Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A perfect start to the day?

How is it that my best and worst moments of the day can be the same moment?

While we're on holiday, and don't have to wake up early (by early, I mean before 7am...), we've fallen into a new morning routine. Around 7am Nellie wakes up, stumbles through to our room, and crawls into bed with me (on my side, note - I give up half my space for her so G doesn't have to get all uncomfortable) and we snuggle for a while. I love it.

Then, a few minutes later Nathan usually wakes up so Graeme collect him and brings him back to bed. Nathan has that sleepy baby look and smell about him (and I'm not talking about the smell of wet nappies here...) with his hair all disheveled and a cute grin that says "sorry for keeping you up all night, Mum, but I really, really, really do love you!"

Sometimes G deserts us in a grumpy mood because his back is killing him (I'm beginning to suspect some sort of kidney infection), but the best mornings are where we then all snuggle together - all 4 of us. We giggle and tickle and chat and cuddle. It's by far the BEST way to start the day I think (apart from breakfast in bed at 9am that involves lots of chocolate and tea and good books...).

It's also the worst way to start the day, because once Nathan joins us, Nellie won't lie still - she's a wriggle worm of note. Of course, that means that my full bladder usually gets at least one foot or elbow in it, some of my hair gets pulled out by the roots, and Nellie and Nate fight over her Leo (because Nate's is still in his cot and he thinks hers belongs to him...) with the result that she often starts whining and crying and gets all sulky.

When it goes wrong, it puts me in a foul mood and is the worst possible way to start the day (other than, oh I don't know - having gunmen enter your house and kill you?). When it goes right, it's awesome, like this morning. After a quick loo trip, I returned to bed to find Nellie and Nate cuddling - Nate lying on top of Nellie with her arms around him patting his back. Best of all - he wasn't trying to escape (which is his usual trick). He was genuinely loving it! Aaaaah! Made my heart go all gooey.

(Of course, Nellie spoilt what would have been the perfect start to the day by refusing to co-operate while getting dressed and making a scene about the fact that G was going to take her to nursery and not me. Sigh.)

I think back to the days BK (before kids) when I didn't want any because I was feeling too selfish about my time and could only see the negatives of having kids (nappies, sleepless nights, vomit in your hands, endless arguments, constant worry over their safety, etc, etc, etc) and moments like this make me realise afresh that this is, by far, the better choice! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


We've had such a fun holiday, despite Nathan getting a virus, then bronchiolitis, and then tonsillitis! We went to Sedgefield, then on to PE, then back to Sedgefield, and then on to Oudtshoorn, and then back home. We stayed with friends that we hadn't seen in years, which was fantastic!

Rather than upload all the photos twice, I've put some of them on Nellie's blog, since this was her first PROPER holiday in SA. She had such fun - it was wonderful to see how excited she got by everything. The rest are below in other posts.

This holiday also saw quite a bit of jealousy from Nellie's side. With Nathan being sick, he got a lot of attention and holding, and she's found that very difficult. Poor mite. But she's been really good about it all. She didn't throw tantrums, or behave poorly (on the whole). I discussed with her how I wanted her to approach her jealousy. I asked her to tell me if she was feeling jealous, and to ask for what she wanted from me. She cottoned on to that very quickly - and as a result got far more attention from me than she probably would have done otherwise: "Mommy, I'm feeling jealous of Nathan - please can you play with me?" I am really proud of how maturely she's handled it all.

Nathan continues to be a joy to all, despite his sickness. Several times we're convinced he started signing, but as we then went away (which meant he couldn't watch his signing video) that has tailed off again. I'm hoping that as he starts watching again, he will start signing to us again. He now talks 19 to the dozen (all babble though), with quite serious intent too, and loves it when we repeat his babble back to him. In fact, he thinks we're hilarious. If you consider it from his side, he obviously thinks he's talking, and can't understand why we would want to babble... silly parents!

He's walking beautifully now, but can't pull himself back up if he's fallen down. He still needs to crawl across to something else to pull himself up. He's also discovered feeding himself and the joys of grated cheese, Flings, droe wors and drinking from a pull-cap juice bottle (you know, those small juices for kids you buy in the shops with the cap you pull up and push down?). Oh the joys!! He's been in 7th heaven!

Nellie, meanwhile, has discovered the joy of monkey bars and loves to show off. She's also discovered the joys of washing dishes (!!!) and grating cheese (well, we need all the help we can get with feeding Nathan!) and of playing with her brother. She loves nothing more than making him laugh. She's really growing up (but still my little baby).

Anyway, head across to Nellie's page to see some of our photos.

3 cakes, 3 parties, and only 1 yr old!

Happy holidays

Friday, June 25, 2010

"No Money Guy" seeks your help!

There's a guy here in SA called The No Money Guy. His name is Adin van Ryneveld. He's a CApe Town life coach who has undertaken to live without spending any money for 5 years. (Currently he's about a year into the project.) He also wants to give away a ridiculous amount of money over the 5 years.

Anyway, he's desperate to have his own chat show in which he tells the story of people who are social uplifters - people who do good, not because they want the spotlight, but because they want to leave behind an earth that is inheritable by our kids.

He's got my vote!

Anyway, here he is, telling his story. Please help him to get Oprah's attention. Cheers

Saturday, June 12, 2010


You know how it is when you're driving along the road, minding your own business, and then you look up and see the skyline suddenly and dramatically altered and you nearly drive off the road or into the car ahead of you? No? That's never happened to you?

Well, if that's the case, drive down towards the Waterfront. On the infamous "Unfinished bridge" Hyundai have placed the most HUMUNGOUS vuvuzela. I tried to get a shot while driving, but it's not so great.

Which is why I love 'Cape Town Daily Photo's Paul. He takes really great photos. Of huge vuvuzelas. Vuvuzelas so huge you'd never believe it.

Plus this one actually works - it has a truck hooter installed and a counter for all the goals scored in the World Cup. Everytime a goal is scored, the hooter is activated. Pretty cool, I'd say, unless you happen to live in the buildings roundabouts!

Let the record reflect...

Graeme VOLUNTARILY commented that Alyssa is "quite a nice dog". This from the guy who regularly threatens to kill her and usually means it.

Slaan my dood met a veer.

Bafana Bafana have to win now.
Okay - truth be told there were conditions attached to his comment ... like that when she didn't jump on him, or hassle him, she was....

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow

As our SGB Chair (and an ex-English teacher) put it this morning - "Shakespeare was a fool". There's nothing sweet about grief. It's horrible.

Saying goodbye to an excellent leader such as Tony is very hard. I feel that I haven't yet learnt all I could from this amazing man. While I trust the new principal coming in, and while I'm sure he's going to do amazing things at the school, I know that I am personally losing something.

In his speech Tony said that when you are too emotional you wind up not being able to say goodbye properly. Yet just another example of his wisdom, because I was just too choked up to say in person all the things I wanted to. I've sent him an FB message though, so at least I said what needed to be said, but I wish I'd been able to say it in person without falling apart.

So - next term we move on to new leadership and the next chapter in the life of this amazing school. I love my job and I love this school, and I hope and pray it only gets better with time.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Some photos of Nathan

In the dogs' bed. Another favourite activity - crawling on the floor, with a hand in each dog's bowl. They make SUCH a lovely loud noise on the tiled floor, don't they Mommy?!Check my hair out!
A playdate with my almost twin. He was born 2 weeks after me.
My new birthday suit - all the way from China. I don't look very impressed because I'm tired and want to go to sleep.


Our drama teacher organised the Gd 10s to organise a surprise farewell thingy for AR in his final 'ordinary' assembly today. I caught a clip of it on my phone...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Oh yes, and before I forget...

... Nathan is definitely walking - several long meters at a time.

I've got video footage, but right now don't have the energy to upload it from my phone to the computer to the web.

AND... we think Nathan is starting to talk. He's been babbling for ages now, but yesterday he said something that sounded distinctly like 'oggy oof oof' when the dogs were making a racket barking at the fence. Then, only minutes later, he started grabbing at Graeme's leg (while G was sitting at the dining room table) and said 'ickle ickle' (tickle, tickle) and giggling.

I'm thrilled. Over the moon. But my fear is that his first real words are going to be in Xhosa (since he's learning both English and Xhosa as his mother tongues) and I won't have a clue what he's saying. I REALLY need to learn to speak Xhosa. And soon. If he's starting to talk then I don't have months to do this - I have a matter of weeks.

If I can, I'll try to record his babbling and upload it for you. It's too cute!

And of course - he'll be a year on Thurs. Can you believe it??? We had party #1 today with G's family. Our cell group will be coming to pray over him and thank God for his life on Wed, and then my family and some friends will be joining us next Sunday for party #2. This boy is going to be thoroughly spoilt!!!

But when I think back, over the fears and paranoia, and his labour, then I think it's all worth it. It's worth celebrating how amazing God is for saving his life, for bringing this amazing soul into our lives, for bringing joy into my life in a way I'd never imagined, for this amazing child who is just too gorgeous for words. I know that this child's destiny in Christ is to bring healing and joy to the world (or whichever parts of it he touches), and already he is fulfilling that destiny.

(I often wish I had a clear sense of what Nellie's destiny in Christ was so I could better pray for her and train her up to fulfil it.... I think, though, that it has something to do with her emotional sensitivity. I suspect she will have incredible sensitivity to God's spirit and be able to discern not only God's heart but whether there are other powers/ spirits at work in a particular situation. However, that is very much only MY thinking and not anything at all that I've felt God say to me about her.)

I am incredibly blessed to have not just one, or two, but three amazing children. When I look at how amazing Nathan and Janel are, I can only imagine just how amazing Zoe is. She has all their good qualities without any of their sin or selfishness or jealousies, or naughtiness.

My good friend had emergency surgery this past week, and when she woke up was told that instead of having a cyst removed, she'd actually had a partial hysterectomy. Only God knows whether she will be able to have children. (I believe in miracles, don't you?) It made me acutely aware of just how blessed I am, despite my APS, despite having lost Zoe, that I am not only capable of having children, but that I have been blessed with two living kids who are just so amazing.

Thank you God for my kids. May I be a worthy parent to these precious souls you have entrusted to my care.

Matric Dance #8

I teach 2 matric classes and I've taught some of these kids for 3 years now - they were in Gd 10 when I started teaching at the school, so I've taken them through their entire LS course. Both classes are very dear to my heart in many ways, and so the matric dance this year was a really big deal for me - so much so that I went to the effort of buying a new evening dress (ball gown, except not quite matric dance style... after all, it's not my dance!) and accessories. (Plus, last year I was post-preggy, so wasn't feeling at all glam, so I promised myself I'd be glam this year.)

This photo isn't the greatest shot of it (or me) but it was the best we could do in the limited time and lighting we had available.
I had an absolute blast! Not having Graeme there was not so great - I had no-one special to dance with for my favourite songs - but it did mean that I didn't have to worry about rushing home to relieve babysitters, so I got to dance to my heart's content. Which I did. In heels. Till my feet felt raw and it was almost torture to walk back to the car. At midnight. It was bliss.

Most of the staff had a blast. We recalled how stressful our own dances had been and how, having no expectations now, we were better able to just enjoy the evening. The DJ was fabulous. The food was great. The company was just the best. The only thing that would have made this evening perfect for me was having my man along to dance with. But other than that, this was a perfect evening out.

But it marks an ending. These kids who are so dear to my heart are nearly all grown up now (and boy did some of them look adult in their get-up!). I found myself worrying about who would get drunk or take drugs or get themselves (or someone else) killed... about who would have sex and who might fall pregnant. I wanted to wrap them up and take them home with me, not let them get hurt. I found myself wandering around, telling them to have fun, but not to get drunk, and to be safe. It made me feel so old. I guess that's what being a parent is about. You find yourself having parental feelings towards all kids, irrespective of whether they're yours or not.

In SA, the traditional culture takes a similar tack on the rearing of children - children belong to everyone, not just their parents. Thus, if someone sees a child misbehaving or getting into trouble, they take responsibility and intervene. Not because they're being busybodies, but because that's what being part of a community is about. I love it. I wish that we would all take responsibility like that.

Sadly, many of our parents are not decent parents. That might be because THEIR parents never taught them basic life skills, values and responsibilities, so they have been unable to pass on to their kids something they do not possess. Sometimes though, it's just that their parents don't care. I can't believe it, but there are parents in our school community who honestly don't care about their kids. It makes me sick to think about it.

So although it makes me feel old, I will continue to demonstrate my love for these kids by trying to keep an eye out for them.

I wonder - in years to come, when I've been to hoardes more dances, will I love the kids more than I love these ones? Will I worry more? or will I have learnt to distance myself a bit more?