Where do babies come from #5

I thought this was really funny and probably is a great example of the answers Siri gives me ….

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.

I think we are alone now …..

This being the first week of school holidays we have been lucky enough to ship our two older kids off to my mom for a bit of a holiday by the sea.

Right now Connor eyes are rolling back in his head as he is overcome with the delirious euphoria of days spent at the beach and fishing with his oupa. There’s a child with a serious OCD thing for fish.

Georgia got to draw a toilet in the beach sand today, and then proceeded to use it in full sight of the other beach-goers, much to the horror and mortification of my mother.

At home we have Isabelle – one child – one teeny weeny little child who does not argue with me.

I got up this morning – okay, I opened my eyes blearily. Kennith had gone to pick Isabelle up, changed her bum and brought her to me for a morning snuggle. I made a cup of tea, a bottle for Isabelle and then retired luxuriously back to bed while I drank my tea and had a little bit of time for my mind to start functioning.

Sure, I was pushing the lines of being tardy for work or fashionably late, but I was having one of those rare moments of peace and quiet in my home. I even ventured to go the toilet without being interrupted – I know, I am still a bit shocked at the turn of events.

I showered and washed my hair. I even had a bit of time to put some conditioner on it. I do so realize the absolute luxury that this morning was turning in to, and I was reveling in it.

Normally I am in the shower and the curtain is being pulled back as Connor is coming to tell me his sister is doing something that she should not be doing. As soon as I have sent him on his way, I will have Georgia pulling back the curtain to tell me her side of the story – usually at the same time as I have shampoo dripping into my eyes and my good sense of humour is evaporating in the morning light. Usually this progresses to them both standing in the bathroom and shouting at each other, so that I am supposed to listen to the story and decide who is right.

When I was ready to leave this morning, I picked up my bag, found my keys, gave Isabelle a wet slurpy kiss and climbed into my car. I actually sat for a minute before putting the key in and thinking that this is all decidedly odd. No screaming, no return visits to the house to get something, finding something someone needs for school.

Usually my morning routine from the time I enter the garage has the sound track along these lines:-

“We are late, hurry up!!”

“Move, move, move, we are late”

“Get in the car, no I do not care what that is in your hand, just get in the flippn car.”

“You have tennis today, did you remember your racket. Damn it, we have to go back! Why can you not remember your stuff.”

“Georgia just leave that alone, you do not need to take that to school, I said no, leave it!”

“Stop fighting, just share the middle seat, I said stop fighting!”

“No, I did not remember to buy you the board. You did not tell me you needed it – you cannot tell me on the drive to school about something you were meant to tell me two days ago.”

“Yes, pass me your school homework book, I will sign it while I am driving.”

“No Connor I do not know what bait one uses to catch Strepies, I have no idea.”

Today I even listened to 567 Talk and heard what they were saying. As a treat I drove a new route to work, it really was blissful peaceful. I started feeling all carefree …….

CSI New York in my Bathroom….

I am not sure how brushing teeth goes in your house, but my kids need to be reminded to brush teeth – and I have to include the words P.R.O.P.E.R.L.Y in the instruction.

I tried just saying “brush your teeth” then I realized that my eight year old has no problems following instructions. What he does do is he takes it quite literally.

He brushed his teeth, sure there was no toothpaste on the brush, and sure the entire process lasted less than 8 seconds, but if quizzed: “Did you brush your teeth?” He could always answer in the affirmative and not be lying.

On the weekend, I had my hands full. Sick baby on my hip, four year old who would not get dressed and was throwing a wobbly about something or another. I was trying to get eight year old and four year old to brush their teeth after getting dressed. There I am barking out instructions.

You know how you do not realize how you sound, until you have house guests and start seeing and hearing yourself through their eyes (and ears). You then realize that you possibly do look a little trailer park in your bathrobe, no slippers and with snot and vomit (neither your own) on the front of your night shirt and some other unidentified matter in your hair.

That however did not dissuade me from my goal of enforcing good dental hygiene in my house.

Connor trots out from the bathroom, I look at him and immediately assess that his blue t-shirt does not have any toothpaste on it. They don’t teach this sh*t, one learns this at CSI and motherhood school – it’s a combined course done through correspondence, with a huge emphasis on the work experience part.

Now a clean shirt and an eight year old is compelling – not definitive (I watch the crime channel a lot) – but nonetheless compelling circumstantial evidence that no tooth brushing has occurred. The toothpaste spatter is not evident on this eight year old in my passage.

I used to use the dry toothbrush as my evidence – but I got about 6 uses out of that tactic until Connor twigged how I knew he skipped the brushing. Now he wets the toothbrush. Kids – they are like drug dealers, you always have to outsmart them!

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I went to brush my teeth.” Now a niave person/not a mother would take this that he has brushed his teeth.

Again, you are not dealing with the Connor-master, who knows a thing or two about negotiation and word play. This boy could be the spin doctor for Julius Malema.

Me: “Connor have you brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed your teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor H.A.V.E Y.O.U. brushed Y.O.U.R. teeth?”

Connor: “I WENT to brush my teeth.”

Me: “Connor, I got that you went to the bathroom. Did you make it to the basin, put toothpaste on your toothbrush and wiggle it around your mouth?”

Connor: “I diiiiiiiiiiiiiid…”

Me:  “Connor, did you brush your teeth PROPERLY for two minutes?”

Connor: “Awwwwww…………………..”

Me: “Get to that bathroom and start brushing until I tell you it is two minutes.”

Why do we always sound like our mothers, no matter how hard we try not to?

Surviving the first hour …..

Adventure Boot Camp beat the living crap out of me – I really don’t think I need to actually add more to this post than that.

But I will – they beat me, and humiliated me and made me cry – and that was just in the warm up section of the hour.

At this point I felt I wanted to query where they got the fekn happy smiley people on their brochure, because it really was not taken at the class I attended.

This onslaught went on for a full hour – there was running, jumping jacks – fekn Heidi skips!!!

I ask you when was the last time anyone asked you to do a Heidi skip? Do you know how ridiculous you look when you Heidi skip? Do you know how much co-ordination it take to make your leg sort of hang in the air, while you swing your arms? The fact that the flab on your entire body is getting thrown around at such an incredible pace is probably the reason why only six year old girls do Heidi skips.

The hour went on and on. What shocked me more was the fact that the trainer kept saying this is the first day of the first week and we are going to be taking it easy.

I am not sure if someone stopped long enough to tell my lungs and heart that this was the easy part. I was doing all I could not to throw up on the field.

To add to my already humiliating state, I realized that I have zero co-ordination. Jumping Jacks and Ski-ing Movements are beyond foreign to me. It is like doing line-dancing and being the only idiot who is up when everyone is done. (do not take this as any indication that I know how to line dance – you must see me do the Macarena – it is tragic.)

It was sad, it was humiliating and it was painful! I am so unfit and just so far from being able to move faster than a Chuckles-can-roll-off-a-table, that I want to weep!

Your Mama is so fat …….

I really hate exercise – not a little, but a whole lot.  I don’t gym, I don’t power walk, I don’t WII Fit.  I am more of the bag of Chuckles and glass of wine school of weight loss.  Surprisingly enough, my diet plan is not working out as successfully as I would have hoped. 

I put huge stock in the fact that breastfeeding was going to keep the kilograms off.  But it seems even if your little one drinks from you (and invites her friends over) all day, you really are burning up the equivalent of a chicken wrap – no mayo, just some lettuce.  The result is that my lifestyle of chocolate, wine, pasta and anything that was not moving fast enough, had made it impossible to wear anything I wore prior to falling pregnant.   For the record very little I wore while pregnant looked good – it was more for comfort.

To add to the comedy drama –  our house is full of these wall-sized mirrors.  In our defense, we bought the house this way.  Our en-suite bathroom had Liberace as it’s consultant designer.  Once you look past the faux-gold taps and gaudy light fitting, your eyes come to rest on the rather gi-normous wall mirror (the  E N T I R E wall is a mirror) only off set by the fact that there is another mirror on the adjacent wall.

I am  not denying  that this is not attractive in a sort of Saturday Night Fever sort of way.  But when one is disrobing and catches a glimpse of one’s self it is not pleasing on the eye. 

The time when you are feeling most vulnerable – and you can ask any dog this – is when you are sitting down on your white throne for your morning toilette.

Your hair has that eu-de-morning sleep thing going on, your face is one wrinkle away from Joan Rivers, and your night-shirt is sort of wrapped around your chest so your left boob is kind of hanging over the top.  While seated, you cast your lazy eye to the left only to be presented with a life-sized version of you in all your splendor and glory.

The problem (or one of them) with the toilet is that you really cannot suck in your stomach .  Unfortunately it tends to sort of hang over and find its resting place on your top thigh. 

I withstood quite a few mornings with this image in Technicolor until I decided I had had enough and it was time to get my ass to some sort of exercise.  Like some divine intervention – a rather bouncy happy girl handed me a DL pamphlet at our robots.  I did have to put down my Tempo bar and bag of Chuckles, to roll down the window to take it from her, but that being said, the bright orange and black leaflet made all sorts of promises that really resonated with me.

They promised me that I would lose 3kg, I would be happy and make friends.  I have always wanted to be thin and popular so it seemed like a win-win situation all around.

I went on-line and signed myself up for Adventure Boot Camp

My first sense that something was amiss was when it was being referred to as a Boot Camp – immediately this conjured up images of a sergeant major (or what ever, I am not particular good with ranks) screaming at me to “hardloop na daai boom” or something equally as scary. I shrugged this off to my over-active imagination and happily did the EFT.

I dusted my training pants off, scrunged up my hair, pulled a bottle of water out of the fridge and headed out to Adventure Boot Camp ………….. waist line here I come!!

The ridiculous stuff my kids fight about …

On the way back from fetching the kids from school. Connor and Georgia in the back seat of the car. One on either side of the back seat.

Georgia screaming in a shrill voice – reserved only for little girls, and nuclear fallout sirens – because Connor is looking through her window. He retaliates by making his eyes bigger and staring all the harder out of her side of the car ….

Georgia is screaming at the top of her lungs – C O N N O R! Don’t look through my window!! C O N N O R! Don’t look through my window!! C O N N O R!

He is only doing it to get a rise out of her, and I really can’t tell him NOT TO LOOK out of the flaming window.

What is left of mom’s sanity goes | POP| Mom dreams of having enough money one day to employ a driver to do these menial tasks while she lies on the bed at home and reads her book.

Why more than two children is challenging …

  1. They outnumber you – and can flank you and infiltrate your weak points.
  2. You only have two hands – so if you are holding two of them, then that means a third is allowed to run free with disastrous results.
  3. If you have one in the front of the trolley and two inside the trolley, there really is no space for groceries.  If you are me, you try to then push one of those small trolleys with your free hand – which you do not have.
  4. Two kids and people smile at you politely, three kids and people look at you as if you have single-handedly been the responsible for the ice-caps melting.
  5. The kids always argue about who will sit next to mom – three means someone is going to be sitting on your lap, which leaves no space for mom’s sanity.
  6. Backseats of standard cars don’t lend themselves to three safety seats, so one of your kids lives dangerously on the edge sans car seat.  The option is baby is in the front seat in a rear facing seat, while two are in the back, and then you sit in the backseat like a toddler.
  7. You never quite get on top of what is going on – and always seem to arrive at places to realize that either one of the kids did not brush teeth, is still wearing jammie bottoms or you have totally forgotten the nappy bag.
  8. The chances of all three children E V E R sleeping at the same time in the day is such a statistical anomaly that it is not worth calculating.  The chances of you ever getting “time to yourself” has finally left.
  9. It’s pretty easy to hire a babysitter when you tell them you have two, when you tell them you have three they get that scared look in their eyes, and that funny buzzing sound of the telephone as they put it down on you.
  10. Kennith calculated that if my kids all attended the same primary school – I would be driving to the same school for thirteen years!! We might have to move just to spice things up ….
  11. Evening and bedtime is about as logistically challenging as the D-Day invasion.
  12. Having five in the bed for a cuddle means that you have to have either a Queen or a King sized bed, double beds are just not feasible.
  13. Even with three I still fall under South Africa’s fertility rate of 3.3 kids.

Why more than three children is cool …

  1. When someone starts giving you baby/child rearing advise, you can just say “I have three…” in a condescending voice, and they sort of scurry off into the distance and stop offering you more useless advise.

Close the fek’n door ….

Yesterday I attempted to go the bathroom.  For me there are a lot of attempts.  I am like the dog you see who just has to find the right spot before it can go.

So I dash in from work, thinking I can throw the kids out of the car and make a quick b-line.  I try to go past Isabelle, but she starts to cry when she sees me.  Thinking quickly on my feet – I don’t have much time now – I grab her and some toys and take her to the “little girl’s room” with me.

No points for hygiene here, only for making a plan when there are pressing issues at play.

I think I have it sorted – it all seems to be working out nicely.  So I think.

Connor – my 8 year old – then pops in to tell me something so irrelevant that I was speechless.  He leaves, and leaves the door open – so I am screaming at the top of my lungs “Connor, Connor, close the DOOR!!”

“Connor!”

“C O N N O R ! ! ”

This goes on for some time as little boys appear to move out of ear shot really fast.

Connor does return at least two more times to ask me totally inappropriate questions considering the location:

“Can we play on the computer?”

“Can you watch me swim?”

In between his visits, Georgia pops in only to argue with me that her sister is using her toys – also leaving the door open.

The final straw was when Connor came back in – and gave me a jar of yohurt and a spoon and said: “Pepe said to give this to you…”   (it was food for Isabelle)

Tom Thumb and Ogres who eat Children

Last night I read Tom Thumb to my kids before bed.  First recognize that I am showing off that I found the time and some semblance of order to actually read to my kids before bed – so right there I get a gold star.

Tom Thumb is the smallest of seven kids : Right here we start to wonder is it because he is not getting sufficient nutrition and this has affected his growth. Did his mom smoke and drink heavily during her pregnancy?  Did she not have this boy checked regularly at the clinic?  Are his parents of a faith that does not condone birth control?  Can his mom just so no for once?

His parents realize that they do not have enough money to feed the children so decide to leave them in a forest nearby: Why could his dad not have got a second job, because clearly this woodcutter gig was not working out for him?  Surely if you can’t feed your kids, leaving them to starve to death or get ravished by animals in the middle of a dense wood does beg questions regarding your ability to parent and make mildly good decisions.

Tom, being the clever lad that he is, makes it home by dropping stones on the path.  All 7 kids get home and the parents are disappointed as they will have to take them out to the woods again tomorrow: I really was amazed at this turn in the story.  Surely if you have dropped your kids off in the woods to die, you are not just going to skip home and go to sleep.  Surely you are going to drink a little, maybe be a little depressed, nope not these two.  Mr and Ms Thumb are cut from a very resilient cloth.

On the next jaunt into the woods, Tom leaves bread crumbs as a track back to his house: He unfortunately did not learn anything from his mate Hansel (which might further allude to his mom drinking while she was pregnant with him, which may be the cause of his not-so-fast-learning speed.) No crumbs = no way to get home  Tom his 6 siblings can’t get home, so knock on the door to a house out in the forest.  Again clearly Tom and Hansel are not Facebooking  or Twittering each other.  Tom has no idea that a house in the middle of the woods often spells doom and the sound of children being eaten.

Cut a long story short, there is an Ogre who eats kids (I can’t believe this is what we read to our kids when we are trying to get them to go to sleep – night terrors begin here).  The Ogre has magic boots so in one step he can go seven leagues (no I do not know how far seven leagues is, but I imagine pretty far).  Tom  steals the boots, him and his siblings escape and run back to his parents. The same parents who abandoned them twice!!

Said parents are really happy to see Tom (and his magic boots) so happy in fact that they send him out to be the Kings Messenger – as the boots allow Tom to travel quickly.  The book ends with a happy picture of Tom who is holding lots of money.

What the hell happened in this story?

  • Parents abandoned kids twice.
  • Children went into a stranger’s house and ate food.
  • Ogre-who-eats-kids came home and chased kids.
  • Ogre fell asleep – as you do when you are chasing kids.
  • Smallest child steals boots and take siblings back home to parents.
  • Parents send youngest off to work to support the family

The issues I have with this book are: bad parenting, abandoning children, lazy parenting, no internet access for youngest, threat of being ravished by wild animals, stranger-danger, stealing from others and child labour.

    I am  planning to read Cinderella next …..

    Mommaliciousmammas

    A new website that encourages communication between South African moms – still getting off the ground, so not a lot of members.  But they also have a blog area which is nice to link to other MWB (moms who blog – I might have just made that acronym up)

    http://mommaliciousmammas.blogspot.com/

    and a forum – which really needs to get going, but has promise.  Always good to encourage moms doing the web thing in South Africa.  Could use your assistance in increasing membership.  They run fun competitions that encourage moms to stop by which is a good idea – might just steal their idea

    <she looks around the room wondering what she could competion off…. I have an electric can opener, never used and an electric 8-egg boiler – so watch this space, might run a competition soon and you may just be the proud owner of these two wonderful pieces of kitchenware!!>

    Before I was a mommy…

    I saw this line on a blog recently and it really made me sit back and ponder what there was before I was a mommy.   I would acknowledge the blog, but did not bookmark it, so I apologise for that.

    I know I existed and was happy in my childlessness.  I recall the free and easy manner I would go for a shower – on the drop of a hat.  Spend a  few hours lying in the bath reading a good book.  I would even go to the toilet by myself – and finish what I needed to do …. oh the good old days.

    I had time to sit and stare into the distance. I could and would wander around stores uninterrupted.  I could go out late at night and not worry what time I was going to wake up the next morning.  I could sleep late and if I wanted to go and have an afternoon sleep.  I ate my meals in peace.  I would even decide on the spur of the moment to drop in at a corner shop for a loaf of bread and some milk, and it would be easy and non-complicated.

    I really can remember the “before” part.  The “after” part has become a bit hazy with the fury at which it has evolved.  Some days I feel like I am starring in an episode of 24.  Sidebar:  I really would like to have Jack Bauer skill set – when he stares at someone and his eye twitches, assume that person has less than 15 minutes to live.  Imagine if you had that as your super power! But I digress. 

    I know that you can never wish to go back to a “before mom” stage as that would mean you are then wishing for your kids not to exist, and well that sort of behavior is only condoned for a few people – Mr and Mrs Hitler Snr for instance.  So it really is socially improper to ever voice that longing.

    I have been a mom for just over 8 years, and I really have no idea what I am doing.  Like no idea – still!  I keep thinking that there has been a terrible mix up and some how I have appeared in some one else’s life and mine is going along in another direction without kids and blissfully unaware.

    Here are some of my thoughts around

    Before I was a Mommy…

    … I never thought I had any sort of maternal instinct. The idea of a small person coming near me would fill me with dread.  Never held a baby, babysat only once and it was a frightening evening – for all concerned.

    …. I knew I never wanted to have children. (How’s that working out for you then?)

    .…  I had no empathy for mothers who worked and were struggling to balance the two.  I would get really annoyed and wonder why these women could just not balance their lives.

    …. I thought I had a handle on how to juggle home, work and all things relationship.  Throwing a baby into that mix, has showed me that I am totally fallible.

    …. I could look at a child who was abandoned or in need, and it would not affect me.  Now I see all these children as someone’s son and daughter and I always seem my children in them.  It makes me so deeply sad and my soul bleeds.

    … I had not factored in how much puke and baby poo would actually become part of my day, and somehow it would be considered normal.  I often end up with poo under my finger nails, and it does not bother me as much as I thought it would.

    …. I did not realize that some days I would be so busy that brushing my teeth, combing  my hair and getting out my jammies would feel like a luxury activity.

    ….I didn’t understand that no matter how much you try not to be like your parents – part of you is wired to behave just like them.  It’s not always a good thing, and takes a great deal of self-control and awareness to break the cycle.

    …. I did not appreciate how easy it was to get in a car, start the engine and drive away.  Now if I can get everyone in, buckled up and not have to return to the house three times for shoes, underpants and my cell phone, I am making a fast get away.

    …. I did not realize how something so miraculous and life changing can be treated as such a pedestrian event.  To have and raise a child is awe-inspiring and is often taken for granted.

    … I did not realize how much guilt I would feel.  It starts when that baby is in the womb and never stops. 

    … I did not realize how having a baby would make me question who I was and how I fitted in to society and really make me ask the question  “who am I?”

    … I did not realize that I could look at another human being and literally feel my heart swell.  I think we love our partners/husbands/significant others and we love them dearly, but when you are lying there at night with your soft baby in your arms and feeling that weight of them sleeping, your soul turns to jam.

    “Motherhood is like Albania— you can’t trust the descriptions in the books, you have to go there.” – Marni Jackson

    Hello Everybody ….

    Sometimes I feel sorry for Kennith, he never knows what he is coming home to.  The thing that I admire about him is he thinks on his feet and does not show fear (much) in the face of a potential massacre.

    I try not to lose control at home with the kids – for me it a very slippery road to drinking two bottles of wine and screaming profanity at the neighbours, so I do attempt to contain myself, we live in a reasonably good neighbourhood and all.

    I usually try to keep a “happy disposition” thing going.  It is a total farce, but I give it a go none the less.  I dash from work to fetch the kids, and the truth be told I am quite excited about seeing them.  Each day I drive the distance from my office to fetch Connor and Georgia.  I try to put on my happy face and really want to give them the impression that they are dealing with a competent mother who may get voted on to the PTA.

    Georgia is usually an easy pick up.  She is such a happy little soul, that when I fetch her she is all love and hugs and dirty pants.  She hops in to the car and off we go.  There might be a small wobbly about her eating her lunch in the car 45 minutes before dinner, but we have that fairly contained.

    Connor however is like dealing with a surly teenager and he is only 8 years old.  I go in to school bracing myself, as it can be a little challenging (she says politely.)

    He will either be chipped off that I arrived too early, or too late – I can never quite work out the correct timing that coincides with his need to play with his mates.  So we get in the car, there may or may not be sulking at this stage.

    The drive home is an exercise is patience and good motherhood skills that I fail daily.  It will usually start with Connor asking to do something that he knows I am going to say no to “Mom can I fly my kite in the electrical storm?” “Mom, can I please watch WWF on television naked?” “Mom, I know it is 8 degrees outside, but may I please swim?” “Mom, I know there is a cooked meal at home waiting for us, but can we stop at McDonald’s” 

    Unfortunately what ever I say no to is actually irrelevant, because it will just pitch him in to the next request which he knows I will so no to – which leads to the negotiating segment of our little road show. 

    By the time I pull into the garage, I have Connor sulking or in full-fledged crying.  Georgia may or may not be crying – by the time we get home it is all a bit of a catastrophe, and we do not actually get out of the car as much as we fall out of the car in various stages of anger and frustration.

    Getting kids in the house and to sit down for dinner has its own set of challenges.  A side effect of the fighting is that by now I have probably banned television and am so desperate for a large glass of wine and a lie down, that I just want to kill.  Isabelle is tetchy because I am tetchy – she refuses to be put down so she is firmly implanted on my hip.  I am trying to warm a bottle for her while I am making wild gestures in the air with my free hand (as you do when you are trying to threaten children to finish their food or else.)

    I am watching the clock tick by as each minute brings me closer to getting this lot into bed and having a moment for my head to stop ringing.  Usually at about this point Kennith will come walking in (late from work – again) saying something chirpy like “Hello family – how is everyone?!”

    Shame …..

    The one about the Anesthetist …..

    I deal with things well if I am given time to digest them and work them over in my mind.  I can pretty much do anything given the time to mentally prepare.  I however do not react well to being put on the spot.  For this reason and this reason alone, the odds of me winning “The Weakest Link” are remote at the best.

    While pregnant with my third child, I really enjoyed the pregnancy – or shall I say I lived in the moment through the pregnancy. I enjoyed each week and the development and the changes in me.  Sure there were parts were I felt pretty grim, and I am sure bitched and moaned because I was so sore, but I lived the experience.

    The experience I shunned was the birth.  I had experienced two elective c-sections and they were both fine, there really was no problem.  It was an odd experience in terms of feeling the sensations, but not feeling the pain, but overall it was a good experience.  For some strange reason, I decided that I would not mentally deal with the birth the third time around. I would keep blocking it out and deciding than I would deal with it later.

    I was busy planning, and organizing and all of that, but decided that when I went on maternity leave – before I had the baby – I would spend a few days allowing myself to think about it and deal with it.  Well, it seemed I didn’t.

    Even on the day I was going to hospital – I spent my time planning and organizing what would happen with the house and the kids in my absence.  I just took no cognizance of how they were going to get her out and that process.

    Even at the hospital in my “gown that opens the wrong way” I quietly sat there talking to Kennith about other things.  They came along and took my blood pressure and gave me a little tranquiliser – bless – and still I put it totally out of my mind.

    Wheeling me down the passage to the theatre, started to set off little alarms in my head, as my body was going “er brain, you have not mentioned this part ….. we are getting a little concerned here…er brain, BRAIN are you even there??”

    Right up to pre-op I was lying on the trolley bed and trying not to deal with what was going to be the inevitable proc ess, slowly, slowly the panic started to set in.  I was trying to look really calm and relaxed as I had Kennith there and my friend Dave who was going to do some photos.

    I think the final straw the broke the camel’s back was the anesthetist.  You know how they come over and reassure you, and tell you it’s all going to be fine.  Not this guy.  He came over and asked a few questions, which I duly answered.  Then he started to explain to me all the things that could go wrong – including the fact that a spinal block doesn’t always work.

    It pretty much had a similar effect to police firing bullets into a crowd in the hope of calming them!  Do you think at Riot Control 101 – there is a class where the lecturer does role play where they police fire bullets into a crowd and they calmly go and take their seats??

    After the anesthetist left, my sanity seemed to leave the room at the same time.  They wheeled me in and then they prep you for the spinal block, so it is you, anesthetist guy and anesthetist nurse person.  By some act of mercy, my OBGYN came in to the surgery and asked if he could stay there and then he held my hand and let me cling to him while they jabbed a giant needle into my spinal coloumn.

    Any semblance of restraint and comfort left me about then – things start to move swiftly once that is done and you have lost feeling in your legs.  They lie you down, pop up that screen, and suddenly a large group of theatre people enter the room and everyone starts doing things.  Moving trays, wiping me with iodine, putting blue/green sheets everywhere and just being busy productive people.

    My anesthetist guy suddenly became my best friend, as he was the guy who single handedly was going to be responsible for me not feeling pain!

    I started to panic – like really panic.  Kennith was holding my hand, or I was grabbing his arm – I can’t recall now.  But I just recall being panicked.  I felt like something was going to go terribly wrong – what I am not sure, but I did not feel ready for them to do anything.  My heart rate picked up and the anesthetist guy gave me an oxygen mask and tried to bring my heart rate down.

    I was telling Kennith to make them stop.  Kennith looked over the curtain and explained that they had gone a bit far, and they sort of had to finish.  I was so anxious and just wanted to sit up and go “Ookaai everyone, let’s stop, take a breath, calm ourselves and talk a bit ………….” Clearly none of that was happening, what was happening was they were cutting through what felt like my entire body, and then the pulling started.

    The not-so-funny-part was I know this part, I am well verses in this, I’ve been there, got the t-shirt and went back to get the commemorative silver spoon.  But because my little brain had not decided to deal with this and had instead packed this issue in a box, and kicked it under the bed, I was in full fledged panic mode.

    It really was one of the more terrifying experiences of my life.  There was nothing about the procedure that was bad, I had just chosen not to deal with it and prepare myself to go through it. It is strange how your mind is such a strong controlling force when you experience something, and has a direct effect on how you experience that moment.

    Lesson learnt:   Stop procrastinating and deal with your stuff – I was going to say shit, but decided not to – for your own sanity.

    The one about Rachel and Dutch Courage ….

    Yesterday I saw a forum posting that was asking for assistance at an Orphanage in Hermanus – they had a set of twins who were 8 months and a tiny baby that they needed assistance with for either fostering or adoption.  I nearly wept, who am I kidding, I really did have a little cry at work hiding behind my monitor (I also just got a new monitor that is one of those large flat big screen numbers, so it allows me to duck down and not be seen – handy that.)

    One of the side effects of having your own children, is that you become this emotional vessel that can be tapped in to by all other children.  You can happily watch a man been mowed down by a bus and feel very little, but when you see a child hurt or abandoned, your urge is to go over there and pick that baby up and just smother them in love and care.

    We had dinner with friend last night and our one friend Rachel is one of those Godsend-good-people.  She is sweet and lovely, and generous of spirit, and she makes the best baked goods as gifts.  She is also a nurse – and her last job was working at an organization that deals with HIV-POSITIVE babies and children.  Many are abandoned, or do not have parents so the organization she worked for cares for these children and does all sorts of other things i.e medical care, counseling etc.

    I was telling her about this forum post I saw, and I wanted to know what was involved in being able to adopt – I didn’t understand the process, and if anyone knew she would.  Rachel explained the process, and really it comes down to a social worker who is so overloaded with cases, that they often are not able to work effectively.  One of their roles is to research and check that the baby/child does not have any living relatives and then they start with the adoption process with the prospective parents.

    Unfortunately being overloaded and having limited resources means that they can’t always do it.  Rachel said that sometimes the prospective parents do the “detective work” and then present it to the case worker to speed up the process, which makes sense.  Of course this does make it sad to think that there are these kids sitting in limbo because the “investigation” is taking a long time.

    Kennith felt I was being way-way-way too interested in adopting anyone or anything, and gave me a few loud glances to ensure that I understood that he was not so keen on adding more off-spring to our already cramped car.

    While we got home, I had a bit of dutch courage (probably brought on by the two or more bottles of Chenin Blanc) and was able to say what had been ticking on in my head for some time. I knew it was there, but thought if I told Kennith, he would be so vehemently against it that I would feel this conflict – because I was not sure what I wanted, but I did not want him to stand and tell me that I could not have it.  I wanted to feel that I could explore this until I was sure what I wanted.

    What I said, was that I feel that I am not finished with children.  I do realize that I can’t cope with the three I have, I realize that I may soon be institutionalized, and I realize I often want to run away.  But something in my heart tells me that there is a possibility that I might want a fourth child! 

    I can’t really fathom where this is coming from, or what is driving this.  I have had many soul-searching wanderings in my head regarding this topic.  It is just this urge, this little push that I feel inside me. 

    I am also about to be 38, so if I am planning on having a fourth I do not have much time – if I haven’t already shot over the time allowed.  But at the same time I am not one hundred percent sure that I want to go through a pregnancy, and risk the stress, anxiety and the risk that at my “advanced age” maybe my eggs are a little old to work properly. I may decide to have a child join us through an adoption process.  I just don’t know.

    Before I get the “how crazy are you” comments – I do know how insane this sounds.  I can stand and argue with you, why it is probably not the best idea I have had.  I can help you list the reasons of why it is a really really bad idea. 

    But on the other hand .. there is this little tap-tap-tapping inside me, and right now I am just going to sit and listen to it and see where we go.

    The one about one starfish and surprises …..

    My mom called me last week and told me that the lady who works for her twice a week, found out she was 7 ½ months pregnant! My mom was astounded – less so than Alice no doubt. My mom had been amazed that Alice had not known.

    Alice (a different Alice from my friend Alice referred to from time to time in these posts) said that she had been ill for some time. Had been battling with blood pressure issues, and a few other health issues. She spent three days in hospital about a month ago and had been going to doctors for a few months due to all the problems she was experiencing.

    She is in her early thirties, has a three year old daughter and is in no way dim-witted. She said that her illness had masked the symptoms, and there really weren’t much in the way of symptoms even when she thought back and looked over the period. She has put on a bit of weight, but who hasn’t? She had been spotting each month, so there was no reason for her to think she was pregnant as she thought that it was her period.

    My initial response was “How can you not know you are pregnant? I mean how mentally slow must you be?” I really kept running this through my mind, and everyone I spoke to had the same reaction.

    Earlier this week I was on a blog site and stumbled across an article that was written about a woman in the States – Tina (can’t recall her surname and forgot to bookmark the site). She was regaling a story of a woman who was experiencing a particular heavy period and after extreme cramping, made her way to the nearby hospital – only to pop out a baby.

    She was more surprised that the staff who were attending to her as she had no idea she was pregnant.

    At the end of the blog, people had written their comments and many had either experienced something similar or knew someone who had been surprised by a baby. Tina herself has responded. She started her comment with “I’m not a stupid person ….” And explained that she had two children, was carrying a bit of weight, and also had experienced what she thought were periods, so there was no reason for her to think she might be pregnant.

    To add to the story, she has some sort of ovarian issue where she could not have more children, so at no point had she realized she was pregnant. I wish I had bookmarked the page to refer back to it, but I tried to look for it this morning without any luck.

    Anyway, back to Alice. My heart really goes out to her. Can you imagine having 4 weeks to prepare for a baby?

    To add to Alice’s situation her husband had abandoned her a few months earlier, which adds to the financial strain of her coping with her daughter and making ends meet. It turns out he was of the abusive sort, so she was not exactly crying at his departure.

    Her story really struck a chord (or is it cord?) with me – and I decided to assist her financially and materially as much as I could. I have bought her some baby things, and I had quite a lot of things that I could pass on to her. This week my mom and I are buying her a cot and some friends that have recently had boys are generously giving their baby boy things for me to pass on to Alice.

    I get overwhelmed by the fact that there so many people in need. You really do not know where to start. It is like standing in a sea of despair, where the onslaught is so great. However by taking this one tiny step forward to help Alice and her son, it feels like I am doing something.

    It’s not a lot in the bigger picture of all those who need something, but it will hopefully make a difference to this one mom and this one little boy. If Alice knows that someone cares and her situation is just a little less bleak, she will have more energy to care for her son, more reserves to face the challenges that await any new mother, and hopefully be able to feel less afraid.

    It reminds me of that fable/tale where the little boy is walking along the shoreline and there are thousands of star fish that have been washed ashore. He is walking and throwing them back one at a time. A man walking by, comments on the fact that are so many and really what difference is this boy going to make by throwing one or two back. The boy picks up a starfish and throws it back and goes: “I made a difference to that one….”

    It’s a good message – though I might have dubbed it up by my paraphrasing, but you might get the gist.

    Baby Shower

    I realise that this has no relevance to my blog and posts, but I thought this was very funny.  I have so many Zuma issues, I would not know where to start, so I prefer not to touch it, but I can live vicariously through Zapiro.

    No kids and the big green flying machine ….

    This past weekend Kennith and I escaped from our lives for a few days.  It was not impromptu. I am not going to try to appear like we live these carefree lives, where we run off into the sunset like teenagers and drink gin and tonics in the afternoon.  Nope, this was a weekend away sans kids that was planned down to the last detail.

    It was the first time I was going to leave my 7 month old baby, so that was quite traumatic for me.  I was convinced I was going to pull out at the last minute, and end up giving Kennith an ultimatum about not going without her.  I managed to wave goodbye – albeit with much difficulty and a large lump in my throat – on Friday morning as we headed to Cape Town International and risked life and limb flying with our airline of choice (financial not personal).

    By the time I got to the check in queue I was a little tearful – both because I was about to fly and because I had left Isabelle behind.  Almost on cue a woman appeared behind us with a  tiny baby in a pram.  This little thing was bleating at the top of his lungs.  As the baby cried, the more I started to cry with him.  I also started to release milk, which is not the ideal look one is trying to pull off in the airport.

    I managed to compose myself sufficiently to eat an extremely yellow lemon-and-poppyseed muffin and drink some bad tea, before we found our rather narrow and cramped seats on the large green carrier. 

    There were three kids on the plane – none mine – and I really felt sad when I heard them cry …. in the beginning.   

    I realized that I might have 30cm width to sit in and the guy in front of me practically in my lap, but the little space I had was all mine.  I managed to bend my body like a contortionist to get my book from my bag, and then sat with my book reading.  Now if I had a child anywhere near me, this would have been a totally different picture.  I would be imagining reading,  and would have been sorely disappointed when reality played out – with kids going wild within the confines of the metal box I was flying in.

    I would be stressed from the three hour preparation to get to the plane.  I would be sweaty and exhausted.  Further agitated that the kids would have played with all the entertainment I had brought with to keep them occupied for the duration of the flight – the plane had not even taxied off yet.  Things would be looking terribly bleak for the next two hours or so. 

    I would be wondering how I was going to get the air hostess person to serve me a bottle of wine before 9am! 

    I would further be stressed by the looks I would be getting from my fellow passengers – who would be travelling without kids – because like captive buck, they would be looking at me nervously wondering when my predators were going to strike.

    Instead, I looked down and continue to read my book.   A certain bliss and peace came over me.  It was shattered as soon as our pilot, who no doubt got his license from a correspondence college and had not completed the practical leg of his course successfully as yet.

    We spent the weekend acting like we had no children and drank way too much – all because we knew that there was not going to be a snuggly bug coming for a cuddle at 6am, or my daughter announcing to me at about 5:30am that she was going to the bathroom.  I browsed book stores, we hung out with friends, and we even managed to sit and stare at the television uninterrupted on Sunday morning watching Fawlty Towers – it was all quite idyllic.

    It was great to act like we were childless and care-free!  Of course we missed our sprockets, and when we finally got home around 10:30pm it was lovely to find them all knotted up in their duvets oblivious to us giving them good night kisses.

    Maybe being a mommy is not so bad, if I can run away from home every now and then.

    Speechless this morning…

    Connor is in Grade 2 and he has a little homework book that he brings home every day. Because I work and often have things after work, he attends aftercare and there they have a great homework programme.

    The result is that by the time he gets home he has done his homework – bless – and I can focus on getting him to eat his dinner, get in to the bath and argue with him about whether he has watched too much television. I do have to sign the homework book, which I also try to do each day and may spend a few minutes just touching on some of the homework revision.

    But I will confess to being happy to outsource this to the aftercare programme. Trying to do homework with Connor while his two sisters are vying for my attention gets a bit challenging and chaotic.

    Last week I was really not compus mentis and really should not have been operating heavy machinery on any of the days. I was having a bit of a depression low ebb funk that lasted all week. I glanced at his homework book and signed it , but did not take cognisense of what was there. What with trying to co-ordinate his chess lessons, getting him to and from his swimming gala, co-ordinating his tennis practice, practicing his numerics and his reading, all while trying to work full time, do the other stuff that moms and normal folk do.

    There had been a request to send a box of smarties which I had overlooked. When the teacher placed the note ?smartie box? I had not understood what the hell she was referring to. Only afterwards did I realize my oversight. Well I duly apologized to all concerned and felt like a real tosser for signing something and not reading it (I realize that this alone might make me qualify to work in government) and I thought that was that.

    This morning I am looking at the homework book to sign it, and Connor starts talking about the smartie box. I remind him that that was last week’s issue and there is nothing in this week’s homework that says he needs smarties again.

    He then says: “My teacher says a SENSIBLE mom would read the week’s homework and get everything for the week, that’s what a SENSIBLE mom would do.” I think I responded with “What! She actually said that…” (I might have said “What the Fukc!” inside my head….)

    Connor said yes, and merrily went on his way, our maid Pepe started giggling under her breath.

    Note to self:

    1. Go and see smartie teacher and give her a smack against the side of the head.

    2. Reduce Xmas bonus for Pepe!