Tag Archives: parenting

Why I can’t be a mommy blogger anymore.


I mean this as no offence to my friends who have mommy blogs. You carry on wit yo bad selves, do yo thang, guurl.

I used to read blogs like fashion interns read Cosmo. A lot. Then I stopped. It was also at this point that I stopped writing. The two are interconnected in that the more I read about other people’s lives, the less I wanted to share about my own. It became dull and boring; we were all saying the same thing. And let’s be honest for a second, we were all advertising the same product sponsored by the same brand. Aside from that, it’s also connected to the fact that the older my children get, the less “help” and validation I need. Also, I have no right to infringe on my children’s privacy any longer. I started this blog as a way to document the early years of my children’s lives. As my blog name suggests, I wanted this to be a space for them to relish the good, the bad and the ugly of their first few years as humans. I think I have achieved that goal. They are now at the age where I feel I owe it to them to decide if they want the WWW to know about their lives or not. I’m not disconnecting from social media  – I mean IG gives me LIFE, but I do not feel obliged to share the intimate details of our lives on this space any longer. I must be getting old.

If I must be honest, I far more enjoy IG for a picture and snippet of what’s going on in your life. I just cannot read another long blog post about what you did today or what you had for dinner or what’s going on in your life currently. When my kids were little, it was wonderfully cathartic to spew everything out in this space. So I get that, I do. But I’ve evolved, my interests have evolved. And I’ve evolved as a writer. I’m more interested in your opinion on current affairs, your religious views and what shaped them, why you think the way you do and who told you it was right. I’ve not gone completely Oprah, it appears I can’t shake off my offbeat Freudian vibe as hard as I try, so I’m all about human behaviour… I want to know what keeps you up at night, what gets you going in the morning, what’s your favourite song and why. You see, I thirst after stories that make you, YOU. Stories that leave me feeling SOMETHING. Good or bad. I love a story that enlightens me, evokes emotions and stirs up a response that makes me want to leave a long-ass comment underneath your post. I feel like my stories weren’t doing that. And don’t get me wrong, your little space on the internet is YOURS. You can do whatever the heck you want to with that space; this is about me. So yes, my stories were becoming tedious and dull. But I still want to write. Bloggers say our blogs are for us and that may be true. But give me a break, our blogs are for the readers, we want our blogs to be read by others, we want to see our stats rising and we want to see commentators saying things like “yes, I identify, preach it sister!” or “your opinion sucks” or whatever. Blogging is symbiotic. Otherwise we’d write in journals or on typewriters and never hit the share button, right?

Where am I going with is?

I’m changing things up around here. I want to write about stuff that baffles my brain so that you can help me formulate answers. I want you to unequivocally know my hard limits and to challenge me on those. I don’t want to advertise anything unless it’s something I’d actually pay hard cash for myself. I want to use this space for lots of naval gazing, for spewing out rhetoric on things that make me froth at the mouth.

This will no longer be a memoir for my munchkins.

I may use my children to illustrate a point here and there… they are fine specimens and my greatest teachers, and I may use motherhood as an interlude because I think my experience could teach you a lot about how NOT to do life.

And I don’t know much more than that.

2017 will be the year of completion and transformation. Please hang around while I figure this blogging thing out. I hope you’ll respond in the way you always have, I hope my mommy blogger-friends aren’t going to snub me in aisle #3 in Dis-chem after reading this. It’s because of you that this blog even exists. Join me on this metamorphosis and let’s see which *rabbit hole we’ll go down together.

Xxx

*Rabbit hole may refer to: “Down the rabbit hole”, a metaphor for an entry into the unknown, the disorienting or the mentally deranging, from its use in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. a slang expression for a psychedelic experience.

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Growing up can be sad


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kids and me

Get on the wild side with Childside


This post was published first for Childside. I’m excited for their official launch in October!  I think they will provide a unique and useful resource for parents. If you haven’t liked them yet on Facebook, pop on over and do so. I’ll be writing some “stories” for them. You guys know how I love stories!

Childside

The Flintstones versus Modern Day Parenting

I’m beginning to think that the primitive world was probably a simpler place to live in. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine my life without WIFI or the comfort of water in my taps and light at the flip of a switch. I certainly can’t imagine rubbing two sticks together to create fire just to boil some water for a cup of coffee, oh wait, you’d probably need to grind the coffee beans by hand first. It’s no lie that the practice of co sleeping, baby wearing and breast feeding for as long as possible, probably dates back to the days when these were your only options. I doubt Mrs. Flintstone spent hours over her morning coffee-bean-grinding ritual debating whether she should put baby Flintstone in his own cave, or leave him in the marital bed. She didn’t stand in the baby formula aisle feeling completely overwhelmed at the variety of options or squeeze different packs of diapers to feel which was the most absorbent and the best priced and the cutest looking. Baby Flintstone probably wore hand spun cotton bottoms which Mrs Flintstone and the rest of the cave women in the village washed in the river every morning.

Breastfeeding in public could not have been taboo and if Wilma couldn’t breastfeed, I bet Betty Rubble stepped forward and shoved her boob into Baby Flintstone’s mouth. It was about survival, not competition. There was no option to try nipple shields, or to express milk and store it in your freezer for up to a year. And I’m sure that Wilma did not cry into her palm tree pillow at night because she couldn’t breastfeed. She did not have any guilt issues because she didn’t have access to the millions of online resources and chat rooms and weirdo blog comments which told her that she sucked as a mother because she couldn’t breastfeed. She just did the best that she could do and she was totally OK with that.

Wilma Flintstone did not have a birth plan. She wasn’t inundated with lists of what to bring, what to wear, how to breathe, how many electronic gadgets to pack in order to get EVERYTHING on tape for the purpose of posterity. Hell, she just hit Fred over the head with a club and told him the baby was coming and I imagine that all the women in the village gathered round and chanted that baby out of her loins. And they all cried and laughed together and they didn’t have to stare at Baby Flintstone through a glass window because of the germs, they all huddled and cuddled and that village started to raise that baby from day 1. Call me sentimental, but after my two very success elective-clinical-precise-by-the-book caesars (no sarcasm, I truly enjoyed my two births) the idea of a cave birth sounds somewhat romantic.

Baby led weaning was all the craze. Those cave babies just used to grab a big ‘ol piece of lion meat straight off the spit braai or fire pit or whatever it was called back then. Wilma did not don her apron, drag out the food processor and process fresh fruit and veggies to a pulp, freeze them in expensive custom made ice trays and pop them next to the breast milk in the freezer. No she did not. Those little cave babies ate what the family ate, they used their hands and got stuck right in. I think the only kitchen item they used then, which has survived through the ages and can be found in most modern day kitchens is a pestle and mortar, and perhaps Wilma Flintstone used this archaic kitchen utensil to grind down a bit of corn for cave baby to eat. There were no bottles and sippy cups ranging from stage 1 to stage 5, with the matching teats for slow, medium or fast flow.  I reckon they moved straight from boob to drinking from hand crafted enamel mugs.  And you know what, those cave babies turned out just fine. I bet those cave toddlers were already hunting for their own food by age four. Can your four year old genius do that? I know mine can’t!

I love the 21st century. I love that I can press a few numbers on a key pad and someone will come to my house with food, in exchange for a piece of plastic which is run through a machine. I love that I have this big piece of metal to take me wherever I want to go, and if my journey is too far I can climb on an even BIGGER piece of metal and take to the skies. How awesome is that?! I love Google! Who doesn’t love Google? What did we do before Google? Life is amazing, right?!

But man, there’s this part of me that wonders if we aren’t getting dumber as the world gets smarter? I wonder if we aren’t unduly stressed out by the sheer volume of information we are bombarded with on the daily? Information you can’t ignore because WHAT IF you are feeding your kid something that contains tartrazine or gluten or whatever else we’ve been told is SO bad for us? The more sophisticated the world becomes, the crazier we get! And make no mistake, I want THE best for my kid, I want THE best pram, THE best cot, THE best clothing, toys, school, university…AARRGGHH! Which parent doesn’t? But do you see how so many options just complicate things?

That’s why I have to wonder, was Wilma Flintstone and her village that primitive after all?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Confucius

 

The golden age of 5


What I’ve learned from being a mother is that there are no half measures with kids. It’s either all or nothing, baby. It’s either ALL the sads or ALL the happys. They do stuff, and they do it WELL. Whether it’s throwing a tantrum in a supermarket aisle, or making sure they splash all that water out the tub, or squeezing poor Rocky half to death just to show him JUST how much they love him (I mean a pat on the head would do?) … they are determined little things that truly pour themselves into whatever task is at hand. I’ve enjoyed watching their eyes light up with glee at the simplest of things, and in the same vein I have watched their faces crumble with anger/sadness for the simplest of things. They love hard, but make no mistake, they can unlove quick and fast. This volatile place where children live can be awesome and amazing – man, I wish I could switch from being grumpy to happy because someone promised me an ice cream cone. I wish I wasn’t afraid to tell someone just how MUCH they mean to me, minutes after I’ve just slapped them in the face with a Lego block. And I wish something as simple as blowing a dandelion flower could make me giggle and giggle for hours. It’s bloody marvelous to be a kid.

So when does it stop?

I think we’re getting to that point with Liam. I blogged about how awesome I think he is a few days ago, but this post is more about this age. This 5 year old business is finally feeling like the light on the other side of the parenting tunnel. He is like a small-big-person. And it’s happened so suddenly, that it’s caught me by surprise! By the way, I think a large part of my broodiness (SOOO broody, did I tell you?) comes from the fact that my kids are growing WAY too quickly. Just in the way he acts and reacts. He is way calmer, more relaxed, easier to placate when things don’t go as planned. He doesn’t lose his mind on either side of the spectrum: when he is happy, of course he is happy but that giddiness has eased off, and when he is sad, oh he is sad but the crazy crying has been replaced with quiet little sobs, usually behind his closed door – much like a big person! I haven’t done anything differently, I haven’t told him to MAN UP, it just seems he has matured. His mind is also working over time to understand how things work in the world. And I’m not talking about the manipulation tactic that small children use, I mean he can reason with you and get you to see his point of view and why his way could possibly be better, just by using his words (and often by drawing a picture to go with his words). He is very convincing, I think he may have a future in sales.

With this, has also come fear. Funny how fear accompanies maturity, isn’t it? Small children are so fearless, they have no concept of danger and their innocence is so beautiful to witness. But as Liam’s understanding of the world grows, so does his fear. Suddenly, he is afraid of the dark. Something that was never an issue for us because they’ve slept with the light off since we moved them into their rooms at a few months old. But now, he wants the passage light on. Also, he has lost that bolshy I-can-do-anything-I-please-cos-I’m-the-king-of-the-world over confidence that he used to have. Gone is the little boy who would sing for money, or act a fool because he adored the attention. He has simmered down and not in a bad way. Not in a way that worries me, more in a way that I can only attribute to growing up.

I love THIS Liam just as much, if not more, than baby Liam. I love where our conversations are going, I love listening to his ideas and his philosophies still sprinkled with childlike innocence. Having a small-big-boy in the house is such a pleasure. Somehow I just feel like it’s this golden hour before the scary school years or the testy tween years start. I love that he is still open to hugs and cuddles and hopping on my lap but that he is also very aware that Hannah is the baby and she has first dibs on that – by force of her tantrum, not because we have said so. And he lets her get away with lots of things, just to keep her quiet and believe me, this is a far way off from the screaming matches these two could lock horns over.

We got him something small this weekend to acknowledge this great little person we see emerging. Not to say well done for growing up, but to say “hey, we see you over there being so mature about stuff, testing out this new big-boy business and we think you’re doing great and we’re behind you all the way.” And he smiled that new shy smile that we’ve been seeing often lately. I yelled at him the other day for doing something or the other that he shouldn’t have been doing (he is more mature, but in NO way a saint, let me tell you) and he went off into a quiet sulk – another thing I love about 5, they sulk A LOT but they do it QUIETLY. Ha. And I won’t lie, it was a welcome change. You can be miserable for as long as you like if you do it quietly, thanks. As long as I don’t have to deal with it. He came out eventually much like his old self. He wants me to call him “my little tidy paws” because he has decided he is going to be the tidiest person in the house. Not sure where the “paws” part comes in but I am ALL FOR the tidy part!

So far, 5 has been THE best year! And no, I am not even going to taint that statement by throwing in a “but.”  Before the stress of big school hits him, before he starts telling me I’m uncool, before he doesn’t want to be kissed at his classroom door, and while he can still fit onto my lap… I do think I shall enjoy this age for all that it is. As Marcia would say, hashtagthisisfive:

liam 5

When other kids are mean to your kids. Introducing Ghetto Mom.


I recently purchased a Groupon voucher for Alfresco Restaurant in Muldersdrift. While this post is not about that actual experience, I will say that I was not happy with this deal. The food and service left a lot to be desired, and the voucher itself was misleading. I understand this is the risk one takes when buying these vouchers, but I’ve never been as disappointed with a deal as I was with this one. Suffice to say, we will not be visiting this place again. Voucher or not.

But yes, we went to this place for lunch on Saturday.

The kids immediately bolted off to the play area as they always do. It’s the same scenario wherever we go: they rip off their socks and shoes, yell their drinks order to me (usually 2 cream sodas or a bubblegum milkshake for her and a Bar One milkshake for him) as they dash off to play. I usually grab them back by their collars to make sure they know exactly where we are sitting and to make sure they are cognisant of their surroundings and remind them for the 1879th time to be careful, play nicely, don’t talk to strangers and yell if someone does something to make you feel uncomfortable… much eye rolling from the husband at this point.

We were sitting at a table quite close to the play area and I could see them perfectly. They moved over to a jungle gym where three other kids were playing, and I clearly heard this little horrid selfish naughty brat girl and presumably her brother say to my two that they must “go from here” and “go play somewhere else.” The third child didn’t say anything but didn’t object either. They were between the ages of 4 – 6 possibly.

Liam and Hannah were shell shocked and ran back to our table. I felt the heat rise at the back of my neck when I saw the tears in Liam’s eyes. This kid. He is such a softy. Hannah was like “THOSE KIDS SAID WE CAN’T PLAY THERE MAMA, WHY?”

Right.

I put on my best pursed lipped fake smile and said to both of them that they could play ANYWHERE they wanted to. I said to Liam that if anyone told him he couldn’t play ANYWHERE he wanted to play, he was to tell them that THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY AND I CAN PLAY ANYWHERE I PLEASE AND IF YOU DARE SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN, YOU WILL FORCE ME TO USE MY KARATE MOVES ON YOU.

No, I didn’t say that.

I told them very nicely that they could play wherever they liked. I said that if anyone gave them any trouble, they should first tell them that they could play anywhere they so wished and if that kid was still troublesome to come and CALL me and I would talk VERY nicely to that kid.

Of course Liam did not want to go and play anywhere near those kids again. But my Hannah… bold, brave Hannah. She just makes me laugh! She went back to play, and forced Liam to go with her. I could hear this kid getting all lippy again, and much to my husband’s annoyance, I got up and walked casually over there and proceeded to give all the kids, including my own two, a lecture on playing nicely together and sharing all the equipment. Note, these children’s parents were all within earshot the WHOLE time and not ONE of those adults got up to do anything. My speech promptly shut those horrid children up, and the main instigator sulked off back to their table.

I was so MAD. Firstly at those kids. And I am not an idiot, I know children can be naaaaasty, I know they can be ruthless in their likes and dislikes and they have absolutely no filter, I get that. But the part that I don’t get… aren’t all parents trying to raise their kids to be good? Aren’t all parents trying to make sure their kids are at least civil and if you physically see your kid being mean, don’t you step in? It blows my mind that you would allow your kid to be mean to another child. Had the tables been turned and it was my kid behaving like that, I would have dealt with my kid right there and then. Yes I am one of those mothers who WILL embarrass you in public if you are ugly to someone else or if you behave in an offensive manner. I know all about playground politics and my husband and I have VERY different views on how to deal with it. My husband encourages our children to fight back, to stand up for yourself. While I promote standing up for yourself, I absolutely do not believe in fighting back, I believe you run and tell the nearest adult PRONTO. Husband believes that this opens your child up to being bullied when he/she is constantly running to Teacher with complaints about the other kids. I am of the believe that encouraging fighting is NEVER the answer. (Although I won’t lie, I’m not paying for karate classes just for the cute uniform if you get what I’m saying.) I’ve always said no hitting, punching, biting, no NOTHING, basically you don’t touch another person unless you’re hugging them. But I also don’t want my kid to be the playground push over. While Liam has a lot of “mouth,” he is really a big softy and this worries me as he ventures out into Big School next year. I won’t be there to defend him, both of them in fact. I won’t be there to go all-ghetto on those bratty kids. And I won’t be there to tell them what to do. I witnessed first hand this weekend what Liam would do, he would walk away and have a cry! And that BREAKS my heart! We chatted about it on the way home and both Dad and I encouraged them to stand up for themselves if they know someone is being nasty, but what else can one do?

How would you handle this situation? How are you gearing your kids up for playground politics? 

A good apple of a son.


Mostly the last few years have been grueling… trying to instill discipline, trying to teach my children good manners, good morals, instilling in them a sense of integrity, a sense of choosing right over wrong, good over evil, and so on. That’s the real grueling part of parenting. You think it’s the endless laundry pile, the unwashed dishes in the sink, the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the crying and whining… but really the real challenge, the part that keeps you awake at night, the part that is guilt ridden and has you second guessing yourself at least 10 times a day… THAT part… is whether you are doing it right. Are you doing the best you can for your kids? Will they turn out to be decent human beings? Have you done enough to make sure they will integrate into society and be law abiding citizens who have a relatively normal existence? This is the part that actually freaks every parent out. You spend years teaching them to say yes please, no thank you, open doors for girls, ask the other person how they are, don’t cause scenes in public, don’t steal, lie, cheat, hit other kids..blah blah blah.. and STILL I hear myself asking at least 3 times a day “WHAT DO YOU SAY???” when someone gives them something and they don’t respond with an appropriate “thank you very much.” And you wonder if this kid is ever going to get it right.

So when you catch a glimpse of that character you have been trying to build for years, that character you have helped nurture and grow in as best a way as you know how… it makes you breathe a sigh of relief. It makes you realise that you can’t be that sucky of a parent after all, that you are doing OK. What a relief.

These last few weeks, I’ve noticed that my littlest man is maturing. The way he lets others go first, the way he shares, the way he lets you have your say and only comments once you have finished talking (even if you ramble on forever, like our Hannah does). The way he understands that crying and losing your mind over something silly is not the answer… oh he pouts and gets upset and I need to reason with him, but he doesn’t tantrum anymore. He knows the difference between right and wrong… even though he doesn’t always choose right! But I love that he can understand why there are rules in place, why we need to be disciplined if we disobey the rules and how it’s always better to just listen to your mother. Yes, you do.

He would give you something if it made you happy, even if he didn’t have an extra one to give. Last week we went to the Disney on Ice show and he willingly gave his juice to Sam because Sam didn’t have any at the time. My last-year-Liam would NEVER have done that! And in turn, my Hannah shared her juice with her brother. This filled my heart with pride. It did. He understands that there are things that I have no control over and he shows grace… I promise them every evening that we’ll ride bikes when we get home. But some days I’m late from work or the traffic is crazy and there just isn’t time. Whereas Hannah will usually cry and be somewhat mad at me because I control the traffic and the setting of the sun and how many hours in a day (go figure), Liam will say something like “it’s ok, we can do that tomorrow, why don’t we find something to do inside while you cook.” Like he wants me to feel better for not being able to make THEM happy, I just love him for this. He is still as mischievous as ever, and I swear this boy’s mouth is going to get him into many a tricky situation, but he is also such a softie. And if you hurt his feelings, he WILL cry. But this is crying I identify with, crying because your heart is sore, I get that, I do it quite a bit myself…  not crying because your mother told you that you can’t wear your swimming costume to school because it’s 2 degrees outside (yes, been there, done that).

Anyway, my point is that Liam is growing into a really cool kid. A lot of this comes with age and maturity of course, but a lot of it comes from just being a good apple. And for me, this is the most important thing. You don’t have to be the smartest, cutest, coolest, funniest human being , but you do need to be a good apple: good at the core of who you are.

I think I actually like my kids?


This weekend we had the pleasure of being kid-free two nights in a row. One was planned, and the other was a spur of the moment thing. But the point I really want to make is how your kids get to a certain age where a kid-free night is wonderful but not the same as THOSE days when you would have considered leaving the baby in the house alone, in your desperation for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sorry for those of you still in  the throes of this phase!

It was one of those moments when I was like “wow, these kids are BIG.” And while it was great not to have to get up and fix breakfast, put out sibling squabbles and have my ear chewed off by a very talkative 4 year old, I must admit that I missed them. The kids go to bed at 8pm and I don’t hear a peep out of them until I wake them up the next day. My mother called one Friday night and it was just after 8 and she was like “are the kids in bed already, it’s Friday?” In my house, the days of the week or the occasion make no difference, bed time is bed time. The only time we deviate is if we have visitors and for REALLY special occasions like the Soccer World Cup where I allowed them to stay up for the opening ceremony – which they found utterly boring. So my sleep is uninterrupted, I love my sleep and they’ve reached an age where they do to!

So my point is, having them spend the night away from me is not as exciting as it used to be! And strangely, I missed them not being around. Husband had things to take care of on Saturday morning so I was home alone, and I felt quite bleak without them. Is this the age where parents actually start to enjoy the company of their children? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy alone time as much as the next run down mother, but without me realising it, I think I’ve actually reached a stage of LIKING my children and WANTING to be around them. Now now, don’t judge. Parenting is not all about the fun loving stuff that people put on their IG pictures. Most of the time, those first few years are just plain HARD and tiring and annoying. You love your kid, you’d jump in front of a moving bus for your kid, you love each smile and giggle, but it’s hard work.. often very thankless. And I won’t lie and say I didn’t wish those sleepless nights and those horrible teething patches and those stinky diapers away, because I did! And even though I’d do it ten times over without hesitation if you asked me to go through it all again, I must say that this actual LIKE I have for my kids at this age is rather surprising and refreshing.

Needless to say when they got home, they hadn’t missed me AT ALL. My 100s of questions were answered with as little detail as possible and all they wanted to do was to be left alone to play secret games with each other and have as little to do with me as possible. The nerve. I forced everyone to have lunch around the table so we could TALK because we were not going to be there for dinner on Saturday night and after that, they scurried off to do their own thing again.

I must say this is all weird to me – this growing up business. And weirder still because I clearly remember a day crying in my kitchen with a crying toddler wrapped around my thigh and a crying baby on my hip , thinking WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER, LORD!!!! And now that we are here, it’s weird but all kinds of awesome too. I like my kids, they are cool. I want to spend time with them. I want to hear their opinions. I want them to laugh at my jokes. I want them to LIKE me as much as I LIKE them. I actually WANT to go on holiday with them! After Cape Town 2011 – a disaster family holiday, I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth! I love being able to do my own thing while they are somewhere else in the house. I like them popping their little heads around the door to make sure I am OK and asking “are you googling on your iPad again, mama?”

This is the age of AWESOME for me. It truly is!

The stand-off to end all stand-offs. I hope.


My kids are no angels, they are as angelic as your average three and four year old can be. Not very. Ha. While they can be disobedient, throw tantrums and pretty much disagree with everything I say, they are not bad kids. I don’t think people run the other way when they see us walking through the doors at Papachinos. Well I hope not. I am their mother so I may be biased, but I’d say they are OK kids.

Well yesterday was new parenting territory for me. And if you had seen my kid yesterday, you would probably have made for the door FAST and encouraged you own child to avoid mine at any cost.

So.

I put a blanket out on the lawn and we were enjoying the sun while the Husband cooked lunch. Hannah unpacked a black bag full of beach toys – creating general seaside mayhem, without the seaside. Liam and I were chatting on the blanket. Note: Liam was not playing with these toys. Many hours later, it was time to pack away and get ready for bath time. Even though Liam had not played with the toys, he happily started packing away. Hannah, however, sat on the steps like a boss, and was yelling orders to Liam along the lines of “you missed that one, go pick it up” and “don’t stand on my stuff!” So I came out and instructed her to get off her booty and help her brother. She ignored me. I repeated myself, and she looked at me in my face and turned to watch Liam. The third time, I used my very cross voice and told her to immediately step into action or face the consequences. Do you know this girl child just stared at me with a bored look on her face. At this point I told Liam that he had done enough, thank you very much and he could go bath. There were literally 5 little items left to collect. I could have let him pick them up and be done with it, but I needed to teach some little lady a lesson. I picked her up to standing position and marched her to the toys and told her to pick them up, she walked away. I marched her back, and she turned and walked off again. She started yelling like I’d asked her to pick up five live snakes. I told her AGAIN that she needed to pack away the toys that SHE had taken out, I explained over her shouting that Liam had kindly helped her but that she needed to do her share. I explained that if she didn’t, I was going to punish her. She stood there yelling in my face. I smacked her bottom and then she did the spaghetti-leg-move and fell to the ground like her legs couldn’t carry her. Tantrum time! I walked to the door and could see her peeping at me from under her covered face. I said firmly that I would not let her come in and bath if she did not pick up the toys. She turned over and carried on crying. I closed the door and she jumped up and started pounding the door. I was like WHO IS THIS CHILD?? Liam had never acted out like this before, and neither had she! The doors are glass so we could see each other, but I ignored her and made like I was watching TV. I yelled politely “pull yourself together, pick up the toys and then you can come inside.” She carried on crying. I was starting to get nervous because it was getting cold outside, it was after 5pm and she had been sick the last two days, I was going to have to crack if she didn’t, I couldn’t let my child stand outside in the cold. I mean there was teaching a lesson, and then there was going overboard to prove a point. I was praying that she would just back down and let me win. PLEASE let me win!! After about five minutes, she simmered down but was still death staring me through the door. I went to the door, walked towards the black bag and held it open, willing her to just pack the blinking toys away without saying a word. She obediently started to pick the toys up. Then she said “sorry mama, can I go bath now” and we hugged and she went to bath.

Sjoe!!! Later that evening, when all was forgotten, we were reading stories while she was being nebulised. Suddenly, mid-story, she pulled the mask off her face and said “I sorry, my legs were tired.” So I said oh, is that why you couldn’t pick up the toys? She nodded. I explained in simple terms that sometimes we are all tired but we still have chores and jobs to do – like I have to cook for the family even when I’m tired, or she has to put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, even if her legs are tired, and Daddy has to wash the cars, even when he is tired. And if we didn’t do our jobs, then things would be crazy! And she agreed with that. Then I went on to explain that going off her head like that was not acceptable. She agreed with that too. Then I did a reenactment of her craziness with loud crying and spaghetti legs effects and we laughed about that for a good five minutes. Then the three of us each had a turn to reenact her crazy episode and we took votes on who did it the best. Then Daddy came in and said it wasn’t funny, and wasn’t a joke and that I must stop encouraging bad behaviour. So we all stopped and quietly giggled behind the books we were reading so that Daddy couldn’t hear us.

Ay, I don’t know that I’m doing this right. How do other people handle disobedience and tantrums of such epic proportions that you actually aren’t sure what to do in that moment. People say once you’ve explained to the child, you administer the punishment (however you choose to punish) and leave the child to tantrum it out. But what then? What if the child won’t back down? Then what? Wow, I’ve never had to deal with a child that just WONT.BACK.DOWN before. It’s difficult! And as the parent, to come so far and then to just back down and say “ok, I’ll pick up the toys” after you’ve been through such an ordeal, just doesn’t make sense to me.

What would you have done? How do you handle outright disobedience?

han

Parenting Can be Exhausting {Encouragement for Today}


I really really really love this article which a friend (thanks Racquel!)  sent to me this morning. Off the back of my lost post about parenting, I just feel like this seemingly simple forwarded email from a friend, is like a confirmation love letter directly from God to me! Don’t you love it when you get those? Like you just know in your spirit that it can be nothing other than God talking directly to you, through other people. I’ve been battling with this discipline thing, I really have. But God has reminded me and comforted me again through the well timed article below.

It comes from Sharon Glasgow, who writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Go take a look at their site, they have some great resources.

May 1, 2013

Parenting Can be Exhausting
Sharon Glasgow

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT)

We were already late for church when the fight began. One daughter was upset the other had told a lie. I sighed. Not right before it’s time to leave, please!

It’d been a long week and I was tired. But lies are not allowed in the Glasgow home and this was something I had to take care of now. I called both girls to The Pink Couch, the place set aside to talk to our children.

They both sat down and gave their side of the story. It was clear who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. I dismissed the one that wasn’t lying and asked the one who did to admit she had and to say sorry. She wouldn’t. After 15 minutes she still hadn’t confessed. She was only four, but don’t let a four year old fool you, she knew I needed to get out the door. I was her Sunday School teacher.

It would have been so easy to put her lie on the back burner, but I made an executive decision. “Dale would you teach my class today? I can’t leave until this is resolved.” As the rest of our family headed out the door, I told my daughter that until she told the truth she would sit on The Pink Couch. An hour passed, then two, then three. How could my child who normally couldn’t sit still for thirty minutes bide her time without any entertainment for hours? Though we were sitting quietly, waiting it out drained me.

Finally, she admitted her lie with a sincere heart and said, “I’m sorry.” We hugged and to this day I’ve never heard her say another lie.

I’ve got five almost-grown daughters now. Whew! The discipline part was a lot of work and one thing remained constant whether they were four or 14—discipline always took time, wisdom, discernment and love.

It would have been easier and saved energy to just let the lie slide. But, the Bible tells us “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline is not fun for those receiving it OR for those administering it. Let’s be honest, parenting can be exhausting! But consistency comes with a great reward. Investing time and ensuring the same consequences yields good fruit in our children’s lives.

My husband and I have pear trees on our land. Some can take years to bear fruit, but with regular watering, pruning and fertilizing, our trees eventually show the results of our labor.

Most parents would say they desire for their kids to grow up and live in peace with the Lord. That’s exactly the outcome Hebrews 12:11 promises us if we don’t give up when our children are young. Rather than making a quick decision that only modifies their behavior for the moment, we have to aim at changing our children’s hearts for the long term.

As my then four-year-old daughter and I sat for hours that Sunday morning, I knew I had to nip this in the bud or the consequences would negatively impact her future. She’s an adult now and will gladly tell you what a strong impact the discipline of sitting on The Pink Couch had on her.

Unimaginable energy goes into raising godly children. You may want to do what I did: stay on your knees in prayer and mediate on the Word day and night so that you can be encouraged and have wisdom on rearing your kids. It can be exhausting, but the work is worth the great reward!

Dear Lord, give me the wisdom, discernment, time and love I need to discipline my children to be the godly people You desire. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The day we lost Hannah


The only reason I am reliving this moment and documenting this horrible event, is because I want Hannah to read this one day and comprehend how she nearly caused her mother to have a stroke, on the spot.

Remember this post about zoo. So it was about 4pm, we were all winding down and I’ll admit that my wits were not at their sharpest after a long day at the zoo. No excuse though. Colleen was pushing Jordan in his pram, Darren was pushing the two boys in the go kart, Byron was pushing Hannah in the stroller, and I was… well I was carrying my camera or stuffing my face with chips or something. Ha! Hannah wasn’t buckled into her stroller; and we were ok with her popping in and out of it, to get closer to the “aminals” or to go for a little run or to go and pick some flowers. As I remember it, the guys went to the loo, and the kids were running around us. When they returned, the boys jumped back into the go kart and I assumed that Hannah had jumped back into the pram. But she didn’t. On we walked, chatting and laughing and discussing our next destination. I can’t be sure, but I know it was over 5 minutes later when Byron asked “where’s Hannah?”

Nothing I write here will clearly articulate how I felt or how my mind and body reacted in the moments that followed. First I looked into the pram, as if Byron hadn’t don’t so already. Then my ears went deaf. You know when everything sort of sounds like you’re under water. My heart was pumping and my spit was warm and liquidy – you know how saliva feels just before you are going to vomit. We had probably walked about 30 metres from where I remember us last being together. She was nowhere to be seen. We were now at the top of a  hill, I looked far down the hill and couldn’t see her. But I was paralysed. Byron and Darren started running back towards the direction we had come from, but I just stood there. Like an idiot. I had no idea what to do. After what felt like forever, I eventually looked at Colleen and I think I told her that I needed to go and look for Hannah, I can’t even remember what I said now. And then I took off running. I was thinking about Maddie. You know Maddie who disappeared from her parents hotel room. Really? I was thinking about her? Now?! Then Byron came walking around the corner, WITHOUT Hannah, and I felt like crying but two steps behind came Darren carrying my Hannah. I can’t even say I felt relief because I was still feeling weak and the adrenaline was still gushing. Of course the mood lightened and we were laughing and joking and Hannah got back into the pram, nonplussed, but I still felt like I needed to pee or poo, or vomit or do all three things simultaneously.

They say that Hannah was happily spinning one of those Ola ice cream boards, not a care in the world. Later I watched her at Papachino’s. She wandered off and had a conversation with a woman, who then picked her up and put her on one of those zebra rocking toys. She was quite happy to let a complete stranger pick her up and chat to her. And she stayed there for a long while! Not once did she look back to see where we were, or if her mom or dad were still around; she is just at that age where the world is just perfect, where everyone is a friend and where no one can harm her. Which is wonderful and beautiful to watch, her childlike innocence is refreshing. But like Maddie, children can be taken without a trace and their innocence misused and abused.

I cannot imagine, or begin to comprehend the earth shattering tragedy of losing a child… in whatever way… death or kidnapping. This experience has left me feeling so very unsettled. I haven’t become psycho-mom who won’t let her kids out of sight, but it has jarred me into once again realizing what a gargantuan task I have in being a mom. If something had happened to Hannah in this instance, it would have been my fault, it would have been down to my own carelessness. Hannah is a little baby who relies solely and utterly on me for her full and total well being. I mean that is HUGE. And I’m not beating myself up here, parents aren’t perfect and mistakes will happen but in the grand scheme of things we have this huge responsibility to grow and nurture and care for these little helpless beings. Come on, that’s BIG!

So while I enjoy parenting and all that comes with it, this was my reminder that I’ve been charged with a huge task, one which I yearned for and fully accepted, and while I can’t be everywhere, all the time, I need to have my wits about me 24/7 if I don’t want to stuff this parenting thing up. It may sound unrealistic and unfair to the normal adult, but it’s the truth for parents. Baby comes first. No matter what.