Our first sleepover

On Saturday, Tyler and Liam had their first sleepover at our place. Tyler and Liam have been friends pretty much since birth. We are good friends with Tyler’s parents – my husband and Tyler’s daddy grew up together and Tyler’s mommy and I have been friends ever since we met – so my rough calculation is about eight or so years. So understandably so, Tyler and Liam have grown up in each other’s back pockets. Luckily, they genuinely like it each other (even though you wouldn’t think so if you had to hear how they argue at times) so it’s been great to see their little friendship form and develop.

So Tyler’s mom dropped him off on Saturday and immediately they dashed off to Liam’s room to tear it up into a million little pieces – well that’s what it looked like when I walked in there later. They are still happily oblivious to the fact that Hannah is a girl, so the three of them play very nicely together. My heart breaks for the day when they turn to her and say “hey, no girls allowed.” Let’s be honest, as  much as Liam loves Hannah, of course there will come a day when his sister is no longer cool to hang with when his friends are around. *note to self, find Hannah more little girl friends stat.*

I digress.

Here are a few things I discovered about sleepovers from this experience:

  1. When you think they can’t get any noisier, you best believe that they can. The more excited small children get, the louder and squeakier they become. And this was before the introduction of any sweets or stimulants.
  2. Small children are the biggest moaners. He pinched me, she hit me, he stole my pencil, she looked at me funny, he is breathing too loudly. Oh my poor bleeding ears.
  3. They are also the biggest forgivers. No sooner have they complained and cried about all the atrocities inflicted by their playmate, then they are back to playing happily and lovingly.
  4. Sleeping on a blow up mattress is indeed as fun as it looks. When you are 4 years old. And weigh under 20 kgs.
  5. Crowd mentality. It’s real. I think this is how pre-school teachers actually survive the day. One child whines about the supper that has been prepared, or complains when it’s time to brush teeth – but get the other kids on board and you have yourself a winner!
  6. Small kids don’t care about ugly crying in front of their friends. Now, I know I try and hold back my ugly cry in front of my friends, because I don’t want to be ridiculed for the rest of my life (you know how your good friends take the mickey at every chance they get). But 4 year olds are still pretty ok with going nuts in front of ANYBODY. No amount of “Tyler is going to laugh at you if you behave that way” worked. (yes, I know that’s not good parenting right there, but when your kid is going nuts, you try everything to shut them up, ok).
  7. Every little boy still needs his mommy at night  – even though he makes like he is a big shot in the day.
  8. Giving small children chores is not advisable on a sleepover. Everyone wants to outdo the other, and not in a good way. The results are often messy and you’re left with more work than you had to begin with. For example: setting the table turns into a game of who can throw the place mats the highest and who can run around the dining room table the fastest. Making up the bed turns into who can wrap themselves up in the sheets the tightest and then everyone gets to pummel the poor person wrapped in the sheet. Cleaning up the toys takes hours, they discover new games with every toy they pick up, and that turns into another game, and the toys never get put away, until I realise that it will actually be quicker if I just pick the toys up myself.
  9. Small children have NO idea how to whisper. 6am on Sunday morning, I could hear them “whispering” in Liam’s room.  They were very aware that they needed to be quiet, judging by the conversation I could audibly hear along the lines of “shhhh, we must be quiet cos mommy is still sleeping.” Yeh right.
  10. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Rule number 1 when dealing with three small children. Make sure their bellies are full, make sure the walls are padded and then leave the room. They can quite happily keep each other occupied for hours. I watched a movie, read my book and kipped on the couch uninterrupted. Pretty awesome.

The Grace Factory


If you remember, the weather started to turn about three weeks ago. We are still having lovely warm days in Jozi, but the mornings and evenings have definitely started to cool down. So I pulled out the Winter pj’s for the kids and of course my beansprouts have grown taller and leaner since last they wore their Winter pj’s – and many other things in their wardrobes. So I filled a packet per child, with things they had outgrown and found blankets from Hannah’s baby days which created a third bag of stuff that needed a new home.

Strangely enough, on that very day I received an email from Amy who I had never met or heard of before. Her email explained that she was running an NGO called The Grace Factory. They collect unused baby items, including clothing, nappies, formula, bottles, blankets – anything baby related – and distribute to those in need.

Talk about Divine Intervention 🙂  Here I was cleaning out my cupboards and out of nowhere Amy contacts me. I HAD to help! Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Amy to hand over our loot and to chat about The Grace Factory. Amy has a little girl, and soon discovered (as all moms do) that she had all this stuff that her daughter had outgrown, or hadn’t even used because they do grow so fast, and from there The Grace Factory was born. She appealed to other moms to hand over their unused (or used but in good condition) baby stuff, she personally collects from the donors and she distributes to orphanages, children’s homes and other organisations who have a genuine need.

She says that the response has been great and although she works full time, she has managed to keep The Grace Factory running, by dedicating her evenings to working on this project. I take my hat off to Amy, she is doing good work here – while still working full time and being mom to a little baba, she is still giving back, and that is admirable. For that  reason, I now want to appeal to YOU. I know we all have special charities which we support, I know that a lot of us give to our churches, or even to our domestic helpers at home and all this is GREAT. But if you have over and above to give (I know I do with two small children who are constantly outgrowing things), or if you can add an extra tin of formula to your groceries this month, or if you can throw in an extra pack of wet wipes (Dischem’s bulk pack is still only R40), then please do contact Amy. She will come and collect from you, or if it is convenient for you, The Grace Factory have set up drop off points in certain areas, where you can drop off your stuff on your way to work, or on the weekend or whenever is easier for you.

Yes it is good to get your hands messy and go out and actively HELP people in need. This is first prize of course. But sometimes it is not always easy or possible and that is why I absolutely support causes like this. People who selflessly give of themselves for the greater good of others. Follow them on Twitter, like them Facebook, tell all your friends too. Let’s help Amy, help others!

Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Deuteronomy 15:11

TGF Flyer (2)

Ain’t nobody got time for crazy.

Everyone goes through those crazy patches when everything is just … is just crazy, right?

Crazy 1.

So the craziness started on Thursday night. I went to a church meeting, the Husband was at the gym and the kids were home with Zoleka. En route to church, I get a call from Zoleka. Now she never ever phones me, I’ve always told her to send me a “please call me” so as to reserve her air time, and she usually sends me text messages if she needs to. So immediately my adrenalin started pumping, I answered even though I was driving. She tells me that Liam fell while swinging between the two couches and slit his chin open. She sounded calm, and there was no hysterical crying in the background so I asked the necessary questions: is there blood? How much? Is he conscious, talking and crying? And I was happy with her answers. I talked to Liam and although he was very unhappy, he sounded ok. I told Zoleka how to patch it up and I carried on my way, BBM’d the Husband to tell him to take a look when he got home. The Husband messaged me later to say it looked ok. Right. So when I got home, everyone was asleep, I checked on the kids as I always do – feel their foreheads, put my finger under their noses to make sure they are breathing, you know how we psychos do. After 10, Liam got up complaining about his chin, I put the light on and there’s blood all over his pillow and down his PJ top. I’m like what? Remove the badly placed plasters and there’s a genuinely deep gash that is oozing. I yell to the Husband that this is NOT ON. It was the kind of wound that I wouldn’t even have thought twice about, I would have taken him to Trauma immediately for a stitch or two. Anyway, it was after 10pm, I was not going to take him out, so I dressed the wound, gave him some pain medication and left it. The next morning, it looked better, the skin had already started to knit but I still wanted to have it checked out, if anything to get the right dressings and perhaps an ointment or something to reduce the risk of infection. Little dude was proud as punch of his cut and wanted to go to school so I let them go.

Crazy 2.

So Friday morning, I leave them at school and I go to work. At 10am I get a call from the school to say Hannah is miserable and complaining of an earache and just very upset. Now bearing in mind, they have both been coughing for over two weeks and I’ve been self medicating and using home remedies in a bid to stay off the antibiotics – and also because it physically pains me to go to the doctor where he looks into their mouths, into their ears, feels their glands, puts the stethoscope on their chests and backs – all of which takes 5 minutes each, and then he gives me a script that I could have written myself and I have to pay over R600. KILLS ME SLOWLY EVERYTIME. But yes, even I know when to call it quits and bring in the big gunned antibiotics. I’m not that cruel to treat an ear infection with olive oil and a bit of cotton wool. So I make an appointment for both of them to see the doc later that day. Get to the doc, we go through the EXACT routine I mentioned and in addition I asked him to look at Liam’s chin. He agreed that it would have needed stitches last night but yes the skin (how miraculous is skin?) had already started to self heal, but to prevent scaring and the risk of infection, he had the wound glued and dressed with Steri-Strip and gave us some ointments and more dressing. Another R300 for that. Just another crazy Friday afternoon in my house.

Crazy 3.

Ok, like seriously. Is this a girl thing, or is this a Hannah thing? Child has MOODS, yoh! For the last week or so Hannah has been like a different child. Granted she has been sick but this is a different kind of crazy. She goes from happy and playful to miserable and tantrum-ing in a split second. She refuses to listen and blatantly ignores any request from anyone. She screams through bath time one day and the next day screams when you want to take her out. She is sometimes totally off her Daddy and obviously he takes this personally, and that sets the tone for the evening! She doesn’t want him to bath her, feed her, play with her – nothing! She won’t even greet him! She just wants me. But the next minute, she turns on me and only wants her Daddy. I don’t take this personally at all because it gives me a break. She has been waking up at night, and when I try to take her back to her room she freaks out, so then I let her into our bed, and she still freaks out – I mean what do you want child?? So she wakes up the whole household with her crying because she doesn’t know what she wants either. And then just like that, she hits a 180. She goes back to loving and cuddly, she only wants to sit on her Daddy’s lap and lavishes us with hugs and kisses. People think I’m overplaying it because she is still sweet little Hannah when we’re out and about, she loves school and is not Crazy Hannah there so they think I’m also overeacting. It’s mainly when we’re at home. Is she bored? Does she just enjoy manipulating us? Wow, it’s just getting a bit much. And she’s only 2. What when she’s 12? I’m not a moody so-and-so and I don’t like to be surrounded with moodiness. Just be cool man, life is short, yes I can very emotional but for the most part, I’m pretty happy most of the time, so to deal with all this moodiness is not easy for me – it is testing my patience!

Crazy 4.

With all the sickness, I’ve kept them at home this week. Wow, how you stay at home moms do it, I just don’t know. The house has been in complete disarray. I feel so sorry for Zoleka who tries to work around them, pick up after them and keep them in one spot at the same time so that she can at least make one area of the house look clean. It reminds me of the Cat in the Hat movie where those kids wreck their mother’s house, except in my version there is no Thing 1 and Thing 2 to fix it all up. As much as possible we enforce cleaning up after yourself, but it’s the general mayhem that small kids leave behind that really gets my goat. There’s crumbs all over, so there’s ants all over. There’s colouring pencils and crayons and kokis all over the place. The beds have been jumped on, the toilet seats have been dotted and smeared. The blankets from the linen cupboard and the cushions in the living area have all been used to build fortresses in the TV room. Oh my hat, it’s a mess! And I am not a neat freak, but I have come to realise now how I like coming home to a spotless house every day, how I appreciate everything in its place and that I like my sanctuary to have some sort of order! This craziness is messing with my chi!

Thing be crazy, yo! And while I like crazy, I do crazy really well in fact, I do need me some normal. I’m looking forward to the long weekend and the Easter break. I’m looking forward to my kids being healthy again and for this phase of Hannah’s to come to an end. I’m looking forward to the kids getting back to shool and Zoleka getting back to keeping house just the way I like it. I’m looking forward to a bit of normal. Crazy/normal. Please.

PS: I did have the most lovely breakfast with my girlfriends on Saturday morning. Hubby took the kids out for a few hours to let me entertain and it was just what I needed. So there was that bit of lovely in between the crazy.

The Perfect Panty Heist

Remember that time I was going to the gym every day in preparation for the Midmar Mile? Yes that time. Anyway, on this particular day I went to gym as usual, rushed through to the change room and quickly slipped into my swimming costume, grabbed my goggles and swimming cap and speed-walked (sped-walked?) to the swimming pool. I’d go at a very busy time (but the only convenient time for me) and it was a fight to get an empty lane and the worst thing for me was having to share a lane with some stranger. Firstly, because I was so afraid to bash into the person I was sharing with, that I’d spend more time hyperventilating about when our exact paths would cross, and I’d lose focus on my counting and breathing and my mind would be completely frazzled and it would just be a bad swim for me. Secondly, because I didn’t want the other person to beat me; so there I was barely able to breathe properly battling to keep up with a much younger, more toned, obviously more professional swimmer than myself. These dudes had like a million things wrapped around their bodies – don’t ask me what but I figure something monitoring their heart rates, breathing, some fancy underwater music listening device – I don’t know, but these swimmers were professionals ok. And when sharing a lane with a winner, you need to at least make like you can swim. So yes, sharing a lane caused me too much anxiety… but I digress.

So on this day which was rushed as usual due to the above mentioned factors, after swimming my little heart out, I climbed out the pool and walked toward my towel. As I grabbed my towel, a small little piece of black fabric sorta/kinda dropped from my towel, and landed at my feet. Oh no.. that? That? That wasn’t my PANTY was it??

Oh yes it was.

The next few seconds went by very fast. There were only two dudes in the pool, who both happened to have stopped at the wall for a breather. From what I could tell they were not looking at me, or in the least bit interested in me, so a more sensible person would have just picked the broekie up and walked away with head held high. Ja well, I didn’t do that. I wrapped my towel around me and hightailed it out of there so fast – while the colour rose from my neck, probably right to the roots on my scalp. When I got to the change room, I was like “oh that was stupid, what are you? 15 years old” – I messaged my husband because that’s what you do after an embarrassing moment, and he wanted to know which one and when I explained which one, HE WANTED ME TO GO BACK AND FETCH IT because apparently it was his favourite one. I messaged my sister and she had a good laugh. I figure my undies must have gotten tangled up in my towel in my gym bag. And there I was – panty-less at the gym. Well let me tell you if you haven’t done it in a while, that going “commando” is very liberating. You should give it a go sometimes.

Fast forward to the next day.

The pool was  dead quiet – it always is on a Saturday morning. I drop my towel in the usual spot and just to the side of the little wooden benching, is my one and only black number. My first thought was gross, don’t they clean this area every day? But my next thought was ok great, this is my chance to get my panty back. I wasted spent my whole swim conjuring up scenarios on the best way to steal a panty. I kept praying that no one would come and swim and that I could get away with it, without having to worry about people watching me. I had THE worst and probably the best swim of my life because I wasn’t keeping count, I wasn’t focusing on my breathing, I wasn’t even watching the clock – all I was focused on was the Perfect Panty Heist. Hey, I may have swam 5 blinking kilometers without knowing it, so engrossed was I with Project Bringing Sexy(Panty) Back. My plans came crashing down when a little old lady with a floral flower cap and matching swimming costume came toddling over, but I figured her eye sight was bad enough for me to wait until she was at the other end of the pool before making my move.

So I got out the pool, I may or may not have done some weird stretchy movements – you know like warming down after my exercise (I never warm up, let alone warm down?) and made a grab for my wet panty, wrapped it in my towel and casually strolled toward the change room. Sauvé as EVER. I reenacted the series of unfortunate events via BBM to my husband and my sister who replied with lots of LOLs and HAHAHAs and ROTFLs and all those silly BBM emoticons which basically say you’re a loser.

Who said gym was boring? I’m sure they play that security tape back everyday just for laughs. You can best believe I compartmentalized my gym bag thoroughly from that day onwards.

Ps: really, you should totally try that “commando” thing.

How I parent…am I any good?

The one thing I love about blogging, is that more than gleaming a look into other people’s lives and stories, it really opens my eyes to my OWN life, and it makes me question the way I do things, or parent, or my views on certain issues. And not in a negative way, more in the sense of “wow, I didn’t think about that before” or “wow, I really didn’t think about doing it that way.”

This morning I read Julia’s post and it really got me thinking about the way I parent. Now of course I think I am the best parent in the world, I mean have you seen my kids – they are awesome! I joke. I do believe that I am the best parent for MY children BUT there are a lot of things that I can and should be doing to improve that relationship. These are the questions which Julia posed:

What is your “play time” like with your child?

Do you do structured activities or does it revolve around free play?

Are you the director or do you take your cues from them at all times?

Do you feel that you have a good balance?

Is this something that comes naturally to you or do you have to work hard at it?

I’m going to answer her questions in one big muddle… can those judgmental readers please stop reading now!

I sway between two very different sides of the spectrum – in all honesty a lot of our play time is usually the kids playing at my feet while I sit on my phone and stalk people on social networking sites. The other side of the spectrum sees me being the controlling hard task master, I direct the play and it mostly revolves around reaching a specific goal – usually educational. When we read, I will most likely choose the books we read – I twist their arms to read specific books because I want to read them (and believe me, I can be very persuasive). Yes, they have reading time alone where they get to read to themselves or each other, where they can choose to read hundreds of books in as many minutes, but at story time, I usually select three books and we read those. First I started doing this because Liam would inevitably choose the SAME book over and over again because he loved it so, and quite frankly I was bored. But now, I choose books that reinforce what they’re learning at school, or what they may have seen on TV or being exposed to for the first time, or their moods – if they’ve had a particularly “emotional ” day then I’ll read our feelings books. Sometimes I read books that I just enjoy, who can refuse a Dr Seuss rhyming book – I absolutely love reading them aloud because they sound good to ME, forget about the kids! Ha! But generally I pick books that will add value for THAT day. Also, I like books that are conversation starters because for me, THAT is my goal – I want to talk about stuff and reading is a good starting block because there’s always lots of questions that follow. On that note, my pet peeve is being interrupted midsentence or mid-page. Again, this is probably my controlling nature. I’ve taught them to ask questions later, just before we turn to the next page!

When it comes to drawing, or colouring in or painting, I can’t stand scribbling, colouring in outside the lines and general mayhem on a page! I’m sorry, I find it verrrry difficult to go “wow baby, that’s awesome” when your drawing actually looks like rubbish. This made worse by the fact that I KNOW you can colour in the lines, I KNOW because you’ve done it a million times before. You are a perfect colouring in-er. So when he scribbles or colours badly, I lose my patience fast… So when our chosen activity is colouring in or drawing, I’d have to say that I direct the play and I hover to make sure he is doing it correctly. With Hannah, I will hold myself back and praise her for her efforts but I will tell her that she needs to colour in the lines and show her how – already there has been a huge improvement because she gets it! I firmly believe in repetition, I go over and over the same thing until they are positively irritated with me. I make Liam practice his name and his letters from here to eternity, until he tells me he is tired. Liam never says he is tired, admitting you are tired means defeat in the eyes of a toddler, you never say die, you just keep going – haha – so when he tells me he is tired, I know I’ve got to back off.

I am a fun parent, some times. I think? They enjoy many hours of free play where I’ll rather not be directly involved – while I’m cooking or busy with something, they’ll be in their rooms or outside doing as they please and I’ll pop in to check on them, or show an interest in what they are doing, and then leave again. I let them jump on their beds (my husband’s pet peeve), I let them dress up, I let them empty every single toy drawer and box and let them rummage around. They do come up with the most fantastic games all on their own and their little imaginations blow my mind – also as they grow, they play together very nicely so I don’t think I need to be there all the time. But when I am directly involved in their play, it’s usually by my rules. And I can be controlling in any sort of activity, let me tell you. When we go for our bike rides in the afternoon, they are counting dogs or post boxes or how many flowers on a bush or whatever. Or I’m teaching road safety or stranger danger because these two will literally stop riding to have conversations with strange people on the road. If we’re doing puzzles, I repeat over and over again to look for outside pieces, assort by colours, refer to the picture on the box, etc. I’ve even started doing time trials, (no seriously) my nephew gave me this idea during the December holidays when he and I were having competitions to see who could build puzzles faster. Now I do the same with Liam; Hannah and I against him. 50 piece puzzles each. Of course I let him win most of the time, but other times I let Hannah win – they both need to know the value of winning and losing, right? Again, is this my need to be in control, to make the rules? Why can’t I just let the kid make and break puzzles as he sees fit? Sometimes I actually need to leave the room, because I want to freak out when the piece he needs is the piece he is holding but his poor little 4 year old brain doesn’t get it as quick as my 31 year old brain.

We all love cuddles and I spend a lot of time just loving on them. Doing absolutely nothing but stroking their hair, playing “dot-dot” on their bare backs, and they love giving me massages or being right up close to my face or under my armpit, so much so that a person cannot even see the tv and I have to ask them to give me some space  – my children and my own love language is physical touch, so I’m not a hard cold calculating mother (most of the time) who only does things for results, but I’d have to say that I do find it difficult to get involved in the mindless playing of dolly house, or pushing cars around or drawing a million circles on one page in the same colour – I need to know there is a point!!

As I read this post to myself, I realise that I am really tough on my kids. I can’t help that, that’s who I am. I have great expectations because I see great potential. I do let my kids be kids, they throw tantrums and act up and embarrass me in public and I usually just let them be – that’s what kids do, right? I’m not sure if my balance is good or correct, I don’t know because I’ve only been doing this for 4 years – I ain’t no expert! But Julia’s questions have opened a good can of worms; sometimes I need to chill, sometimes I need to let them be the teacher and I, the student. Sometimes our kids are in fact teaching us lessons that the world or parenting books or other parents cannot. And that, in fact, is the tag line for my blog: Raising my babies, while they raise me. I’m going back to school on this one, let’s see what I learn.

Just about me. Robyn

This post is a selfish little one just about me. And probably won’t serve as a memoir for my munchkins one day. But whatever.

So two weeks ago I had my wisdom tooth removed in the chair. I cannot tell you the level of pain I was experiencing with this tooth. OH Matthew-Mark-Luke-and-John it was sore.  If you remember this post, you’ll know I had been struggling with this tooth for MONTHS. The main delay in getting it sorted was that my dentist recommended I have it taken out in hospital and I was waiting for the new year to tick over so that I could AFFORD to take it out in hospital. But long story short, the pain became so severe that I basically found another dentist willing to just pull the darn thing out and here I am two weeks later, pain and tooth free. I would reaaaaally, and I mean rreeaaallly like to post a pic of this tooth, but after showing it off to family and friends (yes I kept the tooth to show my kids) and being hurt and embarrassed by their comments, I thought I would save your eyes from the horror. Ok fine, I wasn’t hurt and embarrassed I was highly amused at the shock and horror on people’s faces when I insisted on showing them my tooth. The hole in the tooth is about the size of a small island and I still can’t believe that that ugly monstrosity came out of my body  – how I lived with it for as long as I did, I just don’t know. Oh wait I do know… I was popping pills like Smarties almost everyday, while begging my stomach lining to toughen up. Currently, I am still experiencing some discomfort when I open my mouth too wide, not pain, more like a pulled muscle – maybe my mouth is still recovering from the trauma? But boy, it feels good to be pain free!

So after all my swimming and training for Midmar, I’ve gone back to doing nothing to help pump my blood faster around my body. Well I do get a bit of a rush every time I see Harvey from Suits on the telly, but I’m referring to physical exercise here. So what I’ve been doing is taking the kids bike riding around the block – twice everyday. I have to walk at quite a speed because they ride pretty fast, I even work up a bit of a sweat. SO I feel good and self righteous about this. I still intend to take to the pavement with the Hubby, but until I can afford a decent pair of running shoes, I’ll speed walk in my old ones. I know I said this post was about me, but can I just add – this little afternoon activity has really been good for the kids and for me. It sort of breaks the day in half and gives us time to unwind after work and school, before we tailspin into the evening’s routine of bath, feed, sleep. Even as I feel the first telltale signs of Winter, I will put them into longs and jackets and try to keep this new little activity going for as long as we all enjoy it.

So you all know how I have a complex about my hair, I don’t have time to tag all the posts I have done on this one boring topic. I wouldn’t call it a complex exactly – more a love/hate relationship. I love my hair but I hate the schlep of doing it up and making it look pretty or even decent. Pretty decent. I love my natural curls, but I hate that I have to scrunch-it-bunch-it-bend-down-stand-up-punch it before it curls the way I like it. I love that I can wear it straight but that I have to basically endure Chinese torture before it gets there. Anyway, I’ve had my hair curly all week and we have a 30th to attend tomorrow night so I wanted to wear it differently so this morning I got to work early and first blow dried and then flat ironed my hair. Why I haven’t done this before is beyond me! We have a fully kitted salon downstairs and while we do score the occasional freebie, the stylists are there to work – not play on employees hair. Anyway, I did my hair myself – took me an hour, as opposed to the almost two hour it takes me at home with the distraction of children, pots cooking, checking my phone and trying to scoff my dinner down. Got to my desk looking like a million bucks.

Finally, can I just say that 2013 is belting past me so fast that I fear I may have whiplash by the time we get to June. It’s March already, people. It’s Easter this month. Easter means we’re half way to Christmas in my books. Yes there’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, blah blah.. but the two big events in the Christian calendar are Christmas and Easter and when the one is over, you’re expecting the other. Oh.my.word. I must say that we have been pretty chilled this year. Ok fine, we’ve been to 5 kiddies parties already this year but in between we’ve had pyjama days and just been at home – which is what I really wanted for this year. Things are going ok, Husband continues to train and carbo-load his way to the 2Oceans. Our lives revolve around races and new and exciting pasta dishes and counting his medal collection and Arnica massages that I sometimes think I am suckered into because I’m just so good at it. Ooh also, last week we went on a date and it’s always really nice to have that ah-hah moment when you remember that you actually just like this dude as a person, not as a father or a husband or a fixer of broken kitchen appliances – he is a genuinely nice guy that I would be friends with if he was not my husband. Serious. Kids have had a few hiccups at school, but continue to be a struggle, no I mean a joy – ok a joyful struggle. Every day I discover more about myself through them, and I have to say, on reflection, that I must be bloody awesome to have created such bloody awesome kids. The joyful struggle of parenting continues to blow my mind at every turn – hard but worth it.

I still enjoy penning my thoughts here… mainly because it’s a great outlet to spit the sometimes nonsensical meanderings of mind and yet some of you are still kind enough to comment. Well my mind says that’s all for today folks.  For now. xxx

Joining the library…

So for the longest time I have been trying to get Liam and Hannah registered at a library. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was visiting the library with my mom, choosing my own books and getting to take them home after the lady stamped them at the door. I can still “smell” the library in my mind – if that makes sense. The smell of hundreds and hundreds of books. Other than the smell of new money (or petrol, I love the smell of petrol), there is nothing quite like it. A trip to the library was a treat, having to be extra quiet and getting to page through many books before making your final choice. Holding tightly onto my library card which I safely kept in my BOB wallet – come on, who had an FNB BOB account? And then stressing if my books were even one day late because it meant I was going to have to put my money in that fancy little money box thingy to pay the fine. But more than the library experience which in itself is motive enough for me to get my kids signed up – my love of reading and my adoration for words, definitely stemmed from my trips to the library. Maybe Liam and Hannah won’t grow up to be readers, which would make me sad but there are worse things in life I guess, but I at least want them to experience the joy of losing yourself in a book. The joy of escaping into lands and fantasies that you may never visit or experience in real life. Empowering yourself through knowledge, gleamed only from reading. It’s AWESOME! I buy books as often as I can for them (but, boy books are expensive), and this year I requested only books for birthday gifts for Liam and will do the same for Hannah when her birthday comes around – but the library will give us a chance to have more books, more frequently, passing through our house.

I called our local library earlier in the year. I was a bit taken aback at the admin related to becoming a member. It’s easier to get a home loan or a credit card than it is to join the library – birth certificates, proof of residential address, blood samples and fingerprints. Well almost. I got the kids in the car after explaining what the library was and how exciting it was going to be and off we went. I started to doubt my Google Map when I went down one dodgy alley which led to another dodgy road which brought me out to Dodgeville. Turns out I live a few roads down from Dodgeville and I didn’t even know. I was alone with the two kids, and I just didn’t feel comfortable so we left. Of course my explanation of why we weren’t going to the library anymore was met with a huge outcry of how horrible I was so I had to make another plan and took them to Exclusive Books instead. Talk about a FAIL.

Since then, my cousin has informed me that there’s a library in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, so this Saturday I’m going to take the kids through and try this again. Hopefully I’ll have more success! While others think that the library has become an outdated relic (partly due to the World Wide Web), good only for pensioners and people who need to make photocopies of their CVs, I still think it’s one of the nicest excursions for people with little kids. You may not find the latest bestseller, but there will be enough to entice a small mind into a world unimaginable – it’s bloody exciting! I think it’s a free outing that you and your little ones can enjoy over and over again, and one that will leave a lasting impression and hopefully create an avid reader.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  – Dr Seuss

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours”  –  Alan BennettThe History Boys

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”  – George R.R Martin, A Dance with Dragons


New teacher, no hug.

Arrghh. Hannah’s teacher left suddenly two weeks ago, due to personal issues. This didn’t bother me too much, her sudden departure didn’t seem to cause Hannah any trauma. It had only been two months into the school year, so I don’t think any special bonds had formed, Hannah told us that Teacher S went on holiday and wasn’t coming back. Cool. This morning her new teacher arrived. Now I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but as I use this space to be as honest as possible, I’ll say that I didn’t get any warm and fuzzies. Putting aside the fact that Teacher A looks about 18 years old, my main problem was that she didn’t love on my child? Now I don’t care how you are at home, or what sort of personality you have, or if you aren’t a hugger or whatever, but when you are teaching little two year olds, you NEED to be a hugger, soother, sweet-talker to those kids – whether it’s fake or otherwise (hopefully it isn’t fake).

Ok, I’m a reasonable person. The minute Hannah walked into the classroom and looked at Teacher A, she burst into tears; howling ugly sobs! So I can understand that this may have been intimidating for ANYONE – but STILL, reach out, try to make some sort of impression on the child, talk in soothing tones to affirm the child’s distress and help her feel better. Right? Right. But nothing, Teacher A stood to one side with a nervous smile and Teacher M, the assistant came running to us and grabbed Hannah up into a hug. It was a bit difficult to get any words in with Hannah yelling her head off, so I introduced myself and went back to settling Hannah. Teacher A continued to stand to one side looking nervous and because Hannah wasn’t settling, I made a dash for the door knowing that she was in good hands with Teacher M and I always find that they take longer to settle when I don’t leave, versus just leaving them to get on with it.

I got into the car and the husband took one look at my face and was like “what?” I told him I didn’t think Teacher A was suitable, I didn’t think she handled meeting her kids for the first time well, and I don’t think it’s going to work. Of course, he was like “woah, woah, woah!” He gave me a lecture about giving her a chance, about making assumptions based on a 1 minute meeting where Hannah was causing a huge distraction and he told me to calm down and back down and give the lady a chance. Fine.

This afternoon Hannah will be fine and happy, and this will give me a few minutes to connect with this teacher. I need to feel good about her because until I do, every day will be a problem for me. I know myself, I will start finding fault with everything she does because I’ve already got this impression of her, I will start dissecting everything Hannah says or does and probably negatively feed my mild obsession with this new teacher. I need to deal with this TODAY. Maybe she just had first day nerves, maybe she woke up on the wrong side of the bed – I don’t know, but I need to sort it out.

I do have a progress appointment with the principal this week, and I’m grateful that this will also give me an opportunity to raise my concerns about Teacher A. After almost 3 years at the school, I have come to trust them. The teachers, the administration and general running of the school have left me feeling very confident and happy about my choice to send my children there. So I don’t believe that the decision to choose THIS teacher was taken lightly and I do believe that she was chosen as the best person for the job. However. HOWEVER. I want to know that when I am not there, someone is Mary Poppins-ing the life out of my child. Before even considering Hannah’s educational needs (Teacher A may have a Masters, Honours, Doctrate or whatever in education), I need to know that Teacher A is a loving and lovable doting teacher who shows my child the love (or at least the affection) that I can’t when I am at work. Personally at two years old, that’s all my child needs right now.

Am I overreacting? Perhaps I am. Is it warranted? I think it is. Little children need hugs ok. Lots of them. I’m going to see to it that my kid gets her hugs on time. She can learn her nursery rhymes, and how to paint and make unidentified clay objects at a later stage, hugs and “loves” come first for me – that’s about the only language a small child truly understands.