Parenting in 3 words.

Parenting …. no one tells you about when they get pubic hair ….

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Parenting is a very tense relationship.  With adjustments and readjustments and basically some shitty times, with some cool instagram photographs thrown in to keep you mildly sane.

Often you forget it is tense and you lie on the couch and go to sleep.  You will be forced awake (stuff jabbed in your eye, a child on top of you, the cat using you as a clawing post ….. kids screaming and fighting) and then you will start to rethink this entire “relationship” and why you got in to it, and how you can get out of it.

You will imagine various scenarios that usually include leaving your kids with your parents.  Or just plain leaving them on a corner somewhere.

When I say “leaving them with” I mean dropping them off in the dead of the night.  With a sticker stuck to them with instructions like “Feed this one Pronutro, check that teeth are brushed, check she is wearing panties ….. no matter how “like a princess” you dress her, she will look like a thug when you collect her from school.  No I do not know where the clothing is that fits her has gone either.”

You keep thinking you have survived or at the very least just got the hang of this parenting malarkey when your children will present a new facet you were not expecting, and ill prepared for.

Maybe I just have not read the notes on this section of parenting ….. that What to Expect when you are ….. sort of drops off in the toddler years.

Guys there is an entirely area here you should get your shit together on.  What to Expect … The Teenage Years.

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Connor is turning 14 in December.   Needless to say he has been 13 for far too many months already.

It feels like last week when he was 9 and he agreed with me most of the time.  His feet did not smell like a chemical experiment involving sulphur and he actually spent time outside of his room – he was polite, and a sweet sweet boy.

This year he has given me a clear insight in how parenting a teenage child is going to go.

Or the alternate but more apt heading “How I am failing at parenting a teen…”

It has not been pretty.   I have not come out of this process covered in glory, in any way.

It has led me to screaming, talking really loud, using pauses to prevent him answering back like “AND AND AND AND …… AND” and basically with what ever we were talking about getting so blown out of proportion that eventually I can’t even remember where I stand on an issue.  Or what we were arguing about.

I am fucking exhausted.

The problem with the exhaustion/feeling defeated is that I am waiting for every conversation to escalate into this screaming, arms waving and door slamming conclusion.

Connor and I have been fighting like maniacs for the last few months.  It feels like since last year to be honest.

If I say something is white, then he will counter it is black and then will try to convince me of his view point.

I do know that “Just fucking do what I told you to do because I am the fucking parent.  OKAY!” Is not the most winning statement one can make as the parent, but holy shit balls, sometimes (too often I am afraid) I lose my shit.  Like lost.  Like the series LOST.  That far gone.

I try and remain reasonable.  I try and remain calm.

But there is only so much backwards and forwards I can endure before I start to look for cakes to throw out the weekend.

We have had a sad shortage of cakes in our home.  I might be going with some Ultra Mel Custard in a carton soon. That one is going to not only need the strong throw, but it needs that propulsion follow through so it bursts as it hits the floor/concrete/dining table.

I am not sure I am on Custard Carton level as yet.

At one several point I thought “you know fuck this shit” and I started picturing packing up his clothing and what ever he needs to survive for the next few days.  Dropping/dumping him at Kennith’s house.

The fact that Kennith was not there at the time was a very small detail I was able and willing to overlook.

Kennith phoned shortly thereafter to ask me something totally arbitrary.  He got hit with the version of me that is screaming, sighing, spittle forming on my chin and basically at the point where I am willing to shift from a three child family to a two child family.

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I really was at the end …… the absolute end ….. the place were postcards are sent from …… end of this shit.

Kennith had Connor for the weekend and spoke to him —- I assume.  Connor came back and he was far better.  There was less fighting.  The respite was joyous.

He used to do me the favour of screaming at the girls for me, which I thought was rather endearing.

Then this weekend came along.  For various reasons I was feeling on edge and I just needed the shit to work, you know the stuff to get sorted, everyone to be at the right place at the right time in the right coloured underwear.

Connor was going to a birthday that I could not drop him off at.

I managed to organise my friend to drop him off.  Great.  He let me know that he was going to sleep over at another friend that night — I said fine, “take the bag that has been packed for you – take it with you to the party and then take it with you for the evening.”

There was no confusion there was only one bag.  And who had to take it.

I happen to go past the house, see the bag is there, pick it up and take it with me thinking I will drop it off at his friend’s home later.  I can’t work out why he would leave it, but this is Connor, he has left his school bag at home before.  On his way to school.

He goes to the party – and the mom drops him off at his evening sleep over place.  I am high fiving myself for a plan that seems to be working.

Then I start to get the SMS’s asking me to pack things in the bag …… that he should have with him.

The more I tell him that this is not going to happen (because I am not at home, and the bag is with me) the more the “please moms” start.  It goes on and on and I really start to develop a tick in my right hand eye.

He then escalates this to his school project and starts to ask me when this is going to be ready.

I made it clear from the outset he needed to build this project himself.  By himself, for himself.  He insisted on asking Wayne for assistance and I said no as Wayne has some other obligations and is not going to be able to do it.

He whinged and whined (no shock there) and I said that he needs to ask Wayne, and arrange it with him.  I am telling him not to, he is choosing to, and what ever happens is his problem.

Connor being Connor forgot to mention the project is due for Monday.  This is Saturday night.

He mentions it now in his messages.

I lose my shit.  Like. Shit.  Lost.

I realised I can no longer do messages, this requires a phone call.

I call Connor.  It is not a good conversation.  I am not screaming as much as talking really loud.

What we established is Connor does not have a hearing problem.

He clearly recalls that I told him NOT TO TRY TO GET Wayne to do this project.  What Connor is arguing is that I only told him ONCE!!

It appears once is not the right number.  I asked if he could give me the magic number of repeating myself over and over again …… I think he thought I was being a bit aggressive and told me I didn’t understand.

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It was just another situation that deteriorated into both of us feeling angry and hurt and not being heard by the other.

I was really angry.

The amount of planning and organising this day required was akin to the Normandy Invasion.  Then the one person you give the clear instruction of TAKE YOUR BAG THAT IS PACKED AND WAITING IN THE DINING ROOM does not, because he comes up with another plan.

The school project actually did my head in —- totally.  I was so spittle on my chin angry with him.

The problem with these things is as a third person you can offer really good advise as the person looking in, but as the one involved, you lose your sense, you lose perspective and you forget exactly how many years you get for murder.

On the drive home from school yesterday I had a little “it’s late but it is still related to Saturday because I was so freaking angry” explosion.

I drew some lines in the sand.  He still wanted to argue with me, and then I said the thing that you just don’t say to your child “SHUT UP” —- I actually said shut up to my kid.

I just wanted him to be quiet so I could tell him what I needed to tell him, instead of getting into a haggle about every point.  It was either telling him to “shut up” or me shoving a gag down his throat …..

Connor looked at me as if I had slapped him …… it wasn’t my finest hour in parenting.  I have to return the rosette best parenting award on Thursday.

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If anyone tells you the most difficult part of parenting is choosing the nursery linen, deciding on breast or formula, and working out whether co-sleeping is a good idea.  Laugh.  Laugh.  Hard.

This all.  This all fades into nothing, when you are sitting there arguing with your child, who unfortunately in some cases can argue you into circles.

I miss the days of the Waltons when no one would speak if Ma and Pa were at the table.  They would all defer to the parents say things like “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” and it all seemed like a very happy place.

I think I am ill prepared for this hormone soaked, pubic hair sprouting phase.

Please tell me this shit gets better ……. soon!

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Check out more of Brian Gordon’s comics on > http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com/comic

Judging other …. maybe too harshly

I have been a bit hard on my mom in the past.  I think I judged too early, and judged too harshly.

I think as time has passed, and maybe I have gained a different perspective, I start to perceive my mother in a less harsh life.

I am not quite at the point of “ahhhh shit happened” but I do think that contrary to popular belief I have mellowed a bit.  I feel less of a need to stand on my soap box and brandish a tune.

I think a contributing factor is that when you have kids, your parents get a do over.

The somewhat incompetent and rather neglectful parents they were to you, gets to be done differently to your kids. I do not think you consciously step out with this thought process, but for me, my mom was a hugely better grandmother/’annie than she was a mom.

Contributing factors was that she had my brother at 17, and her third child by 23.

My father was an absolute waste of skin, and trying to raise three children unaided, whilst having a husband who appeared to be consciously working against what was best for the family was a bit of a challenge.  Add rampant unemployment and drinking (father dearest) and you would pretty much have the gist of the situation.

I am pretty sure my mother dealt with her own portion of depression, and with no support structure – physical, emotional or financial, she was working two or three jobs and attempting to parent three children without the necessary skills.

Added – and I kid you not – we as kids had unlimited and unsupervised access to gunpowder, ammunition of guns of varying caliber.

We were constantly shooting each other, shooting at the neighbourhood kids (we weren’t particularly good at aiming), making home-made bombs with real gunpowder and were constantly running rampant.

I wish I made this up.  Really I do.

I was previously judgmental that my mom did not make the best decisions, and I still support that statement.

But …. I would have done far worse, at 23, with no finances, no support, an abusive and alcoholic absent husband – odds are that all three kids and I would have been drowned in the family porta pool (is that even a word?)

Anyway I think that as time goes by you start to view your parents/mother through different eyes.  I do feel that my mother did the best she could with what she had at her disposal, I would have done far worse — far worse!

So there we go – you live, you get older, you realise that maybe other people had it far worse than you and maybe you need to adjust your perspective.

{I exclude my father from this process of not judging too harshly – he was a total twat.  Maybe I need another 10 or 20 years to mellow about what a shit he was.}

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater – repost {because I can}

We are having retro day  — I went to scrounge through some old posts, and repost one I had posted back in October 2010 – posted under the title – Throwing the baby out with the bath water …

I read it again, and realised I am not sure I could comment on the same subject any better – so with that in mind, if you have started reading this blog recently then you get to read this for the first time.

Been around a bit longer?  Well then, this might still make you smile a bit, or will bore you senseless.

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I’ve often wondered why we do not tell new moms about the hell that follows once they arrive home with their new baby.

There seems to be this unwritten law that we should not scare them too much.  Or possibly it is that they will not believe it until it starts to happen to them.  Of late I have started to believe the latter.

The hell I am referring to is the emotional trauma and the screaming that you and your partner/husband/supplier of sperm/supporter of pregnancy/nearest and dearest will go through around week six to eight of your new baby being home.

It might start on day one, it might not start for several weeks, but it will start (insert Dr Evil’s laugh here).

Pregnancy is much like your honeymoon. The two of you are aglow with the wonders of what your loins have done. You have affirmed your lineage will continue. Your partner is elated that his sperm has proved to be virile, you are a bask in the glow of pregnancy.

You feel that you have single-handedly saved the entire human race.  Here in your uterus sits the off-spring that could find a cure of cancer or at the very least a system for not losing the remote control on the couch.

Ah it is glorious heady stuff.  You are invincible, you are pregnant.

Your energies are focused on the birth of the baby.  Where partner will stand, who will hold the camera, whether you will ask for some homeopathic meds or sell you soul for one prick of the anesthetist’s epidural needle.   From about month five every waking (and sleeping moment) is  consumed with all this planning.

You have various scenarios in your mind, but the one that stands out for you, is that picture of you, the picture of the perfect you.  You, still wearing mascara, and a touch of lip-gloss, cuddling your bundle, while your partner stares at you longing as if you are the original mother mary.

Intoxicating  days these.

You survive child-birth.  You survive the medical staff and you make it home.  You are smiling and coo’ing and everyone has agreed that this is the sweetest baby ever to bless the earth.

You and your partner are so pleased with yourselves right now.  You might even cure leprosy later on in the afternoon, nothing is beyond you right now.

The visitors go home, the medication and euphoria starts to wear off.  You are starting to ache.

You really love your baby, but have decided that you no longer love your baby between 2 and 6am.  You are sleep deprived, your nipples feel like you have been cast in a low-budget porn movie, you are not feeling your best as you have been in your bathrobe since last Monday.

Brushing your teeth has become the highlight of your day – you do not even try to floss, as really there is not enough time and this often requires two hands, which you seldom have the luxury of right now.

Partner kisses you on the forehead and skips off to work.  At some point you stand there – usually in the middle of the kitchen, still in your grubby bathrobe, and ask yourself  “What exactly happened here … this is not how I pictured it…and why is that shmuck not with me in this?”

You can’t say it out loud as the baby has finally fallen asleep and you need to sort of rock him to-and-fro, to-and-fro or he is going to start screaming again, but you think it.  Yes, you think it, and think it and think it.

You now glance over at the kitchen clock and start counting the hours down for husband (you have dropped the dear part) to come home.  By the time he arrives home, you pretty much shove the baby into his arms, scream at him about being late.

Then scream at him about something unrelated and stomp off in a furore.  You are waiting for baby to start crying, because now husband can get an earful of what you have had to put up with all day …

But nothing … you listen … and there is nothing.  So you sneak quietly down to the lounge … and there he is … baby propped on his shoulder … not a care in the world … he has a beer in the other hand and he is watching Super Sport … and looks at you like: “ This isn’t hard, what are you complaining about!”

This is where the cracks start.

Late at night as you wake to go and feed the baby you look over at your partner who is fast asleep and you wonder if you can stab him the shoulder with a fork!  You know you can, but you wonder if you can do deep tissue damage with just one fork stab, or whether you will need to do it numerous times.

Partner does not move while you feed, burp, and quiet baby.  You schlep down the passage, put baby down and return to bed.  Right now the warm-even breathing of your partner is making you so angry you want to smother him.  Instead you roll over, being sure to jab him with your elbow in his back and then you eventually doze off.  Only to be awoken 5 minutes later by baby who needs to feed…..

You repeat the cycle, each time hating your partner for the fact that he has undisturbed sleep.

Next morning you wake up and he is getting ready for work.  He smiles at you, all happy, as if he has let you sleep in – never mind that in total since 1am, you have had about 45 minutes sleep.  He gets his clean clothes on, kisses you on the forehead (because you have not brushed your teeth) and goes off to work.

And now your mild dislike has turned to hate.

It is actually his fault that this has all happened, and now he gets to go to work, talk to adults, surf Facebook and drink hot cups of coffee all day.  You hate him for every hour he is away.  The problem is when he drags his sorry arse in the door after work, you hate him for every hour he is home as well.

He has no idea what you go through, he does not realise that you have been crying for 6 hour straight.  He has no idea that you are so exhausted right now, you would swap places with a vagrant to get some sleep.

He has no idea that what is happening to you now does not gel with the picture you had in your head of this entire process. You love your baby – but right now, you really do not love being with him.

The right thing to say is that “this is the best thing in the world…” but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe it is really hard and maybe you are really struggling.  The thing you can’t understand is that no one has really told you how difficult it is going to be, and now you are really struggling.

Your partner does not understand, actually he has no clue what is going on. You are angry and upset and the person who is going to take the brunt of it is the poor sap who comes whistling through the front door at about 17h30 each day.

You start fighting with him because he goes to work.  You fight with him because he is at work.  You fight with him because he is at home.  You fight with him because he can’t change the baby the way you want him to do it.   You fight with him because he does not know which babygrower to use … well basically you fight with him because he exists (don’t even start with me about the fact that he has to breath so damn loud!).

Husband is starting to wonder if this having a baby was such a good idea, and at some point will make a statement of the sort.

This will be a bit like throwing gasoline on a fire, and you will unfortunately start saying some things you wish you had not said.  He is so annoyed as he does not know his wife anymore, and instead has this hormone soaked creature to deal with, so he will retaliate with something else, and you will have a come back which is akin to kicking him in the gonads.

And from there the situation will turn ugly.

But believe it or not  ….  you eventually start to get saner and realise that you (and him) are living through what feels like the apocalypse.  It does take a while before you realise that you and your partner are actually in this together.  You need to rely and lean on each other to get through this, rather than taking pot shots at each other as you run across the minefield.

You also start to wonder “why do couples who are in distress think having a baby is going to bring them closer?” when good sense tells us that a baby is the most strain you can subject on a relationship.

Don’t worry I wonder the same thing.

When my friends, who are young and in-love, have baby-showers I really want to give them vouchers for sessions of couple counseling.  Unfortunately decorum gets the better of me, and I buy them bibs and baby shoes like everyone else, and try not make them feel less invincible than they do right then.

Unsolicited parenting advise ….

Crikes it irks me — strange people giving you insights about what to do with your own children.

Makes me want to slap people.  In Woolworths.  Usually in the yoghurt aisle.

I am hoping one day to build up the courage to respond: “Well thank you, listen I do not need MORE advise, what I need is a surrogate mom to pop around, fetch kids from 16h00 and then do everything there is to do to herd them in to bed say for 20h00.  Could you pop around and do that — they say the best way to learn is to watch someone in action, and I can see how you get it right.  I have checked my diary and it appears I can watch you from Wednesday night for two weeks. How does that sit with you?  If you could throw in shopping with the kids for clothes, that would be super.”

Alternatively if I can’t remember that entire monologue I am hoping to go with “Thanks, but right now I don’t need your fuckin advise.  I need a large glass of wine and an afternoon sleep and you to take these three kids off my hands.  Do you have any advise for that?  No? Now fuck off before I really get mean!”

I usually am the third person to issue parenting advise to anyone who asks, or does not ask …. or who is pregnant.  I chew the inside of my cheek, and then I can’t stop myself from bursting forth with some advise.

I somehow feel because I have had three of my own I am this font of information.  I really want to tell you the pitfalls of motherhood – but the problem is I develop this frenzied look in my eyes, and spittle forms on my chin and start speaking in this loud erratic voice.

And then nervous moms start backing away from me.  In the Pick ‘n Pay.  Near the lettuce.

Brace yourself for more unsolicited advise ….. can I suggest/advise/beg you to make three appointments for your child each year.

1.  Visit to the dentist – ideally one visit a year. 

If your medical aid is generous go twice.  Do the cleaning, the x-rays and the dentist once over.

I only went to dentists as a child when something was wrong.  The result is that speaking to the dentist’s receptionist makes me sweat yellow stains on my white t-shirt.  Visits to the dentist fill me with all sorts of anxiety and I spend the entire visit with my nails dug into the chair.

My kids on the other hand view the dentist like a tamed down version of Ratanga Junction.  It’s an outing, and they love it.

The upside for us is that we can look at all their teeth lurking under their gums and get a heads up on any issues.  My kids have zero fear of dentists and have become quite accomplished latex glove animal creators.

2.  Visit your optom once a year for an eye test for your kids.

I took all three kids along to vist Basil Kotze over at Charl Laas Optom last week.  Three kids in an optom visit was maybe aiming a bit high on the crazy, but we made it.  He did a great job, and checked all the kids eyes and vision.  Granted two of them were cutting grooves in his beautiful wooden desk whilst he tested the third, but I am hoping since I moved his desk calendar he won’t see the marks.

I had no idea how he was going to check Isabelle, as she is of the “no talking” child variety, but he did.  He had an eye test he did that did not require her to say anything, just look in to the light stuff.   Kids all have perfect eyesight – sadly me, not so much!

I can tick that off and we can have another go in October 2013, and more importantly I am not worrying about something in class because they can’t see what is on the school board.

3.  Have an Audiology Exam for your child every year.

Don’t wait for a problem, test every year so you can obtain a base line and then test from there, each year.

I kick myself that I have not done regular hearing tests with my kids – and I have no idea how much time I have lost with Isabelle.  I have no idea whether her “sticky ear” was an issue that had been there for 3 months or 3 years.  I had Connor and Georgia tested in Grade R as part of preparation for Grade 1 – but I skipped Isabelle, and I kick myself now.

I plan to take Georgia and Connor for hearing tests again this year – and do one each year.

The point I am trying to preach is that if you have access to it, then have your children’s hearing, sight and teeth checked each year – as a preventative tool.

Have a doctor confirm everything is in order, rather than your child missing out on a development issue just because you did not realise, and you only finding out about it much later.

Kids (and adults) are wonderfully devious.  If we struggle with our sight or hearing we tend to adjust our behaviour so it does not become an issue, but the risk with kids is they miss out on key milestones.

It is unsolicited parenting advise, but it is good advise.  Use it, discard it —- what ever works for you.

Try and make an appointment, today – there is nothing bad that can come out of it.

What to Expect … when you are Parenting

Does anyone remember what it is like to “want” a baby?

You think of it all the time.  You pee on sticks, even if they are not the ones you get from a pharmacy.

You become consumed with “wanting a baby” but you never seem to think of “wanting a baby” in the same space as “wanting to be a parent.”

For me, I think that they were two separate things, and I forgot/misplaced a piece of information that wanting a baby also meant/actually meant/really meant becoming a parent.

“Wanting a baby” is doe eyed, soft lighting and all quite marvelous.  You think of that warm milky smell, that sticky chubby hand reaching out to curl itself around your finger.  Wanting a baby is magic and filled with promise and giddiness, and the warm cuddles of an infant against your breast.  And purchasing baby books by the kilogram and buying every soft lighting baby magazine that you can get your soon swelling hands on to.

For some reason being a parent is just not as glamorous.  When I say “just not as glamorous” I actually mean like a case of thrush without access to the one administration of fanny cream!

I can honestly say when I was thinking of having a baby, I was thinking of pink and blue fluffy blankets.  Which compactum to purchase, whether I should buy one of those super stylish baby sling numbers or just wing it and use my arms to clutch the baby to my breast.

Maybe it is only me, but I did not think about how much work “being a parent” was going to be when I was planning my “wanting a baby”.

I just thought about sleepless nights and me crying alone in the bathroom at 2am because I was so damn tired.  Wanting a baby and having a baby never translated into how challenging/difficult/labour of love with very little reward in the short-term being a parent is.

I know when”wanting a baby” becomes “having a baby” – that seems fairly simple. But when having a baby becomes “being a parent” is less clear.

Even with Baby number 3, I was still thinking about the new baby smell and how lovely a pink onesie was going to look and was not thinking about me yelling in the passage about brushing teeth and going the hell to sleep already!

“Wanting a baby” has a huge amount of very very small print in the section marked “being a parent” and can I suggest that if you are thinking about expelling a child from your loins (or via any other route), you give that section a bit of a read through and some thought.  Sober thought!

Trust me it will make the “What to Expect when you are Expecting” look like light reading for amateurs.

Notice there isn’t a “What to Expect … when you are Parenting” …. actually now that I think of that, I could probably hammer away at the first few chapters without breaking in to too much of a sweat.

When you make your child anxious ….

I was watching the slightly annoying show that is “The Worst Mother in the World.”

Nice idea, but I am a bit over Super Nanny and the range of similar shows, and no longer lie spread out on my bed as I watch other parents struggle with bratty kids – this could have been retitled “The Most Annoying Mother in the World” but I digress.

This one turns up, and generally the children are not the problem.  The problem is the parents who are a bit of the “helicopter” variety.

So there I sat, ready to judge.

Instead I said: “Yes, that is a bit extreme.  Hey, that one is fine, I don’t see any problem with not letting your child ride his bike on the road.  Okay, that one is fine, she is clearly not a helicopter parent ….. that seems fair…”

And so it went on.

It does not take a genius to work out that I was siding with the helicopter parent as being reasonable.  Why?  Clearly because I have some problems of my own.

Light Bolt Moment – watch out:  Anxious parents create anxious children.

Seems a fairly simple principle.  I would be more excited if it was not true.

The presenter mentioned that 10 years ago the biggest problem facing kids at school was “relationships” – now it seems to be “anxiety”  – she did not give me the scientific report reference, but the statement seemed logical to me.

I am not an overly anxious parent when you look from the outside.  I appear a bit glib, a bit jaded, a bit been-there-done that, almost lacksy-daisy you may say.  I almost appear relaxed (…oh how we laugh …..the we are the voices in my head and my internal anxiety driven centre)

What you do not see, or might not realise, is that I am a very anxious parent.  (For the record, my parents were what ever is the opposite of helicopter parenting ….. like the totally polar opposite)

I find parenting very stressful.  I worry about my kids in all sorts of ways.  Few of them reasonable.  Few of them sane.

If my children move out of my eyesight, in a public area, I can feel my heart rate start to climb, and I feel very anxious.  I get very agitated.

I prefer not to go to a public area with my kids, it is not relaxing.   But I still go – because that appears normal, but I go, and the entire time I am there, all I want to do is leave and go home, where I feel safe(r).

I don’t feel comfortable if my kids play outside, in our garden (which has high walls) unless an adult is watching them.  They can play in the backyard if I am in the kitchen.

They are not able to play in the driveway, which has a huge gate, unless I am sitting on the steps watching them.

I never let my kids cycle/scooter in our cul-de-sac unless I sit with them.

The entire time I am there I am so anxious that it makes me feel nauseous.  I set rules that they must stick to if we are in the cul-de-sac, and I feel like I am running around ensuring they do not hurt themselves, or a car does not come flying down the road and knock them over.

I usually can go about 5 -8 minutes in the cul-de-sac  and then I need to hustle them inside.  I just can’t take the stress any more.

It is like that with a lot of things.

But the idea that “hit home” for me last night that the things that I am anxious about:

1.  They will not get lost, they will get stolen by pae.dophi.les.

2.  They will not just move out of my eyesight, they will get stolen, forever.

3.  They will not get jeered at whilst at schools because they are doing something strange, they will become “that kid” – the kid whose life is made a nightmare by jeering and taunting.

4.  They will not bump their noses/bums on the floor of the pool when they dive in, they will snap their necks and be paraplegic.

5.  They will not slip when running around the pool and hurt themselves, they will fall into the pool unconscious and drown.

6.  They will not gag on a sucking sweet, they will suffocate and choke.

7.  They will not just move out of my eyesight, they will get stolen, forever.  (getting stolen is a bit of a recurring theme … so I have mentioned it twice)

8.  We will not have a fender bender in the car, someone will drive in to us and we will all die – so wear your seatbelt all the time, because it is just a matter of time as to when that person drives in to us.  I literally (not figuratively) shit in my pants if the kids take their seat belts off and the car is moving in any way what so ever.

9.  I do not move my car unless the kids are like 8 metres from the car, I think that if I move, and they are out of the car, they will fall under the tyres and I will drive over them.

And so it carries on.

I have realised that the anxiety I feel – and there is a lot of it – can so easily be transferred over to my kids and become their reality.

I know what it is like to be anxious all the time.  We are not talking mild anxiety here, we are talking escalated debilitating anxiety that physically makes me sick.

I don’t want that for my kids.  It is not as much fun as it looks.  And I know I make anxiety and depression looks like what the cool kids are doing this year! Not so mcuh.

The only way I can try to help them, is to step away from things that make me uncomfortable, and just let them be.

Let them do what they need to do to be kids.  It does sometimes mean averting my eyes, as I feel a mass of vomit come up my throat, and all I want to do is run up to them and sweep them up and scream no.no.no!!

I understand helicopter parenting – but at the same time as we want to say “but I need to do it for the safety of my children” what are we actually doing?

We are reacting to the stressful life style we live in – and we are then anxious for our children’s safety. (Watch one news bulletin, and you could not be anything but anxious.)

But in our quest to keep our kid’s safe, we are doing them an injustice.

We really are sucking the “fun” and “exploring” out of their lives, and instead giving our children “anxiety” “worry” and “suspicion” ….. I think it is less likely that we will have kids who discover, who explore and who really savour life if we continue standing on the sidelines gasping every time they appear to slip out of the finger of death and disaster.

I am the same, really, so I am not about to get on to my pulpit and start telling you how to change.  I am as stuck in this as you are.

I think that is why nature provides moms and dads (metaphorically speaking).

Moms are usually wildly paranoid and anxious with their kids.  Whilst dads prefer to send them out at 7 to tend the sheep, and fight off the wolves.  Dads also teach kids to swim.  Dads throw children up in the air (and usually catch them.)

Mothers sit on the side lines and worry and wonder how long this stupid monkey play has to go on until we can sweep our children up and hold them against our beating heart and smother them in kisses.

But anxiety-motivated parenting it probably one that solves today’s problem – today you are worried about your toddler/young child dying – but they (inadvertently) create an entire new set of problems when your child is no longer able to be with you 24 hours out of the day.

No, I do not have the solution, just putting it out there.

When your kid posts sh*t about you on Facebook ….

There is this great video on youtube at the moment.

In summary.  There is a girl named Hannah who is 15, nearly 16.  She is unsatisfied that she has way too many chores around the house, and balancing that with going to school is just too much.  As we all were at that age.

Unfortunately she has access to Facebook, which she feels is a private enough platform to post a rant about her parents, and their treatment of her.

She is unhappy about all the work she has to do, and has the usual issues that 15/16 year olds have.

Her first mistake was to post a rant about her parents on Facebook when her father (Jordan) is in IT …. oh dear, clearly from there it all goes downhill.

Her second mistake was to think that her parents would not see it.

Her third mistake was to argue with a man who wears a cowboy hat and owns a hand gun.

Her fourth mistake was to leave the house and leave her laptop, with her father, who wears a cowboy hat and has a handgun, and a few hollow point bullets lying around.

Her fifth mistake was to not think her father was not going to see the post, or see the rant, or suggest that she will hate the day when her parents can’t wipe their arse, and that she won’t be there when it happens.

Her sixth mistake …. well, it does not really matter as she is now grounded until 2026, she has to buy her own laptop, as the old one has 6 bullets in it, and I am thinking she can shove the 16th birthday party she was hoping to get up her freaking arse.

Do I think it was right that her father put 6 bullets into her laptop?

Damn toot’n YES!!  I don’t think it was wrong.

I think he got his message across, no one was hurt, no one was injured, and Hannah (if she has learnt something here) knows her father does not muck around with this type of thing.

I think we can have a debate for ages about whether he did the responsible thing, and how great is his parenting – and whether you should be using violence in reaction to your children to teach them a lesson.

Personally, I do think that kids need a bit of force in some instances, and this pussy-footing parent where we all sing kumba-ya around the fire is not really working for me.

Jordan did not fire the gun at his daughter, near her, or when she was at the house – the pan out video clearly shows that he lives in what appears to be a large open area, and gun fire barely made the cow raise its head in the distance.

Jordan destroyed property that was his, he had given it to his daughter and she was using it as a vehicle to teach her a lesson.

I think there is way too much focus on how we must parent along this invisible line of what is right according to this “social pressure”.

Based on my experience with kids in public places, birthday parties and at my kid’s school, I am thinking this “responsible mature parenting vehicle” is not really working, and sometimes use of a handgun in an open field is not the worst thing I have ever heard of.

I instantly liked Jordan, the father.  My guess is he is frustrated and the “right” method of trying to adjust his daughter’s behaviour has not worked, so he is taking it to the next level.

I am going to hold this video and show it to my kids in two years time, then every night of their birthday until they are 21, or have moved out of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<<click on the above image and the link should take you to the you tube video>>

Dad of the Year?  Or lunatic dad and poor daughter who needs a new laptop?

The next person who ….

The next person who tells me …

to believe and it will be … will seriously get a smack in the face.  With a wet macoroni. I believe it will be “dishes done” – I believe that I it will be “me sleeping until noon undisturbed” … I beleive, it does not MAKE it happen, now bugger off with your khumba-ya-m-lord thinking, it is exceedingly irritating.

to cherish every moment … will be sentenced to fetching my kids from school for a minimum of seven weeks. They can fight over lost juice bottles and who is sitting too close to each other.  If you think that you seriously would like to cherish EVERY freaking moment, do not hesitate to drop me a note and we can work out a pick up and drop off kids schedule.  No worrries. Email now, or forever stop your ridiculous happy bleating.

to just be happy …. will get a rusty spade between the eyes. Fk you and the stupid unicorn you rode in on.  Some times this shit is not happy, and stop making me think everyone is happy — really stop.  Life he is not happy.  Life happens.  You make a plan.  That is the way it is.  Some moments make you smile, some make you cry – you cannot just “be happy” ….

think they are so fkn happy on Facebook and keep giving us sunny updates…. I am so sick of your happy-go-lucky-life-is-super Facebook updates, that I am seriously done.  FB is not actually that much fairy dust, get a life, get a reality check and start status updating that your husband is not as happy as you think/that your child is wetting the bed and they are nine/that your child ran with a limp at the last sports day, or really that you woke up this morning and you were not as sunny as you keep telling us – for goodness sake, do you actually think we believe this amount of “how freaking happy are you” crap?

that good mothers are made …. okay seriously now I am going to ram your head into my venter trailer.  Good mothers are cultivated with great wine and promises of everlasting life, no one, but no one enjoys looking after small children all freaking day long.  It is a fairly repetitive, fairly thankless and actually does not challenge you IQ at all.   Bad mothers are born every day.  We are all crap, and it is about time we started admitting that it was not all wine and roses, but we do what we can with what we have got.  And some days get it right and some days, not so much,

wake up and choose to be happy … will undoubtedly have to swallow 25 of my ante-depressants with two quarts of Captain Morgan, and see if they can call me in the morning.  Now go and be happy somewhere else.

that motherhood is a joy … needs to come the shit over and wipe poo off the side of the toilet seat and argue with a six year old as to why the blue toothpaste is as good as the green one, for the twentieth time this week.  It is not a joy.  It is hard and thankless work.  And it tests you every day as to why you should not run your head through the wall.

I am so sick and tired of these stupid pinterests and facebook status updates that keep telling me how freaking good this deal motherhood.  How good life is.  How happy it all is.

Accept that motherhood is frkn hard.  Accept that some days ramming your head into a wall might be better, or at the very least give you about 8 seconds of silence before the screaming starts again.

It is not all that wonderful, no matter how many happy baby/toddler/couple pictures you post.

Can I please have a shout out from the moms who do it, and think it sucks lemons, but still do it – each and every day – we get through it, and it suck, it sucks rocks, but we get through it, because there is no “do not pass go, do not get collect $200.00” card …. fkn hell – February is a hard month – or is it just me?

I survived today …. tomorrow though is a different story

Well, that day is over.

I survived, though granted I am still trying to pull shrapnel out of my arse.

I can honestly say I had a total catastrophe/paranoid/worse case scenario/I might just lock myself in the grocery cupboard few hours.

Nothing changed.  Time just moved forward.  I calmed down. A bit.

Kennith is away. He is in Utah – we have spoken about him maybe seeing if he can pick up a second wife.  I am not quite cutting it right now, and I am now convinced that a second wife might not be all that bad.

At the moment I can only see the perks, though I must insist on my own bathroom – that is really where I draw the line.

I can call her my sister-wife.  It will be fine.  Kennith says he has not been actively looking but he will try if it important to me.

Georgia is officially trying to drive me further to insanity.  Today I told Connor that he is officially the “good one” because Georgia has been co-opted to being the “child who does not listen.”

On that note.

I decided to treat the kids to a healthy McDonalds dinner.  They like McDonalds.  Sure it dumps about a ton of crap into the landfill every day, but they can serve a burger and fries like no one’s business.

I ordered, we sat down.  Isabelle went berserk.

I am seldom embarrassed by my kids in public.  Isabelle officially made me embarrassed at McDonalds – and you must realise to be embarrassed at McDonalds must be impressive.

The problem with a two-year old who cannot/does not/chooses not to talk is that you have no idea why they have tears coming out of their eyes, and snot bubbles being issued from their nose whilst they are frantically pointing in a general direction and screaming.

After you have played the game “pick up everything and pass it to her and she smacks it away and screams louder” I finally twigged she wanted a cool drink she could hold, with her own straw.

Like her brother and her sister had.

I want to be very clear on this point, that the system of elimination to get to this particular result was quite wide and included (but is not limited to) : chips, a McDonalds toy, an old McNugget on the floor, Connor’s school jacket, my phone, my wallet, the McDonalds tray, the little white dish that holds the tomato sauce….

I gave Connor R20.00 sent him to the counter and said “just buy a cool drink quickly.”

Isabelle stopped crying.

I sat there and wondered exactly who was training who in this equation.  How has a two-year old managed to whip my arse so well with such skill, and not using any language what so ever?

On the drive home she wanted the cool drink.

I gave it to her.

She dropped it.

I tried to drive and simultaneously dive behind my seat (whilst still strapped in and driving the car) to grab the now spilling creme soda it so it would not spill more over my already dirty car – I do have some pride you know!

I took my foot of the brake.  The car lunged forward into a road.  Fortunately there was no traffic.  I screamed at Connor to help me.  He tried to lean into the back behind the driver’s chair without taking his seatbelt off.

Isabelle is screaming like her leg is being chewed off.

Georgia is singing about fairies in rain coats.

I am staring through the windscreen wondering why I have been forsaken in this manner, and then quickly trying to calculate how much time I have until bed time.

Retrieve cool drink.

Put it in drinks holder in front of car.

Isabelle screamed the entire drive home.

I am so looking forward to this day being over … though inevitably it means tomorrow has to start.

Saturday I have two birthday parties to attend, and one birthday party to photograph in the afternoon.

Me + happy screaming children + balloons + flammable liquid = not a probable good combination.

I am exhausted right now.  I need to go and wrap presents and make happy birthday cards for tomorrow morning.  I know I want to leave it to tomorrow morning but that will just be chaos.

<note to self, ask pill doctor to relook at my script, really not working on so many levels>

Is it possible we are sexualising our kids?

Maybe it is because I have girls.

Maybe it is because I am medicated up to my gills.

Who knows.

I have become irkingly aware of how many overt visuals there are floating around primarily where women, and really these are young girls, are being portrayed as sexual objects.

These are little girls dressed up to appear older – they appear to be there for the sole purpose of being sexual available as images.

Little girls, you understand.  Not adults dressed as little girls, actual little girls ….. like mine, like yours.

I feel like there is an onslaught of these images  –  most of them we do not even really notice anymore because we have become so desensitized to it all, and they are just everywhere.

Music videos are crammed with scantily clad women (some are really more teens) gyrating and ensuring that they give the impression of being “sexual available” to whom ever the oaf is that is singing, or miming his way through a song.

4 stupid over-weight men, with large white t-shirts + fairly large baseball caps + questionable body hygiene  + 20 scantily glad bar.ely-leg.al looking girls + rented house decorated with bad taste + sexual gyrations = formula for most music videos.

Girls who dance must dance as if they have been trained as strippers.

Dancing is not about dancing and moving to the rhythm of the music, but rather who is able to look like they have taken lessons from Ms Pole Dancer Finalist 2010.

If a girl can bump and grind her arse, well then she wins …. what ever the prize is, I guess.

Big girls see it on television and in pop culture, so they do it.

Little girls do it as they see big girls doing it.   (Ever watched that Horror Show on MTV My Super Sweet Sixteen – and see how those girls carry on?  They are clearly in the 13 – 17 age range, and I feel an overriding urge to cover my eyes.)

You do not have to look far to find an eight or a nine year old gyrating her groin against a boy because she thinks it is “acceptable” and everyone is smiling and clapping and someone is phone-video taping this for posterity so they can stick it on You-Tube.

It takes even less to find little girls in shorty shorts imitating their adult icons.

I know it is cute when a child acts like an adult, and we tut-tut and roll our eyes, but really is it a great idea?

Could we not leave the skanky outfits until they have a part time job, and they earn enough to buy the outfits themselves, rather than as parents we go and buy it for them.  Just an idea.

Georgia is 6.  She is a tall and lanky 6.  I need to purchase clothing in the 7 – 9 range for her and then roll the sleeves up (she is really skinny) – which means I am in the 7 – 14 age range of clothing selection at most retailers.

I figure a 7 year old is going to be dressing very differently to a 14 year old.

It appears most clothing retailers disagree, and go with the same styling for a seven year old that they do for a fourteem year old.  Same style, just with a resize.

Most children range buyers work along this model when they make range choices for girls:-

0 – 24 months : pastels

2 – 6 years : bright pink/Hannah Montana/Miss Kitty/Dora the Explorer

7 –  14 years : skank.

If I was going to dress Georgia like she was auditioning for “Making the Band” or “Guess the Slut” then I pretty much have a world of choices before me.

However if I want to dress her like a little girl who does not listen to Hip Hop and Tweet her sexual availability, then it is going to be more challenging.

I do wish to volunteer at this point that I cannot afford to shop at the more boutique/stores where R250.00 is the going price for a t-shirt. My price bracket is R250.00 for the entire outfit and shoes!

Clearly I am shopping at the lower end of the retail market.

The result is I opt for jeans and a basic t-shirt most days, because the rest of it either shows her midriff, her arse or has a hint of being …. I am not sure…. just not right.

Even with t-shirts I have to filter through the ones with slogans of:

Do I Make You Look Fat

I’m Not With Stupid Anymore

When the going gets tough, the tough go blonde

You were never my boyfriend

Explain to me again why I need a boyfriend

Careful I had a bowl of bitchy for breakfast

No Money No Car No Chance

What I think I am trying to comment on in the most round about fashion I can find, is that our children – girls in particular – are bombarded with images of how they need to be, and to a degree how society sees them.

We are kidding ourselves if we think THEY cannot and do not see these images.

And these images do not have some sort of effect on them.

This effects is only not on my own girls who see these images (even on a sub conscious level), but my son who sees how girls “are” or how the “media portrays them.”

<We can discuss how we create positive personal images with our kids, and how we monitor what they watch and block several channels, in another post>

But … and there is always a but ….. it is next to impossible to keep these images away from your children, unless you live in a cave, home school, and only read ….. actually you will have to skip reading.

I will comment on this subject again when my brain is firing on all cylinders.

But these are some of the print images that I am referring to when I say “er, this is a bit inappropriate for my child….” and “why are they aiming this sh8t at children?” and “why are you putting this in an advert?”

<I am not suggesting these are the worst of it, or the best of it, these are just some random ones I had lying around>

Thongs for young girls …..

Padded bras for little girls …

The Best Examples Of Horrific And Embarrassing Parenting On Facebook

Does adult-looking clothing on children bother you?  It might be the Fluoxetine talking, but it bothers the crap out of me.