Tuesday, August 31, 2010

there's an quote ...

... accredited to, amongst others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya),
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
I'm not sure who said it first,

Sign on massive church complex near our house.
But I think they were on to something.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

in ancient times

As any parent will warn you, it's not recommended to spend too much time post-kids reminiscing about life pre-kids.
Firstly, after all the hormones and emotions and sleep-deprivation you can't really rely on your memory, even once your kids are a manageable age.
Secondly, in so many ways you're simply not those people any more.

Both reasons probably sound pretty scary to anyone who's not a parent.

One of the anxieties I had to deal with in my 2 and a half therapy sessions while pregnant with Frieda (yes folks, it seems I'm so shallow and my psyche so rose-tinted that not even a paid therapist could eke more material from me, halfway through my 3rd session she basically told me we were done and showed me the door. I still think given a bit more time I could have dredged up some more dirt to talk about), was a genuine concern that having a baby would be like having a permanent house-guest.
Like having someone to stay who you liked very much and got on well with, but around whom you still felt you needed to get dressed at a decent time and serve 3 balanced meals a day and not belch too loudly. Like you couldn't be your normal sloth-ful, toast-eating belcher.
My therapist (can I call her 'mine' after so few sessions?) kind of guffawed (are they allowed to do that?) and asked me what my husband thought of this theory. I confessed I'd not discussed it with him and she sent me home to do just that.
He laughed long and loud.
'Hell no,' he said, 'this is our kid. She will fit into our lifestyle, she will do/dress/eat/live how we choose.'

Okay so he was wrong in a lot of ways. But right in that becoming a parent doesn't feel like one day you were living one life and then the next another. It's all part of the same life, your life, it just gets more interesting ...

But sometimes you can't help but hanker back to those ancient times. And never is this more tempting then on weekend mornings.
What did we do with our long Saturday mornings we asked ourselves at 7.30 am today.

We used to lie in 'til shamefully late. Now we lie in between 2 little girls 'til latest 9 am and then someone needs to wee, or be fed or get changed into a dry baby-gro.
We used to read books, novels. Now we read Mog goes to the V-E-TWinnie the Witch and, if we're lucky, How the Elephant Got His Trunk.
We used to doze off again. Now we only close our eyes to play peek-a-boo.
We used to cuddle. Now we tickle and roll and squish-like-a-bug and try to shield the baby from various flailing limbs.
We used to finally drag ourselves up and into the quiet house and bumble around filling our day.

I guess we still bumble, but now at rapid speed. And although our days are that much longer the hours seem to fly by and there's certainly very little time to wonder how we're going to fill them.
But we're still very likely to be in our pyjamas 'til shamefully late in the day, we're still the same people after all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

hello ... (echo) hello ... hello ...

It's been so long I feel a little shy, a little awkward. How do I do this blog thing again?

Lordy what is it about August? I may not be first trimester pregnant this time but besides that there seem to be lots of parallels.
I've been working two jobs - two extremely low-key part-time jobs it has to be said but two jobs none-the-less. My usual extremely low-key part-time job and then an additional temporary low-key part-time job just for a few weeks.
Then, obviously, we've all been sick. Again. This time Stella added a nasty cough to the family flu.
Ergo we had no sleep.
And no sense of humour.
And no time whatsoever to think or write.

Or bake birthday cupcakes for my blog - 2 years old this month!

But some things I have been doing are ...
  • trying to finally hang some family photos, a bit of a bitch when you live in a 100 yr old house where the walls are either so soft you can push a nail in with your finger (Obelix-style), or so hard you break and bend 3 nails, gouge out a massive chip of plaster and then discover you'd started in the wrong place anyway ...
  • planning our September holidays! Just a week out of town but we've got some beautiful places lined up. Part of the planning is ways and means to keep 1 x 3 yr old and 1 x then-6 month old occupied in the car ...
  • shaking off dependency on the corrupt (and ugly) kiddies clothing industry and persuading my Mum to dust off her sewing machine and start sewing for her grand-daughters (ooo they're going to look so cuuuuute!)
  • making a photo album called 'Six Months of Stella' for my English Granny which means finally sorting and filing and printing a grazillion photos from the last few months
  • adjusting to my oldest getting more and more self-sufficient, she's started playing convoluted and secret imaginary games which involve long whispered dialogues and bizarre props and, more excitingly, don't involve my participation
  • adjusting to my youngest no longer being happy to recline in her bendy chair, or hang around strapped to me, the child wants to roll and squirm and move and try to sit - all of which definitely require my participation
  • making peace with fact that she's starting to choose porridge over me, and in fact has expressed this desire for real food in quite a vocal and earnest manner (was that her first tantrum?)
  •  and finally, finally, starting to get some sleep. Which ironically has left me (almost) as wiped out as no sleep did but the long-term effects are much, much better!
I hope to be back here a whole lot more soon. I miss my blog. Happy birthday old girl.

Monday, August 09, 2010

green yellow red

the beginnings of husband's utterly awesome curry sauce ...
another batch of marmalade, and I think my last, it's not as pith easy as I'd thought ...
red velvet cake for Women's Day, epic icing fail meant it got 'drizzled' rather than iced ... recipe from here 
Yup, it's been a foodie weekend. Our favourite kind. And on the subject, check out a Durban pal's new vegetarian foodie blog - that sugar bean curry is lurking in my future ...

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Shhh, I'm having a clandestine liaison.

Luckily my First Love can neither navigate the internets, nor indeed read. Yet.

My par amour and I wave goodbye to First Love in the morning, seemingly up and ready to start the day, but then jump back into bed to while away another hour with cuddles and giggles.
We find stolen moments to share a fond look, or a little snuggle, all the while conscious of First Love's scrutiny, and vague suspicion that something's Going On.

Second Love and I escape the house while First Love's distracted. We go out for tea and cake, flagrantly flaunting our affections with public kisses and nuzzles, not caring who may see us.
Shamelessly we hold hands in First Love's presence, hiding our entwined fingers under soft, fluffy blankets.

And late at night, whilst everyone sleeps, we meet. A silent tryst of half-asleep snuffles and warm embraces.

To be discovered would mean certain grumpy recriminations. I would have to atone for my sins with many hours of play-dough modeling, blanket fort building and endless readings of The Incredible Book Eating Boy. First Love is not quick to forgive.

But even riskier, should First Love discover us entwined in each other's arms, I instantly lose the affections of Second Love. For she is a fickle lover indeed, and saves her happiest squeals and biggest smiles for only one person, her Big Sister.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


A few days ago I was leaving the house with the girls.

I pulled the car out the driveway and noticed, from the corner of my eye, a man leaning against my neighbour's wall kind of diagonally across the road from our house.
He was well-dressed, mustached, sober (looking) but yet there was something just not right about him ...

He wasn't close enough to either my neighbour or the next house's gate to necessarily be waiting for someone from either of those houses.
He wasn't relaxed enough to be killing time or alert enough to be expecting someone.
He wasn't looking at me but was definitely watching.

I got out the car to close our gate and he started walking away from us down the road, but he turned to look back twice. I felt uneasy. He turned the corner and disappeared.

Just then a police patrol car came towards me from the opposite direction. I know by now to trust my gut, so flagged them down and told them what I'd seen. They thanked me, said they'd drive past him, and I got back in my car feeling a little alarmist but more secure.

'Who were you talking to Mum?' asks Frieda from the back seat. My car had been facing away from the cop van, she couldn't comfortably turn around while strapped into her car seat.
'Those policemen.' I answered.
'The policemen who look out for bad people Mum?'
Hesitantly, 'Yes.' (Who's told her that I wonder?)
'Bad people like that man in the black & white shirt Mum?'
'Which man?' (Surely she's not saying what I think she's saying?)
'That man who was on the pavement over there.'

I'd said nothing. I'd not gestured in the man's direction while talking to the police. She'd not even been able to see that conversation.
What she knew of that man she'd possibly gathered from my body language, and more likely from her own intuition.

I hate that my daughter must already know that there are bad people in this world. But I love that she's already developing a gut instinct. Unfortunately she's going to need it.