Tag Archives: child

the child's pencil sketch of a superhero

Parents are superheroes – here’s proof

I admired my parents as a child. I thought they were the prettiest, best-dressed, youngest parents EVER. Now I realise they must’ve had other (less superficial) skills too to cope with four kids. I was a mere mortal before motherhood, but soon developed my own enhanced abilities vital for child-rearing. Parents are indeed superheroes, and here’s the proof.

High grossness threshhold

I grew up with three brothers, so grossness is normal to me. Little did I know this is nothing compared to experiencing a small human’s faecal matter on your hands. After this their other bodily excretions such as projectile vomiting, is generally a breeze. Disclaimer: snot is my kryptonite.

PhD in mother tongue

You’ll correct every bit of slang, bad grammar and mispronunciation emitted from their mouths until they no longer embarrass you in public. Just like your own mother did to you.

Secret code developer

You and your partner will perfect the spelling of swear words and invent secret code for relating grownup stuff not meant for innocent little ears. Disclaimer: this might beget a child who perfects the spelling of swear words at a tender age.

Master’s in psychology

You’ll discover that consistently rewarding and praising them for every little fart only develops a misguided sense of accomplishment and entitlement. Not nice to be around and detrimental to the child. They sometimes need to bask in the quiet enjoyment of a job well done, without expecting validation from you.

6th sense

Proof that parents are superheroes: because they know EXACTLY when kids are doing, have done or are thinking about doing something untoward. It’s one of the essential capabilities we’ve evolved as a matter of survival.

Superhero hearing

Think Daredevil at his peak, shadowing a baddie. Your ability to hear the smallest sigh or intake of breath is at 200% capacity. Conversely, also at 200% is the child’s inability to hear you calling them to supper or to clean up their mess.

Award-winning actor

“MOM, talk like Merida’s mommy again!”

Parents need to be highly entertaining or the child will seek entertainment elsewhere.

Leopard-crawling

“Woman, it’s your turn to put the money in the slipper.” Disclaimer: sorry if your noisy knees out you as the Tooth Fairy one fateful night. At least you managed this move for a good 10 years.

Low budget party planner

Yes to cake, decorations, party packets, food for kids AND grownups for less than 1 grand. No to self-indulgent, wasteful kid’s parties that they won’t even remember, just to compete on social media.

Wonder Woman’s upper body strength

Carrying a heavy child, your handbag, groceries AND unlocking the door with one hand, without dropping anything. Yass, queen.

Costume designer/milliner

Whoop! First prize for the dragon fairy costume and Easter bonnet. Ensure you have stuff like wigs, fairy wings, assorted frippery and the internet for Googling last-minute costumes. And access to a colour printer.

Archiving skills

Arranging the sprog’s new artwork on the fridge in an un-shite manner is an asset. As is the artful display, curation and practical use of assorted preschool clay creations around the home.

Wrap artist

Sometimes you run out of time or forget to do important stuff. Then you need to know how to wrap gifts like a nocturnal ninja without waking up the whole house.

Crafty like a fox

Be handy with a needle or at least know someone who’ll sew for free. If you have a kneeling, shredding, clothes-killer, you’ll need to sew patches on the holey knees of every pair of little pants. And when you hear “MOM, I can’t wear THAT, it doesn’t have POCKETS!”, you’d better make bespoke pockets post haste.

Bullet-dodging

The Matrix’s Neo’s got nothing on you.

The child: Mom, what’s a penis?

The mom: I don’t have one. Ask your dad.

Reluctant hairdresser

The child insists on having a fringe, so you have to cut it despite this not being a skill. Do it in the vain hope that one day you’ll actually get to see her forehead (i.e. cut it skew on purpose). Also show her that moms don’t need to be stuck at the hairdresser while dads get to do cool stuff. DIY haircuts make trips to the hairdresser a treat, not a torture.

Personal chef

“Mom, what’s for supper?”

AARGHHH! Yes, providing decent family meals is expected of parents, but sometimes you wish you had a personal chef. It helps to have a husband who also knows how to cook. It behoofs you to learn how to hide veggies in meals for fussy eaters. Make sure you follow the 80/20 rule of 80% good food, 20% bad.

Lie detector

Apparently it’s natural for kids to lie. I lied constantly as a child. As long as you know BS when you hear it. When they’re older, you’ll need to hone this skill because their lies might become life-threatening if undetected.

Ninja sex goddess

When you want to have secret conjugals without grossing out the child, you become super creative, extra stealthy and nimble. Decorum is the path to mystery. Ergo, I know for sure my parents only had sex four times.

the child’s pencil sketch aged 8, featuring two baddies, one caped hero AND a floating sword

Really, you need more proof that parents are superheroes? Just become one yourself and enjoy the transformation to god-like status. I hope you’re ready.

Things Anal Retentive Parents Need To Know

they just need a little push – not a helicopter parent

Anal retentive parents tend to make things harder on themselves. I had the nappies, babygros and custom-printed feeding schedules but no clue when I decided to dive into parenthood. Here are things I know right now, with a definite need for more insights as I go along:

Ninja-like creativity

  1. You’ll need 20 extra hard drives to store the obsessive pictures you take of them.
  2. You’ll make up a ‘hunt the mess’ game – writing down where they’ve left their droppings with each room listed, the number of ‘offences’ and a column for each person. Add clues if you’re feeling generous and send them around the house to tick off and tidy up their mess. Reward them with something small. Boom.
  3.  You may have to be super-creative about sneaking fruit and vegetables into meals so that your full-of-crap eater doesn’t develop scurvy or rickets.
  4. You’ll need a few journals. Kids are comedians. They say and do the funniest things. Film them or jot stuff down and give them the journal(s) when they turn 21 so that they can bask in the awesomeness of their outrageous younger selves one day.
  5. You WILL develop a grudge-gift for rating poo: “HEY MOM, come and see what I made. It’s as big as my face!”
  6. There will be sand E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. When they go to play school or aftercare they’ll come home with sand in their pockets, shoes, undies and body parts. Before they come into the house, hold them upside down over an empty hole, and soon you’ll have your own sandpit.
  7.  You become a motivator creating phrases such as “WOW, you run like a rocket”, “Your smile makes my heart happy”, “You’re SO strong”, “What a beautiful brain!” and “Can we keep you?”

Buddha-like wisdom

  1. You’ll need an honest un-BS-y answer for everything – Easter Bunny, Santa, Jesus, tooth fairy, death, ISIS, clouds, Donald Trump, private parts, etc.
  2. Start practising what you preach – or there’s no way in hell that child’s going to listen to you.
  3. The child WILL NOT listen to you. YOU might have been a people-pleaser growing up but not this one. While you’re five seconds away from myocardial infarction, they’ll be Buddha-calm. Learn from them. You’ll need your full strength for worse shite they’re about to do.
  4. It’s not in their nature to be fastidious like you. No matter how many times you show and tell them how to wash their hands PROPERLY – they’ll be 41 and still washing their hands badly. Dodge the face-caressing for as long as you can.
  5. You’ve always overestimated your intelligence and patience. Just try to insert information into a primary school child and you’ll soon realise you’re not that smart. Or zen. PS: When the child’s still the size of a bean in the womb, start an education fund. Don’t be a dumbo.
  6. Teachers are special, magical beings – unless they’re abysmal. Then remove the child from that school immediately and find a better one.
  7. Unless the baby’s walking for Victoria’s Secret or found a cure for cancer, keep the baby stuff on social media to a minimum. Excludes family, dear friends and other humans with kids.
  8. Children can smell BS. And fear. Remain steadfast. You’re older and maybe bigger. And there are sometimes two of you. But kids are wily rats. Do be careful.
  9.  You WILL underestimate your ‘nappy guilt’ and recycle everything until your bin is down to one measly bag of dirt so unreachable that the homeless have to do capoeira in order to reach it.
  10.  Despite yourself, you may tell the child weird stuff like “It’s ok to eat snot but only your own. Just make sure no-one sees you. And DON’T touch me until you’ve washed your hands, ok?”.
  11. What you’re dealing with is nothing compared to what your parents went through with four of you. Word.
  12. A hands-on partner is more than worth their weight in gold. The love you had for them will multiply 100-fold.
  13. Kids are time vampires – nothing will prepare you for the slothfulness of a child, ESPECIALLY when you need to get somewhere urgently (church, school, bed, etc).
  14. Forget the baby books and well-meant advice. That’s theory. Your child’s unique and you have the chance to make hands-on, practical decisions with that specific child in mind. Just try not to stuff it up.
  15. The child is a sponge – while you’re teaching them how to behave nicely, they’re busy taking in your dark side too – racism, sexism, and your attitude towards religion/others/food/your body/their other parent.
  16. They’re not your buddies. They’ll have lots of friends but only one set of parents. It’s up to you to teach them well even if it means they don’t like you much. Why do you think they’re called ‘home truths’?

Goddess-like power

  1. You WILL want to punch small children in the face when they bully your child. That’s frowned upon. Be patient. Your child will grow into a long-legged, bright Amazon who won’t give them a second thought.
  2. You WILL want to punch childless grownups in the face when they complain about ‘I’m SOOO tired, I binge-watched xxxxx last night’. Or when they brag about reading books and taking naps.
  3. You WILL want to punch pet owners in the face who think getting a pet is ‘just like having a child’. Be safe in the knowledge they don’t know jack.
  4. Activist for gender equality: You WILL have unreasonably violent thoughts when faced with yet ANOTHER pink outfit/plaything, and will want your girl child to experience the joy of caped Batman PJs with printed 6-pack. And Ben10 shoes that glow. You WILL purchase these despite the ‘Boys’ label, becoming a one-woman protagonist against sexism in toys, clothing and reading matter for kids.
  5. You won’t know what to do about their painful penchant for Justin Bieber and will turn into a judgey nun when they sing along to songs about drug addiction and sex, like ‘Can’t feel my face’ or ‘Cake by the ocean’.
  6. Your ‘inside’ voice will escalate into your ‘outside’ voice faster than a jet.

Warrior nun-like courage

  1. You’ll never get used to the chaos: food under the kitchen table, smudge marks on the mirrors, hidden toys in your bag, being a pack horse, toothpaste on the tap, never wearing white, and the sugary carpet of sand underfoot. Kids are nightmares for the anal retentive OCD parent. Adapt or die.
  2.  When the child reads YOU a bedtime story, you’ll feel immense pride.
  3. It really will hurt your heart to punish them when they’re rude, but it’s necessary. You don’t want to be responsible for bringing another jerk into the world. Teach them basic manners and consideration for other living things. And not to litter.
  4. They will break your heart. Sometimes you can’t even help crying. It could be joy or anger. That’s just the way it is.
  5.  Try to keep some of their artwork. They’ll make a scheisse-load. Especially if you have a quirky monkey who likes drawing crocodiles, dinosaurs, zombies and God on the beach. You need to have something to pore over when they leave the nest.
  6. You’ll be teaching them how to leave you. They need to know how to pay bills, be hygienic, have street smarts, willpower against peer pressure, and the discipline to study and cook themselves healthy meals. Hopefully they’ll always come home to visit. Not with laundry. Stuff that.
  7. When they scream “I HATE YOU!” you’re apparently doing something right.
  8. Nothing will prepare you for the fear that they’re in constant danger – child-trafficking, paedos, rape, bullies, rubbish friends, crossing the road, seesaws, flashers, etc. Teach them to trust their gut and memorise your telephone number and address from a young age, but without making them as paranoid as you are.
  9. Try not to think about your baby having sex one day. All you can do is teach them the value of their bodies and minds and that their worth is not tied up in another person’s viewpoint. And hopefully that will prevent shite love choices.
  10. The shame you feel when your child embarrasses you in public will be tiny compared to the creativity you show in dealing with the situation in a non-violent, covert, and classy manner.
  11. You WILL cry over every stranger’s bullied, missing, abused or dead child.
  12. They’ll be the EXACT opposite of you: the child of two diligent, anal retentive, sarcastic introverts is an unmotivated, scruffy, eye-rolling, zombie-loving, disobedient rat. But you don’t know whether to marvel at her balls or punish her indefinitely.
  13. If you needed to, you would die for this person.

Magical like a unicorn

  1. Secret smugness at having such an awesome, original, bright and beautiful child. Enjoy the awesmosis.* Crappy characteristics? They got those from The Dad.
  2. You’ll be helping them cultivate a healthy sense of fearlessness (different to dumbassness).
  3. Your capacity for forgiveness will grow – you’ll love them even if they consistently break or ruin your favourite antique-something. Unless they do it maliciously, then that’s another story.
  4. It’s best not to cultivate a mini version of yourself – you’ve already had your chance. They must be allowed to be themselves. This won’t stop you from silently sniggering when they sit on the loo with a magazine, just like you, or pull your EXACT bitch-face to the poor dad.
  5. You’ll never marginalise your body again after giving natural, drug-free childbirth.
  6. You CAN teach a small child to care about others’ needs besides their own.
  7. You develop superpowers such as enhanced hearing and a 6th sense.
  8. When you grow up, you’ll want to be just like them.

Nobody forced me to have a child, but I know choosing to be a parent as an OCD anal retentive, seems to have made me a decidedly more decent human…

*Awesomeness by osmosis

bespoke mother’s day cards for days…

Family tragedy around Christmas

Coping with loss is never easy, especially around Christmas. I know exactly how this feels. What is it about December that seems to bring boundless joy for some and the depths of despair for others? It probably has heaps to do with the quality of year experienced – and a family tragedy definitely counts towards maligning Christmas. Here’s a coincidental and strange moment that I have to share without hopefully, intruding on one family’s grief.

The day before the family tragedy

Tuesday 3 December 2013:

I turn down the same road on the way home as per usual. The child’s in her car seat in the back. The only unusual thing is the time. At 4:30, we are 30 minutes earlier than normal.

I absentmindedly glance at the house on the corner where I never see anyone.

Not today.

For the first time in eight years I see two little boys. And they stare back silently as we go by. No smiling, no waving, expressionless.

The Fire

Wednesday 4 December 2013:

We’re driving past the same house. Only this time we see scores of people in the street. And police tape. I see scorch marks all around the house. I fear the worst. When we get home my husband says it’s probably nothing, they’re most likely “just investigating the fire”.

But it wasn’t nothing.

The two little boys I’d seen the day before were six and four. The four year old died in that fire. Somehow I was meant to drive past and see him and his brother the day before The Fire. Solemnly staring at the car.

Rest in peace, little one…

Every day spent alive never ceases to bring home how fleeting it all is. So hug your disobedient child. Be kind to that irritating parent. Call that pain-in-the-ass sibling and appreciate that moody spouse. You never know what tomorrow will bring. It shouldn’t take a family tragedy around Christmas or any other month of the year to force you to wake up.

local newspaper article in Afrikaans on the family tragedy

Teach your child how to shave – and learn a life lesson

bloody knee

Call me naive but when my six year old interrupted my lady grooming time in the bath the other day with a “mommy, can I shave your legs?” what choice did I have but to agree? She’ll want to shave one day, so why not practice on me?

Mistake number one: giving a sharp implement to a child under seven.

Mistake number two: letting her shave over my knee.

It didn’t start bleeding right away but after two minutes there was an impressive blood cloud in the bath. I was swiftly offered one of her Halloween Zombie plasters but in the interest of earning Hardcore Mommy Of The Year and trying to teach her suck-it-up skills, I pretended it wasn’t that sore.

Moral of the story? LET YOUR CHILD HELP WHEN THEY OFFER, EVEN WHEN THEY MAKE YOU BLEED OR DO A HALF JOB.

Even if they end up sticking your sanitary towel down for you while you’re on the loo, or their ‘made’ bed looks like a rat’s nest, the kitchen floor has more crumbs after they’ve ‘cleaned’, and after ‘helping’ with the dishes, there’s a wet floor. Letting them vacuum the house is the best cardio workout EVER as you catch falling knickknacks and polish little fingerprints off the furniture. Just let them do it.

Life lesson number one: practice makes perfect.         

Life lesson number two: helicopter parents stymie their kids.

Soon puberty will set in and that sweet little kid who covers your face with kisses, dive-bombs your legs and plays ‘catch the plushie’ will think you’re as uncool as socks with flip flops. Teach your child how to shave and learn a life lesson or two for yourself.

What to do with a velour blanket when you’re bored

Sometimes just making the bed isn’t enough, especially when you have a bouncing six year old for whom any activity is an excuse to play. Hence I give you … faceprint-on-a-velour-blanket! Take one velour blanket on a made-up bed, then press your face and hands deeply into it and you’ll soon have an image freaky enough to make you want to shart in your pants but apparently highly entertaining for a small child. You can also make blanket angels but the faceprint seems to yield the best results. Now go and play …

faceprint01
em danceem faceprintmom faceprint