working mothers I would guess>

I do not want to attend every school hotdog-stand day or bake-a-cake-sale, but I do want to pick one or two to do a year, and right now that is just not working.  So this year is not quite going as I had originally pictured it, but maybe it is, and I just chose not to be realistic about the picture.

This year – and I know it is only April – I have felt like I have missed so much with the kids.  I always appear to be in catch up mode, and that is not my most comfortable default position.

I am looking forward to this long weekend and just to spend time with the kids.  

I do not have to do hard-core arts and crafts with them or anything, but I just want to sit near them, be around them and smell them and hear them laugh and make fun of each other – I have been missing that!

Today is a GREAT day …

Today our friends, Joyce and Leon, collect their baby daughter Kirsten.  They pick her up, hold her close, breath her in, strap her in her car seat (this might take 45 minutes) and bring her home for the first time. 

Today is THAT day, the one they have been waiting for. 

Kirsten has been with a kangaroo care-mom for 60 days, and today that 60 days is up – it has been the longest 60 days, but it is over and now it is day 1!

Joyce, Leon and Kirsten, today is your day!  Enjoy every juicy squishy milk-smelling moment.

I saw this quotation and it made me have a good cry

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn’t grow under my heart – but in it.

Fleur Conkling Heylinger

The parable of Tony ….

So Connor and I are chatting on the way home from school on Friday afternoon, and Connor is telling me all about his friend – let’s call him Tony – for the purposes of this discussion.

Connor has often mentioned how envious he is of Tony.

Tony always has new stuff, gets to take his Nintendo to school every day, always has pocket-money to spend at tuck-shop and generally appears to have rather a comfortable life, in Connor’s eyes.

I agreed with Connor that Tony was lucky he got to take his Nintendo to school, and have all sorts of nice stuff.  And it was a case of each parent to each child deciding what was right for their child, and what one parent decided worked for them, might not work for another parent.

If Tony’s parent(s) decided to give their child things (which I personally felt were excessive, but did not mention this to Connor), then that was really up to them. 

Connor kept telling me how lucky Tony was (and in the silence between his laments clearly indicating how unlucky he was being born into this rather deprived family!)

Connor explained that today Tony was playing Nintendo, and when Tony’s mom arrived to fetch him for Tennis (she has to leave work early to get to the school to take Tony to practice, so you can imagine that it is a bit of a rush for her), Tony said “No I am not going, I want to stay and play my game!”

I asked Connor then what happened, and he said Tony sat and continued playing his game, while Tony’s mom said: ”Come my boy we need to go.”  But Tony was not moving. 

Then he shouted at his mom that he was not going to Tennis and was going to play Nintendo.

I asked Connor (as this is always a good time to push a lesson home) what he thought about what he saw.

In his usual way he shrugged and said: ”I don’t know.”

Not being afraid of bleeding the information out of my son, to teach a life lesson, I said: “Okaaaaaay, what do you think might have happened if you had spoken to me like that?”

Connor – sort of smiling: “ That Nintendo would have been bye-bye.  And you would have made me do all sorts of things to get it back.”

Me: “Well you are right.  I would have taken your Nintendo away from you. I would have punished you – severely – and then I would have dragged your arse to Tennis.  So you would have lost your Nintendo and still had to go to tennis.  That is pretty much how that would have played out.”

Connor: “Yes I know.”

Me: “So you say Tony gets lots of things.  How do you think he treats his mom – who works really hard to give him all those things?”

Connor:  “Tony’s mom treats him like a King.”

Me: “Hu-huh..”

Connor: “And Tony treats his mom like a servant …. a veeeerrrrry poor servant!” (this is seriously what my son said, I really am not ad libbing here.)

Me: “Right, how do you think it is working out for Tony’s mom with her giving Tony everything he wants and not being very strict about rules and boundaries for Tony?”

Connor:  “Not very good.  Tony is really rude to his mom, and he does not listen to her, and he is also a bully at school.”

Me: “Okay, so you understand that as parents we decide what is right for our children.  And though you think Tony has it good, if you look at the bigger picture, you can see that maybe giving Tony everything he sees and wants is maybe not working out so well.  Definitely not for his mom, and maybe not for Tony as well.”

Connor: “Hu-huh..”

Me: “Connor, we are just not that family.  Even if we could afford to give you everything and anything you saw, we still would not.  You need to know that you need to work for things, because then you see the value in it.  You worked for your Nintendo, and think if you lost it, it would not be “aw, well I lost my Nintendo” you would be devastated as you know all the chores you had to do, and all the money you had to save to get a Nintendo…so you understand why it is important that you work for things?”

Connor: “Hu-huh..”

Me: “So when you are big and want to go to University, dad and I expect you to pay towards University.  It is not a case of “here is a cheque, see you in 4 years” – you also need to understand the value of the cost.  We want you to study, and we want a lot of things for you in life.  But we are not going to be handing it over to you like Tony’s parents.  It is just not going to happen.”

Connor: “Do I have to go to University if I want to be a fisherman?”

Me: <sigh> “No, but maybe can study about oceans and animals at University and still be a fisherman….. later.”

Connor: “Okay, because I really like animals, and I REALLY like fishing…”

Me: “I know, but could you maybe think about University instead of leaving school to go fishing?”

Connor <in a less than convincing tone>: “Okay ….but I am not going to get married.  Because my wife will not want me to fish, because I smell, and she will want me to not be smelly, so I am not getting married ….. and that is final.”

Me:”Okay, just to go University, we can talk about your body odour and where you will be living later, okay?”

 

Footnote: In this conversation with Connor, I really tried not to come across in tone as judgemental when I spoke to Connor about his friend.

I wanted him to make the mental leap without me pointing it out to him.

Tony’s mom has decided how to raise Tony, and that is her choice and the consequences are hers as well. 

I have noticed Tony’s behaviour for some time,and though he is a sweet boy, I have noticed that he is difficult to discipline and lacks respect for adutls.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with that every day, and her choices might be because giving in is easier than fighting the good fight each day over everything. 

I do feel as parents, that though each child arrives with his/her own set of problems if we totally give in to our children, then the road to hell is not too far off. 

I know some people think we are quite strict (or lax) with the way we parent and gawd knows we get it wrong about as much as we get it right.  But I hope that the one thing we are is “aware parents.” 

We try to understand what is going on, and the impact it will have on our kids growing into adults, and parent accordingly – sometimes we get it right, some times we get it horribly wrong!

Our parenting has evolved, and we do parent differently now than we did in the beginning, and I trust we will continue to evolve as we get wiser, and older (and our sh&t tolerance continues to drop.)

Potty training minus the potty …..

Potty training is not going as well as anticipated.

Partly because it is not going at all.

I did buy the book, and handed it over to Pepe with firm instructions to read and highlight the important bits, so I could just go over it later and just get the executive summary.

<Pepe by the way had Friday off so she went and got her learner’s licence.  She passed first time.  Now she wants to learn to drive.  I sense things are going to be changing dramatically in our household quite soon.>

Pepe was a tad skeptical about potty training, but excited that Isabelle was going to be in “big girl territory.”

But that being said, there does appear to be a rather crucial problem with our plan.

Isabelle hates the potty.

I don’t mean Isabelle hates to use the potty, I mean she hates the potty.

The mere sight of the thing makes her point and start screaming like a demented Justin Bieber fan.

It is mildly disconcerting, and if there is any doubt that it is the potty causing the problem.  I have tried to move it towards her to desensitize her to it – but her screaming hits “screech” pitch and she backs into the corner, pointing rather furiously.

So I have no idea what the potty has done to her.  But it has made me wonder what goes on at home while I am at work.

With a rather depleted looking credit card in hand, I went to purchase a new potty on Saturday.  I was using the theory of “throw money at the problem” and it will go away.

I stood at Baby City and evaluated the various kinds of potties.

Some are really complicated, and some play tunes, and convert into desks and some into indoor  braais.

All the while I kept thinking that though I quite like the Nimbus 2000 of potties that I was holding at a mere R450 and change, I just had this nagging feeling that if I arrived home and unpacked this little beauty and Isabelle started screaming again – then I would have two high end potties without an arse willing to sit on them.

I uh’med and ah’ed and eventually I bought the R39 cheap-yet-cheerful white potty – no features, no air bags, just looks like a large coffee mug made from plastic, and I took that one home. 

As I had just saved R410 I stopped and bought Isabelle a “play phone” as an incentive to bribe her to use the potty, so my purchase still sort of came out to the same at the end.

I have not read the potty book, so I am not sure of the baby whisperer’s method yet.  My methods (for most things) tends to rely on dramatic hand movements, pleading, begging, threats and finally bribery.

I arrived home in a flourish with the new (and cheap) potty (and the other ton of shopping). 

I placed the potty down on the dining room floor in the hope that Isabelle would toddle over and take a look.  I made a bit of a ceremony of it, like it was super exciting.  Connor even got into the spirit of the new potty – bless that child!

What Isabelle did was release a blood curding scream.

Then threw herself against the child-gate and the top of the stairs, and screamed until I took her down to the lounge where she could sit with Kennith, suck her thumb and be far away from the potty.

Disturbing?  Yes.

Difficult to potty train a child who is scared of the potty! 

My last resort is to give her stickers and let her stick them on the potty to make it appear less scary (and less hygienic).

If that fails, I have resigned myself to leaving potty training until she is three and she goes to a school, someone with more experience can pick it up from there.

Shame has a name ….

There is actually no other way to put this, other than just saying it.

I realize that this will immediately mean that many of our social engagements will just be cancelled, all in an unexplained manner of course.  We will get those random sms’s saying “sorry, plans have been cancelled, will no longer be doing xyz on so-and-so night” only to discover later as we check Facebook that xyz on so-and-so night did occur, we just were not there.

I realize that my kids will no longer get invites to play dates and birthday parties. People will start de-friending me on Facebook.

Even taking all of that into consideration I do still feel the need to reveal the shame that is our family.

I have no option. 

I apologize now for the immediate physical reaction you will be having – and continue to have several hours after reading this post.

The truth is ….. we have discovered lice in our children’s hair.

Not mice, but lice – mice might have been more socially acceptable. 

Lice is usually associated with the great unwashed and concentration camps, but we have it, which of course brings into question our cleanliness and hygiene.

Yes, I have heard all about how lice like clean hair, as dirty hair is oily, and lice can’t stick to oily hair …. right, I have been trying to repeat than mantra to myself several times since “the discovery” – but then that begs the question, why do the homeless have lice??  Exactly!

Yes, there it is.  We are that family.  That family that other mothers whisper about on the playground.  We are them.  They are us.

Georgia has really long hair, and all of us have a reasonable good head of hair.  I live in perpetual fear of lice. 

That being said, I start treating for lice, before there is lice.  I treat for lice even before the notice goes out that there might be lice.

I started about two months ago – maybe three.

It means a lice shampoo at least twice a week, and then regular spraying of hair with an anti-lice spray.  I also do periodic head-checks.  It does look a bit like a monkey mother checking her monkey babies for fleas, but I do it, I do it while I am waiting for something, I do it when I am brushing hair, I do it a lot.

Notwithstanding all of that, and the fact that my kids get hair washed a minimum of 3 times per week – sometimes more, we still have lice.

I know – my head starts to itch at the thought.  The more you think about it the more you will itch.

It will even start to move down your neck – usually the back area of your neck, just at your hairline.

Last night was lice-control night in the Barlow Manse. 

It requires washing hair with lice shampoo, then sitting and brushing with a metal lice-comb.

In Georgia’s case – as she has hair past her bum – it means an hour of whining (me) and crying (her).  Once that is done,  I coat the hair in a tea-tree-oil stuff, and comb each section again.

Once done, hair is tied up into separate sections, more stuff is sprayed on – and then the hair is left – and then re-combed in the morning – retied up and re-sprayed.

This morning I wrote letters to the respective teachers of my kids telling them that we have lice, and that other moms need to be told.

Connor was horrified when I found lice in his hair – you could see the embarrassment sweep over him.  I think even at his age, he does not want to be ostracized by his friends and called lice-boy or whatever the hip term is now.

Georgia was a bit more excited, and started explaining to me how lice jump (which they don’t) and also which of her friends she was going to tell that I found 15 lice in her hair. 

I thought at this point it might be good to indicate that this might be one of those dark-and-dreadful secrets we should keep in our family and off the playground.

Today is also wash-all-bedding-pillows-and-sleeping-toys in hot water day.

After fetching kids from school, I decided to stop at the chemist and buy a whole new pile of lice-die-cream and shampoo.

I bought a bottle that promises to kill them in one wash, but suggests two washes in a 24 hour window

Tick – we will be doing that today.

I bought another new set of another brand – I figure I will play one brand off against the others, and either kill the lice or create a new super breed that is resistant to everything.  Each child got a nifty lice-and-nit comb – who said we don’t show our kids a good time?

My head has also begun to itch – but only when I think of the word “lice.”

I am probably going to use the lice shampoo this evening and then spend a quiet and meaningful three hours with a new lice-and-nit comb.

I bet your head is itching just thinking about it – my neck and knee have started to itch just writing this post. 

<This is all whilst need to do the home work for my group meeting tomorrow night and watch the stupid DVDs on mas.tur.ba.t.ion.  Fabulous.>

Winners and losers …..

We go along and see Educational Psychologist guy.  I must confess, I was not wowed off my feet.

I sat there looking at this guy thinking “seriously, you are going to help us, really?”  And at one point in the consulation, as I realised we had alreayd got to the hour, I suggested that: “Will you be spending any time with Georgia in this interview?” – said pretty much in that tone.

It appears we will not be Facebook friends moving forward.

He inspired absolutely no confidence in me. I started glaring at him at a certain point, and thinking that Kennith is going to turn to me at the first opportunity and go: ”Why have you wasted my time making this appointment with this tjop?”

What Kennith said instead was that he thought he was super – I was less enamored, decidedly less so in fact.

But that being said, I am going to attempt to take a chill-pill regarding Georgia, and use the “wait and see approach” – one which I am not really familiar with, but with Dr guy recommends.

We have opted to double up on her speech therapy, introduce OT with a focus on concentration exercises, and then at home make an effort to do more games with her so she learns to focus her attention, and Education guy also suggested a book with exercises, called Brain Gym.

He also suggests we try some of these techniques and then relook at her and have her eduationally assessed in about August and then get a real feel for how she will cope in Grade 1 – as it is too early now to get a real indication.

He did agree that her “concentration” and “focus” were a concern.

With that in mind – Kennith came home with two board games last night, and got Connor and Georgia to play Kid Monopoly.  (Kennith loves games, and has endless patience for this sort of thing, me, not so much)

I went downstairs with Isabelle and played with some balloons and Kennith played Monopoly with Connor and Georgia.

After about an hour, Monopoly ended, and Kennith congratulated Georgia on winning, and Connor came second and Kennith lost.

Afterwards, Kennith was saying that he did not “let her win” he tried to play a strategic game, but the key to winning is to “buy without any restraint.”

We were trying to get kids to go to bed after teeth brushing, and a few delaying tactics on their part, they started making moves to bed.   I was braving pouring my first glass of wine for the week – I have been a bit scared of the wine glass since last Wednesday.

Connor is taunting Georgia, as he does, and Georgia, being Georgia is not going to back down, so she is getting in his face, and basically it is Ganglands in our passage.

Georgia then clicks that she has just won a game, and that makes Connor the loser, so she taunts him in this whiney voice that he is a LOSER.  Connor is not a good loser, and does not take this sort of ridicule well.

I know we should have climbed in and stopped them, but it was so funny that we were guffawing in the kitchen.

Eventually we get them into bed – using very stern voices of : ”Okay bedtime now guys, stop monkeying around!”

They get into bed, bedroom doors are left open so we can say good night, give them a final kiss and close the bedroom doors. 

As the quiet in the house settles, we hear Georgia pipe up loudly from her bedroom: “Good night LOSER!”

Snort ….guffaw ….. snort-snort …. we never want to change that girl!

<I know we should teach our kids about the fun is in the game, but hells bells, sometimes it is just good to win, and it is nice when she wins over her older brother.>

Wordless Wednesday …. well sort of ….

Excessive consumption of beer affects masculinity and leads to belly growth, enlarged lacteal glands and decreased potency.

The quiet before the storm …

There is no denying that I am probably in the throngs of a full-fledged depressive episode.  Can’t say when it started, but it is without a doubt here in its full rather grim glory. 

Which is fantastic.

I think there have been too many things that have occurred, and they are not isolated events, they are symptoms of something else at play.  Not sure what the something else is either.

I have felt a bit “out of it” for more than a week – and even today I feel like I have a hangover.  I am not following exactly what is going on, I feel like I am in a tunnel, and everyone is sort of over there and I am right down this side and can’t quite get to them, or hear them clearly.

My head throbs – which is unusual, I do not usually have a headache – however Panado, Myprodol, or anything capsule like lying in my bag has definitely been my friend this week. 

I can hear and feel the exaggerated thudding of my heart beating – which is not normal, unless I am running up stairs.

I do hope the increased heart beat and the additional adrenaline leads to weight loss, but I am not terribly optimistic (however that might just be a side effect of the depression, and maybe the weight is falling off me in sheets at the moment and I am just too depressed to realise it.  Just maybe.)

I am so drained and exhausted I can hardly explain it. 

I feel frayed (not as in the Afrikaans “to have been loved” but in the English “piece of material that is falling apart at the edges.”)

All in all a bit disorientating. 

But it is what it is, and all I can do is brace myself for the inevitable downslide, and warn Kennith to baton down the hatches, because it is going to be a bumpy ride – and not in the way he would like.

Sunday we had a super baby shower for our very dear friends, Joyce and Leon, and celebrated that Kirsten would be joining them on the 21 April – we are all so excited for them.

The best part about a baby shower is the surprise factor – I think if you have that sorted, then you can tick all the blocks. It was a lovely day and many a tear was shed. 

Of course the issue with planning a baby shower, the same as planning a dinner for three, becomes a huge stressful endeavor for me.  Because I stress about everything.  EVERY THING!   

It does not matter if there are 3 people or 33 people, my level of anxiety is far out of synch with what is actually going on, and I am totally over reacting.  I know this, I see this, but I can’t change it.

By the time the guests arrived I have screamed at Kennith, and the kids, and resorted to giving the nanny the silent treatment. 

It is all very dire and quite unpleasant. 

Some people are wonderful hosts – my friend Alice is like that.  Guests arrive and she will swan into the lounge wearing perfect makeup, hair done, clean clothes and a just hint of Chanel # 5, while she smiles and greets everyone with double air kisses.

I aspire to be that sort of hostess. 

In my world people arrive, I usually have saliva spittle on my chin, a slight crazed look in my eye, and my fly is unzipped.  Not in a sexual come hither way, but more in a I-rushed-to-the-toilet-and-forgot-to-pull-it-up-sort of way, which of course makes them wonder if I had taken the time to wash my hands? 

And then they have that thought in their head the entire day – and as I am usually handing food when they arrive, it sort of sets a thought process that they now can’t move away from.

But besides me being me, it was a lovely baby shower.

I finally got to meet the legend that is Lisa and Travers.  I intend to stalk Lisa and make her my best friend in the whole world; she just does not realize it yet. 

Travers, throw some wood on the braai, we are coming over with my box of Drosty-Hof Extra Light!

My next group-support-room-full-of-broken-limping women is on Friday night.  I have not quite recovered from the Viva La V.ul.va video and experience as yet, and am still having flash backs (and have that faraway look in my eyes like a war veteran).  I still have not done the personal exam, and am unsure that I will be getting there.

Why?

Well as a precursor to the next class I now have a double DVD called “The Wonders of Mas.tur.b.a.t.i.on.”  The fact that it is 4 episodes and extends over two DVDs is beyond concerning.   Seriously what are you doing with yourself for that period of time?  However I have not actually put the DVD into anything that plays yet.  It is still in the shame bag and I am just too mortified to look.

I am traumatized and I haven’t even taken them out of the DVD covers yet.

So I need to get over that hurdles (or hurl) this week before Friday night.

Kids started school this week – fabulous.  Just in time for them to go on holiday for two weeks, again.  I seriously do not know what moms do who do not have holiday programs at schools.  Fortunately mine just carry on like normal, just in casual clothes.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with an educational psychologist to assess Georgia. 

I also have her booked at a child psychiatrist and a pediatrician who specializes in attention disorders.  Kennith feels I am over reacting, but in my defense I have cancelled three other assessments with three other specialists, so I think I have it pretty well under control as I have it down to three, which seems reasonable for me.

So that is where I am.

Finallly one good thing in this week …

I got home on Friday – after my shocker of a day – which only added to my total “rhymes with koos” of a week.

I stumble in at around 7pm, throw myself into the bedroom,  fling my bag down and sit on the bed in a devastated pile.

Kennith is sitting with his back to me, and Isabelle is on a chair next to him – he is on the computer and she is playing with something on the desk.  They say ‘hi” and Kennith continues with his gane.

Isabelle continues playing with what ever she has got, and she goes “caaa” and hands something to Kennith – and lo-and-frkn-hell it is my wedding ring!

Right there after I have spent four days hunting (flinging things around in anger and frustration) looking for it.

Isabelle it appears had taken my ring and attached it to the magnet – and no one thought to look inside the magnet (it has a fold over clip to go onto a golf peak cap) as there my ring was!

Clearly not the place anyone might have thought to look.

So one highlight of my shite week – Isabelle found my ring, granted she had actually been the one who lost it, but bygones and all that.

Deeply embarrassed and shamed …

So bookclub has had a few issues for me for a bit.  Small stuff really, but it has been niggling at me.  I felt I would feel better addressing the issues and resolving them, because they were niggling me.

Good plan.

Not a good plan when you feel a bit emotional, and have had about 3 glasses too many, and then decide to address something that really should be a one-on-one problem solving exercise, and decide instead to do it in front of the entire group.

I am mortified that I am such a total douche-bag!

There I sat and I vented and emotionally vomited in front of 7 rather startled looking people.

I really would love to say that I carried it off with aplomb and made my point succinctly – but unfortunately the opposite is true.

I totally offended anyone who breathed.

I went off like a deranged lunatic, and I managed to alienate everyone in the room – and at the time I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but felt, at the time, that I knew exactly what I was doing – and quite vindicated in my stand point (at the time).

However retrospect is a wonder in itself – and when I had time to calm “the f&ck down” – as I like to say – I was able to look back and realize the absolute devastation I had caused and more importantly  “what the hell was I thinking”.

What a total f*ck up – total.

So Thursday morning had me feeling so embarrassed and shamed – not ashamed, but SHAMED.   I was mortified that I had sat and felt that what I was saying was correct and appropriate, and justified. 

My brain, and my mouth, and my logic had disengaged totally, and I am so embarrassed.

Fabulous.

Not.

So there we are – I have managed in one foul swoop to become a total tosser (listen I always was, but I managed to sort of keep it mildly under wraps until now). 

Yesterday I felt more terrible that I have in a very long time.

I know the thing we would tell our kids is “go and apologise, and say you are sorry, and there is nothing more you can do …”

Hmm, good advise.

I have apologized for my outburst, but it is a bit like it has been said and it can’t be unsaid, so I sort of slink away very embarrassed.

Today I feel a little bit better – not absolutely better  – but at least I do not feel so ill as I did yesterday.  

Do you realize that you can actually feel violently physical ill from embarrassment and shame? I managed to feel that way the whole of yesterday – I was shaking and had a few crying jags just for fun!

Then I went to lie on my bed, not to sleep, but to close my eyes in the hope I might be swallowed up by the earth …. unfortunately it did not happen, no matter how hard you wish it – and I opened my eyes and it was still me staring back at me.

I still feel crap, and horrible, and embarrassed and shamed.

I f&cked up on a monumental scale, and that it can’t be undone –but there it is.

On the other side of rather unfortunate week I have also managed to:

  1. Lose my wedding ring – and I cannot locate it, and I am actually very upset and worried and upset.
  2. I mentioned before that I am attending a 7 week intensive work shop/group work – and for 2 hours a week I get to cry and unpack some stuff that I have been resisting for a long time with a group of similar minded girls.
  3. Watching the “La Viva V.ulv.a” DVD had a profound effect on me.  It has made me question how I view myself, why I view myself as I do – and as importantly what messages I am passing on to my daughters.  I feel that there has been this mental shift ….and it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and at the same time forcing me to relook at myself….which is not keeping me in my happy (and ignorant) space.
  4. I have realized – rather uncomfortably – that I have got exceedingly judgmental person and am really hating that quality about myself.  At the same time am a bit stuck as to how to make me “less judgmental.”
  5. I was wondering if I could find a support group for Alcoholics Anonymous (who still drink) who specialize in Verbal Diarrhea with a minor in Shame and Embarrassment.  I am looking for that sort of support group, so if you can recommend anything, please let me know.
  6. I feel emotionally exhausted and just drained at the moment – and I do not know what I need to remedy me.
  7. And I am still a total douche bag!

Viva La V.ulv.a.

Okay, so last night I sat and watched a DVD called Viva La V.ulv.a. 

I really do not make this stuff up –  sometimes I wish I did, but not this time.

It is a DVD made by a sex educator Betty Dodson.   I had never heard of her until last week, so it was all big news to me. 

When you look at Betty Dodson, it is a bit like taking couple and sex advise from Betty White from the Golden Girls – actually it is exactly like that.  She is sweet, rather maternal and touching on eighty-two at this point and still continues to educate women about women.

To quote – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Dodson

Betty Dodson, Ph.D. (born August 24, 1929) is an American sex educator, author, and artist. Dodson held the first one-woman show of erotic art at the Wickersham Gallery in New York City in 1968. She left the art world to teach sex to women. She is widely known as a pioneer in women’s, and to a somewhat lesser extent men’s, sexual liberation, having sold more than 1 million copies of her first book, Sex for One.  Much of her fame has come from her work not only advocating ma.stur.ba.tion, but conducting workshops for more than 30 years in which groups of about 10 or more women (and at least once a group of men) would talk, explore their own bodies, and mas.tu.rba.te together. “

This particular DVD was just that – 10 women who sit around and discuss their v.ulv.as.    No really that is what it is.  It is not p.orn movie, though you would be totally correct in assuming it might appear that way.  It is more of looking at your “nether regions” in a biology way, with the aid of your rather eccentric but rather liberal grandmother.

When I thought that I couldn’t cringe anymore – and I cringed plenty – they all sat around with very large mirrors and bright lights, and spent some time examining their vu.lva.s. 

All in the same room.  At the same time.  And no one was giggling hysterically.  And no one was drinking wine!

So each woman gets the mirror and the light and sits splayed, while everyone examines her v.ulv.a, at the same time as Betty and the other 9 woman have a look see.  It’s a bit of a show and tell really.

So woman A is pulling herself open and everyone is having a look, and this is while Betty is using an ear bud (and no gloves I noticed) to point and probe various areas and everyone is going “oooohhhh” and “aaahhhhh” and saying words like “it is so pretty” and “wow that is cute…” and various other things I can’t actually put here.

I have realized a few things in the last two weeks, and that is that my “sexual script” appears to have been written by Swedish Religious Missionaries circa 1821!  I cannot believe how cloistered and how absolutely narrow my map of the world is – this DVD freaked me out – totally!

And then I got freaked out that I was freaked out by.

I really did not want to watch it, but felt I should – actually I “felt I had to” – I am doing a 7 week workshop and body awareness is one of the issues that is covered. 

When this DVD was handed out I started to get that vague nauseous feeling of dread and horror.

But I watched it.

Many things happened for me while watching this video.

First I had to take my hands away from my face, because that is how I was hiding my eyes, so I actually would not have to see what was happening on the screen.

Then I also got to look at 10 woman’s v.ulv.as in a non-playboy or hustler sort of way. 

It was not a case of them being explicit so that some horny hairy and overweight 55-year-old man could have a look see and a drool – but rather than these women as individuals and as a group could look at their v.ulv.as, and maybe have some understanding and appreciation of how they work – often for the first time. 

They were women all looking at a part of their own body they probably had not looked at before.   Most of them hadn’t – and my guess is that most of the women reading this blog haven’t either.

It was the equivalent of sitting around a table and everyone examining each other’s hands and commenting on nails and the lines, without it being this huge “embarrassing” thing or people squealing.

I think the DVD went on for about 30 minutes. 

The beginning was a bit excruciating for me. I think at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I am actually a bit of a prude.  Betty also used the c-word, but not in a cringe sort of way – though I did cringe, I might have even recoiled.  She uses it freely and in an affectionate way – which is not normally how one would think the c-word would be used.  See I can’t even use the c-word here …….

The realization I was that for one, I have never looked at myself. (I am not quite rushing out to buy a miror or a desk lamp, so let’s all calm ourselves down)

My wax lady and my OGBYN have had more of a look at me than me.  I prefer to avert my eyes in a rather Victorian-lady sort of way.  And that appears is the norm, among woman/girls I have asked.

And why?

Because I have always been taught – I have no idea by whom – that girly bits must always be kept covered.  

Good girls do not look at themselves, let alone admit to touching themselves. 

There is this message that “down there” is dirty and unsanitary and well pretty much off-limits.  And that in turn is what we teach our daughters.

Ever smacked your child’s hand away when she puts her hand on her v.ulv.a? I have!

Then whilst I sat and cringed – I was screwing up my face in horror – watching this DVD, I realized that I had done myself an injustice, and if I was not careful I would be doing the same thing to my daughters.

To raise my daughters and give them the stereotype behavior that I have lived with and force them to think of a part of their body as “dirty” or “shameful” is really a reflection on what I am teaching them, and really what does that do for them moving forward.

Make them hate a part of their body, make them ashamed?

Most women and men – do not understand how women work.  How our mechanics are designed – good grief I recall sitting in my OGBYN’s office while he did a drawing for me – and it was my third child.  Yes I understand the rudimentary mechanics, but I really do not know how I work. 

And for some reason I think that is okay.  However with my recent DVD purchase I am wondering, is it okay?

Listen I have not quite got my head around this – and to be honest I feel a bit punch drunk today after watching the DVD.

I do feel however that there has been some sort of switch.   

Not a direct “on/off” switch that went off in my brain last night, but definitely an awareness that maybe I have got this all terribly wrong, and maybe Golden Girl Betty Dobson is on to something here (please bear in mind this DVD is easily 20 years old, so not only is she on to something, but good grief  I have severely been left behind on this one).

I might not be quite ready to burst into song about Viva La V.ulv.a, but maybe my brain has started to think just a little differently ….. just maybe….. just a little.

When boys become men …..

Every now and then, I catch a glimpses that Connor is no longer a baby.

I think as a mom, it is very difficult to make that mental leap –because not that long ago I was changing nappies and breastfeeding, and carrying him on my hip – for me he is always that soft and cuddly boy with his big blue eyes. 

But the old cliché of “kids grow up” does apply – no matter how hard we fight the inevitable.

Connor is nine years old and I still get amazed at the realisation that he is not a little boy.  He is on his way to being a big boy.  Well almost a young man, and in 3 year and 8 months he will officially be a teenager –  and then I might just plats (actually it is guaranteed!).

Because Connor is the oldest in our house I put pressure on him to be the responsible one.

“Connor, please watch your sister by that step.”

“Connor, please can you go and fetch Isabelle’s bottle in the kitchen.”

“Connor, please don’t fight with your sister, let her play in your room, please.”

“Connor, are you too young to open a bottle of wine yet?”

And at the same time I admonish him when he acts like he is the “class captain” or the “house police.”

He will be the one to order his sisters around, or tell them that they are not supposed to do something.  He has even started threatening them with time out.  Often he will do this in the exact same tone of voice that he used Kennith and I use to speak to the girls.

Then we say “Connor, you do not have to be the parent here, leave that to us, okay!”

Because he is the oldest, and we have a 21 month old, mom and dad are often distracted and Connor sometimes does have to be the parent – when it is convenient to us. 

So we are forcing him to be more responsible and maybe more grown-up than he is ready to be.

I expect him to remember to get his homework book signed.  I expect that he will remember to get all his school clothes together and bring them home at the end of the day.  I expect him to remember to brush his teeth in the morning.  I expect him to remember to tell me the important piece of information from school.  I expect him to be able to find his shoes in the morning.

I expect him to … because I am too distracted attending to two smaller kids, and my life, to stand behind him and do it for him.  So I expect him to.

I expect him to be more grown-up than his nine years warrants. 

At the same time I forget to reward him for being a grown up and being moms-happy-little-helper.  He still eats with the kids and he still goes to bed at the kids bedtime.

We have a new nanny, and she said to me the other day: ”That Connor is a very respectful boy!”

And he is.  Sometimes I forget what a good guy he is.

I do need to cut him a bit of slack and remember that even though when I look at his lanky body, and his “big boy” teeth he is actually a little guy, who needs a hug from his moms (but where none of his friends will see) and a cuddle with his dad.

That being said I often get put on the back foot when he is upset and he cries.  When I look at him I see an adult.  When he has a young boy’s tears running down his cheeks, it often leaves me surprised and a bit caught off guard.

I forget sometimes that he is still a little guy, underneath all that gangliness.

On Sunday we went off to lunch at a friends, and there was a girl of twelve there.  I realize that Connor and “the girl” are not star crossed lovers, they are just two kids who like to play Playstation together. 

But when I look at “the girl” I see a girl on the edge of being a teenager, and because Connor is nearly her size I sort of clump them together in my head.

Then I looked over at the couch, and witness Connor making fart sounds with his hand in his armpit. 

I laughed and figured that maybe he is not quite ready to start dating just yet, and maybe I still have a few years of a gangly boy before I have to deal with a little man.

I choose to leave the crap to someone else …

Isabelle is 21 months and I really need to give some thought to potty training.

I think is aware when she takes a crap in her pants, because she sort of does a cowboy walk and indicates in the region of her bum “uck, uck.”  So she does not say mommy, but she has “yuck” “shoes” and “yum yum” covered. 

And you wonder why I blog to deal with my pain of rejection!

R2.20 – R3.00 odd a nappy (depending on the quality we can afford at the time of the month) it might be time to think about this potty training thing a bit more seriously.

Here is the rub – I have never taught my children potty training.  I hear you ‘gasp’ but it is true – and no they are not all crapping in their pants, I have just outsourced it in the past – not consciously, but it was sort of how it happened.

I waited until the school went: “Oooohhhh Connor/Georgia (leave the correct name in) is ready to potty training!”

And then I go: “Really?” with a certain measure of doubt in my voice.

Listen I do not like cleaning crap off skin, but it is preferred to cleaning it off skin, then off walls, then off the side of the toilet seat, then flicking it off the inside of underwear, and digging it off the seams of jeans ….. I like the one place option.

And they go – sort of with unabandoned glee – gawd pre-school staff need to get out more: “Yes, and we are going to get started, so please send extra underwear in case he/she messes. Okay?”

Me – sort of with a bit of a lip curl and lacking enthusiasm: “Okay …..”

And then I do send more underwear, and that is pretty much where my contribution starts and ends. 

Monday to Friday, Connor/Georgia are faithfully potty trained until they come home.  Then I put a nappy on and it remains there until Monday morning, and the training can pick up again.  At school.  Where I am not.

I figure my lackluster interest would set their training back by a maximum of three weeks, but in the bigger picture what is three weeks?

Not much I tell you – but three weekends spent wiping crap off furniture it can seem like an eternity! 

At some point even the child knows that they are potty trained and then they take off the nappy and use the potty at home, and then let me put the nappy on when what ever has found it’s way into the potty.

I usually keep this up until something happens.   I might forget to put the nappy on and then Connor/Georgia go to the toilet without pee’ing or poo’ing on the walls/floors or duvets, and I get called to come wipe and find a perfect floaty in the plastic potty.

At some point I will notice that an entire day has gone by and either the nappy is unused or I have forgotten to put it on.  Then I will congratulate myself on a successfully potty trained child, and do high-fives all around!

The result is that I have used this method twice and it has worked pretty well for me.  I seriously do not feel I have been robbed of any experience, really it is fine.  The need to teach my child to use the crapper is pretty low on my list of things I feel I need to do to make me a complete and competent mother.  Really, however if it rocks your world, great.

Unfortunately the flaw in my present system is that Isabelle does not go to school.  Huge flaw.

“Oh where, oh where to look to find someone to potty train my child?”

RM cups hand above eyes so she can see into the distance without squinting.  “Oh look who I see there, it is … it is Pepe. Yay for Pepe!”

Fabulous.

Yes, you can tut-tut until you nick your tongue for all I care. 

It is better than me sending my daughter to school when she is three and still not potty training.  I mean really, how would that look?

This morning I saw a book titled Potty Training In One Week by Gina Ford

Hello, what a clever little find.  Listen even if they are lying and it takes two weeks, still sounds like a good deal to me and costs about the same as one pack of nappies.

Excellent guess what book I have just bought for Pepe?

Will update you on how Pepe is doing as soon as the book arrives.