Sunday was Chinese-water-torture Night

 

Basically the way the game is played, is that you are a little more stressed/exhausted than usual.  You are trying to get kids ready for bed, all the time while keeping an eye on the digital clock above the oven, as it flashes the minutes in large red letters.

Digital letters have never looked so alluring and sexy!

I know it is bad karma to wish for time to pass.  But when you are wanting kids in bed, and some time to yourself that does not involve the word “mommy” being used in a whiny voice, poo that is not yours and spilt milk, the minutes they cannot move fast enough.

I love that clock – I shout BINGO as soon as it says 19h30 (I shout it inside my head, I do not want to make the kids think I am any stranger than I already am)!

If your kids are young you can shout it earlier depending on when you have decided that  “Fek I have had enough of this, and these munchkins can go to right sleep now before I kill them!!”  So time is flexible at this point.

Older kids can tell time so once they are around 6 thistechnique of bending time gets more tricky. Unfortunately you only need one who can tell the time to spoil the entire thing for everyone.  This reason should be motivation enough for not training kids to tell time until they are about 11 or 15!

 Yes, you can set the clocks forward, but odds are you will forget as soon as kids are in bed, and you have finished the second bottle of wine, and then you are pretty stuffed the next day as you are then never on time for anything!  It’s a good idea but lacks in application.

Background:  Kennith had been away for a week, and two weekends.  Added to that I started a new job on Monday.  The kids started of a new school year.   Isabelle was having a reaction to the 18 month jabs I had done for her last week.  I get anxious when Kennith is away  – like really!  Combination = total stressed out me.

Sunday afternoon Kennith got home.  We did dinner and then started aiming the kids to bed.  There was the usual chaos.  Georgia was being Georgia.  I was at the juncture where our three child family was about to become a two child family with the mom at Polsmoor.

Got kids into thier beds – I might have thrown them a bit….but I aimed them towards where there were pillows and a duvet, so that must count for something.

I am doing stuff, Kennith is lying on the bed with his iPhone – one of the kids cries/needs a bum wipe or something – Kennith chirps “just because I am home doesn’t mean I am on child duty right?” 

What do you think I am thinking right now?  It’s not “I heart you” right now, that is for free.  He has been away for two weekends.  I don’t care where he was, he wasn’t here and that counts as a holiday in my book.

I got in to bed around 23h30 and fell asleep after less than a paragraph of my book. 

Isabelle started to moan, and I thought I would leave her and she would settle and then everyone would be asleep.  Happy days.

Then I listened and thought, well I should just go in and check on her to make sure her leg is not caught in the cot bars, or she has poo’d so much her nappy is leaking it all over her cot bedding – both of which has occurred.  So guilt got me out of bed, and I went down the passage to check on her.

If I settle her, she will go to sleep and then I can sleep, and that was my motivation and I figured, I do this one and we are sorted.  Right?  Not so much.

I go and settle her and head back to bed.  As I start to doze, I hear her moan again.

Again I think, should I leave her to sort it out or should I go in and just make sure she is fine, so she can go to sleep and I can enter Nirvana?

I go in and settle her.  She is sort of half sleeping half awake, and moaning, which is not a good sign.  But I pat her, cover her with a blanket, and exit the room.

The same process then repeats itself about five more times until about 1am.  By around this point I have lost what ever was left of my sense of humour.

Just after 1am, Kennith hears her for the first time, jumps out of bed, stumbles down the passage, comforts her and falls back into bed.

I decided to lie there and let him, I should have stopped him as I had just done that, but I figured he could get this one, I would get the next dozen or so.

The balance of Monday morning  was the exact same routine, over and over again until around 5am.

At that point she escalated the moaning to screaming.  I was past caring for her or being concerned for her at this point.  I was trying to work out how many Voyager miles it would take for me to go to China.  Not because I wanted to specifically go to China, I just did not want to be here anymore.

Kennith woke up, I suggested we fetch Isabelle and put her in our bed.  He said no.

Only because I was so sleep deprived at this point, I was past reasoning, and hoped/fantasized/seen once in a movie, that a couple slept with their baby in the bed.

Kennith said no, and was about to launch into a lecture about the evils of children sleeping in their parents bed, and the bad example it sets, and global warming and why Kim Kardashian is a great person to follow on Twitter.

I switched off (from him – I could still hear Isabelle clearly), rolled on my side, and continued to tighten the jaw muscles to see if I could actually snap off a molar.

Kennith woke up, he suggested we fetch Isabelle and put her in our bed.  I said that is a great idea.  He fetched her.

She did however continue to moan and thrash around the bed, and kick me and stick her fingers in my eye.  Fabulous if this is your thing, not so good if you are hoping for a slither of sleep.

Kennith managed to go back to sleep, albeit for a few minutes.

I would like to say that I was really happy for him, as he has been travelling and had been away, and really needed sleep.  But I was slightly less than charitable in my thoughts.

Isabelle continued to moan and be up for most-likely-to-be-packed-in-a-cardboard-box-and-given-to-gypseys.

This went on all morning  – of the little bit that was left.

Eventually  I picked her up, put her in the passage and called loudly/screamed down the passage: “Pepe, please come and get her, else I am going to do something with her that I am going to regret!” 

It sounded nicer that what I was thinking which was: “Pepe, come and get this fekn child!”  But I know Pepe knows Child Services telephone number so I am careful what I say around her some times.

Pepe fetched Isabelle.

I had a shower.  I dressed.  Fortunately my wardrobe is jean pant with a shirt and black shoes, so that often does not take much brain power.  Tried to drink a cup of tea which tasted like crap – because my taste buds were not functioning.

It felt like a sheep and peed in my eyes.  Why a sheep?  I don’t know, it just felt like livestock has been urinating in my eyes, and sheep just seemed the most likely to get up to that sort of nonsense.

Shuttled kids into the car.  Said good bye to Pepe and Isabelle and then tried to get through the next 10 hours feeling like dog crap on a pair of grasshopper shoes.  It was a very long day, and all I could think about was sleeping.

I seriously do not know how mothers function who do this for several days at a trot.  I often hear from moms who have not had a full night sleep since Julius did woodwork, and I am totally flabbergasted at how they function.

One night of this and I was ready to say or do anything just to get some sleep.  Yes, it was me on the grassy knoll –  it was me, now leave me alone and let me sleep.

I still do not know what was wrong with Isabelle.  For fear of repeating the same routine last night I packed her in her cot with a healthy dose of Nurofen for kids.   

I slept like the dead last night, and woke up this morning feeling a lot saner than yesterday, and almost refreshed.   Isabelle also looks like she is back to her chipper self.  Monkey!

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Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.

It is not that I can’t sing.

It is that I suck at singing.  I cannot hold a tune.

I sound like a very bad audition for Idols.  I am the “wooden mike” award who would actually make it on to the show, just for the laugh factor.

I have had these fantasies – yes, fantasies – that I would stand up and this voice would come out of me.  People would swoon in wonder and look at each other and smile as a tear ran down their cheek – that is the effect my “fantasy” voice would have on them.

They would murmur to each other that they have sighted the second coming.

It is all too much, it is all too much wine actually.

I can’t even hum without scaring little children.

I am not the “I can’t sing” and the then the crowd cajoles you into one last rendition of “Misery” and you bring the house to tears.

For sh*t sake, I seriously cannot sing!  I cannot carry a tune – even drunk, and often that is when people do their best work.

I actually mime “happy birthday to insert-child’s-name-here” when we go to birthday parties as I seriously cannot sing.

At my kid’s birthdays I try to look busy when it is time to sing as I do not want to scar them for life.  I usually scout the room beforehand and grab who I think is probably the loudest person and get them to start the sing along.

I make excuses about having to organise cake and candles, and well being busy-busy.

I am a little embarrassed by it.  Unfortunately since Jane Austin standing around the family piano and singing a medley has not longer been a necessity to finding a husband and being part of a social circle, there are far fewer moments where one is actually MADE to sing.

When I was at primary school I was in the choir.

I have no idea how.  It appears I have the gift of imitation on my part, or deafness and/or disinterest on the choir teacher’s part.

I found a way to sort of imitate the person next to me and follow their general sound.  I really enjoyed choir, like nerdy enjoyed.

A growing-up-scaring-moment for me, was when the choir teacher was suspicious that there was someone way off key in her little group of singers.

She let everyone sing, and then slowly “zoned” in … on me.

She cancelled out everyone and then stood in front of me and asked me to continue singing.  It was not even sad and embarrassing it was just tragic.

I had to stand there and sing all by myself as all my choir mates looked on – in horror.  Then as the chorus rose to a sort of Mariah Carey level, my voice totally disappeared.

I was so embarrassed, but carried on (the trooper I am) – even when I was doing that silent voice thing.  The part where you open your mouth and f*k all comes out.  Fond memories those.

My primary school was big on staging Operettas.

I am not sure how to explain them other than I think our headmaster had a thing for plays/dramas and writing really bad songs for school children to sing.  I am sure if he was still a head master, someone from ChildLine would have been giving him a call and raised some concerns.

I recall the teacher who was conducting the entire thing telling us that the headmaster had written them while he was in the army.  At the time we all made the obligatory “ooohhhh” and “aaahhhh” sounds, but bear in mind I was about 7.

If I knew now that a boy in the army was writing operettas, I would want to check the ruling parties policy on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the armed forces.  But at 7, I thought it was very cool and manly.

Any the who.

I was in this Aladdin play/operetta/stage show extravaganza.

During practice I realized I was a better than Belinda Dennison who was cast as Aladdin’s mother.  Sure she had 25kg on me, but I could totally upstage her.  Which I preceded to do in rehearsals.

It was quite a big supporting part, and had a ton of stage time.

Then the teachers who were organizing asked me to attend an audition where they wanted me to sing the opening song with a piano accompaniment, as the part required quite a bit of acting but (sadly  for me) quite a bit of singing.

I would love to say that as soon as the piano piece started I belted out the piece to audience applause.   Unfortunately the reality is that I sucked and even at 7 I recognized that I was going down without a parachute.

I could not hit a note – any note!

Instead of my big stage moment, I got moved to the understudy’s understudy of Aladdin’s mom.   As Belinda was not going to die from Influenza on opening night it seemed I would need to be satisfied with being cast to appear on stage in part 2, scene 4 as a Chinese palace guard.

Which would have been fabulous had I not forgotten I had a mascara-chinese-moustache on 2 minutes before going on stage, and then managed to smudge it all over my face!

Fast forward thirty odd years, I still can’t sing.

Tonight Isabelle was crying.  I went to pick her up and comfort her and soothe her to sleep.

Again I was reminded of the fact that I appear to know no lullabies.

I sort of stumbled through “Hush little baby” and then fumbled through “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” After the first line I was at a total loss and sort of hummed the rest, but badly and off key.

A few nights earlier I had been called upon to sing lullabies and realized that I did not know any.

Three kids and no knowledge of lullabies, what does that say about my mothering skills and my ability to comfort my children?

I did realized that I knew “Ten Green Bottles hanging on the Wall.”

The stuff that comes to you as you rock a child to sleep in the darkness, in the middle of the night.

Easy to sing.  Words sort of flow from there, and a really simple melody that even I could not muck up.

Tonight I felt that I did not want to try a bit harder and not resort to  “Ten Green Bottles hanging on the Wall,” so I figured I would try to work my way through a Christmas carol.

I realized I knew almost all the words of “Silent Night” and sung that as a lullaby.

Even I could hear that my voice was shockingly off key, I also did not know the words just after “all is calm, all is bright” and sort had to muddled my way through that.

I totally suck at lullabies, but Isabelle rested her head against my chest, put her thumb in her mouth and her eyelids got heavy as I tickled her back and totally massacred “Silent Night.”

Tea time …

Connor has just started to be able to make me tea in the morning.   He is also at that point where he is dead excited to be making it for me.

I realise there is a small window of opportunity here to abuse this situation.  I have decided to get as much cups of tea in the morning in bed, until this particular episode of boys-who-love-their-moms passes.

So yesterday I hear Connor in the passage, so I yell up the passage – in my best trailer park fashion: “Connor how does tea sound?”

Connor: “Like Ttttttttttteeeeeaaaaaaaaaa….” (he is sounding out the letter T in the event that my description did not do it justice)

You know when you sit there and realise that you will not be getting any tea, it was a bit like that.

Come out, come out, where ever you are ….

This morning I woke myself up at 2:05am and proceeded to lie there staring at the ceiling.

I did eventually put the light on and start to read.  It was clear I was not going to be falling asleep.  My book is so appallingly boring it has put me to sleep every night for the last week.  But there I was zooming through a few hundred pages, and no sleep in sight.

I took a long bath at about 6:30 and then realized I was dead tired.  The idea of closing my eyes and lolling off to sleep in the bath felt like such a divine idea.  Unobtainable, but a divine idea none the less.  My eyes were doing slow, lazy blinks,  I felt like I was nursing a three-bottles-of-wine hangover.

I got myself ready, and sat on the bed drinking my tea, while Isabelle drank her bottle – its pretty much the oasis in the chaos of our usual morning.  Our little quiet moment together.

I did realize that our “quiet moment” was REALLY quiet.  The kids weren’t there,  Kennith had left for work, but it was just TOO QUIET.

There was a distinct absence of the sound of Pepe in the house.  Trying not to be too concerned, I got myself ready and went down the passage with Isabelle on my hip.   It felt reminscent of those horror movies where the pretty, but not so bright lead character walks around the scary house going “is anyone there, is anyone there?’ and you know that she is going to get her head hacked off by some diranged ice skater in a very unattractive mask.  It felt alarming similiar.

So there I was looking around and no Pepe – hmm, this was all a bit worrisome.

So I call a little – not too loudly …. as you do when the fear starts to creep up your spine. (Any mom with kids who is facing a morning and is suddenly a domestic MIA knows how this feels.)

So I call out in a little trembling voice getting louder now: “Pepe? Pepe?”

Nothing …. only me and the eerie silence.

I go to her room and knock on her door.  Expecting her to come limping out with a lost left foot, and covered in leprosy sores, because this would be the only forgivable reason for her tardiness.

Still nothing – now I am starting to get a  bit more worried – more about me than her you understand.  I have that look of confusion on my face.  You know the one where the furrow on your forehead (the ones between your eyes) are so deep, that you realize that even Botox can’t save you.

I’m thinking alien abduction? I seldom go with the logical obvious explanations in these situations.

I go back into the house and stand there – baby still on hip – and go “WTF?”

I am all out of ideas, barring one.  I call her on the cell phone.  Expecting to find that she is maybe on the crapper and just could not answer the door when I knocked – that must be the reason.

Pepe does answer her phone I hear a helluva lot of traffic around her and again go “WTF?”  What is street traffic doing in her room?  Sometimes the brain he does not always catch up on the small signs to give you the bigger picture.

She goes: “Don’t you remember that it is Home Affairs today?”  Which I loosely translate to mean that she told me about an appointment/arrangement at Home Affairs at some point, and clearly I had forgotten.  She had not deemed it necessary to repeat it to me in the last two weeks, or even the last two days, to draw my attention to this rather vital piece of information.

“So, no actually I did not remember Home Affairs else I would not have looked behind the dog’s kennel for you as I did.  Because I thought that you were playing a rather juvenile version of hide-and-seek-when-madam-has-baby-on-hip-and-needs-to-go-to-place-of-employment!  So, no honestly I did not think Home Affairs!”

I immediately hit panic mode.  Admittedly I was in panic mode already since the lonely walk down the passage.  Now I just decided to do more actions other than playing hiding-freak’n-seek-with-my-maid.

Threw Isabelle into clothes that weren’t her jammies. I made two bottles, threw blankets, toys, cereal, bowl, spoon and stuff into a bag, grabbed my bag, grabbed her, grabbed my  other bag, gtabbed my other stuff and headed out the door.  There really was no time to work out a plan, it was just reactive stuff now with short bursts of cursing thrown in for good measure.

I get to work, people smile.  No one seems to have a problem with the fact that I have a baby on my hip – who it turns out is wearing the same colour combination as I am – red shirt, blue denims – totally unintentional, but totally nerdy.

I sit down at our production meeting with our production team.  Isabelle is on my lap playing with a squeegee thing and we are all sitting there like it is a normal day and nothing is amiss.  She threw up on my leg, tossed various things off the production table and onto the floor, but no one looked at me skew, or seemed to mind.  There we were talking about lead dates,binding, creasing, UV’ing and sexy stuff like that.

After the meeting I went upstairs, she sat on my lap at my desk.  I dealt with various dead line issues, and I walked around the factory with her on my hip.  Everyone acted like it was all normal and quite expected.

I sat on my office floor and fed her porridge.  I gave her a bottle and made a little bed for her on the floor of my office – I am in an office area with 5 other people and it is quite noisy.  Everyone started speaking a bit quieter, they turned the air conditioner off and acted like this was all part of a normal day.

How cool is that?  It’s a good place to work when your colleagues and bosses kind of roll with you and your logistical issues, and do not throw a wobbly because you have drooling infant on your hip ….

Of motivation and mantras….

I really do not enjoy going to Adventure Boot Camp.  I really can’t even fake interest – Kennith can vouch for that.

But I drag myself literally kicking and whining to boot camp at least three times a week. Okay, sometimes only twice.

I was busy driving there last night and wondered to myself how I could explain to anyone how I – the most unmotivated person with regards to exercise – stays motivated enough to go to ABC, when I really do not enjoy it.  Then it came to me – like a little high pitched voice out of the darkness.

Georgia!

It happened like this.

I am lying semi-asleep on my left side, with the duvet sort of pulled haphazardly over my body.  I have a nightshirt on that has ridden up a bit – as does tend to happen as one sleeps.  I am not trying to start a cheap sex blog here, I am merely trying to assist you to picture the scene from the safety of your home.

So there I am lying, hoping for a few more minutes of sleep.  I know the kids are moving around the house.  I really do not know why people think there is a pitter-patter of little feet in a house with kids, it is a more like the sound of a stampede 0f wildebeest.  Any-the-how, I digress.

So there I lie, with just the right amount of saliva dribbling out of the corner of my mouth.  <Too much and it wets the pillow and wakes you up, just enough moistens your lips so they do not go all dry and crispy when you first yawn.>

I hear the distinct whisper of Georgia standing behind me.

Georgia: “Hello mommy” <I can hear her smiling – she is such a happy little thing.>

Me – substituting until real mommy arrives: “Hello my love ….”

Georgia: “Are you sleeping mommy?”

Me: “Not so much sweetie…”

Georgia: “Mommy when I am big, will I be as big as you?”

Me: “errr, I think so sweetie, you are already such a big girl …… please go and watch tv with your brother like a big girl.”

Georgia: ” Mommy…”

Me: “Yes Georgia bear….”

Georgia: “When I am big, will I have a big bum like you?”

And  now I have a mantra forAdventure Boot Camp …

I wish someone had told me …..

… how exhausted you felt once the euphoria of the birth had worn off.

…. how strange your body will feel to you now that it has all this extra padding and Pamela Anderson boobs.

… how difficult breast feeding can be, and how rewarding it can be if you get it right.

…. how much space the pram, the babyseat, the mobiles, the feeding chair, and all the other stuff really take up in your house.

…. how much of an impact this little person has on your relationship and your life.

… how alone you feel at 3am when you feel like you are the only person awake in the entire world.

…. that you are going to cry, and probably a lot – as it is all a bit overwhelming, and you know it is okay to just bawl like a baby with a snotty nose.

…. To start buying packs of nappies in the first month of pregnancy so I could build up a healthy supply – as the cost is exhorbitant.

…. To ignore everything and lie in bed with my tiny baby and have an extra long cuddle instead of rushing around and attending to the house and life.

… that pregnancy is the only time where you can just say “no” to things guilt free, and spend the time just resting – as you are going to need all the energy you can muster to get through those chaotic first three months.

… that trying to claim for UIF benefits through the Department of Labour might well send you into early labour or to jail for killing someone. There are companies that specialize in this (not the killing – though there are – but I am talking about companies that claim benefits on your behalf – try momsuifassist.co.za) , use them and do yourself a favour – you really do not need the aggravation!!

….that you do not have to be “fine” every time someone asks – it is okay to admit you are struggling and it really is hard.

… that the only mom’s who look perfectly turned out with beaming smiles and great hair, are those mom’s who have had two hours of makeup and hair, and the photographer is using soft lighting in the L&L magazines.

… that the woman in many of the pregnancy magazines have been retouched to hide their big blue veins on their boobs and their giant stretch marks on their stomachs. (I used to work at a company that retouched those pictures…)

…. that if you can afford it go for a wonderful photoshoot with your pregnant tummy. You might feel a bit like Orca, but you probably look wonderful and having great photos to remember that time are going to be absolute priceless to you.

… that in one moment you will get so angry with this little baby for keeping you awake and reducing you to a wet blubbering mess, but the very next moment you would lay down your life for this person without any hesitation.