Our Children Are The Window To Our Character!

If the eyes are the window to the soul, our children are the window to our character.

Barring all the egomaniacs, I assume that all parents want their children to get all of their positive traits and NONE of the pesky negative little buggers. This is what you want for your children, is it not? 

Yes, of course children learn more from what we are than what we teach, and so on and so forth. However, there are also genetic traits passed on to our children that, although we are responsible for, we can do nothing about. 

Speaking for myself, I imagined that as a parent, I would be gifted a mini version of me and my husband’s characters. So my genius solution to parenting was going to involve the arduous process of ensuring that, with the benefit of hindsight, we could ensure that we would be able to (ever so gently) annihilate all the negative character traits that we passed on to our mini me, and straight up vigorously cultivate those we had learnt had fared us well!   

Previously I had touched on the topic of how we just assume our children will take on our characters. I also mentioned how shocked and horrified I was when I learned that they also had their own characters. So, taking my ”Theory of Parenting” above into account, you can only imagine how many times I have been shocked and horrified in the past!!  

On realizing that one cannot simply annihilate these character traits that my children received from me or their dad, I did a hasty 360 degree spin, and wished that my children in fact had MORE of their OWN distinctive traits. 

So to sum up….they had their own characters……..shocked and horrified, it proved impossible to ever so gently (or fiercely) annihilate our unpleasant character traits in them …….shocked and horrified. But the biggest shock and horror was when I started learning more about myself from my children’s characters!! 

Now the reason why I imagine my shock and horror was intensified, is because I have always regarded myself as being hugely self aware. And yes, everything I see in my children that reflects my character is not new to me. However, how these troublesome traits are perceived by other people is!! I was now experiencing my unpleasant traits from the another person’s perspective…..and I cannot lie…..it was slightly unpleasant!! This has been the real lesson for me. 

Suddenly it is no longer being aware of my pesky traits, but trying to do something about them. Well that is if I am interested in becoming a better person….will get back to you on that!

The above has been highlighted to me over the past few months. I pretty much think a lot has been highlighted to everyone during COVID conditions, as we have been spending way more time with our loved ones, and have way more time to reflect…..never healthy for my psyche!!

During this crazy COVID period, I have uncharacteristically worried about every sniff, cough or sneeze that comes from my children…..because obviously…..it is all Corona!! This, evidently, drives them INSANE. The minute I hear someone clearing their throat…”why you coughing?” I inquire, assuming they will have a full medical diagnosis ready for me.

”Mommmmmmm……” will always be the reply…together with the mandatory eyes rolling to the back of their annoying little skulls.

So a few days ago, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head. Unfortunately, taking into account how cramped it is in my head, this method normally clears only 2,5% of the clutter…….you know, just to make a bit of room for new squatters. Anyway, my tried and yet to be successful methods of clearing my immensely cluttered head, are not what is important here. Once I got home, I sniffed…..twice….which is what I do when I have been in the cold…and Pepper, without hesitation, asked why I was sniffing. Now for a fraction of a second, I was getting into the required position to roll my eyes, when it dawned on me….Pepper was me….that’s me, that anxiety riddled maniac that I am….poor Pepper got that from me…..and it was not attractive!!

I had a similar situation with Salt a few days ago. I was always a glass half full kinda gal, and had a very low tolerance level with anyone whose glass was always half empty. Unfortunately Salt was the half empty chap. All through his childhood I tried to get him to see that darned glass as half full. Hours and hours of motivational chats, leaving some literature ”lying around”…anything…..anything to get his glass half full. 

Pepper was neither. He did not have a clue how much was in the glass, but he just knew he had to get on with it. Like me….previously.

However in the last hmmmmph while , I have been a ”okay the cup is half full, but will it ever get fuller” kinda gal. So I have begun questioning this annoying cup, which might well risk me becoming that person who I had low tolerance levels for!!

So, yesterday, Salt pulled me aside to ask why I am always so stressed and cranky, as he was concerned about what it was doing to my health and well being. He recommended that I tried doing something about it. That was rich coming from a 20 year old man child, living at home with his mom….no worries or stresses……everything just laid out on that platter for his Lordship. But what struck a nerve was that my state of mind was affecting him.

Unfortunately, my children have always been extremely sensitive to my moods. I feel like I am constantly being observed. What makes it more unfortunate, is that I sometimes appear to be troubled, when in fact I am merely deep in thought, or having an introspective moment. It is that wretched resting face of mine which can be so deceptive. So I am often having to explain that I am actually fine, even though to them I appear to be troubled. I am aware of the problem, and find myself trying hard to have an untroubled expression at all times. This can get tiring mind you, as I feel as if I constantly have to be on guard!

Of course all children worry about their parents, but I do believe there are reasons for their elevated concern. Firstly, I am their only surviving parent, so my health is of primary importance to them. Secondly they are of the male species, which automatically makes them assume that without a male I am less capable, and also they are subconsciously aware of the fact that I do not have someone to share the emotional load with. So in their precious, protective and loving minds, they feel that my health and well being are their responsibility.

So the next day I called a meeting of the spices, and explained to my two concerned little men, that they need to stop obsessing about my well being, as it was not healthy for their well being.

“But mom, we have been telling you to stop worrying about us for years, and you still do,” said Salt trying to explain that it is not that simple to just ”stop worrying about someone or something”.

”But that is different, I am your mother,” I protested.

”Well we are your children,” Pepper retorted.

“Yes, but…..” I began, before finding an extremely urgent chore to attend to, and darted off.

So here I am, determined to try and not give a flying feather about my children, so that there will be no more troubled expressions on my face, so that they can stop giving a flying feather about me, so that we can all LIVE A HEALTHY AND HAPPY EXISTENCE!!

……let”s see how that plays out shall we???

Walk……Must Walk……..

So, as I said once-upon-a-blog-ago, I have always done some sort of exercise. I started in my early teens, not when it had yet become a ‘’culture’’. Back then there were not gyms on every block in every neighborhood, or walking/running/cycling clubs in every area. But even if there had been, I was never that person. Nope, I used to put on some music (food for my soul), and just do some stretches or floor exercises. As always, if I do something, I do it in an annoyingly OCD manner. Every day between 5pm and 6pm, there I was….being all active and stuff.

Then arrived the infamous Jane Fonda. I started with her cassette tapes (yes, I am THAT old), and moved onto the video tapes. Year in and year out….5pm to 6pm was religiously my ‘’workout regime’’.

Then arrived Pepper….well, as all women who have had children know, life is never quite the same. I would try dabbling in my former all consuming exercise time, but something always put an end to it. And I am an ‘’all or nothing’’ type of gal. I even tried that amazing practice that I saw in the magazines, where mom and babe exercise together…like the earth mother with her earth child….but nope, Pepper was no earth child!!

So, having been such a disciplined exercise doer for so many of the years WHEN IT WAS NOT THAT NECESSARY, my body became an un-exercised, un-oiled and unhappy machine!

Once Salt and Pepper had successfully managed to destroy my health and fitness lifestyle, they then decided to embark on theirs, and so began my decade journey of being a soccer mom. At some point, a lot of the moms decided to start taking a leisurely stroll around the fields, while the little budding world class soccer players were training. Then myself and another ”all or nothing”, Type A, intense and psychopathic friend of mine, decided we were not doing this piddly yacker yacker stroll any longer, and we took it to the streets!! Boy we walked…hard…fast and for a good few years!! I used to call it therapy, and my Sergeant Major partner, my ‘’Rabbi’’. Not because she was Jewish, but because I felt that the sessions were therapeutic and enlightening. She is the no nonsense, tactless and intolerant friend I have referred to in the past. I would start the walk with my thoughts dim and confused, and end it with my thoughts clear and certain!!  

The only problem with old Sarge, was that she traveled overseas at least once a year, so there was a break in our rigorous world class training. But I dealt with the brief inconvenience of it all. My children would repeatedly ask when she was coming back, which I eventually realized was because they craved their clear, certain and mildly better mannered mom back.

Unfortunately, my Rabbi started travelling more often, which then meant I couldn’t ‘’all’’ it, so ended up ‘’nothing’’ it. I decided to start my bedroom fitness plan again, but in the interim had got older and developed some age related back pain. I found the exercises were actually exacerbating the problem. So I listened to all the professors out there about ‘’strong core’’ and all, and tried both Yoga and Pilates. This exacerbated it even more. Especially as the instructor was a young girl, who did not understand that a young healthy body does not necessarily need the same exercises as an ailed and decrepit one. So plan aborted, and that started a few years of doing absolutely bloody nothing!!!

Anyway, fast forward to COVID lock down, and I decided to walk around my complex. Now, I have blogged about this already, so I am not going into detail, but so ended my ”nothing” and began my “all’’. For the last year, as I do, I have completely OCD’d it. It started as my way of clearing my mind and taking my power back. You know, being in control OF SOMETHING, as no way the Universe was having any human being in control of anything….as COVID so powerfully pointed out to us. Here I could decide when to walk, how much to walk and whether to walk!!

I have now realized that I had given my rabbi way too much credit. It was the walking that cleared my mind and soothed my soul. This I realized, when I sprained my ankle during lock down….doing something in a rushed and frantic manner…as I do…seldom because it is necessary. My super duper special spices rallied around me, ice in a bucket to soak my ankle…check, ankle strapped….check, pillows fluffed….check… putting on and binging on Neflix….check and check.

So after I moaned and whined that I was not sure if I could walk with the pain (day one), I was instructed, in no uncertain terms, by my concerned and MOST PRECIOUS spices, that I needed to relax and rest the ankle, and not stress about the walking. Relax?? Rest?? Not stress?? I thought. And there I was thinking my children had figured me out after all this time……clearly bloody not!!!!

So day two, I persisted in my whining, and mentioned that perhaps I should try a slow crawl for a few laps.

‘’Mom, you really need to wait for this to heal, as at YOUR AGE (????) you could cause permanent damage’’, said one (or both) of my swine bastard spices!!!

I am sure I could walk away the pain, I thought….blocking out what disgusting words my spices had just spewed.

Anyway, day three, and I was ready to do a slow limp, to ease my way back into my sanity.

‘’Mom, just Google it before you do any permanent damage,’’ the well meaning Pepper suggested.

So Google it I did. Well I did not like what Google was telling me!! Rest…give it time to heal otherwise permanent damage will be caused….arthritis later in life…..endless, endless reasons why I should do what my spices had suggested in the first place.

So, I did rest. I started doing exercises in my room again, to keep this well oiled machine in the making, ready for my next debut. But what? I cannot hear you!! YES….MY BACK, NECK AND ARMS STARTED PLAYING UP AGAIN!!! Anyway, not one for giving up control, I just went in harder and stronger, determined to move past the aches and pains. Well….don’t bloody even….then I was limping on one leg, contorting my upper body because of the back pain and walking like a duck with aspirations of becoming a penguin!! So, as you can imagine, I was a sheer DELIGHT to be around.

Anyway, until my precious swine spices could take me no longer, I eased back into my walks.

So, in case you thought that is where it ended….last week I sprained or broke 2 toes. I did this by doing something in a rushed and frantic manner…again…..as I do…seldom because it is necessary…which it wasn’t….again. I say sprained or broken, as I do not do doctors unless I have no choice, and I know there is nothing that can be done about it either way. However my trusted adviser, Google, said if there is swelling and bruising, they are probably broken.

However, this was my grocery shopping day, so got into the car, used damaged toes on clutch, shopped on damaged toes, and then….obviously…got a message from a neighbor who here and there walks with me, that she wants to walk. Well, who was I to pass up a walk with company?? So after our 45 minute walk, where I literally looked like a deformed crab, and quietly endured EXCRUCIATING pain, she insisted we call it a day. On getting back home, I finally took my walking shoes off, to be confronted by two swollen and bruised toes. So if Google was to be believed, I had two broken toes. But, I chose not to listen to what the know it all wise ass Google had to say, as it also said ‘’ rest…give it time to heal otherwise permanent damage will be caused….arthritis later in life…..’’

After not being able to resist any longer, which was 5 long days, I took to the road again. I was now limping on my left broken toes foot, granted, slowly, and naturally the cockeyed manner in which I have been walking now has my ‘’not healed enough ankle by the time I started walking again’’ playing up, together with my initial back pains. But hey….my mind is crystal clear.

Interestingly enough, the outpouring of love and affection by my spices during lock down….not so much. No ice bucket to soak my toes, strapping or fluffing of pillows. But even more alarmingly……..no protective instructions to rest until it heals…..…cannot imagine why???

Seeking A Spiritual Advisor!!

Because I have such strong opinions, and am so passionate about my opinions……well okay, let’s call a spade a spade…..let’s substitute ”passionate about my opinions” with ”am almost always right with my opinions”, I rarely find comfort or satisfaction in anyone else’s opinions.

In the last few years, I have found the need for more spiritual reasoning, if you will. I have always been hugely spiritual, which is a bit of a conundrum, as I am also ridiculously practical and sensible, but I now require more spiritual reasoning to answer all my questions. Common sense is just not cutting it so much anymore.

Over the years, I have unilaterally made a particular friend of mine my go to spiritual advisor, without her knowledge of course! She is one of those ‘’hardly ever spend time together, but never affected our relationship’’ friends, who is so brutally honest (aka hard, cold and tactless), sensible and logical. No I am not referring to myself, but other than me, she is the most no nonsense person I know. Not so much of the spiritual though. So, often in the past we have had chats and I have gained a lot from her no nonsense and ruthless reasoning. But now I am in search for more spiritual reasoning.

My other friends, and I say this with love, not a spiritual bone in their bodies!! So clearly I have surrounded myself with people who are everything I am not…hopefully there has been some method in my madness!

Now, I have the privilege of having two nieces, who I think might be very much what I am requiring. Both, in very different worlds, are very pensive and I think wise, but the fact that they do not live in the same place as me, means I cannot utilise them as my spiritual advisors!!

Oh, and to the niece who requested that I devote a blog to my amazing nieces…this is not a reference to you. You are indeed amazing….but amazingly hysterical, amazingly cheeky and amazingly fun….not sure you would be my spiritual advisor though. No, if we lived in the same location, I think we would have coffee and talk…..a lot….and laugh….. a lot. But then I would have to ask you to give up your seat for my niece who would manage to answer every question I have about life, after launching into a few hours of spiritual reasoning as to how she arrived at her answers. Or maybe, I will reverse the order….the spiritual sessions might prove to be a bit draining, so I would require you to take a seat after all my problems and questions were sorted out……you know, to lighten the mood! But, you would have to wait at another table, until I made it clear that your presence was required. I simply cannot have my spiritual slot being interrupted by humour and fun and such trite!!

So in my blogs, I often pose questions, which I imagine readers just assume are rhetorical. The reason for this is obvious…..I am so intellectually superior (hey…stop being mean….), that people just assume I have all the answers. Truth be told, I often do pose rhetorical questions, but I would like to believe that my readers are sophisticated enough to sift through the myriad of questions, and figure out which ones require a response. Or, as is probably more likely the case, my two and a half readers do not feel the need to engage in any feedback. But that is fine….as long as you keep reading the darn things!!

So it got me to thinking, perhaps somewhere out yonder, there might possibly be a potential follower, who would be able to answer my hypothetical questions…..a ‘’Grumpy Guru’’ if you will. Well, maybe not so much of the ‘’grumpy’’, as true spiritual advisors are not grumpy by nature. No, they are peaceful, tranquil and composed, which is precisely why this Grumpy Mummy is in such desperate need of one.

So, I am just going to put it out into the Universe, and let us see if this Law of Attraction nonsense is what it promises to be!!

Anyway….back to the actual topic at hand!! So my current spiritual dilemma relates to being charitable. Now, there is very little that irks me more than people who are constantly telling everyone how charitable they are. That, of course negates the entire benevolence of this conduct, does it not? I totally believe in giving those less fortunate than me. However, my benevolence is dependent on certain prerequisites. And this is where I need answers. You see, there are gazillions of people less fortunate than myself. But, it is the reason for their misfortune which is my inner guide to deciding whether or not they are ‘’worthy’’ of my charity. Ummm, okay, reading that back, I may have answered my own question….dammit!! But hear me out anyway….

So my requirements are multifaceted. A potential recipient needs to be someone who has not created their misfortune themselves. It can most certainly not be someone who has made a choice to live off other people all their lives. It needs to be someone who is at least making an effort to better their unfortunate situation. Judgy much, you might be thinking? But how do you equate a person who has nothing because they were literally never given the opportunity, skills or means to have more, with a lazy and/or self-entitled individual? What about those that have things ripped out from under their feet because of something totally beyond their control? These are not the same group of people in my mind. There are the ‘’get off your lazy ass and go and make something happen for yourself’’ people, and then there are those that I consider ‘’deserving’’ of charity.

Then there are things like crowd funding and organisations that you hear stories of fraudulent behaviour about. These are definitely not going to be on my list either. Somehow, I only trust the process when I am able to see where my contributions are going.

So, just as an example, for me, the waitron in an eating establishment, working long hours, being verbally abused by fortunate customers, deserves a really decent tip! The person sitting on pavement outside, who would rather rely on handouts than do an honest day’s work does not!!

Now….to my spiritual advisor out there in the stratosphere, the aforesaid is not the question that demands your attention. I have asked and answered this for myself (now there’s that strong opinionated, and passionate girl that I alone know and love).

This is my dilemma…..well let me make reference to what happened in the last few days. Sparing the details, there are two people known to me, who have suffered similar unfortunate events. Both are employed in the same capacity. Both are known to me for the similar amount of time. The one, a sweet, dear, gentle and well mannered man, and the other, someone who has not been any of the aforesaid qualities in my family’s dealings with him in the past. The one was the victim of an unfortunate event. When this became known to me, I, without hesitation assisted the man with some food and money. The other suffered the same fate a few days later. On becoming aware of this, and needing to make a decision as to whether to assist him as well, my first thought was, did this man actually even have this experience, or did he see how much his colleague received by all the generous donors, and decide that this was a way to make a quick buck? Secondly I started thinking back to all the past unpleasant incidences involving this individual, that had in the past made it uncomfortable for me, my children and even my children’s friends. My third thought was, who am I to judge, especially in a time like this?

So to you, my prospective spiritual advisor, I ask this question…..do I have any right to decide who is or is not deserving of my, or anyone else’ s charitable contribution?

Is There A Ghost In My House?

As with most families, I am sure, my family has an extended family chat group, which comprises of about 4870 members (this might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the drift). Members are spread across the world, too many have unfortunately never even met each other. But this is where you realize the privilege of living in the social media era. I could almost be living in the same country as my great nephews and nieces, as there are photos, updates etc.

We are four siblings, who could not be more different from one another. The same applies to the group members. We really are a group of ‘’all sorts’’…..every different spice, every different letter of the alphabet and just a melting pot of cultures and religions. We have something of everything. For the most part, the group comprises of a whole group of calm and serene members…..and then there’s me!!

My oldest brother, bless his little cotton socks, is one of my biggest supporters when it comes to my blogs (well, I dare say just generally). Every time one of my blogs is published, he shares it on the family group, together with a few words of praise. This is the point where I LITERALLY HEAR members’ eyes rolling to the back of their heads, thinking there goes that unhinged and unstable aunty/sister/sister in law again!! However, I do so appreciate him trying to spread my derangement with my extended family!!

Anyhoo, the reason I speak of this, is because he recently inquired as to whether my cubs, Salt and Pepper (the source of many of my blogs), read my posts. And the answer to that is yes, of course they do…..kinda…….sorta.

Initially, I would read Pepper my posts (more to run them by him for censorship purposes)…..yes, imagine…. me being petrified of being completely unfiltered!! To be honest, he enjoyed hearing them, and almost looked forward to hearing them, and it always ended with a smirk and a ”nice mom, I like it”. 

Then there was Salt, who after forcefully being led to my computer (me ignoring the eye rolls and huffs and puffs), would listen to my brilliant writings with a smirk on his face, chuckle here and there, and then utter the words, ‘’hmmm, nice mom’’, before sauntering off. The only time one of them got offended was when Salt heard that I had used the word ‘’beast’’ to describe him. He still makes reference to that. But he IS a beast…in the most affectionate way possible. Anyway, if THAT is what offended him, I am probably in the clear!  

You see, my children know me well. It might shock you (not), but there is virtually nothing that I have said about them in my posts which I haven’t said to their faces. Again, just making the diagnosis a breeze for any future therapist of theirs, with this easy to reference information!!

A few years ago, Salt told me that one of his friends said he loves that I am ‘’so savage”. I have yet to decide whether this should be taken as a compliment or an insult, but to date, I have chosen the former!!

Anyway, now that my Pepper is a working man, he is not always readily available to filter the posts before publishing them, but no need, as he never suggested any changes anyway.

So that is the answer to my brother’s  very valid question. And here I am again….. with my children as my content. Who am I to pass up an opportunity to write about the day to day goings on in my life?? And really, my subject matter make it so easy to do this!!

So after all that waffling, I will now discuss this ‘’ghost’’ that Pepper swore was in his room.

Our house has been a lot like musical rooms for the last 15 years. When we initially moved in, Salt and Pepper each had a room, and there was, what can best be described as a small study/guest room/playroom/storeroom….the room with no name, if you will. 

When Pepper got a bit older, he decided he wanted to be a big boy, and move further away from his grumpy mummy, so he asked to move to the room with no name, as it was ‘’waaay yonder’’, and far enough away from his mummy (or seemed like it for a little squirt). Of course, the fact that he was totally downgrading flew way over his head! Salt then decided he wanted to be a big boy too, so he moved into Pepper’s old room. And that is how we remained ever since.

Then COVID appeared, and Pepper’s first year as a working man started remotely. One would then assume he would use Salt’s old room as an office, but that room affectionately became known as ‘’the dungeon’’, as that was where everything was stored (including friends that slept over). So my Pepper decided that he wanted to use the dungeon as his bedroom, and have a working space in WHAT WAS AN OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

So a few days after the shuffle took place, Pepper came to share with me his ghost theory. You see, he had a fan on in the room one evening, which was making a noise on the floor as it turned. So Professor Pepper decided to get some rolotowels to place under each four legs of the fan. Now, for those of you who do not know about rolotowels….they are those THICK ABSORBENT paper towels that are used to absorb spills….sometimes even dams!!! So Pepper takes two A4 size  sheets for each leg, folds each of them into what is virtually brick thick, and places them under each leg of the fan. Then, he woke up shocked that the fan had moved a smidge!!! For me, it was a miracle that it stayed standing!!

‘’But it’s not just that mom’’, he said when I explained the mystery of the moving fan. ‘’It’s lots of things. Like an empty deodorant bottle just disappeared out of my room the other day.” 

Anyway, thereafter I then heard him close his door every night, lock it, try open in to double check if it was indeed locked, and repeat the process again. There I sat, listening to this nightly ritual, wondering to myself what if this ”ghost” was in the room? Then he’d be in a bit of a pickle would he not??

I did briefly think, perhaps I should mischeviously mention this possibility to him, but then realised he would probably want to move back to his old room again, and I just could not have endured a redo of that whole production!

So, a few days later, he with a few brain cells missing, comes to tell me that there was a bath towel in his room which disappeared, and also the lights go on and off by themselves sometimes.

By now, I would imagine that a lot of you know where I am going with this??

But for those of you who are more ”Pepper-like”, let me paint a picture. Imagine me if you will, a beautiful boho chic-esque looking woman, with a straw sun hat, walking through fields of corn, hands stretched brushing these miracles of nature with my fingertips….um…..yes, well to make myself feel better, that is how I imagine myself, as I, ON AN HOURLY BASIS, walk through my house switching lights off…..picking up towels….and whatever else is in my path!! 

Naturally by now, you would have realised that the time came when Pepper walked in the room and saw me picking up a towel off the floor, and uttered the words, ”oh, maybe YOU are the ghost”. 

But more concerning for me, is HOW did he not realise that he had been having these ”ghostly encounters” for his whole life???

Oh Pepper…….

Disciplining Your Child 101!

As my cubs are now 20 and 23 years of age, disciplinary methods are not really required anymore. Well, let me put it differently…there are times we parents think it is still necessary, but disciplining two adult men is quite a task. So us (mostly) mothers, resort to the tried and tested ”mother’s guilt” to emotionally manipulate our older children. But if that fails (and it rarely does), yep, you got it…..‘’as long as you live under my roof…..” rears it’s effective head!!

But truth be told, it rarely comes to that, as either your children have become accustomed to what you expect of them, or you realize that some things are just not worth digging your heels in for. Of course there is the third possibility, which sorry to tell you, your kids also do, which is embellish the truth a little (aka “lie”). Then you have no knowledge of the fact that they need to be disciplined, and everyone lives happily ever after!!

However in all the years of our children growing up, the question parents continuously struggle with, is what is the best method of disciplining our children?? Of course we all have those moments where we have used a particular method, and it actually worked. Oh wow! Then we pat ourselves on our backs, and feel like we have cracked the code!! We get so excited, convincing ourselves that going forward, we will absolutely cruise through this child rearing thing, and our lives will be forever trouble-free!!!

As quickly as we thought that, we realize that, actually, not every method works every time. Then of course, our next unfortunate discovery is that not every method works for every child. Nope…why would life be that easy?? Then the worst discovery of all is that sometimes nothing actually works, and the moment just needs to pass, and hopefully everyone is alive at the end of it. So essentially, each situation that calls for discipline requires us to go back to the drawing board. Oh….. the joys!!!

So to recap…..only those who have never had children, know the answers to disciplining the little pesky creatures.

Now as far as my two spices were concerned, the disciplinary methods couldn’t have been further apart. My older spice, Pepper, never really required discipline. Please do not get me wrong, he was not a joy as a cub. FAR FROM IT!!! Until he was at least ten years old, he moaned a lot…..continuously. He whined a lot……continuously. He was DREADFUL…to put it mildly. But he was just a tortured, troubled and frustrated little spice. He just needed to be doing something every waking hour (still does). He was very tiring and draining. But he was sensible and responsible and never did pointless things. You know those things that most children do, where you find yourself so confounded by something they did, that your facial expression is that of total bewilderment and perplexity!!!

If something can be broken, they will break it. If something can be messed, they will mess it. If something can be climbed up, set on fire, flooded…..you must be getting the general idea here?? Not my Pepper though…he did not waste any of his precious whining or moaning hours on such paltry behaviour.

In the very early years….you know…those first few years where, as much as we would NEVER admit it to anyone (let alone ourselves), that we have no cooking clue who our child is…how they think….what upsets them etc, etc, you just do the best you can to keep them fed, bathed and safe. So much remains a mystery. You are still trying to figure out any behaviour on their part by trying to equate it with either your or your spouse’s personality or behavioural traits. You have yet to comprehend that the fact that this little stranger came into your lives as a result of you and your spouse’s DNA, does not of necessity mean that he is not his own person.

It was during those years, that I would try and use one of many disciplinary or reward methods on my Pepper. It was only later, when I did actually learn (kinda) about whom my Pepper really was, and became more acquainted with his thought processes, that I realized why no disciplinary or reward methods had been successful. The reason for this, was that he was never ‘’naughty’’ per se…..thinks every mother about their child. But with regards to Pepper, this really was the case. The reason why Pepper always looked so totally befuddled and hurt when I tried any of the recommended forms of disciplinary methods on him, all fell into place at a much later stage.

If he did or did not do something, there was always a very understandable explanation for this (even if it only made sense in his very busy, whining and moaning thoughts). But this I only understood properly as I got to know him more. Now for those of you who have dropped that lower jaw of yours, horrified that truly understanding my child was a process, I say….close your mouths, and be totally honest with yourselves.

To be fair…had I spent more time trying to figure out why he had not wanted to do something, I might have been a little more tolerant…but hey….we are all human, and we are just not able to take that time at that stage!! And that my dear people, is why we are blessed with grandchildren…so we can right all the wrongs we committed with our children…..you know….20/20 hindsight and all. We are wiser, have more time and patience and that is our time to shine…to show whatever higher power decides where to send us for eternity, that we really did learn from our mistakes and we are not rotten apples!!!

Then came Salt….sigh….anyone tried disciplining a stubborn (and bless his heart, I do love him, but spiteful) child??? Whatever you threaten to take away, will never be acknowledged as a problem. Even if you took away his oxygen, he would make sure of one thing….you would never see the disappointment on his face. And to make matters worse….it did not solve the problem anyway. Or there was the dreaded “calling my bluff’’, my absolute worst of his reactions. Once said bluff was called (and it regularly was), you had to go through with whatever you threatened to do, even though you knew it will be the most pointless exercise ever, and he would still not do what was required!!

Salt was also not a ”naughty’’ (as in “ facial expression is that of total bewilderment and perplexity” naughty) child. But he would, for NO RYTHME OR REASON just refuse point blank to do certain things.

Only ONE method worked, and on BOTH children to boot. This, only because their mother (yep……that’s me) was one dense broad…DENSE I TELL YOU. This was the “Swear Jar”. Yes, that stage where your children learn to swear (from other people’s mothers….don’t judge), and it is still cute and funny. Of course, that is always needed to be nipped in the bud, and that was my genius solution.

“Anyone who swears from this day forth, shall put some of your pocket money in the swear jar”, I boldly declared one day. Sounds ingenious, doesn’t it? Well, I of course went one step further….’’After we have saved enough money, we can all decide what we will do with the money”, I continued.

It was only after we had bought a Playstation game from the money we had ‘’saved’, that one of Pepper’s pompous little snot nosed know it all friends, asked a very obvious question…..

‘’So you are rewarding your children for swearing?’’