Is Jazzing a Coloured Thing?

If you are Coloured, you KNOW what Jazzing is. If you are not Coloured, but have attended a Coloured wedding, or frequented a predominately Coloured nightclub / supper club / bar – chances are you’ve seen the art of Jazzing. To sum it up, I guess we can call Jazzing a dance style or technique, usually (not always) to an R&B beat. It’s actually beautiful to watch if the couple know what they are doing and there are very few Coloured people who don’t Jazz. My husband being one of them – but he doesn’t dance at all, so we’ll exclude him from this discussion.

So I was wondering if Jazzing is a Coloured thing? I don’t recall having seen anyone else Jazz at a place where music is played and people dance. Does anyone know it’s origins? I love to dance, although as I get older I must admit that I dance less. But this is, of course, because the places I frequent don’t lend themselves to dancing. You don’t see any people dancing in the aisles in Spur or Papachino’s, I can assure you. If we do happen to be at a wedding or a party, the other factor is that my husband doesn’t dance at all, so I’m always at the mercy of my girlfriends who need to rest their feet, so I steal their partners for a swing or two.

I am no Jazz professional, I know the basic step, but the wonderful thing about it is that if your partner knows what he (or she – Coloured women are not afraid to lang-arm with each other!) is doing, you can really wipe that dance floor with a rag AND it’s an amazing workout on the calves! I intend to teach my son to Jazz as soon as he can string a two-step together, because I need me a partner; there’s just something about being able to dance and sing along to the words of a song you love, isn’t there?

For those of you who aren’t sure what I am talking about, R.Kelly in his Happy People video has people dancing alongside the ramp. It’s kinda/sorta like that – lots of footwork and lots of twirling and swirling!

And just for fun, this is one of my all time favourite songs to Jazz to, wait for the beat to come in around 46 seconds. What a classic and takes me back to many a family function, dancing with my Dad.

Coloured people, I’m claiming this as part of our heritage and culture!

My dearest Hannah Ruth…

Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world, plain to see you’re the reason that God made a girl. Prince, 1995

You are three!  Wow! As is customary on this blog, we like to brag on birthdays and my darling, you have given me so much to brag about over the last three years.

You’ve always been my mysterious child. Well you came into the world as a surprise so it figures that you’d continue to surprise us at every turn. When you were little, I labeled you as quiet and introverted much like your father. You didn’t like strangers or loud noise and much preferred been home with familiar faces like me, Dad, Liam and Gogo. You were ma-vas and besides playing with your brother, you didn’t care to mix with other kids – in fact you were a bit of a bully and lashed out at other children! Yes you did! You were very different to your brother and I was content in the knowledge that you were going to be my quiet little mouse who preferred to be close to me and who would need that extra push to get involved in activities and with other children.

Baby girl, did you surprise us. Even our friends will attest to the fact that you really came out of your shell in ways that none of us could have imagined. You’ve grown into this little ball of fire who knows exactly what she wants. You are still a little bully boss but you use your strong will so positively, always reminding us to speak properly, and reprimanding your brother (and anyone else) when he is in the wrong. I can’t tell you what to do, as your mind is pretty much your own, and I think I love this the most about you, even though it drives me batty at times. You are fiercely independent and unless I have a very good reason for making the decisions I do, you will fight me all the way. You are so loyal and caring, even when the two of you are fighting, you still tell your brother you love him at least six times a day. You love to tell us ALL how much you love us, and your outpouring of love all the time just melts my heart. I love it when you crawl into my lap for a cuddle, or how you hold my face in your hands at bed time and tell me how much you’re going to miss me during the night. I love it when you want to holds hands in the car – even though I’m in the passenger seat in the front and you’re in your car seat at the back – its uncomfortable but I don’t care.

You started school a few months ago and I was so worried about how you’d adjust but you surprised me again, and took to school like a duck to water. So much so that you’ve already moved up a class and I am so proud of you. You look forward to going to school, your teachers love you and you’ve grown in leaps and bounds from the experience.

I love the contradiction which is you – you detest wearing dresses or skirts or having your hair open, but you love to play with your dollies and look after them so tenderly. You admonish me every time I call you baby – “I am NOT a baby!” yet you love been babied with hugs and kisses and positively freak out with happiness when we all lay in the big bed together. You’re all slugs-and-snails-and-puppy-dog-tails but ever so often you’ll insist on “pretty polly” for your toe nails (that’s what you call nail polish – pretty polly 🙂 )

I’ve always wanted a daughter, and I am so glad I got you. I am very close to my own mother and the relationship we share is special and unique and irreplaceable, and the impact that my relationship with my mother has had on my life is wondrous and amazing. And I want to experience that with you, Hannah. I want to be to you, what my own mother is to me. I want to be your mentor, your role model and the person you turn to when you need someone. You make it easy because you are so perfectly perfect. To me, your life is a testimony of God’s grace and favour, you are MY testimony. You see, you came into my life when things couldn’t have been worse. It was a tumultuous and dark period but even in that circumstance you became my beacon of light. God showed me, through YOU, that even in our darkness hours, He is still in control, still on our side, still strategically placing every star in the sky to shine for us. You are my shining star, baby girl, placed into our lives just at the right time to complete our family! I pray that you will know your own strength, that you will quickly realise the anointing on your life – if you changed my life in the way that you did, I can only imagine how you are going to change the lives of all those who cross your path – for the better. Know that you are an absolute blessing, that you are loved and cherished and that you fill a space in my heart that no one or nothing could ever fill.

You are called Hannah which means grace and favour.  My prayer is that God’s grace and favour will follow you all the days of your life.

Happy birthday, my darling.




Boss mother.

Last night I was jolted awake by Liam calling for me. Liam never calls for me, he goes to sleep at bed time and we have to lure a very grumpy Liam out of bed the next morning. This from a kid  who didn’t sleep through the night until he was almost 3 years old.  So when he does happen to call for me, I know it’s for a good reason.

So I leap out of bed with the feline prowess of a fat ‘ol tired lioness. I rush to his room and he’s like “I weed the bed.” Just great. Why don’t you ever call for your father when this happens? Both Liam and Hannah still wet the bed on occasion, but usually they’ll sleep through it and the gross aroma of pee will waft us awake in the morning and the problem is then Zoleka’s because I have to rush off to work, you know.

Arghhh, so I stand and stare at him for about five seconds trying to figure out what to do, poor kid is shivering. Clearly it was the cold pee which woke him up. I tell him to strip down while I warm a face cloth in the bathroom and give him a quick wipe down and throw the Baby Powder all over the place to mask the smell. I strip the blankets from the bed and throw two thick towels over the wet patch (NO mattress protector on the bed!), while throwing the wet clothes and blankets in a corner of the room, toying with the idea that setting them alight may be easier than soaking them right now.

Arrgghh there’s no more long sleeved vests in the cupboard, and there’s no button down flannels either (the only thing he insists on wearing to bed these days – it must have buttons) and I’m not in the mood for a meltdown so I have the ingenious idea to put his neatly laid out school clothes (including a long sleeved vest) on him. At 2h05am. First he is like WTH? Then he is like YAY, CAN I SLEEP IN MY SCHOOL CLOTHES?! Big fun! So I put an extra towel down for good measure, can’t risk the pee smell seeping through onto the school clothes, because now I KNOW there isn’t another vest for tomorrow morning. And kid is ready and dressed for school. At 2h05am. We go back to bed. And I get a few extra minutes sleep this morning because I don’t have to dress one kid.

This morning Husband and Hannah are like WTH, Liam is in his school clothes? Liam and I laugh conspiratorially.

Who’s the top boss? Mama Bear, that’s who.

Ps: of course this is going to end badly for me, both children will now insist on going to bed in their school clothes which could do wonders for the morning routine but isn’t really ideal – people will talk and I’ll go from being Boss Mother to being Lazy Mother. Can’t risk it, as tempting as it is. 

A very contentious issue…

Hannah is a girl and has girly toys including dolls, bags, a play kitchen, a play vanity stand and so on. Liam is a boy and his room is filled with boy toys like cars, robots, soldier figurines, plastic tools, a carpenter’s stand and so on. You get the picture, right?

Since forever, they have played happily together, sometimes in her room and sometimes in Liam’s room. They swop toys, they take turns and everyone is happy. Recently my husband has decided that he doesn’t want Liam playing with dolls or carrying handbags. This breaks my heart a little – the kid is four, so what if he wants to hold a dolly or play dolly house with his sister? I really don’t see the big deal. In turn, surely this should mean that Hannah should not be allowed to play with his “boy” toys? What message are we sending if we allow her full use of his things, yet we restrict him from playing with any of her things?

Also, why is it easier to accept that your daughter may be a tom-boy and we all laugh about that, but the idea that your son may like dolls is sacrilege? Why are men wired so differently to women – and why can’t we just agree that playing with a doll is just THAT – playing with a doll. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s not a sign to anything, and it most definitely is not the end of the world!

I am torn between letting him just play with whatever he wants to play with (especially when Daddy isn’t around but I don’t want to confuse the kid and besides that’s like doing things behind Daddy’s back which opens a whole other can of worms), and keeping a united front with my husband and agreeing with him in front of the children. I’ve had the discussion with my husband and it’s a no-go: hear yeh, hear yeh, there will be no boys playing with dolls in this house! Liam is well aware of certain things that boys (in our house) don’t do – nail polish is for Hannah only, only Hannah and Mom have pierced ears (he is HORRIFIED when he sees pictures of his younger Dad with TWO pierced ears nogal), and we get to wear lipgloss but he only gets to wear “Lip-Ice” (lip balm). So yes, perhaps I have indoctrinated SOME gender specific aspects already I guess. But always in a way that they understand – like how only Daddies shave their faces because only Daddies grow long beards, or only Daddies and boys pee standing up and mommies and girls pee sitting down. You know, in ways that make sense in their little minds for valid reasons – like can you even imagine if Hannah had to pee standing up, it just wouldn’t work, right? And of course, that makes sense, so they agree.

To compound the issue, we’ve had this conversation with lots of friends and it seems there is a complete divide between moms and dads. Moms are cool with their little boys playing with girly toys and all the Dads are horrified at the idea. Dolly house is just role playing for goodness sake – kids wanting to be like mommy and daddy. And it’s a bit ridiculous to lay down this law at home, when at school and at church, boys and girls play together – whether in the dolly corner or riding bikes wildly outside and it is considered absolutely fine. Let the child, on their own, get to an age where they are able to distinguish between the different roles that people play. But all this fussing just creates more drama than is even necessary at this age as far as I am concerned – creating more questions and confusion in the mind of the child.

This is the first time ever that I have thought that parents with same sex children do have it a bit easier! Generally, there will only be one category of toy in that house depending on the sex of the kids, right? And because Liam and Hannah are so close in age, they do generally play together with the same toys. They haven’t yet reached that age where he goes off and plays with his toys, while she does her own thing in her own room. They do everything together. Parenting is so difficult – finding the balance between firmly guiding them in the way they should go, and becoming completely Nazi over silly things is intricate and complex. There is such a delicate line between getting it right or completely screwing it up, isn’t there?!

High highs and low lows

This weekend was cuh-razy. It reminded me of those first few weeks with a new born – you know when your emotions are just all over the place and you go from feeling completely saturated with love for your new perfect baby, to crying hysterically when the enormity of the parenting task hits you at 3am when a hungry baby won’t latch to your boob, to laughing uncontrollably probably from sleep deprivation but also from the circus your life becomes when you have children. Cuh-razy, I tell you.

So this weekend had nothing to do with newborns but my emotions pretty much matched those mentioned above.

On Friday night we were blessed with an overnight stay at Emperor’s Palace with another couple who we love. The giddy anticipation of a night away from our children, staying in a hotel room with a king sized bed which we didn’t have to share with midget bodies, and the tantalizing promise of a buffet dinner and breakfast was enough to send me over the edge of happiness. And it wasn’t an empty undelivered promise – boy, it was awesome. The food was amazing, the company was lovely, our hotel room was a real treat and we laughed until we cried at one point! Isn’t it great to have good friends to do life with?

On Saturday we attended the funeral of my husband’s cousin who was killed in a motorbike accident. Funerals don’t exactly have me jumping for joy, for reasons I don’t have to explain I’m sure. So already on a low, we then zoomed off to the airport to say farewell to my brother and his family who returned to Australia after a 6 week long holiday. You know what the worst thing about saying good bye is? It’s that uncertainty of whether you will see each other again in this lifetime. If I KNEW for sure that ok yes, I’ll see you tomorrow morning at work, then saying goodbye would be a cinch (even though even tomorrow is not guaranteed) but with the time and distance that separates me from these people who I love, it makes saying good bye that much harder. As I get older and the reality of life and death affects me more, goodbyes become very emotional for me. And yes I’m going to get all sentimental now, and tell you to treasure every moment and live each day as if it was your last  because guys really, we need to be cognisant of the fact that this very moment is the only one you can bet your bottom dollar on. Later tonight, tomorrow, next week – we may not be here! Heard such an encouraging Word at church yesterday. An old and familiar teaching about the power of the tongue and how the words you speak bring life or death. But what struck home for me was how we speak to our children, how we should be affirming them every day with words of love and encouragement and positivity, how we should be prophesying good things into their futures. I want to say the things I need to say while I have the chance. And this goes for everyone else too. I don’t want to wait until so-and-so’s funeral to say and hear nice things about them, I want to tell people everyday  how special they are, or how I appreciate them for whatever reason it is. Down to the lady who comes to collect my used coffee cup off my desk and washes my lunch Tupperware every day – I really appreciate her and I need to tell her that. It’s mind boggling that your words have an effect on the hearer without you sometimes even REALISING the impact. So make your words positive, spirit building and loving. EVEN if what you are saying isn’t necessarily a compliment, believe it or not, you can even pass a criticism in a loving way!

 I digress.

So after all of that I was feeling really bleak. But once again the good people in our lives came through for us and our friends invited us over for dinner. I neeeeed to be more like this friend of mine who is so perceptive to other people’s feelings; knowing the sort of day I was having, she extended this dinner invite and it was just what I needed at that time.   Our friend showed us this really cool app that displayed exactly where my brother was flying over the ocean at that exact time and it made South Africa seem so much closer to Australia than it really is – even if it’s just an iPad illusion, it made me feel instantly better! We could see exactly where they were, how fast their plane was going (going like a boeing is not just a made up phrase, those planes go I tell you!) how many kilometers they had traveled and how far they still had to go. Technology is amazing isn’t it? Again I felt the warmth of good company and true friends seep through the sadness, saturating my sponge-like heart with good vibes again. It’s weird, I always picture my heart like a sponge that expands and contracts with each emotion. Sometimes it expands with sadness, and sometimes with joy. Sometimes it becomes dry and I need someone or something to pour something into it to make it all sponge-y and fat again. Anyway, my love tank was revived and full on Saturday evening, after a rather gloomy day.

Yesterday was a quiet day around the house, my most favourite type of day. Husband and I made homemade pies together. He made a chicken and vegetable filling and I made a lamb curry filling and we rolled out our pastry and filled our pies and popped them into the oven – a total of 10 pies! Although misshaped, and too much or too little filling in some, they were good. I’m guessing it’s the made-with-love ingredient in them! I read my book, the kids pottered around the house, the husband was glued to the end (hallelujah) of the English Premier League and then we went to McDonalds for cheapy ice creams.

What is WONDERFUL though, is ONE thing that remains constant – through the highs and through the lows – and that’s God’s presence and His concern over us. It’s like David said:

Your Spirit is everywhere I go. I cannot escape your presence. If I go up to heaven, you will be there. If I go down to the place of death, you will be there. If I go east where the sun rises or go to live in the west beyond the sea, even there you will take my hand and lead me. Your strong right hand will protect me.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Ps 139 v 7 – 12.

 And that, my friends, is what makes even the highest high better and the lowest low bearable 🙂

Let’s play catch up quick

Not sure where to start because I’m not sure where I finished off?

Let’s start with how sick everyone in my house has been. Hannah is onto her second round of antibiotics for the year. Part of me believes this is good and could be worse – all things considered. I expected her to fall prey to every single bug what with her starting school in January. It’s almost a rite of passage for new little school goers to get sick often until their immunity kicks in, right? So twice in five months doesn’t seem so bad. But the other part of me is freaking out at the fact that she was juuuuust on an antibiotic a few weeks ago and here we are again. Poor thing. Liam with his allergies and sinuses has been generally snotty and we’re furiously shoving antihistamines down his throat at every chance we get. I’m so bad at this, I get a 6 month script and we’re really good for the first month, and then we slack off and then the season turns and we get all religious about it again. Need to keep them up because he does suffer with his allergies, shame.

Mother’s Day came and went without too much fanfare. With Hannah being under the weather we stayed indoors. Husband cooked a feast while I napped for two hours with the kids. I have to mention what the feast included because I think Jamie Oliver may have some competition. He made chicken curry and rice, with carrot salad. Then he made ribs, (not the pre-cooked ones, he marinated and glazed and cooked those babies himself) macaroni and cheese, steamed veg and potatoes. He is definitely a quantity versus quality type of guy – not that the quality was slack at all! He made this ALL by himself. Pretty good hey? I was spoilt with clothes and handmade cards and photo frames, and Liam made me an ugly little pendant with his finger print engraved on it, to match the ugly pair of handmade earrings I received last year. Ugly but heartwarming like only a gift from a 4 year old can be.

This weekend the kids and I had good fun together. We baked crumpets with the baking equipment they received from Tyler and Jordan’s baking party. So we each had a bowl with our own wooden spoons and spatulas and we each mixed our own batch and they cleaned up (read: messed more) while I popped them into the pan. My sister gave me this really simple recipe that’s great for kids because it doesn’t require much more than throwing the goods in and letting them mix to their hearts content. And it’s really flop proof, even Hannah’s batch which saw more of the kitchen counter than anything else, came out soft, fluffy and delicious. Draped with a dollop of fresh cream and a swirl of golden syrup. Yes please! We also planted some dhania (coriander) which kind of happened by mistake. I bought this big fresh bunch and as I pulled it out of the basket it came with a big bunch of healthy looking roots. My first instinct was to go eeuw and put it back and head over to the pre packed dhania, but then I had the brilliant idea to plant the roots. So we got our Wellies on, got the beach toys out so that everyone had a spade (must get garden forks for the kids) and we planted the dhania into a pot. I have no idea if it will take, or if we even did it correctly, but it was a fun exercise and they enjoy watering their little plant. I really hope it takes for their sake, they will literally FREAK OUT if that dhania grows! Like totally. And THEN highlight of our garden adventures, we found, quite by mistake, a massive bush behind our garage full of BIG green tomatoes! Not sure how long that bush has been there because we repaired some plumbing in that spot in December last year and completely tore out the grass and any other living organisms in an effort to get to the root of our plumbing problem and have never been to that spot since. Then suddenly. BAM. A whole tomato vine full full full of tomatoes. I let them pick one each to put on the windowsill in the kitchen to ripen, and we’ll monitor the rest. Can you imagine if I never had to buy another tomato in my life? Have you seen the price of tomatoes per KG? All this planting has really got me thinking about trying our green thumbs with other veggies.

Un-fried Green Tomatoes!

Aptly, last week’s school theme was Growth and Change, so they learned about how a seed is planted and how it evolves and how a caterpillar evolves into a butterfly and so on. So of course we HAVE to do the bean-in-moist-cotton-wool trick this week! Come on, who did this in primary school? I can remember it was in Standard One, Mrs Marescia’s class and we all planted our little sugar bean in some cotton wool in a cleaned jam jar, we lined them up on the classroom windowsill and it was a nail biting competition as to who’s would grow the fastest and the tallest. My kids will love this!

Other than that, things have been good. Hannah has been responding so much better to the change in my parenting style. I still shout, but I’ve tried to speak calmly and ignore bad behaviour instead of putting fuel to the fire by losing my head. Oh she still has her tantrums and there’s still lots of unnecessary and unprompted crying and whining from both kids, so I still feel that I AM losing my mind a lot of the time, but counting to 154678 does help a bit.

Hope you’re having a glorious week!


When your child lies to you.

Well as far as milestones go, I don’t know that this is one that should be celebrated or remembered but it does mark a very poignant moment in the relationship between myself and Liam. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, in fact I hadn’t even thought about it because in my perfect world with my perfect children, I didn’t once think that MY Son, my perfect son, would lie to me EVER. And I know it sounds dramatic but point is, I really thought we were still years away from this. I hadn’t even had the over analyzing conversation with myself in my head about how I would DEAL with such a thing! And I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it did. Funny thing is, it’s opened this little door that can never be shut, this door that exposes you to the fact that your children will hurt you, your children will lie to you and do many things to disappoint you and I think once you’ve peeped through the slit in that little door, it’s almost like a smudge on their innocence, and a little rip in your heart when you realise that they are growing, and it’s like I can’t see Liam as a little baby anymore when he has done such a calculated big boy thing. There I go with the theatrics again…

The rule in our house is that at night the kids get to brush their own teeth under adult supervision, and in the mornings the adults brush the children’s teeth to make sure they are getting a decent cleaning at least once a day while still allowing them to feel independent by letting them have a go in the evenings. I’ve tried letting them have a turn first and THEN taking over and doing it myself and it is just too time consuming, so this is the solution that works. One kid pees and washes hands while the other brushes their teeth at the sink. So while I was assisting Hannah on the loo, I turn to Liam and notice that the foam he has just spat out is brown. I KNOW everything that they consume every hour of every day that they are on my watch so the conversation goes like this:

Me: what did you just eat?

Liam: nothing.

Me: why is your spit brown?

Liam: I don’t know.

Me: well you must have eaten something, what did you just eat???

Liam: must be from the chicken we had at supper.

Me: hmmm, I don’t think so.

Case closed and we move on.

As we walk back to room, I notice a big Easter Egg on the dining room table. I yell to the hubby and he confirms that yes, he is eating it and yes he left it there. So I ask Liam if he had some of the Easter Egg, boy child looks me straight in the face and says no. I say to him again, “Liam now is your chance, if you had some of that Easter Egg you need to tell me the truth NOW.” At this stage it’s not even about the Easter Egg for me, I am onto him, I know he had some of that chocolate, I know he is lying and I want him to admit it. He says no again, but this time his eyes are getting bigger and bigger and I can see him getting more and more nervous. I tell him to open his mouth and of course there are traces of chocolate all over those milk teeth. At this point he confirms that yes he is lying, and yes he ate the chocolate. And my mind blanked, I didn’t even know what to say. I think I said something along the lines of how disappointed I was, and how Jesus didn’t like it when people lied and how I was NOT happy with him. Or something like that. I was just so upset, prior to this incident Liam had never withheld the truth from me or anyone. You know how kids are, they pipe up quite willingly if they have done something wrong and quickly site it as a mistake. When do they reach this age of understanding, this revelation that if they can get away with it, they must try? Born with sin, oh yes we are. Poor God, he must have been crushed when Adam and Eve committed that first sin!

This morning we had another long conversation about lying and why it is wrong and then he insisted that he was only joking not lying, and then we had to have a long conversation about the difference between joking and lying! I asked him why he had lied and he said that he knew I wouldn’t let him have the chocolate if he had asked me, and I said yes you are right, no chocolate after supper. Those are the rules, and we follow the rules, don’t we? Then he said that he was really really really wishing for that chocolate. And then we had to have conversation about how we can’t always have what we want when we want it.. like how you have to wait for your birthday for your special present even though you really really really want it now and how he has to wait to get a dog because we don’t have money for one now even though he really really really wants a dog now. And he agreed. Then we kissed and made up and I felt better, and I’m not sure how he felt because he asked if he could have a banana and ran off without a care in the world.

The thing is this: I know people lie, I cannot stand here and say I don’t lie, I do. But when your kid, in their full senses, lies to you for the first time, it sucks. I guess it’s because I’ve always said I want to have the kind of relationship with my children where we don’t keep things from each other, I want them to feel comfortable coming to me with ANY problem, I want us to be able to talk about anything, even the taboo stuff, I really want to be that mother. Even if I go red with embarrassment, even if my heart breaks when they tell me something that I really wish they hadn’t or confess to having done something that is wrong on any level, I still want them to be able to come to me. And this small little lie just makes me feel like already he feels like he needs to hide things from me and THAT is the bit that hurts the most. And I KNOW white lies are common and there’s probably no need to get my knickers in a twist, he lied, we dealt with it, it’s over… but it’s that darn little door that I wish had never been open, and which, now, can never be closed again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, motherhood is not for sissies. My husband thinks I am overreacting, of course he does, this is not something I expect a man to understand, as sexist as that sounds, I actually think it’s more to do with my mother heart, than anything else. I know that if you have a mother heart, you’ll understand and totally get this.