Tag Archives: swimming

It’s getting hot in here…


…so take off all your clothes.

No, please don’t.

But every time someone says “It’s getting hot in here,” you can rest assured I will finish off that sentence with that Nelly jam. Oh, I didn’t tell you? I am that person who will finish off your sentences with an appropriate song lyric.

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I digress.

Wow Joburg, you came out blazing this week. Now those who know me know that I love the heat. It took me by surprise though. We skipped straight over Spring this year and dived into Summer, right? Talking about diving… for the first time since we moved house, I admitted that I miss one thing about our old house. THE POOL. Man, we loved that pool and we used it a lot. A sprinkler and a plastic splash pool just do not cut it. The husband took the kids to the pool at the gym but what fun is that when you can’t dive, do cannon balls and back flips? Borrrrring. So to my friends with benefits (ie: a swimming pool), we going to be increasing our visits this season. You don’t even have to be there, just leave the back gate open and a coupla lilos and a cooler box full of goodies.

A while back when I was training for the Midmar Mile and trying to find an Olympic sized swimming pool, we stumbled across one in Linden. But it was closed so we couldn’t take a good look. The grounds looked awesome though, sort of the place one could have a picnic at. Has anyone been there? Or do you know of any other cool swimming spots in Jozi? Do not say Sun City.  I love Sun City, I do. But it’s not somewhere I’m going to drive to every weekend or post work in the evenings, you know.

So Summer time means natural hair. Usually in the colder months, I blow dry our hair once a week. Hannah’s hair is really thick and it takes long to dry, so I leave it wet for as short a time as possible when it’s cold. But during the Summer months, I let her hang loose. I am still on the eternal quest to find what products work on Coloured hair. And by that I mean the ethnic group, not hair that has been dyed. Just saying. Having tried everything from the top end to the bottom end of the market, I still cannot say that I have found the magic elixir that will make curly haired Coloured girls squeeeee.  No I don’t want a Brazillian, I don’t want to tame our hair at all, we LOVE big hair, people. But I want something that defines curls, nourishes your hair and doesn’t require dollops of conditioner, mousse, gel and body lotion (oh yeh, guilty) and that has actually been formulated for my kind of hair. That’s not so hard, right? Anyway, while reading Melinda’s blog, I came across a post where she reviewed products from ThePerfectHair. I hopped straight onto that website and just knew I had to try this range when words like:

Mixed Chicks / #bringbackmyhairline / As I am Naturally

… jumped out at me. The funny thing is when I went onto the site, I realised I knew the owner! We’re from the same hood in Durban, she went to school with my sister for goodness sake! Of course I dropped Taryn an email immediately and we got chatting and today I am getting my goods. Watch this space for a review, and in the mean time if you’ve got curly hair issues, check out her website.

Our ‘fros..

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?

I am enjoying the longer days, lighter meals and the fewer clothes. And ice cream. we eat ice cream almost every second day in Summer. And the kids are still at an age where a R3 cone from KFC is a huge treat, so it works out well. I did shave my legs last week after a winter-long hiatus from the blade. I just don’t understand why humans were not made like dogs or bears who naturally shed hair after Winter. It was not pretty.

Roll on Summer, pretty toes and antiperspirant deodorant.

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The hula-hooping-swimming-girl-child


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

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

Ok. This is not about me.

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

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

And the next day with her own hula hoop…

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

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

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

Lessons I learn from my kids


With the onset of the warmer weather, we’ve been swimming a few times. While both my kids LOVE the water, I was dismayed to realise that they’d completely forgotten what they’d learned last swimming season, i.e only about 8 months ago?  Remember this post? My kids were swimming really well. Liam was swimming unaided, without any floating devices across the pool – from the shallow end to the deep end. Hannah was cannon balling off the deep end, albeit with her Winnie the Pooh arm bands. They were completely fearless and I was comfortable to leave them in the pool while I just watched, and didn’t necessarily have to GET in with them. I was already anticipating weaning Hannah off the arm bands this season, as it was about this age that liam started to swim without his arm bands.

Right.

These last few swims have seen them excited, yay for the water and splashing each other and … sitting on the top step only. And that’s it. They both wouldn’t venture off the steps unless one of us were carrying them. Now while I love the water, I also have hair issues which prevent me from doing the white girl thing of washing and wearing and still looking fabulous. So I don’t always just rip my clothes off and go for a swim, it is a calculated decision, I have to work out when I’ll be doing my hair, if my hair is dirty enough to warrant letting go of my blow dry, do I have any important dates coming up that I NEED to have blow dried hair for, etc.. hey, it’s hard out there for coloured girls.

Anyway, I digress.

So the hubby and I have been annoyed with these two. I’m like HEY YOU KNOW HOW TO SWIM, STOP BEING FOOLISH AND GET INTO THE WATER. To the point where I said to them that I was not going to waste time getting the net off, just so they could sit on the step and splash each other, they may as well do that in the bath. Their father told them that they would not be joining the swimming class again next year because they were wasting our money. (We’re lovely parents, aren’t we?)

So yesterday.

They were begging me to swim on the drive home. It was really hot and I was feeling for a dip too, so I agreed. Of course, I went off on a tangent about how they needed to let go of the fear and embrace the swimming and pick up where they had left off last season blah blah blah. I went on for what felt like 5 minutes of what I thought was a pep talk. After a minute’s silence, Liam pipes up “you know mommy, sometimes children are afraid and we forget. But you can show us again and talk nicely and we’ll try remember how to.” AND Hannah went “YES!”

Cue waterworks, ugly face crying, guilt, shame, horror, guilt, guilt, guilt.

You all know that I am a fairly hard parent. Yes I give them sweets and let them drink Coke, but I am quite tough when it comes to day to day parenting, and I take more of the drill sergeant approach. I felt sooooo bad, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. I said I was sorry on the spot and I told them that I was going to start from scratch and teach them again and instead of using negative terms, I changed my speak and started saying things like “I KNOW you can do it, you’ve done it before” and “you’ve just forgotten, but if we practice, you WILL remember” and “it’s ok to be afraid, but I will hold you and I won’t let go until you tell me to, or I will tell YOU so you ready.”

Do you know that in the hour we swam together and I took this approach of positively coaching and coaxing them, the kids were cannon balling again, Hannah was doing laps with her arm bands, Liam’s eyes were red and burning and his ears were sore from all the underwater swimming he was doing (and he was proud as punch with these ailments). That’s all it took.

I have blogged lyrical about how we speak to our children, the effects of our words and how they impact the hearer. I KNOW this. But I forgot. Just like how they momentarily forgot how to swim. It took my 4 year old to remind me that sometimes it’s the way I say things that makes all the difference. A lesson well learned from my kids.

Midmar Mile 2013: I chewed you up and spat you out.


The lightening woke me up at 4h15am, before my alarm did. There was a serious storm brewing and this added to my already frayed nerves. We got into the cars – my fan base and I – and left for Midmar Dam at 5h30am. It stormed from Durban to Howick and then miraculously opened up as we approached Midmar. I was relieved; the fear of having done all the training and then not been given the chance to TRY and swim due to the weather, far superseded the fear of at least trying to swim it whether I made it or not. Besides my whole family came out to watch, there was no way I wasn’t getting wet.

We were early enough to get great parking and a good picnic spot and the Port-a-Loos were still in good shape at that time of the morning. I had my two bananas and this drink my husband brewed for me – honestly I think all these endurance and slow energy release sachets that you mix with water are a waste of money, but anyway I drank it, as I had while I was training and let me tell you it does nothing for me. I was a bit nervous, not the same nervous as getting your spinal block before you have a Caesar, I think I was more nervous of the embarrassment of being fished out and taken to the other side on a boat, rather than swimming there!

The part that made me giggle was having to waltz around in my swimming costume ONLY. I’m the kind of girl who likes the safety of my towel around my waist, until I am ready to actually swim or tan. But I was surrounded by costume-clad bodies – in ALL shapes, sizes and colours and when in Rome, you do as the Romans do of course, so I pranced around oblivious to my jelly thighs and cellulite.

So I caught a shuttle from the one side of the dam to the starting side and took my place in my holding pen and the atmosphere was great. All the ladies were chatting and laughing and the general air of excitement was tangible. There were some very little people, they could have been six or seven years old and there was some old people who looked way over 70! I was an unseeded swimmer so I was right at the back with the white caps. In a way this was good because this was the no-rush crowd, most of us were doing it for fun and not to win so everyone was easy going. However I know now that the secret is to get away from the crowd as fast as possible, once in the water.

The mile seems A LOT longer in the open water, than it does in the swimming pool. Firstly, there’s people kicking you in the face, grabbing your feet from behind and sometimes almost pushing you under. Secondly, the water is obviously more choppy due to the hordes of people kicking and splashing and this adversely affects your swim. Thirdly, there’s no wall to grab on to when you feel like you just need a minute to catch your breath and you can’t stop halfway to adjust your goggles or pull your swimming costume out of your bum. My first struggle was trying to find my own space – I mean you would think in a massive dam, it would be easy to find a spot and swim your heart out. Not. My second struggle was actually swimming straight, I swear I swam about 2kms with all the zigzagging and blind swimming I was doing. I don’t swim breaststroke and swimming freestyle with your head facing forward is difficult. So every time I did lift my head, I was off course and had to readjust. My third struggle was other swimmers – every time I found my groove and got into a nice breathing rhythm and found that my arms, legs and lungs were all cooperating, I’d swim into someone or someone would swim into me, and I’d have to stop, regroup, and start over. Lastly, my greatest struggle was in my mind. You KNOW your body can physically do it – I’ve been swimming a mile a day for two months – there’s no way I wasn’t physically ready. But boy I felt like giving up more than once. I kept looking back to see how far I had swum because it just didn’t look like I was getting any closer to the finish. And every time someone swam horizontally pass me to get to the lifeguard boat, I thought yes that’s all I have to do. But I kept thinking of all those people waiting for me at the finish, I kept thinking that I COULD NOT BLOG about how I was pulled out of the water! I’d have to say that embarrassment of failure kept me swimming. Ha. When I could finally see PEOPLE dotted on the horizon and smell the boerewors on the braai, I started to see the light again. I swam as far out to the sidelines as I could, and just swam like my life depended on it – which it did because I was exhausted! I finished my race in just under 45 minutes, but that was the last thing I was concerned about, I grabbed my medal and ran… ok, hobbled past the finish line.

I felt awesome at the finish, proud as punch. And it really did feel like it was all worth it. I’ll be doing the race every year for as long as I am able to. I think what I’ve learned from this experience is that I do limit myself in many areas of my life. I’ve always said I am a realist and try not to look at the world through rose tinted glasses, but what I’ve realized is that my realism often harbours my potential and subconsciously I’m always looking at the glass half empty and crediting it to “being realistic.” I’m going to start putting myself out there more often and see just how far I can go. My husband wants me to start jogging with him. I use the word jogging very loosely – I picture myself walking at snail’s pace (there I go again – forgive me). I said to him that if he kits me out with decent shoes and snazzy sweat bands for each of my wrists, I will consider his offer.

I must just make mention of what a well run event it was. From online registration, down to collecting your medal at the end, everything ran seamlessly and without drama. Just the way I like things done. The kids had an awesome day out, we picnicked on the banks of the dam afterwards and besides the race itself, it does make for a really good day out. The Midmar Mile will definitely  see me again next year! I did it! Yay me!

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Me and Hannah Banana relaxing after the Mile
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My cap and medal!

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My name in the paper. Feels like matric all over again.

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There I am at the finish!

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No, it’s not made of gold. *sad face*

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Well done kisses!

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Proud as Punch!

I’m swimming the Midmar Mile. No seriously!


Now that you’ve picked your jaw off the floor.. remember this post? Yes, the one where I made all those wild and outrageous promises to myself on the eve of my 31st birthday. Well, turns out I’m actually following through: on Sunday, 10th February 2013, I will dive into the cold waters  of the Midmar Dam, along with about 14 000 other people and doggy paddle my way across the dam. I’m swimming the Midmar Mile. 

I must admit that I am feeling a teeny tiny bit nervous  – I haven’t swam in open water in over 9 years. But the fact that I am seeded with the under 13’s and over 31’s does make me feel slightly better – not sure why because looking at last year’s results, these gals can swim their Speedos off. Those under 13 nippers with their young over enthusiastic bendy bodies better not stampede me over, before I even get a chance at floundering in the shallow waters. My game plan is to let the crowd run and cannon ball into the water and then slowly edge myself towards the water once the dust and splashing has settled. But hey, I may be caught up in the euphoria and be the first to kamikaze myself into the bottomless pit of the Midmar dam.

A mile. That’s 1600 metres. That’s a kilometer and then some. It ain’t a frolick at Warm Baths Resort, ya know what I’m saying? I was not going to blog about this until after the event because my pride would take a serious dent if I didn’t make it after blabbing about it all over the internet. But bugger that, even if I don’t make it, the buildup has been great and the day will be great even if I have to be pulled out of the water (oh please Lord no). I’ve enjoyed swimming every night and the time it gives me to reflect on life. I think I’ve enjoyed that hour all to myself more than anything else. I’ve enjoyed watching my body break boundaries again. In my “youth” (because I am soooo old now) my cousin and I used to swim lap after lap, our young bodies slicing through the water and our lungs effortlessly expanding and contracting. NOW. Oh my word.. that first week back in the water was tough. I felt like I was going to combust, I felt like my lungs were going to explode all over the Planet Fitness pool, I was imagining the aqua aerobics girls in the last lane screaming and jumping off their pool noodles to get away from the bloody debris. But in these last few weeks, I’ve become quite comfortable with the swim. My body has proved to me that it still got it, don’t be fooled by this cellulite and these rolls and these stretchmarks and these varicose veins – THIS BODY CAN GO BABY. I’m not slicing through the water like a shark anymore, it’s more the gentle lull of a whale. But a killer whale ok. Yeh, that’s right.

Anyway friends, wish me well and tell me I’m going to be awesome. Pray that Monday’s post will have one with a photo of this ‘ol whale and her medal.

ps: if I don’t make it, I blame my husband who basically forced me into this, dragged me kicking and screaming to the car, put my gym back in the boot and waved me goodbye to go and train.

pss: if I DO make it, I want to thank my husband for his constant encouragement and arm twisting, and for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.

My Son, the swimmer…


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

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

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

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

Check my ‘lil swimmers out:

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