Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Who are you?

And what have you done with our three year old toddler?

A rhetorical question... I know!

But three-year old toddlers are exasperating.
The schizophrenia of the phase is really mind-blowing!

We see happiness, and screams of fun, interspersed with manic tantrum bursts of epic-fall-on-the-ground-loud-pitched-wails every five minutes! Or less!

It makes me question our parenting skills every single day!

Luckily there are the blogs reporting of same age characteristics...
(How did I do it the first time around? How could I forget this?)

Phew! It is great to know it is not only in this household!

"Are we breaking her spirit?"
"Are we giving her too much space?"

("This too will pass!""This too will pass!")

We still love our little devil angel!

(Photo on Saturday at Tiny Tumbles)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Interview with the Toddler

This afternoon
What is your name?

What are you going to do now?
Huh? What?

Are you going to school?
I am going to school.

What is the name of your teacher?
The Owl Teacher (She is in the Owl class)

What is the name of your friend?

Why are you sad?
The man is sad (we were busy watching Idols)

Are you sad?

Do you have a grandfather and a grandmother?

What are their names?
"Oupa" and "Ouma"

What are you going to be when you are grown up?
I am "Big" already!

What job is your father doing?
School (?)

What job is your mother doing?
She works

What does she work?
'n Little flower (?)

Where is your sister?
Sister is at university

What is your most favourite toy?
Penguins (?)

Who do you like the most: Mom or Dad?
Arnia (her sister)

What is the name of your school?
Big school

Where do you stay?
On earth

(Translated from Afrikaans)

I got the idea from Supermom Melany who interviews her boys every now and then.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday afternoons and Heaven

Especially when drinking a cappuccino and eating a potato, olive & herb scone at Woollies!
(An empty budget can stretch far on this!)

The weekend has started already with an afternoon off...

This is "Heaven" and the best is yet to come...
Looking forward to meeting with friends and braais and lazing around!

What are your plans for this weekend?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Pass the MeMe tag

Cat at Juggling Act of Life tagged me.
I always feel guilty when I do not respond to these, and today was a bit of a muse-less day...
So I am happily playing/tagging along.

The (bendable) rules:
"You must post these rules.
Each person must post 11 things about herself on his/her blog. (I am skipping this - as she did and you can too)
Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in her post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
You must choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.
Go to each blogger’s page and mention that you have tagged

The 11 questions by Cat at Juggling Act of Life:

Name the one product in your kitchen you can not function without.
The kettle – for my daily coffee!
If you can change your career decision, what would you like to be (disregard training, money etc- this is a dream job)
A computer programmer – I would love to be more techie savvy!
What is your favorite toy (as in gadget, craft item, etc)
What is your favorite book of all times? (or just choose one for now)
Neale Donald Walsch – Conversations with God (1-3)
If you could give your 16 year old self one bit of advice only, what would it be?
Chocolate or vanilla cake? And specifically what type.
Chocolate, Any Type!
Meat, fish or chicken?
Fish every time
On what would you spend R300 or 40US$ or the equivalent thereof as a spoil for yourself?
Which building in the whole wide world do you think is beautiful or have captured your attention?
The Sydney Opera House
If you could go on a dream holiday right now, no costs spared, to which one destination will you go and who will you take along? (no world tours allowed - one destination)
I just checked out Spier specials this morning, but any Cape destination will do for me…
If you were a flower, which one will you be. And why?
Sunflower! It’s bright and useful and rugged!

I am tagging the last 11 commentors on my blog as well:
Maxabella at Maxabella Loves
Jen R at Let it go 
Tasneem at MumDrum 

My questions:
Name a pet peeve
What would you do over?
Are you happy now?
Why/why not?
What book are you reading now?
How do you take a breather?
What is your job title?
When is your next holiday?
Which do you prefer: Beach or bush holiday?
How much sleep do you get each night? (Vs. How much sleep does your body need?)
Do you listen to Talk Radio or Music Radio?

Anyone else can also answer these and pass the tag on.
I love reading the answers.

Thanks Cat!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

foursquare withdrawal symptoms

It's been a week since I deleted the foursquare app on my phone.
(I blame it as the main culprit for my BlackBerry going on a strike...)

But it's been difficult:

- I get hit by a twinge of regret every time I do not sign in.
- I feel as I am neglecting a social duty or something.
- It feels as if I am letting my "friends on foursquare" down.
- I get totally uptight when I get a notification that I have lost my mayorship, and I can't rectify my status!
- I love working towards the goal of mayorship or a badge! Now I am extremely sad that I would not be able to work towards another "goal".

I recognise the danger signals...

Everybody around me looks at me with a frown when I insist to sign in at a place.
(They just don't get it!)

I am the forever optimist that believes in the concept of foursquare, but is seems in Africa it is still going to take a while decade century!

In the meantime...

Points for myself that I will not be left in limbo for not being able to sign in:

- I have never received a discount or special on anything with any sign-in.
- I can vent my frustration at bad service on other social media platforms.
- Mayorships and badges does not really count for anything. I cannot put it on my CV.
- My BlackBerry works perfectly without it.
- Most of my friends are not on foursquare. I can still connect with them in real life!
- I do not have to walk around in shops or restaurants trying to sign in with bad reception signals, and frustrating my friends and family...
- I can relax. There is nothing I have to do!


Do you still use foursquare?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Movie Clip Monday #23 - spider exercise

Make like a spider with Tammy Smith of Tiny Tumbles.

(Thanks to Tasneem at MumDrum for her Movie Clip Monday idea)

Related post:
Movie Clip Monday #22 - Body awareness exercises


I was so excited to start the next stage of my life: UNIVERSITY.

My parents and my boyfriend helped me to move in.
I tried to gulp down my tears when they left, but failed miserably.

When all the parents were gone; the House Committee told us to go and stand in the recreational room and be quiet. They left the room and only returned 10 minutes later. When they returned, they started to close all the rooms and blinds. All I could remember of that moment was that it felt like the bad cop interrogation style. The room was dark and suddenly they started yelling at us.

They yelled things like: “You are useless!” “You don’t belong here!” “You are not worthy of this hostel”

The screaming went on for days. We had to learn millions of songs and ‘traditions’ at the speed of light. We had to march in rows EVERYWHERE! All the girls had to wear the same clothes and have the same hairstyles, because we are a unity, you know.

We had a busy program everyday from 5am till 12pm every day, but after that it wasn’t bedtime. Oh no, then we had to create and revise songs for some important person on campus. Oh wait, we also had to make cards for every House Committee member for the mornings (WHY, I ask you! #pointless!!!!!!!!!!!)

Just when things started to get better, we heard that the seniors were coming and they wanted revenge. They wanted revenge, because we “took” their friends’ places in the residence.

OMW! Never in my life was I so scared as I was that evening of seniors’ meeting. We came back from activities and near the residence we heard chains clanking on the metal bars.
Painted faces screaming: “We want blood! We want blood!”

As we went inside, the seniors came down from all the floors and stood around us. They screamed so loud. They shouted that they hate us and we are nothing. My ears hurt for days after.

I live on floor 6. The seniors on that floor are reported as being the meanest and scariest! They taught us to greet our floor, the bear, the tree, every senior and second year. All in ONE night!

Every time we got it wrong they screamed our ears off of our heads! I was too scared to go to the loo! I was too scared to go shower. I was too scared for anything. No wait, I wasn’t scared of those things... I was afraid of the nasty, screaming, bitchy seniors!

The House Committee and seniors never even once told us that we did something right. They just wanted to scar our humanity!

I started getting very sick and the HC didn’t give a damn. When my mom called and DEMANDED that I get medical help, they said to the whole group that we must toughen up and stop being sissies.
I was finally allowed to go to the doctor. I had influenza and throat infection. The doctor was furious that the HC didn’t allow me to get medical attention sooner. She told me that I couldn’t be part of anymore activities and that I should go home.

My mom made a complaint to the campus rector about their actions.
His reply was simply that initiation doesn’t exist...

Related posts:

- Have we failed our children? - initiation 

- Initiation update - as sick as a dog

Friday, 17 February 2012

A walk in the park

It's possible, even in Johannesburg!

We went to a nearby park we have always just passed by, and it turned out to be a great place for a Sunday afternoon walk.

I remember the excitement of going to a park in our childhood years... The swings and the open field of grass.... Pure joy!

The Wilgeheuwel Park turns out to be much nicer than my childhood parks we used to go.
I Googled it and apparently it was built in a day as part of an "Extreme Park Makeover" project to bring "new environmental zones to busy developments".

I would not go and swing my valuables, but it seems very safe, and the dogs had a great outing as well!

Joburg, I'm impressed!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A less-than-perfect Valentine's Day!

This Valentine's Day could easily have been called a Super Bummer!

- We had empty purses!
- We bought each other a kitsch Valentine's present!
- The Toddler got the Influenza virus, and she was booked off for the rest of the week.
- I struggled with a sick toddler the whole day who only wanted to sit with me, and who didn't want to eat anything...
- There was no time to put on fancy clothes for a date night!
- We went to sea the early movie, and after we came out of the cinema, the restaurants were packed. I did not think of placing a booking, and we ended up at Juicy Luicy. (We were thinking in terms of sushi...)
- The movie made me bawl my eyes out, and I looked even worse!
- The food was crappy as well!

But it did not matter in the least!

- Hubby bought me flowers as well!
- The kitsch Valentine's presents are a tradition we are going to keep!
- We had a good date night in spite of the fact.
- The movie, The Descendants, was a great movie!
- We had a good laugh sitting at Juicy Luicy and watching all the people in their "Valentine's" outfits walking past in the mall.
- The Toddler enjoyed her stay at her grandparents, and she was asleep when we got home. Huge bonus!

I realized how lucky I am to have such a great friend in my husband, and that we do not have to have a perfect evening to enjoy each others company!
I declare Valentine's Day 2012 a success!

What did you do on Valentine's Day?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Miniature Yorkshire Terrier Giveaway

- Benjamin is great with kids! They can hug him and he loves sitting or lying next to them, especially when there is a rub involved.
- Benji is about 7-8 year old, so there is no more chewing of anything in the home.
- Benji is super cute!
- Benji is Mr. Cool! The bombs can explode, and he will prance around unperturbed!
- He only gives one or two barks, but never the incessant barking that can drive you mad.
- He loves walking on a leash. (His previous owner's daughter was a dog trainer.)

- Benji eats anything, but it's best to stay with dog pellets.
- You never have to search for him. You will always find him in the kitchen...
- Benji's tongue curls when he is tired. Isn't that super cute?

Giveaway rules:

1. You need to be a serious dog lover!
2. You will have to swore to only feed him his dog pellets, even if he looks at you with those eyes! (The rest only plays havoc with his stomach.)
3. You need to be able to give him his daily attention.
4. The small things in life do not bother you at all!
5. He would love a place in your bed. (But he is used to sleeping with the other dog outside...)
6. It is best if you do not have a patio outside, but only grass.
7. The person who who makes the most passionate plea for this dog in the comments section can have him.
8. For Free!!

It is rather urgent!
(His daily survival is not guaranteed judging by the name-calling going on here on a daily basis!)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Centrum Kids supplement contains Aspartame

What happens when you go and buy a multivitamin for your kid?
You trust that the manufacturers have your child's welfare at heart.
You trust that you are able to give him a little boost with regards today's lessened nutrients in foods and overloads of toxins.

Apparently you cannot just pick a bottle of the shelve. You have to read all of the small ingredients, and sometimes it is not even displayed on the box, but on the bottle.
Most of the times we don't know what we are buying. I find it very scary!

We not only have to check the medicines, but the vitamins as well!

Michelle West, mother of Caitlin, the twin who has cerebral palsy, went to buy vitamins, and was recommended Centrum Kids. She checked on the box that it did not contain Aspartame, but only saw at home that it actually does! In a children's vitamin!

She went on an email and Facebook campaign to warn other mothers, and was contacted and reimbursed by Pfizer.

But the product is still on the shelves in South Africa...

The whole story was also told in Times Live yesterday!

In the words of Michelle:
"If, as a parent, you decide that it is in your child’s best interest to still purchase this product, having all the information, with or without testing them beforehand, then that is your right. I won’t be accused of telling anyone what to do, and that is certainly not my intention.
To my knowledge, there are no documented white papers detailing the effects on children from different countries and of different races, having taken the product over an extended period of however many years and regularly tested to see the effects and their wellbeing. Until that sort of data is provided, I choose to give the product a skip. 
I must reiterate that this is not intended a smear campaign. For this reason, I have not revealed the names of the representatives I have spoken with. They are only doing their jobs.
As a mother, as a citizen and as a consumer, I stand for everyone in South Africa by documenting this.
Those little people that you’ve brought into this world are so precious. They are, quite rightly, our future. If we don’t look out for them, who will?"

Thanks, Michelle, for making us aware!

The Facebook link:

Thursday, 9 February 2012

When does the worry stop?

I've heard that the worrying never stops when you have a child...

But I thought the worrying would decrease...

Especially when she is 18 and finished with school...

But when you hear a sobbing in your ear over the telephone, you are one bag of worry for the worse!

It has been a tough few weeks this year with the student and initiation.
Now it is classes and a new way of doing things far from home...
With an accusatory tone: "One day I would tell my children not to study too far from home!" (sigh)

ParentingWorrying never stops!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday #114 - University of Johannesburg Rag procession

(Photos from cell while we were stuck in traffic on Saturday 4 Feb 2012 - unable to pass Beyers Naude Drive before the whole procession had passed!)

Monday, 6 February 2012

What do you say on a Monday?

When you have nothing to say?

When there is too much to say?

When it is a BLUE kind of Monday?

SOLUTION: You don't say anything!

A blogger paste a photo of her kid!
Photos by Tharien

Friday, 3 February 2012

Caitlin got her "soldiers" - stem cell therapy

Photo taken from The little train that can: Caitlin's story so far on FB
The story of a little girl named Caitlin has a happy endingbeginning. 

Caitlin has a wish of the use of normal arms and legs, the same as her twin sister. 

She was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, and it was the dream of her mother Michelle even before she could comprehend it herself to get stem cell therapy in Kiev. 
A ground breaking treatment that is not available here!

She received the treatment a month and half ago, and already she has more movement in her limbs, and it seems extremely promising. She started normal school with her sister this year!

In the words of mother Michelle from the Facebook page (The little train that can: Caitlin's story so far)

Her therapists noticed the differences immediately when we began working with her now in January.  They've remarked on how she adapts better with each session. She can throw now - something that was a truly difficult task before. Her hands are not as clenched as before and she keeps them in a normal, relaxed position more often than not now. Her posture has improved drastically.  She’s cutting with safety scissors and peeling litchis with ease. She could do neither before Kiev. She's raiding the fridge. She's fighting back. Before the treatment we mostly had grey days with peaks. Now we have good days and bad days. She can really put up a fight now if she doesn't want to do something and she's quick to take her walker and go off to her room for play time on her own. Her fantasy world is not as prevalent as before because (in the opinion of her mom) she's realised she's more capable here in the real world than she was before. Yes, she still makes up and tells wonderful stories, especially to her new friends, but she's here in the present now. Working here. Being amazing here. She's quick to tell me now to leave her be and that she can do things by herself. The fact that she's trying that hard to stake a claim on her independence confirms that things are changing here. We still have 8 months ahead of us before we know the full scale of this treatment's effect, but I know... I just know that things have improved so much and can only get better.
For the full account of the trip to Kiev on December 13 2011 and the progress so far, read it here.
Photos of the trip can be found here: Caitlin's wish...come true!

Thanks to all who have helped this dream come true! 

Michelle is still raising funds for the continued therapy. 

Soldier on, Caitlin! 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Initiation update - as sick as a dog!

Initiation continues unabated in the third week at university!

The poor girls are tired, tired, and tired!

I even got a message as parent from a House Committee (HC) member that the next three days are going to be more hectic because of the upcoming Rag festival on Saturday!

In the meantime the first year is as sick as a dog. She asked to be taken to the doctor yesterday, but was only taken to the pharmacy to get some medicines.
After that she had to continue taking part in all the activities until eleven last night. After which they had to make cards (?) for all the seniors...

I got worried yesterday afternoon, and tracked down the responsible Head of the Residence, a Professor.
I asked that somebody check in on her to see that she is okay.
All that he did was to phone the HC member.
The HC member told our student to sent me an sms from her own (the HCs) phone. (That really reassured me!)

I learnt after eleven last night - the first time that she could talk to me - that she was still not well...

This morning I phoned the Professor to demand that she sees a doctor today! (Yes, I am that mother!)
I said that I did not want any messages from a HC member anymore!
Apparently she's got an appointment at eleven, but she still has to take part in all activities. (I hope the doctor books her off!)

My thoughts on this:
- They are supposed to be adults now, but are treated like babies. She cannot move without informing the HC, and they have to accompany the first years.
- My daughter is very capable to decide when she needs to go and see a doctor, and she will do so when necessary.
- She is also allowed to rest when her body tells her so! (Bed rest is the best cure for sickness!)
- There is no adult supervision at the residence. My daughter does not know who the Head of Residence is and she hasn't seen him moving around. (We have heard more favourable news from other residences where the Heads are seen in the corridors.)
- The seniors are still given free reign in the residence.
- Why are there no guardians to check up on the first years? Where's the friendly "Mother"-figure at the residence?
- I have learnt that a first year got meningitis in the first week, and landed up in hospital. There is a stomach bug going around, and the doctor's waiting rooms are filled up!
- A student died there with this initiation process! There is not enough control for the safety of the students!
- They have to spent hours and hours in the sun until Saturday.
- I am listening to a lot of debates around the issue of initiation (orientation), and it still seems that there are a pervasive psyche in our society that says it is necessary to teach respect! I'm sorry! Respect is earned!
- People are saying that my son had this or that experience, or I had a terrible experience, but they still think it is  a necessary activity! I don't think it teaches you anything, and much less respect!
- It is still INITIATION being practised!

I really feel that my daughter is taken care of! NOT!

In the meantime I had to type up a CV for another residence which seems to treat the students more humanely... (Hold thumbs!)

Related posts:
Have we failed our children? - initiation
Orientation seems a lot like initiation 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday #113 - Missing the first year - 2 & half weeks

Dettol SA to Donate R1 million to the Children's Hospital Trust

Dettol SA on Facebook
Dettol SA is going live today with their campaign to donate R1 million to the Red Cros Children's Hospital. Because it is all about children I am supporting it by posting this on my blog.

Please like Dettol SA on Facebook
Dettol SA

The Red Cross Children's Hospital was built in 1956 and is the only stand alone, specialist children's hospital dedicated entirely to children in southern Africa.

The Hospital is a public tertiary and secondary level hospital in Cape Town, and is dedicated to delivering word-class paediatric treatment, care, research and specialist training. As a referral Hospital patients include very sick children who need highly complex interventions to recover.

With your help, Dettol will be donating R1 million to this great cause. Dettol is asking mothers to become heroes by liking the Dettol SA Facebook page and thus adding momentum to their donation. The Dettol SA Facebook page will also be sharing valuable tips and information with South African mothers pertaining to sustainable family health and hygiene. It has been found that many diseases affecting child mortality can be reduced by 75% by adopting good hygiene habits. 

The Facebook page will also have a Q and A section where mothers can ask parenting and family health questions. Mothers, along with Dettol, will also be given an opportunity to answer other mothers' questions using the valuable knowledge they have gained from caring for their families.

Every mother wants to protect the health and wellbeing of their children. Get on board with this great initiative and improve the health of your family, as well as that of the sick children at the Red Cross Children's Hospital.

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