I often get emails from people asking me to promote stuff on the blog, or to plug some event, or to ask for help in raising awareness for a specific initiative. Most times I’m just too much of an unreliable blogger to follow through (really I need to put on my big girl blogger panties and take these thing more seriously), and other times it really isn’t a cause I’m interested in.
But sometimes, you come across a cause worth championing and this is one of them. Stuff that makes your heart break. Do you know there are children out there who don’t have toys? Children who re-purpose what we would consider junk, into toys, because they have nothing else. Makeshift robots, dolls, cars, jewellery – these kids make these little toys that aren’t, from scraps.
Now let’s just think about our own children for a minute, shall we. Picture your home in your mind. Picture the toys laying in every conceivable corner. Picture the little cars lined up on the bath tub. Picture the naked Barbie dolls with bad hair. Picture the dozens and dozens of forgotten loom bands laying at the bottom of a toy chest. Picture the rows of books your children probably only read three or four of. Picture the puzzles with missing pieces, the art sets, the balls, the Stikeez collection your kid whined over for weeks.
Now. Picture your home without any of those things.
Sad, isn’t it? It’s wrong and unjust that this is the reality for some children.
The Topsy Foundation is trying to right that wrong. Through a partnership with Spree and Your Parenting, these makeshift toys are being sold “virtually” as real toys. Your full donation goes straight to Topsy to stock their toy library. And guys, they aren’t asking for hundreds of Rands. Please click through to this link and go and buy your virtual toy from as little as R20.
Topsy has partnered with twenty three day care centres in the Mpumalanga area, as well as a centre for physically disabled kids. With the help of your donation, these kids are getting access to specialised educational toys and better trained teachers.
See, I just bought my first virtual toy. My next step will be to let my children buy their own “virtual toys” – I think this is an awesome opener for teaching your kids a valuable life lesson right here.
I love that quote from Mother Theresa where she speaks of “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Will you do this small thing with me, which will change the lives of many? I dare you.
I’ve blogged about this joy-versus-happiness thing before but I need to talk about this again.
Happiness is a feeling or emotion that ebbs and flows as you go through the highs and lows of your natural life. Obviously, we aren’t always happy. And thank goodness because we all need a dose of the sads to keep us humble, right? But more importantly, the beauty of our humanness is in experiencing the full spectrum of emotions we were built to endure. I won’t lie, I love the release of a full blown snot-inducing ugly cry now and again. Sometimes I secretly enjoy being miz and just climbing under my duvet and shutting everybody out. And let’s be honest, we all roll our eyes at the eternally happy colleague who skips down the corridors in the work place spreading sunshine wherever she goes.
However, joy springs from something deep inside of you. It starts off as a choice, and then burgeons into a belief. It is spurred on by faith and it is not moved by or dependent on circumstance. It is not dictated by your mood or your feelings or the number of snotty tears you cry. Joy remains unshakable in the wake of trials. Joy says I believe that even though this situation sucks right now, God is still the King of the world. He has overcome this. He is on the throne. Whether you like it or not, God’s Will, will be done. And God’s will is always good, is always favourable, is always blessing.
Let me give you an example of my own life right now, just in case Facebook or my Instagram feed has led you to believe that it’s all unicorns and sunbeams around here. My husband and I still argue and disagree on a plethora of things, we are not that couple who “turn the other cheek.” We are either in a silent treatment face-off or a battle of wills over who gets the last word (I win most times, just saying). Now while there is sadness and disappointment and a lack of respect in these moments, it doesn’t detract from the joy I feel every time I consider that this is MY man (Denzel Washington voice) until I die. My children never fail to confuse and upset me. With every age I’m more astounded at how much harder this parenting thing gets, I mean really can I get a break. I got called in for Liam’s behaviour the other day. Me? I never got called into the teacher’s office NOT ONCE while I was in school, but I’m getting called in for my spawn? NOT COOL. While Hannah has turned into an absolute dream of a child, truly she is my most favourite daughter, she is as volatile as a Slinky… can you say up and down? But with all the difficulties of parenthood, the inexplicable and constant joy I feel whenever I think about these two perfect children is just there. And then there’s the circumstances we face… we’re still in the process of finalising our house sale which means lots of money and lots of anxiety. Secondly, I called the school I had planned to enrol Hannah in for next year to be told that they are actually full, now what? If you know me, you’ll know that sorting out schools for my children has been a project I have dedicated myself to fully and to be rejected in this way was like a slap in the face. And then the daily stresses of life… when there’s more month than money, when your appliances all seem to die at the same time, when you’re drowning in the stress of trying to please all your friends. This may not be true for you, but it is highly stressful for me to try and fit everyone in. I have a guilt complex over trying to meet up with all the special people in my life. There’s the loss of a pet, the boy child who has regressed and cries at bedtime because he is scared of the dark, the point on your to-do list you forgot about and now your boss is pissed off. Guys, if we had to focus on the things that were wrong in our lives at any given moment, we would be truly doomed. I’ve seen people in the darkest of valleys these last few weeks. People who have lost loved ones, people who have been retrenched, people who are going through fires that you and I will never understand and I think to myself HOW do you move forward in the face of such adversity?
But then joy steps in. I don’t know where you find your joy, but I find mine in the Lord. I remain joyful and hopeful and reliant on the fact that I will not succumb to the injuries I face. That this season will pass, that goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps23:6). I remain confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps 27:13). You see, joy transcends the here and now and looks forward to the future. It veils your eyes with wisdom enough to see through the pain you may be enduring. Joy is that thing that makes you laugh through your tears, it makes you expectant even when you’re all out of options in the natural, and it comes from a deep-seated knowledge that it isn’t over until God wins.
I first wrote this post (minus my usual sarcastic bite because they pay me to be nice) for Childside. Go check them out, they are a pretty useful resource for what’s happening in your city.
What every parent needs to hear
You don’t have to be the perfect parent, as long as you strive to parent YOUR child as perfectly as you know how. It isn’t a competition or a race, it’s the delicate process of growing a human. Your garden. Your flower. How you make it bloom and grow is up to you.
Parenting is often trial and error. Children do not come with an instruction manual, you learn on the job. And sometimes it’s a pretty yuk job. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes, apologise and move on. You’d be surprised at how forgiving (and forgetful) your children are. Like puppies.
Ask for help. I guarantee that there are plenty of parents who have experience in whatever situation you find yourself in. While every child is beautifully unique, the challenges they face can often be universal. I’ve learned the most from my fellow mommies (and Dr Google obviously).
Don’t be afraid to let your hair down. Being a parent is actually a license to be a kid for the second time. Laugh often, play silly games, get dirty and exercise your imagination. Weirdly enough, it’s in these moments that your children’s respect for you grows.
You are not a genie; you cannot be in two places at one time. Parenting more than one child can be a juggling act. Manage the diary as best you can and if it means that you can’t attend one sports day or one recital, that is OK. Your child may be upset but no permanent damage has been caused from missing one of 100 school activities.
Don’t bear grudges. I know it’s difficult to move on from the Persian rug your toddler scribbled all over, or your favourite sweater your baby vomited on, or the hurt your teenage daughter caused when she called you fat in a fit of rage. But the truth is, they often don’t mean it. Move on. Then go outside and scream as loud as you can to get rid of the urge to put that kid back into your womb.
There’s never a right time. For anything. Waiting until the baby is weaned before going on holiday. Waiting for a special occasion to let your toddler wear that gorgeous dress which Aunt Mildred sent from London. Waiting for the kids to be older before leaving them with a sitter so you can enjoy a date night with your partner. Often the most time is wasted on waiting. Spontaneity is the spice of life.
In total contradiction to point number 7. Spontaneity is good only in small doses. Children and parents thrive within a routine. Make your lives easier by developing a routine that works, and stick to it. The easiest way to get your children to comply is by sticking to the rules, all the time. Don’t make the rookie error of changing the game, they WILL make you pay for it later.
Don’t forget your manners. The easiest way to teach children is to lead by example. Be the person you want your kids to be. It is true that children learn more from what they see, than from what they are actually taught. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cringed when I hear my kids unknowingly impersonating the ugly me. Watch yourself.
Above all things, affirm your children on the daily. We show our children that we care every day just by keeping them alive (duh) and mostly it’s a thankless job. But be sure to tell your children every day just how much you love them; how proud you are of them. Love them when they are being extremely difficult, like throwing a tantrum in aisle #3. Love them through the difficult stages of their lives. It is said that love conquers all things, let your children understand that through your love for them.
Hello guys. I’ve missed you *throwskissesallaround.*
Let me bring you up to speed. There’s so much that has been going on. Stuff I’ve wanted to keep private until now because there was a lot of transitioning that needed to take place. Physical transition, but also a mental transition and while the journey has been difficult, the destination is so worth it. SO.WORTH.IT. And we aren’t even there yet!
If you know me well, you’ll know I’ve been talking about downsizing my life for a while now. I even blogged about it here. Downsizing in the sense of simplifying and streamlining the way we do life. I do believe there are many ways you can simplify your life in small ways every day. But sometimes it takes a huge step of faith to make a change even when the pros don’t necessarily outweigh the cons.
I’ve been listening to lots of people in my life, I’ve been reading lots of blog posts and the thread is always the same. People are busy, their lives are hectic, they are stressed out and finding it difficult to balance careers/parenting/finances/relationships/LIFE on the whole. I’m one of those people. But I got to the point where I knew we had to make a drastic change in order to calm the pace of our lives.
So what’s changed?
We moved house! We now live in walking distance to my work. Hannah walks to and from school. Liam’s school is 5kms away. Church is 3 minutes away. I cannot explain the difference this has made. We wake up when the sun is up, our school mornings are leisurely and everyone is calm. I am home at 4pm most days. This means I can cook peacefully, I can sit down and monitor homework, by 6pm everyone is ready for bed which means we have an hour and a half to do whatever we like. Some days I fit gym in before supper. By the time my husband gets home, I am like a 1950’s wife (without the pressed hair and makeup) and ready to serve him and attend to his needs unlike the past where we were all chasing our tails to bedtime.
That’s the physical transition.
Mentally, it was difficult to let go. Going into a complex when you’re used to living in a house on a street is not without its challenges. Giving up a big yard and lots of space was a mind adjustment. We gave away a lot of stuff, sold off some furniture and threw out all the dead wood. Most difficult of all was letting go of Rocky. Losing the space meant losing our Rottweiler who needed that space. I am grateful that he has been re-homed and he is happy, but we still miss him of course.
But nothing: not a big house, not a fancy car, not all the yard space in the world, not the swimming pool… nothing is comparable to the peace of mind I’ve gained in moving closer to where we do life. I can’t believe we spent the last eight years travelling first from the Westrand and then from Midrand into Zone 1, as I call it. And this is not applicable to everyone either, if you are not governed by school times, peak hour traffic which is unavoidable, and your personality type is such that sitting in traffic doesn’t send you over the edge (God bless you), that’s great. But for me, this move has been life altering. I’m a better mother, wife and human for it. And let me tell you, all those things that you think define who you are and what you’ve accomplished? All the niceties we think we cannot do without? I can vouch for the fact that there is absolute freedom in not being bound by those things which we think defines us.
What do you know, I even have more time to blog! Stay tuned to see how else I’ve downsized my thinking (not my dreams) and my life.
So we’re well into the first term and I still find my heart spasm-ing, constricting, palpating and all those other words that mean you are not coping very well with the whole thing.
Don’t get me wrong. Big School is going well for the kid. In fact, I had my first one-on-one with Mrs V yesterday and she is well impressed with our boy. She says he has settled well, that he works beautifully, that he is the best reader in the class, and that he interacts and plays cheerfully with everyone. There was that bit about how he can be very demanding of her attention and how he wants her all to himself, and how he is quite noisy, but let’s overlook that little part, shall we?
The person who isn’t coping well with Big School is me. For a variety of reasons… to name a few:
Oh the calendar. He has something different on everyday except a Wednesday. This means that we have to remember to pack a different item (clothes, gadget, book, equipment) in his bag everyday. And by “we” I actually mean “ME” because this 6 year old remembers NOTHING. It also means I have to remember a different pick up time for almost four days of the week. I have to write EVERYTHING down or else I forget. Then there’s something for Show and Tell that needs to be remembered once a week, reading that needs to be checked and signed everyday, tuck shop money on the last Friday of every month, library books that need to be returned or else we incur a fine and a million other little things that crop up that we need to deal with. I loved our pre school because they made it really easy for the parents. In fact, I’ve come to realise they made it too easy for us. I didn’t have to do anything, other than drop and fetch the kids. No lunch, no extra murals outside of school hours, no show and tell, no fundraising, no nothing. It was awesome. Big School on the other hand is all about being independent and responsible and getting yourself together. You don’t have your school hat, then fine you can’t play outside today. You don’t have your library book, then fine you have to pay AND you don’t get to take another book out until you return the old one. Your mother hasn’t signed your homework book, then fine you get a de-merit. Guys, it’s HARD out there for a kid!
Pre school teachers versus Big School teachers.
This has been by far the most difficult challenge for me. I am the mom who hangs around at drop off, I want to engage with you and ask you what you had for dinner and ask you what your weekend plans are and tell you the hilarious thing that my kid did last night. That’s me, and our lovely little pre school encouraged this. I was never made to feel like it was not OK to hold up the whole morning with my chin-wagging. I felt in control because I knew EVERYTHING that was going on with my child, I had a heart to heart with the teacher about EVERYTHING at ANY time. Woah. Big School. You are not encouraged to hang around, talk to the teacher at drop off or pick up, cross examine the teacher about last night’s homework or make small talk. It’s a big no-no. If you need to speak to the teacher, you make an appointment or you write it in the message book. You cannot hold up Big School with your chin-wagging. Everyone has something to do, including your child, there is no time to shoot the breeze in Big School, no sireeeee. Mrs V is lovely, I adore her, she is perfect for Liam and he loves her too, but man I feel so out of control. I feel like I don’t know what is going on. Relying on my 6 year old for information is making me twitch. Because his version of the school day events goes something like this: we played, we did some work, I must bring something for show and tell, I had water melon for snack. I can take my soccer ball to school tomorrow. OK, can I go and play now?
I’m like HUH? I need MORE than that, give me MORE!!
I chatted with Mrs V about this in our meeting last night and she laughed… she said that if anything was the matter, I would definitely know about it. She said this was a normal reaction from all the virgin Big School moms and that she encourages moms to keep the channel of communication open… just via the message book. Ha!
So. As if I don’t have enough going on, I signed up for Class Mom. Guys, my OCD would not allow me to just let this one slide. I feel like it would give me a bit more control over what is going on with school. I wrote a long essay in the message book asking various questions about the position and the requirement and with that knowledge, I applied for the job. Ha. The Job. Class Mom of the Year.
As for that message book, they don’t know me, they don’t know I can write pages and pages of words, they don’t know how it crushes my spirit to get a simple “OK!” and smiley face back in return when I have poured out my heart on those pages. That’s MY message book, not Liam’s. I even covered it nicely in paper and plastic wrap. Oh, the hurt!
Currently, I do two school drop-offs. Liam first, then Hannah. Then at lunch time, I fetch Liam and I drop him at Hannah’s school for after care. Then I go back to work and fetch them both on my way home. It is quite exhausting, even though all this is within a 5km radius. So we’re looking at putting him into his own school’s aftercare even though it costs almost double than the aftercare at Hannah’s school, but let’s be honest… playing chauffeur was tough even for Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy, I don’t know how long I can keep this up. So we’re trying and testing all sorts of scenarios to see what will eventually be the best plan for our family.
All in all, I still LOVE our school. I am so happy with our decision to send him there and despite all the challenges, I am happy to keep making the sacrifices that need to be made in order to keep him (and eventually Hannah) there. I can’t believe I have a kid in Big School. I can’t believe I have a kid who just gets left at the gate and makes his own way to the classroom all the way on the top floor – this makes me shake all over, but some days he insists, sighhh.
Firstly, I must tell you about Paddington. I am not one to review movies and books and the like, but this was a special one.
I love Paddington because I’ve known him since I was the age my children are now. But more so, Liam brought Paddington home from the library two weeks ago and we started to read all about the bear from Darkest Peru, so it was great to see the book brought to life. Also, the movie was a really good adaptation of the book (give or take) so the fact that the kids could preempt certain scenes was sort of cool. Well, not for the other people in the cinema, who had to put up with the live narration from the second row. And when there was a scene that didn’t feature in the book, it raised lots of loud questions which I had to answer, of course. All in all, I’d give this movie a 9/10. I think Paddington and the Brown’s were perfectly portrayed. I will record this movie when it comes out on Box Office because it’s one of those which my kids could watch a million times over and still enjoy.
Talking about a million times over… do you know my children are STILL watching Frozen? Is this normal? Never before have they been this entranced by a movie. Like they will choose to watch scenes from Frozen in the TV time they get during the week, rather than watch regular Disney Junior or whatever. And by watch, I mean they narrate the movie word by word. They could probably do Frozen on Broadway without scripts because they know all.the.words. Are your kids over Frozen yet?
Talking about books… so Liam gets to bring a book home every week from the school library and so far his choices have been awesome. So I’ll read it to them the first few nights and then Liam reads it to us the rest of the week. But guys, the novelty is wearing off. I like to read a book once, maybe twice. And then we can revisit it in like a few months maybe. Now we have to read the same book all week because he says so. We haven’t touched ANY of our other books since school started. BORED bored boreddddddd. So this week he brought home Enid Blyton’s Noddy. My most favourite childhood author. And it’s a lovely thick story book with chapters that will take us all week to read. It’s gorgeous! And spoiler alert, I never knew the beginnings of Noddy, I just thought the story starts with Noddy in Toyland, but no it doesn’t! If you have kids around 4 / 5 / 6, I think they’ll like this book; it’s full of mischief and humour that this age group LOVE. I thought my kids had outgrown Noddy years ago, in fact, Noddy was the theme of Liam’s first birthday party, but I do believe the Noddy bug has bitten.
I’m not reading anything currently. Well, I am reading the Bible-in-a-year and doing a few other Bible plans alongside my lovely Bible Babes and let me tell you, I am behind even in that. It’s like my head hits the pillow and I am instantly comatose. If my husband was reading this, he’d say “you have time for social media but you don’t have time to read, go figure.” So I’ll just leave this topic here.
Exciting things coming up in my near future: Liam turns 6.SIX.SES on Monday. This is generating lots of excitement and dominating all conversation when they aren’t singing Frozen songs. Then work conference at Pezula in Knysna in March – you don’t even have to say it, I know you’re jelly. And Cape Town for Easter… well technically for the 2Oceans Marathon but that’s Easter weekend. So there’s enough going on to keep me out of trouble 🙂
Here’s a photo of Liam’s first Noddy birthday. Can’t believe this was 6 years ago! Also, look at my very preggy belly sticking out there 🙂
Boys just have it easier in life. Like seriously. Even at the tender age of 4, Hannah is learning that the male species got off light, compared to the fairer sex.
Case in point #1. HAIR
Poor Hannah cries at least twice a week when I have to brush her hair. And not because she doesn’t want to, but because it’s SORE. I know how sore it is, I can remember being a little girl and my mother pulling my head this way and that. She looks at Liam enviously as he just does forward-down-down-down (the routine he brushes his hair in.) When he gets out of the pool, he just jumps in the shower and shampoos and dries, whereas she has to wash, comb, style. A process that takes at least 45 minutes. I do not make a big deal out of hair, she has a beautiful thick mane which does take time to maintain but I try my best not to make an issue out of it. Husband wants me to cut her hair to lessen the drama, but I refuse to cut her hair short as it would just mean more maintenance for me and more tears for her. Short coloured hair does not equal easier to manage, it equals MORE maintenance! Ask me, I know.
Case in point #2. PEEING
Do you know how much longer it takes for a girl to make a wee, versus a boy? About half a minute. Which in preschooler time, translates into FOREVERRRRR. We’re still at the age where I force pee breaks because Hannah still forgets if she is having too much fun. The fact that she has to sit and wipe makes her mad when Liam just has to aim and make a big joke out of his peeing experience (typical male behaviour right here). I try to make her feel better by whispering in her ear that he gets wee all over his hand and she doesn’t, eeeuuw. She likes that a lot.
Case in point #3. GETTING DRESSED
This is all on her. Because she is a girl. Because it’s in our genetic makeup. Because we were blessed with feeeeelings and emotions. Stuff that the male population just don’t seem to have. For the most part, I let them choose their own clothes. Liam yanks out the first t shirt and shorts he comes across, while leaving the rest of his wardrobe looking like a whirlwind tore through it. Hannah, on the other hand, will take about 7 minutes to decide what to wear – even if she, too, is only choosing a t shirt and shorts. She will pack everything back neatly, and then second guess her choice, and then go back and choose something else. And then shoes, oh the shoes. Slops? Sandals? Takkies? Which colour? OH THE CHOICES ONE HAS TO MAKE. And it weighs heavily on her. It really does. Like how getting dressed in the mornings weighs heavily on me. It’s a girl thing, I am convinced. And even though she is quite tom-boyish, this is still a factor in her little genetic make up. Fascinating stuff, right?
Case in point #4. FEEEEELINGS and EMOTIONS
I touched on it already, but feelings and emotions are just different in girls. Even the rough and tumble girls, like my Hannah. We just can’t help it. Even when we don’t want to, we can’t keep the tears from falling. We can’t help feeling sorry for everything and everyone. We can’t help crying dramatically when our nail polish chips. We can’t help defending the underdog. And we can’t help screaming in a fit of rage when we lose at Uno or Snakes and Ladders. When you hurt our feelings, we will most likely want to punch your head in, and we will lash out and say things that we don’t really mean… like calling your brother a doo-doo-head. Whereas brother in the same situations will roll his eyes, probably pick his nose and wonder what’s for supper.
Oh my baby girl, it’s tough out here for us (you don’t even know about heart break, getting your period, then planning a wedding, then HAVING A BABY, to name just a few). But the other glorious side to being a girl is that we get to be the nurturers, the carers, the moms, the sisters, the BFFs – and we just do all those things really well because of point #4 above. We get to smell good and we LIKE to take baths. We get to share our feelings and eat ice cream straight out of the tub when we want to. We have an excuse every month to get out of doing stuff we don’t want to do. We can wear shorts and jeans AND skirts and dresses. How cool? And if you never ever want to wear a dress, that’s cool too, because how you dress has very little to do with anything anyway. But we have choices; guys don’t have that. They get to wear pants and black socks and only have one pair of smart shoes EVER. I think your Daddy STILL wears his wedding shoes for his “smart” shoes. Shame!
So don’t look at your brother and wish you could be like him, believe me, his time is coming… we are going to laugh for DAYSSSSS when his voice breaks in a few years. DAYSSS!
This marks the longest I have ever been away from my little (cyber)space. I could tell you that I have just been very busy with life. Or I could tell you that I had nothing to write about. Or I could tell you that I was away on a romantic month long cruise to the Bahamas.
But none of those would be true.
I have been writing words elsewhere. Oh the BETRAYAL! And what I’ve found is that when I write elsewhere, I don’t have the words to write here too. It’s like I’m all written out. Which is ridiculous because the words I write elsewhere have nothing to do with what I like to write about here.
Anyway. A mini catch up.
I had a birthday and I am STILL getting presents, isn’t it wonderful to have a birthday? I love my birthday for many reasons. It’s the start of Spring, I LOVE the hot weather. We usually start talking about Christmas and focusing on the holidays and the end of the year from about September; it’s downhill to the end of the year from here!
Liam sprouted four new teeth. So I wrote about him losing his two bottom teeth, and that space was quickly filled with two yellow-ish jagged-edged teeth. Apparently that initial colouring is normal, according to Google, because I was horrified I can tell you. But a few weeks on, he was complaining about toothache. My initial response was that he ate too many sweets and that his tooth was probably rotten and that he should suck it up. But the kid started to complain quite a bit, so I had a look and way at the back were two whopper molars peeping through. I got the shock of my life, teething stops at like two or three, doesn’t it? I thought this kid was sprouting his wisdom teeth, I mean he is smart, but not THAT smart. Once again, Google to the rescue… he’ll still get quite a few more molars, plus 4 wisdom teeth to take him to an adult total of 32 teeth. Daai’s ‘n mond vol tanne, neh? And, once the front two pop out, it automatically triggers everything else and the back teeth start popping out, the human body is amazing, right? So that little episode was pretty exciting.
Orientation Day for big school is on the 19th November. My kid is graduating from preschool on the 5 November. I cannot wrap my head around it. My kid? My baby? Going to big school? He is so excited, I keep asking him things like “aren’t you going to miss your old friends?” Or “what if you can’t make any new friends?” Or “You’ll show the teacher how clever you are so she likes you, right?” Ok ok ok, I’m joking about that last question. Well, half joking. Anyway, my Prophetess of Doom questions are more my own fears playing out than anything else. I’m terrified for him and I want him to be prepared for how hard it could be. But you know what he says, he says stuff like he can’t WAIT for big school. He can’t wait to make new friends, and he can still see his old friends because I will set up play dates, won’t you mummy? And he can’t wait to meet his new teacher and he is just going to LOOOOOOOVE her. This kid.
We’re going through another girly phase with Hannah. She wants to wear dresses and jewellery and she wants to leave her hair loose. I let her choose her own swimming costume in Woolies the other day, and she went for a bikini. A really cute girly one. Now I’ve read all the articles on how dressing your small girl child in a bikini sends wrong signals and all that, and my own personal view is that Hannah usually swims in her undies, her most favourite thing to do. Adding a little top to that is a step up, believe me. Jokes aside, I will admit that I see no harm in the innocence of a little girl in her Barbie bikini. There is nothing sexual about it at all, and the only place she swims is under my eagle eye. If we’re going to pick on the bikini, then we may as well pick on the teeny tiny shorts I see in the mall, or this midriff craze that shows more belly than t-shirt. Just saying. Anyway, I digress. So I’m loving the girly phase, although she still wants to be a man when she grows up. A daddy to be exact.
The run up to Christmas is in full force. We have something on every single weekend from now right up until mid December. I am trying to take a friend’s advice and ensure that I only have one social a weekend – for my own sanity – but with so much going on, it’s not always possible. That and FOMO. I don’t want to miss out, even though you’ll hear me complaining nonstop on a Monday morning about what a hectic weekend I had. FOMO, it is a disease.
And lastly, I have a question. For all you tech savvy know-it-alls.. So I bought my very own domain ( I don’t even know if those are the correct words.) Let me try again. I am trying to move over to a self hosted site. Ok, I don’t know if that makes sense. Basically instead of wordpress.com, my blog will be .co.za. Got it? I was so proud of myself. It was like leaving home for the first time.
Until it got complicated.
Man, I have tried EVERYTHING, read a bazillion tutorials, and I can’t export/import all my blog history into the new site. I am so FED UP with it, that I’ve just left it. Now my very own .co.za site stands empty. Believe me, I have tried the usual routes, it.does.not.work. So if you fancy yourself a genius, help a sister out won’t you?
Otherwise, I hope you are all well. Forgive me lack of comments on your blogs, my Feedly Reader was showing close to 280 unread posts. I was tempted to hit the “mark as read” button; Julia said I should. But again, the FOMO got to me. So I am working really hard at wading through all of those.
Happy 4th quarter! The end of the year is almost here! xx
It’s difficult to keep this photo post wordless because behind each photo is a story that needs telling. Sorry if you follow me on IG and have seen most of these already, but for the purpose of posterity, I need to write about them here too.
One of our new favourite things to do is to swim at the gym while our pool at home is still going through its metamorphosis from green to blue. From swimming season to swimming season, I always wonder if they’ll remember HOW to. Liam does, I want to get him into a stroke correction class, he is doing really well. Is it too soon? Hannah needed much coersion to let go of the pool noodle again. She had just learned to swim unassisted at the end of last Summer, so we need to be in the water a lot for her to regain that confidence. Rocky bit a massive hole in our pool net, and replacing it is proving very costly… which was fine during Winter because we weren’t hanging out around the pool much, but obviously with the warmer weather, I do freak out at the thought of one of them falling into the pool – swimmers or not.
Remember we lost a tooth? Well here’s the gap to prove it. Can you see how the new tooth has already pushed out? It’s inching its way forward but it’s way bigger than the original tooth was so I don’t know that it will fit! I wanted to take him to the dentist but with no medical aid savings left, I don’t know if anxiety of losing teeth truly warrants a visit? Even if the new tooth doesn’t appear to have space, what can the dentist do? Give him braces, no? So we’ll just wing it and see how they all fall into place.
This is 4 and 5. I say “smile!” and I get weird faces. This was the day they left home. I had to appease them with a lots of snacks and a dip in the paddling pool. Yes, that’s a Fizzer AND a piece of fudge AND popcorn AND a juice. I’m THAT mother, folks!
Ah yes.. so this is when they actually left home. Guys, it’s tough for kids to be away from their grandparents. In my utopian version of the world, grandkids would grow up in close proximity to their grandparents. If your kid sees your parents often, consider it a blessing. This day they were desperate to go to Durban and no amount of explaining could deter them from WANTING to go to Durban to see their granny. Eventually I said OK JUST GO THEN. Not in the least expecting them to pack their bags and GO. Bless! They didn’t go far, not to worry.
So I decided to give them a new experience. Do you remember walking everywhere as a kid? We used to walk everywhere. To the shop, to the park, to the local community swimming pool, to catechism on a Friday afternoon, we even used to walk to school everyday! And guess what? My kids walk NOWHERE. We take Rocky for a walk, yes. They ride their bikes on the road, yes. But they never walk to a destination. So I figured a walk to our local shopping centre would be a treat. And it was. For them. I can’t say I didn’t miss my car. But yes, my plan was to pick up just a few items, and we shared the load on the way back. We bought ice creams to cool us down, I showed them how to cross at a traffic light – although I was terrified to even cross the road, people have NO regard for the rules of the road, it’s FRIGHTENING!
Poor photo quality here, but look how big Rocky is. If he stands on his hind legs he is taller than the kids. Him and I are almost nose to nose when he stands on his hind legs and puts his front paws on my shoulders. He is a puppy in a grown dog’s body. He is so wild, he doesn’t listen and he is still really jumpy. In his defence, we haven’t been to a class in ages, but man alive, he is SO playful. He likes the kids to ride him like a horse. His favourite thing to do is to steal something so that we can chase him around the yard for ages. He LOVES this game.
This child loves bubbles. Which child doesn’t, right? We got the most fabulous party pack this week (please note we received 7 party packs between Liam and Hannah this week, and we’ve been to 3 actual birthday parties in the last few weeks). Anyway, in this particular party pack there were bubbles, a loom band set, another craft which we haven’t opened yet, a gorgeous little bracelet and necklace which Hannah hasn’t taken off…and… one little sweet. What a perfect party pack! We loved it. I guess if you aren’t doing a full on party and just sending packs to school, one can splurge on the pack. It was a refreshing change!
This was at one of the parties we went to. It was at The Yard. What a gem in the middle of Woodmead? Perfect summer venue if anyone is planning a party soon!
Hop scotch. Can I just say it’s a lot harder as an adult. Jumping about like that is hard work with everything wobbling and jingling. It’s like a workout really. I was exhausted after playing for 10 minutes. And these kids are cheaters! The rule is if your stone lands on a line or outside of the number, you forfeit your turn, right? Well apparently not with 4 and 5 year olds.
How cool is that Frozen cake pop cake? Pity I didn’t get a detailed photo, it was really cool. All the little girls were in their Frozen dresses… I had to fight with my girl to wear a regular dress. But she did. I win. Yes.
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.