FREE WILLY

How do you know if you’re a prude? Secretly, I think I might be one. I cringe inwardly while watching sex scenes. I cringe inwardly while listening to my friends discuss their sexual anything. I cringe at seeing people being overtly physical in public. I cringe at seeing too much flesh – like boobs threatening jailbreak or underbutts playing peekaboo. It would seem that I cringe a lot.

I blame my parents for this cringing problem. Perhaps if my parents had understood the importance of being open with discussions on sex, consent and STDs or healthy body image and relationships, maybe I would be more confident within my own skin. And therefore, I wouldn’t be prone to cringing as often.

My three-year-old son started on-site kindergarten this week. On his second day, my husband found a car park in front of the vacant lot next to the kindergarten. I remained in the car with our daughter while he lined up to retrieve our son.

A black SUV swerved into the spot in front of us and out climbed a woman in a worn grey drop crotch baggy pants (the crotch was dangling between her knees) and an off-the-shoulder sweat top. She milled around chatting to the other parents (minus the appropriate social distance) before dragging her boy to the boot of her car.

“I hope she’s not going to throw him in the back!” exclaimed my seven-year-old daughter, Mandy.

The woman did throw the boy into the boot but not because she ran out of passenger seats. Instead, she stripped him of his clothes while loudly cursing to anyone who would listen about how he had wet his pants. She proceeded to take her butt naked son to the nearest tree to pee, which happened to be on the vacant lot. The only tree was located next to the footpath where parents were lined up for kinder pick-ups. It was also in our direct line of sight.

The duo didn’t go behind said tree or go towards the bushes in the back of the lot. The woman stood in front of the tree with the boy facing the footpath. His penis was in full view. His spray hit dangerously close to those waiting nearby. The mother had absolutely no compunction about her son peeing in public.

“That’s weird,” commented Mandy.

Weird was an understatement. I mean, really? I’m all about free Willy but was there no shame? I get that when a young child needs to go, they need to go. And sometimes, a tree is the only option. But come on! Turn the other way for goodness’ sake!

Honestly, it was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t have looked away even if I wanted to and you can bet that I cringed. I cringed so hard my face got a stitch. But you know what? This doesn’t make me a prude. Nope, no siree!

Who wouldn’t cringe watching a naked three-year-old boy emptying his bladder while his mother casually chats to people standing nearby? These people didn’t ask to be within spraying distance!

Whatever happened to being discreet?!

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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FIRST CRUSH ADVICE

Do you remember your first crush? Or the first time someone declared their undying love for you?

I was eleven-years-old when a boy plucked up the courage to ask me out. I’m not sure what the young kids these days think ‘going out’ means but back in my day, it meant stolen kisses behind the school shed, holding each other’s sweaty hands and hugging real close. Innocent kid stuff.

I remember that day like it was yesterday (clichéd much?). Almost three decades on and the memory is as fresh as a daisy (I’ll stop with the clichés soon, I promise!).

I was the new kid on the block (again)… an awkward and shy girl, just moved houses in a different suburb, attending a new Catholic school, and starting sixth grade. It was the first time that anyone had shown any kind of interest in me, and I guess that made an impact on the memory bank.

The school bell had rung, closing another day of learning. All of the school children were rushing out of classrooms and making their way home. I was this meek-as-a-lamb girl, sporting a thick monobrow and an unfashionable blunt fringe, wearing secondhand uniform and lugging a heavy bag full of books home. I reeked of loneliness and sadness. Not really a boy’s pin-up girl.

This scrawny boy with pants a smidge too baggy, chased after me with his two friends in tow, calling out my name. After stopping next to me, he shifted nervously on his feet before spilling his guts. He liked me and wanted to know if I’d go out with him.

My mother had prepared me for boys and their interests. She had given me her version of the birds and the bees, which was simply to avoid those bees altogether. She had taught me what to say in these events.

I recited her words. “Thank you. I’m trying to do my best in school. I’m not interested in a relationship.”

I might have been this poor boy’s first crush and he was my first admirer. Two kids on the cusps of teenagerhood and its burgeoning hormones. The situation was utterly embarrassing for both of us and made unbearably awkward by my odd response. So much so, that two decades later when I walked into a burger joint across from work, we immediately recognised each other and the awkwardness continued.

This guy ran a fantastic burger joint, serving perfectly seasoned fat cut chips that were fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. And the burgers had you salivating in anticipation. It was such a pity that the owner couldn’t look me in the eye and I couldn’t stand the weirdness of our conversations. My relationship with the burger joint ended prematurely. We didn’t stand a chance!

I’ve learnt from my experience with first crushes. I vowed that if my children came to me for advice, I would do better than my dear mother’s attempts.

Not too long ago (before school closed due to the pandemic), my seven-year-old daughter let me in on a secret and asked for my advice. This was how the conversation went.


Mandy: I think a boy likes me.

Me: OOOOHHHH, first crushes! Be cool, be cool Mumma! What makes you think that?

Mandy: He put his reading box next to mine.

Me: Uh… ok… Anything else?

Mandy: (shrugs) He always sits next to me on the floor.

Me: Hmm… need more to work with here buddy. Ok, anything else?

Mandy: He tugs my hair and calls me Mandy Moo Shoo.

Me: Ah… teasing, telltale signs. How does that make you feel?

Mandy: (shrugs) I don’t care. He also hugs me a lot.

Me: Wait a minute! What the hell? How does he hug you?

Mandy: He hugs my arm. And smacks my butt.

Me: What the?! Oh hell no, that is not cool!

Sometimes people can do strange things like tease or pull your hair to show you that they like you. BUT, that does NOT mean you should let anyone touch you without your permission. There are boundaries.

Mandy: Are boys just stupid and do stupid things?

Me: Try not to rant. Keep it simple. You can do this without preaching. Don’t waffle!

Uh, sometimes. Just remember that if anyone does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, you tell them to stop and if they don’t stop, you tell the teacher. Remember that your vagina, your bottom, your chest, they are your private areas and no one should be touching those areas.

Mandy: Eww. Why would anyone do that?

Me: Um… not for this conversation. It can happen. You understand what Mummy is saying?

Mandy: Yeah.

Me: You know you can tell me anything, right? I will always listen and try to help you.

Mandy: I know Mummy.

Me: (Hugs) And no more hugging with this boy. We’re in a pandemic for Pete’s sake.


I think I did a decent enough job. Let’s hope I don’t accidentally come across my daughter’s blog post in future and read how she could have given better advice on boys.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

THROUGH THE LENS

Perspective – the way that you see something, a point of view.

An example could be a patient and his spouse sitting in the doctor’s room waiting for said doctor to deliver the verdict of the patient’s recent colonic biopsies.

Precancerous adenomas. One considered an aggressive form that can develop into cancer and needs regular colonoscopies for detection and removal.

The two people receiving this news could be hearing the same information but have differing perspectives. The patient’s perspective could be that this is good news and some changes to the diet might be needed. What will be, will be. His spouse’s perspective might be that this is devastating news and drastic dietary changes are necessary. A ‘all or nothing’ approach.

How is it that two people can have such differing views?

We are a product of our upbringing and environment. Our beliefs are influenced and shaped by family, childhood, culture, religion, life experiences and so much more. We look at the world through our own unique pair of lens. Our perspectives are formed by our core belief systems.

How can differing perspectives cause conflict for this couple?

Well, I would imagine the woman might throw a fit and demand that the dietary changes she’s made to reduce the man’s risk factors aren’t extreme and that kale doesn’t taste THAT bad! And eating couscous is like eating rice… 

I could see that the man might try to rationally and logically explain that crash diets don’t work and smaller changes are needed to maintain longevity. He might use conversational tactics he uses on work colleagues to get his point across. He might get frustrated at the woman’s defensive and increasing volume, and start talking to her as though he’s disciplining their seven-year-old stubborn child.

She might threaten to feed him more kale. Sure, it’s bitter and tastes like medicine but that’s why you pinch your nose and swallow whole.

He might suggest eating a meat pie once in a while isn’t going to lead to cancer.

Eventually, they will reach a stalemate with neither seeing the other person’s perspective. Something about Mars and Venus is at play. Someone will cry because crying is good for the soul and an effective stress reliever.

So how can they resolve their conflict?

Time apart can help them reflect on what the other person has said. It can allow them time to consider why the other person might behave the way they do and find common ground to resolve the issue.

The man might consider that allowing the woman to have control over the family diet will alleviate her anxiety and fears of the unknown. She’s only trying to help and she might need more hugs. Plus, she can become batsh*t crazy when anxious.

The woman might consider finding a middle ground with dietary changes, that an ‘all or nothing’ approach isn’t sustainable. She’s not the only one affected by the information and her emotions must play a secondary role.

They might want to sit down and make a list of possible changes and mark what can be achieved now and gradually over time. They need to turn towards each other for support and give the other person respect and love. They must remember that everyone is different. People see the world and its problems differently, and that is ok. They both have a common goal, reducing the risk factors that lead to colon cancer, and working together is the answer.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/