The case of the missing Mario Brother ….

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

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

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

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

But moving back to reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, happy lad!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But still no Super Mario Brothers.

Still trying to be the voice of reason.

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

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

Okay so the scenarios are as follows.

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

The possible outcomes are as follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kennith feels strongly that it is.

My issue is that it is circumstantial.

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

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

Kennith feels strongly that Connor is lying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breath …. just breath …

Recently someone made an observation which was a bit of an “ah-ha” moment for me.

She commented that as  a child you experience your experiences through the eyes of a child.  When you revert back to the incident through hyno-therapy and even through therapy as an adult, you often experience it again as a child and are re-traumatized.

The value in being able to look back is not so that you live through every horrific detail, but so that you are able to look back on that childhood experience as an adult and maybe try to understand it better.  Processing it as an adult, and trying to heal is the aim – one baby step at a time.

That really is what it is about, this looking back and reflecting. It is often painful, as you have to pick at the rancid sore that has an old crusty scab holding the delicate pieces of flesh together – it is painful and smells bad.

I agree that there is value in taking your ugly experiences and packing them into a box.

Putting that box into a cupboard and closing the door, and going “I’m done with that shit, let me move on.”

There is total value there.  I am all for that tactic.  Been there bought the dozen box set.

Unfortunately it does not always work.  Even when it does work, it does not work for very long.

The googlies do start to find gaps in the seal of the box.  They do start to crawl and slither their way out of your tightly strapped box.  They find gaps and creep through your finely constructed cupboard. The googlies find their way into your bed at night.

You go to sleep thinking all is well in the land of what-ever-you-have-created.  One morning you wake up to find that suddenly the sun does not warm your face the way it did the day before.

The hug of your loved one, has a bit of an awkward feel about it.  Everything you touch feels a bit sharper and more jagged.  The glow of the morning seems a bit duller than you remember it being.

You do not wake up and your life has gone to hell in a hand-basket, it happens one tiny tear or crack at a time.

Yesterday’s post was not about suddenly deciding today was the day that I have a total meltdown.

It was something that has always been there and is the underlying reason why I started this blog in the first place.

One comment made by one caller on a radio station, set off a tide of emotions that literally threw me to the floor like a raggedy-Anne doll, clutching my chest in anguish.

This week has been a very emotional one for both Kennith and I.

Kennith’s grandmother died last week, and we attended her funeral on Thursday.  Her death affected Kennith deeply and his sadness and loss was heart-wrenching to witness.  I have never known Kennith to experience such sadness or emotion, so it was painful for him and our family.

The emotions of the funeral, combined with a very “honest” therapy session on Tuesday, and the disclosure of some of my things to Kennith on Wednesday night was the crack in the proverbial dyke.

I agree that I wish I could just “get over my stuff” – I really really do.

I have said it a thousand times.  If someone could give me a pill, that would make me “normal” I would take it – I would take it every day.  I would even opt to take it as a suppository if that made it more effective.

As yet, I have not found THAT pill. I have tried several pills, and several combinations of pills.  But those pills do not make you “forget and move on.”

They often just help you get out of bed, get your shoes on and shuffle through your day.  And some days that is all you can do.  And all someone can expect from you.

I have realized that since I started writing this blog more than a year ago, I have changed as a person and I have evolved.  I continue to evolve.  I am more aware of who I am and what makes me do what I do.

There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for.  Part of it is having the privilege of being able to write about my stuff.

It allows me to try to understand some things that have often been choking inside me for years.  It is liberating and this blog has become very important to me.

I am grateful that I have Kennith.  He is that person who can look into my soul.  Even when he sees my darkness and my unbearable pain, he chooses to still hold me close and tell me he loves me – even when I am particularly brutal and am pushing him away.

I do not make his life easy.  I know his life could be easier if he chose a bit more wisely back on the 17 July 1994 – it really could have been.

But he chose me in his drunk state (which he may use as his defense when we end up in divorce court).

I feel I have fought him every step of the way.  I have been honest that I come with huge amounts of carry-on baggage.  He has still chosen to stand with me time and time again even when the situation appears hopeless.  For that I am ever grateful.

I have three divine children, who challenge my sense of sanity each and every day.

I get to watch them put on sunglasses to brush their teeth, smile at me as they slurp porridge out of their bowls, steal the last cheese curl out of the packet and forget to flush the toilet … I get to experience all of those little things, and as strange as it sounds, it is those things that remind me that it is worth getting out of bed in the mornings.

I do however have the right to be angry that maybe I did not get the best hand in life.

I get the right to be upset that my parents did not do for me what they should have or could have done.  They did not take enough care with me.

I get that right – I have earned it!!  I do not have to explain it or justify it with anyone to feel how I feel –  I just do.

However I have not earned the right to make the same mistakes. Repeat the same poor judgment and carelessness towards my kids.

I do not get to use that “get out of jail-free” card.

I can’t change my sh*t, it has happened and it is there.  Clicking my heels together three times, does not seem to make it all change either, so here I am stuck.

But I make an effort each and every day TO NOT play it forward onto my kids.  Some days I do  better job than other days.

Even when I am screaming like a banshee in the passage, I always let them know that though I am angry, deranged and probably certifiable, I love them with a fierceness that is indescribable.

I would kill for them.  I would take a bullet for them, and I would hunt the wretch down who ever laid a hand on them and caused them pain.   I have always got their back, and they know that no matter what, I will and I am there for them.

They never have to worry that they are alone, or that when they cry at night no one will come.

I hope that through the uncombed hair, and the spittle on my chin, my kids can hear that message.

I know by best is not always good enough, and with that in mind, I wake up each morning and decide that maybe today is the day when I get it right!

All clean and shiny …..

I stumbled on Megan Hughes a little while ago when I was pregnant with Isabelle and wanted to do some pregnancy photos.  I decided to commit to a four-photo-package which was maternity, newborn, and then two sets of family shots.

Money was really tight at the time – as it always is – but I saw the value in getting photos done.  I do love good photos, and they last well after the memory of crackers-and-water-to-get-through-the-month has faded.

Megan did some super photos while I was pregnant- my theory is that she can make a block of cheese look good, so it is more because of her that the photos look good, rather than because I looked good at the time.

She did magic photos of Isabelle as a newborn – really really lovely stuff.

We did a great family shoot in about May. I wanted to do some more photos as Isabelle is bigger and has lost that baby part of her – she is a toddler and walking around, so though we have not changed dramatically since the last shoot, I wanted it more because Isabelle has.

Kennith hates having photos taken – to be honest so do I, but I endure it because I focus on the goal (story of my life with so many things actually.)

But anyway last weekend we were hoping to do some outside photos, but the weather turned, and we opted instead to do some studio shots.  Megan has sent me some “sneak preview” shots this morning and I absolutely love them.

I like them because they are not forced and posed – she got so many of us just monkeying around.  I am glad she did not get the one of me screaming at the kids for misbehaving ….

Isabelle – 15 months.  I know everyone says they have the most beautiful child in the world, but I cannot stop myself kissing this child repeatedly … and constantly wondering how something so perfect and divine came out of me!  This photo captures the way she is.

Georgia is at the point where she is a total monkey when you aim a camera at her.  For this entire shoot she kept singing the “elephant song” which is great, not so great if you are trying to get a decent photo.  The head-piece was something she saw the in the studio and decided that she just had to wear ….

Connor feels very awkward and it is quite difficult to get him to just smile “normally” – I asked the kids to hold up their hands to show how old they are – hence the reason Georgia is holding up “five” and Connor is holding up “eight.”

I wanted some individual ones with Kennith and I and the kids …. these worked out really well. (what you cannot hear is me going: “stand still” “smile” “no, not that stupid smile, a proper smile” “do that again and you will get no television” “just do it” “get off that” “no, leave that alone ….”

I love the ones with Kennith and Connor – I can’t wait to see more of those … and we will put up some canvases in his room.

And you are going “don’t you have more children” – and the answer is “yes we do” – but we wanted some shots just with Isabelle here …. also the other two were off destroying Megan’s towels in another room … <sigh>

Group family photos are challenging at the best of times ….

As you can see, this one is not going to plan … and I am also not sure what the plan was exactly …..