Kissing at weddings and speedy buttons

Today my ratings went through the roof. So far as to say, I may be the coolest mom on the planet right now. My son once again sees me for the amazing, ROARsome (have you guys been watching Henry Hugglemonster?) mom that I am. I was slipping down the scale there for a while, what with all the punishment being metered out in my house at the moment for bad behaviour, but I have rescued myself, I am once again top of the charts.

Today it was just the two of us on the morning commute. I love spending alone-time with each child and the opportunity doesn’t always present itself because of the way our lives are structured, so when I do get to be alone with one child, I really try to make the most of it. So Liam and I were shooting the breeze, catching up, you know.. like moms and sons do. He is very excited about his best school friend coming over for a play date tomorrow. I asked him what I should make them for lunch and he replied “whatever is the fastest for you, mom.” *diesofsweetness* I said he must ask Remy if there was anything he didn’t like to eat and he said “I know he likes hot dogs, we should just give him a hot dog and a slice of cucumber.” OK. A slice of cucumber. For garnish maybe? We chatted about Hannah who is sick at home. We chatted about how married people kiss at their weddings. He asked me how they do it, so I puckered up and closed my eyes and made hmmmm hmmm sounds and showed him how married people kiss (hey, closed mouth kiss, not French kiss) and the kid roared with laughter until the tears were rolling down his cheeks. He asked me about all the couples we knew – how did they kiss on their wedding day? And I made a different slurping kiss-kiss for each of them and I swear, the kid almost wet his pants.

Then he asked me if I have a Speedy Button. I was like huh? What’s that? He said that Sibabalwe’s daddy had a Speedy Button in his car so when he wanted to go super fast he pressed the button and he zoomed off. So do you have Speedy Button, mama? I didn’t miss a beat, I was like oh a Speedy Button, OF COURSE I HAVE A SPEEDY BUTTON HELLLOOO?! His eyes were huge and there was this grin on his face, you know that grin of anticipation that little kids get, that lights up their whole faces and melts their mothers’ hearts. Yeh, that grin. Now bear in mind we were in the heart of Woodmead traffic, going less than 5km’s an hour, so I slowed down almost to a standstill to create a small gap between myself and the car in front of me. A gap no longer than 20 metres at most. I was all goo-goo eyed and watching him in the review mirror and I yelled “are you ready, are you ready?!” and I made sure he was watching as I pressed the rear-window defroster button and I revved and accelerated and we did a bit of a zoom up to the car in front of us. Nothing dangerous, calm down. And the kid went ape. Totally lost it. He was like MORE MORE MORE!! Jumping in his car seat and laughing hysterically. And then I explained that the Speedy Button was generally only used on the freeway because we don’t like to speed, now do we ? And speeding is dangerous, but on the freeway we can go a bit faster and I only did that now to show him how it works, ok? And he was all big eyed and yes, yes, I understand mom. The rest of the journey he babbled on about how he was going to tell EVERYONE that his mom had a Speedy Button in her car and how amazing it was. And how we were going to push it again on the freeway to go super-fast.

Kid was looking at me with adulation in his eyes. Man, it felt good. To play into their imaginations and tap into that incredible spirit of innocence, there is just nothing more fantastic. One day he’ll roll his eyes and be like “mom, I know that button defrosts the back window, hellloooo.” But for now, I have a Speedy Button in my car.

*Disclaimer: please don’t try this move in peak hour traffic, besides the obvious recklessness, other drivers look at you like you’re a loser for trying to speed in bumper to bumper traffic. Which you are, of course, for doing something so irresponsible in the traffic. But yeh, being a loser this morning was totally worth it because I got to be a hero in my son’s eyes for that moment.*

*Disclaimer 2: no cars, boys or mamas were injured in the pressing of this particular Speedy Button* 

What women want.

I’m sorry, I have to blow this cover. I can’t pretend anymore. I may be kicked out of my various “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” societies but I’m willing to take my chances.

What women want?

I just don’t know.

I have no clue.

Some days I want you to hold me close and whisper sweet nothings in my ear, other days I’d prefer to make a line down the middle of the bed with pillows to mark our separate territories.

Some days I’ll do cartwheels for McDonalds cardboard chips, and other days I want to cry when you surprise me with an XL Super Duper sized bag of gruesome cardboard chips from McDonalds. Because I wanted KFC chips today.

Some days I love Cadbury’s Bubbly, and other days I want to throw it across the room because it doesn’t have nice dividing lines to neatly break a piece off … like a normal slab of chocolate you know. And how DARE you try to substitute it with an Aero because I complained so much about Bubbly the last time. No I don’t prefer it. I love Bubbly chocolate. Sometimes.

Some days I love big butts and some days my big butt makes me weep. And you saying you like my big butt on any of these days is not cool. You can say butt. Not big butt. Just butt. One day I am OK with my weight, and the next I’m pulling the scale out of the back of the cupboard and Weigh-Lessing the heck out of everything I see.

Some days my children bring me such joy that I want to go to The Crazy Store and let them go wild choosing stuff that will break before we reach the car. And other days, I want to take them to The Crazy Store and … leave them there.

I like long hair, then I like short hair. Some days I look at my husband’s bald head with envy.

My favourite colour IS green. But sometimes it’s blue. And occasionally I like black the best. But always ask me before you buy anything. Because I may be having a white day.

Yes I laughed until I cried when you tickled me that time. It was fun. But today, if you DARE tickle me I will punch you in the face, I just don’t feel like it.

I want you to be more involved with the children, but I still need to approve the clothes you choose for them, the dinner you’ve prepared for them, the way you brush their hair and how long it takes you to brush their teeth. But please get more involved because really I can’t do EVERYTHING by myself. I mean really.

Some days I take two sugars in my coffee and other days (see Weigh-lessing point above) I don’t take sugar at all. I’m not sure how you are supposed to figure out what kind of a day I am having, some days I am not sure myself.

I love it when you boil my egg just perfectly. But some days my perfectly means hard boiled, and some days my perfectly means soft-boiled. Just rather ask me before you waste our time… and eggs.

Why are you looking at me so incredulously? I know the kids aren’t allowed sugar in the week, but some days I just need them to bounce off some walls and leave me alone.

I want to be like a teenager some days and stay out as late as I can, but why do you oblige my whims? You KNOW I always regret it the next day and you should stop me from being whimsical. Even if I call you a party pooper when you poo-poo my big ideas.

Don’t say I told you so ever. I can say that. You can’t. And don’t tell me what I can and cannot do. But for goodness sake, if you can see that I’m about to make a fool of myself, stop me. Who would actually let their wife sing at karaoke? Why did you let me do that? You are supposed to have my back. But still don’t tell me what to do.

Yes I know I said I only like gouda cheese. But don’t raise your eyebrows when you see me stealing a big hunk of your cheddar to slap onto a Salticrax biscuit. Sometimes I also like cheddar, OK.

I like noise, then I don’t. I like cola tonic, then I prefer rock shandy. I like my steak medium rare but some days I prefer biltong. Point is, you should let me choose the restaurant and don’t try to order for me. And yes, I have to stare at the menu really hard and for a very long time and change my mind at least 4 times before I make a decision.

I am easy going and fun to be around. Except when I’m not.

And I mostly don’t like watching reality TV. Except when I do. Sometimes Toddlers and Tiaras makes me so mad that I change the channel quickly and go on and on about how it’s child abuse, but sometimes I like to watch it because I simply cannot tear my eyes away. So don’t just be flipping pass the TLC channel.

So there it is. I don’t know what women want. Mainly because I don’t think women know what they want most of the time. Wait, don’t get me wrong. We KNOW what we want, it’s just that it changes all the time. So don’t assume you know what’s going on, because we will flip the script. Often. Just keep up, I guess. And make no assumptions, because today may just not be a McDonald’s cardboard chip kinda day.

It’s like Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde – just a prettier version.

Travelstart Blogger Experience Contest – I’m in it, to win it.

I received an email from Travelstart Blog about their Blogger Experience Contest.

I’m like cool, I like writing, I have words, I’ve travelled. The rules say I only have 300 – 1000 words to blog about my own travel experience. Now if you know me, you’ll know that I can pour 300 words into a description of a lead pencil.  But here goes.

The year was 2001. I met my future husband outside a Durban nightclub around 4am the day before New Year’s Eve. Don’t judge, he looked pretty in the breaking dawn. We fell in love and spent the next 9 months planning our escape from Africa. I turned 21 that September and the next month we hopped on a plane to London. If my daughter even THINKS of running off with a man who she has only known for 10 months, I will hunt.them.down. So not London exactly… Spalding… a little town in Lincolnshire, England. To work on a potato farm. That quickly turned into a nightmare – I don’t do manual labour. I remember standing in a red phone booth, calling friends who had already made it to the Big City Lights of London, begging for a hookup. My aunt in Bournemouth put us up for a few days, gave us some money and a few tins of rice pudding and sent us on our way. We house-shared with friends until we found jobs, got on our feet and really began to enjoy the city that never sleeps. I’ve been to New York, and that’s a story for another day, but for me, London is still the city that doesn’t slumber. Catching the 92 bus home from a boat party on the River Thames at 3am, standing in a snaking queue at the local kebab/sharwama joint to fill the gap, before minding the gap on the tube for the last stretch of the journey home. I assisted a health inspector for my 9 – 5 gig, and pretty much jolled from 5pm – 8h55am.

Crazy times.

But the beauty of London, is that it is the gateway to Europe. Once we had done England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales… we ventured out. Paris is a stone’s throw away on the Eurostar. We visited often, and stayed with my friend Isabelle, a French national who I met while au pairing in the State a few years earlier. She humoured us and took us to the usual hotspots: yes, we kissed under the Eiffel Tower and took the obligatory photos at the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and down the Champs-Elysées, we even visited Euro Disney – which grown adults without kids torture themselves like this? But we saw the real Paris while eating pastries and people-watching on the steps leading up to the Sacré-Cœur, we partied in the hippy district of Montmartre and found ourselves eating in tiny undiscovered bistros. And we met Oscar, Isabelle’s French cat who had a penchant for English speaking men – completely freaked my Mister out.

We ate mussels in Brussels, strangely enough some of the tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was in Brussels. Weird because if someone says Brussels, I immediately think brussel sprouts, right? Right! We hopped over to Cologne for the day – because countries are just that close together. We found ourselves hitchhiking through Holland. The advertisement stated “rustic accommodation just outside Amsterdam.” Yes, that turned out to be a caravan in a caravan park full of strange looking people who clearly didn’t work for a living – and it was two long bus rides away from the city. Have you seen the height of my husband? He cannot fit into a caravan without doubling over. After one night of caravan living and communal ablutions, we hitchhiked our way to Amsterdam. Note to my younger self: you were stupid and willful, but it was good. On our travels to Switzerland, we quickly discovered how miniscule our rand was to the franc. But, my word, Zurich is beautiful. Perhaps it was the cable car we took from the highest point of the city, literally in the mountains, with a magnificent view of the city splayed out before you. Breathtaking. The highlight of Zurich, was our trip to a chocolate making museum type of place. I wish I could remember the name. But there was chocolate being made, chocolate on conveyor belts, chocolate fountains, chocolate displays up to the ceiling. It was the stuff that chocoholics’ dreams are made of. Even my husband with all his eye rolling and deep sighing at the suggested excursion, couldn’t deny the awesomeness that this chocolate-y place was.

But my bestest-best destination was Thailand. We backpacked our way from island to island, staying in low budget accommodation with long drop toilets. We were eaten alive by mosquitoes and I got my hair braided on the side of a dusty road by a strange looking woman. We got around on zippy motorbikes for which we didn’t have licenses to drive, and we lived on club sandwiches and fried rice for almost three weeks. Massages on the beach on demand. Bangkok was good for a day or two, but I couldn’t wait to leave – it’s scary and crazy and gets your adrenalin pumping. Shoppers paradise – but not always a winner – when you find yourself bartering with a woman who is half your size and insisting that the size 28 fake pair of Diesel jeans WILL fit over your size 36 hips.

Those two years spent globetrotting were some of the best times of my life. If you haven’t travelled, I urge you to do it. Go down the road, go to another city, go to another continent if you can. But allow yourself the opportunity to have your mind blown away by how things are on the other side. You won’t ever be the same.

Man, this has me gagging for a holiday. Sans kids. Just like ‘ol times.

Young (and skinny) Love - Notting Hill Carnival
Young (and skinny) Love – Notting Hill Carnival

I loved you a lot this week.

You know when your kid says or does something that just turns your heart to mush. Yeh that.

The other day Hannah piped up from the backseat “I can’t wait to be 18!” We all laughed out loud at that gem of a statement. First I was like “guuurl, you don’t even want to KNOW what 18 has in store for you!” But then she expounded by saying she can’t wait to be able to drive so that she can buy a darkest blue car. Blue is her absolute favourite colour.

If you read this post, you’ll be glad to know that everything is working well in this department! He was afraid at first, but after much explanation and lots of questions, he was using it as a party trick. I was actually afraid that it was going to fall off, and had to remind him that it wasn’t a toy. Anyway, after all of this, Hannah happily announced to me “I’m happy me and you got baginas mama. Yeh, that’s a B for bagina.

Their prayers are getting more and more colourful. I think I told you how Liam prayed that Jesus would keep mommy and daddy safe while they watch Generations, I mean how does this kid even know anything about Generations! Hannah prays for everything down to the dog she doesn’t even own yet. That’s what you call praying in faith. Liam prays for “sweet dreams for me and Hannah tonight” – so cute – and they both tend to go off on a tangent until Daddy or I pipe up “IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY” which usually signals the end for them.

Hannah is still full of I Love You’s – she goes on about how she loves us, her grandparents, her aunties and her uncles, the poor people, the man at the robot, that lady on the billboard on the N1. Then I opened my big mouth and tried to explain to her that while it is good to be kind to everyone, we don’t just LOVE everyone… I was trying to use this as an illustration about stranger danger, and not just believing that everyone is nice and happy and lovable. I always look for opportunities to talk about these things without freaking the kids out too much. Well, boy did that backfire. We got into a religious debate about how God says we should love your neighbour, and love everyone, even creatures like ants and stuff because He made them, so of course we must love them. And there was I trying to explain that yeeess, all that is wonderful but love is restricted to family and close friends and they were incredulous with the NOTION that we shouldn’t just love everyone. Eventually I backed down, and just left it. Don’t look at me like that, have YOU ever tried arguing with a 3 and 4 year old? So yes they basically love everyone.

Liam has been such a gem while his Dad was away overnight this week. So responsible and helpful. Part of his duties include putting on all the outside lights when night falls. He takes this duty very seriously – more so because Daddy wasn’t there and he was the man of the house and he had to make sure that the lights were on so that we could see if anyone came to visit. They have no concept that the lights are on and shining brightly as a deterrent for criminals! But that’s ok.

Liam’s new phrase is “are you serious” or “like seriously?” Then I always respond “dead serious, son.” It’s our thing, I love it.

Every morning after I brush her hair, I say to Hannah “what a pretty polly” and I tell her how gorgeous and beautiful she is. I don’t reserve these sentiments for after hair brushing only, but I guess she is used to me saying it specifically then. Well the other day, I dressed her in a jersey that she has clearly outgrown  and decided we had to change her out of it because it was too small, but it was such an effort to rip it off over her head and it messed up her freshly combed hair. After all the tugging, she looked at me and said “am I still booodeefool?” *heartstringstug* I then had to explain to her that her hair didn’t make her beautiful! That she wasn’t only beautiful if her hair was brushed! That she was just boodeefool FULLSTOP. All the time. Every time. No matter what.

Really, for me it’s moments like these that make this whole mama-drama worth it, isn’t it? I want to write them all down so that one day when I’ve had to deal with sass and had a door slammed in my face (they wouldn’t DARE!) I can read back on these and remember how very sweet and adorable they were at one stage… Man, I love these kids.


These kids are doing my head in. The constant fight we have in our house is around what’s fair and what’s not. Liam is at the age where everything must be fair and square. And even if it’s to his advantage, he insists that it needs to be cut straight down the middle. Not so long ago, I could get away with giving him the slightly bigger piece of a banana which I’d halved for the two of them. I always give him a bit more of everything – purely because he is bigger than Hannah… so I dish him slightly more at meal times, or if something doesn’t split exactly in half, he always ends up scoring. And not only with food, I mean EVERYTHING needs to be debated and thrashed out and we need to hold a brainstorm session over how to fix something that doesn’t appear to be fair. It’s exhausting. Then the confusion of “ladies first.” We have always tried to instill this old fashioned thinking in our son. It’s respectable and it’s polite and I don’t care how old fashioned it appears, that’s what I have taught him. Always girls first. It was working well, until he discovered the “fair is fair” rule. Now he questions why Hannah gets to do everything first, why she gets to go first all the time and why she doesn’t “be fair” to him. So to stop the pending argument, we do “eeny meeny miny mo” because this makes the most sense to them in terms of it being fair and  square. You were selected in a fair manner by the process of elimination, basically. Wait until they are old enough to know that that system is rigged. I mean really, it’s two of them, if I want Hannah to go first at whatever – like brushing teeth or bathing first, then I start eeny, meeny on Liam because I KNOW it will end on Hannah.. HELLOOO.

You think I’m joking, here are just a few of the “that’s not FAIR” fires I have to put out on a daily basis:

  1. Who has more peas on their plate. I am sorry, I will simply not start counting out peas at dinner time! Oh and do not let the sliced carrots look different. How come Liam’s carrots are bigger/juicier/rounder than mine? I mean really I&J, can you not slice your frozen carrots exactly the same please?
  2. Who gets to have their medicine first. It’s a scuffle in the kitchen every morning for the vitamin run.
  3. Who gets to brush teeth first. This is a huge fight because the person who doesn’t brush first, must pee while the other is brushing. But the person who pees first doesn’t get to flush the toilet, because I only let the person who wees second flush because I do not waste water on two flushes of a bit of baby pee. So you see that the person who brushes first is at an advantage because they get to flush the bog, while the other person doesn’t. How UNFAIR on you because you didn’t get to flush the blinking toilet. Shame. It’s a fight, every single night, guys.
  4. Who has to pack away the toys. In their minds, fair means putting away the toys according to who they belong to. So Hannah must pack away all the “girl” toys and Liam must pack away all his toys. Works well if they were playing independently. But if they were BOTH playing in Liam’s room and only playing with HIS toys and then Hannah gets up and walks away when it’s cleaning up time, citing that those are LIAM’s toys, then that is NOT FAIR and Liam loses it. Same thing if they were playing in Hannah’s room and he leaves her to clean up. Of course, I disagree with their rule and everyone must pick up everything together regardless, but that was THEIR rule!! They came up with that all on their own! But it’s like WW2 when their rule backfires because, of course, it’s not FAIR!
  5. And it’s the same for everything: who gets to talk first, who gets to use the soap first in the bath every night, who gets to have the last yellow yoghurt, who gets the last kiss good night, who gets to switch on the lights, and who gets to switch off the lights, who gets to fetch whatever mommy is asking for.

And I am sorry, I am done trying to appease small children with big demands. They need to understand that life ain’t fair baby. I’m not going to start cutting up frozen carrots to make everyone happy. No sirree. The only positive here is that they absolutely believe in fairness, even if it’s to their disadvantage, which is a good thing when it comes to sharing. They totally get it, even if they don’t like it.

So NOW I’m trying to teach them that ACTUALLY, not everything IS fair. Life is often not fair and sometimes we just need to suck it up and get on with it. Sometimes we do things for the other person’s sake and on the surface it seems unfair but we do it to make that person feel happy… for example helping to pick up the toys even if you didn’t play with them, but you’re doing it to help your sister or your brother out. Silly example, but they get it. Sometimes. Right now, it’s all just UNFAIR. Like is so UNFAIR for 3 and 4 year olds, I tell you.

You have everything done for you, down to getting your bum wiped and your bed made for you every morning, but life is just so UNFAIR!!! Oh my bleeding heart!

A new series: Conversations I never hope to have

I have this friend. We’ve known each other pretty much since grade 1. Sub A as they called it in those days. Anyway he owns his own agency and he’s pretty cool and smart. When I have writer’s block, I go to him for inspiration. Yesterday morning, I had one of those moments where I needed some inspiration and my posts in draft where not looking very appealing. After a rather dismal week with lots of bad news and lots of work stress, I couldn’t get the juices flowing. After just three tries, he came up with this cool suggestion on a new series I’m going to be blogging about. This from the same dude who brought you the “Dear Big Liam and Big Hannah” series.

So in between my usual rants and raves, you’ll be seeing a post here and there on conversations I never hope to have with my kids. I could totally go buck wild with this. I’ve already had many conversations that I didn’t particularly want to have with my kids and no doubt there are LOTS more to come – some necessary, some serious, some embarrassing, some scary, some funny and some that will probably have us both in tears.

But to get the ball rolling, let’s start off on a “tolly”- I mean jolly note, here’s a conversation with my 4 year old that I am NOT looking forward to. One that I’ve been thinking about for a while, but just haven’t had the energy to approach.

And I will perhaps have to delete this post when he comes of reading age…

My son is now 4 years old and un.circum.cised. According to my research and what I was told by my then pediatrician, it is around this age (although it does differ from male to male) that the skin is most likely able to retract. Yes, it is a self cleaning tool until such a time where the skin is retractable and needs to be cleaned. I will then have to have this conversation with him, probably with Hannah in the bathroom because they bath together, about how to handle his bits. I am by no means a prude, and we try not to (visibly) cringe  and shy away from any topics they may raise, but this is one of those.. um.. touchy subjects. Because…

If anyone has been reading long enough, they will know that my son and daughter let nothing go without thorough investigation and interrogation with the prowess of professional sleuths. Believe me when I say this will not be a simple show and tell. There will be questions like: Why? How come? Since when? But why? And what if I forget? And what about Hannah? Do all boys do it? But whyyyy?

And I fear what Liam’s news will be in the next day’s “morning ring” at school.

Perhaps straight shooting, non emotional, clinical Daddy should have this conversation alone with Liam. Yes? A boy to boy conversation.

Any of you with un.circum.cised boys? Have you had to have this conversation with your son yet?