Of all the challenges I have had to face when it comes to raising toddlers, I never thought that explaining the science of electricity (or lack thereof), would be one of them. I mean she’s two. I’m pretty certain, by education standards, this conversation was only supposed to go down like, at least 4 years down the line. ( You know “The nucleus is made up of particles called protons and neutrons. … Protons have a positive charge, and electrons have a negative charge….”). Thanks to Eskom’s load-shedding, my child is already having regular and, emotionally- fuelled lessons on the science behind electricity and why she can no longer watch her favourite TV shows between 4 and 6 every afternoon.
I know I know, these are “first-world” problems (any hope of us actually becoming a fully-thriving first-world nation is fast becoming impossible thanks to Eskom and our deteriorating government), and one that parents who don’t allow screen time, will no doubt be looking down at parents like myself with utter shame and disgust, with juuuuuust a hint of superiority. No doubt because they don’t need to deal with the meltdowns that occur when the power cuts out just as Peppa has made her way outside, after being sick all weekend and is about to jump in her first ever muddy puddle. I wish Eskom understood the kind of a wrath we have to endure when Miss Polly’s Dolly was just being put to bed and my child wasn’t able to see the Doctor arrive with his bag and hat, and knock on the door with a rat a tat tat. God knows everyone in a five mile radius has had to endure it on our end.
I explain calmly the fist time and then a second and by the third time I begin to question my own understanding of what is is I’m trying to get across to my bewildered little girl who for crying out loud is just not emotionally ready to hear the words “Sorry Babe, you can’t watch season 2 of Peppa Pig.” I say this because I know the feeling too well : When I’m soul-achingly deep in my favourite Series and my husband asks if we can watch something else (and actually change the channel), I literally go cold inside. Like, why for the love of all things good in this world would he ask that of me. Does he not love me? Did we not take vows? Did he not promise to put my needs before his own? I think when we renew our vows in the not so distant future I’m going to have to be a be a bit more specific about what the right thing is to do in a situation like this. Read: Leave me to be and don’t even speak to me until I’ve come out of the Series on the other side and am ready to talk about it and tell you what I took away from it on a much deeper level.
I regress. She’s often calm at first but then the big questions start“ Why does the power have to go off mommy? Why does EKOM turn off my iPad?” And then with BIG eyes as she watched me scrolling through Social Media on my phone she stares me deep in the eyes and says, “But your phones working?” Which brings us to a whole other discussion about cellphone data and the difference between Cellphone data and wifi and before I know it I hate Eskom even more than I did when this whole painful conversation began.
So yes, for us it’s a very real thing we are facing over here at the moment. Right up there with planning to cook dinner at lunch time, not being able to heat my coffee, sitting in the dark, alarms going off in the middle of the night and not being able to access the internet for work commitments. I know my little princess’s viewing schedule isn’t high on Eskom’s list of priorities ( is anyone on their list of priorities I would love to know?), but I have a feeling if they were on the end of her wrath and bitter-filled sadness, there’s no doubt in my mind that it would be.
So Eskom, I’ll leave you with Hunter’s famous last words, “ESKOM, You’re ruining my vibe, sort you
shit kaka out!” Please and thank-you.