Glad I’m Paying for those Karate Lessons


Mgazi: AAAAAAARRRGGGGGAAAAAAH! <– That’s supposed to be a scream

Zaffy: I’m sorry! I’m sorry!

Mgazi: You punched me!

Zaffy: I did not!

Mgazi: You did!

Zaffy: I smacked you with the back of my hand. It’s totally different!

Where was I during all of this? At my desk. Pretending it all wasn’t happening.

What Happens When The Kids Try To Break Into My Phone

The kids routinely try to figure out the password on my iPhone. This is what happens when they become bored after many failed attempts:

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?

The Unraveling of Me

I asked the child to do a simple thing. That right there was my first mistake.

“Mgazi, please get your shoes on. We don’t want to be late for school.”

Mgazi spends the next two minutes dawdling outside her bedroom door playing what she thinks is music on a hot pink harmonica.

“Honey, go get your shoes. Put them on.”

Another two minutes go by. I find Mgazi hunched over the cat bowl, sorting the food into pyramid shaped piles on the floor.

“Mgazi! Put on your shoes!”

Two freakin’ minutes… during which she decides to change from a perfectly sensible dress to a bikini top and pink tutu skirt with a cowboy hat garnish.

“Child, you better put those shoes on! Wait, what the heck are you wearing?”

I start muttering under my breath, realizing that if I don’t leave the house in exactly three minutes I’ll have missed the traffic window. You know the one. If you leave during a 10 minute window of time, you’ll get to your destination right on time, no hassle, no traffic. If, however, you leave a mere 30 seconds after that window of time,  you’ll arrive at your destination 45 minutes late and the entire ride will have sucked because you spent it sitting in traffic, giving stinkeye through the rearview mirror to your kid who is still, miraculously, not wearing any shoes.


She blinks at me. Unclear as to what it is exactly that I’m asking her to do.


“Fine!” She stomps off in her socks, “All you had to do was say so!”


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.

Mgazi Requests Her Privacy… in Writing

My husband and I just bought a new house. Our number one reason? So we could have our own bathroom. We bought a WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE so we could pee in private.

Turns out, I have my own bathroom  but I never seem to have it to myself. And I’ve been quite vocal about it to my girls, Mgazi and Zaffron. If I’ve told them once, I’ve told them a thousand times (<– Oh my God, how did my mother get here?)…

“Mommy uses her bathroom. You guys use yours.”

Last night, Mgazi was sitting on the pot (her own pot) and the bathroom door was wide open. I walked in and asked if she needed help. After all, she’s only five and any responsible parent conducts random inspections.

Me: Hey Gaz. You need any help wiping or anything?

Mgazi: Mommy! Get out! Can’t you read?

Me: Get out? What are you talking about?

Mgazi: I made a private sign. Daddy helped me write it.

Me: What’s a private sign?

Mgazi: It’s a sign that gives me privacy! I want to be in the bathroom all by myself.

I looked around the bathroom and behind the door that had been wide open!

Me: Honey, I don’t see a sign.

Mgazi [rolling her eyes and exhaling a sigh that indicates she'd just about run out of patience with her dimwitted mother]: It’s right there, Mom, on the kitchen table!


One Minute of Peace — That’s All I Ask

Mgazi was eating breakfast at the island in the kitchen. I could dangle a hundred dollar bill in front of her face. She wouldn’t bother to look up from her plate. Nothing gets between Mgazi and her food.

Zaffron was watching Saturday morning cartoons in the family room. Zaffron turns into a zombie in front of the TV. I can wave my hand between her face and the screen and she won’t flinch.  I know this because I videotaped myself doing it once. She didn’t even blink. I’m not positive she even knew I was there. Very little gets between my daughter and her television.

I went into my bedroom. I quietly shut the door and locked it. I walked over to my bed, sat down and pulled out my iPhone. Swiped until I found what I was looking for — a stopwatch app.

How long would it be until one of my children knocked on my door?

I pressed start on the stopwatch. And I waited…

53 seconds.


Liar, Liar, Does Anyone Smell Smoke?

Yesterday, Mgazi’s kindergarten teacher sent a note home in her book bag. “Please return Mgazi’s library book. It was due yesterday.”

Me: Mgazi, did you return your library book yesterday?

Mgazi: Uh huh.

Me: I got a note from your teacher that says you didn’t.

Mgazi: Well, I put it in my backpack and then suddenly it wasn’t there. It went away somewhere.

Me: Mgazi… where is the book?

Mgazi: What book?

Me: Gazi! The library book that you were supposed to return yesterday. Where is it?

Magzi: Well, I put it on the table and then when I looked for it, it was gone. And that made it so it didn’t get back to the library.

Me: Do you know where your book is?

Mgazi: Umm, at the library?

Me: Mommy thinks that maybe you are lying to me. Is that possible?

Mgazi: Uh huh.

Conversations like the one above occur frequently. She’s a talented liar. Her face can produce a look of bafflement so pure it would fool even the expertiest of behavioral scientists. But her real gift is her ability to sniff out the lies of others. Lies to Mgazi are like truffles to a dog or a pig or the Suillia fly (google it, don’t just sit there wondering).

Remember when that concrete wall abruptly (and without warning) hit my husband’s brand new electric verhicle while I was innocently driving it? She accused her father of lying when he said he wasn’t mad and her sister of lying when she said the damage didn’t seem that bad. She was right, of course, on both counts. For some reason she readily accepted my twisted version of events and to this day believes that the wall defied physics and rudely slammed itself into my husband’s car.

Or that time when I accidentally (no lie) stepped on a snail? When I tried to cover up the murder, Mgazi was on me like… well, like the gooey body of  a squished snail on the bottom of a sneaker. She caught me lying to Zaffron and had no problem saying so. “Oh no, Zaffy. She is lying to you. Mommy killed a snail.”

And then there was that horrible time when I blogged that Zaffy was a “little shit.”  For some inexplicable reason I let Zaffron read the post and, of course, it hurt her feelings terribly. When I tried to backpedal and soften the blow, telling Zaffron that I had not in fact believed that she was a little shit when I wrote that she was a little shit, Mgazi piped up without hesitation. “Oooh, Zaffy, I think Mommy is lying to you.”

And then there was that time… hmmm. Suffice it to say that approximately 10% of my posts on this blog have the tag, “lying just a little bit.”

When Mgazi joined our family at 2 1/2 years old, she knew exactly three words in English. Jesus, hallelujah, and banana. Now, at 5 years old, I hear the word “lying” every single day.

“Ooh, Mommy, I think my Daddy is lying to you.”

“Ooh Daddy, I think Zaffy is lying to you.”

“Ooh Zaffy, I think our Mommy is lying to you… just like yesterday… you know, when she was lying to you.”

I knew she was obsessed with lying on Election Day 2012 when I overheard the following conversation between her and an adult friend of mine.

Mgazi: Yay! Oback Obama is going to win the election!

Friend: How do you know that Barack Obama is going to win the election?

Mgazi: Cuz my mommy voted for him.

Friend: Why did your mommy vote for Barrack Obama?

Mgazi: Because he lies less than Mitt Romney!


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.