A User-Friendly Guide To Mall Shopping

Over the last few years I’ve noticed that, in general, people have somehow forgotten how to use a mall. So, I present this helpful guide to using a mall without irritating every other shopper.

1. Parking

Before you even enter the mall, it is wise to start your expedition properly. Your big, fancy car most likely has power steering. Use it to avoid parking with your tires on or over the line.

Also, stupidity is not a disability. Neither is laziness. Leave the handicapped parking for those who need it.

2. Elevator use

Each elevator can only hold a certain number of people. The people who are already inside the elevator when the doors open probably want to exit it. They can’t do this if you are trying to enter before the doors have even opened completely.

If you possess enough common sense to wait for them to exit before you go inside, stretch your brain power just a little more and stand aside so they can actually get past you.

Helpful hint: Pressing the button repeatedly will not make the elevator arrive any sooner.

3. Walking and texting

If your eyes are glued to your phone instead of observing your surroundings, do not be surprised when you walk into something or someone. Also, stopping dead may result in a trolley mowing your down. Again, this is no one’s fault but your own.

4. Touching other people’s children

A User-Friendly Guide To Mall Shopping

Image source: http://www.omaha.com

It doesn’t matter how cute or friendly the children in question are. Do. Not. Touch. Them. Ever. If you do, take note that the mom is smiling at you through clenched teeth and will be aware of your exact location as long as you are in the mall.

Also, do not make jokes about stealing the children, especially if the children are old enough to understand your words but have not yet grasped the concept of teasing. Be prepared for a security guard to follow you at the mom’s request for the remainder of your mall visit.

5. Making conversation

The queue in Woolies is not the place to make friends or score a date. If the person you are trying to engage in conversation has:

a) small children in the trolley,

b) bags under her eyes and unkempt hair,

c) an aura of frazzled-ness about her,

And if she merely grunts in response to you, then stop talking. Look away. Pretend you’ve just received a very important call on your phone. Whatever.

Above all, do not comment that she looks tired, that she must enjoy this age, and that her children are such angels. Sure, they’re behaving now. But the reason she’s frazzled and looks about to snap is because not two minutes earlier the children were screaming for the most expensive and unhealthy cereal on the shelf, the queue is not moving fast enough, everyone needs to pee, and her period is due.

What would you add to the list?


Of Lice and Little Girls

When I dropped the girls off at school on Friday, I got a notice from Poppet’s teacher that gave me chills.

Of Lice and Little Girls

I had lice a couple of times when I was a child. I remember foul-smelling shampoo, and sitting still while my mother combed through my hair with that fine-toothed comb. I remember feeling somewhat jealous of my brothers, whose lice treatment was as quick and easy as a shaved head, although I lacked the courage to tell my dad to shave mine too.

As I absently said goodbye to Poppet while reading the notice, her classmate Cowboy came to greet her. Cowboy’s head was shaved, leading me to believe that Lice Patient Zero was right in front of us.

My one hope was that Poppet had been absent on Lice Day, so I tried not to feel too stressed out about it. “She doesn’t have lice,” I said when I got home, dropping the notice onto the dining room table.

But I couldn’t help playing the scenario out in my head.

Poppet has gorgeous, waist-length, thick curls. The thought of combing through all that hair to look for lice and nits made me want to cry. Poppet freaks out when I tell her she’s having a haircut; there’s no way I would ever convince her to shave her head.

When I fetched the girls from school that afternoon, Pixie’s teacher handed me an identical letter.

I checked the girls’ heads that night, and the next morning, and the next night. No lice, but there was still a sense of vague panic lurking in my belly.

Of Lice and Little Girls

On Sunday morning, just before we left for church, I noticed small white flecks in Poppet’s hair. Cue: Freak Out.

As I tried to investigate Poppet’s head without messing up her hairstyle (because: church in ten minutes) I may have raised my voice as I asked, “WHAT IS ON YOUR HEAD?”

She huffed. “Pixie poured salt on me.”


The relief I felt in that moment – Salt!

Later, I noticed Pixie had glitter in her hair. “Poppet did it,” she said. “Now I’m a princess.”

On any other day, the girls would have been in trouble, but in the wake of the Lice Scare of 2015, I let them get away with it.

Have you had to deal with lice yet?

Hell Week (Or, Sleep Deprivation: Lest We Forget)

I never thought I’d get to the point where I forgot what sleep-deprivation was really like. Pixie, while still not a great sleeper, has been much better the last few months. I even commented to Jenna that perhaps I was feeling broody because I didn’t remember sleep-deprivation.

The very next day, Pixie got sick.


I fetched her from school and Teacher Bumblebee commented that Pixie felt a bit hot when she woke her. Teacher Bumblebee grabbed the thermometer – 38.1°C. “No problem,” I said. “It’s probably those molars. I’ll give her Nurofen at home.”

The Nurofen worked. Pixie ran around the garden all afternoon and I relaxed.

Then came suppertime.

The fever was back. Pixie didn’t want to eat. It was the end of the world. More Nurofen, a tepid bath, a screaming two-year-old, and an early bedtime.

But the worst was yet to come.


Pixie ended up sleeping in our bed later that night so I could keep an eye on her temperature, which remained stubbornly high despite Nurofen and Panado. How high I cannot tell you, because we discovered that night that our thermometer was broken. I suspect the girls had been playing doctor. Sigh.

It was a long, long, long, long night.

I took Pixie to see Doctor M the next day. “Red throat, red ears,” Doctor M said, handing Pixie a lollipop and me a script for antibiotics. (I wanted a lollipop too.)

Pixie spent the next few days on the couch, watching movies while I fed her Nurofen and Panado to keep her fever down. She spent the nights in bed with me, waking just about every hour to ask for water.

By Saturday, the fever was gone but the snot had started. Rivers of snot! I’m not exaggerating. She was still sleeping with me, this time waking every hour so I could wipe her nose.

The two of us skipped church on Sunday. I sat on the couch with a book, trying to read but not absorbing anything. Pixie kept coming to show me her snot bubbles and ask for tissues.


She’s back at school now and I’m trying o work out where I can squeeze in some naps this week. There is no word for how tired I am right now.

For the record, I am no longer broody. Not in the least. (Sorry, Mom. You’ll have to look to your other children for more babies.)

How do you cope with sleep-deprivation?

Shrodinger’s Pregnancy (Or, That Time I Freaked Out Just A Little)

A guy named Shrodinger once had a cat. He thought it would be a good idea to put his cat in a box with poison. Then he said something like, “The cat could be dead. But it could be alive. I won’t know until I open the box. So until I open the box, the cat is both dead and alive.”

Ja. Makes total sense, right?

I, too, have a theory. Take one pregnancy test. Pee on the stick. Wait for the result. Until the test shows either positive or negative, you are simultaneously pregnant and not pregnant. I call this Shrodinger’s Pregnancy.

Image credit: pregnancyes.blogspot.com

Image credit: pregnancyes.blogspot.com

Those who know me well will know that I don’t particularly want to experience pregnancy again. When asked about having a third child, my responses run the gamut from hysterical laughter, to wild-eyed panicky hyperventilation, to vehement refusals, to sarcasm (“Sure, we’ll have another baby just as soon as Hubby grows himself a uterus!”), to more coherent rationalisations (“We’d have to buy another car, a bigger house, and sell a kidney to afford all of it!”).

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I did not enjoy either of my pregnancies. The initial glee was quickly forgotten as “morning” sickness took hold and I wallowed in self-pity, blaming it all on Hubby and contemplating a future of abstinence. When the second trimester hit, I felt energetic and glowing for about five whole minutes, before the exhaustion returned. Growing a baby saps the life out of you, for real. There was backache, and sciatica, and heartburn, and thrush, and general discomfort in my whale-form, as well as the urge to pee anytime I was in the vicinity of a toilet.

Image credit: pregnancyhumour.com

Image credit: pregnancyhumour.com

With Poppet, I had an induced labour which ended up in a C-section. When it was Pixie’s turn, as I lay on the operating table, I promised myself that I would never do this again.

Then, last week, my period didn’t start when it was supposed to.

Cue: panic.

I couldn’t sleep. I took two pregnancy tests but even the negative results didn’t set my mind at ease. I felt nauseous – was it a symptom or pregnancy? Was it a new symptom of PMS? Was it just my nerves taking over?

My imagination ran wild. I wondered how I would tell Hubby. I daydreamed holding this hypothetical baby in my arms. I started thinking about who could teach for me in the fourth term. I even told my dentist not to X-ray me just in case.

I’m not pregnant.

My period started, and with the relief that I was expecting to feel, also came the undeniable taste of disappointment.

I thought I didn’t want another baby, but it turns out – that’s not entirely true.

What do you think? Am I completely out of my mind? Is there a cure for broodiness?

Impromptu Date (Don’t Try This At Home)

When you become a parent, quality time with your spouse often gets neglected in favour of quality time with your pillow. So when you get an opportunity for a date, you have to take it, no matter how unconventional or unromantic it may seem.

Image credit: mirror.co.uk

Image credit: mirror.co.uk

Our church has a parents’ lounge where you can watch the service on a screen while your children serenely play on the carpet. Or, if they’re Poppet and Pixie, run amok. There is also tea and coffee for us sleep-deprived zombie parents.

After the service on Sunday morning, Hubby was washing the mugs when he cut his finger on the milk jug. I didn’t look at the cut because I usually pass out at the sight of other’s blood but our friends gathered around and agreed: it needed stitches.

Image credit: gograph.com

Image credit: gograph.com

I dropped Hubby off at Medicross, dropped the girls off at my parents’ house, then returned to Medicross. I found Hubby in Casualty, looking quite relaxed, and we spent the next hour just chatting. (Medicross is crazy busy on a Sunday, guys. Don’t go unless you’re dying.) A whole hour with my husband! Without children clamouring for attention! What a weird experience.

(I have to wonder, though; is it okay to leave a wound an hour before stitching it up? Shouldn’t that be kind of urgent?)

One tetanus shot and three stitches later, we finally walked out of Medicross. It was good to have an impromptu date with Hubby but I think next time we’ll try to avoid the bloodshed.

Image credit: logovectors.net

Image credit: logovectors.net

Have you had a similar experience?

Somewhere over the rainbow nation (an ode to Eskom)

Image credit: ozziesaffa.blogspot.com

Image credit: ozziesaffa.blogspot.com

On Saturday morning, my girls had just started watching Epic when darkness descended on our part of the world. Eskom had struck again! “Where’s my movie?” Poppet yelled. “I want the movie!” Pixie cried.

“We’re loadshedding,” Hubby said. “There’s no electricity.”

“No electricity? Like the other night when we used candles? Can we use candles now?” Poppet stared hopefully at the TV.

“We can’t use candles to power the TV,” Hubby said.

“I want my movie!” Pixie’s cries turned into sobs. Poppet sat back on the couch in a huff. Hubby took a deep breath when he realised his iPhone battery was at 4%. And I remembered that way back in 2008, my friend, Mossie, and I wrote this little ditty.

I hope you have enough battery life on your device to read it to the end.

Somewhere over the rainbow nation (an ode to Eskom)
(with apologies to the original composers – blame the powers of darkness)

Somewhere over the rainbow nation
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow nation
There is light
And the power they’re using
Runs both day and night

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the stove is actually working
Where generators are not known
In every single house and home
Is where I’ll be lurking

Somewhere over the rainbow nation
Lights are on
Shining beyond the rainbow nation
Where, sadly, there are none

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the kettle’s actually boiling
Where gas stoves are not commonplace
And Eskom doesn’t mean disgrace
I’ll live rejoicing

Somewhere over the rainbow nation
They watch TV
TV over the rainbow nation
Why then, oh why, can’t we?

If they have electricity
Beyond the rainbow nation
Why, oh why, can’t we?

How do you handle living in these dark, dark days?