Monday, September 30, 2013

the first night

Tonight is the first one. The first soft, still, warm summers evening. It makes me so happy, but in a calm, almost nostalgic way.
It feels like Sunday night, this last night of September. It feels like a Sunday night at the end of a 2 week weekend. Not just because it's the last night before the 4th term starts tomorrow (back to school is very fucking cool when you're a work-from-home parent), but because the last few weeks have been so full.

I've spent the month writing for a blog project which goes live tomorrow. A blog site dedicated to breast cancer issues for the month of October. It's writing work which has come directly from blogging, and ironically from this one, not C is for Cape Town.
It's been incredibly stimulating and I've enjoyed the process immensely, although the subject matter is hugely sobering.

I was a bit side-tracked a week or so ago by getting sick though. A real nasty flu bug which wiped me out. I'm still coughing, and have just been googling all the kids meds we have in the house seeing if I can self-medicate this one. I do not feel like a GP visit (especially as I'm paying for psychoanalysis right now!) but I must be well by the weekend - I've a rock festival to attend! (I know!)

Then the school holidays hit, just 10 days long and jam packed full of action. We had 4 birthday parties in 4 days - two kiddies and two grown-up (perfect!). I baked and dressed up and sorted out gifts and meals and baby-sitters and schedules and it was all such fun, but how quickly these events recede into the distance in these crazy busy lives of ours.

Maybe it's all receded particularly quickly as I've just spent the weekend with FOUR smalls in tow (fact: being outnumbered by small children will cause brain cells to flee in indignation). My bestie's been here, with her 2.3 yr old and new 4 month old delight.
Charl was away on a bike rally so we borrowed my parent's 7 seater car and played Mormon wives for the weekend. It was completely wonderful, in a totally chaotic, nonsensical, relentless and extremely loud way.

My dear friend is right on the front line of toddler + baby craziness, a state I still remember so very well. It is incomprehensibly intense for anyone who's not been there, and such an eye-opener for me on how far I've come.
In some ways my days with the girls now are a complete walk in the park in comparison to then, although I do remind myself that it's just a new set of challenges really. But there's no doubt the physical demands on me are less, the personal space is broader and the reminder of this has left me feeling so free and, of course - because us parents are always such suckers - a little sad.

To be reminded of the exquisite purity of that moment when your hungry baby latches on to your breast. The happy grunt, the tiny hand patting you appreciatively, the eyes staring at you in gratitude, satisfaction and a little bit of what-the-hell-took-you-so-long.
I'll never feel that again, which is more than okay on every level except the deep thrum of nostalgia.

I lay next to Stella as she fell asleep tonight, my baby who seemed (and acted) like such a big girl these last few days. The night outside was soft and still, the first night, and also one of the last.

Such is life.

Hello summer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

these cats

These cats don't get photographed as much as they once did. Our black Khoki is increasingly wary of the children. This house is big enough for her to stay out of sight most of the day, until the girls are in bed and she slinks out to demand the attention she is due as our first baby. It's impossible to photograph a black cat at night.

And this little girl is very much getting on in years. Fritta, though nowadays mostly just called Ginger, is completely nonplussed by children, visiting dogs, vacuum cleaners or thunder claps. But rattle a plastic bag within a 3 room radius and she streaks off in an orange flash.
She spends more and more time in bed. As an elderly lady should be allowed to do.

I don't photograph them as much as I once did. But they are here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

f**king with my brain

I saw a clinic psychologist this morning. Someone who specializes in cognitive psych. It was somewhat reassuring to hear him say he's not really interested in my childhood, my history, my inter-personal relationships.
What interests him, is the neuron reactors in my brain. Specifically the ones which link toads to my adrenal glands.

Like Pavlov's dog, learnt behaviour links parts of your brain which weren't original joined. Bell = saliva. Toad = freak the fuck out.

And apparently, according to my guy Larry with his slow speech and his bright intense eyes and the somewhat off-putting wet corners of his mouth and completely refreshing ability (especially for a man of his years in front of a 'young-ish' woman) to use fuck in a sentence within the first 15 minutes (he was quoting someone but still I loved it), we can trick my brain into releasing that link.

We're on a 6 session strategy (after that, if I'm not 'cured', he carries on treating me for free), it seems a bizarre thing to spend money on. But we spent a whole lot more than that on this magnificent house on the lake, and I'm damned if I'm going to cloud my summers with fear and anxiety.
It's just not practical to have to drink 2 glasses of wine before I'll go out on the lawn after dark. It's time-consuming to have to send the dog out to sniff around the stoep before I'll step outside at night. It's just plain ridiculous to leave our outside workroom standing open all night because I forgot to go out and lock it up before dusk.

Larry and me, we're going to fix this thing.

Completely unrelated picture of a completely different creature. These ones I love.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Full and tender, I carry this cup from room to room. Nothing must jar it.

Not the indignant shriek of a child, not a stubbed toe, not the last drop of milk in the house one drop too little for my tea.
Not a dog underfoot or a page printed skew or a hair in my shirt tickling me.

Sometimes it's a heavy chalice, set with jewels and laden with images of womyn, carved with stories of childbirth and fecundity throughout the ages.
Other months it's as inconsequential and irritating as a discarded styrofoam cup on the side of the road.

But when it's brimming, it must be carried with two hands and a studied frown. Nothing else must be poured into it.

Not a concern for the future, not someone else's bad luck, not a newspaper headline which brings tears and the perilous danger of giving a fuck.

This cup must be balanced and managed and held, until it is ready. And then in a wave of relief and blood, I can put it down and get on with my life.