“To Smack or Not to Smack” … that old onion

I will confess that when I started this business of parenting, I was under the impression that discipline meant a smack.

A smack would teach you that the consequences of your action/inaction would lead to discomfort and that might give you pause for concern next time you were in the same/similar situation.

A smack is not meant to be hitting a child until they are bleeding or bruised or fading in and out of consciousness.  A smack is a swift movement of your hand that is aimed at your child’s rump.  With the idea that it sends the message : “Hey bum, ears are not working.  Maybe bum can send a message to ears to say hey ears, wake the fk up!”

Seemed simple enough in principle.

Before Connor I had never really been around children.  I was the youngest in my family, the youngest in my wider family circle, and for some reason just never really came in to contact with children.

When I did I realised that they were a constant source of embarrassment.  I would ask a question and people would laugh at me.

Connor was the first baby I held for any significant length of time.  I thought that babies (like puppies) were born with their eyelids sealed.  So more novice you could not get.

I think the reality of most of us going from adults into parents is that we mimic our own upbringing.  Monkey see, monkey do stuff!

I was especially harsh with Connor, and was quick to punish (snap upbringing).

I did not want to be “those” people who are ostracised from society/public/friends because their child is a brat, or cries over nothing, or does anything that might remove from the joy of social occasions for people who do not have children.

I did not want to be stuck at home forever just because “we had a child” I wanted to continue what we usually did, within reason.  And Connor’s end of the bargain required him to behave according our rather rigid rules.  Poor guy!

Shame, I do pity the first child with Learner Parents.  Learner Parents cannot but fk up in the name of “I thought I was doing the right thing” – how else are they going to learn?  Been there, done that!

I recognise now that we were much too harsh, and especially with a child like Connor – who used to burst in to tears if you spoke in an angry tone to him.

By the time Georgia came along I must confess we had learnt a little (though not terribly much) but we were much gentler (and better) parents.  I still didn’t have much other options other than “I am counting to three, if I get there and you have not done/have not stopped doing what I asked you to do then you will get a hiding!”

Two problems with this system.

You have to do something if you get to three.  If you get to three and then warn again, and just do not do what you threatened/warned then your child is going to know that they have the upper hand, and they will know that they will able to always push you and you will cave.

The other issue is that you leave very few options as discipline if you are resort to a smack as a first measure.

At the time that was really all I knew.

In 1996 I went to the UK to visit my brother Bruce.  Him and his wife had been talking about Super Nanny and I bought a book and watched her show.  I was amazed at the “other techniques” I just did not realise existed that did not have a smack as the option.

I felt sick to my stomach that we had failed as parents and had been so harsh with Connor.  I recall standing in the bookstore in Glasgow and skimming through the Super Nanny book and feeling like I had been such a terrible parent.

I did not return a reformed from the UK a”non smacker.”  I still did not rule out a smack, but it got shifted to a “real point of last resort” when we felt we had exhausted every other method within reason.

I think we are still pretty strict parents, but that being said I think we have definitely mellowed from the first few years of Connor.  If I went back I would probably do it differently, but that would be because now I have plus eleven years of parenting under my belt, and woudl look at a situation totally differntly.

In some ways I definitely let somethings just roll on past and I do not make a fuss, but with other things I think I am still “I vant to year vun klik or else!”

I am definitely not an advocate against smacking children, and at the same time would not suggest it as the only course of action.  I am still a bit on the fence on it – presently we smack as a last/final/no other option — and it is very seldom.

I don’t think good parents are born — they are created with the shifts of experience and learning.

We do what we can with what we have got.  But for a me a good parent realises that what is right today, may not be right tomorrow and they realise that parenting is not an absolute point – it is a point of departure and we all learn a bit more each day.  From others, from ourselves and from our kids.

Remembered some rather important information …

After Isabelle’s “your child is beating up other children” note from school I will confess to feeling that familiar wave of panic that swept over me, telling me the best course of action was ANY ACTION.

I am sure the school meant it only as a progress report, but that is not what I am read I am afraid.

I used google, found a speech therapist and made an appointment – tick done!

I don’t mind running up a ladder sometimes, as I feel useful as long as I am moving.  I have found in my furor to get going I sometimes do not check the ladder before starting, only to realise it has been against the wrong wall all the time.

So I am still running.  I decided to take a wee step back just to ensure the direction of where I am already galloping!

I read comments on my earlier post and I realised I was being hasty.  No, she does need speech therapy assessments – REALLY – but I was using the first therapist that google vomited up.

There was no way to establish (for me) whether it was a reputable practice or whether speech therapy person was qualified and experienced enough to handle what I was about to present her with.

I think thanks to Nikki Heyman who gave me a “just stop and think” moment.  Once I calmed down, drank a cup of tea and shoved a bag of Chuckles (which are ON SALE at Woolworths by the way),  I realised that there was a Speech Therapist and an OT at my older kid’s schools.

Both my kids have used their services since pre-primary, and I have been happy with the assessment, and the progress the kids made.

So I cancelled the “made in a hurry” appointment and I have booked Isabelle first into an auditory test first, and then a few days later into a speech therapy assessment at a practice I am familiar with.

I am almost sure that her speech issue is not related to her hearing – but as I am starting from ground zero, it is better to go in and ensure that everything is where it is meant to be before we start trying to figure out where the symptoms are coming from, and take it from there.

Contributing factors I might not have mentioned:

1.  All my kids have spoken late – though granted not this late.

2.  Isabelle also sucks her thumb which is probably not a helluva help to the speaking thing.

3.  I stuttered as a child and had speech therapy.

4.   First mistake of speech therapy – sending your English child to an Afrikaans speech therapist (please remember this was circa 1977/8) so I came out of that speech therapy rolling my r’s and with a more guttural tone to some of my words.  My mom and grandmother nearly shat themselves, and I was hastly sent back to another teacher to try to fix that little problem. Everyone was so busy trying to make me not speak like someone from the Boland, they forgot to notice I lisp my “sssss” which is unfortunately considering my name, and the result is that I often have to say my name 2 or 3 times for someone to hear it correctly.

The worst I have even been called is Chester!


{Kennith took this photograph of Isabelle im December ….. one of my favourites, gets her forehead with the worry frown on it perfectly}

I do enjoy a little blog loving … from other bloggers

I love it when I hear from new readers to my blog, and I like it even more when they seem to relate to the stuff I churn out this side.

I realise I am not the soft lighting Living and Loving Mom with the happy gurgling baby (only because they have turned down my numerous requests for a photo shoot and styling ideas ……) nor am I the happier than happy cookie cutter mom you can google.

I get why someone likes a happy person, but I realise I am just not happy folk  – faking happy leaves me exhausted and usually clutching a large bottle of Chenin in the corner with a bendy straw.

But nonetheless even angry resentful people like to be shown a bit of love on occasion.

I got a “Hello” from mom305.wordpress.com – who is a new blogger and she gave me a little blogger love/pimping in the form of a “Thanks for Writing” Blog Award.

Part of this kind of thing is to create relationships between bloggers.  To find out new invasive information and to also introduce readers to new bloggers out there.  So it is all good.

It is blogging’s equivalent of a chain mail letter, just without the threat of anal leakage if you do not pass it on.  I am more than happy to pass this one along and spread the love.

So my end of the deal is to share some stuff with you:-

Include the award logo in your post or on your blog – here I am going to amend slightly.  I love blog awards, but if the graphic is lacking,then I sort of give it a little spruce up.

So I am including the existing image as supplied to me:

And then I improved (or destroyed depending on your frame of reference) and created an amended/new one – so if you are here to grab the image, please feel free to us the original or the one I created and am using:

Say 7 random things about yourself that the readers don’t know yet

This might be a bit difficult as I tend to tell you everything including my toilet routine, but here goes:

1.  I have Micophonia which is a strong reaction to sound – specific sounds.  Doors slamming, someone chewing, rattling of windows and so on – the sound takes over everything and gets so loud in my head that my teeth literally get put on edge.  It is more common than you think, with no known cure.  The only possible assistance is CBT and to keep up your anxiety medication.

2.  I am so excited that Linkin Park is coming to Cape Town.  I normally am less than arsed to go to a show, I am normally more than happy to get the live DVD, but I will make Linkin Park the exception.  So going to that concert.

3.  I have been on sleep medication since September last year.  It has literally changed my life.  I take medication to make me go to sleep, and medication to keep me asleep.  It has wonders to manage my anxiety, stress and depression.  Cannot recommend it enough.

4.  I used to bite my nails right down to the quick – that little half-moon in your nail.  I have always bitten my nails.  In 1999 I went along to Dream Nails and put an acrylic set and kept it maintained for a year.  It broke the habit.  But, I have to keep my nails long, as when I cut them short I tend to start putting them in my mouth and nibbling on them.  So, I have long nails but the only reason is to stop me biting them – strange but true.

5.  I give blood – and I hate needles, like throw up hate.  I go along, and then look the other way from when they do the pin prick on your finger to when they put the needle in to take blood.  I really feel violently ill and scared when I see the needles, so I just don’t look.  The blood transfusion bank also put a cover over my arm so I do not have to see anything.

6.  I really love my little Boston Terrier – but the fact that he is not getting toilet training is doing my head in.

7.  I have discovered Red Velvet cake this year and I am so very glad we got introduced — and then eat the entire thing like a crazed lunatic cake eater!

Nominate 5 – 10 other Blogs you admire …..

This one is going to be particularly difficult because I have been on a social media and blog black out for a few months.

It was nothing personal it was purely because I had started to blur the line between what was important and what was other people’s stuff.

I needed to get some space and focus my head in my stuff.   I had a total rock bottom crash last year, and one of the factors was definitely my inability to rationalise between what was really related to me and all the other noise that exists on the internet, and how I processed it.

But that being said, I am happy to PIMP blogs that popped in to my head — but I do wish to apologise that I do not follow them as much as I used to, and I avoid commenting even though I lurk around you and you just don’t know it.

The kicking single motherhood up the arse Charlotte over at http://thestilettomum.wordpress.com/

The wry and brilliant Countess Kaz over at http://countesskaz.wordpress.com/

The spectacular and often-makes-me-sniff-back-snot Sharon over at http://www.theblessedbarrenness.co.za/

The legendary and awesome Laura at http://www.harassedmom.co.za/

The how-the-hell-does-she-keep-it-all-together Cat over at juggelingactoflife.blogspot.com/

The super model beautiful and talented Natasha over at http://www.littleandbunny.blogspot.com/

I could go on for quite a while.  If I did not mention you I am sure that one of the above bloggers will when they do their own PIMP list.

Thanks for the props Mom305.

If other bloggers wish to pick this up and pass it along, here is a quick should-do list:

1. Include the award logo in your post or on your blog

2. Say 7 random things about yourself that the readers don’t know yet

3.  Nominate 5 – 10 other blogs you usually follow

4. Let the nominees know that they are nominated & include their blog-links

5. Link the person who nominated you


My child does not speak …. at all!

Isabelle is at a really terrific school, she has been there since January this year.

Isabelle turned three in June.  All good.

I might have spoken about this earlier on my blog, but the “strange” things about Isabelle is that she refused to move to solid food when she was younger.  We had been on pureed food until August/September 2011 – pureed to an inch of it’s life.

It was not that she picky about food, you could get it in her mouth.

But if the food you gave her had a texture i.e. even mashed potatoes, she would gag, gag, and then projectile vomit it out.  When this happens – several times – you start to feel that fine pureed food is easier.  You are less likely to be digging chunks out your hair, so you go with what is easier, and does not require a kitchen spray down mid-way through a meal.

The result was she ate yoghurt, and pureed vegetables.  I could not add meat to the vegetables as it would give the puree a grainy feel and if it went in to Isabelle you could pretty much guarantee it was going to come straight back out again.  On you.  On the cat innocently walking by.

That got sorted (probably more because Kennith decided to step in as he was frustrated) and now she is on normal food and that seems to be okay.  She is more likely to eat vegetables than meat, as I only introduced meat late last year.

There is nothing wrong with her growth, weight and size.  She is big for her age, both in height and weight. Her development is fine, she moved off nappies and got through nights without nappies or wet beds much earlier than our other two.

But she is a fair sized girl. I purchase clothes in the 4 – 5 age range, and some shirts go off Georgia (who is 7) and straight on to Isabelle.

Let’s just say you would not describe her as petite!

Once we got over the food issue, then it gave me time to start focussing on the other things that were just not “quite right.”

Isabelle does not speak.  I am not suggesting she does not sounds, she does, and they are audible from 100 kilometres away, but she does not form words and speak.  She has maybe 4 – 5 words that she says “MUM” “Oof” “Da” “peez” and that might be about it.

I sort of understand what she is saying by the tone of what she says, but no one else does.

I have tried not to panic and run around like a headless chicken.  I used the logic that all kids develop on a different scale and rate, so I should just be patient.  Worked quite well up until now.  Very “mature universal mom” thing going on here.

I got a report from her school – which I forgot to read and which lay on the kist unopened for about 4 weeks.  I saw a note at the school with ticks next to the children’s names whose reports had been returned.  Of course I said quietly to myself “reports, what reports? ….shit ….”

Found report and read through and was a bit alarmed.

The school has raised some concerns (it was in a red bold font) that Isabelle has not progressed with speech in the last 7 months.

She is still not making words.  She is making sounds that are not linked to any words (spoken outside Star Trek!) and worse, because she cannot communicate she is showing signs of aggression and getting in to scuffles with the other kids.

Cripes – my kid has become THAT kid who is beating up/on other kids up for the crayons.

I am a bit alarmed.  I am not blind to the problem, but I have been patiently waiting and thinking, no worries, she will get there.  SHE WILL GET THERE.

When I look over the list of what are considered “average” speech development milestones for a 3-year-old – Isabelle has reached none of these milestones – NONE:

Vocabulary around  150 words. (nope, barely makes 5 words, and those are not even super recognisable)

Able to give name, age and sex. (nope …..)

Produces 3-5 word sentences. (er …. still nope)

Marks plurals and possessives. (right ………… I think we are aiming a bit high on this one ……)

Uses verbs ending in –ing, e.g., “walking, running, etc. (cripes ….. do I get points if she actually is able to walk and run and jump?)

Answers questions with “yes” or “no.” (well she grimaces and screams …. actually she does sort of make an “essss” sound and a “nooohhhhhh” sound, so you know hat I am going to take this one as a tick in the positive direction)

Begins to use descriptive words, e.g., big, hot, color words, etc. (skip this question…..I am feeling somewhat perturbed right now..)

Begins to express feelings. (she expressed her feelings, but in interpretative dance …. no words required)

I have made an appointment with a speech therapist for an assessment.

I was hoping to wait a bit as we are in that wonderful medical aid self payment gap, but I also think I can’t afford to wait 2 – 3 months and address it then.

I do believe that every month that goes by whilst we do not address the situation will affect her in future development milestones.  The risk with Isabelle is that her speech developed issues may knock on learning development problems that are really going to come up and smack us in the face when we are trying to get her ready for Grade R.

Speech therapist assessment booked for next week Wednesday.

Yes, I am somewhat worried that my baby is a bit of a pumpkin head and this speech thing is robbing her of some development experiences she should be enjoying, and isn’t.

{insert huge mommy guilt!}

Does anyone LISTEN to a pregnant woman?

Getting pregnant is stressful.  Am I pregnant?  Is my period late? Is it too early to take a pee on the stick test?  What if I am pregnant, I once walked through the wine section at Pick ‘n Pay, maybe that would have harmed the baby?

And so the mental psychotic conversation starts and pretty much remains in place for how ever long you are “trying” to fall pregnant for.

Assuming you want to be pregnant, there is about 67 seconds when you see two blue lines on your pregnancy test, and you are elated.

You are high fiving yourself in the bathroom, and you are really happy.

Your hand is urine soaked as you had to hold it in your urine stream, whilst trying to balance precariously, but a positive pregnancy test (assuming you are not 12 years old, or you are doing that one child per man you have dated thing) is truly a moment of divine happiness.

It really is just  that moment in time when you feel like you have conquered the world, and eaten a fat-free triple-chocolate cake that actually made you lose weight!

Then you worry.  Worry becomes you constant companion.  Sometimes he brings along anxiety and a full stress-screaming-like-a-banshee.

You worry because now you need to book at the OGBYN and you worry about whether there will be a heart beat and whether everything will be fine.  So though you are elated, the happiness is singed by a feeling of doom and anxiety. And worry.

At the OBGYN when you see the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa heart beat you are joyously happy again.  But only until you climb back in the car in the parking area, as you are back to worrying about the next thing, and thinking that four weeks between OBGYN visits and the scan is tortuously long.  And you have not even got out of the hospital parking lot yet.

What if I miscarry?

What if something I am doing injures the baby?

What if I decide to name the baby Whitney or Barnabus and my child is mercilessly beaten up at school?

What if the fact that I am worrying leads to a higher risk of there being something wrong, everyone tells me to not be so stressed — but now I am worrying about worrying!

At certain times in your pregnancy (granted only in your first) you feel like you are carrying “the holy one” – everyone fawns over you and when you walk in to a room, you can see people’s features soften and usually someone offers you a seat.  Or a foot rub.  Or unnecessary advice.

I met a divine woman this weekend I had met once before whilst she was pregnant, Nicole.  When I saw Nicole that first time, I thought yikes she looks uncomfortable and she was only about 6 months along then.

Nicole told me all about the last few weeks of pregnancy and the eventual early delivery of Lucas. {I am ad libbing the story, so if you would like to hear the full unedited version, I can hook you up with Nicole, who tells a good story by the way.}

I think the thing that stuck with me after listening to her story, is that she KNEW something was off, and no one listened no matter how many times she put her hand up and said “something is wrong here….”

Things did not feel right, and she kept telling anyone who would listen that “something wasn’t right.”  Everyone patted her on the hand and said things like “now now, dear, you need a lie down and you will feel better when you wake up…”

In the end the fact that she had been leaking amniotic fluid for some time, and clearly going in to full labour way before the baby was ready to come in to the world, did eventually get some attention!

Why must one be on the verge of your baby’s head crowning, and a pool of amniotic fluid collecting whilst you stand in the “10 items or less” queue at Woolworths, before someone takes you seriously?

Nicole finally got to her doctor, and they performed an emergency delivery.  Several weeks following the uhm, difficult emergency birth, her OBGYN confided in her that had she arrived 10 minutes later her uterus would probably have perforated and there was a good chance they would not have been able to save her or the baby.

It made me go cold.

And I think the part that made me purse my lips in a non-attractive way, is that pregnant women are generally just not listened to.  They usually feel too embarrassed to say anything is wrong, partly because when you have a 3 – 4 kilogram person lodged between their diaphragm and bladder and EVERYTHING pretty much feels wrong.

I am not sure of the solution – my only advise to anyone pregnant is to treat your pregnancy as YOUR pregnancy.

Be cautious about advise from do-gooders, and to listen to your body.  If there is a something that does not feel right, don’t take a census to see if everyone agrees.  Make an appointment and get someone with a stethoscope and some KY Jelly (preferably with a medical qualification) to take a look at you.

Insist they find the thing that is making you uncomfortable.  Not going because you do not want to bother your doctor, or be demanding is stupid.

I would rather pay for 10 unnecessary OGBYN visits with scans than have something go wrong, and kick myself that I did not LISTEN to my body earlier.

Congratulations Nicole and Simon on the beautiful Lucas – who my girls are already fawning over!

{With all three children I did more OBGYN visits than necessary.  Georgia’s was definitely the most physically stressful – I had thought she had died in utero on more than occasion. I had arrived at my then OBGYN hysterical – on several occasions. Hysterical and having a loud crying jag does get you squeezed in between visits really fast.  With Isabelle my stress levels were so high I rented one of those electronic doppler things ….but I still stressed}

Thanks Franschhoek – I am quite in love with you!

Franschhoek was frikn ama.zing!  Running away to Franschoek without the kids = off the scale fabulous!

Words cannot describe, but as I was too busy eating/drinking/basking in the joy and took only a few pictures, so all I got is words.  Bear with me as I bumble through.

The weather was sunny and one of the first days in Cape Town where you could walk around without being blown away or experience a Noah-style downpour.  We had two gloriously warm and sunny days.  We arrived in Franschoek parked in Huguenot’s road and just walked to everything.

How do you know you are having an epic day?  When you have eggs benedict for breakfast and follow it up with an ice cream cone!

We only went to things in Franschhoek we could walk to.

Walked up Huguenot Road all the way up to the Memorial. I was more interested in walking around the graveyard which had some grave stones dating back 150 years or more.  I am not going to get all gothic on your arse, but I do love a wander around a graveyard and reading the stones and imaging what might have happened.

We stayed at the Franschhoek Protea Hotel – which was beyond cool.  It is right on Huguenot Road and we parked there and walked around for the day.

Clearly they saw me coming.  We arrived to a room with Chuckles available, and Chenin Blanc on ice.

I am almost sure I hopped up and down and clapped my hands like a demented circus seal.  The deal was sealed when there was a gift pack on the bed with his and her t-shirts that they had made up for us “Been there, Done that FRANSCHHOEK” t-shirts.  I laughed like a drain.

How funny is that — how much of a sense of humour do the people at Franschhoek Protea Hotel have?

Kennith and I headed to lunch at French Connection.  It was nice, but not blow you away brilliant.  Food was good, but not wildly memorable.

Dinner was at The Common Room at Le Quartier Français – which was enough to bring you to tears.  Happy tears.  Excellent timing on my part as the night we were there the Le Quartier Français chef was featured on Master Chef as the Guest Chef – they asked if they could put the television on for the show.

The meal was unbelievable.  Easily one of the best meals I have ever experienced.  It was one of those where you order several small dishes and then pick on them.

We order a bottle of wine.  I seldom have the opportunity to use the word SUBLIME, but the bottle of Miss Mollie Hoity Toitie.  Oh my heavens, like liquid honey — it’s on my Xmas list to myself!  Haven’t seen it before, will now be stalking the vineyard.

We got back to the hotel to find the bed turned down and a fuzzy hot water bottle neatly tucked into the bed.  How brilliant is that?

Franschhoek was phenomenally brilliant.  Everything was perfect in every possible way.  The only person who was a bit sucky, was at a book store down the one side road.  Anyone who knows me knows I love book shops – I am happy to spend my grocery allowance on books, really I am fine with it.  Wine+books+chocolate what could be more perfect?  Great little book store.  I wandered around, we were the only clients.

I see a box that says “audio books” – so I look at the box and there are only 2 audio boxes inside it, so I am thinking maybe there are more somewhere else in the store.  I look at the lady running the book shop and in my “I’m a really excited customer voice” go “Are there more audio books anywhere?”

Book store manager/owner goes: “What does it look like…..” and she gives me this withering look, basically summing my IQ into single figures.

I mumbled an apology for being alive.  I aimed to browse a bit closer to the door so I could leave.  Book store owner/manager/person might consider relooking at the manual of “being vaguely nice to customers …” so as not to burst the bubble that all things in Franschhoek are perfect.

We browsed through shops and bought odds and sods, and ate chocolate and that repaired my perception that Franschhoek is really the most perfect place on earth.  I really enjoyed the town – I loved the fact that you could stroll – and there was enough to see without having to get into your car and drive anywhere.

Thanks Franschhoek, I am definitely a new fan.  You and me must get together again really soon!

Running away to Franschhoek …

Kennith woke up this morning, attempted to have a conversation with me.

I bleated about the need to “leave me alone and let me sleep…”

He took kids to school, I continued to lie in my warm bed curled up like a ferrit hoping that I will never have to stick my head out into the freezing cold morning air.

I only jumped out of bed when I heard the car arrive back in the garage.  Of course I looked like I had been out of bed for ages.  Meanwhile not.

We packed – I must confess I put in enough clothes for a week, whilst we are only away for one night.  But I tend to get a bit manic if I am sleepy and have no idea what to expect.

Then we set off to Franschhoek.  I did start the drive with: “Seriously where is Franschhoek, how long will we be driving?”

Have I mentioned I have never been to Franschhoek.

The lovely generous team at Protea Hotels Franschhoek suggested we stay with them them, so that is exactly what we are going to do. Kennith’s mom will collect kids and bring them home, and hopefully take them to school tomorrow.  But really I have left that to her.  If kids do not go to school, you know I am sort of okay with that.

Me – I plan to lay around eat Chuckles, drink Chenin Blanc and wonder why we cannot move to Franschhoek!

Happy 18th first date anniversary us!



Got Milk?

No, seriously what the hell is in PRITT?

Is anyone else a bit shocked/outraged/ready to shit in their pants at the price of a tube of PRITT?

I did the usual buy-stationery-at-the-last-possible-moment stint this afternoon.

But, I love stationery, like in an unholy way.  I adore stationery shopping, so it is hardly a onerus task – I usually throw in a few pens for myself, for good measure, and as a thanks for being so damn awesome.

I am fine with paying R42.00 for a pack of Monami twister crayons.  I am okay with R12 for 3 HB Pencils, but the part that makes me throw up a little in my mouth is R45.00 for ONE tube of frik’n PRITT!

Which would almost be fine if my kids did not go through it like they were eating the stuff.  They must fkn love sticking, because I could be buying a tube every month, and this is after being nagged that they need PRITT for at least a week or more.

It is not the money, it is the value I connect to one tube of PRITT!

I mean seriously what the helvetica do they put into that stuff.  I am not sure whether to give it to my kids for school, or to tell them it is part of their birthday present.

Forty five frikn rand for a tube of PRITT!

But I bought it — but clearly with a touch of gall.  Does anyone know what is in it -I thought it was dead old horses, but clearly it is gold leaf or plutoniam.

Just let me eat my damn AERO ……

I am in my room this evening trying to finish some work.

The evening has already a bit edgy, and the kids have been screaming and fighting with the dog.  Popcorn and apples were involved.

I have a lot to finish and just want to go to bed.  The sooner this lot can be packed away, the sooner I can eat my 100grams of AERO dark and drink my LARGE CUP of Earl Grey tea.

I have been thinking about this all day, this is my moment – my sublime moment.  It is almost within my reach —- if the kids would just go to sleep.

Isabelle is in bed, and she is screaming.  I am trying to ignore her, but she is going on like a lunatic.

We had a disagreement about bedtime. I wanted her in her bed with the lights off.  She wanted to lie on my bed and scream at me to change the channel to ceebeebies.

I won that round {because I SAID SO}, and put her in her bed.

She disagreed with my decision. SHE REALLY DISAGREED!

I throw door open and say WHAT!!! with a certain mix of frustration and exasperation.

Isabelle is lying there pointing to her general groin area – the universal sign for needing to go to the bathroom.  For goodness sake, just get up and go to the bathroom – she is big enough to get out of bed and open the door.  Why lie there and scream like a banshee, for goodness sake!

I hold out my hand and we walk to the bathroom.  Isabelle is so damn cute, I do struggle to remain upset with her, but I am slightly less than happy.

We walk in to the bathroom, I slip and whack my toe against the tiled corner of the shower stall, and nearly fall on my arse.  My catlike skills were the only thing to save me from going arse over tit on the bathroom floor.

Isabelle slips and falls and smacks her head against the edge of the toilet.  Her catlike skills have not been fully developed.

I am effing and blinding and on the verge of a crying jag – toe whacking is really sore stuff. Isabelle is screaming again/still and pointing to her head with large crocodile tears are running down her face.

In amongst all of this mayhem I hear Georgia’s voice: “The dog wee’d on the floor, and I wiped it up, so it was slippery….” did you fall?

I love kids bedtime. Remind me to kick the damn dog.


Fearing childbirth may prolong labor

Dr. Stuart Fischbein chuckled when he read the title of the press release: “Women with a fear of childbirth endure a longer labor.”

The release was promoting a study published this week in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Researchers at Akershus University Hospital in Norway found women who feared giving birth were in labor for 1 hour and 32 minutes longer, on average, than those who had no fear.

“I’m glad there’s now evidence to say that,” Fischbein said, “but it’s obvious.”

For those of us who aren’t OB/GYNs, it may seem more like a cruel joke. Women who are afraid of the pain and the possible medical complications associated with giving birth have to suffer through it longer? Study author Dr. Samantha Salvesen Adams initially thought her team would find the prolonged labor could be explained by other factors – women who feared birth the most were first time mothers, who are known to have longer labors anyway, or obstetric interventions like epidurals. But when those factors were taken into consideration, the difference in time between the fearless and the fearful was still 47 minutes.

“Mental stress is associated with physiological arousal and release of stress hormones,” Adams wrote in an e-mail. “During labour, high levels of stress hormones may weaken uterine [contractions].”

In other words, the adrenaline released when a body is stressed stops the oxytocin hormone production that makes a woman’s uterus contract, slowing labor. It’s a natural, biological response to fear, Fischbein said.

Fischbein, who’s also a co-author of “Fearless Pregnancy,” said women today are afraid of giving birth because they’re surrounded by horror stories.

“We have a society where sensationalism sells. They’re pounded with information [about] things that can go wrong with childbirth. Of course you develop fears.”

To understand Fischbein’s lack of surprise at the study results, you have to take a look at the way other mammals give birth.  For example, when cats, dogs or horses are in labor, they find dark places to have their offspring in peace.  They eat when they’re hungry, pace if they’re in pain and run if something comes near them.

Compare that to a hospital setting, where a woman is given ice chips, strapped to machines while laying in bed and surrounded by people who are constantly interrupting. Though the machines and medical personnel are sometimes necessary, Fischbein says the stress comes from being in an unfamiliar environment.

He recommends women find a doctor or midwife who will take the time to talk through their fears and dispense honest advice about the birthing process.

{Source of Article}

My mom reminded me ….

I was up in visiting my mom, stepfather and Sandbaai last week.

My mom reminded me of something I had completely forgotten about.

Years ago, I was in Standard 5, and I entered a writing competition.  I was 11 in Standard 5 – I turned 5 in Sub A, talk about having delayed puberty against my peers. Geez.

I think the competition was run  in a local newspaper, or The Argus, but I don’t really remember the details.

Basically I wrote about the fact that I did chores, and I loved my mom or something of that ilk.  I was 11, what did I know to write about?

The important detail is I won.  The sponsor was Dairybelle.  I received R300.00 or R500.00 in milk coupons – those plastic round disks that you used to exchange for Orange Juice or a Milk bottle.

Does anyone remember those plastic disks?  When I was younger milk or orange juice was delivered to your house in the morning in a glass bottle.  When you finished the juice/milk, you would put the bottle outside your front door, with a plastic disk in the bottle.

If the disk was white, the milk/juice man would leave a new bottle of milk, and if the disk was orange, he would leave an orange juice.  Fresh pulpy orange juice.  And you would reach out and pick up your bottles, outside your front door, and have them fresh for breakfast (or the milk was off if you got there late and it had stood in the morning sun).

Can you imagine fresh orange juice or milk outside your door – NOW – that no one steals?!  What an idea.

So there I was with a shit load of coupons, and I did not drink orange juice or milk – what is a girl to do?

My mom knew a guy, and that guy did drink orange juice and milk.  He was kind enough to take the disks off my hands, and give me the cash.  Back then R300.00 or R500.00 was a shit load of money.

I used the money (because now I was rolling in it) and I bought contact lenses!

I wore glasses than were as thick as the base of a 1.5 litre coke bottle.  I am like a minus 8 in one eye and a minus 8.4 in the other.  How blind is that you ask?  Get a labrador and a white stick blind – I am pretty blind.

I had been extremely self conscious about my glasses, and the opportunity to get contact lenses before I went to Standard Six was such a godsend.

Of course with contact lenses, one must get a cool hair cut which included short hair, a kuif (fringe) and a perm!!   All so bad, so very bad.  What ever my lenses redeemed, my near hair do shot out of the park.

Rocked 1985 like a rock star!!!!

The entire point of this post was to reminisce on my winning a writing competition as a child, which I had totally forgotten about and my mom had reminded me about this last weekend. Also on milk/orange juice disks.

Franschhoek I have your number! Call me, let’s get together.

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who comments, and everyone who went along to VOTE.  Like really, thank you {tips hat}

I have had such awesome feedback and it really is all quite lovely. Yes, I appear like I don’t give a toss, but of course it is all caramel cupcakes and unicorns when someone says good things about my blog.


Kennith has been away for about a month, so I have become a “hiking” widow.  I have had house, hearth and heathens (cleverly disguised as my children) to deal with.  Alone.  By myself.

I must confess there have been times when I have wanted to just off the entire household, but then there were times when the house is quiet, everyone is sleeping, I am making starfish shapes as I have the entire bed to myself, and I am surfing DSTV like a Mr-Price Surfing Champion!

He is due back next week Monday, and on Tuesday we have decided to take the day off work and spend the day celebrating/drinking cheap wine.

I am attempting to go to Franschoek – yes, I still have not been there.

I was aiming to go there on my birthday this year, but then circumstances conspired to work against me.  I do realise that I am probably the ONLY person living in Cape Town, who has not been to Franschhoek.  But there we go.  I am a Franschhoek Virgin!

I am so ready to pop THAT cherry.

On 17 July hopefully we are heading out for lunch/wine/truffles in Franschhoek – and I can buy a been there, done that t-shirt.

Things to celebrate over at the MacBarlow Manse:

1.  Reluctant Mom Winning Mommy Blogger 2012 – she still makes me proud {sniff} that old girl!

2.  Kennith summitting Elbrus, Russia and returning in one piece.  He has also lost a ton of weight and is super fit – he is at that point where he likes to stand around in his form-fitting underpants and says “you like, you like??”

3.  Kennith and my wedding anniversary on 17 July, and is also our first-date-anniversary – we got married on the date specifically for this.  I think our first date anniversary is 18 years and our wedding is 3 years.  Kennith only counts the 18 years – he gets quite chipped off if you say that we have been married “only 3 years”.

4. Happy Helpers -{ Nanny and Domestic Agency in Cape Town } taking off so damn well.  I am so proud of my little fledging.  She has managed to fall out the nest, and not nose dive into the tarmac.  Bless her little cotton socks!

5. Tuesday is as good as any day to celebrate that SCHOOL HOLIDAYS are the fk over, and kids can be handed back over to the school system!

Much to celebrate!

What’s not to like?

Epic win — what’s not to like?

Sunday Bath Time … and other capers


Connor and Georgia in the bath ….

Connor: Georgia you SCRATCHED my winkie!

Georgia: Sorry …

Connor: Georgia, look at that it is BLEEDING …

Georgia: Sorry …..

Connor: Uggghhhh GEORGIA ….. geez that hurts ….


I am feeling compelled to rush in and check:

1.  How a winkie got scratched while the kids were bathing.

2.  How deep a scratch is …. exactly on a winkie … to make it bleed ….

But do I really want to know, do I really want to get involved?  How does one really deal with this? Decision, decisions.  What would Tommyc Zoom do? {unfortunately I am at that point where I think in ceebeebies…. don’t mock me, soon you will be here ….. trust me once you experience Little Cook, Big Cook as much as I have, you may want to just take your own life}


Quiet voice ….

Georgia: Mommy, Connor is not forgiving me for scratching his winkie.  I said sorry, but he is not forgiving me …..

Georgia:  Mommy tell Connor to forgive me ….. MOMMY!!!! MOMMY ……………MOMMY TELL HIM!!!


Connor saunters in the room, I can see he has not actually dried himself correctly and has still put his jammies on … either that or he has a serious personal sweating problem that needs medical intervention.

Connor: Mom, can I play computer games on your computer?

Me: No Connor ………. can I have some time by myself ………..

Connor: Mom I will turn off the sound …

Me: Awww Connor please …… if you are here I will not be by myself ………

Connor: Mom PLEASE …

Me: What are you going to do for me?…….


Me: Go tell Georgia you forgive her and help her out the bath.

Connor: Okay ……….

How many more insane Sunday Nights do I have to have before I can ship this lot off to boarding school?

My room now has Connor playing a game, whether the sound is on or off is a bit irrelevant, as he is making the shooting sounds, Georgia is hanging over him cheering him on, Isabelle is eating a large bag of Flings whilst trying to demonstrate how she does a balla-ma-kissy, Dexter is jumping on the bed and then getting kicked off mid-Isabelle roll … and Andy Pandy is on television … something about teddy beddy and mopping!!!!

<                  >

Me …….counting the minutes until I can send them to bed.

<                  >

When Kennith gets back I am going to treat myself to two uninterrupted days and nights of no children, semi decent wine, and what ever B&B will take me!


Winner winner chicken dinner ….

Received a cool email today:

I would like to inform and congratulate you on winning the 2012 Mommy Bloggers Competition for your blog- The Reluctant Mom!

The runner up is Natasha with her blog Raising Men and third position is Tanya from Rattle and Mum.

I am in Hermanus today, and trying to manage kids, work via my cell phone, answer calls, co-ordinate Happy Helpers, and also take photographs of my mom’s beach house in Sandbaai.  So the day was a bit crammed and I did not get the “great news” until somewhat late in the day.  I will confess I did think about it earlier today, and thought sh*t they would have called me if I had won, and quietly congratulated the other bloggers.

Checking email gets a lot better when you get an email that pats you on the back – say as opposed to the one that is bitching and moaning and/or asking you for the payment you still have not processed (I am getting there I promise!!)

My Blog’s new pink bling ———————————————————————————————–>

Thanks kidzworld.co.za, and thank you to everyone who took the time to toddle along and put in a vote — I have no idea how the finalists were chosen, so I really am as blind to the process as the next person, but glad none the less that I got PIMPED!

So much better than being the girl with the camel toe who does not get picked for PE teams and stands awkwardly on the school sports field…..like lots much better ….>

Congratulations to all the bloggers who were nominated, and shortlisted – Mommy Bloggers keep such good company, and to win against other Mommy Bloggers is not an easy act of desperation.  I know the old adage of “it was honour enough to be short listed with this lot” but it was pretty cool just to be on the shortlist, so to win, is “three LARGE glasses of chenin blanc” great!

Natasha and Tanya, well done on being runners up!

My dog bit my child …

Dexter is a really lovely dog.  He has such a goofy expression that you cannot but love him.

That being said he has one or two serious behavioural issues.

1.  He sprinkles his urine for no apparent reason.

He could be outside for 72 days, you let him in, and 5 minutes later he will take a piss.  It has if he has been holding it in so he can put urine in your home.  He never pees on a surface that is easy to clean, he will pee on the corner of your pot drawer, your curtains or on your shoe.

2.  He takes a crap in the most bizarre places.

Again adding he has unhindered access to the great outdoors.  He will be outside for ever, walk right in and take a crap.  Never on an easy to clean surface, but right in the centre or your prized zebra skin, or in this week’s case, right in the centre of Isabelle’s bed!!  Crap and a giant piss!

3.  He is brilliant with the kids, but will growl at them now and then – when he is eating something he thinks they might want, or when he is sleeping and has a really good spot.

We teach our dogs from the time they arrive in our house that humans (even small humans) are permitted to touch them and take food out of their mouths. Dexter is find 85% of the time, but then for the remainder he growls and his hackles go up.

I am not one of those people who refer to my dogs as my children.  I used to, and then I had children.

I now understand that clear line between the two. One you can lock in the kitchen when they irritate you, the other you can’t.

So I treat dogs as dogs, I understand the pack mentality, I understand that they behave a certain way, and I can get all Caesar Milan on your arse.  Really got it.

Dexter has become my kryptonite.  I understand what he is doing is wrong, but I am absolutely powerless to stop him, because I do not understand why he does it, and also does things in a non-consistent way.

I buy the dogs a hoof each to chew.  Annabelle (our Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 12) – I decide okay let me put her outside with the hoof, as she will eat Dexter if he comes near her whilst she is chewing it.

I put her outside – also because she is standing at the backdoor asking to go out.

I leave Dexter inside and he climbs into the dog basket, happily chewing the hoof. First time he has had a hoof, so it took him a few moments to grasp the point of eating a bovine’s discarded foot!

Dexter in box.  Isabelle (note the dog and child have similar names …. long story) anyway Isabelle sees Dexter and walks over to him to give him a hug.  Dexter thinks Isabelle is after the hoof and takes a bite of her arm.

It nearly broke the skin, and I was amazed by the bite pattern.  Dexter is a Boston Terrier, so their bite is totally ridiculous.

But back to me and said SCREAMING CHILD.  Isabelle is screaming like someone stole her Nuttella sandwich.  I look at Dexter and the communication between my eyes and his brain was: “You little shit, I am going to kill you!!”

I did not kill him, though for a moment (if you add the crap on the bed to the week’s mix) I was seriously considering giving him away on gumtree.

I really really think if he has bitten her in the face, this conversation would be different.

I really love my dog, but cheese and rice I love my kids a lot more.  I really have a lot of work to do with Dexter, but I can promise you if he ever bites my child again, I am so going to gumtree his arse!

Dexter if you are reading this – and I know you log on with my password, take this as your FINAL WARNING mate!  You are very cute, but you will still be cute stuffed with sawdust on my TV cupboard.  You my friend are on probation!!

Seen on twitter …. thought it was funny

I know this is not connected to anything, but man this made me laugh today.  I am not sure if anyone else will find it as funny as I did.  I do like the ones that make me put my head back and laugh out loud.


Why not try a book …. go on, pick one up.

As our kids are getting bombarded with games and more tv channels than there are hours in a day, the lowly old paper and ink book seems to be slipping out of popularity.

I love books – in an obsessive compulsive way.  I buy books because I love the smell and the feel of them. I always have a book nearby – like an emergency parachute to save me from idle time, or stupid people when the conversation really reaches an impasse.

I can spend an entire afternoon at a book store, and still feel that I was “rushed” – money spent on books is never a waste.  I have a book shelf in each child’s room, and they are crammed with books.  Granted there are story books which have become colouring-in books, but that besides they still work as reading books, through the crayons.

I love reading more than pretty much anything else.

If you can combine wine, chocolate and books then you have a corner of what I would call heaven.  If I have nothing to read in the toilet, I read the instructions on the “air freshener” can – dude, I gotta read — like must!!!

With Kindles, ipads and what ever else, the idea of paper and ink book is in fear of extinction or the very least a decline.  Why read when you can watch the movie, or have a voice read it to you, and all you have to do is do the “swish” when the “digital” page turns?

I feel strongly that books are important.  I think that kids who are brought up without books, and without a love of reading are missing out.  I am not sure how to qualify or quantify it, but I think that a generation without books will be poorer.

Characters I have created are far more real and have more depth and “substance” than nearly every character-created-from-a-book-and-put-on-the-screen by a clever bloke or blokette in Hollywood.

If you have a kid at school, suggest an initiative to the teacher that every child in the class, donate a book to the school’s library on her or his birthday. That way the classes’ library increases by 24/26 books a year.  How cool and simple is that?  And how much does everyone benefit?  A great deal.

You can pick up a really good book at Bargain Books for R20.00 – R60.00 — some real gems there.  Books and stories that don’t age.

The more kids are exposed to books, the more likely they are to respect them and build a keen love of them.  The more they love books, the more they love reading, the more they love reading, the more they love books, the more they read and so it goes.

Time reading is never wasted.  That is unless the time was spent reading Shantaram, then consider it a total waste of time, and I feel your pain!

Instead of toys, give books for birthdays.

My friend Tanya Roberts who lives in New Zealand sent books to Connor when he was a baby, and I have passed those books to Georgia and then on to Isabelle, and I still read them.  She introduced me to The Gruffalo and I am eternally grateful.  Without a doubt my favourite story.

She also sent me Hairy Maclary books – another character who has crept into our story times.  I in turn have gone on to buy these books for other children.

Toys we were given have been discarded or broken, but the books we have been given, are still with us, and when the books are passed where my kids use them, I pack them up and donate them to a needed pre-school or children’s library at a hospital.

I have a Kindle, and as much as I love reading, I realised that part of the “reading” process is selecting the book, and holding that book in my hands. The Kindle has been relogated to the drawer of my desk, sadly seldom seeing the light of day.

I think that if we do not actively develop a love of reading in our children from a very young age, they will grow up thinking that watching the movie, or listening to the story on which ever device they have access to is so much “easier” than boring reading, and in turn they will be robbed of the experience of exercising their imagination.  And more importantly learn to read and spell using all the letters of the alphabet.

Go on, develop a love of reading in your child – even if you are not a great fan ….

The one where Kennith climbs a Mountain!

Kennith is a bit of a lie on the couch, scratch his crotch, and reach for the remote kind of guy – but who amongst us isn’t, right?

But you give him a challenge.  You throw 2 or 3 other people in to the challenge and that gets Kennith moving like a mad man.  That boy does “competition” like no one’s business.

He goes from couch potato to super hero in a moment! Underpants on the outside and everything.

Kennith is always trying to draw me into challenges. “come on let’s see who can…..” but I prefer to operate on my own steam. I do not get all worked up with power high fives, and chest beating when I am hunting in a packc – me I am a loner.  Like to do my sh&t, like to do it alone.

I am not really motivated by group rah-rah-rahs.  But that is where Kennith and I differ on a fundamental way.

I am not sure where the idea of climbing Mt Elbrus came from.  I am fairly sure the blame sits with John Black, who is also known for climbing anything that sits still long enough.  He has also been known to blow aerosole cans apart in fires, but that is the fun that John Black brings.

Kennith did Kilimanjaro back in 2005, and he really enjoyed it – I think the week after the mountain in Zanzibar probably made it all the better, no doubt.  The added “benefit” of a newborn baby at home, was probably more motivation to exit at the nearest border control and head for sunny places where they say things like “Relax ….. and chill……….”

Kennith really got behind the idea of doing Mt Elbrus.   I think he really got behind it from end of last year, like really got behind it!

He hiked, biked and worked out like a man possessed.

Granted he did leave me with three kids whilst he went off to be “challenged” each weekend on a bike ride or a hike, but I am trying not to hold that against him (with the help of weekly psychologist meetings and medication) but you must admire his ability to put his head down and just get on with it.

Kennith started this epic adventure weighing close to 130 kilograms.

He started cycling and took part in The Argus and a few other get-on-your-bike-spike adventures.  This year was his second Argus.  Whilst last year he looked like death warmed up when it was over, this year, he just looked a spot of tired.

Kennith found a trainer and the two of them would get together at the local gym at about 5am to throw kettles around and basically to see if Kennith could rupture his sphincter.  Exercise is not the most stimulating thing in the world, listening to someone else’s rendition of their exercise at about 6:30 am is a bit less than awe inspiring, but anyway, must give the boy his dues.

Kennith cut down on ice cream, cakes, beer and all things good.  His idea of a good meal would include chicken without skin and a salad.  His drink of choice has been water.  Every meal this year has been “what’s for dinner, but it can’t have carbs…” which nullifies my idea of dinner being 4 slices of white bread with 2 inches of Nutella spread on it!

Kennith has been working like a demon and just before he left he weighed in at 98 kilograms!  A very impressive achievement by anyone’s standard.

He flew out on Friday, 22 June and is back on the 16 July.  On Friday (just past) they were making a go for the summit, so I have not heard from him since then.  I heard from him today and he confirmed that they made the summit, which is such an achievement.

Some bits of random information about Elbrus, in the event you are too lazy to google it:

  • Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia, is also the highest mountain in the Caucasus Range in southern Russia near the border with Georgia. Mount Elbrus with 15,554 feet (4,741 meters) of prominence is the tenth most prominent mountain in the world.
  • Elbrus has two summits with the West Summit at 18,510 feet (5,642 meters) slightly higher than the East Summit at 18,442 feet (5,621 meters).
  • Mount Elbrus is perpetually snow-covered with an icecap and 22 glaciers. Three major rivers—Baksan, Malka, and Kuban—arise from the glaciers.
  • Climbers regularly die on Mount Elbrus, as many as 30 a year. In 2004 alone, 48 climbers and skiers died on the mountain. Elbrus is considered one of the world’s most deadly peaks with a high ratio of climber deaths to climbers.

So at the moment Kennith is on his way down Mt Elbrus.  Here are some pictures in the event that you are curious in a voyeuristic sort of way.

Kennith at the airport – all decked out in Cape Union Mart gear.

Kennith and Natalie Black – Natalie by the by is pregnant and has skewed the bar for all pregnant people, now and forever. If you think after this you can lie on the couch and moan about being pregnant, your husband/boyfriend is going to google Natalie’s picture and come and show you how you should look and that you should have an ice pick, as you shovel yet another cupcake in your pie hole.

Who knew a mountain covered in ice could be this much funny?  Nope not me.

And this is a very exhausted looking Kennith.

Could you imagine having that much ice around you, and being that exhausted and having to get your arse down a mountain?  Nope, me neither, but kudos to Kennith.  I would have curled up in a ball, eaten all my snacks and quietly gone to sleep, forever!

What Dexter said when I told him Kennith climbed a mountain …. you get the sense that Dexter is voicing my thoughts “Why the hell would you climb a mountain, just so you can come down it again?  Bitch please!!”