Monday, 30 August 2010

Who steals a garden umbrella?

The weather is like summer here. And weekends translate into being outside and braais(barbeques). We had a patio umbrella the previous weekend.

This weekend it was gone!

Who steals garden umbrellas? It is a very heavy, especially with the metal base. Dries walked around in our complex to see if someone had nicked it. We can’t imagine seeing someone walking out with it under their arms. Not that it would be that strange... Reality is stranger than fiction!

It could have been the garden services on Wednesday. They trimmed our neighbour’s trees, and it’s possible they could have smuggled the umbrella and stand out with the tree branches.

The case of the missing umbrella... Another crime statistic? No, not even worth mentioning here with our large crime levels in South Africa.

Just suck it up! It is very frustrating! It’s not like we have back pocket money on hand to go out and buy a new one immediately...

What has been stolen from you that are worth a lot to you, but not worth going to the police about it?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The toddler is sleeping on her own bed...we hope!

We got the toddler her own bed sooner than I thought. I was planning to get her a bed in December, when she turns two. But Dries brought her the brand new bed through friends, and we hope it is going to be a great investment! An investment in sleep...

Up until now she has been sleeping in the camping cot in her room. When she was not sleeping with us...

We bought the sidebar yesterday, and Mieka spent her first night in her own big bed. Amazingly the Angelcare still works through the thick mattress. I put her down at seven last night, and she woke again at twelve. I could climb into her bed and breastfeed her back to sleep. Dries was running around fixing up a bottle (thanks Dries), but she would have nothing of it. And then I could quietly slip out to get a good night’s sleep myself!

She slept through until 6:30 this morning, and we finished the night with her sleeping the last hour with us.

I am all for the co-sleeping arrangement, but our double bed does not really help. It is too small, especially when the little body turns sideways in bed.

That was last night. Mieka did not want to have anything to do with sleeping in her bed tonight. I had to lie with her in our bed again tonight. Hopefully we can carry her to her bed later...

Good night! (Wishful smile)
Related post:
Sleep woes continue

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Saturday gymnastics

The toddler enjoyed her tiny gymnastics thoroughly this morning!

Hit that ball!


The stickers are the best!

Friday, 27 August 2010

The toddler uses a language of sounds

I regret that we did not make more effort to learn the toddler sign language. She still gets by with her pointy finger and lots of grunts. But I realize that she uses a lot of sounds to indicate what she wants. And it works for her, because we understand her… Perhaps the sounds are not such a bad thing, and it works on the same principle as sign language.

Sounds used by the toddler: (I hope I get it right)

“Ah-Ah-Ah” with open mouth – she wants to be breastfed
“Woef” – used for the dog
“grrrr” – ants
“sswee-ssweee” – going to the toilet
“weee-weee” – planes (with hands making a sweeping movement above her head)
“uh-uh” – anything she wants, with pointy finger
Negative “eh-uh” – NO!
“poef” – dirty nappy (with finger trying to pull nappy down)
“s-s-s-s” – fish
“hawrrrrr” – roar used for lots of animals, such as lions, tigers, foxes

That’s about it! It is remarkable that she can do so much with these sounds. Luckily we hear that she is beginning to copy us when we say something…

Related post:
The toddler is 20 months

Playing Friday Follow 40 and over. Check Java for the details at Never Growing Old.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Lost children

I was booked off sick for two days. It did me a whole lot of good! I actually got to read a whole book by Aher Arop Bol, The lost boy. In the past 20 months I did not get that much time for book reading. My book stack is growing and growing of books to be read!

Aher Arop Bol is the real life story of a Sudanese refugee boy who lost his parents and landed up in refugee camps in Sudan with his uncle when he was three or four. He had to fend for himself for fifteen years. He made his way through Africa in search for education, and always for word of his parents. He got some education in the camps, also in Zimbabwe, and lastly in South Africa. He met Sannie Meiring in Pretoria who helped him to write the book.

Of course, I bawled my eyes out! I am looking through the haze of my contact lenses right now!

I am thinking today of all the children who have lost their parents, and who struggle for survival every day. As long as there are refugees, there are stories like these for each and every one of them. But the children get to me the most!
We have a small little person in our lives that we only want the best for. Our lives revolve around her! Who look after all these children without parents to fend for them? It touched me that Aher Arap Bol said that the kindness of strangers helped him to survive. I hope we will be able to BE some of those strangers when presented with the same situation... (Look more closely to the people selling that stuff on the street corners.)

(Powerwoman on her soapbox-post)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

What colour is Tuesday? Deep purple for sick

Blogland is full of it. Complaints of feeling overwhelmed, and feeling under the weather! It is this time of the year! It is between seasons; not yet spring, and we are “sick” (literally and figuratively) of IT.

I dragged myself to the doctor today. Why is it that we have no problem taking our kids to the doctor, but we neglect ourselves? If I don’t feel that I can’t get up, I don’t feel I am “worthy” to take myself to the doctor! But Dries has been nagging me for a couple of days. I think it is this cough that sounds like a fake cough. You can’t help to cough the irritating cough every couple of minutes! You are an even bigger irritation to yourself!

I got my antibiotics, and was planning to go to the office from there. The doctor stopped me. She says we have something – she thinks it is a South African thing – that thinks we can’t be sick. She sees it when people come back with more severe strains. One of the main reasons is that people do not get enough bed rest when sick.

She booked me off for two days! Now I just have to get over my guilty self...

Self-talk: I have not been sick for nearly two years. The work does not revolve around me. Luckily! I need to get better for the sake of Mieka who is still breastfeeding. She is also not yet 100% after I took her to the doctor on Friday.

Now off to bed! SLEEP! (Yay, that neglected thing!) Sometimes there are some blessings, even in being sick! I get permission to sleep!

What colour is your Tuesday? Mine is purple, for being under the weather, but getting to stay in bed.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The toddler is 20 months

The months are rolling by with the toddler! 20 months!

It is such a fun age:

She understands us. Every little task we give her, she is able to do! I love that we are able to get some communication going.

But sometimes she gives us a big IGNORE. When we ask her to tidy up, or put back something, she will continue as if not hearing us... (We know she knows that we know, but she is still able to play her little game!)

She is getting difficult! I think they call it the “Terrible Two’s” or just plain “Tantrums”. Missy wants to do what Missy wants to do, and she gets stomping feet upset when she don’t get it her way.

I think we are beginning to see the beginning of potty “readiness”. She sometimes tells us there is a “pooh”, or she starts pulling down her pants. She has an extreme fascination with the toilet, but do not want to be put on it at this stage. She has a small potty that she spends hours playing with. I see that we are going to have to exercise extreme PATIENCE with regards the potty training thing, and that you cannot force her to do anything she is not ready for...

At day care she has developed a very strong bond with Cindy, one of the assistants, and cry after her when she moves out of her sight. She even sits on the chair in front of the door when Cindy goes to the toilet. She has been crying more and more mornings when I leave her at day care. It leaves me with a feeling of uneasiness for the rest of the day. But it helps to know that she has someone specific to go to...

It is getting more and more difficult to go shopping with the toddler. Dries took her with him today when he went to shop at our local Look & Listen (music shop). He phoned the teen and me to tell us that he is bringing her to us in the mall. He was not able to complete his shopping expedition with her wanting to get out of the stroller, and complaining... It takes two of us to keep an eye on her and to shop! Going to a restaurant also takes creative skills to keep her occupied. I have to take extra titbits of food and crayons and toys to keep her seated at the table! Which does not last for very long...

We love our little girl more and more! We marvel at the wonderful unique being in our lives. She takes up all our time and our ENERGY, but we love being with her! We know it is not going to last...

Related posts:
The toddler at 19 months
The toddler is a year and a half
17 months - toddler update

Friday, 20 August 2010

A day in the working mom

Wednesday 18-8-2010
A day in the life – Cat at Juggling Act of Life has done it, as well as Laura at Harassed Mom.

2:00 (bit foggy about the time) Mieka cries. I fetch her and bring her to our bed. Put her on the breast. I feel that she is burning hot from fever and gets up to put in a suppository. Dries fetches a damp cloth to put on her forehead. She tosses and turns until about 3 when the fever breaks.

5:00 Alarms go off. I switch mine off, and gets back into bed. (Mieka is still in bed with us). Dries switches his alarm off, and gets back into bed.

5:20 Dries gets up and shower.

5.35 Dries goes downstairs to start with breakfast and the lunch boxes. I snuggle a little bit closer with my sleeping toddler (no fever) next to me.

5:45 I get up and get dressed. Make-up as well.

5:57 Take out clothes that needs to be ironed.

6:00 I pick up the sleeping toddler and put on her clothes which I have selected the previous night. She sleeps through everything, even while combing her hair.

6:07 Go downstairs, and sits with her for a while on the breast.

6:15 I place the sleeping toddler in Dries’s arms. I collect all my stuff (lunch box and Mieka’s bag, with her bottles that has been prepared by Dries). I put my breakfast – boiled egg on toast (aka Dries) – on the front seat. I make sure that food and key is in place for the cleaning lady coming in for the week.

6:20 Dries places the sleeping toddler in her car seat. (Dries and the teen leaves a little bit later and he drops her off at her school).

6:30 I drop the sleeping toddler off at the crèche. I have to place her in another person’s arms and she cries. I have to leave her...

6:35 Sit in traffic and eat my breakfast and drink my morning herbal tea.

7:20 Arrive in the office. Start checking my emails, and check some blogs.

7:45 Drink coffee with colleagues.

8:10 Work!

12:30 Drive to school to fetch the teen. The school closes at 13:00 because they have an Open Day for next year’s grade 8 scholars.

13:25 Stop at McDonalds for a take-away.

13:35 Back at my work-station.

15:30 Leave work with the teen and colleague, Johann.

16:05 Pick up the toddler at the crèche. They tell me that she has been a bit difficult and complaining during the day.

16:15 Drops blind colleague on corner of his street.

16:25 Shop at the nearby Spar. The teen wants blue balloons, scrap book paper and felt-tip pens. We find the felt-tip pens at the Waltons next door.

16:50 Arrive home. Breastfeed the toddler.

17:00 Dries arrives home. He takes out haddock out of the freezer, and puts vegetables in the steamer.

17:15 I feed Mieka a bit of leftover pasta. She eats a little.

17:30 We play with Mieka – crayons and she plays with her “toilet”. She plays for a while in the teen’s room. We watch The Doctors (a fav) in the background!

18:00 We eat. With a glass of red wine! Mieka plays with her food.

18:30 We watch V.

18:40 Mieka falls asleep on the breast.

19:30 We bath the toddler who has woken up again.

19:50 Medicines for the toddler.

20:00 I announces that we are going to bed, and the toddler waves and kisses her Dad.

20:05 I read a book with the toddler.

20:10 I lie down with the toddler on our bed and breastfeed her. She falls asleep, but seems restless.

21:00 I give up and take the toddler downstairs again.

21:10 I blog. Dries spends a bit of time with the toddler.

21:20 Dries takes the toddler upstairs with a bottle.

21:35 Dries comes down again after the toddler had fallen asleep, and we watch some television.

22:30 I take a bath.

22:50 I try to take the toddler to her bed. She cries and I put her on the breast.

23:05 I try again to put her in her own bed. No success!

23:10 We get into bed with Mieka in-between.

(This is not a normal day! But I don’t think we have any “normal” days anymore...)

Have you noticed? I have a Saint for a husband! I couldn’t have done it without him!

PLaying Follow Friday 40 and over. Go and check Java at Never Growing Old for the rules:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Not making the cut

Ballito Bay June 2010
I asked my teen to write her own account of the recent disappointment in her life. This is her own version.

I tried to prepare myself for that day. I said that I would like to focus on my schoolwork next year and not to have any big responsibilities, but yet when they called out the names of the new SRC (Student Representative Council) and my name wasn’t one of them, it felt as if my world came crashing down all around me.

My friends and I sat together when the principal called out the names. One for one my friends’ and bf’s names got called out, except mine.

I have always been involved in activities at school and I am a good student. I am an extrovert and love going out with friends.

The day after the SRC was announced, me and two other girls got called into the personnel office and said that they really hoped that we would be part of the SRC. They said that they thought we were a ‘done deal’ of getting into the SRC. They told me I was only two votes short. It really helped with the pain (sarcastic snort). What made it worse was that kids asked me why I wasn’t at the SRC meeting?

The SRC is only chosen by the Grade 11’s; teachers have no say in the matter. It also upset me to see girls on the SRC who uses drugs and drinks every weekend.

I am over the pain, because I know I can still make a difference in the school without that badge. I can also focus on my schoolwork next year.

On the bright side I still get to go to the SRC ball with my boyfriend!

Related post:
Handling disappointments

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cuddle at bedtime or cry-it-out babies

The latest research published about babies and sleep has again made me aware that we have been doing it right! Huge sigh of relief! We have not been doing the crying method with regards to sleep. When Mieka cries, we attend to her. We stay with her, and I nurse her, until she falls asleep. It feels right! It feels like the humane thing to do! But we (even ourselves who sometimes put the own barrier on our thinking) get feedback, even when she was very small, that you should let them cry, or not get used to your arms. Or you will have a spoilt baby…

That standard question that you get asked, especially when they are small little babies: “Is she a good baby?” As opposed to “Naughty”? What is that? Because they are more awake, and demand more of your attention, then the assumption is that she is naughty? And when you are sleep-deprived because of nightly wakings, then you are somehow doing something wrong?

Maybe it is something that goes into default mode. Default mode to parenting styles which was the in-thing when we were growing up. I even made the “mistake”, for the sake of peace in my previous life, to let my first-born cry after she was put down. (The teen has got ONE valid reason already when she blames her parents one day at the psychologist.) I cringe now, but at the time I had to please a jealous husband…

Penn State researcher Douglas Teti “examined the role of emotional availability on infant sleep” by putting in cameras in the bedrooms of babies between one month to 24 months.

He found:

  • Regardless of a family’s night-time routine: parents who were responsive and warm had fewer night wakings and an easier time drifting off. It makes the child feel safe and secure!
  • Scepticism towards sleep training: 1. it does not work! 2. It affects the parent-child relationship itself.
Now I know why it didn’t feel right to pat the baby, NOT look at her, and leave the room, and let them cry for a while before going back in. Still not making eye-contact! (It’s cruel! – my personal view!)

It gets better! Even though we had a bad night last night where Mieka just would not settle (I blame the five o’clock nap she got in the car), she mostly goes to sleep within 20 minutes when she is healthy.

All this too will pass, and we will definitely miss that small little body throwing her legs across us when lying next to us in bed…

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sunday sun and girl’s play

We had another glorious sunny day here in South Africa. Braai (barbeque) and soaking up the sun! Glorious!

The grandparents James & Leonora
Arnia with the dog
We had such a lovely time with the toddler. We miss a lot with us going to work and she going to day care. We don’t always see her in her best of moods, and with what and how she occupies her time. When I pick her up at day care after four, she is usually tired and hungry, and mostly in complaining mode... (The gripe of the working mom! Little whine!)

The toddler loves playing with her dolls. It is amazing how much girls and boys differ with the toys they choose to play with. She spends hours walking around with her dolls. Dressing them. Swaddling them. Pushing them in her toy stroller. Even feeding them her own food, or giving them her bottle. It is precious to watch! The repetitive mode is on, and she does it without getting tired.

It makes me realise how much moms practise to be moms.

No wonder that we are slightly better at it! (Wink smile!)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Sunny Saturday - going for a ride

We have lovely, sunny weather here in Johannesburg! After a cold week of winter, the sun was a welcome break for the weekend. What do we do when it is warm? We braai (barbeque)! Nothing beats a good fire, and off course: red wine!

Mieka, the toddler, with her sticker on the forehead from the Tiny Gymnastics this morning.
*Goodbye, I am going now!* (with the camera bag over her shoulder)
*Open up this gate!*
*Going for a drive!*

(She can "ride" it by herself now!)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Blog BDay

Blog Birthday. Can you believe it? This little bloggie is a year old today!
How has she grown?

From this:
To this:

When reading my first blog post about Mom blogging and the reason for putting down my memories of the precious time spent with our little baby, I know that I have succeeded. It has surpassed my own expectations! She became a toddler already in his time. I have “proof” of all her baby- and toddler cuteness.

The Baby Diary book has not been completed. Who has a completed baby diary with all the photos? (Please let me know it’s not only me.) BUT, I have a virtual record of all her milestones. How great is that to be able to go back and read about it! (I am planning to make a Blog2Print from it.)

The highs: She’s got a tooth! The lows: She’s not sleeping well! The highs: She’s walking! The lows: she’s sick! It’s all here... A year of living baby-rously! (Pardon, but I like the pun.)

The best: I got to know a great number of wonderful blog friends along the way. Thank you for all the wonderful comments on my posts, and all the advice. Thanks for reading! That is something I did not expect. How I look forward to each and every comment on a blog post.

What I also did not expect is to have found so many wonderful wise normal abnormal funny wicked people who also put their lives into words. And to find that deep down we are all the same. We have all the same fears and the same expectations and we struggle with the same things! And the more transparent we are in our lives (virtual and real), the more we connect with each other.

Hubby just said that I’ve got two “babies” now. Our real baby and this blog! Maybe he is right? I get withdrawal symptoms when I am not able to post a blog on a regular basis. Nothing gives a kicker than posting the most recent blog post.

So, here goes... *Publish post* (Huge smile!)

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Dog - part of the family

Our little Petite Peu (“little bit” in French) dog is part of the family. We have been a very reluctant family. But slowly she has made it into our hearts (sic), and into our living room. She made it into Arnia’s room (and bed) as well, but lost the privilege when the teen’s room started to smell...

The normal doggy stuff still gets to us, especially when she upsets the neighbourhood, such as the VERY LOUD barking. Or running around like a dog on espresso when she gets out of the garden. Or jumping up on our guests. I am sure the Dog Whisperer would have a field day at our house. We know now that it is not the dog, but the OWNERS who are the problem! (Guilty!)

The clicker training helped some, but also guilty! We did not continue with it...

The bark is the worst. It seems abnormal for such a small dog to have such a loud yap! She is supposed to have been a Miniature Pinscher, but turned out to be a cross with a Dachshund and some other genealogical mixes on her family tree. She got the loudest and most irritating bark of them all! The toddler has been copying her Dad: when Petite Peu barks, she calls out “Hay!” while showing the little finger! We cannot help but smile every time it happens.

But strangely we like our little dog more and more, and love it when she awaits us with her welcoming yaps! She stays in our vicinity while we are busy or watching television; moving with us when we does; and sleeps in her doggy bed at our feet. We have even caught Dries with the dog on his lap, even though he threatens to not take her to the vet ever again, or to help her out of her existence here on earth... (But who is the one who takes her to the vet every time? Or make sure that she has her extra blanket with her?)

This dog is more work, more money and more everything than we anticipated... The thought remains that another dog would have been easier. (?) But now we have our “little bit” of Big Trouble! Part of our family!

Related posts:

Petite Peu of a mistake

Clicker training #8: CRazy, psycho dog got her certificate

Monday, 9 August 2010

Sibling love

One thing we skipped by having such a large age gap between the children: sibling rivalry! 15 years have taken care of it altogether. Not a bad thing to skip when I witness other parents struggling holding their kids out of each other’s hair...

All we see between our teen and toddler is loads of patience (for a teen that is huge!). The teen does not even show us the same kind of patience! Mieka is allowed in her room, and she can play with her collection of tiny dolls whenever she wants.

Mieka loves spending time with Arnia. Last week the teen was busy at school and we had to go and fetch her later in the evening. When I got home with Mieka she went to the stairs the whole time and called her name, again and again. I had to go and show her Arnia’s empty room, but she was not convinced... She continued to call out her name!

Mieka is big on the tantrum dance at the moment. She does it a number of times a day. The teen showed her how the tantrum dance looks like today. The toddler thought it was hilarious! Not hilarious enough to stop doing it, but they had lots of fun doing The T-dance together!

One of Arnia’s favourite activities is to push Mieka in her stroller through the mall, especially when I am not in the vicinity! She gets a big kick out of it when she sees people making assumptions... She and the BF were walking around today with the toddler, while I was nearby in another shop, and they got even stranger looks!

I love watching them developing a very special bond and love for each other!

Sisters! It is very special to have a sister. I have a sister who is a year younger than me. We are now continents apart, but it is wonderful to be able to have a sister. The older we get, the more we "talk" (thank goodness for the Internet and email and social media).

Today is National Women’s Day in South Africa. Hats off to all the women who have made a difference, and to all the STRONG women! Hats off to ALL of us!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Looong weekend

We have an extra day to look forward to this weekend. Tomorrow is National Women’s Day here in South Africa. How fantastic to sit here on a Sunday night and know that we have a “free” Monday! (Huge smile!)

What wonderful weather we have now! Summer is definitely around the corner!

Tiny Tumbles on Saturday

Mieka was full of beans again at the tiny gymnastic classes. The cold of the previous week a thing of the past, when she was not her usual enthusiastic self. She tumbled and climbed and crawled! Great fun!


We started to soak up the sun at Church already...

Ngwenya Glass Village

We spend a lovely afternoon at Ngwenya Glass Village. It is a very fun place to take the kids as well! It was great to sit outdoors. They have a lovely restaurant, as well as a Gilroy pub/restaurant on the premises. There are crafty shops to browse through, and you can buy beautiful glass ware from the glass factory. You can even watch them blow the glass. Mieka loved the kiddies’ play area.

Monster mosquito

I heard a mosquito last night in our room when I was lying next to Mieka. I immediately put on some anti-mosquito cream. We saw the mosquito later and Dries wacked it. It was full of blood! What is it doing around here at this time of the year? It is winter, and very dry. Mieka had two bites on her cheek this morning. It got more swollen as the day progressed. Looking at the red bumps, it seems it must have been a monster mosquito!


I have been searching for boots since the beginning of winter. I actually had my eyes on some Ginger Mary boots at Truworths, but never got them in my size. I found these boots on Saturday, and love it! Mieka loves it as well...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Handling disappointments

The teen was extremely upset and disappointed this week! As parents we want to buffer them against all of life’s upheavals, but unfortunately we can’t “fix” everything. And the point is; we’ve got to let them learn how to deal with less-than-desirable circumstances.

That’s what life is all about! Unfortunately!

The student representative council was selected at school. It is a voting system, and only the children take part in it. The teen did not get enough votes. We spoke about it before the time, and decided that it would be a good thing if she was not selected. Then she can devote all her time next year (grade 12) to her studies…

But it seems that she secretly hoped to be selected. All her friends were chosen, and she was one of the only ones left seated among them when they were called out. It was a huge shock to her, and she has been crying since then.

It did not make it better when the teachers and principal called her in to tell her how disappointed they were that she was not selected. What does that help?

It does not seem like a fair system where only the students have a say, and the teachers do not have an input. In my time the teachers had all the input! That’s the story! Life is not fair, and we’ve got to deal with it!

My poor baby! My heart aches for her. I tried to tell her that it matters now how she deals with it. She can lift her head up high, and make a difference. Or she can go and sulk in a corner… What does she choose?

Related posts:

The duality of teen

Secret lives of teen

Playing Follow Friday. See Java at Never Growing Old for the rules:

Happy weekend! :D

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