Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anyone want two children? Free to a good home?

Pablo was rechristened Lightning.

And in the two weeks since we got the adorable little scrap, J&C have argued nonstop.

It's my turn to play with him! No it's not it's my turn! But you played with him yesterday all day! I want to hold him! No I want to! Give me the dog! He's mine! I want him! You can't play with him because you have to clean up his poo! No it's your turn to clean up his poo! No! I must feed him! And the latest, He doesn't like you he likes me! And then one rushes off into the bedroom and slams the door sulking.

They come housetrained, mostly have good manners and are sometimes willing to help around the house.

And in the middle of this sibling love, Pab...uh Lightning sits looking from one to the other in wonderment. Then he runs off into the garden and finds a leaf to chew on. He loves leaves, any shape, any length, as long as it is crunchy and he can chew on it.

So far he's learned to come when I call. Well more a come when I clap my hands and act excited to see him. There's still a bit of confusion on the name. He's peed on my laminated wood floors more times than I thought a little dog possibly could, the amount of pee just astounds me. At least at night he's doing better. The first night I kept him in his nice and warm little cloth basket on the floor on my side of the bed. Himself works you know (insert eyeroll) and needs his sleep (as if I can survive on an hour a night!). He woke up on the hour every hour. To play. Which is not fun at 3am. Now do remember I last did the pj drill at 3am when C was a tiny itty bitty little baby.

Then someone suggested I lay newspaper down in the bath and put him in his basket in the bath. Now he wakes up, jumps out of the basket and does his thing. Calls for someone, anyone, to come look at the genius thing he's just done and goes back to sleep.

Luckily, these days my soon to be 40 year old bladder hears the call of nature at about the same time and jumps up and down on me to empty it.

His favourite toy at the moment is a worm that J got when he was a baby. Lightning likes to (hump) dominate it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

An honest conversation about skin colour

I hurt someone with comments I made. There is no justification in it, just the reality of what was said.

So, how do I justify painting everyone the same through the actions of a few? I can't. There is no reason on this planet why any one of us should look at someone and immediately assume something that may or may not be true purely because of their skin colour. However, especially here in South Africa, we do that. Some white people especially do it because of an almost inherent trait to see black people as the enemy. After the fall of apartheid, that view never went away. It is still here, with us, each and every day. What makes it even harder, is that we suddenly find an influx of people from countries across the border and further north. They come here, seeking employment or escaping a really shitty life in their birth country, only to find that the grass is not always greener across our border. They also find that the people born and living here don't like them being here as the zenophobic attacks of 2008 showed. Black on black violence in townships got completely out of hand and many immigrants were hurt, their possessions ransacked.

So how do we change this point of view? Not easily, and not overnight. It takes a conscious effort to change your way of thinking. The easy part is deciding that you do not want to make assumptions about people because of skin colour. The difficult part is living that decision daily.

J&C often come home from a predominantly white school with statements like black people smell bad. Black people are bad people. Black people are poor. This they pick up from their friends who in turn pick these signals up from their parents. In order to change their perceptions, we discuss why they say these things and if they would like for their friends to say these things about them.

Going into the history of apartheid with them is difficult right now. We live in a part of the country where white people still use the K word in polite conversation, where black people are seen as subhuman (with biblical texts supporting this theory). It takes repetition and hard work to make a 7 year old and almost 9 year old understand the underlying reasoning behind their friends's statements and I know that we are still not in a place where J&C will or can turn to their friends and have the same discussions that I have with them.

All I can do is hope that by giving them a good example (mostly, sometimes I fail), they will find their own way in life based on being openminded and looking beyond the colour of a person's skin.

Friday, January 15, 2010

And so a new decade starts...

2010 started off with a quiet bang. We had a glass of champagne on the balcony and watched the fireworks in town go off with a fizzle, no big bangs. The only entertainment was the crowd of people that came walking down the road towards the cove, the one that is right at the top of my blog, glasses in hand and slightly tipsy trying to remember the words to Auld Lang Syne. And then we went to sleep.

This year is a big one for me. I turn 40 in February. I'm not dreading the big 4-0. I think. It's just another phase of my life that I am on the cusp of entering.

I don't have any resolutions for the new year. I never make them because I never get around to wading through my sometimes long list of good intentions. Rather, I have set myself some goals, easy ones that I know I will get to, like improving my fitness level which sucks (I couldn't even walk for a full 6 minutes on a treadmill without passing out), improving my diet which also sucks and trying to be a better person.