Do you remember where you were this day in 1997?

Born Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, Princess Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. She married heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, on July 29, 1981. They had two sons and later divorced in 1996. Diana died in a car crash after trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris ………

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I am not sure if other people remember historic moments and where they were and what they were doing.

Kennith and I were up in Bloemfontein for a dog show.  Dog shows normally start at 08h00, which means you are up before 06h00, to pack, walk the dog, and get to the ground before 07h00.

I was walking our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Willy (Int Ch and SA Ch Timanlee Wicked Willy of Anfield) on this grass patch.  It was cold, not freezing, and Willy had just taken off to run after birds.  The fact that he is a white dog, and running through mud was not lost on me.

I was sprinting — I am sure it looked like running in slow motion, but to me it felt like I was travelling at the speed of light — I heard Kennith calling me from the guest house — I could not hear him, but based on his volume I took it the entire guest house was now awake.

He ran out to tell me that they had just reported on the news that Diana, Princess of Wales had died.  We sat and watched the footage on Sunday morning, 31 August 1997.

Our friend, who we were sharing the room with, Tim, woke up and saw the news.  Tim being Tim commented that he was deeply saddened as he always felt he had a chance with Diana.

I guess we all cope with sadness in different ways.

The day at the dog show was busy as they are — but people were still talking about Princess Diana and her death.  Initially there was not a lot of information, but tons of speculation.

We returned to Cape Town later the same day and the week that followed could only be described as the collective world crying.

I recall watching it on television and basically sitting there sobbing — not the pretty kind where a tear falls out of the edge of your eye and runs down your cheek in a designer line.  No, mine was more snot bubbles and retching with tears.  Your nose red and raw ….. your eye looking much like sheep’s vaginas.  You know that look.

Every day it got worse, as I still was not finished crying from the day before —- and it seemed everyone was crying.  Life just came to a stand still — you were either talking about her, her death, her boys and the flowers outside the palace or you were crying in unison.

There was telephonic coverage across Sky, the BBC and CNN 24 hours a day -and it just did not stop being sad.

The funeral on the 6 September 1997 was a full day of crying.   Her brother’s eulogy made everyone cry the little bit of salt and liquid they may have held in their body.  Elton John’s tribute was literally the final straw ….. if you were not already hysterical with the pain of it all, then that sent you off into the oblivion.

No matter what you may think of feel about her actions – she was a mother, and she left her two children without her love and protection.  I still find thinking about her and how she died left an almost permanent impression on me.

It is hard to grasp that was 18 years ago.

And this woman touched us all in such a profound manner.

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Woolworths stepping up to a change in the way they merchandise their store ….

tantrums

I have written about Woolworths on several occasions – in general I am quite complimentary.

They are my sole supplier of Chuckles, and then there is their rotisserie chicken which is actually finger looking good — not like the other chicken, which once eaten makes you want to deeply consider retching as an option to finish the meal.

I have as usual strayed away from my point.

I can’t recall where this original conversation started but the discussion was about the way Woolworths (and most retailers) pack the small, impulse purchases along the line of where you are waiting for a till to open up.

And the mayhem it creates with parents with young children.

I for one, have often thrown in items whilst standing in that same queue that I do not need, but I do that “eeeehhh” sound and then toss it in my trolley.

It happens.  It’s a phenomenon that has been observed among shoppers, and it’s the reason that Woolworths and other retailers do it.

Basically retailers know so much about us and our behaviour that they arrange their stores using various models to ensure they aim us to the product we probably want.

I love the idea of retail psychology and why we behave a certain way.  There are words like “bum brush” and it appears it is not only me that smells clothing as part of the retail process.

We are all animals, who behave along a fairly clear line of expected behaviour.  Sure there will be the odd person who comes along and goes left instead of right (or right before left) on entering the store.  I can’t recall which is the correct way we “naturally” go and stores design and merchandise accordingly.

The point of the matter is they (the retailers) know what we are going to do, they guide us to do it, and then place products in front of us that we cannot resist.

This long intro brings us to the of RUNNING THE GAUNTLET to the till to pay when the aisles are stacked 3 or 4 levels high with sweets.

You can hear the whining all the way down the aisle, the teeth gnashing and the eventual reverting to crying in frustration.

And that is just from the parents.

Usually the “let’s part with a lot of money after this queue” moves reasonably quickly, but no matter how quick it goes you will have a child going “Mooooooommmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee …….. I waaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnttttt this, can I have thiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss……….. please, mommie please, mommie please… ”

Mommie is repeated to the point, where ever human being is now staring at that child, thinking ugly thoughts.

“Mommie please” is usually done in an escalating whining voice, dragging each vowel out, and only stops after sufficient people have turned around to stare at the child (not the mother, we all feel for the mother) but we stare at that child a bit like those children act in The Village of the Damned.  Group “think” and together we are hoping that that child instantly falls asleep.  Or disappears.  Which ever is easiest.

Not dead sleep, just sufficient sleep immediately so the whining can stop.

{this is without a doubt why I wear a head set permanently and listen to music at a volume which could be referred to as slightly too loud}

We feel for the moms and dads ….. because shit balls it is not an easy adventure. If you have kids and you have attempting to leave the house to exchange money for goods, then this has happened to you.

If it hasn’t, then either you are lying or you are really able to switch off to your child like no one’s business.

I have a very simple theory about whining and it is probably rooted in my theories behind dog training.

If you are seriously thinking about having a child, get a dog, say three years before.

Spend the time training your dog until you have a well behaved dog who listens to commands, goes outside when you say, does not hop onto the furniture unless invited and also does not fucking eat the couch when you are out.

Dogs are a fabulous introduction to having a child.  There are many similarities.  Seriously if you can get it right with a dog, train them, having a loving relationship with them, but they still know you are the alpha male, then you are nearly 80% there to parenting.

Children are basically designed to get what ever they want.  Do you think they are made with those super big heads, large innocent eyes and the pout so they are good at manual labour?  No.

They are designed to play on our emotions — which may also explain why Donald Trump has done so much with so little and continues to up to this point.  Potential President Elect?  I think that is the sound of the four horses of the Apocalypse right there <makes clippety clop sound with coconut shells from Monty Python skit>.

I know the right words are “guide” and “nurture” but it is almost the same thing.  You are teaching your child not to go outside when you say no, not to climb onto the table when you say no, not to lick the dog when you say no, and most importantly not to fucking eat the couch.

The trick to training a dog, and a child, is to never give in. Not once.

Once you have set a rule/a line/a this is as far as this shit is going to go vantage point.  Then stick to it, even though you want to give in.  Even if you decide “listen I am so over this shit, just let the child have 100kg of straight sugar and I will mainline it in ….” even then, stick to your guns.  Hold back.  Hold firm.

Why?

Once you give in, your child learns that the issue is not whether you will give in or not, because you are going to give it —- eventually —- you have just proven that, the question is simply “when” — and when means that the whining and crying needs to be kept up until the point is reached where you go “fuck it, have it already….”

Kids are clever little people.  Even though they have mucus on their faces and can sit in their faeces for 3 hours and have little in the way of verbal communication.  Babies are baisically lumps of lard we carry around for months before they start to exhibit some sort of a personality and are able to keep some of their body secretions inside their body.

When I look at babies I am often left wondering “how the fuck did we become the top predator in this food chain ……. I mean crikes ……….”

Back to the original point – parents trying to get through a stressful shopping experience, after work, trying to rush home before they get food going and having to keep saying NO, NO, NO, NO the entire way down the check out aisle is exhausting. Add a second or third child into that trolley and it becomes the Jim Rose Circus in no time.

For them.  For us.  For everyone except the retailer who is going to get a few “fuck, yes, take it ….. fuck it” and then this reinforces the way the aisles are designed.

In a not so suprising announcement Woolworths have opted to pull sweets out of these aisles – you can read it on their Facebook page

Parents? Good news. We’re going to remove all sweets and chocolates from the check out aisles.

We know that the ‘kids gauntlet’ is a real challenge for those of us committed to teaching our children healthy eating habits… and we want to help make that easier.  Read more about it and people’s comments on their Facebook Page.

— they have not told us what they are going to put in it’s place, so we wait with mild anticipation.

Woolworths I personally think this frees up a lot of space to keep a few bottles of wine displayed.  What would you like to see in their check out aisles?

Anyway, well done Woolworths, you have several moms smiling in joy, and several people who only remember to buy jelly beans whilst standing in the same aisle feeling really annoyed.

Now they are going to need to abandon the aisle and go and find those crazy good jelly beans.  {That crazy person running whilst abandoning her children in the queue would be me if that ever pops up on your security video feed.}

You can’t win it all.  But at least you aren’t losing …..right?

I have said many things in my time, but calling someone a Fat Fuck has not been one of them …. and my life appears to be poorer for it

Recently there was a little activity on my blog and some people laughed, some people took the time to leave tips and suggestion about my parenting techniques, and gave me sage (interpret as totally useless) parenting advise, and others frothed at the mouth.

I fed the trolls a bit — I do see the error in my ways there.  I decided after Staci, I think it was, that really there are just too many stupid people in this world for me to change and try to change their narrow train of thought.  I had only glimpsed the stupid and if exponentially this was moved across the world and there were that proportion of stupid people to blogs, then we really are in a world of trouble, IQ and EQ wise.

While I am here …. I do want to point out something that seemed to anger people, and sent them into a fucking lather — people feel I called my daughter an “ungrateful little bitch.”

If you read the piece.  Like read it, with a sane mind and can grasp the concept of satire.  And READ IT without having to sound out the words aloud because your reading level allows you to comprehend what is in front of you.  Rather than say seeing something, jumping to an assumption and then yourself …. you may notice that I did not call her an ungrateful little bitch — I thought it, because well that was how she was behaving.

Let’s not get into details and stuff, it often spoils a good story.

What is more important is that you get the idea of how to school a Troll from a legend named Ellie.

Cathy dropped by and left this link on my comments page to this rather outstanding post written, by what I can only class as the brilliant and eloquent Ellie over at her blog Have Some Decorum.

I have never actually used the phrase “Fat Fuck” to answer a troll’s comment — it’s just not a phrase that ever popped into my head.  Before.  For anything. But moving forward, I am going to borrow it from Ellie and start to pepper my speech with it when it seems warranted.

Please go along and read her frighteningly clever, tragically sad and at the same time something wonderful blog post.

It starts with the Title,

Dear Fat Fuck,

and a brilliant image of a chicken — which already pushes this blog post into the realm of “oh my god, let’s make this woman president or queen  …… or something with a crown of sorts” ….

dear_fat_fuck

Dear Fat Fuck,

Jesus! I knew that when I started this blog that I could not assume everyone would love it. I knew I would have some haters. But here’s the thing, that’s okay, because I can take it. Trust me, I deal with much bigger problems than a few people who “dislike my blog.”

I started writing this blog with the intention of mostly talking about interior decorating but it has evolved into more than that. You may think that I am completely forthcoming with all that I talk about with this blog but I am not, at least not all at once. I tried to keep this blog light and lighthearted even if we talk about some deep subjects. However, there is so much that you don’t know. I intend to be an open book because that’s how I live my life. I do not have secrets and I tell everybody everything. It is not my intention to be Debbie Downer or exude a “woe is me attitude.” That is not who I am. I wake up happy and try to see the joy and beauty in every day. Of course, there is extreme ugliness with my disease that I spare you from. Why would you want to hear all of that? However, I will not spare anyone from it when I write my book. You can either choose to read it or not. But, today is different… Today is going to be ugly. I’m going to tell you some things that will make your jaw drop, I am going to call one person in particular a fat fuck about 400 times, and the unfortunate part of my disease will be exposed a little bit. If you want to quit reading, be my guest, because today I am going to be a total b*tch. However, I will be truthful. Tomorrow’s blog will go back to normal and we will talk about spaghetti carbonara and lasagna but today… Not so much.

I was reading a wonderful blog last night called The Gardener’s Cottage. It’s a really great blog and y’all should check it out. The author of the blog wrote a really sweet blog posting about me and I was going to the comments section so I could write something back to her and thank her for all of her kind words. I started to read all of the other comments that people had written about me… Really thoughtful, loving, supportive, endearing comments… Until there were about 10 comments from readers who basically hated me. Here’s the good news… I don’t care. Here’s the bad news… I do care.

Apparently, some of these readers (and the rudest one posted anonymously, of course) are miffed about my donation page on my blog. Let me give you a few examples of some of their grievances with my donation page…

Please pop along and read the rest of this brilliant way to respond to someone who fucking has no clue what they are talking about.  But then pops along and leaves the equivalent of a taking a shit on your blog.

After reading Ellie’s response, I was convinced that “Fat Fuck” was too dear a term to be used for this particular brave ANON —- but I could not think of a better one that ‘YOU FAT FUCK!!”

Enjoy her blog — and yes, it is a pleasure.

{falls on the floor in adoration – this chick has bigger balls than Hank ……. but most chicks do I am afraid}

I went to a strip club …… and I haven’t ridden a donkey before either #justsaying

I have never been to a strip club.  I have also never had an STD nor have I ridden a donkey.

I figured as we were going into things I had not done, we would cover a few.  Jump in at any point and let me know stuff you have not done.

I sometimes get an idea into my head that usually starts with me saying things like “come on, lets go to XYZ, it’ll be fun …. you will see ……….”

It is seldom is fun, even I realise that 15 minutes in, but I hang in there when quitters quit.  Me being a winner and all.

Saturday night, I decided I needed to go to a strip club. Not a strip club where boys strip.  But a girl one.  I was quite sober when I came up with this idea.

Listen if that is what you do for fun, a hobby or for a living, then all the power to you.

I am happy you have found something that makes you happy and you get paid to do it.  Personally I cannot watch a man strip. There is something fundamentally wrong with a guy trying to make sexy eye contact and take his black socks off at the same time.

It might just be me, but when I watch a guy stripping —- and it is not like this happens a lot —– I start to feel embarrassed for him.

I realise that this reeks of sexism and double standards, but boys need to be either dressed or undressed and avoid the gyrating to music with a heavy bass in between, and pants that rip off on the sides with the aid of velcro.  If you cannot rip your pants off on your own, then don’t fucking rip them off. climb out of them one leg at a time like the rest of us.

Again if that is your thing —– good for you.  It’s not my thing.

But I have moved away from my story.  Tangents and stuff.

I wanted to go a strip club – the standard kind where woman strip.  I also did not feel like driving into Cape Town to Mavericks, and felt I wanted to start off slowly/more sleazy and aim to something in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.

Yes, I do realise the level of errors in that set of decision making.

Possibly my codeine ingestion was too high that day.  Possibly I needed a bigger glass of wine and a lie down, but I managed to convince someone ELSE that this was a good idea and off we went.

In his defence he kept telling me repeatedly, and louder that this was NOT a good idea.

Even on the drive up there, there was nothing but bad energy about this place.  Without naming names, it had the word Goose as part of it’s signage.  And a large goose on it’s sign.

The warning signs were white and about two meters high with a FUCKING GOOSE in it.  I think the goose might have had a bow tie on …. but some of the details got a bit hazy due to the sheer amount of information coming in at this point.

You know when things go bad, and someone says, did you see any signs before?  The answer here is “yes officer…”

I figured, well we have sunk this low, let’s just go in.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

And in we went.

Saturday night – if there were 12 clients there were a lot.  I didn’t do a formal head count.

I think there were 5 girls whose job it was to dance, take their clothing off and make us feel welcome.

I knew when I looked at the wine list that we should leave — or at least disinfect our hands,.  I wanted to make this evening work.   I wanted to experience the entire strip club thing.

How bad could this be??  Right?

I ordered wine —- I knew it was going to be bad, the wine list was really terrible.  I drink almost anything, so for me to hesitate over a wine list because I was trying to pick the best of the worst must give you an idea how “skeptical” this experience was going to be.

I asked if I could take a photograph of the wine list (as evidence in case I went to ER and had to have my stomach pumped). The waitress looked at me as if I had just asked her if I could sell her child on Gumtree.  She genuinely looked scared.  And told me NO in that hushed whisper only used my kidnapped children and that little boy in Sixth Sense when he says “I see dead people………”

I was asking for a photograph of the wine list, not a vaginal swab.  But.  Okay, so no photographs ….. packs phone/camera into bag.

The first performer appears on stage.  Now when I think of a strip show this is sort of what I had in mind ……

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It appears not only was I aiming a little high —– I really had no idea, but Hollywood has been lying to us —- yes, you heard it here, first.  I had moved into the world of delusional at a pace that made my head spin.

What I saw was a woman who might have been a foreign national who looked like she was dancing to get her passport returned.  And she still had three months ahead of her.

There was no clever outfit — there was just hooker heels, a really bad dress (China Town bad dress) and very small panties …. I could see them through the dress.

This is not because I have great vision, the dress was a lot less than more.  And again, you would be hard pressed (no pun intended) to think of this as sexy.

You know when someone is going through the routine and it is about as sexy as “Everyone Loves Raymond” …… imagine “Everyone Loves Raymond” as a strip show (with the mom), then you would pretty much have it.

It was sadly disappointing.  I think for the both of us (her and I).

One bottle of wine in.  I thought I would solve the problem and suggest let’s have another (bottle of wine) to just see if this is going to get better.  It didn’t.  The wine nor the show.

There were two table dances going on not too far from us.  The girls wore tiny tiny strings of panties.  I know it is a strip club I understand where this is going.

The problem is that when it went there. I had to look away.  Not because I was offended by their sexuality or the fact that this was starting to look at feel like a gynecological exam, but with no hands, it was just awful.  I have had pap smears that sort of looked more pleasurable.

I felt sorry for the women dancing …. this was Saturday night, busiest night of the week ….. and they were sitting at the table next to us chatting to each other, because there were just no clients.

If I was on stage stripping, I would be a little offended that someone left the rugby game on repeat on the big screen television.  Let’s weigh up girl on stage stripping, or watching rugby game on repeat and mute.

At a certain point I started to watch the rugby game.

It was hellishly bad.  {not the rugby game, that wasn’t too bad}

My hopes and dreams of entering this over sexualised world where there is good music, clever dance routine and enough sexual tension to make your eyes bleed, was a bit of a let down.

I believe Mavericks is meant to be far better.  Next stop on my “things to do on evenings when you do not have the kids” but I might need some time so my corneas can heal.

The things I do for you my readers in the name of investigative journalism.  Good grief!!

Trolls and idiots ….. especially the ones named Hank …..

I have been blogging for several years.

I have been on social media for several more.

I am used to the usual on-line bullying, trolls arriving and basically taking a shit on your door step in a brown paper bag and generally say things that are painful and hurtful.

5 years ago I had what can only be described as a breakdown. I had various other things happening in my life that I was not coping with.

There were 3 “social media” things that had happened in quick succession.

One I caused using poor judgement at work, one I happened to just be standing there and got caught in the fall out of a non related incident, and one had nothing to do with me but it felt like it was aimed at me.

People hiding behind “usernames” and “gmail” addresses and the like, get terribly brave and feel very little in the way of any real interest in you as a person, the subject and the damage they do.

They sweep in under the cover of darkness, cause chaos, step away like arsonists and watch the building burn, without taking any responsibility because “I just commented ……” – they want the building to burn, for no other reason than they have one match and in many cases know how to get a fire going.  Quickly.

I admit to saying stupid things sometimes – both in life and in the land of O’s and I’s.

I do hope that I learn from my errors, and when possible I apologise.  I accept we are all jerks given the right circumstances – and that given a few hours or days to reflect we realise that.  In time one hopes to be less of an arsehole than you are today, and each day get a bit less arsehole’ish.

That was 5 years ago – I have moved on a great deal from then.  I am not totally immune to trolls and people who are idiots, but their effect on me is less and they no longer consume me.

I realise it is their shit, and not mine, and I do not have to take it on board.

I realise they are trolls.  I realise their opinions, like arseholes, are things we are all entitled to one (sorry I know it is an old jab, but there we go) – before I would believe what they said, now I do tend to shrug it off for the most part.

They/Trolls/The Hanks in the world do not know me.

They have a perception of me, and their assumptions are just that — assumptions without much in the way of fact.  {if you read this blog and assume everything here is fact, then I have a bridge for sale I would like to talk to you about}

Yesterday a gentleman named Hank left a comment and it vexed me.

Not because he commented, not because he sounded like a ball-less turd with no sense of humour and an unholy obsession with the speed of cakes flying around on the N1.  He used ONE post from my blog to make a judgement about me and my parenting style.  (even if he read all 1030 or how many ever there are, that still does not mean he knows me.)

Again Hank, I actually do not give a flying fuck about your opinion.

The blog post in question for the most part made it obvious who has children and is coping with similiar stuff, versus people who do not have children and think because they have testes and possibly access to ovaries this makes them experts on parenting.

But none of that matters.

What matters for me — is that YOU — who does not know me and who told me you do not read my blog – attacked my children.

Listen Hank, I am not quite sure of which corner of the shit heap that is this universe you crawled out from under, but there are many things you can do or say to a blogger/mom.

Insult me, accuse me of making bad judgments,  not understand why the odd cake needs to be launched from a moving vehicle, and not grasp what it is like to fight with children over pieces of plastic.

I accept all of that from you with an open mind and to a large degree a bit of a shrug and a “ah well…. he is probably a bit of a c&nt”

Hank, I am on board with that.

If you want to be the biggest c&nty c*nt there is, then I support you in that.  I am there for you mate, right behind you.  I will wear “Hank is a C&nt” lapel pin if you need me to.

The part where you lost my respect (not that you ever had it, but I thought I would throw it in just so I appear classy and stylish) and you really stepped over the imaginary line that exists in the world, is the part where you deemed it was okay to comment about my children and who they are in this world.

You get that part – MY CHILDREN!!

Did you have CRACK for breakfast yesterday???

I wrote a very emotional post last night and posted it earlier, and decided to put it on “password protect” – if you know me, contact me and I will send you the password.  I don’t think it is for general consumption.

I agree it is way to much venom to put straight out there and takes away from the fact that a fellow named Hank felt it was okay — O-FUCKING-KAY —– to come out and attack my children and refer to them as delinquents – potential delinquents.

Hank, I dare you – I dare you to come and find me in public and say that to my face.

I actually dare you, seeing as you appear to have balls as big as burgers, to walk up to any mom in Pick ‘n Pay or any other retailer and offer her advise, criticism and then insult her children whilst she is doing the best she can, in the best way she can.

You know nothing about what it is like to be a parent and cope —- even if you are a parent, parenting your children or child, does not make you an expert on some one else’s – no more than owning a car makes you a motoring journalist expert.

Last night I was at Pick ‘n Pay buying the odds and ends, my kids were at home.  I watched a frazzled mom with two toddlers in her trolley going ape shit — like totally ape shit.  She looked like she had just fought the gladiators, and then for shits and giggles had gone to pull the hair off a tiger’s arse on a dare.

This woman was exhausted and one “whine” way from a full fledged breakdown.

Her kids were screaming.  Mental because she only had one #stikeez – she had clearly miscalculated and her bill was less than R300.00 so she got one #stikeez.

I got it. I stood there with my wagon of groceries and I wanted to go over to her and rub her shoulders, maybe play with her hair in a soothing manner  and say “fuck I hope they go to sleep early” – but I didn’t.

I also did not judge her and I did not pull any low blows — because I get it.  I fucking get it.  I have been there, and most of the readers on this blog have been there – we fucking live there. Your kids screaming like banshees whilst everyone else’s children appear so well behaved it makes you want to throw up.

Instead Hank you hide behind your work, email address (troll error 101 —- are you a virgin at this, or do you usually leave your work IP details behind for bloggers to find you?) and give me parenting advise.

Insult me, insult my children, and for good measure insult the people who have read this blog and commented.  Are you actually really and truly that much of a does??  I am overwhelmed by you.  By the sheer level of does you have managed to squeeze into one shitty comment.

My children have been through a divorce, a death and several life changing events in the last two years.  My kids are fucking awesome kids.  I commented about that in the earlier post and here is what I added there:

Like super FUCKING stars.

My son attended an eisteddfod this week and scored really well, even though he only had two days to prepare.  He donates his time when he can to causes that are close to his heart.  You understand he is 13 – he is 13 and volunteers.

What the fuck do you do when you are not lambasting bloggers?

My second daughter is stellar at Mathematics and might even one day get a job at Discovery Health (see what I did there) as a statistician. She is kind, loving and does not have a mean bone in her body.  She has friends who adore her.  She is kind, patient and will hug anyone who stand still long enough.  She can recite the periodic table — she is 10.

My other daughter is a fire cracker – she is bright, clever, fucking funny and I adore every inch of her.  She sleeps with me at night and drapes her chubby hand over my shoulder so that she lies close to me – she has slept with me since her father and I got divorced – kids sometimes need a bit of extra time and the close touch of a parent.

You understand right?

She is loved and adored.  She thinks our Nannies daughter is her sister —- I have not corrected her.  Why should I?

{does this in any way sound like maladjusted delinquent children?}

Hank – after today I will not give you another thought.  Though when I do, the fact that your name rhymes with Wank and your mom called you that, will make me smile a little childishly.

I do hope that even if you hate this blog, detest my tone and use of language and think my children are maladjusted little so-and-so’s you keep in mind, fuck with a blogger, go ahead, do that, in general we have skins that are fairly thick — but fuck with a mom’s children and you my friend make yourself out to be the biggest arsehole there is, and what ever else you might do or say is null and void.

I do hope that one day if you have the great fortune to become a parent, someone comes over to you, insults you, your wife, your child and your parenting style. To your face.

I do hope this happens to you, and you can reflect then as I hope you are now, that you my dear sir, are an arsehole of a proportion that I cannot even begin to fathom.

I do hope you never read this blog again.

I do hope that you live a long’ish life, but if you happened to die in a cake accident, I might not be too cut up about it.

My three kids and I are going to go off and skip down the hills singing that song “The Hills are alive with Music” —- I do hope you go and fuck yourself.

Yes, I said it.  But it is because I care.

Protected: I know Hank rhymes with Wank, but that seemed too easy ….

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Pick n Pay’s twitter #fail! {Georgina Guedes writes for News24}

So, earlier this week, Celeste Barlow, a mommy blogger (sorry, horrible term), wrote a blog piece that got her a lot of eyeballs (another crap term, sorry). My mom friends republished it – they laughed and commiserated – because it clearly touched a nerve.

The nerve is this: Pick ‘n Pay is apparently running a campaign in which, for every R150 you spend, you get a toy called a Stikeez (I don’t know what the singular form is). This means that if you have more than one child, your minimum purchase had better add up to [number of children] x R150.

Barlow has three, so her minimum purchase has to be R450 – and apparently her kids frisk her as she gets in the door.

The blog was funny. It’s nice to read something about parenting that isn’t drowning in saccharin “we are all winners here, we love all the brands” sentiment. She swears. And she signs off by wishing the Pick n Pay marketing team Chlamydia. It’s very merry.

Read the rest of this article here:

http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GeorginaGuedes/Pick-n-Pays-twitter-fail-20150814

Flyboy – Prepare to be introduced to the coolest thing on the planet right now ….

I love Segways – they are so much fun, and what is not fun about just standing about and my the simple light shifting of your weight you get to manouever around.

If you have not been one, then add it to your bucket list of things to try.

Also add “start a bucket list” if you haven’t quite got there yet.

It is really fun.  When ever I see the mall security person buzzing around on them, I get mall security envy, and wonder if I should consider switching jobs and become a mall security person.

Segways cost in the regions of R80 000.00 and then some.

As much as I fantasize about punching a mall security person to steal his Segway, it may well and truly be the only way I might own one {until the police arrive, take it away from me and send my raggedy arse to jail} as the cost is slightly out of my price range.  I don’t think I would cope well in jail —- I can’t poo infront of people.  But I am thinking that isn’t probably going to be my biggest issue in jail.

That is the backside of the story …. the part where this gets good is that there are these things available from a supplier in Cape Town (can be shipped anywhere):

flyboys1

flyboys

It’s basically a Segway without the big pole and handle bars.  Or as I like to call it HOLY SHITBALLS!!

The premise is the same, you stand on it and depending where on your feet the pressure is applied it goes forwards, backwards, turns and is so much fun.

I tried one out the other day – granted it was after two bottles of wine, in a parking lot, with my shoes off, but it is crazy fun.  I will admit to screaming at one point as I was scared I would fall off.  It is about 15cm above the ground.

It’s like my brain knows I can actually just step off it, but my mouth and vocal chords do not make the connection and then proceed to scream like banshees.

The Flyboy was originally designed for commuters to quickly cover ‘the last mile’ on their way to or from work. Because of its size it is not a problem to carry onto a taxi, bus or train. Since its recent launch the popularity has grown and it is now also being used by security guards, for stock picking in warehouses, by managers in large factories, in hospitals, at airports and of course socially by ordinary people wanting to just have some outdoor fun.

This is the Birthday/Christmas/Thanks for Saving my Life present for just about everyone.

You could also use it to exercise the children.

You get on it, tip yourself forward slightly to get some speed, and have your children screaming running after you.

They will get exercise.  You may lose one or two, so I suggest only doing this if you have several.

You can have your ear phones in, so you will be totally at peace, and in the end you will get home relaxed, and your children hopefully so exhausted they will slip into a 24 hour coma.

It’s a very cool toy – check out the very cool video of the Flyboys …… tell me that you have just decided you cannot live one more day on this earth without one!!!

Next big trade show you go to, where you are walking for about 8 hours of the day?  Have one of these little wonders and you can cruise the entire show without you feeling like your feet are about to fall off.

If you catch public transport to work, then use this once you get off the bus or train to give you a little glide to your office.  You will be the envy of all and the most likely to be invited out for beers after work.

They have a standard one, and then one that is an “off road” model.  Both extremely cool looking.

Interested in getting one – contact David – if you use Reluctant Mom as your reference, and send him a screenshot of you liking and sharing them on Facebook – he will throw in a free carrier bag worth R300.00, and through this offer only, David will ship it free to any of the main centres in South Africa.

Now, off you go and spend your money.

As someone said today, Martin McFly the future is here!!!

High school enrollment 101 …. you are going to need to grab a glass of wine for this … and maybe a suppository

high school search

I seldom have advise to give regarding parenting.

Let me put that in context “advise I would suggest you follow”.

In the eternal hunt for schools for your children, I am a veritable Oracle in this regard.

I am going to dish out a bit of tips/guidelines you should consider regarding high schools and when the time comes to enrolling your child.

I am sorry if that made  you throw up a little bit.  The reality is that if your child is at school, there is a fairly good chance they will be leaving Grade 7 at some point and you will need to start this stupid “find my child a school” again so they have somewhere to go when Grade 8 starts.

It actually never stops.  I am permanently in a state of “finding a school for one of my children….”

This advise has very little to do with private schools.

Private schools are a law to themselves and the key is that you have the money, your child will have a place in the school. In some instances there might be some other issues.  All in all private schools work with a simple philosophy of “you give us the money, we give your child a place” – it’s sort of easy like that.

I am talking about the horror show that is getting your child into a good government school.

Don’t snort, there are several very good government schools around – usually the trick is that they have an active Governing Body made up of brilliant, active and involved parents.

I am not one of those parents.  I am however  grateful that there are parents who are brilliant, active and involved parents at the government schools my children are in, which makes them such good schools.

It is great for us less than sterling parents who can barely make it through the day.

Back to my original story.

High schools – and the tips for getting your child in to one.

First understand how “the process” operates.

There are schools that have huge HUGE … LIKE FUCKING HUGE waiting lists.

Government schools technically cannot keep a waiting list.  They open their applications on a particular day when your child is in Grade 7, and the application period closes usually two months later.  You need to make sure you are on top of when the applications open.

Normally you have to go to the school and collect an application form.

You will need an ID photographs for your child – most schools ask you to attach this to the application form.

You will also need an unabridged birth certificate for your child – get this now – because it can take several weeks, and you should have one anyway.  You can apply with an abridged version, but they are going to be looking for the unabridged version come actual enrollment.

You will usually need proof of address.

You need to find out if you live in a catchment area of a school.  Do not assume!!   Totally newbie error there.

Take your “proof of residence” to the school who you think has to accept your child, ask to speak to the Applications Secretary/Officer and make sure.

Because you live there – does not always mean that the school will have space when you apply.

Our nearest school is 2.4km away – I was 100% sure they had to accept us, there is no other school closer – by a long shot.

With the application I printed a google map direction thing, showing my house in relation to the school. I thought “we are in the catchment area, they HAVE to accept us” – I was wrong, they told me they were full and could not take my child.  Er, what??

I started preparing for this process when Connor was in Grade 5.  I started by chatting to parents and finding out where they were thinking of sending their kids.  {Actually I already started doing that when they were in Grade R/Grade 1}

I then made a list of 6 – 8 schools who potentially we could apply to.

I contacted each school to find out when their open day is.  I started attending open days when Connor was in Grade 5.  I then saw a few more when he was in Grade 6.

Do not START going to open days when your child is in Grade 7 – there is not enough time, and you will basically end up only being able to view 1 or 2 – it will be chaotic and odds are you will miss out on applying to some schools, because some schools open their applications really early and close really early, so by the time you call them at the end of January, they are pretty much two weeks from closing all applications.

And at this point – you run around like a banshee screaming hysterically.

Start early, you get time to walk around the school, listen to why it is so lovely and wonderful, and more importantly you get to hear how many applicants they get versus how many places they have.

This is a CRITICAL point.  The rest is just fluff — you need to get an idea how many applications they get, versus how many they can accept. That dear reader is the “magic number” of desperation.

I cannot speak with any certainty on how the application process works at schools, but (and this is totally my own creation of facts or fantasy here) each school has it’s own application open and applications close days.

Make sure you know these dates.  Write them in your diary in BIG. INK. RED. LETTERS.  Use a tampon if you have to, this is pretty important stuff —- and should not be overlooked no matter how busy you are.

I cannot say if a school only starts the “reviewing of applications” process when the applications closing date starts, or whether this process starts earlier.

I have a suspicion that it starts earlier – so do not leave your form submissions until the last date – don’t think they are all going to sit there in a pile unattended until the closing date and then the school will review.

No.  No.  No.

There is the school of thought not to apply too early, as your child might join some sports teams or have some achievements which you want to include in the application form, and that might not be available in January or February.

I strongly suggest you do not cut this too close and weigh up an early admission with what your child could get involved in later in the term.

If your child is involved in extra murals, see about getting letters of recommendations to support your application.

Your child might volunteer somewhere or be involved in Scouts or Girl Guides and a letter from someone of that nature is not going to hurt your application.  I have no idea how much “weight” it adds, but my theory is anything to add value even in the slightest is a good idea.

Your existing school is not going to write a letter of motivation for your child.  Don’t ask.

The only time they will is if the “school you have applied to” faxes a form to the school your child is in, then the school fills it in and returns it directly to the school, you never see it.

Start thinking of your child’s CV in Grade 5 – think of how you are going to build his or her involvement in academic, sport and cultural areas.  Most schools want to see a well balanced child who is involved in several things.

There are some schools that are clearly aimed at a particular area i.e. rugby, and though they may say they do consider other areas important too, being the captain of the A team at the primary school you are in, does sort of make that application process go smoother.

Accept that you are going to need to apply to 4 – 6 high schools.

I know you want to scream WHAT THE FUCK!  Or are already mouthing WHAT THE FUCK because you are in the middle of a meeting, but this blog is so eye opening, that you have not been able to click away.

But you will need to just accept this nugget and get with the programme.

You see each school has different dates for applications to open, and applications closing.  Then they usually do their first intake in June of the year.

What this means is they shortlist applicants and send them a letter saying something to the theme of “Congratulations you get to come to ACME High School.  Please acknowledge receipt of this letter with a deposit of R500.00 and sign this letter and return it to the school secretary by 30 August.”

Here is the rub – because everyone has to apply to multiple schools, this inflates their application process, and this in turn creates what can only be described as the “wait of death.”

After the school sends out the “confirmation of acceptance” letter they allow 2 months (or what ever the window is) for parents to reply and accept the confirmation.

Only then does the school move to the second tier of acceptance.  Depending on how many spaces are remaining, they look to the waiting list and contact those kids and then there is another 1 – 2 month wait.

The problem is there is absolutely no guarantee of acceptance, no matter how hard you beg and cry — I have done both.  I was happy to do both.

In the end I got one rejection, and two schools accepted Connor, I did not hear from the other two.

{Side bar note: The school that rejected Connor called an hour ago to say that a space had opened and would we like to enroll him}

The one school I applied to was in Paarl. I practically prepared a project on what a fine boy he was.  I may or may not have included a pop up collage of his last three years at school.

I arrived to personally hand in the application, way before the “applications closed” date had come around.

I was faced with the most exhausted and “I have already given up on the will to live” applications officer I have yet to meet.

Her desk was piled 30 – 40cm high of applications.  I looked at the numbers – the applications are usually numbered, and the numbers were far far far higher than the size of the entire school, let alone the number of Grade 8’s they had space for.

She looked at my little eager face, and my keen little smile.  I don’t think she actually said “Well fuck you and your stupid application” but I definitely got the sense of that as she sort of dropped it in a passive aggressive manner combined with a “fuck my life right now” attitude into the growing pile of applications.

I looked at her with my beaming moon of happiness face and said “So what are my chances?”

She did not answer me with words, but I got the entire feeling conveyed right there in her face, and her slow long blink, and the breath she sort of held for just that moment too long that basically we had no fucking chance of ever getting into this school unless possibly my husband was Schalk Burger and my son took after his father in all things Rugby.  Maybe, and not even then.

Never heard from that school – unless we are in the second tier short list and will be notified in the next few weeks of a space.

This school application thing becomes a job.  It really does.  Each school’s application process is different, and you need to stay on top of this stuff.

About a month ago I gave a friend of Connor’s a lift, and I asked him which high school he was going to.  He said “my mom is thinking about applying to…..” and I looked in my rear view mirror in horror.

Shit son, if you haven’t already applied it is well, Jesus born in a barn miracle time to get into a school.  And they are no longer accepting the virgin birth idea as a miracle.

 

1.  Do not start this process when your child is in Grade 6 – nope that is for people who are clearly short sighted and want to be disappointed.

I suggest, that you start “thinking” about this when your child is in Grade 4 or 5.

Thinking involves investigating the schools which you think your child would like to apply to, and which you can afford and which may take your child.

 

 

2.  Chat to moms whose kids are in your child’s school – you may find out about schools you had not even thought about.   There will always be that one mom is a guru on this shit, find her, follow her, bake her muffins, facebook poke her if you have to.

 

3.  Accept that you will need to do Open Days – some schools only hand out application forms on the Open Day.  Open Days also are good to give you a sense of the school, and whether your kid is likely to fit in.

 

4.  English and Afrikaans.  Make sure you understand each school’s policy.  Several of the schools I enquired about taught a lesson to both English and Afrikaans speaking children in one class.  So the lesson was partly in English and partly in Afrikaans.  They need did not repeat the information in one language and then the others.  If your kid does not do Afrikaans, then you are probably not going to be able to send your child to this sort of school.  Find out before hand what the school’s policy is on English and Afrikaans.

 

5.  Your child will want to have an opinion, unfortunately in most cases this will depend on where his friends are going.  You may want to weigh that up or disregard it – if his friends are going to a kak school (in your eyes) then you are unlikely to send your son there.

 

6.  There is normally at least one publication a year – if not more – than focuses on schools and how good some schools are.  Buy that, it’s a great resource.

 

Okay I am pretty much out of advise on this subject.  If you take nothing away from this other than white noise, then please repeat “START EARLY” as your mantra.

 

Happy High School hunting.  It all sucks hippopotamus balls, but is is rather necessary ….. I guess like hippopotamus balls.

Larry at Pick ‘n Pay and my wishes around a venereal disease

stickies

Pick ‘n Pay sat around and thought to themselves, “what could make shopping with kids at our store more painful for parents?” and one bright spark put up his hand and said “yes, let’s make Stikeez!”

Initially the brain storming crew could not understand what the pull of making parents spend R150.00 at their stores to get a “toy” which probably cost less than 8 cents to manufacture would do to the children and the parents.

What is the appeal here —– I mean really.

People sat around and said it was a shit idea and would not work.

It was an 8 cents crap toy for goodness sake – you could pop over to McDonalds and get a semi decent toy for less than R5.00 with a kids meal, or if you were feeling thrifty and thought fuck the kids meal, you could just buy the toy.

The group fought a bit and eventually everyone just gave up and left it to Larry and his team to introduce these ridiculous “Stikeez” toys.  No one believed that the toys would work.

But most of the team thought Larry was a bit of a wanker anyway and really just wanted the meeting to end early, so they could go and get a few beers, without Larry and his zany ideas.

Larry spear headed the programme.

In short you purchase R150.00 at Pick ‘n Pay and the till operator throws one of the toys into your packet of purchases.  You spend R450.00 and you get three toys.

I have three children – try the fuck and come home with two.  I dare you!!!

Larry it appears is some sort of a genius – possibly an idiot savante – or just a regular idiot I need to beat with the long end of my desk lamp.

Larry has basically fucked up shopping for me – entirely.

I used to view grocery shopping as a 45 – 90 minute exercise of getting away from my kids.

I would cruise the aisles with my earpiece in, listening to what ever music I liked at a volume called “deafening” and enjoy the few moments I had to myself at Pick ‘n Pay. Merrily shopping for what ever was on my shopping list.

Not a care in the world, if you take away the little issue about whether I will be able to pay for all of this shit when I got to the end – that besides.

In some cases just idly going along so that I could avoid three children screaming at me.

It was the few moments of peace and respite I could enjoy in my day.

I would get home and actually no one gave a shit that I got home. With shopping. I had to beg and plead, and sometimes mildly threaten to get my kids to help unload the car.

Larry has forever fucked that up for me.  Royally,

I get home now.  Even from the local biltong store, and they are on me like lice.  Begging, pleading, searching and basically frisking me for Stikeez.

It was sort of cute for the first two or three days, now it is annoying.

Last night my youngest burst into tears as she unwrapped a Stikeez (which I had to buy R150.00 of crap to get) and it was not the little doggie she wanted.

Ungrateful little bitch.  She has 14 Stikeez.  Quick maths. 14 x R150.00 = fuck loads of money.

She seriously burst into tears.

I seriously lost the last shred of my shit on this particular subject.

I called her back and told her that if she ever EVER cried, moaned, lamented, beseeches me about Stikeez again, I was going to take them all and toss them out the window whilst driving on the N1 at 120km/h.

I do not threaten …. I do.

You only have to throw a cake out of a window ONCE on the N1 before the kids fully understand not to fuck with you when you are driving.

And a threat has a real outcome.

ONE chocolate cake out of your car window at full speed to teaches everyone a valuable lesson about screaming and whining about chocolate cake and and and ……… the result is a chocolate cake speeding past you travelling in the opposite direction to before it connects the tar of the national highway.

After that usually dead silence in the car.  It’s a powerful image.

She looked at me and burst into tears and said “I LOVE JORDAN…”

Side bar note:  Jordan is my ex-husband’s girlfriend who died tragically and suddenly the week before last.   It is still a very raw pain for everyone involved, and several people are still walking around dazed and confused trying to adjust to the situation. Everyone in our family has been shaken by it.  None of this is in anyway related to Stikeez

My daughter throwing a bitch fit over Stikeez and then tying this to a tragic and rather fresh death was a bit more than I could take for one evening.

I called/yanked her over and made it clear that as much as I understood she loved and missed Jordan, making her issues about “Stikeez” connected to Jordan’s death was somewhat unfair to Jordan, and further pushed my issues around “Stikeez.”

I think the only thing to be said here is —- well played Larry at Pick ‘n Pay and your team for introducing what can only be described as the most ridiculous and most coveted items for children.  Well played. {introduces slow clap}

I hope you get a case of chlamydia – you and your entire team.  And it is drug resistant.

Sex Education in Schools ….. 100% effective

sex education classes

 

I was telling someone recently, having “children who were considering being sexually active” join you at a few visits to the Spur, and they oversee the children.

See that it is impossible to hold a conversation with an adult.

See that there will be at least one sticky glass of cooldrink poured over the table.

As your food arrives, a child will demand to go to the bathroom – where you will spend the next 15 minutes. – whilst your food gets cold, grey and what ever the sauce is congeals.

Only to get back to the table, take a bite, and have another child (and in some cases the same one) who needs to go to the toilet for a number 2.

Someone will end up crying because they did not get what they ordered, when in actual fact they got exactly what they had ordered.

You will end up crying because you cannot wave down a waiter to bring you enough beer or wine to make this awful evening start looking like something less awful.

Sex education should just be following a family around with children ……. a few no sleep nights with poop on you, vomit all over your shirt and sleep that lasts in 8 minute bursts will probably reduce the population dramatically -and prevent 1000 of school girl pregnancies.

 

Credit to Scary Mom for the image. 

Woolworths, seriously though what is vagina oil …. and why is it harmful if swallowed?

Woolworths

Creating a world where differences are just different …..

 

be-different

Connor is taking part in a play at school.  For reasons I am unclear of he is playing the female lead.  There are actually females in the drama group, but he is playing the female lead.

Sometimes I find not asking questions is just better.

He asked me for a dress, and I gave him a dress and a jacket that I thought would fit him and possibly try and retain some of his “boy” dignity.  He needed shoes.  His feet are bigger than mine, but my friend Judith had shoes that could fit him.

They are black heels – probably kitten heels.  Connor has been stomping around in the passage trying to get the hang of them.

I smirked earlier when I heard him ask Judith: “Do you have any shoes to go with my dress?”

So that made me think of the awkward conversations I have had with Connor over the years.

I find that driving to and from school is often a good time for conversations to start.

I have always had one principle regarding talking to my children.

Tell the truth – the simple, basic truth – if you stick to the truth, your child will get his or her answer, and generally the truth does not require a fabricated story you need to recall later.

I have kept this principle for many years – and I started it probably a bit earlier than advised, but when Connor was in Grade R.

He was going to be going to a “bigger” school for Grade 1.  He was my first child.  I had no idea what went on at primary school.  Did they keep Grade 1’s separated from Grade 7’s or was it a free for all?

The part that worried me the most — there were several ones but this was the one that really had the hamster in my head going bezerk – was that what if an older child spoke about something sex related to Connor.

I did not want him to be embarrassed because he did not know, and would then be made fun of.

With this in mind I set forth on a brutal journey of making sure that Connor could talk about sex in an almost matter of fact fashion.  He was going to know all the “biologically correct” words for parts of the body, and no one was going to embarrass him or make him feel awkward.

Kennith disagreed at the time, but as he was not really vying for the position of Sex Educator, I just ran with it.

I stuck to my guns.  I remained candid. I explained everything and anything they asked — and lots of stuff they probably did not need to know.  I bought books geared towards children – and Connor used that to look through and to ask questions on.

I wanted to be sure that any information they had about sex was supplied by me.  Was correct and factual, and that I felt would stand them in good stead.

Children as children do, amaze their parents.  I was often overcome by the conversation we had driving to school and home each day.

Connor asked questions, and he listened to the answer. If he did not understand, then I re-explained it and checked that he was comfortable with the information.

I recall one day we were driving home and I was telling him about a couple we knew who was struggling to conceive, and how desperately they wanted a baby .

Connor turned to me and said: “Have they tried artificial insemination?”

To which I said yes, and some other treatment as well, but it had not worked.

Connor sat there thinking for a moment and said: “Do you think they will try surrogacy?”

The fact I was sitting with a 9 year old boy who knew what AI was and what surrogacy was made me very proud.

A few weeks later we were driving home and there seemed to have been a conversation at school about marriage, and I commented about the fact that a marriage does not just have to happen between a boy and a girl.  A girl and a girl could get married, and so could a boy and a boy.

I explained that we do not always choose who we love – and because we are all so different, surely there should be different marriages for us all of us.  And those marriages each though different, are not bad different, they are just different.

He agreed and we sat there for a bit.

Often when he asked a question I would ask him “But what do you think is happening here?”

This was before Kennith and I were married, so who was I to sit and make judgments about what makes a “right” family, whilst we were technically “living in sin” and were in the process of “conceiving three bastards?”

So exactly how do I get all religious conservative and judge other families?  Right, I can’t …. and frankly it is not my style.

A few days later in the car drives, that had turned into honest question answering times – Connor asked me “how do two men have sex with each other?”

Interesting question – but you know the answer, and well the choices were, start a lie, or keep with my policy and tell the truth.  I kept to the truth part.

I can honestly tell you I thought my head was going to blow off.  Totes awks!  For me at any rate.

At no point did he cringe, or die, and neither did either of us blow up in a spurt of flames.  He lived, he understands, and I really hope he goes forward in his life not judging people for things they should not be judged for.

We had the same frank conversation about religion, about things we do in anger and cannot always control, and the issues around creation versus evolution.  Once you start an open dialogue with your child, it is incredible how little you have to hide from them.

My entire Kumbayah my Lord, approach got totally blown out of the water when we were standing in line at the bottle store, and there was a man standing behind me who was a little person.

I saw him, and thought “shit, I haven’t explained that to the children” – Georgia on top of her lungs, points to him, and then goes “MOM – WHY IS HE SO SHORT??” and keeps staring at him as if he can’t see her pointing and staring at him.

Right, back to the drawing board on not creating children who are judgmental.  I thought after the anal and blow jobs conversation I was home free, it would seem not.