Happy butt sweat day everyone!

I have tried to start a “tradition” of asking the kids what is the most interesting thing that happened to you today, when we drive home from school.

Partly to avoid them arguing about who is looking out of whose windows, and partly so that I give the impression of being a patient, kind and interested parent.  Something about faking it until you make it.

I have tried this several times, and after many attempts and it always ending in “nothing” …. “so nothing happened today” …. “meh … nothing” … “so I am taking you to a school where you learn and you really learn nothing ALL day … not one thing” … “….{shrug}…”

I am so very glad I get to have the surly teenage phase whilst my kids are 8 and 12 respectively.

Yesterday I fetch Georgia and Connor, and Georgia is really excited.

She is bursting to tell me what happened in her day.

We all get in the car, buckle up, I reverse and I am waiting eagerly for her story.

The story that is going to help cement what a great parent I am, and how much my kids are inspired and learn in the school system I entrust them to each and every day.

Georgia: “Today, my pants and my shorts were wet ….”

Me: “Okay, did you not make it to the bathroom in time?”

Georgia: “No, it was not wet by the front end, it was wet by the butt end.”

Me – really struggling to pick up on the thread of this story – “Did you sit in something?”

Georgia: “No, today is the first day I had butt sweat!!”

She was not announcing this like I would announce that I had a bit of a leak on my pants because I could not get to the bathroom on time, and my bladder’s ability to keep a “tight ship” has started to decline in the last two or three years – she was telling this story like it was a wild achievement. Something to be proud of.

She went on.  And on.  For 45 minutes explaining butt sweat to me.  And her butt sweat specifically.

45 minutes is a very long time to talk about butt sweat.  Sober.  And trapped in a car with no where to go.

Eventually I just nodded and said “ah-huh” because there really is not much else to say on the subject.

She was so excited – it was a bit like Louis Pasteur working out the kinks to the rabies problem, but this was Georgia who was telling me it was so hot that she had made butt sweat.

I decided that it was the best story of the day and “high fived” her!

Seriously what were my options?

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The one about the cricket coach ….

I fetch Connor yesterday from school and he is looking really flushed and just bleak.

I assume it is because it is about 36 degrees and he has been playing sport.  But there is something about him that just looks off.

I let the girls walk on to the car, and walk next to Connor and ask him how the game went.

He played a cricket match today – Connor does not actually play cricket, but his tennis had been cancelled last week, so he went along to cricket practice and they asked him if he would play in a cricket match today.

I think Connor is already over stretched with his sport commitments and cultural commitments, but he wanted to play, and I agreed as long as it did not encroach on his existing commitments.

He says his team lost, and appeared to lose by quite a large margin — I don’t play cricket, I am not sure if it is 2 – 0 or 67 – love or what ever.

The point is they lost, and it was by quite a large margin.

I am still not following why Connor is SO DRASTICALLY upset.  Connor plays tennis and does not win each game, and he is always a good sport about it -very much in the mould of  “I will practice harder and play that boy again and then try and win….”

We are walking and he is upset to the extent that he is crying and cannot get the words out.  I stand with him and wait until he can form words that I can understand.  Eventually it comes out that the cricket coach screamed and swore at him (I am not sure if he swore and screamed at the entire team, so I am not talking on behalf of them just the interaction with my son).

Though I swear like a drunk trooper, Connor’s language usage is as clean as the day is long.  He doesn’t swear.  So he is trying to tell me what the coach said without swearing and in resorting to drawing the words in the air with his imaginary pen finger.

I eventually get to the essence and that the coach swore at him and said “fuck” in what ever context it is used in school boy cricket.  At the end of the game Connor asked the coach for the score and got the response: “blah-blah-blah …. you are shit!”

Connor is devastated.  I am livered.  I am so angry I could actually make a sign, or post a Facebook status update!!

It was too late to phone the school, so I spent the remainder of the evening stewing about it.  I found the headmaster’s email and sent a note to him. But this morning when I opened my bleary eyes, I re-thunk that plan and phoned to set up a meeting with the headmaster.

Listen, I have no idea how exciting cricket games can get, but an adult swearing at my son and telling him he is “shit” well that is maybe a bit more excited than I need an adult to be who works with kids.

We have a 10h30 appointment with the headmaster.

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Another classic FAIL parenting moment ….

Connor has tennis and cross-country on a Monday.

I yell about him packing his school bag and preparing his bag for the morning, the night before.

But experienced parenting, and starting to lose the will to fight the recurring parent fight of “HAVE YOU PACKED YOUR ________ {INSERT CORRECT ITEM}?” and then to repeat the same thing at least 5 times in one evening, because each time Connor will go: “No Mom, thanks I will go do it now….”

And then he gets distracted by a shiny bauble and does not do the think and then I have to shout/ask/beg/plead: “HAVE YOU PACKED YOUR ________ {INSERT CORRECT ITEM}?”

At some point in the evening I was so tired and sore (I was not feeling well) and wanted to take some medication, a large hot water bottle, and go and have a lie down, I went to set out the kids things for the morning, pack the bags and then just go to bed.

The fight for me was over, I was at the point of, I will just do it myself.

I go and collect Connor from school today, and true as nuts he has two left shoes on.  I packed him the left shoe from two very similar looking grey takkies.

Connor did tennis to the absolute mirth of his tennis coach, and then proceeded to do cross-country in his two left takkies.

{please do not send me a parenting tip on how to persevere and that when I give in, then he never learns ….. please please please …. this is not a great week/month for parenting tips…. it is a great week if you want to come over and do it for me …. then come on over ……. sleep in required …..}

No, seriously what the hell is in PRITT?

Is anyone else a bit shocked/outraged/ready to shit in their pants at the price of a tube of PRITT?

I did the usual buy-stationery-at-the-last-possible-moment stint this afternoon.

But, I love stationery, like in an unholy way.  I adore stationery shopping, so it is hardly a onerus task – I usually throw in a few pens for myself, for good measure, and as a thanks for being so damn awesome.

I am fine with paying R42.00 for a pack of Monami twister crayons.  I am okay with R12 for 3 HB Pencils, but the part that makes me throw up a little in my mouth is R45.00 for ONE tube of frik’n PRITT!

Which would almost be fine if my kids did not go through it like they were eating the stuff.  They must fkn love sticking, because I could be buying a tube every month, and this is after being nagged that they need PRITT for at least a week or more.

It is not the money, it is the value I connect to one tube of PRITT!

I mean seriously what the helvetica do they put into that stuff.  I am not sure whether to give it to my kids for school, or to tell them it is part of their birthday present.

Forty five frikn rand for a tube of PRITT!

But I bought it — but clearly with a touch of gall.  Does anyone know what is in it -I thought it was dead old horses, but clearly it is gold leaf or plutoniam.

Checking your backseat ….

Several years ago (2006 if I remember correctly) there was a particular horrific incident where a professor, Dr Andrew Wilkinson, had his infant son (17 months old) in the back of his car, and forgot to drop him off at school.  The child had fallen asleep and was quiet, so the father did not hear him.

Normally the child would go to his grandparents, but this particular day Dr Wilkinson was meant to drop the child off at creche – it was a different routine, and whilst he was driving to work, he slipped into “routine gear….”  {I am doing this on memory, so I may be a bit off with the details}

On arriving at the university, he locked the car, and went to work as he usually did, not realising his son was still in the car.    It was unfortunately a hot day – around 26 degrees, and the temperature inside the car would have climbed to between 40 – 50 degrees.  The car was parked outside in a parking lot at the university.

It was a terrible story, with a tragic outcome.

I remember the incident clearly and probably think of that professor, that infant and the mother who had to bear that news, probably once a week.

It made me realise how often we slip in to “routine” and stop thinking about what we are doing.

You drive the same route to work, you park in the same spot, you follow the same procedure when you lock up and grab your stuff to dash to the office.

I have often been driving to one place, and then “wake up” at a point and realise I was driving to another, as I was doing my normal routine, and my mind had switched off.

We all do it …. fortunately we do not all have the tragic outcome.

Because of 1996, I check my car EVERY day in case I have forgotten a child in the backseat.   I actually double-check every day.

When I leave my kid’s schools I glance in the backseat to make sure they are not there.  I do not glance in the mirror, I actually swivel my head around and look at each of their seats.

When I get home to work, I consciously look around to check again that they are not in the backseat, and I have not noticed.   I mentally take note, and mentally take a quick tally.  Kids: 0 – check!

A simple oversight resulted in the worst possible outcome, and left a family hurt, scarred, distraught and a little boy dead.

I really am not in the mind of “good things have come out of that incident” as I feel the price paid was too much for what ever “good” might have come out of it.

I wonder how many other people were effected by that story, and how many other parents now “double-check” just to be sure that they have not left a child in the backseat.

I cannot imagine how that family was effected – I am not sure I could recover from that – I am glad the media appear to have left them in peace.

 

 

Freaking hell it is hot … and not in a sexy way

Today the temperature in Cape Town was registering 30 degrees, and that was at 8am.

By 12h00 it was around the 38 degree mark.

Fortunately I was firmly placed directly under the company air conditioning that blasted cold air onto my face.  Bless, bless, bless them. I sat there thinking cool thoughts, and feeling sorry for anyone who had to do manual labour in this heat.

Like all great moments, it came to a rather abrupt end.

Isabelle is at a new school this week.  The school is about 15 minutes walk from home, so Pepe is meant to fetch Isabelle.

This week the temperature is just too hot to expect Pepe or Isabelle to walk anywhere, so I have left to fetch Isabelle, and then the kids.  I go home and work a few hours from home to ensure I have done what needs to be done.

Today I spent an hour in my car fetching kids and trying to get them home.

It was not a little warm, it had passed fucking hot somewhere on the N1.

I suddenly realised that black leather seats in a car are not ideal.

I also realised that my road rage is definitely apparent when the temperature goes over 35.  I also realised that at a certain point you cannot turn the car air conditioner any higher.

I soon realised that I am willing to drive off a steep embankment if I am packed in to a car, with three children and it is so hot that my air conditioner just decides that it might as well send out hot puffs of air, as it is being asked to do too much.

It was an excruciating hour, and the kids were arguing constantly.  I really started to rethink why I have not run away from home sooner.  I had fantasies of the single life, and wanted to go on a 10 school tour to explain to school kids the benefits of remaining celebite and childless.

We get home and the arguing escalates.

Isabelle is screaming blue murder. Granted she started when I stopped at Pick ‘n Pay.  I told the kids I was running in to get them three times ice cold Fantas.  The reality was I needed to run in to grab myself a bottle of wine.  I realised there was no way I was going to make it through the evening without.

I had already stopped at Woolies before that, but thought, yep, I would be the bigger person and not do wine tonight.  15 minutes later, in a car, with three screaming kids and the outside temperature bouncing between 38 and 39, I felt a little pit stop was not a choice, it was a life necessity.

I am sitting here and I have little rivers of sweat running down my back and gathering in my Mr Price polyester underwear.

Kids + hot weather + short patience level = no fun!