Party Planning step one ….. decide on a party theme …..

I know that “rite of passage” to mommy-hood is being able to pinterest the crap out of your child’s upcoming/planned/anticipated birthday party.

I think I have commented before that I am a bit less excited about my own children’s birthday parties, because they overwhelm me so much.

I get stressed right at the planning stage.  By the time we move to the RSVP’s and the parents who do not respond by the indicated date, I am about ready to throw back 10 Zolofts and wonder about the sanity of it all!!

Birthday parties are not happy occasions for me.  They are stressful and I usually just want to count 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississipp until it is all over.

I have no idea how moms who throw parties manage to look so composed and that they are enjoying it all.  Eleven years in, and countless parties, and I still find a pap smear more enjoyable.

Connor has his birthday in December, so he is almost guaranteed hot and sunny weather.  Except on the dates where we plan an outdoor party that is weather dependent  then sure as nuts are sweaty, it will rain or be windy, as it has for the last three years – except the movie party, because on that day it was sunny and 36 degrees.

I have passed the torch of  “Connor’s birthday parties” to Kennith and he has been organising these for the last three years.  Though granted he forgot to get a cake last year, but let’s not hold that against him.

June is the birthday month for the girls. Sadly Isabelle has never actually had a birthday party – she is overshadowed totally by her sister every year without fail.  This year will be no exception.

I was planning on using an indoor venue for Georgia’s party this year, but she is turning 8, and she is at that age where indoor venues are a bit young for her.

I then thought I would look at a Pamper Party for her, but nothing I have seen fills me with much hope.  To be honest two of the potential party places never got back to me, so I am not exactly filled with hope and exaltation when we can barely get out of the starting gates.

Third plan was to have her birthday party at the Aquarium, and do a mermaid party.  But if you have 15 kids, it might just be cheaper to buy a live shark and put him in your pool and then the kids can throw fish at him.

Right now we are back at the idea of having a home party.

Georgia is at the age where the kids are drop off and go.   It is great on so many levels.  I do not have to cater for the parents, and  to this also means a reduction in awkward small talk. Right now I just need to prepare to say “hi there, lovely, wonderful, see you at about 16h00 okay?”

The rest of the time at least the only social awkwardness is me and a room full of eight year olds.  But if it is a late afternoon party, then at least I can drink wine, and that sometimes helps.

I had to first explain to Georgia that we were no longer doing the mermaid party.  I had hyped it up a bit to sell her on the idea. That was a bit of a challenge and an exercise in disappointing a seven-year old, but now she seems to be on board with my new idea.  More or less.

My new party plan (for this week, check in at the end of March for a revised new plan) is that we will throw a “Born to be an Artist” party.

Kids will do canvases and painting and stuff ….. I have no idea yet, but that is the rough overall picture at the moment, and that is pretty much all I have got.

I am thinking of painting a portion of the floor in the garage with chalk paint and the kids can draw on it.  I am thinking we can “frame” one wall in the garage and the kids can paint that too.  The options are endless, as long as it stays in the garage!

I am off to pinterest as soon as I finish this post.

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High school browsing ….

Connor is in Grade 5.

Though Grade 8 seems like an awfully long way away – the days of arriving at the front gate and pushing your child into which ever school you chose, just does not exist any more.

Or might, and the school system I am familiar with is just making my life challenging.

It is now all about frantic mothers (dads appear to be about as interested in this as they were in attending pre-natal classes) comparing schools in the primary school parking lot, googling until you break a nail, and applying to every school you think MIGHT just be right for your child.

Government schools cannot (technically) keep waiting lists, so they have to let you know in June-August of the year your child is in Grade 7 as to whether he or she is accepted.  Problem there is if they tell you that your acceptance has been denied then you are sitting with a child whose primary school career is about to end, and no where to send him.

The schools suggest applying to no less than three!

If you are lucky enough to live in a catchment area of a high school, that of course increases your odds of getting accepted into the school – I believe they have to take you if you fall within the residential zone, unfortunately for us who only have a Woolworths and a Liquor Store, well then you need to start finding a school.

And pronto.

Yesterday the kind folks at Somerset College gave Kennith and I a tour and a little meet and greet.  I do not want to say that I would sell my gonads for a place in that school, but I would definitely put Kennith’s on ebay and consider all opening bids.

The school is un-flipping-believable.

I do think that fact that it is surrounded by wine farms does make me even more fond of it than I could already be.

I kept waiting for something horrible to appear.  A reason why I would not want to spend a home loan payment per month on a school for my child – I even checked the toilets just in case they had not been using Jeyes fluid.

We were shown around the campus, and I swooned …. the classes were lovely, the hostel facilities were great, the children who we met were friendly polite and you did not get that rather “icky feeling of too rich parents with spoilt horrible children” that one does experience on occasion at schools that cater to those in the slightly higher earning/tax brackets.

When we got back to the car Kennith pipes up: “Is there anything about that school you did not like?”

Unfortunately starting with the creme of schools unfortunately is going to be make viewing the next six a bit of an exercise in : “For the love of gd can we not just send the kids to Somerset College and sell blood and sperm on line to try to afford it?”

I am not above a bit of Facebook Stalking myself …

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Source of cartoon – everydaypeoplecartoons.com

The one about lucky number 95!

Connor and Georgia went to the same pre-primary.

I have sung the school’s praises and it is one of those places, that when your child is there, you feel a little bit above the other parents who are not lucky enough to have their kids attend the phenomenal preschool your kids are now at!!

Connor was there.  I was lucky that he got in, as this acted as a feeder for the primary school he is in.  We are way way out of the catchment area, so I would doubt we would have got in had we applied directly to the primary school.  But at that time the pre-school was a feeder to the primary school, so Connor got in to the primary school.

As Georgia arrived and had a sibling, she was pretty much guaranteed the same journey, so it was all pretty easy going.

Isabelle is at a nursery school which I adore.  You could actually eat pasta off the toilet seat (to steal my friend’s Joyce’s saying) it is so clean.  The Tot Spot is run by Linda Esteves, who has her eye on everything and everyone, and it runs like a well oiled machine.

Best nursery school I have ever been in to (and I have been in to easily 50 at this point in my rather weathered and jaded “find schools for my kids” age bracket).  Teachers are lovely, classes are great, there is nothing not to love.

There I was all in love with my kid’s school.

All in love with at the end of this year.  Isabelle will be going to the preschool that I love.   The other two are in grades in primary school, and there is no school changes for at least two more years.

Really there is so much love around right now, that I could shit a heart banner with string that joins them together.  Complete.

Even when I am guaranteed a spot in a school, I do not sit on my laurels.  Nope not me.  I filled in the application form and get it off in good time.

I got Isabelle’s form off in January 2013 for January 2014.

Good time considering her siblings went there, and that must give her some sort of  “automatic right of passage…” and well clearly just an administration detail we need to do, but clearly not applicable to the likes of me.

I was feeling lots of love until I got this response: “I confirm receipt of Isabelle’s application form.  I would just like to mention that I can only accept the first 54 learners.  My waiting list starts from nr 55 and Isabelle is nr 95……….”

er ……..I can’t say I am feeling the love right now as much as the panic.  Clearly I need to find another school, unless number 95 just got awfully lucky.

Jason Crisp I really thought this crap was over with.  But it seems not!  Fun I am not having it, and off I go to find a school for next year or I am going to be home schooling, and I am sure we can all guess how well that will end.

{I hope you have applied to what ever school you are hoping to get your Junior or Juniorette into}

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Gold star for Best Answer on Yahoo ….

 

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how can I tell

 

 

Joost and his underpants …..


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Contrary to popular belief, I have an optimistic default stance on human nature.

Though I tell myself that people will often do bad things, there is an internal voice I possess that believes that everyone will do the right thing and that people do not lie.

I believe when someone tells me something, that they mean what they are saying.

I often say “I believe you…” because I REALLY believe you.

I actually believe it when someone says “Let’s get together sometime….”

I believe that good people do good things.

I believe that people are true to their word.

I struggle to deal with it when someone lies to me.  My universe crumbles when I find out someone has lied to me.  A bit like The Matrix, when that rogue piece of code gets into the machine, and the entire mummers farce that is real life starts to break apart.

A bit like that …. a lot like that.

There have of course been many situations where I have realised that good people do bad things, and people I thought were good, are maybe not so good.

I believe in heroes and I believe first and foremost in someone before I start to doubt them.  I give them the benefit of the doubt, until I no longer can.

Hansie Cronje.  I believed from the beginning when he said he was innocent.  I believed him.

When the media started telling stories about how they had evidence and other details about his taking a bribe.

I believed Hansie.  I decided to silently wait until he was able to absolve himself of the barrage of accusations.  I waited, and I believed Hansie (just for the record, I am not and have never been a fervent sports fan), and I felt if we waited for the dust to settle the truth would be revealed.

When it came to pass that he was guilty – and this was after him saying at least half a dozen times that he was innocent, I was crushed.  Not because he was guilty, but because he had lied, and lied, and I had believed him.  I had not doubted him for a moment.

So too with Underpants Joost van der Westhuizen had his famous sex video/stills aired.

Again, not a man I really liked much.  But when he said it was not him in the photo with the scantily clad lady and him wearing his tidy-white’ies and his socks, I believed him.  I thought “I am gave sure he is innocent, he said he is, so he must be.”

I sat silently in Joost’s corner, thinking I will wait it out and not pass judgement until we are sure what really happened. His wife believes in him, I believed him, and why would he lie about this ….. over and over again?

No secret it turns out he was liar liar pants on fire!

Even after all the media reports that have come through on our “fallen heroes” I persist in believing that people do not lie, and waiting for them to tell me what happened, rather than buying in to all the hoopla and rubbish that is passed from one person to the other, in some macabre game of  “broken telephone.”

There have been dozens of music heroes, sports heroes, and “made famous by the media” heroes who have stumbled and fallen – and with the onslaught of media and social media we cannot help but get updates around the clock.

I have less of an issue with someone who stumbles and admits it, than someone who lies about it.  And continues to lie, and is then found out.

Last Friday the bottom fell out of the world as we knew it,  when one of our sports and media heroes experienced what can only be described as a “total fuck up and tragic day” on every possible level.

I am not sure what happened.  I am not sure you know what has happened.

There appears to be  a 1001 experts on Facebook posting and reposting what can only be described as hurtful, poorly timed humour and bad speculation.  Why pass on information that you do not know is true, so that you can just stir up emotions even more?

It is the equivalent of a village deciding that everyone should grab their pitchfork and torches and gets together to burn the ogre, purely on hearsay and  “I heard that he did this or he did that …. so light a flame and come along …..”

Golden boy shoots his beautiful girlfriend, what could be more delicious than that?

Again, I choose to sit quietly in his corner and wait to see how this unfolds.  I allow this process to run it’s course before passing judgement, and before jumping to conclusions, because who of us actually REALLY knows what happened.

For now, I will continue to believe in him.

I believed in him before last Friday, and I continue to believe he is the same person he was when we lifted him up above our shoulders and screamed for him.

I was really disappointed this week to see the amount of crass and totally ridiculous gumph that people were posting and reposting – and often from people who I believed to be wise and informed.  I have started to seriously question the level of the gene pool in the last week.

How fickle does this prove we are?  How cruel and brutal are we, that we cannot wait it out and see what REALLY happened before we start to THROW stones and grab our pitchforks for a public burning?

Either I will sit quietly in his corner and nod “we stayed in your corner because we believed you” or I will go home and pour a large glass of Chenin Blanc, and feel disappointed that again I believed in someone who lied.

This week, I am NOT disappointed in the boy-wonder who has fallen.  I am disappointed in a society (that I am a part of) that judges so quickly, and so brutally, when they know nothing.

What if he was your son, what if that was your daughter?

{I am not suggesting he is innocent or he is guilty, I am however suggesting we wait until the official investigation has been allowed to run it’s course before we crucify him}

Why I Won’t Be Wearing Black ….

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I am growing weary of the many campaigns we have — there are just too many to keep up with.  There appears to be a lot of money and a lot of effort being spent on some fabulous ad campaigns with good causes behind them.

What at the end of the day does “our call to action” actually do to prevent the crisis we are experiencing?

Does wearing a pink ribbon really do anything for breast cancer? Surely giving money towards an organisation, donating your time and going for a mammogram does more – but how many of us do that?

Does growing facial hair really do anything for cancer?  Ditto the previous question, changing the mammogram to a prostate exam.

Does wearing a pink shirt really help find lost children? Doubt ditto the previous question.

I get so irritated with the constant requests to like a campaign or a picture on Facebook.

Is my liking “people against rhino poachers” actually going to do anything.  If they get 100 likes, do two rhino poachers lose their gonads and one rhino get to keep his horn?

The one that is doing the rounds at the moment is the “wear black on Friday” in support of the “stop rape” campaign.  I am made uneasy at a group of people standing around, in black, smiling at the camera, in support of RAPE AWARENESS – based on the photographs I have seen on Facebook today.

Nice idea, great poster, but what is the point?

It always seems to me that the awareness around campaigns is directed at people who get excited by ad campaigns (which is me), and not at the people who actually need to change their behaviour.

Nothing in the campaign appears to be aimed at the problem and how to resolve it.  Or is it, and the campaign message has not been followed through to me?

Rape is without a doubt one of the biggest problems we have in our society.

I have no idea why it has escalated to the level where it is at.

As women and girl children we are constantly aware of the possibility that we might be raped.  Anywhere at any time.  We almost expect it, we are just unsure of the date and time.

The entire situation is beyond absurd, we are past absurd and moved into the realm of ludicrous.

I need to be aware of how I dress my girls, and send them out into the world.

Reality/crime statistics make it clear that RAPE is a problem and is getting worse.  We are all statistics, and judging by the figures as a woman in South Africa you have either been raped, or are going to be raped.

There appears to be nothing we can do to protect ourselves …. because it can strike any of us at any time, and that is the constant statistic that is being fed to us.

I do not know all the factors, that makes someone rape.  I hope that there is an educated person out there who does, and will give us all a solution as how to change our society so that rape and abuse is not the rampant scourge it is at the moment.

I am not sure how wearing black is going to achieve this.

I think about the possibility of rape every day.

When I am safely tucked up in bed, I wonder if tonight is the night I am going to wake up to find someone in my room who is about to rape me.

When I drive in my car, when I walk down a road, I am constantly aware of where the risks might be, that what might put me in a situation where the outcome is rape.

I can’t stop at the side of the road to assist someone as I might be raped. I need to be sure where I am, as I do not want to get lost and be raped.  I weigh up my odds every time I walk into a parking garage or step into an elevator with a man in it.

I think about the possibility of my children being raped every day.

I think about the possibility of the ladies who work for me being victims of rape every time they leave my house.

I am more than sufficiently aware of rape.

Will wearing black make me think about it more, or make me more sympathetic to the plight of the women (and men) who are being raped as I type this post?

I would like sexual education to be discussed at school level.

I would like sex and all it’s intricacies to be discussed in a very “biology” kind of way at primary school level.  So young children (who might not have got this education at home) understand their bodies, and understand there are boundaries and understand how to respect each other and what is deemed unacceptable behaviour.

I would like young girls and young boys to be educated in how to value their bodies and how to value other people and their rights.

Logic tells me, that the more rapes there are, the more traumatised victims are being created.  The victims of sexual trauma often (not always) play out this trauma in the next generation as they are unable to form “positive sexual” relationships.

I would like police stations to be better suited to being approachable to rape victims.  Caring, sympathetic and well trained.

I would like hospitals and clinics to be better suited to deal with rape victims in an empathetic manner, and at the same time being able to process rape kits so that the chain of evidence is kept in tact.

I would like therapy, counselling and support to be available to every victim, and every victim’s family so that they have the opportunity to work through “their anger and their pain” so that it is not translated into other actions.

I would like anti-retrovirals to be available easily and for free.

I would like there to be a better understand of “what makes people rape” so as a society we can get on top of some real preventative programmes, that actually work, instead of aiming campaigns loosely into the dark.

I would like a campaign that has every person who is ever charged with a crime (no mater what) to be entered into a DNA tracking system, and every victim who has a rape kit done, to be able to cross reference these results against the large DNA data base.

I would like rapists to be NAMED AND SHAMED!!

If the criminal system cannot show that they are able to rehabilitate someone to enter society, then they must keep the person in for life or end his/her life.

This releasing a rapist/child molester after he has served his sentence, is outside what my brain is able to understand as “responsible law enforcement and a government that protects it’s innocent.”

I would like women and girls to be supported in their societies and be able to wear what every they want and walk around at 10pm at night if they want to, and not live in fear of being raped. Or made to feel it is their fault when they are raped.

I would like RAPISTS to be treated quickly and harshly and made to be the PIECES OF SHIT they are, and not for women to be treated as “asking for it” or “if you had done something differently you could have prevented being raped!”

Rapists need to be fast tracked through the criminal and legal system, and resources be available to protect their victims .  Do you realise that rapists are released “pending judgement” or on parole go back into their communities where their victims live?  Imagine having to face your rapist because he is your neighbour.

For every person that is raped, there is a RAPIST being protected by his family, his neighbours, and society.

I think the question we need to ask ourselves is why our legal system and criminal system is not geared to deal with the rape crisis in our country?

Why is our president (who himself was accused of rape) and law makers, not making more of an effort to initiate action or a policy that has legs and can drag us out of our present crisis?

I am seldom one who likes to circumvent law but …… I really could get behind a public hanging every Friday for RAPISTS.  Now there is something I could wear black for!

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The one about the cricket coach ….

I fetch Connor yesterday from school and he is looking really flushed and just bleak.

I assume it is because it is about 36 degrees and he has been playing sport.  But there is something about him that just looks off.

I let the girls walk on to the car, and walk next to Connor and ask him how the game went.

He played a cricket match today – Connor does not actually play cricket, but his tennis had been cancelled last week, so he went along to cricket practice and they asked him if he would play in a cricket match today.

I think Connor is already over stretched with his sport commitments and cultural commitments, but he wanted to play, and I agreed as long as it did not encroach on his existing commitments.

He says his team lost, and appeared to lose by quite a large margin — I don’t play cricket, I am not sure if it is 2 – 0 or 67 – love or what ever.

The point is they lost, and it was by quite a large margin.

I am still not following why Connor is SO DRASTICALLY upset.  Connor plays tennis and does not win each game, and he is always a good sport about it -very much in the mould of  “I will practice harder and play that boy again and then try and win….”

We are walking and he is upset to the extent that he is crying and cannot get the words out.  I stand with him and wait until he can form words that I can understand.  Eventually it comes out that the cricket coach screamed and swore at him (I am not sure if he swore and screamed at the entire team, so I am not talking on behalf of them just the interaction with my son).

Though I swear like a drunk trooper, Connor’s language usage is as clean as the day is long.  He doesn’t swear.  So he is trying to tell me what the coach said without swearing and in resorting to drawing the words in the air with his imaginary pen finger.

I eventually get to the essence and that the coach swore at him and said “fuck” in what ever context it is used in school boy cricket.  At the end of the game Connor asked the coach for the score and got the response: “blah-blah-blah …. you are shit!”

Connor is devastated.  I am livered.  I am so angry I could actually make a sign, or post a Facebook status update!!

It was too late to phone the school, so I spent the remainder of the evening stewing about it.  I found the headmaster’s email and sent a note to him. But this morning when I opened my bleary eyes, I re-thunk that plan and phoned to set up a meeting with the headmaster.

Listen, I have no idea how exciting cricket games can get, but an adult swearing at my son and telling him he is “shit” well that is maybe a bit more excited than I need an adult to be who works with kids.

We have a 10h30 appointment with the headmaster.

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Great t-shirt ….

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Does look photo shopped on ….. but still a great idea for a t-shirt!

Life of Pi ….

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Honestly a book that I just could not read.

I think I took it out of book club about four times, and can’t say I got further than the dedications page.

I can’t even remember why I just could not read it … more than likely because it was pimped as being such a great book, and then I feel pressure that I must feel it is this great book, and what if I am too stupid to get the story …. too much pressure.  Either way, I just did not get to reading it.

It had been a heavy week, and I thought I really needed an afternoon to run away from work. I decided that an afternoon spent with the kids eating popcorn and staring at a large sheet with a flickering image, seemed like a good win-win plan.

I went along to see the Life of Pi 3D Movie today with Georgia and Connor. {Isabelle is still not quite ready to get through a full length movie without bouncing on the furniture, so I decided to not take her along}

I told Georgia that if anyone asked she must say she was 10.  It was probably not my smartest move, as then she continued to talk on the top of her voice as to why she was not 10!

As co-incidence goes, we met the father of a friend of Georgia’s and he works at the movie theater.

I was happily standing there shooting the breeze with him, and Georgia kept saying in a very loud voice: “I BROKE UP with **** …. I BROKE UP with ****” meaning they are no longer friends with the girl in question.  I decided to talk really loudly and laugh exuberantly to try to mask the fact that Georgia was saying she was no longer friends with said father’s child.

Back to the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed Life of Pi.

A beautifully told story, and the visuals were absolutely “swoon worthy!”

Georgia was a bit terrified – she was screaming when ever the Tiger jumped out.  It is not exactly a “spoiler alert” as the trailer and movie poster makes it fairly obvious that there is a boy and a tiger on a boat.  One would imagine there is a certain measure of tiger jumping out …. Georgia was quite scared and she hid away for a certain portion of the movie (which might explain why it had an age 10 age restriction).

But Connor also got quite a few frights.  Connor enjoyed the movie, and Georgia enjoyed it once we got past the Tiger jumping out and scaring the bejesus out of her.

There are many scenes that have you jumping back in your seat.  There are several moments where tears will run down your cheeks.

A beautifully shot movie, it is over two hours so is a bit long, but I did not find myself glancing at my watch.   It is one of those movies where you need to catch it on the big screen, I am not sure it will translate well into 4 x 3 Standard TV Screen size.

Well recommended.  Catch it on the big screen if you can!

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Can I give you some pregnancy advise?

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If I look back over my pregnancies, I think the one thing I can remember is that I loved being pregnant.  I loved knowing I was pregnant, I loved the feeling when you could feel the baby there – I really loved being pregnant.

{I am not suggesting I did not have the back pain, rectal piles, hormone overload, puking and all the other symptoms which often go hand in hand with your uterus expanding)

Each of my three pregnancies was so vastly different to each other, and I was in such a different “space” with each of them, I can barely compare them to each other.

If I had to impart a single wisdom about pregnancy, having a baby and having a newborn it is that “your experience is unique, and you do what works for you…”

When I had Connor, it was the easiest pregnancy imaginable.  I had practically no symptoms of pregnancy barring a stomach.  I could not understand what pregnant women complained about.  I had an elective c-section, and sailed through that.

At the time I thought I had it all taped, and was the spiritual point of knowledge on pregnancy and newborn babies.

Then I was pregnant with Georgia.  I was pregnant from October 2004.  From October I was sick.  Deathly sick.  I did not take Gaviscon, so much as I drank it with a bendy straw.  I felt terrible, exhausted and frayed the entire way through the pregnancy.  By June 2005 I was weeping, nearly every day …. and it was not in happiness.

I was sick with every lurking going.

On two occasions I SPED to my OBGYN and arrived crying, without an appointment, because I was convinced by baby was dead.

I became obsessed with the idea of having a VBAC, and ran around for about five months trying to find a midwife who would partner with me, at the same time trying to circumvennt my OBGYN because she was pro-second-c-sections.

The entire period of the pregnancy was horrific, and I seldom sat back and thought “Man I am loving this pregnancy!”  I did often cry on the way back from work, after an exhausting day wondering how I could get myself out of this rather desperate situation.

Second baby, and I was humbled by the entire experience.  I realised I was out of my depth both during the pregnancy and standing with a newborn and a 3 1/2 year old, and trying to figure out how I seriously was going to survive this lot.

Fast forward a few years and I was pregnant with Isabelle.

I was clearly older, and less fit than I had been before.  If you asked me what I remember most about that pregnancy, I would say it was how worried I was.

I kept thinking something was wrong, she was not moving and there was really nothing I could do to control what was going on inside me.

I bought an electronic doppler, and lived for the moment I could lie on my bed, with 1/2 tube of KY and listen to the beat of my child’s heart.  It would give me a respite from the worry that something was wrong – I was convinced that with two healthy children, I could not expect a healthy third … the fate of the universe just did not work that way.

I was stressed that I was over 35 and risking a pregnancy, so that just added to the permutations of things I could and did worry about.

The pregnancy was hard on my body.  From 4 months I ached – my back and legs were killing me. I was convinced I would go for my monthly OBGYN check up and he was going to tell me I was 45 centimeters dilated, because that was how I felt – my uterus felt like it was permanently on its way out.

By the time that “my day arrived” I was mentally in avoidance.

I convinced myself it was not happening.  On the drive to the hospital I asked Kennith to go to a mall -I thought if I wandered around a bit and bought pointless things it woulld buy me a bit of time, to keep this mummery farce that I was not having a baby today.

I went into the c-section petrified! Everything anyone ever said to me that could go wrong, was going to go wrong that day (in my head!)

I was petrified.

At one point I was begging Kennith (in quiet whispers so as not to upset anyone) that he needed to stop them (the surgeon) as I was not ready and something was going to go wrong.  I could see the reflection in the theater lights, and I was convinced I could feel every cut and pull.  I was so scared. I thought I was going to die, and the baby was going to be cut.

Of course nothing went wrong, everything was fine (barring a small incident in post op).

The point after all of this gumph is that no two pregnancies are the same, and no individual is the same.

My three experiences have humbled me to realise that there is no way I can offer advise to anyone, as each of my pregnancies were so vastly different.  When it comes down to it, your experience is unique to you, and you alone.

I must seriously confess that one of the few benefits to having three pregnancies, is that the moment some well meaning person offered advise, I could say “it’s okay, this is my third …. I’ve got it …. really now fk off so I can drink my 1 glass of wine I am allowed per day”

Depression and Medication …. its a fun game of tag you are it …

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I have been patting myself on the back lately as I seem to be on a good level emotional keel.

2011 was a year with a slow slide downwards, and then an eventual bottom out, that left me weeping and clinging to the edge of sanity with torn and bloodied fingernails.  I’d love to regale you with tales of how I conquered that shit, but that bitch kicked my arse and then came back to poke me in the eye!!!

In 2011, I built a close and totally dependent relationship with a psychiatrist who seemed to understand how to help me.  We worked through a few options of medication until we found the “most right for today” option.

I arrived in his office when I was shaking and jibbering, so he did have rather broken person to fix. I was convinced that there was not enough medication in the universe that would possibly help me.  But I was wrong.  Not the first time, not the last time.

The right medication is pretty unbelievable.  I was in an absolute state, and many of my symptoms had stopped being psychological, and had become physical symptoms.  I had neck and back pain that felt like spasms. I had also been clenching my jaw so hard for so long that my face ached.  I had clenched my jaw so tightly that I had cracked one of my molars.

Depression and medication is a bit of a challenge.

Medication, at some point, makes you feel like you have got a handle on life and that you might try to nurture a pot plant.  At least for some part of the day.

The problem with this buoyant feeling and the twinkle in your eye, is that it makes you feel like you are “alright” and just might be coping.  So the first thing that you do is toss your meds – ‘cos who needs those when you are feeling so damn good!!

Once you are feeling good, with such a good handle on not having an emotional vomit every time you go out for dinner, well then the nest step is to cancel those Dr Psychologist appointments.

First, they are not free.  Secondly, it is an hour of you sitting on a couch talking about shit that you really would rather not think about,  And thirdly, at some point your medical aid runs out and you are coughing up a few thousand, to chat to someone, about shit you don’t want to think about any more, because you feel so damn even keeled!!

So you cancel the crap out of those weekly appointments.  Because now you have the coping mechanisms that only drugs and therapy can make you think you have.

Flush with the extra hours available in your week, and the chance of maybe a few rand saved, you face your new life with a whole new outlook.

Depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder is no picnic.  I know “depression” is a term that gets bandied around fairly freely – and I am definitely not the one to judge whether someone is having a bad day or is diagnosed with depression.

So here I sit.  Feeling not so bad.

I have cut back on some of my medication. I take a slow release SEROQUEL XR, and an IVEDAL sleeping tablet at night.  I used to take another set of medication during the day, but as time went by I realised I could cope without it, and cut back, as I felt the Seroquel was working well for me on it’s own.

I could probably sleep by myself.   I could probably.  But right now I am reasoning “why take the risk when what I am taking have little to no side effects, and what I am taking works?”

I have cancelled my Dr CBT, and I am feeling all pretty “hey check at me, nearly got this LIFE shit sorted…”

But around the edges, I start to realise that cracks are starting to reveal themselves.  Not big hulking sink-the-titanic cracks, but hair-line fractures.

It’s time I book another “just checking in” session with my psychiatrist and more importantly make an appointment with DR CBT.

And such is the “always there” black dog …… even when you think he has gone away.

On a non-related note, do you know the collective noun for a group of cats, is a pounce of cats?  I love that – my favourite collective noun is a “Murder of Crows” more … I do love collective nouns.  This last paragraph has no relation at all to the last post, but this is sort of how my brain works.

The one with the guy in the rear view mirror ….

Driving home with kids this afternoon.

I am at a busy intersection,so one of those moments where you are sort of hanging mid-way across the road waiting for a gap.  Busy intersection, so my eyes are everywhere.

I keep checking my rear view mirror, as cars are waiting behind me, and I just want to keep an eye on anyone who might try to jump passed me or someone come  speeding up and does not realise that this traffic line is not moving.

I glance in the rear view mirror and there is a guy sitting in the car behind me – driver, not the passenger.  I glance in my rear view mirror, do my left-right-left-right check and then rear view glance.

I notice the guy pushes his little finger pretty far into his nose — so I think, wow, okay, more than likely he is going to come out with something.

“awkward”

I glance my left-right-left-right and back in to my rear view mirror, just at the point where he removes his finger, and now clearly has something lodged on his pinkie finger, so I think “Hmmm, I wonder what he is going to do with that…”

{I am stuck in traffic, and no one is going anywhere, so I really have tons of time for useless musings..}

I glance back into my rear view mirror at the EXACT TIME that he decides the best spot for  THAT  is in his mouth.  I gagged, but being me, I took a second glance, and it seems he was making sure he had it all off his nail as well.

I suddenly felt an unnerving and rather desperate feeling to get the hell out of  there and just be ANYWHERE where this guy was not in my rear view mirror

(blue toyota, guy was probably around 24 – 28 years old, with sandy blonde hair – not a three-year old child you understand, but someone who could order and pay for drive through if he was feeling peckish).

I do my glance left-right-left-right to find a gap, then glance in my rear view mirror, only to find he is doing the entire NOSE-PINKIE-MOUTH routine AGAIN!

At just about that point I decided that the only option left to me was to accelerate, make a gap where there was no gap, so that I could remove him out of my rear view mirror.

Four hours later and I am still feeling a bit traumatized.

EYES, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GD UNSEE!!

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Nobody puts Baby in a corner ….

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I caught the original “Dirty Dancing” movie last week – purely by accident.

One of those situation where you click the television on, there is a flickering image of Patrick Swayze in too tight black pants.  With an alarming high waistband dancing, and you can’t help yourself as you start to blink a bit slower, your eyes widen and you park your rump on the couch for the next 90 minutes, trundling down memory lane.

Dirty Dancing appeared on-screen when I was in Standard 8 (It was released in 1986 or 1987), and though I was not really a Patrick Swayze fan (I recalled him from the TV series North and South). I, like every other 14 year old, was riveted by his coolness, his slick hair and his “bad boy” attitude.  Swoon!

His eyes are a touch too small for my liking, but one was willing to forgive the details for the sake of the overall picture.

I thought that Johnny Castle was suave, cool, a bit of a bad boy and pretty much worth sitting through a rather long dance-a-thon to catch a glimpse of him doing the pelvic thrust.

I was in boarding school in Standard 9 and Standard 10.  I recall this video playing on a loop nearly every afternoon in the television room.  I sat through it at least 8 times, there were girls there who watched it 2 or 3 times per day for how ever long it ran, until the video cassette broke or the video recorder just gave up it’s life.

The music was extremely easy to sing along to.  The dance actions were nothing I had ever seen before and the movie was one you could watch a few times, and still fall in love all over again.

I watched the movie through fresh eyes last week.

When I saw the movie the first time, I saw it through the eyes of “Baby” as I was closer in age-on-screen-not-age-in-real-life to her.  Her teenage angst, and the love affairs that turned into absolute all-encompassing-life-struggles resonated with me.

Now I look at it, and I am looking at it from Baby’s parents perspective, and a little of the magic is lost.

I wonder how thrilled I would be to be woken by my daughter in the middle of the night to assist her friend (whom she met at the hotel) in her botched abortion.  Remembering that she borrowed money from me to assist her friend in getting the abortion.

I would be seriously questioning my child’s ability to confide in me, and her ability to make good decisions in clearly what was a very adult situation.  I would sh*t myself that this was all happening and my daughter was now embroiled in a “staff issue…”

I am thinking about how thrilled I would be to find out my seventeen year old daughter is sleeping with the dance instructor.  And has spent the last three weeks sneaking out of her room to do it in his rather shabby cabin that features no toilet or running water.

Can you say “Pack up and end this holiday instantaneously!”

I really get a cold shiver.

Often when Kennith and I are sitting watching something, and it is all movie-magic-stuff, I get this chill and I think “hey what if that was our daughter.”  Unfortunately it takes the shine out of most things and makes us both pull a face that makes us look like we just sniffed a donkey’s armpit.

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Dirty Dancing is a great movie, and I enjoyed it as if I was seeing it for the first time.

It did unsettle me how my perspective has changed, and I am no longer the dizzy, drunk on love teenager, but now the suspicious, cautious parent who worries about what their child and the idea that they would be shtoinking the dance instructor takes much of the magic away.

This parenting malarkey is not so much fun as the magazines makes it look!

High Schools in Cape Town … the fun we are having it.

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The day has come, I always knew it would.

In my mind Connor is still a little boy.

As I watch him stretch out on the couch with his beer oros I am amazed by how much he has crossed over that line of little boy, and is on his way to big boy.  He takes up the entire damn couch.  He eats like a wrestling team on steroids and he has taken to “inheriting” my shoes – and I am not exactly a small foot.

He gets embarrassed when undressing – and hides inside his cupboard if he is worried someone will come barging in.  Screams at his sisters if they try to walk in to the bathroom when he is on the toilet, and begs to shower separately.  The idea of him whipping off his shirt so I can see if something fits, horrifies him.

I am in denial, so get a bit cross and scream: “Just shower with the girls, what is wrong with you?”

But there is nothing wrong, he is growing up.  He is at that stage where he just needs his privacy.

I live in fear that there is going to be THAT day where I barge into his room, only to discover he is doing a bit of self-exploration and then I will probably die a thousand deaths right there.

I still try to have frank conversations with him about his body and s.e.x and girlfriends and all of those things which are just going to get creepy uncomfortable over the next 12 – 24 months.

Twelve to twenty four months — that is not a long time, that is a blink in the time line of a child.  Its not even long enough to make a dent in a car payment.

Talking about 24 months, Connor will be ready for Grade 8 in 2016.

Yep, sounds like forever away doesn’t it?  Not so much.  This year I need to visit Open Days, then apply this year (for some schools) to get on waiting lists, or next year for others.

Schools are going to be sending out “approval of acceptance” whilst he is in Grade 7  (2015) and probably before May of that year.  There really there is not a huge amount of time to sit around and think long deep thoughts about school.

Kennith prefers to lie on the couch, shrug, change channels and give me the look of  “really you are freaking out about nothing here” look when I decide to bring it up.  Kennith’s frame of reference is that the kids just appeared to go to a school, he does not know of the weeks/months of searching to vet a school, and then the amount of begging involved in them allowing you in.

In the Grade 7 talk that I sat in to by accident, the key point conveyed  was to apply to more than one school.  Three (and be accepted in two) if possible, so that you are not sitting come end of 2016 with no school for 2017.  This appears to be a common “need for an emergency meeting with the principal” of several Grade 7 learners and their parents.

I am not sure if 2016 and 2017 sound like they are miles away to you … to me, they sound like they are 2 or 3 Xmas cards away, and considering I am behind from about 1986 in sending Xmas cards in time, it appears frightfully close.

I sat today making a list of 6 potential high schools – and applied to them to find out when their Open Day is going to be, and whether we could pleased/beg come along.

I sent an email which I hope gives the impression that I am sort of disinterested in their school, and easy going either way.  I needed to hold myself from putting one of those smiley faces that pray and close their eyes at the end of my email.

The problem (of which there are many) is that I need to evaluate a school now for the child he is going to be then.  The option of waiting to see what sort of kid he is in Grade 7 and then make a decision is just not available.

I had to make my own list of Cape Town’s Top 10 Schools.

I did use the fact that they had boarding school as a criteria. I really would like the kids to attend a school with boarding facilities so they can be weekly boarders in High School.  But to be honest, right now I just need to find a school that will accept my child.

Tell me again how quickly our children grow up!  Cheese and rice where does it all go?