chewing gum

FB status update. 01/06/2014:

“Laptop has finally died from terminal illness. Am unable to get over the hill to spend what could feed a small african village for a year on a new one. My “smart” phone provides fractured 3rd rate internet at best ( the 2nd time i’ve posted this status as the last one disappeared into the interwebs somewhere) . I am living the pinnacle of 1st world problems. If there is no soy milk for my double decaf soy chai orange mocha frappacinno latte today… I’m gonna feckin kill myself!!”
A few things. “THE HILL” is what separates my small isolated town from the rest of the world. It is roughly 25km of long winding road, peaking at approx 791 mtrs at its highest point. The closest ‘City’ is about a 104km /1.75 hour drive from where I live.
It would be a month before I would have a window of time to get over “the hill” to get my technology situation sorted.
I don’t ACTUALLY drink  double decaf soy chai orange mocha frappacinno lattes. That’s just silliness.They are revolting!
As it turns out, on this very day my Tahi had a playdate organised for 1pm. At 12.40pm his wee friend called in sick. Being that Tahi does not often get playdates due to having  limited social skills, he was gutted. As was I, for him. However… this  led me to the thought that perhaps now was the time to seize the day. Carpe diem so to speak. I immediately rung the electronics store in the city over ‘the hill’ and spoke  to a lovely sounding chap called Jack.He informed me they closed at 5pm. BOOM!!!  It was on. I rallied Tahi, Rua and Toru and packed them away in the car. We were off to get some new computer thingees and get out of our wee town for an afternoon.
We would also see my Gentleman friend who is living over ‘the hill’.A  lovely chap whom I will hereby refer to as “Fatty Ding Dong’.Mostly cos it’s  funny. Having dated for some months he has only recently met my offspring. They were very charming indeed and gave him no indication that in fact we are all rather mental and louder and more full on than a Metallica concert on a 5 day meth bender. He even came back. WIN. He is a little bit into geekery  and since my laptop had died had been doing some investigations into what type of computer would best suit my needs. I rung him to let him know the circus was coming over the hill to by computery things sooner than anticipated and that I didn’t need him to come to the shop cos I’m a big girl and can buy computery thingees all by myself and I  would call him after the trip to the electronics store and we could go and let the kids out  for a run at a park whilst we throw balls for them ,drink coffee and pick up their little kiddie doos in wee plastic bags or some such yolk. That suited Fatty Ding Dong just fine.Off we went on our big city adventure.
Now my boys LOVE chewing gum. Especially Rua. He will ask for that and ONLY that for christmas, birthdays etc.That is pretty much the only time they will get it too. However, if it is in my bag, Rua on several occasions has been known to steal it and go and hide under his bed chewing it ALL,leaving a trail of chewing gum wrappers to the crime scene.  He will offer some to his brothers in exchange for their silence. Sadly for him…his open love for gum  is his teller.  Going shopping anywhere with an 8 yr old ADHD kid , a 5 yr old and 3.5 year old who could easily represent New Zealand in a contest of “Epic Tantrums of the World’ , is not an easy task. Let alone  having to go to a store where you must actually listen to the sales person for 30 mins and not have your rampant offspring break expensive electronics. Clearly chewing gum bribery was in order. I stopped at the petrol station and grabbed 3 packs of chewing gum. I explained to my boys that the chewing gum was theirs ,IF they could follow 3 simple rules. 1.Don’t touch anything
2. Don’t fight with each other
3. No yelling and screaming.
3 strikes…and no chewing gum.
For those of you that don’t have small children this sounds reasonable and easy enough. For those of you that DO have small children…I know you are, at this very moment, laughing hysterically  at my hopeful naivety. Thank you. The boys understood what was expected of them and agreed to the terms and conditions of the chewing gum contract. We were all in good spirits. We arrived at the electronic store at about the same time Tahi’s ADHD meds were due to start wearing off. He was doing great and I knew time was limited. I beelined for the counter and asked for Jack who was just finishing up with another customer. Jack was a slight man of about 21. He looked like he might be someone who might spend a bit of time in his room , at his parents house, playing computer games with people on the other side of the world. He struck me as a man who had perhaps just been dumped, had his car fail it’s warrant of fitness and lost his BFF cos he ran off with his girlfriend all in one week. To top it all off, he looked to have had a hard day in the shop and just couldn’t wait to get himself home and into the womb of his meticulously built imaginary world of war games. And then along came us. Lucky lucky man.
To be fair it all started very well. My children all skipped into the shop holding hands with their   neatly combed blond  hair. Their white little trousers matching their white little shirts, offset by their wee blue suspenders. Their shiny little leather boots glistened in the afternoon sun as they stood quietly behind their relaxed mother. Each dreaming of the chewing gum bliss that was only a few sweet  moments away. If only Jack would hurry up. My three blue/green-eyed angels skipped happily over to the cordless mouse section as I finally engaged the  frazzled Jack. ” Hi Jack. I need some computery stuff and a tablet. Lets do this!”  Jack was more than happy to oblige and was clearly optimistic and excited to make a good sale. Lucky lucky man.
It was on our way to the laptop section of the electronic shop that I noticed that the angelic Toru had taken it upon himself to grab one of the cordless mouse things and start shaking it. As any good relaxed mother who had made her offspring sign a chewing gum contract  in their own blood would, I reminded Toru of the  chewing gum contract and lightly let  him know that he had made his first strike.  At this very moment something strange happened. 2 little horns instantly grew from his little blonde head. His white shirt turned into sleeves of demonic tattoos and his  light angelic voice dropped about 3 octaves. He responded with  “NO! I WANT TO TOUCH EVERYTHING!!!” and promptly proceeded to do so with intense fervour. In doing this he seemed to suck away any remaining effects of medication that may have been holding Tahi together . Just like blowing up a balloon and then letting it go to see it noisily and uncontrollably dart around a room,….Tahi LOST.HIS.SHIZZLE. He started jumping excitedly up and down in one spot and laughing like a complete mad man. I quickly  stepped into carnage deflection mother mode. I gave Toru a mouse and told him he had a very important job to do. He was to hold on to this mouse and make sure he did not lose it because we were going to buy it for our new computer. He was happy with this arrangement. I told Tahi he was to follow me to the laptop section and stay close to me at all times. We got there and Jack started telling me all about all the different laptops. ” blah blah ram yadda yadda terrabytes blah graphic stick yadda yadda blah blah”
 ” Hmm yes Jack. Just a minute Jack. Toru! put that down please. Tahi, please dont wedgie your little brother! Sorry were saying..?”
” Geekery geekery better performance yadda yadda n’ stuff” .
“Sorry, excuse me Jack. Toru do not put your tongue in that! Tahi! Stop telling your brother to put his tongue in that and give him back the mouse. NOW! I said NOW!!!!!. Thank you.”
At this point I was smart enough to see where this was all going.So I took it to the next level of Super Nanny parenting. I instructed Tahi  to come and have some time out. He was to sit in the corner next to the laptop section so as to avoid  having him wind up his brothers. As he loudly made his feelings about this arrangement known to all and sundry  I noticed Rua mooching around the shop. Just looking. Not touching. Through all of Tahi’s protests he obediently made his way to the new  time out spot and sat down. Now  I was able to slim my options down to 2 computers. Progress. Then it happened. Toru discovered that if he went through the little white gate by the door with the mouse in his hand it made a very loud and entertaining beeping noise. Wohoo for him! Back and forth and back and forth. “Excuse me Jack. Toru. You mustn’t do that!” to which he replied in his deep demon voice “I WANT TO!!” “Right Toru. That’s 3 strikes buddy. No chewing gum for you” Wrong answer Mum. He looked at me and replied innocently “But I want chewing gum”  Though what he was ACTUALLY saying was  ” I couldn’t care less about your chewing gum lady. Your grey hair, dark bags under your eyes and recent plague of wrinkles gives me more joy than any of your pathetic chewing gum ever could. Sucker!” It was that this very moment something beautiful happened. Like a knight in shining armour, Fatty Ding Dong strolled casually through the door. His unshaved face and unkempt hair from a day in his workshop was  like a ray of sunshine on  a rainy day. Immediately butterflies started smashing into each other on my insides as they tried to escape and flutter towards the sunlight. In my joy I turned towards Tahi “Hey look” I said “Fatty Ding DOng is here”  Instantly the butterflies dropped dead.  Tahi had managed get himslef to lying on his back with his knees up around his ears. He was slightly rocking whilst slapping himself on his bum and occasionally trying to poke his finger in his jean clad orifice. He was making a noise that I could only think was fluent Gorilla speak.He was also dribbling like a drunk on ketamine. He was having a ball. My body filled with a sense of dread and hopelessness. Fatty Ding Dong was surely gonna run a mile when he got a load of us in full swing. Nevertheless I put on my brave face and smiled a happy smile. In actual fact I prayed that the ground would open up and swallow us all and Fatty Ding Dong would never know what a circus uncontrolled fruit loops he had stumbled upon. I continued to chat with Jack about general Geekery whilst the offspring fawned over Fatty Ding Dong and tried to impress him with their butt jokes and songs of poo. He  offered to take them for a walk so I could get on with it. I scoffed at him and over casually said ” Dude. Yeah nah , it’s cool. . This is nothing. Really. No big deal. Just a casual shopping trip.I got this. And even if I wanted you to I wouldn’t tell you cos I need you to think I’m superwoman.  How about you talk to Jack here and let me know which one of these 2 computers you think is the way to go”. He obliged. Meanwhile I set about putting order back into my spawn. I sent Tahi to sit out by the doors of the shop. I needed to make sure that him and Toru were separated as the two  of them seem feed eachothers madness. I ignored him rolling around in front of the door and the customers that had to step over his writhing body as they entered the shop sharing a knowingly amused and encouriaging smile with me. I passed Rua  as he sat and watched large TV that was showing car racing.I picked up the 20kg’s of Toru and started looking at tablets. Jack soon joined us and we started talking tablets. Turns out that was hard work. Toru wriggled whilst I tried to find a tablet that would work for our family. Sadly no cast iron ones. I eventually put Toru down and he started darting around the shop. Tahi kept calling him over to the doors. In and out he would run and I would pick out tablets only for Jack to find they had none left in stock. Poor Jack looked like he was about to cry. Eventually I just told him that “Whatever  would do. I just want to get the hell out of here”. He obliged. With laptops, tablets,a mouse, a new phone and god knows what else we  finally got to the counter. Toru  started running around outside and Tahi started threatening to sit on the road cos obviously I didn’t care about him and I was the meanest mother in the world. I couldn’t see Rua anymore. I called out across the shop to Fatty Ding Dong to see if he could sight him. All good. They were hanging out. I went outside , grabbed Toru and threw him over my shoulder. He kicked and screamed in his demonic voice and demanded I put him down whilst Tahi begged for us to go now. Were we finished yet? Would he get his chewing gum? Why can’t he have his chewing gum?  Poor Jack looked like he was about to cry. Clearly it had all been a bit much for him too. Eventually the deal was done. The bags were full of goodies and it was time for me and my  circus of little angels from hell to leave the shop.As I turned to leave I saw little Rua standing quietly behind me. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and spoke directly to me for the first time in this whole experience  “Mama are we finished now?”
” Yup Rua. We sure are”
” Yes Rua. What’s up?”
” Umm…May I please have my chewing gum now? “




Tahi turned 8. And I , the ever optimistic mother of an ADHD riddled young man thought it would be a fabulous idea to let him have 2 friends over for a sleep over. I reiterate the word ‘Optimistic’,  being that  I decided some time ago that playdates were a no-no. Tahi would go bananas and often his friends would ask to  go home after 2 hours of being completely overwhelmed by my delightfully excitable and controlling little Labrador Pup. I have even on occasion asked friends over to help by watching my younger boys so I had the space to try to help Tahi and his friend through the ordeal that common folk call  a ‘Playdate’. Nevertheless, today is a new day , so why not let the lad have a sleepover to celebrate his eighth year of general carnage .EGAD!!!!!

I began my day by partaking in a somewhat irrelevant frenzy of insisting that my house was clean from top to bottom. Why, is beyond me. How many 8-year-old boys do you know , notice  if you’ve dusted or cleaned your pantry?  Every time I told Tahi that I was FAR too busy doing things like cleaning the skirting boards to help him put on his zombie make up  ( Seriously.what’s the point of being a gut ripping brain lusting zombie if you have dusty skirting boards??!!) he would assure me that his friends didn’t care what the house was like and could I just tell him how many more minutes until his party. Eventually the cake was made., dinner was prepared and the sleeping arrangements were organised. I braced.Tahi invited 2 friends. One is also called Tahi. So they call mine Tahi M and the other is Tahi P. These guys are like peas and carrots.  They could both talk the leg off a table and together, are harmless mischief. Tahi P is an articulate wee chap and is very good with my Tahi. He sets boundaries well and shows a lot of patience with him. I am very grateful for his friendship with my beautiful boy.  Chopper from the miniball team was also invited. A nice little kid. Little is the operative word. A little fella with a rat’s tail and thick little glasses that cover half of his gorgeous little face. A quieter kid who I suspect, much like my boy, is on the social outskirts. Is tolerated by many and liked by few.

The boys settled in together well. They would try to establish who was the alpha male by seeing who could make the funniest joke about bum cracks or do the loudest fart noise. Whenever my Tahi  thought he was loosing his grip on complete domination he would play the “It’s MY birthday party and you’ll do what I say” card. Usually resulting in one of the other lads coming out to tell on him. Mostly I would tell them to use their words and sort it out themselves. However, when he started getting tooo domineering,I would go into the room and say something thought-provoking and inspiring like ” Tahi it sounds like you’re being a bit of an egg.Nobody wants to be the pork chop at a jewish wedding,mate.” This would  just bite me on the ass by resulting in 3 boys asking me why the pork chop went to the jewish wedding and what did it wear and why didn’t it want to be the pork chop  and why didn’t Jews eat pork and what was a Jew and who was God and why didn’t I believe in him cos their parents did so who was right and who was wrong and what was the meaning of life and why does Kryptonite make Superman weak and can we have birthday cake now???

The inevitable exclusion of the younger brothers also occurred frequently. Rua and Toru camped outside their older brothers bedroom  screaming and banging on the door whilst the older boys giggled and taunted them from the other side. Upon each attempt at removing the younger boys from their protest camp I would be beaten by a flurry of angry fists, feet and squeals. Clearly the  temptation of  sweet sweet  rejection by the older boys proved to be too  irresistible to turn their  desperate little backs on. In time I gave in and provided them with snacks,protest banners, a megaphone and a potty so they could settle in at the 2% protest camp for the night.

Eventually it was time for PJ’s and DVD time. The boys chose ‘Transformers 3’. We settled onto our couches with blankets and lollies and proceeded to watch the film. Now I have never really watched a movie with a whole lot of 8 yr old boys. Apparently I still haven’t. Cos they just TALKED the WHOLE.WAY.THROUGH. My Tahi is the guy that asks what is happening every 3 minutes. Chopper is the kid that talks about how  his older brother has seen that movie 17 times and Tahi P is the kid that has seen it 18 times. They all argued over who was who. “I’m Bumble Bee!”  “I’m Optimus Prime” “I’m Mega Stomper!!” ” No I am !!” I would contribute by yelling things like ” I’m Buzz Light Year!!” They would look at me like I was  stupidest human on earth and  patiently inform me that I had the wrong movie and I was not allowed to be him. So, much to Tahi’s embarrassment, I chose to be some guys eyebrow instead. They were happy to settle for that. After what seemed like a lifetime of Giant machines with completely inappropriate voices( seriously…what were they thinking? Why didn’t they go the whole hog and cast Woody Allen, Michael Jackson and Melanie Griffith as the  voices of the main Transformers) the movie finally finished. So at 10pm my group of little boys crawled into bed. My first ever sleepover done and dusted. Pffft. Whatever. It was just getting started.

The boys predictably  giggled and banged and argued and giggled until stupid’o’clock. After going in several times to tell them to settle down or I was gonna bring out a can of Whoopass which would be followed by a barrage of questions as to what exactly was a can of whoopass and does it hurt and  can they see it and where can they get one from and why can’t Batman fly cos he is a superhero who is like a Bat and Bats can fly, I eventually moved my Tahi into the spare room. He went to sleep instantly. The other 2 however did not. Chopper was terrified of the dark and needed to rearrange the sleeping the quarters so he could be closer to  Tahi P. Tahi P was happy to oblige and decided then would be a good time to reorganise his things into a neat and orderly fashion next to his bed. Once I got the boys settled into their sleeping bags and lights out , I took myself off to bed. 10 minutes later Tahi P was at my bedside telling me his bottom teeth were a bit sore and slightly wobbly and he was worried because they were his adult teeth and should he ring his Dad to make sure his teeth were OK? I assured him that his teeth were fine and they were probably sore cos they were tired , had eaten too much sugar and had just endured 17 hours of inappropriate voice casting by mainstream Hollywood. Once he was satisfied I might be on to something he stood by my bed relentlessly telling me what I can only assume were band camp stories or some such yolk. I was too tired to even comprehend what this delightful child was babbling at me whilst the rest of the house slept.At one point I was seeing double , hearing Charlie Browns teacher and having LSD flashbacks due to his endless talking. I’m not sure how I found the strength, but I managed to get my wits about me and get him off to bed. He too was soon faaast asleep.

Peace at last.

Now reading back over what I have written , it sounds like the sleepover went smoothly. Well let me assure you it did not. There were tears, tantrums, punch ups, threats, Diva behaviour,exclusions, break downs, squealing, yelling, banging ,crashing,bullying, throwing, kicking, stealing,teasing, and much much more. And let it be known…it wasn’t just ME behaving this way. Tahi M was TWICE as bad!!!

After the boys left this morning Tahi and I sat down quietly and reflected on the events of the past few hours. I asked him if  he thought his behaviour had been Ok. He agreed that he had misbehaved terribly and had  been  mean to his friends. I asked him if he could understand how I might be hesitant to let him   have another sleepover in the near future. He said he could understand . To which we sat quietly and ate our pieces of leftover birthday cake together in the morning sun. After some time he piped up and said optimistically ” Mama….maybe ….if we start the medication for my ADHD ….we could try again then?!”

“Yeah buddy, That’s a good idea…maybe we could try again then. Maybe indeed”