Friday, 28 February 2014

I don't like stupid people


I don't like stupid people
28 February 2014

There.  I’ve said it.  I don’t like stupid people. 

Pretty rich, I know – especially coming from me.  By my own admission, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.  A few cards short of a deck.  Don’t have all the dots on my dice.  The lift doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.  A few …  Enough said.

And to be truthful, I don’t mind the clinically stupid people.  The ones who are challenged in some or other way.  With them I am exceptionally tolerant and extremely understanding.  Patient and kind.

Nor do I mind the accidentally stupid people either.  I fall in that category, far too often for my own liking.  But usually I eventually realise it.  Admit it.  And have a giggle at my own expense.

But what I do mind, are the intentionally thick.  The dim-witted. 

As a rule I don’t like the word, “stupid”.  Since my kids were teeny-tiny, I’ve banned the word in my home.  Telling them it’s a swear word.  A four letter word.  One not to be used.  And in general, I don’t voice it often, or use it myself.  But it certainly doesn’t stop me from thinking it sometimes.

If that makes me unkind, I’m sorry. 

The sad thing, is that the world is overrun with stupid people.  It’s true.  Some of them even serve in government.  Scary thought!

And I think the greatest crime I’ve got against these intentionally stupid people, is the way they assume that all around them are stupid.  The way they think we don’t see through the bull.  And the bollocks.

Take this guy in Dubai for example, Benison Zento.  An Italian citizen, who had come over to Dubai, as a tourist.  He claims to have been stuck in a shopping mall for a year.  Unable to find the exit.  Living on fast foods only. 

Right!  Like we believe that.  If he was really that dense, he surely wouldn’t be let loose in the world on his own.

Apparently, on Wednesday, he simply turned up at the information desk, with his very tall tale.  Complete with dishevelled clothing, hanging on to a heavily damaged trolley.  Sprouting forth about his 13 month ordeal.  The horror.  The terror.

I mean, he was SHOPWRECKED after all.

But wait, it gets better – he was so traumatised by his ordeal, he’s been hospitalised. 

I kid you not.

The Italian ambassador to the UAE, Sergio Giorgini, told reporters, “He’s in a much better shape than one would expect after such a horrifying experience,”.

Clearly Mr Giorgini, is one for the books too.

I quite simply have no words.

And so, in close all I’d like to say is this:

Dear Benison Zinto – please go home to Italy.  The village wants their idiot back.

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Thursday, 27 February 2014

The thing about young kids in love is this...


The thing about young kids in love is this...
27 February 2014

When it comes to everlasting love, I think it is fair to say, that when looking for a partner, it is probably wise to set the bar quite high.  To look for someone, that you’re not only in love and in lust with.  But that you look for someone, you’ll be able to sustain a lifelong friendship with.  A partnership.  Someone that will interest you, for years and years to come.  Someone that you genuinely like.  At least most of the time.  Well, some of the time, would probably do too.

But perhaps these are the desires and aspirations of mature adults.  People set on looking for a life partner.  People set on making informed decisions, when it comes to the fickle science of love.  A difficult task indeed.

However, when it comes to young love, none of these considerations need to be counted.  Nor weighed.  In fact, they can be disregarded altogether.  Maybe this is because the goal of young love, is not the same as the goal of mature love.

The goal of young love, is that feeling of butterflies in your tummy.  That rush of overwhelming infatuation, that leaves you blind and deaf to the world around you.

And though my kids are still very young, I have seen snippets of this, in them already.  Albeit at different ages and stages.

And one thing clearly stands out – their perception, views and aspirations in and of love, are as different to ours, as night is to day.  As yin is to yang.  As Justin Bieber is to Jimi Hendrix.  As instant coffee, is to cappuccino.  As …  I’m sure you get the point.

And thus, in random order, not stating which of my kids did this:  My one son, after adoring the same little girl for three whole years, finally worked up the nerve to ask her out.  And wonder above wonders, she liked him back, and agreed to be his girlfriend.  He was practically jittery with excitement.  And upon asking him if he’d like to buy her a little chocolate or something, to commemorate the glorious day, he agreed.  And so off we went to get her a treat.  The following day, I thought of him so much, having to give his first little gift to a girl he liked so very, very much.  The second he came to the car, after school, I asked him, if he had given it to her.  Well, he replied, he tried to.  But the thing was this – she was Catholic, and had given up chocolate for Lent, and thus he ate the slab in front of her during school break.  No thought given as to giving it to her, to keep and enjoy after Lent was over.  Quite predictably, love did not last.  In fact, I’m surmising, the flavour of chocolate in his mouth, lasted longer than the love.  Can’t even begin to tell you how surprised he was.  Boys!

Another of my children, is also rather gaga at times (suppose you can guess which one).  Loads and loads of emotions.  And I find it rather interesting how easily affections are changed.  That one person, they think is the best thing in the world since sliced bread, can change into the unpopularity of chopped liver.  All in one day.  Affections are easily squandered and traded for the new best thing since sliced bread.  And poor old chopped liver is simply discarded – just like that.  I have cautioned and admonished about this, but I suppose it is all a part of growing up.  As long as there is no nastiness and meanness involved, what can one do?  The heart clearly wants, what the heart wants.

But of all of my children, when it comes to the art of love, one stands out and stands out by far.  He has always had a bevy of beauties, star eyed in his wake.  Taking it as his due, because he’s fabulous of course.  Why wouldn’t they like him?  He’s a  winning catch.  Well, in his opinion and mine of course.  And what makes it so very, very sweet, is his complete and utter open confidence.  The way it leaves him vulnerable, but he just doesn’t care.  He wears his heart on his sleeve.  Plain for all to see.  I hope he loves with this same optimistic abandonment all of his life.  That he doesn’t get hurt too much.  And that the one he finally gives his adult heart to, treats it as the treasure it will be.  Just yesterday, he brought home a little love letter from a girl.  The sweetest thing ever.  In it, she says, “I really like you a lot.  Do you like me too?” And then, rather cleverly, she drew a few boxes with replies, so that he could just tick his answer.  And the options were:  Yes, No, Ofcors and Absolutly.  Gotta love young love!

Which leads to another point – I was “speaking” to a friend of mine in Canada, about kids and love. And she was telling me about a friend of hers, who has a five year old little girl.  And the mom felt that the little girl had not risen the bar enough with regards to the little boy that she liked.  And so apparently, the conversation between mom and daughter went something like this:  “Alivia, you need to set your standards higher in love, he picks his nose.” And in reply to that, the little girl looked seriously at her mommy and says, "Yes, he does.  But Mom, (all stern), at least he doesn't eat it like some of the boys.". 

Well, when you put it like that, it’s clearly all about perspective.

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Monday, 24 February 2014

The no-eye-contact-zone



The no-eye-contact-zone
24 February 2014

I’ve been employing a highly effective avoidance strategy for many years now.  And to be perfectly honest, the success ratio is rather high.  Unparalleled in fact.  Worthy of mention.  I might even share my tips.

I enjoy going out.  Being sociable.  With my friends, and with my family. 

And though Grant generally enjoys going out too, he is far more of a home body.  Loving nothing more, than being at home.  Relaxing.  Being the king of his castle.

Now I enjoy being home too.  Lots in fact.  But, I do enjoy people.  Immensely.  And thus social gatherings, in any shape and form are my best.  Hey, even a school meeting is a social gathering.  Just saying.

I love watching people when we’re out.  Chatting to many.  Laughing.  Taking in my surroundings. And simply soaking up every little magic moment.

And my Grantie mostly gets this.  Indulging me, and if not understanding my need, at least attempting to give me my time.

Mostly, I don’t really like to leave.  Especially not early.  Attempting to squeeze every last little drop of goodness out of an outing.  Making it last.  And last.  And last.

Maybe this comes from a deep seated desire, to not miss out on anything.  My mom says I’ve been this way from birth.  Always alert and with an eye on activity around me.  And partaking in that activity.  This very same personality trait leads to me not being overly fond of sleeping.  Such a waste of time!

But inevitably, no matter where we are, or what we are doing, there comes a time, in every outing, where my Grantie, most desperately wants to leave.  Where he longs, for the comfort and familiarity of his castle.  His kingdom.

But as for me?  No ways!  We can’t leave yet!  What if something fun happens?  And we miss out on it?  Perish the thought!!!

And thus, I’m always on the lookout for the tell-tale signs.  The wee look of boredom.  Of “I’m over this”.  Of “I really want to leave”.  Of “How long until we can go home?”.   The roaming eyes.  The jiggling leg tick.  The fiddling with the keys tick.  The gathering all possessions tick. 

It is at this exact moment, that I put phase one of my avoidance trick into play.  Though, I do really have a few.  Best I list them.

1)  Phase 1 - I pretend I have to toddle off somewhere urgently.  Quickly ask someone something.  Help clear up even, if necessary.  Any activity, that takes me out of Grant’s sphere, so that he can’t actually say the words, “Let’s go home”.

2)  Phase 2 involves sending someone over to him, to engage him in conversation.  Thereby distracting him.  Normally a male friend.  I might even supply an opening conversational suggestion, for maximum delaying effect.

3)  Phase 3 – the word “coffee” has been found to have wonderful, marvellous, restorative properties.  As an avoidance tactic, it is highly effective.  Particularly, if the coffee on offer is really good.  As in filter, espresso, cappuccino, etc.  A quick cup of instant has no power whatsoever.  In fact, it loses me points.  And thus if that is the only hot beverage on offer, I’d rather not offer it at all.  It might actually serve to hasten Grant’s desire to leave.

4)  Phase 4 – this is the most powerful of all weapons in my arsenal.  The big guns, if you please.  And actually, if I’m truthful, Phase 4, is so powerful, that it can be used in conjunction, concurrently and parallel with Phases 1 to 3.  Phase 4, is simply known as “The no-eye-contact-zone”.  Now here’s my thinking.  If he can’t see me or find me, he can’t tell me he wants to go.  And thus I might even dispatch an envoy to put Phase 3 into the play – namely the coffee.  If I’m really on the top of my game, I can combine Phase 2 with Phase 3, and send a male friend over, with the coffee offer, with instructions, to start talking to Grant once he’s with him.  However, don’t send them with the coffee readymade.  This will rob you of time.  As you can be expected to calculate brewing time in the effective execution of Phase 3, for optimum time wastage.  To increase the delaying power.

5)  Phase 5 – only once I have exhausted Phases 1 to 4, can I put Phase 5 into play.  By this stage, the dishes have been cleared.  He’s finished talking to my envoy.  The coffee has been consumed.  And despite my best efforts, he managed to breach “The no-eye-contact-zone”.  Chances are, he’s even uttered the words, “Let’s go home”.  Now, and only now, do I resort to Phase 5 – seeking personal property.  I claim I need to go and fetch my bag.  Possibly the cooler bag, if it’s been that kind of an outing.  Usually “looking” for my camera, also works quite well.  Though desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes, pretence of ignorance as to where said items are, is also pretty successful.  Scrounging around – pretending I’ve misplaced them.  Useful for garnering at least about 5 extra minutes.  6 minutes, tops.  7 at a push, if you give it your all.

Take it from me – if you use my easy to follow steps, you too will eventually reach the level of skill that I have already acquired.  But be warned – it takes due diligence and loads of practice.  Preferably at social gatherings.  Perhaps I should accompany you?  And lead you through it.

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

I need a romantic holiday away. For one.


I need a romantic holiday away. For one.
23 February 2014

My battery feels flat.  I’m all tapped out.

My days are filled with walks in the early morning (my wee little me-time, and I love it!).  Errands and grocery shopping later in the morning.  Admin and work, squeezed in between.  Cooking at some or other point in the morning or afternoon, perhaps early evening.  Batting Jumping Castle enquiries and mails and work related sms’ back and forth.  And from 2pm, at the very latest, the crazy kid-filled afternoons start.  There’s dancing and drumming.  Cricket and gym.  Extra maths and high jump.  Loads of homework – much needed assistance.  Projects that require help.  Orals too.  Involvement at school, in terms of liaison mom duties.  Birthday parties to plan.  Carting kids to and from parties they’re attending.  Kids friends to have over.  Clothes shopping with one kid, for an upcoming sokkie.  Just stuff, and stuff, and stuff.  Continually.

It’s making me terribly tired.

But perhaps the greatest drain on my energy levels at present, is the kid-bickering in my home.  It’s normal I suppose.  Part and parcel of having kids.  But at present, all three of my kids are at three very different levels in their development.  Three different phases.  And they rub one another up.  With expert skill.  I’d go so far as saying they’ve got a knack for doing just that.

This is extremely exhausting.  As I tend to spend much of my day, policing them.  Trying to defuse tensions.

Maybe I should just leave them to it.  Let them get on with it.  The strongest will survive.  Unless, there are weapons involved – all’s fair in love and war after all.

And through it all, permeating everything, is the challenge of a kid with ADHD.  It’s hard work.  A bottomless pit of reminding to do stuff.  Saying the same stuff over and over and over again.  It’s as if there’s no residual memory.  Some things will most likely never sink in.  Telling the same kid, a few times a day, to please remember to use their safety belt, each time they get into the car, is terribly tedious.  For that kid, it’s a boring detail.  Not worth remembering on their own.  There’s too much else, to think of for them.  This is but one small example.  The list is actually endless.

Picking up the slack.  Reminding siblings to be patient.  Finding the balance and trying the pinpoint the exact spot where ADHD stops and bad behaviour starts.  Being empathetic and understanding.  Of feeling bone weary tired.

And though I try and be in control, and calm, and the voice of reason in my home.  Keeping the ship pointing steadily ahead.  Forging a course that is right and true.  Using hidden reserves of patience and compassion with all in my home.  Urging caution.  Ensuring all have their needs met.  That everyone feels heard.  And valued.  And appreciated.

It.  Is.  Making.  Me.  Exhausted.

There are just so many demands.  Each person forgets that they’re not the only one.  That while the main concern in their life is their problems, and how huge it is, it still is their ONLYy concern.  Each worries about themself.  And mainly themself.

Whereas, for a mother and wife, you take on the challenge and problems of all in your home.  Apart from that which is happening in my life, I take on that which is happening in each kids life, and my husband’s too.

And thus, I told my family yesterday, that I am in need of a romantic holiday away.  For one…

And I mean it.

To be fair, they seem to be a bit more scared of me today.  Considerate too.  Me-thinks they’re perhaps getting it.  That they’re pushing me too far.

Cause the scary thing is this – if I crack, they’re all a gonner too.

Anyway, I’m thinking Venice.  Maybe Mauritius.  At this stage, even a hotel down the road will do. 

Heck, can I crash on your couch?

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

I feel too much


I feel too much
20 February 2014

I sometimes think I feel too much.  My heart is small and it gets bruised fairly easily.  Personally, I’m quite tough though.  At least that’s what I’d like to think, and con myself into believing.  But I feel the pain of others so easily and it makes my heart ache for them.  My veins are filled with empathy, understanding and compassion.  I hurt for others.

At times, I wish I could turn this ability off.  Give my heart a reprieve.  A breather from feeling.  But it’s a stubborn and determined little organ.  And it simply won’t let go.

A few months ago, a family in our community, lost their beautiful boy tragically.  In a very unexpected and freak-accident kind of way.  Something that could never have been anticipated.  And it cut me deep.

For weeks and weeks afterwards, it would just keep on spinning and spinning through my mind.  Bothering me.  Haunting me. 

He was just fourteen.  His whole life was still ahead of him.  Such a talented boy.  One that was going to make waves in this world – he already was doing just that.  A natural leader.  A well liked, well respected person, even though he was so young.

And then, just like that, his precious life was cut short.

I didn’t even know him.  I just knew who he was.  Knew him by sight.  Had met his dad many, many years ago.  He’s the very best friend, of my very best school friend’s brother.  The father, an amazing and talented man too.  In the spotlight in our country for his own talents.  And there was his delightfully bright boy, following in his footsteps.

He was the Head Boy at my children’s Primary School.  A very bright star.  Had just recently moved on to the High School, where my eldest son is.  Luke’s in the same class as his cousin.  The boy’s sister, in my daughter, Amber’s class.  And a few short weeks before his death, on a holiday trip with my mom, they were camping right across the bungalow my kids were staying in.  Swimming daily, in the same heated Warmbaths.  Who would ever have thought.

And though many months have passed, since that awful day in August, the memory still lingers.  Of how one’s whole life can change, in the blink of an eye.  One adventurous misstep, by an exploring child, can end in tragedy.  Just like that. 

No rhyme.  No reason.  No advance warning.  No nothing.

They woke up that morning, and all was right with their world.  But by lunchtime, their lives had changed forever.  Never to be the same again.  Forever more to feel loss.  
They will never wake up unburdened again.  They will never wake up forgetting what happened.  They will never wake up not missing him.  They will never wake up not longing for him.  They will never wake up, not wishing they could go back in time.  They will never wake up free again.

How can one fathom it?  How can it be?

I still think of them often.  When I see the family.  Perhaps I drive past them.  I see their daughter.  Amber speaks of the sister, her friend.  When I see my friend, and she tells me of their heartache and pain.

Please ease their pain.  Make the good memories remain.

And may my precious children, be safe and protected.  Always.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A note to parents of perfect kids


A note to parents of perfect kids
19 February 2014

I’d like to send a little note to parents of perfect kids – they’re not.

They’re human.  Just like you.  Just like me. 

We all think our kids are the proverbial bomb.  The bees knees.  The sharpest tools in the shed.

But I do believe that it is healthy and balanced to know and understand that they’re not perfect.  They’re perfectly fallible.  Just like all of us.

I think that the mantle of expecting perfection from our kids, is a very burdensome one for them to wear.  To feel the expectation of parents always resting on their shoulders.  Needing to make decisions in life, purely to please parents, and not put a foot out of place.  Can you imagine the strain?  The unbearable tension? 

Because inevitably, something will go wrong.  Parents of perfect kids, don’t often cope with this.  And their children know this.  And thus they have two options – hide the truth, or face the shame.

And I think that this is often what happens – kids lead double lives.  Knowing their parents won’t cope with the knowledge of who they really are. 

And therefore you get a very elitist groups of parents.  Living under the illusion, that their kids are completely and utterly perfect.

And the great sorrow in that, is the fact that they don’t know their kids.  Who they really are.  All they know, is the half painted picture, their kids want them to see.  Not the whole thing.  No techni colour details added.  No wonderful shading too.

Cause little do they know that their “perfect” kids are most likely getting up to all shades of mischief behind their backs.  And therein lies the awful truth.  They’re none the bloody wiser, cause they actually just don’t really want to have to deal, with having to deal, with imperfect kids.  Kids that didn’t get the memo about being just so.  Kids that experiment, put themselves out there and do average, normal, age appropriate things.

Most often “perfect” kids, are the product of parents, who can’t cope with the notion of their kids being fallible.  Parents who strive for perfection in their offspring, because they couldn’t reach it in their own lives.  Who are now trying to live vicariously through the lives of their children.

And I think more’s their loss.  Cause quite often when we are humbled, by the actions of ourselves and our kids, we grow as people.  We grow closer.  We grow a heart.

My kids, though perfect in many ways, are human and fallible.  Just like me.  They stumble, and they fall.  But we stand up once more.  And I’m blessed if they turn to me when this happens.  If they don’t mind me seeing them vulnerable and lost.

I don’t need perfect kids.  I just need my kids. 

They’re a perfect fit.

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

21 Pics of politicians in wellies, staring at floods

21 Pics of politicians in wellies, staring at floods
18 February 2014

I must admit, that I had a really good giggle the other day.  I saw on Facebook, that there was a whole group, dedicated to the search for pics of politicians in wellies, staring at floods.

Now admittedly, this was a British-based endeavour.  But it did give me pause for thought.  I’ve seen similar poses before.  In our very own South Africa.  Perhaps this is a world-wide phenomenon?

It goes something like this:  Have horrendous flood.  Large scale damage to property, crops, and occasionally livestock.  Sometimes sadly, loss of human life too.  Enter politician.  Wearing dark sombre clothes.  Wearing dark sombre look.  And usually a green pair of wellies.  Large wake of flashing journalists in tow.  Usually wearing dark sombre clothes and look.  Green wellies too.  Obligatory humongous cameras draped across neck, with dauntingly long zoom lenses to boot (Get it?  Boot!  Sorry, but it appeals to my sense of humour.).

It’s clearly a thing.

I have seen similar poses, by politicians across the world, in flood damaged areas.  Perhaps they learn how to do it at Politician School?  Pass rate is only achieved, when a suitable expression of compassion and empathy is perfectly married to the correct body language and facial expression.

And somehow or other, with the addition of a few applicable and appropriate props, they are able to transpose this look, pose and demeanour for other relevant occasions too.

Unbearable heat waves?  Dark sombre clothes.  Dark sombre look.  Green wellies exchanged for a suitably dull brolly.  And sunglasses too.

Fire?  Dark sombre clothes.  Dark sombre look.  Green wellies, brolly and shades exchanged for a facial mask (it helps with the smoke).

Earthquake?  Dark sombre clothes.  Dark sombre mood.  Depending on the damage, they might actually wear all of the above – wellies, facial mask, shades and brolly too.

Though perhaps I am being rather unfair.  In the case of a natural disaster or great calamity, it is encouraging that they at least step out of the comfort of their offices, to connect with the people.  To see the damage first hand.  To try and get a feel for the magnitude of the damage and people’s great suffering. 

I would imagine that it makes the victims feel that their plight is being heard.  That the governmental powers that be, actually do care.  It is probably fairly encouraging as well.  And let’s face it – it is really good for the gears of government, to get an appreciation for their people.

Hopefully it guides them, in allotting help.  In trying to make a difference.

Still, I find the whole “21 Pics of politicians in wellies, staring at floods” thing quite funny.  Not because floods and suffering are funny.  Far from it.  But I find it funny, because it shows me that people have a sense of humour.  That we seek to find order and patterns.  And that any grouping of people, animals, or things, is thought provoking. 

In addition, I would rather look at “21 Pics of politicians in wellies, staring at floods”, than “21 Pics of politicians, going out for lunch”.  Or “21 Pics of politicians picking their nose”.

Just saying.  

And so, “Wellie on soldiers”.  Very, very happy that you’re out there.  Doing something.

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Aaahhh, yes! The point and stare - very effective.

Point and stare with copper in the back - nice one!

As mentioned - dark sombre clothes, dark sombre look, mostly green wellies

The wellie patrol

Favourite facial expression - this one wins in my book

Nice composition of colours - I like!

Tripple whammy - wading in water, gesticulating, and copper in the back

The point and stare

Contemplating exchanging the very fashionable threads and colourful clothes

And indeed he does

Transformation complete

Purposeful long-legged stride

Monday, 17 February 2014

I will be exiting primary school, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed

 I will be exiting primary school, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed
17 February 2014

Notwithstanding my own childhood, I entered Primary School, as an eager mom of an eldest child in Grade 1.  This was the January of 2005.

I will finally be exiting Primary School, as a weary, slightly battered and bruised, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed, tired mom, of a youngest child in Grade 7.  This will be in December 2017.

It’s fair to say, that by that time, it will have been a very, very long haul.

I still have three years and 10 and a half twelfths to go.  Yet surprisingly, considering the stint I’ve already done, it means I’m nearly there.  Currently busy with year ten, out of thirteen.

But still it won’t be done.  I will simply have exchanged Primary School for High School.  And as such, I have entered High School, as a slightly beleaguered mom of an eldest child in Grade 8.  This was the January of 2012.

And I will finally be exiting High School, as a haggard, worn out, ragged, most likely disenchanted mom, of a youngest child in Grade 12.  This will be in December 2022.

My brain can’t even compute that.  Eighteen years of carting kids to school.

And with a wee bit of luck, varsity life will simply continue on from where schooling left off.  Though perhaps by that stage, they’ll be carting themselves.  Walking even.

It is amazing, how much of our life as a parent, is geared and dedicated towards the education of our children.  We work, so that we can earn a decent salary, to send them to a good school.  To get them all of the bits and bobs they need at school.  We drive them around, to school and to sport.  We make sure they have the right kit.  We supervise homework and help study for tests.  We help with projects, and guide them along.  For all of that time.

But perhaps one of the most challenging bits about school, is the seemingly never ending amount of paperwork.  At times, I feel a bit like a celebrity.  Forever jotting down my John Hancock.  Signing this, and signing that.  Always the signature. 

When Luke was in Grade 1, it was a treat.  It felt special, to be treated like an honest-to-goodness-responsible-adult.  Like the mother of a school going child.  As if I was now old enough to be recognized for my authority.  Like I got to make decisions (standard school photo package, or not - can help as a timekeeper at athletics day, or can't - R5 "penalty" fee to be paid for the luxury of wearing civvies).  But, I must confess – the novelty has worn a bit off.  Mostly because one can’t simply sign.  It’s not that easy you see.  Firstly, you have to usually diarise.  As it is generally something important.  A meeting, an outing, some place important, either you or your kid have to be, etc.  Secondly, you usually have to part with some cash.  Raffle this, school photo’s that, etc.   And thirdly, I have three kids – which naturally means three times the amount of notices and letters.  Coordinating all of that, takes a fair amount of planning.  And if I say so myself, a fair amount of skill too.

From a school point of view, I completely understand.  These are things they have to do.  Are obligated to.  And I appreciate being continually kept in the loop.  And having to part with cash, is part of the deal.  It’s expected as such.  Normal.  Part and parcel of every single school.  And I have the biggest amount of empathy for school secretaries everywhere.  The mere thought of all of those endless reply slips coming in daily, must be an absolute nightmare.

From a parent’s point of view, it’s just hard to keep pace at times.  To ensure you have exact amounts of change, as is required.  To remember all of the details.  And reply slips not returned, letters not responded to, translate into time-outs for kids.  So one has to be on the ball.  Switched on.  Wide awake.

But I suppose that’s why they invented diaries and fridges.  Though the problem with having a diary is this – you must a) remember to write in it, and b) remember to open in up to look and see if you must actually remember something.  You see my point?  Too much remembering to remember.  Counter-productive, if you like.

Which is why fridges really make more sense.  Not only do they keep your food fresh for longer, they make excellent notice boards.  School letters stuck down with magnets all over – in most empty spots.  And at times, my fridge looks a bit like a collage.  Or a modge-podge creation.

Which leads to my next request – I really wish they would stop printing school notices on boring old white paper.  Or those sickly shades of insipid yellow, baby blue, and limp pink.

What’s wrong with bright purple?  A spot of cerise?  Post box red?  Even vermillion will do.