Tag Archives: children

Just two things (one funny, one scary) …


I wanted to tell you about two newsworthy items. Things I didn’t get time to blog about but I think deserve a mention.

We went to the annual Christmas production at our church two weeks ago. The show is advertised as being suitable for children age three and up and Liam thoroughly enjoyed last year’s production of the Grinch and was very excited to sit in “big church” again this year. Hannah turned three this year so she too was excited to experience her first time in the “big church.” Right. The Polar Express was lovely, a wonderful tale of a little boy who had lost his Christmas spirit, blah blah. However the plot was a bit lost on Hannah. She enjoyed the music and dancing and theatrics, but she couldn’t really follow the story. She was bored. Like half an hour in, the child was whining and whining and ready to go home. But the best part was when she announced REALLY loudly into a darkened and quiet auditorium that “MY VA.GI. NA is SORRRRRRRE” Yup. She made that announcement really loud. And then proceeded to whine on and on about how sore her VA.GI. NA was. There was a lot of sniggering from the people around us. I adjusted her brookie, and did all the things one’s mother does in these awkward situations to make you feel better without really doing anything, but on she went. So folks, while I’ve always maintained that I think it’s important that your children learn the correct terms for their body parts from a young age for a myriad of reasons (their own safety being number ONE), I do think that I would have saved us all a lot of embarrassment had she had another name for it… like flower, petal, cookie, or whatever other weird names people come up.

Then.

Two weeks ago we discovered that a horrible person had broken into Zoleka’s outbuilding at the back of our house. While they didn’t take anything of significant importance, I still feel outraged and upset (and scared) that someone came into MY property and took stuff that didn’t belong to them and and and! With the paranoia of THIS still top of mind, the other night the electricity went out after 10pm. Now. I am not afraid of the dark as such, but I do like to be able to see what’s going on around me, even if it’s in the shadows. But when the lights go off at night, it’s pitch black. No street lights, no shadows, no nothing. I couldn’t even see my hand before my face. I was freaked out. I thank GOD that just the week before, with all the terrible thunder storms we’ve been having, I asked the hubby to please make sure our candles and matches were well stocked in the event of a power outage. I lit about 7 candles in my small little bedroom, I dragged the children from their beds to sleep with me. Because I am crazy like that. And I sat up waiting. For what, I am not sure. I was so MAD when I realised that wi-fi works on electricity and I couldn’t even get online. I mean really. And I have a Wackberry, so I couldn’t chance wasting that battery. About an hour and a half in, the alarm makes a weird noise which I believe signals the battery is now dead and shame, you are basically without security. Sorry for you. Great. So now I’m proper freaked out. Hannah is now awake from all my shenanigans. She’s talking up a storm, asking for supper: child is AWAKE.

THEN.

I hear someone by our big front gate by the driveway. PEOPLE. When I say I went into complete PANIC and my adrenaline went into OVERDRIVE – it was a feeling I have never experienced before. Not like the fear I felt just before the anesthetist administered my spinal block. Not like the fear I felt the day a man walked up to my car window with a sledge hammer and I zoomed off, narrowly escaping a smash and grab. Not like the fear when Liam got his first stitches above his eye. It was ear blocking, heart thumping, shaking, dizzy fear. I see a FLASH LIGHT by the gate. I see the FLASH LIGHT walking in my YARD. I dial my husband, his phone just rings. I dial the alarm company ONLY TO DISCOVER THE NUMBER I HAVE FOR THE ALARM COMPANY ON MY PHONE IS THEIR SALES OFFICE AND NOT THE EMERGENCY NUMBER, I dial 10111. I follow the light and get to Hannah’s bedroom window and I don’t know why but I open the curtain and I start banging on the window and I’m pointing to my phone as if to say “I’m calling the PO-PO, MAN!” (I can’t even explain to you the fear I still feel as I write this.) I can only see his flash light blinding my eyes and I can see he has a BEEEEEG gun on his shoulder. The 10111 person is saying “hello, hello, anyone there” or something like that. Then I hear the dude outside yelling, “MAM, MAM, it’s xxx reaction unit” or something like that.. All this time I am consciously very quiet, I do not want to upset Hannah or alert her to the fact that I am basically pooping myself. He filters the flash light on himself and I see him in our alarm company uniform. He’s yelling “is everything ok, what’s your password, your alarm is off, etc etc etc” I’m confused. The man on the phone is like “IS EVERYTHING OK.” My brain registers, I say to the person on the phone to please hold on, I open the window and the dude seems legit. So I tell 10111 that I think everything is ok and sorry. So the alarm registered as not working, the company phoned Byron’s phone and when there was no answer, a vehicle was dispatched. (I won’t describe the hate mail I sent to poor husband about sleeping like the dead when there was a potential crime scene on our hands.) The dude asks me a million questions and asks about the password, “the safe word” and I’m like I AM FINE, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO FRIGHTENED ME HALF TO DEATH. I tell him to please patrol at least until the power comes back on. He gives me his name, goes back out through the gate and leaves. The power comes on about half an hour later. Through all this I was chatting with a night owl friend on Whatsapp, but even once the power was back on, I couldn’t get to sleep. I think the last time I looked at my phone it was like 2am something something and which stage I said “LORD, REMOVE THIS FEAR, I NEED TO SLEEP OR ELSE I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FUNCTION TOMORROW.” And I did.

So now.

I thank God that most of that was all in my head and that actually there was nothing to have been afraid of. I thank God for his protection every day. I know that almost every South African can vouch for having being a victim of crime in one way or another, so I am not going to make like this was some incredible event but I can, in some small way, identify with people who have had their privacy and security violated, let alone the awful atrocities that often go down in botched break-ins. Sjoe, I was scared hey.

So anyway. That dog we spoke about months and months ago. He/she is DEFINITELY joining the family as soon as we get back from the December holidays. Not that a dog offers complete protection, but it’s an intimidating presence in the yard and in the home. A dog also serves as an early detection or alert to something going on before it’s like HAPPENING TO YOU, you know what I mean? These are exciting times we living in people, exciting times.

The Wonder Years


On sound advice from a good friend, I’ve decided to chronicle important events of our times, in a bid to give my grown children a feel for the economic, political and socio climate they were born into, and grew up in. Personally, I was born at an amazing time in history – I was alive at a time when the world was rocked by events which changed humanity forever.

I have lived through euphoric moments, with the release and election of our first Black president, Mr Nelson Mandela; the end of Apartheid put South Africa at the forefront of the global arena. South Africa took centre stage again in this decade, showcasing probably the world’s most cataclysmic pandemic – AIDS. Yes it was a worldwide problem, but the South African statistics shocked the world. On a positive note, the Soccer World Cup came home, and it was one of the proudest moments to be a South African. Terrorism reached new heights with the 9/11 attacks on America, as the world continued to wrestle over oil – how would I explain that to my children? America swore in their first Black president. We witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of influential people whose names will forever be ingrained in the sands of time: Mother Theresa, Bill Clinton, Osama Bin Laden, Robert Mugabe, Oprah Winfrey and many more. We’ve lived through other people’s lives, as reality TV overtook the airwaves.  Social networking opened up a whole new world called Cyberspace. Babies could be created in test tubes, sheep could be cloned, and cross-gender /cross-culture relationships became the norm. And sadly natural disasters unhinged the world as they plundered ferociously through continents, killing thousands, leaving millions destitute.

I was a child at a time in history when children could be just that – children. We played in the street until the lights came on, we were in and out of our neighbours homes and everyone was called aunt or uncle. We played games with sticks, tins and leftover bits from our mothers pantyhose. Your teacher was your parent away from home and we were disciplined with canes and rulers and that was ok, because abuse was almost unheard of, so we knew we were being deservedly punished. We’d walk to the local swimming pool, without fear of being snatched, we’d have sleepovers without fear of our friend’s parents. Our own parents trusted our neighbours enough to leave us with them overnight, while they went dancing. I grew up in a time when it was cool to be a kid.

One of my greatest fears as a parent today, is sheltering my children from experiences that they NEED to have, because of my own fear of what society has become. I’m too scared to let Liam play in the street because I’m afraid a drunken driver will run him down, or a preying paedophile will be lurking close by. Besides, there’s NO kids playing in the street anymore! I’m too scared to leave him at a kiddies party because I don’t know the other school parents well enough, so I stand on the outskirts watching and waiting. This is fine now, he’s two years old, but I don’t think he’ll appreciate my presence when he is at a 16th birthday party. I read the back of every label of everything they consume because I am so afraid of them being obese, or being exposed to tartrazine or too much salt or too many fatty acids because childhood diseases are on the rampage and kids are falling down dead from diseases that we can’t even spell. I spend more time in the doctors surgery than I do in front of the TV because they are always sick and constantly on antibiotics. I remember getting standard childhood illnesses like chicken pox, mumps and the odd runny nose, but not constantly needing a humidifier and allergy medication??

I want my kids to know the value of a well meaning stranger who honestly just wants to help them across the street, or to be able to run half naked through a sprinkler at the park, I want them to wave good bye to me at the school gate without being scared of being hassled by an older kid looking to steal their lunch money. YES we were hassled by older kids, but bullying today is nothing like what it was even five years ago. The suicide rate directly related to school bullying is terrifying!!!

So yes, these are the signs of our times. It’s difficult to be a good parent – I’m afraid of underexposing my children to the evils of the world – they need to know about stranger danger and about NOT touching their friend’s blood when he/she gets hurt and about the perils of Mxit, Facebook and other social networking sites. But do I really want to over expose them unnecessarily, and instil in THEM, this fear that has gripped me?

So my children, when you read this, I want you to know that I tried as far as possible to raise you “normally” in an otherwise crazy world. But I also want you to know that I didnt do it alone. I only got this far because of “He who is in me, who is greater than he who is in the world.” I pray for and over you, I’ve dedicated you and I believe that God’s favour is upon you. So although my fears and phobias do keep me up some nights, I know that there’s a greater force looking out for you and loving you even MORE than I do! And that kinda helps me sleep at night.