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by tansy

But mom, you just don’t understand!

April 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Layla’s conversation with herself going on behind me:

“Piggie porkchops! Oh yeah! Ima gonna have me a piggie buffet! If I had a furnace, that is. Never mind, I got me thousands of porkchops anyway, boo-yah! That means I’ve killed a lot of pigs, shame poor piglets. Oh yeah, oh yeah, piggie buffet, boo-yah!

*silence*

“Oh, mommy I didn’t know you were still there”

She’s playing Minecraft, a weird computer game Conor introduced her to. It’s a world of blocky blocks and Creepers and square sheep and apparently, porkchops.

I’ve never been a gamer. I’ve just never gotten into it.

Conor’s been gaming since his first discovered Tomb Raider at 4 years old. He’s always trying to get me to try some new game; discreetly leaving CD’s next to my bed “Just try this one mom, you’ll like it.”

Except, trust me, I won’t. 

Layla started off with the Barbies and Magic School Bus and has moved on to Tomb Raider, Minecraft etc. Neither of them like blood and guts, they prefer something with a bit of thought or challenge to it. So I’m fairly confident it’s not turning them into axe-murderers.

My mother is a rampant gamer, constantly trying out new stuff. The three of them are always chatting about some strategy or graphics thing or other such mystical things of which i have no knowledge.

I just don’t have the patience, the hand-eye coordination or the imagination for it. Makes me feel boring when I hear them all having such a good time.

Sigh. 

Dull sad mother who JUST DOESN’T GET IT – that’s me.

Sigh. Again.

Piggie buffet sounds like such fun, if only I was interested.

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by tansy

It’s aliiiiiiiiive!

March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ain’t this cute? It’s a soap monster Layla found in the National Geographic Kids magazine.

Just put an ordinary bar of soap in the microwave (in a bowl you probably won’t want to use again, also, your oven will never smell the same again) – 2 minutes-ish on 100%. I found 2 minutes was possibly a bit long as some bits went a bit crumbly

It will be very hot – let it cool for a bit, but it should still be soft. Mould and squish into any monstery shape.

Stick on beads and buttons and stuff for face and decoration!

And instant weirdness!

Yay! I earned mega-mommy points for doing this, she loved it.

Bit of silly fun for the holidays

Thank me later. I accept Mastercard & Visa & extra large bags of Flings

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by tansy

Awwww

March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

First, let it be known that I am the world’s greatest mother. I found Layla’s missing pencil case. Under my bed. Where she said she’d looked, but that’s not the point here. The point is that I found the vital roll-ups after it had turned from a quick squizz in the schoolbag to the much larger-scale “We’ll have to turn the house upside down” operation. After it had become necessary for her to ask for help looking, but before we’d had to call in the last resort, big search-and-rescue guns i.e. my mother. So Layla was suitably grateful. 

Later I see Layla using my phone. Thought she was playing games or taking pics or changing my wallpaper again as she does. Kept asking for it back. “Just a minute mom, please lemme just finish this” (x3 or 6)

Me, eventually: “Layla, I need it now!” On verge of grump.

Fine okay, she gave it back. Then an sms comes in from my mom.

It says, and I quote: “OK”. Why is she sms’ing me? Was it meant for someone else? Is it a coded SOS sent frantically while in the clutches of dastardly kidnappers watching her every move and I’m supposed to call the police? Can’t contain nosiness curiosity so phone her.

She’s not been kidnapped, phew, relief, who-me-irrationally-paranoid-wha-never! Pffft. Course not.

SMS was in reply to Layla’s which she’d used my phone to send.

And I quote again:

“Mommy found my pencilcase can you buy her something. ps this is from layla”

And there I was moaning to get my phone back from her.

Nasty mommy, nasty!

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by tansy

Oh, the Glamour!

March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was our Living & Loving photoshoot along with Tania & Tertia and their kiddies. I didn’t get to spend any time with them, we went first and were too busy getting primped and pampered and poked.

It was exhausting! I don’t know how these model-types do it, especially on so little food. My stomach was growling I thought I’d scared the stylist 

We were all starving, melting/boiling in our fancy clothes and desperate for the loo

It sure was a experience! Conor enjoyed it – he got to wear his hat and swank about looking suave in a cardigan so was happy. Layla had a small wobbly just as we began shooting – she started to cry (or try-not-to-cry) with the quivering lip and the heaving chest. It was all just a bit too much for her. But she came right and did what she had to do.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it happen!

Then – a favour. I haven’t mentioned it here before although those of you who know me via FB, Twitter or my other blog will know all about it.

I have 2 tickets to Cirque Du Soleil on 26 March at Grand West which I am raffling to raise funds for Young Moms Support. It’s the last chance – 5pm today is the draw. 

If you’re still interested in buying a ticket, please check out http://tracyengelbrecht.com/?p=817  

or email me at tracy@tracyengelbrecht.com

$2.00 per ticket if bought through the website / Paypal, or R15 each if you want to pay via EFT

Tickets are worth R324 each so I think it’s worth it for a shot at getting them

There, that’s my begging for the day

I am beyond desperate to get home – it has been a long long long week and now I deserve my long long long weekend

Enjoy yours, special peeps

xx

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by tansy

How far have we come in 82 years?

March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Empire Annual for Girls, 1929:

“Stories of school life and adventure, topical articles on sport, hints for the practical girl, and several plates in colour and tint”

Page 139: The care of a car: helpful suggestions for the owner-driver

Page 142: Vera’s Adventure with Indians: The story of a plucky girl in the land of snow

Page 166: Speed swimming for girls: hints for would-be Channel swimmers

Page 223: Our great-great-great grandmother’s games: how girls played in the good old days

Plates in tint:

Page 104: “Look, look,” he whispered to Dashoor, “dost thou see that man in the yellow caftan?”

Page 152: “Hi! Paper boy,” she cried – “I mean, garçon!” she added quickly

Soul City information brochure – Stop the abuse against women, 2011

Page 14: What can you do if you are being abused?

Page 22: What is rape?

Page 24: What to do if you have been raped

Page 36: Real life stories of violence against women and girls

********

Both of the above were Layla’s reading material this weekend. Both have their place. And girls from both eras would have benefitted somehow from reading both. 

We’ve come a long way since 1929, haven’t we? When girls were plucky, maybe swimming the Channel or driving their own cars but still managed to need a lot of rescuing from dastardly foreigners in caftans. Have we though? 

We ARE better off now than we were then, I suppose. But some days it doesn’t feel like it.

Having to explain to 9 year old Layla the WHY’s of rape and abuse, I realise that things ARE different. 82 years ago, I guess we wouldn’t have had that conversation.

But reading Soul City’s nifty and informative pamphlet that probably won’t make the slightest difference to those women who’s daily reality is Pages 14, 22, 24 and 36 – it doesn’t feel like we’ve come any distance at all.

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by tansy

Young Moms Support #4

March 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Young Moms Support #4 aka Nadia’s Surprise Baby Shower was a roaring success.

A rocky start, with panic when I couldn’t get hold of her.

But she arrived – overwhelmed and teary-eyed.

We were joined by our Shazzie and her Jess – what a lovely girl, she kept the littlies amused for ages. Thank you Jess! Was so pleased to finally meet Shazzie – an amazing, and yes – inspirational – lady. :)

So much love and support in that room, I’m surprised the roof stayed on. That – and the noise. A lot of noise.

Noise. Love. Support. Acceptance. And Cake. It’s what we do best.

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by tansy

Santa’s pushing up daisies tonight

March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Out of the blue, Layla asks: “Mom, now we’re talking honestly here. Is Father Christmas real or not?”

She’s just turned 9, and has been asking the question since before last Christmas, but has seemed unwilling to give up the story completely – although I suspect she suspected – we played along with each other. For each other’s sake.

I’m not really sure if she’s too old for it or what – it’s just what she wanted, it made her happy to believe. it made us happy.

It’s what you do. With Conor it was different. One year he believed. One year he didn’t but pretended he did, and the next year, it was somehow all out in the open. No big discussion. No discussion at all. 

Layla, she needs answers. From me. Half-truths and nudge-nudge-wink-wink will not be tolerated. Facts. She needs them and means to have them even if it hurts a bit.

I tried to um and ah my way out of it. I’m not ready to let go.

“Well, what do YOU think?” and “Does it matter if it’s real or not?” and “What do YOU want the answer to be?” and eventually, withering under her stern 9 year old evil eye – just squirmy silence. Sheepish. Baaaa.

“Why are you making that face, mom?”

(What face?, I think of asking, but don’t. I can feel my pursed lips and twitching eye. My fibbing face. She clearly knows what she’s looking at)

“i just want to know what’s been going on all these years. Is it you who brings the presents?” 

Squirm. Silently. Baaaa.

She’s holding my face now – no escape.

Try one more tack.

“Theoretically, how’d you feel if it WASN’T real?”, I ask.

“A little bit disappointed”. More silence from me as I contemplate breaking her heart. Impatient now, she barks at me.

“Come on, it’s not that hard! Just yes or no!”

And that’s it. There we go. The end. 

I can’t lie. Not like this.

“It’s me. I’m sorry”

“Oh, okay. Hmm.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m a little bit sad. But I will have forgotten about it tomorrow”

***************

 She hasn’t forgotten, I don’t imagine. In our house, Christmas after Santa becomes something different, no less magical or fun, just in a new way. I hope she feels the same.

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by tansy

This is what I don’t get

March 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Saturday afternoon spent with some of the moms from our group. Can’t go into it here. Conditions that some people live in, and the emotional suffering that so many people in the world endure, is enough to make you want to run and hide. Also – people such as me (who have no other choice but to call themselves atheist, because “Other” doesn’t cut it) – are capable of quite a stern and vigorous lecture in the Biblical principles of doing unto others as you’d have etc, when called upon to do so. My jaw still hurts from talking.

Then. Son goes to party at fancy ginormous house on Saturday night. I give him the usual drinking drugs etc lecture. Goes like this:

Me: “Son?”

Him: “Hmmm?”

Me: “The Lecture.”

Him: “Right, yes. Consider it given”

Me: “Right, good then”

Off he goes. Regular tweets as to the progress of the evening keep us updated and entertained.

Home time at midnight. Check vigorously yet discreetly for signs of disrepair. None visible.

Proceeds to regale us with lurid details of kerfuffeling (other people), dope smoking (around the corner also other people) and bottles of gin delivered by the Dial-a-Dop man. Latter half of evening spent in bathroom holding a lovely classmate’s hair while she puked her brains out, and spotting faces in the puddles of badly-aimed wee on the floor. This by a boy who can’t even dispose of dog poop without gagging.

Apparently he was one of only 3 who weren’t legless.

And all of this while the party-givers parents were there in the house.

Now. Here’s the thing, see. Me, I’m not stupid. I know that such things go on, and for a bunch of 16 year olds to have a party where such things didn’t go on at all would be… unlikely…. at best. 

So it’s to be expected, to some degree. That’s not to say that if I’d found any signs of disrepair in my offspring upon his return, there wouldn’t have been hellfire and brimstone rained down upon hisg hapless head. There would have been. Even though I know that such a thing is probably inevitable eventually, it’s still not okay.

So right, I get that whole shebang.

What I DON’T get, see, is the concept of the parent being in the house while her child and children of other people who she is therefore responsible for do things that are still, at their age, not legal, never mind entirely ill-advised and unhealthy and also, by the way, rather fucking dangerous.

I don’t get how all of that was okay for them to know it was happening and just let it go on.

I just don’t understand.

Is it me?

Am I crazy?

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by tansy

I’m sure he does it on purpose

February 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Bearing in mind that this is NOT the first time (or second, or 100th) time we’ve had this conversation:

Picture it, suppertime, our house

Me: Conor, please put some peas in that thingy

Conor: What thingy?

Me: You know, that bowl thing, man

Conor: How many peas?

Me: What? Huh? I dunno, 67 peas

Conor: (begins counting out)

Me: (sense of humour stuffed off) Aaargh! Just as many peas as we’ll need!

Conor: How many is that?

Me: (determined to teach a lesson here and not give in, while trying to cook the other bits of the supper, read the paper and maybe breathe if i’m lucky). As many peas as you usually have on a plate, for each person. You know how many peas you normally have

Conor: well, it depends on what the peas are cooked in. If they are cooked in apple juice or orange juice (huh? I’ve NEVER done that), I’d probably have a fewer, but if they are cooked in pure unadulterated water I’d probably have more. So how many peas?

Me: *dies*

Me: Well, how about for five seconds you pretend you are a NORMAL person and imagine how many peas you’d have then?

Conor: Oh, okay, a normal person?  *Best Homer Simpson face ever* 

But yet! I still win because I didn’t put the peas in the bowl, did I? No matter how hard he tried to make me

Gee wiz I’m a nasty mama hey? sorry my boy. love you lots. x

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by tansy

Lunchtime exercise

February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Not at all that kind of exercise, I’m afraid. No kilojoules lost here, except for those burnt off through pure, unadulterated, head-exploding hatred of all that is… well, just all that IS.

Today I am MEAN TRACY, well done for guessing!

Mean, unkind, uncharitable, snipy, bitchy, opposite-of-giving-the-benefit-of-the-doubt,  everybody-shut-the-fark-up-with-your-stupidness-that-gives-me-a-rash Tracy.

She makes an appearance, on occasion. Today’s she’s out with bells on, swinging her frilly bitch parasol around and generally making herself unpopular.

Wanna see her?

Google GRUMPY FACE & look at the image results. Go on, do it, I’ll wait……

***************ON HOLD MUSIC***************************

Right, you’re back.

Now, take ALL those pictures you saw, roll them up onto one somewhat dumpy, somewhat bland, yet wild-eyed and neck-vein-popping package, stick on a pair of uncomfortable shoes & earrings which were a dumb idea & you have MEEEEEE!

Huzzzaaaaaaaaah!

This is where I stand today. This is who has control of my mind, my feelings and my mouth today. I apologise in advance.

Do I have reasons? No, not really.

Is it going to help to hear “Chin up, cheer up” and so on? No, not really. But thanks for trying. 

Will it pass in a minute? God, I hope so. Otherwise somebody, somewhere, sometime today is gonna get it in the neck.

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