Mothers and Maintenance …..

The idea of maintenance and how so many moms need to fight for maintenance makes me angry.

Like blood boiling angry.  Like Bobbit Penis Cutting Off angry.

My mother was a single mother for much of the years we grew up.

My parents were {bitterly} separated when I was about 5.

The fight for maintenance/child custody/the fun years lasted well until I was 12 years old, and eventually my parents were divorced.  The maintenance fighting was a constant backdrop theme from Sub A through to when I finished High School.

My father wasn’t a particularly good father when he and my mother were together {actually truth be told he was epic shit  – but let’s leave that for another day}.

On separation he really worked hard on finding the lowest possible level of humanity he could stoop to.  He was a horrendous ex-husband and took crap fatherhood to an untold low.

He refused to pay maintenance.  My mom as permanently at maintenance court trying to force him to pay what the court had decreed he should pay.

The problem is to fight this fight she needed to get time off work.  Sit for hours in the warm and fuzzy place that maintenance court was, and of course pay her lawyer to plead her case.  Money we did not have, to pay for something that by rights we should not be standing arguing about in a court room.

It did not really matter what the court decided was a “fair” amount.c  As my father would either be back in court to spend a few more days explaining why he could not afford to pay the amount, or just not pay. Or lose his job, as then well, he could argue he did not have money to pay maintenance.

My mother  had to spend her time, and money, tracking where he was employed, what he earned, where he lived.  Present all this as evidence to the court, as the court did not have resources to do the leg work.

She would get all this information.  The court would say “Okay, Mr Derek MacLeod you need to pay R75.00 (or what ever pittance it was)” and then Mr MacLeod would change jobs or move and the process would start at square one again (repeat over numerous years).

Maintenance court was a permanent background event whilst I was growing up.

I recall how angry and upset my mother was, and how she would truly be at her wit’s end.

My mom worked every day of her life, and made she always had a job – at times she had two jobs, not so we could live in the lap of luxury, but so we could have shoes on our feet and apricot jam in our jaffles.

Financially we were pretty much on the level of  “poor whites” and lived off her salary.

Three kids + a secretaries salary =not many fun outings, or new shoes.

These were not the golden year of my young days I guarantee you.  Much of my youth we spent going without.  Groceries, bond payment, and petrol pretty much took up most of the money with very little left over for baubles and trinkets.  I never (seldom) had new clothes, and survived on hand me downs.

If it costed money, then we did not get it.

My father was a spiteful man.  I am convinced that part of the reason he would jerk my mother around about maintenance was because he was a spite son-of-a-bitch. Pure and simple.

Why else would a man not provide for his children?

Why else would a man willingly let his children go without whilst he sought to pursue his own hobbies and girlfriends?

I read this post by The Stiletto Mom and it made me angry.

I have been the child that exists through this chaos of maintenance.  I could never understand why a man would consider himself a man and stand in court and explain to a court room why he was not going to support his children.

His children.  Not poor unknown waifs from Ethiopia. His children.  Fruit of his loins.

The ones he held in his hairy paws way back then and promised to protect and love. I totally get that a man can stop loving his girlfriend, wife, the mother of his children – but when is it okay to stop providing for your children?

Maintenance always seems to turn into this anger between the mom and dad.

The mom appears to want too much money, the dad appears to have an issue with the money.

Listen, I totally understand that a man might not trust the ex-woman in his life, but why argue about money for your kids.

There just seems to be this persistent moaning by men about how they can “only afford x maintenance” ….. excellent.  I personally can only afford R2 000.00 on school fees.  Unfortunately school fees are R6 000.00, so you know what happens I suck it up and make a plan.

I realise this is probably not the most eloquently written “bitch and moan about maintenance and the men who refuse to be men and get their shit together” but Hannes over at Stilletto Mom right now embodies everything that makes me angry. {I don’t know Hannes, he may be a super stand up guy — like super man father material …. he just might be ….. I doubt that is what his child(ren) will feel at this moment as mom is wondering if she should rather buy milk or bread, but not both}

Hannes, it is not about what you can afford, it is about what your child needs to survive.

Can’t afford it?  Get a second job, but for shit sake, grow a pair!

Georgia is not likely to win “So you Think you can Dance” ….

Georgia does dance at school.

To be honest, I think it is because I would like her to dance.  I can’t dance.  I have zero co-ordination.

I dance when I have had too much to drink, and then the lack of co-ordination feels very co-ordinated.  But based on the recent photographic evidence, the reality is something quite frighteningly different.

I think Georgia would prefer to sit quietly at a table and cut up paper into small pieces, for hours.

I have struggled to find a sport/activity that Georgia enjoys.  She starts most things with a certain measure of enthusiasm and that seems to peter out by week three.  About the same time I paid the yearly subs and bought her the entire outfit.

We have worked through Art, Swimming, Karate, Netball, Tennis, Athletics, Computers (I think she still goes to this) and Dance.

Around the middle of last term she started making sounds to indicate she was not interested in doing dance any more.

I am a bit exhausted by the way my kids flit in and out of things.  Back in my day you started something and you stayed in it come hell or high water.  Enjoying your extra mural was not a necessary criteria for you attending – you just attended and did the best you could, and smiled for the end of year photo!

Bleeding stump and heart ache were irrelevant – you agreed to an extra mural you went the hell along until the year ended, and that was about all the discussion there was on the matter.

I suggested Georgia try to remain in dance until the end of the year.

I figured once she got some of the basic steps down, then she might enjoy it a bit more.  She has specifically asked not to do sport/extra murals if it includes running, as she falls.

Difficult to find an activity without running, and the school no longer offers Darts as an extra mural.

Georgia used to like Dance and would often perform impromptu dance recitals – usually whilst I was at Woolworths or Pick ‘n Pay.

Kennith fetched her the other day and she was pretty bleak about doing dance.  Of course Kennith did the “But honey if you were unhappy why didn’t you tell someone” bit, to which she responded: “I did, I told mom …. and she made me carry on!”

I sheepishly nodded that I wanted her to stick with it.  Kennith has no qualms about forcing her to do an extra mural, but he draws the line at an extra mural he has to pay for.

Today I was looking at the “end of year dance concert” time-table, which translates into hours of waiting around so my child can stumble on the stage dressed like a reindeer and be hidden somewhere in the back.  {Lets ignore the 3 – 4 other Saturdays they have already had to go to school so they can practice this dance concert.}

I really am not one of those parents who gets all frothy mouth and starry eyed about their children in concerts.  I feel very little in the way of excitement.  I think when your child has been a tree or a rock in a school concert, the excitement sort of passes for you.

There is something soul-destroying about spending 2 1/2 hours watching random children move across a stage, whilst sitting and freezing to death in an auditorium, to see my child for 3 minutes or 45 seconds.  This entire process has made me less than excited about this entire song-and-dance thing.  On stage.  With a back track and bad costumes.

There are already two full days which can be written off totally to this “dance concert” …. which is all and good, assuming my child was the principal ballerina and would be breaking her moves centre stage.

But she will be dressed as a reindeer.  And judging by her present dance level will be hidden somewhere in the back behind the tree and the rock.

I just cannot face the hours and hours waiting around backstage and usually in freezing cold at some point so my child can dance with full costume and antlers.

Cheese and rice I won’t be able to recognise her.  She does not want to dance.  She has already told me how stressed she is about doing this concert in front of hundreds of people.

I will confess, I have an overwhelming urge to tell the dance teacher she can keep the money for the costume, and excuse Georgia from this Dance of the Stars at Xmas Time … or what ever it is called.  One less reindeer is not going to change the world ….

 

“Hey, can you hold my Olympus Camera for a while,” :said mycamera.

 

I do love it when people give me things.  I do love it when someone says “pop over to our shop and collect an Olympus Camera….”

Xmas she comes a bit early this year.

I get to be one of the six bloggers chosen for the #mycamerablogger competition.

In short I popped along to mycamera at Shop 14, Roeland Square, Corner Roeland and Drury Street, Gardens – and they hand me an Olympus Camera, granted with a thick contract which included sacrificing my first-born on a mountain with a goat or something.  Something.

They made it VERY CLEAR — abundantly clear — that it was only a loan.  And that I had to bring it back.

The camera is funky white Olympus and I am so siked to (1) Figure out how it works (2) Start taking cool snaps of everything!

This weekend, is a big mate-get-together-weekend for us.

We have a wedding of two dear friends, a baby shower, and basically a divine weekend of relaxing with mates in Stanford, just past Hermanus.

I collected the {loan} Olympus camera I get ten working days (and the weekend) to take my pictures.

The brief is to encapsulate the words “Joy” “Curiosity” and “Alone” –  we submit one, unedited image for each word … and then we take back our very pretty Olympus camera back to the lads (and ladies) at mycamera.

Then some judges get together and pick a winner, and a second princess.

At the end of this, one of us gets to walk away with the Olympus camera – coolio. For keeps! {the remainder of us, give ours back and wonder how it all went so wrong}

How cool is that?  Yep, pretty cool pants.  I really need to get my creative cap on, and try to at least keep up with the other cool kids on the block.

 

Happily of Household …. available at your local toy store!

I saw this at Toy Kingdom recently and see you can purchase a bit of Happily Household in the event you are struggling to create your own.

The features are: “Gentle and soft mummy” and “Considerate father” but of course this is how they would be because there is also the promise of “lovely baby!”

I am really concerned for this household that their idea of preparation is a mom’s handbag and high heels. The father is looking a bit shell shocked, but I think that the designer might have struggled with presenting ‘considerate’ ….

I am not quite clear on the point of this one, is it to take the baby out of the pram and put the baby back in the mommy’s tummy and then watch the mom deliver the baby …. either way it does look like shite in a pink box.

Santa Shoebox Drop off Day ….

Today (and tomorrow) is Santa Shoebox drop off day at my venue.  I was using the Durbanville Cape Town drop off for my boxes.

I looked at the site earlier to check where the numbers were sitting:

Total kids:  95 319

Boxes pledged: 10 187

which is really great news – now is just to hope that everyone who pledged gets their boxes on time to the right venue.  Wrong venue means there is a child that does not get his or her box, so definitely double-check that before you leave the house.

I arrived today – the place was easy to find – the site gave great directions.  Parking plentiful.  A friendly co-ordinator asked if she could help me carry.

I said :”er no, I should be fine….” She insisted and brought another co-ordinator and, we carried our 10 boxes inside from my car.

They were so organised, a quick scan into the system, and then a “thank you, they are beautiful” and I was sent on my way.

I was really pleased to be part of the Santa Shoebox Project this year.

I can’t say I had fun wrapping the boxes, as I remembered on box one that I actually HATE wrapping presents/books – so I decided to use the white boxes I had and write on them, draw squiggles and stick things on.  I liked that part.

I was really happy with the boxes when they were done.

There are 10 more kids getting gifts this year than there were last year.  This project has at the same time made me immensely sad.  That bitter-sweet sad, where you cry, but smile at the same time.  I know it is all great and and and … but it shows you in a rather profound way how fortunate your children are, versus so many kids in South Africa.

Hats off to how well this project has been organised.

I love the “no shit” tone of the website – here’s your list, here is how you pack, this is where you drop them off – yes, that is all.

I was a bit of a dope and did not take pictures of my boxes – they lay in my lounge for long enough, you would have thought I could have spared a moment and taken a few photographs, but sadly no, of course that realisation became apparent as I was handing them over to the lovely ladies in the aprons this morning.

I only took photos of these two girl boxes, as I left them behind today.

I used little foam shapes on the boxes, some flat sheets for colour, then I used a permanent marker to draw a design on the boxes.

The black dotted lines wraps around the box, and then when it loops to the bottom I wrote a little message on the boxes – I hope the children can read my hand writing:

Congratulations Santa Shoebox Project – what an incredible initiative.  I am definitely going to steal the idea I saw and build at least one box a month so when next October swings round it is not such a HUGE project, and more importantly I can pick up bargains as the year goes by.

{Thanks to Kennith Barlow who helped me with the boxes.  Okay, he did not actually make or pack any, but he brought me glasses of wine, and he also bought some great things from Cape Union Mart which I added to the box!}

Mom breastfeeds dog … yes you read correctly!

{My friend Alice sent this on to me – I think to try to prove that no matter how insane I am, at least I had a few limits, unlike Terri Graham here who really needs a bit of a sit down a chat and a review of her meds.}

Mom breastfeeds dog. Woman claims feeding her pug is ‘comforting’.

Image: via IMGUR

 

 

 

Moms may feel like they’re missing out on a vital part of parenting if they can’t breastfeed their babies, but Terri Graham has an unusual way of dealing with this problem – she breastfeeds her daughter’s pet pug, instead, according to HuffingtonPost.

“I finally feel complete…” {completely rootin tootin freaking insane > Reluctant Mom}

Not only does she do this, but she’s quite happy to share her experiences.

In an interview with Closer Magazine, Terri is quoted as saying that breastfeeding the dog was a positive experience: “Having Spider [the dog] suckle on my boob means I finally feel complete and a better mother,” Graham told the magazine.

In case you’re wondering how she got started with this unusual breastfeeding experience, she says that the dog started to enjoy breast milk after he licked the teat of a bottle of expressed breast milk over two years ago.

She had never been able to breastfeed either of her two children.

It’s not yet clear whether her open attitude will be appreciated by breastfeeding advocates… {or Pugs who feel repulsed at having to suckle in front of their other dog friends …. Spider the Pug’s street cred has gone for a ball of shite}

What do you think about the breastfeeding pug?

Reluctant Mom >  I am trying to understand how this particular picture goes.  You naked, the pug on the bed, you thinking hey, what would happen if I put my breast in his mouth …….. on the other hand I am hoping it has stopped at breastfeeding alone, but …. actually now I am feeling a bit more ill than I was before.

Article source:

http://www.parent24.com/Baby/care_nutrition/Mom-breastfeeds-dog-20121018

Pole dancing and other pursuits ….

I’ve been running around with this thought in my head for a few weeks, and am struggling to put it in to words so that it make sense.

I saw this link recently which was a post about Toddlers and Tiara’s {excellent post} and it made me splutter in anger/frustration.

Not because it said anything that was not true, but because the video reminded me of how much I hate /abhor this show.

And how angry it makes me.

It brought up severe feelings.  It is not just this show – though the show is enough to push a mom over the edge, but it is because this culture is a symptom of something so much bigger.

I am not the best mom in the world.  I realise I often make some stupid parenting decisions, which I hope I learn from them as I go ahead.

Even with my rather limited IQ and parenting issues, I can see that spray tanning my child, and pimping them in a two piece on a stage might be questionable behaviour for any parent, even one with limited IQ.

Having my young daughter parade on stage in what is really a downsized version of an adult outfit, and mimic’ing adult behaviour is a not really a sign of a good parenting decision, no matter how big the trophy or how ridiculous the title

I have caught Toddlers and Tiara’s a few times and sit there and wonder what the hell these parents are thinking!  Seriously, what the freaking hell!

That being said, I look at the parents – even if you exclude their toddler who is clenching false teeth to give her the perfect smile, has hair poofed to an inch of it’s life, wearing more spray tan than “The Only way is Essex” and a wardrobe that would make the Jersey Shore single figure IQ cast jealous – and really seldom think they are stellar parents making fabulous parenting decisions.

I do tend to sit there and go “what the fuck?” and that is before I have seen the child.

I get how the mom will often think this is a great idea – moms get to do stupid things, often, that is  our right.   Surely a sane dad would think “there must be something wrong with my 4 year old daughter being waxed, primped, and posing on stage in a bikini and then sashaying about like she is a 20 year old?” and maybe put up his little fist and go “Hey, I prefer my daughter not to look like someone who appears on Hollywood Boulevard.”

The parents explain why they parade their children on a stage and promote these girls whose only “good attribute” is their external beauty or perceived beauty.  The most common reason is always about how good it is for the child/baby.

No one mentions how much discomfort/pain this child goes through to be plucked, pulled and painted to look like a doll.

No one comments on the behaviour which many of these girls exhibit which is rampant self-absorption and a skewed perception of reality.  Also they are encouraged to be DIVA’s demanding and rude, and of course the stuffing in of food high in sugar and caffeine to keep their energy going.

The entire show is hideous.  It reminds me of that audition on Bruno where they are trying to show how far a parent will go to get their child into an advertisement.

Auditioning for a children’s fashion shoot in Los Angeles, Bruno asks a group of showbusiness mothers a series of questions about what they would allow their child to do for the shoot.

“How would your daughter handle being dropped four-storeys?” he asks one, to which she replies: “I think she’d be a little scared at first, but she can do it.”

Bruno then reveals that the fashion shoot will involve one child dressed up as a Nazi officer pushing a wheelbarrow holding another young girl dressed as a Jew into a furnace.

One of the mothers auditioning her child says: “It sounds theatrical… as long as she gets the gig.”

I think as parents we all make, well, dodgy decision with our kids.  Then when given time to reflect realise we have been a bit dick-orientated and try our best to correct the behaviour moving forward, say, rather than entering them into the NEXT competition.

I did the photo competitions with Connor, and dragged him to a few hideous commercials.

The days were long, the work tedious and at the end of it all it had nothing to do with Connor.  It was all about me and my need for outside affirmation that my child was truly a beautiful child – because if he was pretty, then surely that made me a good parent (or a better parent)!

Eventually I realised that my need to win had nothing to do with Connor.  But all to do about me feeling that “he was the best looking child” and decided to not take him for further castings – he really hated them, and I was having to bribe and coax him to do them.

I cannot stand child based beauty competitions.

I blanch when I get a request to go and “LIKE” the link because someone’s child is on a list of 400 kids where clearly the competition is about how many “LIKES” they get which does not make them the best/most beautiful child, but who ever has the mom who can campaign the hardest.

The issue that I wish to raise at the moment – though not in the most eloquent manner – is girls – and how we are projecting them in public, and the stereotypes we are buying in to.

Not just small girls, teenage girls, and adult girls.

I cannot watch VH1 or MTV because besides the inane repetition of the most ridiculous lyrics to date, every girl is presented as either a p0le/lap dancing freak or a bikini clad, large sunglasss, and gloss lipped woman who drapes herself over a rather imbecile looking rap star/singer/recording who is lounging in a house/on a yacht that clearly is not theirs, saying something along the lines of “yoh-yoh-yoh.”

Fucker, please!!!

Every show I watch which features a girl/woman in any way has her dancing.  But she is dancing like a stripper or a lap dancer. For small denominations.

The girls all appear the same.  All aspire to be the same thing – part time prostitutes/full time strippers who sole purpose for being on earth is to be drooled on by boys.

That being said, what message are we, as moms, as grown women, sending to our daughters by attending pole dancing classes or by installing a pole at home?  When did learning to be a stripper and imitate moves found at Mavericks become a household mainstream activity?   I think there can be a convincing argument for great exercise, and wow, how it tones your thighs, but still what is it exactly you are learning to do?  And is it okay for your daughter of 5 to watch and learn to do with you?

Have you watched a 12 year old girl dance lately?

Have you watched a 16 year old girl dance?

It is enough to make you throw a bag over their head and run off and put them on an island somewhere so you can desensitize them to this media flooding in of a how a girl is meant to look and act.

Toddlers and Tiara’s is just another symptom of how f’ked up society has got and how children/girls are turned into sexual objects before they can spell Dr Seuss!

When did boys win?  When girls started doing pole dancing classes and called it exercise.

{this post is a bit of spluttering …. I still have not quite found a way to convert it into good english, but there we go}

Depression in children … whose parents have depression ….

Once we have got past the party in a cellophane wrapper that Depression and Anxiety Disorder is, it really is something I would be reluctant to wish on nearly just about everyone.

It’s not like a broken leg where you have a cast and the cool kids sign, and in 6 – 8 weeks you can take it off and that is you good to go.

Unfortunately it is bit like diarrhea.

It strikes you usually in the middle of the night.  You spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom wondering if you will survive this.

When the sun rises you still have shit coming out of every orifice, and it is such an unattractive process you really do not want to post it on your status update.  You do not want everyone to know that you are making skid marks in your panties, and more importantly you have no idea where you got this bug from, and how long it is going to hang around for.  So instead you make jokes about “feeling a bit off colour” …..

So enough about me and the simile that is depression and diarrhea.

I really “fear” for my children.  I worry that they will not inherent my good hair and nail genes, but instead will be the proud new owners of full scale depression and anxiety disorder.

Can I prevent it in some way?  Sadly no.  Can I worry and stress about it?  Worry is my middle name.  Actually it is Lucille, but you know what I mean.

I worry about all of them.  I worry about Connor the most, he is so sensitive and has always been an “old soul” – he got really upset when he found out about what happened to Jesus around Easter time.

Connor was at a Roman Catholic school when he was young.  Great school, they were quite into Hail Marys and Our Fathers though.  I was willing to over look my discrepancies with the trinity because I liked the school.

The first year Connor was there they taught the usual run up to Easter.  I fetch Connor from school and he is sobbing.  Like crocodile tears with snot.

He gets in the car and goes: “Why, why, why did they kill Jesus?!” and bursts in to tears.

That really was one of the first, of several signs that Connor just took too much from a situation.

Connor gets very upset if we are upset.  Not because he is in trouble, but he gets upset if we are upset.

If we are sad, Connor is desperately sad.

It is like his boundaries of what are his feelings versus the feelings that belong to another person are a bit hazy.  Sound familiar?

The reason I am raising this issue today is that Connor has been struggling with stomach cramps for a few days.

Stomach cramps and me, have a very close relationship.  I have so much buscopan, levispas, bevispan, and anything else you can get on a script or if you cry loud enough at an all-night pharmacy – doubling over and crying like a 3 year old, can sometimes prove quite effective.

I started my IBS relationship in about 1994.

It was there before, but 1994 was my first big person job, and with my first big person job came IBS for 3 – 7 days per month.  For years I thought it was menstruation cycle link — fraid not.

Connor’s complaining about cramping makes me worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry that IBS is a pre-cursor for signs of depression.

My (other/too many to number) concern is that taking Connor to a psyciatrist/psychologist to have been assessed for depression/anxiety disorder, will add as a catalyst to depression … I know that sounds unreasonable, but there it is.

Cute product … sorry no “like-me-like-me” crazed giveaway …..

I met Jade from Gemgem earlier this week at on of my favourite tea/coffee shops – The Queen of Tarts in Observatory.

Is this not the cutest tea-cup you ever seen — note metal tea-pot… love it.  What I did not photograph was the decadent french toast + drenched in honey, with liberal amounts of bacon added!!  Too good.

Gemgem is quite a cool idea.  It’s a nicely presented box delivered to your door – definitely great for pregnant moms and new moms.

Moms with a 10-year-old boy might be confused what to do with the Purity and the Nipple Cream!

The sample Jade gave me was from last month – the box is crammed with cool samples and products you might not have used, or known about.  There was also a cute beanie – Jade tells me that there is a “clothing” item in each box.

The box I received was neat and pretty – it even remained pretty after I dropped it and it fell while I was trying to pack my car.  It came with a box of HiPP Organic cereal and a Living and Loving Magazine.

Here is the box as it arrives (excuse the slightly crushed corner)

In short you go along and subscribe to the boxes at the website.

All the gembox’s are personally packed (by Jade and her happy little helper) specifically to your needs – either for your new born or during your pregnancy.  They ship the box to your door.

How easy is that?  Each box costs R99.00 – but check the subscription rates.  Each gemgem box is packed  with products, samples and vouchers worth far more than the R99.00 you expend.

Monthly Subscriptions are on a pay as you go system and can be cancelled at any time. You also have to option to buy a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription at a discounted rate.  It’s a great idea for babyshower gifts.

Get the first box delivered to you – you take it to the babyshower and then include a note that the mom will receive two/three/how many ever you wish to pay for, boxes, one per month.

It’s a great gift idea for a Baby Shower, here is the box as you open it — assuming the products jumped out and displayed themselves next to the box … it’s crazy, but sometimes products are super excited to get out a box.

Lots and lots of goodies available in this one:  I love the idea that you get a beanie, or a baby grower or some other item of clothing in each box.

{This box is a sample box from September 2012 – you can go and look at their website to see what is in their latest box.}

I started to realise why Michael Jackson dangled his son over the balcony railing ……

This morning started with a THUD.

Isabelle fell out of bed and hit the floor. It is funny how as a parent you actually wake up with the thud – you actually hear it!  If you weren’t quite a wake the ensuing screaming would wake you and loosen your bowels.

I put Isabelle in bed with me, with the optimistic hope she would self sooth and we could sneak another 30 – 45 minutes of sleep.

In theory not a bad idea. In practice, Georgia woke up with the screaming and came through to assess the damage.  Her way of assessing is talking incessantly and trying to hug Isabelle.

The talking made me cry, the hugging made Isabelle cry. I knew the morning was really going pear-shaped, when at one point I actually put my hand over Isabelle’s mouth so she could hear me say: “Okay, okay quiet, quiet, I will get you a milk bottle!”

I realise covering your child’s mouth sounds a bit high risk behaviour, but seriously I started to realise why Michael Jackson dangled his son over the balcony railing …… what ever Blanket did before that, I guarantee he never did it again!!

Isabelle stopped crying.  Eventually.

I had to banish Georgia to her room as she was not going to stop talking.  The result was I was standing make a hot milk bottle at about 06h15 this morning and drinking tea through bleary sleep encrusted eyes.

I will be honest and tell you I usually leave the morning routine to the lovely and talented Priveledge … but this morning not so much.  Kids had dressed, eaten, and were ready to go and it wasn’t even 07h00 this morning.

The day was busy, and had the usual too much stuff crammed in to it.

I always like to push the envelope, you know exactly at the point when you are about to break, I like to add just that ounce more to see if truly I can go insane.

I took the kids out for dinner.  By myself. Kennith is away.  Me. Three kids.  A table with cutlery and crockery.  How did I know it was going wrong? At about the same time that Isabelle started taking her clothes off …. for no apparent reason in the middle of the restaurant …. I managed to stop her after shoes, socks and her belt had come off …. clearly I could see the direction this was going to go in.

End of day, sitting on Isabelle’s bed getting ready to read her a bed time story, Georgia is sitting on the bed with her 1/4 cup of hot chocolate – I fill it very shallowly because she is one of those kids who will mess/spill no matter what.

In an attempt to not disappoint and remain true to form, Georgia went on to spill her cup of now lukewarm chocolate all over the bed.

Isabelle will not touch something if it is wet.  If she is wearing a shirt and wets a sleeve, even with a few drops of water when she brushes her teeth in the morning, she wants to change her shirt.

So you can imagine the joy when you pour 1/4 cup of hot chocolate over her bed … with her in it.  Is it too late to start drinking wine?

Santa Shoebox Project … not sure I am getting the warm and fuzzy feeling …

I have decided to take part in the Santa Shoebox Project this year.  I went to the website and selected two children per person in our family – the result is 10 boxes.

I should have done less, as 10 is quite a lot of boxes, and if you average out R150.00 – R200.00 a box it is a bit of coughing at your credit card statement.

I selected two boys in the 10 – 12 year old range – partly because I felt that boys in that age range might not be as appealing as shopping for a 3 year old girl.    I also tried to pick children in the same age range as my kids.  Technically these are Connor’s boxes ….. presently he has no idea we are doing Santa Shoebox, so you can see how involved I have managed to get the family.

Granted, I have not told them, that might be the first problem – but I am a bit of a procrastinator and will spring in to action on the day I am meant to drop these boxes off.

I bought the boys playing cards as “toys” – no idea what else I could buy for a 10 – 12 year old that wasn’t a computer.  I also bought them a pack of underpants each and AXE deodorant as extra – I kept trying to bear in mind that the contents of these boxes really needs to be “fun” but realistically useful, and what do they need after the “joy of Xmas” has passed.  Underpants and deodorant seems like a logical gift that keeps on giving.

I bought all the kids a stationery pack which has pencils, pair of scissors, pencils, ruler, eraser etc – the same multi packs I buy for my kids.  For the older boys I also bought a big pack of “bic pens” – and I will add a reading book each as well to their boxes.

Kennith has helped out and has got 10 good sized shoe boxes.  He has also bought some great things from Cape Union Mart to add, like beanies, little LCD torches, sporks (hey makes sense!!)  and so on.  Really nice things for each child.

Today I went shopping to purchase the toiletries, stationery, sweets, toys and the last of the things so that I could sit this weekend and pack these boxes.

I really struggled to find a toys for the children that fitted in to the shoeboxes and weren’t crap.  I really did not want to put things in that would not last to the next day.  I found a good variety, but at some point I needed to stop myself and say “you cannot buy everything, stick to the list …. or you are never going to stop!!”

The bags are lying at the door, with the pile of boxes, and the wrapping paper and stickers I bought to decorate the boxes.

The problem is that shopping today made me feel pretty bleak and sad for these kids.  I kept thinking to myself “what if this shoe box is the only gift this child gets this year?” and I just felt sad, and sort of tearful in the Checkers underwear aisle.

There is nothing I can put into a shoebox that is going to make a long term change to these kids lives – and then I think of my kids who get pretty much anything they want at the drop of a hat, and that just makes me feel worse for the 10 kids names that I am holding.

I had these visions of putting a letter in for each child.  Telling them that they are loved, and that even though today might look a bit bleak, life does go on.  People do make something of themselves no matter how crap their backgrounds.  There are more kind and generous people in the world than mean ones.  But then I decided that might sound a bit twee, so I canned that idea.

I kept thinking about these 10 boxes I was stocking.  “My” kids are : Thaimile (Boy 6); Wilmie (Girl 6); Kamva (Boy 11); Andile Lubabalo (Boy 12); Jayden C (Boy 4); Anelisa (Girl 4); Sammy Joe (Girl 9); Sange (Girl 6); Kayra (Girl 6); Nicolas (Boy 5).

I think the Santa Shoebox Project was aiming to get 100 000 boxes to 100 000 children.  That means 100 000 children whose only gift this year will be one of these shoe boxes – and what about all those kids who did not make the list?  What are those kids getting?

Overwhelmed much?

I know I should be feeling all Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya about taking part in this campaign, but to be honest it really has made me feel terribly sad today!

Otherwise, how are your Santa Shoeboxes coming on?

Unsolicited parenting advise ….

Crikes it irks me — strange people giving you insights about what to do with your own children.

Makes me want to slap people.  In Woolworths.  Usually in the yoghurt aisle.

I am hoping one day to build up the courage to respond: “Well thank you, listen I do not need MORE advise, what I need is a surrogate mom to pop around, fetch kids from 16h00 and then do everything there is to do to herd them in to bed say for 20h00.  Could you pop around and do that — they say the best way to learn is to watch someone in action, and I can see how you get it right.  I have checked my diary and it appears I can watch you from Wednesday night for two weeks. How does that sit with you?  If you could throw in shopping with the kids for clothes, that would be super.”

Alternatively if I can’t remember that entire monologue I am hoping to go with “Thanks, but right now I don’t need your fuckin advise.  I need a large glass of wine and an afternoon sleep and you to take these three kids off my hands.  Do you have any advise for that?  No? Now fuck off before I really get mean!”

I usually am the third person to issue parenting advise to anyone who asks, or does not ask …. or who is pregnant.  I chew the inside of my cheek, and then I can’t stop myself from bursting forth with some advise.

I somehow feel because I have had three of my own I am this font of information.  I really want to tell you the pitfalls of motherhood – but the problem is I develop this frenzied look in my eyes, and spittle forms on my chin and start speaking in this loud erratic voice.

And then nervous moms start backing away from me.  In the Pick ‘n Pay.  Near the lettuce.

Brace yourself for more unsolicited advise ….. can I suggest/advise/beg you to make three appointments for your child each year.

1.  Visit to the dentist – ideally one visit a year. 

If your medical aid is generous go twice.  Do the cleaning, the x-rays and the dentist once over.

I only went to dentists as a child when something was wrong.  The result is that speaking to the dentist’s receptionist makes me sweat yellow stains on my white t-shirt.  Visits to the dentist fill me with all sorts of anxiety and I spend the entire visit with my nails dug into the chair.

My kids on the other hand view the dentist like a tamed down version of Ratanga Junction.  It’s an outing, and they love it.

The upside for us is that we can look at all their teeth lurking under their gums and get a heads up on any issues.  My kids have zero fear of dentists and have become quite accomplished latex glove animal creators.

2.  Visit your optom once a year for an eye test for your kids.

I took all three kids along to vist Basil Kotze over at Charl Laas Optom last week.  Three kids in an optom visit was maybe aiming a bit high on the crazy, but we made it.  He did a great job, and checked all the kids eyes and vision.  Granted two of them were cutting grooves in his beautiful wooden desk whilst he tested the third, but I am hoping since I moved his desk calendar he won’t see the marks.

I had no idea how he was going to check Isabelle, as she is of the “no talking” child variety, but he did.  He had an eye test he did that did not require her to say anything, just look in to the light stuff.   Kids all have perfect eyesight – sadly me, not so much!

I can tick that off and we can have another go in October 2013, and more importantly I am not worrying about something in class because they can’t see what is on the school board.

3.  Have an Audiology Exam for your child every year.

Don’t wait for a problem, test every year so you can obtain a base line and then test from there, each year.

I kick myself that I have not done regular hearing tests with my kids – and I have no idea how much time I have lost with Isabelle.  I have no idea whether her “sticky ear” was an issue that had been there for 3 months or 3 years.  I had Connor and Georgia tested in Grade R as part of preparation for Grade 1 – but I skipped Isabelle, and I kick myself now.

I plan to take Georgia and Connor for hearing tests again this year – and do one each year.

The point I am trying to preach is that if you have access to it, then have your children’s hearing, sight and teeth checked each year – as a preventative tool.

Have a doctor confirm everything is in order, rather than your child missing out on a development issue just because you did not realise, and you only finding out about it much later.

Kids (and adults) are wonderfully devious.  If we struggle with our sight or hearing we tend to adjust our behaviour so it does not become an issue, but the risk with kids is they miss out on key milestones.

It is unsolicited parenting advise, but it is good advise.  Use it, discard it —- what ever works for you.

Try and make an appointment, today – there is nothing bad that can come out of it.

Suffering from information overload …..

I have been a bit blog-reluctant as of late, which is unusual for me.  I can normally whip up a blog post easy peasy and then I feel good once I have pushed the ‘PUBLISH” button.  I blog as a form of relaxation and sometimes an emotional purge.

Lately I have just not felt like talking.

I have been looking at facebook/twitter and blogs and I am a overwhelmed by the amount of sharing.  The sheer volume of it.

I am feeling pressurised into posting on twitter.  You know to be with the in kids.

I appear to be way behind in instagrams photos, my  facebook status updates are just not remaining current, and my pinterest boards are in total disarray.

I am so busy trying to read everyone else’s shite I just do not have time to post mine.  Really does it matter that I went to the Spur for lunch – granted I did not put it on my facebooks status update, and god forbid I did not take a photo and add it to instagram ….. did it still happen – does it count?

I feel exhausted by the amount of information I am subjected to each day – it did not bother me before.  If someone listens to a song on YouTube I get to see the link – if someone has muesli for breakfast, I know about it.

I think I am suffering from information overload, or over share.  I like to know about what you are eating, wearing, who you love, how much you miss your dead relative, but I feel I am being bombarded. Reading Facebook is like opening a door a crack, and suddenly finding you have a starring role in Jumanji, and can’t get back.

I really enjoy logging on to facebook and seeing what people are up to.  But lately it is causing a twitch in my left eye.

I am not a big de-friender.  I am actually quite tolerant of people and their often idiotic exploits, contrary to popular belief.

I forgive people their stupid “LIKE this if you love your daughter/father/son/dentist/gynaecologist.” I try and get excited about yet another photo of dear Johnnie.  If someone posts a link, I politely go over and take a look see, just in case it is actually interesting.  I am a polite Facebooker.

Sadly I am usually disappointed. I have realised the only safe/interesting links to look at are posted by Julie Mostert.  Bless her, she links seldom, and when she does, they are good.  The rest, not so much.

There should be a link police. You link too much, or to too much crap, and they come over and shit on your lawn.  Something simple like that, to try to encourage people to be responsible relinkers/posters.

I had a facebook friend Erica* who was constantly updating her status on how far she ran, how little kilojoules she took in, and how fantastic it was to be alive. I took that for about a year, then this week I though agh fuck it. Do I really need to know how many repetitions you do at gym, and what your resting heart rate is? Actually no.  I defriended her arse.  Mainly because her exercise routine was making me feel bad as I gorged on my Cadbury’s Bubble Slab (the big one with the totally irrelevant resealable back….. seriously what is the point of that?)

I relooked at my facebook friends and thought to myself, as much as I might vaguely Lana*, do I really want to see every fucking movement her child makes? Actually no, so I defriended her – if I put all the photos she had posted together of her son, it would run as a movie.  I feel that I watched him develop each frickn day, because each day there is a minimum of 10 photos of her little guy.

Great for family living in Thailand, not so great for me.  I actually could not bear to look at another photograph of her tike.

I did hesitate over those defriend buttons for quite sometime — I felt a bit mean, but for fuck sake, surely enough is enough?  I only defriended two people, but I felt bad about it.

I have a twitter account, I think I have tweeted twice.

I pop in to twitter about once a fortnight, primarily to see if Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Carr have said anything interesting.

Twitter, much like Facebook and this onslaught of media, is like standing at a busy intersection with a 8 lane highway of speeding cars.  Everyone is hooting, screaming things out the window and driving 195 kilometers an hour.  I am sitting there in my 1982 Fiat indicating to get in to a lane, and I can’t get or take a gap.

I have realised that no one has noticed my indicator is on.  No one is giving me a gap to get in to the fast moving and very LOUD lanes.  I have been waiting so long and now I have started to wonder “do I really want to get on this super highway of information?”

Does it matter whether I post small snatches of my bowel movements in 144 characters?

At the moment I am in the “who gives a shit” lane – its slow and has an easy listening radio channel.

I have  had sponsors/PR companies and others asking me to punt their products on my blog.  Right now I really just don’t feel like it. I might say, if I felt special and it was me and a really nice sponsor, then maybe.

I realise the same sponsor/PR company has spammed 10 {mommy} bloggers and after I see the same product being punted on other blogs, I am like “you know I am feeling a bit like a media whore, and actually I really don’t want to punt your product…” They don’t call to discuss they email you a pile of information, and that is the extent to their communicating with you.

I am sure this sense of dissolution will pass, and I will get all excited about hearing how fantastic your weekend was, or how precious your child is, or how fantastic it is to be alive …. but maybe not right now.

I need a quiet corner without any internet noise.

*names have been changed

Why is Finding the Right Nanny so hard?

Going through the process of finding domestic workers or a Nanny in Cape Town for your child and your family does not have to be the daunting task you expect it to be.

Nanny Recruitment Agencies specialise in finding a domestic worker or a nanny in Cape Town.

Initially most moms/dads feel that the cost of using a Nanny Recruitment Agency for a domestic worker or a nanny is too high – so they embark on this recruit process themselves.

They run advertisements and ask friends to recommend someone they know.

There is nothing wrong with either of these methods to obtain the Right Nanny for your family – but would you do the same process to find a Mechanic for your car, or an Accountant to sort out your Receiver of Revenue woes? Probably not.

You recognise that there are specialists in both these areas and gumtree/advertisement at your local pick n pay may not be the best method to find the best person for those jobs.

Do you want to risk what is probably one of the most important decisions to gumtree and the lovely lady who lives three doors from you, who recommends the sister’s cousin of her domestic worker?

Interviewing and sourcing Nannies, Domestic Staff and Night Nurses is a skill – it requires time and often infinite patience.

Nanny Agencies that place domestic workers or a nannies  spend their days interviewing candidates and shortlisting candidates, so you don’t have to.   We speak and interview 100 possibles, so you only need to see the top 3 we have shortlisted who match your requirements.

Candidates contact Happy Helpers and through a series of questions and a detailed telephonic interview Happy Helpers short lists this down to “potential nannies” who have the right experience, training and who are in possession of the correct documentation who will attend a face to face interview.

We receive more than 100 phone calls per day from “Nannies who need jobs!” – we filter this down to 10 – 12 potential candidates who we will interview.

Happy Helpers invites the potential Nanny in for an interview. A detailed CV is built and there are extensive questions asked to sift through “potentially not great” and “potentially really great Nannies” we can recommend on to our clients. Nannies are reference checked – and only once all these parameters are met, the Nanny is recommended to you.

From 100 potential candidates, we interview the best 10, from these we normally move 4 – 6 candidates on to our data base to recommend on to you.

Happy Helpers spends hours speaking to a domestic workers or a nanny in Cape Town and shortlisting candidates to a list of Nannies we can recommend on to you.

Earlier this year Shelley from Table View (*name has been changed) ran an advertisement on Gumtree for a Live-In Nanny. After the 3rd day she turned her cellphone off as it did not stop ringing.

She left it off for more than 7 days. Her phone rang at night, during the day, all day Sunday. It took Shelley 2 weeks to short listed 10 potential candidates who sounded good on the phone.

She spent 2 – 3 hours per day, for 2 weeks getting the candidates down to this shortlist She had to arrange 10 interviews to meet the candidates, as it would not be safe to invite a person you met on Gumtree to your home.

Of these 10 candidates she ended up with 2 possible candidates. It took her nearly 20 hours of interviews. 10 different times and venues to find 2 possible candidates to short list. Both candidates seemed nice – but one candidate did not have a valid work visa, and the other candidate could not live in, as she had young children of her own.

Shelley was stuck.  She had lost three weeks going through this process and now was three weeks in, several hours down and still no Nanny to care for her 3 month old daughter when she returned to work following Maternity Leave.

This is a common story when we speak to moms and dads who are looking for Housekeeper or a Nanny. Before clients reach us they often go through a heart breaking process to end up with no nanny and then they desperate to find a solution.

Happy Helpers interviews Housekeepers & Domestics & Nannies in Cape Town, so you don’t have to.  We reference check and short list so when you need a Nanny or a Domestic Worker – you receive a shortlist, and interview 2 – 3 candidates.

Happy Helpers ensures the process is easy and simple.

Let us help you to find the right domestic worker or nanny in Cape Town for you and your family.

Happy Helpers – Happy to Help!

Imitation is The Sincerest Form of Flattery ….. and so is straight {cut and paste}

I saw Diaries of a White Mother Raising a Black Child’s post …. I snorted all sorts of funny.  This is the type of post I wish I had written, and me trying to rewrite it would not do it justice in the least – I wish I had written it exactly as Melinda has …..

Here is the uber funny and sensationally gifted Melinda ….

What men never ever say…but would…I think!

We know kids say strange things every now and then and as a parent I find myself saying some crazy stuff too.

But every now and then I think how crazy it would be if a man ACTUALLY said:

Honey I love what you’re doing with the hair on your legs. I love running my fingers through it

Angel you look exhausted. Why not go lie down and I’ll cook, bath, feed and entertain the kiddies. Without calling you. At all

Hey there’s sports on all night but here’s the remote. I’ll watch reruns of Friends with you for as long as you want

When last did you go out and buy a few nice things with shoes to match? Go! Go! Get outta here you crazy goose. I don’t want to see you come home with less than 10 shopping bags

Use my car. I love the lived-in look your car has. Maybe you can do something similar with mine

Angel I really don’t feel like sex tonight. Can I just cuddle in your arms while you read a book

I know I snore. And it irritates me too

There is no way that that 20 year old is cuter than you. You’re my little love monkey

See you in about four hours. I’m taking the kids out to give you some peace and quiet!

There is NO way I’m letting you get up for the baby tonight. I’ll do it

Let me give you a massage. Shut the front door! No I don’t want sex as payback

Ugh! That blonde with those enormous boobs are so 1980s. Of course I prefer your grunge look. It’s so retro it’s cool!

You manage money so well. Here’s all of mine. Go and do with it what you will

Laugh out loud! I love that none of my socks match. Makes me look like an artiste

You really don’t have enough male friends. Why don’t you go to TeaseHers and find a few. We can have them over for a braai on the weekend

Oh! No electricity! Yes the most important football match of the century is on tonight but that doesn’t matter. Let’s sit on the couch and chat about our feelings. No, of course I don’t want to meet my pals at the Baron & Beaver

OMG! I need to get working on the kid’s party. I’ll call the venue, the party planner, get hold of a photographer, plan the food, the games and entertainment. All you need to do is arrive on the day

Love, you don’t have enough face creams or hair products in the bathroom. There’s loads of space for more

Of course you can use my razor

I love your bedtime outfit. No one else can rock stretched out holey sweat pants and socks like you do.

Please pop along and stalk her over at her blog!  Fabulous baubles come tumbling out of her lips — too funny to miss.

Party Venue … reasonably priced at R300.00

I saw this advert on gumtree today …. is the toilet the highlight of the venue …. or is the toilet the venue? It’s in Brackenfell, where no doubt anything is possible.