Sunday, 28 February 2010

The reality is definitely stranger than dreams

You sometimes find yourself in a situation where you think: This can’t be real! But it is!
Last Thursday I was in a course where they had to explain the Occupational Health and Safety Act of South Africa to us. Apparently the law requires companies to inform the workers about their rights as well as making them aware of safety issues in the workplace.
Our course presenter was an older man who looks like he has spent his whole career in security, with his curly grey hair, his purple shirt and a short tie.
He introduced himself very politely to each of us, and tried to remember our names by using it again. But he struggled to pronounce the African names, because he only addressed the white workshop participants by their names again. He addressed the rest of the African course participants (which were in the majority) as “Mister” and “Misses.” (Although he had asked for their names as well).

He asked the course participants to read passages from the law, as well as from the course notes, but as soon as they started to read, he interjected by reading as well or saying something about the content.

He initiated a role-play with one of the participants:
Boss (presenter): Knock on door.
Worker (course participant): Come in.
Boss: Will you please drive a fork-lift for me?
Worker: No, I don’t have a license.
Boss: Please, I will give you R500. Do it for me?
Worker: Okay, I will! (And it is explained that he proceeds to drive into another worker – with consequences to the company and the boss.) (Very, very lame…)

The best was when he explained that workers are not able to do their work without their hands or eyes. My blind colleague immediately reacted by saying: “I am going to go home now!”
The presenter flushed bright red, and said that he wasn’t thinking.
My colleague was laughing, but you could see that the presenter felt very bad about his faux’ pas.
A very strange four hours, indeed!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Traffic headaches

These roads being under construction is everybody’s headache nowadays. For how long is it going to go on? You would think that they would be in a hurry to finish it for the World Cup, but apparently not!
My longest time this year was two and a half hour already, where it should take me no longer than half an hour. Nowadays I spend more than an hour on the road going to work and coming back a little bit less: three quarters of an hour.
Two hours a day of precious time being wasted… It’s got to have an impact on quality of life!
Powerwoman try to take it in her stride (ride), taking my breakfast with me in the mornings, and drinking herbal tea (note, not coffee) along the way. Listening to the radio!
BUT it is a PAIN! Grumble, grumble, grumble…

Thanks for listening. I feel a bit better already on this TGIF-day!

(Photo: Kingsway road under construction, going past the University of Johannesburg. You would think that they would have tried to finish it quickly with all the students… NO, not happening here!)

Related post:

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The toddler is 14 months - UPDATE

Mieka, our baby (translate toddler, but I still wants to call her my baby), was 14 months on Sunday! Every day we think she can’t get any cuter than this, but she does!
When I look back at the baby videos of earlier I am amazed at how much cuter she is now. The lights were on, but she was not there yet! (Smile!)
She is getting more vocal, but we only understand the few obvious ones, like papa, mama and tata (goodbye). The hello is there as well. The pointy finger STILL gets the job done, with a few grunts here and there! (Talking is highly overrated…).
She is fascinated with planes and birds, and makes circular movements with an mmmm-sound. Where are all the planes when you want to look at them?
She enjoys music! (We have hopeful visions of one member of our family being musical…) She starts bobbing and humming with music on the radio or television. Last night she was taking her bum right down to the ground, but lost the rhythm and only got it back when she got upright again. Very funny!
The sleeping is going much better. We only struggle to put her down, but then she sleeps through, most of the time. I have to wake her (which I hate doing!) on week days to get her ready for day care. (Working mother complaint!)
Walking is a great source of enjoyment. We enjoy watching her, and she enjoys exploring on her own. I think she is not the most adventurous explorer, but it has its benefits. She usually explores in our vicinity, and it helps to keep the eye on her.
She loves unpacking cupboards etc. and walking with the goodies to place it somewhere else. We don’t mind her unpacking, as long as it keeps her busy. Strange how easy we exchange a neat home for a bit of peace and quiet AND reading.
She has got 8 teeth now, and it seems another one is due, because there is a constant dribble on the chin.
She has turned into a fussy eater, but the baby books/experts say it is okay. We try to keep her occupied to get in a few spoons of food, and she takes a few bites of what we are eating, especially if it comes from our plates…
The breast feeding is continuing. It got a bit of a knock this last weekend with us being away on the cruise. I expressed a little bit, but I don’t think it was enough. It was only last night that she seemed satisfied again, and dropped off to sleep while still on the breast…
(Sigh of relief! It is the easiest by far!)
What’s next? We enjoy her with every single new milestone reached!
(Photo by grandfather James on Sunday)
Related posts:

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Rock Mom passed on two blog awards

I felt so special last week when Rock Mom passed on two awards. Thanks, Rock Mom! You made my day(s)!

The one is the Rock Star Award, which I pasted immediately on my blog. It looks good, doesn’t it? I will pay it forward in the future. Definitely! The rules? There are no rules, and you can give it to whoever you like. Rock Mom got it from Mrs Blogalot. Great idea! (Feel free to pay it forward).

The Beautiful Blogger Award comes with rules:
1) thank the person who nominated me for this award
Thanks Rock Mom!
2) copy the award & place it on my blog
3) link to the person who nominated me for this award
Rock Mom
4) share 7 interesting things about myself
- I am a closet vegetarian. I belief we should not eat living things, but I do! (Hypocrite!)
- I love Cheese Curls: I am able to eat a whole bag by myself!
- I am still enjoying Sex and the City, second time around (always hoping for that episode I missed the first time)
- I love red wine!
- Love reading (although I haven’t been able to do much of it since the baby)
- I got two extra ear piercings in my right ear when I was a teenager, and that was the best I could muster for my rebellious side!
- I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mom! (Sigh)
5) nominate 7 bloggers:
- 2412towers
- Mumdrum
- Rock Mom (really, not because she passed on the award to me)
- joumaseblerrieblog
- Life with Luca
- Peas on Toast
- So Close
6) post links to the 7 blogs i nominate

Monday, 22 February 2010

Seriously, I am not used to this! A weekend cruise on a ship

We had a seriously luxurious weekend on board the MSC Sinfonia. We were spoiled to the teeth, or actually through our teeth. The food was fantastic!
We are planning our next trip already, but this time with the kids… I missed them terribly!
Especially with all the activities and stuff going on for kids on the ship! They would have loved it! (We were telling each other how much the children would have enjoyed the swimming pools! Or the teen the disco! The other kids on the ship…)
The Sinfonia is a well-oiled machine, and we marveled at how well everything worked! But I don’t know when the crew members sleep. We saw them from early in the morning, until 12 at night. A-ma-zing!
Thanks Dries and company – we had a great time!

It was the best to see my little one and the teen last night. Apparently the toddler was a very good baby for the whole weekend, but on Sunday morning she woke up at 2 am, screaming! My mom and dad spent two hours to get her to sleep again. She did not want to drink the bottle. We think she missed us, and probably the breast.
She gave us a look – “Where did you disappear to?”, when she saw us.
But she slept through the night again last night. I got up a couple of times to check on her. She was peacefully sleeping in her bed again.
It was just Mommy missing her still…
Related post:

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Why is it so difficult for mothers to leave their babies in the care of other people?

This week I am in a bit of a depro. My Tuesday post was a dead give-away.
We are going on a weekend cruise on the Sinfonia (nogals!).My hubby made his targets at work. (Thanks, Hubby!)
It is an uplifting, wonderful opportunity to be going on a weekend cruise, traveling up the coastal waters of Mozambique. (Sic)
BUT, we have to leave Mieka for the weekend! AND I know she will be well taken care off by my parents. I hate leaving her!
This is the very first time at 14 months. Years back, I left Arnia for the first time at 2 years of age.
I am still breast feeding (luckily Mieka takes a bottle), and I will express a little bit on the ship. I hope it will be fine, because at 14 months breast feeding is supposed to be well-established! (Smile)
Why is it such a big thing to leave her overnight?
- Because I won’t see her this whole weekend (the only time we get to spend with her as working parents – week days don’t count; she’s tired in the evenings);
- I am scared she will miss us, especially at night without getting breast feeding;
- Worried that she will get sick;
- Worried that my parents will struggle with the sleeping (I pop her on the breast – they will have to make do with a bottle);
- We are going to miss her!!

I know we are going to enjoy it, eventually…
Do other parents also struggle to leave their little ones?
At what age does it get better?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The ultra-cool Moms vs. Moms who has lost their edge(s)

The Moms with the hair and the make-up and the clothes and nails. Skinny, off course! With small month(s)-old babies in their arms. Definitely gag-worthy for moms who still struggle to get off their post-pregnancy weight (even a year/s after the baby was born)!
I am talking about myself, off course! It feels I am not yet on top of getting back to ME. Being a working mom, sleep deprived and 24/7 attention required by our little one; I am lacking my own attention to me. Also ME-time! (Time for reading and reading.... Perfect! Eyes glaze over by only thinking about it.)
My hair does not get coloured as regularly as I want it to. My nails do not get painted as much as I want to (if ever). When I do have some off-time; that’s exactly what I do! I switch to “off” and sleep!! Also struggling with the weight; it is easier to grab something fast than making the effort to put together a healthy meal.
It feels that it’s taking a longer than longest time to return (to me).
Boo hoo! Get over yourself, Karen! You know that it will get better again. I hope? I have done it before, but can’t remember that it took as long as this time around.
Does it take longer to get back to myself because I am older, or do younger moms feel as if they have lost their edge as well? I would really like to get some feedback from other moms.
(Photo: Sunday: The hair was coloured the same morning, with my two.)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Surfacing after a week of the stomach bug

It has been a rough week with the stomach bug. It is only yesterday that we got some sense back of reality.
We are thoroughly fed up with viruses.
It got to a point where I wanted to close Mieka’s room after a monster nappy, never to open it up again... I’m sure every mother/father knows what I am talking about? Poop story deluxe! (But I am not going to expand on it. Too gross!)
Mieka is going back to day care, and I am back at work!
I am actually looking forward to it today! (Guilty smile)
(I’m sure only until lunchtime today... then I am going to miss her terribly after the 24/7 week)
(Photo: Mieka did not want to let go of Arnia's bear that she got from the BF for Valentine's Day)
Related posts:

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day and the Valentine’s Ball

Happy Valentine’s to all!
I am a sucker for LOVE! Love the flowers and presents! Hope you all had a great day!

The teen had her Valentine’s Ball last night. The search for the dress started last year already. But because I do not have not thousands in my budget available (apparently there are a lot of parents who have), she had to search for “specials” or chain store outfits. We found the perfect dress! It was also a search for the perfect shoes and the perfect accessories...
The teen was very surprised that we had other plans for the day of the Ball as well. Apparently a whole day is needed to prepare for a function. (Smile!) Hair and nails and make-up. Luckily she has a friend who came to help with the hair. (Because mom is not great with hair.)
She looked beautiful and stunning! Ah, 16! When we went to drop her and the BF (4 months, take note!), I was amazed at all the beautiful young ladies at the Ball. What a great time! To be 16, in love and going to a Ball with your loved one...
I am so glad my teen is having a Ball!!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Clicker training #3

The dog is able to roll over (sleep, play dead, and roll over) and creep. But not yet walk with us...

She got so excited with seeing and sniffing the other dogs, that we had a hard time to get her to focus. But that is part of the training, getting her to get used and socialized with other dogs. For a third lesson it really went well, and we are even more amazed at how much can be accomplished with treats and a click!
Petite Peu is a highly excitable dog. To get her to walk next to us you have to start walking in another direction when she starts pulling on the chain. And give treats when she walks where you want her to go. Eventually she will learn that she will get to where she wants to go if she stays with you! It makes a whole lot of human sense! Hopefully dog sense to our little bit of a dog as well!
Dries is threatening her existence more regularly now! It is only verbal at this stage! We (not including Dries) love our little bit of a wild dog! We will have to increase our practising with her during the week... (Thumbs crossed!)
(Photo: Arnia trying to get Petite Peu to get up and go in another direction.)

Related posts:

Thursday, 11 February 2010

We sidestepped the hospital! Yeah!

This morning we were seriously worried. Our little toddler was very lethargic, with the runny tummy and the fever. When all a little one wants to do is sleep, you know there is something seriously wrong!
We landed at a paediatrician, a Dr. Tsigambe, at Flora Hospital in Florida Hills. I was seriously impressed. It transpired we were not supposed to give her antibiotics – we were on our second course already. It doesn’t help for a viral infection, and it exacerbates the runny tummy.
Why do the doctors give it as easily as they do?
We had to make the call to have her booked into the hospital, or try beating it ourselves. With lots of fluids! We made the decision to try a last time. She started to perk up at the doctor already. We forced the hydrating stuff (it is really awful!) with a medicine dropper down her throat. She must seriously hate us for it! She begins to scream as soon as she sees the medicine dropper. Luckily she loved the coke, and by this afternoon we got a smile, and she was walking around again. (Sighs of relief!) I hate the hospital, and especially for a little one who doesn’t understand yet...
Why I was impressed with the doctor? It seems he has time for his patients. Some of them phoned him while he was busy with us. I did not mind even a little bit, because I know it may someday be me. And there was actually a receptionist who knew the people coming in, calling them by name. And commenting on all the little ones and how they have grown. She also did not mind it when the little ones wandered off into the offices, or played with the water. She took in her stride...
Tomorrow I am going to stay with her – the breast feeding is the lifesaver which keeps up the fluids!
(She is sleeping now!)

Not better yet!

Our Mieka is not better yet! Now we worry about her sleeping too much! She has lost all her energy. We are trying our utmost to keep her out of hospital. She is hanging on my breasts, refusing to drink/eat anything else...

Thumbs crossed that today will be the turning point.

It is awful to see our little tortoise so listless!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A stomach bug and the dreaded FEVER

We have been struggling for two days with our little toddler and a bad stomach bug. With it came the fever.
She has been cranky for the whole weekend, and on Monday the day care phoned to say that she had fever. We spent Sunday night struggling with it as well, but I thought she was better. We had her at the doctor on Monday afternoon, and she prescribed the necessary medication.
I hate fever, especially if it doesn’t comes down with medication. That’s what we’ve been doing today, trying to get the fever down: Giving suppositories, paracetamol, putting her in a cool bath, cooling her down with wet cloths and a fan. At five it started to work. She has been in our arms, and hanging on my breasts for the past two days… Apparently there is not much more that you can do for a fever!
Does anybody know of more remedies against fever? (Neurotic me even phoned the doctor again today, but we had to give it 24 hours…)
Sheweee! It has been rough!
I hope we get some sleep tonight!

(Photo: Mieka today when she felt a bit better)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

“A mother’s job is never finished”

Dries and I have a joke between us when we get busy with all the fun stuff that’s got to be done in the house. We say to each other: “A MOTHER'S job is never finished!”
My hubby is the true millennium husband, helping with everything. I have said before that I am the lucky fish! Years back when Dries was still at college, he went home for the weekends. His mother insisted that he bring his washing, but he usually organized for it to be cleaned or washed it himself. He never brought back the washing.
But she told him: “A mother’s job is never finished!” (Sic)
We use the expression especially when we are tired, and the washing and dishes and everything are piled up.
The photo: Dries took care of a monster nappy today. He continues to help with it! I hear of many dads who only help in the beginning with changing nappies… (Thanks, Dries!)
We had a wonderful weekend, again, at Magaliespark near Hartbeespoortdam. My Mom and Dad had their 44th wedding anniversary, and Dad has a birthday coming up this week. Congrats, you two!
Glorious, our South African sun!
We especially enjoyed Mieka with her new walking skills! When she saw me on Friday afternoon at the crèche, she got so excited that she walked in a circle not to lose her balance. Cute, cute!
We noticed tooth number 8’s appearance over the weekend. It explains the crankiness, the more-than-regular nappies and the refusal of food she usually enjoys! But she slept quite well over the weekend, but I do not want to say it too loud! Last weekend was the same, and then came the week with more-than-broken sleep… SShhh!

Too late, she woke up just now with a huge fever! (Dries is walking now with her...)
Related post:

Friday, 5 February 2010

The toddler is officially a walker

One of the biggest milestones has been reached: The toddler is walking! The day care has been telling us every day that she is walking further and further (from last week)! One of those awful irritations when you have to work! You don’t get to experience the first FIRSTS…
She has been doing the three steps for nearly a month, but now she is standing on her own, and WALKING! We can’t get enough of it, cheering her on with each step! Very cute!
She is thirteen and a half months old!
She skipped the crawling altogether. There are consequences because of it. (The worrying was not neurotic, after all!)
The crab creeping did not do the job. There is a lady who comes in to massage the babies at day care. (The lucky little fish! I am in my forties, and can only count on one hand how many times I had a massage. Now my little one is getting a weekly massage (which I am paying for)). Apparently Mieka’s neck is not stiff enough! When she is pulled upright by her hands, her head still hangs to the back.
I have to find ways of addressing this.
Do you have any ideas, or know of places where to search for information when a baby skipped the laying on the tummy and the crawling? (What if there are even bigger consequences later on when we don’t address it now?)
The little tortoise is walking! We are so proud!
(Photo: Gys Oosthuizen)
Related posts:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Our dear Education Department

Powerwoman on her soapbox: The standard of education in South Africa is atrocious.
I cringes regularly about not being able to put my daughter into a private school. The teen came to show a questionnaire they had to complete for the subject Life Orientation. The goal was to gauge their positivity and they had to get the highest score possible.

I am quoting a few of the pearls of wisdom (with the scores assigned to each answer):
Do you lock away value bills before you leave on holiday?
Always (1)
Sometimes (2)
Never (3)
If you were to loose your keys in the supermarket, will you get it back?
No (1)
I hope so (2)
Yes of course (3)
Would you trust an ex-convict?
I am not sure (2)
No (1)
Yes (3)
I you were to step on a nail do you think it will hurt your foot?
Yes (1)
No (3)
Not sure (2)
Do you save up money for the future?
Always (1)
Never considered doing it (3)
Yes a small amount (2)
Do you hope to win something in a lucky draw?
No (1)
Yes (3)
Not sure (2)
Do you think that a person should have a life assurance policy?
Yes (1)
No (2)
Yes, a small one (3)
Do you enter competitions where you can win prizes?
Often (3)
Never (1)
Now and then (2)

100-125 U are farley optimistic and has a warm and positive outlook on life. You no that life has its ups and downs but don’t expect bad things to happen to you.
Below 60 Why do you get out of bed You properly think that life is not worth living.”

I have quoted verbatim. The incompetent person/s that drew up the questionnaire did not even use a spell checker.
It could have been funny, but the joke is on us! Our children get sub-standard education from the Gauteng Education Department…

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The teen got into trouble because of the toddler

Funny anecdote: The teen got into trouble at school because of the toddler. We had forgotten some of her toys at friends, and Arnia got it from them to bring back home. She put it in her back pack. One of the toys is a plastic cell phone. During math class, a cell phone started to ring.
The Chinese lady’s voice on the phone says: “Information, how may I help you?”
The math teacher is famous for her no tolerance of cell phones in class. She got furious, and Arnia had to confess it is her sister’s toy cell phone.
The teacher said: “I do not believe you!”
Arnia had to take it out and show it to her. Her class mates laughed their heads off, and asked if she is playing with her sister’s toys now. To which Arnia replied: “Yes, off course I do!”
(Ronel's photo)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Clicker training for the dog (week 2)

“Petite Peu! Come! Sit!” Click! Snack!
“Petite Peu! Lay down!” Click! Snack!
The dog is sitting and laying down on command! But when she got to the dog training grounds on Saturday, she was all over the place. Strange dogs and people, and smells…
Dog, and dog! “Yap!” People! “Yap!” Smells! Birds! Trees!
“Yap! Yap! Yap!”
“Yap, yap, yap, yap!”
We love our Little Bit of a dog, but she gets a bit much with her constant barking! Nicola (the dog trainer) is positive, telling us that she is very smart, and the more we get her to listen to us, the less she will spend time barking. And hopping all over…
Arnia and I had to call her, and when we go her attention, to get her to sit and to lie down. Arnia had to count to five seconds, before she gave her the snack. It worked for a couple of times…
Nicola says that next time we are supposed to not give her food before we go to the training classes. She turned fussy on us half-way through the class!
The bigger dogs seem to learn a bit quicker. There was a German Shepherd puppy with us in the class, and he was not fazed at all by the yapper!
The owner showed us a few TTouch massage techniques to calm her down at the class, but I did not see much of a difference. Arnia and I have been trying to massage her over the weekend, but it is more like trying to pin her down to not being chewed than to get a good rub in.
We will get there… I really hope so, because Dries is threatening to kick her, and the threats are getting more violent by the day! I was listening to a phone message at work – his cell accidently phoned my work number – while he was busy running after her when she got out on Wednesday night! Hubby was not a happy chappy…
The clicker training is our dog saver! It must be!

Related posts:
Dog (owners) clicker training
The dog
Children and dogs are expensive

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