Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Cape Town? Coincidence? Hand of Fate? Circle of Life? An unerring ability to over-analyse?

I'm not sure what you could call them, the couple of odd events around Stella's recent birth. Maybe they have different explanations, but some of them were pretty strange. Or I'd have thought them strange had I not lived in Cape Town all my life and gotten used to these kind of weird cross-overs.
Or maybe 'cos I've lived in Cape Town all my life I just don't realise that this is a world-wide phenomenon, not limited to this sleepy city by the sea. That actually there are only 6 degrees of separation between any of us.
But let's not over-analyse: herewith the facts.

As I've described before, the day I went into labour with Frieda I'd spent the whole afternoon trawling a big local mall. The ultimate Babylon of malls I might add, a monolith a good couple of kilometres long. No one who heard that walking up and down that beast induced labour have been at all surprised.
Anyhoo, on Wed 10 March this year I set off to that same mall, one which I usually avoid like the plague, sending a text to my husband to say 'taking drastic action, heading into Canal Walk, stand by for waters breaking'.
A friend has subsequently decided it's all in the name: (Birth) Canal Walk. I got home from that shopping expedition at 4pm, my waters broke at 5.
Weird huh?

Much, much later that night an aneathetist was called to administer a very, very welcome epidural. (Seriously, let's hear it for the epidural!). He had a long ponytail (ok, that is very Cape Town) and looked vaguely familiar. Turns out he used to live in our road.
Of course he did.
Husband and I are also convinced we used to see him on the outdoor rave circuit of our wild youth. What better recreational activity for an aneasthetics med student?

Finally, a week after Stella's birth I took her to my preferred clinic for a weigh-in etc. The usual assistant nurse wasn't there, another woman was standing in for her. She introduced herself and started completing Stella's clinic card. Then she stopped and looked up, 'I was at your c-section' she said. 'Last Thursday morning? 5am?'
Turns out she'd been assisting the attending pediatrician. I hadn't been aware of her presence but she'd been there. And now our paths were crossing here, at a clinic where she helps out max once or twice a month, and happened to be there the day Stella and I went in.
A little strange.

'I didn't see you there' I said, 'and if I didn't see you, how many other people were present that I wasn't aware of?'
'Oh', she said, 'they put up that little screen so you can't see anything and then they open to whole event up to a studio audience.'
Ha. Ha. Ha.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

if I were ...

... less boob-brained I'd write one of the many posts I've got circling round in my brain. But as it is I'm far too blissed out on baby love and just a tad sleep-deprived, so here's a meme I copied from Julie - and literally copied, as you can see from the lack of CAPS. The answers are my own though!
if i were a month i’d be March

if i were a day i’d be a birthday

if i were a time of day i’d be 15h30

if i were a font i’d be Bookman Old Style

if i were a sea animal i’d be a Southern Right Whale

if i were a direction i’d be left

if i were a piece of furniture i’d be a squishy sofa

if i were a liquid i’d be tea

if i were a gemstone i’d be an opal

if i were a tree i’d be an oak

if i were a tool i’d be a spirit level

if i were a flower i’d be a frangi-pani

if i were an element of weather i’d be summer rain

if i were a musical instrument i’d be a drum

if i were a colour i’d be blue

if i were an emotion i’d be calm

if i were a fruit i’d be a cling peach

if i were a sound i’d be loud

if i were an element i’d be something shiny

if i were a car i’d be a silver

if i were a food i’d be lemon meringue pie

if i were a place i’d be a mountain river

if i were material i’d be 300 threadcount

if i were a taste i’d be cardamom

if i were a scent i’d be lemon

if i were a body part i’d be a hand

if i were a song i’d be Natural Mystic by Bob Marley

if i were a bird i’d be a sandpiper

if i were a gift i’d be just what you always wanted

if i were a city i’d be unhappy

if i were a door i’d be open

if i were a pair of shoes i’d be converse all stars

if i were a poem i’d be the one about the cherry blossoms by pablo neruda

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Mine was a childhood of unfenced properties, of doors left ajar all night to catch cool breezes, of unbarred windows left open - 365 days a year - for the kitties. Of cars left unlocked, keys in the ignition, parked haphazardly on the lawn.

In what seems an Enid Blyton-esque idyll in comparison to contemporary suburban South Africa, my brothers and I wandered happily and unsupervised around our neighbourhood, in and out of our neighbour's houses, up and down the streets on our BMX's, stopping at whichever house was closest for a glass of Oros and, hopefully, a snack.

The village we lived in was regarded as a retirement paradise, all our immediate neighbours were elderly. One, Stella, was raising her grandson. He was our playmate, a small kid, a little sad around the edges but well loved and cared for by his doting granny.
It's only since becoming a parent myself that I've truly appreciated the enormity of her task. It's tiring enough raising kids in your mid-30's, let alone at 65+.
But Stella took her job seriously, and although I remember even at my young age noticing when she looked tired, she never had anything but kind words and a generous heart towards the disheveled and grimy rag tag and bobtail mix of neighbourhood kids who'd traipse through her house.

Even as our small friend's 'mummy', Stella was always a 'granny' to us. A granny in that her kitchen always smelt of baked goods, she always seemed to have set jellies in her fridge, often served with that most exotic of treats - boxed custard, and when bandaging your knee or giving you a consoling hug, she always had that perfumey old worldy elderly lady smell about her.

I don't recall Stella ever sitting down, except in the enormous diesel Merc she drove around the village. She was not unlike a little bird, short, bright-eyed, continually in motion.

I found her intriguing.
That a granny would raise her grandson was so far outside my realm of 'normal' nuclear families as to be fascinating, not least of all as the mysterious back story of how this came to be was only alluded to in muttered code by my parents.
And with one granny aboard and the other, my Granny Molly, in exotic Cape Town, having a granny next door was much more in keeping with my - also skewed, probably by Enid Blyton! - view of how childhood should be.
But most of all, despite being a warm and kindly lady, I sensed in her a secret, a curtain round her emotions, a detachment of sorts. I was too young to understand it, I probably had a bunch of fanciful theories to explain it, but it gave her an intrigue lacking in the mothers of our other playmates, in the other elderly neighbours who gave us Eet-Sum-Mores and milk.

Stella. She's not the reason we've named our new daughter that, but I'm pleased to have the association with this grande dame of my childhood, who captured my imagination at such a young age and holds it still.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

there's something in the way she ...

~ lies on my chest, belly down, still-bent legs folded in under her, nappy bum in the air, already pushing herself up on her forearms to crane her neck and glance blindly around, looking for all the world like a lost tortoise ...

~ then shuffles up until her breath snuffles warmly, but so faintly, in the hollow of my neck, her tiny lips reaching out to taste my skin ...

~ yawns, putting her whole body, fingers to toes, into it, her biggest conscious movement

~ gawps around with her mouth open like a baby bird when she's hungry

~ performs bodily functions audible from the next room, who knew such a small body could expel with such force?

~ recognises my movements as I unlatch my bra to feed her and gets an anticipatory leer on her face, uncannily like a dirty old man at a peepshow

~ looks uncannily like a little old man, she's shown resemblances to Jack Nicholson, Anthony Hopkins, Dennis Quaid (may I call him old?) and various British politicians

~ is already louder, chubbier, more assertive and alert than she was at birth, a scant 9 days ago

~ sleeps like a little pink log, still and solid, the occasional whimper, a very rare twitch of the fingers

Conclusion: everyone should have a second child.
To be able to love and learn and observe without all the angst of a first-time parent, without the uncertainty and guilt and tears and drama.
I'm seasoned enough to know this is the 'honeymoon phase', these first few newbie weeks, but I'm enjoying it enough to relish every minute and come what may, she's done the work to ensure we're smitten enough to love her through it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

twinkle twinkle little ...


She's here!

Born Thurs 11 March at 05h03.
3.8kg (that's about 8 pounds 7 ounces or so I'm told ...) and hungry!

Alas we didn't manage to VBAC but all in her birth was a wonderful experience. Now we're settling in, some of us more easily than others, and I've probably got blog material enough for many months but simply no time to write ...

Monday, March 08, 2010

f'king pregnant, f'king hot

It's like Groundhog Day. Every day I wake up: I'm still pregnant, it's still hot.
Like, real hot, and seriously pregnant.

I go to the movies to escape the heat. Last week I spent the morning with Alec Baldwin (there's just something about that man ...), today it was George Clooney (no explanation required).
I sit in the dark theatres, relishing the cool, the distraction, the eye-candy, wondering if I'm in labour.

I feel like a whiner. I've got it easy on so many levels but sometimes one just needs to whine. Must it be so f'king hot??

High 30's for the 5th day in a row - my feet, my feet ...
Watched The Incredible Hulk last night (yes, my brain is also currently affected) and could totally relate. I sit on the couch with multiple pillows behind my back, in front of the fan, my feet in a bucket of iced water. Husband replenishes the ice. Dog drinks from the footbath. Cat sulks across the room 'cos I just can't bear her additional warmth on me.

I really thought it was game on this weekend. Contractions started on Friday evening and continued through the night. Up to 5 in an hour, 25 seconds each. By Saturday morning they'd abated. We went for an early walk through the forest - I strided ahead in the hopes of getting things moving. A few more rumblings round lunchtime, then nothing. What was that?

It's hot. Did I mention that?
I've seen so many squashed squirrels in recent days. Are they also moving slower than usual?

I'm all about driving. Any excuse to grab some air-con.
I've been known to start whimpering as I reach my destination and know I have to get out and into the heat.

I got semi-stuck in a toilet cubicle today. Some f'king space-saver mall architect tried to squeeze too many cubicles into too small a space. Between the door opening in, the toilet bowl, the TP dispenser and my bump I couldn't find the best angle to exit. Handbag held high above my head I eventually made it, with much giggling. The giggling was only 'cos they had air-con. Otherwise it would not. have. been. funny.

Darling husband's done something to his back. This is not helping matters. We've promised that when this baby is born we'll make a concerted effort to be nicer to each other than we were in the colic hell of Frieda's first 3 months. We need to bring that arrangement forward a bit. Every evening when it cools down enough, round 9pm, we hug and apologise for being crabby bitches. Then we eat ice-cream in the pool.
That part's kind of nice.

F'king pregnant, f'king hot. That's me.

Check up today, baby's still dead happy where she is. After all of that. C-section booked for 17 March. All we can do is hope she makes an appearance before then.
And try to stay cool. And nice.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

3 mar

~ Hello March. You are hot. And yellow. And a little fuzzy ~