Monday 30 November 2009

A South African bush wedding

Mieka attended her first bush wedding this weekend. As a matter of fact, it was our whole family’s first wedding in the bush. It was classy and romantic and a picture perfect wedding. White tents, billowing white draped fabrics and hanging flowers, with rose petals and leaves…
But it was HOT! Hot as HELL!!
It was a formal affair, and the poor men were swimming in their own sweat! We were all sweating! And the locals assured us it was a very nice day, not as HOT as the previous days. .. (Jeeeeez!! We appreciate our Jozy weather after this weekend even more. It is mild the whole year through.)
We had to sit in the car with air con for longer than an hour while waiting for the bridal couple busy taking their photos. It was very difficult with Mieka wanting to walk in the sun and sand. I learnt that Cheese Curls helps to keep a baby busy. It is my favourite salty snack, and now my favourite keep-baby-busy food!
Arnia and I struggled with our high heels through the bush and sand. We should have thought about it before the wedding. That there is dust and sand and bushes on a farm… (Sic)
It also took very long before the food were ready to be served. Luckily we were prepared. We had lunch in the nearby town, Mookgophong (formerly known as Naboomspruit), on Saturday afternoon. That was a lifesaver! There was also the cheese and biltong under the trees after the wedding ceremony. Another lifesaver was the wine! We were all a bit worse for wear when the food arrived at 9, but at that stage we were all very happy. Thereza, my sister-in-law, pushed Mieka in her pram when she got all tired. There is nothing that works quite as well as a pram being pushed in the African bush. It did not take long for Mieka to go to sleep after that. But when she woke again at 10, it was our cue to retire to the B&B, where a roof fan helped us through the night.
And we felt very lucky that we were not one of the many campers on the farm…
Thanks, Riaan and Elri, you made it a very memorable South African bush wedding!

Friday 27 November 2009

Older mom and pains

Being an older mother (over 40) makes you aware of muscles and bones. I have a back and I have shoulders. I did not know it is used as much until they started with their complaints. Ouch!
I am constantly putting out my back while picking up the baby. Mieka weighs 8.5 kilos. That’s 17 bricks of butter to carry around. (Luckily she is a much easier and cuter package to pick up. Smile!) At the start of this week I had a sore shoulder, also I presume for picking up the baby.
I have a routine at night with Mieka. After her bath time we “read” a story, and then I lie next to her on the bed while breast feeding. It sometimes takes me more than an hour to stagger out of the room, and after that it also feels as if my body has taken a knock. My back and my shoulders go all skew for lying with her in my arms. It is the same when I sometimes bring her to our bed at night when she wakes up. (Mmm…. Most of the nights!) Yes, that’s another reason for doing sleep training, but I feel too tired to try it anytime soon… Mieka was sick, and that compounded on her being more in the arms, and off course, less sleeping. Yawn!
The not sleeping has piled up a huge sleep debt in my life. Will we ever be able to work off the sleep debt? That also has a negative effect on the body. It feels like my body has wilted from having the baby… The red eyes in the mirror are perfect for Zombie VIII!
I can’t remember that my body got so many punches 15 years back when I had my first child. I remember being bouncy and don’t remember the aches and pains. Maybe it is Time that wipes out the bad memories?
Please tell me that it is not only us older moms who take the punches?

Thursday 26 November 2009

Facebook rules for relationships

Social networking in the virtual world, aka the Facebook way, makes me think there should be a number of rules as well. I think that being part of a couple still translates to the same thing online as is acceptable in our daily social interactions.
- When both partners of a couple are on Facebook, the request to become friends should be directed to both of the partners at the same time. (It is still frowned upon when the opposite sex partner only be-“friends” the one partner.)
- It is acceptable when only one of the partners is on Facebook, for both of the partners to be-“friend” the other partner.
- It is advisable that the same sexes, being part of couples, mostly communicate with one another or include the other only when it is done simultaneously.
- The only time it is allowed to communicate only to the opposite sex partner of a couple is when congratulations are in order.
- Colleagues of opposite sexes are also allowed to become friends without including the partners.
- I am still not sure what to do when partners split?
o Do you unfriend the guilty partner immediately?
o Do you keep the status quo for a while; while they are still busy sorting out their lives? The possibility exists that they can patch up again.
o Do you only keep the guilty partner as a “friend” to spy on them for the other party? (I would think it is also a social no-no, but girlfriends would gladly do it for one another. Wicked smile)
- It is totally unacceptable to conduct an extramarital affair on Facebook, especially on your Wall for everybody to see. Duh! (But I know of such a case. Or maybe that’s what they tried to achieve – to make it known…)

I am sure there are many more rules to consider. Do you have any ideas, and what do you think of mine? Or am I just too anal...


Wednesday 25 November 2009

The baby is sick

Mieka is sick! The fever kept us up all night. Between 12 and 1 last night we were bathing her to get the fever down. At 3 I thought I finally won the battle when I could put her down in her cot. No, not so! It wasn’t long before she was back in our bed. The recollection of a night like this the following day feels like trying to recollect a bad dream. It is all bleary and broken bits of deprived sleep torture.
She got her first course of antibiotics at the doctor and after the first suppository she was a happy baby again. Phew! We are lucky that we don’t have much of these.
Dries and I look like the zombies we feel today!
Photo: At Doppio Zero on Saturday when she turned 11 months. A fav restaurant! She was sleeping on the couch in the restaurant.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Cellular miscommunication and relationship problems

I am not great in the verbal department. Hand me a telephone, and you get the shortest of grunts, and mostly a very brief encounter of matter-of-factness. I try my utmost to put on the smile and to recite the list: 1) identification; 2) place of work; and, 3) hello. But most of the time it is stripped to a short “Karen!” (I am busy, thank you very much!)
I know – it is on my list of things to change for the New Year.
Add a cellular phone and the signal problems in Jozy, and the Hubby gets it even worse. He has given me numerous lectures on how not to do it. And he has called me back a good number of times, after I have put down the phone on him and he still wanted to talk to me.
In my previous life (BD – Before Dries) my telephone skills were once blamed as one of the reasons the guy was not that impressed. It says a lot about Dries, for sticking around! Thanks, Dries!
I can’t even blame the bubble brain, although it has been worse in the recent year. (Yeah, right, Karen! We’ll stick with that!) I don’t enjoy talking over a telephone, especially one that jumps around with signal strengths and losses…
Me: “Hello.”
Dries: “Hello.”
Me: “What’s up?”
Dries: crackles… “plans…” sshhhhhhh…
Me: “I can’t hear you?”
Dries: “Sh&t!”
Me: “Talk to you later.” (In the hope that he will hear it)
Put phone down.
Our conversations boil down to this, most of the time…
I blame the cell phone companies.
I am sure there are many relationship problems because of the bad network coverage? Is there anyone else who can relate? Horrors if it is only us experiencing these problems…

Monday 23 November 2009

Manipulating the parents

The baby starts screaming, all of a sudden, at the top of her lungs. It is the scream of being hurt. A scream that makes you jump up immediately to grab the baby to see what is wrong. It is not the Shriek that Margot or LK spoke about.
Stop everything! The baby is hurt!
Rush and pick up the baby.
The baby stops her screaming. The baby smiles!
What the ….? We are being taken for a ride already. The baby is eleven months old, and she fakes a hurt scream to get us to pick her up, or to change her scenery when she is not satisfied with it anymore.
But we can’t ignore the scream, even if it is “Wolf, Wolf”, because the possibility exists that it could be a hurt cream. For real!
The little manipulator! What do we do with this type of behaviour?

Friday 20 November 2009


How easily the baby laughs! We play peek-a-boo (her favourite), and she laughs her head off. When it becomes difficult to push out another laugh, she fakes it by starting to scream louder and louder. And then she laughs again when we fake being frightened at the loud screams.
While she is breastfeeding, Mieka pushes my chin, and giggles when I make my head go in the direction of the push. She especially laughs at her sister when she pulls faces or hides around a corner or make frightened moves when Mieka laugh-screams at her.
We laugh at her laughs. She laughs at the silliest or the most normal of stuff! It makes you look at everything in a new way. Mieka laughed tonight when I opened and closed a book, again and again!
I am going to try and laugh more! The baby taught me something. There is a reason why they have laugh therapy classes…
I will laugh at the following:
- The traffic piled up in the mornings;
- Taxis;
- Road-works;
- To-do-lists at work;
- Colleagues (with them, of course);
- Bosses (with them, of course); (Of Course!)
- Work;
- Email;
- Any more ideas?

Thursday 19 November 2009

Sign language for the baby

I have voiced my concern about Mieka who screams and hits at other babies when they come near her. Tasneem, an occupational therapist, suggested that “some children develop conceptual language faster than they develop language ability “. They get frustrated, and that’s why they start to hit. Some throw tantrums. She suggested we could try sign language. It has made me think that it is worth a try. I googled some of information on the Internet, but I am not sure how to learn the signs to the baby. Last night I tried to learn her about the sign for a ball, holding my hand in a round form, and twisting it. I did not get any response.
Mieka waves at us, and she claps her hands when we sing “Handjies klap” (clap the hands), but we are still trying to teach her how to blow kisses to us. She starts to make the b-r-r-r sound while pulling her hand over her mouth when we blow kisses to her.
Do we create our own sign language, or is there a good site out there which could help me? I am not very creative coming up with signs.
(Another photo by grandfather James on Sunday)

Soap box tirades

Emotional abuse is not on! I think it is the worst kind of abuse! Because you can’t show the wounds! I have been stewing now for days with a bad aftertaste in my mouth. It was part of my previous life, and today I go into full battle mode when there is even the slightest breeze of emotional manipulation in the air!
Why do we keep quiet when we are caught up in the game? Do we need to play out the drama until we finally realize that it is not on? Or are we too proud or too ashamed to admit we are not being treated as we should be? I think that has been my reason for putting up with it for so long! Ten years, but ten years has passed since then as well. (Wow! It shows my age.) When I hear of a friend who has been subjected to it as well, I am amazed at how much the modus operandi shows similarities.
Partners that tell you and make you feel crap, AND tell you that you’re thinking are wrong. Partners who do not do their share, but make you feel guilty when you try to hold everything together. Partners who prevent you from being with your friends and family and wants to have 100% of you all of the time…
Enough of the bad stories! I am kicking the soap box back underneath the bed. Powerwoman do not dwell on the past for too long. Everybody has to make their own decisions about how long they want to play in their dramas! Thank goodness for friends and family who help you through the bad times! (I support you too, friend!)
Now my drama is about babies and dogs and teenagers and trying to cope with being a working mother and wife! Peanuts for Powerwoman! (Wink-wink, smile)
I wonder what type of dramas we keep playing that we could have stopped long ago?

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Barriers and gates and safety locks for the babies

We had two months of grace. Because Mieka only started to move last week, we could postpone organizing and safeguarding our house until now. In the beginning you still have the grandiose thought that your house would not turn into a playpen… (Stupid smile) Now we have toys and safety stuff in all of the rooms!
(This too will pass! This too will pass! Mantras to me – we will get our house back in the future.)
Dries installed the gate at the top of the stairs this past weekend. It makes me want to utter a swearword every time I try to open it. A baby will definitely not manage to ever figure it out, because I have a hard time trying to open it. Press in, lift up, and remember to lift up your feet high enough when stepping over it… Real pain in the ….!
The locks are on the cupboards, dishwasher and washing machine. We still need to put the ugly corner guards on the tables. Now we must also remember to always keep it locked. There is a baby in the house!
Dries also had to put up a wire mesh at the security gates for our other baby, Petite Peu, the little dog. Now she can’t slip through the gates when we don’t want her to come in. She had her third injection on Saturday. With the drive to the vet she made a poop in the car, and coming back she threw up in the car. She is a high maintenance little bit of a dog, but when you look at the brown eyes, you can’t stay mad at her for longer than five minutes.
(Look at the photo taken by my Dad, James.)

Tuesday 17 November 2009

The baby is hitting now

We saw a disturbing thing this weekend. Mieka has learnt a behaviour that we do not know where it is coming from. She starts screaming when another baby touches her or her toys. I asked at the crèche, and apparently she is the one who also starts hitting at the other babies when they come too close. She is apparently also the only one exhibiting this behaviour.
Where did she learn to do something like this? She has never seen such behaviour at home. She does not get upset when we play with her toys. There is also no hitting or slapping involved. It must be something that she learnt at the crèche? Some sort of survival thing between the other babies? There are six of them at the crèche. But we are horrified that we have an eleven month old bully in the making. Or is this the result of the woman at the crèche who has been fired for giving a baby a hiding? Maybe she gave Mieka a hiding as well?
How do we unlearn this behaviour? I did not think that she would start with this sort of thing at such an early age.
Or is she a small Joan of Arc in the making, fighting for her rights? Maybe it is only our perspective on the behaviour – a child should be able to fend for herself? Needless to say, we are really worried…
Photo: Mieka on Sunday (taken by her grandfather James)

Monday 16 November 2009

The Red Beardy Man

We are in this time of the year again. It is Mieka’s first Christmas coming up. They had a Father Christmas at the crèche last Friday. We missed it, of course, one of the many firsts we missed already… (Stop the whining, Karen.) She was not impressed and cried when she saw the Red Beardy Man. There are a lot of children who are not impressed with the Red Beardy Man. We suspected beforehand that she would not be impressed, because she cried when we showed her Ronald McDonald at McD’s.
These Red Men are scary! Babies do not like them! Now we have to desensitize our children to start liking them? But we all do it!
Why do we bother? Maybe it is the connection with presents which do it in the end? Somewhere they start to react with glee and anticipation when they see the Red Beardy Man. Maybe because we remember how much we used to enjoy Christmas time with a Father Christmas and presents. In the time before our bubbles got burst and we learnt that it is actually our parents who gave us the presents. Why can’t we say from the beginning the presents are coming from us? We lie for years about things like Father Christmas and the tooth fairy.
I’m a sucker for traditions and fun, so I know we will also be doing the tree and the presents for Mieka. Strange the things we learn our children… Am I just being neurotic and over thinking, or is the X-mas gloom of the period getting to me already?

Thursday 12 November 2009

The pointy finger and the crab creep

It is amazing how much a baby can accomplish with a finger. Mieka points it in a direction, and we GO in that direction!
Point to mirror.
Go to mirror.
Point… Go…!
She has mastered HER world with THE finger!
That’s one way of moving…
I was also voicing my concern about the not crawling. But Mieka has started to get onto the left knee from a sitting position, and then move forward on her bum. The right leg is used to drag her forward. And she MOVES at an amazing speed. Is that the creeping they are talking about?
It looks a bit like a crab movement. The crab creep! She also leopard crawls backwards when she is put on her stomach. I am wipe-my-brow relieved! Years of paying for extra math’s classes have just been cleared from our account. I hope so? Or is the crab creeping and backward leopard crawling still not helping the gray matter to fire and make enough connections?

Splits and children

Divorces have a devastating effect on the children. No new revelation!
Arnia believed and hoped for years that I and her dad would get back together again and that we would be a family again. We split up when she was 6 and got divorced the next year. Until she was 12 years of age I was blamed for making the move. But she did not know and understand the reasons for the move, and it was only when she herself was confronted with the reality of the situation that she started to make a mind shift. The reality of the situation was that the X was an emotional manipulator, which sometimes moved in the direction of violent aggression. The X was and is a leach that sucks the people dry around him, and do not positively contribute to any environment. The X also did not contribute financially towards his daughter’s upbringing.
That was our story, but we have moved on. We have a new family life, and that is what this blog is all about. New beginnings, every day!
Yes, sometimes it IS better for the children when the parents split!
Photo: One of our new beginnings!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Splitting of friends

The news of friends splitting up is very upsetting! We feel a sense of shock and loss for them, and for us! Our relationship with them has also been irrevocably changed. No more visits with the two of them together…
It makes us look at our relationship again, realizing that it is very easy to lose sight of “us” in the rush and hum-drum of daily life. I and Dries both pass out at about eight at night. He goes into a comatose state in front of the television, and me with Mieka on the bed. Then we are “done” for the day! We have to meet sometimes during the day for lunch to talk and connect. It works for us.
The realization: this is it! We are not going to get better than this! I know now with hindsight how wonderful it is to be in such a secure and predictable place! Some would call it boring! But it is the final measurement of a happy family life: To be able to look forward every day to go home just to be with the family. At one stage in my life I hated the idea of going home (yes, it was THAT bad), and I can say that it has changed 100% since the day I moved on. And it only got better with Dries in our lives. It is nice to be in such a boring place…
I hope our friends patch things up again. As the Prof of Yvonne’s story admitted – you only swap families when you move on…

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Powerwoman sleep mastering

Dries said this morning: “Take it easy, and go in a bit later.”
“It was a very rough night!”
“Oh! I did not notice! It was the same as all the other nights. Maybe you woke up a bit more during the night?”
I am actually getting used to these blurs of night and sleep and breastfeeding…
It was a special BLESSING this morning when I could get back into bed at quarter to 5 to snooze until 25 past 5 this morning. Mieka woke us at 4 the last time.
Not sleeping is not such a big deal anymore. 10 months of not-sleeping training has paid dividends! I can function and fake a life as well!
Go, Powerwoman, go!

Photo: Mieka this weekend when Dries got her to sleep on the coach.

Transporters Deluxe

Parents are transporters of teenagers. I am still on the transporting theme…
Our parents were luckier than us. We used to go around on our bicycles, and we used to walk a lot more than the children of today. (Wow that could have been my grandmother saying that! I AM getting old!)
Our parents did not have to drive us everywhere like we do with our children. Is this a global phenomenon, or is it more so in South Africa? With our crime problems and bad driving cited as some of the main reasons for not allowing our children to go by themselves - by bicycle or by walking. Getting the bus is also not an option, because we have such a bad public transport system. It does not cater for everybody – we don’t have buses going to our neighbourhood. It has become a daily grind for all parents to drive their children to school, including all the extra-mural activities.
I think our children are losing out on:
- not being active as much as we used to;
- not learning about traffic rules while being taxied;
- not smelling the crisp fresh air;
- not learning about independence;
- not enjoying the solitude of a walk or a bicycle ride.
Our children can’t even ride a bicycle in our townhouse complex, because all the dogs start barking. We have definitely lost something in our urban jungle!

Monday 9 November 2009

Parents = Transporters

Parents of teenagers are transporters or taxi drivers of teenagers. It feels like our mission in life has been redirected to having to ensure our teens are driven to and fro.
I got a frantic sms from Arnia on Friday that they are going to be finished with exams at 9 o’clock. She needed to be fetched earlier. The original plans were that they were supposed to write until 11. It gave them an hour or more to learn, but then the teachers decided it would be better for them to write immediately and go home! Nice, teachers! Better for you, but definitely not for the children who could actually have learnt something. It is also definitely not better for the parents who have to leave their jobs and rush to go and fetch. Arnia had to wait for 2 hours at school before Dries could go and fetch her. She assured me that she was one of the last students to be fetched. (But I know she exaggerates sometimes!) How do all the others parents manage? Is it just me who struggles, or do other parents also find it difficult to rush to all the transporter demands?
And don’t forget all the social engagements a teenager has to attend. Going to the movies, parties, meeting with friends and the boyfriend… that’s what the weekends are for. Dries is very understanding with regards the social needs of a teen and he is always willing to transport Arnia. He struggled himself when he was young and were not always given the opportunity to go out. I am very grateful to him, because Arnia’s biological dad always had a problem to go and fetch her, even though he took her to a place, but then complained when he had to fetch her again. She was most of the times too scared to ask him, because he complained that she did not spend enough time with him. (Go figure that she is fed-up with him!)
My dad was also always willing to transport us. We only had to ask him, but never assume or order him to do it. Thanks, Dad! Now we have to be the transporters ourselves, and now we appreciate your and mom’s taxi driver roles even more!

Sunday 8 November 2009

The first 3 teeth

Got it! The 1st 3 milk teeth! It is very difficult to get Mieka to open her mouth and sit still at the same time. This photo is an accomplishment of my photographic skills.... NOT!

Friday 6 November 2009

MA stocktaking

(MA is mother in the Afrikaans language, but also an abbreviation for Magister Atrium)

Arnia has started with her exams – THAT time of the year already! The students have started even earlier. It made me think with a tinge of regret about my Master studies I had to give up on this year. I started with my MA in Information Science in 2006 already, but it went very slow. I am not the best student, especially when I am not bound to time-limits… Last year I struggled to complete it, because I was constantly tired during the pregnancy! I thought it would be a breeze when the baby was here, because then I could work while she was sleeping. Surprise! Mieka did not sleep the expected four-hourly breaks like her sister did 15 years back… We have not been sleeping since, although it is going much better than in the beginning!
When I read L K’s blog yesterday about the horse she had to let go, I came to the realization that we as parents all have to let go of something! I asked Dries as well, and he says it is the freedom of not having to plan - being routine less!
But we LOVE the little one, and don’t mind giving up some of our goals, or belly dancing, or horses, or hiking, or non-planning (Dries). We will do whatever (don’t think it will be studies for me) again and we will plan less again!
The students used to have a saying when a student got pregnant: “She got her MA-degree.” I got mine at 41!
Photo: Mieka last night with her doll. (I tried my utmost to get a photo of the first three teeth, but it’s impossible. Smile)

Thursday 5 November 2009

I have fired Thursday

The week is too long, and Thursday feels like it’s one too many. Friday will be OK again, because it is the start of the weekend. But Thursday is no good. The nights are not long enough, especially with the broken sleep, and having to get up at five does not help either. Although we never get up at five, we are being woken by our alarms clock from five. I “snooze” the button at least until twenty past five, and this morning it was nearly half past. Then it’s a rush, with Dries helping to prepare the breakfast and me waking Mieka to get her dressed. I still hate waking her… But we had a lot of laughs this morning. While Mieka was breastfeeding, she was also rocking to a song on the radio. Multi-tasking already! Very cute!
Apparently she is moving around on her bottom at the day care, and yesterday she kept on moving until she was underneath a small table. We did not see the same shuffling around at home, because she was tired. One of the things you miss out on when you are working… But I’m not complaining today. Just stating facts!
Photo: Skilpadjie. We used to call Mieka "little tortoise" when she small. You can see why. (Smile) Photo taken a few months back.

By Thursday we are beginning to feel the effects of the week. I am complaining that everything is quickening, and from tomorrow I will ask for time to stand still again. I don’t know what I want… Do you also have the ambivalent feelings with regards to time? Wanting to spend more time with the family, but wishing the weeks with work to fly past?

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Naughty baby

I am still on the subject of punishing babies for naughty behaviour. Babies vs. punish vs. naughty behaviour are not supposed to be mentioned in the same context. Am I wrong? I hate it when somebody asks me: “Is the baby good?” What is that? When do you know that your baby is not good? When they cry? When they do not sleep through the night? When they complain? How else are they going to communicate with us if they can’t voice a concern? But I think that is the main reason why somebody could think that a baby needs discipline. I am talking about the person at Mieka’s day care who gave a baby a hiding. She got herself fired for doing that!
Are we still such a violent society, globally, that we think by punishing somebody with violence, we are teaching them to not behave violently? We are truly warped in our thinking. Religion contributes even more, because there is a punishing God who wants us to behave Or else… eternal punishment with a hell-fire! Does it give us a license to start hitting babies from very young? It seems like it! Very strange…
Mieka is a GOOD baby, thank you very much! I can’t imagine a time when I will classify her as being hit-ready. Maybe it is because I am an older mom, but I will definitely do my discipline differently than when I was younger. What do you think about disciplining babies?

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Day Care punishment

The woman looking after Mieka at the crèche had been fired. She was seen giving a baby a hiding. They have closed circuit television, and she was caught red-handed. My first thought was that she was caught having a smoke near a baby, or that she had left the babies on their own. This would have been worse as well. I am thankful that the crèche management reacted immediately.
But, Horrors! I can’t imagine what possesses a person to hit a baby. There is never a reason. What if she had hit Mieka as well? I hate the thought! The thought that we have to trust other people to look after our babies. Damn that I have to work! Do other people feel the same as me? Or am I just feeling down? The working mother’s guilt kicking in again?

Mieka has got her second tooth. They are coming in one after the other, because we can see them in the gums, all shiny. Luckily it did not affect her very badly. You always hear the scary stories about teeth and babies getting sick. She only has a runny nose, and the sleeping has been going better this week. Margot, it seems we are not going to need the sleep training. (Thumbs crossed!) We are also noticing that she is pivoting on her behind, and sometimes gets on her one knee when she want to reach out to something or someone. Maybe the crawling thing is still going to happen? Self-talk: RELAX, Karen, and enjoy the baby!

Monday 2 November 2009

Friends and Grumps

I am enjoying my friend Yvonne’s blog tremendously. Although I know the story, and most of the anecdotes, it is still very inspiring to know that she got through her divorce, and became an even stronger person than before. In my wildest dreams I did not think that she would get divorced from her husband. He was a Grump, but I thought that she could handle her Grump, the same as I handled my X-Grump. (Smile) Unfortunately her Grump cheated on her…
But I want to talk about friendship, and how she helped me through the years when I went through my own traumas. I met Yvonne at pre-natal classes when we were pregnant with our daughters. Arnia is now 16 which translates into nearly 17 years that we have been friends. Her daughter were born five days before Arnia, and we have been doing coffee ever since. She cried with me when I tried to get Arnia to drink a bottle, and when I had to stop breast feeding because she would not drink a bottle at the day mother. I could always phone her, or drink a coffee with her. I remember a time before I got divorced, when I felt so suffocated at home, that I drove to a nearby quick-shop to make a phone-call to her. When I went through the difficult divorce, she helped me with advice, which she sometimes went to great trouble to find out for me. She was more than willing to make a sworn affidavit when I asked for her help getting an interdict during the violent days of getting a divorce. She helped me looked after Arnia many many times. She always had an ear open to me…In the meantime she had to raise three children and had to cope with her own Grump! She gave us our wedding cake five years back when Dries and I got married! That was such a sweet gesture. Having such a friend is more valuable than can be measured in words! Friends like her help us handle all our Grumps and grumps… Thanks, Yvonne!

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