I think I actually like my kids?


This weekend we had the pleasure of being kid-free two nights in a row. One was planned, and the other was a spur of the moment thing. But the point I really want to make is how your kids get to a certain age where a kid-free night is wonderful but not the same as THOSE days when you would have considered leaving the baby in the house alone, in your desperation for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sorry for those of you still in  the throes of this phase!

It was one of those moments when I was like “wow, these kids are BIG.” And while it was great not to have to get up and fix breakfast, put out sibling squabbles and have my ear chewed off by a very talkative 4 year old, I must admit that I missed them. The kids go to bed at 8pm and I don’t hear a peep out of them until I wake them up the next day. My mother called one Friday night and it was just after 8 and she was like “are the kids in bed already, it’s Friday?” In my house, the days of the week or the occasion make no difference, bed time is bed time. The only time we deviate is if we have visitors and for REALLY special occasions like the Soccer World Cup where I allowed them to stay up for the opening ceremony – which they found utterly boring. So my sleep is uninterrupted, I love my sleep and they’ve reached an age where they do to!

So my point is, having them spend the night away from me is not as exciting as it used to be! And strangely, I missed them not being around. Husband had things to take care of on Saturday morning so I was home alone, and I felt quite bleak without them. Is this the age where parents actually start to enjoy the company of their children? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy alone time as much as the next run down mother, but without me realising it, I think I’ve actually reached a stage of LIKING my children and WANTING to be around them. Now now, don’t judge. Parenting is not all about the fun loving stuff that people put on their IG pictures. Most of the time, those first few years are just plain HARD and tiring and annoying. You love your kid, you’d jump in front of a moving bus for your kid, you love each smile and giggle, but it’s hard work.. often very thankless. And I won’t lie and say I didn’t wish those sleepless nights and those horrible teething patches and those stinky diapers away, because I did! And even though I’d do it ten times over without hesitation if you asked me to go through it all again, I must say that this actual LIKE I have for my kids at this age is rather surprising and refreshing.

Needless to say when they got home, they hadn’t missed me AT ALL. My 100s of questions were answered with as little detail as possible and all they wanted to do was to be left alone to play secret games with each other and have as little to do with me as possible. The nerve. I forced everyone to have lunch around the table so we could TALK because we were not going to be there for dinner on Saturday night and after that, they scurried off to do their own thing again.

I must say this is all weird to me – this growing up business. And weirder still because I clearly remember a day crying in my kitchen with a crying toddler wrapped around my thigh and a crying baby on my hip , thinking WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER, LORD!!!! And now that we are here, it’s weird but all kinds of awesome too. I like my kids, they are cool. I want to spend time with them. I want to hear their opinions. I want them to laugh at my jokes. I want them to LIKE me as much as I LIKE them. I actually WANT to go on holiday with them! After Cape Town 2011 – a disaster family holiday, I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth! I love being able to do my own thing while they are somewhere else in the house. I like them popping their little heads around the door to make sure I am OK and asking “are you googling on your iPad again, mama?”

This is the age of AWESOME for me. It truly is!

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Many things


Hello. Welcome to my new space. Do you like it? I don’t know if I like it yet. Firstly, because I never do black anything. I am a bright-colours type of person. And even though I need the slimming effect of BLACK, you’ll very seldom find me dressed in anything black. I recently got a black car which is weird. I have a few pairs of black shoes and that’s about it. I remember when I dyed my hair black, back in my twenties… urgh, it was awful. My black kettle used to depress me, so I had to replace it with a clear glass one. I just don’t like black, except on my eyelashes.Which reminds me of this which made me LOL!

panda

 Anyway, I’ll be messing around with my blog for a bit until I find something that I fall in love with. Or maybe I won’t mess around at all – I don’t know. It took me half a day just to make these simple changes, clearly I am techno-challenged.

This weekend was a quiet one, which was just what we needed. It’s been all systems go since systems were invented, so the quiet was most welcomed. We had time to reach this milestone:

 This kid was the most excited boy on the block when he got the swing of riding training-wheel free. Clearly he was ready because it took him all of three or four guided pushes from his Dad and he was on his way. Then it took him a few more tries to navigate turning, that made me laugh and I have a few hilarious videos of him falling of his bike while trying to turn. A speech from the biker himself:

 

Have you been watching the Soccer World Cup? I haven’t. I guess this is because my hubby isn’t home during the week so I am not forced to watch it. Apparently it’s the best world cup in so many years; action packed they say. I guess my disinterest is twofold: Bafana Bafana aren’t participating (no surprises there) and I guess the vibe is different when it’s not in your own country! The closest I’ve gotten to the World Cup is receiving a daily email from our office correspondent who sends a mailer out every day with the eye candy playing on that specific day.

Anti malaria medication. How expensive is it?! So technically, our chances of contracting malaria are very slim. Firstly because we are going literally over the border to Ponto de Oura and secondly because we are going off season (winter). So our risk is greatly reduced. However, I would rather play it safe than be sorry, especially as we are travelling with the kids. My initial request from my doctor was to go on the same medication that hubby and I had used two years ago on our last trip to the area. So I didn’t even question the script. When I went to Dischem on Saturday the cost of this drug was R450 per person! That’s more than the petrol we will pay to get there! So I chatted to the pharmacist and my sister (who is using a much cheaper option) and I’ve since asked my doctor to prescribe a cheaper option. Anyway, the scary part about anti malaria medication are the side effects, across all of the different types… most concerning: they could possibly make you go nuts in the head, hallucinate, have very vivid dreams, bring on depression or anxiety attacks, etc, etc! The last thing I need is to be dealing with crazy people in the middle of nowhere! My doctor didn’t seem too concerned so I’m going on her good faith…

The Flu shot. Seriously, I am never getting it again. I never ever get sick. Like never. I have the immune system of an ox, I have a stomach like a concrete mixer. I never catch bugs and viruses that float around and I never get an upset stomach from “bad” food. I’m just generally a healthy person. Well, I use that term loosely. I don’t eat healthily, I just don’t get sick. But this season, I’ve been sick twice, sick enough to go on antibiotics which I haven’t been on in at least 10 years. And NOW I have the sniffles AGAIN. I can blame it on nothing other than that silly injection. It is most annoying, especially as I single parent during the week so there is no time to crawl into bed and feel sorry for myself, I have to function like a healthy person even though I feel like I need to be left ALONE (read: without my children) to wallow in my illness. What are your experiences with the flu jab? Or with illness in general this Winter season? Are you sicker than normal this year? Or is that just me?

And lastly, you’ll notice a little advertisement on the top left hand corner of the blog. That little button allows you to click through to whatever is advertised. Now hear me out before you roll your eyes… I need money, you need money, this is South Africa with escalating petrol prices and scary interest rates.. WE ALL NEED MONEY. So of course when someone says “ok, we’ll give you a few cents every time someone clicks on that little ad” I jumped at the chance. So there you have it, every time you click on that ad, I get a few cents. So can I ask you to click away like your life depends on it? I promise I will only put ads that I think you would be interested in, for example the current advert is a Sheet Street one for really cool kids linen at a really good price! I’m going to get some of that myself, I promise not to advertise anything ridiculous like Crocs (secretly I love Crocs) or such-and-such Bank (that’s just silly, this is a mommy blog, not a financial institute) or a bathroom-drain-unblocking product (although this may be useful to you at some stage in your life). Just keeping it real with you my loyal readers.

 That’s what’s cracking right now in my neck of the woods… how was your weekend?

I got the snip


So yesterday I went to get my hair “did.” Just a quick bit of background, the company I work for often requires hair models and the like… so a mailer will go out to the whole company for a certain brand who is testing or training and requires hair models. Of course it’s a perk – I got a cut, treatment, highlights and then overall colour for MAHALA, so I am grateful, truly I am, but it was a looooong procedure because they were training someone, you know what I mean. So every step was explained, the theory was discussed, I had a trainee apply colour (which could have been frightening if I was the least bit interested in my hair – I’m not, I just wanted the freebie).. so it took LONG. However, I am really pleased with the end result.

 
hair 3

They used Matrix on my hair, a brand I am currently loving and using on Hannah’s hair as well.

It was primarily colour training and the stylist was going to throw in a cut for me. So just to start with, she literally took my hair into a pony and CUT IT so as not to waste colour on hair that I was going to snip off anyway. The first time I took such a big leap, I was very nervous! Like that scissors cutting may have caused a tear in my eye (it was either that, or the fact that my sister had just called a lady over and she had used a kitchen scissors to hack my hair because I decided on a whim to chop it off – long story, don’t ask!). But this time, cutting off all that hair was somewhat exhilarating. I had no regrets!

I chose my colours with her guidance because let’s face it, I am not a hair person. I’ve had my hair coloured professionally once and I’ve used box colour about three times in my life. I have never had highlights in my hair so the whole foil thing was a bit of a thrill for me. But I won’t lie, as I watched the colour develop I did have a mini freak out… look how BLONDE it went there in the corner?

 hair 6

She did assure me that this was NOT the final picture and that I should stop hyperventilating. We agreed that the highlights would be subtle because I was not going to manage or upkeep them necessarily so if I chose to grow them out, it wouldn’t look hideous… Like this:

 hair 5

After the highlights were washed out and my hair was blow dried, the overall colour was applied. Nothing drastic, just a really nice rich brown. I enjoyed a lovely head massage while the treatment was applied and then she blew it out and dry cut my hair. I was surprised, I’ve never had a dry cut before… ok, I’ve never really had ANYTHING done before so I shouldn’t have been surprised. My brief was simple, I wanted a bob that was short at the back and longish in the front and I still wanted my neck covered for winter.

And voila, this was the end result.

 hair 2

I like it, I think it makes me look younger? The style also looks really nice with soft curls. BUT I’m not sure how it would look au natural.. may have to grow it out a bit before I attempt to let the afro lose. All in all, it was a lovely day of getting primped and preened for free! Hubby approves, kids did not even NOTICE, which upset me because they notice EVERYTHING, like down to a pimple on my face or a pair of jeans that I may wear two days in a row… but they missed THIS? Anyway, I forgave them when I heard them tell Daddy on the phone that I looked pweetee 🙂

Not missing my long hair yet. Although I will feel it when I am unable to put it into a messy topknot or a bun on days when I don’t have the time or energy to wash it. There’s no denying that short hair equals more maintenance. But it grows back, right? Who knows, I may just hang onto this new me for a while 🙂

hair 1

 

1st half of the year. Gone.


So now that the reading bug has hit, what next? Well we have been VERY busy flash-carding our lives away. My friend Merese has been really helpful with study material as she is in the throes of learning to read with her boy, Cooper. I can’t tell you how fascinating I find the whole thing and how consumed I am with it. I’m sure the novelty will wear off as he becomes a more fluent reader and doesn’t need me to coach him as much, but for now, it feels good to have this little “project” going on in our house. And it affects us all, Hannah is very busy learning her words too… I suspect she will read sooner than Liam did, second children mostly learn everything quicker because of their older sibling, don’t they? Also, because my two are so close in age, their milestones are really neck-and-neck, so it’s great that they are learning together.

flash

So I discovered that those bridging words I spoke about in my last post are actually called SIGHT words… thanks to all the moms who quickly corrected me 🙂 The internet is a wonderful thing, I googled it and discovered hundreds and hundreds of free printables of hundreds and hundreds of SIGHT words. Turns out reading is a big business, who would have thought! Ha. So initially I just printed, laminated and cut out cards. Then a cousin of mine left a comment on my Facebook page about grouping ten or so cards and attaching them to an O-ring… I adapted her suggestion and came up with this:

flash 2

I initially only put 10 cards on a ring, but this child of mine whizzed through them so quickly, that I just kept adding and adding until we got to about 30 or so cards (I think, I haven’t counted). He learned those in a day, so I started a second batch with more difficult words and we’re working our way through this ring, while still going over the first ring… repetition is good, right? But this O-ring idea is great because he carries them all over, we use them in the car, he takes them outside and teaches Rocky, our Rottie, his words. NOT a good idea, Rocky almost had them in his mouth yesterday. ALMOST. Sjoe. So I thought it was a handy tip to share. I also use the regular flash cards to stir things up a bit, because I felt like he was preempting the words on the ring because he had remembered what was coming next, rather than actually looking at the word (obviously they are in a certain order on the ring). This child has a serious memory on him. I’ve downloaded a few free readers, but would like to get my hands on some PHYSICAL copies… I have this weird romantic idea that READING a book, feeling the pages under your fingers, smelling the dust as you turn the page… it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? I thought they were a bit pricey online, so I’ll shop around this weekend, preferably for second hand books because I feel we are going to be buying lots more books in the next few months. I’m trying really hard not to overdo it (uh oh, maybe too late for that) because I’d hate for him to become bored with this whole thing because I am tiger mom-ing him into reading. I want to keep it fun and light hearted and keep him keen. That’s my plan anyway.

Aside from reading, there is lots going on which I need to blog about. Our weekend in Port Shepstone where Hannah had the best birthday ever. Yes, we are still celebrating her birthday. I’m sure some of you saw the photos on IG. I’m also cutting and colouring my hair on Monday. Even though I was adamant that I was never ever ever cutting my hair short AGAIN after THIS:

 SONY DSC

 I liked the style, but the maintenance. Yoh. Hard work. But having long hair becomes a bit boring when all you do with it is have it down and then lob it into a pony tail. What’s the point of all this hair if you aren’t going to play with it and style it and make it look pretty? So I’m thinking a shorter cut will shake things up a bit. Worst case scenario, it will grow back, right? Mozambique next month: CANNOT.WAIT. Looking SO forward to that little holiday. Funny story about when we went to apply for the kids passports: according to the South African government, Liam doesn’t belong to me. As in, on the country’s register or whatever it is called, I am listed as having one child only, and that child is Hannah. Liam has a birth certificate so yes he was born, but no one knows who his actual mother is. Scary hey? We would never have discovered this had we not applied for a passport. Luckily they picked him up on Husband’s name, and we had a certified marriage certificate so they were happy to issue his passport based on this. Now I need to apply for an unabridged certificate in order to have him linked to me. CRAZY stuff.

Last week I got tonsillitis for the first time in my LIFE. OH.MY.WORD. Like there’s having a sore throat. And THEN THERE’S TONSILITIS!!!! Felt really bad about all the times I’ve told my kids to suck it up when they complain about having a sore throat. Also the body pain, oh I felt like a sick dog. And felt more sorry for myself because there was no one to look after me AND the kids were also sick 😦 I also took Liam BACK to the doc for his post nasal drip, she started saying words like asthma and I was like NO WAY we are not accepting that, thank you very much, give him an antibiotic and he will be FINE. Hannah had inflamed errr’thing… throat, ears, nasal passages… so all three of us were popping pills last week. First time in my working career that I got a sick note! That was quite a thrill!

So lots going on. Good stuff. Keeping us busy and out of trouble. Can’t believe it’s June already. Well when I look at my medical aid statement I can believe it’s June. But yeh, time ain’t standing still. We had a relatively good 1st half of the year. We had our ups and downs, but we made it! What can you say for your 1st half of the year? Hope it was good? Xx

My kid can read. Mind blown.


I don’t know when I learned to read exactly. I can’t remember NOT being able to read, and then being able to read. I’m sure I was very excited about it at the time because we grew up with books (both parents were teachers, hello) and I loved reading from a very young age. But I don’t remember the excitement of going from illiterate to literate. Enter my son. This kid is so amazing, he continues to blow my mind with how quickly he learns and grasps new things. I’ve shown off enough about how I think Liam is a genius, go read his baby posts and it’s all about our Baby Einstein. No shame or humility at all in these parts. So allow me to relish in my parenting achievement of having an almost-reader at age 5YEARS3MONTHS. (Let’s ignore the fact that this probably has nothing to do with my parenting, or that Chinese babies are reading at age 3, but just give me my moment please).

Liam can read. Like he can string words together and read sentences. I simply cannot believe it. We’ve been learning words and spelling for a while now, he has been able to spell simple three letter words for some time. But this weekend my sister unlocked the key to reading sentences – it pays to have a first grade teacher in the family. She said he needs to learn and KNOW those words that appear often without having to spell or think about them: it, is, this, that, he, she, there, were, his, him, etc, etc. And then I realised that these were like the “bridging” words that allow one to create sentences. It’s all well and good knowing CAT, SIT, MAT but those little bridging words allow THE cat TO sit ON THE mat. You see what I mean, isn’t that awesome? On Friday afternoon, my sister wrote a few simple sentences on her iPad and went over these “bridging” words with Liam and not even long after, this was the result:

 

HOW BLOODY AMAZING IS THIS KID?? I cannot tell you how happy I am. That feeling that I cannot remember of learning to read myself… I feel it for my kid.  I am so excited for him. And Liam? HE IS OVER THE MOON. It is heartwarming to watch. It makes me giddy, I want him to read ALL THE BOOKS. NOW!!! My sis took me back to basics, so this morning I’ve made flash cards of all the words I think are bridging words, and we’ll learn those quickly. I don’t know how one teaches words other than simple 3 letter sounding words, but for now I really want to hone this simple skill  first, so that by the time he gets to Grade R, he is a fluent reader. Then I’ll leave the rest up to his teacher – I need to pay these exorbitant school fees for SOMETHING, right?

Anyway, I have a new party trick… I will be showing off my new reader to EVERYONE. I’m so proud! This child of mine.

Liam, you continue to astound me with how smart, witty, and sensitive you are. Your intellect has nothing to do with IQ but everything to do with how open and eager and excited you are to learn. I pray that this fire that burns within you continues to rage as you open yourself up to learning all the wonderful things that life has in store, if we but grab the opportunities in front of us. I can’t wait to lay with my eyes closed and just listen as YOU read to ME. Nothing would make me happier than you finding and losing yourself in a good book. You are the most amazing little boy I know, probably because you are MINE, but also because you are YOU. Congratulations on probably one of the most amazing things to happen to a human being! The power and the privilege to read.