Thursday, 19 March 2015

A lesson in life

Last night I went berserk. Like actually stark raving mad. Emma was in the bath. Ben was with me. He decided he wanted to bath with 'ceecee', Ben's nickname for his big sister.

It has been a long day, and from the moment they got home from school, it was a constant ebb and flow of playing together and nearly killing each other. I had tried talking, reasoning, threatening and bribing, none successful. 

By the time the moon was in the sky, my mood was low. I was tired, emotionally, physically. I was trying to get through a was load of work, stressing about things that still needed to be done. And then Ben gave a blood curdling scream. As I ran into the bathroom Emma was in the process of throwing a bucket of water at Ben. 

He was screeching that Emma had pulled his willy sore. And I lost it. I screamed STOP! JUST STOP! DID YOU PULL HIS WILLY? As I was screeching I knew I sounded insane. At a different time, in a different situation, I'd be giggling about the things parents find themselves saying. But I was out of control. 

Emma just looked. Ben just looked. Mark just looked. I walked out, not wanting to do any more damage. 

A little while later I went to Emma. I asked what she was watching and in her usual cheery voice she answered 'Paw Patrol'. 
"I'm sorry Emma."

"For what?"

"For shouting like that. It's not an excuse but I'm tired and I don't feel great. But it's still not okay that I lost my temper."

"It's ok mommy. I always love you. No matter what. Wanna watch 'Paw Patrol' with me?"

In an instant I learnt about forgiveness, unconditional love and the power of saying sorry. 

As an aside, today a friend of a friend said goodbye to her little boy. He had fought a brave battle against cancer, but today he closed his eyes for the last time. I cannot even begin to comprehend what his family is going through. I don't know how you say goodbye to your child, your baby. I have no idea how you begin again, how you wake up the next day. And the day after that. 

What I do know is the next time I want to rant and rave like a woman possessed, I need to remind myself that I am blessed, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever so bad that I need to behave the way I did. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

So many possible titles, so little space

What happened to me recently has so many possible titles, like 'What not to say to people with adopted children' or 'Boundaries! Ever heard of them?' 'Stupidity. I hope it's not contagious!', 'Words hurt more than you know' and  'The day I went mental in a store and knocked a woman out' are contenders for the title. 

There are so many possibilities, so many that would be apt. Too many to choose just one.

Emma and I were in a store, in the queue, about to pay. There was a woman behind us who started chatting to Emma. The usual 'what's your name? How old are you? Where's your real mom' kinda questions we all get asked in queues in shops, while doing grocery shopping. 

Wait. What? Your child has never been asked that before? You've never been blessed by a stranger for having children? Oh! I get blessed all the time. Which is nice. I need all the blessings I can get. 

'You've given children like this an amazing opportunity. Imagine if they were with their real parents? Where would they be living? They would never speak so well!'

By rote I say 'We're all blessed to have one another. I can't imagine life without Emma and her brother Ben.'

'Oh you've got two! Wow! Is Ben her biological brother or from a different mom? Will you get more? Have you got children of your own?'

'Yes I've got children of my own. Emma and Ben!'

'No I know that. Have you got your own kids. Like white ones? And can I ask, do you love them as much as you'd love your own?'

Ok, hold up! No, you can't ask. What you're asking is rude and offensive and hurtful. I don't ask you if you'd love your child more if she was prettier, or blonde with blue eyes. I don't ask whether a boy would be more loved. I don't ask a mom with a special needs child whether she would love a 'normal' child more. I don't ask any of those questions, because it's not ok. Because it crosses boundaries on every possible level. I know not to ask inappropriate questions because I'm not a moron. 

My face, silence and clenched fist drew the attention of the woman in front me , about to walk to the cashier. She turned to me and suggested I go in her place. 'It's ok,' I said 'We're fine!' 

'You're not' She said, 'and you shouldn't be.'

I kindly took her up on her offer.

Driving home, Emma was subdued, not herself. She's normally singing or talking 'til my ears bleed. She opened her window and I asked her if she could please close it ................... no response. 'Emma can you please close the window?'


'Why not?'

'You're not my real mom. I don't have to listen to you!'

Thank you dear stranger....

Sunday, 8 March 2015

I don't know what the f*ck the grasshopper's name is

Ben is three. He's been talking non stop since he was two. It feels like a lifetime. There's a chance I'm suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome from this yet undiscovered form of Chinese torture. 

Ben wants to know everything. He wants to know where the moon goes during the day and if Mr Moon and Mrs Sun are married. He wants to know why the yolk of an egg is yellow and if an orange is called an 'orange' then why isn't a banana called a 'yellow' or an apple a 'red'.

He wants to know why his toy leaf blower isn't real and why it doesn't actually blow leaves. He wants to know where farts come from and why some smell (like his sister's and dad's) and why others don't (like mine, of course). If I'm in the bathroom, abluting, he wants to know if I'd like to 'poo in peace'. If I say yes he asks why. If I say no, it's a spectator sport, he asks why. 

He asks why my face is wrinkly and my tummy like jelly. He wants to know why I have hair on my legs and why he doesn't. At the age of three he wants to know if he's an adult yet and if his willy will be HUGE one day. 

He wants to know if the waiter at Smile is Jesus. Or if the pizza man at Papachino's is. He asks often if his granny, Mark's mom, is in heaven and the other day, when my mom phoned, and I said to him to say hello to granny, he asked her if she was heaven. 

He asked the other day if 'flicking' is a bad 'manner'. I said no. He asked me if 'fucking flicking' is a bad 'manner'. I said yes. He then asked why is the one a bad manner and the other not. 

I'm an honest woman. When I don't know the answer to something then I say so. Which, of course, isn't good enough. If he asks a question and I say "I don't know", he then says "say yes!" Unless he wants you to say no. Then you have to know to say no. 

This morning I was lying on the bed and there was a grasshopper on the sheet. He wanted to know why it's not a 'bedhopper' because it's on the bed, not near any grass. I said I don't know. He asked if it can live with us. I said if he wants to. He asked me what would we feed him. I said I think teeny tiny bugs but I'm not sure. He asked if the 'bedhopper' will eat us. I said no, it won't. He asked if we got very hungry would we eat our new family member, I said not today. Maybe another day. 

He asked me what clothes the insect wears and whether he has special underwear. He asked me if it was Jesus' creature and I said yes. He asked me if he could kill it and I said no. He went to the open window and said "Jesus, is this your creature? Jesus, can I smack it with a book?"

I said no! He has a family and friends that'll miss him. He wanted to know what their names are. 

"Ben. Please give me five minutes. Just five minutes. On my own."