Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Pirate Party at Ennis

We were invited to a Pirate Party at our local Ennis Garden Centre in Honeydew.
I was not even aware that they had a play area for the kids, but I have found my second best place to go with kids...

(Papachinos is still a firm favourite as our little bit of children's heaven!)

But Ennis will definitely come in handy if you get tired for waiting in queues (as you do at Papachinos), or of too much of shrill voices... Because it is smaller and quaint!


There was a happy pirate birthday boy!

And a pirate ship birthday cake!


With loads of "treasures"


Aye! It was a mighty fine party for this Beauty!


Monday, 30 January 2012

Have we failed our children? - Initiation


To take them to higher institutions of learning that still carry on with the age-old initiation practices of bullying and emotional abuse?

I have to tell my first year that it is not as bad as it seems, although I despised the practices years ago when I was subjected to it.

The bullying stays the same!

I feel that I have failed my child!

I have entrusted my child to be taken care of in a residence where they are subjected to violent practices I would never have done to my own child.
Now apparently I have given “permission” for seniors who are only two to three years older to subject my daughter to tyranny!

They call it “Ontvangs- en Bekendstelling” (Welcome & Introduction), but it’s far from the truth!

  • She is afraid to walk in her own residence because of the verbal abuse they are subjected to when encountering a senior or House Committee (HC) member.
  • She is afraid to go to the toilet!
  • She does not get enough sleep, and that has been the case for two weeks now.
  • After they have finished with them - subjected them to all kinds of abusive rituals – they have to “prepare stuff” for the following day. Usually after 12 at night!
  • They are forced to look down when encountering a senior, but they have to know all of the senior’s names (without looking at them)!
  • They are forced to address the entire senior corps as Sir or Miss.
  • I have to look at status updates such as “Hate this place!”; “Hate this! I am so over this crap!”; “No sleep for me tonight!”; “Do not want to go to the residence!”
  • She said they were told that they would be in big trouble if they complain!
  • They are not allowed to go anywhere without permission, and they are kept busy 24/7 with stuff such as “flowers” folding for the upcoming Rag on Saturday.


This is definitely not orientation, but initiation!

It doesn’t help to tell me that one day she will look back and laugh at this! 
This is not how a society should treat its “first year’s”!

Why can’t all the parents stand up and say “enough is enough”?
We don’t want our children subjected to this!

Instead we are scared to become a lone voice for fear of our child being victimized!

I am so sorry, my child!
I have thought we have moved past this!

This is happening at NWU Potchefstroom at the residences.
Judging by Twitter and the newspapers it is happening at other universities as well…
We have not evolved at all!

Related post:
Orientation seems a lot like initiation

Friday, 27 January 2012

Practising the finger!

If you see me walking around while throwing the Finger...

Please don't be offended!

I desperately wanted to throw the finger in traffic today!
A person of the female species hooted behind me!
Because I slacked down for a car to pass...

I could not get my left hand to go up fast enough in the middle finger to show her how I felt about it, and all she saw was a hand waving with all fingers...

I need to practise for next time!
(Not very Zen, I know! I don't care!)

The traffic that we have now in Johannesburg is not for sissies!

I need appropiate traffic communication skills mastered!
Sometimes you need the Finger!

Morning's first photo - with my teacher

Teacher Fransie
Photo by Dad (on request by Mum)
It's Friday, and I like my teacher!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Da Engleesh

WordItOut word cloud
English is my second language.


I get it wrong and twisted and confuse my “is”-s and my “are”-s, and sometimes I put the I before the other person.

I forget who is my “cousin” is, and who is my “niece”!

Please be kind.

I don’t mind if you tell me I have made a grammar or spelling mistake!

I wants to use the big words, but Da Engleesh fails me!

This little bloggy are having a fail-English-day!

(Please tell I it is totally allowed?)

Accept my sincere apologies if I have offended your English language masterfulness!



Tomorrow I promise I will be better!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Orientation seems a lot like initiation

I would have been mad from anger and bitterness if they had phoned me from university to tell me that my child had died at university. Even before he had started with his studies...

They call it orientation, but the same old practices that we had been subjected to, are still being practised in higher institutions!

I thought we had moved on?
Apparently not!

The same barbaric rituals of name-calling, uniforming and belittling takes place again.
Today!

I don't know how it is possible for a student to die in a swimming pool where there were 3000 people and nobody saw hom dying? Nobody missed him until later...

But I do know that it is practices of initiation that makes them shy to come forward to be picked upon.
Would he have said that he could not swim?
And then face some dire consequences?

I have always seen the people that do the initiation practices as going on power trips, as well as having insecurity issues!
I my days I could not stand any of the responsible people of the House Committee who screamed at us, and made us afraid to move around...

My own daughter was still afraid on Sunday to move on her own floor in her residence in case she has to face a HC member... A week after the "orientation" started!

They are starting a new life, in new surroundings, and without their family members.
The trauma is increased exponentially when as soon as the parents leave they are being subjected to all sorts of rituals...

I am just venting!

Yes, sure! We had to go through it!
But is it really necessary?

I think it is barbaric and a sign of a lower evolved species!
When are we going to wake up and treat our fellow human beings with respect?
Even those who are younger and less experienced than us?

My thoughts go to the parents who have lost their child!
It seems we are still "dying for an education" here in South Africa!

One of the news articles:
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Student-drowns-during-orientation-at-NWU-20120122


Monday, 23 January 2012

Threats from our toddler

37 months on Saturday and she knows how to make a threat!


“I am going to tell my sister!”
(The sister who is now at varsity.)

Then it gets more violent after that, because she tells us what her sister is going to do with us…

With guns and knives…

It’s funny, but also NOT!

Where does she get the language? Because it is not how we speak to her or each other…

A sad reflection of our society today?

Too much TV?

Bad TV?

Bad parenting?

We find that being a 3-year old is a very aggressive age!


The year is in full swing and its back to tiny gymnastics again! She missed the classes, and I could see the improvement from the previous year.
Tiny Tumbles

The Toddler met her new cousin, and we had a whole discussion about the family hierarchy.

“Sunet is my baby!”
Dad: “No, she is Elise & Karel’s baby! She is your cousin!”
“She is MY cousin, not yours!”
Dad: “Of course, because I am her uncle!”
“She is not Clarisse’s cousin!”
Dad: “No, she is Clarisse’s sister!” and so on...

She also did not want me to take the baby home!
Welcome, Sunet!

We had a very relaxing weekend with our toddler, and there was time to do some decorating in her room, thanks to Mr Price!

Pinocchio turned out to be a scary bed-time story, because she woke up screaming about the growing nose last night!
Back back in the shelve with Bambi...

Monday, and missing the little face her again!


How was your weekend?


Related post:
Some toddler stuff

Friday, 20 January 2012

Missing the little face

The working mother's lament...

It is worse now, because Hubby drops her off at the school in the mornings!

It helps getting me to work earlier... (Helps with juggling all the "balls")

But she still sleeps when we put her in the car in the mornings!

Now I can't wait to pick her in the afternoons!

This week has been long enough!

Friday, you are just in time!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

How many times do we have to say it?

Wash your hands!


Close your mouth while eating!

Blow your nose!

Cough with your hands in front of your mouth!

Flush the toilet!

Brush your teeth!

Say please!

Say thank you!

What do you say?

Eat something/anything on your plate!

No, we are not going to buy sweets!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Morning's first photos - no tears today


Breakfast in the car, waiting for the school gates to open

Photo through window:
She did not want to give me the satisfaction of waving, but was happy to look at a DVD
Some days are better than others!
We still get the days with tears!

Tomorrow the school are starting here.
I hope that the structure of going to her own class with her own teacher would help to settle her in the new school.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Smurf-a-fear

The Smurf came to visit at a nearby trading store.

We went to show The Toddler!
We drove there!
Out of our way!
Especially for her!

When we came near, she exclaimed: "Ek wil hom nie he nie!" - I do not want him!

While walking around in the store, she wanted to go and see it again.
Only to cry again and declaring the same! Again...


This is a reminder to my daughter of the stuff we did for you!
(One day when you read this!)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A weekend of opposites

- We had to say goodbye to our student who was bouncing ball of readiness for her new life at varsity.

- The same day we had to encourage her to not see it "as the end of the world"!
   (Orientation, which includes initiation practices, are very much alive at university!)

- I had to suppress a few tears. My daughter is finally moving on!

- I had to smile at her exuberance!

- I am feeling a bit apprehensive and sorry for her, wondering if she would be able to cope with the verbal abuse?

- She got a warning for not remembering a senior's name! Three warnings gets you kicked out... Which made her very upset!

- We are saying that it's all bluff (and had a secret smile about it)!

- I am so excited about her being able to study and enter a new phase.

- My daughter don't know if she will be able to cope with the next three weeks!

- I told her that she would definitely be able to cope with it. She is very strong.
She "survived" her dad with his emotional games! She can do it!


I don't understand why you have to "break" someone to build them up again?
I also hated initiation in my days at varsity, but I thought it was a thing of the past?

You will be okay, my girl! I know you will!


Related post: 
Varsity, here I come!


Friday, 13 January 2012

A blog book swop is a great idea

Jeannette Walls: The Glass Castle
Robyn at I'm so not blogger (private blogger) came up with the great idea of a book swap in October last year. The invitation was on The Book Club Blog.
She asked for participants on her blog, and we each got a name to send one of our most cherished, favourite reads of all time... (Something like that!)

It turned out to be a real head bursting and soul searching (okay, not that bad!) exercise!
In the first instance we don't know the people we are supposed to send the books to. Only the little bit we learn about them from their blogs...

I got Shayne at [Time Out] (private blogger) to send my choice to.
Because I was afraid that she would have most  classics already, I bought her Paul Coelho's most recent publication, Aleph!
One of my favourite books of all time is of course his book The Alchemist.
I could not resist the temptation, and bought myself the same book! The only book I finished this December.
It is a fantastic read of autobiographical self-discovery and  the meeting of space and time in the Aleph!

My book that I got through the post was sent by Mel B from Simply Mel B blog: Jeannette Walls: The Glass Castle.
This is what she had to say about it:
"So glad you got it! It was my favourite read this year. It speaks to me so much of how the choices we make despite circumstances - and the power of the human spirit. It is a beautifully written, honest account of one womans experience as part of a highly unusual family."
I am still busy reading it!
I find it a bit upsetting to read about the hardships of the little ones in a very strange upbringing. It makes me want to "rescue" them, but it makes me also think about the upbringing of children and how sometimes hardships make them very independent and capable human beings.
Which is what every parent wants for their children...

It is a very good read, and I am so glad I have participated. I would not have known about it if if was not for this book swap!

Next year I'm in!

Thanks Robyn!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Varsity, here I come!

Benji, the dog, with "tertiary aspirations"?
The student in our midst is like a wound-up jack-in-the-box!
I took a day's leave to sort out her list of things-to-buy... (Ouch!)

I bullied this short piece out of her. (Thanks, girl!)
It is great to see so much excitement about starting a new chapter in her life.


I am done with my school career and now my new chapter starts!

I am going to study BA Communication. It has everything to do with journalism to radio personalities to diplomats, you name it!

I want to do book editing when I’m done studying, but I’m also considering journalism.

I have written for my school newspaper and I enjoyed it so much! I’m also gonna try and write for the university newspaper.

I am in the residence which I fell in love with. 
My roommate looks like a very nice girl. She also plays netball and does track running.   
The colour of our residence is red and black, which I think is super awesome!! Colours like brown, orange and yellow is a NO GO, when it comes to uniform. I had those three colours as my primary school uniform...very bad!!

University is going to be very fun, but also a lot of work.

I will make a success of this! 

Wish me luck!

Tips picked up while camping with a toddler

We went camping for a week during the December holidays. With The Toddler!

There are some tips I have mentally jotted down for myself to remember for next time... I was actually saying that I do not want to go camping very soon, but I looked through our photos again tonight...

I can do it again!

Tips for camping with a toddler:

1. When the first rain drops start to fall, run to the toilets. You may not get another chance for a very long time...

2. Make sure that your tents are not pitched down-hill. Our poor neighbours had a night of horror when all the water flowed into their tent.

3. Use a backpack for the toddler for hiking while it is still possible to carry them. It makes it a lot easier, although it can become quite heavy. We shared the burden (see photo above).

4. Wear the correct shoes at least, and don't forgot the sunscreen. I was amazed to see parents going on a hike with their children while they were running barefoot.

5. Don't pack too many outfits for the toddler. Waste of space... Our toddler kept on wearing her favourite outfits, again and again!

6. Don't sweat the small stuff! Chill!

7. Our toddler does not want to shower! It does not help to try and force it! I heard afterwards of someone making a suggestion of putting a basin on the bottom of the shower and filling it up. (Why did I not think of it?) Swimming also helps!

8. Try not to force the insect issue. The Toddler freaks out when she notices any bugs.
There are a few meanies out there! This spider was working down his catch of the day!

9. Remember to pack some toys, but not too much! Colouring books and stickers went a very long way!

10. Take time to spend in nature with a toddler. Our daughter gets excited now every time she sees a mountain on television. I think we have inspired a mountain climbing spirit in her ;-)

11. Encourage toddlers to make friends with the neighbours. It keeps them busy, and give the parents some breaks. They also teach each other about sharing. Our English neighbour can now say in Afrikaans: "Dit is my beurt" (It is my turn!)

12. The last point as seen on Pinterest: I call it my camping mantra:
"Keep calm and camp on"


Any other tips for making camping a little bit easier?

Monday, 9 January 2012

My word: Sorted

Lynette of Creative Moments inspires me each year about her word for the New Year. Her word is embrace.
Bron at Maxabella Loves also has a link-up with her word for the year: better.

Great words!


But I think I have a great inspirational word for this year.

My word for last year did not move. It did not even made a feeble flutter attempt. It did not move from the starting block!
Energy

Energy, you fell flat on your face!

I am reminded of a quote by Neale Donald Walsch:  "...in the absence of that Which You Are Not, that which you are—is not!"

But I am standing up again (it's a New Year!), dusting off all the cob-webs, and this year is going to be sorted BIG TIME!

It is not a word announcing that something is going to happen. No, it has been sorted already!

I am working on my achievable goals for the year. I am so sorted!
The Student is sorted at varsity, and The Toddler is sorted at Big School!

We are a family sorted! :D


Do you have a word for the year?
Does it work having a word for the year?

(Photo: Patrick Pretorius Photography)

Friday, 6 January 2012

Grateful for 2012

52 Weeks of Grateful
I am linking up with Maxabella Loves and Kidspot with their weekly 52 weeks of Grateful.for this year.

There is nothing that self-motivates and aspires than a grateful attitude and perspective on life.
I am copying what Maxabella Loves says about "noticing better" (her words):
I’m Bron from Maxabella loves... and years ago I started writing down three things every week that made me feel grateful. Just plain grateful, nothing special. However, the power of gratitude to lift and inspire is amazing and before long I realised that I was living my life looking for things to be positive about. Even in the midst of a slow or difficult week, I would feel hopeful, energised and just bloody lucky to be here. One way or another, being grateful just changed the way I look at life.

This week I am... Grateful for 2012!

A New Year is overwhelming, and has the ability to knock you down with responsibilities and routine and  stuff to do...

The word for this week Beginnings fits in perfectly with being grateful about 2012. 
A New Year of New Beginnings! 
A New Year of starting afresh. 

I am always saying that I love new beginnings, and that we are allowed to make as many new beginnings that changes our lives and us for the better. 
My first blog post "Mom blogging"  states that it is all about new beginnings...
If I did not make a new beginning in a previous life, I would have "drowned" in a situation that was intolerable! 

The Toddler started her year at a new pre-primary school. She loves it already because she did not want to leave this afternoon!

The student in our home is leaving for varsity for a whole new exciting adventure!

Hubby and me will have a different family life this year as well...
Minus a family member... More time? We will see!
We have personal and physical and financial and spiritual and emotional and intellectual goals to set, and some to change this year!

Whoop-whoop! 2012! You are going to be great year!
Let the NEW begin!

Morning's first photo #30 - Day 2 at the Big School

I still could not get her to give me a smile, but she was happy to go today.

She asked me when we left at home where we are going.
When I told her that we are going to school, she said "No, she wants to go to the Big School!"

We placed her bag in an empty classroom, and she asked me where the person was. She wants to go to somebody. I had to reassure her I would not leave her in an empty classroom.

So we went to where the other children were gathering, and the teacher gave them some clay to play with!

Day 2, and it is going well already!
Shew, nothing like a happy child that makes for a happy working mother!
2012 is going to be a good year!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Proud of her

Today was a big day! Not only did The Toddler start at her new school, we also had another celebration!

The matric results were announced!

Our daughter got four distinctions. She missed one by 1%, and is going to ask for it to be remarked!

I am so proud of her! She worked hard, and she's got something to show for it!

There are some of the top achievers who say that it comes easily, and one even said "Because I can!" (he got 12 distinctions)...
But most have to work for it!

What I also admire of my daughter is that she is well-balanced.
She takes time to spend with her boyfriend and friends, she loves reading, and she loves keeping active...
I could not have wished for more!

She is extremely excited to start her new year at varsity!
A new chapter is beginning for her this year!


Well done, my girl!

Related posts:
Grade 12 - the stress is getting to me
Officially unemployed
How do moms do exams?

(Photo: Elise du Toit Photography)


First day at a new school

Finally, the first day at a new pre-primary school for The Toddler!
She is starting with a 4-year old group of kids.

I've had nightmares about it...

It feels like I am sending my child to real school for the first time! Everything is structured and organised.

But it's a beautiful place, and the teachers are qualified and very welcoming!

We made specially sure that The Toddler got enough sleep by doing a long sleep drive last night. It worked!

Until there was thunder and lightning! And she woke up again... (I felt like cursing the weather!)

So this morning she was still sleeping. She was supposed to eat something because they don't do breakfast at school anymore...
She was sleeping the whole new route we have to travel to school as well!

We were there early, before the gates opened, and showed her the play area through the fencing!
She showed some interest...

I also tried showing her what I packed in her bag, but she told me to put it back again! (*She's sorted!*)

We went to her class, and looked around. I was thinking of spending some time with her checking it out, but when the teacher tried to take her, she started to cry...

That's when we had to leave... With me crying as well!
And the Head of the School walking past with a smile and saying: "It is always the same in the New Year!"


I hope she's going to be okay?
What is a good time to phone the school? 10 o'clock?

Monday, 2 January 2012

3-year old toddlers are...

... more difficult than two-year old toddlers;
... throwing the most terrible tantrums (Terrible Two's got nothing on this!)
... challenging;
... opinionated;
... knows better than us;...

You would think that I a talking about my daughter of 18, but No!
The Toddler is really giving us a hard time!

Maybe it is just the age?
Maybe it is her personality coming through?

Maybe she just needs the stimulation of school? (She is starting at her new school on Thursday! Can't be soon enough!)

And we are struggling with getting her to sleep at night. She is still awake! After a sleep drive, and her dad and me taking turns in bed with her. It s 10:30 pm and she is wide awake...(The effects of the holiday, I know!)

We are back at work tomorrow!

Send in the reinforcements! Please!

I want to make blog posts about my New Year resolutions, and I even want to take a look back at 2011...
As soon as I get some time!


Tell me it is not only our 3-year old who is giving us more grey hair?.

(Photo: Elise du Toit Photography)

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Goodbye 2011!

2011 was a great year!

I checked my stats to see some of the most read posts!

It is always interesting to see what gets the most views!
It seems it is those posts where you show the real you!
(Or that I am NOT Powerwoman... ;-) )

Number 1 for 2011:

Stuff you allow your toddler to do
Those things that you thought you would never allow your little ones to do...
Just for the sake of a few minutes of breathing space!

2.

Winnie the Pooh quotes fo an un-peachy Friday
A black Friday post about relationship problems.
Nobody says it better than Winnie the Pooh!

3.

A strange week
A strange week in the middle of winter with a public holiday, the lunar eclipse, AND a sick toddler!

4.

Reasons why you should not stay
I took part in Kirstin's of Wanderlust_lust Speak Out campaign on domestic violence on 18 November.

5.

Christmas lights
We did a drive-by to a nearby house decorated in Christmas cheer!
The toddler loved it!


Hope 2012 is going to be the best EVER!