It’ll knock your socks off …

On Saturday afternoon I went off to Pick ‘n Pay to do some grocery shopping – we  had friends coming over to watch the game and then stay for dinner, so I needed to get quite a lot of things and it was easier if I went without the entire family.

I left Isabelle and Connor home with Kennith, and Georgia came along with me to the shop.

We moved around the store and got what we needed.  While standing in the queue at the check out, I stepped away from my trolley to look at the soup display and was trying to decide whether we could include a soup course.

Retails often do displays right at the front of the stores, so you tend to impulse shop – appeals to the kind of shopper I am.

I was standing there with a liter of Minestrone in a bag, wondering could I eat a liter of Minestrone in a bag?  Would my friends eat a liter of Minestrone in a bag?

I was using my six-sets-of-eyes-that-mother’s-have to watch the trolley, Georgia who was standing next to me, and also to glance at people walking past.  I kept my one hand on her to ensure she was not wandering off as the store was really busy.

This woman walked past – long dark hair, maybe late thirties, and her son trailed behind her – about a metre gap between them.  He had on a dark tracksuit pants, takkies and a t-shirt – quite a solid built guy, I estimate about 11 – 14 years, but can’t be sure, as I do not know many kids that age.

It’s strange that I saw him, as I did not really notice him as my eyes were moving from trolley, to Minestrone, to the contents of the Minestrone, to Georgia, to generally public and back again …  all while wondering if I would use croutons and cheese with the soup and what bowls I would use, and whether I had enough.

But I did see him.

Then I saw him unfurl his hand, which I noted was quite a large hand.  Then in that moment I saw him open his hand.  He pulled his hand back while he was moving past her, and slapped Georgia through the face.  So hard that she lifted off the ground and flew into the vegetable/soup display.

It took me a few moments to register what the hell had happened.   It was beyond surreal.

I was trying to pick Georgia up at the same time emit some sound out of my mouth that possibly showed my indignation and horror at what had just occurred, as the boy and his mother continued walking like nothing had occurred.

I picked Georgia up who was now crying hysterically – as you would be when slapped senseless while perusing soup at the local Pick ‘n Pay.  I managed to shriek loud enough for the mom of the boy to turn around and look at me – and I said “your son just slapped my daughter through the face!”

Her face looked like I had slapped it.  She stared at her son and quickly started saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….” to me.

I glared at her son who was turned away from me.  I was now ready to go over and beat the crap out of this little tosser right there in the veggie aisle of Pick ‘n Pay.

He turned to face me – while walking away from me – and I realized with sinking horror that he had Down Syndrome features.  That is where it got awkward, and my anger turned to shame and embarrassment.  I really did not know what to do.

Georgia was screaming and crying – I have her up on my hip, and I am staring at this situation and every part of me just wishes we all were not here right now.

So what happened?

The mother said sorry – I mouthed it was fine.  She kept moving away from me, and did not actually stop and walk back to me and apologise.   Her son carried on walking behind her not changing pace.

Georgia was hysterical, I had to tell her “it’s okay, it’s okay, it was an accident…” – yes, I realise it was not an accident, but what was I going to say?

I could have gone with …

That boy has a chromosomal disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome, and for reasons I can’t explain decided to give you a flattie in the middle of Pick ‘n Pay – and me your protecting mother, stood there like a total freak and did nothing to protect you or to stop it happening.

I also felt embarrassed that I was about to rant at a child that clearly had a disability, and felt totally powerless that this had happened and I did nothing to prevent it or to remedy the situation. ”

Instead I comforted her, paid for my groceries and packed her in the car.

I felt that we had been assaulted in full view of a store full of people, and no one (not one) stepped forward to assist me or my daughter.  I realized that the boy could have pulled out a knife and slashed her, and I would have been equally powerless to prevent it.

I really felt traumatized and a bit violated that some stranger had walked up and assaulted my child while I was standing there and I did nothing, and afterwards it was me who felt bad for what had happened.

Georgia was upset afterwards for a few hours, but seemed most upset that the boy did not come and say sorry to her himself  (clearly they teach the power of sorry at her school).

I really do not have a conclusion on what happened.

I really felt totally powerless and immensely angry.  I wish I had reacted differently to the mother, but what would I have said? What could I have done to make it better for me and Georgia, without going totally beserk in the veggie aisle?

It also made me realise how totally vulnerable we and our kids are when we take them out into public.  That some stupid or misguided person could do anything to our child in the blink of an eye, and even with us standing there, we would not be able to foresee it or stop it.

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Brusha, brusha, brusha ….

We are pretty good about dragging our kids to the dentist very six months for a check up.   We do it on a Saturday morning and our appointment is usually at 9am.

I am not even going to describe what it is like to get three kids up , dressed, prepped, in the car and to a dentist in the middle of Cape Town by 9am on a Saturday morning.   It is as bad as you imagine it will be, and then some.  But I make the appointment religiously and we stick to it.

Partly because Discovery covers the visits and secondly because I would prefer my kids not to have fillings and other things to deal with down the line.  When Connor was a wee mite I read so many stories of kids who had to have their teeth pulled, and there were several kids at his school who had rotten black teeth – it was like a scene from Victorian England.

When I was younger the only time we went to the dentist was to have several rather large injections into my gum following by a very unpleasant filling – it was hellishly traumatic.

But then there was the two hour spell where you face hung on your shoulder, and at some point you ignored all advise and ate something because you were ravenous, but because you could not feel your face you ended up eating half the inside of your cheek with your cheest-and-onion chips.  Yes, good times, I bet you are remembering now.

I have several fillings that were done when I was a young child – all in primary school – so either my younger years were filled with too much cavity-causing sweets, or poor dental hygiene.  It is probably the latter .

The result is that every dentist visit I attend – even the oral hygienist which pretty much guarantees no fillings – fills me with fear and trepidation.  I hate being there, I drag myself kicking and screaming into their offices.

I lie in the reclining chair, wound as tight as a spring.  I am sweating in fear, and I just want this to be over.  I count when I am trying to endure something, I count a lot at the dentist.  I think most people would opt for a pap smear (which reminds me I need to book one) than a dentist visit.

On Saturday we all traipsed off to our ever efficient dentist.

We arrive en-masse and all go the oral hygienist, who also does x-rays and a good cleaning.  We all go to the dentist, who really looks at what the oral hygienist has x-rayed, pokes around a bit with his metal stick and gives you a 3 minutes pep talk on why you should floss.

Ah flossing, my pet hate.  I have decided to stop lying to the dentist that I actually floss, and also to not say “okay will do” when they give me the flossing-talk – which they always do.

My opening gambit with the oral hygienist is:

“Listen, I don’t floss, I can lie to you and say I do, but you will know I am lying.  You are going to tell me how I should floss, and demonstrate how important it is, and I will nod sagely and agree, then I will leave here and not floss.  So let’s avoid that awkwardness, and accept I do not floss.”

I find honesty is actually the better policy.  Just for the record I do that little speech only when my kids are out of ear shot.

Connor has been going to the dentist since he was about three, Georgia has been going since she was a wee thing. Isabelle is one and already has had two dentist visits, though she has sat in reception and played with the toys for both visits, so technically they do not count, but next visit we are going to get her into the chair with her pearly whites.

The dentist means sticker and maybe a cool blown-up latex glove with a pen face drawn on it.  Neither of my kids have the fear that I have of dentist.

Neither of my kids have any tooth decay either.

At the last visit the dentist showed Connor how important it was to floss.  So he has now joined the ranks of those who floss.  Which I am quite thrilled with, as he ain’t learning that from me.

Georgia’s Birth …

I was going through some of our photo records, and I started looking at the birth photos of the kids,  and really they are pretty unusual.

I thought I would post them over here … this is Georgia’s birth at Cape Town Medi-Clinic 20 June 2005.

This is the first cut …  (which I believe is the deepest …)

So once the cut is done, they reach in and get her head free – note how skew her nose is – she was so cramped in the uterus …. so here they are suctioning her while they keep her body warm …

and then they yank her out …. much to her displeasure …

They flash her to the camera … she is not quite in the mood for smiling … what with her vernix hanging out and all ..

Doctor is now ready to separate mommy and baby …

She gets taken over the paed and they all check her out …

Strangely enough, she is still less than pleased …

Baby is given to mom … mom has had a rough day, and mom thought the baby would have testicles, so was a little surprised to say the least …

So while I am coming to terms with vagina versus penis issues, the good folks are doing a mighty fine job stitching the cookie bits with the cookie bits, and the chocolate bits with the chocolate bits …

So while the pearl-and-plain brigade are busy, they put baby on my chest – really nice folks these guys at Cape Town Medi-Clinic.

The hospital was brilliant  – it was quite late, so I was the only patient in post-op, they left Georgia with me and let her breastfeed in post-op, what a great experience.

This being born this is just exhausting, Georgia fallen asleep while breastfeeding …

The truth be told, she was not Georgia for at least another two hours.  I was so convinced I was having a boy, I had settled on Callum or Caleb, and not really factored girl’s names into the equation.

Georgia was nameless for several hours following birth.  I really could not have been more surprised had they me a giraffe, but there were are.

Shower Humour ….

I figured I was on a bit of a roll here … last night I am in the shower with Georgia … yes Georgia seems to be featuring quite big right now in terms of “kids say the darndest things…” so there we are in the shower.

Georgia leans forward, pulls my pubic hair and says “Why do you have hair on your bum?”

I am not sure which I feel more bad about … that my talks about body awareness and the like is paying off so well …. or that I look the same from the front and the back ….

<sigh>

Toilet Humour ….

This morning the roles will a little reversed and Kennith is no doubt going to be really annoyed I posted this one and insist I remove it before the end of the day.

Georgia (as always) is in the bathroom and waiting for Kennith to finish on the toilet so she can go – she has taken a real shine to using our bathroom in the morning, and comes through every morning announcing she “needs the toilet.”

I am lying in bed praying for more sleep, but listening to this exchange coming from the en-suite bathroom.

Georgia is standing there while Kennith is standing at the toilet doing what boys do in the morning – and says in her high pitched girly voice “Daddy, you have a long winkie…”

I can hear Kennith smiling and he goes “Yes baby, I have an outside winkie and you have an inside winkie” so there is a few moments of silence and then Georgia goes

…”it’s not that big…”

I also needed to go to the toilet then … ha ha … you are right it is really funny when it happens to other people.

Seeing your reflection in your child’s eyes ….

Me fetching Georgia from school on Monday.

Georgia: I love you mommy (and gives me a big hug)

Me: Ooowww sweetie, I love you too, thank you for my hug.

Georgia: I love my big fat mommy!

Me, wondering why we cannot send them off to boarding school as soon as they are able to formulate their own thoughts.

My friend Rochelle tries to make me feel better by telling me her recent experience.

Me: Goodbye my angel of love (dropping Luke off at school last week)

Luke: Goodbye my lesbian Mom!!

(and all because I told my sister I loved her)

Shirts and Socks ….

This morning all I wanted to do was sleep … just a little more.

What I got instead was Georgia complaining that she wanted to use my bathroom but dad was in it.   I had to wake up enough to tell her to go and use the other bathroom – her bathroom, which she duly did.

I was then roused further from my slumber as Connor was standing complaining that he really needed to go the bathroom and dad was in the one bathroom and Georgia was in the other bathroom.  Now there are many problems super-mom can solve, creating a 3rd bathroom for my boy is not one of them.

But I heard him pleading with Georgia to please hurry up as he reaaalllyyy needed to go.  I tried to pull the duvet over my head and just let everyone sort out their morning ablutions by themselves, but then I realized that if Connor had an accident while waiting for his sister he would be devastated.

I dragged my sorry arse out of bed and made my way down the passage to see if I could solve the logistical problem of too few indoor bathrooms.

By the time I got there Georgia had given up her place on the throne and relinquished this to Connor, who clearly had a case of Dehli-Belly.  But I could only stand and absorb that scene for so long as Georgia was complaining that I had not put clothes out for her.

Honestly when did the last servant die in our house from over-work and I had to step in?  How lazy are these kids?  When I was their age …. I will spare you the stories.

So I find Georgia some jeans, a pair of knickers and I pull out her they-fit-and-they-keep-her-feet-dry-boots-so-she-is-going-to-wear-them-every-day boots and then I realise I am facing the same problem I am facing since last week… shit!!  She has no socks that fit her, she has gone through a growth spurt and all her socks are too small.

Not a problem is summer, but as winter has hit us hard and with fervor, I am seriously struggling to put socks on this child.

So I fish around in Connor’s cupboard and find reasonably suitable socks, put these on her bed, leave her to go and attend to Connor who is not feeling well.

While I am attempting to have a caring-mom conversation all I can hear in this rather high-pitched (and rather piercing voice when I have not had my first cup of tea of the morning) is:

“these socks are too big … mommy these socks are too big …. Mommy these socks are too big …. Mommy these socks are too big…”

So I go through and realise that yes the socks are actually too big.  At this point I am feeling really tetchy with the entire sock situation, and kicking myself that I forgot to buy socks on the weekend as planned.  I just want my tea, and this high pitched demanding to stop!

So as I am again scratching in Connor’s cupboard looking for socks I hear the same little voice:

“mommy, you did not put a shirt out for me …. mommy, you did not put a shirt out for me …. mommy, you did not put a shirt out for me …. mommy, you did not put a shirt out for me …. mommy, you did not put a shirt out for me ….”

So I find the socks, stomp back to the room – en-route reminding Connor to wipe properly and to wash his hands – I go and put her socks on her feet and put her boots on, find a shirt for her, put this on, get her pull over on and then tick that off my list.

I wander up the passage to the kitchen and start making myself some tea.

I think about Connor who is not sick enough to stay home, but has a horrible cough and looks off colour and feel bad that I cannot sit and mother him more.  I also have not put his clothes out, and feel bad that as the older child in a three child family he is just meant to sort himself out.

So as the guilt consumes me, I take my tea and turn to watch them eat breakfast – Connor was slurping his milk out of his bowl at the time … I resist the urge to reprimand him – instead I just ruffle his hair as I walk past – I thought I would give him this freebie and make me feel a bit better.

Sunshine Award

I had a lovely message last week from Tasneem Abrahams of http://mumdrum.blogspot.com awarding me my own little award – yay for me.

The award is for bloggers who’s creativity and positivity inspires others which is all very nice.  Thanks Tasneem!

I have been called many things, but positive is seldom one of them.  Actually I take that back, I was positive three times on a pregnancy test, so that could count for something.

I really decided to start blogging one day as a form of therapy.  I had made an appointment at a therapist and had to wait a few days for the appointment and I just thought if I started jotting my stuff down, I am sure it would make me feel better.  Suprisingly it did.  I really recommend blogging as a way to purge the demons and cleanse the soul.  I really know nothing about blogging and sort of stumble my way through it.

So I am deeply grateful when anyone reads my blog, and very pleased when I get comments.  To illustrate how little I knew about blogging, I was so shocked when I realized that blogging even existed and there were so many women who blogged about every day stuff.

I really am still new at this and struggle to visit as many blogs as I would like to.  I need to sort out how to get my blog roll to list the blogs I visit, and have not quite got to doing that as yet.

Right now the blogs I follow – as much as I can.

I really struggle with these lists, as I read such a variety of blogs, and do not follow each on every day, so it really is difficult to build a definitive list – as it always excludes so many other great blogs, that I do read, but tend to keep stumbling on.

But for now here are some I read (and apologise if I read yours and was too stupid to add it to my list)

  1. http://www.buriedwithchildren.com/ – she is so funny – I can’t imagine a house with four boys – I used to have night mares about that being me.  Some of her experiences really make me laugh out loud.
  2. http://mushypeasontoast.blogspot.com/ – her by line is enough to make me read her blog – I’m an opinionated bitch who usually gets into trouble just by spewing my crass, vulgar life shit onto this here page.
  3. http://www.lettertoxander.com/ – Comic nerd who met another comic nerd and decided to drag my complacent partner into parenthood. So far he hasn’t complained, except when I wouldn’t name our son ‘Dick Grayson’.  Posts are really funny and clever.
  4. http://www.beingbrazen.com/ – I love her style!
  5. http://realityinpurple.wordpress.com/ – we all need our dose of purple to get us through some times.
  6. http://www.harassedmom.co.za/ – one of my favourites to visit.
  7. http://www.jennyonthespot.com/ – gotta love people who are more insane that you are.
  8. http://www.stopscreamingimdriving.com/ – mom of three, who struggles with all the same things I do.  She just writes better!
  9. ttcnot2easy.wordpress.com – I read hers and find we have so much in common even though we are living totally different lives.
  10. 10. http://offbeatbride.com/ – clearly my situation means I read this sort of thing, but I probably will not read after July 2010.

Please continue supporting those who blog – blogging is very addictive, but getting feedback from your visitors is really the thing that floats your boat.

Star Crossed Lovers ….

Last Friday I went to try on a wedding dress.

If you had followed any of this wedding stuff, you may be raising your little hand about now, and posed the question “er did you not already buy a dress?” to which I would have to answer “Right you are!”

I would have to add in an almost embarrassed tone: “But it seems it was not THE dress, THE dress was waiting for me somewhere else.”

It really has just been all so pedestrian and predictable it is tragic.  I can’t even glam it up and tell you how I bought a dress, but there was a fire, and when the fireman ran in to save the women and children, he used my dress to cover the mouths of the babes, so they would not die from affixation, and then my dress was destroyed and see I had to go and get another one.

Nothing like that I am afraid. I just kept waking up and two in the morning, staring at the ceiling and going: “I like my dress, but I want a dress that I love!”

I toddled off to a wedding dress place – yes another one, no doubt they are starting to release mug shots now and keep them under their counters.  I asked the assistant to  drag out all the “sale” garments which I dutifully tried on.  But none of them really excited me.

Right at the end while I was standing in my knickers and no bra – not a good look in a drafty salon, I asked Ester to go and have a scratch through her regular priced merchandise and let me try on something there.  I knew that this was probably not going to end well, but fools and angels and treading and all that.

Esther pulled out this monstrosity and suggested I try it on.  I thought she was having me on for a bit of a laugh, I was standing there scantly clad and all so clearly she was the dominatrix in this role play we were doing.

I looked at this frock and figured I might as well put it on, and then send her back to grab another.  Well as all boy-meets-girl, girl-takes-an-immediate-dislike-to-boy stories go, mine it seems was no different.  Which is all the more depressing, as I sincerely hoped I was cut from a more original cloth.

Esther laced up this dress.  I walked to the dressing room with it’s wall sized mirror and stood on the pedestal – they actually have a pedestal – I should get one of those for home!

I stood on the pedestal and gazed at my reflection and thought to myself “wow, that is quite a frock.. not sure I really like it.”

Then as with all slow romances go, I looked at it again and thought “I sort of quite like the cut of your cloth…”

I walked around the room a little. I jiggled my skirts a bit, and then I looked at my reflection again and realized … I am truly in love.  Not that forced kind where you are a little drunk, and he is the last one at the bar, and you really do not want to go home alone again, that real kind where your eyes meet and you see yourselves wrapped around each other for eternity … in my case for about 8 hours.

I was smitten.  I pranced – yes I pranced – around the room a bit. I even tried on shoes, then I pranced some more.  Oh it was heavenly to be in love.

Then it was the awkward moment.  You are so in love but the logical side of you needs to ask the rather embarrassing question “so how much will it be for the good time?”

The answer did make me choke a little, but we were in love, what does the trifles of money matter to us?

I skipped out of there with a song in my chest and a Heidi-skip in my heels.  I then had an immediate attack of IBS and had to stop at the chemist for some medical relief.  Love they say can hurt, mine was making me bloat, cramp and sweat – and I had wave after wave of nausea.

That is the thing about initial love, when you are in each other’s arms, nothing matters.  But when you part company and the ugliness of the morning creeps in, and the terrible aftermath of the hangovers weighs on you one starts to doubt one’s feelings.

How was I going to pay to be with my new lover?

And what the hell was I going to do with the first dress?

I felt like I had betrayed her and was cheating on her with this larger more voluptuous model.  I really was, and though I felt some guilt, I wanted to be with my new shinier love as the original one no longer mattered to me.

After the weekend, I could not bear to be further parted.  I went back on Tuesday for another fitting, and then I knew we were meant to be – logical thought had stepped out.

So I paid the money and now she is mine – actually she is not mine.  A dress maker in the States will be making a replica of her for me, in my size and flying it over to me, and then she will be mine.  The dress not the dressmaker incase this analogy has got a bit confusing.

When I did the EFT I really felt a little light in my soul – it will be a nervous wait, and well a tad “cutting it a little fine” but my dress will arrive on the 12 July – the fact that the wedding is the 17 July does not escape me, but for now my infatuation has released me of worry.

Shape of a Mother ….

I found this great website called the Shape of a Mother.  It’s my private little addiction.  I pop along to this site and read the blog updates and look at the images.

The idea of it is that the author/owner of the blog noticed a mom with a babe, and when the mom’s shirt lifted by accident she realized this very healthy and toned looking mom also was sitting with extra skin hanging around her belly.  Yes, I realise it could also have been me – you probably thought the same thing.

The blog owner had this epiphany that the post-pregnancy body has become one of our society’s greatest secrets.

What we are exposed to is the female form airbrushed perfectly.  I used to work for the company that did the pre-press work on Shape, Fit Pregnancy and Swimsuit Magazine – all those girls were airbrushed to an inch of her life.

I would have loved to nab the pre-air-brushed photos and smuggle them out there for the world to see.  I am not denying that the models are beautiful and can really fill out a swimsuit, but you must know they have pimples, and stretch marks and cellulite and marks under their arms like no one’s business.

If you look at yourself in the mirror and it differs from these images that we are bombarded with all day – you tend to opt to wear a bigger shirt, start layering a little more, and hide your body as much as you can. Well that is what I do at any rate.

We talk openly about our sagging or flattened boobs, our wobbly thighs, our expanses of cellulite, our hanging tums and our stretch marks, but god-forbid anyone sees them.

So this very clever woman created this excellent website where women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities can share images of their bodies so it will no longer be secret.   Almost like a blog, but populated by visitors.

To quote directly from her website: “So we can finally see what women really look like sans airbrushes and plastic surgery.

I think it would be nothing short of amazing if a few of our hearts are healed, or if we begin to cherish our new bodies which have done so much for the human race. What if the next generation grows up knowing how normal our bodies are? How truly awesome would that be?”

http://theshapeofamother.com/ even has categories marked Belly, Breasts, Cesareans, Child Loss, Infertility, Inspirational, Plus-Sized, Postpartum, Pregnant, Twins, Triplets and VBAC.

It really is a wonderful website and the women are real, and we recognize these bodies as our own.  Women write in honest terms about how their bodies have changed, and the photos are taken sans great lighting and often without good photographic techniques, so it is real flab, butt-cracks and cellulite.

While I celebrate these women, and nod along to all the comments, I can barely look at myself in the bathroom mirror when I get undressed to shower or bath.

When I sit in the bath with Isabelle, I feel ill that my stomach sort of rolls over and rests itself on my upper thigh while I play with her.

Last night I looked down at my c-section scar and got a bit of a fright as it looked big and really red and ugly –  but I was drinking a glass of wine, and there was a candle, so the lighting and my perception was a bit off.  But I had this immediate feeling of revulsion and sat up in a panic to re-examine it.  It was still a scar, still red, yugh, but maybe not totally revolting, okay well maybe just mildly so.

I used to be okay with my body – I was not out there pole dancing or anything, but I would put on a costume when it was hot, and go for a swim.   I would not scream “look at me, look at me” but I could get myself in a swimsuit and a pair or shorts when the weather demanded it.

Now I crinch at the thought of pouring myself into my swimsuit, even when at home just with Kennith and the kids.  It is not about them seeing me, it is about me seeing me.

I hide from myself.  I dress and undress quickly, so I do not have to witness the white blubbery me. I hate the fact that I used to weight 50kg, and used to hate being skinny.  Now I would drink 5 days of gloop a day, and 7 tons of laxatives to get back to 50kg.

My body is different and I really do not like it.

I know I should be thankful that this body has been good to me.  It is seldom sick, it can stand up to quite a bit.  It carried three healthy children through three healthy pregnancies.  It was strong enough to get through three c-sections, it healed well, and did not let me stay in too much pain.

It let me breastfeed without any problems.  When I did not want to breastfeed it made the milk just go away.  It let me get through bouts of depression without totally giving out on me.  My skin has stretched to make room for these children and the growing me, and it has done it with eloquence and grace, and done me the favour of doing it without one stretch mark (I know, I am shocked too).

I should laud it and praise it, instead I despise it.

I am embarrassed.

I am angry.

I am scared that this is now who I am.  What I see in the mirror does not match who I see in my head.

I have contributed to it’s demise.  It did not get here without the help of a several bowls of delicious pasta, bags of divine Woolworths Chuckles and several litres of wonderful wine.  I am the reason this body is the way it is, and that makes me very angry.

I huff and puff my way through boot camp and hate being there.  Every gasp and gag is fueled by anger.  I do not want to be this fat, cellulite, scarred person – I want to be svelt and 20 years old (but I would like to keep my mature mind …)

There I am flicking through these images of women being real on shape of a mother, and still I am hiding behind my baggy black shirt.  Why does this bother me more today than it did yesterday?

Today I am trying on wedding dresses in front of strangers.  That means my body is going to be on display – as you cannot get into these dresses without help.  That means I am going to be trying to corset myself up into a dress that is going to make my fat roll over the top and my hips putting a bit of strain on the stitching.

Another day, in another place, I can post about who I love my body, or even like it – but not today.

It works for me …..

There really is so much rah-rah-rah for Stay at Home moms, but there does seem to be little support for moms who choose to work.

I think the vast majority of us, have chosen to go back to work for one of two reasons.

The main motivator is financial.  The lifestyles we lead and the high costs of food from Woolworths does force us, in most cases, to be a two-income family.  Few families have the luxury of one of the parents staying at home to care for the kids.  Both parents need to be out there earning a living, else someone is going to be wearing PEP hand-me-downs and be home schooled <shudder>.

I have realized that I might belong to the second set of moms-who-work.  Those who have chosen this as an option.  I admit that I make a better mom working, than the mom I would be staying at home all day.  There is something in my DNA that makes it really difficult to remain at home with my kids (or any kids  -so do not think you can drop yours off with me).

Usually this comment illicit a response (in a slightly haughty tone) of “well, why did you choose to have them then?” My reponse:  “I chose to have kids because I like my kids, I did not choose to be with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

When I was pregnant the second time around, I really felt quite heart-sore that we could not afford for me to stay home with my new baby.  Kennith said, sure you can stay home, but then you need to realise there are going to be some financial sacrifices.

I figured he was alluding to the sacrifice of the full-time maid.  If I was choosing to sacrifice a virgin or my full-time maid, the virgin will lose hands down every time.  Though I lamented and beat my chest in frustration, I still was not willing to give up my maid, and decided to traipse back to work.

I did not see much point in not working at an office, so I could stay at home to do house-work, which last time I checked pays very little and basically is a shite job with little chance of promotion!

Granted I was in a fortunate position to move to a flexi-time/part-day job which gave me more time to fetch kids and be with the new baby.  At the time I did not realise that my boss was also going to start paying me late/never/sort of when he felt like it, which did not really go a long way to making me a calm and serene soul, so I left that after a year and returned to full time employment (actually to the job I have now – which I am eternally grateful for – thanks job!!).

When pregnant with Isabelle, I was so sure that I would not be returning to work.  I told the folks at the office I was coming back.  But I thought in my soul that I would want to stay at home with my little wrinkled little person more than anything else in the world.  Because I was a mature mom, and I had this entire thing sorted … yes I did.

Kennith, being wise and more philosophical about things, took one look at the situation and knew it was doubtful I would even stay home long enough to get through my maternity leave.   He knew the safest route at the time was to keep his opinions to himself.  He had learnt long ago that trying to reason with a heavily pregnant women, was just not worth the blood shed, so he held his own counsel on the subject.

Second pregnancy, I lasted 28 days at home before heading back to work.  So he was pretty sure that 4 months at home, or an indefinite stay would probably be unlikely.

But I set out to prove him wrong!!

I had tons of books to read, friends had lent me four-score-and-twenty DVD box series sets, I had my freelance work to do, I was set, I couldn ‘t fail.  I was going to juggle this baby, and my need to be a fulfilled individual.  I was even a bit smug about the entire thing.

The disappointment – the devastation – when I realized I really was not happy being home was a tad crushing to say the least.  I could not believe that I could not be happy staying in my jammies all day, feeding and burping my little cherub.  (I had also not read one book or watched one DVD, so clearly time management was a bit of an issue in my little plan for domestic domination.)

The reality was that I was not happy. I was climbing the walls, I was deeply unhappy and I had inclining that I was going to harm this baby – I was so frustrated.  I did go a little off the deep end, and found a therapist, started some meds and really was feeling it was all a bit bleak.

But then I had an “ah-hah” moment and that was “get your arse back to work! Now, do not wait another day.” I tend to listen to the voices in my head. I phoned – actually I emailed – and asked if I could come back early.  Of course they said yes, and there I was three days later at my faux-wood desk, drinking tea out of the blue Disney mug, with the sound of the factory around me and my annoying telephone ringing – it was such bliss, it made my soul so happy.

As soon as I got back to work, I no longer needed the meds and the therapy.  I was not miraculously better, but I definitely felt more hopeful and much happier than I had in weeks, and able to cope with the little things life hands us.

I was really disappointed with myself that my baby was not enough for me to stay home.  Just to be with her was not enough to keep me satisfied and sane.

I love my daughter so much that I get a little knot in my stomach when I look at her. I whisper sweet nothings into her ear when ever I see her. I love getting up in the morning to pick up her warm snuggly body out of the cot.  I love the way she nuzzles in my neck for a love.  I love the smell of her, I love putting my face against her cheek and just breathing her in. I really am obsessed with her.  But I just cannot be with her all day.

I need to work.   Working is what I do.  I find me in my work.  My work restores my sense of self, my balance in my universe.  Part of who I am is because I work.

I really am jealous of stay-at-home moms.  Not because they get to stay at home with their kids, but because they can, without going certifiably insane.

I really really wish I could.

My next hurdle is that soon I am going to have my son in Grade 4, and my daughter in Grade 1, and my other daughter in pre-school.  I think at a point not to far in the distant future, there  is going to come a time when I need to be available in the afternoons to cope with homework, extra-murals and school stuff.  Already I am finding it a bit of a challenge and that is with one in the school system.  So I am hoping that by 2012, I make another plan, but for now I get to skip off to work and be a big person.

I want to outsource homework …..

I was never good at doing homework or assignments in a timeous fashion.

The issue was partly that when I started school, I really should have been listed as legally blind, as my eye sight was so bad.  But I thought it was normal, so created coping methods to get through the day.  I would listen well, even while working on something else.

I was always keenly aware of what was going on around me.  If the teacher stood at the chalk-board and wrote things, I would listen to what she was saying and remember. My sight was so bad that I could not even make out the wording on the board even if I sat in the front row.

When I was at school the eye nurse would come along with the big eye chart, all the kids in the class would stand in a row.  They would file forward and read off the letters and she would fill in a form and send you on your way.  If you had a problem you were then referred to go and get a more extensive eye test.  My surname started with an “M” so that always put me somewhere in the middle.

There was always more than enough time to memorise the letters, so I knew the order by the time my turn came.  So no matter which eye I covered, I could fly through that eye chart like no-one’s business.  I knew I could not see, but I just thought that was normal, as no one had ever said I had a problem before, or these little deceits of behavior were second nature to me as I always covered up that there was any problem.

As I got older, I continued to develop a pretty good ability to take in information and recall it with ease.  The upside was that I did not have to do homework or revision, as I picked up what I needed to in class.  The result is that I never really learnt to do homework and study correctly.  There was also no one at home when I got home as a child who insisted that I should go and do 45 minutes of home work.

My homework was never checked, so what ever was or was not done, the onus was on me to deal with when I went to school the next day.  I also was able to read when I was in Sub A, so the work was not exactly a hardship at the time.

The result was that I never learnt to be diligent about my school work. I am a classic crammer under pressure.  Some exams I would write and had probably spent 2 – 3 hours briefly reading through the work the day before.  Sure, I would get a bit worried that some of my school friends had revision calendars that had weeks if not months of revision laid out for them.  Unfortunately that is not how I rolled.

I managed to get through school and did okay, not great, jus tokay.  Obviously I look back and wonder if someone motivated me and made sure I spent the necessary time on homework and revision would I have done better and achieved more.  The old “what could have happened” argument.

Connor had an oral to do today at school.  I go the note last week.  I only started working with him on it yesterday late afternoon.  In my defense he had to “interview” his grandparents and then talk about how things were when they were young.  I was only going to visit my mom on the weekend, so used that to justify the late preparation of the oral, but in reality I could have started with him before.

So last night I am sitting trying to revise this oral with Connor. I am getting stressed, as I am thinking I have left it much too late, and now I am annoyed with myself.

I am getting more impatient with him as he is not taking this in, and recalling it the way I want him to.

Georgia is climbing on my shoulder and insisting on giving me kisses and hugs.  Isabelle is about ready for bed, and is cranky and does not want to drink her bottle.  I am thinking about the hours of work I still have to do before I can go to bed.

I remedy the situation by screaming and Georgia and sending her to her room for 15 minutes. I go and put Isabelle in bed in a bit of a rush, and then I bark at Connor for not putting an effort into this oral.  I really am terrible at helping kids with homework.  I have no patience, and want to just have it done.

I get really short tempered, and impatient, and I am sure I am doing psychological damage to Connor one assignment at a time.  I really want to be that mom who wears a floral apron and whips up a batch of brownies while smiling with enduring patience as they assist their child to build a volcano that spews ash, from and a piece of cardboard, three drawing pins, and a roll of twine.

But I am not, I really suck at it. Of course I put the blame squarely on my parents who never taught me good homework-ethics, and never insisted I do well at anything.  It really is all their fault.

Poor Connor he really sometimes must think he got the short end of the stick when he got me as a mom!

<note to self, get sh*t together before this child gets to grade four and then the trouble really starts.>