Divorce and how this affects our children … listen to the podcast – part two

Here’s the second part of  the Village discussion with six intrepid Villagers about their break-ups and their children.

Honesty, honesty, honesty —– so much freaking honesty.

They talk about life after divorce, what they’d do differently, what they’ve learned and what advice they’d give to anyone else now they’ve had time to think about it – and it’s definitely not all bad news.

Listen to the link — https://iono.fm/e/568528


Divorce and how our experiences change us … listen to the podcast – part one

I was invited recently to take part in podcast hosted by The Village with the aim to bring several people together, and to chat about divorce.

The way it changed us as individuals, the way we dealt with it, and most importantly how our children coped.  And maybe what we could or should have done differently to protect our children, or make the experience better for our children.

I go along to these things and wonder what I can possibly add that the next person does not already know.  As usual I realise I was sitting with a group of people who had so much to teach me – and at the same time were there to be taught by others.

It was one of the most powerful events I have ever experienced.

The honesty, the openness, the wisdom.  The crying.

At one point during the podcast – I was talking and I just started crying.  That snot cry, where your words become silent …… I am always amazed how much emotion I have around this issue, when I do my best to hide it away.  Under the many many layers of humour and self-deprecation that I use.  I keep telling myself “I am so over this……….” and then I realise that maybe I am not.

If you are going through a divorce, planning a divorce, watching a divorce, have a friend going through a divorce, can think of things that rhyme with divorce — then please listen to this podcast.

The people are wise and at the same time, so very capable of just bursting into tears.

This is part one —-

“It’s like you’ve fallen off a ship and you’ve got a life vest on that’s not working properly. And you’re trying to hold three kids up above the water so they can breathe.”

In our latest edition of The Village Live podcast, we talk to six Villagers who have lived through the break up of a relationship about what they learned – especially when it comes to looking after their children. It was a powerful discussion which we’re bringing you in two parts. Take a listen. Tell us your best advice.


You always think, okay, now parenting starts …… then you realise, no, now parenting starts


Do you recall when you were pregnant/or waiting for your baby and you were kitting out the nursery, and doing extreme reading on whether this wet wipe is good or that cotton blanket is good, and so it goes on.

You spent oodles of energy on getting things just right — because this was the beginning of parenting.

Then you had your baby, and you went all soft lighting and you dreamed of your baby and your baby was everything.  And you were so damn happy.

If you were in the unfortunate category, you got a load of post natal depression, and you then started to look at your baby and though you loved your baby, you sort of hated your baby.  Everything was difficult, everything was painful.  You wanted to run away.  And leave the baby behind.  But you didn’t, and every day was hard, and you thought, okay this is parenting.

Then it got time to enroll your baby into a school and you drove yourself mad trying to find the right school, where everything was eco friendly and they only fed your child organic strawberries and it was all love and goodness.  You got onto various waiting lists and it was so freaking stressful — and then you thought, this is parenting.

Then your child gets into a school and suddenly there are all these issues/shit that appears that you did not know about.  Social skills, possibly testing for ADHD or another set of letters.  You worry about your child being bullied, or being the bully.

You march along when you see a bite on your child — and the bite becomes your everything.  You talk to a hundred people, join a few groups that talk about biting.  Either your kid is the bitten or the biter. And you think, okay this is parenting.

And so it goes on.

There are so many stages in your child’s life — that become your life and you keep saying or thinking “okay, this is fucking parenting — what ever was happening before, was just a minor preempt.”

This weekend I had a “this is parenting” ……


My son is 16 years old.  He is a lovely sweet boy who for 98% of the time is a real cool guy.

He is a standard issue 16 year old where everything is about his immediate enjoyment, his friends are his reality, his face is normally facing a screen of some sorts.

But the upside is that he is polite, funny, gets excited about stuff, and is a joy.  For the majority of the time.

Parenting him has been easy for the most part.  I have three children, and the youngest is a thug, so I will be honest, my attention is often drawn to her and keeping her out of the 28’s gang, and to stop her being the “bully” at school.

16 year old is very into his mates.  Like they are everything.  Bro-mance has nothing on this.

He likes to be with them, or they are all together at his dad’s house (my house is too small to have them together in one place) — so he often bows out of things and asks to go to a friend, and I normally give him permission.

A few weeks ago we had a day where he was all over the show and he did not tell me where he was, and I was having to keep phoning him and finding out where he was.

That evening we spoke and I explained how important it was that I knew where he was — that he was honest with me, and that he was safe.  So we had this great conversation and it went really well, and I walked away from that going “dude, totally aced this parenting thing… look at me” and then I high-fived myself.

Fast forward to this weekend.

He asks to stay over at a friend for Friday.  He tells me the friend, and gives me the mom’s details.  He has stayed over several times and his friend J is within walking distance from the house.  I agree, check with the mom, she says that everything is cool and off my 16 year old goes.

Now I will confess I did not think through Saturday — I thought I would give him flexibility and he can hang with his mates and he can be back late in the afternoon.

I had my daughters’ friends over — so I had four girls with me on Saturday.

I started to feel slightly uneasy as a certain point — around 2pm —- as I had not received pings from my 16 year old.  I felt that the “chain of agreement” we had discussed, was falling apart a bit.  Totally actually.

I sent him a few “where are you messages” and got some vague responses.  I sort of let it past, as I was a bit distracted by the 4 girls and attempting to roller skate and not break a knee, and I thought he will be home around 17h00 and then I can calm down.

Late afternoon swings by — I now turn my attention to my 16 year old, who is not home and is showing no movements in that direction.

I start asking him where he is — vague responses.  I start to step up my messages, and I am getting no response or vague responses.  I start to call my son, and it goes to voice mail.

Nothing makes you dial your child 150 times than going straight to voice mail – when you know he has his phone sewn to the side of his face, so does not leave his phone anywhere away from his body at any given time.

I am getting no feedback on where this child is.

My head has already orchestrated him OD’ing and being on the side of the road (nothing supported by reality —- but when you brain moves into the range of “shit to worry about” there is no stopping the escalation).

This child is not responding.

Eventually I am at my wit’s end — I think it is around 19h00 now — I tell him I am putting the girls in the car, and we are going to the police station and reporting him as a missing child.    We are at this point of the evening.

He then called me back and said he is fine and safe, and I can punish him tomorrow and then he puts the phone down.

I have no idea which opium den he is in, which child trafficker has him and where he is being held hostage.  I am freaking the feck out — now keeping in mind I had been escalating for about 5 hours.

I am like a pressure cooker, that just needs another 3 – 5 minutes of applied heat and I am about to blow the freaking ceiling off.

Further calls go straight to voice mail.

I lose my shit (some more) —- short trip at this point.

I phone his dad who is travelling in India or somewhere equally far away.  I just felt if I had managed to break and kill our child he should know.  He also tries to phone said child, and also to voice mail.

I call one of his friend’s mom and explain to her that my 16 year old has gone AWOL and is there any chance that he is with J.  I said I think he is with his friend Avw — whose details I do not know.  She said she does, and calls the mom.

The parents are off camping.  The thinking is the boys are all together at a home without any parental supervision, and parental permission in my case.

J’s mom does not tell me the address.  I think she realised that I am at that point where I would arrive there with a 200kg gorilla who  would just yank my child out of there with or without his consent, and probably cause a scene and leave some blood on the door frame.

I am not sure how a gorilla got into my train of over imagination and over reaction.

Eventually J’s mom says her son has stopped answering the phone and says she will drive over there and check on what is going on.  We are now at about 22h00 on Saturday night.

It appears the boys are just hanging out.

I still do not know where he is, I still do not have any control over this situation.  I am trying to be calm but I have now sort of moved into how to move this from a three child family to a two child family.

Sunday swings by — I walk up feeling drunk, I am exhausted and stressed and literally every nerve fiber is frayed.

I go through another day where this little fecker just does not come home.  Eventually I send him a few threatening messages.

My 16 year old arrives around 17h00  – 18h00.

By this point I am already scraping his name off the door.  My sense of humour.  My upbeat manner is long long gone.

My 16 year old walks in without a care in the world.

I am going to end the story there, as we are not sure yet how to deal with his punishment.

I need to wait until my ex gets back from his overseas trip, as it is important we are on the same page here.  He moves between both our homes and it is pointless me instigating a punishment regime that is not being used at the other house.

The theme of this post is “so this is parenting” …. and really this weekend taught me that what ever the stress I had before regarding breastfeeding versus bottle feeding, buying purity of making his puree, the wooden toys which are better than the plastic toys for him, worrying about how he holds his pencil, his keeping up with the learning levels of the class, whether rugby is safe for him, will he have friends, will he fall apart because of the divorce, how will he adjust to the new living situation, am I working hard enough to keeping an open channel of communication with him …… all of this ….. all of this just disappeared into the mist of “my son went AWOL and I had no idea where he was for more than 24 hours” ………… and this people, this is parenting.  Hard core.



School application season starts again …..

I don’t take photographs any more …..

I have been looking through photographs of my children, my family, my life. Me.

I love taking photographs – I love having that record of where they were at that moment. How I captured that moment, that split second in time.

I always have a camera with me – I prefer to take photographs on my SLR camera than I do on my phone, but right now I do not take photographs on either.

I think I will remember how things were or how they appeared, but I don’t —or I can’t.  You are so busy worrying about the million other things that are happening, that you forget.  Important stuff.

Those moments you want to hold on to.

When I go through old images I start to smile, or cry, and I just cannot believe that time has passed by in the way it has.

Where has it all gone?  How much have I missed?

I am doing a project now and I am moving through some old photographs on my Facebook history and it has hit me hard in the gut area.

First the memory, that this was my life.  That this. Was my life.  That this is no longer my life.

I am not that person any more.  These people are no longer part of my life.  I feel I am not remembering all the important things that my children are doing.  I think I will — but I can’t.

That person is not who I am.  I am not always sure of exactly who I am. I am struggle a bit to find my own identity.

Often when I look at pictures I have taken, I can remember me on the other side of the lens and how I felt taking that image.  I can recall that exact moment.

Divorce changes so much about you – it changed how I viewed history, how I viewed moments in time, how I viewed me as a person, and how I viewed where you fitted in.

It’s like the trick where you pull the table cloth off a fully set table – with the aim to have all the items remaining in place, because the table cloth was pulled off so quickly.  That’s the trick.

The reality is all the crockery and cutlery op-focked onto the floor and sort of lay there in pieces.

When you go through something that is such a life-shifter, your memories change.  Your way of looking at things changes.

Your life changes in every possible way.  No matter how hard you smile and say “I’m good hey….” … “Yep, yeah, things are great….”

I have slowly but surely stopped taking photographs.  I don’t think the change was gradual, it was rather I just stopped.

I am not sure why.

I am pretty sure I know why.

I am not sure how I can start again.

For many reasons I have stopped living my life.  My life seems to be on hold.  To just be stagnating.

I am stuck and I can’t always explain it well.  I shouldn’t be.  I look around and tell myself I shouldn’t be.

I have so much to be grateful for.  I have so much in my life.


I have not allowed myself to carry on living my life.

This life, what ever this is, just does not feel right or mine.  The only time I feel fully complete is when I am with my children.  Somehow they are the extension of me that is the only true thing in my life,

My north.  My compass.

When I am with them, I can breath.  My chest does not feel so tight.

When the girls are with me they sleep in my bed.

I actually get no sleep as they are like two sweaty octopuses and clearly I need a bigger bed.  I am too petrified to let them go and sleep in their own beds.

That I will be giving up this last semblance of what makes me feel complete.  So I let them sleep in my bed, because I am not ready to give this up yet.

It is actually tremendously sad to tell the truth.  To no longer see your life worthy of taking a photograph of.

Of not having the energy, the power, the will, the want, to take a photograph.  To record your life.

When I look at these photographs I have taken years ago, I laugh, I smile, I cry — they make me really happy and desperately sad at the same time.

I have convinced myself that I am living my life.  I am very good at reassuring everyone else that I am fine, that I am really fine, nothing to see here.

I realise I am watching “me” living my life.

When I interact with people, I hold back so much of myself that I am actually absent from the situation.  It’s now an automatic measure. There are very few conversations and interactions I have where I am truly present.

It allows me the freedom to just walk away from people without having to cry about it.  Yes, I do realise that that is a bit of a disaster, but it is a wonderful coping mechanism.  Right now.

Maybe it is the fear of being hurt again === that I just cannot give 100% of myself.  Maybe it is that I just do not feel whole.  Maybe it is that I actually do not feel connected, really connected, to anyone around me.

I can fake connection like no one’s business.

And here is the trick, people are so busy with their own lives that they are happy with the basics in terms of interactions.  They do not ask for more, they do not realise that you are just not there.

When I smile I do not actually smile, it doesn’t reach further than my mouth.

But holy shitballs when I cry, I am 100% committed.  I really get behind that shit.  I can spend a weekend in various states of tears, and I need very little to set me off.

I do keep my shit under wraps as best as I can.

I do what needs to be done.  I am highly productive.  Smile at who I need to, say the right things, make the right coo’ing sounds necessary when it is a story that needs a “coo” as a retort.

I am sorry I have not blogged more, I really need this space right now.

The one where my car key decided to become lego pieces ….

You know how you bring your car to a standstill, and then you remove your car key from the car ignition, then the car says “no, don’t go I love you too much” and the key goes “aw shucks man, I have had the same feeling for the longest time…”

And then you pull the key out, and the key snaps off and the main component that makes it a key remains in the ignition.

Then there is that moment when you look at your now fancy yet non functioning key thingy and you say things like “fuck — fuck, what the fuck am I going to do now?”

I am not sure if this is unique to me but when I am confronted with a situation that feels like it defies logic I tend to keep looking at the thing, and then re checking the thing, then looking around because maybe this is how Armageddon starts.   I repeat this several times over just in case I missed a key (see what I did there) point.

Seems I was on the money (and about to have all the money taken away) it appears my key had snapped.  Fortunately I could get the snapped piece out of the ignition which was a brief moment of joy and then I wondered how the hell I was going to drive my car.

Eventually after several checks and rechecks that my key indeed was snapped.  It still was.  Totally sure on that at this point.  But did need to do the 29th check just in case things were not as bad as they seemed.

{Just to clarify how bad this idea of disbelief is — I once parked my car outside my office, got out to my car and it was gone.  My brain could not accept it was gone.  I went to look up and down the road, in case it had moved it’s self whilst I was at my desk.  Then when  my brain could no longer accept that absence of my car on the road side I went upstairs and checked behind my desk, just in case that is where I had left it this morning and just forgot.   My brain’s ability to not accept what is visually obvious can be quite alarming.)

Anyway I managed to get the key part into the ignition and with deft finger nails manage to turn it and the car started.  I drove straight to VW.  Because my car is a VW, going to Ford would just confuse everyone at this point.

I walk into the “parts” section – I figured as my one key was two parts, this might be the right area for me.

As I walked in I said “Hey you want to see something funny?” and then showed the trick of my car key turning itself into two parts.

The guy liked my sense of humour.

He however wiped the smile right off my face with immediate effect.  He said “that’s going to be really expensive….” but in that was that car dealerships mean that they are going to make you cry.  And you can forget buying Gouda cheese for the rest of the month.

I looked at him — so how much is this going to cost me? ……. always in that tone when you do not want to know the answer to the question …… I tend to whisper if I know that I am about to be fleeced of all my wine money.

Bloke explained that the key needs a new key – I can see he was quick to assess the situation.  He then said the other thing is that the key needs to be coded.  That black part connected to the key that goes “plunk plunk” when it is near my car …. I am nodding because I am following the technicalities of this.

I am feeling we are one soul bonding over our common understanding of keys.

I am nodding, as you do, and then I said “so how much is that going to cost” — just over R3 000.00.  (R3 300.00 to be specific).

I will admit that I did lose a bit of my decorum and went — in that really high pitched voice that only dogs 5 – 9 km away can hear “Three fucking thousand for one fucking key — does this come with nachos and strippers??”

I think he thought I was a funny person.

I do think this would be a better experience with nachos and strippers.  That is how affronted I felt.

No, I was a person who was being fucked at VW and then pay them.   Momma, didn’t raise no idiot.  Sure she raised a fringe lunatic, with depression, social anxiety but not an idiot.

I said the number a few more times — it still did not slide off my tongue without me gagging.

I mentioned I needed a spare key — he didn’t even skip a beat, twice as much.  I am glad this guy is in parts and not sales —-

Anyway whilst I was standing there mumbling to myself with spittle forming on my chin, someone suggested I try a locksmith down the way.

I said my apologise to everyone who had to watch my performance, and my thank you’s to those who hung around for the grand finale  – and went to the locksmith down the way.

I did the same trick when I arrived and showed them how my key disintegrates.    They also thought it was sort of amusing.  Must have been a slow day in lock smith land.

Dude charged my under R2 500.00 – he sorted out my one key and that is all clean and together.  Then he made a spare key as well.  I did not have one.  Or I had one, and somewhere in the divorce, the move, losing my mind I misplaced the key.

I just think key shit happens at once, best to just get a spare.

I have no moral in this story.  But I am trying this blogging thing because I have missed blogging and I need to.

Here is my shout out to Bell City Locksmith, 188 Durban Road, Bellville, 021 948 1388 who were friendly, gave me a product that worked without totally ripping the ring.

Where were you when you heard that Princess Diane was dead?

I was at a dog show in Bloemfontain — it was about 5 – 5:30am.

The dog show starts at 08h00  but you need to get there and set up and all this shit that sane people who do not go to dog shows just cannot understand.

The entire premise of dog shows is weird — it defies imagination.

I was once at a dog show which was raining so hard, I had to sit in the car with my dog.  No one chickens out of a dog show — but it was raining, like Noah’s Ark raining and I was just “fuck this” I will sit in my car until I was called.

I was showing Boston Terriers at the time, which really just need a shammie to wipe them off and you are good to go.  Easy squeezy lemon what ever rhymes with squeezy.

I sat in my cat as the heavens emptied onto the earth and watched a woman fire up the generator to fire up her hair dryer to do the final touches to her poodle.

So here is the thing — dog shows do not stop when rain falls from the heavens.  I sat and listened to this generator power up – it sounded like Eskom Level 3 output.  She dried this dog and got him sorted.

Then the dog needed to go into the ring.  Dog shows aren’t exactly hard core — but rain or shine this shit carries on. All this woman’s work, and she probably woke up at 3am to start this prep was totally washed out in about 12 seconds.

Anyway back to me and hearing about Princess Diane’s death.

We were showing Staffordshire Bull Terriers at the time — which are really easy dogs to maintain.  Quick wipe and you are done — add some vaseline to their nose and you are at the high end of maintenance.

Our SBT was pied and mainly white — so when he ran across a muddy field I had to take him and put him in the shower with me — it was just easier — then dry him off and he was good to go.   The white had to be white — until he walked in the muddy ring and was brown.  You had to be seen to actually make an effort.

He had slept the night and we needed to prep, so I took him to the field for a run — we had enough time to wash him or what ever and still get to the grounds on time.  We being me, but I am saying me like there was a fucking village behind this bullshit.

My dog was running off lead of a field.

He saw a bird and really started to run.

Like Forrest Gump run and does not slow down and runs 12 states.

I was screaming and running after him — his name was Willy — so I was screaming WILLY, WILLY, WILLY and I was running at more pace than I had.

Keep in mind it is a dead quiet morning.  Me screaming Willy in a field in the dead of the morning in Bloemfontein. Not sure that people grasped the context.  I was shit scared my dog would run off the field and keep running to Zimbabwe.

My partner was on the other sided of the field screaming that Princess Diane had died and he had to keep screaming louder because I was screaming Willy and running and thinking I was having a freaking heart attack —- it was a very confusing time.

Where were you?

I held a baby in the bathroom today ….

Image source:  KRISTY BURRELL – LXC 03 – www.facebook.com/kristyburrellphotography


I went into a public bathroom today.  It had two stalls, two adults and two children already there.

I am that person who leaves going to the bathroom until I am actually already spotting urine.  For me to arrive and find people there leaves me with a deeply troubling problem.

There was a mom trying to talk her toddler through using the toilet – she had an infant boy on her breast and she realised that the toilet needed some assistance.

She took her infant off her breast, looked at me and asked me to please hold her son as she needed to help her other son as this potty training thing was a big deal.

Totally on board.  Took baby, like this was a normal thing, and put him into a position against my chest and under my chin.

I got to hold this warm, fuzzy boy — you know how you just remember to hold a baby, even if you have not touched one in years.

I nestled him in my neck, and had him close against my chest and just patted him.

He smelt like warmth, happiness, milk and just all things good.  I probably had him for about two minutes, and he nestled in and it was pure joy.

It was almost as nice as snuggling puppies.

The mom came out of the bathroom and thanked me — she did not know me from Adam — and took her baby.

I understand how people end up with 5 or 8 kids.  A soothed baby smells like all things good, a baby nestling in to you makes you think of happiness and joy.  Your ovaries start to go — hey we have an old egg or two lying around, how about it?  Come on — remember the good times.

In a matter of moments I had charted out an entirely different life.

I had forgotten about the sleeplessness, the going it alone, the milk puke that lives on you, the inability to go and pee alone, the constant worry and frantic mania about just about everything.

I forgot about the post natal depression, the bleeding nipples, the pain of recovering from a third and very sore c-section.

The fact that my body felt like it had been hit by a truck and it took weeks for all that aching to go away.

The loneliness, the anger, the resentment.  The fact that it was so freaking hard — all of it.  Nothing went to plan.  I was operating on minimal sleep and my brain was fried.

In the public bathroom with that precious little boy all my brain did was secrete dopamine.  And happy thoughts.

Now whilst I am on the couch, with wine and without (well nearly without) a worry in the world, I am glad that sweet little boy went home with someone else.

Happy “no creamy shit nappies on a Friday night” Day!!!!

When you think you are stinky …… and it’s just your mind messing with you

The fun game that having general anxiety disorder with an extra serving of panic disorder is that everything is always escalated to a Level 5 full blown event.

Right now I am well medicated and possibly in a place in my life where my depression is generally under control.  Generalised anxiety disorder and Panic Disorder are the two other horses of Depression — if one is running, the other two will usually follow — maybe not immediately but you will eventually hear their hooves.

This is not true for everyone but it is true for me.

When I am at my worst, at my most vulnerable, my panic and anxiety kicks in to just shatter me totally.  I can tell you that it breaks you — you think you are strong enough to withstand that onslaught, but it humbles you.

You find yourself sitting on the edge of the bed crying “I can’t do it, I just cannot do this today ….. I can’t do this anymore….” and you are really really sobbing.  But you need to get your facade on and do what you do.

When my depression escalates, then so does the anxiety and the panic.

I have had some moments where there has been an escalation in anxiety or panic but it has not been as bad as it was before 2013/2014 — when things were just rampant mania all the time.

The problem with the disorder is that it escalates everything into the worst possible case scenario that you could imagine.  It never gives you rainbows and glitter, it gives you blood and bone shards.

It doesn’t even need to be taken there, it just does it in one giant leap.  And you are there.  100% committed.

When you have all three of them running rampant, basically all day you are being faced with a variety of calamities (granted most/all are imagined — but you can’t see that).  Your body is going through the emotions each time.  Each freaking time.  In full technicolour.

If you arrive to fetch your child and they are not where they are meant to be – your brain tells you that they have been taken, by some random non-friendly stranger, and it is all your fault because you are a shit mom/person who picks up kids.

When actually they are just in the toilet.

The problem is this sort of thinking goes on all the time.

I first became aware of it was when Connor was around one — going anywhere with him meant he would die.  We could go to the mall, and he would not get lost, he would be stolen.  We could go to the Blue Peter and I was afraid he would stand on the little wall, fall and then die.

And that was my life.  Me living through various permutations where they all ended in him dying.

Every event becomes the world ending.

The smallest most insignificant thing makes your brain push out as much adrenaline into your system as possible to cope with the threat that is approaching.

It really is an exhausting state to be in – your mind is constantly working out every possible permutation.  Every permutation has an outcome, or number of outcomes.

Your brain is running through each of those — not just in a a “hey what might we do here” but in a full body and brain 100% experience.

You are going through this event, and your mind and your body is dealing with each permutation — each flaming one as if it is actually happening.

It is beyond exhausting,  You are a total wreck.

I did a lot of cognitive behavioural therapy which is really good for many things — and especially good for changing the way you think.

It challenges your “knee jerk” reactions.  It asks you to look at a situation and in a very sober way talk through what is actually happening and not what you think is happening.  You never quite adjust to the fact that it is your mind that is damaging you.

My biggest issue — or the part where I lost so much energy was “what does the other person think of me” —- oh sweet Clarabelle, that was just a quagmire of filthy mud that sucked you in the further you went.

The process to out think that was quite simple:

  1.  How do you know what that person is thinking?
  2. No, how do you really know what that person is thinking.
  3. You don’t.
  4. But even if that person is thinking you are bad/stupid/stinky/what ever — why does that one person matter?
  5. And what indication have you been given that is actually what they think of you (to which every anxious person yells “I know, I just freaking know…” and then burst into frustrating tears)
  6. Eventually you get to a point where you admit that you actually do not know — this may take several minutes of repeating the same thing.
  7. Okay —so if that person is thinking you are bad/stupid/stinky — does that mean you are one of those things because that one person might think it?
  8. And there is normally when your head bursts open like a soft boiled egg.
  9. So even if that one person believed something bad about you — how important is that person in your world?
  10. Does it matter what that one person thinks?  (again normally anxiety driven people with paranoid overtures are throwing themselves on their psychiatrist’s carpets screaming …. it does, god dammit, it does)
  11. So does that make you the person that they think you are —- just because that one person thinks that?
  12. This loop can go on for ages, but you sort of get the point of it — more or less.

Anyway the conversation goes along these lines — in the beginning this loop could last 45 minutes as you argue each point as to why you are stinky or what ever.

Eventually — eventually —- you start to realise that you cannot control what other people think.

You do not know what they are actually thinking, you cannot spend time worrying over it as it will cripple you in every avenue of your life and more importantly you know you are not stinky so you don’t need to worry about it.

Keep telling yourself “I am not stinky” and then eventually (I haven’t got there yet) your brain will start to rewire itself.

The point of this story is the estate agent I rent from sent me an SMS saying when can he call me – I said “right now” and then he took about 30 minutes.

In that 30 minutes I had decided that he was going to kick me out of the house I am renting, and I would have two weeks to find something else, you know because I am stinky.  I got into a total panic — well, because I am stinky, and the prospect of finding something to rent just seemed an inconceivable idea right now.

My water usage was off the charts and they needed me out of the complex.  I had been having too many rowdy parties at my home and other tenants had complained.   I parked my car really badly each day.  My car was too dirty by the standards of the complex.  He found out about the floating shelf I put up without permission and that was the final straw.  Just add on any random bullshit you can think of.

In the 30 minutes whilst I was waiting for him, I kept checking my phone and running through all the worst permutations in the world.  I also got two emails from Pam Golding (not my estate agent) for properties to rent and that just added more fuel to this flame.

Of course when I spoke to him he just wanted to know when we could meet so I could sign a new contract.  I nearly collapsed not from being relieved, but because I was so freaking exhausted.

For fuck sake — I need to stop this “I think I am stinky” bullshit.

Dealing with depression, anxiety and panic disorder is an everyday lucky packet — it is always a journey you are moving through.  You learn to manage it, you learn to manage the way you react, you manage to learn from your mistakes – the third one is probably the most constant.  Sadly the other part is that people with depression, anxiety and panic disorders are incredibly hard and unforgiving on themselves.

The thing I have learnt in this process is that there are people around you who use your disorder to their advantage.

You get blamed for things that are not your fault, but because you cannot distinguish easily between what shit is yours and what isn’t — it is very easy to take on other people’s shit.

Your boundaries are all wonky.  You know because you are stinky.  You are primed for situations where other people’s stuff becomes yours and your brain cannot differentiate between what to keep and what to toss.

You easily become the person who is always full of shit of having shit — when in reality, it isn’t like that.

For anyone out there who is going through this, or is living with someone who is going through this —- that person needs a cushion, they need a safe harbour, they need a place where they can feel safe and taken care of.

Just a place or a moment in time where they constant worrying can lift — where they can maybe have just one thought in their mind and not the 3157 that are presently running and replicating as we speak.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but watch someone spin their heels until they eventually get the help they need.

You can keep reminding them that you are there for them —- that you are really there.  And you will be there for them when they get to the other side.

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/

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.



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:



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:



If you have a child at a creche you should be reading this …. ACTUALLY ALL PARENTS SHOULD READ THIS

Get a cup of tea, or several tequilas and sit down for this …. this has been rolling around in my head so much it has to come out.  Sorry, you are going to now know it and it can drive you insane.  It has been all consuming for several days now.

I have been trying to wrap my head around this.

I still have not quite got it, but it is weighing on me as a subject.

Recently I was talking to a woman.  In short she disclosed to me that she is HIV positive – it came out almost by accident.  It was part of a totally different story, so it was not an announcement.  It was in the context of a story and it was a detail in a story.

I will be honest I was not floored by her telling me she was HIV positive.  It was the knock on effects that made my eyes go a little wider and my mouth create that worried grimace, where only plastic surgery is going to get rid of the worry lines.

She is employed at a nursery/creche/pre-school school as a nursery/creche/pre-school teacher.

She is employed at a nursery school as a nursery school teacher when she does not have an ECD qualification — none.  She takes care of 12 small children (the amount might be out by 1 or 2).  By herself.

At a nursery/creche/pre-school in a fairly upmarket suburb.

I stared at her and asked her if her employer knew she was HIV positive and she said “no” …. I sat with this for a bit.

I am not HIV positive.

I have no way of knowing what her life is about or like.  I do not know what she has been through, her struggles, what she has overcome or what she has given up.  I am not passing judgement on her or her situation, or in any way indicating that I can truly empathize with her.  There is no way I know her and what her life must be like.  I do not have the ability or right to pass judgement on her.

{Context:  Back in 1994 I worked for a company and we did a lot of advertising material for the AIDS Training and Counselling Centres – as they were known then – throughout South Africa.  The various ATICCs approached us with very little information and it meant that we had to bone up very quickly on HIV and AIDS and create advertising material that was responsible, true and put the word out about how it was spread, and how it was not spread.  It meant we had to up skill ourselves quickly in an area we knew nothing about.  I had to go and buy condoms, dissect their wrappers, and look at the instructions of how to put them on safely and create drawings.  I had never been into a store to buy condoms before, so there I was with a plastic hand basket filled to the brim with condoms.  I try not to think too hard of the chemist assistant’s face as she was thinking what the hell I had planned for the rest of the week.   I embarked on a trip to London and to Amsterdam – by myself on short notice – to go and visit centers there to see how they got the word out. What images worked, what images didn’t and so on — I am not an HIV/AIDS expert, but I understand the framework I am working in as far as a lay person can.)

So back to the person I am talking to, for ease of use, let’s call her Tina.

I am looking at this as a parent. Of children.

All Tina wants to do is work with children – you can see on her face how she lights up when she talks about the children she has worked with and works with.  This is her passion.

I sat there quietly as she spoke.  Listening to her as the noise in my head got louder and louder.

I started looking at this situation in the context of (1) A business owner (2) A parent.

I said to her that if the creche owner did not know her status and if this came out – my concern is that the damage to Tina would be huge.

I said it is one thing for a parent to know and to agree to put a child into her class.

To find out later that the teacher was HIV positive and hide it from the school, that becomes the part where parents would lose their minds.  Parents (all parents) lose touch with reality around our kids — we do, we are wired that way to protect our children even when there is an implied, but non direct threat.

We lose our shit. We. Lose. Our. Shit. In the most unattractive manner.

We totally lose our ability to be rational, and kind, reasonable functioning people.  I think any teacher or principal who has had to deal with a parent in a “difficult situation” will testify to that.

I have lost my shit at a parent-teacher meeting where I was frothing at the mouth.  It was something so randomly irrelevant it is not even worth mentioning.

Parents be freaking crazy!  Like bat shit crazy.

We are talking about small children here.  An HIV positive teacher who has not been adequately reference checked — who is not being supervised in any way.  With small children.

Even though I know that the chance of transmission rate/likelihood is so small there is barely a number for it.  Even though — I know as a parent I would want to know.

Tina is aware of her status, is knowledgeable, healthy, and she takes precautions if there are open sores or a bleed. If you speak to her she is a rational, bright woman — but that said, at certain times in our conversation I found her ability to rationalize and look at a situation from other’s perspectives as deeply immature. Again I started to worry at this juncture.

I suggested to her that there is just no way that this would end well.  Just no way I could see this going in a direction with “well” at the end.

If a parent found out I would be frightened for her.  What they would do to her?

When they turned their anger towards the school, no doubt that school is not going to defend her — they are going to be in a fighting for their own survival.

If a parent found out, and then started really looking at the situation and how the creche recruits it could “sink” this creche, this small business would close in a month or two.  There is just no way a parent of an infant or a child, would accept this — and not totally lose the plot.

I know for a fact that the owner has NOT run a police clearance certificate on Tina.

Which may mean she has not run a police clearance certificate on any of the staff that are working with children.

A police clearance certificate is not 100% proof of future behaviour, but it will tell you if someone has committed a criminal offense before.

You would want to know this if you have people working with children — especially so at a creche.  There might a groundskeeper or what ever.  It is the basis for “allowing anyone near your children” – IT IS THE BASIS FOR ALLOWING ANYONE TO WORK WITH YOUR CHILD —- ASK FOR A POLICE CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE OR ARRANGE TO GET ONE RUN IF THEY DO NOT HAVE ONE.

This is where my horror started to mount — the owner of this creche has not done due diligence on Tina.  Either this means she has slipped up once, which happens.  Or she has not done this on any of her staff.

Now this is where I really started to feel violently uncomfortable.

I explained to Tina that this stuff has a way of getting out.

I have no idea who she has told and who knows what her status is.

The part where I got even more concerned is there was an incident at the previous creche she was at – technically speaking one would label this as assaulting a child.  Technically that would be the label.  If I described the situation, it sounds minor —- but I am a parent, any assault on a child sounds deafening when it hits my ears.

As a parent I know I would sh^t myself if I knew the person looking after my infant had this on their record — and was allowed to be unsupervised with 12 children (or what ever the number is).

There is no qualified teacher in the class with her acting as an assistant teacher where she is monitored.  She has been left on her own without a proper background check, no health check, no TB test, no other checks and no police clearance certificate.


Here’s the big fat but — the incident at the previous school is something that occurred in a school that had cameras. After this incident the school had no option but to let her go.

They did not disclose this to the new employer when the employer called to check the reference.  I don’t think the new principal asked “has she ever hit or caused an injury to a child” — this should be a basic question when you are doing a reference.

The previous school should have done the right thing — but they didn’t — they wrote a glowing letter of reference and recommended her on to another creche.

Knowing everything I know. That what you now know.

There is so much wrong, unfair, grossly neglectful in this story that my brain wants to have a break from my spinal cord.

At the center of it is Tina, who is HIV positive — probably contracted when she was 23.  That is no life for anyone.  That is not fair on anyone.  Here is a woman who loves children to distraction — all she wants to do is work with children, that is all she wants to do.

But realistically, can she?  Does our social paranoia and our heightened awareness of everything around our children allow for this?

I asked Tina to approach her principal — to disclose this information on to her.  The principal has the right to know.  The parents have a right to know.  The parents must know.

Maybe the message here is for us as parents to not push the responsibility of due diligence onto those we entrust our children to.

I am not suggesting we freak out and go and do a mass burning.

I am suggesting we insist that we ask the principal of the school we have enrolled our children in for records of the teacher/s that will be looking after our children.

Reference checks, health checks and police clearance certificates checks – and anything else that would be relevant and legally available to us.  I am not sure what our rights are as parents versus the right to privacy of the teacher.

These records should exist for everyone who is at the school who has direct or indirect contact with the children.  Surely.

What do you think?

{Legally I cannot disclose Tina’s details, her school or approach her school — I can only encourage her to do this, but I cannot do this without her permission.  If you are a lawyer, and this is your area of expertise and you know differently please let me know.}


Hello darkness, my old friend ….. I’ve come to talk with you again

I have been listening to the Sound of Silence on repeat for about two hours now.  Probably not ideal.

I am a chronic depressive.  With a side order of general anxiety disorder, and social phobia.  I have a touch of something that cannot be defined but Ritalin takes care of it.

I have not slept “naturally” since 2008.

I take medication to go to sleep and another set to keep me asleep.

I realise you don’t need to know this, but here is the thing.  There are so many people around you that suffer with one or all of these maladies, that it is about as common as a fungal infection.

The difference is that someone will tell you they have a fungal infection.

There is so much embarrassment in telling someone that you are not coping and you need help — the result is a lot of people don’t seek help.  They quietly try, and try to get on by themselves.

They wake up each morning, take a deep breath and try to get through the day.

Some get through the day.  Others are not that lucky.

They are embarrassed they are not coping — so they hide it as long as they can —- until they can’t.

Some choose to end their lives.

This is what this post is about.

Suicide is not the easy way about.  Suicide is not because you are selfish or cannot do something.

Suicide is what happens when you get to the end of your rope.  When you need the pain to stop.  To just stop.

And it is the best option available to you at that moment in time.

The darkness that normally creeps around the edges of your existence, starts to bleed into the all of you.

Depression is an illness whose main function, each day, is to try to kill you.

I know it sounds ludicrous — unless you have been there.  Unless you have felt those cold unforgiving fingers wrapping themselves around your everything, you cannot imagine what it feels like – how your internal dialogue is so painful, so unforgiving, so intent on trying to make you hurt yourself.

Finding the right psychiatrist is part of the trick.  Being on medication that can stabilise you, goes a long way to keeping the demons at bay.  Or at least in check.

Having someone to talk to  – ideally a psychologist is also very helpful.

You need to speak to someone who understands your condition — who knows what your triggers are.  What sends you further into a spiral, what pulls you back from the edge.

I cannot explain my depression.  I cannot always identify what is going to set it off.  I will often be high functioning, catching balls, doing great and something will creep up on me. Kick my feet out from under me.

It isn’t always something big that floors me, sometimes it is something that is irrelevant in the bigger scheme of things.  A hurtful word.  A sense that something is happening to me.

Then the slow, or rapid, decline will occur.  The demons get louder and more insistent.  Egging you on.

Your ability to hold them back gets more and more exhausting.  Until one day, you just can’t. Anymore.

You function, because you must.  The depression brings the suicidal thoughts.  You start to map out a plan.  It’s usually not a big jump, as most depressives always have a suicide plan.  Always.

Mine is a pick ‘n pay bag of medication I have horded for years.

I believe that suicide via this route has a 2% success rate.  Not ideal.  Depressives have an unusual amount of knowledge on this subject.  Not because they have a pinterest board.

For a few moments each day their brain is telling them something about suicide.

If you suffer with depression — please believe that you are not alone.  There is nothing broken about you — you are just wired differently.

One of the worst feelings is when the demons isolate you.  They make you feel alone as you cry in the shower, or stand in the bathroom at 2am and sob, and you don’t even know why.

You. Are. Not. Alone — though your demons will constantly try to convince you that indeed you are.

They will work really hard to make you feel alone.  Isolated.  That no one cares about you.  That you are not worth anything. That you are not worthy.  That all those things that peoples say about you are true.  That all the horrid things you think about yourself are true.

You will only hear the negative things — and believe them.

You will not be able to hear the parts that you need to hear : You are worth it.  You are incredible.  You are loved.  You are needed. You are brilliant.  You are beautiful.  You are wanted. Every day you add value to someone’s life.  You are …. worth every moment.  Every breath.

The demons do not want to you to believe that.

Somehow you need to dig yourself out of this dark, damp and fetid pit — somehow.

Just get to the top.  Get to the part where you can see a bit of light —- where you can take a breath.  Regroup.  Find your strength to fight your demons.

I am not here to tell you it is easy.
I am not here to tell you that you will win.

I am here to tell you that if you can find oxygen, and look around, and see your children’s faces and the laughter of your friends, you will know that you can do this for another day.

Maybe it isn’t your children you see.  It might be the smell of lavender, or the feeling of someone who truly loves you wrapping their arms around you.  Holding the part of you that just needs to be held that day.

All you have to do today is get through today.

I don’t mean to make it sound like it is easy — it is a fight for survival.

There will be bullies who will hurt you.  Sometimes these bullies will be in the cloak of friends and family.

There will be people who will know where your soft spots are.  They will stab you for no other reason than to prove they can.  To show you that they are stronger than you.

Life will not be fair to you —- your demons will be stronger than you can believe.  Than even you could prepare for.

No one will be there for you when you need them — when your demons are winning.

Try to hold on — try to find the strength to take a breath.  Just one.  Then take another, and repeat.

My lowest has been the thought that my children will grow up without a mother.

Even though often I think it will be easier for them.  That I am the fek up.  I keep being told I am, that I am the failure.  That my life is a series of failures.  That I am the thousand other things that I have heard from sometimes my nearest and dearest ….. and sometimes just from my inside voice.

My best so far is being told that I am giving my ex a reason to take my children away from me, because I have tattoos.

Paranoid thinking is one of the horses of the apocalypse.

I think if it wasn’t for my children I would have exited this game a long time ago.

If I go ….

My concern is that they will grow up without me.  They will not know how much I love them.  They will not know how often I look at them when they are sleeping and my heart swells so much that bits of it leak out of my eyes.

They will not know how much I adore them — every little part of them.

I sit next to them and all I think is that “I did good here, these are great kids” — I broke the cycle.

My “hold me back” is that I do not want my children in therapy because they think they were not enough.

That somehow they were to blame.

That somehow they could have done something.  Else.  More.  Different.

I do not want THAT on them.

I don’t know the answers to this freaking curse that is depression.

I know what the blackest black looks like.

I survived today —- this year has been epic.  I have had so many situations where I have been whacked on my arse — stood up and been whacked again.  To the point where lying down and just taking shallow breaths seemed like the most apt way to get through the day.

I have been at my final hour this year — several times.

I have someone to talk to — someone who understands. Someone who understands how hard this year has been, someone who understands how hard I have fought for this breath, with every fiber of my being.

Thank goodness for her — and her wisdom.  Her continued support.  Her knowing I need help and reaching out to me actively.

If you are struggling with depression, do not use your embarrassment to keep you locked into this.

I can’t guarantee that the person you talk to is going to be the right person — sometimes people give you shitty advise and they have no idea of the damage it is doing to you.

But there are people you can talk to.  There is a person for you.  Someone who will hear your pain and listen to what you need.

There is a way to get out of the hole — or at the very least for someone to throw you a life line. A moment where you can catch your breath.

Depression is  a disease — it is trying to kill you.  Every day.

Get help —- in what ever form you need.  Today.

If you can’t —– for what ever reason, then, take a moment today to be kind.  To yourself.

Allow yourself to just be.  To think a good thought about yourself.  For a moment to really believe there is something good about you.  That you are enough.

Just one good thought can plant a seed that can start to help you heal.

Every day you heal is one more day you get to breath.  One more day you get stronger than your demons.

{Because I am a depressive, doesn’t mean I need to be treated with kid gloves.  I am a roaring strong individual that has overcome and continues to do so.  I would get annoyed if someone treated me like delicate china  — the catch with a depressive is that it is often is not the big stuff that breaks us, it is the small irrelevant stuff that shatters us…. be kind to someone today, you don’t know their journey or their battles}

Leaving infants in cars and the Salem Witch trials …..

I was browsing through Facebook today and saw a post linking to a video that showed parents (mothers, I assume fathers never do this) how not to leave their infants in the car.

This is normally focused around running into the shop or going for a wax and deciding that maybe if your infant is sleeping, it might be good to leave the window open a gap — you know for that self regulating temperature thing – and then go into the shop/wax store, and then come back later.

{I am differentiating between leaving your infant by accident and leaving your child in the car because it is convenient}

You know in theory I can understand how this seems like a good idea.

Un-clipping the carry seat and dragging it around is not really comfortable.

An infant sleeping, should never be woken up, purely for the sanity of the parents.

It often takes you longer to “just run in quickly” rather than all the unbuckling, readjusting, finding a bottle/dummy/toy and all that.

I totally get that.

But, when you leave your infant in the car there is a certain range of things that will occur:

  1. You will be judged as lacking as a parent by anyone who walks past to find your infant alone in the car.
  2. The person you judged you as lacking is going to call a few other people over.  They are all going to stand and stare and your car and your infant, and mutter things that are unsavoury about you — and they do not even know you.
  3. They will at some point call over the mall security guy.  Now this guy will actually not really have an opinion.  He actually does not care less either way. He does not even have a gun — if he did, he might shoot himself just to get out of this situation. But he is going to be faced with half a dozen women who have worked themselves into a froth and want him to do something. This dude knows he has no right to touch your car, the baby and now he is stuck and cannot walk away.  So he will just stand there which will draw more attention to the situation.  He may even call someone on his radio and now there are two security guys staring at the car saying something like “why are white people fucking up my day ….”
  4. This is not dissimilar to how the Salem witch trials started, and when that shit starts, someone is going to be burned, and the level of actual guilt is irrelevant.
  5. Someone will take out their phone take a photograph of your car, with your registration and post it on Facebook and you will be labelled “slightly wanting” in the parenting department.
  6. Not one good thing can come out of this — not one, so why did you make this decision?

Okay, so that part will happen – what might occur is:

  1. Someone may choose to steal your car and use the fact that you have left a window open as a good way to get into your car. You understand that the person who is going to steal your car – even if it has those stupid sticky family things on it saying that god must protect your family – is not going to take the time to unclip the baby and leave it on said sidewalk.
  2. Back to guy or gal (let’s not be sexist) stealing your car – I know you put the stickie family thing on your back window and it says that god must protect your family, but he can’t do that well if you are being an arsehole.
  3. Someone might decide “hey I need a baby, and this baby does not look like it is being used, and has low mileage, so I am just going to take your baby.”  Again if you are wanting this to happen, then well done you — if not, then you are again being a bit of an arsehole.  For instance if you had a an original (not a China Town original) Louis Vuitton luggage set, would you leave it standing outside next to your car whilst you popped in to Pick ‘n Pay — and assume it is going to be there when you get back?:?  No, because you are not a stupid arsehole, you realise the luggage set costs a lot of money and someone is going to nick it.  So why do you trust the universe to keep your infant safe?  Did you get dropped a great deal on your head when you were an infant??
  4. Some idiot might accidentally drive into your car —- granted if you were in your car or out of your car, this could still occur, but imagine coming back and finding your baby mangled in car wreckage — how are you going to explain this to the god parents of your child?
  5. I am not even covering heat exhaustion and all the environmental things which could easily kill your child in 15 minutes on a really hot day —- I am parking those issues.
  6. So dude — what the fuck are you thinking — like what??  Do you remember how sore it was when this baby either exited out of your vagina or through a c-section, losing your baby is going to make these pains look like skipping through lavender.

There are series of bad situations that might occur when you leave your child unattended.

Here is the kicker, if you are reading this and you are surprised at any of the above, then how the fuck do you manage to get through the day and parallel park?

Or get your panties on under your denims every day?

I am not the best parent — some days I only just get by —- but even I am not going to leave my infant in a car unattended.  Even if I was not really that concerned with the the above, the fact that I would come back to the kloister-koek convention around my car would be reason enough to just take the child into the store with me.

If you have to watch a video on what ever platform which explains to you how not to leave your infant in a car, then NEW RULE — you really are not ready to have an infant.  Or you need to give your car keys to someone a tad more reliable than you.

If you do understand how to not leave your infant in a car, then why are you sharing this video?

Which one of your friends is that stupid that they will need this video?  And if there is that friend, then do not do a general share, tag that stupid person in your life.

This brings me back to survival of the fittest.

If you can drive a car – this means you must need to have some brain activity going on.

You managed to pass a written test, then some sort of a practical test and get the licence. You probably had to fill in a form or several, take money out of your wallet and pay someone, and get a receipt.  You may even have some sort of a loan system going, so you would have to understand interest rates and all sorts of confusing shit.

I want to almost exclude people with a CF and a CFR registration here — I drive behind these feckers nearly every day and they are like super villains.  Rules of the road and basic safety do not mean shit to these people.

They do not wear seat belts.  They swap lanes without indicating.  They reduce speed to 60km on the R300 in the middle lane for no reason — so you are bearing down on them at 120km an hour  – because they are in the fast lane —and you need to think fast or you are going to end up in their hatchback.

Their kids stand between the seats.  No seat belts.

I am particularly fond of the ones who have safety seats buckled in, but the kid is bouncing around the back seat — oh the fun for the paramedics at a later stage.

They are lost at 4 way stops.  Circles are out of their range.  How freeways works is beyond their range. They drive 60km in any damn lane they choose.  And at night they have one light in front — if you discount the inside light in the car that is on.

I don’t know why these people with these particular registration tags do this.  They are rebels — I am totally going to exclude them as I have no idea how they got their licences and how their children have lived this long.

Defies reasoning and I think there needs to be a study somewhere.  But I don’t have time for this on this blog, so let’s just exclude them and give them a few free “what the fuck are you doing” signs.

There was a series of activities going on here, which normally indicates you may have scored above 85 in an IQ test — but somehow you still manage to think that leaving your infant in a car unattended is a super good idea.

If you are that person, and I believe there are a lot of you — because SOMEONE TOOK THE TIME TO MAKE A FUCKING VIDEO AIMED AT YOU —- then please leave a comment and explain the logic here, because it escapes the rest of us.

For those who get this video on their social media stream, can I ask, you do not share this video.  It is the same as the person who does not wear a seat belt and does not buckle up their passengers.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the universe going “fuck dude, I actually can’t do anything here” and let’s leave them for natural selection to sort them out, and for their blood lines to maybe stop.

These people are not going to make it through day one of the Zombie Apocalypse, so why are we trying to save them.

There is no way in all of the green earth that this woman (embarrassingly it is always a woman) is going to come back to the car and go “thank you, you group of ranting woman for bringing attention to the fact that I left my baby in the car” …. doubtful.

Odds are she is going to tell you to go fek yourself, and then threaten you with a lawsuit (way too much television) if you take a photograph of her car.  Then she is going to reverse and hope to kill at least two of you when she does that.

This is a message at times to step back and let natural selection do what it does well.

If you are religious then look to the heavens and park this in his court, if you aren’t then shake your head say something like “m*therf*cker” and just get on with your day.  There will be one less person using our valuable water resources soon, and that is good for all of us.

I mean seriously what else are you actually going to do here?

Pandas, frogs and opening doors ….

I am watching a full grown woman who cannot open a door.  Her only ailment appears to be she is pregnant. But not 300 months pregnant, like yesterday pregnant.
She is trying and trying.
Eventually she turns to her companions and gives the internationally understood look of “why is shit always broken?”
There is the slow nods either of agreement or shame …. it’s difficult to gauge at this angle and the afternoon sun keeps shining into my face.
Just before they all set off to hike to the other side of the restaurant, to use the door that they hope will open.  One of the party steps forward and gives the door a try.  You know the maverick of the group.  The outlaw.  The risk taker.  Or in this case the guy who can fucking open the door.
He didn’t throw his weight against it, or pull a Herculean maneuver he just opened the door like a normal person.
The door opened. First time.
It’s one of those fire escape doors – with the handle thingy (that’s it’s technical term).   You kind of expect it to open first time ….. what with that fire exit blurb on it and all.
I use it when I leave in the afternoon.  I like the way it swings open — just a minor push and it practically swings off it’s hinges, its very dramatic.
As I walk out, the wind whips my hair back (I imagine Nicholas Cage as he climbs out of his car in one of the early scenes from Face-Off and his coat whips in the wind — for a moment each day I am Nicholas Cage.  
Except on the days when I turn my face slightly in the wrong direction and then I get a mouth full of hair.  I am then doing this hair spitting thing — also very attractive.  As my hands are full, I cannot use them to get the hair out of my mouth. So the only reasonable solution is to keep spitting until I either get to the car or the hair is out of my mouth).  

FACE/OFF, Nicolas Cage, 1997, car

I look at this woman by the door situation and I think “who the fuck cannot open a door” — how did we survive as a specie??
The dodos didn’t make it.  Several species of frogs are disappearing from our planet every day.  Pandas are just saying fuck it and dying off — those have to be the laziest most demanding fucking animals on the planet.  I think if they weren’t so freaking cute people would have offed them ages ago.
Somehow we humans who cannot open a door manage to survive almost every calamity the world throws at us.
A fire escape door.  Designed for easy exiting, say like in a fire.
We really need to breed smarter people, or at least be willing to kill off (in a humane manner of course — I am not suggesting we resort to being savages) the less smart ones.
Can we do a march for this??  Where does one need to march to to get shit done?
Does shit get done if you march for it?
Let’s see how tomorrow’s march  goes and based on that we can plan a route and a zippy slogan, and wear twin sets, day drink and make further plans from there.


Parenting in 3 words.