March 31, 2011

There’s this little hyperactive kid in my mom’s second grade class who I love to death. He’s one of those kids who just genuinely has so much energy he often, literally,  cannot control himself. He is forever moving, in one way or another, and has trouble concentrating. I feel for him. Probably because he outwardly manifests what goes on inside my brain a great deal of the time. Plus, I just have a soft spot for the kids who are considered more “difficult”.

Anyways, today I was at the school and he walked up to me, pointed in my face and said, “JINX!” I said, “Hey! Wait a minute! We didn’t even say the same word at the same time. You just walked up to me!” He shrugged, and agreed. He said, “Ok. When I count to three say ‘go’! One, two, three, GO!” I humored him and shouted go at the same time he did. He excitedly shouted, “JINX! You owe me a rootbeer!”

Hmmm. It used to be Coke when I was his age.


Conversations With a Four-Year-Old…

September 9, 2010

I realise I should not expect stimulating and profound conversation from a four-year-old. I mean, four is not many years to have lived on this earth and therefore acquired knowledge, and vocabulary to express what little knowledge they have attained, is minimal. I get it. But today, when I took out my friend’s four-year-old girl Caitlin for the day, I realised just how random conversations with a four-year-old can be.

They don’t really follow any specific train of thought, or even the conversation itself for that matter; they just kind of say the first thing that pops in their heads, usually thoughts inspired by some random key word in a sentence, but not necessarily a word that relates in any way what-so-ever to the topic of the conversation. Take this conversation between Caitlin and I as we drove to town:

Caitlin, “Whose birthday is it?”

Me, “Sherilyn’s is tomorrow.”

Caitlin, “I know but whose birthday is it today?”

Me, “Um, no one I know.”

Caitlin, “But it’s someone’s birthday today.”

Me, “Yes indeed. Just no one I know.”

Caitlin, “Then we need to look for the good little boys and girls and tell them it’s their birthday.”

Me, “That’s not really how a birthday works. It’s the day you are born on.”

Not totally convinced Caitlin, “We need to check it out.”

Me, “Check what out?”

Caitlin, “Whose birthday it is. We need to check it out.”

Me, “How?”

Caitlin, “We need to check it out.”

Me, “But how do you plan on checking it out?”

Caitlin, kind of singing as she speaks, “By making a list.”

Me, “Um?”

Caitlin, “And checking it twice. And then we find out who’s naughty or nice. And then we will know whose birthday it is.”

Me, “That’s Christmas.”

A song I like comes on the radio and I turn it up, only to find out it is an advert.

Me, “I hate it when they use a song like that.”

Caitlin, “What did they do?”

Me, “They played a song I like and I thought it was playing but it was only an advert.”

Caitlin, “What’s and adfart?”

Me, “Like, when you are watching tv…the things that come on to tell you to buy stuff.”

Caitlin, “Baby, Baby comes on the tv.”

Me, “Um, yep. Sometimes it does.”

Caitlin singing, “Baby, baby, baby oooooooh! I thought you’d be mine!”

I just nod my head to her song.

Caitlin, “Justin Bieber makes great music and he comes on the tv and the radio and he’s hot!” 

Me, “If you say so.”

An “I Like You” from a kid is priceless.

July 26, 2010

Today at school, right before I had to teach, I was out on the playground talking to the preprimary teacher. She always has her kids out there in the period before my first class. We were chatting, and totally out of the blue, this adorable little preprimary kid (probably between four and five, which I guess would make him “four and a half” in their language”) ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug around the waist. He after quite a long squeeze he looked up with the biggest smile you could imagine and said, “I like you!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the warm gesture and cuteness, “Thanks! I like you too.”

“Your tattoos are beautiful!” he said with all the sincerity in the world.

“Well, thank you again.”

He then went in for another squeeze, looked back up and smiled, and then ran off to the slide. Little kids are great. They haven’t built up all those walls we put up, and they speak honestly and genuinely in most every situation; sometimes things we don’t want to hear, sometimes things that make our day. They are great. If you get a chance, hug a kid today. And tell him you think he’s cool.

Incognito on Facebook…

July 20, 2010

Most of you know I teach grade 6 Life Orientation at a school in Woodstock on Mondays. And I seem to leave every Monday with a funny story or two from interactions with the kids there. So yesterday, the glorious day that it was, I was sitting outside, soaking up the sun before I had to go into the cold, dark classroom and teach. And I was, yes admittedly, on Facebook on my phone. One of the grade seven kids, who had been sent by his teacher to run an errand, came up to me.

His name is Jacob Ngouabi (for the purpose of this blog) and, though he has lived in South Africa his entire life, his mother and father are from Congo. He was in my class last year. A real sweet kid.

So, Jacob waltzed up to me and sat right down on the playground bench, scooting as close to me as possible, looking at my cellphone screen, “You’re on Facebook?!”

I laughed, “Isn’t everybody? Are you?”

He got excited, “Yeah! Search me and add me as a friend!”

I’m not sure how I feel about adding the students of the school, but I humored him, hypothetically, “Ok, do I just search Jacob?”

“No. Roger.”



“Okay? Roger what?”

“Roger Shaw.”

“Roger Shaw?!”

“Do you use someone else’s account or something?”

“Nope, it’s mine.”

“Why Roger Shaw?”

“I’m not going to use my real name on there!!!”

“Good idea. But where did you get that name?”

“Out of my brain.”


“I bet there are a lot of Roger Shaws though.”

“Yeah. But mine is the one with picture of Batista.” (A WWE wrestler for those that don’t know)

“Ah! Of course. That makes perfect sense.”

Knick-Knack Paddy Wack Give a Dude a Bone

December 21, 2009

Eli, my nine-year-old brother, and I hung out today. I took him Christmas shopping for my mom, step-dad and grandparents and then we ate lunch and went bowling. At one point I had to drive past a place that I have been avoiding the last few weeks of my Tennessee visit: MY Waffle House that closed down this year.

I go there every year when I visit the States. And I pretty much go on a daily basis. I love it! It’s not so much the food, coffee or skanky environment, as it is just the whole package. And I like being called “sweetie” and “honey” and “sugar pie” by the old, country, toothless waitresses.

I am pretty sure they were about to add my face to the menu. Last time I was in town, when it was time for me to head back to Cape Town, all the Waffle House ladies gave me a Waffle House visor, little button, and a name tag with my very own name on it. It was great! But it’s over now. They closed that one down. Bloody recession! Sure, there are two more in Cookeville, and I can go, and have gone, to the others, but it’s just not the same.

Anyways! Back to the story…

So Eli and I drove past the empty, sad looking EX-Waffle House building, that had been designed and painted another color; no scattering, smothering or covering going on in there! It made me sad to see it really. And the blows kept coming! I was shocked to see someone had ruthlessly vandalized the window. Probably just a depressed customer like me who did not know how to express his sadness properly and so it came out in the form of aggression, with a slight hint of perversion. There it was: a big red penis, standing on its hine legs.

I said, “Oh wow!”

Eli, “What?”

Me, “Oh…um…well, someone drew something rude on the window over there. It’s not very nice.”

Eli, “What is it?”

Me, a little surprised he couldn’t tell and very sorry I had opened my mouth in the first place, “Well… it’s a penis.”

Eli, “EWE!”, slight shaking of his head expressing disappointment towards the vandal, “That doesn’t sound very nice! Whatever a penis is!”

Me, in absolute shock, “You don’t know what a penis is?”

Eli, “No. What’s a penis?”

I thought for a moment. I wondered how Eli had made it 9 years without hearing this word. I wondered if I had corrupted his little nine-year-old mind with a vulgar word and then I realized that penis is in fact the medical term. And I guess the word choice could have been much, much worse!

Me, “Well, it’s a boys private part.”

Eli, “Oh. Ok.”

Me, “What do you call it?”

Eli, “A dude. Cause daddy always told me to shake off the dew when I was done peeing and I thought he said dude.”

Oh yes! How could I forget!

Me, “Oh yes! How could I forget! Well, that was a picture of a real tall dude.”

Eli, “Huh. Well, it looked like a half of a bone.”

Me, a little worried, “What?”

Eli, “Like, it only had the knobby part on the one end.”

Me, “OH! Right.”

I thought about it a second. He was quite right. I was impressed, and also wishing I would have thought of that and could have just said, “AWE! Someone drew a half of a bone on the window! What a jerk!”

Me, “Excellent perception on your part Eli. It does look like a half-a-bone!”

Eli did not ask what perception means so I assume he knew.