Sunday, 3 February 2013

Receiving "special" gifts from my kids

Receiving "special" gifts from my kids
3 February 2013

Kids just love the act of gift giving.  They really do.  They simply get so excited.  And if they have the added benefit of choosing the gift themselves, more’s the better.

The problem however, lies in receiving these “treasures”.  In acting excited and surprised.  Note – there is a slight difference in facial expression between excited surprise and horror at what you’ve just received.  And they are just sooo good at picking up these little nuances.

Personally, I have been on the receiving end of “special” gifts many times.  And irrespective of the nature of the “treasure” I’ve been presented with, I always strive to look duly impressed and full of awed surprise and wonder.  Ever so thankful for the generosity and honour that has been bestowed upon me.

The real problem though, lies in filling my home with these “treasures” and in displaying them proudly.  There for all the world to see.  Just how “awesome” my taste is.  And therefore I’ve got odd little ornaments, trinkets and knick-knackety things.  Little bottles and jars.  Some “beautifully” and garishly painted.  My mother gleefully aids and abets the kids in “spoiling” me.  Whenever we’re at Kleinbaai, she takes them shopping at the 2nd hand shop in Gansbaai.  And thus my loot seems ever increasing.

Every term at Beaumont, one of the senior grades, hosts an entrepreneurship day.  It forms part of the syllabus for EMS (Economic and Management Science) and the kids have to sell something in a big market which is open to the whole school during their first break.  The school sets boundaries in terms of what can be sold – thankfully!  And thus, no hamsters, goldfish or similar pets may be sold, etc.  And every entrepreneurship day, I dutifully give each of my kids R20 to spend.  And every entrepreneurship day, I am the lucky recipient of a gift or two.  Entrepreneurship day normally fills me with fear, as I anticipate fetching the kids from school, only to presented with the next “fantastic” gift.  Sadly, I’ve killed most of the plants they’ve given me – not intentionally I promise.  And I’ve received many more jewellery items – which I naturally am obliged to wear.

Over the years, Amber has made me many, many charming little beaded necklaces.  Beautiful asymmetrical wonders made with all shapes, sizes and colours of beads.  And over time I’ve worn them quite often.  Most often when she’s with me or I’m around the house.  I’d put one of her creations on in the morning and drop her off at Playschool.  And as soon as I’d get back in the car again, I’d whip it off immediately.  Only to be placed lovingly around my neck when I fetch her again.  The reason I always whipped them off so frequently was not for mere cosmetic or aesthetic reasons alone.  She had an uncanny knack, nay gift, for picking out the biggest, heaviest, clunkiest beads to use when she made her jewellery creations.  And then of course she is a firm believer of more is indeed more.  A mere five minutes of wearing it, was the equivalent of a two hour weight bearing gym workout, focusing on the neck area alone.  I understand the merits of exercise, though I particularly hate doing just that.  Exercising my thighs, upper arms, stomach or even core muscles are fine and perfectly legit.  In fact it is desperately needed.  But the neck area is one of the few areas on my body I don’t have issues with.  Removing the heavy necklaces so timeously was indeed a kindness to myself.

But in nearly fifteen years of gift giving, nothing ever came close to the horror of the turd necklace I received from Amber.  It is a clay “wonder” she made at Happy Days.  Something she took great pride in and was delighted to present to me as a very special treasure.  I eventually managed to persuade her gently that it would receive more justice and shine, hanging outside in our braai area than around my neck alone.  For one, I would need a supportive neck brace in order to wear it.  And just remember that my neck is already strong after years and years of neck training exercises courtesy of Amber’s numerous necklaces.

Now I was not the only one in our household to dub this particular item of jewellery, “The Turd”.  Luke was in on it.  And then, quite accidently, a few years later, Amber overheard our label for her creation.  She was hopping mad.  Practically spitting.  In her opinion we had denigrated a prized possession.  She was terribly hurt and rightly so.  But even more than the hurt was the burning anger coursing through her.  Amber is a child with heap loads of passion.  I had A LOT of explaining to do.  Eventually, she did see the humour in the name tag and even giggled along.  She finally admitted that there certainly were some similarities between the name of her art work and that which it was named after.  But it took a while for tensions to simmer down.

I never disliked it, I just found it funny.  And I do believe that the description is rather apt.  And whether it’s a turd look-alike or not, to this day it hangs up in my bedroom.  Around one of my bedposts.  It lifts my spirits and brings a smile to my face. 

For I so loved my daughter, I hung her turd necklace up in my room.  And truth be told, it’s a much cherished gift.

A pic of "The Turd" next to my hand - just to give you an idea of the size.  Absolutely huge and it weighs a ton!  No wait, three tons.
Some of Amber's necklace creations. She has a penchant for rather large beads and very lopsided additions in the form of large "charms".
Oh so beautiful!
This one is really sweet.  A clay angel, that has a little holder in her back for a candle.
Not entirely sure what this one is.  Looks a bit like an egg holder for me.  And in my opinion, it is very phalic looking.
As I was saying - rather peculiar
Some more clay creation gifts
These "treasures" are all my Mom's fault!


  1. This is hilarious, Helene! I laughed and laughed.

  2. Too funny!! Love the boerewors necklace!! I still have some cherished pottery from Gareth and Maria.