Yes, please may we talk about STD with my 12 year old child ….. fabulous plan … not

Yesterday we were having drinks after lunch and sitting talking about stuff and things.

We also had drinks during lunch, in case you got concerned that the wine was left unattended for too long.

My daughter and my friend’s daughter (Cara) are the best friends in the world.  They met at pre-primary and the strangeness in the both of them resonated with the strange they saw in the other.

The girls have attended different primary school but remain good friends.  They are very close and I think good for each other.  Because time and space they do not see each other as regularly as they would like, so any meeting is a moment of supreme happiness.

When they see each other they light up and their happiness is off the scales.

Back to the wine. Karen (Cara’s mom) and I were talking and Karen wanted to let me know that the girls where playing in the room.  They still play Barbies and My Little Pony and it is all so adorably innocent.

They are 12 years old and seem to be behind the maturity curve, but it is seriously okay in every possible way.

Anyway the two girls came through and asked Karen a pressing question about STD.  I took in a rather sharp breath. I took another sip of my wine and tried to steady myself in the chair I would never fall out of.  For a moment it felt like the earth’s surface was moving towards my face rather fast.

There is seldom a situation where STD’s makes for light conversation and if your 12 year old girls bring it up as a subject that you do not sit there and whisper “fuck” under your breath.

Karen has answered the question in a calm and adult manner.  The girls seemed happy with the answer and returned to their room to carry on playing.

I felt a bit incensed and while I was there we asked the girls to come through and we chatted to them about “how the fuck the two of you decided to question STD’s?  But in a calm, non-incensed voice.

You know that moment when STD conversation is your fault —– yes, that moment.

I struggle with insomnia — and up and above the medication I have found podcasts to be really great. I tend to listen to crime “based” podcasts.  I had been listening to a podcast that was set around the Yorkshire Ripper and the East Area Rapist.

Anyway I had been listening to these stories when going to sleep.

The girls always sleep with me.  I assumed they had fallen asleep.  Isabelle fell asleep 3 minutes in, as I felt the weight of her against me, but I did not check on Georgia.  So she was awake for how ever long she was.

So you wonder how the STD conversation came up.

It only gets worse.

Georgia and Cara and playing Barbies and Georgia has a story where the one Barbie is 18 years old and has a baby of 2 years old.

It appears neither of the girls could imagine a universe where an 18 year old girl had a 2 year old baby.  {I want to live in their universe forever}

Georgia remembered the rape stories and suggested the girl was raped and that is how she fell pregnant.

Yes, I agree I cannot imagine the levels of wrong this is.

So somehow in this, the girls chatted about teenage pregnancies and the next leap was STD’s.

These girls are 12 years old — I realise in some cultures they would be married off and possibly raped by their 65 year old husbands. Or what ever other horror you can work into this equation.

I get that I am freaking about my 12 year old asking about STD’s when I posted a story recently about a 13 year old who skipped out of her home for 5 days and ended up with a 19 year old boy, with her parents having zero idea where she was. Or contact details.

I realise that the collision of these two stories is rather abrupt.

Parenting is not easy.

The horror of your children growing up before your eyes is a horror in many ways.  It is a train you cannot stop or even slow …..

Having a discussion about STD’s is not something I really want to talk about.   But, again, I would rather settle myself that they ask me, and not some stinky boy.  But adding how the 18 year old girl got a baby is far far far more disturbing that I would ever hope to hear.

How is your parenting going?

Mine, clearly not as well as I thought.


Credit images: http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com/

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Stuff that makes me snort ………. “r/roast me”

“r/roast me” posts have got to be the funniest thing going right now.

Keep in mind these are not unwitting idiots who have been innocently plucked out of obscurity — these are witting idiots.

These are idiots who decided to post a picture of themselves with a sign that says “r/roast me.”

In the event that this is not something you are aware of.  Roast me — is the equivalent of “here I am — take as much shit and throw it at me — if you can humiliate me at the same time, that would be super great. Love and kisses, bye.”

The volunteer wants to be a target for people, who are so on their A game it will bring tears to your eyes.  The commentators are people who derive all sorts of pleasure by make snarky remarks.  About said person.  And in some cases the comments are on point.

Personally I have enough problems without walking into the village square and asking people to throw smelly, mouldy fruit and vegetables at me for the general amusement of the rest of the villagers.

The people who volunteer themselves for “r/roast me” are made of stronger stuff.

This is not my absolute top ten.  I was trying to tell a friend about the first one, and I started laughing so hard, with tears streaming down my face, that I could not get the punchline out.  It took ages.  She eventually just wandered off.  That people, is the price we pay for my comedic timing.

Here are my unofficial top ten “r/roast me” — in no particular order, enjoy.  Or be wildly offended.

My number one — I still laugh every time I see this one.

Number Two

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six

Number Seven

Number Eight


Number Nine

Number Ten

Looking for a place to volunteer or support: UBUNTU HOUSE

Looking for a place to volunteer or support — here’s a good one.

Ubuntu house is a registered Child and Youth Care Centre with a temporary safe care program and is part of the AFM Executive Welfare Councils uMephi C&YCC project. Ubuntu House take care of babies from birth to two years who have been abandoned, orphaned, neglected or who was born out of an unplanned and crisis pregnancy.

 

http://ubuntuhouse.co.za/

When you try to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes …… and then you stand there in their shoes and go WTF?

There has been quite a bit of media attention around the disappearance of Anchen Muller – a 13 year old girl from Brackenfell who had told her mom she was going to an event, then staying over at a friend in Table View.

Anchen’s aunt put her details on the web over the weekend, when it became obvious no one knew where she was and there was no way to contact her.

A series of things happened that would be on the list of “what would make most parents shit in their pants” :

  • Anchen’s phone battery dies and the phone is permanently off.  (parents watching this get brown bag to start to breath into to stave off the panic attack that is looming)
  • Anchen’s mom did not have the name or number of the friend who she went with or with whom she was staying. (parents watching this uses brown bag extensively and then gets another bag as first bag has torn — also starts to throw back a few anxiety capsules)
  • Anchen’s mom did not have the address/contact details of where her daughter was spending the night or by the sounds of things a clear idea of when she was going to be coming home (other parents look at each other and go “what the fuck?” and head to the fridge for wine)
  • This shit started on Friday —- the father reports her missing on Monday.  I think this is when he found out — but I may be mistaken here.  What the hell happened between Friday and why was this only reported on Monday??
  • Your child leaves your home on Friday and if you have not heard from her by Saturday things are still cool.  In which universe does this occur???
  • This is the part I also don’t get — your 13 year old girl child leaves your home on Friday and after 24 hours of not hearing from her, or having any way to contact her, and no information you work with — you still go “Okay, well I will get a good night’s sleep on Saturday and see how this goes on Sunday?”  She is a 13 year old child —– and you have had no contact for over 24 hours and you have no contact information —— please panic on Friday already.

Short story is “She was found on Tuesday night and is unharmed” — Great. Happy Ending.

I think there were a lot of people on social media who breathed a bit lighter and hugged their own children a bit closer.  A girl of 13 pops across your facebook feed and you start looking at your own children and getting a chill.  Not a good chill, a feckn creepy one.

Could we maybe step back and look at some details and just question how things could have gone this far?  And this wrong?

I do not know Anchen, or her family.  In no way am I raining the responsibility on her doorstep — but ….. if your 13 year old (insert any age you like actually) tells you she is going out, and staying over at a friend.  And you let her exit the door without at least several hours of interrogation, various google searches, using google maps to find the house.  Getting into your car and driving to the house to ensure it exists and to speak to who ever is in the house, checking there are adults, who is sleeping where and does anyone say feature on the child molestation register —- then possibly you are falling short on parenting.  A smidgen.

Or investigative tactics — and really that is what parenting is after a certain age. Who can google shit faster and better than the other party.

As parents NOW we are better informed, and we are more aware of the dangers that face our children.  Maybe the stuff that happens now is the same stuff that happened 20 years ago – but with instantaneous information we are kept informed of each horrific incident that happens everywhere.  And it feels like our children are under permanent attack.

You can’t tell me you get “less shocked” when you hear of the violence and atrocities committed against children.  You just do not get used to that shit.

I have a 12 year old daughter — there is no way if hell froze over that I would let her walk out the door without me knowing her phone is fully charged and where she is heading.  If she walks out the door to go get something out of the garage I time her.

She would have had the lecture about keeping her phone charged, so she is always contactable.  So she contacts me every 30 – 60 minutes would be required.  If her phone was not charged, hell fire and brimstone would rain down on her.  I am close enough to being the devil I can make that happen.

I would walk out and meet the person who was fetching my child.

I would have already got the number and spoken to the person fetching my child and asked several questions around time, when, where and the how the next few hours were going to play out.

Personally I would not let my 12 year old sleep out — she stays at her dad, her granny on occasion and one friend. And that is the full extent of the people where she is allowed to stay over at.

I also have a 15 year old boy child — similar interrogation from my side if he is sleeping out.  I don’t just let him give me random information, nod and say “cool see you in two to four days….”

So back to Anchen – how does a 13 year old girl leave a house and the mom/dad/who ever is wearing the responsible pants in the house not have information on the who, what, where and so on?

How does that happen? How?

Is this the same universe where Cape Town is ranked the most dangerous city in South Africa??

Surely we read the same papers and we know that it is not a safe place out there for a girl child, or a boy child for that matter.  Actually adults are just as likely to meet an unexpected and very unpleasant end.

A 13 year old, even if she looks like a 17 year old is still a 13 year old girl child.  The public might not know that, but her parents do —- how does she get out the house??

We are talking about a sleep over here.  I would park what ever I was doing to get some clear and specific information about where my child is going.  And not as she was skipping out the door — a week before, when the plan had been hatched.

I would not trust the information I was being given — I would go and double check the shit they gave me.  Because children are children.  They are not always known for their great decision making skills, and their ability to fully comprehend the outcome of their poor decision making.

Where are you sleeping?  What is the address?  What are the parent’s names?  What are their phone numbers?

Great, let me give them a call (and this would be taking place a week before the sleep over – which my child would not be going to as she is not allowed to go for sleep overs) …. but let’s assume she is for a moment.

I would do a bit of due diligence over here.

If my child was permitted sleep overs and this was a new place I did not know — I would sure as shit not let her walk out the door before I got myself involved.

I would want to go to the house – so if she is going to an event – – then I would fetch her from the event and take her to the house and meet the parents. I would make it clear that if things were not in line when we got there I would not allow her to sleep over.

End of story.

This is the part of the story where I really start to feel uncomfortable.

How does a 13 year old leave your home without you knowing exactly where they are going — have names, numbers, stool samples and have inserted yourself at least once into driving to where she is going to be staying?

I get that we raise our kids differently and whooo-haaa for that.  But there seems to have been a serious break down of information here.

A 13 year old girl skipping out the door with out leaving any information with the responsible adult.

And there is an acceptance that it is quite normal for her phone battery do die and her to not charge her phone.  So a cut in communication for a day or more is quite acceptable.  There are not enough ways to say “fuck this shit” if it was child that girl would be stapled to the floor and not allowed to go anywhere but in circles.

I am truly glad that Anchen was found.  Truly.

How she stayed in Bishops Lavis with a guy who was 19 years old is a story I probably don’t want to hear?

Who also thought she was 19 years old leaves far, far too much to the imagination.

Somewhere on Facebook someone had written the comment : “I hope that girl gets a helluva hiding when she gets home…” and to be honest, I tried hard not to push the LIKE button on that comment.

I try to think happy thoughts of rainbows and unicorns on this story.

If this girl thinks Bishops Lavis is a cool plan, her mom thinks that no information is necessary and it takes four days to report her as missing at the police station, then odds are this family is broken in some way.  And needs some assistance.  Some support.  Some immediate help  Probably or possibly a child psychologist and family counselling would be a good start.

I don’t know the background to this story – but what I do know is : 13 year old girl, missing for 5 days, no contact information for her, no responsible person in her family had any clue where to start looking for her, found in Bishops Lavis with a 19 year old boy, spent the night.

Again I am glad that Anchen Muller made it home.  As the saying goes “may the healing begin” ………….

But holy shitballs can we please take a leaf from this horror story and relook at how much freedom we give our children and that a 13 year old girl cannot be treated like an adult.  And Bishops Lavis.

 

There are quite a few of these updates on the web:

http://m.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/News/cape-town-mothers-grief-after-daughter-disappears-everything-is-a-dead-end-20170822

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/missing-cape-town-teen-found-20170823

Parenting …. when you measure the amount of moaning to assess whether it was a good or a bad outing.

On Saturday I decided we — the kids and I — were going to have a cultural day.

I did not tell them too much in the run up, as I wanted to keep the moaning and whining to a minimum.  It didn’t change the fact that no matter what we were doing Isabelle wanted to know when we were going to go to the “gallery place.”

We went into Cape Town —- to keep their mood and sugar level up, I stopped at McDonalds for breakfast as requested.

It was all starting off quite well.

We parked.

And I was charged R17.60 for an hour — I was parked on the road.  It wasn’t like my car was at Hooters and they were going to give me free chicken wings and wash the car.  It was what I was being charged to leave my car randomly against a pavement.  For an hour.  Possibly I do not spend enough time in town being ripped off for parking.

I tried to control my face – freaking out about the hourly rate was not going to sweeten the mood.  I just decided, listen I seldom use their services, let them just take my money.

We walked up in the direction of the museum/gallery and I realised there were several parking spots closer and in the shade.  I was thinking about the end of the day and getting these kids to walk back.  I know that outings often end in a need to drink alcohol quickly and get away from your children for about 45 minutes, so you can just reboot.

I suggested they wait together in a small mass gathering and I would walk down fetch the car and just move it.  Up the same road.  Parked next to the same kerb.

I got out the car and I thought, yes, that’s quite a win.

A parking attendant popped over and suggested I give him another R17.60 — I wanted to suggest to him he shove his little scan and pay machine in a very safe place as I showed him I had a parking ticket.  And indicated I had just given his work colleague the money.  To park.  On the same road.  Against the same kerb.  Like 15 parking spots down the way — I could point and wave at my previous parking spot.

It appears it does not work that way.

He was not going to make an exception.  And then two other key statements.  They rolled off his tongue like an oral he has learnt really well and regurgitate often.

I sensed he has been faced with this occurrence and knows how to squelch it quickly.  I paid the R170.60 again —- even Connor whistled through is teeth and said “this isn’t going well is it?”

I gave him that arched eyebrow look that can only be translated as “you are right as fuck…”

Anyway we went to the gallery — the gallery said that if we wanted to go to museum and the gallery, then we need to go to the museum first.  The ticket we buy there can then get us into the gallery.

And it did not work the other way around.

I was sensing a theme for the day.  Growing.

Just to create a bit of “atmosphere” — it was 27 degrees outside.  The inside of my house is always 6 degrees cooler than it is outside.

I was dressed for a day of 18 – 20 degrees and after the light jog back to the car to move — it was freaking hot, sweating and realising that calf length boots were not the best choice.  Neither were my two layers of shirts with the jacket over it.  And the scarf.

Connor who has become a quick read of most situations looked at me and just said :”Oh mommmmm” knowing that I was probably on the point where this was starting to get challenging.  And I was needing to hold back to keep my good language in check.

Okay, so we went back to the Museum.  Because that is how it works.  It appears.

— we first went to the planetarium show — it was geared for kids.  Of the 8 years and under crowd.  But the room had good air-conditioning and the chairs are comfortable.  I have always like the planetarium.

After that we walked around the museum — there are exhibits that were there when I visited the museum 40 years ago — but it is still cool to see them.  “Cool” being a very relative term.

There weren’t enough people there to have to constantly shush the kids.  I actually just let them run around like mild hooligans.  The kids are big enough that someone can’t actually snatch them away.  And also they are making so much noise that I can hear them three suburbs away.

It’s a bit like the clicking noise bats make to navigate, but just far louder and more annoying.  That is parenting in a public place.  You are trying to call your children quietly and then 45 minutes later you are over this shit and just screaming their full name, including first, second, third and surname.

At one point I called Isabelle and did all her 4 names.  Her retort? She screamed my 4 names in the museum whale area to see if there was an echo.

At some point you realise you have invested way too much into this outing and you just want to go home now.  I then outsource the parenting to Connor.  The problem is you never tell him he has become the defacto parent, as he likes to hit the other two into submission.

Normally a clip against the side of the head does it.  I really do not know where he learns this parenting style from.

We then headed to the gallery — this was going to be the highlight. Remember Isabelle has been moaning about going to the gallery since we got out the car — the first time.

I am not sure if she got gallery confused with circus of the flying monkeys.


I thought now, right now, is when my kids are going to get exposed to culture and really enjoy it.  Like really really.

It appears abstract art is not appealing to children.  Mainly because you need to keep explaining to them that no, that is not exactly the same thing they can do at home.

No, not that one either.

No, I cannot give them glue, some newspaper and some white paint and they can make this one.  No, not that one either.

Yes, I know it looks really simple, but it has balance and depth and …… my children have wandered off at that point.  The yelp reviews on the Abstract Exhibition are still not in —- but I would not hold my breath for that from my three.

Isabelle was well over the gallery 7 minutes in —- and I am allowing for the time it took to sort the tickets out and get through the front door.  It was probably closer to 3 minutes.

There were two exhibits I really enjoyed : The African Choir 1891 Re-Imagined  and At Face Value.  Well worth the visit.  Sans children.

Isabelle and Georgia were playing the game — who could find a spare chair and sort of lie all over it the soonest and not allow the other one to get on it.  No matter how much the other one whinged and whined.  And screamed their name.

Connor made a concerted effort to read a few of the write ups and he took his time.  I think he was just taking pity on me and trying to show some interest, whilst the other two had just lost their shit when we arrived in the first room.

My favourite piece is The Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander and I had been looking to seeing this piece all day.  It was right at the end.

I must confess by the time I got there I no longer had the energy to explain it’s meanings and to force the children to be culturally appreciative.

The “mommmmmmm —- she is not giving me any of the chaiiiiirrrrrr”was becoming deafening.  I saw another couple with two young kids, the dad had the one kid on his head and was spinning him like a hello-copter —- very clever I thought.  Great distraction until the kid pukes, but that is a secondary problem.

Connor was not interested in being helicoptered.  And granted he was not one of the problem children.

We moved through the gallery quicker than hoped and then headed home.

I think the temperature was nearly 29 degrees by the time we got out.  Yay for moving the car to a shady spot.

I realised that one starts to assess how good an outing is by the level of whining, bitching (that’s me) and moaning.  I don’t think we will be doing a cultural day anytime soon in the future.

Next weekend beer tasting — and they can fight over chairs until they are blue in the face.  I really need to get Connor a learner’s licence pronto!!

 

Image source:

https://www.iziko.org.za/images/