Thursday, July 28, 2011

the funny side of paediatric procedures

Okay, okay, so there isn't really a funny side to having to take your 16 month old for x-rays, or to booking her into hospital for the afternoon for a small, but none-the-less intrusive surgical procedure.
I certainly can't imagine a funny side to having to keep her nil by mouth from 8am tomorrow morning until her procedure at 2, or to having to hold her while they put her under, or reassure her when she wakes up pissed off and hungry.
But there's a bit of humour to be found in everything if you look closely enough:

In this case it's the whereabouts of that missing bead from her older sister's afternoon craft project.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

more depravity

A friend, who'd enjoyed my in flagrante post last month (what wasn't to love right?), was amused by this scene on the back patio over the weekend.

What can I say? Our dolls have few inhibitions.
Peace out.

Monday, July 25, 2011

the first day

This morning I got up before the girls, and rushed to dress and wash my face before any demands were made of me.
I managed to eat breakfast at the same time as feeding them, got Frieda off to school, some ducks in a row for Stella's morning with her nanny, my laptop etc packed, mascara applied and left the house at 09h05 looking mostly presentable and sort of real-worldy.

I got into my car and drove exactly two and a half blocks to my brother's house, where I set up my laptop on his dining room table and, for three hours, wrote.

None of this sounds vaguely exceptional. But for me it was profoundly so.

Today I executed a plan I hatched back in January. Today I took the first step in overcoming extreme threshold anxiety. Today I hope to remember as the day I became a writer.

Or maybe today should just be remembered for that exceptional rainbow this morning, or for the cold and blustery walk in Kirstenbosch the girls and I took together this afternoon, all three of us walking. Or for how Stella roared at some American tourists and Frieda made us stop so she could breast-feed her doll on a bench.
Maybe I'll just remember today as the first day that Stella grabbed her spoon from me and ate an entire bowl of pasta on her own while I did. something. else.

Maybe today should pass unmarked, and not singled out for glory, but in my mind I feel a switch clicked today. I just hope it was turning the light on.

better monday

After a weekend filled with some crappy international and personal news, this was a welcome sight this morning.

Though when taking photos of our lovely mountain view, I do wish our neighbour wasn't quite so security conscious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

these arms of mine

You have to read it like the original Otis Redding. You have to feel the yearning.

For my arms are feeling it when I hold my small girl close, when I feel the recognition in my muscles, the knowing how to hold this little body, and the sadness these arms feel already, knowing she won't be so little for much longer.
Mah baybee.

It's so ridiculously biological it's almost laughable.
I'm not a big baby fan, both my girls I've enjoyed so much more after their first birthdays. I don't miss breastfeeding (much), I don't miss having that small being ON me all the time, I love being able to communicate with words, I love watching them grow more independent.
But my arms, they refute all of this when I hold my Stella close, especially in her warm and floppy moments, and the muscles sing with yearning, with already full-blown nostalgia, with the shattering knowledge that the next baby, if any, that I'll hold with this kind of kinship, will be a grandchild.
Mah baybeeeeeeeee.

She's becoming such a big girl.

She LOVES a doll. In fact, the more the lovelier. Whereas Frieda's only ever had one doll (the still so named Zeberebareba), and was never particularly into playing dolly, Stella has a host of 'babas' - all of whom get canoodled and paraded around and pushed in the pram/wheelbarrow/random box.

She HATES orange food. Barring cheese, she won't even look twice at butternut, carrot, peach, melon, pawpaw etc.

She LOVES her mummy, and wants to sleep with me every night. I pretend to be mildly annoyed by this and half-heartedly resist, but at some point in the night our love can no longer be denied and we end up together, in her bed or mine. 'Cos, mah baybeee see?

She HATES hats. She LOVES cats. She SCREAMS when outraged and SQUEALS when happy. She LOVES/HATES/LOVES/HATESbutmostlyLOVES her big sister.
She wields a mean bitch-slap, can scratch like a tiger and still likes to bite me.
She's saying the same first proper word as Frieda did: juice.

She LOVES her dad and wanders disconsolately around the house carrying one of his slippers calling 'Daddy?'

She's a big little person, our Stella. I love watching her develop, but I wish she wouldn't grow so fast.

Wish she'd stay my little woman for just a little bit longer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

random photo-ness

Last night I opened my diary for the first time since the 25th of June. Not my Dear Diary, my Page-A-Day diary.

3 weeks of school holiday is a long time man. Looking forward to some real life again.

Oh wait, this is my real life ...

 Sculpture by Marieke Prinsloo Rowe on Sea Point Promenade.

Snapped one night in a forecourt cafe - seems he's alive and well (and careless), living in Cape Town.

 The legacy of the 2010 World Cup - gorgeous biodiversity garden in Green Point next to the Cape Town Stadium.

Sun, smiles, slides, smartphones ...

The dark side of little girls. Can't decide which doll's more creepy ...?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

it's beautiful here

Cape Town Tourism Press Office called. They warned me one more post about crime and they'd have me off the airwaves for good.
So here you go, snaps from our mid-week, mid-winter mini-break just out the city.

It may be challenging to live here sometimes, but it's so very beautiful.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

school fees

He started off with a random act of neighbourliness, a small gesture which clearly put me at ease and established him as a decent enough fellow.
And then, despite later discovering that there was a warning notice up at our local mini-mart and a number of items recently published in the local rag (which I never read), I fell for his routine like the famed fishie, and let him into our house which he left, 5 minutes later, with a cell phone. Not his own.

It seems he even used one of his standard stories, about needing to clear branches from the phone line behind our house. A brilliant tactic in the light of how harden we are towards tales of hard-times and hungry children, I never fall for those anymore but someone offering to make my life easier? Yes please.

He was personable, nice, pleasant to the kids. He spoke very fast, which rang a distant warning bell, but my charitable brain thought he was just a considerate guy not wanting to inconvenience his neighbours more than necessary.

When I reported the incident to the police I was told my report was one of three in our area this weekend - all sounding like the same guy. At least I'm not the only dumb-ass on the block, I'm in illustrious company with the chairperson of the Neighbourhood Watch no less. Now that's embarrassing!

School fees my husband calls it. The price paid for lessons learned. Sadly the lesson in this case is to be more suspicious, even of nice people.
It goes against my grain and I hate that it's a reality in my life.

Other realities of the weekend:
'Cos misery apparently does love company we also had no hot water for 48 hours  - bust geyser - and Stella popped 2 molars - no sleep for me.
But, because the world, and Observatory, is a place of eternal dichotomy, I was again reminded of how comforting it is to live in a community. I walked round to a friend's for a blissfully long soak in her bathtub at midday and lay there listening to the hum of her sewing machine. Later I walked the girls down to my brother's house to bath them. Every (legit) neighbour and friend we encountered was sympathetic and displayed that curious bent for humour we South Africans have developed for times such as these.
It's a funny old world.

And. The weather has been wonderful, I'm in flip-flops at 9pm, we had Cesar Salad for dinner, husband realised a dream purchasing a 1976 Honda cafe racer, we finally got a new ironing board, there's a week of fun ahead. Silver linings hey, gotta keep your eye on them.

Friday, July 08, 2011


Emerging from the bathroom carrying our wooden (very expensive for a bathmat) bathmat, rolled up in her arms. This item is not a toy. Neither is it for rolling.
'Mummy, could you help me hoist this onto my back?'
A just-4 yr old with a vocab like that can have anything in my book.

Overheard at her birthday party as some bigger boys ran past a tottering Stella:
'Hey! Watch out for my little sister, SHE'S NOT VERY STABLE!'
Let's hope she never has occasion to say that again.

My elderly Afrikaans mother-in-law: 'Ek het 'n wortel koek gebak [pronounced 'buck']*'.
Frieda, aghast, 'Mum! Did Ouma say fuck?'
Be merciful Lord, and take me now.

What's that you say, soon there'll be two of them talking? I don't know if I can handle the funny.

*I baked a carrot cake.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


The restaurant phoned at about 4pm to confirm my booking and immediately I got a pleasant buzz from knowing that somewhere out there in the city people were setting up our table, checking cutlery and glasses, preparing for the evening ahead.

The thought sustained me through a particularly rough supper/bath time ('I just bit her arm Mummy, 'cos she's so delicious, I didn't think she'd scream.'), the knowledge that the next part of my evening was already in process, I just had to catch up to it.
I dressed warmly but carefully, under the scrutiny of my eldest.
'Why don't you wear that brooch at home Mummy?'
'What and give you another weapon for your arsenal?'
'What's a arse ... nail Mummy?'
Wha ha ha ha ha ha.

I kissed the little angels good night and left the house with just my purse and my phone. Not a wet wipe in sight.

Smoky jazz on the car radio, an aural link to NYC, Berlin, a cosmopolitan life outside my own. I felt myself relaxing, I felt like myself.

Then up onto the highway to Town, not another car in sight. It's early evening, mid-week for sure but still ... Cape Town you are a funny little place in winter.
Dark, cold, quiet mountain rises up on my left, below me a thin band of lights - they seem to glitter more sharply in the cold - and then, dark, cold, quiet ocean.
We're really very far from anywhere down here.

The bustle of the restaurant and a table full of girls distracts me from it all. We're eating Chinese, Thai, Japanese food, drinking wine made just beyond the mountains, via facebook we check on a friend running the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway, another friend tells of her recent Kilimanjaro climb. We could be anywhere.

But still the feeling lingers with me. I've had it before when staying in small deserted cottages far from anywhere, an acute awareness of the space outside. The vastness which surrounds us.

I entertain my friends with a story of romping with the girls that afternoon. How dangerous it is to get horizontal under them - lying on the floor they both assail me. 'It's a pile-on' shouts Frieda gleefully, Stella almost more of a threat with her uncoordinated hands and legs.
How, as I clutch my hands around my head, inhaling my own hair, through the bouncing and shrieking of two little girls, and the inevitable wet nose of an eagerly contributing doggie, I feel blissfully happy and fulfilled.
It may be short-lived, but in the moment it's real.

It may be a small life, in a quiet place, but it's mine, and I think I love it.

Monday, July 04, 2011

annoying on so many levels

So last night, in a freakish replay of last week's events, I heard a distinctively ominous BANG at about 9pm. Calling husband I threw open the front door in time to see a hooded figure run across our front yard and jump the wall, taking off down the road.

Seems he'd tried to force our front security gate, hoping to gain access to the enclosed porch in which we keep our bikes - admittedly irresistible bait to the small-time criminal - in the process rendering the lock useless, and us captive in our own house.

Security company was duly called, more for procedure than any hope of pursuing the perp, and then our home insurers to book a locksmith for the morning. At which point we discovered that obviously in order to claim for the damages we would need a police case number, which of course meant having to formally report the incident.
And so, in what felt like a massive waste of the already massively-strapped SA Police Force's time and resources, we had two officers in our lounge last evening, taking my statement about nothing, and a visiting detective and a finger-print guy here today, practically doing nothing, all so we wouldn't have to spend R500+ of our own money on repairing our gate.
And they were all so nice and helpful and sympathetic, which almost made me feel worse. And even more annoyed with the would-be burglar.

I'm annoyed that this pathetic little junkie/opportunist/desperately hungry individual (I added the last one to create the illusion of lefty-liberalism, sneaky hey?) got within metres of my sleeping daughters.

I'm annoyed that my feelings of security in my own home have been shaken a little.

I'm annoyed that we now need to find alternative storage for our bikes when the porch was just perfect for them.

I'm annoyed that the key for the new lock is ugly.

And mostly I'm annoyed that my BULL TERRIER slept soundly on her chair throughout the entire event. So much for that!

Friday, July 01, 2011

everybody needs them

Good neighbours that is.

Late one night last week I heard the ominously distinctive noises of someone breaking into the house next door. I leaped from my warm bed, peered out the window, just in time to hear glass, a lot of glass, smashing.
It was so loud it even woke Husband. Yup, that loud.

We huddled in the shadows outside the front door, whispering details and our address to the security company on the phone, watching aghast as two figures in hoodies brazenly moved about in our neighbour's front garden.

It was cold, really cold, but we kept our posts, warmed by our conviction that we were assisting in bringing some bad guys to book.

Just before the security guards arrived we realised in distress that the burglars were readying to leave. They carried bags out to a waiting vehicle, parked just out of sight.
Husband crept out from our hiding place.
'They're leaving,' I hissed, disappointed. 'Get the reg number but don't be a hero!'

The car started up, bumped off the pavement and sped away. Giving us just enough time to read the slogan on the side:
24h Glass Repairs.

ADT Security roared round the corner, adrenalin-fulled armed guards jumping out, 'Did they come back?' they were shouting.
'Er ...'

Turns out our neighbours were broken into (for realz) a couple of hours earlier. The intruder/s made off with a DVD player. The cops were on the scene in minutes.
We heard nothing.

Everybody needs good neighbours. Even our neighbours.