Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sex!

I knew it was coming (No pun intended). This year has brought the big question of sex to our home. I have a few good books on the subject and have informed myself adequately - I hope! A bit belatedly however; as when T1 first asked "What is sex" a year or so ago I automatically responded: "I don't know"... According to the parenting gurus the worst thing one could do. (Oh well, I'll give her an extra couple of hours out of the cellar to make up for it.)
But on a more serious note this has opened up yet another area of self discovery for me as a mother. Looking at how we carry the messages we received as children, and making a conscious decision about what messages we want to give our own children.

A couple of weeks ago T1 brought home a notebook in which a classmate had written the words
I LOEV U
BOYS
SXE

Needless to say, I panicked. I knew that this time I couldn't just let it slide. If it was being discussed outside our home I was obliged to make sure that my voice was also heard. So, out came all the books and notes from workshops and reviewing my personal views on sex.
It took a few days for her to feel comfortable with sharing the notebook with me. Of course being a Good Mother I had sneaked a peak at the book as soon as she got home, so I had a few days to prepare.
And so the day arrived when T1 drew me aside and showed me what K had written. I followed my gut and asked her if she knew what the words said. Then I asked her if she knew what they meant, and was quite satisfied with her understanding of sex; which agreed with what the books said a six year old should be told.
And then being myself I couldn't resist the urge to teach her the correct way to spell SEX.

Yesterday T1 came home asking if I knew what "mating" was. Apparently they had discovered two butterflies in the act in the school garden. I think I handled the situation a lot better this time round. Somehow butterflies are a lot easier than boys.
I am sufficiently deviant however to have taken great pleasure from explaining to T1 how female praying mantises eat their mates after intercourse...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cupcake Kit

I just had a brilliant idea!!!
I get excited because they are infrequent these days!

T1 was invited to a friend's sister's birthday party - she is turning 8. A realm of big-girlness that I have not yet had to deal with. I was trying and trying to think of something to give as a gift that would be suitably creative - but still fit in my gifting budget and not be a felt gnome or fairy or my usual 2-6 year old selections.
And thanks to a friend's inspirational cupcakes posted on her FaceBook profile I came up with Jo-Jo's cupcake Kit. I still need to package it (aaargh by 2 this afternoon) but the idea is a box containing a variety of cupcake decorating materials like edible glitter, hundreds and thousands etc. Do those of you who have, or have had, eight year old girls in da house have any comments or suggestions?

Now just to navigate the socially accepted etiquette around allowing T2 to gatecrash the event and we should be good to go. I have just taken her with me to all T1's social engagements since she was a wee baba, but I'm sure she is approaching the age where she counts as an extra child rather than a cute little baby...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remnants of racism

I have been enjoying my forays into the blogging realm. But as usual get so into reading that I forget to write. There are some really amazing ideas and thoughts to connect with every day.
Recently, (perhaps due to the historical outcome of the US elections?) the issue of racism has come up. This word fascinates me. It is wielded with the power the word "witch" once held in contemporary South Africa. and yet each person has their own, usually deeply personal, interpretation of the word.
I'm sure there must be an easier way to do that - but didn't want to just cut and paste. Too close to plagiarism?
That definition allows for quite a broad range of experiencing The Other in a negative manner.
In my reality I have met people who react with anything from a benign sense of inherent superiority to a blind hatred that enables them to bludgeon and burn young children to death, zen-uh-foh-bee-uh.
The term racism however; seems to usually be used in a 'black' and 'white' relationship. Bearing in mind that in the current affirmative action criteria of most institutions in South Africa, black includes most of our rainbow nation.
I have lived through a struggle of liberation in a country governed by racist laws and propaganda. It was horrific. I struggle daily with the fact that by default I happen to have been born onto to 'baddies' team (as I perceive good and bad which I appreciate is highly subjective) although the game's not over yet.
I have been indoctrinated into accepting that it is only white people who hold racist beliefs, no matter the magnitude of their transgression.
I had a wonderfully refreshing experiencing the other day. A young girl at school and I were chatting and she looked up at me with her big eyes and said "All white people do such and such, hey?" I can't remember the specific generalisation, but I suddenly realised that she was getting to experience the other in a familiar and nonthreatening environment. That we had a couple of minutes of openly exploring the unfamiliarities of the other was a blessing I have carried with me for weeks.
It was aslo a relief to discover that other races have some completely barmy interpretations of whities.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cartwheels and Blogging

To my more experienced blogging friends I pose this question:
Is it preferable to wait for the unlikely convergence of free time, inspiration and sleeping toddlers to create The Perfect Post, or does one just dash off a bit of news?
I wonder.
I ask because I am sitting up in the study clutching a sleeping T2 in my right arm while I try to make contact with the world out there. I could take her down to her bed, but then might never make it back. And yet I feel my shoulder pulling slowly out of its socket as I type...

I really wanted to write something deep and meaningful about the lessons I am learning from my daughters (T1 did her first cartwheel and handstand this weekend). About how perseverance really does pay off - I have never seen someone who was not put off by doing a bazillion terrible non-handstands! And how our acceptance of failure is often all that stands between us and success.

Oh, and I also wanted to write about our visit to Kirstenbosch Gardens (imagine I was advanced enough to insert a link here) where said cartwheel was performed and how it is one of the best places in the world for children of all ages. There is grass, there is shade, there is a stream... It really is heaven (imagine I have downloaded photos from our camera in six months...). And next month the Sunset concerts begin.

But that will all have to wait until... Well, as Mr Roberts would say: "The cows come home".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Mania

I am notorious for avoiding anything political (well, except for my fervent support for Hellen Zille), especially when all the information we get is filtered through The Media who have an agenda of their own, mostly to do with their turnover I'm sure.

But it has been impossible not to notice this weeks election in the US. Last night there was a show on television comparing Obama and Palin - the bias was so obvious as to be amusing. I'm not really that clued up, but I thought she was the vice presidential candidate, so I'm not sure why it wasn't McCain up on the screen. Oh well bear of little brain that I am I wouldn't dream of questioning the PR geniuses that must be masterminding these campaigns.
I found it quite entertaining and there was actually some very interesting information on the beauty queen and the professor and I'll be curious to see who the "American" public vote for.

The line that caught my attention was a quote of Obama; whether accurate, true etc or not I wont even speculate. But it went something like this: "Of course I inhaled, frequently - that was the point."

My vote, if I had one, would go to Mr O.