Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I subscribe to favouritism

I subscribe to favouritism
31 July 2013

What can I say?  I blatantly subscribe to favouritism.

There's nothing really wrong with it surely?  It's just an extreme form of liking something or someone.

To the exclusion of all else and/or all others. 

See!  I don't see a problem with that.  How could it be wrong?  More importantly how can people not succumb to favouritism?  Most likely, they’re lying if they say that they don’t. 

I'm convinced that everyone surely does it and practices favouritism too.  Come on!  Let’s be honest.  We all having things and people, that we especially adore and cherish.  That are best-loved, most treasured and prized.  It’s true!

Favoured means most loved.  Best.  Revered.  Valued.  Prized.  Choice.  Esteemed.  Liked.  Popular.

In fact I am so zealous in my quest for it, that I practice favouritism every single day.  I use a favourite fork when I eat.  I have a favourite pair of jeans.  I even wear my favourite pair of earrings and use my favourite handbag every blessed day.  I have favourite food.  Favourite places, books, movies, treats, possessions.  Stuff.

And just to show you exactly how dedicated I am in my relentless and blatant exhibition of favouritism, I have three favourite kids.  I promise!  I like them to the exclusion of all others.  

Oh, I also like other kids.  Lots in fact.  But these three in particular are my favourites by far.

I save my affections for my favourite man.  My husband to be exact.

And though my friends all have awesome mothers and siblings, and other family members too, I must be honest and confess that my very own, are my very favourite by far.

Furthermore, given a choice out of a whole host of people (an entire planet full), I have favourites. My friends.  Those that I chose to form a part of my life.  And amazingly, they have reciprocated by choosing me as their favourites too. 

How exceptionally lucky am I, that others subscribe to favouritism as well.  As these precious few have included me in their favoured inner circle.

And to those who claim that they don’t subscribe to favouritism, I give you a challenge.

Extend yourself.  Put yourself out there and give your heart.

Because everyone deserves to have something or someone super special in their lives.  And in the same vein, open yourself up to being someone else’s favourite too.

Favouritism is utterly fabulous! 

It translates as love.  And love is always good. 
In fact, it's my favourite.

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 Some of my favourite people in the whole wide world!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

If I was a light summer's breeze

If I was a light summer's breeze
30 July 2013

If I was a light summer’s breeze, I’d gently rustle the leaves on the trees.  And hurry the fallen ones on the ground.  I’d make feathers dance.  And flower petals prance.

I’d bring smells of summer wherever I go. 

Sunblock, and sea.  Braai fires.  Watermelon and grapes.  Freshly moved grass.

I’d help summer sounds travel too.

The gently lapping ocean.  Bees a buzzing.  Splashing in the pool.  Screeches of laughter.  Sprinklers sprinkling.  Dogs a barking.

I’d flurry around the legs of little children as they’re running outside on the lawn.  And ever so sneakily, loosen a few stray tendrils of hair from a carefully swept up ponytail or two.

I’d lazily hurry waves long and watch them crash on the rocks. 

I’d make great giant trees, slightly shiver and shake.  And the tall and skinny ones, swing, swish and sway.

Sometimes I’d be naughty, and blow an ice-cream right off its cone.  But only if I knew with certainty it would be replaced once more.

I’d make a toupee flash up in the wind.  And kiss the skirts of pretty ladies in a very flirty fashion.

I’d casually rock hammocks in a lazy, indulgent fashion.  And persuade washing, drying on the line, to beat a steady rhythm in my wafts of airy joy.

I’d play with the bubbles that little kids blow.  Whisking them away and making them do a happy little jig.

I’d help majestic eagles soar.  And humble little sparrows and doves glide tenaciously too.

I’d make ripples on a perfectly flat lake.  And coax the most beautiful of flowers to release their heavenly scents.

Sometimes I’d work myself up in quite a gust and act all mischievous and slam doors shut and bang windows too.  But this is purely for fun and some frivolous festivity.

I’d bring blessed relief from the hot summer sun.  A refreshing breath of cool air, in the hot and humid heat.

I’d stir and swish, and whirl and twirl, until I get quite dizzy with it all.

Because if you were going to be a current, surely a light summer’s breeze, is the very best kind of all?

None of the anger of winter.  Or the delightful messiness of autumn.

Just perfect patches of tranquillity.  As only a summer’s breeze can do.

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Poor Gordon Ramsay's wife

Poor Gordon Ramsay's wife
29 July 2013

Can you just imagine being Gordon Ramsay’s wife?   

The poor dear!  Though, I suppose being married to old Gordie, she’d have to be pretty hard core.  And is more than likely as tough as old boots.  And let's nothing much faze her.  Least of all his temper.
Just picture the stress involved in making him a simple brekkie in the mornings?

“What do you call these #&$@* eggs???  My father can make better eggs and he’s been dead for 16 years!!!  That yolk is so hard, it could double as a footie ball!  And the white is so ^%$#*& rubbery, they could use it as a slingshot to catapult astronauts to the  ^%#$@*& moon!!!”.

I which case, I hope she tells him to sod off and cook his own bloody eggs.  Alternatively she could either boot him out of her kitchen, or enslave him in there for life, forcing him to cook for her.  It actually sounds like a rather clever plan to me.  Maybe she can critique him instead?

Though possibly he’s a real pussycat at home.  And reserves his classic Type A competitive behaviour for his work endeavours only?

Traditionally a women’s kitchen is her castle.  Her own personal domain where she rules the roost.  Sometimes the one spot in the house, where she is the supreme leader of all.  And her authority is unquestionable and above reproof.

Personally kitchen’s don’t really do it for me.  Oh, I like them and the wonderful food that they are able to yield.  And I want to rule.  But just not kitchens.

I envisage minions.  Stretches of fertile land.  Rolling hills.  Mansions.  And no bills within sight.

In fact it sounds heavenly.

As for myself, I always enjoy Gordon Ramsay’s shows.  I wonder what that says about me?  I like the results he gets.  His absolute passion.  His enjoyment in mastering his craft.  His aim of perfection.  His ability to get the very best out of his people.  His knack for spotting potential and his gift for moulding it into greatness.

And just perhaps Tana Ramsay doesn’t deserve or need my sympathy.  She’s clearly a pretty dynamic woman herself.  She has authored a few cooking books of her own, and is currently hard at work raising FOUR kids, including a set of twins.  Yes, four kids.  One of them a son, showing a remarkable resemblance to Gordon.  And I'm left to wonder if he inherited more than just his father's looks and got the vile temper too? 
Yip, Tana Ramsay's probably pretty much unflappable.  And a tiger too.

Chances are, old Gordie is pretty harmless in comparison to that.

And potentially she taught him all of his very best swear words.

In which case, I really dig her a lot!

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Brad Pitt - my children's stepdad

Brad Pitt - my children's stepdad
28 July 2013

The other day my nine year old, Cole, asked me who his stepdad is.  This despite the fact that Cole's mother and father (that would be Grantie and I) are very much happily married.  And have been in this state of marital bliss for over seventeen years already.  What can I say?  He's a really odd little kid.

And I'm afraid to say that I found it hard to resist the temptation.  In fact I couldn't.  The opportunity was too great.  I looked him straight in the eye, lied point blank, and told him that his stepdad was Brad Pitt.  

Does that make me a bad person?
Cole nodded as if he understood.  Clearly he has no idea who Brad is and he accepted my answer quite easily.  I'm assuming he doesn't really understand and grasp the whole stepdad concept. Especially given the fact that the topic has never come up, his weekends aren't divided between two parental homes and he's never even met his supposed stepdad.  Rather sad, as it implies that I haven't met his "stepdad" either.

I'm assuming he's picked up on something at school.  Perhaps from one of his friends who's going through something similar?

It's amazing how sometimes all kids need, is an answer.  Not an explanation.  It is not needed at all and on occasion is surplus to requirements.  They're quite happy as long as you simply answer their question.  End of story.

We live in the Strand and all of the kids go to school in Somerset West.  And since Luke started at Chatterbox playschool, when he was just three years old (over twelve years ago), we've driven the same road every single morning.  And close to the bend opposite the Hospital and Peter's Painters, there is a stone wall.  A beautiful, magnificently constructed, very old stone wall.  Comprising many individual stones of all shapes and sizes.  It is pretty noticeable on a road where all the other walls are either made of bricks, vibro-crete, palisading, etc.  And from the age of about three, Cole would ask the same question every single morning.  Five mornings a week. "Who made that wall?".  Even worse, he asked the same question on the way back from school too.  And on the way to and from extra-murals.  In fact at every opportunity, he'd ask the dreaded wall question.

And for six solid months I would explain to him that I didn't know.  That it was impossible for me to find out as the wall had been built many, many years ago.  That who built the wall was less important that the fact that the wall had been built.  I would explain about the stones and the process, the length of time it would have taken, the workmanship, the work force, etc.  Each time, this led to a ten minute pointless conversation.  He was super frustrated and would not budge.  He needed to know.  And given his dedication to finding the answer, one can be forgiven for thinking it held real importance to him.  It surely must have.  Still, I felt like I was doing everything in my power.  I might not be able to answer the “who” question, but I certainly tried my best with all the other bits related to the wall.  The bits he never bothered to ask or even seemed vaguely concerned about.

I found it exhausting and it became an often heard refrain in the car.  With Luke and Amber even joining in, chorus style saying, "We don’t know Cole!".

Now I'm not proud of it, but one fine day, I quite simply snapped.  Having heard the same question for the umpteenth time as to "Who built the wall?", I simply answered Cole with the first name that popped into my head.  I barked at him, "Roger built the wall!".

To which Cole replied, "Oh!".  And that was that.

It has given us many giggles over the years.  Had I known all those many mornings ago, that a simple fabricated name would do the trick, I would have invented the fictitious Roger ages ago.

Cole never asked the question again.  He was satisfied.  In fact, after the Roger-fabrication, he would exclaim with delight on most mornings, "Roger built that wall!", every time we drove past it.

Many years later, we still chuckle about Roger's wall.  The name has still stuck.

And perhaps in the same vein, my Brad Pitt story will become a part of the Cloete folklore too?

I can but only the imagine the look of disbelief on the face on someone, if the discussion ever comes up, or the topic is ever raised and Cole pipes up that Brad Pitt is his stepdad.

As if I'd relinquish my kids to him every second weekend.  Brad should be so lucky.....

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Friday, 26 July 2013

What I've learnt from Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks

What I've learnt from Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks
26 July 2013

Not all of my education was received at school and university.  Nor in the home of my parents.  It can be said, that a large portion of my knowledge of the world, and how it works, can be attributed to Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks too.

Animated movies teach us lots!

Thanx to Finding Nemo, I often catch myself saying the phrase, "Just keep swimming", in the wise words of the ditzy Dory.  Especially when finding myself feeling overwhelmed, and wanting to just give up, I repeat her refrain over and over again.  And truly it helps.

Like Grew in Despicable Me, I've come to appreciate "Light Bulb!" moments every so often.  When everything just all of sudden makes sense.  Oprah would have called it an "Aha" moment.  But somehow I prefer "Light Bulb!" just so much more.  It is exceptionally expressive and paints a picture with words.  Simple yet effective.

The Jungle Book has taught me that though creature comforts are nice, the "Bare Necessities" will do just fine and is more than ample.  Appreciation for the little things in life is valuable.

With regards to relationships, Tarzan has taught me that it is equally important for both partners to compromise.  That you can't be someone other than yourself, to make another person happy.

Ice Age has highlighted the fact that one fine day, the food might dry up and that it's important to think ahead.  Furthermore, you never know who you'll end up having around you.  And that you can't always choose your companions.  So best you make peace with the lot you've been given.  Sometimes the initially unwanted friends, end up as the very best of friends.  The ones you can’t live without.

I've come to appreciate the "Circle of life" thanx to the Lion King.  There is a time and a place for everything.  People come and people go.

Antz taught me that on my own, I might not be able to move mountains.  But collectively, combined with a whole bunch of likeminded individuals, given a common goal, we could move quite a few of them.  Being a part of a team is special and gives you power.

The Cat in the Hat taught me to never leave my kids home alone unintended.  Especially on days when the sun was not sunny.  Furthermore it has fostered a deep mistrust of both cats and things.  In particular things called "Thing 1" and "Thing 2".

Thanx to Toy Story I have learnt to reach for the skies and not feel limited.  It has given me the courage to set my sights on going to "Infinity and beyond!", with the firm belief that it is indeed attainable .

From Shrek I learnt that every man's home is his Castle and that problems with unwanted squatters even occur in the animated world.  And so I've protected my swamp with all the means at my disposal.

From Mrs Potato Head in Toy Story I've learnt the value of women looking out for their men and helping them to pack for long journeys.  Before Mr Potato Head embarks on a trip she ensures that he has an extra pair of shoes, as well as his angry eyes - just in case.

The Sharks in Finding Nemo confirmed my long held suspicions that fish should not be eaten.  It cemented my aversions towards them, as Bruce the shark admonished that "Fish are friends, not food".  And hence we have a long history of avoiding eating fish and instead rather focus on keeping them as pets.

Phileas Fogg, during his misadventures around the world in 80 days, illustrated the confusion around time zones.  And so I continually strive to comprehend the concept of daylight savings and the rest of the world turning their clocks either backwards or forward.  Not quite sure I’ll ever figure it out.

Barbie made me appreciate the value of really good hair and how awesome it can make you feel.  It also stressed upon me the importance of the colours pink and purple.

Asterix and Obelix taught me that little unsuspecting and apparently insignificant groups of people, like an indomitable village, can through sheer force of will and unity, hold out against the masses.  And not buckle under the pressure to conform and follow the herd like sheep.

Happy Feet has shown me that sometimes the odd person out, the different one, is the only truly special one around.  And so therefore I'm quite happy to fly my freak flag.  I'm loopy and I know it.

And through Shrek I have learnt that things don't always work out the way you envision it and that looks aren't all that's important.  That things sometimes work out exactly the way they should.

Despicable Me has given me a deep yearning for little yellow capsule shaped minions of my own.  They would do my bidding and deal with all that I ask of them.  However they would utterly adore me.  As I would them.

And so I'm sure you'll agree that there certainly is a place for animated movies in our lives.  They teach morals, life lessons and give us a good laugh in the bargain.

And therefore all I can say is, "Bring it on".  I simply love it!

In the words of the great Fred Flintstone, animated movies ROCK!

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

The kids outnumber the adults

The kids outnumber the adults
25 July 2013

You know you've got problems, when the kids outnumber the adults at home.

And at times I feel really sorry for poor Grant, with the four of us.  No, seriously, I'm usually an adult.  Most times.  Well, sometimes.  In some ways even more so than Grant.  We each have different child-rearing strengths and areas in which we excel.  But luckily we complement one another with our parenting styles and form a perfect partnership.

Still, the kids do outnumber the adults three to two.  And when it comes to perseverance and having an eye on a communal child-friendly goal, they do occasionally join forces and band together in pursuit of their common cause.  Clearly, number wise, Grant and I are at a distinct disadvantage.

However, collectively Grant and I are a respectable 84 and seniority has to count for something.  We regularly cash-in our senior citizen chips and play the age card.  Respect your elders, blah-blah-blah.  We're older than you, blah-blah-blah.  We weren't born yesterday, blah-blah-blah.  We were also once young.  This one however does make them snigger with disbelief as if to say "Impossible!  Pull the other one!”  This hardly endears them to us.

And as for them?  Well, all the three of them can scrounge up and muster, is a measly 35.  They're practically kids!  Hey, hang on a minute.  That's right.  They are still kids.  And best I don't forget that fact.

I love my kids.  I really, really do.  But sometimes I feel like they're playing a game of tag.  One that's called, "let's-tire-the-parents-out-with-our-constant-demands".  More than likely, my kids aren't even all that demanding.  And their demands are also usually pretty reasonable too.  But there just seems so many of them!  Children that is - and I actually really want more.  The problem though is their tag game.  And like most children's games, it gets old.  You know exactly what I mean.  One can only play Go-catch-a-fish, Eye Spy or Hide-and-go-seek so many times.  The same goes for the parental-demands-tag-game too.  It somehow makes me want to revert to my own childhood, as I feel like playing tag too.  I want to tap Grant on the shoulder and say, "It's you!" or "You're it!".  But I suspect that he feels the same.

Every so often, I find myself yearning for a den.  Never mind yearning - I need one.  If a silly kids game like “On-On” can have a den, surely I deserve one too?  This is usually the point when I go and hide in the bathroom.  It's my sanctuary and my haven.  And as a place of safety and reprieve, it is most certainly adequate.  In addition there is usually fabulous reading material in there and it comes with a lock on the door.  Pity there are no snacks, though.  Still one can't have it all.

So I'm left to wonder how I would cope if my dearest wish came true and I had another child?  Because much as I desire another little body and person to love, there is the potential that it might just push me over the edge. 

Yet somehow I think I would indeed cope.  I would simply stretch to accommodate another little person.  And grow another heart.

However I would have to step up the bathroom security somewhat for my moments of escape.  Possibly barbed wire.  Maybe electric fencing. 

And definitely a snack fridge.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I'm not THAT mom

I'm not THAT mom
24 July 2013

I'm not THAT mom.

The one that bakes her own cupcakes from scratch for cake sales at school.

The one that reads bedtime stories every single night.

The one that helps to sew costumes for the end of year play.

The one who's house is always perfectly neat every single second of the day.

The one that hosts end of term class parties for thirty kids in her back yard.

The one that packs the very nicest lunch boxes on the playground.

The one that doesn't mind muddy footprints all over her floors, couches and bedding.

The one that always has tissues in her bag.  And plasters too for that matter.

The one that makes super nice posters for kids orals for school.

The one that wears high heels and lipstick and is perfectly groomed all of the time.

The one that has all the ingredients in the home at any given time to make a cheese cake, quiche or chocolate brownies too.

No, I'm definitely not THAT mom.  I'm THIS one:

The one that walks into birthday parties when she drops her kids off to make sure that everything's okay.  Her teenager wishes the earth would just open up and swallow her whole.

The one that touches base with teachers regularly and makes sure her kids are academically on track.

The one that is super affectionate and praises her kids a lot.

The one that packs healthy school lunches. 

The one that helps with make-up, hair and painting of props for concerts. 

The one that screams the loudest at sports matches.

The one that understands the value of letting them bump their own heads every so often.

The one that takes zillions of photo's just about every single day.

The one that is anal about manners.

The one that makes them greet people and make eye contact.

The one that teaches them to do things properly and not half hearted.

The one that teaches them about consequences to their actions and following through.

The one that plays sport with them in the back garden.

The one that indulges in movie days with them, where they all mooch on the couch eating popcorn and junk. 
The one that strives to be consistent. 

The goofy mom, that laughs a lot (mostly at herself) and likes to be silly. 

The mom that always sees the bright side and is positive and upbeat. 

The one that supports her kids in all that they do. 

The one that is willing to stand up for her kids.

The one that very often says, "Sorry for you!" when they whinge about something or other.

The one that doesn't give them everything they want.  But instead strives to give them everything they need.  And very often they have to wait.

The one that ensure that her kids know, that though they are the most important people in her world, they are not the only people in her world.  Her life is bigger than just them and she has other interests too.

The one that’s inquisitive and asks them about their day.

The one that forces them to do homework and go to school every single day – no sickies allowed.

The one that makes conversation with their friends.

The one that doesn’t make arrangements with fellow teenagers or kids’ friends, but rather with their mothers.

The one that likes set bedtimes in the week, but is super flexible on the weekends.

The one that is fond of saying, “I’m the mother.  It’s not a popularity contest.  You don’t have to like me, but you do have to listen to me and obey”. 
The one that teaches her kids about delayed gratification - as the best things in life are often worth waiting for.
The one that makes pancakes for supper as a treat every so often.

I’m the mom that’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. 

But I’m the mom that tries my best.  And that loves with all of my heart.

And just perhaps, that’s okay.

Because I’d rather be THIS mom, to THESE kids, than any other kind.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I might not survive the teenage years

I might not survive the teenage years
23 July 2013

I fear for my health and my sanity, as I may not survive the teenage years. 

I do believe that few things are a more accurate form of birth control, than being subjected to the draining presence of teenagers, for long periods of time.  Though I could be wrong.  Possibly short periods of time are sufficient too.  And equally effective.  Jeez, they are able to simply suck the joy right out of life.  In fact, the very air around them goes rank.  But perhaps that is more hygiene related?

They’re hard done by.  The world is against them.  Life is unfair.  Parents are mean.  Siblings are annoying.  School is a drag.  Teachers even more so.  What do they know?  They yearn for independence.  Having their own means to get around.  They want more money.  They want only cool stuff.  Brand names are big.  Bargain hunting is lame.  Curfews are old fashioned.  Bed times archaic.  Why can’t they sleep late?  Chores are for children way younger than them.  Adults are annoying.  Moms and dads are super embarrassing.  They dress old.  They act old.  They say uncool things.  They’re rigid and unbending, when they’ve lain down the law.  They faff about silly things like homework and projects.  And starting them way in advance.  They force you to eat nasty food like veggies and whinge when you use all the hot water in the house.

Now I can’t really speak for girl teenagers, as my “little” girl is now still only in the tween phase.  However at eleven, the rolling eyeball thing has already started.  The occasional tone of annoyance is slowly creeping in.

But as for boy teenagers – this is my take.  They’re the trifecta.  The triple “H”.  They’re Hairy, Hormonal and quite often rather Horrible.  It’s all about them, them, them.  They’re oblivious about others and the need to be considerate.  They feel that life has given them a raw deal.  That they always get the shortest end of the stick.  They mooch about, scavenging for food.  They NEED something sweet to eat, right now!  They could live on a diet combined of Hot Chocolate, Two-Minute Noodles, Chocolates and Sweets.  Though to be fair, pasta is rather popular too. 

Life revolves around their sport.  And the teams they support.  The only “meaningful” conversations I have with Luke are about his much beloved soccer.  Who’s transferring to which team.  At what cost.  Why it’s a good move.  What impact it will have on the team.  The far reaching consequences it will have on absolutely everything.  He even talks to me about the new club kit for each team, every new season.  So, I suppose in a manner, he’s showing an interest in fashion?  I often find myself saying to him, “Is this real life?  Or in your game”.  Because not only does soccer in real life consume him.  But the soccer on his PlayStation game is able to do the same.  Seriously!!!

Still, teenager-dom comes with a few perks.  I now have a built-in babysitter in residence.  If only I had a life of my own and needed him more often.  Still on the odd occasion when we do go out, he can hold down the fort.  Though I find it rather funny to learn from Amber and Cole that he is particularly strict.  Too funny!  He’s tall and so can help me reach things I simply can’t.  When Grant needs help with boy stuff, like carrying, etc. he now calls Luke, instead of little old me.  He’s also a bit of a techie and is my “online-technical-support” for most things computer and cell phone related.

Perhaps the important thing to remember, is that all teenagers go through this very awkward phase.  Myself included, in my very far back past.  And for now I’m soothing myself with the knowledge that this too shall pass.

Though in an odd way, I don’t want it to either.  Luke is growing up far too fast for my liking.  He keeps on reminding me that “It’s so cool, in three and a half years I can move out of home”.  It scares the living daylights out of me.  How can it be true?

But even more importantly, once he’s gone, to whom will I talk about soccer (my least favourite sport in all of the world)?  In a strange way, it is our little bond and a ritual, as I get my daily soccer injection from Luke.  On our travels to and from school and extra-murals.  And last thing at night before he slips into bed.  Because even though we are not really talking about something close to my heart, or of real interest to me, we are talking none the less.  And in a strange way, I am finding my soccer knowledge ever expanding. 

And in between all of the soccer facts and figures, I get the odd little snippet of real conversation too.  And these I will miss.

I remember being a teenager.  It was not easy.  But from experience I now know, that being the mom of a teenager is not easy either.

My mom survived three teenagers.  And now, by an odd stroke of fate, she’s finding herself rearing another one.  It is rather strange, that at the very same time, my mom, my sister and I are all raising teens. 

And so I have a built-in support system of sorts, as we’re all going through the same stuff.  Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined this scenario.

It just goes to show, that being a teenager does eventually pass.  Somehow my mom is still here to tell the tale and share her wisdom.  Even more amazing, I'm still here too. 

Which is an incredible testament to her powers of restraint.  And my survival instinct too.

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Advice for my boys

Advice for my boys
22 July 2013

A while ago, I wrote a blog for my little daughter, Amber-Berry.  Filled to the brim, with handy advice.  Stuff I wanted her to know.  From the prosaic, to the practical.  Knowledge I wanted to impart on her, as I thought it might make her journey easier.  Lessons I wanted her to know.  Wisdoms that could make her travels on the road of life less bumpy.  Some of the stuff was for now while she's still small.  Some of the stuff's for when she's bigger.  Still everything I felt that was important for her to know was included.  Sort of a textbook or memo for life.

But am I not the mother of two awesome boys?  Don't my sons deserve the same?  And somehow, what's applicable for Amber, is not necessarily applicable for the boys.  And therefore I gave it a bit of thought and compiled their very own list for them.

  • Flowers – the fairer of the species love them.  They brighten up a home, and few things make a woman feel more special than a guy spending money on something as frivolous and fun as flowers.  Especially when they don’t actually get the point in them at all, and are still doing it.
  • Compliments - genuinely given.  Say them only if you mean them and your sincerity while shine through.  It is good to give praise where praise is due.
  • Attention to detail – boys are not always inclined to do this, unless it affects them directly, yet attention to details and the little things in life, has enormous yields on many different fields.
  • Sweating the small stuff – this is really important, as it is the little things that really count.
  • Don't under value the importance of romance.  It’s not sissy stuff.  Furthermore, don’t just indulge for the sake of your partner.  I suspect that you will find yourself enjoying it as well, if you let yourself and immerse yourself into it.
  • Nothing ever makes a bum look big.  NOTHING.  If you’re ever asked this question, I would like to advise you, that though I taught you to never lie, occasionally it is permitted.  This is one such example.
  • Don't compare whatever she's cooked with your mom's cooking.  Boys let’s be honest, firstly my cooking’s not all that great.  Secondly, how long has she been cooking compared to me?  I’ll be happy to share any of my recipes for your favourite meals and teach her how to cook it to perfection.
  • Every so often relinquish the remote - it will gain you many brownie points.  Think of the long term gains in doing this.  Major kudo’s.
  • Put the loo seat down - your father is really good at this, and he’s taught you well.  Don’t slip back.  Many women find this super annoying.
  • Understand that vegetables are food – meat forms only one part of a healthy, balanced diet.  Salads and fruit are great and you guys love them, but veggies are important too.  And no, potato chips, though made from vegetables, don’t count as a part of your daily veggie portion.  Attempt to eat a robot every day.  Something red, yellow and green – veggie-wise, that is.  Not Smarties.
  • Sport is not a religion or a cult.  It's just sport.  Occasionally your favourite team or player will lose.  This is not the end of the world or a great catastrophe - it's just sport.  I understand passion and value it, yet winning is not everything.  Being humble in defeat is even more important, than being elated when victorious.  You are both awesome sportsmen and I am sure will remain so forever more.
  • Ask for directions – this is acceptable and will in no way impact on your manhood.  This does not make you emasculated.  It makes you no longer lost.
  • Be a gentleman – this is not effeminate.  Only truly masculine men, can do this properly.
  • Wife-beater/strappy t-shirts are not cool.  Very few guys can pull it off.  Wear with caution.
  • Women have an inherent disability when it comes to verbally describing which way a tap opens and closes.  The same indiscretion also applies to screws, etc.  Please be patient when it comes to this.
  • In general, women are not super observant when it comes to all things automotive.  This is not intentional, as women are just wired different.  They don’t hear rattles, squeaks, the shot exhaust, the scraping noise under the hood, as well as the funny clicking, wheezing, whistling sound.  Please make allowances for this, and fully take charge of any cars that your family drive one day.
  • Understand this – bubble baths serve a purpose.  Actually scrap that.  You don’t have to understand this – just accept it.  Running a bubble bath for your lady is an awesome thing to do.
  • Be kind to elderly people and babies - chicks really dig this.  It shows compassion, and empathy and it goes a long way.  You are both caring people.  Don’t be afraid to show your softer side.
  • It's not fair, but there are double standards in this world.  Girls and boys are not judged by the same measuring stick.  Don't kiss and tell.  Girls' reputations are easily ruined.
  • Although we live in a modern era, where it is acceptable for a girl to ask a boy out, girls still like to be wooed.  To feel special.  Make the extra effort, it’s worthwhile.
  • When it comes to women - if something is wrong, don't always try to fix things.  Sometimes it is best to just listen, sympathise and give a good cuddle.
  • Speed kills.  Drinking and driving too.  Don't do it.  You can phone me any time of the day or night, and I'll simply fetch you.
  • Shortcuts are great, though sometimes the long way is so much better. 
  • If you undertake to do something, give it your all.  Finish it with pride, so that you will be able to step back when it’s done, with a feeling of accomplishment.
  • When it comes to nail polish, lipstick and lip gloss, there is a difference between Nude, Bare Nude, Barely Nude and Bare Nudely.  The wise man knows this and listens when his lady asks him which is the prettiest.
  • Please don’t bottle your emotions up.  Set them free and release them.  Bottled up feelings, turn poisonous if left to their own devices too long.  Rather acknowledge them and work through them.  You will find it so healing, just letting them out.
  • You don’t have to be brave all the time.  No one can be.  It is okay to admit that you are scared or unsure.  If you need help, just ask for it.  Too much emphasis is placed on pride.  If someone came to you for help, it would make you boys feel great and I know you would help.  Give someone else the same opportunity.
  • Love with passion.  With all of your heart.  If the person is right, don’t be scared to commit.  It will open your world right up if you do and give meaning to it all.  What is the point in life otherwise?
  • We all want nice stuff.  It’s human nature.  Though be mindful of not making gods out of your possessions.  It’s just stuff and can be replaced.  People, however can’t.  Be sure to be mindful of that.
  • Surround yourself with good people.  You can enrich your life so much by doing just that.  There are toxic people out there, who can suck you dry.  They can tap you of your joy, and take you down with them.  Try to avoid them.
  • Goodness begets goodness.  As simple as that.
  • Choose your friends wisely.  They will outlive us, your parents, and will be your family in your later years.  Choose friends with similar values.  These values are universal across racial, ethnic, cultural and fiscal borders.  Have friends that are likeminded.  That also love and like you for you. 
  • If you are able to help those less fortunate than yourself, do so.  You will gain more emotionally and spiritually from your generosity, than you are giving away. 
  • Read – it feeds your soul and makes your world bigger.
  • Speedo’s are never a good choice of swimming apparel.  They’re nasty and real passion-killers.
  • When you get to that age, do trim your nose and ear hairs.  It happens to most men and it’s not cool to grow the fur all over your face.  Beards are fine, but a bush or tree sprouting from your nose or ears, are not fine.
  • Try not to become cynical and jaded – see everything with unprejudiced eyes and look for the goodness around you.
  • If you go shopping and you don’t find parking immediately, just exercise patience.  A spot will indeed become available soon.  Having to wait a few minutes, will not damage you.
  • Irrespective of your achievements in life, remain humble and thankful for all that you have.
  • Moderation in all things is good.  Excess breeds contempt and familiarity.  Too much of a good thing is never advisable.  However, this does not go for love.  In love, go big or go home.  Do it with all of your heart.
  • Be adventurous.  This is a good thing.  However, exercise caution at the same time.
  • Learn not to buckle under peer pressure.  Saying no and declining on occasion, is a greater measure of the strength of your character, than simply going with the flow.  Don’t succumb to pressure to fit in.
  • It is good to cause ripples and waves every so often.  People will show greater respect for you, than if you’re simply one of the herd.
  • Be respectful to all who come on your path.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Look deeper and find the beauty within.
  • Always remember your manners – they go a long way.
  • Look people straight in the eye, and remember to give men a firm handshake.  Limpness is never good.
  • Cherish your kids while they’re small.  Take it from me – they grow up far too fast.
  • Always make time for old friends.
  • Make meaningful bonds and connections with people.
  • When you move out of home, remember to wash your bedding regularly.  The same goes for your towels.
  • Don’t be that guy – the one that doesn’t call.  Rather just make the call and say it’s not working for you.
  • Don’t speak badly of people – the wheel turns and it will come back to you.
  • Be honourable in all your dealings with people.  Your good name is precious – keep it so.
  • Respect women.  Always.  End of story.
  • Wear clean underwear every day.
  • Don’t pull your nose up at hard physical labour. 
  • Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up.
  • Always try and save some money for a rainy day.  When you become adults, you’ll learn to appreciate the fact that rainy days can often turn out to be monsoons, and last for long periods of time.  Be prepared.
  • Few things are more attractive in a man than the ability to cook.  I shall have to pull my socks up and teach you more, as two-minute-noodles and toast is hardly likely to impress many.
  • A great sense of humour is one of the most amazing qualities to have.  Especially if you learn to laugh at yourself and not take life too seriously.
There is actually so much more I would like to gift you boys.  So many more wisdoms to pass on.  But perhaps the above is a start.  And you'll figure the rest out along the way.

My wish for you is a good, full and happy life.  May it treat you kindly and love you as much as I do.

With all my love,


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