Thank goodness I don’t embarrass easily, because I would surely have died of embarrassment yesterday! My family are up for the long weekend and Ava has been in her element having both her Grangy, her Pa and her Uncle here all at the same time.

Unfortunately, she has also come down with yet another round of tonsillitis so she’s been a real grump over the last few days.

Yesterday as an outing for us all, we headed off to the Lion Park to feed the giraffe’s, play with the lion cubs and have some lunch. It was a gorgeous day in Jozi, as only autumn in Jozi can be, hot and clear. After we’d finished feeding ourselves and the giraffe’s and playing with the lion cubs, we headed back out through the curio shop on our way out to the car park and then home. Ava was showing signs of tiredness but I could NEVER have imagined what would happen next.

Ava & Her Uncle

Clearly the curio shop is for international tourists as the pricing of most of their stuff is just exorbitant!  Unfortunately Ava spotted the biggest lion cuddly toy on the pile and immediately grabbed it shouting “My Big Lion, My Big Lion!” It was in that instant moment that I just knew I was in big trouble!

I tried distracting her with a cheap plastic lion because quite honestly, there was no way in hell I was

  1. Going to bow to her every whim
  2. Spend R598 on a soft toy!

But she was having none of the crappy plastic lion. I tried distracting her with the cute kiddies cutlery, the ones with brightly colored animals on the handles but she was not in the least bit interested in that either and just kept clinging to the giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lion!

After trying to get her to put the giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lion down by offering her

  1. A soda
  2. Jelly tots
  3. a plastic lion
  4. animal cutlery
  5. a cheetah puppet

I knew there was nothing left to do except yank the giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lion out of her arms and take her by the hand and leave the curio shop, what I hadn’t counted on was how something could sound so simple in plan and yet be so impossible in execution.

From the second my hand curled around the giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lion, Ava started screaming – “mine mine mine mine”

Once I had wrestled the lion from her grip and dumped it back on top of the pile of giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lions, she started to do THE CRY! The one where her mouth gapes open, her face goes shades of red, purple and blue, tears stream from her eyes and no sound comes out but you know as soon as she runs out of breath she’s going to start scream crying so loud your ears are going to ring!

But I try to remain calm, I take her by the hand to lead her out of the curio store, which is at the exact moment she runs out of breath and her silent-mouth-gaping-wail turns into full bodied scream crying. I’ve also noticed that the scream cry almost always coincides with her sudden inability to control her limbs and walk. So as soon as the scream cry starts, she automatically collapses in a heap on the floor.

No problem I think, I’ve got this, I’m in control here, I’m going to just walk away and leave her, after all I’m sure that if she see’s me walking away, she’ll get up and follow me?? Right??


As soon as she noticed I had walked away, she showed me the depth of her determination and also a figurative middle finger. Instead of crying because her mommy had left her, or wailing for her mommy to come back, or jumping up and running after me, Missy would simply get up, and run back to the pile of giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lions.

Take 2.

No distractions because now my patience is wearing thin and seriously, people are starting to stare. The childless couples with that all knowing look how their future children will never behave that way, the elder couples, with smiles of sympathy because they’ve been there and done that and couples with kids of a similar age, who were openly laughing, at me, with me, cos you know, seeing a child behave in this appalling manner means that we’re ok, that our children are not abnormal for behaving the same way!

So take 2, I decide I’m going to use a less subtle and more direct approach. I walk over to Missy, tell her she is NOT getting the giant, ridiculously prices, fluffy lion, yank it out of her arms and chuck it back on top of the pile of giant, ridiculously priced, fluffy lions, grab her by the hand and start marching off.

Well, I use the term – marching loosely. It was more a tripping, stumbling motion I made as Missy’s legs had once again given away and she was dangling from one arm between my legs. But I persevere! And we make it to the exit of the curio shop!

I take us out of everyone’s view and try to Super Nanny the tantrum! Get down to her level, hold her firmly by both arms, explain to her that her behavior is unacceptable and she is being very naughty but before I am even finished with my neat little Super Nanny lecture, she has yanked her arms free and is charging at full speed back into the curio shop, running just fast enough so that I can keep up, but each time I lunge forward to grab her arm, she speeds up ever so slightly so as just to always stay one step ahead of me.

By now, the shop is at a stand still, people are staring open-mouthed at the scene unfolding in front of them, I’m now super aware of the know-it-all-childless couples looks, the sympathetic smirks of grandparents and of course I can now hear the couples of toddlers openly having a giggle at my expense and within seconds Missy has the farking overpriced, gigantic, fluffy lion back in her grip.

If I weren’t so bloody determined to prove a point to my child that she cannot and will not always have her own way, I swear I would have bought that farking overpriced, gigantic, fluffy lion just so we could get out of there!

By this stage Ava’s face is soaked with tears and she has a doughnut face all shiny and glistening from the snot which is pouring out her nose and into her mouth, some of which has been smeared across her face, not to mention the snot blotches that cover my shirt (her snot, not mine) It’s as hot as hell and my hair is now plastered to my head from sweat after the exertion of chasing after Missy.

Take 3.

Dr Phil says there are some battles as parents we just always have to win. I feel this is one of them! I unceremoniously rip the farking, overpriced, fluffy lion out from under Ava’s arms and before she can even catch her breath or have her legs buckle underneath her, I yank her up into my arms and start to carry her out of the shop.

It’s at this point she decides to start running, in the air! So I’m carrying my handbag, my camera bag and my toddler who’s arms and legs are thrashing about as if she’s in the final stages of a 100m dash, I’m sweating like a stuffed pig, the sweat is visibly running down my back, my family and my husband have scattered from the shame, none of them wanted to be associated with the crazy sweaty lady who’s toddler is under going an exorcism right there in the curio shop!

But I don’t care, I keep walking, even though I”m getting hit in the face from the thrashing arms and kicked in the leg by the thrashing legs, I keep going, till we get out in the car pack.

It’s then that I decide to implement parenting 101 circa 1980, I get us between a couple of cars, where no one can see us, take a deep breath, calm myself down, think screw you Super Nanny and then proceed to dish out two firm swots on the backside of my still 100m dashing toddler!

Amazingly, this calms her down instantly! She is still crying and she is still very very angry but suddenly her ability to walk unaided returns and she manages to do the rest of the walk back to the car, by herself without further incident.

Of course, I don’t think we’ll be visiting the Lion Park soon, not until such time as they either reprice those farking fluffy lions or move them out of the grasp of passing two year olds.

We made the drive home in silence, me mopping up sweat from my hair and brow, Ava promptly passed out and slept for 3 hours clearly exhausted from her tantrum and all I kept thinking was Thank God I don’t embarrass easily!