Tag Archives: husband

Happy Birthday Husband


I couldn’t let this day go by without making special mention of the birthday boy. January birthdays are the worst, aren’t they? Even though the husband’s birthday falls on pay day, it’s not like there’s any time to plan anything amazing because until that beep confirming your salary has been deposited comes through, it’s still all dry crackers and water over here. Anyway, we made it as special as we could – even managed to serve muffins this morning, instead of dry crackers. Here’s something I learned yesterday, don’t EVER tell your three and two year old what’s in the gift wrap. Poor husband knew exactly what he was getting, and still had to act surprised this morning. And they didn’t tell him once, we had to spend the whole evening listening to what birthday presents Daddy was going to open tomorrow, what size and colour and how many of each, and how excited Daddy was going to be… well not anymore!

The kids made birthday cards and after much cutting and trimming and pasting and colouring, they were happy with their work. I took great pride in Liam’s card –he can draw people! I don’t know when kids start drawing actual people, as opposed to just colouring in or scribbling, but he is finally drawing people with arms and legs and smiley faces. He can also write his name, but that is a post for another day. Liam’s card was all about him and Daddy playing in the park and there was a rainbow (I think that’s all he can draw because we get a lot of rainbows). Hannah’s card was scribbling, torn edges, spit and stickers.

This morning we sang, Daddy dutifully blew out his candles and acted surprised by his gifts. Of course we had to light the obligatory candles for Hannah to blow – child thinks it’s her birthday err’day. We were a bit late due to the celebrations but everyone got to school and work eventually and this evening, thanks to the Joburg heatwave, we are going to swim and eat dinner by the pool and probably blow out a few more candles – Hannah, not Daddy.

My husband is a real gem. If I look back at last year’s birthday post, I am sure I said the same thing then. But it’s true, he is a wonderful husband and father, he cares for us, worries about us all the time, puts himself into uncomfortable positions to please me (he isn’t much of a socialite but with me as a wife, he needs to keep up), and goes above and beyond the call of his fatherly duties every time. Not because I expect him to, because he loves his kids I guess. Even though we complain about who’s turn it is to bath or feed or put to bed, he will most likely do it anyway. Just because. Even though he is a tough disciplinarian and I sometimes cringe when I hear him disciplining the kids, he has created this invisible line or boundary which the children know not to cross, whereas with me they are just all over the place and I have serious discipline issues that I need to work through for my sake and theirs – again, that’s a post for another day. He does tough love so well and they respect him for that, I just do love. Doesn’t always work, I tell you.

My husband is a real gem. He can cook, clean and bake  – only scones though. He can watch soccer, while drinking fake tea with Hannah and piggy backing Liam. And they say men can’t multitask. He isn’t much of a talker, but he always says the right thing at the right time, and that’s all that counts for me. I love that he is thoughtful and considerate (not when it comes to TV viewing though) but more than that, I love that he loves me, warts and all. Love isn’t easy, especially after a decade, two kids and a bond to pay. It can get downright ugly at times. And you can love someone, but not like them very much from day to day, right? But I love that in all of that, we always find our way back to each other, he is forgiving and doesn’t hold a grudge (that’s my job) and he is quick to smooth things over, whereas I like to stew and make a nice thick chutney out of it. And then some leftovers too for the next fight. He isn’t a gentleman in the true sense of the word, he doesn’t open doors and he leaves the toilet seat up, but he is gentle with me and with the kids.

I love him. Happy birthday Byron. My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the desires of your heart, as you continue to seek Him and walk in His will for your life. I wish you all the wonderful, delightful things you wish for yourself, and I pray that we will have many more birthdays together until we’re old wrinkly pensioners eating dry crackers the day before your payday birthday.

Xxx

What I’ve learned in the last few days..


 Liam has been on holiday in KZN with my sister and her family. I was grateful for this opportunity for a number of reasons:

  1. He loves his aunty, uncle and cousins and I know how much fun they have together.
  2. He gets to sleep in a bit, as compared to getting up at 5h30am for school every day.
  3. He gets to enjoy the open spaces, fresh air and laid back living – something us city slickers aren’t accustomed to. 

Moreover, I was looking forward to giving Hannah my utter and total attention because she really does deserve it, she has become a bad sharer and I guess this is because she has become somewhat annoyed at having to share EVERYTHING with Liam, including my attention. This week has been enlightening to say the least. It’s funny how you become “OK” with your routine, and by “OK” I mean we settle for, and accept a situation that was supposed to be temporary but has now become the norm, to the point where we forget what life was like before…

I have learned that my husband and I still have a life outside of our children. I’ve learned that we can still engage each other and enjoy each other’s company and laugh at each other’s dry jokes; that we still love each other as intensely as we did all those years ago. The problem is that everything else becomes somewhat jaded when you have kids, especially more than one – they require your full and total attention ALL the time, your focus tends to shift away from your partner and your marriage and becomes children centred – and this is not a good thing. All you talk about are the kids and their well being and their needs. You fight about everything and you disagree on almost everything – how to discipline, how to reward, what they wear, what they eat, their MEDICAL BILLS (OMW!), their school fees, how darn expensive they are; you can find a fight-a-minute when you have kids. You can become so absorbed in your parenting, that your marriage starts to take strain due to neglect, and you don’t even realise the cracks are there, until you have your light bulb moment, which in our case was Liam leaving home! What about those marriages who don’t experience their light bulb moment until it’s too late? It’s a bittersweet contradiction that kids complete a marriage by creating a family, yet their existence can lead to the downfall of that marriage if we, as parents, are not maintaining and nurturing our marriage, as we raise our babies. 

I’ve learned that I don’t miss my kid as much as I thought I would and that a break from each other is probably beneficial for us both. Now before you call the welfare on me.. I do believe that mothers love their sons differently, just as fathers love their daughters differently. Not more or less – just differently! That said, I’m beginning to think that I may be slightly OCD when it comes to my son, HENCE the reason my hubby and I bump heads often over Liam. So here it is in writing, I admit that I may be just a litte, just a tad, just a drop, over protective over Liam. I think that my great love for him leads me to overlook many things, makes me cover up for him even when he deserves to be disciplined, makes me fall under his eye lash batting spell every time. During this time apart, I’ve learned that he is growing, he is a big boy now, he can be away from mommy for many sleeps and consequently, I need to start letting go. Now hold back, I don’t mean I must let my two year old fly the nest, grow a beard and drink beer. I mean letting go in small ways and granting him that independence that he so craves. With independence, comes responsibility and accountability and I have to learn to let Liam deal with these, even in little things like: you wanted to paint, you made a mess, you clean it up. And if you cry, I can’t jump to your rescue and clean up your mess, because this is how we build character and these small lessons will carry you way further, than my mollycoddling will. OH IT’S SO HARD EVEN TO TALK ABOUT IT!

I’ve also learned that Liam can survive without me. The harsh, harsh reality about life is that we never know when our time is going to be up. When I consider my mortality, I am more afraid of what will happen to my kids if and when I die, than I am about actually dying. But I’ve learned that Liam would be just fine, he would miss me no doubt, but he would be alright, and that gives me a sense of peace. And not only in terms of life and death, but this time apart has shown me that he is a confident, self assured little boy, who can deal with being away from his mom, and that his emotional capabilities are developing well. There’s nothing wrong with being shy or timid, but I think every parent worries about a child who seems introverted, who can’t seem to function without his/her mom right by their side, who pulls back in fear at the thought of being the centre of attention. I think it’s every parents fear, that their kid could possibly be a target for a big nasty bully.

I’ve learned that Hannah is really and truly the easiest, most lovable creature who is happy to go with the flow, who rolls with the punches and who just needs to be watered and fed occasionally. I am well blessed to have such a gem, as compared to Liam who was a high maintenance baby! I feel bad to admit that I have missed out on many of Hannah’s milestones because I was too preoccupied with life, and work and her brother.. but I’ve learned during our time alone together to appreciate her for being so incredibly, edibly sweet like chocolate. Yes, she is a diva who can throw a tantrum that will bounce clear off the Richter Scale, yes she has her days when she can whine and cry for seemingly no reason – which women doesn’t? But most times, Hannah is happy to just chill, she likes to dance and clap hands, she likes it when you “act a fool”  and do silly things that make her giggle. She likes to follow her dad around the house, she is quite happy to play alone with her toys or watch Disney Junior, especially Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She eats whatever you put in front of her, she sleeps all night and has a good long nap in the day, she adapts well to change and she doesn’t care that I have to split my time between her, Liam, the house, work, her dad, LIFE. She’s just cool like that.

So this week has been an eye opener. God uses all types of situations to talk to us, to teach and correct us, to speak to our hearts and to let us know if we’re doing it right or if we need to check ourselves and I do believe that I’ve learned some important lessons from my God this week..

BC / AD (Before Children / After Darlings)


Before our kids were born, my husband and I would spend hours talking about what we wanted for our children, how we would raise them, how we would discipline them, what wnderful parents we would be, who would be bad cop, and so on.. Of course once they were born, none of those conversations mattered, our conversations were more along the lines of: who made the last bottle, who changed the last diaper, who had the least amount of sleep last night and who could have the next night off. While laying in bed last night, thankful that the house was dark and quiet, I started thinking about the way life used to be, BC (before children).

The husband and I were movie buffs. We would  go sometimes twice a week; we were the Barry Ronge’s of our day. We could hold intelligent conversations for hours, dissecting the movie we had just watched, while sipping on post movie cappuccinos in a QUIET spot where non parents could gaze into each other’s eyes, without getting a blob of ketchup thrown in your face.  If we stayed up late, burning holes in the carpet, it was because we were having an adult party and dancing the carpet away, not pacing up and down with a baby who couldn’t settle. We used to watch the news after dinner, and Sunday mornings were for church, followed by fresh hot bread rolls and reading the newspapers.. Now the only news I get to follow is via my social networking contacts, and the only papers I read are clinic cards, report cards and bills. If we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d order in; if we felt like going to bed as soon as we walked in from work, we’d do it. If we felt like a night of pigging out while watching hired movies, and leaving the dirty dishes to soak, we’d do it! AD (after darlings), we have to ensure that there is at least one wholesome meal a day, we have to wait for the kids to go to bed before we break out the junk food – and even then, we have to open wrappers verrrry quietly, chew slowly and hide all the evidence. We don’t leave dishes in the sink, because there’s nothing worse than getting up at dawn to wash baby bottles, and the sink is covered with leftover dishes – that’s got to be one of my pet peeves! I remember sleeping in until the heat emanating from our room would eventually wake us up – midday sun is HOT! Now if the sun is up before me, it’s probably because I’ve been up all night and only got to bed at 5am – no not partying, nursing a sick child!

But the one thing that has really evolved AD, is the relationship I share with my husband. Our conversations are limited to baby talk – quite literally. He’ll say “I’m going pee-pee” when he leaves the room to take a toilet break. Or I’ll quite seriously say “give mama some love” when I need a hug? The only time we have alone time is when both kids are asleep, and by that time, all we want to do is sleep too. We get excited about Pampers being on special or half price kiddies meals at a restaurant, when did this happen?!! We argue over missing baby socks, and Hannah’s bad hair day and Liam’s increasing vocabulary of rude words; COME ON! We used to argue over who’s soccer team was better and how my t-shirt showed too much cleavage!

Sometimes I ask myself if this is the life I signed up for? Is this the man I married? Are these the sweet angels I used to dream about when I was pregnant? The truth is – NO! My rose coloured glasses were knocked clean off my nose, that very first night in the hospital when that darling nurse nudged my shoulder at 3am to feed my screaming baby. Of course this is a blog my kids will read someday, so I do need to end it on a positive note! But the blatant truth is, that even amidst the hardship of raising babies, and mommies and daddies having to sneak into the bathroom to have a cuddle, and crying louder than my two kids because I just don’t know what they want sometimes, and wearing the same pair of butternut stained jeans two days in a row because they are the only pair that fit, and wanting to bust a cap in Liam’s teacher’s XXX because he likes her more than he likes me sometimes, and wanting to SCREAM at my husband when he promises the kids something that I have said no to already… even with ALL these things, the blatant truth is that if a genie had to appear and ask me if I wanted to rewind.. I wouldn’t even consider it. When you know the feeling of tiny soft fingers wrapped tightly around your hand, when you’ve giggled with your toddler until the tears flow, over something utterly silly like watching a dog pee, when you come home to little arms outstretched for a “love”, when you’ve kissed a bleeding booboo, when you’ve fallen asleep with a stiff neck because a little face is nuzzled deep into your neck, when you feel that joy of a baby who has learned to clap handies or blow kiss or say ta-ta, when you see little eyes light up at unwrapping a gift – there’s just no going back and there’s just no giving them back, not for all the chocolate in the world! And even though my husband and I are no longer the people we were when we got married, quintessentially we are better. You see, babies force parents to connect and reach out to each other and rely on each other in a way that you never thought was possible. Babies strip you bare, they force emotions out of you that you didn’t know you could muster up, they make the highs really high, and the lows dreadfully low; and for my husband to still be here, to still love me like he does, to still be the almost-perfect father to our kids, after witnessing firsthand the highs and lows of parenting two bambinos, 15 months apart; I love him now, more than I have ever loved him in my life.

I know this season will pass, and there will come a time when Liam and Hannah leave the nest empty and the husband and I can go back to our movies and junk food and sleeping in. I know too, that as I sometimes miss our BC past, I will one day miss THIS time when my kids were babies who still looked up to me like a demi-goddess. Because the old adage is true: live in the present because it is a gift from God.

Legacy of Love


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

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

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

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

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