Should spanking children be made illegal?

Well this is a bit like suggesting kids should have their ears pierced at birth!

Or my other favourite whether to breast feed or formula feed – people go absolutely wild on this issue.

People with kids, people without kids, people who might once have seen a child, people who really have no business commenting on anything child related – all of them, are throwing their hands up at this one.

Everyone has an opinion.  Yes, just like  a marmite star-fish.

We all have them – but ours aren’t always as important to others as they are to us, and most people do not want to hear or see your marmite star fish.

But as I have a blog, I get to put my opinion out there.  Yay for me!

Should spanking children be made illegal?

I think that it is something parents should decide.  I do not think that this is something that can be legislated.

I am concerned it might become a stupid law – one that once made, is practically impossible to police.

Do you know smoking in your car when you have children in your car is illegal.  It is, tell me again how this is going to be policed?

Most people do not smack their kids in public – only those who are particularly brazen – most people opt instead for that breathy-raspy-low whisper “what until we get home…” which often works particularly well.

I wish to suggest from the outset that there is a difference between beating your child and giving your child a smack.

I do accept that the fact that both these decisions are left to the individual can sometimes lead to a child being physically abused – but again a “no smack” law is hardly going to prevent a person who beats their child from beating their child just because there is a law that prohibits smacking.

I came from a family where we got hidings/smacks on the bum.  I once was hit through the face by my slightly-less-than-loving father.  I did ask him he was drunk.  I was about 6.

Clearly the right answer was yes, and he felt that launching me across the room might be swifter than slurring “yes” – ah well, good times.  Not.

When I became a parent my parenting-toolkit was starkly empty, and I did not realise it.  I thought I was all up to scratch and mildly rational.

I had a clear idea of what was permitted, and what was not.  I did not want to be “those people” who were shunned from social gatherings because they had the child that would make Rosemary’s baby seem like a bonny wee lad.

I wanted a disciplined child, who listened, and who would pay attention when we spoke.  Kennith and I both agreed that we did not want to be over the top strict parents, but we wanted to be clear and consistent on our parenting.

Connor probably did not need as much discipline as I measured out.  He definitely did not need as many hidings as I gave him.  But (and this is not a defense plea) I did not realise there were other methods of teaching a child, and disciplining a child.

When Georgia was about 18 months, I took a trip to the UK, and my sister in law told me about “The Nanny” “Jo Frost.”  I had never seen her, had no idea there was a programme about parenting, and more importantly out of control kids and I watched in amazement.

I stopped at a bookstore the next day and stood there with my mouth hanging ajar, because I did not realise that there were more ways to discipline a child than:

1.  Saying NO loudly.

2.  Saying NO REALLY LOUDLY.

3.  Warning that if it happened again there was a hiding coming.

4.  Final warning issues – and then a hiding.

That was pretty much the order.  Sometimes the delay between 3 and 4 would be short, depending on the transgression.

Jo Frost gave me great ideas for alternate discipline, and we used time out, and a host of other actions since then.

I believe the there is a place in a home for a measure of discipline that works. Each home. Each child. Each parent is different.

I personally am okay with my kids having McDonalds once a week, and them having a set bedtime.  That suits me perfectly.  I get that this will make other parents shit in their khaki pants, and that is fine.

I am not suggesting that “children who get smacked are better behaved” and I am not suggesting that “children who are NOT smacked are better behaved” but I do suggest that “parents who discipline their children with love and patience, and remain consistent will have a better chance at a “child who respects discipline and who realises that there are repercussions to negative behaviour.”

Do I smack my children?  Yes

When was the last time I smacked my children?  Ages ago, like easily a year or two if not more.  No, I take that back I gave Isabelle a smack on her bum about two weeks ago.  She was throwing one of those mammoth tantrums and was screaming at me.  Yes, I felt we had crossed the line – and I had spoken to her rationally and warned her to “calm it down” and she decided otherwise – so I felt that a smack on her bottom was the right thing to do.  It suddenly calmed a situation that had been escalating for some time.

Would you smack your child again even though you know alternate options?  Yes.  I would definitely not smack my child as an initial reaction.  I would not smack a child who has no comprehension of the warning that I am issuing.  But a child that continues with a behaviour that is inappropriate and when a warning has been issue, is heading for a hiding/smack as a remedy should it be necessary

I still use it as a “final warning” when I have exhausted all the others.  The key is to follow through – you cannot keep threatening a child that you will do something and then never do it, because again that breaks the consistency and a child realises that they can keep pushing-pushing-pushing because nothing is going to happen.

Do I support a law that will outlaw smacking?  No.

Do I support a state that will focus on supplying better parenting classes? Or some sort of parental support and thinks about how a single mom or dad who is unemployed, and has five children and struggles to cope in her or his day – and probably did not come from a well parented home to begin with?  Yes, definitely.

I am not one of “those” people who when faced with something tries to deflect the attention from one bad thing to one that “appears worse” i.e. “why do you ticket me for driving 70km/h in a 60km/h zone, should you not be ticketing the taxis because jeez have you seen them drive?”

Nope, I really am one of those people who follow the law and the rules even when no one is watching.

But really really — why are we expending so much energy on this law to stop parents choosing how to parent, when we live in a society that has such rampant violence against women and children, it is actually enough to make you weep into your wine glass.

Sort that shit out people – sort that shit out – give parents support whether it is in social services, or classes or something.  What is the point of arriving with a law that takes care of a symptom but does not address the problem.

Should spanking children be made illegal?  No!

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Notice how mom is going off her fking rocker in this image, kids are screaming and dad, well, dad is reading his Sports Illustrated and wondering why everyone won’t just pipe the fk down!

I think mom needs to stop smacking the kids, and maybe use that leather thing to smack dad across the face and at the very least knock his stupid glasses across the room.  Then mom needs to go out for a drink and maybe catch a nap.

But otherwise they are totally rocking that vintage look!!

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Jersey Boys at the Artscape …

{I am doing a bit of a Draft Tray clean out – I realised I have over 150 drafts — posts I have started and never finished, and now have been stuck in limbo …… so I am digging out a few}

‘We were invited to join friends and go and see Jersey Boys last night.  (clearly not last night,  now, but it was some time ago)

At a certain point I lay on my bed, and it was warm, soft and that is where I wanted to remain for the foreseeable future.  I was wondering if I could convince Kennith to cancel – he had been sick, and I figured a cough and splutter into the phone would get us off the going out, and then I could get a head start on sleep.

We didn’t cancel.  We put on our clean underpants, and clothing and out we went.

We sat about as far back as you can sit – barring only the one row behind us.  I wasn’t feeling particularly optmistic about the entire evening, longing still for my bed.

Then the show started.

What an incredible show.  I loved every moment of it.  Who knew that the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli are responsible for so many iconic songs?  Not me.

I thought I did not know any of their music, and it turns out I knew most of the songs and could happily sing along to them.  Off key of course.

Jersey+Boys

It is a great show – and probably one of the best stage performances I have ever been to.  Definitely worth the effort of brushing your teeth, finding something clean to wear and going out into public for.

Here are a list of their songs, I guarantee you will know almost all of them …. great show!!

# Artist Song Title Year Chart Entries
1 The Four Seasons December 1963 (Oh What a Night) 1976 UK 1 – Jan 1976 (10 weeks), US Billboard 1 – Dec 1975 (27 weeks), Record World 1 – 1976, Canada RPM 1 for 1 week – Apr 1976, Springbok 1 – Apr 1976 (17 weeks), US BB 2 of 1976, RIANZ 2 – Mar 1976 (27 weeks), POP 2 of 1976, Holland 3 – Mar 1976 (18 weeks), Belgium 3 – Apr 1976 (10 weeks), Canada 4 – Feb 1976 (19 weeks), South Africa 4 of 1976, US Gold (certified by RIAA in Mar 1976), UK Gold (certified by BPI in Mar 1976), France 6 – Jun 1976 (1 week), Norway 6 – Apr 1976 (8 weeks), WABC NY 10 of 1976, Sweden (alt) 11 – Apr 1976 (13 weeks), Brazil 11 of 1976, Australia 15 of 1993, Germany 19 – Apr 1976 (2 months), DDD 19 of 1975, US CashBox 21 of 1976, US Radio 21 of 1976 (peak 1 12 weeks), D.Marsh 38 of 1976, RYM 54 of 1975, OzNet 89, Party 143 of 2007
2 The Four Seasons Big Girls Don’t Cry 1962 US Billboard 1 – Oct 1962 (16 weeks), Canada 1 – Oct 1962 (14 weeks), NZ Lever 1 – Jan 1963 (6 weeks), Australia 1 for 1 week – Jan 1963, KQV 3 of 1962, US BB 5 of 1962, US Radio 5 of 1962 (peak 1 12 weeks), POP 10 of 1962, D.Marsh 11 of 1962, UK 13 – Jan 1963 (10 weeks), WABC NY 13 of 1962, US CashBox 15 of 1963, DDD 19 of 1962, Australia 20 of 1962, South Africa 20 of 1962, RYM 26 of 1962, Brazil 79 of 1963, Acclaimed 965 (1962), one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500
3 The Four Seasons Sherry 1962 US Billboard 1 – Aug 1962 (14 weeks), Canada 1 – Aug 1962 (12 weeks), NZ Lever 1 – Sep 1962 (7 weeks), WABC NY 5 of 1962, DDD 5 of 1962, UK 8 – Oct 1962 (16 weeks), KQV 10 of 1962, US Radio 12 of 1962 (peak 1 10 weeks), US BB 15 of 1962, Flanders 15 – Oct 1962 (3 months), RYM 18 of 1962, US CashBox 20 of 1962, POP 28 of 1962, Brazil 75 of 1962, Acclaimed 1817 (1962), NY Daily Love list 17
4 The Four Seasons Rag Doll 1964 US Billboard 1 – Jun 1964 (12 weeks), Record World 1 – 1964, Keener 1 – Jun 1964 (7 weeks), Canada 1 – Jun 1964 (12 weeks), Canada RPM 1 for 4 weeks – Jul 1964, NZ Lever 1 – Jul 1964 (6 weeks), UK 2 – Aug 1964 (13 weeks), US Gold (certified by RIAA in Aug 1964), WABC NY 7 of 1964, US Radio 16 of 1964 (peak 1 10 weeks), Germany 16 – Jan 1965 (2 months), DDD 25 of 1964, KQV 28 of 1964, US BB 29 of 1964, US CashBox 29 of 1964, POP 29 of 1964, RYM 77 of 1964, Acclaimed 2088 (1964)
5 The Four Seasons Walk Like a Man 1963 US Billboard 1 – Jan 1963 (13 weeks), Canada 1 – Jan 1963 (12 weeks), NZ Lever 1 – Mar 1963 (6 weeks), Australia 1 for 1 week – Apr 1963, US BB 10 of 1963, POP 10 of 1963, UK 12 – Mar 1963 (12 weeks), US Radio 12 of 1963 (peak 1 9 weeks), WABC NY 15 of 1963, US CashBox 18 of 1963, RYM 19 of 1963, D.Marsh 39 of 1963, DDD 43 of 1963, Acclaimed 1454 (1963), one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500
6 The Four Seasons Candy Girl 1963 KQV 2 of 1963, Canada 2 – Jul 1963 (12 weeks), US Billboard 3 – Jul 1963 (13 weeks), NZ Lever 3 – Aug 1963 (3 weeks), WABC NY 18 of 1963, US Radio 35 of 1963 (peak 3 8 weeks), US CashBox 50 of 1963, RYM 157 of 1963
7 The Four Seasons Let’s Hang On 1965 Record World 1 – 1965, US Billboard 3 – Oct 1965 (16 weeks), UK 4 – Nov 1965 (16 weeks), WABC NY 7 of 1965, US Radio 10 of 1965 (peak 3 11 weeks), US BB 21 of 1965, POP 21 of 1965, KQV 28 of 1965, US CashBox 41 of 1966, DDD 59 of 1965, RYM 126 of 1965
8 The Four Seasons Who Loves You 1975 US Billboard 3 – Aug 1975 (20 weeks), Record World 5 – 1975, Canada 5 – Oct 1975 (10 weeks), UK 6 – Sep 1975 (9 weeks), Springbok 13 – Feb 1976 (5 weeks), RIANZ 22 – Nov 1975 (12 weeks), US Radio 26 of 1975 (peak 3 9 weeks), WABC NY 35 of 1975, RYM 66 of 1975, DDD 99 of 1975
9 The Four Seasons Dawn (Go Away) 1964 US Billboard 3 – Feb 1964 (13 weeks), Canada 3 – Feb 1964 (13 weeks), NZ Lever 3 – Mar 1964 (4 weeks), US BB 14 of 1964, POP 14 of 1964, WABC NY 15 of 1964, US Radio 24 of 1964 (peak 3 8 weeks), US CashBox 28 of 1964, Record World 32 – 1964, DDD 51 of 1964
10 The Four Seasons Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye) 1965 Canada RPM 1 for 1 week – Feb 1965, Record World 6 – 1965, Keener 10 – Jan 1965 (2 weeks), US Billboard 12 – Jan 1965 (9 weeks), Canada 37 – Jan 1965 (4 weeks), WABC NY 49 of 1965, US Radio 129 of 1965 (peak 12 3 weeks)
11 The Four Seasons Save it For Me 1964 Canada RPM 1 for 1 week – Sep 1964, Keener 7 – Aug 1964 (4 weeks), Record World 8 – 1964, US Billboard 10 – Aug 1964 (8 weeks), Canada 28 – Aug 1964 (6 weeks), DDD 60 of 1964, WABC NY 83 of 1964, US Radio 123 of 1964 (peak 10 4 weeks)
12 The Four Seasons C’Mon Marianne 1967 Canada 7 – Jun 1967 (8 weeks), US Billboard 9 – Jun 1967 (10 weeks), Record World 9 – 1967, Keener 14 – Jun 1967 (5 weeks), NZ Listner 20 – Aug 1967 (1 week), Holland 27 – Jul 1967 (5 weeks), WABC NY 73 of 1967, US CashBox 86 of 1967, US Radio 94 of 1967 (peak 9 5 weeks)
13 The Four Seasons Working My Way Back to You 1966 US Billboard 9 – Jan 1966 (9 weeks), Record World 9 – 1966, Keener 18 – Jan 1966 (5 weeks), US BB 30 of 1966, POP 30 of 1966, Canada 34 – Feb 1966 (6 weeks), UK 50 – Apr 1966 (3 weeks), DDD 78 of 1966, US Radio 111 of 1966 (peak 9 4 weeks)
14 The Four Seasons Tell it to the Rain 1967 Canada 1 – Dec 1966 (11 weeks), US Billboard 10 – Dec 1966 (10 weeks), Record World 10 – 1967, Keener 13 – Nov 1966 (6 weeks), UK 37 – Jan 1967 (5 weeks), WABC NY 90 of 1967, US Radio 119 of 1967 (peak 10 3 weeks)
15 The Four Seasons Ronnie 1964 US Billboard 6 – Apr 1964 (10 weeks), Record World 6 – 1964, NZ Lever 6 – May 1964 (2 weeks), Keener 7 – Apr 1964 (3 weeks), Canada 18 – Apr 1964 (5 weeks), WABC NY 37 of 1964, US Radio 73 of 1964 (peak 6 6 weeks)
16 The Four Seasons Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me) 1966 Record World 9 – 1966, NZ Listner 9 – Aug 1966 (3 weeks), US Billboard 13 – May 1966 (8 weeks), Keener 14 – May 1966 (3 weeks), Canada 14 – May 1966 (7 weeks), UK 20 – Jun 1966 (9 weeks), DDD 74 of 1966, US Radio 133 of 1966 (peak 13 5 weeks)
17 The Four Seasons I’ve Got You Under My Skin 1966 Record World 6 – 1966, Keener 7 – Sep 1966 (4 weeks), US Billboard 9 – Sep 1966 (10 weeks), Canada 10 – Sep 1966 (9 weeks), UK 12 – Oct 1966 (11 weeks), WABC NY 59 of 1966, US Radio 107 of 1966 (peak 9 5 weeks)
18 The Four Seasons Stay 1964 Keener 4 – Feb 1964 (4 weeks), Canada 12 – Mar 1964 (8 weeks), US Billboard 16 – Feb 1964 (11 weeks), Record World 22 – 1964, WABC NY 86 of 1964, US Radio 143 of 1964 (peak 16 4 weeks)
19 The Four Seasons Silver Star 1976 UK 3 – Apr 1976 (9 weeks), Holland 14 – Jun 1976 (6 weeks), Belgium 14 – Jul 1976 (3 weeks), US Billboard 38 – May 1976 (8 weeks)
20 The Four Seasons Connie-O 1962 Australia 1 for 1 week – Jan 1963, RYM 26 of 1962
21 The Four Seasons Beggin’ 1967 Record World 15 – 1967, US Billboard 16 – Mar 1967 (9 weeks), Keener 16 – Mar 1967 (4 weeks), UK 32 – Jul 2007 (8 weeks), Canada 42 – Feb 1967 (3 weeks), US Radio 161 of 1967 (peak 16 2 weeks)
22 The Four Seasons Big Man in Town 1964 Keener 7 – Oct 1964 (4 weeks), Record World 14 – 1964, US Billboard 20 – Nov 1964 (7 weeks), Canada 31 – Nov 1964 (5 weeks), US Radio 178 of 1964 (peak 20 2 weeks)
23 The Four Seasons Marlena 1963 Canada 2 – Jul 1963 (10 weeks), US Billboard 36 – Jul 1963 (8 weeks), RYM 157 of 1963
24 The Four Seasons Down the Hall 1977 Holland 16 – Jun 1977 (5 weeks), Belgium 28 – Jul 1977 (1 week), UK 34 – Aug 1977 (5 weeks), US Billboard 65 – Jul 1977 (6 weeks)
25 The Four Seasons Dawn 1964 Keener 1 – Jan 1964 (5 weeks), KQV 21 of 1964
26 The Four Seasons Ain’t That a Shame 1963 Canada 20 – Apr 1963 (5 weeks), US Billboard 22 – Apr 1963 (9 weeks), UK 38 – Jun 1963 (3 weeks)
27 The Four Seasons Watch the flowers grow 1967 Canada 12 – Oct 1967 (7 weeks), Record World 22 – 1967, Keener 28 – Oct 1967 (1 week), US Billboard 30 – Oct 1967 (7 weeks)
28 The Four Seasons Will You Still Love me Tomorrow? 1968 Record World 13 – 1968, US Billboard 24 – Feb 1968 (8 weeks), Canada 28 – Feb 1968 (5 weeks), WABC NY 94 of 1968
29 The Four Seasons Spend The Night In Love 1980 Springbok 4 – Mar 1981 (14 weeks), US Billboard 91 – Dec 1980 (4 weeks)
30 The Four Seasons Alone 1964 Canada 23 – Jun 1964 (7 weeks), US Billboard 28 – Jun 1964 (9 weeks), Record World 29 – 1964
31 The Four Seasons Santa Claus is Coming to Town 1962 US Billboard 23 – Dec 1962 (3 weeks), RYM 152 of 1962
32 The Four Seasons December 1963 (Oh What a Night) (1988) 1988 Belgium 9 – Jul 1988 (7 weeks), UK 49 – Oct 1988 (5 weeks)
33 The Four Seasons Girl Come Running 1965 Keener 19 – Jun 1965 (3 weeks), Record World 23 – 1965, US Billboard 30 – Jun 1965 (7 weeks)
34 The Four Seasons Soon (I’ll be Home Again) 1963 Canada 20 – Apr 1963 (5 weeks), US Billboard 77 – May 1963 (7 weeks)
35 The Four Seasons New Mexican Rose 1963 US Billboard 36 – Oct 1963 (7 weeks), Canada 38 – Oct 1963 (4 weeks)
36 The Four Seasons Little Boy (In Grown Up Clothes) 1965 Canada 47 – Jan 1966 (3 weeks), US Billboard 60 – Dec 1965 (6 weeks)
37 The Four Seasons Big Girls Don’t Cry (1988) 1988 UK 91 – Oct 1988 (1 week)
38 The Four Seasons Peanuts 1963 Canada 3 – Mar 1963 (10 weeks)
39 The Four Seasons Soon 1963 KQV 6 of 1963
40 The Four Seasons And That Reminds Me (My Heart Reminds Me) 1969 Record World 27 – 1969, US Billboard 45 – Sep 1969 (7 weeks)
41 The Four Seasons I’ve Cried Before 1962 RYM 18 of 1962
42 The Four Seasons Electric Stories 1968 Record World 38 – 1969, US Billboard 61 – Dec 1968 (6 weeks)
43 The Four Seasons Lucky Ladybug 1963 RYM 19 of 1963
44 The Four Seasons Christmas Tears 1962 RYM 152 of 1962
45 The Four Seasons That’s The Only Way 1963 US Billboard 88 – Oct 1963 (3 weeks)
46 The Four Seasons The Night 1975 UK 7 – Apr 1975 (9 weeks)
47 The Four Seasons Slip Away 1975 RYM 54 of 1975
48 The Four Seasons Rhapsody 1977 UK 37 – Jun 1977 (3 weeks)
49 The Four Seasons We Can Work it Out 1976 UK 34 – Nov 1976 (4 weeks)
50 The Four Seasons Sincerely 1964 US Billboard 75 – Aug 1964 (4 weeks)
51 The Four Seasons Silence is Golden 1964 RYM 77 of 1964
52 The Four Seasons Toy Soldiers 1965 US Billboard 64 – Apr 1965 (5 weeks)
53 The Four Seasons On Broadway Tonight 1965 RYM 126 of 1965
54 The Four Seasons Idaho 1969 US Billboard 95 – Apr 1969 (2 weeks)
55 The Four Seasons Something’s On Her Mind 1969 US Billboard 98 – Mar 1969 (1 week)

The Beautiful Poetry Book Collection Campaign

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Window 1

Window 2

The lovely people at Poetry sent this to me because we all know how much I adore books – and I love programmes that support literacy and getting books into people’s hands.

The beautiful folded book mobiles that are hanging in the windows are the result of a wonderful collaboration with the talented Shaw Sisters– Durban-based entrepreneurs.

To celebrate our love for books and the importance of literacy, we have launched a campaign whereby you can donate any books or buy a bookmark for R10 at any Poetry store.

Books will be sent and all the funds from the sale of the bookmarks will be donated to one of our trusted partners, Ikamva Labantu, for their much needed Literacy Programme.

For more information on iKamva Labantu – http://ikamva.org.za/

This clever and beautiful Poetry Campaign runs until the 19 August 2013 – so stop in at any Poetry Store and donate a book, buy a bookmark.

Donate some books to a great cause, and find a way to walk around and buy gorgeous goodies from Poetry.  I do not think it is possible to not pick up things, rub them, smell them in Poetry – one of my favourite stores – I feel all airy and fairy when I walk around the store, it is like scratching your “best friend who has such good taste’s” cupboard.

Side bar:  The lovely people at Poetry will be giving me some of the lovely folded book mobiles to give away when the campaign is over.

Did I just hear you squeak?  Or was it just me?  Book folded mobiles …. oh my.

If you want to receive a gorgeous, unique book folded mobile and be the envy of your book/wine club –  then leave a comment on this blog post — you can leave a comment until 12 August 2013 – you will need to be in South Africa to receive this one.

Winner picked randomly — sort of!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

I have just finished this book – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

This book unfolds and you get to know Harold, Maureen and their son David.

Soon you realise they are in a marriage that has long since stopped functioning, and both Harold and Maureen have become empty shells of who they used to be – their lives are filled with silences and moving around inside an empty house.

Untold pain, regret held close and things gone unsaid.

No one saying anything they mean.  Or meaning to say anything they say.

There is Queenie Hennessy who you are not quite sure as to where she fits in, and why Harold would decide to work 600 miles to see her – well to save her from cancer actually – why he would do something so out of character and for her, is not quite clear.

His journey starts when he receives a letter from Queenie who he has not spoken to in 20 years.  Her letters tells her she has cancer and there is nothing more they can do, and thanks him for the friendship he had shown her all those years ago.

He writes a reply, sets out on foot to post the letter, and then just keeps on walking.

And carries on walking, and it becomes his purpose to get to Queenie.  To save her – hundreds of miles away from where he lives in Devon, all the way up in a Hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

On foot, in just his yachting shoes – no cell phone, no wallet, no map, no idea.

He doesn’t tell his wife, he just starts walking.

A bit like where the husband goes out to the corner shop for cigarettes and never comes back.

A beautifully told story.

It is so starkly honest and strips away all of life’s complications to come back to people and how they connect with each other – and how Harold finds himself, and his life by meeting other people and realising that everyone is battling their own demons.

Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

“From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn’t want to leave him. Impossible to put down” (Erica Wagner The Times)

“Deploying meticulously precise and deceptively light-as-air prose, Joyce takes Harold across the bitter wastelands of regret to the sunlit uplands of emotional redemption with a ­clarity that is at times almost unbearably moving” (Karen Robinson The Sunday Times)

“Distinguished by remarkable confidence… Polished to perfection… Joyce’s experience as a playwright shows in her ear for dialogue and eye for character diatom – even the walk-on parts stay with you as real people. She handles her material with deceptive lightness but Harold’s journey towards a better version of himself is totemic. To read about him is to be moved to follow him” (Daily Telegraph 2012-03-10)

“This cleverly done, admirably clear-sighted novel skirts the sloughs of saccharine and whimsy, coming to an almost unbearably moving conclusion. An instant book-group classic” (Daily Mail 2012-03-23)

“A terrific book, comic and sad and very honest. Harold is a wonderfully-drawn character… his story is at the same time emotionally gruelling and yet ultimately uplifting.” (Joanne Harris)

What you need for your baby …. even if he is a prince …

Having a baby is one of those joyful tinged with panic situations.  That last 9 months, or however far along you realise you are pregnant.

If you are adopting or having a baby through another route, the time line may be longer or get compressed into two frantic weeks.

Baby magazines, product advertising and all the “punt my product” blogs and forums make it really hard to buy what you need, and not find yourself blowing your salary on a chair that is pink, and for what ever reason costs R6 000.00 but you just must have it!

Right now my heart goes out to anyone pregnant with a baby – especially a boy child.  Because the media is going to go Little Prince crazy – and you are going to see heaps of items that you “just must have” but the reality is that you probably will never use.

I acquired a ton of things when Connor was joining us.

Georgia I also made sure I was organised – though the fact that she was a girl came as a bit of a surprise and required fast dashes to the closest Woolworths by Kennith when she made her entrance into the world, as I realised none of the “green” items were going to do.

Isabelle was a much calmer affair.  I knew what I needed, and it really was not a lot.  I did not spend much on all the new fangled items – and in most cases trolled for second hand items – let’s call them pre-loved or vintage which sounds so much better than second hand.

My friend Joyce asked me to a baby list in 2011 and I went to look at it again this morning – so here is ANOTHER BABY LIST that you probably don’t need, but there we go.

Not a comprehensive list, but just some thoughts.

Basic must haves:

Breathable cot mattress + mattress covers x 3 (this you buy new from Toys R Us after you have the cot as mattress must fit your cot)

Normal bedding – fitted sheets – usually you do not really buy duvets + pillows etc, as they can be hazards to a baby in a cot, so I tend to buy them because they look pretty not because they are a necessity.  I bought from Treehouse factory store, but you can get these anywhere.  Isabelle sleeps on a mattress + sheet, and then I put loose blankets on top of her.

Bumpers (to stop baby’s feet getting caught in the bars of the cot) are usually recommended for small babies, but I found Isabelle kept pulling hers down – so I ended up purchasing two great sets and never using them)

Changing mat – you need one that goes on your compactum –  big thick thing with raised sides.  Treehouse is good for this.

Box/Container for toiletries that stands on your compactum – I suggest a wooden one from Builder’s Warehouse or a plastic one from Plastic Warehouse.

Polar fleece baby blankets x 3 – 4 – I use these a lot, and just layer them when baby is cold.

Receiving blankets – 4 – 6 of these, also used to keep baby warm, used underneath baby, used to add layers, I am using some of Connor’s ones with Isabelle, so these are great to hand from one baby to another, and have a thousand uses.

Towelling nappies – not as nappies, but as puke cloths – buy a pack from Jet – fairly good quality and you just need something to reach for every time your baby up chucks.

Sleeping wedges – can buy anywhere – basically to stop baby rolling over on to his/her back, Toys R Us have these.

Baby towels – I ended up with dozens of these, and the hoody part is nice, but really not a have to have — and you always end up getting a dozen of these.

Kango Bath support for baby – you can pick these up anywhere, and they are pretty useful stuff.  I had a purple one and it was brilliant.

Microwave sterilizer – you can pretty much buy these anywhere – stick with the cheap and cheerful R89.00 one, no need to dip into the R450.00 one which just looks jazzy but essentially does the same thing (stay away from Miltons – used to clean bottles)

Decide on a bottle system – I use NUK, but different people use different ones.  The problem is the bottles/teats are not interchangeable, so once you decide on a system, you are pretty much stuck with it.  I got a free NUK one, and then just used it since.  Bottles are expensive and you need about 6 of them, so it is one of those things you buy, then do not open, and if you see baby is using them, then you open them.  (you do not open them so you can return them if your baby for some reason just does not like the particular system)

Bottle brushes – do not try to purchase the NIMBUS 2000 range, buy what ever is being sold at PnP or where ever.  I can’t say I used this that often …..

Decide if you are going to use a dummy – and then purchase – I opted for NUK (because I liked the bottles and the product) – but dummies are not a necessity, and you need to make a decision upfront as to whether you want to go with one or not.

Nappy bag – for your sanity opt for a backpack styled one.  (contents spare clothes, food, dummy, wipes, nappies, traveling changing mat – something that is always packed and ready to go, so if you need to go somewhere, you grab it – so it has duplicates of what ever you use for baby, and the idea is to have it packed so when ever you have to go somewhere you grab it and go)

DO NOT BUY CLOTHES, I HAVE MORE THAN ANY CHILD WILL EVER WEAR AND MOST WITH LABELS.  People give you and buy you clothes, and if you are feeling vaguely like watching your bank balance, people will drown you in baby clothes that all seem to arrive and look like they have never been worn.

However if you want to dress your child in Keedo/Naartjie/Earth Child, then please buy clothes.

Shoes are a total unnecessary purchase and are purely a “cute” purchase.

The only thing you need to purchase are probably vests – I prefer the ones that do not clip at the crotch, but most prefer the ones that do.  Your baby will be little in winter, so you need to purchase these as you will need one to two per day.

 Toiletries:

Nappies – I suggest you start with Pampers and go from there.  Buy from PnP and if you decide you do not like them, cannot use them you can return to PnP for a refund!  You average about 5 per day on a young baby.

Bum cream – I swear by Lucoderm – can buy from any chemist – comes in a tub, lasts for ages.  One tub will pretty much see your baby through from birth to about university, so no need to buy the full range of nappy creams.  Many of them are not great, and other than smell nice do not do a whole lot of good.

Wipes – buy what you can afford, Cherub works well, and is a good price, but I also like the Pampers ones.

Baby wash – I tend to use Johnsons Baby Top to ToeWash

Baby Powder – I use Johnsons with Camomile (purple label) – because I like the smell.  But most professional nurses would suggest an odourless plain powder based product without any frills or fuss.

Medication to keep on hand: Calpol, Empiped (suppository), Voltarin (suppository), Nurofed *****, Panado – you want to keep a ready supply of medication to combat temperatures, young babies pick up a fever quite easily.  Have a stash of short syringes (no needles) as getting medication into the back of a baby’s mouth/throat is a trick and a syringe will be a great tool.

Very useful: nappy sacks – fragrant plastic bags to dispose of nappies.  I use these when I go out – it makes me look civilised even though I have baby shit under my finger nails.

Pack of cotton wools makeup swabs – I find them useful for every day – wiping little areas and so on.

Johnsons Aqueous Cream, which I use on occasion.

Bepanthen cream – good for odds and sods, bites, dry areas, and so on.

Bathroom Stuff:

A non-slip mat in the bath.

Bath toys and one of those little bags that clip on to the side of the bath to put toys in.

A bath caddy for baby’s toiletries.

Baby toothbrush – I started with a baby toothbrush really early, so they get familiar with the brush and the toothpaste in their mouth, so that when you start brushing life is easier as it does not become a problem.  Easier to start with this in the bath when they are little as a game, so it just becomes a non-issue.

Sanity purchases (your sanity):

Mechanical/electric bounce/swing chair – try to find one second hand.  This was my tool of sanity with Isabelle who never stopped screaming.

Curtains or blinds that block out light totally – quite a good idea to do this from the start.

Rocking chair/wing backed chair/small single couch in babies room – will saving you standing rocking baby, and sometimes you end up sitting in babies room when baby is sick.

Electronic thermometer – buy from PnP – cost probably about R400.00 – total sanity purchase!!!  You will use it forever, I have a Braun Thermoscan and it is still going strong and I think it is 5 years old.

Mobile above cot – having one with music is a nice touch – the music and the moving things do sooth baby, but you can buy this second hand.  Really nice for baby to look at and the music does sooth some babies – I must confess that Isabelle liked hers while the other two kids were not that interested in them at all – so I think the mobile was for me, so I could stand and look at it when I was rocking one of them to sleep.  So buy a mobile you like – maybe Robert Downey Junior has a mobile!

Night light – I preferred not to use one, but some people do use them.

Baby Monitor – buy new – like a walkie-talkie – one goes in baby’s room and one in your room, so you do not need to keep going to open the door to check on baby, quite useful, but really not a necessity.  They do however help you to stop going: ‘Did you hear something?  I am sure I hear something.  Do you hear something?  I am going to go in and check.”

Floor doughnut – its that pink or blue cushion thing they lie and play on, with cushioned sides so they do not roll off.  You use it quite a lot even when they are sitting up.  Eventually the dog will go and sit in it, then you will say “Gee, I am glad I bought such a cool dog bed from Treehouse!!”

Seat cover – goes under the baby seat to protect your car seats – no matter how much you swear your child will not eat and drink in the car, sadly we all succumb to throwing Marie Biscuits into the bag with a bit of Oros and praying it buys us 10 minutes of quiet time.

Front seat cover – it fits over the front head rests and has pouches facing backwards – great to prevent baby kicking and damaging the back of the front seats, and nice to store odds and ends.  There are really expensive ones, but you can pick them up for dead cheap and car type stores, rather than baby type stores.

Window sock – slides over your window, so that baby in car seat is not sitting in direct sunlight.  Really nice – need to buy ones that fit your car, quite expensive, so a nice to have, not a must have.

Tiny Love – Gymini Kick/Play – baby lies on the floor underneath this thing and then plays with the things above it.  Sort of daily useful, but not a must have.

Big Purchases:

Wooden Cot (buy second hand)

Travelling Cot (fold down type) – not a necessity, and really only something you will use if you go away with baby.

Compactum – with drawers (buy second hand)

Narrow cupboard with drawers – little baby stuff fits better in drawers so if you buy a wicker basket draw thing or similar it does make life easier as you rarely put their stuff into a hanging cupboard.

Picolo/Snug and Safe – Baby car seat, carry around thing that you use for baby – it tends to become a baby feeding chair when baby is small, and where baby sleeps while you are in a restaurant, so find one that has an easy to clean cover.

Pram + Car seat (this is also the Piccolo/Snug and Safe – so you need to decide to buy this as a unit i.e. Graco Travel System or as two separate item.

(Car seats are by weight, small babies are strapped into a Piccolo and are rear facing – and they stay like this until they around about 12 kg I think, then move to a forward facing car seat – so best to leave the purchasing of a front facing car seat for a bit later.  Discovery does give a voucher for this, which is great.)

Good place for second hand stuff:

I can’t think of the company’s name – I think it is called Second Time Around or something – 021 762 2474, 309 Main Road, Kenilworth – but the owner is really nice, it is a small shop crammed with stuff, and good to touch base with her and explain what you are looking for and then she looks out for it.

Good place to shop for bedroom things:

Treehouse in Parow – corner of Zelda and Jagger Street, Goodwood, 021 591 1814 – really good to lurk around there, can pick up some really good things on sale.

Gumtree is a good place to lurk around – someone is always selling something.  Just use your natural Nancy Drew alertness when dealing with anyone.  Do not meet or go to anyone’s home – meet them in a public place, ensure you check them out before you meet them (if all they have is a gmail account and a cell number, then maybe rethink that meet).  I have been lucky and have bought a lot of things through gumtree, and saved a ton.

I hope that list helps you a bit ——-

I decided not to include this item, but now that I look at it, well, there are a few ideas of how I could use this —- at my desk with tea …. I like the way the packing has “stew/cocoa” on it.  Because those two tastes go together so damn well.

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Touching Creation … and it has a play area

We headed out to the Overberg on the weekend.

We spent the weekend at High Seasons Guest Farm– which for a place to stay is brilliant.

Your biggest noise factor is the sound of cows moo’ing – I have stayed at High Season on several occasions, and each time I say “cripes, this must be the best place on the planet…”  The cottages are divine, the entire setting is wonderful – and you can bring along your well-behaved dog.

We headed out on Saturday to a wine farm.

The problem with this plan is that it requires a certain measure of getting out of bed early, and then getting going. Great in plan, a bit less oomph in execution.

By the time we got moving and wine sipping it was 13h00, so that sort of makes it more gulping than sipping.  We went along to HermanusPietersfontein Wine Tasting.  Everyone rated the red wines as being incredible – I found the white wines a bit “meh” …. but wine is about personal taste, and what you enjoy.

Not being deterred on the wine front – we were directed to pop in at Creation, which is along the Hemel-en-Aarde Road.

I really was not expecting much.

I figured a large draughty room, us tasting wine and freezing to death. It was sunny but cold, and I was frozen to the marrow.

But then we arrived at Creation.  Oh my giddy aunt!!

What a brilliant place.  We sat down in this lovely dining area, with kids running around, and wine glasses as a chandelier!!

I am not sure where the best part was – but it was all pretty heady stuff.  They had a Wine Paring Canapes menu available and we all ordered it.

Oh. My. Gruffalo!

I think I might have crossed over to the other side.  I am not a red wine drinker.  I never drink red wine.  5 of the wines were red, and they were brilliant.

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It was one of those experiences where the wine is broken down into its various components of flavour and then the food is built up of those individual tastes and the result is you take a sip of wine, a bite of your canape, and then another sip of your wine — and then the flavour explodes.

What a divine experience.

I can easily add this to one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Got a few days?  Want a wonderful get away, pop in at High Season Guest Farm, and shoot across to Creation Wines for such a memorable experience it will make your eyes roll back in your head.

And there is a play area for your kids.

Does that sound like winning?  Totally!4

{no this is not a sponsored post — just had a divine weekend, and a lovely canapes with wine pairing}

You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.

I really adore books – and I love that so many people who stop by my blog are equally as excited about books as I am.

Books make the best gifts.  Long after the toys are broken, the batteries lost, and the wine bottles empty, you can still read the book again, or stack them up high in your passage and start looking at bit like Hoarders Buried Alive.

I truly love books.

I love Dr Suess – and I think it gets clever as you get older, and you can read more into the bits of “nonsense”.

I am so please that the winner – chosen sort of randomly {the judges decision is final, and no argument or dissension will be tolerated} gets to share these books with her (I assume it is a her, I have no idea of the name other than sparrow202) family and pass them on …. and have a part in the forever life that is great books.

Congratulations – please send a note via Facebook with your contact details and address – delivery is usually with a courier, so somewhere during the daylight hours where someone can accept a parcel and sign for it.

Please send through the delivery details – and please let them be in South Africa!!  Small detail I should have added in the small print of the giveaway.  But then I realised there was no small print. Okay, I will stop rambling now.

Enjoy.  And apologise I did not do this by Tuesday like I said I was going to.

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Thanks Exclusive Books – you are nice folks!

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Confessions of a Sociopath by ME Thomas

I love it when I finish a book and a new one arrives in bubble wrap from Exclusive Books.

It never happens to me, but it happened today, and I got to do a little monkey dance with no co-ordination and only a tune I could hear.  True story – then the bell at the gate rang again, and I went to see who it was, maybe Exclusive Books wanted to deliver a second book.

But it was the pharmacist dropping off my medication.  Home delivery of a cool book and meds – what could be better?  Well wine delivery — have I told you before how much I am looking for a wine sponsor?

The book I have in my grubby little paws is Confessions of a Sociopath – A Life Spent in Plain Sight – by ME Thomas

I am thrilled – I have been wanting to read this book {who am I kidding, I am wanting to read nearly book out there – except Twilight, they can keep that shit} for a while.

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Thanks Exclusive Books …..

 

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When I am finished, I will pass this along to the Blogger Book Club, and someone else can get excited about bubble wrap and envelopes arriving at their door.

I think I caught Dexter watching p.orn

We are going to be having a chat this evening when Kennith gets home, about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.

It is such a difficult discussion to have with your dog.  But I am so glad I caught him and can chat to him about what he saw, how it will make him feel, and that those feelings are okay.

But not on my laptop.  Or on my desk.

Silly boy!!

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Best Xmas gift ever …. so much better than a drum set

I am not sure if this is a dinkum product, but if not, then it needs to be.

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I am that mom ….

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I am the mom that breathes a sigh of relief when school holidays come to an end.

Sure I love my kids, but I like the routine that exists where I drop them at school, and then have a few hours where I do not have to field awkward questions of: “So, where did you leave the kids?”

Last week I was in Willowbridge with Connor. Joyce was there so I stopped by for tea and a chit-chat.  I must confess a touch of panic did run through my when she asked: “So where are the kids?”

For a fleeting moment my brain panicked, as I had totally forgotten all ab0ut  them.  After a few moments I recalled I actually only had one with me, and then the panic passed as I sort of recalled where I had left him.

Moms all over the country are vexed they need to pack school lunches, polish shoes and drop kids off at school – me, not so much.

I did a lot more this school holidays with the kids than I usually would. I got to be almost intimate friends with a Tokai based baboon.  I visited Hermanus. I went to the odd wine farm. I did a spate of Art Jamming, and a few other activities thrown in.

But I for one am glad school holidays are over.

I like the sanity of school time.

I hope your Monday is happy, and you get the kids to school on time.

No, this post has no real purpose, but there you go.

So anyway there was this baboon in my car ….

Connor is doing an Orienteering Programme in Tokai forest.  I drop him off at 09h30.  He runs around a bit and I collect him at 12h30.

It is too far to come back home, so I found a coffee shop to work and then headed back to collect Connor.

I arrive at the designated spot, turn my car engine off, roll down the windows, and lean into the back seat to grab my diary so I can make some last minute phone calls whilst I wait.

As I turn back, what do I find in the front seat half way in through the window? A baboon.  An actual hairy baboon.

I think I did the matrix stands still in time thing.  I visualised my hand turning the little lever for the window to roll up really fast.

Then I remembered that the car is not from 1977 so has a button.  Great, but not as impressive as a little handle I can wind the sh*t out of.

I wondered to myself if I could get to the button before the baboon ate my face. I mused about this for what seemed like an eternity.  I must confess this baboon was doing a very slow slink in through the window to deposit himself firmly in the passenger seat.

Or maybe it was just an indication of how slow times moves in Tokai Forest.

Eventually my right hand found the button, whilst my left hand continued to hold my diary firmly in place.  Just in case I wanted to make any quick appointments for the last 30 seconds of my life.  With a face.  And 10 fingers.

I pushed the button.  Which did make me realise how sssssssllllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww that button actually is.  It clearly is not designed for episodes of manic window up pressing, but more for lazy Sunday ice cream eating.

Here is the surprise part.  Granted if you will assume anything other than a large hairy baboon in your passenger seat is not sufficient surprise for one day.

I never thought what would happen if whilst he was injecting himself into my car, the window came up.  Would it make him jump forward? Or make him jump backwards?

The other option in the less than ideal map of the world is that Senior Hairy would have vaulted himself forward.  And there we would have been.  The two of us.  Trapped inside a white VW Caddy, with nothing to talk about and little to eat. Other than my face.

Fortunately baboon guy jumped backwards – or slid, or what ever baboons do when exiting a vehicle.  There I sat staring through the glass at him thinking FCK!

Baboon guy was not finished with me.  His hand gripped the door handle and pressed it so that he could enter in a more leisurely fashion.

You know when you are trying to push the “LOCK ALL THE FREAKING DOORS AND WINDOWS RIGHT NOW” button and you start hitting the the windscreen wipers, demister for the back window and child lock button at the same time.

Whilst you have a baboon trying to get into your car?

Just like that.

I locked the car and then sat there gasping for breath.  I was sure I was in a scene from Jurassic Park. I needed a glass of water on my dashboard.

Mr Hairy Pants is probably quite used to this behaviour, so he sat on the car in front of me and showed me his pen.is.

I tried to communicate with very complicated hand signals that I was married.  And an inter specie relationship probably was not going to work out.  It was all very tempting.  But I knew the measure of true love.

I was sure our love was not going to be able to look past the distance between my home in Parow and his in Tokai.

Long distance love does not always work.

He still sat there and showed me his pe.nis.  I am not sure if this has worked with previous girls.

It reminded me why I would be reluctant to get divorced and hit the dating scene again.

I looked at him.  He looked at me.  In a knowing manner.  And then he jumped on my car and worked his way around trying each door – as well as the boot.  Seriously for all this ev0lution vs creation mumbo-jumbo, my baboon was thorough!

When he realised we had a love whose name should not be spoken, he went to sit on the roof of my car and every now and then would put his leathery little fingers on the windscreen.  If you paired it with the song they sang when the Titanic ship sank it would have been pretty romantic stuff.

Eventually I started thinking that he was going to rip the roof off with his little leathery fingers – funny how the thing that draws you to a mate eventually repels you!

Somewhere I saw Connor (in my imagination) skipping up to the car only to be confronted with a face eating baboon.

You know how when you are small and an adult looks at you and says “I bet he is more scared of you than you are of it” – well freak that sherbet.  Baboons in Tokai Forest are plenty scary.

This is a picture of my guy.  I got it off his Facebook profile.  He likes walks in the rain and mosquitoes on the beach.

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“Being crazy isn’t enough.” Exclusive Books Giveaway ….Dr Suess Hamper

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{this is a sponsored post from my favourite book retailer – Exclusive Books}

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Between 1 July and 31 July 2013, the world of Dr Seuss filled with Grinches, Cats in Hats, Foxes in Socks, Green Eggs and Ham and other such weird and wonderful creatures, will come alive at Exclusive Books. A bumper Dr Seuss month featuring special books, puzzles, board games and plush toys at fabulous prices will be available for the young and the young at heart.

Dr Seuss titles such as Oh The Places You Will Go, The Bippolo Seed, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham are a part of the fabric of childhood.

They are the stories that entertain, thrill and amuse every child with fantastic-al rhythms and marvellous rhymes.

However, the most wonderful part about Dr Seuss is the motivational message in his stories.

For centuries, he has encouraged children to be brave, be original and make their own way in the world as seen in his quote – “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Fantastic Dr Seuss themed events for children will take place at stores around the country on Saturday 13 July at 11h00 and 13h00. The stores participating include: Canal Walk in Cape Town, Mimosa Mall in Bloemfontein, Walmer Park in Port Elizabeth, Gateway in Durban, Nicolway in Johannesburg and Centurion in Pretoria.

Exclusive Books looks forward to welcoming the Dr Seuss fans of South Africa to their stores to take up the great promotions on offer.

As Dr Seuss said “Fun is good!” and we plan to have lots of it in July.

I love Dr Suess.

If you don’t have anything in your children’s bookshelves yet, then please please take advantage of this give away.  You know how much I adore books, and a hamper of Dr Suess is a brilliant gift.

Know someone having a birthday soon? Or want to hide this away until Xmas?  Or just want to jump out wearing your striped hat screaming “surprise!”

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I have a stunning Dr Seuss Hamper Give Away which consisting of a plush toy, Dr Seuss box set collection and puzzle valued at one thousand smacker’oos.

All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post before some random time on Sunday afternoon, 14 July 2013 – you will be entered, and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, 16 July 2013.

Just leave a comment with your favourite Dr Seuss quote {here are a couple to help you along the way}…. and that is all.  I will pick a winner and send you a Dr Suess Hamper.  What?  No seriously it is that easy.  No need to “like” “repost” “re-like” “retweet” or what ever else that usually drives me crazy.

I like competitions you can enter and then just win stuff.

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Yay for Exclusive Books, and yay for Theodor Seuss Geisel and yay for you for having a fairly good chance of winning.

Suicide bunny and other musings ….

I am not sure how to start this post.

This is not a cry for help.

This is not a cry for trying to convince me to speak to someone.

Really it is not.

I have this post on the edges of my brain, and if I don’t put it down then what ever I write is going to feel like I am being dishonest.  As that is not what is really on my mind.

I have struggled with depression and an anxiety disorder for some time.  I have my good days, and I have my really cannot get out of bed days, but know I must pull the duvet off and just get on with it days.

I am on the right depression and anxiety medication.  I feel a hundred times better than I did say two years ago.  I am much more level and my emotions and reactions are even keeled.  The internal buzz has more or less quieted down to a mild drone.

Good times.

The addition of IBS has been challenging – the problem with it is that I feel ill much of the time.

My abdomen swells, I look 6 months pregnant – the pain spreads out across my back, then everywhere to the point where my skin actually starts to feel sore.  I am fending off remarks about “when I am due” with way too much frequency – of course it affects how I feel about myself and look horrendous.

I hate the way I look.  I hate looking at myself in the mirror.  I try to avoid seeing myself.  Tricky with floor to ceiling mirrors in our bathroom.

If my child asks me once more if I have I have a baby in my tummy, I might throttle her.

I have changed my diet/intake of food lasts week, because I believe my issue is far greater than a few days of feeling shite.  I am reading a few books on IBS and there have been several home truths -and reading another two for perspective.

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The list of what I should avoid is long.

There is no easy quick fix.

There is a however a solution if I carefully monitor my intake, and ensure that I avoid refined sugar, refined wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol – pretty much everything at McDonalds.  Clearly I draw the line at excluding alcohol.  Let’s not be rash and too hasty now.

If I am excluding that, then the reason to live starts to get a bit hazy and uncertain.

The last four or five days have been a period of exclusion and making different decisions about what I eat.  There is just no way I can continue to survive and eat as I have been doing.

I don’t eat badly or in excessive, but I just cannot eat this way for myself and be healthy and comfortable.

This requires some thought, and a bit of a rethink about my life going forward.  I am not suggesting that IBS is a bit of a stomach ache.  I am suggesting it has become such a pr0blem that affects my every day functioning – I need to decide to behave differently if living is a goal.

My other issue is misophonia – a violent, sudden and physical reaction to sound.

I generally control the sound I experience and generally it does not change my mood or the way I behave.

The only exclusion is the drive home in the afternoon with the kids from school. It has become abundantly clear that I am actually unable to do that five days a week, and ensure all four of us make it home alive – the fighting and the noise in a confined space is doing my head in.  One drive home at a time.  One at a time.  I wistfully think of giving them bus fare/taxi fare and just “winging” it. If two out of three get home, then it is a win, right?

I have been falling out of the car recently and being thankful we have all made it home alive.  I am so irritated, and tense that the rest of the evening is a total lost cause.

Music radio??

For the love of gd.  It is beyond me how I managed to listen to it for so many years.  At the moment I always have audio CDs to listen to when I get into my car.  I listen to a story, or a collection of music CDs that I know will not trigger a reaction.  More story CDs than music, because I find the repetitive nature of most songs sets me off.  It is like having nails across a chalk board, or cutting wool with your teeth.

However when I get into Kennith’s car he listens to Five FM, and I seriously start wondering if I opened the car door, and released my seat belt if I could quietly roll away and the sound of the repetitive really bad music would stop and I could roll myself into a coma and then quietly pass away.

I am weighing up whether rolling out of the car is better than stabbing him in the temple with my Revlon chubby stick.  I am not sure.  I get more irritated that he does not realise how much the noise is a factor and how much it upsets me.  So instead I sit there and stare out the window and praying the car trip will be over.  Grinding my teeth and praying.  Soon.  Let it end.

Music radio is repetitive and at a pitch that I cannot bear.  5 minutes of five FM and I would kill you to make it stop.  Like dead.  I would feel total comfort in burying your body under my lavender.

Not feeling well, makes me wound tight as a reel.

Everything totally freaks me out.  I am sore, my nerves are shredded and no doubt it just makes my stomach tighten and the cramps and spasms worse.

Priv has just had a baby. Priv is my rock, she is the reason I remain vaguely sane.  The last month (June and July) without her in her usual position has left me frayed and stressed.  I was stressed before she has her baby, as I imagined the worst possible outcome for her and her  baby.

I worried, I fretted.

She went into labour last Monday, and the week was about running back and forth to the hospital, waiting in waiting rooms, trying to navigate the public health system and worrying for her every moment of every day made my nerves frayed, and I am exhausted.  I feel sick with worry.

Priv and her baby girl are happily home and I am relieved.

But I worry.  I worry how this is going to work going forward.  I worry about everything.  I worry about her.  I worry about the baby. I worry about how this arrangement is going to work going forward.  I worry. I worry eternally about everything.  Of course when someone asks I say “it’ll work itself out” in a little sing-song voice I have mastered.

Every little thing. I worry about.  I worry to the point that my jaw is sore because I have it set in such an uncomfortable manner.

If I started biting my nails (as I did until 1999) they would be bitten to the quick and bleeding.  But I have nice nails, and no longer chew them – but I have started scratching my legs – that helps.  I also pinch my upper leg, or I flick my fingers.

I am so worried about her.  I am so worried about me and my ability to cope at the moment.

My IBS on a scale of 1 to 10 is a good and solid 8 1/2 and I feel grim most of the time.  It makes me irritable, hostile and angry. I cannot function when it is at it’s worst.  My stomach swells, I feel nauseous, I feel sweaty – I have cramps and spasms that are surely my comeuppance for not attempting a vag.in.al birth.

The last three nights as I dozed off my mind has been trying to calculate exactly how much medication an overdose would be.  How much would I have to take?  Would I prefer a 3 month coma or straight death?  Tricky, tricky — which will it be?  I have enough schedule 5 drugs to stop a small herd of goats firmly in their tracks.

Could I just go to sleep, and be at peace?  No more pain, no more discomfort, no more feeling shite.  Could that really be an option? Or is it time to schedule another little sojourn in my nearby clinic?

I don’t want to rob my kids of a mom.  I also do not want to be an irritated, upset, horrible mother than clouds their existence.  The reason they are on a leather couch in 15 years bemoaning why the fuck their mother could not just be happy.

I looked at some short videos that Kennith had taken recently of our holiday, and Georgia’s birthday party.

I am not the one smiling.  I never look happy. I look pained, irritated and angry – which is pretty much how I feel most of the time.  I am never smiling in videos or photographs – unless someone tells me to smile, and then it is forced and never moves to my eyes.

I know that if I wrote down a list of “things to be happy for” and “things to be fucked off about” – my list of happy would far exceed my “things to be fucked off about.”

I have a good life.

I have some wonderful advantages in my life, I have so much to be happy about – but I am unfortunately so deeply unhappy.

The reality is that my reality feels dark, sad, pained and confusing — and at a certain point I start to look for ways to step off the fun, but nauseating round about.

So that’s how I feel them.  Clearly not main stream happy, and maybe not Living and Loving Magazine cover bullshit, but there we go.  You know what they say …. actually I have no idea what the fuck they say.

 

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Edgars, Gillian Soames really does not like you ….. at all

130703_edgarsMost people have a rant, and usually after the third line I am starting to feel for the shop or the service and root for them against the person having a total “poes collapse” (thanks Natalie).

When someone says Hellopeter is just about the point when I click away.

{I think having a platform to bitch and moan is a great idea. I think that there needs to be some sort of basic tick list before you are permitted to bitch and moan.  I also think that the fact the Hellopeter charges “services” to register before they are able to answer someone’s bitch and moan makes it sort of the go to site for people to have a total humour failure, and not deal with issues in a constructive manner.

Case in point – remember when everyone was having a total shit-fit about Woolworths and their recruitment policy, I would love to know how many of those ‘boycotters’ have not sneaked back for a bit of grilled chicken, and cut up mango since then ….}

I came across Gillian’s rant about Edgars on Facebook and it made me all sorts of smile.

Gillian is funny, and her eye for detail made me chuckle.

When I grow up I want to be Gillian. I want her breasts, I want her care free life, and I want her ability to tell people to FUCK RIGHT OFF, and then still love her.  I love Gillian. If I was gay, if she was gay, I think it might have been something I might have pursued.

We would be the South African version of Ellen and Portia.  But without the talk show and the eating disorder.  But I think between us we could do some moves on the dance floor.  Mine would be more “spastic” but I am placing all my hopes that Gillian moves like a dream, and then I can stand on the side of the dance floor and click my fingers as I sip my Chenin Blanc.

I knew her at Kimberley Girls’  High where I did Standard 9 and 10 – Gillian was so funny, and well, just the chick everyone wanted to be, or at the very least the girl you wanted to snog at a party.

I really hate Edgars — there is just nothing redeeming in the shopping experience, so I hope Gillian will not mind this “cut and paste” or her rant — it is too lovely not to share, so here it is:

customerrelations@edcon.co.za

To say that I am utterly repulsed and revolted by the absolutely shambolic state of disarray in your Clearwater Mall Edgars Branch is an understatement!

This is, possibly, the 10th time that I have been livid beyond human reproach by the way that customers are blatantly ignored!
Furthermore the attitudes and lack of simple communication skills of staff members is absolutely diabolical!!!!

I visited Clearwater Mall Edgars yesterday with the intention of indulging myself in some retail therapy by means of redeeming my Birthday gifts from my family – 4 gift cards valued at R1,000 each.

My first stop was at the “Free To Be You” section where I intended to purchase a pair of jeans. There was not a staff member in sight. I eventually went to the children’s section – interrupted a very loud and intense conversation between 2 staff members (much to their absolute disgust) – to ask if somebody could please assist me in the “Free To Be You” section. I was told “There is nobody there now, they are on lunch!!” Please be advised that it was 3.30pm in the afternoon!!!!!

I decided to get on with it myself, disrupted the entire display, and eventually found my pair of size 36 in between the size 32’s.

Next stop, shoes! I spotted an awesome pair of Steve Madden shoes on the display which were a size 7. As I am a size 4 and there are no stacked and sized boxes of shoes in the Steve Madden section (as there are in the Kelso section), I embarked on yet another irritating pilgrimage to find an assistant in the shoe section.

After pacing the entire section, I eventually found the shoe assistant, hidden behind a mirror pillar, squeezing the pimples on her face!!!!!!!!! I asked her if she worked in the ladies shoe section and I was met with a blank stare of absolute bewilderment. I repeated my question and told her that I would appreciate assistance with a certain pair of size 4 Steve Madden shoes. Her reply was “WHAAAAAT???”

I didn’t even bother any further!

At this stage I had a pair of jeans, a scarf, 3 pairs of leggings, a Polo handbag, a pair of Grey boots, a Lancome base primer, a bottle of Clinique Moisturiser, a black pencil skirt, a few Accessorize accessories, and the latest Justin Bieber fragrance (Someday) as a gift for my youngest daughter. I decided to just hit the till, pay, and get the hell out of there post-haste!

The frustration had only just begun!!!!

The queue at the only functioning counter was over 15 customers long and there were only 2 staff members on duty! I figured that the rest were all probably “on lunch”…..

I asked my daughter to retain my position in the queue while I carried on browsing. When I returned to her – 10 minutes later – the queue had not budged!! I approached the counter and asked yet another blatantly rude cashier if there was a problem. She snapped that the system was off-line. I told her that I intended spending my gift vouchers (as opposed to cash or credit card) and asked her if this would be in order. Without any eye-contact she snapped a barely inaudible “YES”.

I then rejoined my daughter in the queue (a lovely jacket added to my collection of intended purchases) and continued to wait. In the 20 minutes that followed, over 8 customers dumped their goods on the floor and simply walked out of the shop in fits of rage. Not a single staff member or customer services official attempted to defuse the situation nor explain the technological difficulties that the store was experiencing, or offer the customers some reassurance that they are indeed respected for their patience………..considering, after all, that the customers are the ones that actually pay their salaries!!!!!!!

The SECURITY GUARD eventually collected the mountain of clothing etc. from off the floor and deposited it behind the counter on an ever-growing pile. The staff mulling aimlessly about the counter simply watched this happen and continued their chaotic chatting, nose-picking and head-scratching with wild and carefree abandon.

15 minutes later I reached the counter and was greeting with something that resembled a Buffalo in it’s final throes of life. She proceeded to scan all the items, fold them, and set them aside for parceling.

At this stage I opened my bag, retrieved my wallet, and removed the 4 gift voucher cards for – well naturally – payment.

She stopped in mid-scan of an item and said “You can’t use those, we are off-line!”.

JOY OF BLOODY JOYS!! After I had asked the question and was told that I could, this was the final straw.

To avoid reducing myself to the level of a raving medusa, I simply returned the cards to my wallet, returned my wallet to my bag and made my way to the exit with the echo of my blood boiling in my head.

I have been a loyal and avid Edgars customer for over 20 years and, other than the fact that I have no birthday gifts to enjoy yet, I feel that I will, in future, struggle to find good enough reason to shop at Edgars without compromising my mental and physical health.

Proactive damage control is now in your best interest.

Yours faithfully

Gillian Soames (Mrs)
S-ICiBS
URBAN INSURANCE BROKERS (PTY) LTD.

Tel. (W) +27 (11) 789 6870/1
Fax. (W) +27 (11) 789 5394 / 0865 318 612
Cellular +27 (82) 398 2017
Email gillian@urbanbrokers.co.za
Authorised Financial Service Provider FSP No. 21017

Time to sign a petition against teachers taking leave ….

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I have given this quite a bit of thought.

Actually I haven’t – it ran through my mind whilst I was brushing my teeth.

I usually brush for one to three minutes, but it does depend on how far my mind “leaves the reservation.”   Sometimes it is more, and well sometimes I barely get the toothbrush in before I am spitting and screaming at a child to STOP IT, JUST STOP IT.

I think teachers need to be reclassified under “emergency staff” or “people we cannot survive without even for one day.” I am sure there is a technical term in the basic conditions of employment.

Teachers are important.  To our sanity.  To the chances of us ever finishing a sentence when talking to a friend.

To us being able to speak on the phone without doing that wild hand movement only mothers do, because suddenly three whiny kids are asking for something that fell behind the fridge last Tuesday, but has suddenly become ‘moer’ important as you are talking to a client.  On the phone.

Doctors, nurses, ambulance workers, national defence force members, teachers!

I really would far more have the borders being unprotected for three weeks over June and July, than have the teachers drinking mojitos, sunning themselves, and taking Xanax to prepare themselves for the new term.  Which seems more vital to you?

I don’t think I would notice if the defence force took 6 weeks off from not using our submarine or say retiring an aircraft because there are no qualified pilots to fly it.  Teachers who take 6 weeks off, make me weep in a desperate snot bubble manner and I ache for then each day.  I mark it off on my calendar to show when I will be seeing them again.

I miss them.  Like a lot.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employers and workers, but not members of the –

  • National Defence Force,

  • National Intelligence Agency, or

  • South African Secret Service; or

  • unpaid volunteers working for charity.

I feel that teachers and especially preschool and primary school teachers need to be included in this list.

I am actually not sure what the law is around National Defence Force Members but I am thinking it probably prohibits leave, striking and really should include something about never being permitted leave during school holidays.

I think school teachers should only get leave over weekends.  And even there I think I am being generous.

I am willing to give them Sunday’s off, but this does not include Sunday School Teachers – them let’s keep in school.  With the kids.

Often over weekends I have thought to myself, good gonads, why don’t teachers work on a Saturday, that is really when you need to drop your child off at school – or in a bush – or an abandoned mine.

Just somewhere where there is a good chance they will still be in 4 to 8 hours.

Grocery shopping with kids is an exercise in glancing at other moms shopping with their kids and deciding who is more miserable.  Them or me.

School holidays are the bane of my life!  Well to be honest it is not the school holidays, it is the fact that school is closed.  I think we can still keep the term school holidays, and keep teachers in school.

What good are teachers if they are not in school?

No good actually -technically they are teachers with no one to teach.  I really think that if that is what drives you to erm drive to work each day, then as parents we need to insist that they keep their skills sharp.  By remaining at school teaching.  And available.

Teaching is a calling.  It is not a nansy-pansy job.  Get behind me here people!!

As a parent I have done my duty.  I have supplied products for the teachers to teach.  Producing three children did not come without it’s risks and inconveniences.

I held out because I knew one day I could send them to school.

And really is that not the day all parents live for?

Moms don’t cry because Rita is starting school, they cry because they are so frick’n relieved and feel guilty now that they can start drinking at 12h00 sharp – but they shouldn’t – we have support groups for that.  The guilt and the drinking – sometimes it is the same group, we give it names like “book club.”

I have fought the hoardes at Woolworths to purchase the wrong fitting white shirt and grey pants for school for my kids – so they all look the same.

I think similiar looking small people make it totally unnecessary for teacher to learn children’s names.

If my teachers worked over weekends and school holidays, I would totally forgive her/him calling all the boys Johnny and the girls, well call them Mandy, which can be shorted to Mands, or Burt – listen as long as they come when a name is called, that is fine with me.

I have three of them, and I seldom get the names right – and without fail there is always at least one child near me at any given time, which proves that remembering their exact names is not actually that important.

I am not sure how to get this campaign onto it’s legs.  I am sure it involves some blue sky thinking.  A shift in paradigms.  Maybe even something about a golden thread, and an out of the box idea.

Either way, I feel strongly about teachers.  We need more.  Let’s increase their hours, reduce their holidays and encourage it as a profession.  The more work, the more teachers we need – the more teachers we can get and we can work towards a point of removing “school holidays” and maybe even “Saturday’s off!”

Whose behind me on this?

Finally they have a word for it ….

 

 

130701_snaughling

Drinking in an emergency …. or an emergency that needs an ambulance

I think I have stumbled upon the best franchise EVER.  EVER.

Whether you’re looking for a few bottles of Pinot or need help catering your next event, Winebulance can help.  Our team of Winebulance partners is quickly growing across the US and will soon be available in your local area!

I clearly would not be a good franchise owner, something about partaking of all your merchandise and driving around in an ambulance wine van all night  — I do think that one of these parked outside your house must be a definite plus and really what could be better than a winebulance?? Nothing that is what.

I do like the 24 hour help line idea.  If they don’t have it, then damn they need it.  I would sincerely like to be the “face” of winebulance …. I am not sure who I need to speak to, to make that happen!!  I have few life goals, but right there is one.

130628_winebulance

I thought I would just buy winebulance.co.za just in case I wanted to get 0ne of these vehicles and do this in Cape Town.  Business opportunity anyone?