My mum forgot my homework

Riley and Ethan sleep in separate rooms and go to bed at different times during the week. With a 3year gap between them, earlier this year, I felt that Riley still needed that extra little bit of sleep (he’s a proper sleeper – 12hours straight is best for him!) whereas Ethan (being almost 10 and not much of a sleeper himself) can cope quite fine on less hours. The difference is really only 30minutes so it’s not a big thing, but with Ethan in his own room and gaining more independence, I felt like pushing his bedtime a bit later would also give him more of a “bigger boy” feeling.

Night time routines in our house are pretty standard [read: mum is anal about time, we work by a clock every day, even on weekends…mum is working on this 🙂 ]…hometime is 6pm straight into suppertime (the time it takes for the boys to eat often varies depending on what’s for supper!), followed by bathtime around 6:45, brush teeth, story, Bible study time as a family, on the odd occassion – TV, bedtime for Riley at 7:30 (I usually sit on the other bed in his room and read until he falls asleep) and then bedtime for Ethan at 8pm.

Side note: I am the mum with the mostest patience with my kids on most days, but that mum patience ends promptly at 8pm on a week night and at around 9pm on the weekend or during school holidays. DO NOT ASK ME TO PARENT PAST THIS TIME. My brain literally shuts down and I can’t parent at all! This time is MY time to adult. Whether I catch up with the hubster, watch TV, surf the net…it doesn’t matter. All I want is not to have to be responsible for my children knowing that they’re tucked into bed sleeping. And even if they’re not sleeping, they must stay in bed and count sheep or something, I don’t know. Just do. not. annoy call. me!!!!!

On Tuesday, Riley was taking very long to fall asleep. I was sitting reading and getting more and more annoyed as the time was passing. He was tossing and turning and carrying on like sleeping was the hardest thing on the planet to do. I eventually just walked out and told him he could sleep on his own without me there. I then told Ethan it was bedtime for him. He was sitting watching cricket with his dad and was procrastinating as one does when one is a child and doesn’t understand the value of a good night’s rest!!!!! Anyway, eventually, after lots of…come on Ethan, let’s go now, you need to get into bed, it’s past your bedtime…he hopped into bed only to spot his Maths book on the desk in his room.

“Mum, please can I just put my Maths book in my bag”, he pleaded…the time was now like 8:15pm – parenting time OVER!!

“No Ethan, you can’t. You should have put it back in your bag after you finished your homework“, I said through gritted teeth.

Ok, well then please can you put it in my bag for me?“, he asked.

No Ethan, I won’t. I’m tired. Besides which, it’s not my responsibility to put your books in your bag. Please go to sleep. You can do it in the morning“.

But mum, I’ll forget in the morning“.

No you won’t. And if you do, I’ll remind you“, I said, smiling sweetly at him.

You won’t remember either mum, please can I just do it quickly or you can do it for me“.

No, it’s bedtime. Goodnight“…lights out…

Fast forward to yesterday morning 8:30am. I walked into Ethan’s room to make up his bed only to find…HIS MATHS BOOK ON HIS DESK exactly where it had been the night before.

Guys, I felt so bad. I really did. All I could think about was that he was going to get into trouble at school and what would he say to the Maths teacher (his favourite teacher!)…would he tell her that I forgot his homework?!?!?!

I am so glad that I’m not a teacher. The excuses they must get about homework every other day. They can probably write whole books about it 🙂

Have your kids become lazy?

My kids are very different in a lot of aspects but especially when it comes to sport…

When Ethan started grade 1, we encouraged him to do at least 1 sport and 1 cultural activity every term as per the school’s recommendation, and he took like a duck to water to every sport that he played. For both grade 1 and 2, he played everything available and has now gravitated toward cricket, most recently being selected to play in the Northern Schools Cricket league which he’s wanted to be a part of since grade 1. Although cricket is his first love, he still loves all sports and will happily take part in family hikes, jogging and swimming laps in the pool at his leisure.

Riley on the other hand is the complete opposite. Riley is very capable of doing sports, but chooses not to. Having started grade 1 during COVID, he hasn’t been directly exposed to much sport at all. So far, they’ve only had cricket which he did for 1.5 terms and has decided that in term 4, he is not doing it as he doesn’t enjoy it. His love is soccer which he did last term privately as it wasn’t offered as an extra-mural. Having said that, if Riley had other sport available at school, I honestly think he’d opt out and rather do cultural activities. He’s just not a sporty person which is also ok. Anyway, I digress…

I am convinced that this pandemic has made kids, in general, lazy. For the past year and a bit, they’ve gone through being in total lockdown, partial homeschooling, full day homeschooling, school with some (very limited) extra-murals on offer, and life has been totally different for them too. With parents working from home constantly, I know a lot of kids (mine included) have spent many many hours in front of TV and on devices and electronic gadgets, just to keep them occupied as us parents battled to juggle “living at work“…and having not been busy with sport has seen kids – well at least mine – happy to sit on their laurels and chill.

Having made the cricket league, Ethan was in tears on Sunday because cricket is going to take up too much of his time. Granted, he now has cricket 4 days a week (2 for extra mural cricket at school and 2 for the league cricket), but my question was – what do you want to do with your time that you can’t do on the other 3 days of the week? I mean, it’s not like he has some awesome plans or goals that he now won’t be able to achieve because of cricket. He probably just wants to sit and laze in front of the TV all day. Similarly, Riley would have easily – pre-COVID – have spent time playing with his friends in the complex on the trampoline or running around outside for ages not necessarily doing sport, but at least being outdoors! Now he is happy to play outside for a few minutes and then…back inside.

I am from the stock of parents who believed (my father in particular) that if the sun was shining, you had to be outside playing. I have never been a sporty person and never took part in any extra murals at school, but unless I was practising the piano (which I did very often to escape being outdoors!), I had to be outside the house. There was no laying around watching TV in the day or playing TV games for hours. Not even during the holidays. Ok granted, we didn’t grow up with devices…but still.

These days, I find myself singing the same tune to my own children. I do believe that playing outside is very good for them, and that sitting inside laying around all the time is not ideal for kids. But at the same time, there are days when even I feel like lamming it out doing nothing, so I guess it’s a fine balance?!

Having said that, I am so glad that our school seems to be introducing more activities for the kids after school now things seem to be settling down around us!!!

How about you – do you find that your kids have become lazy?

Are you happy for them to do no sport or do you insist that they do?

Let’s talk fitness points

Guys, this morning I went to gym to cycle. I had my earphones in, I was listening to some pumping jams, heart rate was up from like minute ONE – I was focused – and some time on, I realised that my watch had not vibrated at all. No “In Fat Burn” or “In Cardio”, even though I felt like I was cycling like a beast! So I looked down and it was only then (17minutes to be exact!) that I realised that I hadn’t pressed the “Play” button on my Fitbit. Do you know how demoralising that is? For those of you who are not as obsessed as I am with these fitness points, in order to get points towards your weekly goal, you need to clock at least 30minutes of activity per workout. 17minutes in, meant I actually only had 13minutes left of my workout to hit the minimum time for my activity. But not according to my watch which was on 0’00” so well, like a good girl, I increased my workout to get the full 30minutes on my watch giving me a total ride of 50minutes or thereabouts. I am not about to go losing points for my own mess up 😉

These points can be such a nightmare though! I’ve done exercises where my watch tracks 30, but the machine (via pulses in my fingers or some other jazz – the elliptical) tracked 28.5minutes meaning…0 points allocated to my workout. I’ve left for gym forgetting my watch at home…best believe I made a U-turn at the next offramp (already half way to gym) and came back home to pick my watch up. I’ve gone out on the road to exercise and not realised that my watch’s battery is flat resulting in…10minutes of exercise recorded. And please note – I’ve had this watch for over a year now, it’s not something new to me. I’ve also been the chop waling circles round my coffee table, or down to the gate of our complex at 9pm at night, just to get my 5,000 or 10,000 points for the day. I’ve recently been told that just by moving your arms, you can get steps awarded! I MUST try this. And someone also said that if you keep your mask on, your breathing is harder meaning your heart rate is higher equaling a higher amount of points awarded for your workout. Then somebody else also said that they turn their watch on when they walk into the gym already in order to get those steps (and time) included in their workout. So when they’re sanitising the equipment, filling up their water bottle etc., that time is included into their watch calcs. Genius!!!

So it’s good to know that I’m not the only one working hard for points 😉

How about you? Are you as obsessed with your watch and the points as I am? Do you “cheat” to get extra points? Do you walk on the spot like a crazy maniac at all hours of the night just to hit your goal?

From chatting to other people, it doesn’t seem as though I am alone…

Let’s talk punishment

Punishment: the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offence.

Purpose of punishment: to encourage and enforce proper behavior as defined by society or family.

As per definition, and this is what I’ve been mulling over for a few weeks now, the purpose of punishment is to enforce proper behaviour. This, to me, means that punishment must be appropriate to drive the change in behaviour right? When we were kids, punishment was simple…lost something – hiding, backchatted – hiding, hit your sister – HIDING. A hiding was the punishment for every single thing and I honestly am not sure whether this is the best thing or not. I mean, clearly it worked for my parents, as did the “death stare” – that one that when they so much as looked in your direction, you knew to stop what you were doing, immediately, or else…HIDING!!!!!!!!!!!!

When Ethan started big school, he lost things all the time. Literally, every other day. I remember in week 1 of grade 1, his entire PE bag went missing with everything in it – costume, towel, goggles – everything fully labelled. It just disappeared into thin air never to be returned and we had to buy full PE swimming gear again. At the time, everybody I spoke to about it was like – he’s still so little, he’s a boy, it’ll get better. I remember my sister making a checklist for him to use every time he had to undress for PE and it actually worked. But then eventually we ditched that, and he became used to being more responsible for his things. He’s lost a few things from time to time, but most times, managed to find it a few days later. At home, he’s pretty much the same…”loskop”. He’ll take his shoes off and not remember where he put it. He’ll put a pen down and forget. My point is – I don’t know how to drive the change of his behaviour. Yes, we all forget things, but to do it constantly and be so all over the place is not on. Especially when it has an impact on other things. Two cases in point…

  • Over the last week, Ethan has been writing tests at school. There were only 7 subjects, and while he did start doing some studying prior to test week, the obvious thing for him to do (which we discussed, he agreed to, and I reminded each morning) was to bring the book home of the subject he needed to go over the day before the test right?! So Geography on Thursday, bring the book home on Wednesday! Alternatively, if you’re worried you’re going to forget, just bring all your books home like many of friends do. Out of 7 subjects, Ethan left 3 of his books at school the night before his tests. No problem for Ethan…he just ran across the driveway to his bestie to borrow his books (they’re in the same grade at the same school) until the night before Maths when D was nowhere to be found. So for Maths, Ethan didn’t study. He asked me to please help him with examples, but how must I help him with examples when I don’t even know what he’s studying also…why?!?! If he’d remembered his book, he wouldn’t have had the issue!!!
  • Yesterday, Ethan had cricket trials for the Northern Saturday Schools cricket. He was over the moon to be invited two weeks ago, this being something he’s wanted since grade 1. For the trials, he needed a ball of a certain weight which meant we had to buy him one. So his dad got him a brand new ball as required. He was in his element when he left home yesterday with his full cricket gear including his brand new ball. When myself and Riley fetched him from the trials, he was over the moon. He came walking calmly to the car and between gritted teeth said “Mum, I made it” trying to contain his excitement amongst the other players waiting around. The first thing I said was “Really, that’s great, wow. Get in the car and tell us all about it“. Then also, “Where is your blazer and your ball?“. He assured me they were both in his cricket bag. Long story short…this morning he opens his cricket bag…no ball. Ball that was bought yesterday! Brand new.

I think you get the picture, that’s how Ethan is. As my mother would say – his head is not on his shoulders. What I’m struggling with now is – HOW DO I PUNISH THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOUR? Or more importantly, how do we meet out punishment in order to drive the change in behaviour?! I mean, what is a hiding going to do, how is it going to change his behaviour? Okay, maybe he’ll be so afraid that he won’t do it again?! I don’t know…

So on the book side, I have taken away TV games (that’s the only thing that actually “hurts” him!) and I have said that he’s not allowed to borrow books from Dylan ever again. The next time he leaves his books, he’ll just have to go in unprepared and perhaps his marks will reflect that, and he’ll be upset with the lower mark (he is an overachiever in the marks department…), but maybe his mark will be the same or even better…then what?

On the ball side, he has cricket at 4pm today and of course – mainly because of COVID – they all have to take their own ball which I agreed to ensure when I signed the form for the trials. I think saying that he can’t play for the team, something he’s aspired to for so long, is a bit extreme. But he can’t go without a ball. So if he comes back from school this afternoon and hasn’t found the ball, we’ll have to go and buy him one.

Or maybe we should just hiding one time???? I really don’t know.

Are your kids “loskop” like my Ethan?

If so, do you have any advice on how to change this behaviour?

Forgetfulness aside, what do you find works best for your child/children for punishment?

On the flip side, I’m all for rewarding positive results to continue to encourage good behaviour (like the reward chart I introduced a few months ago for Riley), but I find that much more easier than this!

Imagine if this had happened even 50years ago

I heard a teacher from a school in Johannesburg talk briefly about 50years ago, when an outbreak of a disease hit South African (I cannot for the life of me remember what it was and I cannot get a clear answer on Google!)…she said that schools were completely shut down, and kids missed a year of school. An ENTIRE YEAR of school guys, A YEAR!!!! I guess times were different then, right? Perhaps more mums stayed at home, and so they spent that year with their kids doing some school work, and maybe lots of activities. What about the working mums, what did they do with their kids at home? Or were places of work also shut down? I should read more into this…at any rate, I digress…

If you look back in history, television was only introduced in South Africa in 1976, meaning that 50 years ago – in 1971 – I would assume that not all households had televisions. If the kids didn’t have TV back then, how did the parents catch a break man?!?!

What about TV games (or video games as they were called back in the days) – these days, kids have access to games on actual TV by plugging in their consoles, they can play games on cellphones, tablets, PCs…they have a multitude of options. Did they have that then? I assume that very few did…obvious most of the devices we have today were not even made then, but I’m talking about plain and simple video consoles plugged into a TV. No TV meant no TV games! How did they entertain the kids, or were kids just entertained by things like sticks and stones, balls, playing hide and seek etc. like the good old days when we were young?!

It got me thinking though…imagine COVID had hit our lives and we were living in the year 1971, 50years ago. Perhaps our mindsets would have been totally different back then, I don’t know. But, we are really quite fortunate to live in times like we do today. If I must be honest, other than the people around us that have been hit really hard by this virus, some even succumbing to it (and I’m not trying to minimise that by any means!), not much in my life has changed…

  • I can work from home virtually uninterrupted (if you exclude the kids 😉 ) – FYI, the internet was introduced to South Africa in 1991 according to Google!, so 50years ago, surely virtually nobody could work from home…
  • I have contact with friends and family 24/7, and can even see them via video call even those half way across the world. Imagine 50years ago, if you wrote a letter to say hi…by the time the person wrote back, surely lots had already happened by that time 🙂 And in a pandemic, would the post even have reached it’s destination? In 2020, lots of the mail was completely slowed down or just never arrived #justsaying…or did everybody have a landline back then??? Not even a problem these days, I think ALL of us have cellphones!
  • At a click of a button, I’m able to find out whether they’re well or not.
  • Even while hospitalised and not being allowed any visitors, I can still keep abreast with how they are doing.
  • My kids were able to continue with schooling through online classes and while assisting them was some days near impossible due to work commitments, at least work could continue, whereas if I were office bound, it wouldn’t have been the same. 50years ago (according to the teacher who I listened to), everybody just repeated the year! Every.body…
  • I can order groceries at the click of a button.
  • I can order take-out at the click of a button.
  • I have managed to retain my job and salary as my company has continued working at full capacity, even with people working from home full time.
  • I can still attend book club online…this is one of the things I most enjoy on a monthly basis having recently got back into it!
  • I am able to go out of the house and exercise, even go to the gym which I must admit, gives me more peace of mind and “me time” and probably a lot less of actual intense exercising! I’m sure people would have been able to do that 50years ago, well…maybe not go to a fancy air conditioned machine heavy GYM, but at least exercise…

I’ve had many ups and downs in the last 500+ days of lockdown in South Africa, but every now and again, I stop to smell the proverbial roses and I must admit, things don’t look all that bad over here 🙂

Let’s play catchup!

Well, hello there! Long time. Day 500 of lockdown in SA, and here we are still rocking our masks…

Is wearing a mask normal to you by now, or do you still catch yourself…
1. Forgetting it as you leave the house?
2. Struggling to breathe or feeling claustrophobic when wearing it at times?
3. In denial unable to fathom how we are in a pandemic wearing MASKS?!

Last week Tuesday, I started the day honestly dreading the upcoming long weekend. I couldn’t even begin to imagine sitting at home for another long weekend staring at my kids playing TV games or watching TV all day! And so, in what for me was quite an impromptu decision, I decided to surprise both my kids and my parents with a surprise trip to Durban. We left straight after school on Thursday (yes they skipped school on Friday and they are none the worse for it!, of course I notified their teachers beforehand and ensured all deliverables had been completed…) and drove in convoy down to the coast with my cousin and her family. It brought back great memories of our families traveling with us cousins as little kids all over the country for short getaways, and my boys were both absolute stars the entire way there.

While in Durban, we visited the aquarium, went on a hike with grandpa, and the boys even swam at the beach… true “Vaalies”. I also managed to squeeze in dinner with a school friend which I really needed. Adult time and wine out of the house with company.

We drove back on Monday with my mama who decided to join us on our trip. The trip back was as smooth as the one down barring one glitch… Riley threw up in the car despite the anti nausea meds and travel band he was wearing (he often gets car sick) BUT… I was prepared! For once!! I had plastic packets next to him in the backseat, and so the vom was neatly deposited on the side of road in the middle of nowhere, Riley rinsed his mouth out with water and had a mint. The entire ordeal lasted all of 10minutes, and the bonus…not a stitch. of. vomit. anywhere on Riley or in the car. Can you say winning?!?!?!

My mum is staying with us for the week in Joburg which so far has been awesome. I love having my parents around, I really do! And so this week, I of course have an extra hand, and good company once the kids go to sleep. Plus we are going for massages on Friday with my sister… Yay!!!!!

Talking about sisters, this month is an exciting one for both of my sisters. The littlest Tate has gone off to teach in Erbil, Kurdistan. What an adventure! The first one of us in our family to go and work overseas. She left with a group of friends last Friday. My mother did all night prayers and Bible study until her safe arrival in Erbil. Guys, having a praying mother is just amazing. Thank God all went well from the documents, bags of chronic meds she had to travel with, COVID tests etc. to the flights themselves and “hosts” meeting them at the airport and all is going well so far. They are in isolation until the weekend, but I don’t think they’re complaining as the temps outside are in excess of 40, yikes!!!

My other sister (middle one, I am the eldest, the prettiest and wisest, hahaha, kidding!) is expecting her first baby, a baby girl, any time in the next few weeks. It’s the first granddaughter in our family and we are all beyond excited. For those of you who have daughters, why didn’t you tell me shopping for girls was so much fun?!?!?! Let’s just say that after my big buy for our princess two weekends ago (not to mention the odds and ends here there over the last few months), I am staying out of the shops. I have also spent ages knitting her a baby sleeping bag and turban beanies. She is so loved already!

In other news, my hair is growing at a rapid rate. I won’t say I regret the big chop“, but I don’t think I’m going to leave it at this length. It’s already at a kind of in between length. The curls are too short to really hang, but too long to just sit comfortably on top of my head, and so I’m starting to prefer my hair blow dryed. The plus is that blowing takes literally 10minutes. The bad thing is that when I wake up in the morning, I literally look like the mushroom in Mario Brothers minus the polka dots.

Short curls… Apparently this takes 10yrs off me?!
Dry… Soon I’ll have a bob!

Well the boys are both back at school after a month at home. I tell you, living in the complex where we are has been a real blessing during lockdown. The kids have their group of friends who’ve lived there for many years… we know the parents well and all of them have been indoors working from home and very diligent about staying home etc. The boys spent the entire months holiday playing with their best buddies in and out of each other’s houses. They’ve done this since level 3 last year already and without this “out”, I think I may have lost my marbles! Big shout out to those of you in stand alone houses… I can imagine entertaining your kids all day every day must be extremely challenging. Anyway, they had excellent term 2 reports, both of them. And Ethan is back to in studio hip hop dancing twice a week which he really didn’t enjoy online. I’m glad for the “out” for him as well. He loves dancing so much. Now just for extra murals to start at school again!!!!

Oh BTW, I had my first COVID jab on the 2nd of August and all went well. I was in and out, parking included, in less than 30minutes and I had no side effects!

I think that’s quite enough for today. I have been quiet on here as honestly, there’s been nothing much to write about, but we are all happy and healthy. I hope that you and your families are as well xxx

Bored in the house…

This time, a year ago, I was bored.

Six months ago, I was bored.

Day 500 and something of lockdown (or thereabouts…), I am SUPER BORED and totally over being at home.

In the past 10days, I have made chocolate cupcakes, crunchies, focaccia bread, sago pudding and banana loaf.

Over the past weekend, I made 5 no-sew blankets for CSI at work and knitted 7 20x20cm squares as my contribution towards making blankets for the less fortunate.

I have read over 30books this year already.

I. Am. Bored. I am over being indoors. I miss people. I miss other adult stimulation.

The end.

HE has you!

In February this year, I made a decision in my personal life that impacted my immediate family unit. It meant a shift in our living arrangements and a complete change in our family dynamics.

Making the decision was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I cried ever single day over whether it was the right decision for myself and my kids for a full month. My mother listened to me sobbing over the phone on countless occasions. My heart was broken, and even though I knew the decision was absolutely necessary and the right one, I questioned myself often.

Watching my boys cry themselves to sleep some nights nearly killed me, but it’s almost 5months on, and I know without a doubt, the decision was the best one. Nevertheless, the past few months have been emotionally and mentally draining. Before that decision and even after it, there were prayers and reflection at every spare moment, gospel music kept me going and with every online church service, I found God speaking to me and comforting me in my toughest times.

Recently, a good friend of mine was admitted to hospital and after a few days, into ICU, with COVID pneumonia. I put a care parcel together for her husband to take to the hospital for her and something for the him, his son and mother-in-law at the house. I thought it as a kind gesture. Something I did to let them know I’m thinking about them and I care. My mother taught me well!

Closer to home, my sister who is 31weeks pregnant, has COVID. She got a positive result last week. On Friday, I cooked a big pot of soup for her, a pot of chicken curry and baked her favourite…chocolate cupcakes. Myself and the boys drove out to her place to make the delivery with hand made cards from them and a few extra snacks for her and baby, and to just wave hello from across the way. She felt appreciated, she felt loved and she felt cared for.

A few weeks ago, I was really ill. Fortunately, I had a negative COVID test but I’m really not convinced about the result. At any rate, it took me a good 10days to recover. In that time, I received lots of calls and messages and I knew that those closest to me were concerned. I didn’t get any help with my kids, food to eat or any deliveries. Please, do not for one minute get me wrong. I am not asking for sympathy or complaining. I really did feel like people were worried about me during that period and there were those constantly checking up on me, but it got me thinking whether I tend to come across as too strong? If people think that I am capable of doing everything at all times even if I am ill? And is that something I am projecting onto others, or is it just that other people don’t display “thinking of you” or that they care in the same was as I do? I don’t know why it hit me at such a deep level, but I really was pondering over it all weekend.

And then this morning, my cousin came by. She came with a delivery…a pot plant, chocolate, sweets for the boys, doughnuts and savouries. When I asked what the occasion was, she said it was just because. She said there are people really struggling out there, and she just felt the need to bless me today. And that dear friends for me is God listening. God knowing my heart, knowing how things are affecting and impacting my life and giving me a God moment even though I had not uttered my thoughts out loud to anybody.

He knows you. He loves you. He cares for you. And he sees and hears you. HE has you!!

Have a great week y’all xxx

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Is it a woman thing? A mum thing? Knitted into our genes? I think about this often, and I just cannot figure out why I (let me talk for myself because maybe I just have a few loose screws in this department) am so hard on myself.

I have been sick since last Monday. COVID negative thank God, but I have not felt so awful for a really long time. It started on Monday morning with a sore throat and body aches so bad that I could barely lift my hand to brush my teeth. The week basically went by in a blur of me being stuck in bed barely able to move, but of course I still have two boys to look after, so rest is relative when they’re at home all day right?! Cooking (and I use that very loosely – let’s rather call in feeding!) still needs to get done, getting done for the day needs to be ticked off, and doing that while feeling fine is hard enough as it is. Doing it while feeling horrible is a challenge…actually, challenge is an understatement. It’s near impossible. I managed to do it without missing a beat every day for the last 8days even while not feeling well.

At any rate, let me stop feeling sorry for myself. The point is that this morning, my sister-in-law jokingly sent me a text message to ask whether I’m SUPERMUM yet, and I replied no, not yet, but soon I’ll be 🙂 And then I thought about it while getting done. It was 8:30am in the morning…I’d made up the beds, made oats for the kids for breakfast, put out their clothes, packed their lunch bags for the day (this works best for me because it stops my kids nagging me all day for snacks while I’m working or in meetings), gone through all my e-mails and showered and dressed. By 8:30am guys, 8:30!!!!. I don’t know how that measures to your standards, but who am I comparing this to?!?! Why am I so hard on myself? What am I trying to prove?

Ok, rant over. I don’t have an answer, but I’m giving myself a pat on the back today. I am doing great!

End of story.

The one about race

Anybody in the middle of primary school exams…oops sorry, I mean, anybody’s child?! Ethan is in grade 4 and writing exams for the first time. Just a few weeks ago, they had tests. When I asked him whether he needed help, he told me he had it under control. I tried a few times to “check up” just to ensure that he really did have it, but I was batted away with “we already studied at school so I’m done“, or “I left xyz book at school“. The only subject I did manage to get a glimpse of was his Geography the night before the Geography test, only to discover that he had to hand in a project worth 50 marks – on A3 paper, with printed pictures included – the very next day, of which he’d only managed to write down 5 lines in pencil a small torn up piece of paper, and that was it…FOR 50 MARKS!! We (note: WE) did the whole project together in an hour, but it did make me partially panic. If he casually left out such a big thing, was he really ready for his tests? Anyway, I left him to it, gave him the benefit of the doubt and decided that the proof would be in the proverbial pudding i.e. in his report! I think by that time, he was half way through his tests anyway, so I just let him be. I waited with baited breathe for the results, and other than 1 fail, he actually did pretty well overall. But when we went through his report together, we both agreed that he could have done better and that we’d work together for his exams to try and improve his results. I must admit at this stage, that he did ask me to help with Maths – the one subject he’s 100% confident in – and to cut a long story short, I had to ask his bestie in the complex who is in the same grade at the same school to show me how to do it FIRST before I could help Ethan. Yup, a 10year old had to show me how to do long division guys! Anyhoo, I digress…

We’re currently in exam week. They write for 4 days this week, 2 subjects a day. Just over a week ago, we put a timetable together, planned it all out in advance. I tried to get him into the “habit” of studying and things to look out for in exams. We discussed a few methods of studying, what and how to learn, what to look out for during the exams like mark allocations, checking his work, skipping questions he doesn’t know and going back to them at the end etc. History was a challenge from day 1. Ethan struggles to remember dates and facts. And the method of studying I was trying to get him to use i.e. to understand, not just to parrot learn, obviously doesn’t apply to a subject like History. History is a subject where you basically have to cram. Read through the information and get it into your brain where it needs to be filed to be called upon IF needs be in the exam.

Yesterday we did a quick revision session and had to drill down into the information on the South African anti-apartheid fighters that are part of their syllabus – Mandela, Tutu and Steve Biko. I must admit, other than Steve Biko’s name, I knew very much about him before yesterday, and so reading through the notes with Ethan was really fascinating. One of the things we read about was that Steve Biko led the Black Consciousness Movement. This was new to me, so I read up a bit more on it so that I could explain to Ethan what the Black Consciousness Movement was. When he was asked that question in class, he got it wrong and still didn’t understand it. I spent some time explaining it to him. That then took us into race and how non-white people were treated during apartheid times. I explained to him that non-white is not only black people, but Indian and coloured people as well, basically, all people who are not white. I also explained how coloured people are basically mixed race/breed (he piped up that he thought that mixed breed only refers to dogs and I ended that conversation quickly!) because somewhere along the line, one parent was white and one non-white. Not all coloured people have two coloured parents like he does. He said he thought coloured people were just coloured because of their “silver skin”…I have no idea what he means by silver skin.

We went on to discuss how the people who fought against apartheid many years ago – like the guys he’s currently learning about – fought so that HE would not have to be discriminated against for the colour of his skin. And I won’t lie, I got all emotional. I realised my voice was raised and I was feeling quite heated while talking. I always say this and I’ll say it again…for the life of me, I cannot understand how whoever decided that people are inferior because of the colour of their skin thought that was okay! I mean, it’s one of the things you can’t change, the colour of your skin. It’s also just so sad that even after all the years and years of people fighting, race is still a major reason for discrimination. How are we non-white people not as good as white people? How are we still feeling the effects years later of not being treated equally? How is the not being better than those lighter than them or those with straight hair engrained in my children without anybody actually saying it to them, like it’s part of their DNA???

It sucks.

Big time.

It’s not fair.