Casper and the Devil

Children are like dominoes. When one falls the others soon follow. So projectile vomiting daughter has turned into projectile vomiting brothers. Apparently they started at school yesterday – God forbid anyone call me. I suppose they loathe me so much they couldn’t bear to. I suppose I can understand that. By the time I arrived to cart Small boy aged 6 to the chapel service, Small boy aged 9 was doing an Oscar winning impression of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Poor kid didn’t make it through the service and passed out about 15 minutes in.

The ghost metaphor continues into the wee hours of the morning with small boys taking in turns to wail and moan. All they needed was clanking chains and we could start a theme park. Needless to say I risked the wrath of the school and kept both boys home for the day. Small boy aged 9 has lapsed in and out of semi-consciousness all day and still looks utterly dreadful. He is insisting on a trip to the doctor, but if this is anything like his sister’s bout, it should clear up in a day or two.

There is something terribly fragile about a sick boy of any age. They seem to take it harder, like a personal insult that their strength should fail them. There can also be no moment when a mother feels so powerless then when her child is ill. You would do anything, but you can’t. All you can do is hold them and force evil tasting medicines down their throats (most of which re-emerge shortly thereafter even more evil than when they went down). Then karma kicks in and you get it too.

This parental karma thing seems to be a point of discussion today. Why do we punish children for testing boundaries when that is what they have to do? In fact the question was more along the lines of why do we do the same things to our kids that our parents did to us? That is the perverted karma of parenting or in Biblical terms, “the sins of the fathers” and so on.

Let’s take hell for example. Once upon a time my dad took me to Gilooley’s Farm ar dusk. I asked what the coals glowing in the grates were.
He replied, “That is where the devil roasts naughty little girls at midnight.” I’ve never been there again.
A few weeks later I broke a coffeepot of his and knocked on the door of the bathroom where my mother was enjoying a moment’s respite submerged in the bath.
Small girl: “Mummy, if I did something really bad would the devil come and take me to hell?”
Mummy: “Well, you’d better tell me what you did before I can answer that.”
Small girl: “I broke daddy’s coffeepot.”
Mummy: “Well then… I suppose you’d better go to room and start praying.”

You see, this is an example of how parents can have a good laugh at the children’s expense. These days I look at this story as a humorous interlude, back then I didn’t sleep for a week. I prayed like nobody’s business. You see, I knew where the devil would take me.

My father-in-law used to take tremendous pleasure in standing outside the window where his son and I had recently collapsed to bed in an hour before dawn. He’d get a piece of metal and the angle grinder and laugh. This was payback for the years when his son woke up with the birds and expected him to too.

My children are far too rational to fall for this type of psychological warfare. But I do have plans. Oh yes. I do. Here is one. Assuming skin mags are still existence, the first time I find one in one of son’s bedrooms I plan to purchase the next edition and quietly swap them. Then when he is older, maybe at his 21st, I’ll include the little anecdote in my speech. Perhaps I’ll save it for his wedding. Small boy currently aged 9 will also have to pay me R3 000 if he brings a girl home when he is 16. I’ve got that in writing.

As for the school saga, I am persona non grata. The class teacher will barely greet either of us beleaguered parents. I suppose I can’t blame her, but it doesn’t say much for “opening the channels of communication”. Most of the parents find it amusing that this little blog could have caused so much uproar. So do I. My dad gave me a good piece of advice though, “Don’t back down, but for God’s sake don’t lose your temper”. Peas in a pod he and I. Peas in a pod.

So what with a looming deadline and PMS I decided to give the headmistress meeting a skip for all our benefits. However, she did have a point I must concede, which is that she has not been offered a platform on which to respond. While a petulant part of me wants to say, “Well, get your own blog then”. The more intelligent part of me would like to invite the school to send me a response, which I shall duly post up here for all to see. It’s a very good school. I’m just a difficult client who expects horribly high standards.

It’s probably a relic from my short time in the States, that and a deep yearning for decent Mexican food. Oh and calling it the trunk and the glove compartment. I just can’t get back into the boot and the cubby hole. It’s a very pervasive culture that way.

Images from: and

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