Valentine’s Day Massacre …

Last night around 19h00 – Connor tells me he has an oral to present today.

I try not to smack him along the side of the head.  But he reasons with me that he already knows what he is going to say, so it really is not a big deal.  I ask him does he needs props or posters, or pyrotechnics, like previous orals?

He looks at me in a way that indicates “yes, there needs to be a light show and some solid gold dancers…”

I take a deep breath, and try to remember that I actually do like my children, but for a moment there understand why one would send a child in to the woods, with a little red cape, a basket of food and knowing full well that a wolf might well eat your little darling en route.

Knowing this, you still send them off.  And pack some food into the basket to elicit the interest of wild hungry animals.  I now so get these little fairy tales.  All makes sense.

I suggest that I print some pictures out for him, and he can use that. Connor agrees that will be fine.

I sit down to do this task, trying very hard to keep the anger I am feeling at bay.  I am so tired of being told last-minute things from my kids.  It is exhausting.

Anyway, I do the pictures, we get kids into bed – as Connor comes in to say goodnight he reminds (insert tells me for the first time) that tomorrow is a Valentine’s Day picnic, and he needs to bring a picnic blanket and picnic stuff!

I freak the hell out.  Kennith tries to calm the situation down, and explains that we have enough odds and sods in the cupboard to put it together, so really nothing to go bezerk about (however bearing in mind no one packed this basket with goodies, as it was added to the things I should tackle in the morning, you know, because my mornings are so breezy and relaxing……)

This morning, I am getting Connor’s stuff together for his picnic, I am chasing kids to the car, the usual chaos of the morning – you know how it goes.  Packing bags into car, and Georgia goes: “We have a picnic at school, please can I also have a picnic blanket ….”

I think the vein in my neck popped.  Like through the skin – blood pumping against the garage wall — or it just felt like it.

I know I swore like a sailor.  I do think my kids all took one step back from me, because this was what they knew was going to happen, and the day had arrived.

I mean seriously, it is their stuff, how am I meant to remember everything? And whilst I am remembering, rushing to work, doing all the other shit that is life, I must have the “crystal ball” skill to know all the stuff I am not told, but have to prepare for.

It really annoyed me this morning.  Like EPIC PARENT lose your mind stuff.

I stand there and weigh up whether I should just say “well fk it, if you did not remember it, you do not get it …” and then know they will be the only kid at school without.

That will be fabulous, so of course I can’t let that happen, and now I kick into higher gear than I was before.

Get them in the car, get them each a picnic bag, blanket, we drive through the traffic to the shop – traffic is hectic.

I am sitting there quietly trying to work through why I am so angry, and that I should not use the time to rant in the car, because Connor will take it all on as “his fault” and I am not wanting to make him feel bad.  I have the radio off, as I think I will kill Kino Kammies this morning if I hear his stupid voice.

I am focussed, I just want to drive and not kill anyone.  Just get them to school.  To their safe place.  I promise myself a McMuffin if I behave.

So we are driving, and I am thinking about what I will get at the shop, and that this really is not a big deal, it is fine, no worries, just remind kids AGAIN to please tell me with sufficient warning.  It is fine.  This chaos is fine.  Really fine.  I am trying to remain in my “calm” place.

Then suddenly I get this feeling.

This morning I told Connor twice to put the “photographs for his oral” into his school bag.  Twice!

My hands grip the steering wheel a bit tighter.

Me: “Connor, please let me you put the photographs in your school bag, like I told you twice.  Please tell me you did not leave them lying on your desk table.  Because I sat up late last night to do them.  And I reminded you twice they were on the desk and you must put them in your bag.  This morning.  Twice.  Do not tell me that they are still lying on your study table…”

Silence … and this little voice “sorry mom….”

I really do not know at which point it would be acceptable to lose my frikn mind!  I swear on my Mcmuffin, that if I do not remember it all, and do it all, it fkn just does not get done!

I am seriously at my wit’s end – and it is February.

Please bear in mind, I have notice boards with notes on them in each kid’s room.  I tell them – clearly – that they need to do something.  I remind them.  I remind them again.

I try to stay on top of all this stuff – for them.  But I get no warnings, I am constantly been put on the back foot.

They do not have the milk the cow, or walk 25 kilometers to school – most of it is done for them, I give them 2 or 3 things to do per day.

Small things.

The problem is they still do not do it – unless I remind them over and over again.

And then really it is just easier to do it myself.

But I don’t – they must do it – they must learn some responsibility … right?

I swear how the hell are these things happening in other people’s homes?  I have clearly got this entire chapter on child raising wrong …. horribly wrong.  Are there study notes someone can send me?

Is the solution to just let kids eat, sleep and shit, and you pretty much do everything else for them, because they do not appear to retain a memory of anything.  Nothing.  Except of course if you promise them a lollipop and forgot to give it to them – then they remember if forever and bring it up repeatedly as a sign that your promises are worth sh&t.

It does not matter how much you scream, threaten, curse, promise treats, threaten to take things away, give things for doing, buy stickers are prizes for getting it right – I am so over this stuff – nothing works for a long time.

I have officially been beaten in this parenthood malarky.

I really need a holiday.  From my life.

The problems of big boned people ….

I fetch kids from school on Friday, get everyone in the car.

I must confess I am starting to view “fetching kids from school” as an hour or so of hell.  I am quite willing to outsource it right now.

I would actually seriously think about boarding school – for me, or them, so that I do not have to do the hour of child-pick-up-and-drop-off-hell every day.

Before you start tutting and clicking your tongue in judgement, please bear in mind that I am in about my 10th year of this driving back and forwards shit, and at a certain time, the shine it does go.

Believe me, it goes.

The problem right now, is that the moment my brood are in the car, the arguing starts.  The insane conversations.  All of them trying to talk to me at once.  All of them wanting something different from me whilst I am attempting to drive.

I can take shoes off kids – I am driving, kids are in the backseat, I can glance through school notes, I can adjust the sound on my radio, and I can hold two separate conversations, one normally about fish, the other about smurfs, and all of this whilst I try to negotiate traffic at two really busy intersections.

I can do all of the above, and peel and eat a banana, and it is not illegal, but I cannot talk on my cell phone as that is deemed too distracting and dangerous.

I don’t disagree with the “no cell phone” law, but the government should intervene and get fathers to drive kids home from school at least two days a week, so they can understand and appreciate what it is like, and then they can understand why moms  me drink copious amounts of wine, and sit rocking themselves in the corner.

10 years of this mania, twice a day, in a sealed car, with the high-pitched chatter of kid’s voices = no wonder I am on medication and have developed a few coping mechanisms.

But moving along.  So Friday we are in the car ….

Connor: “I don’t want to be rude, but when you got into the car, it went down a bit….”

Me: “…?”

Connor: “I was putting my bag in the boot, and when you got in to the car, I felt it go lower…. you know when you got in to it …. I don’t mean to be rude …..”

Me – glaring at him: “Great, thanks for telling me that, you are rude actually… next time think it, and don’t say it.  Good grief Connor – do you mind leaning forward so I can smack you on the back of the head?  Good grief……”

<<while I feel my soul die slightly inside and I start to rethink who is my favourite child>>

Georgia:”It IS RUDE Connor!!”

Connor: ‘GEORGIA!! …”

Georgia:”You are being rude, only adults can say that people are fat….”

Me: “Guys, guys, GUYS …GUYS please do not start fighting …. please, can we just get home without a fight….”

Me: “Connor, what the hell….”

Georgia: “It is rude to say someone is fat, you can’t say fat ….. Daddy is fat, but that is a bad word, so I tell Daddy that he is round ….”

Connor: “Georgia, that IS RUDE, you can’t say that Daddy is round …… that is rude.  Daddy is big-boned!”

Georgia: “NO HE ISN’T …. he is too round and I cannot feel his bones.  I am boney and you can feel me through my skin, I can’t feel Daddy through his skin…he is not big-boned …. he is round like a circle shape …”

<<me, sort of glad that the focus has moved away from my fat arse and how I make the car go lower when I sit in it….>>

Connor: “You are being rude Georgia …”

Georgia: “Mommy you know what I tell Daddy when I am being rude?”

Me: “No Georgia, what do you say?”

Georgia: “When someone is rude to you, the hurt is not important, what is important is the love ….”

Me: “Yes, Georgia, I think that will make him feel a lot better …… can we carry on now and go to McDonalds for dinner…?”

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!

The lament of the reluctant mother with school going kids ….

The last two weeks are the mania that all parents face in January.

The happiness that school has finally started and that you have survived the school holidays.  The reality of handing large sums of money over to school outfitters and stationery store.

Can you say “how fast can my Xmas bonus disappear?”

There is a certain joy as you hand your child over to the teacher and think “thank goodness, that gets me at least 5 – 6 hours a day where my child can whine at someone else…” You try not to punch the air in happiness as you skip out of the classroom.  You wave good-bye to your offspring – or just run out and not wave good-bye.

Sometimes you are able to hold back until you get to the car, and then you can scream whoop-du-fkn-whoop at the top of your lungs.

Again, this might only occur in my neck of the woods, your reality may be far different.

I do not think that school teachers are being paid enough.  I have no idea what they are paid.  But what ever it is, they are not being paid enough. If they were being paid more, we may have negotiating power to insist they only take the mandatory 15 working days holiday a year.

When I was at school, we had to fill in a form in standard 8 about what you wanted to be when I grew up.

I filled in “school teacher” as I thought “winner, I love school holidays…and how difficult could it be?” My career counsellor looked at me and said “But you hate kids ….” and I agree that this detal may well be the flaw in my rather fantastic plan.  Instead I wrote “vet”.

This December/Jaunuary I was seriously considering offing myself with a bottle of wine, and car exhaust fumes if school holidays carried on for much longer.

At one point Kennith looked at me and said: “I am really tired of doing things with the kids ….”  I wish I could pass a reply in judgement, but the reality is I had already had the thought two weeks ago, and just been chewing the inside of my lip in the hope I could just survive until the 11 January.

This year Connor headed to Grade 4, and Georgia started Grade 1.

Georgia was dead excited about being in big school.  She only showed a mild annoyance with me that I deemed to hang around in her class while I looked on to see she was settled in. She wanted me to bugger off and leave her so that she could do some serious colouring in.

Her first week has gone off swimmingly, and she is as happy as a bat in guano.  I am already drowning in the deluge of school notes and co-ordinating her extra-mural schedule.

Isabelle started her first day of school today.

I was a bit blasé about the entire thing.  You know, what with being an old hand at this and all.  Love them and drop them.

Isabelle is so supremely confident that I thought I might just send her to school with the bus and enough money to get home.

I realised that judging by the other moms and their super kean keanness around open day, I should probably arrive in person for the first day.  I diligently went along and did the “first day thing” with the drop off, her sleeping mattress and her funky pink school bag, and packing all her stuff in the right place.

Unfortunately it ended it as all “first days do” with her clinging to my leg, screaming like her limbs were being removed, and the teacher nodding at me that it was okay to leave.  Me looking rather forlorn as my off-spring screamed and the tears ran down her flushed pink cheeks.

I did not so much punch the air as I got into the car, as let out a rather sad sigh and wished it had gone better.  I already regretted that we had reached this milestone so quickly – remember when she was born, it was just the other day.

I feel a bit guilty now about judging new moms so harshly that they want to sms the teacher during the day, and start fretting about Junior.

It is all I can do to not call the school to check on Isabelle … I am sure she is fine … or at least I really hope so.

First day of school pictures – trying to get that “thing” that is each child, and I think I have got it in each of these little montages/collages.

<<Connor – January 2012>>

<<Georgia – January 2012>>

<<Isabelle – January 2012>>

Please hand me that parenting book … so I can hit my child over the head with it ….

This year I wanted to do it differently with Connor.

Last year (and the previous two) were filled with me being handed last-minute notes and requests to supply two dozen cupcakes or build a RDP model home which includes statues of goats. <True story!>

I really was pulling my hair out and it constantly was putting me on the back foot.  My anxiety levels really does not need this last minute injection of adrenaline.

Connor gets a note or an instruction from school, throws it into his bag, and then remembers to give it to me on the way to school of the day that the item is needed, or the night before at around 8pm.

It happens regularly.  Often my mornings include dropping off at school, high tailing it to a store to buy something, then sticking it together in my car, and dropping it off at Connor’s school’s reception so it can get to his class by 08h30.

I have used the principle of “if he does not give it to me, he will not get it, but then he will suffer and learn his lesson…” sadly the principle is better than the application.  What happens is he does not arrive at school and then gets excluded and I feel sh*t as I feel I have somehow failed him.

This year he is in grade 4 and I thought, okay, this is the year we get organised.  We get out sh8t together.  Yes we do.  Can I get a halleluja?

He needs to start taking responsibility for his things.  He needs to start doing things himself, without his mommy running around for him.

Seriously, this is the year!

My kids have few chores – really, there is always someone/me doing it for them.

They drop their towels on the floor, they forget to flush, they drop their clothes maybe near the wash basket, they leave toothpaste all over the basin, and so on.  I generally haul them in when I want them to help out with something, but in short they have few “you must do this every day” responsibilities.

The one I have tried to install is.  Get home from school, unpack your bag, give notes or messages to me/mom, and put your lunchbox and cool drink bottle in the kitchen in the wash up area, and then go off and do what ever it is you want to do.

You go and play or watch tv or set the cat on fire.  But do these things first.

My kids remember to do this maybe two days a week, and it does my head in.  I walk in their rooms, they are swimming/watching tv/playing and I see their school bags, dropped in the middle of their bedroom floors, nothing has been done, school clothes strewn all over the room, lunch boxes, juiced bottles and scraps still inside their school bag.

I go in and check every day, and three days out of five I am unpacking their bags, and putting their lunch boxes in the wash area, and finding shoes to put them together.

This year, I decided to start off with a very clear instruction and a punishment if not done.  I do not want to start it with Georgia doing it as well, and then I am sitting with two kids bags I am unpacking.

Later for that!

Unpack your bag every day, on the day I see that it is not done it is no tv/DS/computer/electronic anything for that day.  Solution = immediate punishment which I hope will teach a lesson and not repeat the bad behaviour.

Last night – Sunday night – after 19h30 Connor goes: “Mom I hope you won’t be cross with me” –  which generally means, yes, I am really going to be really angry now.

He produces 14 school books that need to be colour coded and covered for school on Monday morning.

It is Sunday 19h30.

I am so ready for a cup of tea and a catch up episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I can taste it.  I have been counting the minutes til 19h30 since about 17h00 as I knew kids would be shuttled off to bed and I could go and lie in bed, with my cup of tea and the visual flashes of Greys, as I doze off to sleep.

Connor presenting me with 14 books to cover sort of put an end to that.

I was deliriously upset.  I was so angry that I pursed my lips and started shaking internally.  I could only respond by being quiet and centering my anger, because if it was left to run around the room, I am sure that we might be one child shorter at the end of the evening.

Kennith covered the books in brown paper, and Connor stuck the front covers on, I then did the plastic covering.  We finished at about 10pm.  Fortunately we had plastic, brown paper, colour paper for colour coding and sellotape.

I thought that we had dealt with this issue, but it would seem that my “super nanny” stance on it was not working, as Connor had just done the thing I had asked him and reminded him for a week not to do.

I decidedthat Connor would lose tv/DS/computer privileges for this week until Friday.  Added to that he would lose fishing priveledges for the remainder of this month.

He sat there with his big blue eyes which started to film over. He looked down, closed his eyes and his lips started moving.

I paused as I covered “History Grade 4” and his eyes remained close and his lips were moving ten to the dozen.

Me: “Connor what are you doing?”

Connor: “I am counting so I don’t cry…”

Me: “Okay ……”

I felt shit, and I know the punishment was a bit harsh.  But I am very tired of the “last-minute” rush that I constantly seem to be doing.  I also cannot “run after him” – he is 10, he is in grade 4 and he does need to take some responsibility for his things.

But, I still feel shit.  This parenting malarkey is not all it is cracked up to be.

<<pictures from Connor’s first day of school this year>>

First Day of School …. might help to be organised ….

Right now a bouncing ball and a fly on the outside of the window is distracting.

I struggle to stay hinged to a conversation flow, and to complete a thought — all I want to do is drink a mug of tea, and then switch it up to a large glass of Chenin after 5pm and stare blankly at blog posts and pinterest.

My mind happily skimming over the surface of life, no one asking me to clean up shit, or when we can go play at Daniel’s house or what is for dinner.  Just the quiet and silent oblivion of internet crap and liquid down my gullet.

Signs of trouble?  You betcha.

This morning (which is the day before school – Connor is going to grade 4, first day of school for Georgia, so sort of a big deal) I asked Kennith if he had got the stationery for the kids.

I had seen a pencil list lying on the kitchen counter and I assumed he had picked this one up as a task he was doing.

Kennith responded: No one asked me!

Me: Shit. <<silently wondering that no one had asked me either, but it seemed to be on my list of things to do …. but I will let that slide ….>>

It will mean that today will be running to get the last of the stationery at the stores that more prepared mothers have left behind.  1/2 of what I need will be missing.

Tonight I will get to sit with a marker and write Georgia or Connor onto 3 000 items of stationery as I develop arthritis in my writing hand.

Fk!

I thought we were organised this year.  We went and bought school uniforms on the 23 December.  We were the only people in the school uniform store.  I thought we had score a touch down and were the most organised parents.

Kennith bought Georgia a cool school bag, so I was so sure.

But like Christmas Eve when you realise you have not bought a present for your significant other and need to do the mad dash to Checkers and see if there is anything on their shelves you can wrap, today/tonight is fill stationery-list day.

Of course the catch is that I do not actually have the stationery lists so I need to go and find those.  Fabulous.

Officially the most disorganised and dysfunctional mother of January 2012.

<<my pill doctor office appears to be closed …. seriously if you are responsible for issuing medication to less than stable people, then you do not go on leave …. I mean seriously….seriously??…..>>

2011 Flashbacks … like Flashdance but without the leotard …..

I have been a bit lax with my blog in the last two weeks or so.  I was on leave and decided to “ban” myself from my computer, so that clearly was not really blog-helpful.

My self-imposed ban was to prevent myself from being sucked into the screen and bashing away at the keyboard for hours on end, instead of looking up and taking part in my family life.

Often easier to stare at the monitor and troll pinterest for several hours ……

December and January holidays are particularly stressful.  It might just be one of my little quirks, but I feel sick to my stomach when I get the note from school that they will be closed.  I immediately get very cross with them and wonder about their commitment to my children (and my sanity) that they deem it a good idea to shut down for three weeks or how ever long.

How dare they??  How DARE they??

At some point Pepe will ask for leave or go on leave, and then I will just give up the will to live, or function, or poo.  Either way, the situation is not good.  Usually I start to shake a little more than usual, and then look around frantically to ensure that there is sufficient wine to cushion the blow.  I tend to start smiling and nodding like the village idiot and say things like “everything is fine, no I don’t need help … really I am fine…”

This December was no different.

I felt mildly ill when the schools shut down.  The Xmas and New Year celebrations stood before me and I felt a little sick to my stomach.

If you are reading this and you do not have kids, I implore you to enjoy these moments of peace of tranquility.  The lie on your bed in the afternoon and read your book, until you fall asleep and the dribble pools in a white clotted layer on your cheek.  The ability to attend large lunches, drink too much wine and then fall asleep on the couch whilst the cricket droans on in the background.

The ability to go out at night, stay out until you want, come home and go to sleep and know that you can wake up tomorrow morrning at any time you damn well please.

The freedom to drink that 8th glass of wine, and know that the worst case scenario is you just sleep a bit later and feel slightly shittier tomorrow morning.

But adding kids makes reality a bit stark, and mornings somehow start much too early, and they are just always horrific.  Kids voices are pitched just that little bit too loud that usually equal a headache, even if you are dead sober.  Before my eyes open I really cannot deal with my own urine and faeces, but right now I have to deal with three other people’s – and the don’t always make it into the porcelain bowl.

Kids do not stop playing with you, and screaming, and fighting, and arguing, and demanding a drink, a sandwich, a trip to the toilet, another trip to the toilet, another drink, a packet of flings, something out the fridge, a packet of crayons, some more paper, an apple, a trip to the toilet, a failed trip to the toilet that results in a full change of clothes, some more flings, the lollipop they saw another kid eat, a frantic search for doggie ….. and then just keep repeating it over and over again.

Until your eyeballs bleed.

Listen – I hate to sound like I hate motherhood, but I am pretty exhausted by it right now, and may choose the “community chest” card if this was a game of Monopoly … and I was the little silver dog.  The magic of the season has left me slightly blind in my one eye, and my skin feels blotchy and I need a lie down and a pain suppository.

I was exhausted before it began, and well and truly frayed at the edges by the time it was over. << I am there now….>>

I did learn a few valuable lessons over this holiday period:

1.  Travers and Lisa-Marie make excellent hosts, and if you are invited to a little shin dig over at theirs, fall down on the floor and give thanks, as it will be one of the most relaxing days you will ever spend.

2.  Joyce’s mother makes the best bobotie I have ever eaten.  I loved spending time with her, and she adds a certain timeless refinement to any situation.  I plan to take her with me when ever I go away – whether Joyce comes with or not.

3.  Connor is obsessed with fishing to the point where he needs to be medically tested for a version of Aspergers that has a fishing characteristic to it.  He keeps telling me he will be a fisherman when he grows up, I keep telling him he will be an Actuary and fish on weekends.  It appears I might be wrong.  He might leave school in standard 8 to run away with a fishing trawler.

4.  Siblings and their constant fighting is reason enough to have yourself sterilised after one!

5.  Siblings loving, caring, hugging and help each other, is reason enough to consider producing another, but when this occurs refer back to point 4.

6.  There is no benefit it having a child go to sleep at 11pm and think they will wake up later the next morning.  The litte fockers will still wake up at 6am no matter what time they went to bed, and if you have one named Isabelle she will wake up at 5am.  Just send them to bed at 7pm, at least that way you can drink in peace.

7.  Never go on holiday with out child care/a maid/a large gin and sufficient supply of tonic/an infinite pool of patience.  None of these are negotiable.

8.  I will never holiday again with the kids without all of the elements from point 7.  If I ever seem to indicate I am about to do this please refer me back to this blog post.  For the love of Gd, please DO IT FOR ME!

9.  I had aspirations of camping – that is so never going to happen.  Chasing after a two year old while “cottaging” is hard enough.  Camping is for the homeless.  I am going to opt for a Sun International Resort that offers child care during the day, and babysitting at night.

10.  Check that all your children are wearing underwear before you leave the house.  Finding out your daughter does not have panties on whilst she is on a trampoline in a public area is just not something you want to have in your mind’s eye.  Add “does everyone have underwear on?” to your list of car checks when you next go out.

11.  My mom and I spent three glorious hours shopping in second hand stores and thrift stores and it is probably the best time my mom and I have spent together by ourselves in what feels like a dozen years.  It was very therapeautic digging through other people’s cast-offs and I bought some things I was very pleased with.  My mom and my relationship is definitely on the repair, and though I appear blasé about it, I am truly pleased.

12.  I really need to be careful this year to not repeat the disaster of 2011 – 2011 was too hard, I took way too much shrapnel, and I let myself go too far down the garden path before I realised I was well and truly lost.  I am still on meds, and I see Dr CBT and I am thankful for him.  I am far from being close the “okay” but I feel every day I make small <<barely viewable to the naked eye>> improvements.

13.  I am counting the days hours until school starts again …… thank goodness for a short school holiday this year.

Happy Holidays/Happy Chanukah/Seasons Greetings/Wishing you a constant supply of wine, or what ever is right in your home.

Talking to your kids about HIV/AIDS ….

This morning taking the kids to school, I told Connor that today was the 1 December which made it World AIDS Day.

Connor asked what AIDS was and I tried to explain it as a virus that one has, and when you look at someone you do not know they have the virus, so anyone can have it.

It is a bit like a dog.  A dog with a wagging tail can be a vicious or a friendly dog, you just don’t know, so the best thing to do is to treat all dogs as if they have the propensity to be vicious.  So treat every dog with the respect and care you would in case it might be a vicious dog.

We use this analogy for a lot of things in my house.  Sort of works (and teaches the lesson of being aware around dogs.)

Connor asked how you got AIDS.

I then had to embark on a discussion that involved blood, sex, and pregnant women.  (my kids are 9 and 6….)

I also had to sort of go off on a tangent to explain that if a man and a woman are married or in a relationship and the man is having sex with other women, and his wife does not know, she might get the HIV virus from him and then she is pregnant + HIV positive, which means she could pass it on to her child.

Often this comes as a bit of a shock when a pregnant woman is diagnosed.

A very sobering conversation.

I tried to bring it back to explain that if there was someone at school who was HIV positive there was really very little chance (miniscule) of him contracting it from them.  Unless they were sharing needles/having sex or both had open wounds, that were bleeding and the wounds came in to contact with each other (and even that is highly improbable.)

Connor asked if he could have the virus.

I suggested it was highly unlikely as I did not have the virus when I was pregnant with him, and that he has hardly engaged in high risk behaviour.  I reiterated he would need to be having sex with someone, or sharing blood, or needles or the like.

But that being said, I did realise that I have not educated my children about HIV/AIDS.  I sort of dropped the ball on that one.  Do I go out and do an HIV test with them, as part of an education process?

At what point do you make it “a standard yearly event to have a HIV/AIDS” test as part of normal behaviour?  Tricky one.

But I do need to bring this subject into conversation at home.  I want them to know the facts and be clear on it, rather than listen to the jibber jabber on the play ground.

 

Which reminds me, I need to go and give blood again.

Disturbing moment in the bathroom this morning….

Georgia calls an adult to come and wipe her bum.

Yes, she is six and should have this sorted, but I am a bit “anal” about this sort of thing.  I really want to die a small death when I see brown streaks on kid’s underwear, and then I start to doubt all sorts of other things regarding their personal hygiene.

I “prefer” not “like” to wipe my kid’s bum.  Connor gets the odd quality check, and Georgia is just too distracted to take care of this task effectively.

Yes, there I said it!  I wipe my kid’s arse and she is 6!

This morning Georgia is calling me “Mommy, come wipe my bum!”

I wanted to finish a sms as I was trying to get Connor invited to a playdate with his friend and had left it until the last moment.

I was trying to sms, and get ready for work, and put the nappy on Isabelle’s playdog.  I was really multi-tasking.

I was a bit delayed and Georgia was now starting to scream: “MOMMY COME AND WIPE MY BUM!  MOMMY! MOMMY!”

I finish the sms and walk down to the bathroom.

The scene that appears before my eyes is Georgia with her pants down by her ankles.

She is standing and sort of bending over, and still screaming for me.

She has a red toothbrush in her right hand and appears to be aiming for her arse.  (I am not sure if
it was aiming towards an action or returning from an action.)

The toothbrush belongs to her sister.

I then utter the words no parent wants to in this situation: “What exactly are you doing with that toothbrush near your bum?”

I yank the toothbrush out of her hand.  I wonder if I should throw it away or smell it.

I grab some toilet paper, release a loud sigh, and then attempt to wipe her bum.

I did notice a rather “concerning” brown streak that run  from her bum crack up her back.  Not dissimilar
to one a toothbrush would make, for instance.

I used a wet wipe to assist.

I then snarled at her, and sort of begged her not to use  toothbrushes if ever there was a toilet emergency.

I silently admonished myself for not being faster on my sms.

There are a few issues that remained and might not be  resolved today.

  1. Has Georgia done this before?
  2. Has she ever touched my toothbrush while  bleating for me to come and attend to her?
  3. How wise was it to put toothpaste on the very same toothbrush for Isabelle about 12 minutes later?
  4. Is it an evolutionary trait that one becomes less overwhelmed by faeces once one has children?

<The King of England used to have a “Groom of the Stool” whose role was to sit with the King while he did his various body ablutions, and then attend to the ‘clean and swiping’ part because clearly the King would not do this… it was a real honour to be the Groom of the Stool, as you were clearly privy to intimate moments with the King …. true story really!>

Georgia’isms …. # 2

Driving home from school today.

Georgia: “I love the taste of my skin….”
Me – looking a bit distressed in the rearview mirror….

Georgia: “It’s got a bit of meat in it so it tastes really good.”

Me – remember to call the Jeffrey Da.h.m.er Support Society and see what their membership rate is like at the moment.

Who said money cannot buy you happiness? Clearly someone who undervalued R5

Connor is really keen on a WII – we are really keen he pays for it himself.

We are funny like that.

He has saved up some money and is always asking me for “chores” for money.  There is not a lot to do around the house as I have a Pepe and a Roderick.

I get him to empty dustbins, water the plants, sweep the kitchen, empty the dustbins, that sort of stuff.

I never ask him to do hard labour or work in a coal mine, or stitch a soccer ball – but I get him to do bits and bobs so he feels he is doing something, and he gets R5.00 – R50.00 for his efforts depending on the level of work.

Yesterday we are driving home, and Connor asks me for “odd jobs for money.”

I know there is nothing I need done.

But then I think “what do I want?”

I realise right now I just want peace and quiet.

Connor can physically not play the “quiet game” as he just speaks way too much, and I know that game will fail before the traffic lights change colour.

Me: “Connor I will give you R5.00 if you do not argue with your sister today.  Over anything.  I don’t care for the reason.  I want to drive home in peace, eat dinner in peace and you two go about your evening without fighting over anything.  How does that sound?”

Connor: “R5.00 – okay!”

Me: “Remember no fights…”

Oh my heavens.  R5.00 bought me peace and happiness for one evening.

Not one fight.  NOT ONE FIGHT over invisible letters, she is touching me, she looked out my window, she is breathing too loud, she is snoring and faking sleep ……

Best R5.00 I ever spent.  I am fine with bribery.  I think we are all learning a valuable lesson.

Connor can make easy money.

R5.00 seems to be a good price.  (I got a flood of them this morning from the PnP lady so I always have them in my purse from this moment forward)

I might keep my sanity (or my rather tentative grasp on it).

R5.00 for one evening x 7 evenings is really not that high a price to pay.

They will fight, odds are I need to bank on 3- 4 evenings at R5.00 at the very most.

Some days my parenting techniques will be spoken about in awe, and with wonder (I wonder how child services did not go and fetch those kids……sooner)

Mugshot Monday …..

Today can only be described as an epic fail day.

I wake up, get the kids ready for school, prep myself for work, make tea and coffee, collect Isabelle put her in bed with some milk.

I sit down on the edge of my bed with my “clear lunch box” of medication.

I carefully read what I must take, the dosage and when.  I read them each day, even though I “know” what I should take and in what order.  It’s my little “thing” I do.

I throw them out in my hand and down them with my first sip of tea.

Good.

Me 1: Er, I seem to recall a blue pill in that handful, that looked like Stillnox (sleeping pill).  Was there a sleeping pill that has just gone down the hatch?”

Me 2: “Shit … shit ….. shit.  Check lunch box to see if pill is missing!”

Me 1: “There was definitely a blue pill in that handful.  It is 07h15 and I have just taken a sleeping tablet….shit!”

I phone Kennith and tell him.

He laughs, and laughs some more.

I say, it is fine.  I will get dressed and go to work and take it easy.

Kennith asks if I am crazy?  Considering the circumstances a bit insensitive and well, rhetoric actually.

Kennith then tells me to drop the kids off at school, head home and sleep.

I phone my work colleague to explain my predicament.  I work her up with my call.  Eventually I had to end the conversation because she would/could not stop laughing and I only had few moments of “being awake” left to me and could no longer listen to her raucous cackling in my ear.

I hustled kids into the car.

Drove really slowly.  Hugged the white dotted line the entire time.  Checked and rechecked the robot colours before going or stopping.

Kids got to school fine.

I found myself on two separate grass verges on the way home.

I probably should have got someone else to drive kids to school, it was not my best safe-parenting decision of the day.

However good decision-making & me have been estranged for some time.

I did make it home.  Fell in to bed and slept.

I had to set my alarm as I had a new psychiatrist’s appointment.

I liked the fact that I explained to him that I mixed up my meds and took a sleeping pill this morning, and he totally took that in his stride!

I might like this guy.

My kingdom for a school acceptance letter ….

Isabelle is 25 months old, and is desperately in need of kids her age to beat up on.

She has her hands inside everything. Has worked out how to unscrew lids, no matter how tightly I tighten them,

Has figured out access to the knife drawer.  Knows how to put the microwave on.  Knows how to slam the microwave door.

Has recently discovered the toilet plunger can be used as an effective weapon against “suspecting” adults.

This child needs a school like no one’s business.  More for my sanity than hers.

I thought I was jolly clever and enrolled early last year in a school, that I thought was the best thing since that guest turned water into wine at a wedding some while back.

I ticked a block, and my type-A personality felt good.  I did not have an acceptance letter, but I enrolled her in 2010 … ages ago!

June swung around this year and I started phoning said school.

Repeatedly.

I think I  was up to message seventy-seven and most of them ended with “please call me, why won’t you call me, please for god sake just call me ….. okay?”

Principal finally did this week.  We spoke.  Well, granted she spoke, I cried a bit.

She told me there really is no space in her school for my Isabelle.  (I am sure she meant there was no space for any more children, but I took it as a personal snub of my child).

I suggested a bribe.  She got a bit snippy, but said she would keep Isabelle on “the list” just in case something changed.

I also could hear my child’s application being torn up and thrown into the steel metal dustbin next to the phone.

I do not really have a plan B, and I usually do.  But I had my heart set on this school.

I made an emergency plan B yesterday

I piggy-backed on my friend Joyce who has been doing some school shopping and purely based on schools she has seen I went along and started applying to schools.

I have an interview on Tuesday for one school that said they “might have space” in January 2012.

I hope they do not recognize me from my blog, or my alarming updates on Facebook.  Or when I screamed at my child at the local mall.

I also applied to another school Joyce said is so fabulous she is thinking about making “monthly donations” to the school now so that it does not look like a bribe when the time comes.

Always helps if you have single-handedly funded a “Kriel Wing” at a school – it does not hurt when they are weighing up your application against whether to take Johnny’s sibling.

That school I also chased – this week (yes I tad late) but I got my application off to them. They have an open day in September and then make a decision in September for January in take.

Dude, I am down with that as well.

Now that my Plan A has fallen through – I am desperately running around finding plan B through G.  I get a bit manic around now (you might not have noticed!!)

I hate rejection.  I hate finding the right school.  I hate all the running around and the hopeful “perky phone voice”  I have to use to try to get my child into a school, and all those smug moms who have acceptance letters for 2012.

Damn them!

Damn that I did not do this when this child was a fetus! I really should have known better.

I plan NOT to tell them that Isabelle is still not talking or is still using a nappy.

If there is a block I have to tick on an application form –  I will be ticking the one that says she speaks 3 languages fluently.  Plays violin on a Tuesday, and cello on a Thursday and has been potty trained and eating solids since 4 months!

If after the first week, I get a distressing call from the school wondering why my child is still on Purity and does not say anything past “caaaaa” and poo’s in her nappy, I will feign ignorance.

Until then, I am simpering and begging for a school to have space for my child.

Kids talking in the car …..

Pepe is back  – hip hip hooray.

I fetch the kids from school yesterday and I explain to them that when they get home Pepe is back and they need to go easy on her, as she is still very sad, because her brother, Kennedy, died.

Pepe was very close to her brother and we had also met Kennedy a few times in the past.

Me – in a very transparent attempt to teach the kids a valuable lesson about how they should be appreciative of each other: “Imagine how sad Pepe is because her brother died?  And how sad she must feel, hey?”

Georgia: “Poor Pepe, because her bwoder is dead.  Pepe’s bwoder is dead.”

Me – hoping we can stop this mantra before we get home: “Yes Pepe is very sad.”

Connor: “Poor Pepe.”

Silence in the car as we sit with this solemn point for a bit.

Connor: “You know who is sadder than Pepe about her brother dying?”

Me – really nervous that this conversation is going in the wrong direction: “No, Connor who is sadder?”

Connor: “His mommy.  I bet his mommy is sadder even than his wife and his sister.  I think his mommy must be very sad because her son is dead.”

Me – trying to hold a clunk of mucus in my throat: “Mmmmhmmm … yes…”

Georgia: “Poor bwoder, he was such a good man.”

Yes, he was.

Can you be a Musketeer withouth a pen.i.s?

Monday’s post did make me angry.

Granted I wrote it when I was angry, by the time I posted it I was less angry.

It really was something that sits with me, and makes me angry – some days more than others.  Some times I see a child dressed in a particular way and I think “what the hell?” and sometimes I want to choose an outfit for my own child and I think “yeah, I am not sure what that message is sending ….”

My earlier post might have come out in a bit of a splutter as it has been sitting in my head for some time, and when ever I see these images or I hear someone say “stop acting like a girl!” I get really angry.

Most part because I am a girl.

To indicate that “someone acts like a girl” is often used when you are trying to say someone is acting silly/childish/weak/inferior.

When Connor cries or get’s upset, Kennith is quick to say: “Stop behaving like a girl!” or “You are crying like a girl now!”  (this is not trying to paint him as the villain, I am indicating what is said in our house as an illustration, odds are it is said in your home as well, and pretty much everywhere actually.)

It really makes me angry. Like seeing red angry.  That is when he is not being a good egg.

I have raised the issue with Kennith, and have decided to no longer raise the issue with him, and instead raise it with the kids – we can call it direct intervention or circumvention, which ever is easiest to digest in couple
therapy.

There are so many derogative terms associated with women and girls.  And we feed them to our children often without realising it.

“Boys don’t cry – girls do!”

“Stop acting like a girl, be brave!”

“haha you are being such a girl ……”

Most of them I do not even register any more.

Today when I fetched Georgia, she was spluttering and telling me that one of the boys at school told her she could not be “one of those people who guard the king and queen with a feather in their hat…” and she was
really upset.

I love lateral thinking word games.

Connor said: ‘ Robin Hood’

I went: ‘A Musketeer’

Georgia said, yes, a musketeer that was what she was thinking of.

Bless that girl.  I have no idea why she wants to be a musketeer, and this is the first I have heard of this particular ambition or career move.

The boys at her school said that she could not be a musketeer because she was a girl.

And GIRLS cannot be musketeers …. well clearly because some well-meaning person told these little boys that.

They in turn told Georgia, and Georgia was not really settling for NOT being a musketeer just because some snotty dirty boy told her she couldn’t be.

When I arrived to fetch Georgia at school today, she was standing with of 4 boys having a heated conversation and clearly this is what it was about.

I am not really a feminist and am not planning on pulling out that soap box nor my copy of Virginia Wolf and brandishing it about in the name of suffragettes everywhere!

But it is important for my girls to know that they can do anything and become anything they want (not want others decide they can be, because “that is what girls do.”)

At the same time I want Connor to know that because he is a boy, does not automatically make him superior to girls.

I gave Georgia a lecture in the car drive home today, that if she wanted to be a musketeer that was fine, it was no problem at all, she could be anything she wanted to be.  Nothing was limited to her “because she was a girl.”

I also explained to her that to be Queen she did not need a King (as most fairy tales go).

I explained that the present Queen of England, is Queen in her own right, and that her husband is actually Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and he is not a King.

She is the Queen, he is only a Duke – so that is how that works out.

<I also gave her a quick history lesson on Queen Elizabeth, and how she became Queen.  And though there was pressure on her to marry as she was of the ‘weak sex’ she knew she could rule Britain and continued to do so until she died – unmarried, though we can have a very long conversation about the Virgin Queen title.>

In no way am I trying to foster an environment of female domination – or “chicks rule the world” but I want my girls to know that of all the things standing between them and become a musketeer (if that is what they
really want) is not a va.gina and bre.asts.

Granted, it might be some other factors, but it is not going to be because they are girls.

Brothers and sisters …. sibling rivalry …

My kids are pushing me to where I am considering opening a bottle of wine before going to work in the morning ….

It is the constant fighting and the bitching about nothing that is doing my head in.  One stupid argument at a time.

I can deal with three kids (albeit if only some of the time).

I can deal with one kid crapping in their pants, one kid messing glue and cellotape all over the house and the other kid lying on the couch playing DS when he is in his jammies at 2pm and has not brushed his teeth.

I can deal with all of that.

I cannot deal with them fighting about sh&t!

We can say that because I am in a bit of a depressive episode, everything pisses me off.  Yes we can say that, but kids fighting pisses me off whether I need medication or not.

This morning was a bit of a rush, with the usual morning stuff.

I especially enjoyed the part where I told Georgia more than six times to get dressed – I was in her room sitting on her bed watching her not listen to me.

The only reason she did not get a slap across the back of her head was because it was her birthday. (And because child services regularly reads this blog).  Now even that I take with a sigh, and a pinch of “she will grow up out of it …..maybe”

Eventually I gave up and sat and dressed her myself, but that was fine.

I put breakfast out for Connor and Georgia.

Both kids decide they did not want milk in their cereal and wanted to eat it dry.  No worries, I put the milk in a cup.

I have no problem with them eating their cereal and milk separately – I figure it will get mixed in their tummies.
As long as I do not have to listen to them crunching dry cereal in my ear, then we are all a-ok in my book with what ever method they want to go about taking in their cereal and calcium.  It is fine, really, fine!

I head to have a shower and sort myself out.

I issue firm instructions for them to finish breakfast and to go and brush teeth.

Georgia gets a special instruction not to mess toothpaste on herself.  It is not uncommon for me to have to change her shirt and wash her face, and parts of her hair after a tooth brushing exercise.

I am in the shower and it sounds like two small kids throwing their combined body weight against the door – well, because that is exactly what they were doing.

I get out the shower, open the door, in a rather aggressive and very frustrated manner.

Me still dripping wet, with clumps of conditioner adhered to my congealed locks and scream “WHAT now?  What crap are you two fighting about NOW!”  (my good mother skills have been a bit absent as of late)

I said something of that ilk at any rate.

I had conditioner spilling down my face and dripping into my right eye.  I also did not grab a towel, so both kids were exposed to the full fright of an overweight full-grown woman-who-has-not-seen-sun-in-about-five-years with a recent brazilian wax!

Suffice to say, they will be thinking twice before interrupting me in the shower again (and the university fund has now been flagged for their future therapy fund).

Connor tells me that Georgia spat on his sleeve.

I have seen Georgia spit, that girl gets absolutely no range.  The logical assumption was that his sleeve would have had to be trying to cover her mouth – and she simply dribbled on him – though, granted with gusto.

I scream at both of them.

I warn them that they had better get sorted and go and finish showering – I am effing and blinding under my breath at this point.  Slam bathroom door and nearly slip on my recently waxed arse as I make my way back to the shower (as I have left water puddles all the way through the bathroom….)

I get out the shower for the second time – sort of shampoo free at this point.

I think, you know what ever is in my hair can stay in, really I have lost any dignity I might have possessed anyway. I am so far past caring about my personal appearance right now, it is all a bit alarming.

Isabelle is crying, I fetch her, change her bum, get her a warm milk bottle, lie her down, and then attempt to find clothing to get dressed in for work.

I am trying to get dressed, I know Georgia is in the 15th minute of brushing her teeth – which means that odds are she has not actually got the brush into her mouth at this point.

I hear a scream and shouting.

I sigh.

I look towards the heavens for help and strength, and nothing is forth coming.

I squeeze into my now-too-tight-granny panties.

Georgia comes into the room and is screaming as she has toothpaste across the front of her pink jacket.

I notice the partial remaining lump of toothpaste on her toothbrush which still has not made it into her mouth, and decide to let that issue pass.

Connor is behind her defending himself at a rate of 350 words per minute and at a very loud pitch – which only tells me he has done something very wrong and by speaking loud and fast he hopes he will be able to drown out any sense or the possibility of me arguing back.

I assess the situation.

And the facts are:

Connor has taken his bathrobe belt and has gone into the bathroom where his sister is trying to brush her teeth (or not in this case), has stood and spun the robe belt around – clearly hitting everything in the range of the belt – including his sister, the toothpaste and the toothbrush.

There is toothpaste splattered everywhere – including on his sister and her jacket.

God’s truth – seriously!!!

I know there is the old adage about not being sent more than you can deal with.  Here is an announcement: I have more than I can deal with. Stop sending me trials and tribulations!!!  Really.

I mean where and why does my son think this is a great idea – he is meant to be really bright.  We just saw his report card, he scored well.

Of course I go off like a cyclone! No TV, no DS, no electricity for the day, gone!  Everything.  I might have insinuated he will sleep in the kennel outside as well, but don’t quote me on that one.

I get in the car and I ask Connor if there was another room in the house that he could have gone to stand and swing his bathrobe cord around – because clearly he had an itch that had to be attended to, and who am I to stand in the way of a young boy who is dabbling in experiments with his grey bath robe?

He said sure, but he did not realize he would hit Georgia.

Really – in a bathroom, swinging a cord that is probably about 1 metre long off the end of your outstretched arm – you did not imagine this would hit your sister?

No, he says.

I say really? (dripping in sarcasm)

He goes, no really!

I challenge him.

Tonight we go into the bathroom and I swing the cord around, I will bend my arm, to counter the size difference between him and I. He can stand by the basin, and if I hit him with the cord, he loses a DS/Television day each time I make contact.  We can keep it up for 5 minutes and see how it fares.

Anyway then I went on a full-fledged saliva-spurting non-sensical mother-driving-wildly-whilst-gesticulating rant and lament about this constant fighting between them.

I really hoped I hit it home this morning, because I am really over did it a bit.

I indicated that soon I was going to start implementing my “all for one” theory of punishment.

If one person misbehaves and starts antagonizing the other and I walk into the scene and there is “he did this …” “she did that…. “ going on, then they both get punished as I am officially over refereeing this lot.

Dear Villlage Chief

I know it takes a village to raise a child, but for fk sake can someone from the village come over from 06h00 – 08h00 and then from 16h00 – 19h30 and show me how it is done?

Yours in hope

Reluctant Mom

Measuring Time … one school drop off and collect at a time ….

There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. ~John Mortimer

Last night I sat and worked out a time line focused on when the kids would be in what grade.  I was interested in the  year they would finish at a school to go to another – you know grade versus year stuff.

I was aiming to establish when there might ever be a year where I would be driving to one school with kids, or whether I would permanently be a mom-in-transit across several schools.

I got really excited as I thought 2015 was my year, but then I realized I had made a calculation error, and 2015 was not going to be my year.

I will always be going to a minimum of two schools to drop off and collect kids.  Three if we decide to send Connor and Georgia to single-sex high schools.

Some years I can look forward to:

2016 – Isabelle will start Grade 1 and it is the same year that Connor starts high school.  I will be 44 years old with a daughter in Grade 1 as I face parents entering the school with their first-born.  The bulk of them will probably be in the 25 – 32 year age range.  These parents are going to be all shiny eyed and bushy-tailed. Eager little beavers.  I on the other hand will be a complete jaded wreck!  That should do wonders for my self-confidence and ability to offend parents at get togethers.

2019 – The years I will start driving to three schools; two kids in separate high school and one in primary school.

2020 – Connor will finish high school.  I will have Georgia in a different high school.  Isabelle will still be in
Primary School.  That will be a bumper year for driving, but it will mean Connor will be getting ready for University/Fishing College.

2023 – The girls will both be in high school, so this might be the year where I am driving to one school assuming they are at the same school.

2024 – Connor will be in his final year of University (I am allowing for 4 years). Georgia will be starting University/Beauty/Art School and Isabelle will be in Grade 9.  So in theory, I could be dropping one child off at one school (I figure university = get there your damn self)

2028 – Isabelle will start university. Connor will be 4  years into paying back his University loan. Georgia will be in her first year of paying back her university loan and I will be 56 years old!  This will be the first year that I will not be driving a child to a school and fetching them again.  This is working on the premise that no one fails, and life goes to “plan.”

14 years – that is how long I will be driving to and from the EXACT SAME Primary School that my kids are at now.  Connor started there in 2009 and Isabelle will finish there in 2022.  I have been doing it for three years already and I am already bored out of my tree.

I will be 59 with a child in final year university.

Right there, that alone is an argument in favour of teenage pregnancies (as you are a younger parent when you r kids are big, incase that statement did not make sense on first read).

My friend Warren, kindly did an age progression image for me, so here is what I will look like when I attend Isabelle’s Graduation from University (I did ask him to make me look 60, I think he was aiming for 70 or 75….).

I really hope they have a Zimmer frame facilities and an open bar!

So, how is your time line looking?

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!

Of budgies lost …..

I am collecting Connor and Georgia from school and I see one of those “LOST” posters and it appears to have a furry yellow chicken on it, which clearly peaks my interest.

So I drive close to the pole to see the sign and I see it is for a yellow budgie named Tweetie (or something similiar) who appears to be missing and his/her owners are quite keen to find him/her.

I sort of smile and move along, intrigued that people love a budgie enough to take a really good photograph of one – it was a good photo and actually quite a good “Lost” poster as posters go.

I fetch Georgia, and then go to Connor school to collect him.

Connor is in the car, he sees the sign, he asks: “Why is there a chicken on that sign?”

I go: “It’s a lost budgie – but yes, it looks like a yellow baby chicken, I also thought so earlier.”

Connor: “Do they have a cat?”

Me – thinking, how the hell must I know: “Er, I don’t actually know them, I just saw the sign earlier so I know it is for a budgie.”

Connor: “If they have a cat, I think they should ask him where the budgie is.”

 <have I told you how much my kids make me laugh>

The Life of Georgia ….. Part one

I really should stop the Reluctant Mom blog and create a new one called the “Life of Georgia Blog.”

I could fill reams of gumph about her and the strange things she does all day.  Kennith is working hard at convincing me that she is destined to be a “creative” and I need to give her some latitude.

My concern is that if she cannot get through Grade 1, I doubt even the creative industry is going to be keen on her unless we seriously get in touch with “normal!”

This week alone (besides the usual stuff that happens with her):

Event one:

Last night she was arguing loudly with the invisible police on the telephone – like heckling them – the phone in this case was the hand held shower head in a bath.  Judging by her tone and the change in her voice, I was convinced she was “hearing” the invisible police arguing back?

I mean seriously who argues with the police in the bath?

Event two:

Kennith asked her what she wants for her birthday, so she said make-up. 

Kennith said that make up is YUCH and she must think of something else.  She asked for a tattoo on her arse instead. 

SHE IS TURNING SIX!

Event three:

Monday I fetch her from school –she is playing and has only one boot on.  The other boot is in her bag.  It cannot be comfortable to walk around in one shoe, and a boot at that. 

Driving home I stop at a dam I had seen and wanted to see if we could take a quick look around and go back there on the weekend. 

We stop, we get out, Georgia starts running around the dam – one foot barefoot, one foot still in a boot! 

Surely a sane child would go, hhmmmm this feels a bit odd, let me take the other shoe off!  Surely!

Event four:

On Monday I fetch Georgia from school – I took Isabelle along for the drive, and as Isabelle’s safety chair was in Kennith’s car, I put Isabelle into Georgia safety chair, which is more of a booster seat. 

Seems easy enough.

 I get to the school to fetch Georgia.  She is excited that her sister is in the car, as she adores her sister.

I buckle Isabelle into the safety seat, and Georgia goes ape sh*t – but like totally totally ape.  Full scale tantrum of epic proportion.  It is as if I am ripping her leg off through her nostril!  It went on and on, and escalated rather than started to simmer down.

My level of patience for a tantrum is limited to about 32 seconds, on a good day, 8 seconds on most other days. 

So I leave the school, Isabelle in safety seat, Georgia buckled in a normal seat and Georgia is going totally “postal.” 

I pull over, slam on anchors, RIP Georgia out of the car, I hear Connor go “uh-oh!” 

What I wanted to do is throw her on the sidewalk and scream at her to “just walk the fek home!” what I did instead as tell her that she had two choices. 

1.  Get in the car now, stop screaming and do not even dare cry. 

2.  We reverse and I put her back at the school door step.  I will then phone her father who will have to leave work early to fetch her and she will get a hiding when he gets there. 

Pick one, option one or option two, but I am done with the screaming!  Done!    She opted for option one – clever girl!

Event five:

Georgia has a karate grading coming up.  She tells me it is going to be on Wednesday. 

I correct her and tell her it will be on the 21 May on a Saturday as the notice says. 

She tells me again it is going to be on Wednesday.

I explain that I have a letter and the grading is at the DoJo and will be at 21 May, which is a Saturday and around two weeks away.  We will all go, and we are very excited about being part of her grading.  On a Saturday.  One the 21st.  Not on Wednesday.

She tells me again that the grading is this Wednesday.

I sigh – quite deeply and with a certain measure of despondency.  I explain again that it is on the 21st which is a Saturday and it is about a week away.

Again she tells me that it is this Wednesday.

I talk through my teeth: “Georgia it is on the 21st which is a Saturday, really I have a letter, it is in about a week, it is not this Wednesday.”

She tells me it is this Wednesday.

I go off pop!

I am not sure she believes me about the 21st, but I do think she has learnt that mom really does not want to hear about “this Wednesday” again.

Event six:

Georgia makes up her own school work and homework.  She has zero interest in learning the A B C’s and all of that stuff. 

She however has an entire written language that she is rather proficient in.  Any the who.

She tells me that she has homework to do.  I say no worries; do it later after you have had dinner and a bath, okay?  She says okay.

For whatever reason she did not “do homework” – so she is crying in her bed and telling me to switch on the light – it is about 9pm – so she can do her imaginary homework!

I convinced her that if she woke up early for school tomorrow then she could sit at her desk and catch up on her homework then.  She was not happy about the suggestion, but it did stop the crying.

You do understand we are crying about imaginary homework!

Okay, so that is this week’s strange.  I have excluded the other reams of strange that go on pretty much all the time in our neck of the woods.

Someone suggested you are never given more than you can deal with, I am not so sure.