Come out, come out, where ever you are ….

This morning I woke myself up at 2:05am and proceeded to lie there staring at the ceiling.

I did eventually put the light on and start to read.  It was clear I was not going to be falling asleep.  My book is so appallingly boring it has put me to sleep every night for the last week.  But there I was zooming through a few hundred pages, and no sleep in sight.

I took a long bath at about 6:30 and then realized I was dead tired.  The idea of closing my eyes and lolling off to sleep in the bath felt like such a divine idea.  Unobtainable, but a divine idea none the less.  My eyes were doing slow, lazy blinks,  I felt like I was nursing a three-bottles-of-wine hangover.

I got myself ready, and sat on the bed drinking my tea, while Isabelle drank her bottle – its pretty much the oasis in the chaos of our usual morning.  Our little quiet moment together.

I did realize that our “quiet moment” was REALLY quiet.  The kids weren’t there,  Kennith had left for work, but it was just TOO QUIET.

There was a distinct absence of the sound of Pepe in the house.  Trying not to be too concerned, I got myself ready and went down the passage with Isabelle on my hip.   It felt reminscent of those horror movies where the pretty, but not so bright lead character walks around the scary house going “is anyone there, is anyone there?’ and you know that she is going to get her head hacked off by some diranged ice skater in a very unattractive mask.  It felt alarming similiar.

So there I was looking around and no Pepe – hmm, this was all a bit worrisome.

So I call a little – not too loudly …. as you do when the fear starts to creep up your spine. (Any mom with kids who is facing a morning and is suddenly a domestic MIA knows how this feels.)

So I call out in a little trembling voice getting louder now: “Pepe? Pepe?”

Nothing …. only me and the eerie silence.

I go to her room and knock on her door.  Expecting her to come limping out with a lost left foot, and covered in leprosy sores, because this would be the only forgivable reason for her tardiness.

Still nothing – now I am starting to get a  bit more worried – more about me than her you understand.  I have that look of confusion on my face.  You know the one where the furrow on your forehead (the ones between your eyes) are so deep, that you realize that even Botox can’t save you.

I’m thinking alien abduction? I seldom go with the logical obvious explanations in these situations.

I go back into the house and stand there – baby still on hip – and go “WTF?”

I am all out of ideas, barring one.  I call her on the cell phone.  Expecting to find that she is maybe on the crapper and just could not answer the door when I knocked – that must be the reason.

Pepe does answer her phone I hear a helluva lot of traffic around her and again go “WTF?”  What is street traffic doing in her room?  Sometimes the brain he does not always catch up on the small signs to give you the bigger picture.

She goes: “Don’t you remember that it is Home Affairs today?”  Which I loosely translate to mean that she told me about an appointment/arrangement at Home Affairs at some point, and clearly I had forgotten.  She had not deemed it necessary to repeat it to me in the last two weeks, or even the last two days, to draw my attention to this rather vital piece of information.

“So, no actually I did not remember Home Affairs else I would not have looked behind the dog’s kennel for you as I did.  Because I thought that you were playing a rather juvenile version of hide-and-seek-when-madam-has-baby-on-hip-and-needs-to-go-to-place-of-employment!  So, no honestly I did not think Home Affairs!”

I immediately hit panic mode.  Admittedly I was in panic mode already since the lonely walk down the passage.  Now I just decided to do more actions other than playing hiding-freak’n-seek-with-my-maid.

Threw Isabelle into clothes that weren’t her jammies. I made two bottles, threw blankets, toys, cereal, bowl, spoon and stuff into a bag, grabbed my bag, grabbed her, grabbed my  other bag, gtabbed my other stuff and headed out the door.  There really was no time to work out a plan, it was just reactive stuff now with short bursts of cursing thrown in for good measure.

I get to work, people smile.  No one seems to have a problem with the fact that I have a baby on my hip – who it turns out is wearing the same colour combination as I am – red shirt, blue denims – totally unintentional, but totally nerdy.

I sit down at our production meeting with our production team.  Isabelle is on my lap playing with a squeegee thing and we are all sitting there like it is a normal day and nothing is amiss.  She threw up on my leg, tossed various things off the production table and onto the floor, but no one looked at me skew, or seemed to mind.  There we were talking about lead dates,binding, creasing, UV’ing and sexy stuff like that.

After the meeting I went upstairs, she sat on my lap at my desk.  I dealt with various dead line issues, and I walked around the factory with her on my hip.  Everyone acted like it was all normal and quite expected.

I sat on my office floor and fed her porridge.  I gave her a bottle and made a little bed for her on the floor of my office – I am in an office area with 5 other people and it is quite noisy.  Everyone started speaking a bit quieter, they turned the air conditioner off and acted like this was all part of a normal day.

How cool is that?  It’s a good place to work when your colleagues and bosses kind of roll with you and your logistical issues, and do not throw a wobbly because you have drooling infant on your hip ….

I think we are alone now …..

This being the first week of school holidays we have been lucky enough to ship our two older kids off to my mom for a bit of a holiday by the sea.

Right now Connor eyes are rolling back in his head as he is overcome with the delirious euphoria of days spent at the beach and fishing with his oupa. There’s a child with a serious OCD thing for fish.

Georgia got to draw a toilet in the beach sand today, and then proceeded to use it in full sight of the other beach-goers, much to the horror and mortification of my mother.

At home we have Isabelle – one child – one teeny weeny little child who does not argue with me.

I got up this morning – okay, I opened my eyes blearily. Kennith had gone to pick Isabelle up, changed her bum and brought her to me for a morning snuggle. I made a cup of tea, a bottle for Isabelle and then retired luxuriously back to bed while I drank my tea and had a little bit of time for my mind to start functioning.

Sure, I was pushing the lines of being tardy for work or fashionably late, but I was having one of those rare moments of peace and quiet in my home. I even ventured to go the toilet without being interrupted – I know, I am still a bit shocked at the turn of events.

I showered and washed my hair. I even had a bit of time to put some conditioner on it. I do so realize the absolute luxury that this morning was turning in to, and I was reveling in it.

Normally I am in the shower and the curtain is being pulled back as Connor is coming to tell me his sister is doing something that she should not be doing. As soon as I have sent him on his way, I will have Georgia pulling back the curtain to tell me her side of the story – usually at the same time as I have shampoo dripping into my eyes and my good sense of humour is evaporating in the morning light. Usually this progresses to them both standing in the bathroom and shouting at each other, so that I am supposed to listen to the story and decide who is right.

When I was ready to leave this morning, I picked up my bag, found my keys, gave Isabelle a wet slurpy kiss and climbed into my car. I actually sat for a minute before putting the key in and thinking that this is all decidedly odd. No screaming, no return visits to the house to get something, finding something someone needs for school.

Usually my morning routine from the time I enter the garage has the sound track along these lines:-

“We are late, hurry up!!”

“Move, move, move, we are late”

“Get in the car, no I do not care what that is in your hand, just get in the flippn car.”

“You have tennis today, did you remember your racket. Damn it, we have to go back! Why can you not remember your stuff.”

“Georgia just leave that alone, you do not need to take that to school, I said no, leave it!”

“Stop fighting, just share the middle seat, I said stop fighting!”

“No, I did not remember to buy you the board. You did not tell me you needed it – you cannot tell me on the drive to school about something you were meant to tell me two days ago.”

“Yes, pass me your school homework book, I will sign it while I am driving.”

“No Connor I do not know what bait one uses to catch Strepies, I have no idea.”

Today I even listened to 567 Talk and heard what they were saying. As a treat I drove a new route to work, it really was blissful peaceful. I started feeling all carefree …….

I will not be bridezilla …

Still saying the daily mantra – I will not be bridezilla, I will not be bridezilla.

So we went down to mangy brewery on the weekend, as we were out along the East Coast and it was not that far away from where we were.  We decided to go and have a look just so we could tick it off the list as being a very bad idea.

Surprisingly not as bad an idea as I had thought.  We can hire out the venue and they were very accommodating and said yes to pretty much everything we asked for, which also raises some concerns, but no doubt that is another issue.

Once we started looking around and took all the pub-people out – with my mind powers of course – it definitely had promise.  Listen after 2 – 3 glasses of wine anything can start to look promising.

We are pretty much guaranteed rain, hail, sleet and howling wind on the 17 July, so any chance of anything outside is going to be a far off dream.  They have a great outdoor ampitheatre that looks out over the valley and will be stunning on a good weather day – but we need to be realistic and realize that we are probably going to have our ceremony inside propped up against the bar if mother-nature has anything to do with it.

Fortunately the venue has these great medieval looking (circa 1995) black chandeliers which we can put great big candles on and two huge fireplaces.

So we are going to light the place up like Guy Fawkes day and have a really warm snug thing going on, as we battle to drink our wine against the elements.

If the weather is good, that is great, and it will change the dynamics slightly as we will be able to pull open all the fold away doors and have it spilling out onto the outside grass area, but we need to plan for bad weather and then be surprised if it is anything but.

I spoke to a guy this morning, and I actually heard him catch his breath when I said that we are planning a wedding in Cape Town in July …. you know when you get a sneaky sensation that you are doing something that is against your better judgement and the weather report, but you go along and do it anyway?

This may well be one of those moments ……

Where to start …

Kennith and I went out for pizza last night, and we had a quick discussion about who, when and how our very surprising nuptial should play out.   Like a really quick discussion…..

Kennith suggested the 17 July – which is our present “anniversary” date.  It falls on Saturday this year, so that should work out fine.   Sure it is around the corner, but who needs a long engagement?  Right?

We had spoken about doing something at a Brewery (try to control your sniggering…) way back then when we were all young and niave.  The Brewery that we really like has got a bit yuck over the years.  It has gone from divine location to a rather gritty yucky pub filled with strange men in knitted cardigans with leather patches on their sleeves.  So though that may have been a great idea 10 – 12 years ago, it ain’t flying today.

We have agreed that we might need to market this up a little from the stand around at home affairs and then nip out to the local Spur for something to nosh plan we were thinking of going with.  We are just not sure quite where between that, and the total-cost-of-a-house-for-a-wedding to stop.  Kennith is thinking as close to the bottom as possible.

I really do not want to turn into Bridezilla, it is really not my thing.  But I have this sneaky sensation that it is inevitable.

But … here is the resounding but …. I do get caught up in the detail of things, and start to stress whether the toilet paper rolls out over the roll, or from underneath the roll.  Seriously this kind of crap keeps me awake at night!  Hence my concern that planning a wedding – no matter how trailer park you keep it, can start to get very very worrisome if you start getting sucked in to it all.

I know I do not want a bring-and-braai where everyone brings their own yellow or blue cooler boxes. I know few things, but that one I know for sure.  I think it will make for great wedding photographs, I can picture it now, but I’m not so sure it will be as funny at the time, as it will be in retrospect.

I am not sure quite what “we” want – but I think Kennith wants to pay as little as he can, and drink beer from a keg.  His needs are quite simple.  If there was a stripper pole I think that would also make Kennith happy.  Kennith also wants an ice-cream van that serves soft-serves.  If you think I am making this stuff up, please feel free to ask him yourself.

Our first issue is that we need to find a marriage officer who does not repel us.  That may be the first problem, but my mate knows a guy who operates out of a parking lot and she highly recommends him.  Okay, so that should be fine.  Right?

I do not necessarily want to wear a white meringue dress, but I want to wear something pretty and I do not want to look like a total troll in the wedding photos.

Which brings us to the wedding photos.  Love that everyone likes to aim something digital and shoot it, but good photos are my thing, and I really do want good photos.  I think Kennith might drop his testicle if we start courting good photographers, so will need to think of something there and how to get good photographs without losing Kennith’s berries attached to his twig.

Huge flowers and roses everywhere are also not my thing.  I am not sure I want a dead cat on the table as a talking point/décor works, but I would need something, just what is reasonable and is not going to cost me a kidney.

I know I want wine – so that is ticked on my list.  I want really big glasses as well – the ones that sit in the palm of your hand, not on the tips of your fingers.  See, so far easy, I have a list and I am ticking things.

I want red wine soaked lamb shank and buttery mash – it is going winter, I’m thining a big roaring fire.  I am thinking of warm comfort food.  I have no idea what Kennith wants, but I am pretty sure he wants ice cream appearing somewhere, he probably would be fine with 3 – 5 courses of just ice cream.

I want everyone at one table – not this 8 table party scattered all over the show.  It must be a long table, and everyone eating and drinking too much and talking way too loud.

I don’t think I want dancing. I am thinking of an afternoon sit around a table thing – yes, you may ask, and how is this different from any other afternoon?  Well  not too much I may answer, and there is the beauty!

I really fear that at some point in the middle of the night I am going to be standing there crying because I can’t get just the right chintz as my table cloth.  And the apricot colour I chose as my theme now looks like baby vomit because the colour is just not right.  Then it is going to get all crazy and just not good.

I get a bit apprehensively exhausted that this has to be a huge drama.

In the end we might just end up a few mates around for a fondue, and get everyone to bring a dip or a pork sausage – seriously at some point I think that is going to seem like the easiest solution to this.

But still early days, nothing to worry about.  Right?

Strange days and stranger nights ….

Okay, today is a weird day.  Today I have a fiancé, yesterday I had a partner.

Trust me, if you are choking on your granola right now, you have no idea what I am doing.  It has been s.i.x.t.e.e.n.  years. Seriously – sixteen years leading up to this moment!  I am still in mild shock – it is all a bit surreal.

I had long resigned myself to the fact that this was not going to happen – ever.  Kennith was going to turn around to me – whilst in the midst of his midlife crisis – and casually tell me that he was now going to shack up with an 18 year old and start wearing leatherette pants.  Myself and the kids can get the hell out of Dodge!  You know, because we weren’t married and all, he could do that.

So, here we are at a rather strange little moment in our lives.

I did insist last night that Kennith go and change his status on Facebook – first. The strange things that become important when you when you are going through a bit of a shock ….   He called me this morning to ask me why I have not changed my relationship status, and accused me of “leaving him hanging!”

Kennith asked me this morning if I felt different.  I am the world’s biggest cynic about these things.  Anyone who can attest to meeting me will know that I have had many unattractive things to say about the entire matrimonial process, but strangely I did feel a bit different this morning.

Of dreams and crushed hopes ….

So today I am feeling very bleak, sure not as bleak as I was yesterday, but still very bleak.

A few weeks ago, I had this thought that Kennith and I should consider a fourth child.  I will wait a few minutes while you wipe the coffee off the monitor that has just shot out of your nose.

To further add to my idea, I suggested we adopt.  Kennith was less shocked that I expected him to be, and was surprisingly not adverse to the idea.

Kennith was saying that he was quite keen on us sponsoring someone’s child, but I felt that the idea of adoption really struck a chord with me.  I wanted a child in our home that we could raise, who would have siblings and have someone to fight with.  Someone to borrow clothes and toys from.  A child who had siblings that he/she could scream at saying things like “I hate you and get out of my room”  …. you know all that good stuff.

Kennith was not so keen, but he was not wildly opposed either.  He showed a vague inclination but did raise some concerns that we were entering a very unsure year and we needed to stabilize ourselves before we decided to go ahead with this idea.

All I heard was  “blah blah blah what a great idea blah blah go head…” and off I went – like a dog with a bone.  Okay, a slightly obsessed medicated dog with a bone.  But my head was down, and I was on a mission.

I was in contact with a few social workers, found forums, blogs and the like and was doing an education in Adoption 101.

I have had the opportunity to speak to a few moms who had adopted, and they were so generous in sharing thier experiences.  I really got to speak and interact with so many amazing people who had either embarked on this journey or were embarking on it, and who were so willing to share thier information with me.  They gave me mountains of advise, and I kept being rewarded that this was the right decision that we were making.

There were a few negative comments that some people made regarding cross-cultural adoption, but I put it down to the fact that bigot idiots are still allowed to breath, and I need to just give them a wide berth.

I was recommended to call Child Welfare and spoke to a social worker there.  I thought the fact that we are not married, that we had three children, that we are close to forty, and not religious may play a few negative cards into our deck –it would seem not at an initial glance.

I went along to the Orientation Discussion, knowing full well that Kennith still had reservations.

I was  hoping he would just have a moment where it would feel right for him.  I was so excited, and had already moved past the calm and controlled moment to the frenzied-obsessive-compulsive-full-fledged-project mania that only I can move in to (and people, some people, love me for).

I had got the forms, and was dead excited to get us moving.  I even chose the cool pen I was going to fill the forms in with – it is all about the detail folks!!

I have fallen into this process with my soul and my heart.  I can see this baby in my mind’s eye, I can smell her and feel her against me (clearly you have got the fact that it is already a girl, please, I had already named her, I was so far down this already in my head).  Yes, I do realize that I sound like a total obsessed loon.

There is a bit of a process that prospective adoptive parents have to go through.  It generally follows the route of Orientation Meeting, Complete Application Form, Screening Interview, Training Group, Home Visit and then if that is all ticked and signed you can move on to the elusive List and wait, and wait ….

The list is the part where you are approved as potential parents and it is a case of the social worker matching you to a potential birth mother or baby that has been born.  The catch is one never really knows how long the list is – and one does not know how long sits on the list, because one cannot control the availability (shall we say).

When I spoke to the social worker she said that she had no problem with us as a couple, the one issue was that their requirements were that we could not adopt or move on to the list until our youngest daughter was 18 months old.

I thought great, that sounds fair.  We can do all the paperwork, do the medical (ours), criminal checking (still ours), do all the paper filling in, do all the interviews and so on, and then do not have to feel this pressure that it is not moving fast enough.  We have oodles of time for admin, yay, love a bit of admin.

We can get to the end of it, and go done.  Then we will have a waiting period until Isabelle is 18 months old before we go onto The List.  I thought great, that will give Kennith his breathing room he needs to ruminate over it and decide if that is really what he wants, and it will also give me a cooling off period (shall we say) where now that the project part is over, I can sit and really soul search about what we are in for.

I also realized that during the process we may be asked questions and be faced with some decisions that I had not factored in to this process.  I might realize that the emotional burden would be too much, there might be challenges that would affect my children that I had not factored into my initial decision making.  I was sure that during the process I may find out things that I definitely had not considered, and we may be faced with some ugly truths about ourselves, our motivations and what lay ahead for us.

In our Saturday fight Kennith said “I don’t think we should be adopting …” I was so angry when he said that.  Immediately I thought that he is now using this as a power issue over me, and using it knowing how strongly I feel about it.

Yesterday morning I asked Kennith a question about the medical forms we have to fill in.  Kennith said we can look at that in a year’s time when we are making the decision …. which is loosely translated as that we are going to put this entire exercise on hold until further notice.

How crushed am I?  Bitterly bitterly devastated ….. I had a little cry at my desk yesterday.  Do you know how difficult it is to have a cry in an open plan office when your stooped phone does not want to stop ringing?  It’s pretty difficult.

Showdown at O.K. Corral

Okay so that was a bit of a hard weekend.

On Saturday night Kennith and I had a huge argument – a real doozy.

We really do not fight often, but when we do it is a bit of a screamer. I get angry really quickly and fight from an emotional base. Kennith tends to remain a bit more logical and likes to have a pie chart with a laser pointer when he fights – the boy likes to put up a good argument with visuals.

Any the who, there we were having a big old argument, all good judgment had left, all logic had abandoned us. I had started the argument, because I had had a total loss of humour failure – total, gone, missing in action stuff. It had been boiling under for just over a week.

The weekend before I had been left alone for the weekend as Kennith had quite a bit on. To add to the stress Isabelle was suicidal-ill. She was ill, I was suicidal. We also had house guests.

Kennith had not really weighed this all up and decided to invite 10+ people over on Friday for a braai thing, and then waltzed off without making any effort to clean up.

I have been blessed with many coping mechanisms, but the one thing that actually makes it impossible for me to cope is a dirty house. Any façade I had of keeping it together crumbles when I see unmade beds and unwashed dishes. If you throw a few towels on the floor, and a number two floating in the bowel because children cannot flush, it is like taking a long stick and poking it in a bull’s eye.

Last weekend was especially challenging to say the least. I came into this week still shaking a little and clutching at my bleeding soul. However the week progressed nicely as it does until I realized that I was facing a long weekend.

Like all other un-productive employees I share a certain joy of long weekends. However as a mom with kids, I get a little scared as I realize that my right-hand Robin to my Batman is going to also be away. (My maid is going to be on leave, for you who are not picking up on my cryptic message method.)

I started to get a slight twitch in my left eye at the thought of this weekend unfolding and knowing what a tip my home was going to descend to. Problem is that I had not had sufficient healing time from the trauma I had experienced last weekend. I was definitely showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

To cut a long story short, Kennith had been offered tickets to the rugby game on Saturday night. Eye really started to twitch now.

I knew he was going to go and I started to feel really angry that again I was going to be left with all the shit, while he happily skipped off.

I really tried to put on my big girl panties and suck it up. Just go with the flow, be a trooper, say “no problem!” when inside I was seething.

I said “no problem…..” I may or may not have managed a smile on my face while saying it.

Saturday came around and Kennith decided to use all his lavatorial knowledge to fix our toilet. This resulted in him sitting up close and personal with said latrine and taking it apart. “What a handy bloke you have around.”– you may say. It was difficult to really “feel the love” for the toilet being repaired as I was making beds, tidying up and trying to prevent our home slipping in to nuclear disaster. I also had not slept on Thursday night, so I was feeling pretty tired, which did not help.

Hours of toilet repair later, Kennith called a plumber, then sat and played computer games in the room while plumber was there “for security reasons.”

Kennith then went to rugby.  I got really annoyed that he had not helped tidy up, do dishes, empty the nappy overflowing dustbin prior to him skipping out of the house with his mates to have a few beers and watch the game.

I spent the balance of the afternoon and the evening swearing under my breath, and cursing the day he was born – as you do!

Unfortunately for Kennith’s sake, he came home.

He further decided to push the envelope on this and invited friends in for drinks. Not thrilled, but attempted to look mildly pleased and hospitable – was I feeling any love right then, fek no.

Kennith has been making this rather annoying comment regarding my drinking wine. Every time we unscrew/un cork something the says “You are just going to quaff this, you really do not appreciate it.” – or something of that nature.

I have been smiling like an idiot, and nodding in humour, but it has been grinding me so much that I want to scream. But Emily Post teaches one to smile in tense social situations.

As luck would have it, I had not been reading Emily Post that day – I had been doing dishes, and cleaning up – so when Kennith made his now-not-original-and-now-so-annoying little comments, I really lost sight of the entire conversation and just went off pop.

It was not dissimiliar to the little Dutch girl who pulled their finger out of the dyke. Catastrophic disaster and huge loss of life.

That is pretty much how the fight got started. I lost my rag and had an absolute shit-fit – totally

Unfortunately Kennith could not plug in his Powerpoint presentation fast enough, so instead decided to retaliate with being mean. It was really one of those ones where you go to sleep cross, and wake up exhausted but still really angry.

Ah, good times…

Of Big Tops and Play Station depravation…

I don’t make this up, as much as I would like to.

Yesterday after work I am sitting on the computer, and Connor comes into the room looking all hang dog.  He was having a no-tv-two-days as had been rude.  Well he was rude and got a no-tv-day.  Then  he thought he would be all wise-arse about his punishment so got another no-tv-day.  I cannot tell you the fun we have on the drive home from school in the afternoon.

No-tv-day is also the automatic sister to no-playstation-day and no-computer-day.  So it really is very bleak period for young Connor.

So he comes into the room, looking terribly sad and asks me what I am doing on the computer.  So I look at him and say: “I’m trying to sell you on the Internet Connor.”

So he starts looking really upset – his eyes are welling up a bit.  Sometimes I forget how literally he takes everything.  So I smile – the reassuring smile of all mothers – and go: “You know I wouldn’t sell you my boy …..”

Connor goes: “Yes you would.”

I try not to look too shocked, so reassure him that his concerns regarding his mom selling him are totally unfounded.

So he goes: “You always tell me that you are going to sell me to the circus!”

He is actually correct.  I have long used the phrase when he misbehaves or really exasperates me and say: “I am going to sell you to the circus, any circus, I really don’t mind.”

I start feeling mildly bad because my jest has either been taken as literal, else Connor is trying to get some sympathy from the situation in the hope of scoring some computer time.

I try to outsmart him: “Connor, I would never be able to sell you to the circus my boy, you don’t do any tricks, you can’t even juggle!  Sweetie, without a skill, I probably couldn’t give you to them.”

Then he says to me in all seriousness: “But my dad is teaching me to juggle, so you can sell me to the circus.”

Kids, sigh, when did they get so damn smart!

Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights …

I don’t know what is going on either, but Kennith just sent me an email about a bungalow in Zanzibar and that he is trying to book.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how.  I don’t know if he is trying to tell me he is running away to Zanzibar (he has pulled this move before … ) and leaving me with the kids, or we are both running away without the kids.

He had me at “…..do not forget the full body massages for $5 (R40) while you are lying on the beach…” Can I get a holler-holler!!?

Now I can’t stop singing this stupid song out of my head …

“Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go
Jamaica

Off the Florida Keys
There’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand
Tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique

We’ll put out to sea
And we’ll perfect our chemistry
By and by we’ll defy a little bit of gravity

Afternoon delight
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Port Au Prince I wanna catch a glimpse (er maybe not so much ….)

Everybody knows
A little place like Kokomo
Now if you wanna go
And get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We’ll get there fast
And then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo”

I know it is not the same place, but they never made cool songs about Zanzibar in the late 80’s, so you work with what you can get.

CSI New York in my Bathroom….

I am not sure how brushing teeth goes in your house, but my kids need to be reminded to brush teeth – and I have to include the words P.R.O.P.E.R.L.Y in the instruction.

I tried just saying “brush your teeth” then I realized that my eight year old has no problems following instructions. What he does do is he takes it quite literally.

He brushed his teeth, sure there was no toothpaste on the brush, and sure the entire process lasted less than 8 seconds, but if quizzed: “Did you brush your teeth?” He could always answer in the affirmative and not be lying.

On the weekend, I had my hands full. Sick baby on my hip, four year old who would not get dressed and was throwing a wobbly about something or another. I was trying to get eight year old and four year old to brush their teeth after getting dressed. There I am barking out instructions.

You know how you do not realize how you sound, until you have house guests and start seeing and hearing yourself through their eyes (and ears). You then realize that you possibly do look a little trailer park in your bathrobe, no slippers and with snot and vomit (neither your own) on the front of your night shirt and some other unidentified matter in your hair.

That however did not dissuade me from my goal of enforcing good dental hygiene in my house.

Connor trots out from the bathroom, I look at him and immediately assess that his blue t-shirt does not have any toothpaste on it. They don’t teach this sh*t, one learns this at CSI and motherhood school – it’s a combined course done through correspondence, with a huge emphasis on the work experience part.

Now a clean shirt and an eight year old is compelling – not definitive (I watch the crime channel a lot) – but nonetheless compelling circumstantial evidence that no tooth brushing has occurred. The toothpaste spatter is not evident on this eight year old in my passage.

I used to use the dry toothbrush as my evidence – but I got about 6 uses out of that tactic until Connor twigged how I knew he skipped the brushing. Now he wets the toothbrush. Kids – they are like drug dealers, you always have to outsmart them!

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I went to brush my teeth.” Now a niave person/not a mother would take this that he has brushed his teeth.

Again, you are not dealing with the Connor-master, who knows a thing or two about negotiation and word play. This boy could be the spin doctor for Julius Malema.

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed Y.O.U.R. teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor, I got that you went to the bathroom. Did you make it to the basin, put toothpaste on your toothbrush and wiggle it around your mouth?”

Connor: “I diiiiiiiiiiiiiid…”

Me:  “Connor, did you brush your teeth PROPERLY for two minutes?”

Connor: “Awwwwww…………………..”

Me: “Get to that bathroom and start brushing until I tell you it is two minutes.”

Why do we always sound like our mothers, no matter how hard we try not to?

Of motivation and mantras….

I really do not enjoy going to Adventure Boot Camp.  I really can’t even fake interest – Kennith can vouch for that.

But I drag myself literally kicking and whining to boot camp at least three times a week. Okay, sometimes only twice.

I was busy driving there last night and wondered to myself how I could explain to anyone how I – the most unmotivated person with regards to exercise – stays motivated enough to go to ABC, when I really do not enjoy it.  Then it came to me – like a little high pitched voice out of the darkness.

Georgia!

It happened like this.

I am lying semi-asleep on my left side, with the duvet sort of pulled haphazardly over my body.  I have a nightshirt on that has ridden up a bit – as does tend to happen as one sleeps.  I am not trying to start a cheap sex blog here, I am merely trying to assist you to picture the scene from the safety of your home.

So there I am lying, hoping for a few more minutes of sleep.  I know the kids are moving around the house.  I really do not know why people think there is a pitter-patter of little feet in a house with kids, it is a more like the sound of a stampede 0f wildebeest.  Any-the-how, I digress.

So there I lie, with just the right amount of saliva dribbling out of the corner of my mouth.  <Too much and it wets the pillow and wakes you up, just enough moistens your lips so they do not go all dry and crispy when you first yawn.>

I hear the distinct whisper of Georgia standing behind me.

Georgia: “Hello mommy” <I can hear her smiling – she is such a happy little thing.>

Me – substituting until real mommy arrives: “Hello my love ….”

Georgia: “Are you sleeping mommy?”

Me: “Not so much sweetie…”

Georgia: “Mommy when I am big, will I be as big as you?”

Me: “errr, I think so sweetie, you are already such a big girl …… please go and watch tv with your brother like a big girl.”

Georgia: ” Mommy…”

Me: “Yes Georgia bear….”

Georgia: “When I am big, will I have a big bum like you?”

And  now I have a mantra forAdventure Boot Camp …

The weekend that was …..

We arrived back from our hike on Thursday afternoon.  As soon as I saw Isabelle I knew she was sick.  The poor lamb chop was all red and blotchy in her face and just looked exhausted.  I tried not to panic as I stumbled in the door.

Our wonderful house/child minders had done a little midnight run to Medi-Clinic’s ER the night before as Isabelle had been spiking a temperature.   I am really glad I was out of cell phone range, as I can’t imagine getting that call and not being able to do anything as I was stranded in a nature reserve with no way out.  Rachel and Blake did a wonderful job to sort out Isabelle and keep the household sane in our absence.

I realize there are a lot of moms who would tut-tut-tut me for being away from the kids, and being out of cell phone range. I did feel guilty I must confess, however Rachel is a nurse, and her and Blake are probably the most level headed people I know.  If there was a crisis, odds I would be the one running around the garden in my jammies screaming hysterically, so I am glad that sensible Blake and Rachel were here.

As a precaution I took Isabelle off to the doctor on Friday – doctor treated her for croup and gastro.  I kind of thought that once I gave her the steroids and the suppository all would be well – as well as it can be if one is placing something large into a baby’s bum I guess.  However, it was not to be.

The weekend began to be measured by minute – each one more excruciating than the last.

Isabelle cried all weekend long.  I don’t mean she cried a bit, I mean she cried  a l l   w e e k e n d.  Our house guests can attest to this no doubt. Shame for me, shame for them, double shame for poor Isabelle.

Fortunately (I realize sarcasm is the lowest form of wit ….. ) Kennith had planned to be unavailable the entire weekend, which was an exercise in driving me more over the edge.

I took the safe route and stayed house bound all weekend.  It was easier to control the kids, and probably the route less likely to end in a nervous breakdown.

On Sunday it was pretty rough, and I must confess that the bigger two were really good.  They played outside in the dirt – I would love to say on our lush grass, but I would be lying.

At one point Georgia came up to me and asked if she could come inside to shower.  She was covered in black mud from head to foot, with a huge green booger hanging out of her nose and resting on her top lip with a mucus cord connecting it to the other bits still in her nose.  It’s these precious moment that remind us why we chose to become moms!

The weekend ended with me being awoken by  Isabelle at about 1/2am on Monday morning.  I went through to check on her and found her lying there with a temperature of 39 degrees and just looked terrible – poor cherub.  I gave her a suppository – and then sat on the rocking chair with her hoping she would cool down.

By 3am we ended up in a tepid bath trying to get her temperature down.

Isabelle is such a little trooper – there she was sick as a dog, and splashing about in the bath with her two tooth smile.  The balance of the morning she spent lying on my chest as I tried to sooth her.  (I might have needed some soothing then, a baby on your chest in the middle of the morning can be very soothing even to the most jaded soul.)

I did what all working moms hate to do on a Monday morning and phone in to say I won’t be in as I have a sick baba.  Bless them, they were so understanding.  I took sick baba to the doctor – again – to discover she has a raging middle ear infection.

So baba got through the rest of the day with antibiotics, more suppositories, some throwing up, and some sleeping with lots of crying thrown in – I may have had a bit of a sob too.

Fortunately – and I say this with my eyes looking towards the heavens – I have Pepe!!!  I am truly blessed.   Pepe looked after Isabelle for a bit, so I could get some sleep as I was so exhausted from this weekend and the interrupted night last night.

This evening was more suppositories, more antibiotics, some nasal spray and hopefully a little baba who sleeps through the night.

And a very tired mom who gets some sleep too.

<Kennith was a super star, he fetched the kids from school for me, and made dinner – and he found an unopened bottle of wine! Bless.>

Off with his head ….

As you may, or may not have observed, I have three children, and am barely able to survive my day without having at least one major speed wobble and total hysterical fit that can only be cured by the immediate transfusion of wine.

Being semi-responsible people, we had discussed sterilization before.  We agreed with the principle. The issue was more about who would do it.  Who would have their legs up in stirrups versus who would go out and buy the bag of Chuckles.

I always said that Kennith should have a vasectomy, as sterilization for women is so much harder and more difficult – medically.

I felt he could pop out for a vasectomy on his lunch break, on the way to collect his Russian-and-chips combo.  I could see that Kennith really was not keen on a vasectomy, but he felt okay to volunteer me for sterilization.  Because I knew he was not going to be doing it, I felt confident to keep pushing the point that he should do it because his tackle was within easier reach to a doctor with a scalpel.

While pregnant Kennith suggested I look at being sterilized at the same time that the  doctors were digging around in my nether regions.  Kennith is all about value for money.  He figured while they were there plucking a baby out and rearranging a placenta, they might as well do a bit of house-keeping as well.  I was there, they were there, you see his argument. The thing was that I really could not argue with him …. in theory

We had three children, we really did not need any more – we were also rapidly running out of car seat space.

But here is the rub. There is just this inability on my part to agree to being sterilized.  I kept saying that “I don’t want any more children, but I am not ready to make that decision right now.” This statement strikes the fear of God into Kennith. I can imagine his look of horror if I bounded into the room with two stripes on a home pregnancy test.

After the birth of our third child, during those rather difficult (I am being wildly polite here) 6 weeks, Kennith volunteered to get a vasectomy.  He literally rolled over to me one night as I was struggling to settle Isabelle, and said: “I’m going to get a vasectomy….”

At the time, I am sure he was keen to trot down the passage and do it himself with a dessert spoon.  I believe he was really just looking for an excuse to get out of the house and have an afternoon lie down on a hospital bed.  We really were having a grim time, so it almost seemed like a worthwhile outing.

The idea that there was the slightest chance that we could have another newborn, who could systematically destroy our will-to-live in a mere 6 weeks was too much for Kennith to bear.

In Kennith’s defense, it does show his undying optimism that he thought he might be getting access to sex again, but that is another story for another post.

I really would not have looked at a fourth child, I just felt that I was not ready for that decision to be made in such a “final” manner.

I am fine to decide not to have another child, but the idea that the decision would be taken away from me – albeit by my medical consent – was just not a decision I was willing to make.

I feel I want to know where the door and the keys are. I did not want to have to deal with the fact that the door was bricked up with no access at all.  I may not want to actually walk through the door, but I needed to know the door still worked.

I do wonder how parents make this decision that one, or two, or three children or what ever that magic number is enough.

I have a friend who made the decision when she was less than thirty and she had two children.  Those two children were hard won, due to the difficulties she had endured falling pregnant and maintaining those pregnancies.

At the time I did not really think about it when she said she had been sterilized after her second.  But now I stand and wonder how she had the insight/strength to make that decision and know she would never look back at that moment and go “I wish I had waited.”

How do couples/women make that decision?  I can honestly say I can’t – I fear the possible regret.

Of Hikes and Tears ….

I apologise for no new posts in the last week.

I dragged myself kicking and screaming on a 5 day hike – the result of drinking and decision-making covered earlier.

The hike offered wonderful views, aching legs, more sweat than I knew my pores could excrete, and many moments where I wanted to lie on the ground and sob like a baby.

Just got home, trying to get my arse into gear, and will blog in the next few days.

Tonight we have a dozen people coming over for dinner – tomorrow I am alone with kids and scared shitless.  Sunday Kennith is off to do the Argus – I would be happier if he just read the Argus.  I’m thinking that I am going to be wishing for the peace of the hike quite soon.

Drinking and Decision Making ……

We have friends who like to hike and attempt to be/get fit.

Usually these plans are concocted at about 11pm after copious amounts of wine. Suddenly everyone has a plan of how we are going to get fit and what adventure we are going to attempt next, and starts brain storming wild ideas that involve lycra and sweat.

Good sense (and experience in these matters) tell me that when I wake up the next morning, we really did not mean what we said the night before. We are quite happy to spend our days lying around and mimicing a sloth.

Recently while tucking into a particular delicious bottle of Haute Cabriére Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Joyce says: “We really need to get fit this year….”

To the chorus of “Yes, yes, yes, we must…” slurp of wine, spill a little on the table, throw some Caribbean Onion & Balsamic Vinegar Lay chips into your mouth.

“Yes, yes, we must, we must.” Lots of head nodding – even some wild gesturing was added.

Joyce says: “I have an idea – let’s do a hike.”

“Yes, yes, we must, it will be so cool..” more wine slurping, a little less spillage, a few Chuckles in mouth – some get in the mouth, some miss and roll across the table.

“Yes, we must do something about this getting fit thing.” Cheering all around.

Joyce says: “I think we should do the Whale Trail!”

“The Whale Trail – what a fabulous idea – I hear it is really pretty.” A little more wine, chips are finished, trying to dig the last Chuckles out of the red bag.

Joyce says: “We can even slack pack!”

“Slack pack!! That is my way of hiking, excellent I will have someone to carry my wine, that sounds fabulous.” Chuckles are finished.  Trying to suss out how much wine I can get out of the bottle before I need to impose on my host to offer me another bottle of this nectar of the gods.

Joyce says – a little too enthusiastically:  “ I am going to find out – who is in if we can go – come on who is in?”

Everyone is excited, and saying yes – people are putting their hands up and congratulating each other for being so keen.  There is more pouring of wine, another bottle is brought and it is all happy fellows.

Next morning we receive an email from Joyce. She has actually found out about the Whale Trail and now appears to be on a first name basis with Luleka from the Cape Nature Office.

Joyce then proceeds to book, and heckles us – mercilessly – to pay and then it just starts to get all surreal.

I put it out of my mind – a bit like the Soccer World Cup, you know it is happening, but really it is so far away that you don’t really take stock of it.

Last time (circumstances were similar) they organized the-hike-of-death affectionately called the Otter Trail. I managed to fall pregnant on the eve of departure.  I am sure it was my body’s natural defense mechanism to get out of poo’ing in a long drop. So I managed to get out of that one, and pleaded pregnancy. Listen there are few times one can play that card, and I felt that this was the time.

Unfortunately this time, I am all out of ideas – I even took a pregnancy test last Sunday, just in case – hike starts Saturday!!

Razor blades and wrist slitting ……

I fetched the kids from school yesterday and needed to stop and grab some goodies for dinner.  We were having friends over and I had not really had a chance to give it much thought, so I was trying to pull a Nigella.  I needed to find quick and easy food that would reinforce the idea that I was a domestic goddess to my friends.  I’m not, but I strive to reinforce this belief – even if it is only in my mind.

There we were in Woolworths, kids were fighting over something and I was trying really hard to decide whether I could attempt a camembert phyllo pastry number or just throw a pasta together.

Got over to the check-out counter – picture the scene – it is 5pm, really busy stuff in the store.  Connor is being helpful and unpacking. Georgia is crying because I am not buying her a lollypop – she has resorted to saying please as pweeeezzzzz (but repeated really fast) in the vain hope that cuteness will override my no.

I realize Connor is talking to me and turn to him – and he is pointing to a razor blade display at the check- out and goes: “Mom are you going to get some of those?’

I go : “No, my boy, I’m sorted..” and I continue attending to what one attends to at Woolworths check-out counter.

Connor continues in a slightly louder voice: “Are you sure?  Because these are for your legs.”

I smile – as mom’s can only do when they realize they are being faced with a trying situation – and say: “Really Connor, I have it sorted, but thanks my boy.”

Connor then decides to explain in a louder voice – in case the guy who is packing stock in the back was not in on the conversation: “Well I think you should buy them, because the hair on your legs is all long and spiky, and it is hard and makes me sore….”

I quietly hand over my credit card and slink out the store …….

Surviving the first hour …..

Adventure Boot Camp beat the living crap out of me – I really don’t think I need to actually add more to this post than that.

But I will – they beat me, and humiliated me and made me cry – and that was just in the warm up section of the hour.

At this point I felt I wanted to query where they got the fekn happy smiley people on their brochure, because it really was not taken at the class I attended.

This onslaught went on for a full hour – there was running, jumping jacks – fekn Heidi skips!!!

I ask you when was the last time anyone asked you to do a Heidi skip? Do you know how ridiculous you look when you Heidi skip? Do you know how much co-ordination it take to make your leg sort of hang in the air, while you swing your arms? The fact that the flab on your entire body is getting thrown around at such an incredible pace is probably the reason why only six year old girls do Heidi skips.

The hour went on and on. What shocked me more was the fact that the trainer kept saying this is the first day of the first week and we are going to be taking it easy.

I am not sure if someone stopped long enough to tell my lungs and heart that this was the easy part. I was doing all I could not to throw up on the field.

To add to my already humiliating state, I realized that I have zero co-ordination. Jumping Jacks and Ski-ing Movements are beyond foreign to me. It is like doing line-dancing and being the only idiot who is up when everyone is done. (do not take this as any indication that I know how to line dance – you must see me do the Macarena – it is tragic.)

It was sad, it was humiliating and it was painful! I am so unfit and just so far from being able to move faster than a Chuckles-can-roll-off-a-table, that I want to weep!

Your Mama is so fat …….

I really hate exercise – not a little, but a whole lot.  I don’t gym, I don’t power walk, I don’t WII Fit.  I am more of the bag of Chuckles and glass of wine school of weight loss.  Surprisingly enough, my diet plan is not working out as successfully as I would have hoped. 

I put huge stock in the fact that breastfeeding was going to keep the kilograms off.  But it seems even if your little one drinks from you (and invites her friends over) all day, you really are burning up the equivalent of a chicken wrap – no mayo, just some lettuce.  The result is that my lifestyle of chocolate, wine, pasta and anything that was not moving fast enough, had made it impossible to wear anything I wore prior to falling pregnant.   For the record very little I wore while pregnant looked good – it was more for comfort.

To add to the comedy drama –  our house is full of these wall-sized mirrors.  In our defense, we bought the house this way.  Our en-suite bathroom had Liberace as it’s consultant designer.  Once you look past the faux-gold taps and gaudy light fitting, your eyes come to rest on the rather gi-normous wall mirror (the  E N T I R E wall is a mirror) only off set by the fact that there is another mirror on the adjacent wall.

I am  not denying  that this is not attractive in a sort of Saturday Night Fever sort of way.  But when one is disrobing and catches a glimpse of one’s self it is not pleasing on the eye. 

The time when you are feeling most vulnerable – and you can ask any dog this – is when you are sitting down on your white throne for your morning toilette.

Your hair has that eu-de-morning sleep thing going on, your face is one wrinkle away from Joan Rivers, and your night-shirt is sort of wrapped around your chest so your left boob is kind of hanging over the top.  While seated, you cast your lazy eye to the left only to be presented with a life-sized version of you in all your splendor and glory.

The problem (or one of them) with the toilet is that you really cannot suck in your stomach .  Unfortunately it tends to sort of hang over and find its resting place on your top thigh. 

I withstood quite a few mornings with this image in Technicolor until I decided I had had enough and it was time to get my ass to some sort of exercise.  Like some divine intervention – a rather bouncy happy girl handed me a DL pamphlet at our robots.  I did have to put down my Tempo bar and bag of Chuckles, to roll down the window to take it from her, but that being said, the bright orange and black leaflet made all sorts of promises that really resonated with me.

They promised me that I would lose 3kg, I would be happy and make friends.  I have always wanted to be thin and popular so it seemed like a win-win situation all around.

I went on-line and signed myself up for Adventure Boot Camp

My first sense that something was amiss was when it was being referred to as a Boot Camp – immediately this conjured up images of a sergeant major (or what ever, I am not particular good with ranks) screaming at me to “hardloop na daai boom” or something equally as scary. I shrugged this off to my over-active imagination and happily did the EFT.

I dusted my training pants off, scrunged up my hair, pulled a bottle of water out of the fridge and headed out to Adventure Boot Camp ………….. waist line here I come!!