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!

So I went to the beach …

Cape Town is not hot, as much as it is “I think menopause has started” state of affairs – it is just stupid hot right now.

I like a bit of sunshine, but geez louise this is past ridiculous. It is 21h29 and ridiculous hot still.

Today I thought I would go to the beach.  You know embrace my surroundings and all that.

Off I scamper to the beach with my friend Joyce and her daughter.

It is me, my three, my dog, and the beach.

I should have done the bright thing and driven to McDonalds drive through and ordered an ice cream cone.

I am not sure where exactly it went wrong.  Possibly when:

1.  We arrived and all three kids decided in consecutive order they needed to wee – Georgia pee’d so much it gushed, Connor caught a few splashes in my car, Isabelle just wee’d on her shoes.  I had to construct an impromptu toilet between the two open car doors. In the parking lot.  Not an ideal start.  So Jack Parow though.

2.  Isabelle decided she was not really in to sea sand, and started screaming the minute her feet touched sea sand.  At the beach. Tricky situation from here on in.

3.  Dexter decided that he was going to wrap him self around my leg and then go and lie under Joyce’s thighs. The result was a dog huddled under her, but with his leash stretched out everywhere, so that was super great as it caused the kids to keep tripping and falling or cutting the circulation off on my hands as I held his leash.

4.  Every time I filled Dexter’s water bowl with fresh water a child emptied it out – on me, on the blanket I was sitting on, on the hamburger … insert what ever is suitable.

5.  Dexter has never been the beach – it was all a bit overwhelming for him, especially as the tide came in with the sound of the crashing waves.  Two little girls kept screaming AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS every time the tide came in.  Definitely not really calming stuff.  Stressed dog who needed to drink water …. but that was covered in point 4.

6.  Isabelle decided to throw up.   She choked on a chip, and then threw up everything she had eaten since last week Thursday.  Can you say bury vomit in the sand?

7.  Georgia needed to wee.  Again.  And went to squat in the waves.  Unfortunately the water was only up to her ankles, so the beach saw her squating and actually just pissing in her costume.  How do I know the beach saw her?  There was a 6-year-old girl next to me laughing her head off.

8.  Connor caught two fish, and put it in the a bucket.  Dexter thought it was fresh water, drank the water with the fish in them.

9.  Kirsten kept feeding Dexter chips – which I know will induce more splatter bum in Dexter, not Kirsten. Kirsten appears to have a stomach of a steel cauldron.

10.  Quite soon in, I had more sand on my blanket than I would have had had I just sat in the sea sand to begin with.

I can say I have ticked the “beach” block on my things to do with the kids this year list.  I might get around to it again in 2013.

Beach.  Tick.

End of year functions make me cringe … a lot ….

Last Saturday Kennith’s company had their end of year function.  I was thrilled that this year they chose to do a family picnic.

I am not really sure how end of year functions are planner or organised, but I find them generally painful.  My experience usually encompasses an 8 to 10 seater table, people sitting around on addis chairs, and looking at each other, chatting politely and praying it will be over soon.  There may be variations on this theme, but usually that is sort of how it goes.

If you are unlucky there will be a dress up theme involved.  Cringe.

I have already rationalised that end of year functions are not designed for me. But everyone I speak to seems to agree that they are a “necessary evil” but I am still confused who enjoys them.  The evening or afternoon often involves smiling like an idiot for four hours, while you count the hours/minutes until you can leave.

My theory is that I would like to spend social time with work colleagues, but in a relaxed environment over great food and a few glasses of really good wine.  It’s great to sit in a comfortable chair, an exquisite setting and be able to hear each other talk.

Unfortunately I find most end of year functions are karaokes/bad food/loud music/bad loud music/dress up theme/a venue that allows for almost no conversation as you can barely hear yourself think.  My experience is that end of year functions are all of these factors, or a combination of these.

Generally the “rule” is you eat, then you sit for 15 minutes and say “okay, I need to go…” and then do….. This is how “end of year” parties go in my experience.  {I am not suggesting I am the spokesperson for all end of year parties, I am simply indicating this has been my experience … almost to date….}

This year Cape Union Mart opted to hire a location in Sea Point, and invited staff and their kids.

They catered with a braai/salad (Bruce’s Catering I think} sort of thing.  You bought your own drinks if you wanted alcohol.  They organised soccer, a gladiator thing, jumping castle and a slip and slide thing.  No one had to dress up, no one had to sit awkwardly at a table and pray it would end soon.

It started at 12h00 and went on until about 16h00 or 17h00. It was relaxing and cool, that I think it might be classed as one of the nicest Xmas functions I have ever been to.

I have a social phobia, so asking me to socialise with a group of people creates a high sense of anxiety, panic and sometimes poo streaks in my underwear.  But turn it into a family picnic, and then I am much more relaxed, as it does not force me to stand around like a half wit smiling and nodding like a deluded idjut – I can instead look really busy with my kids.  Win!

I got to play gladiator fight with Connor. Connor played soccer, the girls played for hours on the slip and slide or on the jumping castle.  It was relaxed, the sun was shining and I was quite happy to while away the afternoon in this manner.

It was a relaxing day.  The only error was they did not serve wine at the bar.  Rookie mistake.  But someone saw the problem and dashed out to purchase a half dozen bottles of wine, which made me all very happy.

I had a great afternoon with the kids, and I still got to speak to a lot of people while we chewed on a chicken leg, and messed potatoe salad on our respective chins.

Great idea.  Executed brilliantly.  Lovely day out.  Cape Union Mart’s clever people who plan end of year functions scores a 10 out of 10 in my book for a great “end of year function” …..

<< they were also good enough to have a roaming photographer who captured some great moments>>

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It’s my only child you see ….

I have three children.

I will confess that with baby one, I was a tad more highly strung, and saw “Death and Pestilence” everywhere. I would often lie in bed at night worrying about how my son might be killed or kidnapped tomorrow, and that I need to be still more vigilant.

I started to get afraid of taking my child into a public area and thinking he was not just going to hurt himself, but he was going to DIE.  It made me realise I need to seek psychiatric help and that was not “normal behaviour”.

It’s good to worry. It is bad to be paranoid about it.  All the time.  And not feel comfortable with your child being anywhere, except with you.

There are many moms who are helicopter parents.

They have taken caring for their off-spring to the point where it is actually way into paranoia and not-healthy.  If you cannot go out and leave your child behind (with a babysitter, not by him or herself with a box of matches) then maybe it is time to sit down and have a bit of a think about how connected you are to your child.

I’ve come to realise that the most moms I encounter are so afraid of their child hurting themselves and dying, that they cannot just sit and leave their child to do what children do.

There is this constant fussing and fretting, and checking and re-checking and ……….<eye roll + sigh>

I am not sure whether it is time, the introduction of baby two and baby three, more time, my age, the fact that some times I actually just want to sit and see what happens, that I am not as much of a “helicopter parent” as many parents I know and see.

For some reason it is often parents who have one or an only child, who just appear to be unable to “cut the umbilical cord.”

Kennith will vouch for the fact that when I am trying to appear calm when it comes to most things my-kids related, but the truth be told I usually am freaking out.

I regularly want to run and just pick my child up, and ensure that they do not get any of the knocks that life has in store for them.  I attempt to appear calm and collected, to allow them in some instances to make a mistake, or take a fall and get up.

I often give off a calmer impression than how I actually feel.

If it was up to me, I would dress my kids in 1 metre of cotton-wool, lock them inside, ensure all the corners in the house are bubble wrapped, feed them only food I had grown and picked myself, and prevent them from ever listening to Justin Bieber!

But reality has dealt me a different set of cards.

I have learnt that I cannot be as “verkramp” as I would like to be.  I need to sit back and let my kids sometimes do things that I would prefer them not to do, because they are kids and they must do certain things, to learn that life is well, life, and that you can fall down, and you will get a scrape, your knee might even bleed, but you know, it is okay.

I am using this as preamble to what happened on Sunday.

Georgia is invited to a birthday party.  I don’t know the mom other than the cursory “hi” and “bye” one mutters in passing fetching and collecting children from the same school.

Her daughter S is having a birthday party.  Party involves strawberry picking and other activities that require children to be transported to Stellenbosch <about 15 – 20 minutes away.>

The plan was that S’s mom transport all the kids to the party and return them to one venue.

I enquired whether the vehicle was fitted with individual seat belts and Georgia would be strapped in.  I was given the affirmative.

I was still cautious, as I am a bit anal about how my child is transported – and non-safety seat belt kids drive me to distraction.

I wanted to make sure I see the car and see who will drive Georgia and get a “feel” for the who, what and how.   If I was unhappy, I would just drive her to the venue and drop her myself, and go and collect her.  No problem.

I am hoping to allow myself the time to assess the situation while I am there. Instead of flying into a hysterical maniac panic before hand and shaking my hear whilse pursing my lips saying “I won’t let my child drive with anyone but me …. I won’t, I tell you, I won’t.”

This is whilst appearing vauely calm, but to be honest I am thinking Death and Car Accidents on the R300 like every other hysterical mother who has opted not to allow their child to come to this party.

I am not going to drop my kid off and wave goodbye and I tyre-burn it out of the parking lot with a gin-and-tonic in my hand.

I want to check who is going with, what the transport is like, and that she is assured of a buckled up seat, and what the vehicle is that she is going to be transported in.

I get to the location where we are all meant to meet.  S’s mom is running a bit late, as party days are hectic.  I am standing there and I start chatting to another mom, her daughter is B.  B is running around and Georgia knows B from school.

I ask if sheis going to let B drive with party-girl S or if she is going to go with the venue with her daughter B.  Polite conversation more than a burning interest to know.

She looks at me and goes: “Yes, I am going to drive to the venue, and B is going to drive with me.  I am very nervous to let her go with someone else – as you know I only have one child!”

And then she smiles knowingly at me.

I am not sure whether I should say: “Oh yes!! I find with three I can be so more laxi-dasie.  Because goodness I have an heir, a spare, and another spare.  Of course I do not mind if one of them dies in a car crash.  That will just be a minor inconvenience.  I have three and all, which is far less precious than YOUR ONE.  When you start breeding them en-mass like I have done, then it is so much easier to not make a fuss if one of them dies!  Yes, you are right, your one is far more precious than my three!”

That is what I should have said.

Instead I thought “stupid bitch” and pursed my lips disapprovingly and decided to get really interested in Georgia and the seeds that fell off the tree.

Side bar:  This is not the first time I have had the comment.  It is easily the 4th or 6th time someone has said this to me.  I am not sure exactly how to interpret it or respond.  Presently I just stand there and think to myself that this person is clearly going to come up with a punch line. If not I need to just punch them in the throat and walk away. 

Acknowledge cartoon source:  http://nickandzuzu.com/

Don’t kick me in my balls …. a family planning solution ….

I am at Woolworths today picking up odds and ends.

I have Connor and Georgia are with me.

I must confess, that Georgia did warn me that unless I agreed to leave Connor in the parking lot, in the car, where I could not see him, she was afraid that they would fight in the store.

I am a pretty shitty parent, but even I do not leave my kids in a parking lot, in a car.

I do however wish to explain that I do leave Georgia or Connor in the car if I fetch the one from school.  I have to run in and sign them out.

In my defense I have taught Georgia that “if the car catches alight get out the window, but other than that no one in and no one out..”

I also roll down the windows about 1/2 way to make it easier for her to get out should she need to.  It is all about the details, right?

We are in the store and the infractions that occurred were (and not limited to):

1.  Georgia putting her fingers into Connor’s bum – she said she was helping to pull  his pants up.

2.  Connor kicked Georgia.

3.  Connor and Georgia were arguing about pork and chicken (as you do!)

4.  Georgia was screaming that she wanted to sit in the trolley – though I had said no about a half a dozen times.

5.  Connor was explaining – in detail – the book on Goosebumps that he had read.  He was relaying the book verbatim.  By the time we got to the meat aisle, Georgia screamed – YOU HAVE NOT STOPPED TALKING SO I CAN TALK! Of course she had been talking non-stop since the bread aisle.

6.  They were arguing whether the ficas plant was real.  Connor said it was. Georgia said it wasn’t.  And they argued.

7.  There was a red-haired boy in the store, who had a “clay class” or what ever t-shirt on. Georgia screamed (like shrieked) at him – “There is a clay boy, there is a clay boy!”  I must confess I was confused for some time, as I could not see the print on his shirt. I just stood there and smiled apologetically at his mom as my daughter was screaming “Clay Boy” at a totally unknown red-haired child.

8.  I am trying to unpack the trolley at the till, and the kids are arguing (still).  I can’t actually tell you what it was about as I had started to filter them out. I could just hear Georgia screaming I AM INNOCENT, I AM INNOCENT!

9.  The cash clerk looks at me and goes: “You have a really strong-willed girl there. It’s really great.” I look at her and explain I am an advertisement for why parents should think about only having one child. I am a walking “family planning” advert.  She is laughing, but in a manner that I know she is agreeing with me.  At that exact moment Georgia screams: ‘You KICKED ME IN THE BALLS, YOU. KICKED. ME. IN. MY. BALLS!”

I may no longer be welcome at that particular branch of Woolworths.

Dude, seriously who stole my car keys?

I am starting to wonder/believe that maybe we create our own karma.

I refused to read The Secrets and now instead of opening myself up and attracting all the positive energy in the universe, I appear to be attracting goats and trolls.

We can philosophise another day how we create our own fate and if you send out negative thoughts, negative things will happen to you.

Listen Karma – I am depressed, I only have negative thoughts!  If you can get the fkn happy fairies to come over and sprinkle happy dust on me, I will take a bit of that.

I will even snort it or put it in a vein or consider a suppository if you think that will work better and faster.

Today was yet another classic day in “the fk up that is my week.”

Busy day.  I had to get two kids to a party – separate parties, in different places at the same time.  I had a shoot to do this afternoon, and I really was not feeling the happiness and the enthusiasm one needs to be able to carry this off.

It also meant I had to interact with people and there would be a house full of people I do not know. Loud kids screaming and me feeling anxious and panicky.  Can anyway say trigger?

I was not going to cancel, but felt quite reluctant to face it this afternoon.

I woke up – and tackled the day, because I am a bloody trooper – and because my kids wake up at 6am on a Saturday, no matter what time you put them to sleep.

I started to sense the day might not go to plan when Connor started using the blanket I was trying to cover myself with, as I sipped my first cup of tea, as a fishing net.

He took it off me and was trying to throw it across the bed to mimic the action of a fisherman casting a net. (This is while Isabelle and Georgia were fighting over a Winnie the Pooh book that neither of them have shown an interest in since ….. birth!)

I suggest to Connor that really, mommy has not had her Xanax and Zoloft yet, so maybe take this “fishing net” malarky somewhere else. (I can totally get on board with play acting fishing nets. I am such a cool mom I can roll with almost anything.  But the blanket was meant to be covering me and keeping me warm.  Instead I am getting gusts of ice cold air everytime the “net was cast” and the corner either flicked me in the eye or knocked my tea mug.  Just not Ayoba no matter how you look at it.)

He nods at me in understanding and does it next to my bed (instead of over the bed).  Throwing the blanket that WAS covering me as a fishing net to show he can “cast a net!”

I am wondering why I do not walk around with an intravenous drip of Chenin Planc.  I really do not know.  My own will power astounds me most days.

I swear to the universe, I am in a series of Fawlty Towers and I am officially the Spanish waiter Manuel standing around going: “Iz thiz yur bal, keh?”

Anyway.

Got Connor off to the party he was going to.

Got Georgia to her one. Granted Georgia wanted to dress in her ballet outfit.  It was like minus 10.  I eventually gave up and let her wear what ever the hell she wanted – I did insist she wore her pink flower gumboots, as I thought it made the outfit totally rock!!

I really am past fighting with Georgia.  Really!  Right now I am doing the “path of least resistance…”

I drop Georgia off at her party – which is such a fabulous little party.  Her BFF Cara was turning 6.  Her mom had invited 6 kids (or there abouts) and instead catered for the mommies and the almost single dad.

10am and I was served champagne and little eats.  I was not going to stay, really I was going to drop and run.

Then I met Dorothy and Andrew and I probably had the most interesting conversation that I have ever had a kid’s birthday party. It felt like a cool adult party with interesting people. I could have laid down on the couch and totally abused Cara’s mom’s hospitality all day.

But I needed to run.

I had arranged to fetch them at about 13h30 as I knew I was going to be running late.

I do what I need to do at home – then I think okay, I have 20 minutes to drink some tea and I will read a chapter of my book and fly out again.

I do that.

But I fall asleep – like coma asleep.

I get woken by the father who is hosting the party Connor is at saying: “erm, when will you be fetching your kid EXACTLY!” (when he actually means “why the fk have you not fetched your child, we are sick to death of kids, and the fact that yours has hung around for an hour longer than the invite stipulated is actually rude and really annoying, but thanks for the great book you bought my son, it was fabulous and beautifully wrapped!)

I rush out like a lunatic.

I forget all Georgia’s sleep over stuff at home.

Fetch Connor, realise sh*t I have to go back home to fetch all Georgia’s stuff.

Fetch Georgia’s stuff, grab Georgia, throw them in the car to high tail it to my sister-in-law as I need to get to the shoot by 15h00 and it is already 14h30.  Georgia is sleeping over there and Connor is going to “visit” (read lie on the couch and play his Nintendo game) until I have finished at the shoot.

Connor drops the birthday cake that he was given on the car floor.  Georgia is talking about …. gawd I do not know.  Connor is screaming for a tissue and acting like the “cake on the floor” is attacking his foot.

It is cake, guy, seriously calm the hang down already!

I am desperately in a rush – and keep looking at the “please fill me up with petrol light” which has stopped flashing and now just sits there wanly in red.

I am driving – but still trying to maintain the speed limit.  I am highly stressed (you think?)

Drop Connor and Georgia off at SIL – Georgia is going to sleep over. I will fetch Connor after the shoot and him and I can go and have a quick dinner and do valuable mom-and-son bonding time.

(Isabelle by the way is asleep and Fortunate is babysitting, in the event you were wondering where child number 3 was in this plot.)

Throw kids out of car at SIL.  Drive like a maniac to shoot address.

Realise I have forgotten my diary at home!  Fkn hell – I recall the address but not the house number.  I drive with growing anxiety still staring at the “little red light of petrol” and I get a small dose of good karma as birthday party people have put balloons outside their house.

Fan.frnk.tastic.  Found house. Whoop-whoop things are finally going my way.

I throw myself out of the car and run in to the house looking like a rabid dog who desperately needs a vet visit, and a shot of what ever puts a family dog to sleep humanely.

It was truly a lovely party.  It was a boy’s first birthday and I have never ever seen a party with this much effort put in to it.

The family was there and I think there were 60 – 80 adults.  The nicest people I have probably ever met.  I had so much fun, and their happiness actually rubbed off on me.  Really really lovely people.

Anyway, shoot-shoot-shoot, good day, okay 17h30 I need to go.

I start to look for my car keys.

I start to frantically scratch for my car keys.

I start to throw the contents of my bag out on the lounge floor while astonished guests look on.

Party comes to a stop while everyone helps me look for my car keys.

I cannot find car keys.  No idea, they could be stolen …. I could have sold them for CRACK I don’t know …. I just do not have keys for my car.  Car outside their house.  Connor in Durbanville.  My house somewhere else.

Please mommy can I go home now.  (that is what the voices are saying in my head at this point)

Total Fail.

Eventually the only option is that one of them give me a lift home.

I am slightly/very embarrassed as instead of slipping out quietly like a professional service provider, the last hour was all about me and everyone finding my keys.  They were even lifting up the jumping castle as options.

I get dropped off at home.

I have now spent 2 – 3 hours searching for my spare set.

I either do not have a spare set OR I was not listening when Kennith told me where they are OR I have no idea where they are OR They are in the safe, which Kennith has a key to.

Have I mentioned Kennith is in Utah?

I find out that VW will charge me R3000.00 for one key – but I need to get the car to them.  Which is tricky considering it is in Kraaifontein and my keys are on planet fuck-knows-where!

I could not get Connor home so he has had to sleep over.  He has no sleep over stuff, and I was really looking forward to an hour of just him and I time.

I have torn this house apart looking for my spare key.  Without success.  I did however find an unopened box of Nuzak (which I accussed the pharmacist of not giving me … whoops my bad, and some Cataflam, and a flash drive I thought I had lost.

But zip on the car key front.  My car is still in Kraaifontein.  I have I mentioned Kennith is away and he wrote his car off on Monday?

Public Service Announcement:  Go and find your spare car keys NOW.  Put them in your underwear drawer at the back – now you will know where they are, no matter what happens.  Tell your partner/husband/wife/neighbour/sane person that is where you keep your spare set of car keys in the event you have an epic day and can’t find them.  I already checked my underwear drawer twice, it is not there.

Mommy makes a racist friend …….

We walked up to the voting station – on voting day (because we are good citizens that way) – we thought we would make it a little family outing and throw in a bit of exercise to boot (as opposed to driving you see – yes, I realised I have worded this entire sentence badly, but any the who….)

<sure we were going  to head to Mike’s Kitchen afterwards and eat our weight in animal fat and sugar-laced drinks, but I felt the walk was a good way to start the day>

After the voting process – which I must confess was very efficient and organized, big thumbs up for IEC – we stopped at a little park and the kids could play around on municipality equipment.

It was a balmy sunny day and all seemed good with the world.

A few moments passed, and a mom came walking up with her daughter to play on the swing set.

My lack of social skills kept me at a distance – but she (the mom) clearly had a better developed personality, and asked Isabelle’s name and introduced her daughter to Isabelle, and was pretty chatty and smiley (which I am always a bit suspicious of.)

In my attempt to be one of the ‘cool kids’ I started chatting back to her.

Her daughter Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin was 6 months older than Isabelle, but Isabelle had about 5kg on her (the daughter), so I knew if it turned into a skirmish about the swings, Isabelle would be able to take her without having to stop sucking her thumb.

I asked her whether her daughter was at playschool, and she said she was, and I asked where – as I am always on the scope for a good playschool or crèche. (I am UNABLE to make small talk, I talk for a reason ….. it is an annoying trait at cocktail parties, to which I am no longer invited…..)

Though I do realize that often ‘good’ and ‘creche’ is seldom if ever used in the same sentence, I was willing to ask anyway.

She told me the name of the one she had her daughter was at.

We chatted a bit about that as only mothers with children can – any other time and this subject would have made me shoot myself, but as I have a vested interest in this information I was riveted.

She then started indicating that when Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin was ready for Grade R/Grade 1 school she was planning to send Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin to a private school.

I decided at this point to interject with my wealth of experience in this regard.

I was all ready to show off, as I have researched this subject extensively.

I explained how I too was (am) a snob, and had my son at a private school before we moved into the area.

How I battled to align my head with the fact that there were no private schools around here and my only option (logistically) was to opt for a government school. (There are private schools but they are a bit of a drive
and trying to get to work in time would require me to leave rather early which is not viable as an every-day event in my world.)

When I stopped rolling around on the floor in agony over my decision to send him to a government school, I was able to find a really good – if not great – government school that suited my needs and I was really happy with the school.  The school was a few suburbs away.

I agreed that it might not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ because we all look for different things in a school.

But I was really happy with the (government) school I had found, and my son had been there for three years and my daughter was due to go there next year.

I was explaining it was in a very conservative suburb, had a very active PTA, and parents were very good at contributing and supporting the school.

We were even more lucky that we were English in a predominantly Afrikaans school so got the benefit of small classes.  My son has less than 20 kids in his class (can I get a holler-holler!!!)

The school managing body was efficient and organized, and I generally was really happy with the situation.

Blah-blah-blah-blah ……gloat gloat.

I explained that I had adjusted my perception of government schools, because like all schools – government or private there are good ones and not so good ones.

So there I was making my little speech about the school and I finished off with a flourish, happy that I had conveyed my message so well and with hand movements and everything.

So new-mom-I-just-met-whose-name-I-never-asked goes: “What is the colour split?”

Me – caught slightly off guard: “Er …….. (penny drops)……it is about 10% non-white, I think, but I really have never really noticed.  It services suburbs that are historically white Afrikaans, but the suburbs are changing, and I would guess around 10% or less is about the non-white break.  I would prefer a bit more of a mix, as I would prefer my kids to have a more healthy mix of kids they interact with, I am hoping it will improve as the years go by and the suburbs change.”

Her: “No, I am just the opposite.”

Me – eyebrow raised, ever so slightly : ”Uh-huh….…”

Her: “Yes I want my child to be safe, so I definitely want a school with fewer non-whites ….it’s important that my child is safe.”

Me: “KIDS, KIDS, LET’S GO, DAD WANTS TO GO HOME NOW, CONNOR,GEORGIA, ISABELLE, LET’S MOVE ….. NOW, KIDS!!!”

I think there is something to be said for NOT SPEAKING to strangers in parks!

Etiquette tip: More people will get out of your way if you say “I’m gonna puke!” than if you say “Excuse me”.

We headed up to spend Easter in Hermanus – as we usually do.

It rains each Easter  without fail – but like Lemmings we head up any way, in the hope that maybe this year it would not rain and we could get a last weekend where the kids could play in the sea sand and mom could drink wine and read her book.

Unfortunately fantasies are just that, illusions created in our minds, that disappear in the harsh light of the day after.

This Easter weekend was no exception.

Kennith had come down with a form of the Ebola virus which had him coughing up parts of his lung. 

If I was lucky, he farted at the same time as he coughed.  Unfortunately after the first dozen or so times, it was no longer funny.

The kids were all ill.  All three of them had huge chunks of mucus sliding out their noses and resting on their respective top lip.  The only mildly interesting part was me, comparing whose was less green and whose would get to the top lip first.

The weather turned dreadful and we were stuck inside.  My mother’s house has wooden floors – three kids+wooden floors+no wine for sale on religious holidays = mom having a hemorrhage of her own.

Anyway, Kennith proceeded to get sicker and sicker.  He was looking and sounding really bad – like rush you to the ER bad.

But I was lacking in sympathy for a few reasons.

  1.  We were sleeping in the same room – Kennith is not coughing as much as taking a lung biopsy on himself – so I lie there while this retching coughing is going on and on …. I am not exactly sleeping.
  2. Kennith is retching and retching and when he has stopped retching and coughing, and finally falls asleep, Isabelle who is sharing our room wakes up – so if I am not awake listening to Kennith expel bodily fluid, I am attending to Isabelle who is coughing and crying.
  3. Morning comes, and Kennith is exhausted as he is sick and has been coughing, so he will lie in and sleep late – but me who has been listening to coughing and alternating sorting out Isabelle, is up at 6am with the kids as Kennith needs to sleep.
  4. We are trapped inside and it is so just not fun!

Anyway, we decide that we are going to head home on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

We all get in the car.  Kennith opts to drive as he does not like to be a passenger/my driving/feeling emasculated by letting a woman drive (leave which ever is the most relevant) and we head home.

It is all going quite well.

Traffic not too bad – kids are in varying degrees of “not feeling well” so are a quite ‘medicated’ and thus sleepy.

We are on the R300 about 15 minutes from home.

Connor goes:”Mom I am not feeling so good.”

Me: “How are you “not feeling so good? i.e. point to a place”

Connor: “Here” – indicating his throat – “it’s sore!”

Me (relieved it is not nausea): “Okay my boy, just sit tight we will be home in a few minutes.”

A few moments pass.

Connor: “Mom, I am not feeling goooooodddd…”

Me – looking a bit more panicky – “where?”

Connor indicates his throat, and I judge by his slightly green complexion, and that strange thing people do with their throats when they are about to expel the content of their stomach, that things are about to get very chaotic. 

I am buckled in to the front seat.

Three kids buckled up and packed in tightly with luggage in the back seat.

I indicate to Kennith in a rather insistent voice that he needs to pull over NOW!!

Kennith can’t pull over – and drives faster, which is making it harder for me to get out the car and get Connor out the car.

I realize that things are going to go from bad to really bad in no time, and Connor is really starting to look violently green.

I quickly glance around the car, and realist that my handbag appears to be the only receptacle available. I eliminate that as an option, as I am not quite ready to throw the bag away – and look some more.

Connor unfortunately has run out of patience and he starts doing that “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” sound that every parent recognizes.

I grab Isabelle’s pink blanket and attempt to make an origami swan, and when that fails I create a sort of loose bowl-shaped object and get it under Connor’s mouth.

Slightly too late – I should have spent less time on the design.

Connor is puking – Georgia – in her defense is just looking at him (she is sitting right next to him, so really she is the one with the most to lose!).

Isabelle is too stunned by the now violent “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh” coming from the backseat to cry about her blanket being snatched away from her.

It is mayhem.

Connor is projectile vomiting.

We still appear to be driving.

Connor vomited the blanket-bowl full.

I was trying to fold it over and make a new bowl without pouring it over the car, while Kennith is doing 180km on the R300 and I am screaming for him to pull over, and he is screaming that he cannot pull over and Connor is going “uccccchhhh-uccccchhhh”!!

I fold the blanket-bowl to make a new bowl area, and then Connor does a bit more vomiting – it is quite impressive how much managed to come out of him, and how much the fleece-pink-blankie bowl managed to hold.

I did catch most of it in the blanket – I must really applaud the girls who sat there in stunned silence while total fekn mayhem is going on 30cm away from them.

I am still buckled in to the front seat, but twisting around and reaching over to catch vomit in the pink blankie!

Connor is apologizing for vomiting.

Georgia in a small voice is going: “Accchhh, Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I am trying to keep calm, because actually I could use a good vomit about now.

Connor is still apologizing for vomiting.

So I catch all I can.  I am trying to fold blanket up so that it does not all go sloshing all over the kids.

I am trying to undress Connor as he has got vomit on his jersey, his pants, his belt – and I really do not need him to vomit when he sees vomit.

I get all the stuff off him – while we are doing 180km and all buckled up – I put all the vomit-paraphernalia at my feet in a ball, and we all turn around and face front and try to get home in one piece. 

I know there is vomit at my feet as I can feel it against my foot and my leg!

Georgia still complaining in a small voice: “Connor vomited on my doggie!”

I reassure her that it is fine, we can wash doggie and everything will be as it should be.

We get home, and unpack – and guess who gets to flick vomit off the pink blankie before she does 5 loads of Easter washing?!

I better get a good bloody present this year come mother’s day, I will really get annoyed if all I get is a damn macaroni necklace again!!

‘It’s only funny when it happens to someone else’ Moment ….

So Saturday night we are at the Spur, like any good family with kids.

We are not starving, but we are just too lazy to attempt to do anything in the kitchen that requires us, foods, plates and some form of preperation.

We eat, and Kennith always has ice-cream, it’s his thing.

Me, not so much.

But I did feel like a bit of ice-cream, but the Spur brings you such a large portion that it is actually a touch on the indecent side, even by my rather skew standards.

So Spur waitron person comes over and Kennith orders for himself and the kids and then looks at me, and I “uhm and aaahmmm” and say: “I’d really like a bit of ice cream but it is just way too much and I am just not that hungry!”

Spur waitron-guy, without missing a beat: “Shall I bring you the pensioner’s portion….?”

You know for a just a moment when you think you are starting to feel good, and think you are quite a young’n and then some tosser comes and stamps all over your dreams??

Fek, I need to get back onto that Oil of Olay cr@p – I was going to say ‘before it is too late” – but clearly that ship has sailed!

<just for the record, I did order the pensioner’s portion …………. muvverflucker>

Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight

Last night reminded me again that I had won the BEST Parenting BLOG and not the prize for BEST PARENTING Blog.

We went over to our mates Joyce and Leon for a braai last night, and met up with Lorna and Peter as well.

Cape Town is experiencing what can only be described as a heat wave at the moment.  If you do not have an air conditioner and access to a fridge with cold beer and a pool, then life right now is not dissimilar from Hades for you.  It is absolutely scorching.

Last night when we arrived at our friends home, at 6pm the temperature was 34 degrees.

At about 10pm I walked into the pool fully clothed and the temperature was easily 30 degrees then.  It was not hot as much as it was f*kn cooking!

Georgia has slept in her costume for two nights running!

Anyway back to my bad parenting moment.

Great evening, great food, great wine, possibly slightly too much wine.

But it was fine as Kennith had an ear infection and was on antibiotics so he was limiting his alcohol intake, and automatically made him the responsible parent and designated driver.

Kennith had also packed two bottles of wine for me – for one evening out!  I felt it was slightly excessive, but I also did not want to disappoint him.  Two bottles in one evening out is a challenge.  It is not impossible, but it is a challenge.

Any the who.  Great dinner, great wine, then when it was all over we went home.

Kids were exhausted with the heat and they had been swimming a lot, so they asked to sleep in the lounge.

Considering the couches still had their bedding on them from the night before, it seemed a sensible solution to just agree to let them sleep in the tv room again!

Our standards have really slipped during this school holiday.  I am not sure when the last time my kids had a bath – and Georgia is wearing a plait in her hair that I did on the weekend (today is Thursday!) – so that sort of comments on how personal hygiene has sort of got lost along the way.

Any the way, kids in bed, Isabelle into her cot.  She went to bed with just a nappy on as it was too hot to even consider putting anything else on her.

She fell asleep, or so I thought.  I stumbled to bed, put on my Ackermans nightshirt and fell into a I-ate-too-much-chicken-and-have-definitely-not-drunk-too-much-wine pile.

I fell asleep for what felt like five minutes and then I heard Isabelle screaming like she was being strangled.  I fell out of bed, picked myself off the floor, sort of fell over myself getting to her room, and burst into her room.

Arrived, and she was very upset (not because I had arrived you understand, she was upset and then I arrived – sorry I still feel a bit drunk clearly).

I proceeded to sit with her and rock her for what felt like an hour.  When her eyelids became heavy and I felt her breathing sort of slow (or my eyelids got heavy and my breathing started to slow). I placed her back into her cot and headed back to my bed.

Repeated the same procedure of falling into bed in a heap.  Only to be woken before I had actually slipped into rapid eye movement, by more screaming from Isabelle.

At this point I decided I was going to do the parenting-with-tough-love and would leave her to scream it out.  Eventually she will get tired and go to sleep.

I was desperate to sleep, so the room would stop spinning!  I lay there and tried to doze, but the screaming – she was screaming a loud, I was screaming on the inside – just would not stop.

I slammed my feet onto the floor as I heaved my mass out of bed.  Not only was I really tired, but now I was getting annoyed.

I march to Isabelle’s room to give her a firm talking to.  I flick on the passage light, open her door with just that too much force (so as to make an impression that I am clearly not happy), I enter her room wearing a very disapproving look on my face!

Only to find that she has caught her fat chubby leg between the bars of her cot and is screaming like a banshee!

I felt worse than dog sh*t left in the sun too long!  I freed her chubby little leg, rolled her on her side and patted her a bit until she dosed off, castigating myself for being such a bad person as I had let her scream while she was in distress!

Of course she proceeded to scream as soon as I got back to bed.  Of course now I jumped up like a Jack in a Box and did at least another four visits to her room.

Even when she stopped screaming and eventually fell asleep, the scream was still ricocheting in my head so much so, that I thought she was still screaming (even when I checked on her and found her sleeping three more times!)

I woke up before 6am this morning, feeling like death, and then because I could still “hear the screaming” I went to check on her again – and of course she was sleeping spread out like a Snow Angel in her cot, quietly sleeping as babies do.

I am now serving my penance. I really ate-too-much-chicken and have a pounding head-ache.  I am sleep deprived. And to show me that karma is a bitch, my right contact lens has got lost behind my eyeball, so it is like the itchy-and-scratchy show in my right eye-ball with reduced vision!

Fabulous!

(I have also just sniffed a bunch of my hair, that smells faintly like urine, so clearly at some point Isabelle also wee’d on me, which now appears to be in my hair!)

Gone fishing …. or being murdered …..

So this weekend Kennith and I are going away for the weekend with girls we have met through my blog and some forums I chat on.

When I saw we have met, I really mean I have met.  And I am dragging Kennith who has become the reluctant husband along with me.

This morning while Vera was waxing my personal bits, I was telling her the story and what we were doing this weekend.  She asked me how Kennith feels about being dragged along on a weekend with people he actually does not know.

I said, well, I am not sure, because I had not stopped to ask him.  She raised a finely plucked eyebrow and carried on ripping my hair from it’s roots.

Vera commented that not many men would agree to go along for this sort of weekend, and Kennith was quite a trooper/unusual/not like most men.

I had not actually given that much thought.

Here we are going away on a weekend, where the girls in these three couples have struck up a friendship, albeit a strange one.  We seem to find something in each other that resonates with us and on what appears to be an agreed liking for each other, we have committed to spending 48 hours together – away in a cabin, next to a river/dam/water mass.

I really had not considered that I am “forcing” Kennith – and the other girls are forcing their respective partners – to spend a weekend with two other men that he might not be friends with, and possibly might not choose to be friends with if the choice was left to him (Possibly, they might prove to be bosom buddies and be spooning by Saturday night.  One never knows what happens when boys go up a hill and there is an open fire, see what happened in Brokeback Mountain and all).

The choice actually is not being made by him.

I planned this weekend, and he said “no we are not doing it, we don’t even know these people” and then I told him to stop being a “Nancy boy, what is the worst that can happen, it will be fine, not get it together” and then he said “okay” begrudgingly and I carried on planning this weekend.

Actually he is quite a sport and has taken ½ days leave today, and is doing all the shopping for the weekend.  As reluctant as he is, he is still getting behind this idea in a big way.

So yes, Vera, as you remove my deeply rooted pubic hair with maybe a bit too much force – you are correct.  Kennith is a little unusual as far as “most men” go.

I have always admitted that Kennith is not “most men” – he supports me and gets behind my seemingly insane ideas.

He stands next to me and supports me when most other “men” would have abandoned ship and headed for the hills.  Though we do have boy and girl roles, I do think as partners in a relationship, our roles as man and woman are sometimes blurred, and he often picks up some of my roles, as I think I do his.

I like that I have a Kennith who does stuff that maybe not all men do, and whose take on our life is not “old school and traditional.”  He is an active inclusive father, and we do not look at it as something strange.  If I am an active inclusive mother, why should he not be an active inclusive father?

About two weeks ago, my mom and my aunt were staying with us for the weekend.  I was away on the one day, I can’t recall where I was – but I was out.  Kennith was sorting out the kids.

I got home early evening/late afternoon and my mom and aunt were sitting at the dining room table finishing dinner. They were talking about Kennith in hushed tones of awe, as if he had just turned water into wine, while walking on the water, and wrestling with the lions in the den.

I though “Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy.”

Once I got past them, I went to find Kennith and check on the kids.  He had them all in hand.

I asked what he had done that had created such awe in my mother and aunt,  and he commented “nothing really.” I asked him what he had up to this evening.

He said he had fed the kids, got the kids into the bath, got them into their jammies, and they were downstairs watching television.  He had fed Isabelle, and was waiting for me as I enjoyed bathing with her.  I said “okay, anything unusual” and he said “No, but your mom and aunt did keep looking at him and smiling…maybe they aren’t used to a guy doing stuff.”

I went back and sat with my mom and aunt at the dining room table.  They commented again that Kennith was such a super man, and should have a cape and maybe wear his underpants on the outside.

I sort of smiled and drank some more wine – I might have chugged it a bit actually – and then went on with my evening.

Later I was chatting to Kennith about his super-man status.  He raised something that I probably had not really thought about much.

My mother and my aunt are not used to men who help out with “women’s work.” They are used to men who arrive home, complain about their heavy day, kick off their shoes, put their feet on the coffee table, and wait for their wife to bring them a cold beer in their favourite glass.

While they read the newspaper, the little woman goes off and finishes dinner which she serves with a flourish.

Same man eats dinner, and pats his wife on the head and complements her on the great meal.  Burps in appreciation and goes to settle himself on the couch and watches a bit of footie on the tellie.

When that is done and he is ready to go to bed, he will wink over at his wife and say “Honey are you coming to bed” – to which is wife will say  “Right there honey” and she will be.

What he does not see is that she has spent the day running around after kids and the house.

She has prepared the meal from scratch – no Woolies throw-in-the-microwave faire here – and got kids homeworked, bathed, jammied and in bed, and done a host of other activities.   The kitchen is spotless.  She found time to go to the bottle store and restock on the beer.

She has done a bit of gardening, probably some grocery shopping, stood in queues for paying electricity, completing Tim’s school project on owl migration, and spent 15 minutes making herself pretty and presentable before Mr. Husband got home.

So she will appear next to her husband, while he goes on to tell her about the difficult day he had.  She will not think for a minute to tell him that Tim had flushed the cat down the toilet and she had to single-handedly go in and rescue the cat, and then wash the sh*t off the cat, while Tim and his brother Larry watched.

And what’s more she will be ready to have sex if and when he wishes it.  All this she will do without uttering a word of complaint, or reflect on her situation and go “Fek, I got the short end of the stick here in this relationship deal.”

But times are different – thank heavens for that!

Kennith does not “help” out with the kids.  He has responsibilities that include the kids – his kids.

I confess, I do sometimes say “please help me get the kids out of the bath” as if it is my duty, and he is being a real help by helping me.

I also confess that we have taken on different roles in our house – most of the children related things fall to me to deal with.  But at the same time Kennith does all the grocery shopping and most nights he cooks, or he brings home take aways, or he takes me out for dinner. He does not expect a meal to miraculously land in front of me.

Well maybe he does expect it, but the cold reality has hit him that if he waits he will go hungry.  Maybe he has taken on the role of “hunter and provider” in our little family as he is tired of waiting for the food to magically appear out of the oven he bought me that I still do not quite know how to use.

So yes, a few things might have changed since my mom and my aunt had their kids, and maybe our home operates a bit differently to theirs and even to other households I have seen.

Even now I see friends where the  guy has a limited role in terms of house and kids – fortunately that is not my household.   Both Kennith and I have chosen that he takes an active role.  Okay I chose it, he sort of got beat into doing it, but damn, does that boy do a good job now!

Back to this weekend – I am really excited about going away with my internet chums.

It is a bit like internet dating, but without the pressure of “whether we will need to have sex.”  I am really hoping that they are not thinking we are all going to be having sex, as I am sure that was not what I had  conveyed.

So I am officially “Gone Fishing” and will see you on Monday!

If you don’t hear from me on Monday, and you need to report me as a missing person to the police as my “internet chums” have turned into nothing more than “serial murders who stalk innocent prey like me on the internet” get the police to look in the direction of Swellendam near some log cabins.

Of eisteddfod and other brain numbing endevours ….

Yesterday I am sitting with Isabelle and Georgia in the tv room.

Georgia is colouring up a storm, and I asked her something about her picture.  Conversation finished I look back at the television to see if the teletubbies will actually just say good bye once without jumping out from behind the grass and going “uh-oh” for a change.

Georgia says – totally out of the blue: “I like to kiss boys!”

I go:  “What?”

She repeats: “I like to kiss boys!”

Of course I snigger and go: “I am sure your dad will love to hear that news, best you don’t tell him.”

So she goes: “I am a kissy-kissy girl,” and for effect says it twice.

Later the same evening, off to an eisteddfod prize-giving with Connor.

Which in short, is a very long hour of: children’s names being read out, kid comes up to the stage, faces the incorrect direction, is manually turned around by the teacher,  stares out at the audience as their name is repeated and it is announced what they did and their grade, kid smiles, shakes the hand of the certificate-giver and then goes to the end of the stage and waits for the rest of the kids.

Repeat this a few dozen times, and it is about as exciting as it was.

Once your child’s name is read out, your interests disappears totally.  It does not even taper off, it just evaporates instantaneously.

Our kid’s surname is very close to the beginning of the alphabet, so he is pretty much first up and from B through to the V’s is a very very long list – in a primarily Afrikaans school the names towards the end of the alphabet were rather numerous. I tried to read my book, but Kennith told me I was being very rude, and made me close it.

Kennith did come up with a good idea going forward, he suggested we pay the maid extra and get her to come and cheer for the kids next time.

I reminded Kennith that soon we will have two kids at this school and because one will be in junior phase, and the other in senior phase we will get to do EVERYTHING twice.

I decided not to make him aware that at some point we will have three kids at school and then well, we might just shoot ourselves or fake a heart attack to get out of these evenings.

Kennith looks at the programme and goes: “Connor is in Grade 2, right?”

My look sort of summed up that I really did not think he was being a very hands-on parent if he had no idea what grade his child was in.  However in his defense, he has no guarantee that Connor is his …. sorry, I was really bored, so my brain had started to stray.

I thought I would make idle chatter with Kennith as I was now past being rigor-mortis bored … and told him about what Georgia had said earlier in the evening.

To which Kennith responds in a hushed whisper which is always louder than you intend it to be : “You really should not encourage her with that sort of thing!”

Somehow something I am doing as a parent makes Kennith think that it is making Georgia a rampant boy-kisser on the playground.

Prize giving evenings are really slow and boring and you do feel an overriding urge to discourage your child from getting involved in these things to prevent you having to attend these evenings.  Maybe another reason why my “Best Parent of the Year” Award has been revoked!

Maybe not HG Science class just yet ….

I am chatting to Connor about the fact that they have squirrels at their school, and whether kids feed them and so on.

Connor comments on the fact that sometimes the kids do, and sometimes the squirrels bite the kids – not tear off their faces, but nip them on the fingers, these are really cute squirrels, who can clearly spot a free lunch.

I thought this was a good time to reinforce the general knowledge he has picked up from Discovery and the books we read.

So feeling awfully smug that I have a bright boy, I go:

“Connor, what disease do squirrels carry, that you could pick up from them if they bite you?”

Connor: “errrr, the plague…”

Me:  “Probably not, more like rabies … who discovered a vaccine for rabies?”

Connor: “errrr, Dr Seuz ….”

Me: “Not so much …….try Dr. Louis Pasteur…”

<sigh> I won’t be mailing that application letter to MENSA quite yet it would seem.

Brusha, brusha, brusha ….

We are pretty good about dragging our kids to the dentist very six months for a check up.   We do it on a Saturday morning and our appointment is usually at 9am.

I am not even going to describe what it is like to get three kids up , dressed, prepped, in the car and to a dentist in the middle of Cape Town by 9am on a Saturday morning.   It is as bad as you imagine it will be, and then some.  But I make the appointment religiously and we stick to it.

Partly because Discovery covers the visits and secondly because I would prefer my kids not to have fillings and other things to deal with down the line.  When Connor was a wee mite I read so many stories of kids who had to have their teeth pulled, and there were several kids at his school who had rotten black teeth – it was like a scene from Victorian England.

When I was younger the only time we went to the dentist was to have several rather large injections into my gum following by a very unpleasant filling – it was hellishly traumatic.

But then there was the two hour spell where you face hung on your shoulder, and at some point you ignored all advise and ate something because you were ravenous, but because you could not feel your face you ended up eating half the inside of your cheek with your cheest-and-onion chips.  Yes, good times, I bet you are remembering now.

I have several fillings that were done when I was a young child – all in primary school – so either my younger years were filled with too much cavity-causing sweets, or poor dental hygiene.  It is probably the latter .

The result is that every dentist visit I attend – even the oral hygienist which pretty much guarantees no fillings – fills me with fear and trepidation.  I hate being there, I drag myself kicking and screaming into their offices.

I lie in the reclining chair, wound as tight as a spring.  I am sweating in fear, and I just want this to be over.  I count when I am trying to endure something, I count a lot at the dentist.  I think most people would opt for a pap smear (which reminds me I need to book one) than a dentist visit.

On Saturday we all traipsed off to our ever efficient dentist.

We arrive en-masse and all go the oral hygienist, who also does x-rays and a good cleaning.  We all go to the dentist, who really looks at what the oral hygienist has x-rayed, pokes around a bit with his metal stick and gives you a 3 minutes pep talk on why you should floss.

Ah flossing, my pet hate.  I have decided to stop lying to the dentist that I actually floss, and also to not say “okay will do” when they give me the flossing-talk – which they always do.

My opening gambit with the oral hygienist is:

“Listen, I don’t floss, I can lie to you and say I do, but you will know I am lying.  You are going to tell me how I should floss, and demonstrate how important it is, and I will nod sagely and agree, then I will leave here and not floss.  So let’s avoid that awkwardness, and accept I do not floss.”

I find honesty is actually the better policy.  Just for the record I do that little speech only when my kids are out of ear shot.

Connor has been going to the dentist since he was about three, Georgia has been going since she was a wee thing. Isabelle is one and already has had two dentist visits, though she has sat in reception and played with the toys for both visits, so technically they do not count, but next visit we are going to get her into the chair with her pearly whites.

The dentist means sticker and maybe a cool blown-up latex glove with a pen face drawn on it.  Neither of my kids have the fear that I have of dentist.

Neither of my kids have any tooth decay either.

At the last visit the dentist showed Connor how important it was to floss.  So he has now joined the ranks of those who floss.  Which I am quite thrilled with, as he ain’t learning that from me.