My kingdom for a venue ….

This weekend we had made a shortlists of venues and had siked ourselves to that ticked and sorted.  The lack of venue was becoming a bit of an issue for me – I had a list and the first thing was “venue” on my list and I could not tick it off, so I was becoming very agitated.

There were a few clues that the weekend excursion might not go to plan.

A few of the key issues were that both Kennith and I had flu-like symptoms and were struggling to remain civil.  Isabelle was teething, and when she was not throwing up, she was crying.

Connor and Georgia huddled in the backseat of the car, were fighting and we had not even reversed out of our driveway.  The cards were stacked against us as we set off on our little adventure, but like pioneers off we went.

The plan was we were going to see three on Saturday.  So off to Paarl we go.  The first was not great.  But in its defense was lovely as an outside venue with a lavender field – I love lavender, but that is pretty much where the love stopped.  It had that “conference” centre feel to it, that no amount of alcohol would have been able to mask.

The proprietor’s repeated statement of “… then this is probably not the venue for you” when I asked if they could alter some of the rather “set” policies they had, did not really warm me to the place either.

We left that location as quickly as was polite to do so, with an effort not to kick up too much dust as we wheel skidded the hell out of there.

Off we go to Riebeek Kasteel – me in high-spirits – I really was sure that this venue was the one, was I was feeling rather smug about the whole thing as I think I have found the dream venue.

But there we were on our way to Riebeek Kasteel.  We follow the map and it really is deliverance country.  We were just looking for the kid on the banjo.

With 20/20 hindsight the place did refer to itself as a farm, not an estate, or a venue.  It did call itself a farm.  But you know how one is blind to these details as you stumble forward in the hope of finding the perfect venue.

We drove about 5km along a dust-road.  Kennith and I kept thinking “where the hell are we….no really”

We saw a sign clearly marked Farm.  Again the word did not really have much weight for me at the time.  As I passed moo cows, sheep and emus I started to get a feeling that there was something just a little off about this.

We drove right to the back of the farm and there was the venue.  We were surrounded by farm animals, but there was the venue.

It really was a really good illustration of why one should never believe photos – immediately I could see where the photos were taken from.  The power of photo cropping and good camera positioning became apparent.  (Note to self: Never buy a home from a photograph. Never marry a man based solely on his photograph on the internet.)

I was gutted – I really could not face having a wedding on a working farm, while I swatted the odd horse-fly away.

By the time Kennith and I got all our mucus-smeared, very techy children back in to the car, we were all feeling defeated, I think I might even have let out a little sob.

Because we are suckers for punishment we drove through Riebeek West and stopped at two other venues – on the outside chance I may just stumble on something.

The one was typically a venue built mid-1980.  I really could not see myself getting married in a hall with half wine-barrels dotted along the walls.  The final decision breaker, was where you had to step through one of the wine barrels to get into the bar area …. seriously who designed this?  The same crew who did make-up  for Knots Landing I’m guessing.

The last venue I saw  in Riebeek West looked very promising – don’t they all. Glanced over the venue details – venue fee R5 000.00 – not the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.  Draping and fairy lights – R2 500.00.  So I look at the venue which seems to have said drapery and fairy lights as a fixture –

So I say:  “But I want them, but I am not going to pay R2500.00 for them.”

He says: “Then we will take them down.”

Me says: “ But they are a fixture, the room is not worth the R5000.00 without them as the it is really big rectangular tiled room.”

He says: “Mmm, I see your point, but they do cost more.”

Me says: “You do understand how ridiculous this sounds.  If I do not pay R2 500.00 then you will get a crew in and send a man up a ladder to get something down that is already there…”

He says: “ Mmmm, we might be negotiable on that…”

I swear,  my humour had failed me – you know when you feel the overriding urge to say “Well, fek you and the horse you rode in on…” I also have no idea why that would feel appropriate at the time, it just did.

On Sunday we just stayed home – I was too angry to do anything other than wallow in misery.

On Sunday night, I googling a venue (for a change).

Monday morning after a hearty breakfast and several cups of tea set out to see said venue.  I  was pretty defeated, so I went along to this one sure that it would blow like the others – however on the upside it was not far from our home.

Initially our Gestapo-like co-ordinator put us off the venue – impressive to meet someone who struggles more with people skills than me, but there we were.  Just as we were on the verge of killing ourselves, things started to turn as she listened to what we wanted – stopped trying to sell us the earth, and considered that we wanted something that she wasn’t selling as standard in her gold foil and embossed folder.

45 minutes later we had a venue.  I wanted to hug Gestapo girl –  I did squeeze her arm affectionately but she recoiled from my touch – ah, she will grow to like me, you will see.

Kennith and I skipped around the estate.  We sat on a little wooden bench with lavender around us and held hands.

We however soon realized we were wasting valuable time and made our way to the wine tasting area.  There we were quaffing wines at the wine estate we were going to get married at.

My fiance bought me three bottles of wine – I could not have been happier!

I feel like the world has lifted off my shoulders and I can stop tormenting myself with venues.  I can tell all the venues sitting in my in-box to actually fek right off!  I really do want to say that to them, but I might taper it down to “thanks, but no thanks…”

The birds are singing, I am all giddy with excitement. Folks, we may just have a wedding!

Hold my place for me … I am coming now-now

Between the holidays, my ADSL problem, sick baby and my inability to find a venue, I have just been a bit stretched, and have not been in the right mind space to formulate a post that does not sound like Satan vomiting on the page.

Sincere apologise to anyone who has avoided doing work to visit my blog only to be disappointed that they have nothing to read with their morning cup of coffee/tea.

Tomorrow I will make restitution and update with a new post – the theme might be the trials and tribulations of our wedding venue, so brace yourself for more whining and moaning.

Side bar: I wanted to quickly add this image today – we had photos taken recently and I just love this photo.

Of items lost and found …..

I am permanently searching for miscellaneous items in our house … the vast majority not being for me.

I place my car keys on the cow-design key holder when I come in to the house.  I put my shoes in my cupboard or next to my bed.  My clothes go into the wash box, and my smaller items go on the side table next to my bed, right next to my book and my cell phone.

I know where my things are, as I do not have time to find them later as I am too busy finding stuff for other members of my family.

My kids come to me when they can’t find their clothes, shoes, bags, toys, books and so on – as if I have a built-in radar to locate these things.

They tend to get upset as kids do – so often misplaced things are treated like critical emergencies.  I have to stop what I am doing and go and assist them to find it – which actually means they sit on the bed and start telling me arb and seldom interesting stories while I am on my hands and knees looking in cupboards and under beds.

Kennith has also taken to asking me where things are – which I find really annoying.  Kennith’s ability to put things away in their correct place is often left wanting.  He will usually go: “I can’t find my xyz – have you seen it?”

I will always reply – with a slight condescending tone in my voice: “where did you leave it?” implying that where he left it is the reason that he is now including me in this rather jolly version of hide-and-go-seek.

Kennith’s answer will inevitably be – on the floor, next to the bed, in the lounge, on the dining room table or some other random spot.  Somehow his inability to put anything back in its correct spot and the fact that he spends ages looking for it, and then asking me to be part of the search has not really correlated in his mind.  So he continues to place items randomly about the house and then gets himself worked up when these items cannot be located.  It often appears to be the “maid’s fault…”

Our maid takes her job rather seriously in terms of tidying up and packing away – which again seems to come as a shock to those who leave their precious possession lying around.

Connor and Georgia are both at school.  Fetching them in the afternoons has really become more a game of remembering what they were wearing, what they were carrying and then retrieving all these items before we get into the car.

If I am distracted, we will drive off and I will realise we are missing shoes, juice bottles, lunch boxes, school bags, jackets and various other items of a personal nature.

None of this affects them directly.  It only seems to affect me as I will need to go and find them the next day.  If they are really gone, then I will need to purchase another one.  It seems you cannot send your child to school without lunch, shoes and a jacket and be expected to be viewed as a good parent – even if you send a note to school explaining that you are teaching a valuable life lesson.

Last week Connor lost his book bag.  It is a large blue zipper bag – and contains all his work that he is doing at school, including homework book, any notices of events, flip files that contain current work – in short it is really an important bag that he needs in class every day.

So he loses it on Thursday.

Friday he says he has looked everywhere for it.  Now I am not sure how he has looked everywhere when he cannot give me a list with one location that he has looked.

We go off to lost property on Friday afternoon and it is not there.  We cannot go to his class as it is locked, so I am convinced it is at home.  I spend a fair bit of Saturday morning and a bit on Sunday looking for this bag, sure that he has brought it home and he has misplaced it there, as he has so clearly explained he has looked EVERYWHERE at the school.

There I am crawling under beds, looking inside things, checking the boot of the car and so on.  Connor, has no idea where this thing in – I think the only reason that he is looking mildly upset is because I have explained how serious it is if this bag is lost for good.  I have used my angry-mommy voice, which is very much like my angry-bridezilla voice at the moment.

Monday I leave work early, as now I am going to school to collect him and play project-find-the-flipp’n-book-bag.

I arrive at school, and happiness is – he has found his book bag.  Yay!

My natural question is “where was it?” He sort of mumbles a bit. I lean forward to extract an answer.  It seems it was in after care.  The same place he said he looked – exhaustively – on Friday.  After care is only so big.

From this I gauge  – and from his manner of talking which is a tad sheepish – that Master Connor actually spent no time at all on Friday looking for his book bag.  He used his time wisely playing with his mates on the field.  Which I concur is a good way to spend your time if you are eight years old.  But not if you are losing things, and making your flipping mom spend ages looking for something that is not lost, was never lost and now mom is leaving work early to come and look for it.

So clearly even though Connor found his book bag  I am slightly less than excited.

Why you might say, in that judgemental tone you reserve for moms who are a tad too hard on their kids.

Well simply because at the time, I was reversing back into the school so Connor could go back to after care to find his lunch bag which he had now lost!

And this my friends, is why mothers MUST drink!

Long Live Bridezilla …….

Yesterday was really not a good day in the world of wedding planning, or more importantly my wedding planning.  I had a real melt down and total humour failure. I think I actually screamed at my friend Joyce when she called me to offer me support and assistance, I was also having a little cry at my desk.  I know,  I should really stop crying at my desk at work and also not scream at Joyce.

I totally lost the plot yesterday, and was feeling a tad on the desperate side. I cannot believe that me – a nearly sane, very jaded, very rational individual seemed to have lost all sense related to confetti and wedding cake, but there we have it.

No doubt, this was the first of many subsequent break-downs, so do tune in for more.  I still have a script for Zoloft that I have not filled, so at least I can get some medication if things start really getting much worse.

I think the dress lady thinks I am going to pull a runaway bride move, so is trying to be supportive regarding my inability to commit to the dress – or any dress.  Bless her cotton socks.

So today, I am better than yesterday.  Still woke up at about 3am with a thousand things running through my mind, and lay there staring at the ceiling.

Kennith was very supportive, my friend Tanya wrote me a lovely email to offer her support and to try to give me some perspective on reality – which was great, I could just give her a big old kiss.

Loads of people have said some nice things, when they might have said “Come here so I can slap you, you stupid cow, now snap out of it!”  But they didn’t, which I am mighty grateful for.

I hope that Kennith and I go and see some venues this weekend and then commit to one and then I can tick that off and start worrying about the next thing on my list.

I still have not paid for the dress though …..

I don’t even think I am smiling inside …….

If you are hoping for an up-beat blog post, this is definitely not going to be the one for you.

I get to act like a spoilt eleven year old and have a bitch and a whine every now and then.  I don’t always have to wear my big girl panties.  This is one of those self-indulgent “poor me” moment  …

I am so over this entire wedding planning thing I really really could scream.

I am terribly frustrated and even more frustrated when I look at what I have done from the engagement date until now.  I have achieved absolute nothing.  However I feel like I have been running at 100km an hour for three weeks, only to find myself in the exact same location, but just more jaded and disillusioned.

On the upside I do have a dress … well sort of.

When I started the dress-hunt I was fine with anything – really that is what I thought.  I thought I would be fine with anything – who needs a wedding dress right?

I started on the lower end of plain.  Once I started trying on the dress, I realized that maybe there was a bit of princess inside me.  Maybe I did want the entire white huge dress, the tiara, the totally over the top dress – maybe I did, no matter what personality type I appear to be, and what people were used to be wearing.

I tried on one dress that was not too over the top, but was so purely princess fairytale, it did make my eyes water a little bit. I just wanted to leave it on and wear it forever – I think I might even have swooned a bit.

But with big dreams and big dresses, comes bigger price tags, so I scaled it down and did not make an emotional decision.  I stayed in my head-space and not in my heart-space, and decided on something that if I wore the right shoes I could wear it out for pizza afterwards.

The truth be told, I still do not actually have a dress – I have an option of a dress.  I do not have the dress, because something in my psyche is fighting against me actually paying for the dress.  Having the dress will mean that I am actually going to be part of this wedding, and there will be a wedding.  Right now I am not convinced, based on the lack of some basic fundamentals one needs to have a wedding.

I have the pay-for-your-dress-email sitting in my in-box flashing at me every time I look at it that I need to pay for my dress or else ….

The other reason the dress seems pretty unnecessary, is that we do not have a location.  So this might be one of those “all dressed up and no where to go” situations one reads about.  Venue is rather critical in a wedding.  You can’t do this like an underground rave party and just arrive and decide that this is where you are going to plug in the speakers, and there is where you will sell the ecstacy.  Weddings really do not work that way, pity, but they don’t.

I do not have a location as nothing that anyone appears to quote me on is within our budget.  I do not actually know what our budget is, other than less than I am able to get costings on.  I agree that a venue for 6 – 8 hours should not cost your than your monthly or yearly bond payment.  I really get that.  But there seems to be this impossible divide between what is available, and what we can afford.

And everywhere I look are these wonderful photos of these brides in beautiful dresses, cavorting around some divine venue, having wonderful photos taken – everyone is happy and shiny.

Then when I look at the costs of the venues I go back to re-look at the photos as I wonder how can that bride look so carefree and her bridegroom look so suave and happy when they are being charged R25 000.00 before they have even eaten food or drunk some wine?

As my pursuits of these things have discovered, R25 000.00 is not even the top end of the venue fees that are out there, but either way it is far out of our budget.

I cannot bear the thought of getting married somewhere sad and tragic just because it is affordable, rather than somewhere that is going to be romantic and heavenly.  I want it to be divine as I walk down the aisle even if it is unescorted.  I have fought against this for years, now that I have decided to give in, why can’t I be swept away instead of being dragged down by the costs of everything?

Why can’t I have parents who just say – this is your wedding, go and pick the dress you want, don’t worry, of course we will cover it.  Don’t worry about the venue cost, pick anything you like, we will cover it.

So I lament the lack of silver spoon I was born with, and feel angry that we have to pay for our own wedding when we are not exactly in the best financial position of our lives.

Being on maternity leave last year, which I like to affectionately call 4 months unemployment, can leave a less than desirable dent in your bank account and cash flow.

I want to look at the wedding photographs and sigh a little rather than cringe when I see the neon Spur sign in the background.

I am so over googling everything wedding related that I could scream – and scream and then scream some more.

I was so sure I would not buy into all this hype – I would be fine to whip on a pair of black pants a neat shirt and skip into the reception.

Well, Pandora has been released it would seem and there is a reluctant bride lurking in all of us.  I want the dress, the bos blomme, I want the professional makeup and hair person.

I want to prance around like a princess and feel absolute ridiculous for one day.  I want to relish this divine day that I have been waiting for … yes waiting for… for what feels like forever.

But the day approaches, and I am starting to feel as dark as foreboding as I can guarantee the weather will be on that day.

I am exhausted by it all, and I just want to climb off the bus, say thanks and go and enjoy a large glass of wine.

How can such a happy occasion be turning into something that just wants to make me cry and scream in frustration and anger?

As it stands, I have no dress, no ring, no venue, no patience, but I have a four meetings scheduled with a wedding officer I met in a parking lot, so right now it’s all pretty magic!

Toodles, I am off to play Bridge …….

This getting married thing seemed like such a good idea when I was young and naive – three weeks ago. Now I am feeling a bit jaded, a little very frustrated, and sadly a bit over the planning.

But I must plan, I must have a list, but I have few things that I can tick off that list right now.

On the upside, I seem to have a dress.  But start questioning myself that maybe I found the dress too early.  Maybe my REAL dress is waiting out there calling me.  I really need to get over my mental illness and pay the people for my dress, else my dress actually won’t be my dress and then I will be back to square one.

Wedding venues or the location of them, appears to be something that separates the resourceful from the clinically insane.  I appear to be in the second category, as I pop yet another Zoloft to ease the pain.

It has become apparent that if I booked an establishment and brought along 60 – 80 of my closest friends, an overhead projector and a laser pointer I would be charged one price.

The minute I use the word “wedding” in any of my discussions, suddenly I am hit with a  venue fee that makes me weep,  the food cost quadruples in value, and it seems the fine print at the bottom of all these offers gets finer and more detailed.  People keep using the phrase “your perfect wedding.”

Listen, my perfect wedding would be handing a wedding planning +R200 000.00, some basic ideas and then ask her to call me the day before the wedding to just tell myself and Kennith where to go.

I really do not want to get involved in where, how much it costs, whether there is a duck in a pond and whether my guests can drink in the chapel.

I am too pretty to be weighed down by this sort of detail.

We initially had the rather misguided idea that we were going to get married in the Hermanus or Stanford area.

At this stage the rather over-priced, not efficient and really not friendly people of that area have seriously put me off using the area as a  location – only because they won’t have me, not for lack of trying.  I have easily contacted a dozen places and have met with heart ache every time.

I am feeling a need to make a call to a help line that deals with abused and disheartened women, maybe ones that offer wine as a self-medicating route.

Right now – I have one outstanding query and it is sort of the place that appears the most workable.  The reason I say appears is because madam proprietor appears unable to email or call me and confirm anything.  I have emailed her twice and called her three times.

My best was yesterday.  I called – feeling really annoyed because I was still waiting.  Let’s call her Jenny – because that is her name -was out at Bridge could not deal with my query.  What she has been doing for the last week also escapes me a little, but I need to practice my “be patient” mantra as Jenny is out playing Bridge.

When I am old and less annoyed, I would like to go off and play Bridge, and not worry about the little things in life.

I have since realized that clearly the Overberg does not want to be party to our nuptials and it is time to put on my big girl panties and start looking in the Cape Town area.  I am still dealing with the venue fee +cost per head + ludicrous wine costs + and any other extras they decide to throw in.

My head hurts, my humour is failing me, and I am waking up at 3am lying in bed thinking about all this crap.

At this rate I am turning into a very angry, very frustrated nearly bride.

Have you seen my perineum?

I belong to a forum that generally chats about mommy related issues.  Sometimes they speak about driver’s licences and domestic workers wages, but that no doubt, is another story for another day.

The one very contentious subject which keeps coming up is the vaginal birth versus a c-section birth.  This one gets the guns smoking in no time.

No matter how the question is posed, or the reason for the start of the thread – and there are literally dozens –  it always ends up the same way.  Someone says something stupid, and then someone wants to give them a cyber-space bitch slap.

The conclusion that always seems to be formed is that c-section moms are judged for having c-sections – no matter how subtle the judgement.  I am not an overly sensitive person and I to tend to tread where angels fear to go and all that, but I have noted that the more threads I read, the more apparent this feeling.

The reason for why you have chosen a c-section is always prodded, like there is something wrong with you and you need to defend yourself.

The c-section moms often explain the trauma of the birth process that they have been through.  The risk to the baby.  They make it clear, that they did not choose this route, but ended up having to have an emergency c-section.  Usually they are bashfully apologizing “I tried natural but ….” I can almost hear the desperation in their voices.  Pleading not to be shunned by the vaginal-birth crowd.

There are a minority – at last count two – but no doubt more who just have not commented who elected to have a c-section.

We have no history of complications.  We chose not to go through a trial of labour.  We consciously elected to have c-sections as our choice of birth method.

It was not chosen because we are “too posh to push” – it was chosen as a healthy method of bringing our baby into the world – alive – without limited (if any) risk to him or her.

At 8 weeks pregnant – first scan, I looked at my OBGYN and said “I’d like to have a c-section.” He said “okey-dokey” or something of that nature, and that was the end of the conversation.

I felt no pressure to defend my choice with him, and the choice felt very natural to me.   We had the birth date set, and then the questions (almost accusations) started.

Some of my family thought there was something wrong with me.  Why would  I choose to have such a hideous invasive surgery done when I had a healthy v-jay just waiting to spring into action.

I felt quite strongly that for me, this was the safest route.  The only risk I could ascertain would be carried by me – the mom.  My baby – barring other complications – would come out of the birth process, pretty much risk free, subject to the correct EDD calculation (early c-sections clearly have their problems, but that is another subject).

I had Connor more than 8 years ago, and then I knew very few people who had experienced a c-section through choice – most were emergency or medically advised.

I had researched the topic and weighed up the pro’s and con’s of a vaginal birth versus a c-section.   I was open to either at the beginning of my research.

As I looked and delved in to the subject, the decision to opt for a c-section had fewer risks for my child.  There was also a good chance that my perineum would continue to separate my wee area from my poo area for eternity – which a vaginal birth could not guarantee, and listed as a possibly complication.

I had unfortunately read one too many reports of women who were experiencing serious problems in their nether regions following a vaginal births.  I realized that it was not everyone, but there was a risk of trauma to my perineum tearing which did fill me with a bit of concern.  Sure there are good tears – aren’t there always, but it was the bad ones that did raise my eyebrow a bit!  Again, nothing could be guaranteed it was more wait and see decision making.

One of the main motivators for my final decision was the control aspect – the one that tipped the scales shall we say.  I knew where it was going to be, I knew who would be there, I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen on that day.

The option with a vaginal birth is that there were a lot of “let’s wait and see how it goes” answers to my queries.  Not having a list to tick off causes me huge anxiety, and stress.  I need a list and I need a pretty ink pen to tick things off – that is the way I am programmed.

As time has gone by and I have gone through the process three times, the feeling of “attack” by the vaginal birth crowd is becoming more apparent.  There really is a feeling of two camps on this issue.  You are either for the one and against the other.  There does not seem to be much in the way of fence-sitting on this subject.

Things started to bother me – as I became a little more jaded and maybe a little crabbier, and maybe a little more inclined not to suffer fools.

Vaginal birth was always referred to as “natural” while c-section was well, just a c-section.   By one being natural, surely it would make the other “unnatural” …

The vaginal set seemed to laud the fact that they did not take drugs for the pain or preferred not to take any pain relief. They were really proud of it, and sort of announced it to all and sundry, like a Girl Guide equivalent of pain endurance.

I have yet to hear a vaginal birth mom say “listen it was so much fun, no pain, it was brilliant – my fanny feels great after that!

At the end of the day they do admit that squeezing a +3 kilogram mass out  of your v-jay-jay, no matter how cute the mass is, can get pretty sore.  Even once the endorphins have worked their way out of your system, it is still pretty sore.

The labour preceding the actual pushing seems to be excruciating too, and I have seen many women lose thier sense of humour during the 12 – 36 hours of gritting thier teeth through that.  They are always quick to say “it was all worth it.”

So why no drugs? And why is it a badge of honour to not take drugs or some pain relief?

There are a lot of things which are “natural” which are not good for you.  Naturally occurring elements such as arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium are toxic in various concentrations to both plants and animals.   No one seems to have a problem with avoiding those at all costs even though they are natural.

As humans there is stuff that happens to our bodies that are natural – teeth rot, we lose vision, we develop a bit of Alzheimer’s, we might even develop a bit of leprosy or gangrene if left out in the Amazon for too long.  Rabies is pretty natural too last time I checked.

Medical advances has given us some wonderful options to prevent us going through all this rather excruciating trauma.  Either taking anti-biotics (not natural) or having operations (not natural) to relieve us of this pain, or even to make our lives better seems to be the way to go, judging by the amount of time we spend at doctor’s offices.

And here is the rub for me …..

We do let medicine intervene in lots of things that make us feel better, or reduce our pain.  But why – oh why – do women insists on going through child birth, which no one disagrees is really painful, without medication, and then announce it like it is a badge of honour that they let their fanny stretch to all time size without asking for pain relief!

If that same women went to the dentist and had a filling or root canal work done and opted to not have medication and then proudly announced it afterwards.  Her family and all her friends would view her as a freak and have her committed to the nearest psychological observation clinic post-haste.

But all this birth and no drugs viewed as natural – puts all this pressure on soon to be moms to think that this is what they must aim for, anything less is well just not good enough.

I realize I am not being as eloquent as I should regarding this subject, but it is one of those things that baffles my mind, so I am just having a little vent here.

But tune in later as no doubt I will have a similar vent at a later date.

Of winkies and va-gi-nas …..

So last night the kids are all having a bath together and I think that this might be a prime moment for that little sex education lesson I have been putting off.  I also had a large glass of Chenin Blanc in hand, so that did give me a smidgen of Dutch Courage.

Me: “So Connor what do you call a boy winkie and a girl winkie?  What is the proper name?”

Georgia: “A moomfie.”  Sort of screaming it a bit.

Connor: “An inside winkie and an outside winkie.”

Me: “Okay, you are sort of right, but the proper name for a boy’s winkie is a penis,  can you all say penis.”

Connor  and Georgia in unison: “PENIS!”

I pray at this point that the neighbours are far far away, as I would hate to be standing explain this little didi to child services.

Me: “Okay so boys winkies are called a penis, what are girl’s winkies called?”

Georgia: “A M-O-O-M-F-I-E !” with a little more emphasis now, in case I did not quite hear earlier

Connor” errrr”

Me: “Girls winkies are called Va-gi-nas.”

Georgia: “ba-gi-nas”

Connor – squealing with laughter: “Pyjamas – why are they called pyjamas – do you climb in to them and wear them to bed?”

Me – really trying not to use my rather off beat brand of sarcastic humour here.  So I correct him and then we are all sounding out “VA – GI – NA” with relish in the bathroom.

Great, tick!

Me: “So Connor how are babies made?”

Connor: “Theres a small thing and it ….. …… it grows.” Oh the self-control I have to muster not to comment.

Me: “It is sort of right, there is an egg from the girl and the sperm from the boy – and when the sperm meets the egg, the cell starts to divide and get bigger and bigger and that is how a baby is made.”

Of course I am dreading, dreading the “how” part …. which you know is coming.  But I have my friend Chenin Blanc for morale support.

Me: “Connor all animals need an egg and a sperm to make a baby – so it does not matter if it is a human baby, or a lion, or a mouse or any of the animals you see on Discover they all need the same ingredients – understand?”

Connor: “Yes ….”

Me: “Connor how do you think the sperm gets to the egg?”

Connor: “The boy lies on the girl and then ….  his penis goes in ”  See I knew he read that book I put out, that is already a great start.

Me: “That’s right Connor – and the same thing happens with people and animals … pretty much.”

Connor: “No, the lion does not lie down does he?”

Me: “No, he stands behind the girl lion….”

Connor: “ How does his penis reach? Does he stand on top of her or behind her …?”

Me: “Well sort of behind, and on top ….. er …. like really close – haven’t you seen this on Discovery Channel?”

Connor: “Do people also stand up or do they only lie down?”

Me: “You know, either work quite well I believe – it’s all the same Connor, animals and people are pretty much the same.  So what ever a cow or a pig or a lion does is all pretty much what people do – more or less.”

Me, thinking I am nearing the finish here and it has all gone swimmingly well …

Connor: “Where does the sperm come from – and do I have any?”

Fortunately Connor is out of the bath, so I point to his abdomen and explain where it’s made and that it comes out of his penis.

Connor: “Like wee?”

Me: “Yes, pretty much.”

Connor: “How do you control it?” – honestly I don’t make this stuff up!!

So there I am explaining to my son about wet dreams and that he should not be embarrassed and so on and so on.   He admits that he sometimes does wake up with a stiff winkie – so I explain that it is natural, and he should not be embarrased, and as he gets older it will change, and happen for a different reason.

I try to encourage him that there is nothing to snigger about and find silly – it is what it is.  He seems okay, and goes and gets dressed.

He promised to ask me if he had any questions and said he was not going to ask his friends as “they probably don’t know the right answer!”  Clever lad!

We had a high-five moment, and he merrily went on his way.  I gulped the last of my Chenin Blanc and watched Georgia playing with the animals making them safe from farm invasion.  Isabelle continued to eat the sponge oblivious to the hallmark moment we had just been through.

Sooner or later I am going to be sitting with a sanitary towel and a tampon having a very similar conversation with these two.  Maybe Kennith can do that.

Me, off to pour more wine.

What’s sex?

While attending a book fair three years ago I bought a book that dealt with sex. It was not for me, though I am sure I could use it.

However I bought it so that I would not have to have the dreaded sex conversation with my kids. I am not exactly a prude, and have always thought I would be very matter of fact about this entire subject and not go and hide in the corner when this subject comes up.

There is something very unsettling about having your offspring stand in front of you all wide eyed and wonderful saying “What is sex?” I dare you not to cringe!

Connor started telling me a story yesterday that was so funny for him, that he could barely get through the introduction. I also realized that his laughter was embarrassed laughter rather than the kind that is usually is associated when someone makes a fart. Connor does love his butt humour.

So Connor is telling me that his mate, Devin, said that sex is when two people take their clothes off and you start rubbing the other one’s boobies! It is a fairly accurate description of foreplay for all intense purposes. So I sort of stood there- mildly embarrassed as I knew where this was leading. I also knew Pepe was listening and no doubt waiting to hear my response.

I heard the tick-tock-tick-tock of the clock on the oven, and hoped time would move really quickly so Kennith could come home and deal with this. Time it seems does stand still, even when not in the biblical context. Connor then asked: ‘So what is sex … exactly?”

I knew I had bought the book. I knew we had been through this issue – in a very scientific non-giggling way, but here it was again. Shit!

My brain was trying to work out how to change the subject. I went with the “we can talk about it later.”

Over supper – which was Steers burgers – yay diet!!!

I mentioned the incident to Kennith. Kennith tried to raise the subject with Connor but instead they started talking about the word “sexy!” It seems that it is quite a common word used at school and used in the same context as “awesome!” Like “I have just done a cool move with my skate board – sexy!” (or something to that effect)

I think when you are a mother/father to a boy and girls, the subject becomes quite a sensitive one. Instinctively (I think) dads want to say things and high-five their sons around this subject.

But when you know the same message is going to be heard by your daughters, I think you do sit back and rethink what your message should be.

This weekend, I plan to sit with Connor and Georgia and with the help of my very well illustrated hard cover book explain the process again.

I may need two or three glasses of wine to get me in the mood …

The lament of the school-going-child’s mother …….

Connor amazes me.  I am not sure whether he is the thing, or it is the age he is at, or whether he is a boy and thus this sort of thing is normal.  Or a combination of environmental factors.

Last year I bought six pairs of school shoes for Connor.  Even rudimentary mathematics that tells you that with only 10 school going months in the year – that is really an unacceptable amount of school shoes for one child to work their way through.

It was not so much that he grew out of them, because he is growing like he is on steroids and growth hormones.  It is that he gives his shoes such a hammering, that after three weeks it is time to resign the shoes to the dustbin.  The soles are destroyed or the front of the shoe has been worn away so badly that I can see his socks.

I did not have a very organized December/January, with the result that when school started I sent Connor off to school in his last year’s clothes and shoes without doing any Xmas Bonus school clothes shopping (I spent it all on the stationery I had to purchase.)

His feet had however grown and he complained that they were too small.  The shoes looked like utter crap, but he did not complain about them aesthetically.  But when your child complains that his feet are getting sore in his shoes, then it is time to pull out the credit card and not worry too much about how you will be buying wine this month.

Kennith bought him a pair or new bright and shiny white takkies from a reputable shoe manufacturer (I want to add that just so there is an understanding that he is not wearing R19.99 specials – these are dinkum hardcore shoes).

Fast forward two weeks, Kennith sees the takkies and realizes these shoes have maybe a month in them if we are lucky, as this pair is pretty much annihilated.  The only way they are going to see a future is to send Connor to school barefoot for at least three days  of each week.

Connor is in a school that encourages kids to come bare feet, except on Friday when it is “saal-day.”  We really must get our kids into private schools ….

When I pose the age old question “what the hell do you do with your shoes at school?”

Connor answers: “I run … a lot!”

As if that totally explains and justifies mom having to cut back on wine purchase to keep the boy in shoes.

On the weekend we stopped and purchase 6 large water bottles for the kids to use for school.  I really do not want to shock you with how many bottles I purchase and the fact that the part where you suck the water out gets eaten, which means they spill water or juice all over the school bag, which becomes my problem when I discover this at 10pm at night.

So we buy 6 bottles.  First day.  Connor loses one.

I am not sure we can afford to keep Connor in school at this rate!

Rise up, you can walk ….

Last week when Pepe abandoned me and I started to worry a bit about my sanity in all things kids related.

I spent two days with Isabelle at work, and carried her around a lot of the time. I think the stress and the extra +9 kilograms that I carted around on my left hip, threw my back out.

Well my shoulder actually, which made my neck hurt, which made me tilt my head to the side, which made me walk funny and then my back hurt. It really is a play on that old song of “leg bone connected to the knee bone…”

I woke up on Friday morning with a burning pain in my shoulder blade, which progressed to make me lean my head skew and walk like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for the day. It did not get much better over the weekend and the only high point was when Kennith’s mom said she would buy me a dishwasher as a wedding present.

I was immediately cured of all my symptoms – if only for a few minutes.

This morning I still felt sore and gave my good old chiropractor a call – I love Dr Mark.

So there I was lying on his table, and he was prodding me. It is funny how he does not go near my left shoulder blade where all the pain is sitting, but prefers to mince around behind the back of my right leg and in the temple area of my head. Clearly biology was a bit sketchy for me, but I will leave the details to Dr. Mark.

All very strange, but like Lazarus I could stand up and walk and leave his office with an almost hop in my step.

He suggested a good night sleep and that I will feel much better tomorrow. I am already salivating at the thought of sleep – hhhmmmmmm.

He is a “click your spine” chiropractor guy, but does not do it often. He seems to use pressure points and sort of stands there with his fingers like hot pokers on my tender regions while he asks me to breath deeply and look down – all this whilst my eyes are closed.

Any doctor that lets me lie down in peace for 5 minutes in the middle of the day gets my vote, I am too fussed what he is doing. The amazing thing is he finds my tender regions without me even knowing they were my regions or tender.

I don’t know how he does it, I have no idea what he does, but he manages to relieve so much pain in a fairly no-fuss manner. So I am putting that claim through my medical aid, and off to make my cup of tea while I wait for the hours until bed time.

The sands of time …..

Last night I went to book club, and the girls were very congratulatory about the “engagement” and they wanted to know who it came about. Did something occur that created this moment, had we been planning it and so on.

I was trying to explain the situation in the context of the week, as it was quite important and had really been a hectic emotional week.

On Friday I had gone to Child Welfare and gone through the Orientation Meeting to look at adopting. All the while being suspicious (certain) that though Kennith was sort of-a-little-bit-keen on the idea, I knew he was not quite ready for it. I was just storming ahead, and really hoped he would just hitch his cart to this horse, as so to speak!

On Saturday night Kennith and I had that giant fall out.

On Sunday I abandoned ship and met my friend for a lie-around and talk until I started to feel better. I was so frustrated and angry, and just did not want to speak to Kennith as I was feeling very raw and very wounded.

On Monday we spent the day with the kids and were out at the beach and for lunch, and then as peace descended on the house we spoke in a reasonably calm manner about what we were arguing about on Saturday. I was still angry and upset, and we managed to sort of get through the discussion with us both understanding the other’s point of view a bit better.

Unfortunately Kennith also dropped the bomb that he was not willing to progress through the adoption process until he was sure that he wanted to do this and that we were ready to look at this.

Though I wanted to go through the process and then have a “cooling off” period before we went on to the list, Kennith said – rightfully so – that he knows if I go through the process, there is going to be nothing stopping me from just going straight on to that waiting list.

He is right. Once I move through this process, I will move from mildly obsessed, to full-blown obsessed. There would be no stopping me, or trying to apply the brakes at that point.

Though I was very disappointed when he has applied the brakes, actually crushed/wounded/felt like I had died a little. I do understand his point of view and have to respect that I am thinking emotionally, and he is trying to ensure that we do not end up in “ye old poor house” or “ye old divorce house” because we are taking on more than we can handle.

I am trying not to harass Kennith and not go “are we ready?” all the time – when I really do want to. It’s a case of waiting and waiting for the time to be right for him, and taking it from there.

I am vaguely aware that a possible outcome is that Kennith may decide that this is not the route for us. The time may never be right. I am not sure I am ready to hear that right now, or consider it in my rather befuddled brain.

So for now, it is a case of taking a deep breath, and just letting time pass.

On Tuesday we did speak further about it, and some of the issues that had come through in our argument.

On Wednesday night Kennith proposed, so it really was quite a week for me – very emotional, lots of things going on. I think I just wanted to sum up the thoughts on the adoption issue here so that it did not appear that it was some fleeting project that I had abandoned.

The want, the need, the desire is still there ….

<this post was written last Thursday afternoon, but I did not get a chance to post it until now, so the timing might seem a bit odd…>

Ground Hog Day

Honestly I do not make this stuff up.

This morning was an almost perfect repeat of yesterday.  I was standing in the kitchen with Isabelle on my hip asking myself “Where the hell is Pepe?”

Redo the call.

After looking around the house, calling her name and knocking on her door – the similiarities to yesterday were alarming.   Again, I find out that she is again on her way to Home Affairs!  For fek sake!!  I mean seriously where is our communication break down?

When I saw her last night I explained how traumatic yesterday was, and that she really needs to give me a 2 – 3 day reminder, because I really cannot actually take Isabelle to work with me – it’s not a viable solution.  And, and and ….  I felt I explained the problem of her going MIA very clearly – there was no grey area in my woeful tale.

And this morning, same shit, and Isabelle is back at work with me.

I did however scream and swear at Pepe on the phone this morning.  I also tried to slam the phone down – it is very difficult to do that with a cell phone when you have to press a “virtual button” on a screen.

I hope it still sounded like I was slamming the phone down, because I was effing and blinding like a drunken herpses-infested sailor at the time!