Category Archives: Milestones

Christmas giveaway with Mysmartkid


The nice people over at Mysmartkid asked if I’d like to give away a prize on the blog. Now I don’t just promote willy nilly on the blog, unless I recommend it myself and unless I think you could truly benefit from it. And that’s why I agreed.

So essentially, Mysmartkid is a subscription-based continuity programme. Every two months, you’ll get a delightful box delivered to your home with age appropriate toys, tools and play-based activities for your child. The box is packed with amazing stuff which will assist with the reaching of key development milestones and promote school  readiness. It will cost you R295 every two months, and the programme is offered in both English and Afrikaans, suitable for children aged 0 – 6 years old.

Now why I like Mysmartkid:

1. You already know I LOVE online shopping. The idea of an educational box of goodies delivered to my kid every two months without me having to so much as lift a finger, presses all my right buttons.

2. The fact that the box is specifically chosen with MY child in mind gives me peace of mind. You know, going into a toy or book store and selecting stuff that you “think” will be appropriate can be quite mind boggling. There is SO much on the market and buying ONE toy/ educational item can easily cost R300. When my kids were younger, after sickness my next biggest concern was whether my kids were being stimulated enough. Was I providing a good environment for them to learn and grow? Was I doing enough to stretch their little minds, what toys were best, was I wasting money on toys that didn’t really work and on and on it went. Mysmartkid sends this box FULL of goodness for your child which is perfectly appropriate according to their age and gender. And R295 every two months for the WHOLE pack? That’s a bargain!

3. If you aren’t entirely satisfied with the programme, they promise you a 100% money back guarantee. They believe in this programme so much, that they are willing to give you your money back if you aren’t convinced. I like that a lot.

So it’s almost Christmas and we’re all on the look out for gifts and goodies to pop under the tree. I’m  giving one lucky reader the chance to win a x 1 Mysmartkid smartbox filled with educational toys and activities, custom made for your kid. If you don’t have children in this age bracket in your immediate life, this is the perfect birthday gift or even baby shower gift! Give a child the perfect Christmas box, a Smartbox!

All you have to do in order to qualify is leave a comment telling me about YOUR smart kid: how old is your little man/lady? What is their most favourite thing to do in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD (as my 4 year old loves to say). 

Also just for fun, go like Mysmartkid on Facebook here.

Winners will be drawn by Random.org on Wednesday, 26th November 2014.

Smartbox with owl backpack

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Growing up can be sad


My son lost his first tooth. I think it is too early. I think it is too soon for him to be losing teeth. What next? University? A girlfriend? Marriage? It’s just going too fast. Make it stop.

Mothering is a weird thing hey. Some days I am so happy that they are grown, that they can wipe their own bums and sleep through the night and fetch my slippers and BE QUIET when I tell them to. But on the contrary, I feel this sadness that they are growing so fast. I posted a photo on IG the other day of Liam. I took the photo and then I stared at it for ages, and I kept staring back at my real life masterpiece. It was the first time I noticed how his face has completely changed. There are hardly any signs of babyhood left. His face and body are lean, there are no dimples on his thighs and when he is in his swimming trunks, his body looks like it belongs to a BOY, not my little pudgy pudding. Hannah. Oh my word. She used to have this big protruding baby belly that would turn the corner before she did. It’s gone! Her skin feels different, it feels like mine, not that smooth marshmallow-y baby softness.. big girl’s skin! Her arms can wrap around my neck almost twice. I remember not so long ago that her fingers could barely grasp around my neck when I’d take her for a back ride. And I’d laugh and tell her to hold on tightly, now she strangles me with her long arms and I have to tell her to loosen her grip.

I don’t know how much time I have left for them to fit onto my lap. I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap well into my schooling days.. because we would watch the news and then I remember moaning because I had to go to bed because I had school the next day. So with this hindsight, I trust I still have a few more years of a kid curled on my lap. But already it’s getting awkward because it’s all arms and legs and poky bum bones and I’m like WHEN DID YOU GET SO BIG?

I’m so grateful that they are both feelers. That they both love to be touched and held and cuddled. There are many moments in my parenting future that I am dreading… puberty, boyfriends and girlfriends, school projects, slamming doors and ALL that. But one moment that will truly break my heart is when the cuddling stops. And I KNOW it will happen, that’s the cycle of life, it’s a normal progression, I get that. But man, it will hurt. I still hug and kiss my own parents but I know that if I tried to sit on my mother’s lap I would most likely render her injured, ha. But I wonder if she misses it? I need to ask her that. Maybe she’ll respond in a comment, mom? 🙂 Does the growing up part get easier? I know that each stage comes with wonderful things, I can’t wait to have a teenage Hannah – shopping together, going for spa days while the boys go to watch the soccer (although I think Hannah will want to watch soccer with her dad more than she’ll want to get her nails done with me). Getting her to colour my greys and ogling over movie stars… I look forward to those times. As I do with Liam… I look forward to fostering a relationship where he’ll talk to me about stuff, I pray everyday that my boy and I will be able to talk about STUFF. That he’ll feel safe talking to me about STUFF. All sorts of STUFF. And hanging out together, playing Xbox or Playstation or whatever is cool for teenage boys in 2022.

Marcia recently asked if we were concerned about our age / getting older. And I truly am not… but when I think about age in the broader sense… as in time passing, getting older, the years rolling by… my heart does gallop a bit at the thought of these babies of mine growing into big people. Doesn’t yours?

You see this first picture? It feels like it was yesterday. I can remember the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelming tiredness of this very day as if it happened yesterday.

And you see this picture? It WAS pretty much yesterday. Time hey. Blink twice and you may miss it.

kids and me

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.

Happy 4th birthday Hannah Ruth!


Dear Hannah, today you are 4!

Every birthday I write you a little note, with the hope that one day, you’ll have a letter for every year of your life. Of course, there are enough stories on this wee blog to keep you going for years, but once a year I like to reflect on the wonder that is you.

I still can’t believe you are 4, one day you were here:

And the next you are here:

 han big

Still blows my mind! This last year has seen you move from a toddler to a real little girl. You are officially done with baby things, I had to dig in the top of your cupboard last week, where the last of your baby treasures are stored to get some books for your brother – he is learning to read and the baby books are proving very useful for this purpose. But there, I also found all your little things from your babyhood. And again, it struck me how fast you’ve grown. That you can articulate yourself perfectly, that we can sit down and talk about things, that you can reason with me and challenge my thinking – I love all these things!

So what did you do for your 4th birthday? We had your cousins and some friends over for lunch yesterday, you helped me ice your princess  cake, you helped me set the table and make sure everything was ready for your visitors. You had a bit of a sore throat which you complained endlessly about – except when the visitors were there, you were miraculously healed just for those hours, and then as soon as they left, you went back to “being sick.” You opened your gifts with such delight, which is always a nerve wracking moment for parents – opening gifts in front of the person who gave it to you doesn’t always end well when you’re 4 years old. But you were gracious and loved every gift you received.

Today you took cake and cupcakes to school, you were so excited to wear the birthday crown and to show off your Barbie necklace. I let you eat cake for supper and breakfast, and this was positively the best thing about your birthday.

So what does 4 year old Hannah like? You like playing with your brother best. At 4, he is still your best friend, you guys fight like best friends too though. You have a really healthy appetite and you eat anything and everything. You love to peel the “skin” off fish fingers and chicken nuggets which drives me batty. Your favourite sandwich is still bread and butter. Yes, just bread and just butter. After your father, you drink the most water in the house. You prefer water to juice, who’s child ARE you? You tuck you shirt into your bottoms habitually. Even if you’re wearing tights, you tuck that t shirt right in there. Even if it’s a thick jersey, you make sure it is stuffed into your bottoms. And then you can’t pick stuff off the floor because when you bend and your top slips out of your bottoms, it freaks you out in the worst way. Funny little quirk, that. You love to write and doodle. You make the craziest little drawings and explain them with such conviction, I have to look really hard to make sure we are looking at the same thing. You still love your sleep, and even though we’ve dropped your day time nap, you still enjoy sneaking one in if you can. You are doing really well at school, and not that it matters, but you’ve never been called out for bad behaviour, you’ve never been sent to see the principal. Any anyway, I think if you found yourself in the principal’s office, you’d talk your way out of it quite sweetly. You started wearing dresses this year. I can’t tell you how much this pleased me. Again, ultimately I don’t care what you wear, as long as you are happy, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like to see my little girl in a pretty dress every now and again. You learned to tie your own shoe laces, and this made you all kinds of happy. You started reciting real life poetry and this made ME all kinds of happy. You learned to hula hoop, to make your own bed, and you started doing real chores around the house – which you LOVE, I might add. For now, I guess I must add. You continue to sweet talk your daddy into just about anything. Seriously. Things I have tried for years to get him to do, you get him to do by jumping on his lap (and I’ve tried that, it doesn’t quite have the same effect). You started wearing alice bands and head bands, quite out of the blue. I love how you are slowly embracing your femininity, not because you MUST but because being a girl is SO SUPER COOL! You took part in your first concert with an audience and you CRIED. But you were the cutest crying giraffe I had ever seen. You’ve grown in leaps and bounds, physically you’ve outgrown your clothes in less than a season. Your legs are dangly and skinny. And you still have a pot belly 🙂  It’s cute, I love it! But you’ve grown mentally and emotionally and I think this is the part I love the best. You are still the sweetest, kindest, most tender little thing and you have this maturity about you that surprises even me. While you are still really good at throwing the odd tantrum, they’ve become less and less as you’ve learned to deal with the fact that you can’t always get your own way and sometimes things don’t always go as planned and you have to suck it up and carry on. And this is the part that makes me all kinds of happy/sad – happy that you’re growing but sad because the ends of tantrums signals the end of babyhood, doesn’t it? And I will forever miss my darling baby Hannah, and the only thing that makes that better is that I have delightful big girl Hannah to enjoy.

My wish for you dear daughter is that you will quickly find your path, that you will quickly discover the things that make you happy. And then pursue those things. You were a beautiful surprise to me, and I pray that many beautiful surprises await you. My hope is that you will strive to be the best that you can, at whatever you undertake. And to know that your best is good enough. More than anything I hope you know how much I love you, not only now while you still need me, but forever. I hope you understand that I would do anything for you, that you and I will be best friends forever, even if we do have to fight like best friends sometimes do. You are the perfect daughter for me, you are everything I’ve hoped for. There is nothing that could make you any more or any less perfect that you are right now. Happy birthday sweet girl! From now until eternity, yours. Xxx

Mom

Hannah can tie her laces. Brag post. Look away.


Ok serious brag post coming up. If listening to others brag makes you queasy, as it does me, then look away NOW.

But hell, I have to say SOMETHING. And besides, I have to say nice things about the kids here and there because when they read this one day, it can’t ALL be about how HARD parenting was and how sucky they were as kids sometimes. So here goes…

Because I am not a mother who compares her two children. Me? No! Never… I went back on my blog to see when Liam learned to tie his shoe laces. It was on the 16th July last year. That would have made him 4 years and 4 months. And let me tell you, I thought THAT was bloody awesome. I thought he was a wonderboy for doing that.

So this morning we’re on the way to school after a SERIOUS meltdown of epic proportions over wardrobe issues (Hannah). To give you some background.. every evening the  kids choose their OWN clothes for the following day. Liam pulls out the first thing he sees, puts it out and moves onto the next thing. Hannah spends about 15 minutes deciding what to wear, then changes her mind, then changes her mind again, then goes back to the original outfit. So you can see she puts a lot of thought and effort into this. Her new favourite thing to do is to wear Liam’s hand-me-downs – every other day I’m throwing things out his wardrobe and adding it to the pile for The Grace Factory because he has outgrown stuff, and she’ll go through the pile and decide what she wants to keep. Now there are some items that this can work for, but because she is a girl and he is a boy (hello) there are some items of clothing that she CAN’T take over. Like big baggy boy jeans. And please, before you judge, I let her wear whatever, whenever, I don’t force her to wear dresses and the like, I’m pretty chilled about what she wears. But boy jeans that hang slightly off the butt, low slung with patches and seams – which look WAAAY cool on Liam, just don’t fit her nicely. She looks weird in them. Seriously. Anyway, after choosing her outfit last night, THIS MORNING she changes her mind and wants to wear these jeans of Liam’s. First of all, I was annoyed that she was making changes at the 11th hour. I DO NOT ALLOW morning changes, you made your choice last night now live with it because we are going to be LATE. Secondly, I didn’t like those jeans for her at all. Oh she CRIED. BITTERLY. I shouted. A LOT.

Anyway. There’s nothing else to say. She won. She wore the jeans. But we were both really pissed off with each other.

Right. So the ride in wasn’t exactly happiness and sunshine. Everyone was rather subdued and she pipes up from the backseat. Mama, I can tie my shoelaces. And because I have never ever shown her how, it’s not even come up yet, Liam or I just tie her laces for her, I didn’t take her seriously at all. I’m all like “yeh, yeh, that’s great, wonderful, whatever.” We get to school and we’re early, so she hops into the front seat and she says look, I can tie my laces! So I’m like OK, show me. And she DOES! I was like WHAT! WOW! WHO TAUGHT YOU THAT! THAT’S AMAZING! WHAT A GENIUS! WONDERGIRL! WOW! And she’s like “yeh, no big deal, I taught myself.” Ok, she didn’t say that, but the look on her face was one of nonchalance… like it was the most normal thing to do in the WORLD. And she did say she taught herself. So I took photos, made a video, posted online (but of course) made her do it like 548 times and then we went into school. I rush into the class and I yell “TEACHER DONNA, TEACHER VIRGINA, HANNAH CAN TIE HER SHOELACE! SHE’S A GENIUS!” And they look at me like, “yeh, we know, calm down.” And I say, WHAT, YOU GUYS KNEW  AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME?!!! So apparently she’s been doing it for a few weeks now, along with a few other kids in the class (so she isn’t a genius after all). But still, THREE YEARS OLD AND TYING LACES? I think that’s bloody marvelous? Her little fingers are nimble, maybe I should sign her up for piano… or… sewing… ah, or picking out bad potatoes on a production line?

Whatevs, she’s a child genius. Love this child.

ps: check the jeans rolled up… arrgghh.

shoe 1

shoe 2

shoe 3

Boy child turns FIVE.


My son. The fruit of my loins. My first born. The apple of my eye. My son who will carry the family name. Boy child with the imagination of a storyteller and the heart of a saint. Boy with the mischievous smile and the sunrise in his eyes. Son who worships the ground his mother walks on and mother who would do anything for her son. Son who is so like his mother, yet so very unique. A son was born unto me who would change my world forever. It wasn’t by chance, it was by Divine Orchestration. God looked at me and said “I know you Robyn Ann, I know exactly what would fill your heart to bursting. I made you, I know you better than you know yourself. Because I love you, and because I know every hair on your head and because I want to see you smile for a thousand years, BECAUSE you are so precious to me, I am going to gift you with the most beautiful gift and you will call him Liam John.”

Five years with you have not been easy. But it has been worth it. I am hard on you, I have great expectations of you. I want to see you over achieve and I want you to be imperfectly perfect in everything you do – that simply means I want you to do your best. You are so full of potential, I get so excited when I think about the endless possibilities your little life holds hidden in the creases of your beautiful brown skin. You are a good boy. You are a lovable boy. You are a kind boy. You are wonderful. You are everything I’d hoped for in a son. You are perfect to me. You are destined to be the GREATEST Liam John that you can be.

I want you to know that I love you unendingly and unconditionally. Even when I shout, I love you. Even when we argue, I love you. Even when you are being punished, I love you still. Nothing you do will ever change the way my heart beats for you. Being a mom is not easy, my son. It is a battlefield where it is easy to wound and easy to BE wounded – both parties have to endure and overcome many trials and challenges. But being your mom has proved to be my life’s best work. Raising you has opened up a Pandora’s Box of the most wonderful things I hadn’t known about myself – things I hadn’t figured out about myself until you came along. So you see, as much as I am raising you, it is YOU who is raising me too. Raising me to new heights of love, understanding, and JOY. Oh what JOY my children bring me. Granted, it isn’t joyous all the time (!!) but that’s just the thing about joy, isn’t it. It’s not the same thing as happiness which is temporary and which changes with the ebbs and flows of your mood. But JOY. Joy is something you are able to feel and hold onto regardless of the situation or circumstance. You bring me a joy that only a parent can understand. Watching you grow and flourish brings me a deep sated joy.  Through you, I have come to know and understand the love my own earthly parents have for me, but far more, I have come to understand the love that my heavenly Daddy has for me. He loves me like a child, I am his daughter and when I think of the love I have for YOU, Liam John, as MY child, and I think that my heavenly father loves me a million times more in a way that my human mind can’t attain – you have NO idea how that makes me feel. So through you, I have come to know my God better. Thank you for this.

We called you Liam John. Your name means Unwavering Protector, Strong Willed Warrior. As I’ve watched you develop from a toddler into a preschooler into a real Boy, I know we have chosen your name well. Already your name’s meaning has woven itself into the fibres of your being. You are so strong willed, always have been, you know what you want and you have the will and determination to keep going until you get it right. You look after your sister so well, even when the two of you fight (which is OFTEN), you will not let a disagreement cloud you from protecting her at all times. You recently came to have your first pet. The way you love and protect Rocky warms my heart, and I know that love is reciprocated and I can’t wait to watch this boy-dog relationship unfold.

Son, today you are FIVE. A whole handful of fingers. Even though I wish time would stand still on this moment where you are untouched by the real world, where your boy imagination is still ripe with little boy dreams and visions, I can’t wait to see the Liam John you turn out to be. You know why? Because if these past five years are anything to go on, you are going to be AMAZING, you are going to be AWESOME, you are going to be a WONDERBOY and I can’t wait to be with you every step of the way.

Assuring you of my constant love, admiration, pride and absolute pleasure at mothering you…

 Mom xx

some photos of your 5th birthday party…

Planning a party for a 5 year old


Liam turns 5 on the 16  February. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am the mother to a 5 year old. Good heavens, I can remember being 5 years old MYSELF, like I have actual memories of being 5,  and it doesn’t feel that long ago (don’t laugh, I’m not that old). And now I am the boss of a 5 year old? Like I physically gave birth to, and cared for another human being for 5 long years – and he is still thriving? Excuse me while I pat myself on the back.

Although we have celebrated every birthday with a cake, candles and their cousins present, we’ve never really had a party where he has chosen his guests himself. This year he asked for a party and he was also very specific about who we should invite. And I think that’s the point isn’t it? It’s his party and it should be about HIM and he should be surrounded with people HE likes.

I had to curb his enthusiasm when he declared that he wanted to invite his WHOLE class. No ways, I was not prepared to have 18 five year olds running riot in my back yard. We had to come to a very difficult compromise of 6 school friends (only 2 have actually rsvp’d so I need to prepare him for that too). Oh, he battled with this… he didn’t want to offend anyone! I said to him that he should think about who his SPECIAL friends were, the ones he most liked to play with, and eventually we narrowed the list down. He chose his cousins and family friends and asked if his cousins in Australia and Port Shepstone would be able to make it. I said to him that they’d possibly make it for his 21st but probably not for his 5th birthday.

We decided on a pool party simply because it’s what he loves best, and it’s easy to execute – hey you just need a pool! I am NOT a party planning person and it will NOT make the grade for Rattle and Mum Show me the Party. No. There will be a pool, other water toys, sweets, ice cream  and cupcakes. And you may get a boerie roll for lunch. On a paper plate. I thought about planning games and activities, and that’s where that ended. At a thought. Ha. Easiest party planned in the history of party planning!

His one and only request is for a Walkie Talkie thingy for him AND Hannah (bless). Oh and Lego. Lots of Lego. I love this age where they just tell you what they want – SO much easier. We’ve discussed if this is the year he will stop sucking his thumb, but he has been very noncommittal. When he turned 4, he declared that he would stop sucking his thumb. HOORAY! And he was very good about it… until bed time when he reneged on that statement and declared that he’d stop when he turned 5. So no promises on this one, folks.

You can imagine how this birthday and party are the ONLY things we’re allowed to talk about at home. That, and our dog Rocky. I do think that Liam and Rocky will be fast friends. Rocky was even invited to the party. I said that Rocky may frighten some of the younger kids but Liam thinks his friends will get used to and love Rocky like he does (wise words from the kid who was terrified of Rocky when he arrived). I said we’d see how everyone felt on the day. He agreed saying that yes, sometimes people are afraid of dogs and he knows it isn’t a nice feeling because he was afraid before. Clever child, this.

So yes, Liam turns 5. More on how I actually feel about THAT to follow soon.

rocky
Love xxx
Yes, Rocky is in my flower bed.
Yes, Rocky is in my flower bed.

 

 

The hula-hooping-swimming-girl-child


So the little girls in Hannah’s class love to hula. Everyday they’re on the playground fighting over who’s turn it is to use the hula hoops. Never mind the fantastic play equipment, the fresh outdoors, the freedom to run around after being held prisoner in the classroom – all they want to do is hula. I crack myself up for minutes while doing the school run, spying on them from the foyer window, their little bodies contorting  – some with rhythm, and others (shame) who just can’t get it right. HILARIOUS, I tell you.

Anyway, Hannah couldn’t hula for months, and I couldn’t help her at all. I cannot believe that I CANNOT hula? I was so good at it as a child and now I simply cannot keep the darn thing up. Why? I have even downloaded hula hooping tutorials, watched a gazillion Youtube videos on how to hula – I just can’t do it!! I mean I have MOVES for goodness sake, how come I can’t move my body in a simple circular motion in order to keep a piece of plastic on my hips?

Ok. This is not about me.

So early in December we were in Sandton City with my parents, they had set up a festive kiddies section and Hannah zoned in on the hula hoops. This little thing just got it! Like on the spot, she started hula-ring and that was the end of that. Or rather that was the start of her relationship with her hula hoop. She is so darn good at it, she can go for over 2 minutes and she only stops then because she is bored of it, not because the hula hoop falls.. It’s mesmerizing! Liam still can’t hula and he is most frustrated / irritated that his small sister can do something that he cannot. We console ourselves by watching amazing Youtube hula hooping videos. So I was forced to buy her a hula hoop – let me tell you, a hula hoop is not the easiest thing to store, especially if your child wants it near her all the time. It doesn’t fit into the cupboard, it doesn’t stand upright in the corner, it’s like trying to find a big enough space for it to balance somewhere in her room. And she likes to carry it with her everywhere in case she gets a sudden urge to hula. Quite frankly, it just gets in the way. And it IS NOT allowed to be outside, unless she is outside. The queen of the hula and her demands.

Just look at this kid. Like seriously. How good is she? Watch this video on silent please. My ear-breaking chanting is ridiculous, even to me. I was excited, what can I say! I’m just glad I managed to capture this milestone! And it makes me laugh every time I look at it, I’m sorry to say but watching someone hula is not the most flattering of movements. Like even if you’re in the circus and wearing a sparkly outfit.

And the next day with her own hula hoop…

And then I simply cannot resist… here’s a killer-funny video of Liam NOT being able to hula. WAAAA! You’re welcome for that laugh! I swear he doesn’t get his rhythm-less moves from me!

I am also proud to note that my Hannah is finally swimming without her armbands. My sister and family have moved to Port Shepstone and we spent hours in the pool during the holidays. I left Hannah for one day with my sister and I came back to find her swimming unassisted. What a good teacher my sister is! Of course she is as proud as punch (Hannah, not my sister); I am just relieved that we have our last and final family member who can navigate themselves safely around a swimming pool. I’ll just keep practicing with her now, building her confidence and improving on her breathing. When do you start sending children for actual stroke correction and the like?

School goes back tomorrow, I feel sorry for poor Teacher who’s ears will probably bleed and fall off from all the stories she is sure to hear from all the little ones who have done BIG things over the holidays. Well done Baby Girl, another two milestones smashed!

Here we are. Again.


I actually cannot grasp the fact that the end of the year is upon us. The school year is just about over, we still have the annual concert to attend on Friday, and a week of “holiday programme” to get through next week. But once you get the report cards, you can pretty much call it quits on the school year.

So the report cards.

You’ll remember this post where I expressed concern over Liam’s midyear report. Well I am so proud to say that Liam had an excellent report. He scored a full set of number 1’s across all categories, save one, where he got a number 2 for something. I can’t even remember what it was for, who cares, I don’t when the rest of the report was fantastic. The teacher’s comments were beautiful, truly beautiful and I choked up a bit when I read how well loved my son is. We all want that for our kids, don’t we? It’s not a vanity or an arrogance thing, it’s a parent’s deep desire that their children be well liked wherever they go… and it’s not because we value the opinion of others, or that we want our children to spend their energies on impressing other people. No. It’s a matter of being a genuinely beautiful person on the inside, who others are naturally drawn to. Not being the most popular, or the prettiest. No. It’s about being nice. Having good manners, having a kind and caring heart, being NICE. I think my Liam is a nice boy.

And Hannah. Our dark horse. So full of surprises. Another fabulous report, wonderful words from her teacher and principal. She came into the class late and is the youngest in the class, yet has made her presence felt. She has blossomed into this most delightful little thing. My friends can still not believe how this child has done a complete 360. Still full of buck and very strong willed, but a very different Hannah to the ma-vas snob she used to be. Yes, she was a cry-baby-snob. You couldn’t even baby talk with Hannah, and she would give you the side eye. And she wouldn’t even sit on grass, HATED grass under her feet! SNOB! If you were not her mother, she didn’t want anything to do with you! Now, I think it’s safe to say she talks more than Liam. To anyone. Will wind down her window to have a conversation with the beggar at the robot, will tell you your fortune on demand – whether you asked for it or not, will dance for money, will most definitely give hugs and kisses for mahala.

I can’t believe Liam is going to Grade R next year. Where have the years gone? Grade R!! This makes me feel both happy and sad. Grade R is for big people, not my little Liam! They’ve been wearing longs to school this week with this weird weather. None of Hannah’s jeans fit her! I only bought them this Winter, yet she has just shot up. Don’t believe me? LOOK!! Can you say ankle fighters! We used to fold these jeans up because they were so long!

Midrand-20131122-01255

It’s just all happening too fast! I have been feeling sooooo broody lately. Like if I could go and buy a baby from the shop, I would. But I think it actually stems from the fact that my own two are growing so fast, I can’t believe we’re here now. And a part of me wishes they could be this small forever. Albeit, a very small part – I mean the baby years where by far the most difficult, but I just wish time could be contained sometimes.

I occasionally let them sleep with me during the week while hubby is away. Just because, you know. And besides being kicked in the ribs all night, and listening to Liam suck on his blasted thumb.. my word it’s like the kid equivalent to being kept awake by snoring, I could watch these two sleep for hours. I mean it’s been almost 5 years and I still can’t believe I am a mother. It’s crazy.

What was my point? Here we are.  Again. The end of another year. It was a hard year. I must blog about 2013 being one of the hardest years in my life. Well other than 2009/2010 which was like the apocalypse  of bad years. But 2013 was a very challenging year, and that we are here, all intact, with good reports nogal, makes me feel so good. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be here, in one piece. Thankful and blessed. That’s where I’m at. Where are you at? Where has this year left you?