Pick ‘n Pay … Larry … Stikeez … Super Animal Cards …. and my changing wine purchasing habits ….

I had some less than complementary things to say last time about Larry from Pick ‘n Pay and his band of underlings who introduced the Stikeez concept into their stores.

I recall I had suggested that “I hope you get a case of chlamydia – you and your entire team.  And it is drug resistant.”

It was based on my own selfish need to walk around Pick ‘n Pay with my earphones in.  Getting what ever I need.  With no need to interact with anyone.  With no one demanding something from me.

I would go home and be grateful for my 15 minutes of “me time.”

I do realise it is a sad state of affairs when your “me time” is you shopping at a retailer.  Motherhood starts with you having high ideals, and then degenerates into being happy that you can pee alone.  True story.

My kids do not want to come shopping with me – I took it as a 15 – 45 minute free “ME” time moment.

For a parent with three children, I have come to put a high value on time to-be-by-myself-without-having-to-wipe-someone’s-bum-or-to-tell-a-sibling-to-stop-hitting-the-other-sibling-with-a-empty-bottle.

I rate that time highly.  And I get agitated when someone is about to encroach on that time.

Larry and his Stikeez came along and my shopping experience went to hell in a hand-basket.

I was subjected to queues with children whining and strained parents wondering if they should just buy 15 R10.00 items so they can get a Stikeez.  So that maybe.  Just maybe.  They can have a break from their whiny off-spring for just a few moments.  Peace, sweet peace.

Moms and dads with two Stikeez and three children were standing in Pick ‘n Pay trying to decide which was their least favourite child for the day.

One Stikeez, three children is just not an equation that works.  Even with standard grade mathematics.

Kids were crying and moaning.  You give them a Stikeez.  They are happy and joyous.  It lasts for 0.25 seconds.  The kid opens the bag and it is the one they have already.  Then the world ends.

They are whingeing again to their parents to get them another Stikeez.  Parents are staring at cashiers thinking “please save me ….. for the love of all things good ….. save me..”

And the Pick ‘n Pay cashier places a protective hand over the Stikeez box.  Clearly been trained on how quickly this situation can turn violent.  And she has been coached to protect the Stikeez at all costs.  All.  Costs.

stikeez

It was all a very unpleasant time for many of us.

I think as a nation of parents with young kids, we came together in our loathing for the fact that Pick ‘n Pay was getting us to “bribe” our children, for their silence.  At R150.00 a pop.

It’s a bit like gambling.

I just have to spend R150.00 and I will get 5 minutes of Johnny being happy. I will be the best parent in the world. Granted for only 5 minutes, but it will be the best 5 minutes of my life!!

Shit, not another penguin. Johnny has that one, and is now going full siren sound and blowing bubbles out of his nose as he screams for another Stikeez.  

Oh fuck it, I am this far in.  Here is another R150.00 — let’s see what I get ….. ah fek, another fecking penguin!!  What fresh hell is this?

People without children are looking on in horror and thinking, you know I  don’t think I am quite ready to come off birth control just yet.  “Honey I think you need to get some condoms …..”

This year Pick ‘n Pay has launched the Super Animals Card Campaign.

wildanimals

I will confess I braced myself, and prepared to run away from home, or change my retailer until this shit was over.

I still had vivid memories of the last campaign.

It was like Checkers and Spar were on to it.  Collectively deciding that “fek you parents” and  each released their own spend-R150.00-and-we-will-give-you-shit-your-kid-wants-and-will-whine-itself-into-a-stupor-to-beg-you-to-get-another Campaign.

I decided to pull my jacket on tighter against this storm, and just push through.  I was looking braver than I was feeling.

As a rule I do not shop with the kids – they are either at home or I have locked them in the car with no windows open (or you can hear their moaning) – either way, they are not with me.

I paid for my items and the cashier gave me Super Animal Cards.

I thought …. seriously, are my kids really going to get all excited about this?  {using an inside voice that drips of disdain}

It appears that Pick ‘n Pay knows my kids better than I do.

My 14 years old feels that unless it’s Pokémon it is a total waste of time.  So the campaign was lost on him.

The girls however were in hook, line and sinker!!

Then the whinging began.  It started with questions and has moved to full-scale instructions.

Did you go to Pick ‘n Pay today?

Have you got cards on you?

Go buy sweets and get cards from Pick ‘n Pay. <7 year old>

7 year old barely acknowledges me unless I have a Pick ‘n Pay bag – then she is in full frisk-me mode.  I have stopped being mom I have become “do you have any Animal cards?”

The cards are actually nice — the girls are learning names of animals they probably would never have known otherwise.  The little pop up facts on the cards are also quite nicely done.

It is however, similar to Stikeez, in the constant demand for more, no matter how much they have it remains relentless.

Re. Fucking. Lent.  Less.

It’s given me insight into what living with a crack addict must be like.

The overwhelming urge at Pick ‘n Pay to spend at least R300.00 so I can get two cards.  Two kids = two cards.

When  all I want is this one bottle of wine at R39.00.  Ah well, 8 bottles it is then.  That is the sort of lengths I am willing to go to make my children happy.  That people is parenting!!

The girls have got the book, the little box thing, the sound thing.  All of it.  It really does keep them busy for lengths of time.

I am not that person who is going to set up a meet with other moms/dads/psychopaths to swap my kids cards out so they can have the full set.

Yeah, that seems like way too much commitment to this project.

Being a shitty parent, with little in the way of things which strike the fear of Gd into my children, I have realised that nothing ends an argument quicker than threatening to take a few Super Animals cards away.

It wins hands down at the moment as the thing, most likely, to stop them beating the crap out of each other.

It ends the high-pitched glass-shattering screaming that only two girls can do.

It acts as a very convenient leverage to encourage kids to clean up their rooms and hang up the fecking wet towels which are lying on the goddamn floor.

I no longer have to stand there beseeching them.

I now give clear instructions <but in a threatening tone> “these towels better be hung up, PROPERLY, in the next 15 seconds or I am taking a Super Animal Card from each of your collections.  And you, 14 year old, will be losing wi-fi!!!  {he does not give a toss about the cards, but wi-fi is like oxygen to him}

Thanks Larry at Pick ‘n Pay – you have definitely pushed up my wine purchasing habits.  Not that it needed much in the way of motivation, but there you are.

I trust you and your team are all chlamydia free — wishing you all the best!

 

Post related to this topic:  https://reluctantmom.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/larry-at-a-pick-n-pay-and-my-wishes-around-a-venereal-disease/

 

Pick n Pay’s twitter #fail! {Georgina Guedes writes for News24}

So, earlier this week, Celeste Barlow, a mommy blogger (sorry, horrible term), wrote a blog piece that got her a lot of eyeballs (another crap term, sorry). My mom friends republished it – they laughed and commiserated – because it clearly touched a nerve.

The nerve is this: Pick ‘n Pay is apparently running a campaign in which, for every R150 you spend, you get a toy called a Stikeez (I don’t know what the singular form is). This means that if you have more than one child, your minimum purchase had better add up to [number of children] x R150.

Barlow has three, so her minimum purchase has to be R450 – and apparently her kids frisk her as she gets in the door.

The blog was funny. It’s nice to read something about parenting that isn’t drowning in saccharin “we are all winners here, we love all the brands” sentiment. She swears. And she signs off by wishing the Pick n Pay marketing team Chlamydia. It’s very merry.

Read the rest of this article here:

http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GeorginaGuedes/Pick-n-Pays-twitter-fail-20150814

Larry at Pick ‘n Pay and my wishes around a venereal disease

stickies

Pick ‘n Pay sat around and thought to themselves, “what could make shopping with kids at our store more painful for parents?” and one bright spark put up his hand and said “yes, let’s make Stikeez!”

Initially the brain storming crew could not understand what the pull of making parents spend R150.00 at their stores to get a “toy” which probably cost less than 8 cents to manufacture would do to the children and the parents.

What is the appeal here —– I mean really.

People sat around and said it was a shit idea and would not work.

It was an 8 cents crap toy for goodness sake – you could pop over to McDonalds and get a semi decent toy for less than R5.00 with a kids meal, or if you were feeling thrifty and thought fuck the kids meal, you could just buy the toy.

The group fought a bit and eventually everyone just gave up and left it to Larry and his team to introduce these ridiculous “Stikeez” toys.  No one believed that the toys would work.

But most of the team thought Larry was a bit of a wanker anyway and really just wanted the meeting to end early, so they could go and get a few beers, without Larry and his zany ideas.

Larry spear headed the programme.

In short you purchase R150.00 at Pick ‘n Pay and the till operator throws one of the toys into your packet of purchases.  You spend R450.00 and you get three toys.

I have three children – try the fuck and come home with two.  I dare you!!!

Larry it appears is some sort of a genius – possibly an idiot savante – or just a regular idiot I need to beat with the long end of my desk lamp.

Larry has basically fucked up shopping for me – entirely.

I used to view grocery shopping as a 45 – 90 minute exercise of getting away from my kids.

I would cruise the aisles with my earpiece in, listening to what ever music I liked at a volume called “deafening” and enjoy the few moments I had to myself at Pick ‘n Pay. Merrily shopping for what ever was on my shopping list.

Not a care in the world, if you take away the little issue about whether I will be able to pay for all of this shit when I got to the end – that besides.

In some cases just idly going along so that I could avoid three children screaming at me.

It was the few moments of peace and respite I could enjoy in my day.

I would get home and actually no one gave a shit that I got home. With shopping. I had to beg and plead, and sometimes mildly threaten to get my kids to help unload the car.

Larry has forever fucked that up for me.  Royally,

I get home now.  Even from the local biltong store, and they are on me like lice.  Begging, pleading, searching and basically frisking me for Stikeez.

It was sort of cute for the first two or three days, now it is annoying.

Last night my youngest burst into tears as she unwrapped a Stikeez (which I had to buy R150.00 of crap to get) and it was not the little doggie she wanted.

Ungrateful little bitch.  She has 14 Stikeez.  Quick maths. 14 x R150.00 = fuck loads of money.

She seriously burst into tears.

I seriously lost the last shred of my shit on this particular subject.

I called her back and told her that if she ever EVER cried, moaned, lamented, beseeches me about Stikeez again, I was going to take them all and toss them out the window whilst driving on the N1 at 120km/h.

I do not threaten …. I do.

You only have to throw a cake out of a window ONCE on the N1 before the kids fully understand not to fuck with you when you are driving.

And a threat has a real outcome.

ONE chocolate cake out of your car window at full speed to teaches everyone a valuable lesson about screaming and whining about chocolate cake and and and ……… the result is a chocolate cake speeding past you travelling in the opposite direction to before it connects the tar of the national highway.

After that usually dead silence in the car.  It’s a powerful image.

She looked at me and burst into tears and said “I LOVE JORDAN…”

Side bar note:  Jordan is my ex-husband’s girlfriend who died tragically and suddenly the week before last.   It is still a very raw pain for everyone involved, and several people are still walking around dazed and confused trying to adjust to the situation. Everyone in our family has been shaken by it.  None of this is in anyway related to Stikeez

My daughter throwing a bitch fit over Stikeez and then tying this to a tragic and rather fresh death was a bit more than I could take for one evening.

I called/yanked her over and made it clear that as much as I understood she loved and missed Jordan, making her issues about “Stikeez” connected to Jordan’s death was somewhat unfair to Jordan, and further pushed my issues around “Stikeez.”

I think the only thing to be said here is —- well played Larry at Pick ‘n Pay and your team for introducing what can only be described as the most ridiculous and most coveted items for children.  Well played. {introduces slow clap}

I hope you get a case of chlamydia – you and your entire team.  And it is drug resistant.

Sweets in retailer check-out aisles …. and other ways we are outsourcing our parenting

This morning I was listening to Cape Talk – the KIENO KAMMIES show.  One of the topics being discussed was that retailers pack impulse purchasers like sweets in the check out aisles.

140627_Sweets-in-Aisles

 

There was a fairly vigourous call-in exchange that followed.

The gist of it was that retailers are tempting our children with the sweets in the check out aisles.  We cannot control our children, or draw clear boundaries for behaviour and with this in mind we are going to start petitioning the retailers not to pack sweets in the check out aisles.

Various parents phoned in and there was quite a lot of support for the “get the sweets out of our checkout aisle” campaign.

There were discussions about obesity and bad dental hygiene, and pretty much the end of civilization as we know it.  I kept wondering, where are the parents in all of this.

The one guest explained that he had a three year old child (I may be incorrect about the age), and when he stands in the aisle to pay, his child wants a sweet, or all of the sweets.  And then proceeds to throw a tantrum.

He felt that onlookers would judge him as a bad parent.

Speaking about bad teeth yesterday, part of the reason we have bad teeth is to do with the amount of sugar we consume, because if you don’t brush regularly after eating sugary snacks, it sticks around, and may lead to tooth decay in the long run… This conversation also led us to those so-called “aisles of death” in the supermarkets where you are herded like cattle until you reach the till, and your path there is riddled with chocolates, candies and sugary drinks. It can be hell for many parents, if your children happen to be with you demanding chocolate, and it can also be hell on your waistline. It is a widely held belief that supermarkets have these aisles in order to help their bottom line, make more profits. One man who is trying to lobby supermarkets to ban the sweets queue is Phillip Brink, who is looking for more support for his Facebook campaign to end the purgatory of treat aisles many shoppers face.

I am not sure if he just gave his child a sweet, or explained to his child that “dad has already said no, and no means no” or whether he just gave up the ghost and gave Junior a whack because the situation had escalated.

I am not sure what the dad did.

I do know the dad decided that he had enough of his child misbehaving when it came to sweets.  In a retailers’ check out aisles.

And started a Facebook campaign to stop retailers filling their check out aisles with sweets and other baubles that make children lose their shit, and parents unable to control them.

Because Gd help us if we say no to our child — and our child disagrees.  I know!!!  I know!!! The scene that would cause, because I spend my days just saying yes to my children, no matter what they ask for, or for that matter how much of a scene they create.

Me – I live in fear of having to discipline or control my child.

I am a reasonable person.  Most of the time.  I will listen to most opinions and try to hear or see it from the other person’s point of view.

I have three children – all of them are alive, reasonably well adjusted with ages range from 12 – 5 years old.  I am not suggesting because I have three children that I am an expert on parenting.

I also own a car and a pool, and I know very little about either of those.  So possession does not instantly equal knowledge or skill, I do appreciate that.

I have had many trips to Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths, and many other stores where there are piles of tantalising distractions for my kids.

My kids ask for the sweets, sometimes they whine and every now and then one of them has a bit of a poes collapse.  The general shopping aisles are more of a gauntlet than the check out line.  By the time we have got to check out, I have already said NO to a variety of requests at least a dozen times.  But hey, whose counting?

I have never thought, not once, to blame the retailer for my kids behaviour, or for my kids making demands.  My son had one tantrum in Woolworths when he threw himself down on the floor – flat down – and proceeded to bang his fists and his feet as he bemoaned some injustice that had befallen him.  Granted he was about 18 months old.

Without making this a long story – the key here is he had one tantrum.  One and that is it.

My two girls have not had tantrums in stores, partly because we have passed the “he had one tantrum” story on to them.   I am hoping that by evolution and natural selection they have learnt why that is not a good route to go.  In our family.  Tantrums get your nothing, but time out, TV privileges begin revokes, and possibly only bread and water for dinner.

I say no – then I remind that I have said no and if they ask again, then there will be consequences.  And I follow through on the consequences, else they know that next time they can just keep pushing me, and nothing will ever happen.

What a concept!!  I did not realise we could out source parenting responsibilities to retailers.

Now that I do, it sure does open an entire avenue of responsibility I can park at other people’s doors.

I plan to start a campaign aimed at the radio stations to stop playing any songs that indicate that my girl child might be wear boots with fur and getting low, low, low ….

Shawty had them apple bottom jeans (jeans)
Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was looking at her
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
Next thing you know
Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low

Because clearly I am unable to control, teach or enlighten my girl child not to get low, low, low and then more low, low.

Definitely starting that campaign pronto.

When I have a few more moments I am also going to petition all the clothing stores not to stock any shorts that I would deem as shorty shorts.  Why?

Well I find them offensive for children.  I am unable to decide, enforce my decision, and not buy my girl child a pair of them when they ask for them  If my girl child throws a tantrum or ask more than three times, I just buy her one in each colour.

Because that solves the problem.

Listen, I could do all of that.  I could if I was daft and deranged and out of touch with reality.

Last time I checked I am a parent.

Last time I checked I am a parent who creates boundaries, parameters, rules and assists my child to learn to know what is appropriate, what is not not.  What they are allowed, what they aren’t and when all of that doesn’t work then to hear me say: “NO, because I said SO!”

Are we seriously becoming those people who cannot control our children?

Possibly because we have been so damn bad at instilling discipline, respect and our children have become our little princes and princesses who we can deny nothing.  Possibly.

As parents are we choosing to blame the environment or someone else, for our children’s behaviour?  Because if we are.  if we are, is this not a dangerous lesson in itself to teach our children.

We are telling our children that nothing is their responsibility – impulse control, being able to accept that you cannot have everything you want and learning that there are limits to everything.

By making a stand against retailers and asking them to put their sweets in another location, so that we as parents do not have to say no to our children, sort of sounds a lot, to me at any rate, that we are deciding that this parenting malarkey is just too damn difficult, and saying no to our Princes and Princesses is not something we wish to do.

Is that really where we are going as a society of responsible parenting?

Because if we are — then I suggest now, that we start to prepare ourselves for the next level which is an inability to teach, mould and guide our children through their lives.

If you cannot as a parent tell your children that they cannot have a sweet – and they accept that, then jeez louise we are in dire shit.

 

 

If you however disagree with my outlook – and feel comfortable handing over the responsibility of your child and what happens in stores, then pop along to Phillip Brink’s Facebook page.

The outing to the bottle store …..

someecards-parenting

So I am at the bottle store this afternoon, trying to buy two bottles of wine with three children in tow.

As you do.

Standing in the queue to pay.  Not a very long queue.  No problems here.

True as nuts, a man who who clearly is height-challenged joins the queue behind me. I am not sure what the correct term is – but clearly he was shorter “than normal” and his body was slightly out of proportion.

No problem.

It’s a bottle store, who am I to judge.

Isabelle points – not subtly – but points, and then hoots with laughter.  I have no idea what she is saying, but she is hooting and pointing, like you do at a circus – and she starts jumping from foot to foot and HOO-FUCKING-TING.

I cling a bit closer to my two wine bottles, and start to prey to the gods of bottle-store-queues that I can pay and get the hell out of there.

I turn to him and smile and say “Sorry …..”

Georgia who never wants to be left behind, also starts speaking in a high pitched voice, pointing, squeeling and hiding behind me — and also speaking in a REALLY LOUD VOICE FOR A BOTTLE STORE.

I actually have no idea what she is saying, because I am trying to put a bottle in each ear and sign LA-LA-LA-LA-LA really really loudly.

Again I turn around, smile and say: “I really am sorry, I have tried to lose them in retail outlets, but they keep finding me….”

Isabelle picks up the slack, and is laughing, holding her tummy and sort of bending over double …

Again, I turn around and apologise profusely.

I did promise that as soon as we get home I would have a conversation with my kids about inappropriate pointing and speaking in really loud voices.

Eventually it was over. I could leave. This guy could pay for his purchase and I could herd my kids into the car.

I am off to the library to look for a book titled: “We are all different and we definitely should not scream and point whilst in a bottle store queue!!”

Every time I think I have this parenting thing right, then one visit to the bottle store and I realise it might be to give Jo Frost a call.

and meanwhile someone drops their baby … but doesn’t drop the call ….

parenting_fail

{————————————————}

Have a happy weekend, where ever you might be!!

We are on holiday …. we ate food …

Kennith had plans to run the Otter Trail (I assume one runs the Otter Trail) and then there was talk of a week in Knysna/George area and I was pretty lukewarm about the idea.

Watching people exert themselves is of very little interest to me.

Circumstances changed and we headed out to the Knysna/George neck of the woods and have been here since Monday.

Gorgeous maybe hints at it. I will go into more detail at another time.

Today we headed to East Head Cafe in Knysna.  Kennith has this app Trip Advisor which so far has directed us to one great restaurant after another and today was no exception.

We met a group of friends for lunch – I can honestly say it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.

I had the fresh fish and chips with calamari, and it will become the bar against which I will rate all fish and calamari from this point onwards — sadly I see much disappointment in my future.

The staff were friendly – really friendly and attentive.  The food was great, it was all just too good.  There was a small issue about the cheese cake that got resolved quickly, and then that became something we could forget about and remember the rest of the great lunch.

The wind was blowing and it was freezing so the outside area was closed off.  Inside was very relaxing, beautifully decorated and the view was one where I sat so I could look at it.  We had a small baby at our table and the staff were really great with offering assistance – and no matter how much we messed and poured beer on the table, they were happy and efficient.

I live at the sea, always have.

I seldom choose to sit and stare at the ocean view because it is all a bit ho-hum, but today was quite exceptional.

If you are ever in the Knysna area and looking for one of the places to eat, then head on over to East Head Cafe.

{PS: They sell a Biscotti with Orange, Lindt Chocolate and Nuts that will make your eyes roll back in your head — and you will buy a few packets because no one should ever go without this Biscotti ever again}

Kennith took these images, I was too busy stuffing my face and drinking my beer (yes I opted for beer at lunch) to take photographs of my food.

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easthead02

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We all agreed that my Lemon Meringue had quite a head on it.   Notice the large biscotti display to my right!!

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I see that East Head Cafe has been awarded a nomination in the Best Eatery Awards – definitely worth a visit and a vote if you are in Knysna.

knysna-awards-logo

{this is not a sponsored post —- }

Touching Creation … and it has a play area

We headed out to the Overberg on the weekend.

We spent the weekend at High Seasons Guest Farm– which for a place to stay is brilliant.

Your biggest noise factor is the sound of cows moo’ing – I have stayed at High Season on several occasions, and each time I say “cripes, this must be the best place on the planet…”  The cottages are divine, the entire setting is wonderful – and you can bring along your well-behaved dog.

We headed out on Saturday to a wine farm.

The problem with this plan is that it requires a certain measure of getting out of bed early, and then getting going. Great in plan, a bit less oomph in execution.

By the time we got moving and wine sipping it was 13h00, so that sort of makes it more gulping than sipping.  We went along to HermanusPietersfontein Wine Tasting.  Everyone rated the red wines as being incredible – I found the white wines a bit “meh” …. but wine is about personal taste, and what you enjoy.

Not being deterred on the wine front – we were directed to pop in at Creation, which is along the Hemel-en-Aarde Road.

I really was not expecting much.

I figured a large draughty room, us tasting wine and freezing to death. It was sunny but cold, and I was frozen to the marrow.

But then we arrived at Creation.  Oh my giddy aunt!!

What a brilliant place.  We sat down in this lovely dining area, with kids running around, and wine glasses as a chandelier!!

I am not sure where the best part was – but it was all pretty heady stuff.  They had a Wine Paring Canapes menu available and we all ordered it.

Oh. My. Gruffalo!

I think I might have crossed over to the other side.  I am not a red wine drinker.  I never drink red wine.  5 of the wines were red, and they were brilliant.

wine_pairing

It was one of those experiences where the wine is broken down into its various components of flavour and then the food is built up of those individual tastes and the result is you take a sip of wine, a bite of your canape, and then another sip of your wine — and then the flavour explodes.

What a divine experience.

I can easily add this to one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Got a few days?  Want a wonderful get away, pop in at High Season Guest Farm, and shoot across to Creation Wines for such a memorable experience it will make your eyes roll back in your head.

And there is a play area for your kids.

Does that sound like winning?  Totally!4

{no this is not a sponsored post — just had a divine weekend, and a lovely canapes with wine pairing}

So anyway there was this baboon in my car ….

Connor is doing an Orienteering Programme in Tokai forest.  I drop him off at 09h30.  He runs around a bit and I collect him at 12h30.

It is too far to come back home, so I found a coffee shop to work and then headed back to collect Connor.

I arrive at the designated spot, turn my car engine off, roll down the windows, and lean into the back seat to grab my diary so I can make some last minute phone calls whilst I wait.

As I turn back, what do I find in the front seat half way in through the window? A baboon.  An actual hairy baboon.

I think I did the matrix stands still in time thing.  I visualised my hand turning the little lever for the window to roll up really fast.

Then I remembered that the car is not from 1977 so has a button.  Great, but not as impressive as a little handle I can wind the sh*t out of.

I wondered to myself if I could get to the button before the baboon ate my face. I mused about this for what seemed like an eternity.  I must confess this baboon was doing a very slow slink in through the window to deposit himself firmly in the passenger seat.

Or maybe it was just an indication of how slow times moves in Tokai Forest.

Eventually my right hand found the button, whilst my left hand continued to hold my diary firmly in place.  Just in case I wanted to make any quick appointments for the last 30 seconds of my life.  With a face.  And 10 fingers.

I pushed the button.  Which did make me realise how sssssssllllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww that button actually is.  It clearly is not designed for episodes of manic window up pressing, but more for lazy Sunday ice cream eating.

Here is the surprise part.  Granted if you will assume anything other than a large hairy baboon in your passenger seat is not sufficient surprise for one day.

I never thought what would happen if whilst he was injecting himself into my car, the window came up.  Would it make him jump forward? Or make him jump backwards?

The other option in the less than ideal map of the world is that Senior Hairy would have vaulted himself forward.  And there we would have been.  The two of us.  Trapped inside a white VW Caddy, with nothing to talk about and little to eat. Other than my face.

Fortunately baboon guy jumped backwards – or slid, or what ever baboons do when exiting a vehicle.  There I sat staring through the glass at him thinking FCK!

Baboon guy was not finished with me.  His hand gripped the door handle and pressed it so that he could enter in a more leisurely fashion.

You know when you are trying to push the “LOCK ALL THE FREAKING DOORS AND WINDOWS RIGHT NOW” button and you start hitting the the windscreen wipers, demister for the back window and child lock button at the same time.

Whilst you have a baboon trying to get into your car?

Just like that.

I locked the car and then sat there gasping for breath.  I was sure I was in a scene from Jurassic Park. I needed a glass of water on my dashboard.

Mr Hairy Pants is probably quite used to this behaviour, so he sat on the car in front of me and showed me his pen.is.

I tried to communicate with very complicated hand signals that I was married.  And an inter specie relationship probably was not going to work out.  It was all very tempting.  But I knew the measure of true love.

I was sure our love was not going to be able to look past the distance between my home in Parow and his in Tokai.

Long distance love does not always work.

He still sat there and showed me his pe.nis.  I am not sure if this has worked with previous girls.

It reminded me why I would be reluctant to get divorced and hit the dating scene again.

I looked at him.  He looked at me.  In a knowing manner.  And then he jumped on my car and worked his way around trying each door – as well as the boot.  Seriously for all this ev0lution vs creation mumbo-jumbo, my baboon was thorough!

When he realised we had a love whose name should not be spoken, he went to sit on the roof of my car and every now and then would put his leathery little fingers on the windscreen.  If you paired it with the song they sang when the Titanic ship sank it would have been pretty romantic stuff.

Eventually I started thinking that he was going to rip the roof off with his little leathery fingers – funny how the thing that draws you to a mate eventually repels you!

Somewhere I saw Connor (in my imagination) skipping up to the car only to be confronted with a face eating baboon.

You know how when you are small and an adult looks at you and says “I bet he is more scared of you than you are of it” – well freak that sherbet.  Baboons in Tokai Forest are plenty scary.

This is a picture of my guy.  I got it off his Facebook profile.  He likes walks in the rain and mosquitoes on the beach.

baboon_reluctantmom

The what ifs of seat belts

This weekend we traveled up to Oudtshoorn.

The reason for going was there were two Championship D0g Shows on.   I take Dexter to Dog Shows.

I am “that” person. It is a little like Toddlers and Tiaras, just less spray tan and false teeth, but other than that, pretty similar.

To be made up as a Champion, he has to earn 6 Championship Certificates.

Each show awards two certificates per breed – one for the best female and one for the best male in a breed.  There is a lot of competition, and it is about how your dog is perceived by the judge in accordance with the breed standard, how he appears on that day, how he m0ves, and how he compares to the other Boston Terriers there.

Part of the 6 CC’s you need to earn (to be made up as a Champion according to KUSA) is that one is awarded after he is 18 months or older.  You also have to earn at least one away from home – so you need to travel out of your geographic area to earn some of your CC points.

Three kids, a dog, and enough ‘crap and stuff’ to relocate to another country, and we were off for the weekend.

We drive the equivalent of a plumber’s van – it’s white, it’s large – the kids do not have to sit close to each other.  The two girls sat in the back row, and Connor in the middle row with Dexter.

I always check the kids are wearing their seat belts.  I am anal about seat belts.  I reverse the car out of the garage into the drive way and I wear my seat belt.

As I reverse, or when I am about to drive I always say (after I have done a visual check) “Everyone got their seat belts on?”

Then I sound out their names, and they each say yes.

We had stopped along the way, and everyone had got back in, and I had not done a check.  We were driving at at a certain point Kennith had to brake to reduce speed, it was not a huge shut-down-anchors-and-tear-the-tar, but it was a bit of a slow down – and it was enough.

Isabelle flew out of her seat with brute force, and her face slammed into the floor of the car.

She screamed.  I looked back and her face came up and there was just blood and snot bubbles, and some more screaming – initially I could not work out how she had got out of her seat and ended up on the floor.

It did not help she was in a sleeping bag, so her hands could not come up to break her fall, or protect her face.

We couldn’t pull over immediately as we were driving down a pass, and there was no where to pull over safely.  We had to continue driving for a few minutes before there was a safe enough area to pull over to the side of the road, with full screaming, me panicking, and screaming JUST GET YOUR SEAT BELT BACK ON!!! like a lunatic.

She was distressed, and had a cut on her top lip and it was swelling at a bit of a rate, and there was a lot of blood.  Smallish cut, lots of blood, I guess are synonymous with cuts on your face.

We sat with her a bit until she calmed down, staunched the blood flow, buckled her up and started driving again.

I cannot keep thinking of how much worse that could have been.  We could have had an accident, we could have been going faster, something could have happened, that made her slamming her face into the floor boards look like a walk-skip-and-jump in the park.

It wasn’t bad.  I got away with forgetting to check my daughter was wearing a seat belt by a stroke of luck, and a small wake up call.

Thank fk it was not worse.

Thanks fk that my child did not go flying through the windscreen.

Thank fk that our trip to Oudtshoorn will be remembered for the great road trip that it was, Dexter winning a CC and a BOB, and not my child being killed because I forgot to check seat belts.

If you do not buckle your child up, even for short trips, I hope you read this as a wake up call.

Buckle up yourself, buckle up your children.  No excuses.  No arguments.

Buckle your shit up!

dexter_roadtripping

Research Data and Statistics on the importance of Seatbelts / Child Restraints/ Baby Seats (Sourced here)

  • A review of research on the effectiveness of seat-belts found that their use reduces the probability of being killed by 40–50% for drivers and front seat passengers and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.
  • A study in Norway calculated that head injuries make up some 60% of all injuries to vehicle occupants. The study concluded that drivers and front seat passengers who do not use seat-belts suffer almost the same percentage of head injuries as non-users in rear seats.
  • Ejection from a vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash, with 75% of all vehicle occupants ejected from a vehicle in a crash dying as a result.
  • Seat-belts are effective in preventing ejections: overall, 44% of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed are ejected, partially or totally, from the vehicle, as compared to only 5% of restrained occupants.
  • Seat-belts are approximately 50% effective in preventing fatalities in crashes in which motorists would otherwise die. It is estimated that seat-belt use prevented about 15 200 deaths in the United States in 2004. If all passenger vehicle occupants over 4 years of age in the United States had used seat-belts in 2004, nearly 21 000 lives could have been saved (that is, an additional 5800 lives).
  • A review of various United States studies has shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed and used for children aged 0–4 years can reduce the need for hospitalization by 69%. 
  • The risk of death for infants is reduced by 70%, and that for children aged 1–4 years by 47–54%. Of children aged under 5 years, 485 lives could have been saved in the United States in 2002 if all the children had been in child safety seats.
  • It has been estimated in the United Kingdom that new rules on the use of child restraints rather than adult seat-belts for children up to 135 cm in height or aged 12 years and above will save over 2000 child injuries or deaths every year .
  • It is estimated that within the European Union seat-belts currently reduce driver fatalities by 40%.
  • Wearing rates in European countries vary widely from around 70% to over 95%. If all European Union countries were to achieve a 99% wearing rate for drivers, 2400 lives would be saved each year.

– See more at: http://www.arrivealive.co.za/pages.aspx?i=2877#sthash.fY8lSzGC.dpuf

Indian food and olive branches ….

Kennith and I went out for dinner last night.

I thought (it’s my blog so it is all about my perspective) that Kennith was really in an old man grumbling sort of mood.

I got in the car and he started explaining an incident that occurred.   He was getting quite worked up over something that is pretty minor.  As he told the story, he really got vexed and it ended with: “if they just understood and applied basic statistical modelling this would never have happened…”

I tried not to make my eyes go big.  I do get a bit afraid if people start to bandy around statistics, and refer to it as basic principle.  It took me years to understand that “the mean average” was not the “average of the angry people.”

Kennith went on to another issue.

I have learnt from experience, and my anticipation of being ready to say ” yes we are” when the waiter asks “are you ready to order?’ to half listen.  Nod at the right times, and even pull my mouth just like so in empathy, all the while keeping an eye out for the friendly yet elusive waiter.

I volunteered – after I had my drink – that Kennith was a bit obsessed with being right all the time.  To which he indicated that the issue was not that he was right all the time, but that everyone was wrong, and just needed to bow to his superior knowledge.

I might be paraphrasing, but that is sort of the gist of what he said.

I suggested that he should recognise that being right all the time is not as important as maybe just accepting some responsibility for things. And that maybe he was not right all the time, and MORE IMPORTANTLY TO STOP TELLING ME THIS EVENING ABOUT HOW RIGHT YOU FUCKING ARE!!

Kennith had ordered a beer and it arrived.

He ignored my prattling on about how he should desist from proving how right he was.  He was deeply engaged in reading the bottle label.

“Hah!” he said showing me a real close up of the bottle, “see I was right, this beer is made in Singapore and not India!!”

I took a sip of my Millers – which I really have no interest in knowing where it is from –  to eye Kennith steadily over my beer glass.  I indicated that he was maybe doing the “thing” again — the having to be right all the time thing.

His defense was that the beer was not from India.

He was right, and should he not crow about being right when he was right ….. I decided it might be easier to cast my eyes down at the menu and look if there was any biryani available.  There is no sense in arguing with a mad man with a glass bottle in his hand.

Kennith never knows when to stop, he said to me “Well you never admit to being wrong!!  When have you ever admitted to being wrong?”  {does this sound like an evening-out going down the shit pipe at a rapid rate?}

To which I answered: “I admit to being wrong, and that I have made a mistake ….often …. what I do not admit to is being sorry.  That I seldom can admit to!  I really struggle to say “I’m sorry!”

Kennith went on to tell me about how he was right about the positioning of the restaurant, though I disagreed.  He called the waiter over to affirm his rightness.

I ordered another beer. I might have been three ahead at this point. I figured that there was no way we were going to have sex, I might as well just get drunk.

In a desperate further attempt to try to divert the conversation away from all the things Kennith is allegedly right about — and he did go on a bit — I brought up the fact that my family is not one for saying “SORRY.”

We are more of the kind that hold a grudge for 25 years.

Totally forget what it was we originally started fighting about.  We pass the grudge on to the next generation and call it a “clan feud” which sounds better than saying you are arguing about petty shit.  We do have a tendency to get drunk at funerals and then have an absolutely family argument about shit that happened decades ago.

Kennith reminded me that I had not spoken to my brother in more than 5 years.

He lives a few suburbs away.  I speak to the one in Scotland.

I agreed, and said that I really did not have animosity towards him.  A few things had occurred, and I am quite well adapted to sever ties with someone and move on with my life.

I really am far above beyond interested in having gang fights on the hill, and having a shit fit on Facebook.  I simply go into a shut down mode, and remove all traces of the person from my life.  I don’t do anger, I do disinterest like a super hero though.

My brother Shaun and I have not spoken in years.  The reason is irrelevant.  I am sure it is one of those things whose truth is embedded in the person telling the tale.  The reality is somewhere in the middle.

I got home last night and decided to send him a message and pretty much say “hey here is an olive branch, and if you want to get together and move on then, I am fine with that” — notice how I did not say sorry, but I sort of meant it by my actions.

My brother declined my olive branch.

Okay, he did not tell me to shove it up my arse.

He did indicate that there will be no olive branch exchanging, no cups of sugar lending, and definitely no boerewors on the Sunday braai together – he was very polite, and said “no thank you” like a gentleman.

In the end I did have biryani.

I was quite sober.

The meal unfortunately was not brilliant.

Kennith will tell me all the points in this post where he was right, and continues to be. {sigh}

I really adore my dog ….

I have had Dexter since January 2012 and he really is such a cool dog, I absolutely adore him.

He bounces around the house like he owns it.

He is the perfect size for a dog – has enough muscle and substance to not be able to fit into your purse and at the same time is not big enough to throw your hips out of their sockets when he sits on your lap.

I like that he has a bit of an attitude, and he is such a “busy” dog for the kids.

The kids have a trampoline, and Dexter will jump up on the trampoline and bounce with him.  He has such a ridiculous looking face, that one cannot NOT love him.

I have never owned a Boston Terrier.   I can say I am not in any way disappointed by what he brings to the party.  Any occasion with Dexter is a party because he always looks ridiculous looking.  And he looks like he is always wearing a tuxedo, so you can so imagine him talking in a Sean Connery voice ….. as he lies and farts on the couch — Dexter, not Sean Connery, because that would just be all sorts of weird, and a bit shocking!

On Sunday I took Connor and Dexter and we went and joined the SPCA PURINA Woefie Wandel.  It was a 4km stroll around the D’Aria vineyards with a few thousand other people and their dogs.

Dexter forgets he is only three apples high, and carries on like a rabied half-wit when he is among that many dogs.  But once he got over the rather cramped start, we had a nice little stroll/fast walk and it was a nice morning out.

It was a well organised day.  There was tons of water stops for the dogs and everyone had a good time.  The parking was well organised, they had set up gazebos and there were chairs out — really nice day out for us and our woefie.

There was even a photo booth where you could get a photo with you and your dog!!

Connor and Dexter  {one of them is really happy, the other is like “bitch please …..”}  —

001_woefie

Dexter selling his soul as a brand slut …..

002_woefie

Dexter and me hanging out like the cool people we are ….. I also really need to botox that groove between my eyebrows ….

003_woefie

Road Trip Story # 1

On the 10 December we left for a road trip – it was the first holiday we have taken with the kids.  We tend to go away without the kids, and when we do go away with them, we tend to head anywhere that is no more than 2 hours from home.

Mainly because at some point around day three we will just want to go home.

We drove to Bloemfontein, and then stayed over for a night – just so Connor was not going to be in the car for his birthday.

We had actually had a really cool surf party for him on the 8th.  10 of his friends doing a surf lesson and then surfing/falling at Muizenburg Beach.

I sat on the beach freezing and trying to keep Isabelle warm, thinking this is the coldest and grimmest birthday every – the wind was howling and it was freezing – only to be told by the boys that it WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!

Shows what I know.  Children appear to have no thermostat and a high tolerance for lips that turn blue, and wind that makes you bend at the ankles.

We left Bloemfontein with stars in our eyes, and all the excitement one would expect when aimed towards Sun City.

I have never been to Sun City, so the idea of it was quite lavish, fun-filled, and included hours lazing around a pool with a large glass of Chenin Blanc and maybe a small packet of pistachios from the pool bar!

Sun City sounded very cool and we were “surprising ” the kids.  They only realised where we were going when Connor started reading the SUN CITY sign.

We are in the hotel and I am all excited about the fact that we are at SUN CITY.  We are taken up to our room by a porter and I am all WE ARE IN SUN CITY, WE ARE IN SUN CITY.

We walk in the room – bear in mind I have been stuck in a car for two days, so the room is like heaven.  I walk in.  It is big, it is clean, it does not smell of old food and feet like the car.  T\here is a big bed with crisp sheets and large pillows.  Oh heaven.  Wake me quick!

I am so “I am going to lie down with my book and a cup of tea” and I then I realised “hey where are the kids’ beds?”

“Where is the interleading door to the kids rooms?

I glance behind the tv cabinet.

I look under the bed.

I peek behind the curtain.

I ran my hand along the wall in the event it had one of those “secret” spring lock numbers.

I get annoyed because clearly we are in the WRONG ROOM.  I pivot around to Kennith and tell him we are booked in the wrong room, as where is the inter leading door to the kids’s room?

The porter indicates the red/orange couch with a bit of a flourish.

I knew he was saying something but I could not hear him, as the voices in my head started screaming at about that point.

I say a little louder (because I have learnt this from my kids, if you keep saying something over and over again, in a louder voice, sometimes you get that thing that you were not going to get in the beginning) voice: “WE ARE IN THE WRONG ROOM.  WE ARE MEANT TO BE IN THE FAMILY SUITE. THEY HAVE MADE AN ERROR WITH THE BOOKING.  WHERE IS THE KIDS ROOM?”

Porter guy showed us the roll out bed — which rolls out from the couch — where he suggests we are going to put three kids.  To sleep.

More importantly when he rolled out the bed, the room did not get any bigger.

We then were 5 people with 5 over sized bag, whose contents was thrown around in the room, squeezed into a room suited to 2 people. 2 people comfortable.  5 people a bit less so.

Shall we just say the glamour of SUN CITY evaporated right there!

I do not in any way wish to take away the magic that is SUN CITY.  But “family suites” appear to be not dissimilar from camping.  You have bags all around you, and you spend much of your day scratching around in them for items of clothing, and some more time trying to shove everything back into them.

If sleeping 5 in a room was slightly “what I did not expect” – 5 of us using one bathroom really took any trace of magic out of the equation.

By night two, Kennith ended up on the roll out couch’s mattress transferred to the floor.

Connor on cushions made from those that came off the couch, and I slept in the big bed with the two girls.

Not quite what I had expected, I will confess.

#mycamerablogger at Blaauwberg Beach

It was around 32 degrees in our neck of the woods, with zero breeze on Friday.  I decided to pack kids up with the relevant friends and head to the beach.

I am not a beach person, but I like the idea of the kids romping around on the beach.

I always imagine me sitting reading a book, sipping a Ruby Grapefruit, and the kids running in the waves and building sand castles.

How it usually ends up, is Isabelle sitting on top of me, Connor moaning he has not caught any fish and wants to go home and play on his computer, and Georgia pee’ing on the beach in full view of everyone.

For the record, that is pretty much how it always goes, and Friday was no exception.

I did have to counsel Connor that there was no way he could take a dump on the beach, and he better just nip that turtle in the bud.  Georgia made some complaint about needing the toilet, I made it clear that there was NO WAY she was going on the beach. While I was explaining this point to Georgia, Isabelle lifted her dress, dropped her pants and peed in front of everyone … I suddenly got really preoccupied with the sand in between my toes.

Like engrossed preoccupied.

We used to live in Table View.  We eventually moved out of the suburb as the traffic was enough to send us into a spastic fit.  Yesterday’s drive up Blaauwberg Road reminded me why I am ever thankful we do not live in the suburbs of Table View/Parklands/Blaauwberg.

If you do, and you are spending an hour a day, each way, getting through that traffic it is a nightmare.  Know that it is not “normal”and though you are used to it, the moment you move, you will realise that spending that much frustrating time in your car, in bumper to bumper traffic, is not normal behaviour.

I encourage you to move, the traffic problem is NEVER going to be resolved in that suburb.  Get help, take medication, sell your home, move to a suburb that does not have bumper to bumper traffic at 2pm on a Friday.

Traffic besides, road constructions besides, we still headed to the beach.

Yay – beach!!  Not so yay, wind and temperature that had dropped to 23.5 degrees.  I soldiered on and dragged all our gumph out to our stretch of sand.

I thought I would seriously die from heat, as I was wearing my denims, but godstruth I was thankful.  I also ended up wrapping a Ben 10 towel around my shoulders as I sat there in the freezing wind, with the sand being whipped in to my eyes.

In between digging my hair out of my mouth, and sand out of my butt crack, I took some photos with the Olympus Camera I was l lent by the nice folks over at mycamera.

Nice camera for easy happy snaps. I was glad I did not have my huge CANON SLR which probably would have remained in it’s bag unused, but this one is a grab and shoot number, which is great.

I was lazy and left it on the AUTO setting, yes, I realise if you are a photographer and normally shoot in Manual mode, this appears to be a setting you look down at.  I needed my other hand to hold my hair out of my face, so I needed one hand to hold the camera and shoot, no aperture or shutter speed changing for me.

Isabelle had quite a bit of fun – which did not involve me, or better yet had her off my lap – where she was throwing stones in to the sea.  Each time a stone hit the required distance she would scream “YESSSSS” and then click her tongue – in a xh-xh-xh, and snap her fingers together.

{I like the fact that the camera was fast enough to capture the stone as it launched from her hand}

Here are some other shots of the kids. Georgia and Connor were having a tea party in the sand.

{Isabelle concentrating hard, Blaauwberg Beach, Cape Town}

{Isabelle and Georgia creating a seaside tea party, Blaauwberg Beach, Cape Town}

{Georgia, Blaauwberg Beach, Cape Town

{Georgia, Blaauwberg Beach, Cape Town

{Isabelle and Georgia creating a seaside tea party, Blaauwberg Beach, Cape Town}

You can visit mycamera on their Facebook page to take a look at the cool new things they have in store.

Fat Chick in Sequins on Saturday Night! Beware, cover your children’s eyes.

My lovely friend Alice is turning 40.  This Saturday she is hosting a Carnivelesque themed birthday party.

And more importantly I get to go.  By invitation.  Not hopping over the back fence like last time.

I am not a big fan of dressing up.  I am more a jeans a t-shirt kind of girl.  Difficult to fk up that outfit.

I seldom sense the mood sufficiently and tend to err on the wrong side of what is considered “right” when I do dress up.  But I am a fan of Alice.

So I have dragged myself to a few dress up stores, and made the effort, because that is what you do when you have a fabulous friend who asks you to.

I squeezed myself in to too many outfits that screamed “FAT CHICK!” and at about the point where I was starting to lose all hope and weep rather loudly in the changing cubicle the shop owner came over to give me some moral support.

She suggested I pop around to China Town and buy something from there.  I indicated to her that by directing me out of her store she was losing business, and really I could not see myself purchasing clothes at China Town.  She patted my hand, gave me a knowing wink and said that at China Town there were some things that would amaze and alarm me equally.

She explained that it was often cheap and often big on the bizarre so I could find an outfit there with a bit of imagination.

So there I was browsing at China Town.  It really is a very alarming place.  An overwhelming smell of synthetic overwhelms your senses. I tend to smell clothes when I shop.  I chose not to at China Town.

The first store gave me hope that this was truly the place to buy outfits for a night of bizarre dressing.  Three stores later I ended up buying something that does not look disimiliar to a matric dance dress – it has sequins and spaghetti straps, and chiffon belt effort.

Very very disturbing – cost me about R175.00 or there abouts.

I bought a striped jacket to add that circus flare – perfect!

I now have an outfit.  Granted it will look like a car accident, but it is an outfit.  And not something you pop in to the 7-eleven wearing to grab a bottle of milk en-route to said party.

I have aspirations of large false eyelashes, but I know that I am going to end up with glue on my retina and an emergency room visit, but I am willing to take the gamble.

I need to do some dress-making amends to my matric dance dress – it appears China Town does not offer seamstress skills on premises – go figure.

I have just not got my arse in gear this week to visit a seamstress – so plan to safety pin it together into an amended version of itself.  I did manage to hire a very cool hat that had feathers and was too wonderful not to rent. I could actually wear jeans and a t-shirt and just the hat and I would look fabulous!!

Photographs to follow!!  {much retouched and soft lighting photographs – the real life stuff might not be suited to sensitive viewers and will alarm the tender hearted}

What every you are doing this weekend, whether it requires sequins or just some old tracksuit pants and a lie on the couch, I hope it is a good one – the wine is cold, the kids are quiet and you get to hold the remote for just a little bit.

Enjoy the weekend  xxxx

Photograph sourced through: http://www.coplandphotography.co.uk/

PS:  By the time you are reading this I will be writhing in pain as I attend another visit with my friendly (but strong handed) wax person.

You are the adult … buckle up your child …. you dumb ass!

I get so annoyed when I am driving and I see kids who are not bucdles up — I get angry, like roll down your window and scream like a mad woman when I see kids jauntily bouncing around on seats and the parent blissfully driving along.

I do the morning school drop off and the afternoon school pick up – and easily more than 70% of the cars I see with children have the children driving seat-belt free.

I see the lack of putting a seat belt on yourself and your child as an indicator of IQ – or the lack of it in a certain area.

I do look at the person, then I look at the car they are driving and try to figure out where it all went wrong.  I figure that they did not walk into the 7-eleven and put cash down and pick a car.

Odds are they had to fill out some forms and go through a basic purchasing process to get the car.  It requires a bit of mental athleticism, and some dexterity with a pen and maybe a sheet of paper.

I am not suggesting that people who drive cars are gifted.

I am suggesting that if you have gone through the process of purchasing a car, and learning how to drive, your IQ should cover the basic two digit cut off point. You may even be pushing the range of “average” or “normal” somewhere between 85 and 115.

The question that I ask is.  If you are of average intelligence, clearly able to drive, and possibly able to negotiate the many pitfalls of car purchasing, why can you not figure out that when your car is being propelled forward at 65km an hour and you have a child toddling around say by him or her self or even better with you sitting in the front or back seat holding said baby – when said car comes to an abrupt stop that said child will continue to travel at 65km an hour until said child hits something that will impede it’s travelling speed?

For instance, a windscreen – which they will go through – usually with the big melon that sits above their shoulders.  The windscreen might not stop them. It will definitely assist in slowing them down, until they hit the tar of the road and their skull makes that shattering sound.

It really is not a difficult concept to understand.  Why do parents/adults not insist on buckling up their children?

What could be the reason for not doing it?  9 months seems an awfully long time to gestate a child just so you can vault it through a windscreen at an incredible speed!  Or am I misunderstanding the appeal of this no buckling up thing?

Is there a benefit of spending time at Red Cross Children’s Hospital watching them hook your child up to a ventilator whilst another doctor tries to piece together bits of your offsprings skull and grey matte,r in some crazy 10 000 piece puzzle with no box cover to act as a guide?

Is there a benefit of standing explaining to the now permanently traumatized paramedic that you did not see that car, as it jumped out in front of you, and that your child was standing between the car seats, but now has his head bashed open on the pavement?

What would your reason be when you could have avoided it with something that is sold mandatory with all cars?

I am totally open to hearing both sides of this argument.

So far I have not had one person stand up and go: “You know I personally do not believe in buckling up my child, I think it is a waste of time, and I think that the risk of my child’s brains being bashed out are so miniscule that this is all a conspiracy theory put together by those freaks over at PG Glass!”

If you are that parent, please let me know – maybe your argument is something I have not considered.

Meanwhile, I am quite a fan of Buckle Me Up on Facebook – love this page.

Besides the sage advise this page dishes out, my personal favourite is the name-and-shame photographs people post of drivers who allow kids to drive unbuckled in their cars.  Epic Parenting Fails!!

Here are some images from their site – maybe you know one of these peeps, or you are one of these peeps featured here ….

Lindy Crous – August 29 – Saw this car with a child standing on the back seat at the busy Fairtrees and De Bron Intersection at 4pm today.

2 August ar 17h00 on Bosmansdam road… 2 kids jumping around the back seat …..(there was a universal comment regarding the Jesus Saves sticker, but I think putting your child at this level of risk then expecting Jesus to save your child smacks of a bit of cheek in my opinion)

Taken in Sea Point on the 26th March… in Sea Point

14 March 2012 – Taken on modderdam road yesterday 17:20. Three children in the car.. all unbuckled.. thank you Marthie Kemp for posting …{is that a child between a buckle up safely tag x 2 on the back of this car ….. sigh}

Buckle up people, really you are the adult- there is no excuse for a child in the car you are driving not to be  buckled up! If you child does not like to be buckled up and screams, just say fk it, and buckle him/her up anyway.

Save Green Point Park …. use it!

On Sunday we popped along to the Green Point Park.  In Green Point.  In the event the location was unclear by its name.

It is a lovely large park, which is beautifully maintained.  It has lovely walk/dawdle areas and great play areas.

The kind of place you could take a basket, a blanket, a clutch of kids and let them run around until they fall exhausted into a heap, whilst you lie on the rolling lawns and read a novel, or just lie there and scream at your kids at a distance.

STOP IT.

STOP FIGHTING.

CONNOR HELP YOUR SISTER.

HEY, I WILL COME OVER THERE AND SMACK YOU.

You know, that stuff, that you do not mind if fellow picnickers look at you and your unruly brood with disdain and judgement.  As long as I have my 2 litre wine box near by, I really do not care who judges me.

Only kidding.  Really, I only drink wine out of bottles.  With screw tops.  No cork fancy pants for me.  I like to keep it real.

But back to all things park related.

Seldom do I get excited about parks.  But this one is supremely good – I walked around going “Wow, kids how cool is this!!”  “Wow, have you seen this?” “How cool is this garden?”.

I like Kirstenbosch as much as the next picnic crazed person.  But it is a bit of a schlepp and costs a bit.

By the time I drag myself through the entrance which is always 2km from where ever I have had to park, I usually hand over a hundred rand or something similar to the very nice smiley person behind the perspex glass marked “no firearms allowed…”

When you are a family of five and really just looking for somewhere to eat your 6 x portuguese rolls and tin foil chicken from Pick ‘n Pay, well then it starts to not just be a picnic, but an outing.

At Kirstenbosch Gardens you start shouting things at the kids along the lines of: “Have a good time running on the grass.  Go, hop, skip, just do something that does not involve sitting on top of me and the picnic blanket I brought.  I paid for you to enjoy the garden.  Now go and play in the garden — GO NOW, do you think money grows on trees?”

But a free park is something special to behold.

Normally the free parks I have been to, have used condoms wrapper lying around the picnic bench and an old bottle of Black Label under the jungle gym – and is in a general state of decline.  That is sort of the free parks I have grown used to.

The Green Point Park and Biodiversity Garden is in a class of it’s own.  And to not stress a point, IT IS FREE!

So what ever your budget is this one definitely comes in under the wire.  There are also no annoying hawkers trying to sell you something or want to paint your kids face at R30.00 a pop!!

Just fresh air, lots of grass and the hope of a quiet few hours of kids being kids.  Playing on stuff.  That you did not have to bring.

As we entered the park, I was a reading a sign showing me a map of the park.  I am looking at the map and ooh’ing and ah’ing, and Connor is finished so he nips over to look at the sign that lists all the things you cannot do in the park.  No doubt to see if they allow fishing — the boy is a born optimist (obsessive compulsive fisher person)

He goes – totally unrehearsed: “Mom you can’t drink wine in this park!” at the top of his voice (he is looking at a martini with a red cross through it – clearly Green Point Park does not like cocktail hour)

<the couple walking past with thier dogs did get a laugh…>>

So here is my message, other than do not bother bringing along martinis as you cannot drink them in the garden.  The sign is very clear about that.

Cape Town has a divine free garden open to the public.

The Green Point Park and Biodiversity Garden – it is so adult and child friendly it will make you gasp. It will make you feel all smug as a Capetonian.  You puff out your chest a bit and go “look what we have done” even though you had absolutely nothing to do with how the park got there.

The trick is, let’s use the park.

The more we use it, the longer it will remain. Ignore it and don’t visit it, and someone with an accounting badge and a mean disposition is going to take it away from us.  And convert it into a shopping mall or another hideous block of flats.

Go to the PARK!!  Get your arse outside.

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Do you let your child do sleep outs?

I am sure that this subject fills you with dread as much as it does me. Brace yourself, this post does not get any better.

Connor has a select group of friends that he is “allowed” to sleep at.  There are about four friends who sleep over at our house, and he generally is “allowed” to sleep at theirs.  I am not thrilled with the idea of “sleep outs” but I try and roll with them, because you know I am a cool mom and stuff.

Georgia is in grade one, and we are not really ready for her to sleep out.  But with all “rules of parenting” there is always an exception. Georgia has a friend Cara, and that is the only place she is allowed to sleep out at.

Kennith chatted to me a few weeks ago, and he said that he is not comfortable with Georgia sleeping out ANYWHERE and could I please stop agreeing to sleep outs.

Georgia ♥’s Cara. I feel that she would be robbed if she was not allowed to sleep at her home, and I would “awkward” if I asked Cara to sleep here, but Georgia was not allowed to sleep at Cara’s.

Cara has slept at our home a few times. Both girls are 6, and I am sure that we are both the exception to each other – just because the girls are such good friends and I trust Cara’s parents emplicitly, as I hope they trust Kennith and I.

I am always on the alert that I am going to become one of those parents that wrap their child in cotton wool, and can only function if the umbilical cord is in tact, and if their child is not in actual sight they cannot function.

I am a total paranoid freak at heart, but I try to not let this control my children’s lives.  I try.  I fail often, but I try.  So shit that makes my haemorraids leak, I try and smile, and just loosen my g-string a bit.

About two months ago I had asked a friend from school to do a favour for me.  Initially she did some work, but then I did not hear from her again.   I thought I had offended her, and ran over what I had said and done.  I felt uncomfortable to ask again, as she was doing me a favour, and I was sure she was just busy.  I would just wait it out.

She sent me a subsequent note to explain that her daughter’s best friend’s father had been molesting her daughter on sleep overs.  This had happened more than once.

She trusted  the family, and of course they were devastated. They were thrown into Hades and were dealing with the legal and emotional fall out of the issue.

How does one even start to say “how sorry I am for what you are going through and wish I could arrange a kangaroo court to shoot the muther-fucker” – is there a card you can send for that – if so, please do let me know.

I felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a cannon ball, and felt violently ill.  For her.  For her daughter.  For her family.  For me.  I started wondering if it was a case of “when” it would happen to my kids, rather than “if.”

It made me stop and rethink any sleep outs I might have thought were fine.  It made me wonder if I should homeschool {excuse me as I pull sawn off barrel from my cupboard}, and I wondered if I could let my kids out into the world.

Keep them at home, protect them forever!

This morning on CapeTalk they were talking about children who were molested always by “people the family knew well, or family themselves” and my stomach did a heave over.  Like dry apricots on my dashboard heave.

A person came on the line from a Child Abuse Centre and she wanted to motivate how prevalent child abuse was.  And how important it is to address “inappropriate touching” or “someone who makes you uncomfortable” with your child, or toddler, as early as you could – don’t wait, talk about it now.

I dry heaved a bit in my mouth.

Again that phrase of “are we teaching our children not to be raped” rather than “to be comfortable with who they are” – and then I realised that our society is fked – metaphorically and physically.

I am not a big fan of “street justice” as I understand {intellectually} the problem.  But please ask me if I have a problem with every perpetrator of rape/molestation is burnt in the road with a bit of petrol and a bit of a car tyre, and I would be hard pressed to not pull out my petrol card and suggest they put it on my tab.  Hard pressed — really hard pressed.

When I fetched Georgia today I started talking to her about how if anyone touches her in the “places her costume covers” she should tell me, because NO ONE WAS EVER ALLOWED TO TOUCH her in those places.

If anyone said she was bad and had to keep a secret, she must immediately tell me.

If someone said that I would be cross with her, because of something she did or something someone else did, then she must IMMEDIATELY tell me, as I would never be cross with her.

Secrets are not good.

No one – repeat in bold – no one is allowed to touch her in her costume area, no matter what the situation.  She must ALWAYS tell me.

How totally crappy is our world that I am having this conversation  with my six-year-old, because I might not be able to protect her?

I feel sick.  I want to drive heave.  Actually I did a bit.

Lunch on the grass …. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm

This weekend’s weather was truly divine.  We wanted to go out for lunch on Sunday.

Actually I would have loved to sleep on the couch after reading my book, and Kennith take the kids out, but he was not having any of that plan.

Kennith and I are not the “book ahead” kind folk, we are the “throw kids in the car, drive to a place, and hope for the best” kinda parents.  This approach can lead to disappointment, but at the same time has an element of excitement and surprise in it!

Yesterday we went along to Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm.  The last time we had been there Georgia must have been 2, so we are talking 5 – 6 years ago.

I find little to no joy looking at animals – whether they are roaming the meadows or locked up in a 2 x 2 metre cage, I really do not enjoy it.

If I can smell animal faeces, then I enjoy it substantially less.

I have no idea what the draw card is of a petting zoo, or driving for two hours on a Landrover so you can spot 2 wildebeest 2km away from the road …. seriously there is absolutely nothing I would want to do less, than pet or stare at an animal.

But it might only be me.

We opted not to do the crocodile tour, though there was one every 45 minutes. I had zero urge to see big crocodiles and dead chicken carcasses … n0t even a fleeting urge in fact.

Our friends had been down to La Bonheur Crocodile Farm and said it has a great outside picnic area – I was suspicious. I pictured crocodile dung and flies, and I got a small shiver … not of happiness …. of decided unhappiness … but they said that there was fishing… the things we do for Connor-the-fisherman … and this was an outing we thought would be nice for him.

If Connor is happy, then generally the whining is reduced, and if the whining is reduced, then there is an outlying chance the rest of us may have a good day.  Call it the “Law of the Oldest Moany Child.”

We headed out to Le Bonheur.  I arrived wholly suspicious that this was just not going to be a fun day out … but I was proved wrong.

The venue is a bit “wedding reception empty hall” but once you get past that part, they have picnic baskets and I saw this sign they had put up – which made me smile, and then I warmed to the venue, and the prospect of spending the day with them.

They have a lovely outside area, where you can pitch your blanket (remember to bring one) and relax in the shade – they have big trees and the afternoon sun casts a lovely cool shadow across the grass in the late afternoon.

They supply a picnic basket and a full bottle of not-half-bad wine, and it is all quite delicious – there was bread, some cold meat, cheese, preserves, pate, water, nougat, and a few other things.  It is not the biggest picnic basket I have ever seen, but there was enough for us to consider it lunch!

We had our picnic lunch, and I gorged on cheese, with fig preserves, and when I was sufficiently full, I then lay on my picnic blanket with my book, and sipped my semi-room-temperature wine and kicked back.

There is a play area for kids – and if you are lucky a big herd of cows will come lumbering over and hang out in the play area.  The play areas are quite nice, and there is a lovely grass area for kids to run around.

They supply fishing rods and tackle and there are lots of people (big and small) who go along and dip their rods into the dam.  Connor did not catch anything, but I am sure that sooner or later someone would have.

It really was a very relaxing day out – I enjoyed it, and I felt thoroughly wine tired and lazy, once I had eaten my body weight in cheese.

The home-made bread and olive pate was mouth-watering, and we also got a tin of crocodile pate – plan to eat that tonight with more home-made (just not made in my home) bread and some more cheese, and yes, some more wine.

Definitely recommend this as a family outing if you are in Cape Town – actually this would be pretty good on your own, with a good book.  That would be phenomenally good actually.

It was not too busy, and I felt like I was picnicking in some pleasant person’s garden, and did not feel this over commercialised, over crowded buzz that so often is associated with Sunday lunch out in the Stellenbosch area.

Lovely day – but all days eventually end, and you need to get your shoes on, find your shirt and look at heading back home to the suicide hour that is bath/dinner/bed.

Wanna know more, click on La Bonheur Crocodile Farm webpage.

Off to the Sea Side ….

{Image taken by me, in Sandbaai}

This weekend I am heading out to Hermanus to visit my mom and spend some time lazing around and have “treated” myself to a long weekend.  I really, desperately, need some down time, and just not to feel like I am rushing from one thing to the next and always on my way to something, or late for something.  I need some downtime, with just nothing to do.

Well, that is the picture I have at any rate.

Kennith is away in Germany/Bolivia or where ever, and I thought it might be good to take a long weekend and just have a laze around.  I am hoping to try to spend some non-stress time with the kids, and try to just “be present” – I have been a bit sucky at that as of late, and realised it again this morning on the drive to school that I seem to be living passed my kids and not really savouring the important stuff I should be.

My kids love being at my mom’s house.  They run around, get dirty, Connor over doses on fishing, Georgia plays doll house until she can’t anymore, and generally Isabelle spends her time trying to get someone to give her more Flings.

Again that is the plan of how I see it going – the vision if you will.  I feature in the role of a person sitting on an outside chair reading my book with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc balancing on one of those plastic kid’s chairs.

I am taking my rather thick book of “Henry VIII King and Court – Alison Weir” along with me, and hope to move my way through nearly 700 pages of Tudor History – it’s a good time to me – I also have a back up book just of Sherlock Holmes in the event that Henry does not bring his A Game, one never knows with Henry, he is a bit tempestuous and erratic at times.

I am also taking along our new maid Privilege along for the weekend.  Yes, I do understand how “white colonial” that sounds.

Privilege does appear be a winner-winner-chicken-dinner.   But I am trying not to get too attached or too excited, things have been known to go badly quickly as of late, so I am just breezing along.

This week she has really been great, and her only “minus” appears to be that she cannot cook, but I can teach that.  She cleans really well, and is quiet, and has managed to pack/repack and sort out the kids clothing cupboards already – brilliant!!

On Saturday I am going to a wedding, so am leaving my three kids with my mom – no doubt she will have developed a facial tick, and be drooling a bit out of the corner of her mouth by the time I get back – but that is also why I wanted Priviledge to come along.

I am really looking forward to the wedding.  It is at Moggs in the Hemel and Aarde Valley which is going to be spectacular, and I know it is just going to make me cry – all weddings do.  Congratulations Ian and Sue!!

{Image taken by me, Sue with her flashing light bling on her Hen’s Night}

I feel relieved that we may be on the right track with our nanny/domestic helper/mommy’s side kick, and I have great aspirations of this weekend going well.

I do want some time for my brain to just slow down this weekend, and hopefully get some sleep — I feel like the walking dead.

Hope your weekend is good, where ever you may be and when ever it gets started!

Strange things happen in social situations …

I have a bit of a social phobia – social anxiety is probably a better term.

It has it’s ups and downs, and generally I can imitate “reasonable” functioning when I need to.

When I am going through a particular difficult anxiety/panic or depressive exercise, then socialising is very difficult for me.  I tend to want to avoid it and duck for cover.

Of course I handle alcohol like someone who shouldn’t be allowed to drink.  At all.

When I am in a socially-making-me-nervous situation I tend to drink more.  The more I drink, the more comfortable I feel.  But the reality is I do not feel more comfortable.  If anything it makes me more anxious as the more I drink then the more I worry I am about to do something socially inappropriate.

And the more I drink increases the chances of me saying something inappropriate – and often something I do not really feel, but it is what is running in my head.  Drinking = stop valve in head not working = emotional puking on the table.

There are always a stream of socially inappropriate things running through my head.  All the time.

It is a bit like having this gnawing feeling to say something, but knowing that you shouldn’t.  The more you are under pressure (because you are in a social setting) the louder the gnawing becomes and the more you just want to say something.

When I am at my less than ideal stages, I opt to go to the bathroom and then I talk to myself in the mirror.  I blurt to myself in the mirror as then I hope by blurting I can join a social situation and nod-and-smile like everyone else. Strange much?

I know it sounds grade-3-and-Sally-just-cannot-keep-a-darn-secret, but there we go.

The interesting thing was that few weekends ago I was at a birthday party.  I knew some people, was comfortable in the location, as I knew it.  But I still felt a bit out of synch.  I was quite stressed when I arrived, and I tried to calm down a bit, but I remained anxious.  It is a kids party, so really what do I have to be anxious about.  Nothing.  But that does not stop me being anxious.  Over nothing.

It was an early day thing, so I would not have my wine crutch.  Though I knew a few people, I was still nervous/anxious/stressed- and when I am nervous, I try to find a quiet place away from the crowd.  I really struggle with multiple conversations, people and trying to tune in to everyone’s social ques and it is like my brain is trying to play pick-up-sticks (remember that game) in the dark.

The day went along and it was all quite nice as parties are, it was lovely and sunny and I could sit on the grass.  I find that I am less socially awkward if I can give myself a task to do – move furniture around, do the dishes, take photographs … you know that sort of thing, so I am distracted from myself.

We stayed after the party for lunch – and again it was very nice, I decided not to drink more than one glass of wine as I was already feeling “heady” – I was just wired from the day and being in company and feeling socially awkward.

I got home in the afternoon, and I felt like I had been drinking all day – I was drained and I felt my head was woozy, and I was wrecked.

The thing with social phobia – for me – is that what is meant to be a relaxing situation becomes fraught with anxiety and tension over nothing, and by the time it is over I feel like my adrenaline has been pumping two gallons to the dozen (I have no idea if that is a term … just thought of it) and by the time I get out of a social situation, I am lie on the bed exhausted.

Years ago I did a really interesting Myers-Briggs personality test, and one of the issue was whether you are introvert or extrovert.

The focus was not whether you like people or socialising, the issue was “where do you take your energy from” – and for me anything social is totally energy sapping.  Some people move into a room full of people, and the longer they are there the more energised they feel, whilst other people (me) start edging towards the bar, away from people, then trying to find a place to lie down and go to sleep.

Again, this falls into my stuff that I do, even though I don’t always want to, I try to socialise more than I probably feel I want to.  There is value in appearing normal in main stream society, for one your kids get more invitations to play dates.

Social phobia = social pariah = alone at home = not so great after the first 3 months!