Mgazi Uses Her Connections

In the car:

Zaffron: Mommy, Mgazi is in the kissing family.

Mgazi: Be quiet! I am not!

Zaffron: She is too. It’s gross.

Mgazi: Ok. I’m in the kissing family. But only a little.

Me: I don’t get it. What’s the kissing family?

Mgazi: It’s a club where you have to kiss Vincent to get in.

Zaffron: Vincent created it.

Me: No kidding.

Mgazi: I didn’t have to kiss him though.

Me: Why not?

Mgazi: Because I’m friends with Sarah.

Zaffron: Oh, that makes sense.

Me: Really, Zaff? That makes sense to you? This whole conversation makes sense to you?

Zaffron: Of course. Why wouldn’t it?

Maya’s Mom is Going to get Sex

In the car:

Mgazi: Maya’s mom is going to get sex.

Me: Um what?

Mgazi: Maya’s mom. She told me she’s going to get sex.

Me: Honey, I don’t think that can be what she said.

Mgazi: Mommy! Listen to what I’m saying! She’s going to get bert! It’s going to be a boy.

Me: Oh! She’s going to give birth. Maya’s mom had sex and now she’s going to give birth to a baby boy!

Mgazi: That’s what I’ve been saying! Her tummy is this big!

Me: I can’t see you, honey, I’m driving the car.


Me: Mgazi! I’m driving the car! I can’t look at you right now.

Zaffy: Mom, Mgazi is saying that Maya’s mommy’s tummy is like three inches bigger than usual.

Mgazi: Yeah, she got a lot of sex.

Zaffron Levies a Bathroom Tax

In the kitchen:

Zaffy: Mom, you owe me 25 cents.

Me: What for?

Zaffy: You used the kids’ bathroom.

Me: You’re charging me for using your bathroom?

Zaffy: Yes! You said this was the kids’ bathroom when we moved here and you are not a kid. Plus, you owe me another quarter.

Me: What? For What?

Zaffy: You didn’t flush.

Me: Zaffron, first, I didn’t use your bathroom. Second, if I had I certainly would have flushed.

Zaffy: Mom, it had to be you. It wasn’t me and Mgazi pinky-promises it wasn’t her. You’re  all that’s left. But don’t feel bad, sometimes I have to pay myself a quarter too.

Later that day, in the car:

Zaffy: So, when am I getting my 50 cents?

Me: Zaffy, how about you owe me a quarter for being annoying?

Zaffy: Mom, the rules are the rules, even if you don’t like them.

Me: Well, I’m not going to pay.

Zaffy: Then I’ll just have to charge you another quarter.

Me: Are you kidding me?

Zaffy: No. If you don’t pay me my 50 cents in five weeks, I’m going to charge you another quarter.

Mgazi: Zaffy, you mean five days.

Zaffy: No, I mean five weeks.

Mgazi: Mommy, Zaffy doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She means she wants the money in five days, not five weeks.

Zaffy: I know exactly what I’m talking about. Mommy, just pay me and everything will be fine.

My Kids are Gross…They Disagree

In the car, after the children spent some time with a babysitter:

Me: So, what did you guys do today?

Mgazi: We watched tv and played games.

Zaffy: We ate a snack.

Mgazi: I licked the bottom of Zaffy’s foot.

Me: Ew! What in the world? Why would you do something like that?

Mgazi: It tasted like apple juice.

Me: Mgazi, that’s disgusting.

Zaffy: I don’t know, Mom. I think it’s a compliment.


Zaffy’s Got Sticker Envy

Mgazi had to get her polio vaccine last week. She screamed. She kicked. She did not bite me, but just like last time she got a shot, I had the distinct feeling that she wanted to. In the end no amount of cajoling, cuddling, bribing, or threatening would calm her down. So I plopped her on my lap, pinned her arms to her sides with a bear hug, and yelled at the nurse, “GO GO GO!”

It wasn’t pretty. And all she got in the end was an effective defense against a horrible disease and some measly stickers.

As we left the office, my five-year old was sniffling from the indignity of it all. My seven-year old, who had been waiting in the waiting room, was miffed because “some crazy baby was screaming like crazy in one of the rooms and I couldn’t hardly read my book! Mom, it was awful!”


In the car:

Zaffy: Hey! Why did you get three stickers?

Mgazi: mumble mumble sniff mumble

Zaffy: I don’t think that’s it. I’m awesome and I never got three stickers.


Need Last Minute Gift Ideas? How About a Deadly but Curable Disease?

Sweet Mgazi

Please select the answer that best completes the following phrase:

The conversation below took place in the:

a) Bathroom
B) Bedroom
C) Vatican
D) Car

The correct answer is D, of course. I actually have a tag that links to all conversations that have taken place in the car. All the best do!

Mgazi: Mommy, can you give me a TB shot for Christmas?

Me: What?

Zaffron: What?

Me: Gaz, do you want to me take you to the Dr’s office to get another vaccination? Honey, you cried like crazy, don’t you remember? You kicked. You screamed. You actually bit me!

Mgazi: I didn’t bite you.

Me: Okay, you didn’t bite me. But I could tell you wanted to.

Mgazi: I want to have the shot so I can give it to you and daddy and Zaffy.

Me: Do you mean you want to administer the Tuberculosis vaccine to the entire family?

Zaffron: No, mom! Geesh! Don’t you get it? She wants to jab the needle in our arms and push the thingy down so that we can stay healthy and not get diseases! [Zaffron throws her hands in the air, exasperated that once again she has to explain something to her dense, and obviously slow, mother.]

Mgazi: Uh huh. I want my family to be healthy. So I’m going to stick you here [she points to her shoulder] and here [she points to her leg] and here [she lifts up her left butt cheek and pokes at it. (Or maybe it was her right, I'm not sure. I was watching all of this through the rearview mirror.)]

Me: Sweetie, that is a very kind thought but it’s not going to happen.

Mgazi: Fine then. If you won’t do it, I’ll just ask Santa!

Zaffron’s in Love… Again

Zaffron’s in love. The boy is in 5th grade. Much too old for her, if you ask me. This is what it’s like when your second-grader is in love.

On the school grounds:

Mom! There he is! No, don’t look! Mom, I said don’t look. He’s right there! WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING?

In the car:

I’m not using his sister to meet him. I liked her before I ever knew she had a brother. I just want to hang out with her even more now!

In bed:

Mom, my tummy has been feeling funny for days. I think it has to do with you know…you-know-who.

In the car:

Well, maybe I’m using his sister a little bit, but I really think she would understand. She gets this kind of thing.

In the kitchen:

Dad, he ran past me today and I felt the wind blow through my hair.

Zaffron’s Leary of Mitt Romney

Russell and I decided to watch the Star Wars series with the kids. We’ve seen the first two movies (four and five) and we’re just about to start the animated series, The Clone Wars, before moving on to the third movie.

It had been a few weeks since the last movie. Zaffy bugs us every day to continue with the series. She’s discovered that boys love to talk “Star Wars” and she needs to educate herself.

We were in the car when this conversation took place.

Zaffy: Mom, when are we going to start The Clone Wars? We have to hurry.

Me: We don’t have to rush, Zaff. The movies aren’t going anywhere.

Zaffy: Mom, we have to watch before the election. What if Mitt Romney gets elected?

Me: What?

Zaffy: Mitt Romney is going to take away PBS and The Clone Wars.

Me: Zaffy, I don’t think that Mitt Romney has anything against the Star Wars franchise.

Zaffy: Yeah, well, that’s not what I heard.

Mom, You’re a B.M.

In the car. This is what I heard:

Zaffron: Mom, you’re a B.M.

Before I reacted I took a deep breath. Seemed like this was a lot to take so early in the morning.

Me: I’m sorry, Zaff. Did you say that I’m a B.M.?

Zaffron: No, I said that you are THE B.M.

Me: Zaffy, what does that mean?

Zaffron: It stands for Best Mother.

Me: Oh, thank you, sweetie.

Zaffron: Of course, you’re also my O.M.

Me: Your Only Mother?

Zaffron: Yep.

Me: I’ll take it.

Strategically Ignoring My Children Since 2005…

It occurs to me that both of my girls, Mgazi, age 5 and Zaffron, age 7, ask me “why” multiple times a day. What I want to know is this:

Do I really have to answer?

I’ve been giving the whole matter some thought and I realize that my children’s questions usually fall under one of three categories.

Category 1: Technical questions. These are the ones that often stump me. “Why does ice melt?” Usually these questions are asked in the car, thereby thwarting a quick Google search. So, I answer the technical questions the same way each and every time without fail. “You know what, honey, that is a great question for your father.” Done.

Category 2: Abstract questions. “Why is the color orange called the color orange?” I answer abstract questions by throwing the question back at the inquiring child as though I think it’s important for her to come up with the answer on her own. “Hmmm… why do YOU think the color orange is called the color orange?” Of course, I’ve done this so many times that the children see through my ruse. After a typical toss-back, the child will reply, “I have no idea, Mom. That’s why I asked YOU!” There is a sigh and then a grumpy and defeated, “forget it.” The child is frustrated and I do feel a little guilty… for about 15 seconds.

Category 3: Must-Know questions. I look at questions from categories 1 and 2 as questions born from curiosity. If the child doesn’t get an answer, and let’s face it, she usually doesn’t if the question is posed to me, life will go on. Her education or mood may be slightly impacted but I’m pretty confident that there is no lasting damage. But Must-Know questions are a different matter altogether. These are the questions that just might play a role in helping my child “figure out” life. The ones where my answers or lack-thereof could influence how my kid views the world. I struggle to answer these questions. Mightily.

“Why does that little girl on the street not have a house?” or “Why does that person’s face not look pretty?” or “Why can’t you sing in a band if you’re dead?” The Must-Know questions always make me a little sad. Because I know that hard as I try, I won’t be able to give an adequate enough answer. “The little girl on the street doesn’t live in a house because her parents cannot afford to pay rent,” I’ll say. A second “why?” invariably comes back to me. “Well, it’s expensive to have a home, and some people don’t have jobs that pay enough to cover the costs of everything they need.” Pause. “Why?” It goes on and on. It’s heartbreaking. I can explain the simple economics or science but I don’t have a complete understanding of why the world is the way it is. It just is.

So, back to my original question. Do I have to answer each and every time my kid asks a question? Heck no. Depending on the circumstances, I’m perfectly happy to ignore, pass off, or half-answer a curiosity question. It’s a survival technique.

But the Must-Knows… yes. I have to do my best to answer those — especially when they center on values or ethics. Because if I don’t take the time to guide my children on the things that matter, I risk that they might ask someone else.