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Things that make us smile…

A couple weeks ago James is at the Jozi Food Market watching Ella and some new-found friends romp on a jumping castle. That she’s not supposed to romp on a jumping castle EVER is something that James and I don’t take nearly as seriously as her rheumatologist would like us to. Weak ligaments you see…could give way at any moment.

But it’s such fun!

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Toilet humour

Ella is at an age where she is pretty good at getting herself on and off the toilet but still needs help with the wiping bit. Ethan is at an age where he needs to examine, closely, every single thing his sister does and as a result the three of us spend a lot of time together in the loo. This, more than anything else is the ultimate test of my (otherwise well-hidden) Virgo nature. And because Ella’s bladder is programmed to need emptying within five minutes of us arriving anywhere, we get to share this experience in numerous public facilities too. It usually goes something like this…

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On explaining death to Ella

About a year ago James and Ella got to chatting and decided that what she needed, more than anything, was a pet goldfish. It wasn’t privy to the conversation so no, I don’t know why she needed one that badly, but it was an idea that grabbed them both and so they set off, older brother and sister in tow, to procure all the bits and pieces that a fish about to relocate might need. Read more

Dear men…

What do women want? It’s a question as old as time, and one that many more experienced and educated than me have tried to answer. I’m going to give it a shot only because I’m feeling brave, and in so doing fully expect to be at the receiving end of some female wrath. I’m sure you’ll agree there are more comfortable places to be; a humid day in hell during the summer for example.

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That step is bigger than it looks…

I was thrilled to see another of my articles published. The original can be found in bright technicolor in this month’s issue of Your Baby and Toddler, together with a really lovely pic of all of us. Thanks Jenny! This version is slightly longer but not all that different from the published one.

Here goes…

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I’m in love with a teenage vampire.

OK, me and a hundred million other females between the ages of 14 and 40. I’m of course referring to the heart-stopping good looks and gentle charm of Edward Cullen as played by Robert Pattinson in the aptly named Twilight Saga. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then I’m afraid you’re alone, but it’s unlikely as I might literally be the last person alive (among those with access to a cinema, enough money to buy a ticket and enough time to waste as many hours as I have watching the wretched things) to lose my heart to either the amber-eyed vamp or the bronzed wolf.

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Dear kids

Six years ago today I married your dad. We officially tied the knot a few minutes past 11h00 in the sweltering heat of the Ixopo Home Affairs office, surrounded by a small group of very close family and friends. The one down side to an sms invitation a mere seven days before any event, but especially one six hours from home, is that not everyone we invited was able to make the impromptu ceremony. But we were grateful to those who could make the journey, coming as it did at the tail-end of a holiday season and only a few days before the year got back into full swing.

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My bubble of hope.

My son doesn’t sleep well….in our house. That his bad sleeping habits might be linked to our home surprised me at first. But then I remembered what I had forgotten twice already: I also battled to sleep there for a while after we moved in. I used to get ridiculously annoying attacks of hay-fever, but only at night. Which of course made it difficult for me to sleep. And made me grumpy during the day. Read more

The judgements of the uninitiated.

I remember once watching a mom and dad I know become quite frantic over how they would put their newish son to sleep in the coffee shop where we were sitting. As the little guy got more tired and grumpy they became more anxious and distracted until they were finally able to get him settled which they did by swaddling him tightly and rocking him quite violently from side to side. They then proceeded to wince every time someone opened the door and scowl at anyone who dared speak above a whisper.

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Notes from the other side

I have always been a bit of a couch potato. Always. I am blessed with the sort of genes that belie the almost complete lack of physical activity I did before I had children. I am very grateful for those genes because without them I’d be the size and shape of a house.

I say before I had children because subsequent to having them I find myself routinely lugging 20 kilograms of toddler up and down two flights of stairs. Or in and out of a bath. Or on and off a couch. Or repeatedly off a table in the case of my son, the climber. Read more

For Louise

Is there anything better than the last weeks of your first pregnancy? In retrospect of course! At the time we are often convinced that nothing could be worse, and then we don’t sleep for three years and know better.

But those last days of having your first child tucked away safely inside your body? Nothing like it! Sure you’ve swollen to proportions you never imagined possible and if adding even more pillows to the existing mountain on your bed offered any hope of comfort you’d happily exchange your unborn’s education fund for the pleasure that is resting your body. Read more

Baby, those are my genes you’re wearing.

I guess they had to come from somewhere. My children’s dodgy genes that is. They had to come from somewhere, I just didn’t think it was me.

I’ve been happily joking for two years now that I should have had their dad screened before mating with him. But all along it was me who needed the ok-to-procreate stamp of genetic approval. Read more

The things we think we need.

James and I used to live in a two-bedroom house. It was fine for the two of us, our two cats and his two children who came to stay two days a week.

But I wanted two children of my own.

“Where will they sleep?” I would ask in motivation for moving to a bigger home. “In a box”, James would joke, sort of. “Or a drawer.” I would think, “Silly man. What does he know about what babies need?” I said seriously “James, I’m being serious.”

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Welcome to reality. It’s a lovely place to be.

Before I had children I knew a thing or two about how to raise them.

For example, I knew that all children loved dummies. So much so that after two or three years of ferocious sucking I would be required to hang the much-loved pacifiers from a tree and manufacture a story about a fairy who travels overnight from dummy heaven to repossess them. My children and I would have a goodbye party in the garden and there would be tears, of course. But I would be firm because it was the best thing for them. Which of course I would know…because moms do. Always. Read more

Why moms can’t jump (much).

I was never a hard-core Rock & Roll chick, (something you can tell just by looking at me), but I have enjoyed my fair share of concerts since attending my very first – Laura Branigan, Sun City, circa 1989…awesome!

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Today Ella woke up (and didn’t scream in pain and frustration), climbed out of bed (by herself), and made her way to our bedroom where James, Ethan and I were waiting for her to call us to come get her.

She walked a passage, climbed down five steps and then up another three to get to our door. Read more

It’s official…I’m not yummy

I have discovered the true test of a mummy’s yumminess; a protracted stay in a paediatric ward with a sick child.

Those of you who follow me on twitter and Facebook know that I’ve spent the last week in hospital with a dehydrated and not at all well Ethan. My poor little guy was ravaged by a tummy bug of the worst kind…a critter so bad that they can’t even name him. Not in the he-who-should-not-be-named kind of way, but in the we-tested-and-tested-but-can’t-quite-pin-it-down kind.

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Welcome to the world little boy

This time last year Ella and I had just woken up.

It was one of only a handful of times she had slept past 04h30, which is one of the reasons I remember it so well. The other reason of course is that I was in labour. Finally. Having waited almost 41 weeks (again) and walked up yet another hill the night before.

I will never forget that very sweet moment, lying with my eldest asleep in my arms while feeling my youngest squirm inside my body for the last time. Those early stages of labour aren’t very sore, so other than some occasional discomfort I was able to lie pretty still and just enjoy holding them both. It’s one of my most precious memories.

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Tell me why…I don’t like Mondays

Among the cocktail of drugs currently polluting my daughter’s body is something called methotrexate. By day it earns its stripes fighting the big C. By night it masquerades as an anti-inflammatory agent that allegedly has the ability to send diseases like Ella’s into remission.

(Before I continue, a note. I’m afraid you’re going to have to forgive the antagonistic attitude I seem to have developed toward the drugs we’ve been feeding my daughter for a little over a year. I have a love/ hate relationship with the stuff and at the moment I feel like they’re not living up to their side of the bargain. The deal is I torture, torment and poison my child, and in exchange the meds take us closer to remission. Lots of torture…zero improvement. In fact the arthritis is spreading. Read more

Breastfeeding is not natural!

You heard it here first; breastfeeding is not natural. Or rather it is a natural process that doesn’t come naturally.

This is assuming of course that you, like me, equate natural to something that happens without any requirement for active participation.

Like breathing. Breathing is an excellent example of a something natural. I rarely think about my breathing and when I do the rhythm changes and I get a bit breathless. Almost like the thinking interrupts the very naturalness of the process. Read more


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