Category Archives: Grandparents

Growing a bean. And my mother.

Two weeks ago Liam came home with a bean wrapped in some damp cotton, in a polystyrene cup which said “return by 6 May, don’t forget your bean needs water and sunlight.”

I knew this class project well. I had done it myself back when I was in Standard One all those years ago. He was initially quite thrilled with the whole idea, but after day 3 and no signs of life, his enthusiasm started to wane. The cotton wool started to turn mouldy, even though we were dutifully watering and keeping it in the sunlight. On a group Whatsapp chat my mother and sister were horrified at our indifference towards our non growing bean. My mother declared that she would come with a few new beans and she and Liam would tend them together, because I clearly was mucking around. My sister couldn’t believe my competitiveness in the classroom did not extend to the growing of this wretched bean…

Anyway, my mother and father arrived last week from Durban… and guess what came along… 4 new beans, laying in their damp cotton wool, all the way from Durban, on a Mango flight. Have I told you how my mother is the best granny in the world? Firstly, she was not impressed with the polystyrene cup received from the school. She was convinced that our current bean was not getting enough sunlight. Secondly, she and Liam took to monitoring these beans like they were going to grow into beanstalks and make us rich. They were moved from windowsill to windowsill during the day, following the sunlight. They were probably prayed over, if I know my mother.

And within a day or two, they began to sprout. This made everyone VERY happy. Even cynical little me who was not interested in this project to begin with. So this morning we proudly took our beans to school. And let me tell you… ours were THE best! I did have to tell Teacher the whole story about how these beans were actually sacred, they had taken a plane ride from Durban and how Granny and Liam were actually the caretakers of the beans and I had very little to do with the whole thing. She thought the whole story was hilarious.


Anyway, this post is more about my mother, than it is about the beans. I won’t lie, I was happy to see my son proud as punch with his bean this morning, and he probably would have had a dead bean along with the majority of his class, had my mother not insisted on doing this properly. And that’s just how she is. She doesn’t want to see us disappointed EVER. You know what else she did this weekend? She made me walk two malls flat because she had promised the kids that she would get them an egg timer to monitor their teeth brushing. They were so excited by this idea, even though I’m SURE the excitement over this timer will last 0.3 minutes. Anyway, my mother didn’t want just any timer.. she wanted an hour glass timer. You know the one where the sand filters through the glass? Do you know how difficult it is to find one of these old fashioned timers? There were plenty of timers in all the shops we went into, but she wanted the hour glass… yesterday we eventually found one, literally in the last shop we walked into. And that’s just how she is. She is selfless. And it’s such a unique quality in people these days. Selflessness. Most people do just enough. I know for myself, I don’t like to be inconvenienced and I do my bit and I feel good about doing my bit and then that’s it. I don’t like to feel streeeeeetched when helping others, and my excuse is usually TIME. I don’t have TIME to do this and that, so let me give some money. Or let me make some excuse to my kids because I don’t have TIME to walk through 100 shops looking for this thing they wanted. Or let me donate all my old clothes, and give to my church and feel good about having helped. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. But isn’t it lovely when you realise just how much effort and thought and love and kindness went into something that someone did for you? My mother still posts birthday cards to all of us. Even her children and grandchildren in Australia. Handwritten birthday cards. She bakes our favourite treats when we go home, even though she isn’t able to stand for very long periods because of her back and other aches and pains. She spends hours and hours with her grandchildren, accommodating their every whim and desire. Spoiling them with TIME and attention. She will make up our beds when she is visiting OUR house. Even when Zoleka is at work! Oh and she sends my helper air time, who does that? She brings toys and treats for our dog! She sews stuff and mends stuff around the house. Like she travels alllll the way from Durban with her sewing machine to mend stuff that I just don’t have TIME to mend.  She is selfless. I can’t tell you the things she has done for us, there isn’t enough room in all of cyberspace. And not things that necessarily cost her financially (although don’t get me started on the stuff she uses her meager pension on – again, for OTHERS) but things that she knows would make our lives easier, or make us happy. And it’s not restricted to people she loves. She is like this with complete strangers too. Did I tell you she got bitten by a dog the other month on one of her missions to visit someone in need? But do you think that stopped her? No.

She is selfless. If she can help you, she will. Whether you think you need help or not. She is a modern day saint and when I think of the Apostles of old, I think she would have been like one of them. Preaching the Gospel wherever she went, but more so, showing the true Christ through her selflessness. If you met her, I promise you would love her. You just would.

mum and kids

To the two daddies in my world


To my own daddy

My father is a man amongst men. From a young age, he has been the one person I can irrevocably rely on, the one person who has remained constant throughout the years and through life’s trials, he has remained unwavering. I know that he is capable of fixing any problem because he always does, and I know that he would bend over backwards to see that his children were ok – even now that we are all grown and have families of our own. My dad has instilled in us, from a very young age, the value of hard work, good morals and ethics and a strong desire to help other people, especially those who are less fortunate than we are. He is very decisive, none of that wish washy emotional stuff, he is practical and reasonable and always makes a lot of sense. He gives good advice all the time and I know I can take his advice straight to the bank. All the time. As a little girl, I loved having this giant who I felt safe and protected with. My dad was and is a real jokester, like his dad and my pa were before him. He has the most amazing sense of humour, and we laugh at the silliest things all the time. He is also so intelligent, he would finish the crosswords in the newspaper every night in like 40 seconds (I’m sure it was longer than that, but in my little mind I couldn’t believe how smart he was!). I used to take his socks and shoes off every evening, then we’d sit on the couch and watch the news until supper was ready. As I got older, we’d watch TV late into the night, and I was always amused at how he’d quickly change the channel if there was any kissing or inappropriate scenes not suitable for younger viewers. I love listening to his stories about his childhood in District 6 in Cape Town, and then later his experiences of Apartheid. I don’t think my dad is afraid of anything. Not even death. You know why? Not because he is a super hero (even though I think he is), but because he knows and loves the Lord. I remember sitting in the front row in church every Sunday, my parents and brothers and sister taking up the whole row. My dad was strict, lovingly strict. I remember him fetching me in his stokkies (old man slippers) from a night club one night, I was SOOO embarrassed, but I now know (15 odd years later) that he was doing it out of love. After high school, I left to au pair in America – that was the first time I saw my father cry, in fact he sobbed like a baby! We have always had this special bond, and although I’ve outgrown his knee, I know that I can crawl back to him at any time and his arms will always be open. Two years back, my dad got seriously ill, so ill we thought we were going to lose him. I felt like my world was crumbling, I don’t know what I would do without him. My hope is that he will know what an amazing job he has done at fathering us. How absolutely awesome I think he is and how deeply loved he is by not only me now, but by his grandchildren too.

To my babies daddy

Before we had children, I was never sure what kind of a father my husband would be. Although I had seen him in action with our nieces and nephews, I wasn’t sure that he was the gooey, romantic type – in fact, I now know that he isnt! But I am astounded everyday at what a wonderful father he is. I guess I can thank my mother in law for raising my hub to be a very independent self sufficient somebody. He can run our house probably better than I can. He can multitask like a mom, seriously! This weekend I watched him handle the kids’ doctor’s visit, go pick up the bag full of meds and administer the meds on time every day, down to the 5.3ml of Augmentin for Liam (I would just have winged that .3ml, you know what I mean!) There isn’t anything he can’t and won’t do for me or the kids. My friends are always amused when I say he cooks, he cleans, he packs my lunch, he dresses the kids in the morning and feeds them their breakfast, he washes dishes, he irons his own clothes when Zoleka isn’t there. He plays with and reads to his children, he takes them to the park and lets them have the TV remote to watch Mouk over and over and over again. He prays with them. Although his patience wears thin and although I often complain that he doesn’t do things MY way, he gets the job done, and done well. I most admire him because he has shown staying power – there were times when I could have packed up and left HIM with two small children – it was rough, and I don’t applaud him for staying, that’s his job and what he signed up for, I admire him because HE was the one who kept telling me how everything would be fine, how our love would keep us together. And he was right. He doesn’t care about clothes and cars, he cares that his kids have everything they need and more, that we can afford to put Liam in a good school and that he can partake in all the extra mural activities he asks for, and I know it isn’t always easy for him, but he always makes a plan. I love watching him with our kids, I love how they love him. I guess because of my own relationship with my father, I always wanted my kids to experience that fatherly love and I am so glad that God blessed me with THIS man. Thank you for being the dad and husband that you are.

I hope that you were all able to love and appreciate your daddies this Father’s Day – whether in the flesh or in spirit. Most importantly, I am grateful for my heavenly Daddy, whose love is unfathomable and forever.

Xxx R

Belated Mother’s Day Wishes…

What kind of a mommy blogger would I be, if I didn’t blog about Mother’s Day? I mean this is a blog for and about my children, which in turn relates to me being a mom, which means I absolutely HAVE to talk about all things mom-related! And Mother’s Day pretty much sums all of that up, right? It’s our day to be loved and appreciated and spoilt – or if you live in my house you just get a box of chocolates and lots of slobbery kisses and you’re still expected to put lunch on the table. But besides that, I think Mother’s Day is a chance for us, as moms, to reflect on this whole mother-thing. So albeit I’m a bit late, this one is for moms, more especially, my own mother.

I am so blessed to have the mother that I have. She is a phenomenal woman and in all honesty, I am yet to meet another human being who possesses the range of qualities that my mom does. She is soft and gentle, she is kind and caring, she doesn’t ever judge, she never says no to anyone, for anything. She would go out of her way and make herself uncomfortable, if it meant that someone else would benefit. She doesn’t buckle under pressure or lose her cool ever. I don’t recall my mother ever yelling at me the way I yell at Liam and Hannah and she had four children! She has this amazing love for Jesus, and her faith is something to behold… just by her faith and belief in God, she has brought many to know the Lord, myself and my husband included. She is so humble, she would never pick a fight with you, even if you were wrong, but make no mistake, she would let you have it! But in this loving, gentle way that makes you feel even WORSE for the crime you have committed! Ha! She is a simple woman who doesn’t have any airs and graces about her and you are drawn to her, even though she is unassuming, because you feel her warmth and her love, even if you’re meeting her for the first time.

My fondest and earliest memories of the type of woman my mother was/is, go back to pre-school. She would dress me for school, but first warm my feet in her hands before slipping them into my white school girl socks. She would let me climb into bed with her and my dad when I was scared at night. I used to suffer with severe stomach pains from an early age, and my mom would lay with me and rub my stomach and my back and I could see in her eyes that she wanted to take my pain away. We used to sing and read and talk a lot, and everything was a lesson. Every opportunity was one to learn something, maybe because she was a school teacher? Even as a teenager, I never experienced the slamming of doors and the “I wish I could just grow up and leave this house cos I hate living here!!” – I honestly can’t remember having a serious argument with my mother. Yes, I did many things that got me into trouble, and yes I was punished but we never had that love/hate relationship that so many other girls my age used to complain about.

Which leads me to present day. My mom is my rock, she is so dependable, she gives such good advice and even now, when I phone her in a tizz, she is able to calm me down and get the rational part of my brain working again. I love how she loves my husband and how she respects him as the head of our house and respects her boundaries as the “mother in law” – we all know the stories about evil mothers in law! But more than anything, I love how she loves my children. I see the joy they bring her, even when they are at their worst! She is so patient with Liam and Hannah and I see how this impacts on them and I wish I was more like her! She reminds me to take them for their vaccines and flu jabs, and to make camphor bags for their chests in the Winter, and to squeeze fresh oranges for them. She doesn’t get tired, physically yes, but she keeps going to keep the children entertained. Most recently, she has been looking for a house for us. Yes, that’s right! She spends hours, all the way down in Durban, trawling the property sites for possible houses for us. She sends me the links and I say yes or no – my own personal property genie! She is amazing!

Her birthday is coming up on Sunday, a day after Hannah’s. I wish we could be together because like Mother’s Day, your birthday is a day to honour you, it is the day you were born and came into existence to make the world a better place for others. So I want to honour you, Mom. For being such a strong and mighty force in my life, even when I didn’t feel you pushing me on. I want to be more like you in every way. The wife you are to Daddy, the mother you are to us, the grandmother you are to our children, the sister and aunt and friend you are to so many people. You are amazing. If I could be half the mom you are, to my own children, I know I’d be doing it right. Thank you for being such an amazing example, thank you for all the sacrifices, thank you for all the prayers, none of it goes unnoticed. The thing is, I know there is nothing physical I could give you that would make you spill over with joy. You aren’t into jewellery or perfume or expensive things, but I do know that knowing your children and their children are happy, makes you happy. And I am so happy! Happy to be a part of this family, happy that we get on so well, happy that you are my mom, and I know this makes you happy too.

Love you Mom xxx

Friday Quickie

And now… an update… in bullets!

  • I am taking part in the Biggest Loser at work – a blog for another day. Point is, I gained .03kg this week. Sigh. I guess the roll dripping in garlic butter and the speckled eggs and the muffin I had yesterday, didn’t help the scale. And the rest of my weekend isn’t looking too healthy either. My mission is to lose 10 kgs in a very realistic 4 months, so I think one more weekend won’t matter. I hope.
  • Today I paid the deposit for our July holiday to Mozambique. I need this holiday so badly, and it’s for big people only. The little people will be with their grandparents, although the grandparents don’t know that yet. My husband and I celebrate 5 years of marriage this year, so this is our treat to ourselves, to say well done for not killing each other – yet. So we, along with some good friends, are going to spend 4 glorious nights in Mozambique. My payment today made it real and I am so excited! Hence my previous bullet, I need to be 10 kgs lighter so that people don’t run in the opposite direction when they see me on the beach. And no, I am not doing it for other people, I am doing it for me!
  • This afternoon I’m going on a date. With my little man. On his request, we are going to McDonalds  – just the two of us, as Dad will spend time with Hannah. I’m looking forward to spending time alone with Liam because we rarely get one on one time. I just want to sit there and watch him. Watch how his eyes light up as he tells me about his day at school, watch how he dips every single item on his plate into the little tomato sauce holder that McDonalds issues, watch him as he greets everyone in the store and happily gets on with putting his toy from his Kiddie Meal together – I’m just going to take my baby boy in, and enjoy our QT together. After MickeyD’s, we’re off to church! I’m going to a Sisters Evening and Liam will be in Kidszone (his second most favourite place, after school) enjoying his own little kiddies service.
  • I seriously need to fill our empty grocery cupboards at some point during this weekend. I think my kids have had about enough two minute noodles until the next last-week-before-payday. Grocery shopping is one of my pet peeves, so I am working on all sorts of tricks or treats to get the husband to do the groceries in return for “favours” – or something. The thing about shopping for monthly groceries with two kids, is that it is virtually impossible to fill one trolley with two kids and all the groceries. So we take a trolley and a kid each, but the kids see this as some sort of a race, with them as the drivers, we, the cart horses and the aisles as the race track. They spend the expedition yelling things like “go catch Daddy, Mommy!” or “get out of the way lady!” or “no no no, don’t stop here, we don’t need bread, hurry up, Daddy is beating us!” At first it was fun and cute, but when I get yelled at for deliberating a bit too long over which brand of biscuits to choose, it becomes a bit of a pain in the butt. So yes, I’m devising a new plan on getting through the monthly shop – ah look, that’s another blog post all on its own!
  • On Sunday we are lunching with my brother and his family at the one… the only…the fabulous… PAPACHINO’s! Love that place! It’s like Spur, but with child minders, an exciting park with play houses, a mini bicycle track, swings, slides and boats AND the food is awesome. Oh wait, that means it’s not like Spur at all. I joke… we spend many an hour in Spurs across the country, but seriously Papachino’s is a really, really cool joint to take the kiddies to.

And that my friends, is a wrap. Have an awesome weekend with your families xxx

YAY for Grandparents!

Is it normal for a grown person to be so excited at the prospect of seeing their parents? I’m soooo excited!! We’ve been counting sleeps and at last Liam can stop asking me “is it Thursday yet” because yes, tomorrow is Thursday and my folks  get here in the morning! Not sure who’s more thrilled, me or the kids, but whatever it is, our house has an expectant air about it and I love it!

So I’ve done the quick fix.. this refers to filling up your fridge with useless items that no one will probably eat, but it gives the appearance of being full, and you always want a full fridge when your parents visit because it means you are a good wife and mother who takes care of her family (even though your family won’t eat half the stuff you’ve bought like gherkins and olives and pepperdews, but hey I may want to make a fabulous salad or something?). My husband always looks at me quizzically when he opens the fridge pre-parents-visit: yesterday there was mayonnaise, jam, a few random apples, tomatoes, eggs and Mrs Balls chutney. TODAY there’s not even space for leftovers.

I’ve asked Zoleka to change the linen on their bed, and to place a refill tube of Stay Soft under each pillow – if you haven’t tried this before, please do.. it gives your linen the most incredible fresh smell without overwhelming your senses as you sleep! The good towels are out and we’ve cleared space in the cupboard for their clothes and toiletries. My husband wants to know if the King and Queen are visiting. Look, I try to make their stay as pleasant as possible in the hopes that they will never want to leave. I love having my parents in my house, other than the fact that my father hogs the TV remote, it’s always a time I treasure.

Of course I have to call on Zoleka again to really try her best to make sure the house is spotless. I don’t usually smooth my finger across the table tops to make sure Zoleka has cleaned well, I trust that she tries her best considering she has to cook, clean, wash AND look after Hannah girl. But my mum keeps a clean house and I feel sort of obliged to make sure that I meet her standards. Again, this is something my husband can’t understand but it’s just something that moms and daughters do, I want her to think I am as good a housekeeper as she has trained me to be, even though I suck at it; if it wasn’t for Zoleka, our house would look like the aftermath of a hurricane every day.

But the highlight of my parents visiting is that Liam and Hannah will have nothing to do with us when their grandparents are around and BELIEVE me, there is no love lost there, in fact my husband and I can’t wait to be relieved of our parental duties, that’s what grandparents are for after all. The kids will hardly look at us and will not allow us to do anything for them – I mean how awesome is that! When my parents visit, Liam does tend to morph into a little monster who doesnt listen to a word I say, unless I say it with a smack, but I try to ignore his shenanigans, because I know he is trying to impress his grandparents with his “coolness” which actually translates into him being too big for his boots. Hannah also loves all the attention, and who wouldn’t.. grandparents get excited when their grandkids do basic things like breathe, so she also brings out the diva, with her every whim being attended to.

So yes, other than the hubby (who thinks all this hype is wasted on my parents who really don’t care about anything other than spending time with their grandchildren), our household will probably not sleep tonight as we await the arrival of Granny and Pa!

Home is where the heart is

 This month marks the end of an era – a very bittersweet moment for our family, as my parents move out of the family home. Yes it makes all the sense in the world; my parents are getting on in years and all four of us are grown up with our own families now, it make no sense for them to stay in a big house which requires lots of maintenance when the rooms are empty, except for when we visit. They are downsizing into a lovely modern unit, in a secure complex, just right for the two of them to spend their retiring years in. But still, I cant help but feel just a little “emo” at the thought of never going “home” again.

It’s the only house I’ve ever known, it was built the year I was born, my father physically helped the builders lay the foundation, plaster walls and tile the floors, and I lived there for the first 19 years of my life. My friends think it weird that I lived in the same house for my entire childhood, I think it’s sort of romantic in a Gone With the Wind kind of way – this house steeped in history and memories. I shared a room with my sister, and I would jump into her bed when I was scared at night, I think my preference for sleeping with the light on, is born from sharing a room with my sister who used to burn the midnight oil with her school work, while I was forced to stick to my bedtime curfew. To this day, our bedroom cupboards still bare the remnants of my childhood stickers and scribbles on the back of the bedroom door. Our house is set on a hill, and we would spend hours and hours sliding down the grassy bank on leftover bits of cardboard. My dad and brothers would mow the lawn, and my sister and I would have to rake up the grass and leaves. We would fight over who was going to be the “washer,”  “drier” and “packer-away” of the dishes after dinner. I remember laying underneath the coffee table in the lounge, watching tv, and sitting around the breakfast nook, doing my homework while my mum cooked dinner. I’d ride bikes with my cousins in the back yard, and then later rollerskates. We’d play cricket, using the big black rubbish bin as the wicket, and in the summer we used to lay on the grass with our bodies lathered in Baby Oil, in an effort to catch a tan (before we realised the dangers of sun damage!). After my hidings, my mother used to send me to the toilet at the end of the passage to reflect on my bad behaviour, and if I remember correctly, she used to lock me in there! I used to spend hours singing and dancing in the yard, watching my reflection in the house windows – I was a dancer and seriously thought I was going to make it big, until I grew up and realised I had the flattest feet and the knockiest knees and Broadway was clearly not an option for me.

We would have dinner as a family every night, around the dining room table with the tv off – my two brothers and sister, my parents and I, a tradition that I have tried very hard to maintain with my own family. After dinner we would say our evening prayers, and we’d nudge each other under the table, because my parents expected us to pray spontaneously, and none of us ever wanted to! Our house was a thoroughfare for all our friends, our aunts and uncles and cousins and of course my visiting grandparents from Cape Town. My other granny lived with us and she was a gentle calming presence in our home, we all felt her absence when she died, I was in standard five at the time. I grew up in a noisy environment, if it wasn’t the kids running riot, it was the adults sitting around enjoying a cup of a coffee, reminiscing, or planning our next holiday. We went on holiday OFTEN. Both my parents were teachers so our school holidays were never dull or boring, we’d pack up, usually with our cousins and spend our summers at time share resorts. And if we happened to be home for the holidays, we’d help my mum bake and she’d let us lick the bowl or we’d walk to the local swimming pool and spend hours in the water. We have so many good memories in that house, and my children too have come to love Granny and Pa’s house. They look forward to our visits to Durban, sleeping in Granny’s bed and running around in the open spaces which us Joburg dwellers in our compact townhouses, are not used to.

It seems strange to think that another family will live in OUR house, they will redecorate and put their own personal touches and paint over all our memories. I hope that they will be as happy in that house, as we were. That the love and good times we shared will reverberate through those walls. My husband and I still haven’t found our dream home, and I guess my deep desire to buy a house and root my family deep into its foundations, stems from my own childhood in a house that was far more than just a house – it was a home. With its ugly carpets and blue bathroom tiles, it was the place I felt most safe, most secure, sheltered and loved. My wish is for my children to grow up and feel this way in their home, I want them to love coming home – even after they’ve flown the nest, I want them to know that our home, is still where the heart is.

28A, we will miss you.

Another day, another milestone..

How do you know when your child is old enough to sleep out? Old enough in the sense that they make the decision for themselves, understanding that it means they won’t see mom and dad for the WHOLE night, until the sun shines the next day? My kids have only spent the night away from me, at my parents home. I know that they feel as safe and secure with my mom, as they do with me. In fact, Liam spent 10 days with my parents in Durban when he was about 18 months old, this gave me time to bond with Hannah, who was only three months old at the time and it also gave him a chance to be the one and only favourite again and he basked in the attention. Moreover, it gave me the much needed reprieve from my toddler who was not yet used to having a little sister who also demanded my attention ALL the time, and his transition to big brother was taking its toll on the whole family. But other than with my parents, Liam hadn’t slept out before. So when he announced that he wanted to sleep by Nana’s house (his other granny), I was taken aback, and a little amused because I didn’t think he’d go through with it.

The husband and I agreed that there was no harm in letting him spend the night out, he loves his Nana to bits, and we were close enough to make the midnight drive, if we received a distressed phone call from Nana. And because they don’t get to see their grandparents that often, I know that both the kids and the grandparents really treasure their time together. So I dutifully packed his overnight bag, I kept explaining that I’d only see him the next day, when the sun came up and that he’d sleep in Nana’s bed and that the rest of us wouldn’t be there; he seemed un-phased and blissfully happy at the thought of leaving us behind. We dropped him off, and I had to physically restrain myself from giving Nana a lecture on how to care for my baby. Nana had raised three children quite capably and I married one of them, so she kinda knows what she’s doing.

Once home, I sat with my phone in my lap, almost willing it to ring. Eventually I messaged Nana to ask how Liam was doing, she replied that he was “gone to the world.” Wow, she was good, he had said good night and went to sleep without a fuss, Nana reported. Whereas we had to sing, dance and put on an entire theatrical performance before Liam would go to bed. I put my phone on vibrate and placed it under my pillow, but we received no late night distressed calls.

He called me the next morning, and I felt hot tears welling up behind my eyes when I heard his voice (silly I know, but I missed him!!). He was fine, he told me he had picked flowers for me in Nana’s garden and that he was eating his porridge and that he would see me later and then he put the phone down in my ear. Nice. No I LOVE YOU, no I MISS YOU. Nothing!

Eventually I begged the husband to go and fetch him because I missed him so much. I didn’t want to go; I didn’t want my mother in law to see me cry like a sissy when I huggled (cross between a hug and a cuddle) my boy. When he arrived home, it was evident that he wasn’t too thrilled to be back. He gave me his cheek, side glanced at his sister who had CLEARLY missed him, as she tried to claw at him for a huggle and he asked where his bike was. Undoubtedly, he didn’t miss us, like we had missed him.

So the answer is simple, your child is ready to sleep out, when he says he is! I underestimate my kids; they do something new every day, they far outrun my expectations, so much so, that I actually feel guilty for not giving them more credit. So another bittersweet moment as we tick off another milestone reached for my big boy!

Good job Liam!

Legacy of Love

I have been feeling rather run down lately. The last few weeks have just been hectic on all fronts; work, home, socially – it’s been one of those months where I don’t know where the time has gone, and it feels like I haven’t spent any of that time in my bed asleep. And what with a teething baby, a “terrible-twos” toddler, my work husband (I’m a personal assistant) and my real life husband, it just seems like I am being pulled in every direction. I start tasks and never find the time to finish them, or finish them shoddily and then feel guilty. I feel bad for losing my inch-thin patience with the kids who demand my full and constant attention at all times and for my poor real life husband who has to bear the brunt of my foul moods. I sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week to just DO what needs to be DONE, let alone going above and beyond.

I often wonder how my mother did it, she had four children, a full time job and the home fires were always kept burning. I do recall certain times when we were particularly troublesome and she’d yell something along the lines of how sick and tired she was of us and how she wanted to run away – not verbatim, but something along those lines. But on the whole, my mother ranked #1 for being perfect in every way, and still is!

So this got me thinking about what sort of legacy I’d like to leave for my kids.. I don’t want them to remember me as the tired old hag that could barely drag herself off the couch to go and kick a ball outside. Or the kill joy who was always saying NO to everything, or the blur who was always rushing around, not a minute to smell the flowers and just enjoy each other’s company. I want to be fun-mum, my kids must WANT to spend time with me, I want them to understand that even when I discipline them, it’s coming from a place of love and concern. I want to be the type of mum with whom they can discuss anything – no holds barred. I want them to think I am cool, even when they raise questions about the human anatomy that I can’t answer without swallowing hard and choosing my answers verrrry carefully, I want them to know that nothing is off limits. But how do I go about this? I barely have time to make Two Minute Noodles, let alone be cool and suave and show them how well I can flip pancakes (which I can’t, but you know what I mean). I want to add value to the time I spend with my children. By doing seemingly inconsequential little things every day, I can enforce my “coolness” and with a one and a two year old, you don’t have to do much to be cool, believe me. And if I cultivate this sort of relationship from this early age, I won’t have to put in that much effort as they grow, because my cool factor would have established itself!

So I’m going to make more of an effort and colour in the 100th page for the 100th time that day, because Liam loves to colour and Hannah loves to eat crayons. I’m going to let them smear cake mix all over the kitchen table top and all over themselves because it’s fun to make 12 minute cupcakes in 2 hours. I’m going to let them jump on the beds  – they don’t weigh enough to break any springs anyway. I’ll let them brush my hair even though it HURTS when two pairs of little hands are stabbing at your scalp with a plastic comb. I’ll read The Silly Little Goose over and over and over again, because it makes them laugh. I’ll make sure there’s always bird seed in the house, because they love covering the lawn, and the garden toys and the veranda in bird seed so that the birdies don’t go hungry and well Hannah loves eating bird seed. I won’t rush through prayers, even though Liam prays for the whole family by name, down to Toto the dog. I will let them put loads of unnecessary groceries into the trolley and secretly dispose of them in the next aisle, even though this doubles the shopping time, because they think shopping is a treat – while I cringe at the idea of having to grocery shop with two toddlers in tow. I’ll laugh instead of shout when I find the Tupperware cupboard’s been unpacked by Hannah AGAIN, and I’ll show her how to pack it all back, instead of flinging plastic  back into place, in frustration. She’s so good at unpacking.. but packing.. not so much.

And just by changing my attitude and making these small little changes to the way we are currently doing things in my crazy time strapped household, I know my cool rating will shoot through the roof. You see, being “cool” to a kid is easy.. it’s being there mentally and emotionally and not just physically; its listening, not just hearing; its teaching by example and its using every day experiences to teach them something new and amazing – like making beautiful blowing bubbles from dish washing liquid – WOW! So I’m going to try and find little things that will make a big difference to the way I raise these babies of mine, so that my legacy will be one that they will speak of proudly, years after my bubble blowing days are over.

The “Vaalies”

At the eleventh hour, my husband finally gave into my demands (actually it was more like begging and pleading than demanding) and decided that we could spend the long weekend in Durban. This meant that I had about five minutes to organise a trip I’d usually spend a week preparing for, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I made it happen.

Now think back to your youth, do you remember how we Durbanites used to laugh at the Joburgers who would flock to the coast during the school holidays? The Vaalies would infiltrate our beaches – even during July, wearing their VERY short khaki shorts, socks and sandals; they’d apply sun block to all visible areas, except the moms who’d literally play dead in the sun in order to catch a tan and then prance around proud as peacocks, as if the boiled shrimp look was hot. Yes, you remember? Well it turns out that I have become a Vaalie – sans the khaki shorts and socks of course.

The kids started sweating almost as soon as we drove past the “Welcome to KZN” signboard.  On cue, my hair shrunk back to its roots – literally – and my sleek Highveld look morphed into coastal “croos.” It was the middle of June yet Durban was as warm and inviting as Joburg in October. My first thought was that I had packed completely wrong for the kids. All the fleecy jumpsuits and polo necks which had taken up MOST of the space in the suitcases, were packed in vain, I knew that the most we’d be wearing was one layer, as opposed to the four layers we were accustomed to in Joburg.

How nice to wake up to the sun splashing across your face – in Winter. We wasted no time greasing up with sun block and made for the beach. Although the Golden Mile was packed with revellers enjoying the sunshine, there weren’t many swimmers, except for the Vaalies! Liam and Hannah made a bee-line for the water, I was ill prepared for the splashing, cavorting and frolicking and had to call for back-up when my beloved Blackberry almost drowned – while trying to take photos and holding two children afloat. We made it back up to the picnic spot, the four of us looking like drenched drain rats.

I have come to realise why us Vaalies love the coast – the eternal Summer, the warm Mozambique Current, the fact that your ice cream melts faster than you can eat it even in Winter. Just that fresh sea breeze alone is an automatic mood enhancer, it’s no wonder I had such a happy childhood!

Durbanites, be thankful for your mild winters, your roaring ocean, curried pines and Murkoo, Britannia bunnies and Ushaka. One day when I’m big, I’d like to retire in the city of my birth. Perhaps my loving children will see to it that I have a sea facing room in my old age home.