Monday 31 May 2010

The Sleeping Beauty - Ballet

Last Thursday evening saw us watching a classical ballet. The real deal! It was great fun. Roodepoort Youth Ballet is part of an outreach and development programme (Mzansi Productions). It is especially the children who made it such a pleasure to watch!

A daughter of friends of ours was also part of the production. The whole production was put together in three months and the Sleeping Beauty and her Prince are students from the National Ballet School of Cuba. The Cubans are excellent dancers.

It is inspiring to see the young girls doing ballet, and I am definitely going to take Mieka for ballet classes when she is bigger. If only for the posture, poise and basic dancing skills that they learn, then it would be enough reason.

The teen also took part in ballet classes, but I could not continue to take her to the classes when she started school. (I was on my own then and working full days at the time). I now wish I had made some extra plans to get her to ballet classes...

When we were walking out of the UJ Arts Centre after the performance, we heard a woman told her friends that she got sleepy. She proceeded to drape her hair across her face to catch some shut-eye during the performance. We were giggling to ourselves – she was definitely not fooling anyone doing that...

(Photo: Mart-Leen posing for us before the performance. She is 8 years old and a very keen ballerina!)

Friday 28 May 2010

Teen suicide - Ané Vermoten

Ané Vermoten.

Ané Vermoten. You ended your life this week. Full stop!

Ané Vermoten. We do not know you. But now we know of you! My teen is the same age and in the same grade as you. She only knows you are an Emo*, and that your boyfriend broke up with you. (?)

Ané Vermoten. You matter! Just because the school does not acknowledge your death, and does not announce it, does not mean you do not make an impact! Just because they do not acknowledge the grief and sadness of your fellow students, does not mean you/they are not important!

Ané Vermoten. You are 17 years old and your whole glorious exciting life was awaiting you!

Ané Vermoten. I am putting your name here. You matter!


"Today emo is commonly tied to both music and fashion as well as the emo subculture.[98] Usually among teens, the term "emo" is stereotyped with wearing skinny jeans, sometimes in bright colors, and tight t-shirts (usually short-sleeved) which often bear the names of emo bands.
Emo has been associated with a stereotype that includes being particularly
emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden. It has also been
associated with depression, self-injury, and suicide.” Wikipedia

Thursday 27 May 2010

5 Things-tag: Stuff I like about me

Cat at juggling act of life tagged me. Thanks, Cat, you gave me a headache! ;-) My photo’s are on 3 computers, and before that – photo’s of a previous life! It will have to do what I have on this computer now…

1. 5 pictures of myself that I really like (including listing 5 things of myself that I really like):I am including two of our wedding day in 2004. I love new beginnings and new lives!
I like the fact that I am able to adapt to new situations very easily. This was a great day in my life! (Check our slim versions! Smile)

Hiking in the Berg (Drakensberg Mountains) – this photo was taken in 2006. A great activity I only discovered in my 30s and Dries was a willing participant. I like the fact that I could be adventurous, again. We are planning a next excursion very soon!

My daughters are a big deal in my life. I like myself being a mom.
(Patrick Pretorius Photography)

The belly dance photo: I like the fact that I put myself out of my comfort zone, and I actually enjoyed it! (I was 8 months pregnant at the time.)

2. Tag others:
I am supposed to tag 5 bloggers today. I have tagged 8 fellow bloggers yesterday.

Whoever reads here, consider yourself tagged! ;-)

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday #25 - Photo tag 8th photo

Our first holiday with Mieka in February 2009 at Qwantani near the Sterkfontein Dam. She was 2 months old.

HT at Life is like a box of chocolates photo-tagged me:

The rules:

  • Go to your photo files, select the 8th photo folder.

  • Select the 8th photo in that folder.

  • Post that photo along with the story behind it.

  • Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same:



Simply Mel B

Harassed Mom

juggling act of life

The Reluctant Mom

Super Mom

Snuggle Buggle Rock Mom

Consider yourself tagged! :D

Not Wordless today, but it's my blog ;-)

Happy WW!

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Babies and children - Powerwoman on her soapbox

As soon as you get pregnant, and you have you own baby, it is as if other children and babies matter even more. I can’t stand the thought of any baby or child being hurt, neglected or injured. I look at my own child and I cannot comprehend that anybody would harm such an innocent magnificent small person! Powerwoman gets on her soapbox immediately!
Two stories grabbed me this past week.

The story of Rent-a-Baby that was broadcasted on Carte Blanche is heart-breaking. I heard it on the news (we don’t have the full bouquet of channels). It is horrific! Mothers are hiring out their babies for as little as twenty rand a day to stand at intersections begging. This is a regular sight here in South Africa. Some babies have been found without food or water, passed out on the perpetrators’ backs. I have not been giving them money in any case, but it has strengthened my resolve to NEVER-EVER give them any money and not to feel GUILTY about it anymore!

The other story is the story of one year old baby Marzanne who was battered in a house robbery and who is now blind. Words fail me... It is very sad when stuff like this happens!

I do not like to watch stories where children are negatively impacted, but now we are hearing the real thing! Not all babies and children are being cared for as they should be... Sadly!
Powerwoman wishes for a society where our focus will turn to our most precious future: Our children!

Monday 24 May 2010

Stressful teen years

I feel very sorry for teenagers nowadays. Their lives are so busy. With studies, and sport, and exams! I think they have more stress in their lives than we used to have.

Arnia comes home from her hockey, and then she has to finish her homework and study as well. She even has to decide which task is most important (counts the most), and make a choice what to do and what not. It does feel as if they get more on their plates than they can handle sometimes... Or, maybe it is good for them? It teaches them to focus their energies. (I hope so!)

I was very proud of her last week when she typed out CV’s with introduction letters. She handed the CV’s to managers at seven shops in the nearby mall. She is looking for a part-time job at weekends and school holidays to start saving for the French tour next year. She got six “maybe” answers and the promise that they will phone her this week. Thumbs crossed!

Sometimes all that is needed is to go and ask...

Friday 21 May 2010

17 months - toddler update

Drums: Dum-Dum-Dum-Ta-Dum! The toddler is 17 months today!

Quick update: (Why it is SOOOO nice that they actually grow up!)

- The sleeping is going better and better. We have more and more nights where Mieka sleeps until 5/6 in the mornings. (Ta-Dum! Our sleep deprived nights are getting fewer and further in between!)

- She has 12 teeth. We discovered an extra four in her mouth about two weeks back. Big bonus – we did not notice teething-relate niggles! (It was probably those few many nights we did not sleep through... Who knows?)

- The breastfeeding is working well. I am planning to continue until the two year milestone, or until Mieka decides to quit. I read somewhere (on KellyMom?) that when you wait for the toddlers to wean themselves it is usually between 3-4 years of age. (Gulp!) We’ll see! I did not expect it to last as long, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. And the bonus – it is very good for them! (Pat on back! You go, Powerwoman!)

- Mieka got her MMR injection on Wednesday. She was two months overdue. She had a runny nose the whole time. I was also a bit apprehensive because of the link between MMR and autism, and because a lot of babies get sick after the injection. The teen got measles from the injection 15 years back! A doctor convinced me that it is better to get the injection sooner than later... (Thumbs crossed.)

- Mieka “told” me her first story this week. I was breastfeeding her, and she started to poke her eye, and saying something like “seer” (sore). I eventually deduced from that that she got sand in her eyes at day care.

- It is going very well at day care and the new class. She enjoys the activities and singing, and we can see the difference at home. (The “lights” are brighter!) She swings and rolls her arms while “singing”, and loves-loves building puzzles and blocks and sketching.

- She prefers spending time on our hips (big back-breaker at the moment (literally)): She gets us to take her finger, and as soon as she gets us up, she wants to be picked up while she directs us in the direction she wants to go! When she does not want to be put down, she folds in her legs, and no ways is it possible to get her to stand... (This too will pass.)

Oh, we love this little girl! She is a big pleasure in our lives! And she is growing up... Very quickly! (Big smile!)

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Breastfeeding and Booby traps

There is wonderful breastfeeding advice on the Net. I wish I knew more of it when I started with breastfeeding 17 months back. I thought that there would be excellent help and that I would get wonderful support with regards to breastfeeding. Not so!

Best for Babes is an excellent website which talks about Booby Traps: cultural and institutionalised. (See the nice ad. I’ve grabbed it for the blog.)

Cultural is the stories and misconceptions and cultural myths that is being told by well-meaning friends and family and even other breastfeeding moms. How do you decide what works best for you? Or do you cave in with the first mention that your milk supply is not adequate? When your baby does not gain weight in a week? I struggled with all of these, but continued in any case.

In the beginning it felt like Mieka was stuck on my breast. We did not get a lot of sleep. My breasts were extremely sore. I asked for help from the sisters in the hospital, but nobody pitched to help me with the latching. There was a woman who came around twice who introduced herself as a lactation someone (I was too dazed to register) and I asked her twice to come and help me with the latching. She never came back. The clinic sisters were also more concerned about the weight gain than anything else. Luckily Mieka gained her weight every week in the very beginning.

Institutionalised is the help (no help) you get from the hospital /gynaecologist / paediatrician/ sisters and everything in the system. It felt more like something that was frowned upon than something to be congratulated for. Which all breastfeeding moms should be made to feel!

Powerwoman votes for huge accolades going to each and every mother who breastfeed and tries to continue for as long as possible!

Luckily I had a husband who supported me, and who did not feel threatened by the relationship between mom and baby. What a joy to be able to still breastfeed the toddler of 17 months which is tomorrow). I am very glad I persevered!

Related posts:
- Breastfeeding the toddler - positives and negatives
- Big heads and breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding blues

Wordless Wednesday #24

Monday 17 May 2010

Our little girl has become afraid

Something of the scared little face that we see...
Lately we have noticed that we have to watch what is showing on television. We have to keep our fingers on the alt button. Even stuff that we think is not worth mentioning makes our little one afraid.

She sees an ugly face, or a strange creature, sometimes even a “funny” face, and she looks at us with eyes full of fright! I was not even aware of how many strange things are being shown on television. Our days are filled with abnormal apparitions: a devil with red horns, an ugly face on a clay tablet, and a man with tattoos on his face... We are being bombarded with it!

The thing is – as soon as she has seen it, she has seen it. You can’t undo an image in the mind... We will have to be extremely careful from now on!

This is most probably where the stage of being afraid is coming into play. I used to be a very scared little girl myself. I remember being in my bed when I was small; not able to move because of being scared. The teen also used to sleep with a night light, and to this day she does not watch any scary movies. We have a rule: we rather do not look at something when we get the inclination it is going to be scary. We change the stations!

From now on: we will change stations even more quickly!

How do we teach them to not be afraid? Is it possible to do it, or is it a normal phase in development?

Sunday 16 May 2010

The Baby Expo

I have never seen so many pregnant, and parents with babies/kids in one place together, as I had seen on Saturday at the Baby Expo at the Dome here in Johannesburg! Johannesburg is a very fertile place, apparently!

The expo was amazing! We were not planning to go there at first. Friends of ours asked to meet us there. I was thinking that we are over the baby/kid stuff. Not so! There are a lot of gadgets/clothes/toys that we still need! Stuff you don’t think you need until you sees it. (Ouch, purse!)
Mieka with the Huggalugs

We got the nappies at a special (we should have bought more...). I was extremely excited to find the Huggalugs (legwarmers which are great to have in the cupboard for kids) (See photo)

There were a lot of activities for the kids to enjoy as well! Play areas, and toys, and other play mates. It is a haven for parents and parents-to-be. Next time we will definitely go again.
LOVE the gadgets and the clothes!

Friday 14 May 2010

FlogYoBlog Friday - I'm playing today

Happy FlogYoBlog today. I'm playing also today. FYBF is all about promoting your blog and connecting with other like minded bloggers. Brenda at MummyTime started it all! (Great idea, Brenda!)

I've had a terrible week attending training and working on lesson plans. A great learning curve for me! I am extremely tired after I used up my last two remaining brain cells... (Smile)

Happy Football Friday to all here in South Africa as well!

Brenda's rules for FlogYoBlog Friday:

"Just read through them. They're pretty easy to follow.
Follow Brenda's blog. (if you haven't already
done so).
Grab her bubbly button and post it on your sidebar.
your Blog Name and URL below.
Add a short description (max of 125 chars). It
could be a description of yourself, your blog or a teaser to your latest post.
Follow at least 1 linkyer/blogger (Pay it forward is the name of the game).
The list will be open for linkyers on Fridays
A new and fresh link list
will open every Friday. And you will have to link up AGAIN. The previous link
list does not carry over to the following week.
And lastly, have lotsa fun
That is it. Link it up, link it up!"

Monday 10 May 2010

How to handle a biting toddler, or not?

The day care told me last week that the toddler bit three of her class mates last week.

Horrors! (Our little angel?)

I immediately felt like I had to apologise. I also tried to find out what sparked the aggression. I know there is a “bully girl” with them. The babies are always crying around her. What about her? Was she not involved? Apparently the “bully girl” is much better now. (What are they saying? Is Mieka the bully now?)

I could only muster: “We have never seen this behaviour at home.” (We haven’t!)

But what do you do?

- Talk to her, telling her nicely that it is not nice to bite her friends. Not likely! She will only look at me with those innocent blue eyes...

- Biting her when she bites you? This is the advice that most people give. I am not comfortable with it at all! (The lesson: I am teaching you: violence with violence!)

- Giving her loads of attention. (Check!)

- Teaching her with positive reinforcements that it is not acceptable behaviour to hurt other people. (Check!) At the moment she still thinks it is funny to hit at us in play, not understanding the impact. This is part of the development level where she is.

- I think it is one of the most important things to learn sympathy and empathy, and it is something to be taught!

Luckily Mieka hasn’t done it again, and thumbs crossed I won’t feel like I have to explain again at the day care.

How do you handle a biting toddler?

Sunday 9 May 2010

Mother's Day

My 2 beautiful daughters
It is wonderful to be a mother! Today we spent the day with family, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to have a mother whom I can be grateful for, and to be a mother!

Thank you, Mother, for now we know how difficult it has been to raise us! The sleepless nights, driving around with a baby at ten at night (which we did just now), the worries ... (long list)! We also know how extremely awe-inspiring and satisfying it is to see a little one grow up into becoming their own unique beings!

It is such a cliché! (Gag, gag!) Being a mother has made me gone soft and mushy and saying “CUTE!” to every baby I see. (Meaning it really! Really!) By becoming a mother, you also succumb to all the soppy! And loving it...

How we have fallen! (Smug smile!)

The whole of Johannesburg rocked up at the Sappi Sunday Picnic Concert at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens! It was a lovely sunny day, with picnic and music. The Girl Zone band entertained us with popular tunes. There were children everywhere... It was a perfect family outing. My own grandmother (of eighty more years) came with as well, and it was inspiring to see that she enjoyed it! You go, grandmother!

I am planning to also be “game” for everything when I am older! WE don’t ever have to be “old”! (Please remind me when I forget about this in future years, my daughters.)

Friday 7 May 2010

Football Fridays

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is around the corner. Yeah! Something is happening here...

I am seeing everybody driving around with South African flags hanging from their windows, and South African flags covering their side mirrors! (I like it!)

All over we have been doing Football Fridays for a couple of weeks. We are dressing up to fit the theme at our workplaces. I even have a Zakumi (the official FIFA mascot) t-shirt which I wear every Friday. We have seen the diski dance being demonstrated, and the Vuvuzela is heard (annoyingly) everywhere!

At school the teen has been dressed in the football colours since the previous Friday. She organised a yellow t-shirt in the official Bafana Bafana (South Africa’s official team) colours. But she decided to buy herself an England jacket over the weekend. She wanted to wear it with the England scarf and pet she got as a gift from my sister in England. She came home very angry when the principal announced that they could only wear yellow on a Friday. Now she dislikes the principal even more than before... (Smile)

I felt very sorry that she had spent the money, but salute the principal for only allowing yellow!

There is a lot of bad vibes going around here in our country, but there is something positive building here with the World Cup coming to our part of the World!

Thumbs crossed for a bit of goodness bringing us together again...

Go, Bafana Bafana! Go, South Africa!

Go, World!

(Photo: Mieka with a plastic 2010 football. She loves playing/kicking it)

Thursday 6 May 2010

Bubble brain – how long does it last?

I have noticed that the baby brain - the fog brain - has been getting clearer over the months since baby was born.

OR do we get used to diminishing capacities? Horrors! I hope not!

I used the “baby brain” excuse last week when I told Cat that she had been nominated by me for a Sunshine Award. When I checked my list after it was posted, her name was not there. I was really planning to put it up, but somehow I slipped up. Luckily I could nominate her for The Life is Good Award, and I had to apologise on her site. She was extremely good humoured about the whole thing, and said that we could still use the “baby brain” excuse until they are 12 years of age.

12 years works for me! I think it is also because we have so many things to think of when we have children. It is not only ME anymore, but I have to think of another person and her needs 24/7. Her food, her poop, her clothes, her entertainment, her education... (The list is endless).

I find myself walking into the house after a busy day at work, and trying to do a couple of tasks with the toddler hanging on my knees. I am on my way to the bedroom to go and fetch a bundle of washing, when I see Mieka’s day care bag which needs to be unpacked. I do that, and when I get to the basin with the bottles, I start washing them. I need to take out something out of the freezer, but there is toys strewn around that needs to be put back into a box... Sometime during the evening everything gets done, even the washing, but it feels like I am sidetracked in my own home the whole time...
I blame the “bubble brain”!

How long do YOU think we can blame it on the “baby brain”?

Related posts:

- Brain bubble

- Bubble brain strikes again

Monday 3 May 2010

Lanseria airport: a great place to take the kids

The toddler loves watching planes. When she hears a plane, we have to pick her up and show her the plane in the sky. She also makes a flying movement with her arms, with an mmmm-sound, ‘describing” the plane to us.

We took her to the Lanseria airport, which is nearer to us than O.R. Tambo International, on Sunday. It is a great place to show airplanes in all shapes and sizes to the children. There is a Wiesenhoff restaurant on the outlook deck. You can sit and sip your coffee while the planes are coming in and taking off right in front of you. We even saw a big green Kulula plane (747 Boeing) taking off right in front of us.

There is a jumping castle on the deck as wel, but it is advisable not to show it too early to the little one. Then the restful coffee time is at an end... (Smile)

We will definitely go there again. There is always parking available. It is not that hectic, but busy enough with all the national and small planes coming and going...
Very entertaining! :D

Sunday 2 May 2010

Divorces lead to funny stories

Each year when we tick off another anniversary, I always think back and compare my previous life to what I have now. It is of course way way better!

I had a previous life (it feels like a reincarnated life, so far removed it is from us now), which ended in divorce. It was one of the most awful and traumatic times of my life! It was as bad, no! - Even worse – for my daughter! For years she blamed me for the split, and wished we were just a whole family again. I know that is the wish of all kids who are impacted by divorce! Now the teen understands what it was all about, and she herself has put down a few rules with regards her own dad...

I had great friends who stood by me during the difficult times. (I will always be grateful to them!) Two of my friends who had two boys came to visit us after we moved into a flat on the third floor of a block of flats. The boys were extremely impressed with the stairs in the building. They were playing on the stairs for the duration of the visit. They were even sad to leave...

On the way home they asked their mother when they are going to get divorced.

Shocked, my friend asked them why they wanted them to get a divorce.

Because they wanted to stay in a flat as well where there are stairs...

My friend’s husband was, of course, not impressed at all! Not at all!

Saturday 1 May 2010

6th Wedding Anniversary

6 years with the hubby! It has been a great ride so far! Thank you very much, Hubby, for the great times!

The 1st of May is usually a public holiday here, but this year it falls on a Saturday. We are missing out on an extra off day this year. Bummer...

We spent the day with the toddler. (Yeah, we are sorry excuses!) Nothing gives us more pleasure than being with each other and our littlest! I had to put my foot down (um, I had to write on Dries’s gift card for a DVD) that he could not spend it on a DVD for the toddler... He did just that with a previous gift! (Smile)

I was reminded again today of how very quick special times are going by. My teen chose to spend the day with the boyfriend rather than with us. I totally understand it! (Sigh!) It makes me cherish the time with the toddler even more...

We went for a breakfast at Lifestyle Garden Centre. Nothing beats a breakfast eating out! I am so glad I have a hubby that enjoys going out, even if it is for a breakfast in a restaurant...

We wanted to show Mieka the petting zoo. It is a very child-friendly place for parents to go here in Johannesburg. There is a play area for the children, and a little bit of animals – ponies, geese, rabbits and chickens – to look at. They have pony rides, as well as a train for the children to ride on. Mieka enjoyed the train ride very much, and grabbed the steering wheel in the train coach and wouldn’t let go!

Top photo: The flowers I got from Dries. Aren't they lovely?

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