Category Archives: Milestones

The day my daughter wore a dress.


I think I’ve always wanted a girly girl. I am not sure why, I myself am not a girly girl, so I’m not sure why I had these grand illusions of pink tulle and butterflies. I think it was just THAT. The pink tulle and butterflies – girls things are just so cute, aren’t they? Flowery, fluffy and soft – one cannot deny that little girls clothing and related items far outweigh their male counterparts in the cute department. Then Hannah was born and I spent her first year living my dream. All the pretty outfits, all the pink bows in her hair, she had more pairs of shoes than all three of us in the house – almost. It was lovely! Then Hannah started to talk, and she made it abundantly clear that she didn’t like dresses or skirts or leggings. She didn’t want her hair loose and flowing down her back and she most definitely did not want cute sandals or sparkly shoes. She wanted shorts and tees, jeans and tees and tracksuits and tees. And ONLY takkies. Even in the heat of summer, she wanted takkies on her feet. Even if we were just at home, she was either in her takkies or barefoot. In other words, she wanted to dress like her brother. She didn’t mind pink at all (even though dark blue is her favourite colour) but she didn’t want to dress like a girl.

This bothered me at first, we used to beg, plead and sometimes force her to wear the dresses hanging in her cupboard. And she would CRY, boy would she cry. One day I said to my husband that I was done fighting over clothes. At the end of the day, what she wore made no difference to the little girl that she was, and if she didn’t want to wear another dress in her life, I would be ok with that. And besides, if someone had to force me to wear something I didn’t want to, I’d probably punch them in the throat.

So that’s what we did. And we’ve been happy ever since. She wears her shorts and tees, her hair is always in ponytails unless she is swimming and I’m happy with the fact that her brother’s hand-me-downs are not going to waste. We were in Woolies just last week, doing a bit of summer shopping for the kids and both hubby and I pointed to the many cute dresses on display and asked if she wanted any of them, and she insisted that she wanted shorts only. Not even leggings, just shorts. I did buy her quite a girly pair of sandals which she only OK’d because they were blue.

On Tuesday, she came home and announced that she would be wearing a skirt tomorrow (Wednesday). Liam and I made big eyes and said nothing else. On Tuesday night she pulled out a skirt and a t-shirt AND a pair of leggings to wear under her little skirt. I was like ooookkkkk? And yesterday morning she WORE her skirt to school. EVERYONE at school was like “oooooooohhhhhh HANNAHHHHHHH! LOOK AT YOUUUUUUU!”

Last night she took out another skirt and leggings for this morning. So I asked her how come she wanted to wear dresses all of a sudden? She said that all girls wear dresses, don’t I know? And it is summer and she is hot. Her words, not mine. This morning I was brushing her hair into the usual pony tail when she announced that I must leave her hair open. I may have choked on my saliva. I didn’t even hesitate and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it either – I mean I don’t want my daughter to think that she has come of some socially accepted age and now I love her for it. No. Secretly I was thrilled, my girly girl was emerging from her cocoon (!!) but I, in no way, wanted her to think that she HAD to wear dresses and have her hair down just because she was a girl. I had learned almost a year ago that forcing this issue was just cruel to her. So I made a high pony and left the bottom half loose (come on, we are Coloured, I was not about to let Diana Ross out wild on a school day and deal with crying and knots later tonight). And she went to the mirror and just beamed at herself and I told her what a Pretty Polly she was – which I do every day after hair brushing and she told me she likes her hair down! And Liam went on and on about how AMAZING she looked and how she must wear dresses EVERYDAY!

I’m guessing some of this stems from the fact that she is in a class full of girls – only 4 boys in the class. But that is not conclusive – I don’t know if those other little girls are girly-girls. And she has not let on in any way that this change of heart has come about because of what so-and-so said or what so-and-so wears. It’s like she just woke up and decided she wanted to wear dresses.

Perhaps it’s just a phase, perhaps she’s just testing out this whole ‘girl thing’ and she may still find it overrated and revert back to her shorts and tees and that will be fine. But I cannot deny how my heart was pumping in my chest and how my eyes welled up with tears when I saw her with her hair down and her little skirt on this morning. Guys, look away now if you don’t want to see me get all marshmallow mushy and sentimental for a minute: It was like how I imagine my parents felt when they saw me in my wedding dress. I swear I had the same look my mother and father had on their faces 6 years ago!!! I don’t know why – a girl in a dress means nothing, or at least it shouldn’t mean anything – but it just did. I can’t explain it any further than that. My Hannah in a dress. Who would have thought.

Does your kid know your number?


So Liam and I have Pink Eye. But that is not the point of this post.

Liam was home with Pink Eye yesterday, while the rest of us went off to school and work. Around 11am, I noticed an incoming call on my cell phone from the home number. I picked up expecting to hear Zoleka’s voice and was pleasantly surprised to hear Liam on the other end. So I’m like “hey, how you, who said you can use the phone?” And he says “nobody, I decided for myself.” So I say “ok, who helped you dial the number?” And he says “I dialed it myself” So I say “Where’s Gogo?” And he says “ironing and cleaning.” So I say “ok, but WHO dialed my number?” And he says “ME, I DID IT MYSELF!” So I say “you know my number??” And he says “YES!” So I say “who told you my number?” And he says “you did.” Then he says “can you also give me granny’s phone number please?”

I was gobsmacked. Our landline is newly installed.. as in two weeks old. The kids never just pick it up and use it, but I’m more shocked that he could pick up a phone and dial my number without assistance! I have always reiterated the importance of them knowing mommy’s number but they never get it right when I ask them to repeat it to me. And it’s always a big joke when they fake call me from their toy phones and they garble some silly number and I think to myself, how is it that they remember the month, day and time you jammed their finger in the door, yet they can’t remember a 10 digit number.

Well since then, he (and his sister who also stayed home today) have called my cell phone about eight times. I have to tell him to go easy on the phone or else his allowance will go towards the phone bill… now I know how my father felt when we sat on the landline for hours!

There’s a part of me that is so relieved that I know that HE knows the number… I explained to him again last night that now he KNOWS how to call me if he ever gets lost or if he ever feels in danger. He can go up to any adult and ask them to phone his mommy. He nodded his head and said “yes, and if anyone steals me I’ll just call you.” Gulp.

So I’m going to put up the numbers of the special people they enjoy talking to, so they have access (and can remember) these numbers too. BUT I’ll make it quite clear that they need to ASK for permission before dialing whomever first!

I also think it’s important to make them aware of the important emergency numbers  – they know about the panic button and the house alarm and are VERY good about not touching UNLESS there is an emergency, so I do believe there will be no prank calling, well not until they reach 13 at least.

Do your small children know how to contact you in case of an emergency? If they don’t, don’t underestimate the power of good ‘ol parrot fashion repetition – that is clearly how Liam learned my number and I wasn’t even aware that it was working. We don’t give these little people enough credit sometimes!

 

Milestone smashing over here…


When your child is little, every milestone is documented, photographed, and plastered across every social network. Us moms are proud like that. As they get older the milestones become fewer and further between… or so we think. While the obvious milestones of crawling, walking and learning to talk are most definitely amazing, I’ve come to realise that as your toddler transforms into big kid, there are BIG milestones which are as amazing and as exciting…

Liam reached two very big milestones recently which have brought him (and us) much jubilation! I think the best part about these two milestones is that he has been trying really hard and for a very long time to get them right. So for him, this is a big deal. A really big deal.

For the longest time he has wanted to whistle. He and Hannah would practice their whistling constantly, blowing big puffs of silent air day and night. It was hilarious, until it became frustrating for Liam. Hannah would get bored and move on, but Liam reaaaaallllyy wanted to get it right. I would show him how to round his lips and try to explain how it works, but he just couldn’t do it. About a month ago we were on the way home from school and as usual he was practicing his whistling in the back seat, when he let out the softest little whistle. He was stunned! Hannah and I were like “HEEEEYYYY, YOU WHISTLED!!” Of course he couldn’t do it again because he was so giggly and couldn’t get his lips together! Since then his whistling has improved in leaps and bounds, he can even whistle a false tune now. What an amazing feat! He is proud as punch, he thinks whistling is the bizzness, he even Skypes his granny to show her how he can whistle.

For the ease and simplicity of getting dressed, I have always tried to buy Velcro shoes as much as possible and only opted for lace ups because they were cute or because they were a gift. This year I started buying lace ups for Liam because I figured it was time to start learning how to tie. Again on the way home from school yesterday, he successfully tied his shoelace for the first time. We have been practicing the tying of shoelaces for quite a while and both he and I were just frustrated with the whole thing and I’d actually just taken a break from it because he just wasn’t getting it and my patience levels were not coping. I know, I know, I need help. But he’d still keep trying, sitting on his bed with his tongue poking out of his mouth deep in concentration, desperately trying to twist the “bunny ears” into a knot. And then yesterday he gave me the fright of my life in the car; I was driving them home from school and he yelled “LOOK” in that voice that is almost hysterical and I thought something was wrong. Turns out he tied his shoelace 🙂 I’m not saying it was a fluke because I don’t want to take this away from him, and he does get it right every few times, but we’re still at the stage where he gets it right sometimes, and then his fingers get all rubbery and he can’t get it right again – much to his frustration. I’ll give him a few days more and kid will be tying laces with his eyes closed, no doubt!

Liam has smashed two milestones that will probably make no real difference to his life… whistling and tying a lace… no big deal, right? People do not win awards for whistling and if you can’t tie a lace, wear Velcro and don’t join the Boy Scouts, that’s all. But for me, these milestones are amazing. My son continues to blow my mind with the incredible things he learns to do every day. I laud and celebrate the wonder that is you, my most marvelous boy child, Liam John.  Xxx

My dearest Hannah Ruth…


Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world, plain to see you’re the reason that God made a girl. Prince, 1995

You are three!  Wow! As is customary on this blog, we like to brag on birthdays and my darling, you have given me so much to brag about over the last three years.

You’ve always been my mysterious child. Well you came into the world as a surprise so it figures that you’d continue to surprise us at every turn. When you were little, I labeled you as quiet and introverted much like your father. You didn’t like strangers or loud noise and much preferred been home with familiar faces like me, Dad, Liam and Gogo. You were ma-vas and besides playing with your brother, you didn’t care to mix with other kids – in fact you were a bit of a bully and lashed out at other children! Yes you did! You were very different to your brother and I was content in the knowledge that you were going to be my quiet little mouse who preferred to be close to me and who would need that extra push to get involved in activities and with other children.

Baby girl, did you surprise us. Even our friends will attest to the fact that you really came out of your shell in ways that none of us could have imagined. You’ve grown into this little ball of fire who knows exactly what she wants. You are still a little bully boss but you use your strong will so positively, always reminding us to speak properly, and reprimanding your brother (and anyone else) when he is in the wrong. I can’t tell you what to do, as your mind is pretty much your own, and I think I love this the most about you, even though it drives me batty at times. You are fiercely independent and unless I have a very good reason for making the decisions I do, you will fight me all the way. You are so loyal and caring, even when the two of you are fighting, you still tell your brother you love him at least six times a day. You love to tell us ALL how much you love us, and your outpouring of love all the time just melts my heart. I love it when you crawl into my lap for a cuddle, or how you hold my face in your hands at bed time and tell me how much you’re going to miss me during the night. I love it when you want to holds hands in the car – even though I’m in the passenger seat in the front and you’re in your car seat at the back – its uncomfortable but I don’t care.

You started school a few months ago and I was so worried about how you’d adjust but you surprised me again, and took to school like a duck to water. So much so that you’ve already moved up a class and I am so proud of you. You look forward to going to school, your teachers love you and you’ve grown in leaps and bounds from the experience.

I love the contradiction which is you – you detest wearing dresses or skirts or having your hair open, but you love to play with your dollies and look after them so tenderly. You admonish me every time I call you baby – “I am NOT a baby!” yet you love been babied with hugs and kisses and positively freak out with happiness when we all lay in the big bed together. You’re all slugs-and-snails-and-puppy-dog-tails but ever so often you’ll insist on “pretty polly” for your toe nails (that’s what you call nail polish – pretty polly 🙂 )

I’ve always wanted a daughter, and I am so glad I got you. I am very close to my own mother and the relationship we share is special and unique and irreplaceable, and the impact that my relationship with my mother has had on my life is wondrous and amazing. And I want to experience that with you, Hannah. I want to be to you, what my own mother is to me. I want to be your mentor, your role model and the person you turn to when you need someone. You make it easy because you are so perfectly perfect. To me, your life is a testimony of God’s grace and favour, you are MY testimony. You see, you came into my life when things couldn’t have been worse. It was a tumultuous and dark period but even in that circumstance you became my beacon of light. God showed me, through YOU, that even in our darkness hours, He is still in control, still on our side, still strategically placing every star in the sky to shine for us. You are my shining star, baby girl, placed into our lives just at the right time to complete our family! I pray that you will know your own strength, that you will quickly realise the anointing on your life – if you changed my life in the way that you did, I can only imagine how you are going to change the lives of all those who cross your path – for the better. Know that you are an absolute blessing, that you are loved and cherished and that you fill a space in my heart that no one or nothing could ever fill.

You are called Hannah which means grace and favour.  My prayer is that God’s grace and favour will follow you all the days of your life.

Happy birthday, my darling.

Xxx

Mom

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My son, today you are 4.


The first time ever I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes… 

Liam, my baby love, you are my heart. I look at you and I can’t believe that I had a hand in your creation. You are a beautiful boy, both inside and out. You have given me the best four years of my life. I can’t believe you are four already, I remember holding you for the first time like it was yesterday. You were the sweetest baby, I could stare at you for hours and hold you for as many, even though everyone said I was spoiling you by carrying you all the time. You kept me up at night, and drove me crazy during the day, but I wouldn’t change one thing about you. Maybe it’s because you were my first born, maybe it’s because I see so much of me in you, but you are my favourite and only son. You delight me in ways my heart didn’t register until I became a mother. You give me this deep satisfaction just by being. I want to protect you, fight your battles for you, keep you under my wing forever. But as you grow, it’s your independence that most takes my breath away. So I let you explore, I loosen the strings ever so slightly and let you be. I wish you would stay this age, this way, forever. Your infectious laughter, your crazy questions, your effervescent personality. I love how people love you. You are so smart and mature beyond your years that sometimes I forget you are only a little boy – believe it or not, you have solved many a problem of mine with your simple and plain answers and I think to myself, why didn’t I think of that? But you are also a mischievous, rough-and-tumble, farting-burping boy’s boy! Bringing worms from the garden into my clean kitchen and stealing your sister’s dolls and digging out their eyes. Pulling your bottom lip out, stomping across the wooden floors and banging your bedroom door when you don’t get what you want. Oh, you can be trouble!

I would move mountains for you, I would break my back for you, I would lay down my life for you … for you, I would “kill-a da bull.” Gladly. You are my son, an extension of me, my life’s work, a masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made under The Potter’s Hand. I am so proud of you, I am so proud of ME because of the person you make me. Not the screaming, yelling person you make me (because you do make my blood boil sometimes son)  – the other person you make me… you make me kind and gentle and loving even when I don’t particularly want to be. You calm my beating heart and make me laugh after a horrible day. You break the silent treatment I try to enforce when I’m being particularly awful and you’ll tell me that everything will be fine, even when you don’t know the source of my frustration or pain – and you are usually right.

This birthday, I am grateful that we have both made it through a whole ‘nother year! I am grateful that I get to spend this day with you, celebrating the wonderful person that you are. Thank you for being such a good boy, a good big brother and a source of light to everyone you encounter. My prayer for you is that you will continue to sparkle wherever you go and in whatever you do. That you will feel the love you so readily show to others. That no harm in any form will come upon you, that you will live long and healthy and be a blessing to others, just as you are a most incredible blessing to me.

Happy 4th birthday son.

Assuring you of my constant love and affection.

Xxx

Mom

This slideshow of you made me cry! My perfect son! Thank you God for Liam John!

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L is for Liam, the super star!


Now I’m not saying that we’re raising the next Einstein over here, but come on, look how this kid writes his name? Proud is not the word! I am sure that there are three year olds all over the world writing their names and surnames and dates of birth and swear words and symphonies and theses on life or whatever, but this is MY three year old and he can write his NAME! Even if he has learned it by “rote” (copying the way I write it, versus actually learning the letters and putting them together to make a word) I don’t care, I still think he is amazing!

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I’m no teacher, so I don’t know if I am doing it correctly, but I trace out the letters of words, I let him go over the traced out words and then he eventually doesn’t need the tracing anymore. He knows his letters so at least he knows L is for Lucy the Lollipop Lady and I is for Iggy Iguana and A is for Alice Apple and so on.. so I don’t think the way I am doing it is interfering with the way he is learning to write at school. I think I must actually discuss this with his teacher so that we are at least working on the same base, but for now I think he is making great progress.

I don’t spend a lot of time doing anything constructive with my kids – yes we play, laugh and are “together” a lot of the time, but I can’t say that I spend time teaching/growing/nurturing their minds. It’s sad and makes me feel extremely guilty because as a working mother, there just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially now that they are older and clearly need more one-on-one educational time – if I can call it that. Speed reading through a book before bed time, or letting them paint while I cook isn’t enough anymore. Beside the fact that THEY recognise when I am rushing to just  get it done, I can see that when I DO spend quality time with them, they really are like sponges who absorb and learn so quickly. I mean Liam learned to write his name over two days? And no, not because he is a genius (even though I still think he is), but because I spent that time with him. It’s so difficult to juggle everything in a day, isn’t it? This weekend we spent a lot of time at home doing  nothing. It was great to have absolutely nothing on the calendar – a very rare occurance but one I am going to try and repeat often for 2013. So we did spend a lot of time doing fun learning things and that abated my guilt ever so slightly. And it didn’t take much. Writing, drawing, making up stories while playing with their toys, reading books and letting them interrupt me (usually I HATE questions in between a page, especially if it’s a rhyming book because it messes with the rhythm, and I tell them to only ask questions at the end of each page – cruel I know, but it’s an OCD thing!) – we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, nor did we need anything fancy and expensive to make it work. It made me feel good about myself and I know they relished my focused attention. Some days I wish I could be a SAHM but I also know that that would NEVER work for me, stay at home moms are a special breed of people and I simply wouldn’t cope because I need that time apart from my kids, and besides we need two incomes in our household.

Ag, this post was supposed to be an awesome fun one about my awesome fun son, and now I’ve turned it into a woe-is-me-I’m-a-working-mother-who-will-have-stupid-kids-cos-I-didn’t-have-time-to-teach-them-anything one. Whatever. That is all. My son Liam is amazingly awesome, he can write his name! YAY FOR HIM!

The one about a crazy two year old and a mother’s love


Ok, I completely understand that Hannah is going through some serious changes. She started school, gave up her dummy and went off diapers all in a very short space of time. Challenging and scary for any two year old, I totally get that. I get that she is also at an age where the tantrums are at an Oscar award winning level, and that’s completely normal. I even understand her need to show off her newfound independence with everything from dressing herself, feeding herself, drinking out of a glass to a million other things she now thinks she can do – and I try, tryyyyyy, to be as patient as possible with her as she navigates her looooooong way around all these tasks.

So when she acts up, I get that too. I mean there’s a lot going on here, even for me, so for her and her little mind it must be like X 10000000. But this last week has been rough. The crying… OH THE CRYING… for everything! I can’t reach my toothbrush, let’s cry! I can’t find my shoe, let’s cry! I don’t like that t –shirt, even though I chose it myself last night, let’s cry! I can’t find that crumb of bread that fell off my sandwhich, let’s cry! I can’t stand watching Telly Tubbies anymore, let’s cry! Liam is bigger and stronger and has more capabilities than I do, let’s cry! This colouring pencil is the wrong shade of pink, let’s cry! I just feel like crying even though I can’t find a reason to, let’s CRY! OH MY SHATTERED NERVES!!!

Again, this is normal. Liam went through the crying phase. Totally normal. But boy, it’s doing my head in. We take her to her room, deposit her there and tell her she can come out when she is done crying. This worked for a little while. Then she realized, hey wait, I can open the door myself, I do not need to sit her by myself and cry, I can go out there and torture those suckers with my crying, yay! So out she comes and we ignore her and scream loud above her cries in order to be heard. It must look like a scene out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest… a child going ballistic in one corner while the rest of the family eat their dinner, exchanging rather LOUD pleasantries above the screams.

She has also decided that she doesn’t want to put herself to sleep, someone needs to lay with her. Now if you’ve been reading here for a while, you’ll remember that Hannah decided she wanted to put herself to bed in September last year and we have not had this issue ever since. I’d say good night, switch off the light and off she’d drift to dreamland. No problem. Last few nights she has yelled for someone to come and lay with her. Marched out of her room a few dozen times crying and insisting that someone pat the baby to bed. First day or two, I did it without a problem… I mean the kid had just started school, and maybe she was experiencing a bit of separation anxiety. But now I just feel like we are creating a bad habit and regressing on the sleep thing. And besides, I have gotten used to my whole evening being free to do the things I like doing – playing on my phone, watching mindless TV, eating junk food, you know… I do not want to go back to laying in the dark, and hiding my phone almost under my boob so that it doesn’t distract the sleepy princess. I know, I know, she is only going to be this young for so long, but I also know how quickly bad habits are formed because we feel sorry for our little angels. Last night Sharon and I were chatting on Twitter, and it’s true what she said.. little people can be big manipulators. Now I am not saying that Hannah’s behaviour is not warranted, given the changes she has and is experiencing, but I do know that she has us wrapped so tightly around her little finger that I wouldn’t even notice if my little angel was deliberately trying to take my precious free evening away from me just because she knew she could.

Anyway, last night it was boiling hot and she was laying practically on top of me all sticky from the Peaceful Sleep lotion and I grudgingly put my arm around her and couldn’t help that warm and gushy feeling as the oxytocin pumped from my adrenal glands. You see, this is the problem! How can you not love this crying yelling whining lump, when the very fibre of your being betrays you when she comes near. I want to be mad but the minute she has me under her spell – even though I KNOW I’m under her spell – I can’t break free of that little finger that I’m wound so tightly around. If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is. If you don’t believe there is a God who especially wired us this way, then I just don’t know.

Just sleep and stop crying so much, child! You are driving your mother completely batty. I adore you, am completely in love and besotted with you, but you don’t need to flex your baby finger to get my attention, I am now and forever will be at your service, so give me a break ok?

My Son, the swimmer…


Funny thing about Liam, for someone with such a big mouth full of cheeky comments and all his bravado, he really is a fake. Yes, he is an extrovert and will not hesitate to steal your limelight right from under your nose, but the real Liam is really quite a scared-y cat. Not in the way you think – he isn’t afraid of the dark or loud bangs or the boogeyman. He isn’t afraid of creepy crawlies or daddy long leg spiders. He isn’t afraid to talk to people or interact with children he doesn’t know, nor does he shy away from taking the lead in certain situations. For lack of better phrasing, Liam is afraid of making the first move, I guess. Pretty much like the kid who, yes, will jump in the fire if his friend jumps in the fire, but only AFTER his friend has jumped into the fire (remind me never to use that daft line on him when he is older – I mean the things our parents used to say to us?). Basically, he feeds off other people to quell his own fears. Case in point: swimming.

Liam has been going to swimming lessons for about two years now. Over this time I have seen his confidence grow in the water and he is very aware of water safety and watching himself around the pool and what to do if he accidentally falls in and so on. This is great and I was happy with his progress. This holiday my sister’s two boys, aged 7 and 10, were with us for three weeks. All four kids spent a lot of time in the water, swimming almost every day and I couldn’t believe the monkey-see-monkey-do that I witnessed over this time. The tweens were fearless in the water; cannon balling, cartwheeling, seeing who can hold their breath the longest, and all the other crazy things that 7 and 10 year old boys do. Liam went from sitting on the pool step, to monkey walling (when you make your way around the pool, while holding onto the wall), to cannon balling with his arm bands on, to removing the arm bands and using only the pool noodle to keep himself afloat, to FULL BLOWN SWIMMING ACROSS THE POOL UNAIDED WITHOUT FLOATING DEVICES… all in three weeks. Now after two years of swimming lessons, I have to ask myself what made him just “get it” after three weeks? And the answer is simple: just being in the water watching his cousins and wanting to be like them and realizing that his fears were really only in his head. Hey, maybe they weren’t even fears, maybe it was the safety training he had received that just made him cautious, but from not wanting your face to be submersed for longer than two seconds, to going to touch the ground in the deep end and coming up giggling and gasping for air… come on, that’s a massive achievement! Lauren over at Life in Lolly Land told me that nothing can replace actual time in the water, so perhaps it was also the continual time in the water, versus a once, sometimes twice a week swimming lesson? All I know is, Liam has his cousins to thank for showing him how it’s done. He still doesn’t know how to  tread, but he can swim across the pool while kicking and coming up for air quite comfortably, I CANNOT WAIT for his first swimming lesson this term so that he can show off to his teacher!

As for Hannah – she is my no-fear child. She too, took to the water in new ways after watching her cousins and brother. She still needs her arm bands, but you have got to see this kid run and cannon ball into the water, happy to have her head submersed for those 3 or 4 seconds! She kicks and floats and holds her breath really well under water. Again, on Twitter, we were chatting about how soon to get rid of the arm bands and Lauren advised me that most kids get the hang of it after age three because any younger they just aren’t strong enough with only rare cases of children aged 2 ½  finding their water wings. I was always against floating devices because I just felt like they gave the child a false sense of security – little children think they can swim due to having worn arm bands and jump into pools without the arm bands, expecting the same result. OH the horror for any parent. Our swimming school is actually against floating devices altogether. HOWEVER, when I see how much Hannah enjoys the water and the freedom that the arm bands give her, and ESPECIALLY the way her confidence has grown due to the floating devices, I don’t think they are such a bad thing. The important thing is education I guess. Making sure they know NEVER EVER to get into the water without them, and instilling this in their minds.

It’s a welcome feeling of relief to know that Liam is OK around the pool. Of course this does not make me any less vigilant around the water, that would just be foolish, but I guess the relief comes from knowing that IF he had to fall in, he’d know how to surface and swim to the wall, without going into a panic.

Check my ‘lil swimmers out:

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May the rest of your life be the best of your life


I saw this status on Facebook this morning and it was just so apt for today what with my baby starting school and my big boy joining the Red Group. I still find it hard to believe that both my children are in the education system for the next 16 years or so. I was just pregnant the other day, hell, I was in high school just the other day (ok 13 years ago wasn’t just the other day) , and now I have two children in school.

Hannah has been ready to go to school for the last six months, maybe even longer. She has wanted to join her brother at school probably from the time she started talking, so there was great excitement leading up to today. So much excitement, in fact, that I hope she isn’t disappointed. Like maybe school is this magical, fantastic thing in her mind when really it’s just play, eat, sleep, you know? Nah, she is going to love it! Yesterday we laid out their clothes, because I wanted to avoid any fashion wobblies on the first day. So we ooohed and aahed over what to wear, in the end Liam was laying on the floor with his head in his hands begging her to just make up her mind already – really the psychology behind a girl and fashion fascinates me? Liam took all of three seconds to choose his Spiderman top, a pair of shorts and his striped underpants. Hannah took about half an hour to choose her outfit and even then, she still wasn’t sure. We packed their new school bags and went over the school rules: no biting, no pinching, no hitting. No whining, and telling tales, and PLEASE PLEASE no crying for every little thing. No bullying and if someone does something you don’t like, you tell Teacher. Liam must look after his sister and she must look after her brother. Pep talk #1 done. As you can tell, these are MY rules and not really the school rules but they take me more seriously if I say these rules come from Principal Ruth, rather than Mom. Everyone was in bed by 7h30pm and although everyone was excited, I still had to battle to get them out of bed this morning – they even slept through the alarm which was blaring around 6am because the hubby went for a jog and booby trapped us in the house (another story for another day).

Our adjusted morning routine went well… although I foresee Hannah’s hair being the biggest time stealer. This morning I was still brushing it while she ate her porridge, and while she walked up and down testing her new shoes. Need to improve my skills and forget the fancy hair styles for the school week.

When we got to school, she confidently walked through the gate behind her brother and hugged Mrs P, the administrator, like she (Hannah) was part of the furniture. We took Liam to his class and she didn’t waste time finding a seat and starting a puzzle, while we greeted all the staff. When I called to her to join me at the door, I saw the hesitation and the tears well up as she looked from Liam to me because she didn’t want to leave him. But those big girl panties obviously work well because she pulled herself together and off we toddled to the Yellow Group. After much hugging and lots of hoopla over choosing her locker, she was happy to find a space and start a puzzle. She looks older than most of the children in the baby class and most of them are still in nappies, but Principal Ruth and I agreed that she would start in the baby class and we’d consider bumping her up if need be. She kissed me goodbye and whispered “I love you” in my ear and that was it!

No tears from either of us and I feel so much more comfortable about her first day than I did about Liam’s first day all those moons ago. Probably because I know the school and the teachers and I know Hannah will flourish there.

A side note about Liam: that child is a real star. He is so unfazed about life and change and upset, he just gets on with it. We took him to choose a school bag last week and he was totally besotted with a bag on wheels, so we bought it for him. When I got to work on Monday the first newsletter from the school had arrived and in big bold letters it stipulated that bags on wheels were not allowed this year. Apparently they had lots of tears last year from toes that had been bumped, trodden and plodded on by wheelie bags and they were quite a distraction – go figure. I felt so bad to break the news to Liam, but he patted my arm and said “that’s ok mom, take it back to the shop then.” He is still a whiner and a crier of significant NOTE, but his heart is in the right place! He is so protective over his sister and this morning he was giving her tips about school in the backseat. Very cute. He loves school, he was excited to see his little friends and his teachers and I barely got a wave as we left.

So yes at the start of this academic year, my prayer for my kids is that the rest of their lives, will indeed be the best of their lives. Starting school is probably one of the biggest and most daunting experiences that a kid will endure, like your first day at a new job X 100000! Pretty big deal, huh?

Hoping you and your little (and big) ones have a great academic year too xxx

The final episode in the Diaper Wars


For those of you who have been reading for a while, you will know all too well how much time I have spent over the last year and a half blogging about nappies, diapees, diapers, napkins or whatever you call them in your house. I have blogged lyrical about which brand is better, about how many leakages we’ve had, about which way to place your son’s appendage to avoid leakage, and so on. In this time I have changed what felt like a million and two diapers. In all seriousness, between the two kids, my rough calculation of number of diapers used in my household over the last three years is around 10 000? That cannot be right? How are my fingers still attached to my hands after all the poo they have been subjected to? How can I still see after all the wee my infant son seemed to aim directly at my face? How is it possible that I’m not on the national netball team after I’ve made so many hole in one diaper throws straight into the garbage bin?

That said.

It is with much jubilation that I announce we are finally off any form of poo-holding-pee-soaking device. We have two fully potty trained bebes in our house. Hannah went off her night nappy successfully and well that’s that folks. She won’t let me call her “my baby” anymore, she insists that we call her big girl now. She tells us when she needs to go and the days of hiding behind the couch to do her business are well behind us.

This milestone is bittersweet. Sweet because who the heck actually WANTS to change diapers? Not I! But bitter because it marks the end of all things baby (ok yes, we still have the dummy to conquer but work with me here.) This is a poignant moment for me because my babies are growing and with each step towards their independence it means that they are less dependent on me, and that does make me sort of sad. Just a little. Diaper changes were five minutes in the day where Hannah and I would talk shop about nothing of any consequence. But she’d have my full attention and I’d have hers. And we’d always end with a hug and a kiss. And a most gracious “thank you mama” from her when we were done. And I guess that’s the part that I’ll miss.

I can’t believe how fast time has gone, how quickly they’ve grown and how the things I used to detest about babies – case in point: changing diapers – have become the things I’m now going to miss. In the throes of sleepless nights, teething, crabby babies, mounds of dirty baby laundry, my mother used to comfort me by saying this too would pass, that before I could blink it would all be over and I wouldn’t even remember how bad it seemed at the time. I used to roll my eyes and brush off her wise words that didn’t help me at that moment in time, but now I’ve received that revelation – she was right, it all went by so quickly. My memory must be fuzzy because in all honesty I don’t think it was that bad.. yet vaguely at the back of my mind I do recall I cried a lot and we fought a lot and my babies sometimes saw a really bad side of me… but why then do I feel like I would do it all again in an instant? God wired us mothers so perfectly, didn’t he? And just like there is a time and season for everything, so too has this season of my life come to a close. And I am grateful.

So our diaper season is over! Hallelujah! Of course I am anticipating a few accidents here and there but to not ever buy another pack of nappies does give me some sort of thrill! Oh what shall I do with that extra bit of cash?!

Well done Hannah Pushkin Pudding Baby, you’ve transformed from a stinky bummed caterpillar into a most beautiful butterfly. Love you xxx

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV