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.

But.

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.}

 

My mind is a bit of a mess right now ….

My head is really a mess right now.

Part of it is because I have had a cold for more than three weeks – and it came with the bonus of a sinus infection.

Which meant that not only did I feel like someone had hit me in the head with a baseball bat, but being vertical became challenging.  My ears were constantly under pressure, so no doubt that was doing nothing for my equilibrium and my pole dancing has gone for a ball of shit.

That  rubbed out four to five days of my life right there.

I slept — I love sleep — but I didn’t realise that I could sleep as much as I have.  If it was an Olympic sport, I would have brought home a gold.  I slept for about 10 hours on Friday during the day, I then went to bed at about 20h30 and clocked up another 12 hours— I just could not function.

I lay on the couch listening to the soothing voice of David Attenborough and I slept.  Woke up for a bit, then closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

It was epic.   it was just a tired sleep — I would wake up feeling dizzy and disorientated and need to sleep some more, so I unfortunately was the “less fun one” and my inability to make any decisions was pretty fly.

It’s been tricky managing the kids from a horizontal position — or from a sleeping point of view.

Some things unfortunately did get away from me.

I will confess the kids were very nice and helpful.  Isabelle offered to make school lunches for a mere R5.00 — it seemed like a good idea at the time.  After a few days she confessed to not being “good with the bread” — I have no idea what the kids were getting — so I opted to just make the bread part and then she could pack the lunch boxes.

I have had three encounters in the last month that have “changed” me.

I have felt a shift in my consciousness.

How I observe the world and how I interact with it and how I “see” me has changed or shifted.  Or is shifting — which may explain the motion sickness.

It has been pretty fucking big — I am struggling to convert my thoughts into words, that make any sense.

Granted the sinus infection has probably not helped matters.

I have been reading Brené Brown and seriously that woman has changed something in me.

I am feeling a bit confused actually — like when you get to peep behind the curtain, and you see something and your brain just does not know what the fuck to do with it.

It is a bit like that.

Someone mentioned her name so I went to watch the two TED TALKS with her, and again I had this shift.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

Listening to shame | Brené Brown

I watched it again, searched for a few others and bought her book.

I am not of the “self help” book league, it’s really just not my jam.

But THIS FUCKING book — it’s like reading the 10 Commandments.  Coming down the hill and thinking this is just too “big” to explain to anyone.  Okay, maybe let me throw it on the ground, and then I can have more time to go up the hill to get another set.

That will give me more time to mentally grasp this.

I usually mow through a book in a day or two — this one I have been reading for three weeks — I limit myself to 3 – 4 pages a day.  Then I just sit with the information and see what happens inside my head.

My head is having it’s own freak out on multiple levels — I think there has just too many red pill-blue pill moments for my mind to get it’s shit around.


I was pretty sick on Thursday and Friday last week — especially Friday.

I was trying to read this book between my two to three hours of sleep and I just kept crying.  Like stupid, non-nonsensical crying.  I have no idea what I was crying about.  I think my mind might be fracturing  right now.

Someone asked me last week why I was reading this book and my answer was “because I think Brené Brown has a lesson to teach me…” — which is about the most unlikely thing for me to ever say.  But true as squirrel nuts that is how I feel.  (again we might blame my fever, sinus infection and general disorientation …. or I am joining a cult and I just haven’t realise it)

I had an interaction with an Astrologer and six sets of parents who had been battling infertility.  The key words there are “had been.”

The entire process freaked me out — it was another case of being able to peak behind the curtain.

The problem is I am struggling to convert it into words.  I shifted that day —- I arrived as the non-believing pessimist wanting bacon.  I am not sure I left as the believing optimist (I still wanted bacon).

I did get into my car and go “What the fuck just happened there??”  And then kept asking myself for the entire 30 minute drive home.  I have been reluctant to talk about it — because I feel I won’t do it justice.

I have kept up this internal conversation trying to reason out what I saw and heard

My mind has been racing ever since. It gets overloaded and then I seem to calm down — but then I get a break, and my brain goes back into over drive.

Another thing that happened is that I had a meeting the kind folks at Home of Hope regarding a project I suggested to them — we had a great chat and they were very open with information and how they worked.

I spent some time with their Social Worker, who gave me some frightening statistics and actual real life shit around Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which not only awakened me to reality, but disturbed the fuck out of me.

I am seriously going “what the fuck — no what the fuck!!”

I am 100% getting how Chicken Licken’s life went for a ball of shit as he ran around telling everyone about the sky falling.  He was right, the sky is falling!

 

Source of image:  http://www.charleseubanks.com/illustration/chickenlicken_p01_8x10_sm/

I have something in my personal life that needs attention — and I need to grow a pair, and tackle it —  I am tired of being someone’s bitch in this equation.  The problem is I feel very brave at 2am or 3am — when the morning comes and I have to be vertical, then I am a lot less brave.  About everything.

My brain is a mess right now — but I think it will get itself straightened out and I will start to have clarity —soon.  I might need an antibiotic.

Astrology and Astrologers — what thinks you?? Freaks or freaking smoking?

170301-astrology

As a blogger I normally ask nothing of you.

I don’t ask you to go and vote for my kids, or “share” some crap about a fucking cactus or go and buy some piece of shit, that I went to buy and now I want you to share the pain and go and make the same mistake.

I am a really non-demanding sort of blogger.

I show up from time to time — take a dump on this page — -you stop by, you make a decision to read it or not —- some of you kindly — SOME OF YOU NOT ALL OF YOU—- leave comments and that is appreciated.

Except Hank, he can keep his fucking comments.

Anyway, I am going to ask you to please comment on the concept of Astrology and Astrologers.

I attended a talk a few weeks ago around fertility/astrology.

I was sent a press invite — I still get astounded when people invite me to things.  I keep wondering, have they met me, do they know how many time I say “fuck” and if there is an open wine bar, I am going to be a total fuck ‘tard.

Anyway, I received this invitation – it was at the Mount Nelson —- I would pretty much go to the Mount Nelson for breakfast/brunch if they were opening an envelope.

It’s the Mount Nelson {swoon} people.

I had a busy week, so had not really spent much time thinking about this talk/presentation I was going to attend.

It was on Friday, 3rd February 2017.  I had not given it a moment’s thought, until I was driving there.

I am not sure if I am the only person who has chats with themselves in the car — but does it out loud.

Usually I have a maximum of two voices, so it is loosely a conversation.   I find it a good way to work through my thoughts but it needs to be done out loud.

“I had the following thoughts running through my head- in no particular order”

“I really hope there is bacon on the buffet”

“I really hope there is bacon left when I get there because clearly I forgot how many cars there are travelling on the N1 at the same time..”

“I really love bacon ……….. mmmmm ……. bacon”

“Why am I going to this shit anyway …. I usually say no to this sort of thing …….. why did I not just say no ….”

“It’s too late now — yeah —- see you were all polite and said ‘count me in’ and now I want a note from my mom to say I don’t have to go”

“There better be fucking bacon there…”

“Cheese and rice astrology — if someone talks about a moon risking in Uranus I am seriously going to snort bubbles…”

“I don’t think I will know anyone there ….. I can already feel my social anxiety climbing ….. fuck why did I say yes to this shit”

“Astrology.  Astrology.  ASTRO-LO-FUCKING-GY,  I cannot even picture how shit this is going to be.”

“Please let there be bacon, not that chicken bacon bull-shit, I am talking kill-a-pig bacon……”

“I do not believe in astrology — if someone asks my star sign I am going to have to think of something clever to say and not just punch them in the vagina… or just roll my eyes in contempt”

“Okay, calm down — take a breath, you are nearly there,  You don’t have to believe this horse-shit, you just have to go along and listen to the presentation ….. and then you can do afternoon drinking ….. ”

So in summary.

I arrived, I knew no one in the room.

You immediately knew there were serious journo’s as they had brought their bus sized laptops and they were typing before the presentation had even started.

It was very organised and I was made to feel very important.  I had a name badge and everything.

I told the very kind person at the table that I have a social phobia and instead of me walking into the room and finding a place, I asked her if she could show me to a chair.

She did it willingly, happily and with grace — and was very attentive. I sat down at a table, everyone said hello, and I immediately forgot everyone’s names — and my eye sight has become that sort where I can no longer see the fine print on name badges.

I find that leaning close to someone’s chest to read their badge sends an entirely wrong message and then you are ostracised and can’t lean in to see other people’s chests at close hand.

There was no fucking bacon.  I know, the disappointment ran deep people, deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppppp.

I want to write a separate blog about what I experienced, I have been sitting with this for a month now.

People I had a shift of consciousness.  Maybe.

I felt like I had been given the privilege to peak behind the curtain — and it was fucking marvelous.  Maybe.

 

The part where I am asking you to contribute is what is your understanding when you here the words “Astrology” or “Astrologers.”

What happens in that space between your ears?

Do you break out in a light sweat and go “horse shit” or do you swat it away like an annoying fly?  Or does it just not feature in your world?

Do you picture people in lots of scarves living in a caravan at village fairs —– and then you wonder, dude if you could tell the future accurately, why the fuck would you be living in a fucking caravan???

There is the accepted or general description of Astrology on Wikipedia — the question I am asking for feedback on is the following:

  1. Do you believe in astrology?
  2. Do you believe in an astrologists ability to predict something?
  3. Do you think there are good astrologers who are using something they have studied and they understand, to make certain predictions?
  4. Or is the terms “good astrologer” sort of the same as “good second hand car salesman?”
  5. Do you feel that the only good astrologer is an unemployed one without wi-fi access?
  6. Do you think they are good or evil?  Or neither??
  7. Do you think that your feelings around Astrology are connected to your feelings on religion — predicting the future is not really approved of in the bible, so anyone who does it is pretty much up for a bit of hell fire and brimstone?
  8. Or do you have another take on it all together?

I know now I am becoming this demanding blogger and actually asking you to engage with me.

I almost promise, I will never ask you to do anything for me again — I need some idea of what you think about Astrology and Astrologists.

I have a perception of them in my mind.  I have a perception of how you feel about them, and based on that I will write my article.

If I am wrong about your perception, then I want to write it from a different angle.

I seriously will not judge you if you want to beat every astrologer with a stick and tar and feather them.

I won’t judge you for anything you say —

I want to get a sense of how people feel about astrology/using astrology to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communication —-

Or do you just read your star signs in which ever magazine for shits and giggles, and believe it is all been put together by monkeys with pencils, and no sense?

I really really want to know what you think or astrology — if it is a non factor, then tell me it is a non-factor, or if you believe it to be true, or you think it is rubbish or charlatan’stuff.

You don’t have to defend your stand point — I  just want to know what your stand point is.  Really, I just want to know.

Please leave a comment — I really want to know what you think.

If you would prefer to leave a comment about bacon, that would be cool too!

Finding you are not alone ….. in the toilet …. whilst you go off script

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I say “fuck” a lot — yes, I realise the big surprise that statement garnered.

I find it is one of those words that beautifully moulds itself around nearly every situation.

It works when you are happy “Fuck look at that wow!!”

It works when you are surprised “Where the fuck did you come from?”

It works when you a find the elusive remove “Why the fuck were you there —- ?”

It works when you are looking at some kid having a total collapse and it’s not your kid “Not my fucking monkeys people, not my fucking monkeys!”

And of course it comes into it’s own when you are really angry.

I was really angry yesterday — like burst into tears angry.  That is a special kind of angry.  It’s the kind where there are actually just not enough fucks to fit into a sentence.  And I might need a brown bag to breath in because I am going to over fucking stimulate myself.

I start using deviations “fuck’tard” “fucker” “you fuck” and so on.

I will confess it does take away a little from the magic of the word “fuck” but there are days when my fuck mug just overflows and everything just goes to shit.  I normal manage to get through an entire day with a semblance of what appears like normality.

It is actually raging crazy — but you add enough layers of margarine to anything and it will be shiny and yellow.  And no one wants to touch it.

Today I woke up angry — I tried to give myself a little “just be happy and do not kill anyone and you will get through the day” — but I realised fairly quickly I am not really a mantra sort of gal.

I have been in interviews all day — I have what feels like a million messages to read through, a few dozen call messages to return and I am at that point where I have nothing left to give.  I am tapped out.  I need a lie down — but I know I get to repeat this shit tomorrow, similar script, and that exhausts me to the freaking bone.

I got up a  little while ago to go the bathroom — its a public bathroom.  I always leave going to the bathroom to the part where I am just about to pee in my pants, or the poo is already on it’s way out.  And who said I wasn’t a thrill seeker???

I went in, assumed I was by myself.  And I started a conversation with myself.

That got more heated.  With “fucks” just being more liberal than say the situation might have called for.  The thing with talking to yourself is you rile yourself up pretty quickly — because no matter how lunatic your statement is from Voice #1, Voice #2 will just step it up to the insane level — like yeah, let’s go burn that mother fucker.  Or something like that.

I guess all our inner voices operate differently.

I was on a roll, and there is just no way you can hold a cowboy back when it’s crunch time.

I flushed and continued my little monologue — peppered —- like giant fucking black pepper grinder peppered – – with fucks and “you fuck” and so on.

I was on the way to wash my hands —- not breaking stride with my little fuck fest.

I needed a real venting moment and I was using the alone time in this bathroom to just lose what ever decorum I might have started the day with.

I was in full swing — like warming up for the dismount of the beam when I heard a noise ….. and realised that somewhere in this I was not alone.  There are only two stalls — not much place to hide.

Some poor woman was trapped in the toilet as I was going off my rocker.  No doubt she was figuring if she just sat there quietly and long enough, then I would go away and she could come out.  And maybe live.

Yes, it is a little awkward when you realise you are not alone.

Of course my over active imagination now sees every set of eyes staring at me going “bitch, I would have said the same thing…”

Yeah I know.  Fuck.

Do you remember where you were this day in 1997?

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

diana

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess we all cope with sadness in different ways.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is hard to grasp that was 18 years ago.

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

diana2

 

diana3

Sex Education in Schools ….. 100% effective

sex education classes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Credit to Scary Mom for the image. 

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

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Someone who is very close to me told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she went for her last check up. (Let’s refer to her as Pamela, to make this easy.)  She had some issues with her one breast that had continued for some time, and at the time she and the doctor felt it was related to breastfeeding.

She had stopped breastfeeding, and had gone back to the hospital, and the hospital had run tests.

She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.  The doctors were running a battery of other tests to see what the severity was of the problem, and she needed to return to hospital yesterday for those tests results, and go through another set which would assist them to decide on the best treatment for her.

I was devastated for her.  She is a mom, and she needs to work.  She cannot be ill, and not earn an income.  But more importantly she cannot die.  I wondered to myself why is this happening to her —– for crying out loud.

I have never tested positive for cancer, so have no idea how it must feel to have someone across the table from you confirm your worst nightmare.  I have no idea how that feels.

I had to have something cut out of an area right next to my eye – which my dermatologist was concerned might be cancer.  Tiny little spot, minor surgery to take it out and send it for a biopsy.  I still sat and thought to myself “is this how it starts, you get a small spot somewhere which turns out to be a cancer that has already spread, and there you are staring at your spot going, it’s only a spot…”

Either way my totally inconsequential spot really scared me, because the word “cancer” had been used.

It turned out to be an inconsequential spot.

Pamela had an appointment yesterday to return to the hospital for her results, and then for them to run more tests and make a decision how aggressively to proceed.

I held her in my thoughts all day.

I have always admired her for the strong, controlled woman she is -and the way she deals with the punches that life throws at her.  She does not fall down in a wet heap, but works through it, stands up, dusts herself off and comes out of the corner with her fists up.

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

I thought to myself yesterday, is it enough to keep Pamela in my thoughts, or is it important that I pray for her?  Or ask other people to pray for her, say via Facebook?

I am agnostic, so praying is already a bit of an issue for me.

I wondered, that if God does exists, in which ever form he/she may be  (I am just going to use he, as this is going to get cumbersome) – and knows everything and is all powerful, then surely he would know the fight that Pamela is going through already, and he would make a decision whether to assist Pamela or not to.

Would praying change the outcome for Pamela — would God be swayed by prayers?

Is he like a cricket umpire who makes a decision, and only reconsiders his decision when the players run up into his face screaming OUT or what ever they scream.  Or does he stand there unmoved, because his decision is his decisions, and he is the umpire?

It started to remind me of IDOLS or America’s Got Talent, and that a person could only move forward if enough people phoned-in in support of that person.  Is the concept of praying sort of the same?

What if no one prayed for Pamela?   Would God still assist her as much or as little as he was going to do anyway, and it was irrelevant whether 1 person prayed for her or 1000 people prayed for her?

There I sat yesterday wrestling with this beast called religion —– and prayer.

I started at one point to reason, what if I prayed for Pamela, even if I technically did not believe in a god, surely then I would still be praying and well that would be good for Pamela.

I reverted back to my proposition that if God was all seeing and all knowing, then he would recognise an insincere request from someone who is not sure whether he exists or not.  Would that count against how he had already decided how Pamela’s results were going to go?

I am not sure.  I really am not.

Pamela had a full day of testing, and the results though still breast cancer, were not as disastrous as she had initially been told.  She is booked for a biopsy on the other breast, so that they can decide on the treatment and do it all at once.

I am not sure how prayer works.

I am not sure how life and the universe works either.

I do like the power that can emanate from people who are collectively thinking the same thing, or hoping for the same thing ….. and no I am not sure how that works either.

If you want to bear Pamela in mind for the 17 November when she has her biopsy please do.

 

 

 

Pregnancy tests …. and other irrelevant purchases ….

Yesterday I pop along to get a jab.  The nurse looks at me and says “I can’t give you this injection if you are pregnant.”

I go: “Well I am not, so jab away.”

She says: “Yes, but how do I know that?”

I go: “I would know, I am not pregnant.”

She: “Sometimes people are pregnant and they do not know.”

I: “Yes, I am sure that happens, but this is not one of those times.  I am not pregnant. It would take a miracle.  Of the biblical variety.”

She: “Yes, but I don’t know that…”

I: “Listen, I seriously am not pregnant …. why are we even discussing this?”

She: “I need to be certain you are not pregnant….”

I: “So what is going to happen now?”

She: “Buy a pregnancy test, and bring it back to me — I will wait for you.”

I: “Really I must do a pregnancy test?”

She: “Yes, they are over there by the tampons and sanitary pads…”

I …. thinking really, this is happening.  I go over and pick up a pee on a stick test.

I am feeling embarrassed to be standing holding a pregnancy test.  Yes, I do realise how nonsensical my embarrassment is.  But that doesn’t stop me somehow feeling embarrassed.

I purchase goods to the value of about R500.00 so I can hide the pregnancy test under them as I stand in the queue to pay for the pregnancy test and the other items which are only purchased to use to hide the pregnancy test.  One of those items being sunblock.  Another was a sponge.

I go and sit on a bench and think about how this process is making me feel.

First, the nurse person is being slightly pedantic, but clearly she has had an experience she does not wish to repeat.

I start thinking of all the pregnancy tests I have taken in my life – and the varying reaction to whether the test was positive or negative, and how each test had some emotional consequences to it.

Now the part to remember firmly here is that I AM NOT PREGNANT. It is just not in the realm of possibility.

I still start imagining what if I am, and then what.  PLEASE JUST TO REITERATE THE FACT IS I AM NOT PREGNANT.

I continue to create various delusions of this “miracle pregnancy” which means by the time I actually get to the bathroom to pee on the stick, I have practically worked out children’s names, and whether I would put this baby up for adoption and the relationship I would forge with the prospective parents.  You can see how far I have already stepped out over the edge of reason and logic at this point.

The three minutes I had to wait for the stripe or no stripe, was three more minutes of me escalating this delusion into full technicolour with sound, and even a theme song.

Christ-a-moley, of course the test was negative.  I felt a bit forlorn that I would not have a child.

AGAIN AT NO POINT IN THIS WAS I EVER GOING TO BE PREGNANT.

The ability  I possess for my imagination and delusions to run away with me, makes me realise why I should never be left alone on a bench.  Or unmedicated.  Or be allowed to listen to Kenny G.

Then I hit myself with the super sized toilet roll, and sprayed perfume in my eye just as a way to slap myself back to reality.

Good grief that was a very strange 10 minutes of my life.

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I love … I like … I dislike …

I love Chenin Blanc.

I like Sauvignon Blanc.

I dislike red wine.

 

I love HELVETICA.

I like Calibri.

I dislike Comic Sans.

 

I love bold.

I like italics.

I dislike bold italics and underline used together.

 

I love rooibos tea.

I like earl grey tea.

I dislike peppermint tea.

 

I love citrus fruit.

I like apples.

I dislike guavas.

 

I love Jimmy Carr.

I like Stephen Wright.

I really dislike Leon Schuster.

 

I love the smell of jasmine and lavendar.

I like the smell of crushed grass.

I dislike the smell of dog shit on my shoe.

 

I love the smell of a puppy.

I like the smell of my dog’s feet.

I dislike the smell when my dogs’ farts.

 

I love Game of Thrones.

I like Fargo.

I dislike Nashville.

 

I love Depeche Mode.

I like Katie Perry.

I dislike Mariah Carey.

 

I love finding shoes that fit me.

I like finding shirts that fit me.

I dislike finding maternity wear that fits me.

 

I love the fact that I look better than I think I do.

I like the fact that I think I am actually not as socially awkward as I constantly tell myself I am.

I dislike the fact that I am my own worst and most critical critic.

 

I love that moment when you are struggling to recall a word, and then it just pops into your head out of no where. Usually at an unrelated time.

I like that moment when you incorrectly pronounce a word, and no one notices, so it gives you a chance to say it again before someone corrects you.

I dislike that moment when you realise that someone is not listening to you when you are talking.

 

I love the smell of bacon in the morning.

I like the smell of coffee brewing in the morning.

I dislike the smell of dog pee in the morning.

 

I love being with people who make me laugh, and who are genuinely interesting.

I like being with people who have their own level of crazy.

I dislike being with people who have body hygiene issues.

 

I love that moment as you are about to go to sleep next to someone and both of you just relax into each other.

I like that moment as you are about to go to sleep when you remember that tomorrow is Monday.  And Monday is a public holiday, which you had forgotten about until just then.

I dislike that moment as you are about to go to sleep when you hear the bathroom door banging.  You know it is just going to carry on banging, until you get out of bed and go and close it.

 

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Struggling to fit into the Living and Loving Mommy mould …..

This is the third part of a few parts.  What you can surmise from this is my inability to plan.  

The first part is here, the second part is here and the third part is here ….  if you wish to catch up on the “story” – alternately you can just skip those and read only this bit:

…………………….

I started blogging not because I wanted to chronicle my journey through motherhood.

I wanted to understand what was flying around in my head.

None of it felt normal.  None of it felt right.  I know people say that motherhood is difficult and and and …. my issue was that it was not difficult it was bloody impossible.

I kept looking for the escape clause.  It was as if I was acting a part, and I just could not “get into character.”

The only workable option was to find a way to put it down.  There was something cathartic about putting it down on paper/on a blog as then it was not knocking around in my head.

Not because I wanted treasured moments put down, and recorded for my children to come and read later.  But because I wanted to understand the way I was thinking and the way I was feeling.

My head is too busy and too chaotic most of the time, for me to work through my thoughts and come out with a solution.

I thought I would start at the beginning, and like all things I got bogged down in the detail.

Then I stopped writing.

As usual I had a picture in my head of how it was going to go and then when I struggled to put the reality into the picture or visa versa then I just stopped.  I could not continue.

In January 2010 I went out to dinner with a friend’s husband – he mentioned that he read my blog.

I was a bit surprised, as at that point I thought I wrote the blog, and some guy with his dog who lived in Parow were reading it. Just the three of us.

I was not writing thinking anyone was reading.  I was writing because I needed to write.

Mike (the friend’s husband) said that Anita (his wife) had struggled with post partum depression with both of her pregnancies and he never really understood what she was going through – until he read my blog.

He realised the pain, the confusion and what she was feeling because I could write it down.

He understood.  He got it.  He wished he had known that before when she needed his support the most.  But he just did not understand.

Mike said “Keep writing your blog, no one else is saying what you are saying, and there are people out there who it will help” ……

I didn’t believe him, but it did give me renewed energy to return to my blog and start writing again.

I wrote about everything, and I decide to write like I talk, and not worry about whether someone as reading it, but just that I was saying what I thought —-

I wrote passionately and sometimes in a deranged frenzy.  If I thought about it, then I wrote about it.

This post was about how I struggled to fit in with Mother and Baby Groups.

  I hate Mommy and Baby Groups – Part 1

I realize this rant is totally out of context, but I belong to a few women-with-baby forums and when I read through some of the threads I start to get a dull ache in my bum area.

For some reason this morning I recalled how much I loathed mommy and baby groups.

There is so much pressure to join one with your new little mushroom.

As soon as you get out of hospital and are able to take more than five steps, you start figuring out which group you are going to join.  You call the group leader and it all sounds so wonderful .

They are generally really really happy bubbly people.  Usually at this point I start to get uneasy – I am deeply suspicious of happy shiny people – I like my people a little bruised, a little dirty, a lot pessimistic.

You get your little bundle ready – dressed in their best clothes – you have already starting to buy into this under current of competition that exists at these things.

You don’t even realize you are doing it, but there you go.  You are so proud of your little Joshua/Sarah and can’t wait to get to the group, because your little one is going to be the best kid there – you know this.

In the car with your safety seat, getting the pram, the nappy bag and your bag in, buckled up, sort of figuring out where to go – because usually it is in a suburb off a side street that you really don’t know.

In your area, but you are not so sure, so odds are you take a few wrong turns, drive at 20km/hour to try to figure out street signs and basically get yourself lost.

You finally get there and it is usually a house in suburbia that has been revamped by a mommy with one or more likely two kids, who is using her love of kids to work from home, so there is a garage converted and lots of TreeHouse themed cushions and curtains.

You get all your kit unloaded.

By now you are a little flustered as you are late, and you have had to park about 500 metres away as all the more eager moms got there before you.  So you drag all your stuff all the way there.

By the time you get there and go through the alternate entrance, which usually is a narrow gate that your huge gi-normous pram does not quite fit in through the door, so there you are fighting the good fight, and starting to sweat a little, because odds you have over dressed, because you have not been out of the house by yourself for 6 weeks.

The weather has changed since you were last outdoors, and the only clothes that fit you are from the wrong season.

You sort of fall inside the sliding door.

To be greeted by a sea of usually attractive moms wearing their Sunday best and all their Joshuas and Sarahs are on little mats or cushions and everyone is so damn happy.

You, of course, have worked up a bit of a sweat, your Joshua or Sarah is a little cranky as you have transferred baby from safety seat, to pram, and now have to get baby out of pram as pram does not fit into room, so you are trying to juggle baby, your bag, the nappy bag, snug and safe and what is left of your composure.

The far-too-friendly leader of this little ensemble, comes over to greet you and refers to you usually as Mommy <well, it is tricky referring to everyone by name, so Mommy sort of makes it easy, and because you are a new Mommy, it kind of makes you smile that you have a new important title>.

You find a space and try to settle down.

At some point you are trying to assess the mood of the room, and then you start realizing that these moms are generally over achievers – like really over achievers.

When you are trying to find 10 minutes to read or sleep, while you are forcing junior to take a nap, more for your benefit than for theirs, these moms are busy reading Baby’s First Words or doing some sort of Baby Gym with their babies.

Damn, you are clearly behind with your baby’s development as you look down and your little imp is quietly gurgling and dribbling on his chin.

The leader takes her seat in the front centre, with her “baby doll” and everyone smiles and the excitement is tangible.  Everyone beings introducing them selves.

You start practicing a bit in your mind how you are going to introduce yourself and show off your offspring as you really only have about 4 seconds for introductions and really want to get bang for your buck here.

At the same time you are trying to remember names and baby names and ages …. and the reality is that you can barely remember your own.  So your turn comes around and all you can muster up is

“Hi I’m Celeste, and this is er…. Connor….. and he is ……hmmm….. his 4 months old.”  And the spot light moves away from you.

Then the real show begins  …….

 

I wrote subsequent posts about my issues with Mother and Baby Groups.

Expressing how I really felt about things, and showing people that I was not finding this motherhood malarkey easy, was so much easier than hiding it from people and saying “oh yes, everything is fine” — it was far easier.

I think the part that I found amazing and incredible, is that I realised I was not the only person crying in the bathroom at 2am.

I felt so alone, but I realised there was sea of moms out there, who felt the same.

Crying knowing you are not the only one does not make it easier, but somehow does make it less lonely.

Somehow.

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Misophonia … and the urge to stab someone in the eye ….

I have always had a sensitivity to sound and light.  Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have a radio on, and certain DSTV channels put me on edge, and make me stressed (more than usual).

Of course I put it down to being cranky and just being a bitch, but at some point I stumbled on misphonia.com and realised that the fact that I react to sound is not JUST because I am a bitch.

I am not arguing that I am a bitch, but the way I react to sound is even more bitch than even I find “normal.”

I do not choose to react in an extreme manner, but there are sounds that are like hearing nails on a chalkboard or teeth on wool.

I have an ACTUAL physical reaction to certain sounds.  It does not matter if I dislike or love the person, when they make certain sounds it is like a phosphorous bomb going off in my head.

Big explosion, sharp green light, and then a material that eats through flesh when it lands on it.  My reaction to sound is EXACTLY like that.  The part where my flesh gets eaten until I die is the most accurate.

I have realised I CANNOT sit with my kids at meal times – Connor knocks the fork against his teeth, Georgia eats like a savage ….and the chewing sound sets me off.  I know it should be all holding hands and meditating at meals, but I actually need to sit at a different table.

Today around 11am I made myself a bowl of muesli with yoghurt, and a cup of tea, and I went to sit in the tv room.  Not to watch tv, but so that I could close the door, and shut out all ambient sound.  I put the tv on for a few minutes and then turned it off and just sat there.

Kennith has been away for about two weeks, and before that he was away for about four weeks.  I have no issue with dealing with the house and the kids myself, I am actually extremely self-reliant and I can put my head down and do what needs to be done. But I feel like I am actually going stark raving mad.

My top sounds-to-drive-mommy-to-a-Zoloft-script are:

1. Georgia’s high pitched voice that does not stop.

2. Connor has a particular whine when he whines … he goes “Moooooommmmmmmie” and it sets my teeth on edge.

3.  I have a bird who has now been flying against my dining room window for 8 weeks – I have blocked out windows with paper and masking tape, I have fitted fine gut netting which is actually really cruel to catch birds in, I have tried cut out of ferocious looking birds on the windows, I have gone out and sweared at the bird like a drunken whore, I am at my wit’s end.

4.  Isabelle calls “muuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm” when she needs me to do something with her. I am her glorified hand servant.  Having your child call you is really sweet. 10% of the time. Right now I want to get the large kitchen scissors and stab someone.  Anyone.

5.  My kids drink from sucky bottles —- I really cannot bear it.

I need a holiday from sound.  I NEED A HOLIDAY.  I NEED TO RUN AWAY JUST FOR A BIT, because seriously I am going absolutely frkn crazy.

I realise I sound like someone who is about to lose their mind, or should be on a stronger brand of antipsychotics, but I can’t quite express who I feel like my head is going to implode.  I can “do sound” up to a point.  About the point where I cannot do sound.  Which is about right now.

The next person who tells me “to just get over it” is going to get a blunt broken wine glass in the temple.

Know a place I can holiday for about two weeks, cheap with really controlled sound?

Mom, what’s a lesbonian?

I listen to 567 CapeTalk when I drive.

Today I collect Georgia and Connor and while we are in the car, there is a discussion on the radio about Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, who died after an unknown gunman kicked in the door to her home in the Cape Town township of Nyanga and opened fire three times in silence.

The term Lesbian was used, and I hear Connor’s cogs in his head turning over and processing the word.

As predicted he turns to me and goes: “Mom what’s a Lesbonian?’

This was the juncture that all parents reach, when you are going to cross “that final threshold…” from which you can never return – the entire ToothFairy and Santa Claus fantasy is over, we have moved straight on to se.x.

I let a few moments go by – primarily to steele myself for this momnt – decided I would go with the simple explanation, instead of trying to soften the blow and go into a long story.

Me: “Lesbians are girls who have sex with girls ….. like a boy has sex with a girl …. but a lesbian does not feel like that about a boy, she feels like that about a girl, and that is a Lesbian…understand?”

Connor: “Yes…… <and then the little hamster is running in his head and the next question comes> …… how does that work, girls have inside bits …. <and he makes the shape you would make if you were showing someone a cup shape with your thumb and middle finger..>

I glance at him – I am on the N1 at this stage, negotiating traffic …..so now he has figgered out the two inny bits …. so he goes “how does that work …… what are they going to put in there …..”

Me: “What do you think?”

Connor: “Fingers?”

Me: “Sure, that can work…”

Connor takes this information aboard and I explain how girls have sex with girls, and that is referred to as a lesbian, and if a boy has sex with a boy it is referred to as homosexual or gay.  And then I go on to explain that people love who they will love, and if they are a girl and they do not feel those feelings for a boy, and feel that way for a girl, then that is fine.

Connor: “Boys have outside bits <he indicates that with his two pointy-peter fingers…and I can see him trying to work this out> and where do things go in…they don’t have an in part..?”

Again, this is a juncture that all parents must get to with their children – I am glad this one is officially behind me.  Your turn is coming, so brace yourself.

Either you cross this bridge with your child now and discuss it honestly or start pointing at the sky randomly to try to distract your child and say you are sure you just saw Superman.

I chose to blunder ahead.

Me: “Okay, so where do boys have an inside bit?”

Connor: “Er ……….their bum???”

Me: “Yep that could work …….”

Connor: “Gross….”

Me: “My boy, that is the way it is, girls love girls, and boys love boys, and boys and girls love each other too. You love fishing, no one makes you love fishing you just do.  And your sister loves Smurfs.  Nothing I say or do is going to make the two of you not love those things, we all love differently.  As long as you are true to yourself and not hurting anyone, then you are free to love who you want.”

Connor – nodding as the fishing analogy is hitting a spot for him.

This awkward moments parenting is what parenting is about.  I realise this conversation might repulse people and make people angry who are against homosexuality, and I get that.

I understand the biblical message that explains the “religious” stance on this, but I am not teaching my child a religious or belief exercise here.  That is a seperate discussion, at another time.

I want him to be accepting, and I would rather him have frank conversations with me about what he hears and thinks, than him finding this out via another route.

Connor’s other winner question from last week after he saw one of those flag advertising behind an aeroplane was: “Mom, whats MAVERICKS?”

Mavericks by the way was a much easier question than me trying to explain the Israel-Palestine frucus …. it took me abotu 15 minutes, and hten I realised I(again) that I do not totally understand why two nations hate each other in the name of religion and holy land.

Trust me Mavericks is far simpler to explain and understand.  Pretty girls dance and men pay them.  That’s what I said.  Life would be simpler if the Israel/Palestine problem could be explained that simply.

{Mommy Blogger vote jig is nearly up – click over to Kidz World Blogger Awards – Voting closes on the 30th June 2012}

You chew that apple and I am going to stab you. In the eye.

I have been sensitive to sound for almost forever.  But in the last 10 years it has got remarkably worse.

These are a couple, in no real order, that drive me to anger and rage almost instantaneously:-

1.  Kids chewing cereal …. even Pro-nutro … but you can only imagine what the sound of crunchy cereal does to me head/mind/sanity.

2.  Slurping tea or coffee – and my best is slurping soup.

3.  Repeatedly tapping of feet onto a surface (my kids kick the centre pole in our kitchen whilst eating) or Isabelle picks up her spoon and drops it on the counter, picks it up, and drops it — repeat until mother bursts a blood vessel.

4.  The sound of normal chewing …. I always sit next to Kennith at the dining room table, and I have been wondering whether it would be rude for me to move to the other end of the table.  We have an 8 seater, me on one end, him on the other at dinner time … strange much?

5. Sucking of marrow bones, or chicken bones or anything that makes your lips smack …without a doubt this is when I excuse myself from the table to go and attend to a child … even when I am out without my children.

6.  Sniffing…. I keep tissues in my bag for the sole purpose of handing to my children and strangers.  I make it look like an act of guidance or caring.  Meanwhile.  Not so much.

7.  A door that isn’t closed properly that knocks every time a breeze blows down the passage.

8.  Someone flicking through television channels, and the variance in sound that occurs as they move from one channel to another.

9.  Reality shows – especially American Idols or X-Factor – there is a severe pitch variance, and a lot of screaming and loud voices and then the low sound as someone says something deep and meaningful and then the screaming again.  Does my head in.

10.  Wind that whistles through window joints, and the bang-bang-bang that usually occurs on windows.

11.  The squeezing and sucking sounds caused when someone drinks from one of those water bottle numbers.  I can’t.  I really cannot bear it.

12.  Teeth sucking …. like after dinner and then there is this teeth sucking.

Okay let me stop.

Now that I make a list, I realise that the list is rather long and I have not touched the ice berg of the things that make me lose my shit completely.

I think there are lots of noises/sounds that we do not like.  But with me it does more than just annoy me.  It makes me angry, and irritated, and well just fkn angry.

My heart starts to pound.  I can feel my eyes narrowing.  I focus on the sound at the exclusion of everything else and then I can feel I get angrier and angrier as the sound gets louder and more acute in my ear.

Kennith always says that if we go to the movies, I will attract the guy with the slush puppy who sucks, and does that shoesh-shoesh-shoesh sound as he pushes his straw through the slush to loosen up the liquid, for another suck.

Kennith is probably right – I attract these people like nobodies business.  But the reality is that no matter where the slush puppy person sits, I will be able to hear them.  And the added problem is that I can’t hear the movie, as the sound gets louder and louder and louder for me.

This issue alone is probably the main reason I no longer go to movies.

Of course I just put it down to the fact that I was a miserable cow with too many issues to number – seems fair enough, so let’s not totally discount that as a good reason for my being irritable.

Then I saw this word on Friday “Misophonia” and suddenly so much makes sense, or at least I do not feel so guilty for always feeling so damn angry when there is a sound that sets my teeth on edge.

I thought this definition was bang on the money:

The response has been described as a reflexive emotional flood of rage and panic with a storm of fight-or-flight reactions becoming paramount. Adrenaline flooding, face flushing, heart-pounding and/or shaking and the need to physically flee or attack are often experienced. The mindful thoughts that the emotional reflex/response is unreasonable given the facts of the stimulus is often actually harmless come only after the fight-or-flight response is in full force and the affected person may find themselves in a constant mode of “talking themselves down” into a normal state of calm.

The hypocrisy of it all, is that I make a noise when I eat, and I often flick my nail when I am alone – I also love chewing raw pasta — all of these sounds would drive me to commit manslaughter if someone else did it.

According to my research there is no cure – one either must avoid the sound, do extensive CBT or take enough medication to not hear anything.

One bloke suggested moving to a quiet town, and never being in public places so the sounds of the masses do not drive him to insanity. He also has opted to work from home as “office” sounds also set him off.

Sadly I think it is too late for me.  What is sadder is that I understand his point of view, and his plan does not seem that unreasonable to me.

Some times the dust lifts and you have a moment of clarity …

My birthday was on the 9 May.

It was the rather large thirty-nine, which fills me with all sorts of dread.

Partly because it is alarmingly close to forty, and I think mentally I am still a twelve-year-old girl under all the wrinkles, cellulite and blemishes.

With that in mind, I decided to “write myself a letter” – from me the thirty-nine year old to me the twenty-nine year old. 

You know the kind where you  impart all sorts of wisdom and nuggets of truth, and then you sit back and tell yourself how clever you were for doing that sort of letter, and then go pour yourself another glass of wine and fill your script for Valium, that sort of thing.

So that was the plan.

The problem with “my plan” is the last few weeks have been rather “mind expanding” for me. 

I do not mean in a drug-induced way, I mean in the way where you start to “see things” and you have so many “ah hah” moments that you can actually feel the pressure that your brain exerts on the inside of your skull as it expands and starts to change.

I have had several over the last few weeks, and some that have rocked me to my core.

At the moment, I am quite unsettled and feeling nervous and anxious.  All those not so good feeling things, as one feels when one is on the cusp of a change of epic proportion.  (I could also just be on the verge of having a full-scale nervous breakdown, the symptoms are rather similar.)

I am sure I am not going to magically change into a size 8 underwear model before your eyes, but I definitely feel a shift at my core.

Back to my letter to myself, ten years ago.

I started writing the letter, but could not get through it as I kept crying and that was in the opening paragraph. 

Not small attractive little tears that artistically roll down your cheek as the light catches and glints off them.  Rather large crocodile crying jags, where the snot makes bubbles as it comes out your nose and rests on your top lip.

Which is all the more alarming when you do it at work, and you sit in an open plan office area….but moving along

It is not that I look back on the last ten years of my life and that I am sad because it was all so worthless.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad for me that I was so damn sad for so much of it.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad because I was (and am to a large degree) such a little girl lost, desperate for affection and affirmation but for the most part unable to accept it when it was offered.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad that I nearly threw it all away because I was so sad and so cross for the wrong reasons.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think about all the energy I have wasted being angry at my “lot in life” and all the hours I chewed up wondering “why me” when it does not matter ‘why’ it just matters ‘what now.”

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think of all the wasted opportunities when I could have loved better, laughed more, and lived more instead of missing out on so much because I was too distracted to live in the moment.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I think that there are so many times where I wanted to walk away from everyone and everything, because it was all so damn hard. I am sad because it actually wasn’t and isn’t that hard.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I am sad, that I have been so very sad and so very angry for so much of it.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I see how good life has been to me, and I was so angry and such a hurt little girl, that I often could and did not see how much good there is and was around me.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I realize how selfish I have been.  On this exhaustive quest to find me, I have often risked those around me who are so dear to me and who have stood by me through my chaos and through my (epic) rants.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and see that I was so quick to judge and hold grudges for things that others were so quick to forgive me for, when I committed the same transgression.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I wonder how I got here in one piece.

I look back on my life in the last ten years and I realise that I need to, desperately need to, just exhale, release all the shitty shit that I drag around me – just open my hand and let it go.  It has done me no good clinging to all of this, and holding on to it so tightly.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I realise that there is a chance that the next ten years will be different.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more present.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more available.

I look forward on my life in the next ten years and I want to be more in touch with what is going on around me.

I can’t promise I am going to be nicer. I can’t promise I am going to be more patient. I can’t promise I will swear less. I definitely cannot promise I am going to drink less wine.

But I can promise that there is a shift within me at the moment. I am not sure anyone will see the difference when they look at me – but it is there if you look carefully.

So happy birthday me.  Thirty-nine is not as bad as you thought, and see, the world did not actually come to an end.

You are wiser, maybe a little bit saner, have so many fabulous friends who appear to love you, even though you can be a total twat on so many occasions. 

You have children you adore and even like – and an Egg who is good to you, and good for you on so many levels.  

You also have a credit card (granted it is a little low on the credit aspect) and some Aldo shoes you have been coveting out for some time.  So get up, take a shower, brush your teeth, and go and buy the damn shoes already.

Happy Birthday Reluctant Mom!

The baggage we pass to our children …….

I have had a few chats with girls who are moms lately.

The discussion has often centers around the fact that we, as moms, bring baggage into our relationship/dealings with our children.  That baggage was often handed to us from our own mothers/parents.

Before you start looking for the “UNLIKE” button on this post – I am not trying to “pass responsibility” on to our mothers or father and say ‘woe is me for my sad life‘ I am going to make a different point, so bear with me on this as I sort of stumble to the point.

A lot of the stuff that was passed to us from our parents is what shapes, moulds and sometimes hinders us in our own lives.   

It affects how we function as adults.  For many of us, the effect is felt in an acute manner – but for others among us, there is not much of an effect. 

But — I believe firmly that there is ALWAYS an effect (great or small) – this is often felt much later in life, when you least expect it and in the strangest ways. (the monsters that lurk in the box, in the closet shall we say)

The thing is that for me – now as a mother – I have my own set of baggage that I am now handing to my children. 

One f&k up at a time.

I think it is a bit unrealistic to think that I am the perfect parent.

Sometimes it is unrealistic to think that I am even a ‘good enough’ parent.

Sometimes I am just crap at it.  But with that in mind, I wake up each day and hope today I will be a bit better.  And maybe get a bit more right than wrong.

Recently a friend’s mother (who is around 65 years old) who I have not seen in several years, asked me about my kids.  We were chatting and then she asked in a conversational how-are-you-tone:  ”Are you a good mom?”

She said is with a smile and clearly does not read my blog (bless her).  I stood there and in my usual flippant manner said: ”Well no, not particularly.  I am okay, but I make a kak load of mistakes, but I get better at it.”

To which she smiled, and then I moved the conversation on as I realized that making that statement made her feel a bit awkward, and uncertain whether to invite me in for tea.

And this is my point that I am getting to in the least succinct manner possible – I think I have the benefit of being a parent in an age where parents are more “conscious” and more “aware” than parents our parent’s generation.

I am not suggesting we are the perfect parent because we are so super aware and conscious.

I am not suggesting that we are automatically better than our parents’ generation.

But I am suggesting that we might be better because we are more ready to accept that we do not get it right, and also admit that we might not be all that good all the time.

And (most of us) keep trying to get better, once we admit that we have got it wrong.

Our parent’s generation was definitely the generation that felt they were right all the time –and g&d forbid you question them  –  then or now. 

It is just not done. 

Most friends I know who have mother-daughter issues will not think of raising any issues with their own mother. 

These women would rather sit with the angst that burns holes in their stomachs every time they see their mothers, rather than breathe a word of dissatisfaction or raise an issue from their past.

They have indicated that the part that puts them off (besides mortal fear of being disowned) is that their mother will not be receptive in any way to listening to any discussion about how they might have failed as a parent.  The conversation just does not happen because they feel their mothers would not listen nor accept any discourse on the issue.

I feel that our generation of ”being parents” – and I might be speaking only for a small group that I know – readily admit when we f&k up royally. 

We speak about it on forums, we admit it on blogs, we admit it when we comment on blogs.

I don’t want to read blogs about the perfect mom who does arts and crafts and calls her children “my little ones” I want to read about the mom who struggles like me, argues with her husband and screams at the kids, and admits that she does not get it right – thems my kind of people!

I have told my kids several times that I am sorry when I make an error, or I have disciplined them in error, or maybe I was too quick to punish or punished too harshly. 

Sometimes I do not always realize when I do something wrong.  But I have Kennith who will happily point out my errors for me.

As much as I loathe him when he does that, he often makes me take stock of a situation.  Though I am often angry at him I do respect that he sees and comments on it, to allow me to also see what I am doing wrong.  We often chat about how we might have failed as parents in certain areas and maybe how we can try to get it better the next time.

I was packing up some books this morning, and I realized that I have 5 parenting type books on my night stand (and on the floor around my night stand). 

I don’t know sh*t from shinola when it comes to kids – I have three and I have been doing this for nearly 10 years and I still think I am pretty sucky at it.

But maybe it is just me – maybe it is just me who knows nothing about parenting, and possibly most other moms have got it right.  And with that is the fact that as a “novice” at parenting I make mistakes – almost daily, and those mistakes will then be passed to my kids for them to carry as baggage into their adult life.

And that my friend, is a tad on the scary side!

Some days I am going to get this parenting thing right, and some days I am going to get it spectacularly wrong.

I hope – that I remain as “aware” as I am now. 

Aware that every action as an opposite and equal reaction.

That everything I do now (good or bad) will have a ripple effect into my children’s lives, and into their future.  Some good, some not to good, some important, and some not relevant at all.

The problem is I do not know which ripple will be the ripple that sets off the tsunami, and that is the kicker.

Anyway, that was my little thought for the day.

I am sure it is not something that has only occurred to me.  But I can now add it to the list of things that wake me at night to lie awake staring at the ceiling, fretting, worrying and wondering if screaming at Connor/Georgia/Isabelle and withholding television privileges will turn them into the next  sociopath.

We just never know!

Viva La V.ulv.a.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I watched it.

Many things happened for me while watching this video.

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

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

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

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

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

I think the DVD went on for about 30 minutes. 

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

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

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

And why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia on my mind ….

I have often spoken about how difficult it has become to discipline Georgia, and I think the thing I need to possibly stress is that she is not a naughty child, she just wanders off … in her head.

Today I went to fetch her from school, and she was busy in speech therapy.

I sat and listened to the last 10 minutes of the lesson, and then I asked Georgia if she would go and fetch her bag, and I could chat to speech therapy teacher.

Tertia – speech therapy teacher – explained the words and concepts that Georgia was struggling with and we started chatting about Georgia in general, and her progress.

I mentioned a few things that were beginning to become real concerns to me regarding Georgia – and they were not necessarily speech issues, but possible with her experience in childhood development she might be able to offer some insights that I was missing.

I really am not the type of mother that sticks her head into the sand and avoids seeing the issue.  I am more likely to start throwing water on a perfectly good bush, because I anticipate there might be a fire …. one day.

Tertia and I are chatting and at some point I look outside at Georgia.  She is playing with her friends.  But she isn’t.  Her friends are playing around her, and Georgia is playing on her own, or to correct in her own world.

I start explaining how much I struggle with Georgia because she drifts off so quickly – and often… almost all the time at the moment.  In the last two months it has got progressively worse.

An example is that in the morning I put toothpaste on her toothbrush.

Only because if I ask her to do that part it will take her 25 minutes. 

I then leave her in the bathroom, infront of the basin, aimed towards the mirror, and I will go: “Please brush now, inside and out, smiley-teeth and back-teeth, brush for two minutes, not fast, but properly ….. for two minutes.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, mommy.”

She will smile at me, and I will go and get undressed, get into the shower, wash, wash and condition my hair, brush my teeth – yes, I brush my teeth in the shower.

Wash conditioner out of the shower, allow myself the 30 seconds where the hot water runs against the top of my spine, and then I turn water off, get out, get towel, do a basic dry off, assess how crap I look and how much I really should take a bit more time to get my sh&t together in the morning.

Take the cream away from Isabelle, comfort Isabelle because she is crying, tickle Isabelle, put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and give it to Isabelle, stand and smile at her as she brushes her teeth and is getting dribble and toothpaste all over her chin and down her sleep shirt, realize that I need to go and check on Georgia, kiss Isabelle on the head as I move her backwards so I do not get her toes caught on the bathroom door as I open it.

Walk down the passage back to the other bathroom.

Arrive in the bathroom and find Georgia standing in the bath – there is no water in the bath – she will be singing or have a bucket on her head and singing.  The unused toothbrush will still be in her hand, with the tooth paste totally undisturbed – and clearly no teeth have been brushed.  Fifteen or twenty five minutes have passed at this point.

She is not deeply ashamed or mischievously smiling when I find her.  She will look at me and go: “Look I have a bucket on my head!”

Obviously at this point I go off POP!  Like blind rage.

There is screaming and shouting and much child pulling out of bath and threats of bodily harm and it is all a little bit fish wife.

But short of a few details this is pretty much how it goes with Georgia every day, when I ask her to do something.

I can just substitute “panties on head and dancing around the bedroom” with the “ bucket on the head” or even “sitting on her floor writing on a piece of paper” will work equally well.

I am lamenting my life to teacher Tertia, not because I think she can help, but because I am at my wits end and I am not sure who else to talk to.

I know the answer is not to beat the crap out of Gerogia, or send her to her room for 6 months  – none of these punishments work for her.  The only person who feels crap when they are being dished out is me – Georgia toodles on in her own world, “min gepla” as they would say.

Teacher Tertia and I sit watching Georgia and she goes: “You know Georgia is not a stupid girl, I bet if she did an IQ test she would score very high, but she gets distracted …. she gets internally distracted and that is where the problem lies.”

“Internally distracted” – I have never heard such an appropriate term to describe Georgia.

She chatted about the fact that it is often the loud/ADD kids who get the attention because they get so distract by what is around them, and kids like Georgia who get overlooked because they are so quiet, and are not misbehaving – but they are operating in thier heads and away from everyone else – day dreaming for lack of a better term.

Tertia also said that if she is working with Georgia and something happens and she has to attend do it, Georgia will sit in the same place and just sit there – as happy as Larry.  She says usually a kid who is not being attended to will get up and go off and play with the toys in the classroom, or something, she says Georgia will sit there quite content to drift off into her own world.

Listen I think all of this is wonderful and I love the fact that Georgia is as unique as she is – she is quirky!

Someone said to me yesterday: ”Georgia is so quirky, she is going to be the kind of person who opens a vibey coffee shop, and it has all this detail and she has all these interesting people there.”

She probably would …. the problem is that she will still be dancing in her room with her panties on her head and forget to go and open the coffee shop!

I am concerned that Georgia might not be main stream education material.  Her in a class of 25 kids when the kids have to absorb a body of work quickly because the teacher is talking to all of them, is probably not ideal.

I see her wandering off – in her head – and sitting there staring at the teacher as if she is listening, but in her head she is dancing naked in the rain with a bucket on hear head listening to the tippa-tippa-tippa-tippa sound of the water on top of the bucket!

Tertia recommended I chat to a specialist paed who deals with attention-issues relating to children, and she recommended someone for me to call.  She said the best thing to do is get her assessed.

What are my options in terms of ‘rectifying’ the issue, and Tertia said, I am not sure, maybe medication.

And then I sighed a bit, actually quite deeply … but not in happiness you understand.

I have the doctor’s number, I will call and set up an appointment to see what she says and just try and get some ideas of how to deal with this better (prefer no medication though, before the mother grundy emails start about who I should not medicate my child and and and ….)

I fetched Georgia and Connor and decided to stop for some ice cream. 

I then watched Connor eat his ice cream neatly in an organized fashion.  Same table, same type of ice cream, Georgia had hers on her jacket, on her chin, on her nose, on the table, on her shirt and on her forehead, and then the last bit fell out the bottom of her cone and fell on her lap!

<sigh>

This photo is classic Georgia … she is the one on the left hand side doing her Yoga deep meditation while everyone else is monkeying around for a photo …..

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? >

This mommy gig is really hard emotional work….



 

Any one who knows me will easily be able to gauge that I lucked out when they were handing out patience.  I have always been wound just that little bit too tight.

My ability to appear/actually be patient is lacking at the best of times.

I am impatient with those I love.  I am decidedly impatient with those I can’t stand. And fools and call centre staff get the full onslaught of my wrath.

One if the problems (and there are several) is that my impatience and inability to maintain my composure makes me sometimes treat my loved ones with a disregard for their feelings.  Subsequent to the fact I am always sorry, but seldom say it out loud.

Instead I hold it in and persecute myself.  I go for a bit of self-flagellation, which makes me feel crapper than I do any way.  It is all a bitter cycle, that builds momentum and gains speed of epic proportion.  The more I am unhappy with myself, the more I internalize things, and the self loathing grows.

It just seems that while in the moment I am almost unable to control my zero-to-being- totally-fucked-off- in-eight-seconds-or-less reaction to things.

When I am tired, stressed and anxious it is worse.  (Right now I am tired, stressed and very anxious.)

The issue I wish to focus on today, is that I have lacked patience with Connor.  It feels like I have always lacked patience with him.

I am not sure exactly why.  But the truth be told, he is probably the child I reserve the least amount of patience for.

I am not sure of the reason, and I am sure it is not anything he has done.  It is totally a fault that lies in my character and my inability to deal with him in a rational and calm manner.

I love that child dearly.  I would die for him if I had to.  He is really one of the sweetest children – in character – that I have ever met.  

But I have realized for some time – and with much embarrassment – that there is something about him that sets me off.  He knows my triggers – consciously or unconsciously.  He knows them, and he knows how to apply the pressure that sends me off like a rocket.

It is a bit like that new guy who just started working at your office.  Helluva nice guy, friendly and very personable.  But there is just something about him that rubs you up the wrong way.  It is not what he says or does, it is actually just that he exists and that he exists in a 10 meter radius of you!

Initially when I had Connor  I put it down to the fact that I was overwhelmed/distraught/a shit mother and had colossal amounts of problems that I was hoarding away under beds and in cupboards.  I struggled with him – I struggled with me – and I struggled to be patient with him when I should have been more so.  Connor always knows I love him, and adore him – he also knows that unfortunately I am a bit erratic and quick to anger.

When I had Georgia and Isabelle, I realized that though they tire me, as kids do, they do not seem to set me off like Connor does.  With Connor I am generally rattled and frizzled (less now that I was).

I read a book several years ago – A Child Called “It”  by Dave Pelzer.

Long story but the short of it, was that he was one of five brothers, and his mother was the poster child for good mothers.  Very active mom.  She was the den mother for their scout group, and very involved with her children and the community.  But for some reason she started to abuse her one son, Dave.  Totally random, totally uncalled for.   She abused him in every conceivable way, she was vile and cruel.

I read it before I had my children, and I think if I read it now, it might be a bit too traumatic and I am not sure I would get through it having a little boy of my own.

There is this part in the book towards the end where Dave is trying to come to terms with why his mother abused him but left his four brothers alone.  What was it about him that set her off?  (Please bear with me as I am recalling this book and I read it more than 10 years ago, so I am doing a serious memory backtrack, and may be a bit off with the details.)

There was a psychologist/psychiatrist who commented that no one knows what makes a mom target one of her kids.  But it could be something as small as a smell, which triggers an emotion or a reaction in a mother.  It might cause her to react differently to one child versus how she may behave to the others in her brood.

When I realized that Connor managed to get under my skin, and he actually caused me to become angry, not upset, like blood-curdling- I-can- see-only-red angry.  I got fearful.  For me.  For him.

Maybe I might be Mrs Pelzer or a bit of Mrs Pelzer was living in me – and Connor might be “that boy.”

It is a guilt I have carried with me for a very long time.  I am really concerned that I might one day do something in my rage that I cannot stop, and will forever regret.   I have often done things in my “blind rage and anger” that afterwards I recognize weren’t signs of healthy behavior, and have given me many hours of purging on therapists couches.

When I say I struggle, I really mean I fekn battle with motherhood.  I know some very dark places, and I feel like I have been right to the bottom.

Connor is now nine years old.  He is a very sweet and even tempered child. He is naturally good and sees the good in others.  He loves nothing more than for you to be pleased with him.  He is gentle and loving, and appears secure and happy.

He values the praise of others too highly.  He needs affirmation from others.  I worry this will cause him pain and anguish moving forward in his life, and make his life hard.

But he is the way he is, and he really is a lovely sunny guy with the kindest soul.

Something I noticed in the last two months is that when he gets angry or impatient with Georgia, he speaks to her in the “angry” voice I used to use to speak to him (when I got angry and saw red – it does not happen often, but I will not deny that it still does happen).

When I heard him speak to her like that, I literally gasped.

I could have gone stomping into the room and demanded he apologise to her for being so abrupt and basically mean.  But it is difficult to do that when you have tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat, at the realization that your “horribly angry voice” is now speaking through your son, like a bad Vegas ventriloquist show.

It really was a pretty crap moment for me.  And made me sad right down to the fibre of what keeps my joints together.

It was one of those moments when I literally heard the car tyres screech in my head, as I gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles and thought “good gawd, what have I done, what now?”

The situation at home right now is that Georgia is 5 ½ and it appears that she has lost her ability to hear me speak.  I can speak to her until I literally have to scream at her because she has totally muted me out.

I speak nicely.  I speak in a measured tone.  I then speak with a bit more force.  I speak with animation.  I speak in a loud screechy voice.  I speak using only single syllable words.

I then progress to speak in an angry clipped tone.  When all of that fails – and Georgia just does not seem to be reacting, I screech at her in my “psychologically damaged do-what-I-am-telling-you-to-do-or-I-am-going-to-smack-you-into-next-week” voice.

The problem is that she is still not listening even though I do time out/deprive her of television/sit and reason with her/threaten to inflict bodily violence on her/threaten to throw Barbie and My Little Pony out of the fekn car window – she is impervious to it all.

 The final (or my final) resort is being this ugly mom person to try to get her to react or to comply.  The problem is the ugly mom person is too close to the surface for my liking and leaves me frayed and unfortunately very disappointed with myself, and angry with her, and exhausted!

The thing I have realized in the last three month is that maybe Georgia is going through a “phase.” She used  to be the “good one”  – she used to be the one who listened.  Now she is the one most likely to get a hiding over the weekend combined with time out!

What I have realised now is that maybe it was not Connor that was difficult (I would say he was challenging).  Maybe the problem was that when he  was going through his “I am not going to listen to mom unless she goes totally off her face” stage – Georgia was between 12 – 18 months.   So I was comparing him to a toddler – Georgia – who is generally a bit more compliant and easy to deal with that a young child who starts to express his boundaries.  Added to that I was going through so many things in my personal life, that I was raw and frayed most days, and had no facility for patience and being able to reflect on what I was doing.

(I am not excusing myself or making up a reason to fall back on.   I admit I am a crap mom most of the time, but I am less crap than I was, and hope to be less crap tomorrow than I am today – that is all I can do right now.)

Unfortunately my boy got to experience the really horrible side of his mom.  He saw the worst of me and I am embarrassed (and afraid) to admit, that I think his character has been “damaged” a bit because of it.

So how now?

I am not sure.

I feel terrible that I was so mean to Connor when he was a mite, and need to find a way to “unlearn” the behavior I have taught him is acceptable.  It isn’t and it wasn’t.

I am not sure how to go about it.

I am not sure if I can change, but there we are, such is the way it is right now in my neck of the woods.  I know this post rambles, but I feel a bit ramble and disjointed at the moment.

I think the summary is that I was not the best I could be for Connor.

I am sorry and I regret that I did not try harder and achieve more.  I am sorry that he had to endure me.  I am sorry that I was and am not more patient. 

I am sorry that I was not a more mature wise mother to realize that it was not him that was pushing by buttons, but that my buttons had been rubbed so raw, that any friction against them was agony and created a reaction.

I am sorry that I was not better, and I am sorry that I am still not the best I can be. 

 

Some days are for living. Others are for getting through.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season with friends and family, and where ever you were when the clock changed to 2011.

I trust it was in a happy place, or at the very least spent with a reasonably good bottle of wine in what would pass as your moderately pleasant place.

I have been neglecting my blog duties in the last month, and for that I am slightly embarrased.

I have found that for the first time in a very long time that I just have not felt like blogging – which is odd, as I really do enjoy this blogging malarkey.

I do think November and December have offered me one too many challenges and I have struggled to bounce back from.

My natural tendency is to throw myself to the floor and weep: “why we, why me?” And this month it seemed allowed so many opportunities to do just that.

I feel like one of those blow-up-balloon-figurines (kids kind versus sexual ones you purchase from Adult World), with water in the base that children get so they can punch the crap out of them.

The figure bounces back and bounces back, until it eventually springs a leak and the water starts to get sort of yucky.  Eventually the blow up figurine is thrown into the bag of the wendy house and left there to gather dust while the air sort of “eep-eeps” out of it.

Not a bad simile for how I have felt these last two months.

I have felt “blech” and a bit too drained to do anything other than wallow in my self-pity.

The entire work situation has been on the forefront of my mind, and I also did not want to ‘emotionally puke’ about it here, so though it is all I wanted to talk about – as it was all I was thinking about – I also did not want to initiate a blow-by-blow update here.

But here is a basic update on where I am right now:-

My retrenchment: That is still in the process, but the process does appear to be coming to it’s end.

My company did revert back with a revised offer to look at a reduced salary position.

However this was after telling me in a meeting that I was retrenched, and then announcing to the entire sales/estimating and others that I was retrenched before the issue had actually been finalised.

So yes in terms of procedure, that did suck a bit, but let’s not hold grudges, sometimes the best laid plans do not go to plan.

Since then I counter-offered and suggested if they were going to cut my salary then I would like my working hours should be cut as well.

That went down like a lead balloon, but hey, if you don’t ask you don’t get.  And in this case, even if you do ask, you still do not get.

Then they counter-offered, and I went “mmm, that does not sound right” and at a certain point I realized “I am done” – it is actually time to go now.

I was (am) really disappointment, and though everyone said “don’t take it personally” of course I took it personally.  This retrenchment personally affected ME personally.

As things stand now, I have asked to depart at the company’s soonest convenience.  But that being said, I do not wish to burn my bridges there because all things were good prior to the ‘pack your bags and fek off” meeting, and have had an MD who I will think fondly of for all time, as he is and has been a really good guy to me.

I am in the process  of doing  a hand-over with the person who will be taking over my responsibilities.  I plan to leave my place-of-employment this Friday.

The humour is I am doing a hand over for a person I shortlisted when we were interviewing to expand the department.  So in theory I hired my replacement without even being aware of it – fabulous!

The issue right now is that I just don’t want to be at my company any more.  I do feel slighted.  I do feel rejected. And I do feel hurt about the entire process.  I feel a bit like the ugly step-cousin who has gate crashed the Xmas party.

We can argue for hours about how I need to “wear my big girl pant” and take it on the chin.  But you know, fek that! I actually don’t have to.  And that is the bonus of wearing “big girl panties” I can decide how this is going to play out and I can decide how I feel about something.

I just want to say that this process hit me for a total six.

There I was sitting happily working along.  Obviously having the occasional little bitch and whine about work, but I had no inclination of going anywhere, and though everything wasn’t “coming up roses” I was fine to just keep on keeping on.

Then the retrenchment meeting came, and I was left reeling.

Then there were the negotiation and I realized; what exactly are we negotiating about?  Me staying at a company that chose not to keep me?

Thanks, but I can find the door myself.

Kennith has been a good egg during this entire process.  He showed me support and solutions when I just saw black emptiness.  So he gets another star on the good egg chart – that boy is nearly on his way to owning a BMX!

The issue with my mom: That has not been totally resolved however we have since been in contact via sms.  Kennith, myself and kids stopped by to see my mom and my stepfather on the 27th December.

It was good.  I hope that we can move forward and things can revert back to what-passes-for-normal-in-most-families.  But I do hope that things get better/go back to what there were/not be as awkward as they are now.

I realized how long it had been for them since they last saw Isabelle and it made me sad that they had already missed out on so much of her development.  My mom and my stepfather hold such a close relationship with Connor and Georgia, and I would really hate for our issues to cloud their relationship with Isabelle and Georgia and Connor.

Depression: November and December have reduced to me to a pitiful mess of sobbing and anxiety. I have chewed the inside of my cheeks something hellish, and have been totally self-absorbed in my own anxiety and stress.

I wish I lost weight when stressed.

Unfortunately I tend to drink more than would be considered healthy, and then snack without being aware of what is being thrown in to my mouth.  I also tend to just want to sleep and sleep and …. sleep … and when I am not sleeping I am trying to work out when I can be sleeping again.

Kennith has been great and given me the space to wallow and not tried to push too much on me.

I just want to point out here that he made the entire Xmas lunch himself.  I sort of slothed through, set the table and then ate.  I did not peel one potato or stuff one chicken – it was bliss!

My therapist did suggest that I was in a depressive episode and that I should consider medication to just help me stabilize the situation a bit better.

But with all good therapists she proceeded to say something to me, which was the right thing at the right time, and it felt like a cloud had shifted off my horizon.  So with her guidance, and Kennith’s support I really feel much better and have decided to skip the need for meds right now.

Kids and School Holidays: Not my best time.  I get really stressed when it is time for us and the kids to float around our house and I do look around in fear that something is going to go horribly wrong.

I often worry that there is a bit of Andrea Yates in me, the part without the obsessive religious fervour.

But it was not so bad this year.

I also realized the reason it was not so bad this year was because our maid/nanny/right hand lady Pepe opted not to take her annual leave over Xmas/New Year.  I can’t tell you how divine it has been having her about while while we and our three kids wreck havoc!

She will take leave in March.  I understand that all that is happening is that the pain is being delayed.  Of course now I stare up at the ceiling at night wondering what I am going to do in March!

Over December we spent a lot of time around the pool and the kids have found jumping in the pool and who can make the biggest splash the easiest way to burn off energy.

All this whilst I sit under the gazebo and sip my wine, and try to smile affectionately as someone screams “Mommy, look at me, look at me!”.

The joy of giving: Connor received a Nintendo DS for his birthday (I am sure you wonder how exactly that is good for me, but wait, it actually is very good).

I am not a big game-fan, but this thing has made me clap my hands in glee quite a few times.  Instead of having Connor walking around me whining for me to entertain him, Connor has gone on to develop a close and what I hope is a lasting relationship with Luigi and Mario, as well as someone called Princess Peach (Super Mario Brothers and Mario Cart DS).

We can have another post about the evils of putting kids in front of the television or a computer game, so that the moms like me can lie on the couch and read.  But for all it’s evils, damn, I am a fan of the little game consol!

Christmas Day: Always get a bit stressed about this and always tend to spend too much time with my hand up a chicken’s bum.

We had Kennith’s mom over for lunch and it really was pleasant and just so low-stress it was divine.

New Years: We unfortunately did not have a baby sitter, and I was loathe to drive anywhere with the kids or to leave them with someone who we barely knew who was advertising themselves at R120.00 an hour.

We tried to find a babysitter and when all failed, we opted to accept we would be Johnny-no-mates at home this year.

We put on our best attire and headed to the Spur – Patrick served us, it was great, it was just us and about a dozen other people at the Spur – lovely for us, shite for the staff.

After we had eaten our body weight in chicken wings and ice-cream, we headed home and watched the A-Team on our new Blue-Ray thingy-ma-jig.  It was brilliant with the surround sound.

I would not have thought I would enjoy the A-Team, but I clearly had not given them a chance.  It was brilliant – cars ramping and exploding, thousands of bullets being fired, and barely any one dying!

Enjoyed it thoroughly – actually it was better than the television series!

Kids went to bed, Kennith fell asleep on the couch and I watched Sherlock Holmes – another fabulous movie.

Midnight approached. I woke Kennith up.  We stumbled out on to our stoep to watch the fireworks – we can see the mountain and a large section of Cape Town from our house.

We congratulated ourselves on a job well done and went inside.  It was great, might do a few more like that in the coming years.

So that is where we are on this third day of January two thousand and eleven.

Quick recap:

  • I headed back to work today to train the person who will be taking over from me – it’s a very strange situation.
  • Kennith is still on leave and he will need to go and buy stationery and school supplies this week, which usually costs us the equivalent of a heart and lung machine.
  • Isabelle is now 18 months, and for all purposes is a happy and healthy toddler.  Concerns: she does not use any words, none.  She still eats pureed food.  I feed her only vegetables and fruit, no meat.  More because once you flick them on to meat, it is like changing your grandfather’s nappy.
  • There has been no news on my missing dog, and that still makes me very sad, and sometimes I have a little cry when I am on the toilet (because sometimes it is the only place I can be alone).

Okay so that is my little catch up.

I am hoping my brain kicks into gear soon.  Apologies, as it really has been out to lunch for quite some time, and I can hardly string a sentence together, let alone do a decent blog post, so please be patient with me until I find my mojo again.

Contrary to popular belief, I have not off’ed myself with a broken wine bottle, I am here, I am fine, I just need to get my shit together, and remember why I put on clean underwear in the morning.