Spring Day, Date Night and Gym. Again.


I am sure I’ve entitled a previous post by this same name. The name suits a post where I need to talk about … well this and that really…

So it’s Spring Day on Monday. I don’t see why we should be celebrating Spring when it’s a miserable 5 degrees outside. And in fact, Spring equinox or whatever it’s called which signals the official start of Spring is only around my birthday.. 21 / 22 September, so really I am not feeling Springy AT all. But I think the real reason why I’m being the Spring Grinch is because I have to come up with these blasted Spring Day outfits. And I’ll admit that I had whole year to think about this (it does take place every year after all as my dear husband reminded me during a rant) but we only received the notification on Tuesday and I feel harassed by the short notice we were given. Having donned bee and flower outfits already, I thought the simplest route would be some sort of animal. They wanted to go as dogs. Seriously, I think I’m raising these kids wrong. Dogs? No man. We agreed on bunnies – I mean how hard is it to dress your kid up as a bunny? Pretty hard apparently. I’ve bought the bunny ears, the face paint and now I’m struggling to find a “suit” – I really don’t want to hire it because while I don’t want to make any real effort, I also don’t want to be seen as taking the easy way out. Taking the easy way out does not fit in with my highly competitive nature, it just doesn’t! Did I mention there’s a prize for best dressed? And we’ve won prizes two years in a row, I, I mean my kids, need to win again. So I thought a onesie pyjamas would be the best thing, but trying to find a onesie when all the stores are bursting with summer clothes is proving rather difficult. Today’s my last day to shop around and if I don’t come right, I’ll have to “magic” something out of the clothes already in their wardrobes. Fun times, this.

Gym. Well I am still going folks. In fact, we’ve already been three times this week. This is quite something for me. Dad, if you’re reading this: IN YOUR FACE! My dad laughed when I told him I’d joined the gym, he didn’t think I’d see it through. Well whaddaya know. On Wednesday I left my towel at home. Now leaving your towel at home wouldn’t be such a big deal … UNLESS YOU WERE GOING SWIMMING. So I sheepishly asked the lady behind reception to loan me a towel. Well, she gave me a teeny tiny towel only good enough to wipe the sweat off your brow. And I needed to dry my whole big body with this tiny piece of toweling. You guys know how I feel about gym nakedness, and there I was in the change room, modestly trying to cover my elephantine bits with this handkerchief sized towel. I don’t even think I dried my legs for fear of having to bend, my face was on fire, I just wanted to get out of there ASAP. We did a Killer Abs class the other day… the next day my abdomen felt the same as it did the day after I gave birth via C-section. INSANE. I also lost my gym card and needed to fork out a further R65 to get another one. Between leaving my towel at home – even though I always remember a toiletry bag full of awesome smelling stuff for after I shower, and losing my gym card, my husband still thinks I am not taking this whole exercise thing seriously enough. Whatevs!

Date night. So we try to get out alone every Thursday night. Last week we went to see Cirque Eloize. What a show! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so entertaining, I actually wished the kids could have been there. You’re only a real mom when you are on a date with your lover and you miss your kids, don’t you know? It was really phenomenal – the things the human body can do, wow. Sometimes I feel really bad to just sit here like a lump of lard when my body has all this potential that I could unleash if I really wanted to. Do things like that ever bother you? Like you feel like you’re wasting what you’ve been given? I don’t mean I want to be a performer, heaven knows this body was not made to perform, but like DO stuff to keep your body doing what it was made for. Exercising, eating right, being more active, enjoying the great outdoors rather than sitting on the couch.. simple stuff like that, you know. It does weigh heavily on me while eating my 17th block of chocolate in front of the TV (most nights.)

I digress.

So Cirque was last Thursday and this Thursday past, we went to the movies. We watched S. e .x T ape which was in fact really funny. The story portrays an average family where mom and dad work, mom also blogs and the parents are at a stage where between the pressure of life, having kids, and all that comes with it, their s. ex life has taken a backseat and how they try to revive it. The language was offensive and some scenes inappropriate but the story line was really cute and funny and I enjoyed it. Also, mid week movies are hard on the body. We caught the 7h45 show which came out close to 10pm and by the time we got home, I was scuttling into bed desperate to fall asleep as fast as possible because I didn’t want to wake up tired and we all know how sleep evades a person when they are desperate to SLEEP. So I’m not sure about living wild/young/free in the week when one is at an age where lack of sleep shows the next day. I feel tireddddd today. Living on the edge I tell you.

Are you ready for the weekend? Man, I’m ready for the weekend. I’m ALWAYS ready for the weekend. Have a good one, lovelies xx

Fingerprints of God


Steven Curtis Chapman – audio below.

This song. Nothing has brought me closer to believing that there is a God, but for having my own children. When you play a part in the wonder of creation, there is no denying that we serve an Almighty, Wonderful, Amazing God! I will play this song for them over and over again. At every birthday, every special occasion and forever. I will play it for myself when they are being particularly testy and I need reminding that although they can often behave like devil spawn, they are in fact perfectly fashioned from the very hand of God and for His purposes.

I can see tears filling your eyes, and I know where they’re coming from
They’re coming from a heart that’s broken in two, by what you don’t see. The person in the mirror, doesn’t look like the magazine
Oh, but when I look at you it’s clear to me that…

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

Never has there been and never again, will there by another you. Fashioned by God’s hand and perfectly planned to be just who you are. And what He’s been creating, since the first beat of your heart. Is a living breathing priceless work of art! 

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

Just look at you!
You’re a wonder in the making, oh, and God’s not through, no
In fact, He’s just getting started…

I can see the fingerprints of God, when I look at you!
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it’s true!
You’re a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God!

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Jer 1:5 Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart.

 

I moved bedtime earlier because I can.


So we’ve always enforced an 8pm bedtime. Firstly because children need to be getting enough sleep at night to function optimally during the day and secondly (and most importantly) I am of the firm belief that life goes on after the kids go down. The husband and I can do what we like, eat what we like, watch what we like on TV, hang out without having to mind our P’s and Q’s – basically it’s the only time we have alone without the kids. Granted I am like a kid myself and hardly ever see the other side of 9pm, but we still need that time to regroup. When they were babies, we needed that time to get ready for the next shift… washing bottles, making bottles, fixing lunches for the next day, tidying up their mess, etc, but as they have gotten older, this time has become more leisurely for us. I love it, I wouldn’t swop it out for anything. I have worked through my guilt issues of only spending X amount of awake hours with my kids as a working mother and I have come to enjoy the downtime when they go to bed. Win-win situation.

So two weeks ago, I decided to bring bedtime even earlier. To 7pm.

I had noticed that although we were in bed at 7h30pm, reading / praying / settling down for the night, the kids were still awake past 8pm. Between asking for 25 sips of water, yelling good night to each other about 27 times, singing loudly, complaining about being too hot, too cold, too itchy, too tired to sleep (yes, we’ve had that complaint) , these kids were not in La-La Land by 8pm. Hannah still naps at school so I wasn’t too concerned about her, but Liam doesn’t (they do have rest hour though) and when I calculated the hours of sleep he was getting in a 24 hour stretch, it just wasn’t enough. They wake up at 5h45 on a week day. They have busy days at school. They need their rest. They need between 10 – 13 hours of sleep per 24 hours! I figure that the earlier I get them into bed and settled, the earlier they actually fall asleep.

So I just moved bed time. I had to have a very long talk with Liam who knows exactly what time bed time SHOULD be – 8pm. Big hand on the 12, small hand on the 8. He wasn’t very impressed that I was trying to get him into bed earlier. So we struck a deal. In bed at 7pm – this means fed, bathed, teeth brushed, prayers said, night time activity completed, lullabies sung – everything done by 7pm. Our deal was that he could read to himself for a further 10 minutes and switch off the lamp himself at 7h10pm. They both agreed that this was a fair deal. Well Hannah doesn’t agree with anything we say, she just whines and finds loopholes and is at the age where everything is a problem – and she still has a million requests after lights out.

Otherwise, it’s been successful and that half an hour has made a big difference. They are usually fast asleep just after 7h30pm. They wake up happier, well they both still  DETEST waking up but snap out of it quickly and I attribute this to the extra bit of sleep they’re getting. And even with the earlier bed time, they still get up after 8 on the weekend – thank the stars.

We got them these cute little bookshelf headboard type thingies which they love because it’s easy access to their books and they get to switch the lamp off themselves without getting out of bed and they put their special little things out during the night… you know just in case they neeeeed it during the night. You won’t believe some of the things Hannah neeeeeeds during the night. Wow. This kid.

What time do your kids go to bed? Are they getting the recommended hours of sleep a night?

han room

 

I joined the gym and everybody laughed.


Ya, I’m serious. They all LAUGHED. Thanks guys. Just look at the comments:

gym

With friends like these, who needs enemies! Ha!

Truth is, these friends know me well, my idea of exercise is walking to the fridge, lifting hand to mouth, running after naughty dog when he gets my slipper in his mouth, chasing the ice cream truck down the road… you get the picture.

My lifestyle doesn’t exactly fit in with my husband’s über healthy lifestyle. He, who drinks gallons of water, gets up before the sun to go for a jog, goes to the gym “for fun,” eats Rye bread and drinks all these weird potions from white tubs with pictures of body builders with fake tans.

So now you think I am going to say that I feel inspired, that I want to change my lifestyle, blah, blah, blah. Well no. I went through that, remember. When I  decided to take up running for all of three weeks. So no, I’m not going to go down that road again. I joined the gym as a way to spend more time with my husband. That’s about it. I like to swim, probably the only form of exercise I am particularly fond of, and I’m pretty good at it which helps. By that I mean I don’t make a fool of myself in the pool, whereas on the gym circuit I look like a cross between Mr Bean and  a drunk person. It’s awful to watch, I am sure.

So currently my gym workout looks like this:

1. Model around the gym in my fabulous gym gear provided by my friend Linda. Love these gym clothes with all the secret pockets for your keys, gym card, lip gloss, phone, sweets. Kidding. I only take my phone and gym card.

2. Make conversation at the water cooler with anyone who fancies a natter. This apparently is frowned upon, NO ONE wants to chat at the gym. Why?

3. Stroll on the treadmill. My husband says that I should at least try to make like I’m working out because there are people waiting to use the machinery. Sorry.

4. Laugh at the people in the classes. OH MY WORD. Funniest thing EVERRRR. Shame, not everyone can keep up with the instructor, hey. I may eat these words tomorrow, as I’ve signed up for a Zumba class and I actually have no idea what Zumba is. Sounds like Samba, so I’m imagining some kind of dancing. Party over here, whoop whoop!

5. Do the circuit thingy with my husband. He makes me do “reps” and I’m like we’ve done this already, let’s move onto the next shiny machine please. The only thing I haven’t jumped on yet is that plate machine that shakes all your fat AWAY. And I don’t think I’ll ever get on it unless we’re the only people there. I do not want the whole gym to witness my shaky butt and thighs, thank you very much.

6. Cool down. My favourite part. I sit on the couch and regroup after a hectic workout.

7. Hide my face in absolute embarrassment at the boobs, butts and other weirdly shaped lady bits in the change room. Guys, I am not a prude. I have no issues with nudity in the home. None, whatsoever. I am the mother who changes her children (kalgat) wherever we are, if we need to. No issues. But man, all those naked ladies walking around FREAK me out COMPLETELY. I don’t know what to do with my eyes. And I most definitely do not prance around in my birthday suit like that. This one lady stood at the blow dryer bending forwards and backwards in an effort to create maximum hair volume or whatever and I was HORRIFIED. Here was I, back in high school, as I awkwardly try to get my bra on without exposing any nip ple and there was Brooke Shields AKA Blue Lagoon AKA naked-as-the-day-you-were born, tossing her hair around in all her birthday suit glory. No man.

So that’s my gym experience to date. I have enjoyed swimming with the kids; wish I had started this earlier because I would have endured much less whining as they stare forlornly out the window at our green swimming pool asking “wheeeeeeeen will Winter be over so we can swim?” I also enjoy leaving them at home and spending that time with my husband, this is 2014 people, spending time with your loved one often means incorporating two activities into one because there are only so many hours in the day. Working out together is considered date night for some. Or in our case, one working out while the other goofs around.

Not sure that I’ll be Instagramming at the gym, my husband rolls his eyes when I want to start taking photos. He can’t understand why I have to bring my phone to the gym… AS PROOF THAT I WAS EVER THERE, HELLO.

 

The golden age of 5


What I’ve learned from being a mother is that there are no half measures with kids. It’s either all or nothing, baby. It’s either ALL the sads or ALL the happys. They do stuff, and they do it WELL. Whether it’s throwing a tantrum in a supermarket aisle, or making sure they splash all that water out the tub, or squeezing poor Rocky half to death just to show him JUST how much they love him (I mean a pat on the head would do?) … they are determined little things that truly pour themselves into whatever task is at hand. I’ve enjoyed watching their eyes light up with glee at the simplest of things, and in the same vein I have watched their faces crumble with anger/sadness for the simplest of things. They love hard, but make no mistake, they can unlove quick and fast. This volatile place where children live can be awesome and amazing – man, I wish I could switch from being grumpy to happy because someone promised me an ice cream cone. I wish I wasn’t afraid to tell someone just how MUCH they mean to me, minutes after I’ve just slapped them in the face with a Lego block. And I wish something as simple as blowing a dandelion flower could make me giggle and giggle for hours. It’s bloody marvelous to be a kid.

So when does it stop?

I think we’re getting to that point with Liam. I blogged about how awesome I think he is a few days ago, but this post is more about this age. This 5 year old business is finally feeling like the light on the other side of the parenting tunnel. He is like a small-big-person. And it’s happened so suddenly, that it’s caught me by surprise! By the way, I think a large part of my broodiness (SOOO broody, did I tell you?) comes from the fact that my kids are growing WAY too quickly. Just in the way he acts and reacts. He is way calmer, more relaxed, easier to placate when things don’t go as planned. He doesn’t lose his mind on either side of the spectrum: when he is happy, of course he is happy but that giddiness has eased off, and when he is sad, oh he is sad but the crazy crying has been replaced with quiet little sobs, usually behind his closed door – much like a big person! I haven’t done anything differently, I haven’t told him to MAN UP, it just seems he has matured. His mind is also working over time to understand how things work in the world. And I’m not talking about the manipulation tactic that small children use, I mean he can reason with you and get you to see his point of view and why his way could possibly be better, just by using his words (and often by drawing a picture to go with his words). He is very convincing, I think he may have a future in sales.

With this, has also come fear. Funny how fear accompanies maturity, isn’t it? Small children are so fearless, they have no concept of danger and their innocence is so beautiful to witness. But as Liam’s understanding of the world grows, so does his fear. Suddenly, he is afraid of the dark. Something that was never an issue for us because they’ve slept with the light off since we moved them into their rooms at a few months old. But now, he wants the passage light on. Also, he has lost that bolshy I-can-do-anything-I-please-cos-I’m-the-king-of-the-world over confidence that he used to have. Gone is the little boy who would sing for money, or act a fool because he adored the attention. He has simmered down and not in a bad way. Not in a way that worries me, more in a way that I can only attribute to growing up.

I love THIS Liam just as much, if not more, than baby Liam. I love where our conversations are going, I love listening to his ideas and his philosophies still sprinkled with childlike innocence. Having a small-big-boy in the house is such a pleasure. Somehow I just feel like it’s this golden hour before the scary school years or the testy tween years start. I love that he is still open to hugs and cuddles and hopping on my lap but that he is also very aware that Hannah is the baby and she has first dibs on that – by force of her tantrum, not because we have said so. And he lets her get away with lots of things, just to keep her quiet and believe me, this is a far way off from the screaming matches these two could lock horns over.

We got him something small this weekend to acknowledge this great little person we see emerging. Not to say well done for growing up, but to say “hey, we see you over there being so mature about stuff, testing out this new big-boy business and we think you’re doing great and we’re behind you all the way.” And he smiled that new shy smile that we’ve been seeing often lately. I yelled at him the other day for doing something or the other that he shouldn’t have been doing (he is more mature, but in NO way a saint, let me tell you) and he went off into a quiet sulk – another thing I love about 5, they sulk A LOT but they do it QUIETLY. Ha. And I won’t lie, it was a welcome change. You can be miserable for as long as you like if you do it quietly, thanks. As long as I don’t have to deal with it. He came out eventually much like his old self. He wants me to call him “my little tidy paws” because he has decided he is going to be the tidiest person in the house. Not sure where the “paws” part comes in but I am ALL FOR the tidy part!

So far, 5 has been THE best year! And no, I am not even going to taint that statement by throwing in a “but.”  Before the stress of big school hits him, before he starts telling me I’m uncool, before he doesn’t want to be kissed at his classroom door, and while he can still fit onto my lap… I do think I shall enjoy this age for all that it is. As Marcia would say, hashtagthisisfive:

liam 5

When other kids are mean to your kids. Introducing Ghetto Mom.


I recently purchased a Groupon voucher for Alfresco Restaurant in Muldersdrift. While this post is not about that actual experience, I will say that I was not happy with this deal. The food and service left a lot to be desired, and the voucher itself was misleading. I understand this is the risk one takes when buying these vouchers, but I’ve never been as disappointed with a deal as I was with this one. Suffice to say, we will not be visiting this place again. Voucher or not.

But yes, we went to this place for lunch on Saturday.

The kids immediately bolted off to the play area as they always do. It’s the same scenario wherever we go: they rip off their socks and shoes, yell their drinks order to me (usually 2 cream sodas or a bubblegum milkshake for her and a Bar One milkshake for him) as they dash off to play. I usually grab them back by their collars to make sure they know exactly where we are sitting and to make sure they are cognisant of their surroundings and remind them for the 1879th time to be careful, play nicely, don’t talk to strangers and yell if someone does something to make you feel uncomfortable… much eye rolling from the husband at this point.

We were sitting at a table quite close to the play area and I could see them perfectly. They moved over to a jungle gym where three other kids were playing, and I clearly heard this little horrid selfish naughty brat girl and presumably her brother say to my two that they must “go from here” and “go play somewhere else.” The third child didn’t say anything but didn’t object either. They were between the ages of 4 – 6 possibly.

Liam and Hannah were shell shocked and ran back to our table. I felt the heat rise at the back of my neck when I saw the tears in Liam’s eyes. This kid. He is such a softy. Hannah was like “THOSE KIDS SAID WE CAN’T PLAY THERE MAMA, WHY?”

Right.

I put on my best pursed lipped fake smile and said to both of them that they could play ANYWHERE they wanted to. I said to Liam that if anyone told him he couldn’t play ANYWHERE he wanted to play, he was to tell them that THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY AND I CAN PLAY ANYWHERE I PLEASE AND IF YOU DARE SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN, YOU WILL FORCE ME TO USE MY KARATE MOVES ON YOU.

No, I didn’t say that.

I told them very nicely that they could play wherever they liked. I said that if anyone gave them any trouble, they should first tell them that they could play anywhere they so wished and if that kid was still troublesome to come and CALL me and I would talk VERY nicely to that kid.

Of course Liam did not want to go and play anywhere near those kids again. But my Hannah… bold, brave Hannah. She just makes me laugh! She went back to play, and forced Liam to go with her. I could hear this kid getting all lippy again, and much to my husband’s annoyance, I got up and walked casually over there and proceeded to give all the kids, including my own two, a lecture on playing nicely together and sharing all the equipment. Note, these children’s parents were all within earshot the WHOLE time and not ONE of those adults got up to do anything. My speech promptly shut those horrid children up, and the main instigator sulked off back to their table.

I was so MAD. Firstly at those kids. And I am not an idiot, I know children can be naaaaasty, I know they can be ruthless in their likes and dislikes and they have absolutely no filter, I get that. But the part that I don’t get… aren’t all parents trying to raise their kids to be good? Aren’t all parents trying to make sure their kids are at least civil and if you physically see your kid being mean, don’t you step in? It blows my mind that you would allow your kid to be mean to another child. Had the tables been turned and it was my kid behaving like that, I would have dealt with my kid right there and then. Yes I am one of those mothers who WILL embarrass you in public if you are ugly to someone else or if you behave in an offensive manner. I know all about playground politics and my husband and I have VERY different views on how to deal with it. My husband encourages our children to fight back, to stand up for yourself. While I promote standing up for yourself, I absolutely do not believe in fighting back, I believe you run and tell the nearest adult PRONTO. Husband believes that this opens your child up to being bullied when he/she is constantly running to Teacher with complaints about the other kids. I am of the believe that encouraging fighting is NEVER the answer. (Although I won’t lie, I’m not paying for karate classes just for the cute uniform if you get what I’m saying.) I’ve always said no hitting, punching, biting, no NOTHING, basically you don’t touch another person unless you’re hugging them. But I also don’t want my kid to be the playground push over. While Liam has a lot of “mouth,” he is really a big softy and this worries me as he ventures out into Big School next year. I won’t be there to defend him, both of them in fact. I won’t be there to go all-ghetto on those bratty kids. And I won’t be there to tell them what to do. I witnessed first hand this weekend what Liam would do, he would walk away and have a cry! And that BREAKS my heart! We chatted about it on the way home and both Dad and I encouraged them to stand up for themselves if they know someone is being nasty, but what else can one do?

How would you handle this situation? How are you gearing your kids up for playground politics?