Freaking hell ….

 

I do think it is one of those situations where I am spread too thin and feel a little bit all over the show.

Trying to be good about keeping the blog up and alive is sometimes hard work.

I love blogging, but I prefer to write when I feel like it rather than when I have to.  The problem with “feeling like it” is that you sort of need to be in the zone, which right now I am not right now – the result is that I start posts and get a few paragraphs in and then lose the steam … and they lie there forlorn staring and me, begging to be finished. 

I need to still write the article for the magazine, so need to get into the head space for that (again a bigger deal for me than for them no doubt).

I need to still clean out my bag – as I get so frustrated every time I have to find something in there.

Today I got myself into a total tizz looking for keys, inside my bag.  After about 10 minutes of going ape-shit because I could not find my keys inside my stupid bag …. I then discovered them lying next to my laptop, on my desk ….. where I put them this morning …….so I would not have to scratch in my bag …. to find them.

I heard a radio article this afternoon as I got in the car, and the bloke was talking about being a responsible parent and that the best thing you could do for your child, was give them the gift of time.

I thought it was the gift of life, but I have been mistaken before.

Darryl, the presenter, went on to explain that you needed the time to sit and just listen to your child and hear what they have to say.

Which of course makes me feel all the more guilty as I really lack patience and often cut them off with a screeching: “just get to the point already…” ………….I mean seriously, how much crap must I actually listen to before you get to the part where you say what you need to!!

But on the more sane hand …..

I am really enjoying the photography part and the other blog.  

But that again takes a lot of work and of course more of my attention away from being able to listen to my children and even Kennith.  Trying to balance life and my hobby is challenging, and I have barely got started.

I am not a super-good photographer or even super-average, so I find the shoots quite stressful because I want to ensure that the “client” gets some good shots and I do not fek it all up.  I really get to be a totally stressed cabbage on the day.

Once the shoot is over, I am always excited to see the images – and more often than not I am more excited than depressed – probably because I expect so little ….. so that’s a good thing, low expectations and all, very hard to be disappointed if you start really low …… right?

I have been doing shoots outside which is much more difficult and requires more technical aptitude than shooting in a studio. 

There is shifting light, and usually a giant sun in the sky which is either creeping in to the shot, or creates such heavy lights and darks that it becomes almost impossible to get a good shot.  And  I am trying to take photographs of a child (and keep them unposed) so said child is running around like they are on E or something and that just adds to the chaos – I am thinking about taking along a little tranquiliser … not sure if it is for me or the children …. or the parents.

But that being said, I am really enjoying it and learning more each week. 

Could I do this for a living?  I am not sure, and I think there are too many people trying to carve a living out of it – so for now it is a hobby that I really enjoy, and let’s see how it goes moving forward.

On Saturday one my the friends, whom I hold most dear, Judith, agreed to let me do some maternity/pregnancy shots with her and her husband, Alistair.

Her baby Benjamin was due on the 25 March, and last week her GYNE said that the baby’s head had engaged and that he couldn’t even measure the head, which meant that it appeared that birth was imminent.

I was excited for her and disappointed that Benjamin might arrive and make the maternity part of the shoot a thing of the past.  (yes I realise how self-absorbed I am…)

But he hung in there and Judith and Alistair and I frolicked around in 39 degree heat to take some photographs.  It was so hot it was unbelievable.

I loved photographing her.

Sure I took a long time and took nearly a thousand photos, but there were so many nuances of her that I could see through the lens that I wanted to capture, that I ended up taking much too many.

Part of it was also that we were chatting and laughing in so many of the photos, that the results involved open mouths and silly faces, and some of my feet because I was laughing instead of focussing.

It was great.

Judith had her Benjamin this morning – and she said that she started going in to labour on Sunday midday.

She got through labour and by the time she asked for the epidural, they said “er, it is a bit late for that!” and then she panicked.

I put it down to her good manners.  She did not want to be rude by asking and thought she might just wait until they offered.  There is a lesson there regarding drugs and pain relief.

So my hero and deliciously gorgeous friend Judith got through labour on her ace, without so much as a headache tablet – how cool is she?  Very cool, much cooler than me.

I went to visit her earlier today and got to see Benjamin who was all of 7 hours old.  It is funny how new born babies make me cry.  They just do.

But I was so happy and overwhelmed for Judith, that she  had survived her day, and had pushed this guy out of her nether regions.

Of course I got to lie on her hospital bed as we were screaming with laughter as she was recanting the tales of the “labour ward” – I love the fact that motherhood has not changed her …. much……yet.

While there, the nurse came in to ask if she wanted to be part of the “bath demonstration” today or tomorrow.  Jude thought about it and opted for tomorrow. 

For those who are not familiar, basically the “bath demonstration” is when all the moms who have just had babies go and sit around – usually with very pained expressions on their faces – in the nursery area of the Maternity Ward and watch how the Matron bathes a baby with absolute skill and does it in about 7 minutes.

You then get to repeat the procedure.  Problem is that your muscles are exhausted, you are highly emotional and you have a tiny wriggly person who you are afraid of breaking.

So you go through this process and it is awful.  You pretty much spend 45 – 60 minutes trying to bath and dress this baby.  By the time you are finished, you are so traumatised and exhausted and feel like such a pathetic mother that you need an ante-depressant and someone to pat you on your hand.

The problem is that you compare yourself to the Matron, who does this with about the same feeling as you do to change a toilet roll.

Anyway I made that mistake when I had Connor. 

Unfortunately I also did it on day 4 or what ever and I was seriously in a case of “baby blues” or affectionately called the “warm up to full blown depression” and I tried to bath this little wrinkled child and dry him, and get the nappy on and the special outfit I had chosen.

By the time Kennith arrived to collect me, he might as well have put me into the wheel chair and pushed me from Maternity straight to the Psychiatric wing.

By Georgia I learnt my lesson, and asked them if they could just bath her – for all three days I was there.  I figured I would learn when I got home.

With Isabelle, well clearly they stopped asking at that point!  But they did ask to use her as the “demonstration baby”  – even better.

So my wisdom that I imparted to Judes today was to ring for the nurse a bit later and say “please can you bath my baby, I had him this morning and he has not had a wash…” and then proceed to ask them to do it each day.  I said that if they looked at her like “well honey you need to learn” she should just tell them that her mom is a widwife and staying with them, and she will have plenty of time to learn at home.

Judith, welcome, welcome to this little band of demented people who call themselves mothers – here we are – some of us more sane than others.

If you thought life was a bit strange before, wait until you can sit and discuss the colour of your child’s faeces over dinner, and think nothing of it!  There are even forums that chat about this.

It’s a brave new world chick, it’s a brave new world and welcome to it.

You have already set the bar high by going through what must be one of the hardest test of endurance without drugs (albeit not by your own choice) – and chick you survived.

But I did like the way you said…”next time straight c-section!”

 

My wife ….

Kennith sent this email around yesterday – he did not include me on the mailing list.   I started getting email comments from friends and initially I though “what?” – but then I realised what he had done.

I thought it was very sweet, and it is really nice that he is proud of my little achievements.

So here is the email so you can also know:

While my dear wife will go ape if Georgia does not climb in the bath when asked, she does likes to act all “Cool, calm and collected” about her personal achievements so let me share with you some of her latest achievements. 

1)      She has started her photography dream –  having done 4 or 5 shoots already – http://celestebarlow.wordpress.com/ – not sure why she has not posted the wedding shoot photos yet – but it has started.

2)      She was selected for a make-over feature in a HUISGENOOT type magazine – as winner of the Parenting Blog of the Year – and this should direct more feet to her blog as well.

3)      And most excitedly, she has been asked by one of the parenting magazines to write a 600 word article for their magazine – we are not sure whether this could become an on-going feature or a once off, but it is another step forward in her dream of journalism. Once published please ensure that everyone writes a letter to the editor about the “fresh new journalist and her honest, refreshing outlook on parenting”

So I think making headway on two dreams in one month is well worth a special mention. Well done bunny, proud of you!

Also Celeste and Alice are still signed up for the 2Oceans half marathon at the end of April, so there is another achievement just waiting in the wings…

 Kennith you are a good egg!

Only a mother would know….

My friend Judith sent this to me a few moments ago –  and it was so true to life that I laughed out loud, and this is probably a good place to share it.

A Cup of Tea

One day my mother was out, and my dad was in charge of me. I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little ‘tea set’ as a gift, and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought him a little cup of ‘tea’, which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my mom came home.

My dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was ‘just the cutest thing!’

 Mom waited, and sure enough, here I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy; and she watched him drink it up.

Then she said, (as only a mother would know), “‘Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?”

I am not a fan of filling in lists … however ….

1. Why you started blogging:

I was weighing up whether I should throw my child against a wall so she would stop crying, and that maybe I could have 15 seconds of peace, or whether I should fill the second script of Zoloft or whether maybe if I sat and actually said the things out loud that bothered me it would make me feel better.

I had never read a blog – I was naive enough to think I was the only mother in South Africa who was blogging.  Well I sort of thought I was the only person in Africa who was blogging, I just had no idea actually.

2. What you love about it/ hate about it:

I love that people stop and read what I write, and I really get a “rise” when someone says “I feel just like you” about something – it makes me feel a little bit less alone in my madness.

I am not sure there is something I hate about blogging.

I think there as bloggers we place some pressure on ourselves to blog regularly and also to try to be better bloggers.  I am not sure what that means exactly – but I look back over the period I have blogged, and I think I have grown as a person, as a mother, as a partner because I have been blogged.

3. How you came to choose the name for your blog:

I can’t recall specifically, it was really just a name that came to me.  As with all things I think I am wildly original, and then when I registered the blog and the domain I realized well the idea of “reluctant mom’ was not that unique.

But I do like the name, and use it on forums and it is my avatar – my little alter ego.

4. Who would you give your last rolo to?

That would be tricky as odds are I would hide it and then sneak it in to my mouth when everyone has left the room, or no one is looking.

The reality is that one of my children would steal it, so it would not so much be a case of giving my last rolo to anyone as it being taken away from me by the fruit of my loins.

5. If I were a colour, which would I be…and why.

I am sure this is a very scientific question and will reveal much about me and how I relate to the world, but in short:

If I was a pair of jean pants: a dark colour

If I were a shirt: probably white

If I were a wine: definitely white

If I were an ink: indigo

If I was choosing a favourite: blue (or pink….)

6. What 3 moments defined your life and explain briefly.

Moment 1: I think the moment when I realized that I had a father and I did not want to have him in my life.

The moment when my mind said “sure you cannot pick your family, but you can sure as hell pick who you want in your world.”

I did not do it with peer pressure, or because someone sat me down and said that it is for the best or the worst, I just decided that this was the way it was going to be.

Moment 2: I think driving to Hermanus with Kennith in the car in 1999, and when I looked over to him and said “I think I am ready to start thinking about us having a baby.”  Kennith did proceed to get blind drunk with our friends and puke on the carpet in the room we were sleeping on to which I thought “What a total prick, why would I ever think of having kids with this idiot?”

Moment 3: When Kennith and I were at our lowest of lowest patches in 2006, and at some point I decided/realized that the worst that could happen was that I would have to walk out the door and leave Connor and Georgia with Kennith because I could not afford to take them with me.

It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and it was something I had anguised about for months.  But that moment of clarity when I realized “if this is the hardest thing you have to do, and you can accept it, and move on” – it was a very powerful moment for me.  It was the equivalent of facing my worst fear, looking it in the face and saying “I am not scared of you boogey man, I am  not scared of you any more!”

7. What song would best describe you?

I really do not have a life-theme song, so  I am really struggling on this one.

I have always enjoyed Smash Mouth – All Star’s and used to keep some of the lyrics pasted above my desk.  It is just a song that sits with me, but there are dozens of others that are more meaningful, and that make me cry.

But right now, this is the one I am thinking of.

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The waters getting warm so you might as well swim
My world’s on fire how about yours
That’s the way I like it and I never get bored

Hey now you’re an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you’re a Rock Star get the show on, get paid
(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars break the mold

8. If you could choose another career or job and money is no object, what would you do?

I wish I could combine writing, photograpy and aiding families to adopt.  Yes I realize the three do not connect in anyway, but we are talking “money is no object and what would you like to do.”

9. If the fairy comes with her magic wand and give you one wish that you have to use for yourself (and no one else), what would it be?

To be able to love completely, without the ever present darkness and shadows.

10.What are you looking forward to for 2011?

I want to feel – I want to feel with a sense of honesty.
I want to love completely, and with abadon.

I want to feel that I am enough.

11. What 3 things are on your wish list for the year?

I want to do something for me, without the guilt which I always attach to something.

I want to find a balance between work, love, children, friends and home.

I want to do something for children in an orphanage or a place of safety this year – I am not sure what.

13. Favourite book – one that you can read over and over and not tire of?

I know I should say something really deep and meaningful here, but the reality is that I read Bill Bryson over and over again – he is one of those authors that makes me laugh even when I read him 1 dozen times.

14. First blog you started reading?

I really thought I was the only blogger known to man when I started.  I will be honest and say that I really cannot recall the first blog I read, but I do recall stumbling across Laura, Sharon, Lisa (site unfortunately not up anymore) and also Wenchy fairly early on.

15. You get to make over one room in your house – which room would it be and why? Maybe add a pic of how you would like to change it!

I want to redo our bathrooms – we have these huge bathrooms, but they were done circa 1980 style, and I cannot wait until they are all sleek and modern.  I would be too embarrassed to post a picture, as odds are the picture would record the wee  on the floor and the unflushed floater left by a child.

The above was adapted from a blog post from Wenchy.

Decriminalise consensual teen sex…..

I was listening to a discussion on Cape Talk last week by John Maytham and there was a discussion about the decriminalisation of consensual teen sex.

In short (and I am cutting and pasting from the Cape Talk site here) Laws that make consensual sex between teenagers a crime are unconstitutional, the Teddy Bear Clinic, and Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Rapcan) said earlier this week, when they launched a court application to challenge sections of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.

The case follows the highly publicised Jules High School case, where two boys, aged 16 and 14, had sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The 16-year-old was charged with statutory rape and the others with “consensual sexual penetration” under the act.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to prosecute the teenagers, including the girl, provoked criticism. The charges have since been dropped.  Guest: Samantha Waterhouse – Organisation: Community Law Centre, UWC – Position: Parliamentary Programme Co-ordinator

I must confess that when I first heard about the decriminalization of this law, I got my panties in a bit of a knot.

The do-gooder in me jumped up, found a soap box, put on a shirt that buttons up to my neck and has sleeves that go all the way down to my wrist.

Once on said soap box I started to make speeches about how if society decriminalizes sex between consenting under 16 year olds.  The world will just be rampant with sex, and people will go around having sex younger and younger and blah-blah-blah.

There will be total anarchy and people might start listening to Jason Donovan again.  Basically all hell would break loose.

I did have this discussion in my head, as well as putting on the long sleeve shirt.

But then I was driving and listening to a portion of the show – between fetching kids, getting milk and all the stuff that is fun in the school run.

I did miss parts of the show, but caught the gist of it between traffic, and kids screaming at each other and me saying “shut up, let me listen to this damn show” in my best motherly voice.

I must confess that there were some points that made me stop and go “hmmm you could be right” and it sort of challenged my point of view.

One of them was:  if kids are going to have consensual sex and they are under 16, it should not be a legal issue, it should be a parental issue (Ah-hah moment for me there).

Another was (according to the guest Samantha Waterhouse) that kids who decide not to have sex, other than for the fact that they are under 16, has got nothing to do with the fact that there is a law telling them not to.

But all to do with influences that come from others i.e. often good influences that explain that sex has it’s place, and is part of a relationship, and that the burdens of sex are often better to deal with when you are older and can handle all the ramifications that come with it.

A caller/sms commented that retail stores should be prohibited from selling “not age appropriate clothing” (translated as dress my 12 year old like a hooker, and not a well paid hooker, more of a lady of the night who might only get one paying customer on Somerset Road) clothes to an under 16 year old.

Obviously as this came in as an sms made me realize that the parent in question had to actually have sufficient brain cells to either fill in a cell phone contract or have the sense to go to a retail store and purchase air time.

She had the sense to make that retail decision, but somehow lost her sense when she gave her daughter R250.00 and let her go out to a mall-near-you and purchase a slutty outfit or two.

But because she (the parent) was unable to control/set rules/have any parameters regarding what is appropriate dress for your child she (the parent) feels that retail stores need to put the rules in place.

That did make me wonder: “What the hell is going on here?”

When exactly did we decide to hand over the charge of our children to Pick n Pay/Woolworths/Naartjie and allow them to give, or take permission away from what our children regarding what they wear.

I was pretty sure that responsibility should lie with the parent.

Later in conversation Samantha (who was being interviewed by John Maytham) said – and I am totally paraphrasing here – that the law should be changed, because for a child/person who is under 16 to consent to sex, is not a legal issue.

It is a parental or a societal issue, and should be dealt with as such.

I did not have sex when I was 16, or under 16.

I must also confess that I did not realize there was a law governing such issues. I am not sure that would have acted as a deterrent, or a motivator – I think it would have been a non-issue.

At the time, I was dealing with too many other social issues to even consider that sex was a great idea.

I also had a huge fear that I would repeat the mistakes of “past generations” and girls around me, and be pregnant at 16 or 17 and find myself married to someone who I did not love, who could not support me, and face living in some seedy suburb with a child on each breast and another on it’s way.  All while my (imaginary) husband drank beer out of a can, and wore one of those not-quite-white vests around the house.

But the issue I am trying to raise, is though I totally disagreed with the amending/scrapping of the law, once I had heard the opinion of loosely sane people, I realized that a part of me agreed with the law.

Maybe not totally (as the idea of my children ever having sex, freaks me O U T!).

I personally would prefer kids not to be sexually active while in school – and this is assuming they remain in school.

I  feel a person under 18, with so many other social/peer pressures is just not ready for sex and the emotional consequences.

I think without a doubt their bodies are ready for sex, but emotionally and mentally, not so much.

However if my son (for instance) had sex with his girlfriend (imaginary girl friend as he assures me almost daily that he will never have a girlfriend), who let’s say was 15, 10 months, and he was 15 and 11 months – and it was consensual for both of them, I really would not like to be standing at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court having a discussion about this with an attorney and a judge as to why my child was having sex.

Sure I might handle it by drinking copious amounts of wine and puking into the toilet bowl as I screamed at Kennith that “It is all your fault!”

If that should occur – the sex and under 16 kids,  not the wine and puking, which sounds like a normal Saturday night out – then I would like to use that as a “wake up sign” to reflect on how I was raising my son, and how this situation became “alright, for him to make this decision.”

I am also not naive and think that at 16 we can control what our kids do and watch them every second of the day.

We can try to ensure that they know what they should or should not do, and then ensure that there are rules that are followed i.e. no girls sleeping over in your room for instance, and then sort of hope from there on in, that kids “do the right thing” – what ever each family’s interpretation of that is.

I am not even going to use the example of my daughter being 15, 10 months, and her boyfriend being 15 and 11 months – as Kennith would go and shoot him (literally, not figuratively) and then we would be having an entirely different conversation at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.

Parenting needs to be a hands-on affair, we need to be aware what our kids watch, who they speak to, how they speak, and constantly keep dialogue channels open so they (hopefully) they feel they can talk to you about the little stuff and the big stuff.

My kids are small and this a rather premature thing to be worried about (in my world) – but I speak to the kids about sex so that it sounds about as thrilling as a cheese and paprika sandwich, and becomes such a ho-hum subject that it is the equivalent to “pass the margarine” in their world.

I want it to be something they know about.

Something they do not feel embarrassed about, and more importantly when Rugby Captain Brad wants to show Georgia what sex is in the backseat of the car, she can answer matter of factly that she is all up to scratch on that subject – and mom said never to have sex in the back seat of a car, any car!!

Towards the end of the conversation on Cape Talk I decided to have a pop quiz and asked if Connor knew what sex was – he said yes without even flinching.

I asked Georgia and she also said yes.

I was suspicious that she was just mimicking Connor so I asked her how babies were made, she answered (without skipping a beat) that “babies are made out of bones with skin on them” – which is true.

Based on what clearly was the rather hazy picture Georgia had formed, I asked Connor if he could tell me what sex was.

So he said: “When a girl lies on top of a boy, and the boy puts his winkie in the girl’s winkie.”

When all is said and done, that really is what it is.

I would like the government and legal fraternity to make recommendations and set out guidelines, but at the end of it all, I would like us as parents to take responsibility for what our children do.

Some days are a marathon …. or just a half marathon …

So I get this email yesterday, and the persons responsible is Kennith.

Clearly he read the blog post and decided if I showed any glimmer of running a half marathon he probably felt he was going to do the “strike while the iron is hot” thing.

So I get this email:-

—————————-

From: 2011@TwoOceansMarathon.org.za [mailto:2011@TwoOceansMarathon.org.za]
Sent: 09 November 2010 13:43
Subject: Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon : Entry Accepted[AntiVir checked]

Dear CELESTE *****

Your entry in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon 2011 21 km Half Marathon has been CONFIRMED on 09/11/2010 at 13:43:04.

Your final race details are as follows:

Name            : CELESTE *****

ID Number       : 7205090******

Passport Number :

Date of Birth   : Tuesday 09 May 1972

Gender          : Female

Nationality     : South Africa (RSA)

Club            : Temp (Western Province)

Category        : Age 20-39  (Gasp, I clearly made it into the young one’s group, but only just.  i think it might be better if I was with the older crowd though, because I think I am going to look pretty tragic next to a 25 year old runner in her prime.)

Race            : 21 km Half Marathon (What the hell!!  Is a half marathon really twenty flipping one kilometers, that seems a tad long to me. I take snacks if I am going to drive more than 10 kilometers in my car.)

Race Number     : 52454

T-Shirt(s)      : 1 (Large) (And here is the part where I went “What the fek!” A LARGE T-shirt.  Now I am offended that Kennith did not think he could or should order me a medium!  I might just be offended enough to boycott this stupid run.)

Seeding         : E (Is that good – are are there F and G seeds behind me?)

RaceTec Chip    : Will be in your race pack at Registration (Whoop, whoop a goodie bag – a girl loves a bit of swag.  Though I am suspicious it will be crammed with healthy things rather than wine and chuckles.)

Race Date       : Saturday 23 April 2011

Start Time      : 06:00 (Sheez, that is going to mean I will have to get up frightfully early on that morning, right there is a huge concern. Good grief 6am to be there, that will mean I am probably up around 4am!)

Start Venue     : Main Road, Newlands

Finish          : Upper Campus Rugby Fields, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch

Payment Type    : Credit Card (Internet)

Payment Ref     : 116390

Total Cost      : R 394.00 (Seems like a lot of money just so I can run on a public road.)

Runners must register before the race to receive their race packs (numbers and related items including a goody bag). Registration will take place as follows:

Good Hope Centre, corner of Sir Lowry Road and Oswald Pirow Street, Cape Town

Wednesday 20 April 2011, 10:00 – 19:00

Thursday  21 April 2011, 10:00 – 19:00

Friday    22 April 2011, 09:00 – 19:00 (Expo only closes at 17:00)

NO NUMBER COLLECTION ON SATURDAY MORNING (RACE DAY) BEFORE THE RACE.

Please bring the following with you to Registration:

– A printed entry confirmation

– Your ID document, passport or drivers licence

– Your RaceTec timing chip (if you already own one)

NO CHANGES WILL BE PERMITTED AT REGISTRATION AT THE GOOD HOPE CENTRE.

All the best with your preparation towards the race.

Regards

– Two Oceans Marathon Administration

http://www.TwoOceansMarathon.org.za

+27 21 657 5140/1/2

—————————-

So, there we are, it is now done!

I must confess that my running buddy Alice has been so quiet, I can hear the crickets chirping in the distance.

Do they still sell those satin type running shorts with the slip up the side of the leg?

I’m Spelling as Fast as I Can….

I really hate exercise, not just a little, but a whole lot.

There is NOTHING I would rather be doing than lying on my bed, drinking a large glass of wine, eating a bag of Chuckles and reading my book.  NOTHING!

At school I was sporty.  It was because I enjoyed the sport or the achievement, not because I enjoyed being active.

I enjoyed high jump, long jump and a lot of other athletic things that involved running and jumping.  Some I was good at, some not so much, but I was happy to do it.  I sort of fell over hurdles, but I did it anyway.  I played badminton and, tennis (not well).  I even played cricket (I really did).  I really loved netball – I really loved netball like a lot!

It is actually a great sport for tall girls with a bit of aggression, especially if you like to wear shorts under your skirts.

I pretty much had a sport  activity each day after school, and most Saturday.  I was not even the sporty one in my family – I was considered the brainy one.

My brother Bruce was super sporty.  He played every possible sport there was.  If it had a ball, if it did not have a balll, what ever he had a go at it, and was generally really good.

Any the way, back to me.

I have always been a tall thin girl – yes, I know how jealous you are.  But if it makes you feel any better, I USED to be a tall thin girl.  Now I am a tall, not-so-thin girl.  Karma has a great way of coming back, to just give you a kick in the pants to level out the playing field doesn’t it?

My stomach appears to have got a bit more wobbly that it really needs to be.  And my thighs make that sound that your thighs make, when you are wearing corduroys – even when I am not wearing corduroys.

I am not likely to give up my chenin-blanc-and-chuckles diet, so I have had to make the very sad realization that I am going to need to exercise.

I did do a bit of Adventure Boot Camp, and for all my bitching and moaning I did, I will confess that it is probably the best work-out/exercise routine I have ever done.

If you have an hour in your day, and just want to put your head down and have someone beat you with a stick until you weep, then it is the place to go.  It really is a great way to get a workout if time is short and builds up your fitness level.

So I did that.  Though I did not lose much weight, it was not ABC’s fault.  I would need to lay that at the door of my chenin-blanc-and-chuckles diet.

But none the less, just doing ABC I recalled how much I have always wanted to run.

I have never run – and I have always convinced myself that I cannot run.

Long story, but the short of it is, that every step when I ran was excruciating, and I figured how much could I be doing wrong short of putting one foot in front of the other?

If it is painful, then odds are your body is telling you that you should not be doing it, well that is what I figured at any rate.

Went to a podiatrist, and he also told me that “not everyone is designed to run” which I took to be a clear message that I should not run.

Back to the present day.

A lot of ABC’s work out is running – it is great cardio and it really takes your work out to a whole new level.

So though you are not running for miles and miles, you are doing push-ups, then running around a field, then doing jumping jacks and then running around a field.  So there is no rest between the weight work outs, you are permanently gasping for breath, and hoping you will just die and then it will all be over.

While doing the running at ABC  I realized I was actually running.

Granted, not terribly fast, and I did sound like I was suffering from emphysema, but I was still running and my feet/ankles/knees did not feel like they were coming apart at the joints.

I spoke to ABC coach, and she recommended a running guy, as I said I wanted to learn to run, and felt a bit of one-on-one is what I needed to gain confidence.

I worked with running guy for a month.

First session – we walked for 20 minutes, then we ran for 3 minutes.  I seriously nearly threw up on the sidewalk.  Not the polite vomit, but the one where you are leaning over and vomitting so much you are just dry heaving and your eyes are watering – that kind of throwing up.

I then spent the next 37 minutes trying to get my breath back.

I figured he would call the next day, and suggest we stop at session one, as I clearly had shown that I could not run.

He didn’t call.

We did session two, and he said to me in response to my question of “have you ever met anyone you could not teach to run?” and he said “I have met many people who think they can’t run, but I have NEVER met anyone who can’t run.”

The dude was a legend.

We did three sessions a week, and though he never beat me with a stick, he knew what he had to do to get me do push myself.  He never asked me to do more than I thought I could do.

In a month he had me running two x 20 minute sessions in an hour.  I would have been less amazed if he had turned water into wine!

I am not running really fast, but I am running, and that for me is HUGE.

I can also hold a basic conversation and run.  I am not gasping and wheezing – it is all quite fabulous (if you are into that sort of thing.)

So at the moment, my mate Alice and I are setting our alarms for 5am three times a week.  We both wish/pray that the other will sms to cancel.

The alarm goes off at 5am, we get our clothes on, attempt to brush our teeth, then I drive to her house and we both schlep out at 5:30am for an hour of running/walking.

We walk for 20 minutes to warm up.  Then we start running.

This morning we ran for 20 minutes – and we both felt like Rocky who ran up the step of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I really would love to say that there is a monumental soundtrack in my brain at the time, but in reality all that is going though my head is “motherf*cker.”

After our 20 minute run/stumble/crawl, we walk for 10 minutes, then we do a 5 minute run-as-fast-as-you-can-without-throwing-up-on-the-sidewalk, and then we end with a 5 minute limp home.

I really really hate exercise, but for an hour two or three times a week, Alice and I go out and run, and we feel like super-heros when we are finished.

It is pretty heady stuff, we are like the kings of the world there!

<We have also committed to do a half-marathon soon, so we are all ambitious and stuff.>

<sidebar: the title of the post makes reference to a scene from the Simpsons where Lisa Simpson acted out a scene from Rocky>

Boo …. are you scared yet?

This weekend is Halloween.

It is not something we really take part in much – I think primarily because we were not exposed to it as kids, so it is a bit of a “foreign custom” in our neck of the woods.

What I like about it is that you get to dress up and just be stupid.  And then is always the possibility that someone will put sweets in your bucket, which is pretty cool.

Our friends Wayne and Anna throw a yearly Halloween party and they go the full ball.  Everyone dresses up.  They decorate their house and they are great hosts.  Wayne does a great bar thing and it is all around a great evening.

This year we are invited and plan to kick it out there on Saturday night. I have opted to dress as the “corpse bride” and Kennith will be going as “the Joker” –  so that is the plan at any rate.  My friend is out buying me some lace for a veil – because all good corpse brides do need to have veils to protect their modesty.

On Sunday evening we plan to get together with some other moms with kids and do a bit of ‘trick or treating” in our neighbourhood.

Of course we will encounter the “do gooders” who take offense that we have cast a shadow on their doorstep by dressing up and taking part in this unholy thing called Halloween.  I am hoping that even if the fact that we are on their doorstep with a bit too much face paint, a child in a skeleton outfit, a girl dressed as a princess fairy and a baby dressed as a bumble bee – people will have the courtesy to say “no thanks” and not be rude to the kids.

But let’s see how that fares, shall we.

Not something we have done before, but the kids really do enjoy getting dressed up, and are really excited at the prospect of milking the neighbours for some candy.  I do love the way my kids refer to sweets as candy – clearly a sign that I should start limiting american television shows a little more.

So that is our plan ….  I will post some photos next week if you are interested in having a look.

<I am sorry I am not posting posts that make you roll on the floor with laughter, or gasp in amazement.  We have a few things happening on the home front which I cannot blog about, but it is  taking quite a bit of energy and focus from my side.  I find it very difficult to post when there is stuff I want to say, but it probably is not ‘right’ to put it on a public platform, as it also affects Kennith.  Please bear with me, my A-game will return!>

 

Things that make me cry …

I really love the idea of Santa’s Shoebox Project.

It is such a great initiative.  It means at the end of the day, that thousands of kids are going to get a present at Xmas time – when ordinarily they wouldn’t receive anything.

I am not a big Christmas freak, and I find it way over commercialized.  It is more about “what did you get” than the essence of the day, which to me is about spending time with family and friends and remembering what you are grateful for.

However if you are a child and poor, and do not get any presents, it must be pretty bleak.  I think if I was that child, it would make me feel that I was unloved and no one cared about me.

I really like the campaign, and I signed up.  I decided to do five boxes. One box from each member of our family.

I aimed for kids who were close to the ages of my kids, and ended up with Christopher – 5 (Georgia’s age) , Elizabeth  – 6 (always loved the name Elizabeth), Melanie – 3 (Kennith’s sister’s name is Melanie), Tori – 3 (there were no kids younger to match to Isabelle) and Caleb -7 (close to Connor’s age, and Connor was nearly a Caleb or a Callum).

The entire process was very slick and well done.  I popped along to the site, which is dead easy and ran well.  I capture my details, selected a child from a drop down menu and off you go.

They send you a pdf tag with the child’s name and a list of the type of things you should include in the parcel.  I think because you “choose” the child and the tag is sent to you with the child’s details, you start to feel emotionally connected and make the box with a bit more interest.

Fantastic!

The problem is – I am a procrastinator of note.  I only did all my shopping yesterday in a mad rush to get the boxes done as tomorrow is the last drop off day in Cape Town.

I went off to the shops with “my” children’s list and purchased things I assumed were appropriate.  At some point I forgot I was meant to put this into a shoebox, and started buying stuff that I thought any kid would want. I really tried to buy what I thought my kids would enjoy, rather than what would be “okay for a needy kid.”

When I got back to the office, I toyed with leaving the decorating and stuffing of the boxes until I got home, but then I realised that would be chaos, so I opted instead to abuse company resources and just do it on my light table.

Before long I had three people coming along to help decorate and pack the boxes.  It really was great!

I must confess I get a lump in my throat just thinking about these poor kids who were going to get this shoebox.  And this was maybe the highlight to their Christmas day, and everything we pack into that box with be their own special thing.

Of course guilt made me buy way too much, and I think I might have shot over the mark slightly.  But three strong elastics can pretty much close any box it seems.

Kennith was great and also bought Cape Union Mart juice bottles for each child, and some really cool torch/light things which we gave to the older kids.  I also got two dictionaries from work, which I included in the two older kid’s boxes.

At the end of it I was really pleased I had done it – and the boxes all had some really nice things in it (industrial strength elastics keeping the lids on and all).  Kennith went to drop them off this morning at the drop off point.

I cry when I go to Build-a-Bear.  It is just something that makes me cry – it is probably when they put the heart inside the bear, but it could be all of it, I really have a good old snot cry whenever I think of it.

But, Santa’s Shoebox Project makes me cry too, so I am adding that to the list.

On the upside, we decided next year that each department at work, would sponsor a child/children next year and I think that would be nice!  I know this campaign is only a drop in the ocean, if you compare what needs to be done, and how much poverty, and despair is out there, but this is one small thing that will make a child smile this year.

Merry Christmas to Christopher , Elizabeth, Melanie, Tori and Caleb.  I hope your tummies are full, and you have someone to hug you close and you enjoy your presents!

This made me laugh …

I am really have a crazy week, and barely coming up for air, so I really do apologise that I am not posting much this week.   I keep starting posts, but then life runs away with me and I leave them unfinished, but I will update today or tomorrow – sorry if you have taken the time to get here and the go “what the hell is up with her?”

My friend Alice sent this to me today and it did make me snigger behind my monitor.

 

Keep on trying, keep on trying …

Standing in the kitchen last night chatting to Kennith whilst he is making dinner for us.

Sidebar:   Kennith does have many attractive attributes that I do not often mention much on this blog.  This week alone, we went out for dinner on Monday night to really nice restaurant – which he paid for – naturally.  Then he made dinner on Tuesday and again on Wednesday night. My sole duty is pouring the wine.  Dinner he generally takes care of – no seriously.

Anyway, so he looks over at me, sort of smirks a bit, puts his hand seductively on my hip and croons: “You aren’t looking bloated … not at all!”

A bit of silence passes …..

Me: “Is that how you give me a compliment?” (which sort of tags on to the recent conversation which followed a similar tack)

Kennith: “It really is all very hard..”

But you know he does try, and what more can you ask for?

What to buy that man in your life who may have everything ….

Yesterday I was on the Dr Eve website.  Unfortunately as time progresses it turns out that I might be a prude.  The link under “shop” made me blush just looking at the wares, and several times I had to ask myself “what would someone do with that?”

Why our work firewall does not block this site, clearly shows that there is a hole big enough to drive a porn site through, but that is another discussion for another day.

I have never been inside an Adult World or any of the other “adult” stores that are popping up.  They usually look seedy and grim, and sadly a bit too much like an escort agency or seedy nightclub.

I am not sure I will be able to browse like a mature person, without feeling mortally embarrassed and start giggling like a twelve year old – this is assuming I could make it through the door.  The added problem is that when I feel embarrassed I start to say the most inappropriate things – sort of my way of lightening the mood, the problem is that what I say only causes me more embarrassment and usually leaves on-lookers mortified.

Anyway back to the website.  This particular product popped up – in my defense, I did not search for it, it just popped up – and I am going to keep saying that until someone believes me.

Initially I thought it was something else, so did not pay it much mind.  And then for some reason I looked at it a bit closer and realized it was a fake arse that you can actually buy.  Or buy for someone you think will use it or has a need for it.

The advert indicates that this is aimed at the heterosexual male market, rather than the not-heterosexual male, which raised my eyebrow further (I can hear you screaming prude!)

Once I got over the initial shock and the realisation of what someone does with this, I realized for a company to make this sort of a product, must mean that there is a demand.  A demand big enough to warrant someone making a mould, and a prototype and then going into full scale production.

I really would hate to be the product development manager who has to spring this idea on his production team.

I did not realise that this pastime was, well, so popular that may necessitate a home-entertainment version for ease of use!

There only appears to be a pink one, but will there be other colours on offer? And would someone who maybe usually prefers pink, maybe opt for black just for a “see if you like it” shopping approach?  Oh dear, you can see how one’s mind can really run off with this.

We have a wedding to attend in February.  It is a couple who has a lot of stuff.  They have indicated there is really nothing they need – because they have combined two households, and actually have two of a lot of things.

My thinking is that they might not need one of these Fleshjack Pink Jack Ass Originals but might they want one?  I am going to check if our other friends who are going to the wedding will want to chip in towards this as a wedding gift.  I think the “thank you” card is going to be awesome.

Baba Indaba

If you are in Johannesburg and free on the 22 – 24 October 2010 and feel an overriding urge to look at pregnancy, baby and toddler goodies then odds are you are going to shuffle/waddle along to the Baba Indaba.

I personally would like the Baba Indaba more if they had a wine section.  I feel any event that includes screaming children and sleep deprived moms is just more attractive if you can offer a lazy lounger, some soft music, child care facilities and 2 or 3 glasses of wine.

Drop Nadine an email – nadine@thelime.co.za – with “Reluctant Mom – Baba Indaba Tickets” in the subject header and if you use at least 5 smiley emoticons she may send you a set of free tickets.

Nadine is very generous, but her only requirement is that the moms who want to get free tickets can tell her where The Baba Indaba is being held this year ….. so if you do not know then pop along to their website
, alternatively you could look at the banner for the “secret” clue!

What the hell?

Why would someone search for that??

How much of a problem must you have getting an egg that you decide you need to google it to see if other people are struggling like you as well?  And how exactly does one get an egg from someone who is reluctant?

Which also begs the question – why is someone reluctant to give you an egg?

Let’s of course totally ignore that someone searched for “killing small babies” and that google redirected them to my blog …..

You like me, you really like me …..channeling Sally Field

So today I woke up like an excited six year old at Christmas time.

I was really excited it was Monday – and it had nothing to do with going to work, or getting to see the sunny faces of my children – it had everything to do with whether I got shortlisted for the SA Blog Awards.

As much as I like to say I am a good sport, I am actually fiercely competitive, and always like to be in with a chance.

Kennith can testify to this – once he thought it might be a great family get together to do a FunWalk with the kids. What he did not realise is that I would turn it into a race.

I dragged poor Connor kicking and crying through the course.  I think at one point I might have started calling him names and suggesting that he was not man enough for this race (imagine mother poking fingers into son’s chest at about this point) ….  to which he reminded me through tears and snot that it was just a fun walk … no fun here mate, get your arse into gear and let’s beat the other kids!

Okay, so I am not the best at playing well with others, and that might explain my ability to spend a great deal of time with myself by myself.

But back to the focus of my frenzied excitement.

SA Blog Awards were going to short list today and I thought I would patiently wait until I got to the office to check the site.

It would seem that patience (adding it to the pile with good manners, mothering ability, ability to hold my tongue when speaking to bigots)  is not really something I have in buckets.

I started logging on via my phone while driving this morning … I felt a bit bad that I was using my phone whilst driving, but I put it down to an emergency of epic proportion.  If it makes you feel any better, I had dropped the kids off, and I was doing it while sitting at an intersection.

Phone found site, and then I squealed (should I appear less excited, is that the more done thing?)

http://www.sablogawards.com/Categories-2010/Top-Two-per-Category.aspx

I am really chuffed that I got to either be the winner or the first princess.  Of course the winner is better, but the first princess also gets to wear a crown and stand next to the big thrown and sort of lean forward to catch a bit of the spotlight that falls onto the winner … that will be me, sort of leaning forward to catch a bit of the light.  I may attempt to do a bit of photo bombing as well, let’s see how it goes.

So yay for the blog and congratulations to Tertia.  Super yay (said with a touch of a squeal) for all the votes and the very clever judges for voting – I realise I am sounding a little self-absorbed, but I am really very excited over here.

Thanks to everyone for voting and reading ….

<sidebar:  I took a bit of Mefilam this morning as we are off to Zanzibar on Friday.  As a result I am having symptoms of a mild psychotic episode.  That should be fun watching that develop through the day … at the office… with clients here… at the moment I have a very dry mouth and suddenly every sound is amplified and the office lighting is a touch too bright … my skin is also starting to feel mildly sensitive …. what fun today is turning out to be >

Down to the wire …

Second last day of voting for South Africa Blog Awards today … if you can please click on the icon on the right hand side of page to cast you vote – votes close tomorrow, so one vote today and one vote tomorrow and then … well… the fat lady has sang as they say.

What are the signs of a drinking problem…

There you are happily drinking your wine on a Friday night.  You pour the last glass, so you throw the box into the kitchen bin.

Yes, I do realise how trailer-park that sounds.

I am not going to start defending myself because I drink wine from a box, as really there is no defense other than it stores nicely and decants easily.

Kennith also bought the box for me, so it is very special and dear to my heart. Combined with the fact that I also have rather low standard when it comes to wine.

So I just finished the glass … as you do … it always come as a surprise as you reach for your glass, throw it back and realise it is empty … it is always a shock to me.

I thought to myself … I wonder if there is a new bottle in the fridge …then I thought, I did not actually squeeze the bag out … I just assumed it was empty and tossed it.

Parked my dignity.

Walked down to the kitchen.

Retrieved the box from bin.

Cut open cardboard, took out silver bag, gave it a good squeeze and for all my effort got about 12ml of wine and a “poof” of air… it really is a sad day over in my neck of the woods.

Sidebar:  I did google alcohol abusers versus alcoholics earlier this week.  I got really excited when I realised that I do not really match the traits of an alcohol abuser.  But then a bit depressed when I realised I matched a few too many of the traits of an alcoholic …. yikes …. still does not solve my box problem though ….

Wordless Friday …. doesn’t have as good a ring does it?

I am not one for just posting just an image as a blog post – but I got this image this morning from my friend Robby and I just thought, dang, I wish I had thought of that.

I must dig up a picture I have of Connor (this is not him above in case you are wondering) and he is sleeping on a table as new born babies do.  I am sitting there smiling all motherly into the camera.  When you look at the photo you realise we are in a pub and there are masses of cans and bottles all around him and there he is fast asleep amongst all of this and on a slightly less than sanitary table.

Not quite material for the “best mother” award, but there we go.

Santa Shoe Box Project

This is such a cool campaign – really easy to take part and do something small for a needy child this holiday season.  The website is easy and efficient and the most difficult part is trying to “choose” a child to donate to.

I have my list – one child gift box from every member of the family – please go along and register it is really really easy and such a good thing and you really do not have to do much to make a difference – even if it is just a tiny difference.

I get all sad and weepy if I think that there is a child who does not get to open a gift on Xmas day – so this is a really nice campaign – give us much or as little as you can.  Get your kids to decorate the shoe boxes.

Please visit www.santashoebox.co.za and click to join.

The up to my down …..

I really am stoked at hearing that I was shortlisted for the Best Parenting Blog. I found out when I read a post on the www.moomie.co.za forum and saw it there, so thank  you Julz for that, else I might have gone along totally unawares.

I’m not sure of the criteria for short listing –  is it nothing more than which blogs received the most nominations ?  I also  see the humour that me and parenting are mentioned in the same sentence – oh how the tears of laughter roll down my face.

It make me feel better to believe that there are a set of judges who are very serious as they peruse the list of nominations.  They spend hours dutifully visiting the blogs, and making copious notes regarding posts, the comments and the pretty pictures.

Somewhere somehow in this,  I trust someone reads what bloggers post and that is part of the process rather than just the amount of clicks.  But maybe I am just being naïve, and it is just about who gets the most nominations/votes – that is also fine I guess.

That being said, and no matter how the process works I am glad/thrilled/like-totally-pleased that I did not get to be the unpopular kid who is never picked.   I got to be picked  – well my blog did – so that alone made me feel really good today. (does this sound remarkably similar to “You like me, you really like me,” of Sally Field fame in the 80’s Oscar ceremony?)

My friend asked me if I get something, maybe a bottle of wine, a shiny trophy or a lukewarm plate of Chicken a’la King if I win … I don’t think so.  It may just be about bragging rights.

I am in a category with some really clever and talented bloggers – just sharing that little area of cyber space with them is quite cool for me.

I am definitely going to drink more wine tonight to celebrate – I was going to drink anyway, now I have a good reason/excuse/occasion to delay signing up for an AA meetings.

Interesting point about the voting, is that people can vote once every twenty four hours based on their unique email address.  So it is not just a one click wonder, but a one click wonder every twenty four hours (if it sounds like I am shamelessly trying to solicit votes, you are correct and clearly have a very keen sense of how these things work … something about God helping those who help themselves )

Here are a list of the other blogs that were nominated in the Best Parenting Blog category:

parent24.com/dirksema

parent24.com/ebonyandivory

parent24.com/tania.roux

parent24.com/Tansy

joumaseblerrieblog.blogspot.com

joyfulmamasplace.blogspot.com

malakaistow.blogspot.com

muslimmums.co.za

reluctantmom.wordpress.com

tertia.org

Thanks for nominating me – really, genuinely thank you.  Even if you didn’t, the fact that you took the time to click through to this blog and have read it up to here, is also pretty cool.

Even though one does not consciously start a blog so people can read it, it is strange how therapeutic and alarmingly pleasing it is when you find out that people do read your stuff, and even come back more than once … and so much cheaper than paying a psychiatrist.