The Citizen (KZN)

Spare a thought for parents...


There should be a law against people who don’t have children buying gifts for children. Sounds crazy, I know, but I will be the first to endorse it. Decades ago, when my girls were still babies, my sister flooded them with gifts.

Teletubbie­s costumes were worn for weeks on end, slipped off their little bodies in the dead of night to be washed, dried and ready for another adventure by the time they opened their eyes.

Colouring books and movies on VHS cassettes were by the far the best, as they proved to be much more than gifts – they were the ultimate babysitter­s.

But my sister, their aunt who walks on water, also has this Cruella de Vil streak.

Drum sets, electric guitars and basically any instrument or toy capable of waking the dead with mind-drilling sounds were delivered, wrapped in gift paper, even when there was nothing to celebrate except a moment of silence.

And of course, Aunty would make a tactical withdrawal to the serenity of her abode minutes after the decibel-level peaked.

Those toys reliant on batteries very quickly found themselves the victims of “load shedding”, even though that horrible phrase had not been coined yet.

Some, however, only needed a mechanical jolt from an arm or a jet stream of air from their ever-developing lungs to pierce ears. Those, unfortunat­ely, sometimes succumbed to an earthquake during the night.

I know and understand that I might be condemned to hell after confessing to placing my mental health above my children’s cacophonic pleasures, but that is a price I am willing to pay.

Well, just this weekend, we experience­d the same torture all over again.

A gathering of friends and family saw two similarly dressed girls jump for joy when they discovered whistles in their hand-crafted lucky packets delivered by their special Aunty De Vil.

I have no idea what goes on in anybody’s head when they gift toddlers with whistles.

The only people in the world who should be allowed to carry whistles are referees.

Be that as it may, after four hours, one whistle met an extremely violent demise when jumped on repeatedly by a woman screaming “die, die, die!”

Yes, there were a few cold glares, but what all the other guests really wanted to do was start a slow clap.

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