Jonah: If it’s yellow, let it mellow
Rose: If it’s brown flush it down
Jonah: And if it’s pink let it stink.
Silence rested upon the Fife household. My husband and I resisted every urge to erupt into uncontrollable laughter.
Eventually, I was composed: “Jonah, who taught you that?”
I am doubtful.
I know that since pa’s kidneys failed him in 2005, his yellow may very well now be presenting as pink… It is the ‘letting it stink’ that has me concerned about pa’s life lessons.
I called, and pa vehemently denied teaching any parables of what to do with pink anything. He was slightly appalled, but we both pretended that we hadn’t heard the other age old adage, long pre-cursing the Cape Town water crisis.
But today, a few days after Jonah’s Freudian slip, I am home with two children who are both the most adorable and lazy-for-school individuals I have ever met.
Jonah and Rose both have runny tummies.
Also, Rose has discovered her vagina, and I am on constant Christian-patrol.
So evidently, Jonah’s poem was more clairvoyant than anything.
Right now I am home with one in the pink, and two in the stink.
It’s my teens all over again.
Parenting is not lekker.
Yes, it is rewarding, sometimes. But it is the hardest, most uncomfortable, stressful thing.
Now, in my opinion, there are three types of people you cannot trust.
- Anyone who impregnates you out of marriage.
- People who say “I won’t say no”. They are tricksters who think you won’t notice that they are actually saying yes.
- Your own children.
At the end of January I was shaken out of my bubble, that my little boy was an innocent soul.
He is, in fact… a boef.
By the time school started last month, I had exhausted most of my funds. I had luckily budgeted just enough for food, airtime and my son’s transport in the mornings and afternoons.
For the two weeks till month end, I needed to pay his driver R320.
I drew the cash.
2 x R100 notes
2 x R50 notes
1 x R20 note
This is relevant.
That morning, while Riyaahd was taking the children to the pick-up point, the car got stuck in the sand, delaying their arrival. Once freed, Jonah had missed the van, and Riyaahd had to take him to school.
This actually meant that Jonah couldn’t pay the driver in the morning and was now tasked with remembering to pay, the moment he stepped into the van in the afternoon.
I have a fairly smart seven year old. I didn’t feel that we were giving him more than he could handle. I was at ease.
Until my WhatsApp buzzed at 2pm.
Driver: Hello Shana. I am standing here with a R120. Sidney bought all his friends sweets with the money.
Me: Hi there. Uhm. Sorry?
My brain froze for a few seconds. I was filled with rage. But at this point, the rage was at the driver, who I was more than sure had just accused my son of something absolutely impossible. He was an angel who would never sacrifice this family name for a future in Pollsmoor Prison.
Sometimes I take things too far.
Driver: Yes I caught him in the shop line with the taxi money. He bought everyone sweets.
I nearly popo’d in my pants.
I was in the eyes.
And in the stink.
Me: I am so sorry. I will sort this out as soon as he gets home. I will make sure to pay you the difference.
And just like that, I turned into an African American version of myself, walking around my house, half hopping, talking to myself in half sentences … looking for belts and sloffies.
“This bitch ass laaitie….. Come steal my fokken…. After all I sacrificed… All my life I had to fight…”
I phoned his Daddy.
I felt we needed to devise a plan on the most effective strategy to moer him, without permanent injury.
Riyaahd fetched the kids from aftercare, and when they arrived here at 6, Jonah entered the door in total silence.
Death had fallen upon the Fife household.
Rosie: Mama why is boeta sad?
Me: He done fucked up.
Rosie: Okay, Can I watch Netflix?
I sent Rose to her room and asked Jonah to have a seat in the lounge. I wanted to see him sweat. He was in his pink.
Riyaahd and I sat down next to each other, and stared at Jonah. We put the belt on the table between us.
We felt very official.
Jonah started to cry.
I immediately softened.
This wasn’t the plan.
Jonah: Mama the money flew out my hand. I forgot who it was for. I wanted to buy something for you.
All three kaare caught me off guard.
We spoke softly for a while.
We decided that because he was gonna use money that wasn’t his, regardless of the fact that it blew away… he was going to be punished. We took away his Xbox for the month and hugged him.
I am sure the driver misunderstood the situation.
I am a weak person.
The week went on.
On the Friday, I asked the driver what the balance was so that I could do the EFT and her response nearly shook me to my core.
Driver: Hi Shana, I recovered another R30 of the money, so the balance is lower.
Here is why this shook me.
1: My baby said the money flew out his hand. I doubt his driver was dedicated enough to run after the notes as they meandered in the wind.
2: From two R100 notes, two R50 and notes and a R20… minus R120: Waa te fok kry jy n R30?
That afternoon, my mommy and daddy fetched Jonah from school and when they brought him home, I was ready at the front door.
I said: “Boeta, your driver phoned me today. She is on her way here”.
From nowhere, he erupted in tears. . . Into a full confession:
“Mamaaaaa, I gave the money to my friends. We bought us sweets. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to whaaaaack meeee”.
And then, another struggle started.
My dad: “Come to pa. Don’t cry my boy. Moetie die kind soe uit stressie”.
I stood in silence.
My mom: Hoeveel keer het jy nie geliegi? Jy was al innie tronk toegesluit.
My dad: Innie oe.
My mom: Ek gat nou noggie St. Phillips toe nie.
Jonah had brought his body guards.
The clever little shit.
And then, I realized why I moved out of my parents home with my kids. You cannot raise kids around grandparents.
Forget that my mommy used to breakdance on my hol when I was even slightly naughty. Jonah was their ‘precious’.
I was defeated and simply said: “Your daddy and I will discuss punishment when he gets home”.
I pretended not to see my daddy cynically laugh.
And these are just some of the things that make parenting hard.
If you have ever had a baby and had to live with your parents or older siblings, you will know the power struggle which I speak of when it comes to disciplining your children…
This is another blog’s issue though…..
This isn’t the struggle I want to tell you all about. Not this week anyway.
The above struggles are phases that every parent will meet, and try to overcome as their child grows up.
But, the story I actually want to tell you is unbelievable.
It is an uncommon struggle, that only a few people will admit to – or relate to.
It is a side of my life that I hardly discuss, unless with my closest friends and family. Mostly because, I already have a public history of mental illness, and this would discredit me further.
But I am ready now to let you into another part of my life.
There are three facts that I will stand by, regardless of how people will react.
Fact 1: When you are pregnant, and for weeks after you give birth, the smell from your vagina will make you gag… no matter how many times you wash… or how hot and soapy the water is.
Fact 2: Everybody has a racist/homophobic/prejudice family member, who is over the age of 50. And even though we are social justice warriors on social media, we never really correct this family member, and would never sell them out.
Fact 3: The supernatural is real.
When we moved into our home in 2016, I didn’t really enjoy the atmosphere that came along with the property.
I have mentioned my clairvoyant dreams before, in my New Year blog post, but I haven’t really delved into the feelings I sometimes get from people, places and objects…
I am about to.
Our house has been around for years, and I assumed, that like with many old things, it has had its fair share of owners. Owners who may not have been as noble in their pursuit of all Godly things, as my family has made a point of being.
My children share a room.
This is also for several reasons, but mostly because they are very used to being in the same bed. When I lived with my parents, all three of us (My kids and I) shared a room. Now that I am married and have my own home, naturally I sleep in the main bedroom with my spouse. They chose to sleep together, and not in separate bedrooms.
Also, my children are afraid of ghosts.
One night, around 1am, I was in bed, doing some work, Riyaahd was sleeping and the kids were of course asleep in their room.
I must have dozed off, when I felt that familiar pressure on my chest.
My eyes were open, but I was again unable to move.
I didn’t see anything besides my bedroom, and when I awoke, it was 5am – Time to wake up. I promptly checked on the kids, and woke my husband for work.
We dressed the children and as we were eating breakfast, Jonah said something that gave me absolute chills.
Jonah: Mama, who was the lady in the house last night?
Rose: Er boeta, standing by the door?
I tried to keep my face as straight as possible, and said that no one had been in the house, except for me and daddy. And that they were probably dreaming again, because of the nonsense Jonah liked to watch on YouTube (He enjoyed scary cartoons like Coraline).
They went on eating.
It wasn’t really the fact that they had seen someone in their room that bothered me.. not as much as the next revelation:
Jonah: No mama, the lady had a white hand… and long red nails.
As a child, I saw many psychologists for the things I saw and said – things that must have really scared my mother.
Besides being diagnosed with several disorders, the things that stand out now in my memory, are all the times that I would cry to my mommy, saying that I had seen a ghost.
I saw other children who weren’t there, I dreamt of people I had never met and I experienced many nights of sleep paralysis that left me very scared to be alone, even into my teens.
One particular day, when I was around eight years old, I remember being in my room, laying on my bed alone.
This was the first time I saw … her.
I know that my mom was in the kitchen making food, and I could hear her chopping away.
I must have fallen asleep, when I felt someone sit at the edge of my bed.
I don’t remember much, but when I turned to face the other side, I realized that I was actually laying in someone’s arms. It took me a while to be scared though.
….. When I saw the white hand, and long red fingernails.
The thing is, I have never, ever told this story to my children…
To be continued.
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