A View From My Point

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

We Need To Talk

All of us. Yes, all of us – come from parents – some kind of parents, doesn’t matter, we’re here now aren’t we?

And I don’t think we’re doing too shabbily. I mean, we’re alive (big YAY), we’re reading stuff on the Internet – wow, got some education there didn’t we? Did our parents do that for us? Mine didn’t – they might have enabled me, yes they certainly did and they pushed for a whole lot extra by springing for a tertiary education but if I was 5 years old I could probably still make sense of these etchings  on a page. And look at you – managing so well by yourself – hell, I bet even my blind friends have these words piped into some kind of  device that makes them ‘talk’.

So, why oh why is there this constant criticism and judgment of how people are raising their children or how they they themselves were raised. I know money makes the world go round but essentially it’s people that want the money to make it go round so isn’t it really People that make the world go round?

All these rules:

love them when they cry, ignore them when they cry

feed them from the breast or feed them from the bottle

oh good grief, give birth to them with your own vagina or have an incision made in your own abdomen but whatever you do get them birthed and there they are – Birthed. New people, every .05 seconds or something like that – google it – I’m too lazy.

Show them flash cards, don’t play them anything but Mozart or put the tv on so that they get used to noise.

Strap them into the car or let them roam around on the dashboard.

Don’t let boys where pink, don’t let girls do karate or boys can get away with pink while they play rugby and girls need to learn self-defense.

No sugar, no salt, no nuts, no eggs, no food after midnight and don’t let them get wet – that might be mogwais – same difference.

Bath them once a day from day one or don’t bath them for the first 6 weeks of external womb existence and it’s cool to take a break on weekends.

Wear them or grow them in incubators.

Listen to The Men/Gods in White Coats or The Local Faith Healer and White Witch

Put oil (not petroleum) on their crusty little scalps or hang them from the ankles to increase blood circulation to the pip section.

Swaddle them like samoosas or cover them lightly in anything except down feathers.

Wooden toys only or recycled plastic toys to protect the environment (which one? my house or the global one which seems to be pretty good at taking care of itself?)

Pay a fortune for school and deck them out in designer duds. Organic (what is that?) Cotton only with or Polyester only because that’s what they’ll be wearing in space one day.

Cut their hair, grow their hair, paint them and parade them like dolls or let them run barefoot everywhere or squash their little feet and legs into the right shape with shoes and leg irons.

It’s enough to make anyone second guess themselves every second time they make a Parenting Decision.

Look around.

I had a fellow Mom ask me the other day if I had noticed how different my children where to each other.

um.

Yes.

They’re two different people.

I asked her if she felt that she and I were alike barring the fact that we’d both reproduced via the loin.

The conversations stopped there.

Come On People.

We are ALL People.

We all got here.

We all Live here.

Our parents raised us. Mine smacked me. Sometimes I didn’t eat anything except chocolate cake and coca cola. We never had to sleep in the car for more than a 5 hours at a time, we weren’t strapped in and we got lucky and we always had a roof over our heads. But I’m willing to guess that some of the folk out there that have had to live in their cars and munch on raw carrots for weeks on end are also Alive and using MXIT on their cellphones. After I was given the boot instead of a car for my 21st birthday I had to subside on olives and provitas for a month or two – didn’t do me any harm, in fact I slimmed down nicely enough to get some decent action.

Even if you’re not. It doesn’t give anyone the RIGHT to go up to anyone else and tell them not to chastise their children in public. Or criticise the fact that the baby that they’re wearing isn’t sleeping in the right position or that it’s drinking from a non BPA plastic free bottle. Or that it’s nappies won’t biodegrade over the next 200 hundred years (this is thumb suck figure – I’ve mentioned that I’m lazy to google). If people don’t wanna strap their kids in (and this is something that I’ve had to train myself to let go of) then so be it. The gene pool needs less idiots – and that might sound a little hard but raising children isn’t a picnic, not that picnics are catered events by on hand staff but you get what I mean. And if you don’t – can I refer you to my Suggestion Box? It’s the button on your top right hand corner and all you have to do is press CTRL ALT DEL.

Enough. Look around again –

Everyone is Going Through Something what matters are Two Things:

Area of Concern

and

Area of Influence

Let’s not be silly about it. Get your focus on and do the best you can with your bit.

People are People.

PS: These are not all my original thoughts but I’m selling them that way. Most of it is from a revered Elder in my immediate orbit so I’m claiming them as lessons learned. It’s still valid.

 

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In Defense Of The Crazies Who Name Babies

There have been a number of references between two of the bloggers I avidly read, mj monaghan and sportsjim – The Wordslinger they’ve  covered the ground of ‘Crazy and Terrible  Baby Names’. People around the blogosphere are quite hung up  about what parents are pinning on their offspring as nom de plumes. All of us, myself included have climbed on the band wagon and bemoaned the fate of these poor little mites that are forced to wear these monikers. And it got me thinking – I’ll have no facetious retorts to that previous statement – and this is what I’ve come up with from experiences as a Person Who Was Named and as a Person Who Has Named Other People:

Firstly, I was named after one of my fathers’ ex-girlfriends, my mom must have been Out Of It on that natural high you can get after your first born is delivered and while we were staring into each others eyes I’m sure he must have nipped off to the registry with the name of his previous love in mind for his new little daughter for whom he had just bought a cricket bat.

Secondly, my own childrens names are odd  different because I can’t imagine being the parent of yet another Nicky, Sophia, Isabella or Ben, Max or Tyler – I mean have you seen how many of them there are these days? In fact there are so many that I’ve got a gift drawer with presents already labelled with the above 6 names, every weekend we are good to go, no need to write a card! Well there might be an issue now because just the other day we  had a Nikki, Sofiya and Izabelle problem, along with the Benn, Macks and  Tighler – people are slowly getting the hang of breaking the mold. And besides that they’re going to be teased no matter what – come on throw a name at me, I’m a natural bully, I’ll find something to rip you off about.

Thirdly, if you don’t like your name enough you can change it. My mother in law did, in fact her own mother changed it for her, one day while she was down at the Name Changing Office on some other errand, I forget the details….

Sometimes the only thing that you have to give your kid is a Name. Proof of this is from my father’s experience as a clergy man. Baptising infants has it’s own share of fun and he’s observed that the poorer and from more humble origins the parents the more elaborate and spectacular the name, for example: Chantelise Shineqwa Enchante or for the boys Jaden Prince Stronginthearm. I know babies that have been named after their attendant doctors and midwives and even one thats mother liked the way the sound “Fully Dilated” rolled off her tongue and so pronounced her loin fruit just that.

Just because you’re not used to something as a name doesn’t mean that somewhere in the world that name isn’t a very normal everyday name.  In this diverse land of ours the names are from the impossible to spell let alone pronounce; Maholwana-Sangqu to a month of the year June, February, September and October being genuine examples of our surnames. Closer to some of your homes over the waters I’ve heard your women described as having ‘peaches and cream’ complexions – it’s no wonder Peaches Geldof happened. As for the America’s in a country where the broad strokes of generilasation must drive you people crazy why are we suprised that there are people called Neveah (heaven backwards – I hope she’s a good girl) and even your president is a chap who sounds like he was conceived in an army building. Let’s not talk about our president who seems to have had some other pop stars kid named after him *sigh* there is NO accounting for taste but who are we to judge?

Living with such a cross section of cultures the lines tend to get a little blurred. Most of the black people that I know have a Western name simply because it’s so much easier for our white mouths to get around and our white brains to remember. In fact I heard a conversation like this once for a job interview for a hand in the garden of a landlord of ours:

Landlord: “So,” – imagine a good plummy, cheap dry white wine shaped ‘o’ for this ‘so’ – “what’s your name?”

Gardener dude: ” Kudyauku.” he says clearly enough.

Landlord: “What? Oh no, that’s too difficult for me to remember, we’ll just call you Simon ok? You can start on Tuesday? Be here at 07h30? Good.”

Kudyauku/Simon followed a  fellow called Forest – hmmmm? Who’s got the funny name now?

I like the idea that here in South Africa we get to choose our names these days, unlike Simon and tons of other previously marginalized individuals who just got handed theirs, a lot of black people are choosing their own Western names now, going for stuff like Gloria, Beauty and Wisdom. I chose my own Xhosa name, Nomhle or Nombies if you know me well enough, it means ‘Beautiful One’ – nice hey? My kids have got Xhosa names too that I chose for them The Eldest is Nomvula, we call her Vuvu, – ‘When It is Raining’ – because it was when she was born and The Youngest is Vuyani or Vuyo, for short, – ‘Happiness’ – because he has one but that’s a story for another time.

Ok, so gripes aside, can we agree that even if someones name isn’t exactly mainstream that perhaps there’s a reason they were called that? Imagine you grew up with a name like Gwyneth, I’m sure her little Apple is just a backlash at a lifetime of having to correct the spelling on movie posters. The woman who swipes my card at the local grocer, her name is Virginy – she says it’s because she is one and that’s what her mother wanted for her when she was born. Then there’s the hippy type swishy hair lady  that drives a  daisy encrusted brown Volkswagen Beatle and her name is Sunshine, her parents name her that – I don’t know if they gave her the car but it suits her nonetheless, the car and the name.

Not to mention all the hybrid names out there like Hendrik, the father, and Johanna, the mother,  that had a little baby girl and called her Hendrianna – good plan, it’s different and it’s a combination of the two of you just like she is. On that note, there’s a little girl in school with The Eldest who’s name is also a combo and when you pronounce it it sounds like Dee En Ay – cool – yes, that’s what she’s made up of – DNA!

And aren’t we all, after all, just what our parents named us?

What’s the Goss?/ Rumour Has It!

People talk. It’s sometimes called communication. Other times it’s called Gossip or Rumour Mongering (which I prefer, it sounds like a job for which one can get paid –  like Fish Monger).

It's a dirty business selling fish.

I read an article the other day saying  Gossip Might Be Good For You – I agreed with the post. Then I read the comments and understood the article better and the comments less so. Everyone is on about how ‘Gossip is Poison’. I don’t believe that’s what the writer had in mind – in fact they had made it quite clear that it’s a good thing if someone gives you a ‘heads up’ on another person – if they’re dodgy or scaly etc. I think the problem comes in when the observations aren’t based in fact. It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of ‘facts’ – scientific or not – they often get in the way of a good story, just ask Steven King.

I’ve been a unfair mongerer of rumours over the years – costing me a lot in ‘friends’ who didn’t bother to clear up a situation that might have arisen due to my irreverence of ‘facts’ . I’m not discrete, I should wear a  disclaimer badge: ‘The opinions expressed by this individual might not be the views it will hold for the rest of it’s life and tends to make things up as it goes along.

Adele, has a song that strikes many chords with me, Rumour Has It – just ‘coz’ I said it, don’t mean that I meant it, just ‘coz’ you heard it don’t mean that I said it.’ And therein lies the rub – we’re such subjective emotional little creatures, often the cause of a rumour is miscommunication – kind of like the article about Gossip, that wasn’t really about Gossip but actually about passing along important information that might prevent someone from falling into the same trap that one might have previously fallen into. The comments section was testimony to it – I feel the commentors were people who were a little oversensitive and quite possibly recent victims of true gossip themselves. That in turn brings me to my meme:

As I might have mentioned before, we’ve just relocated. From a town that got used to me over 18 years. A place that I called home since I first started to commute to it. A University town with transient life forms. In this town I had already run the gauntlet of the rumour mill. Perpetuating some of my own, sometimes just for fun (despicable me) and sometimes out of spite (petty human me) and sometimes the stories would be about me – not always good but hey, no publicity is bad publicity.

That's just how I roll.

So here we are in this little hamlet (that might have almost 6 000 souls in it – give or take) – it’s been 9 months now, thank goodness I didn’t arrive fat and lose weight and not have a baby – the fiction would have been scientific if people were to maliciously talk amongst themselves. No, the gossip revolved around my professionalism (which is thankfully almost non-existent), my personality (which bears some attacking since it’s larger than life) and on my parenting (not the first time round and it always stings).

I heard these rumours from a reliable source, who in turn would swear to the validity of their source and that person heard it from the horses mouth – so to speak. This fellow professional, until recently, was also renting the studio space that I approached to house my little Moms and Toddlers group along with my own clients that I’d slowly gathered along the way through word of mouth, being loathe to advertise since I’d be too busy to continue with my core business (Parenting) . I love my job – I really do, it’s not important what it is and how much money I make (all though that is a lovely side effect) – I believe and have been told too many times to count that I’m also really good at it. I get positive results and positive feedback.

This poor woman apparently felt so threatened by me sharing her space that she saw fit to up and leave – without any word of warning, quite the contrary in fact, she told me that she’d only be gone for 3 weeks and then she’d be back in the saddle.  So I offered to see her clients (the ones that would require care over the Season – and I was working anyway – no skin lost)  while she was gone, paying her rent and of course giving her the money that she would have made, taking R10 to cover the wear and tear on my bicycle since I try to bike it to work, easier during the Season since there are no kids to drop off at their education centers. She, allegedly has accused me of wanting her to pay me to teach her clients.  What a mean hearted and shitty thing to do – you might say or as one of my favoured clients now calls me, ‘You Dreadful Woman’ – yes, how could  I?

Ag anyway – it’s not good. She only taught in the afternoons, I only teach in the mornings – our relationship would have been symbiotic. We could have taught all 4 000 people (the rest are kids who should be in school ALL day) because we could have had a studio which operated almost 12 hours a day. But No. Some people are like dogs that have been kicked one too many times and they can’t see the tummy rub for the boot. Which brings me to her next little gem of crap – ‘I only work to get away from my kid’s. It’s true (maybe it’s because she’s been overheard as passing it off as ‘fact’ and not as witty repartee that it stings), – otherwise I’d have to clone myself and split my heart and my brain to sit with a Grade One in a tiny little desk (I hope they could clone me into a size 2) and the other clone would have to go and hang out in the Caterpillar Class and learn ‘Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” all over again. Yes. I work to get away from my kids. I might have said it – sarcastically – I know it’s the lowest form of wit but at least it is a bloody form of wit.

this dog could take your arm OFF!

Lastly, my source informs me that  her source said that this woman said that I told her that ‘she was doing it wrong’ – yeah because I like to break people down like that. Apparently this was said the first time I met her. Ah, to have a recording of all my conversations so that I might defend myself in court one day. Who does that? “Hi, I’m Melanie, you’re doing it wrong.” Actually I think I might do that from now on and if you survive my First Impression Of Fire you can come back for a second interview and maybe I’ll include you in my clique; which I established last week Thursday – if I don’t give you the nod to come and stand under the tree with me at the school gate tomorrow – then you’ll know – it’s over.

*The opinions expressed in the above post are not necessarily those of the person who wrote it. Facts might have been changed to make it more interesting and no animals were injured in the blogging of this rubbish.

People are People

I shudder each time one of my children (who are still little) climbs into a cupboard – apart from the usual dangers; getting their fingers slammed in the hinges or doors, the latch slipping closed and them being locked in and me wandering off to go and pour myself some wine. I can’t bear to hear them say, “Look, Mom, I’m in the cupboard” – my symbolic mind translating it into that good old American slang term ‘closet’, “Look, Mom, I’m in the closet.” ‘Oh, no my poor child,’ I think, ‘you don’t want to be in the closet – you want to be free and unjudged about your lifestyle choices, has Mommy not done a good enough job on building your confidence and pride on who you are?’ ‘Oh,’ I wail in my mind voice and gnash my teeth, ‘I have failed you my precious charges! Failed You and Failed Myself!’

It’s going around, this intolerance of  People, that are just People. For time immemorial, we’ve all been different from each other. Some cultures have celebrated it, some have denied it and some have even had the ‘odd ones’  persecuted for it. Now that our earthly population is 7 billion strong and it’s more obvious that each of us is unique – isn’t there a way that we can all get along?

A widow friend of mine  has a little boy who is growing up with just her and his older sister, little fellow is 2 years old. He likes to wear some beads around his neck and a handbag on his arm. He is a fan of  a long flowy dress and will plaster his face with any cosmetic in reach, nailpolish included, with pink high heels to boot. He’s a usually a quiet guy but when he comes out of his shell he can jump on a trampoline like he’s possessed. Leap into the swimming pool into any arms that will have him. Race his bike up and down the driveway, chase the dog around the yard and suck down water and chocolates like there’s no tomorrow. His behaviour is general knowledge among her friends but if he goes out into the general public he’s sure to be wearing Spiderman t shirts and khaki shorts. He’s just little guy but already he’s leading this strange double life.

I know a few sons who were raised by their mothers to be appreciative of the finer things in life. These boys that become men have impeccable manners and know how to treat a fellow human as if they had a tertiary education in it. If they bring you a bunch of blooms they could quite possibly name the flowers – that’s a rare trait for any human but so special in a Gentle Man. They appreciate the good workmanship on a well cut suit and are absoulute fonts of information when it comes to what suits a certain body shape. These guys can sew, knit and mend if they have to.  They know a good haircut from a bad one. Spend time on their own appearance, perhaps to the point of vanity but nothing that hurts anyone else.  Often they are well groomed too – perhaps with a penchant for an expensive aftershave. Or as the case may be not expensive but they have a higher level of cleanliness than some of their brethren who might have an aversion to soap. Bear in mind that these Soap Wary guys are not the dirty, gross kind but are just not on the level of Hygeine Appreciation that the guys I’m referring to are.  These men enjoy ‘chick flicks’ – and are not ashamed to shed a little tear at the heart string pulling parts, instead of sniffing or wiping the snot on their sleeves will even ask for a tissue or (as if from they’re from the previous century) actually use their own hanky (none disposable tissue in the form of washable cotton, for one’s own personal use – one should also wash one’s own hanky and not make ones mother or significant other do it). At the same time they watch their favourite sports, not necessarily ice skating and gymnastics, but the more acceptable, cricket and rugby. One or two of them even have local soccer team that they support.

These guys get put into a box, get sensed out by something that’s been dubbed ‘Gadar’ and they get labelled accordingly. Whether it’s as a new Metrosexual or an old Homosexual it doesn’t matter that these men might married (to whatever gender they prefer), some of them have children (their biological or otherwise, human or furry children and are just the most Fantastic Fathers!). Isn’t it time that we stopped the negativity that judges these chaps and start applauding their effort at evolution?

This is not about sexuality, not by any means, this is about Peoplality (new word, use it, don’t use it) – it’s trying to find that middle ground that we find it so difficult to determine in our judgemental black and white minds. Who cares anymore if someone is ‘gay’ or ‘straight’? Ok – a lot of people and I suppose, from amongst other places, this is where this post has sprung from.

As a Mother, I really wouldn’t mind one of these men as my sons – who wouldn’t like someone who is sensitive and knowledgable enough to let you know that you can’t wear teal if you’re a ‘Winter’? Imagine the partner this person would bring home, be they male or female more than likely they would be someone that you would get along with because your son is The Nice Guy.

Perhaps not all of us are sick of The Bad Boy,  I’d like to raise a son, not necessarily for the homosexual market – but if that’s his choice, gay schmay he’s still going to grow up into a Man. I would like my son to be comfortable in his own skin, confident in his choices and happy. I’d like him to grow up like some of my ultra cool and hip family and friends. These guys with a good eye for the quality and quantity in life.

I don’t know if society will let me get this right but I believe and pray that we’re evolving into a level of tolerance that won’t have our children judged and ostracised just because of their Peoplality.

After all these generations of fighting over race, colour and creed and more recently the uncloseted Sensitive Man – haven’t we learnt anything?

Question: Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and goodlooking?

Answer: They already have boyfriends.        

 OR as I like to read it:

Question: Why is it difficult to find people who are sensitive, caring and goodlooking?

Answer: They already have partners (because they evolved into people that other people wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time with, they did this molded and shaped by a tolerant society that allowed them to make the right decisions that they wanted to on their own work in progress as a human being)

A Silly Poem for Christmas Fallout

All the expectancy that comes with this Season

don’t get me wrong, it couldn’t be for a better Reason

but my kids are now officially ‘spoilt rotten’

if the request was in, it was fulfilled and begotten

no desire left wanting, ‘Chocolate for Breakfast?”

sure thing, who cares if that nap will be missed

just carry on and don’t interrupt

what can you do? The system is corrupt;

surrounded by so many people that love them

ours are cherished like a rare gem

there are not enough grandkids yet,

and so they get treated like the royal pet

with titbits from the table

I’m not laying any blame, I too helped enable

Selfish me wanted a little Christmas

a time to relax and not think of this

commitment to consistency

the constant humdrum of the familial existancy

And now we sit with a Lady and a Lord

showered with gifts, now lying around Bored

Another 364 days to hold the ‘old Santa is watching you’ over their heads

no presents next year if you don’t behave yourselves, no ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘insteads’

Not to worry, I know what to do

just like the Lady in The Shoe

I’ll whip them both soundly and send them to bed

after some warm broth, without any bread.

Well, at least until Easter Holidays

until then we’ll just sigh and try different ways

to get the manners back in place

Restore some good values into the future of the Human Race.

Lies We Tell Our Kids – dedicated to ericanexpress

  1. Christmas beetles are agents of Father Christmas so that he can watch you all the time.
  2.  I’m sure that animal next to the side of the road will just shake it off and be right as rain in a couple of minutes.
  3.  If you don’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables then you’ll get scurvy and die like a Pirate sea dog.
  4.  You can touch my laptop when you’re 9 years old.
  5.  If you don’t let me take that thorn/splinter out then it’s going to be taken up into your blood stream and puncture your lung.
  6.  If you stay up too late at night then the Naglug* is going to make you sick.
  7.  No, we can’t go and swim, you have to wait an hour until after you’ve eaten otherwise you’ll sink but you can run in the sprinklers if you want to.
  8. I need you to go and fetch me a leaf from that tree at the bottom of the Garden please and do it like you’re a snail, see how slowly you can move.
  9. If you pick up a tortoise it will pee on you and then die (this one back fired though because the next question to issue from the Eldest was, ‘What do tortoises drink Mom?’ Me: ‘Water’ Eldest,’Then they have to pee’ innocent face, blinking up at me, ‘ do they die every time they pee?’
  10. I’ve also told the Eldest that girls shouldn’t learn to read and write because it’s unnecassary for her to have these skills since girls grow up to have babies and clean the house. Paradoxical intention, has her reading and writing at the age of 5.
  11.  If you swallow a watermelon pip a baby will grow in your tummy. This was awkward when the Eldest asked if Daddy put his seed in my mouth when we announced that we were expecting the Youngest.
  12. 5 am is still Night Time and we should ALL be sleeping – this one doesn’t work.
  13. Injections don’t hurt and antibiotics taste like sweets – this one only works once.
  14. If you aren’t buckled up in a car then it won’t start and then we can’t go anywhere.
  15. When we feel they’ve watched too much tv for a day then we tell them there’s a power failure – how sad that at the ages of 2 and 6 they know what a power failure is.
  16. And when we want to ride our bicycles somewhere we tell them that there is no fuel in the car.
  17. ‘Sweetheart, that is a beautiful song, please can you sing it to me again? Mommy loves the sound of your voice in her ears’
  18. ‘Please close the door behind you, Mommy and Daddy are going to have a nap.’
  19. If we put up Christmas lights then they’re going to short out and burn the house down and we’ll have to live in the car. Ok, technically not a lie since one of them did get a little hot and start melting the plastic needles on our fake pine tree but it stops the nagging once a day.
  20. Nothing that you see on tv is real – except Oprah. And if you want that Barbie then I suggest you give her a call and ask her to hook you up.

And now? Okay so my parenting relationship with my children  isn’t based entirely on trust but it’s so much fun and my children have the imaginations of inventors and people who can change the world without putting too much effort into it.

We’re all going to grow up with issues and since some of these lies are from our own parents and aunts and uncles (see if you can spot the Vintage Lies). I believe that they only sculpted us into the amazing adults we are today – with trust issues, but amazing nonetheless.

*Night Air or Light

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