Girls in cars …..

After all my screaming , effing and blinding about brushing teeth, hair, getting school books, shoes, juice bottles, we finally fall into the car.

I manage to reverse out of the garage, and remember to open the electric garage first – it’s a small thing, but quite critical when one thinks about the things that could get your day off to a good start.  Its all in the timing.

I look at Connor’s hair and realise that the guy has not actually brushed his hair.  I REMINDED HIM THREE TIMES THIS MORNING – THREE FEKN TIMES!

I totally go off – – I am exhausted at chasing the kids in the morning to get stuff done, only to find that they get in the car and half of it has not been done.  Short of actually brushing their hair, brushing teeth, wiping their arses, and dressing them myself – really surely they must do something for themselves?

I pulled the car to the side of the road in a rather exaggerated manner to show my frustration.

I proceeded to yell at them – much to the amusement of the man walking past at the time.  I threatened them with all sorts of stuff – including leaving them at home next time this happens.  I warned them that this was OFFICIALLY THE LAST TIME, and this was the LAST warning.

I knew that this would make Connor think that he was going to get a free day to watch DSTV and play computer games.

I cut that one off at the pass.  I said that if I left them at home, I would be calling their dad, who would have to leave work, drive home to come and fetch them and HE could take them to school.

I warned the kids that if they thought me screaming was bad, then they had no idea what their father will do. (I like to use Kennith as the threat I can bring in when all else fails.)

I did exaggerate a bit and used very colourful language that probably was not appropriate for a 8 and a 5 year old.

I ended it with a very mean look around the car to ensure that the words were being understood – I also screamed DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME – in a rather shrill tone.  I put my indicator on, and pulled back into the traffic and tried to take three deep breaths.

Georgia always asks who I am dropping off first – I always drop Connor off first – but she asks the same question every day without fail – her little OCD thing.

Because she had asked and I had been such a mean mom, I thought I would make a change and instead of turning right to Connor’s school I turned left to Georgia’s school, so she would be dropped off first.

You know what they say about hell, good intentions and paving?

Georgia went off her head.  It was like I had just murdered Barbie and Ken in some gruesome family double murder.  She was screaming and really crying with tears streaming out of her big hazel eyes – streaming!

Some how I managed to keep the car on the road, and not veer into on-coming traffic.  Through the piercing screams of a five year old girl, I heard that she wanted me to drop Connor off first as she liked to talk to me in the car alone.

I thought about it and realized that when Connor is in the car, she does not say anything.  As soon as I leave Connor at school, then she starts to chatter.  I did not realise it was something she thought about or enjoyed, I just took it as part of the way it is.

On hearing Georgia’s protests, I decided – and partly because the screaming was quite convincing – to do a u-turn and go and drop Connor off.

Connor who does not really need an opportunity to speak, as he totally dominates the conversation no matter who is in the room, looks at her rather quizzically and says: ‘What are you going to talk to mommy about?”

Georgia, without hesitation goes:”Wild animals…”

And then proceeds to look out of the window staring at the trees.

I drop Connor off, and we say our good byes.

I pull out of the school parking lot on the way to Georgia’s school and she says: “You know mommy, I really like you!”

It was a very sweet drive, and she did not speak about wild animals once.  Maybe I need to start paying more attention to the alone time I spend with my little girl, and just make more opportunities to do it.  I like that she likes me ….

Fairly good parents …..

I am sitting trying to watch the Dog Whisperer – I feel if this guy can train dogs without screaming at them, I can learn some good tips from him and amend them slightly to train my kids.

The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan is really a brilliant show, I sort of stumbled on it, and thought this guy – he is the sh*t.

He speaks a lot about the energy you bring to the situation and that dogs can pick up on that.

I really like his move where he taps the dog in the ribs and the dog practically turns to jelly.  It just stops doing what ever it was doing – or even thinking about doing.  Cesar does not even raise his voice – he also does not attempt to break the rib – he just taps the dog like “remember, I am watching you…”

I have never watched him threaten a dog, or do anything remotely raise-your-eyebrow – I gotta get me some Cesar training – so I am trying to mimic a Hispanic man with slightly grey hair who is about 1.65 metres tall and speaks in even metered tones …. the challenges we set for ourselves!

There I am watching a bit of television and trying to keep Isabelle out of the cat food.  Georgia is drawing on her rather large sheet of paper that her favourite dad bought her.

Georgia says: “What is that hat that Jesus wears called?”

Georgia is known for asking the oddest questions at the strangest times.  The other day she said: “What is your mommy’s mommy’s name?” which had absolutely NO bearing on what we were doing or talking about at the time.

Back to Georgia’s headwear question.

I was initially a bit puzzled as Georgia has a speech impediment and Jesus sounds like Bejeshush or something similar.

I do speak (almost) fluent Georgia so I got the question, but then I thought “Hat, what hat?”

She then started to do a bit of a mime indicating what she meant –clearly she was referring to the ring of thorns that has become a rather popular image when JC is depicted.  So I thought well then I have to explain thorns and bleeding, so I opted for: “It’s called a crown.”

She seemed reasonably satisfied and called me a clever-mommy.  I went back to television – see this parenting this is dead easy.

Georgia: “Mommy, does Jesus have fairy godparents?”

Talk about a question right out of left field.  I do have some religious issues that I am working through, so I really find this a difficult subject to deal with when I speak to my kids.  I never want to lie to them about religion.  But at the same time I do not want to turn them into agnostics either ….. well then be if they want, but it must be their choice, not because I am all I-have-not-made-up-my-mind-and-stuff, but I digress….

Me: “Er….. I am pretty sure he doesn’t.”

Georgia sits there for a  while and ponders this problem.

Georgia:”Mommy I think he does, so I am going to draw him with fairy godparents.”

How does one even begin to go into a discussion with a  five year old about Jesus and God and where fairy godparents come into the equation.

I decided to opt instead to make the volume on the television louder to avoid any further uncomfortable discussion about religion, small elf people and why Jesus’ fairy godparents did not help me out of what really was a rather grim situation.

Life’s little lessons ….

Connor and me driving home from school on Friday.

Connor: “There is a boy in my class, he is not in my class, he is in the other English class, and he was born deaf.”

Me: “Really?”

Connor: “But he had an operation and there is this thing inside his head and then there is this thing stuck here behind his ear and now he can hear. He has an operation – but it was a really expensive operation, but he can hear.”

Me: “It is called a cochlea implant and it is an expensive operation, but isn’t it wonderful that he can hear?”

Connor: “Mmmmm …. but it is so expensive that not everyone can afford it.  What about the poor kids who are born deaf who cannot have an operation because it costs too much money?”

Me – choking back a lump in my throat: “Yes my boy…”

Connor: “It really is not fair … “

Me – a little tear escapes from my eye and travels down my cheek… “Huh-huh…”

Connor: “But life is not fair is it?”

I am convinced that Connor is an old soul trapped in an eight year old boy’s body ….

Pretty girl ….

The kids are away at my mom for a few days.

Us taking advantage of the last week of the school holidays to ship them to the sea-side, and my mom developing a facial tick from stress … don’t we love a five week flipp’n school holiday smack bang in the middle of the school year.

At least the kids get to run around and go beserk and play outside, I get exhausted dirty kids back  – it is a win-win situation all around.

I called my mom to see how they are doing, and after speaking to her got to speak to Georgia as she is sitting nearby.   I asked her what she she did with herself today.

She answered: “Being beautiful…”

Sometimes it is a full time job and can take all day … I think we under-esimate that sometimes.

Connor’s take on wedding days …

I just thought of something today that Connor said years ago.

We were walking through the mall and we were just chatting.  Connor must have been around 4 -5 years old.  I recall Georgia being there, but would have been a tiny little nu-nu at the time.

I think the subject of marriage had recently come up at school.  Connor had assumed Kennith and I were married.  He was at a very strong roman catholic school at the time who believed in family and community values.  Most if not all the parents at the school came from nice mommy-and-daddy-are-married families, so that was what the kids believed to be the “norm” – who was I to shake their little boat?

I was not sure then whether to break it to Connor that actually Kennith and I were not married, but we were living in sin.  So I opted instead to test the waters with him to see what his understanding was of marriage.

This particular day the subject of a wedding or a wedding day came up, and I recall asking Connor why does he think that people have a wedding day.

He said: “So people can dance with each other and kiss each other …”

I thought that would be as good a reason as any to have a wedding.

Barbie has her head ripped off ….

While sitting here minding my own business, Georgia is presenting me with drawings of Barbie the Mermaid with her head pulled/ripped off by an octopus.

I am not sure whether to encourage her to continue with the maiming of Barbie, or explain that she really should draw nicer renderings of Barbie.

She left the room and then returned to tell me that she is going to draw “an octupus smacking Barbie’s head off…”

I know when I have a rough day at work, I come home and drink more wine than I should.

Maybe this is the way Georgia works out her playschool frustrations … I’m okay with it …. I might treat to her to an extra ice-cream when we go to the Spur later.

What if it happened differently ….?

So Connor and I are chatting in the car this morning on the way to school (holiday programme).  I was telling him how he shares a birthday with a friend of Georgia’s.

I explained that they did not share a birth day, but they shared a date of birth and what the difference is.  He is 8, the friend is turning 5 this year.

I commented that every day a baby is born and isn’t that a lovely thing to think about, to which he replied that every day someone also dies… true … maybe not quite something you want your eight year old to be thinking about too hard, but there we go, can’t argue with the ying and yang of that argument.

Then Connor asks all bright eyed and innocently: ” If Adam and Eve were the first people here, how come there are caveman bones – were they cavemen, because I don’t think they were?”  (got to love a child whose brain just runs in seven directions at once.)

I asked Connor to consider that what if the bible story is well, just a story, and maybe what is important is the message that the story is telling us.  Maybe to consider that as an option here.

I also said that it is always good to ask questions about something, no matter how convincing and accepted the original story is.  Think about the other evidence you are presented with, and think about how that story aligns with the evidence or the other facts that you now know.

I asked Connor: “If the bible tells you that Adam and Eve were the first people on earth, and you see evidence that there were cavemen that existed – and for all purposes Adam and Eve were not caveman what does that make you think?”

Connor sat there and thought about it, and said: “But they found spears in old dinosaur remains, so there must have been people before Adam and Eve.”

Me: “Sure, there could have been.  So do you think that maybe the bible story was just a story to try to tell you a message, and maybe the evidence shows that in reality something else happened?  What do you think about that?”

Connor: “I think there were cavemen before Adam and Eve…”

Me: “I am glad you question things and don’t accept what people tell you.  Try and always remember that what people tell you are their opinions, and even a story that is told to you over and over again, does not make it a fact.  There is nothing wrong with looking at something and thinking about it differently.”

Connor just smiling his toothy smile.

Me: “I really am proud of you that you can listen to a story and then think that maybe there are the other possibilities. I am not saying that when someone tells you something you should think they are lying or telling you an untruth – but try to always think for yourself ‘what if this happened’ or ‘consider that this other option might be right.’

It is people like you that go on to discover things, because you think about the why and the how.  Keep asking questions … don’t just accept it because people say it must be so because that it the way it has always been.”

I was so dead proud of that boy this morning for having such a quick enquiring mind.

Connor questions things – all the time – often I do tell him just to be quiet and things are just the way they are.  I challenge any parent to be in the mood to answer soul-searching questions twenty-four/seven – some times you do want to say “Just shut-up and go and watch television, and leave me to my wine, why don’t you!!”

He loves Discovery and Animal Planet and soaks that information up like a sponge.  He can recall facts and incidents of shows he watched a year ago, which beats the snot out of watching hours of the Cartoon Channel, much to Georgia’s unhappiness.

What made me proud today is that he questioned something that must be such an ingrained story in his mind, but still he had the open mindedness to just question it.

Sure we are skirting around the discussion of creation versus evolution … and I realise we risk being burnt at a stake on our front yard at the very least … but there we go, the risks we take for our children.

Mind your language …

I’m sitting trying to ignore the kids as I spend a few moments on a forum I have fallen behind on.  My form of therapy and quiet time.

Kennith has fed the kids – chocolate spread on toast – we are nothing if parents who feed their kids a balanced meal on a Sunday night.  Kennith decides to have 10 minutes to himself on the throne, bigger kids are eating, smaller kid is crawling over me depositing mucus in my hair and on my shirt.

Georgia is sitting at the kitchen table saying “daddy can you bring me a serviette..” I decide to ignore her as I figure she will realize dad is not coming, then get off her chair take the two steps and get a serviette for herself.

Georgia has a habit of repeating herself to exhaustion if someone does not answer her.

This was one of those times, so she keeps going

“daddy can you bring me a serviette..”

“daddy can you bring me a serviette..”

“daddy can you bring me a serviette..”

“daddy can you bring me a serviette..”

“daddy can you bring me a serviette..”

Her voice never changes pitch, she keeps it quite neutral, and it is just the repetition.

At about the point where I have heard it enough, I scream up the passage “Georgia, what do you want?” – knowing full well what she wants.

So she answers “Can daddy bring me a serviette.?”

I scream back: “Get off the chair, and get yourself a freak’n serviette.”

Georgia: “Okay…”

Me, carrying on typing on my forum, thinking I have solved all the household problems without moving from my chair.

Georgia: “Mommy….”

Me: “Yes Georgia…”

Georgia: “There are no more freak’n serviettes …..”

About three moments later, totally out of the quiet of the kitchen …

Georgia:”Mommy….”

Me: “Yes Georgia ….”

Georgia: “ Stop saying freak’n serviettes……”

Have I pointed out that Georgia is five?

Shower Humour ….

I figured I was on a bit of a roll here … last night I am in the shower with Georgia … yes Georgia seems to be featuring quite big right now in terms of “kids say the darndest things…” so there we are in the shower.

Georgia leans forward, pulls my pubic hair and says “Why do you have hair on your bum?”

I am not sure which I feel more bad about … that my talks about body awareness and the like is paying off so well …. or that I look the same from the front and the back ….

<sigh>

Toilet Humour ….

This morning the roles will a little reversed and Kennith is no doubt going to be really annoyed I posted this one and insist I remove it before the end of the day.

Georgia (as always) is in the bathroom and waiting for Kennith to finish on the toilet so she can go – she has taken a real shine to using our bathroom in the morning, and comes through every morning announcing she “needs the toilet.”

I am lying in bed praying for more sleep, but listening to this exchange coming from the en-suite bathroom.

Georgia is standing there while Kennith is standing at the toilet doing what boys do in the morning – and says in her high pitched girly voice “Daddy, you have a long winkie…”

I can hear Kennith smiling and he goes “Yes baby, I have an outside winkie and you have an inside winkie” so there is a few moments of silence and then Georgia goes

…”it’s not that big…”

I also needed to go to the toilet then … ha ha … you are right it is really funny when it happens to other people.

Seeing your reflection in your child’s eyes ….

Me fetching Georgia from school on Monday.

Georgia: I love you mommy (and gives me a big hug)

Me: Ooowww sweetie, I love you too, thank you for my hug.

Georgia: I love my big fat mommy!

Me, wondering why we cannot send them off to boarding school as soon as they are able to formulate their own thoughts.

My friend Rochelle tries to make me feel better by telling me her recent experience.

Me: Goodbye my angel of love (dropping Luke off at school last week)

Luke: Goodbye my lesbian Mom!!

(and all because I told my sister I loved her)

Of winkies and va-gi-nas …..

So last night the kids are all having a bath together and I think that this might be a prime moment for that little sex education lesson I have been putting off.  I also had a large glass of Chenin Blanc in hand, so that did give me a smidgen of Dutch Courage.

Me: “So Connor what do you call a boy winkie and a girl winkie?  What is the proper name?”

Georgia: “A moomfie.”  Sort of screaming it a bit.

Connor: “An inside winkie and an outside winkie.”

Me: “Okay, you are sort of right, but the proper name for a boy’s winkie is a penis,  can you all say penis.”

Connor  and Georgia in unison: “PENIS!”

I pray at this point that the neighbours are far far away, as I would hate to be standing explain this little didi to child services.

Me: “Okay so boys winkies are called a penis, what are girl’s winkies called?”

Georgia: “A M-O-O-M-F-I-E !” with a little more emphasis now, in case I did not quite hear earlier

Connor” errrr”

Me: “Girls winkies are called Va-gi-nas.”

Georgia: “ba-gi-nas”

Connor – squealing with laughter: “Pyjamas – why are they called pyjamas – do you climb in to them and wear them to bed?”

Me – really trying not to use my rather off beat brand of sarcastic humour here.  So I correct him and then we are all sounding out “VA – GI – NA” with relish in the bathroom.

Great, tick!

Me: “So Connor how are babies made?”

Connor: “Theres a small thing and it ….. …… it grows.” Oh the self-control I have to muster not to comment.

Me: “It is sort of right, there is an egg from the girl and the sperm from the boy – and when the sperm meets the egg, the cell starts to divide and get bigger and bigger and that is how a baby is made.”

Of course I am dreading, dreading the “how” part …. which you know is coming.  But I have my friend Chenin Blanc for morale support.

Me: “Connor all animals need an egg and a sperm to make a baby – so it does not matter if it is a human baby, or a lion, or a mouse or any of the animals you see on Discover they all need the same ingredients – understand?”

Connor: “Yes ….”

Me: “Connor how do you think the sperm gets to the egg?”

Connor: “The boy lies on the girl and then ….  his penis goes in ”  See I knew he read that book I put out, that is already a great start.

Me: “That’s right Connor – and the same thing happens with people and animals … pretty much.”

Connor: “No, the lion does not lie down does he?”

Me: “No, he stands behind the girl lion….”

Connor: “ How does his penis reach? Does he stand on top of her or behind her …?”

Me: “Well sort of behind, and on top ….. er …. like really close – haven’t you seen this on Discovery Channel?”

Connor: “Do people also stand up or do they only lie down?”

Me: “You know, either work quite well I believe – it’s all the same Connor, animals and people are pretty much the same.  So what ever a cow or a pig or a lion does is all pretty much what people do – more or less.”

Me, thinking I am nearing the finish here and it has all gone swimmingly well …

Connor: “Where does the sperm come from – and do I have any?”

Fortunately Connor is out of the bath, so I point to his abdomen and explain where it’s made and that it comes out of his penis.

Connor: “Like wee?”

Me: “Yes, pretty much.”

Connor: “How do you control it?” – honestly I don’t make this stuff up!!

So there I am explaining to my son about wet dreams and that he should not be embarrassed and so on and so on.   He admits that he sometimes does wake up with a stiff winkie – so I explain that it is natural, and he should not be embarrased, and as he gets older it will change, and happen for a different reason.

I try to encourage him that there is nothing to snigger about and find silly – it is what it is.  He seems okay, and goes and gets dressed.

He promised to ask me if he had any questions and said he was not going to ask his friends as “they probably don’t know the right answer!”  Clever lad!

We had a high-five moment, and he merrily went on his way.  I gulped the last of my Chenin Blanc and watched Georgia playing with the animals making them safe from farm invasion.  Isabelle continued to eat the sponge oblivious to the hallmark moment we had just been through.

Sooner or later I am going to be sitting with a sanitary towel and a tampon having a very similar conversation with these two.  Maybe Kennith can do that.

Me, off to pour more wine.

What’s sex?

While attending a book fair three years ago I bought a book that dealt with sex. It was not for me, though I am sure I could use it.

However I bought it so that I would not have to have the dreaded sex conversation with my kids. I am not exactly a prude, and have always thought I would be very matter of fact about this entire subject and not go and hide in the corner when this subject comes up.

There is something very unsettling about having your offspring stand in front of you all wide eyed and wonderful saying “What is sex?” I dare you not to cringe!

Connor started telling me a story yesterday that was so funny for him, that he could barely get through the introduction. I also realized that his laughter was embarrassed laughter rather than the kind that is usually is associated when someone makes a fart. Connor does love his butt humour.

So Connor is telling me that his mate, Devin, said that sex is when two people take their clothes off and you start rubbing the other one’s boobies! It is a fairly accurate description of foreplay for all intense purposes. So I sort of stood there- mildly embarrassed as I knew where this was leading. I also knew Pepe was listening and no doubt waiting to hear my response.

I heard the tick-tock-tick-tock of the clock on the oven, and hoped time would move really quickly so Kennith could come home and deal with this. Time it seems does stand still, even when not in the biblical context. Connor then asked: ‘So what is sex … exactly?”

I knew I had bought the book. I knew we had been through this issue – in a very scientific non-giggling way, but here it was again. Shit!

My brain was trying to work out how to change the subject. I went with the “we can talk about it later.”

Over supper – which was Steers burgers – yay diet!!!

I mentioned the incident to Kennith. Kennith tried to raise the subject with Connor but instead they started talking about the word “sexy!” It seems that it is quite a common word used at school and used in the same context as “awesome!” Like “I have just done a cool move with my skate board – sexy!” (or something to that effect)

I think when you are a mother/father to a boy and girls, the subject becomes quite a sensitive one. Instinctively (I think) dads want to say things and high-five their sons around this subject.

But when you know the same message is going to be heard by your daughters, I think you do sit back and rethink what your message should be.

This weekend, I plan to sit with Connor and Georgia and with the help of my very well illustrated hard cover book explain the process again.

I may need two or three glasses of wine to get me in the mood …

Of Big Tops and Play Station depravation…

I don’t make this up, as much as I would like to.

Yesterday after work I am sitting on the computer, and Connor comes into the room looking all hang dog.  He was having a no-tv-two-days as had been rude.  Well he was rude and got a no-tv-day.  Then  he thought he would be all wise-arse about his punishment so got another no-tv-day.  I cannot tell you the fun we have on the drive home from school in the afternoon.

No-tv-day is also the automatic sister to no-playstation-day and no-computer-day.  So it really is very bleak period for young Connor.

So he comes into the room, looking terribly sad and asks me what I am doing on the computer.  So I look at him and say: “I’m trying to sell you on the Internet Connor.”

So he starts looking really upset – his eyes are welling up a bit.  Sometimes I forget how literally he takes everything.  So I smile – the reassuring smile of all mothers – and go: “You know I wouldn’t sell you my boy …..”

Connor goes: “Yes you would.”

I try not to look too shocked, so reassure him that his concerns regarding his mom selling him are totally unfounded.

So he goes: “You always tell me that you are going to sell me to the circus!”

He is actually correct.  I have long used the phrase when he misbehaves or really exasperates me and say: “I am going to sell you to the circus, any circus, I really don’t mind.”

I start feeling mildly bad because my jest has either been taken as literal, else Connor is trying to get some sympathy from the situation in the hope of scoring some computer time.

I try to outsmart him: “Connor, I would never be able to sell you to the circus my boy, you don’t do any tricks, you can’t even juggle!  Sweetie, without a skill, I probably couldn’t give you to them.”

Then he says to me in all seriousness: “But my dad is teaching me to juggle, so you can sell me to the circus.”

Kids, sigh, when did they get so damn smart!

Razor blades and wrist slitting ……

I fetched the kids from school yesterday and needed to stop and grab some goodies for dinner.  We were having friends over and I had not really had a chance to give it much thought, so I was trying to pull a Nigella.  I needed to find quick and easy food that would reinforce the idea that I was a domestic goddess to my friends.  I’m not, but I strive to reinforce this belief – even if it is only in my mind.

There we were in Woolworths, kids were fighting over something and I was trying really hard to decide whether I could attempt a camembert phyllo pastry number or just throw a pasta together.

Got over to the check-out counter – picture the scene – it is 5pm, really busy stuff in the store.  Connor is being helpful and unpacking. Georgia is crying because I am not buying her a lollypop – she has resorted to saying please as pweeeezzzzz (but repeated really fast) in the vain hope that cuteness will override my no.

I realize Connor is talking to me and turn to him – and he is pointing to a razor blade display at the check- out and goes: “Mom are you going to get some of those?’

I go : “No, my boy, I’m sorted..” and I continue attending to what one attends to at Woolworths check-out counter.

Connor continues in a slightly louder voice: “Are you sure?  Because these are for your legs.”

I smile – as mom’s can only do when they realize they are being faced with a trying situation – and say: “Really Connor, I have it sorted, but thanks my boy.”

Connor then decides to explain in a louder voice – in case the guy who is packing stock in the back was not in on the conversation: “Well I think you should buy them, because the hair on your legs is all long and spiky, and it is hard and makes me sore….”

I quietly hand over my credit card and slink out the store …….