Sunday, 19 March 2017

Advanced Level Badges - Taking my mom's-group-secret-society, to the final level

Advanced Level Badges - Taking my mom's-group-secret-society, to the final level - Achieving badge earning crowning glory - Professional, proficient, prolific, pro-frigging-tastic!!!
18 March 2018

By now, most moms have graduated to the advanced level badges.  The final stages.  The highest of the high.  You have passed both the beginner, as well as intermediate stages (see previous 2 blog posts).  So now this is where it's all at. By this stage, you are not only professional, but also proficient, prolific, and all round pro-frigging-tastic!

Eat your heart out Baden Powell, my society is waaayyy cooler!

  • Recitals/Concerts/Eisteddfods/Gradings/Graduations/Prize Givings Badge these are the long-suffering moms.  The ones who have sat through 3 hours of prize giving, only to watch their little cherub, go up, for 11 seconds, to receive a certificate for choir attendance  Eisteddfod is my worst.  The opportunity for disaster is just too ripe.  Like your kid or someone elses forgetting the dance moves and freezing.  Or singing their solo off key.  I physically age at these events.
  • School Meeting Badge this one needs no introduction.  Places of education have a propensity for meetings.  Of the lengthy kind.  The requirements of this badge, are at least 7 PTAs.  However if you are presented with the necessity to attend 3 PTA meetings on the same night, at the same time, at at least two different schools, the requirement drops down to three.  Been there, done that.  Wished I had a clone.
  • Book Covering Badge this badge can only be achieved in January.  Moms joining our group in February, will have to endure a whole 11 month long wait, in order to qualify for this badge during the following January.  Now the whole cover-the-text-book-with-plastic thing is not too bad.  Nor is the whole cover-the-workbook-with-pretty-paper-before-covering-it-with-plastic thing.  The problem comes in when you have 3 kids.  Each having a minimum of 11 subjects.  Some requiring more than one textbook.  And more than one workbook.  You can literally find yourself with a hundred books to cover.  It is wise to train your kids to do this arduous task themselves, or to assist you at the very least.  Even if there job only entails cutting bits of sellotape.  Fanning you cool with an old Ideas magazine, and making you coffee.
  • Moms Taxi Badge there is an automatic exclusion on this badge for mothers who live within walking distance of school.  In addition, if their children do no extra-mural, off school premises, they do not qualify for this badge either.  To best qualify for this badge, said mother needs to preferably have more than one offspring.  Personally if youre aiming at getting your badge quickly, I can recommend 3 kids.  Each of them doing extra-murals at the same time, at different venues.  Furthermore at least one child has to be teenager, requesting midnight pick-up times.  Bonus points are earned if you live in another town to the one that your kids do their schooling in.  I found that this was one of my easiest badges to complete.  One Wednesday afternoon was all that it took
  • Lost Property Badge mothers with children with ADHD are also easy-achievers with this badge.  They are proficient in digging through lost property boxes at various schools.  They mark every item said child takes to school.  In more than one place.  However, most importantly, they never send nice towels, best shoes, new clothes, good cutlery and crockery, or favourite items along on school camps.  These items will never return.  It can be noted that sleeping bag covers, should be cable tied to the zipper of sleeping bags.  These mothers spend the GDP of some African countries on slip slops every summer.
  • Split Personality Badge this badge goes to all mothers of teenagers.  These mothers experience moments of deep concern.  When they look at their former-sweet-children, who have suddenly changed into hormonal-teenage-horrors.  Occasionally these mothers consider counselling, medication, alcohol (for themselves) and exorcism, as a means of reaching their former darling children again.  Please note, that changes in personality, generally run concurrently with physical changes in the body.  You know exactly what I mean.  Apparently, they will eventually morph back into human life form again.  Im currently waiting as fast as I can
  • Delaying Tactics Badge aaahhh, yes!  The old Delaying Tactics Badge.  This badge can only be awarded under two circumstances.  The requirements are strict and adherence is expected.  You may only qualify for these badges at:  Bedtime, Homework/Studying.  Children do anything, say anything and behave in any way, to avoid these two unavoidable outcomes.  Occasionally, they will even fake their own death.  They will need innumerable bathroom breaks, profess starvation, have leg cramps (phantom have you tried making a poo yet?), stomach cramps (phantom have you tried making a poo yet?), headaches (phantom have you tried making a poo yet?), they will be thirsty, and my personal favourite have the longest, boring, most dull, unimportant story to tell you.  Taking 13 looooooong minutes.  In which time, you can feel yourself aging.  Please note that it is important that the mother in question, refrains from clubbing the child with a TV remote (loads of red tape).
  • Cake Sale Badge this badge is awarded to those mothers who lovingly bake and make home-prepared treats for cake sales at school.  Numerous times.  Over and over and over again.  There comes a point, when you feel that you will never get the smell of popcorn out of your hair (sorry, I dont bake popcorn is about as good as it gets from me).  However, fear not.  This badge is also awarded to those mothers who do the selling at cake sales.  The ones who end up paying in an exorbitant amount of money for the poor kids who just dont have enough cash on them, and you dont have the heart to say, No my love, you cant have a chocolate cupcake.  These mothers handle sticky coins and help little fingers to open wallets.  They run after kids who forgot their change and they patiently give little kids the chance to feel grown-up by doing their own selection and timeously counting out their money.
  • Telephone Badge this is a special one.  There is a reason, the old chord phones of yonder were replaced by hands-free portable ones.  Few things are more trying than a child who discovers, 17 seconds after youve taken a phone call, that they need to ask you a super-dee-duper important life-and-death-question.  Like, does Barney have a belly button.  Yip!  At birth, all children have an inbuilt sensor, that goes off.  Mainly when youre on the phone.  Theyre hungry, they need you to wipe their bum (they like to holler this loudly, so the person on the other end of the line can hear it), theyre thirsty, theyve got a sore foot (have you tried making a poo yet?), theyre killing their sibling, or my personal favourite the whole super-dee-duper important life-and-death-question thing.  Like, why is the grass green or why are bananas bendy?  Which brings me back.  Phones with chords were fazed out.  As a safety measure.  To protect children.  From irritated mothers.  However, it can be noted that some of these mothers did use these chords on themselves, in self-mutilation.  I really understand.
  • Im-Hungry-Badge this badge can be attained at any time of the day or night.  However, it is easily achieved during certain critical moments.  The half an hour leading up to you cooking supper.  The half an hour after youve just cleared the table from a meal and theyve assured you that theyre full.  Any shopping trip ever.  Particularly when youre in the aisle of torture (the sweet and snack aisle), or when youre waiting at the till and the tills are simply lined with all things sugar.  Actually, any time they leave the home and they know that youre carrying your wallet, youre vulnerable.  You are not immune if youve just fed your child.  Because heres the trick these hunger pangs are not actually hunger related at all.  It can also be said that kids have a fondness, which theyre fond of declaring loudly (to anyone willing to hear the elderly makes for a great audience), for expensive items.  Like watermelons out of season, when they cost the same as a rump steak.  I can really recommend hearing loss (dont forget your earmuffs!).  However, I usually have healthy snacks on hand.  Apples, carrots, etc.  Ironically, upon presentation of these food alternatives, they usually find themselves feeling full after all.  Hunger gone.  Its a miracle!
  • Story-Time Badge this badge is only for those mothers with small children.  Obviously.  You qualify for this badge, once you can quote a book, verbatim, from front to back, without even opening the book.  Extra points are given for being able to quote the page number.  Even more points are earned for being able to do this feat, when being randomly woken up at 3am.  The expert mother can even doodle the appropriate pictures.  Badges are also awarded to mothers who bravely dodge the, just one more story, request, 943 nights in a row.  Irrespective of how many stories she has already read to the child.  Or the lateness of the hour.
  • Sleep-Dodge Badge most mothers complete the Sleep-Dodge and Delaying Tactics Badges together, as there is some common ground between the two.  However some kids take the whole sleep-dodge thing to a whole new level.  There is a reason kids are for well-known for their amazing creativeness and imagination.  The dramatic child goes with the, theres a monster under my bed story.  The clever mother, though sympathetic in the beginning, must harden up and be smart.  Especially if this is the 23rd consecutive night in a row the child has dished up the same story.  Particularly if the child has already exhausted the other Delaying-Tactics resources to no avail.  And said child is exhibiting no obvious sign of fear and is in fact sporting a smirk.  Because they are indeed laughing at you.  I was the lucky recipient of a gold-star-medalist in the Sleep-Dodge stakes.  My little cherub could projectile vomit on cue, in order to avoid sleeping.  Yip, on purpose.  For fun.  To avoid sleeping.
  • Glitter Badge this badge is given in conjunction with playschools and preschools across the world.  It entails liberal dusting of all artworks with glitter.  In fact, excessive use seems to be encouraged.  Kids tend to come home, covered in glitter from hair to toe.  The most pesky place to remove said glitter, is from the actual scalp area.  True story.  Glitter is truly, the gift that keeps on giving.  It never ends..
  • Roadtrip Badge I am only giving you 4 words.  These are the only words needed to explain this badge – “Are we there yet? These words are usually uttered at 7 minute intervals.  From the start of your four and a half hour journey.  Non-stop.  By various kids.  However, brief reprieves do exist.  At every 42km enforced bathroom break demand by the kids.  Irrespective of whether theres a bathroom in sight or not.  Sigh.
  • Show Badge aaahhh yes!  The Show Badge.  This is not to be confused with the concert badge.  The show badge, describes the little home-plays kids tend to do.  Or should I say, little home-style theatre productions.  Rule of thumb they will not be well rehearsed.  You will be required to clap enthusiastically, irrespective of talent, plot line and props.  These productions (I use the term loosely), will usually be rather lengthy.  So make sure your seat is comfy.  I once had to endure a 23 minute dying scene by one of my kids.  In the scorching hot sun.  I nearly expired from heatstroke.  And boredom.  And my hands were sore from clapping.  Id mistakenly assumed that my enthusiasm will speed things up.  Sadly, it encouraged my dying swan, to make many near-recoveries, before finally, mercifully succumbing.  Truth be told, I nearly assisted him to meet his maker in the end, by wacking him over the head with the little kiddie chair I had to wedge my bum into.  It was a near escape.
  • Birthday Party Badge this badge is awarded to the mother who has lovingly baked and self-prepared every edible treat, for the kids and the parents.  Shes packed party packs, colour-coordinated everything, bought matching balloons, risked fainting from blowing up the balloons, and lovingly made personalised birthday invitation for all of the little guests.  This badge is also awarded to the mother who simply sends an sms out, 3 days before the proposed party.  She scoots down to the local bakery on the morning of the party, to buy any cake she can find.  She randomly buys edible treats for kids and the staying moms alike.  She no longer does party packs and simply resorts to bowls filled with sweets on the table.  Kids have pockets, dont they?  They can choose their own treat to take home.  If there are leftovers.  Therell be balloons, if she remembers, but its not a given.  Ive been both these moms.  The party-mom-over-achiever and the last-minute-dot-com-party-mom.  I can confirm that the kids have equal amounts of fun, either which way.  They dont care who made the cake.  They just want tartrazine, sugar and food colouring.  And lots thereof. 
  • Dance Party Badge brave, brave, brave moms.  The thing with a dance party is this dance parties only ever occur when there are hormones involved.  Which is why little kids dont want dance parties.  Because if youre a boy, then girls are gross.  And vice versa.  The first rule of thumb, that teenage hormones are a brewing, is the request for a dance party.  Unfortunately, dance parties are an after-dark-event.  So have your spies.  Be vigilant.  Personally, I can recommend headlamp torches.  Easy to spot the little buggers in the dark, when theyre trying to sneak off to have a smooch.  Stealth is everything.  Because basically, your precious child, that youre going to all this effort for, does not really want you to be there at all.  Their requirements of you are simple send out the invites, make sure theres food and cooldrink, ensure the music is loud, and make yourself scarce.  It is a proven fact that sexist division will occur for the duration of the party.  With boys hanging in one corner, laughing and goofing off.  And girls titivating in the bathroom and having big girlie dances with each other.  Until 3 minutes before the first parent arrives.  And everyone finally starts dancing.  Together.  Strange but true.
  • Sleepover Badge this badge is only awarded to parents who have hosted sleepover parties.  Regular average one-kid-only sleepovers dont count.  Cause the thing with sleepover parties, is this THEY DONT SLEEP.  It is a cruel misnomer, calling these parties a sleepover, when in fact they dont.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Instead youll be treated to lots of giggles if its girls, pillow fights with boys, make-up spilled everywhere with girls, farting with boys, pieces of pizza on your couch, popcorn kernels under foot, loud guffawing, a pile of lost property afterwards, jumping on your chairs, running in the passage, etc.  With a bit of luck, the early faders will start to wilt after midnight.  But the die-hards will be loud and rowdy till about 3am, only quietening (if youre lucky), after dire threats.  Which gives you about 2 hours if youre lucky, before the first ones start waking up again at 5am.  However, this does all change when theyre teenagers.  Sort of.  They go to even bed later, but if theyre boys, theyre in a man-cave.  Girls watch movies until the early hours.  They rise later, however it might be for different causes altogether
  • Boardgame Badge this applies to all games, played whilst sitting down.  And though boardgames are the norm, cards do also qualify.  Go-catch-a-fish in particular, played 23 times in a row.  Its really a chore and requires diligent work to continuously lose.  Snap, however is also a qualifying game.  Monopoly is the easiest game to play in order to get your badge.  Mostly because the average game lasts about 5 and a half hours.  And your 12 year old is a loan shark, charging exorbitant rates, as the banker.  Making you pawn your precious Clifton and Westville too.  It is very hard to withstand their boastful gloating when you land on their expensive property, with its rather distasteful and excessively flamboyant 3 hotels.  On one property.  On occasion Ive considered offering my real car as capital surety, in order to pay back my debts.  Because the truth of the matter is, they wont let you bow out gracefully and admit defeat.  They enjoy watching you suffer.  And it usually gets worse.  After offering to donate your kidney and a spleen just to get off their empire, chances are youre going to land on Chance and get lobbed with a fake dentist bill.  For the very same 12 year old, with his crooked teeth.  Jeez!
  • PMS Badge this badge is obviously reserved for mothers of daughters only.  Once a month, a body-snatching alien swoops down, and turns your already-hormonal teenage daughter, into a 2 headed beast.  One who bites and snaps at anything and everything.  I suggest you throw chocolate at it.  It tends to help.  Alternatively there is a muzzle.  Though this is apparently frowned upon.   Please go into this with your eyes wide open.  No matter what you say or do, you are clearly wrong and insensitive.  When you reach breaking point, I suggest you concentrate your efforts on consuming the chocolate yourself.  And make a grab for your earmuffs at the same time.  
  • Star Chart Badge effective though the old star chart is, it demands dedication, perseverance and persistence.  There comes a point, in every single star chart experience, where Im at least 2 days behind, because Ive run out of stars.  Or rewards.  Or both.  All mothers make this same mistake.  It is exhausting.  And at some point, it just becomes ammunition in your childs Delaying-Tactics game as well as their Bedtime-Dodge efforts.  Do not get roped into playing their game.  You must remain strong.  Do quick hand drawn crooked stars in blue pen if the need calls.  And leftover Spur mints from your handbag are ample rewards at a push dont you think?

The moral of the story is this us mothers have it tough.  It is one pitfall after the next.  Until you have that one magical moment.  When the stars are aligned.  Your kids are achingly sweet.  And you simply know its all so worthwhile, and Id do it all over again.  Because every mother knows the undisputable truth THEIR kids are the best.  And they wear those hard earned badges with pride.  Because it means youve walked the walk.  Not only talked the talk.  Youve put in the time, the effort.  And youve given your heart.

Us moms.  We rock like that.