How LG Saved Me With Pre Baby Nesting Panic

There’s something fundamentally different about having a girl, vs. having a boy. For one, when I was pregnant with Carter I received very few hand me downs for him. He had zero fancy clothes (in fact, the only name brand item he had was a Cotton On onesie I bought for his coming home outfit.). Other than that, his clothes were cute, but oh-so-practical.

Then, I fell pregnant with a girl and suddenly friends were giving me the most amazing bags and bags (and boxes and more bags) of clothing. I have actually been too embarrassed to share just how many clothes we got, because it seems revoltingly unnecessary. The bags sat in the baby’s room for weeks without being touched. Every-time I walked in I would retreat like a beeping garbage truck. There were too many things and not enough space (or energy from me). Then, LG delivered a brand new 13 kilogram Sapience top loader washing machine, and my life changed. I realise how dramatic that sounds, but I suddenly realised just how faster and easier it would be to wash all of this:

 

In this:

I dedicated an entire Sunday to sitting in the room and opening bag upon bag of clothing. It took close to 7 hours to open, sort into size and decide what I was going to use vs donate to charity. At the end of it all I had 4 large, neat piles sorted into season and age. Bravo!

Sadly, I forgot all about the sneakiness of a toddler and had literally left the room for 1 minute when I came back to a disaster zone. My sweet, fun and ‘helpful’ little boy had decided he didn’t quite like my structure, and had decided to reorganise the entire set up.

Warning, this video may cause OCD nightmares:

All plans flew out the window and I literally scooped up thousands of pieces of clothing and shoved them into my top loader. Thank goodness it has a 13kg capacity, because it could have fit in my son should I have needed to.

Thankfully, this machine comes with a Smart Inverter Control – which in laymans terms means ‘won’t lead us to Cape Town water crisis’ any time soon. Great news for me, greater news for my frugal husband. It also has something called ‘SmartMotion’ which means you can wash according to fabric type – perfect for newborn baby clothes which need to be soft on the skin. Lastly, the  TurboDrum™ enables the most powerful wash and removes even the toughest dirt through strong water stream of rotating drum and pulsator in the opposite direction. Basically, just what you need for those sure-to-happen poonamis. 😉

Anyway. All’s well that ends well and I got the clothes re-washed, re sorted and semi-repacked. Apparently the LG Smart Inverter does everything but sort your cupboards. Pity.

 

Want your own lifesaving LG Smart Inverter? Check it out here

PS – the best part of all of this? I finally have a room in the house that smells soft and pretty like a baby. Farewell stinky triathlon room! I may or may not go in there once a day to breathe in the scent.

PPS – Stay tuned for a baby room reveal coming next week!

 

 

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The Ten Commandments of Pregnancy. For Men.

Pregnancy is a glorious time, a time when your body grows a baby, your skin glows and the future seems bright and rosy-hued.

It’s also a time when your boob sweat mixes with 3rd trimester milk, your baby is honest-to-god getting jiggy on your bladder and a full night sleep was last spotted around the half way mark. You are hot, irritable, annoyed and any sudden move from your partner may leave you feeling filled with murderous intent.

Which is why, at around 3 am this morning, upon returning from my 18th trip to the toilet and having found my husband had removed my 6th strategically placed pillow from the bed, I decided not to murder him in his sleep, but rather write a short, easy to understand series of rules for all partners of preggy women, to hopefully save them the potential wrath mine might have encountered last night.

*Disclaimer* I am not basing the below on anything my husband may or may not have done. Please still speak to him when you see him on the street. Unless he’s sleeping on the street. In which case I have kicked him out for doing something on the list below and you may throw rotten vegetables at his head. 

Just because your wife is now knocked up and on a diet of water and heartburn meds, does not now mean you have a designated driver (insert ‘hey boet’ and high five jokes) for the foreseeable future. Unlike Uber, we do not get to kick you out of the vehicle at any time, charge you actual money for driving you around or give you a rating of 1 – divorce stars after a trip. We also don’t have the 2 am tolerance you do, are more often than not interested in hitting a jol until the wee hours and pretty much hate everything about you when you’re slumped in the passenger seat slurring at us to ‘get pulled over babe! These metro pigs will be in for such a lag when they breathalise you!’.

Pregnancy is an expensive time. The medication, the scans, the checkups, the UIF forms, the future unemployment, nursery decor, meds and a thousand other costs mean that mom-to-be is probably now a walking insomniac stressing about how she’s going to survive. And then, the fact that she will be at home for 4 months (give or take) looking after the baby also means that she will need to get out and about and spend money on things – at the sake of her not becoming a recluse who last washed her hair 18 days ago. You made half this baby, and so the fact that she is carrying it shouldn’t let you off that financial hook. Get the fuck involved, T Rex, and whip out your wallet. Better yet, give her a credit card so she doesn’t have to beg and ask for your 50% of the Doctor visit money or half a pack of nappies. Step up, pay up, give her a break.

Remember that lekker few weeks before you got married, when all your mates convinced you that you were about to end your life and the only thing that could possibly save you from a life time of ball and chain blues was to go out, shag a stripper and get so drunk you didn’t come home for 2 days? Well, this is not the same thing. Having a baby means you’re probably mature enough to accept that your life is going to change, so it doesn’t mean you now need to drink away the fear like a frat student on payday. As much as your pregnant, exhausted, hormonal and smell sensitive wife loves it when you get home at 3 am and vomit in her rose bush, don’t do it due. For real. Grow the fuck up.

Have you ever woken up and your Jack Russel, Roxy, has crawled into your bed and kinda shifted her way onto your left foot, and it’s all dead and you’re sweating a bit because Roxy is heavy and uncomfortable? Well, David, shame, because unlike you, who gets to boot poor Roxy off, we are stuck with a hot-Roxy in our stomachs for 40 weeks. Also, hot Roxy loves our bladder and is so large that she physically moves all of our organs up and away, like a Pixar movie. Hot Roxy doesn’t sleep when we do and loves nothing more than a midnight party in our uterus. This means two things – we wake up and have to wee because she’s bouncing on our bladder and all our food from the day before then erupts from our throats in a bilious volcanic explosion. This also means that we cannot get comfortable, like ever. It takes 12 strategically placed pillows for us to even consider getting into bed, so god help the man who then knocks the cushion fort down in the middle of the night because shame, he’s uncomfortable or has no space. A lesser human would kill you for breaching that safe haven, so don’t do it. If anything, offer her more pillows, my god man, buy out the whole of Coricraft if you must. Build her a fortress so large it could be a Kingdom on Game of Thrones. And if you’re really that bothered by watching your wife look comfortable for the first time in 7 weeks then maybe you should consider sleeping on the floor, or in the garden, or at your mate Steves house.

About anything. Yes, I know that sounds harsh but your wife/girlfriend/lover/one night stand now knocked up is going through a lot right now. She’s terrified, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. If she does or says something that you don’t love, shut your mouth. Unless it is going to physically alter you in any way then rather bite your tongue and ask her how you can help her. Be the bigger, better person. Do not harp on pregnancy related errors she may make, pregnancy related smells she may poop or pregnancy related outbursts she may display. Trust me, she will remember them for much longer than you ever will. Don’t be a dick, be lekker.

The best part of any pregnancy, according to 99% of men surveyed, is the actual conception. Unfortunately, some of the stuff after that just isn’t as fun. Crazy hey? Things like admin and forms and booking beds and medical aid issues. These don’t all happen by the wave of a wand. There is a lot to do when prepping for a baby and most of the time the mom-to-be is lumped with the tasks fo prepping everything. Help her out – you will be making a huge difference and assisting her in a very important way. You will also be assisting your way to a longer life and therefore promoting a better future relationship with your unborn child.

“Hey Jimmy, where’s your dad?”

“Shame, ya, he’s dead. My mom killed him when I was in utero”

“Holy hell bru, why?”

“He didn’t paint the baby’s room when he said he would.”

If, like us, you are highly social people and tend to always have functions at your house, perhaps now would be a good time to re-assess your life a little bit. No-one, especially not your wife, enjoys making guests feel uncomfortable in her home, so she is going to be very reliant you to do that for her. Entertaining towards the end of pregnancy is awful for the mama-bear-to-be. She’s sober, exhausted and more than likely so deep into her nesting phase thats she’s wiping down the toilet seat everytime Brendan goes for a slash. She really doesn’t want people overstaying their welcome and is going to need you to understand that, and assist when guests overstay their welcome too much. Better yet, try cut down on the entertaining entirely and keep visits light and brief. I promise you, the ‘fun’ wife you had hasn’t died, she’s there, but she’s gatvol and probably just wants to fart in her home, alone. Bonus tip: Save the guest list and the good booze for when baby is here and she can join in on the fun She will thank you for it. I promise.

Your pregnant vagina: Critics are calling it ‘The Exploding Lotus’, The Loose Volcano’ and the ‘what the fuck did I just witness’. Please don’t ask for sex, ever. Unless your wife (and lucky you) falls into the 0.1% of females who actually enjoy intercourse while pregnant, just accept that she is sore and uncomfortable and making sweet sweet love to you is the furthest thing from her mind. Like ‘fun Sally’ your wife will be back soon enough. Grab a porn mag, find a free bathroom and stop your moaning.

So there you have it. Consider this your weekly public service announcement gents. Share with your mates to save them future pain, and while we’re at it, grab your wife a bunch of flowers on your way home. From work. Not your way home from the pub. You bloody muppet.

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Pregnancy – The Difference Between The First and The Second

The day after I found out I was pregnant with Carter I dragged Barry to Baby City and we spent close to an hour in the store, looking at and touching each and every product whilst gushing on repeat ‘OhMyGodICantBelieveWeWillBeNeedingTheseSoon!’. I am now (on Saturday) 8 months pregnant with ‘Pip’ and have yet to step foot in a Baby City, or do anything else for that matter.

I used to be so judgmental of parents who slacked off with their second and third pregnancies, and now I am one of those slackers.

So, what are the biggest differences between the first and following pregnancies?

  1. No one really cares as much. And it’s totally OK. When you’re expecting your first, your bump is an automatic talking point. It’s expected that people will always ask you how far you are and what you’re having. It’s like there’s an invisible neon sign on you that reads ‘I’m new here, make me feel welcome’. With number 2, it’s almost as if even complete strangers can sense that your womb is used goods. It’s safe to say that a drop off interest rate of atleast 75% will occur. Hell, I’m not blaming them. I often go days without remembering I’m knocked up. In fact, if it wasn’t for my heavy reliance on wine, I think sometimes I might altogether forget.
  2. You are slow off the mark. With baby 1 you have Googled your gynaes CV before the pee is even dry on the stick. With baby 2 it takes weeks to book that first appointment. The one commonality however, for me atleast, is the excitement that comes with each scan. I don’t care how many baby’s I bake, the thought of knowing I have a visit with them is still always the highlight of that month. I still haven’t booked the hospital bed and just yesterday had to ask someone to ‘remind me’ how to have a baby. For the life of me I cant remember the logistics that lead up until D-Day.
  3. The nursery goes from Glamour! to YOU. Carters room was featured in a magazine, and I feel, rightly so, It was gorgeous, personal and entailed hours and hours of blood sweat and tears from me. I would trawl the shops for the perfect addition and Pinterest was my go to reference for all things baby. And with number 2? We may or may not have even taken the cot out of the garage. It’s not because we aren’t excited, it’s because you just never find the time. Which leads me to…
  4. You never have the time. With your first pregnancy you are allowed the luxury of down time. First trimester nausea can be handled with a relaxing TV session on the couch after work. Exhaustion can be treated with early bed times and late weekend lie ins. With a second kid, unless your first is a teenager, you have no such luxury. Time waits for no one, and nor does your toddler. They could not give two tiddly shits if mommy is tired, puking into her cereal bowl or her back is so sore that she cant see straight. You need to get home from work and make dinner and play with them and sort the house out and remind them how to stay in their bed and do this every single night until your second baby is born.
  5. You are so distracted. Things like taking monthly belly pics, filling out UIF forms and other such necessaries and niceties fall by the wayside as you’re just too busy trying to keep your other kid alive.
  6. The preciousness of it is gone. Not that pregnancy is an ailment, and god help me when I’m around those delicate flowers who treat it as such, but the general rule of pregnancy is that you should never really exert yourself too much. Again, whoever wrote that rule book forgot one vital thing – toddlers weigh a lot, and toddlers want to be carried all the time. So if I can hoist my 15 kilogram son on my hip you can sure as hell bet that I will now be called upon to help with other every day tasks around the house as well. Just last week I was helping my husband remove a fridge off the back of his bakkie.
  7. You don’t do the research. Second time rounders live in a bubble of false security. With Carter we attended pre-natal classes, did a hospital tour and I would greedily inhale app data, articles and chapters from ‘What To Expect’ every night. I could, at any given time, tell you how many weeks I was and what fruit-size the foetus was. I am under no illusion that I have forgotten pretty much everything about bringing a newborn into this world. I really should be reading and researching but I can’t, because, time.
  8. Money becomes even more of an issue. I always said I would take longer than 4 months maternity leave the second time around. Dropping Carter off at school at the age of 16 weeks broke me, and I wasn’t ready to leave him. This time round though, the reality is that if I thought I was poor then, I really am going to kak off financially now. I’ve already agreed with my boss to start working after the first month (luckily from home) and am only taking time off shoots for the first 30 days. You gotta do what you gotta do, so a lot of my maternity leave will be more hustling and less cuddling.
  9. You feel so guilty. Because all of the above. Because as much as you looked at other second time moms doing it, you swore you would never be that mom who treated baby 2 differently, just because they were number 2. This baby has maybe one new outfit waiting for her. We have been so fortunate to receive some amazing hand me downs, but already – she’s the second-hand-baby.

That being said, she is no less loved. She may be sleeping in a cardboard box for the first few weeks of her life, but it wont mean too much in the bigger picture. I don’t know who is more excited to meet her at this rate – but I think it’s Carter who keeps asking me to ‘open my tummy and take the baby out’ so he can see her. Not long to go my boy, and then it will be mommy’s turn to ask a nice Dr to open her tummy and stitch it up niiice and tight. And maybe fix her boobs at the same time 😉

PS – Everyone has however, been commenting on how I’ve been carrying this baby compared to my first. And by ‘commenting’ I mean telling me I’m not nearly as fat. ha! I thought it would be fun to compare the 2 pregnancies, month by month. The first pics are all Carter and the second pics are all baby #2. Apart from how far my photographic skills have improved, I also think the 2 babies look extremely different. What do you think?

Announcing Carter & Announcing Pip
12 weeks Carter & 12 weeks Pip
16 weeks Carter & 16 weeks Pip
20 weeks Carter & 20 weeks Pip
24 weeks Carter & 24 weeks Pip
28 weeks carter and 28 weeks Pip
Carter at 7 months vs. Pip at 7 months
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Introducing the LG NeoChef

The last microwave I bought, and have been using faithfully, was an LG. I had broken up with a boyfriend who I was living with and had sold all my furniture and appliances when I moved in to his place, and so upon starting fresh I had to go and re-buy everything. I don’t know why I remember it so clearly, but I got it from the House and Home in Sandton City. That trusty silver LG microwave has seen me through breakups, get togethers, house moves, 2 dogs, a fiancee, countless dinner parties, a marriage and 1.5 children.

When LG sent me the brand new LG NeoChef microwave a few weeks ago, I was really really excited. Growing old(er) is both exciting and depressing. Suddenly, new appliances and gadgets far outshine the thrill of clothes and toys, and I’m not ashamed to say I Googled the NeoChef the second I heard I would be receiving one.

I could wax lyrical about all its benefits – including a tempered glass front, a refined matte exterior and intuitive sliding touch control – but to be perfectly honest – the thing that wowed me the most was the sound it made when it finished cooking something. I think I pushed ‘Quick Start’ seventeen times just to hear the little jungle it would sing to me. I never thought I would enjoy waiting for a microwave to beep as much as I do now.

A microwave becomes part of a household and for most of us, is as necessary as a fridge and freezer. We use it daily to heat, re-heat and defrost, and I suppose for 90% of households, that’s good enough. We were the ‘heat and re-heat’ kind family until our NeoChef arrived. One of the biggest reasons I’m loving it, is that it helped with 2 problems – one temporary and one permanent. The first issue was that the day it arrived we were mid re-flooring the whole house, which took ages longer than expected (you may have heard about the #RankinRenovation drama on my Instagram and Facebook pages) and, because of the delayed building, we were living like gypsies, with all all our furniture (including the oven) outside on the patio for over 2 weeks. It was such a battle to cook anything that wasn’t takeaways, so when I found out the microwave had a built in air fryer and roasting option, I suddenly felt like I could resume semi-control of my kitchen. Eventually, furniture and appliances were moved back inside, but the one thing the LG saved me from was what I now refer to as ‘oven guilt’. We have a gorgeous gas oven, but because it’s a double size one, I always felt bad about turning it on and heating it up to cook one small dish. The NeoChef gives me the option to cook pretty much 80% of the food I would use my oven for, in a faster and more economical way.

Oven-less living

However, the proof really is in the pudding. Or, in my case, the chicken, To really test the capabilities of the LG NeoChef I invited my brother (an excellent cook and intimidating chef) round for lunch. The catch? Everything had to be done in the LG NeoChef.

I made an (according to them, as I have been vegetarian for 23 year) incredible roast chicken (I mean, the reviews were positively New-York Times bestselling), roast butternut salad, lemon-chilli angelfish and gravy – all using the NeoChef.

 

To prove just how delish everything came out, my brother – AKA ‘Masterchef’ sent me this message the following day:

As a soon-to-be family of 4 I am really keen to start making bigger, better and more inspired meals for my family – and the NeoChef has given me the perfect excuse to do just that. In my follow up blog post I’m going to be chatting about some new ‘ICan’tBelieveYouCookedThatInAMicrowave‘ recipes that I’ve made, just using the LG NeoChef.

 

 

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Brace Yourself. School Holidays Are Coming.

Yesterday was day 1 of school holidays. I was working from home as I had taken a days leave to photograph at a birth, but it all happened so quickly that I was home by 8:30 and decided to just work from there instead of heading into the office.  Every year Carter’s school closes for the full month of December, and like every other parent out there, I shit myself. 30 days is a very, very long time for a small human to be at home. Lord, coming out of a long weekend with a kid feels like a scene from Braveheart.

This year we have had to hire full time a nanny just so she can watch him for one month of the year (most expensive salary, ever, right?). She started with us a few months ago and is absolutely fantastic, so I am feeling slightly better about leaving him alone as she’s great with him, and he simply adores her. But still, she could be Chicco the Clown made of actual ice-cream and he would still get bored after a month.

Yesterday was hectic. I take my hat, and all other items of clothing, off to stay at home moms. As for creche teachers? My god, they should be paid in Bitcoin and rainbows. Apart from trying to work and get my job done I was also trying to entertain a very busy, very active and very bored toddler. We filled his pool and swam, we cleaned the big pool we swept and mopped and scrubbed. We puzzled and read books and made dinosaurs out of playdoh. I took him to the shops to get baking ingredients and then we mixed and battered and rolled and cut out intricate Reindeer shapes and then decorated those and then we showered together because we both looked like a unicorn had sharted food colouring on us and then we cooked supper and ate fruit and fed the birds and played with the dogs and spoke about ‘Chippy’ our Elf On The Shelf and built pillow forts. And then it was only 6pm and I felt as f I had been hit.by. a.bus. What made it even harder was that his usual 2-3 hour nap just did not happen, so that felt like another eleventy hundred hours to fill.

And flip, after he went to bed and I cleaned and got back to my study and worked some more, I reflected on what a flipping fun day it was with my son. Fun, but not something I can repeat daily. Sorry, new nanny.

So now, back at the office until Christmas I’m in a slight state of anxiety about how I’m going to fill his time until 2018. I know I may sound like one of those moms who’s kid cant entertain himself, but its more just trying to keep his busy brain and body stimulated enough so that he’s tired enough t fall asleep at night. The biggest issue is that I’m not home and Kelly, our Nanny, cant really do much with him apart from in the house.

I popped over to the Crazy Store earlier and bought my body weight in arts and crafts supplies, playdoh, paper, paint and pencils. But let’s be realistic, that’s going to cover him for 2, 3 days tops.

Help, moms. What are your holiday solutions for keeping kids busy? Would love for you to share them in the comments section, and perhaps you will also be helping a fellow bewildered mom with some fun activities to do with their kids (or, for someone else to do, because, grown-ups have jobs) over the holidays.

PS – No moms were harmed (too much) on day one of school holidays.

‘Honest Dad! All I said was school holidays!’

 

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WIN With The Entertainer 2018

The first time I ever heard about The Entertainer was a few years back, when a friend had mentioned that it was her new favourite secret Santa gift to give at Christmas time. After doing some research, I could see why. It actually sounded a bit too good to be true – an app that qualified you for offers on the places you already frequented – two for one meals at tons of restaurants, and special offers and discounts at thousands of places from beauty and fitness to hotels and shops.

The first time we personally used it was at the now-closed Smile restaurant – it was a quick and easy process and since then I have been a really big fan of the brand.

2017 has come and pretty much gone and I don’t feel like we’ve used the offers enough – so I was really excited to be invited to the launch of the Entertainer 2018 this week and hear about all the new offerings for next year.

Having a kid and a baby on the way is expensive. There are days when I actually wonder how we can ever resume a normal life – once school fees, medical aid bills, food and clothing is out the way, we are pretty much left with money to cover the bare necessities – so luxuries such as restaurants other than Spur and niceties like going for a wax or having my nails done have gone right out the window. The last time I had my hair done? May. I look like I’m trying to bring the mullet back.

The event was awesome – and so nice to catch up with fellow bloggers. We were all treated to pizza, beer buckets and hilarious comedy at parkers Comedy Club (one of the venues you can find on The Entertainer) as well as an amazing goodie bag to take home. How are these travel mugs? I’m convinced I was their muse for this one.

I’ve spent a bit of a time in the last fe weeks reflecting on the year that was, and trying to decide on what I want to change in 2018. Not to be funny, but I genuinely want to start taking advantage of loyalty and rewards programs more. Everything from my Medical Aids Vitality program to my Banks ‘discount’ points and what the Entertainer can offer me.

So, in a declaration-slash-bucket-list-slash-resolution list I’m going to jot down just some of the ways in which The Entertainer app is going to make my life easier, more fun and help save me some cash dolla in the process:

Firstly, away with the unintentional ombre and 80’s rock hair. My hairdresser is already on the app, first win!

Being 6.5 months pregnant, I cant reach my toes, and therefore anything below my ever expanding belly needs to now be supervised by someone other than my well-meaning but functionally useless manicurist of a husband. A quick search of the app shows that theres a nail bar 4km from my house. Sorted

 

 

In exactly 3 months I will be giving birth, which means I will need to shed a sheet ton of pasta baby weight afterwards. I’ve attended several Switch classes and loved them, and now I see the Lonehill branch is also on the app. Sweet. Sweat.

 

It was our wedding anniversary last month and we didn’t go out because, well, I’m sober, and what’s a dinner without a delicious bottle or two of fermented grape? I told my husband I wanted to save a really nice night out for after baby was here – so he will be given the app and he can choose a lovely spot to wine and dine his wife (on the cheap).

Having an active toddler means I’m always on the lookout for places to take him. He will be three in May which means he will finally be allowed to go to Bounce – and I think I’m more excited than anyone. Boom, thank you The Entertainer. There are actually so many cool spots for kids (and kids at heart) on the app.

 

 

With a newborn, comes mess. Apparently I’m not the only one who needs one because dry-cleaners are-a-plenty on the app.

 

 

Every year we go on a girls weekend to a really local lekker place. I’ve blogged about these pics trips before. Every several years we go for a week and make it an International destination. We have gone to Zanzibar, Machadadorp, Rosendal, Clarens, Ballito and The Drakesnberg to name a few. So far we have our 2019 Overseas choices down to about 15 venues. Including Morocco, Bali, The Maldives and Mauritius. I am the most excited about the travel benefits on The Entertainer – because 20% discounts means more moola  for beachside cocktails…

These are just a few of my prime selections for 2018, using The Entertainer. The good news is that I am giving away one subscription to a lucky Jozi/Pretoria resident. The app is valued at R500 but will save you thousands in the New Year.

To enter, all you need to do is tell me the top 3 things you would use the most on the app – be it travel destinations, restaurants or excursions.

Leave your answer in the comments – the winner will be drawn and announced this Friday. For an extra entry into the draw make sure you follow my blog and share the link to my page and post on your wall.

Good Luck!

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Dear Daughter.

Daughter. Daughter. Daughter.

I can say it a hundred times and yet it doesn’t feel real. I am so used to being a boy mom. I buy shorts and dinosaur t-shirts and endless spades and diggers and trucks. We spend our time peeing in the garden and our bath time ritual consists of ‘bum and ball cleaning’. Boys are easy and laid back and get on with it. Girls? Well, they terrify me.

I’ve been referring to this baby as ‘Pip’ since conception and up until Wednesday as ‘it’. Even though doc has confirmed multiple times (Kate, see no penis) I’m still in denial that I will be bringing a female into this world, and just what that means.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this ‘Rules for my daughter’ post that has been circulating the Internet lately – it’s a list of 35 ‘instructions’ for girls, from their moms. I’ve read a few and whilst some are sweet (“Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are” and “Question everything except your own intuition.”) there are some that are just so bullshitty. Like ‘always wear good underwear’. Please, I’m not even wearing a bra today (sorry, colleagues) and I can promise you that doesn’t make me less smart or womanly than someone in a R1000 boulder holder from La Senza.

So, whilst you may not be nearly ready to enter the world, your turns and flops and kicks remind me that, ready or not, in 3.5 months you will be here and I need to chat to you about the kind of person I want you to be, and the kind of girl mom that I want to be.

My Rules Advice, For My Daughter. 

  1. Don’t let them take advantage of you. Ever. Take this from someone who, for 33 years, has been a people pleaser. It gets you nowhere
  2. That being said, be generous. Not with money alone, with time and character and kindness.
  3. Don’t let the sexist win. Again, from experience and something I am still dealing with daily. Do you know that I got this in an email last week:

Bad of him, right? Even worse of me. I have done nothing about it. Remember this when your turn comes, as it will. Do not let people bully you on account of you having a vagina, a pretty face or double x chromosomes. Do not accept discrimination, lesser pay or lesser respect. Only you, and your peers, can change inequality around.

4. Lunch with me, call me, Let’s hang out. Sure – I am and will always be your mom but I want us – at a reasonable age – to be friends as well. I want us to talk and laugh and do stuff together, not for any occasion, just because. I am going to love your company.

5. You are not a princess. Don’t let people treat you softer because you are a girl. If you start it, finish it. if you fall down, pick yourself up. I will treat you the same way I do your bother – with a fierce sternness and love. I vow to not go soft on you just because you are pink and he is blue. Don’t lessen yourself because of your gender.

6. Work really hard. Please don’t go by the ‘marry rich’ mantra that some may.

7. Learn how to manage money. I was never taught and at the tender age of 21 plus some I am now finindg myself drenched in sweat on sleeless nights as I worry about my financial future.

8. That being said – treat yourself and buy nice things. I will try to not berate these decisions, but will try respect and encourage your financial independence.

9. Be polite, always.

10. Be interested. Learn. Explore, Be inquisitive. Check your facts and do your research and don’t just let a question linger. be so hungry for information that you feel like you will never be satiated.

11. Eat healthily. Enjoy your food. Splurge on junk but long for balance. It’s all about the 80/20

12. Hug me. All the time

13. Never ever let yourself be in a position where you feel like you are being a bully or are amongst bullies. These people are not good for you, despite what you may think or feel at the time. Be fair to everyone. Support the underdog. Always take the position of empathy.

14. If you are ever being bullied, tell me. I want you to talk openly and freely with me without fear of feeling judged.

15. If you want to play with trucks and diggers and spades, I encourage that. If you want to dress in pink tutus for 8 days in a row, I also encourage that (slighly less ;)). Try not to be defined by gender – your brother has a doll that he adores and I am so proud of him.

16. Use your wit and brain and character to get ahead.

17. Enjoy being a kid. Dont rush to grow up too fast. Adulthood is a no return purchase that really isn’t as fun as they all make it out to be.

18. Look after yourself but don’t feel bad about your weight, your looks or your figure. There are much bigger things to worry about – like which country to explore, which book to read or which retirement village to put me in when I’m old and crazy.

19. You are amazing, And fiercely loved. And you always will be.

I get to see you every 4 weeks, and it is the romantic date of my life. I can’t wait to be able to see you daily, for the rest of our lives. You are going to be the perfect addition to this little triangle-turned-square.

 

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A Glamping Experience!

Is anyone else feeling like this year must just end now? I am so ready for 2018. Although 2018 has been great (baby news, renovations and other lovely things) it has also been a year of difficulties. My pregnant body is tired of 7-day-work weeks and although that wont change come 1 January, at least it will feel like somewhat of a fresh start.

I’ve been revelling in my rare ‘off’ days lately, and so it was such a treat to be invited by Tented Adventures to come sty at one of their camps for a weekend a month or so back. Barry and I were all too eager to ditch the dry heat of Jozi and head to the Pilansberg Nature Reserve for 2 nights of bush bliss.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – the website for Tented Adventures promised ‘an authentic African safari experience‘, but it also mentions ‘tent’, and to me anything in a tent is camping. So, it was with excitement and a little trepidation that we headed off early Saturday morning.

Upon arriving at the camp we were greeted by the friendly camp manager, Bennie, who showed us to our ‘room’ and told us to relax for a few hours until our 5 pm game drive. The tent was actually perfect – on a raised platform with plug points, a fan, hotel quality duvets and a sturdy bed, I could have quite comfortably stayed there for a week or more. The private area, to the side of the main camping site, had several tents and then the main tent – where guests would eat dinner together or grab a hot coffee and rusk before the 4 am game drive.

The heat was ferocious as we arrived, and unfortunately Barry had to leave to head back to town as we arrived to find a battery for his car. I took advantage of the alone time and static heat and stillness and dozed on the bed. Something I did the very next day as well. There really is something about the bush that just makes you so relaxed.

There aren’t ablutions on the site so guests do have to walk several hundred metres to the main campsite and ablution facility. I am no princess, but shared ablutions have never been my thing, ever, so I must admit it was the least favourite aspect of my trip. I can also blame my pregnancy, but having to wee all the time meant frequent dusty walks to and from the tent to the loos. I mastered the ‘roughing it’ look and managed to avoid washing my hair the entire duration of our trip.

Dinner was served after the game drives in the main tent. The food was simple but tasty, and we were so exhausted after 4 hours of game spotting that we downed our food and headed straight to bed. The website did mention that drinks were included, but they weren’t. Next time I would be better prepared and bring along snacks, such and booze for us to enjoy at mealtimes and on the drives. Luckily theres a campsite shop so Barry could buy some beer. No-fun knocked up over here nursed her water and Sprite. On the second night there was a power failure so we all headed to the main lodge restaurant for supper.  Not at all associated with Tented Adventures, this was one of the worst culinary experiences of my life – but made hilarious and fun due to the crowd we were with and the absolute comedy of the evening. The Manyane camp in Pilansberg really is stuck in the 1970s and the overall place could do with a huge revamp (and some waitron training!). Again, our camp manager Bennie really made a huge effort to make sure we were all fed and looked after and did his best at helping us in a situation he had zero control over.

Breakfasts were also served at the main restaurant and if you are a foodie, I wouldn’t suggest touching Pilansberg with a 10 foot barge pole. However, if like me, you are an animal and wildlife lover, then you can overlook the catering and come just for the game drives. An absolute highlight of our trip, we were fortunate enough to see of of the Big 5. Our rangers were enthusiastic and super knowledgable and I would go back and back and back just to relive the sightings and animals we saw. Game drives take place twice a day and after every drive you are met by the staff who make sure you are escorted to your tent or off the vehicle safely.

Tented Adventures is really reasonably priced and perfect for the bush lover who isn’t quite ready to take the camping plunge just yet, but is keen to dip their toe into some tented water. No kids allowed, which means apart from game drives there really is nothing to do except relax, read and refresh.

For more info, head on over to their website to find out more.

Thank you Tented Adventures – you prepped me so well that I actually went proper camping 2 weeks later!

 

 

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About That Body Change.

I met the girls for dinner last night, and the restaurant happened to be right next to my gym, so I quickly ran in to swipe my card and leave. I’m getting those nasty little email reminders from the gym about my membership, and infrequent visits and and and… It’s really very needy. I am just not finding the time to breathe, let alone exercise at the moment. I investigated preggy yoga and preggy bellies, but again was reminded just how unsuited these places are towards moms who actually work. It feels like a foreign concept to them. Who on earth can go to a Pilates at 9 or a preggy class at 4 pm? The same woman who probably have au pairs and breakfast at Tashas on a Monday morning. Ugh. Alas, yee of the working class just doesn’t have that luxury. In fact, I’m working harder now than pre-fetus because between you and me and thousands of readers I am freaking the fuck out about money and savings and education and and and. But that’s a post for anther time.

I digress. Tomorrow I will be 20 weeks with this pregnancy, and so far I’ve been totally OK abut my body image. At my checkup yesterday they doctor told me I have technically lost 6 kilograms, as I haven’t gained any weight yet and at this stage of pregnancy I should be 6 kilos heavier – so even though that was a small victory, it was short lived.

I got home from work yesterday and wanted to change into something more comfy for dinner. So I slipped off my dress and started rummaging around in my cupboard. Sadly, before I had a chance to put the fresh outfit on I saw my reflection in the mirror. My boobs have those tell-tale purple veins – I can almost see the milk flowing through them – and my love handles are clearly in the honeymoon period, for they spilleth over my hippeth like a river. I’m soft to the touch and any firmness my body once possessed has disappeared, along with the ability to control my bladder.

I remember this with Carter, but with 5 months to go still I’m quite distraught at the prospect of having to hate my body for a long time to come. Plus let’s not even get started at the post baby body – remember this fat post?

Anyway. Not a lot I can do now, I’m so far up the duff that it’s really fruitless to stress too much about it. All I can do is try maintain the good eating and try re-start on the exercise. I’ve downloaded an app catered for maternity exercises and all I need to do is activate my subscription and just do it, I guess. Tomorrow, or maybe Monday. Monday sounds good.

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The Toddler, The Carseat and The Mother F*ing Sandpit.

I’ve often read posts by other bloggers where they take us (the reader) through a day in their life. And I LOVE those posts. I’m fascinated by peoples routine, what they eat for breakfast and how they run their day. I’ve always wanted to write one about my own life. It’s slightly narcissistic I know, but I figured if I’m as intrigued by your daily bowel movements and dogs walks then you might be the same about me.

This is not one of those posts. I was going to, until I realised that it would be the longest.post.known.to.mankind. Why, you ask, when everyone’s day only has 24 hours in it? Because, dear readers, I have a 2-year-old, and anyone who has a toddler understands that there are stages in your kids life when time actually just fucking stands still.

Let me talk you though one of these times.

It was yesterday, and I was fetching my son from creche.

4:45 – Pull up at the school, park and walk in

4:47 – Arrive at Carters classroom and observe this angel, the love of my life, for a few minutes. Agh sweet man, look at how nicely he’s playing on his bike and listening to his teachers, I think.

4:50 –  Walk into play area and Carter catches my eye. Drops bike and runs over to give me my hug/high-five/kiss combo. Yussis but he’s cute man. All dirty kneed and grubby footed.

4:50 –  Chat to his teachers about his day and what he did. Out of the corner of my eye see another kid grab the bike my son was on and start to play with it.

4:50 –  Spend several minutes trying to remind my son that we are going home and he doesn’t need that bike until tomorrow. Alternate between loving and scolding his teacher for then finding another bike that now looks exactly the same and making a song and dance of putting this now new bike in a secret place for safekeeping. (2 year olds, masters of manipulation since forever).

4:59 –  Have child, bag, tag and keys. Somehow manage to lose keys to child. It’s Ok, anything to now start the long walk to freedom.

5:01 – Magically manage to walk out of playground gate. Brain on high alert as I know just how many obstacles lie in store between me, the 250 m walkway, and my car.

5:01 – Child spots sandpit. The goddam sandpit.

5:01 – “Mommy, I dig”

5:01 – “No baby, you can dig at home, come we need to go.”

5:02 – “No mommy, I dig here.”

5;02 – Mommy with willpower of a legless Octopus concedes and makes small human promise to only 2 minutes. He is very sincere and I almost believe he will honour his commitments.

5:02:10 – 2 shoes off child has launched himself into a sea of sand and buckets.

5:06 – Perched on edge of sandpit, overlarge belly and all making small talk with other downtrodden and weary parents who also just now want to go the fuck home.

5:07 – Rationally tell him we have been here for 5 minutes, and not 2, and we must now go home.

5:07 – Alot of no’s and general toddler sounding moaning.

5:08 – Must stick to guns. Tells him in no uncertain terms that we are going home now, and proceed to walk away. Listen to the sound of his wailing get softer the further I walk.

5:10 – Try to not make eye contact with horrified parents who are witnessing this angelic little boy, clearly stranded in the sandpit, with no parent in sight. I am now half submerged in a jacaranda tree to A) avoid said parents and B) hide from my child. I am still convinced the panic of being deserted by his second favourite parent will make him run out to find me.

5:12 – No sign of son growing larger as he runs towards me. Only the sign of the nursery school gardener now carrying my inconsolable child to me in a bear hug.

5:13 – Snot everywhere (him, not me). Not even Orphan Annie puts on this good a show. Slow clap for the little terrorist.

5:15 –  Kneel down on unsteady hind-legs and look into his eyes. Try to rationalise with him about why we have to go. Throw in self pitying statements like ‘mommys had a shitty day at work and just wants to go home’ to ‘daddys waiting with sweeties!”. I will stop at nothing now.

5:17 – A glimmer of understanding, if not compassion in his small tear stained face. I even get a hug and a ‘love you’. Clammy hand in mine we actually start walking, I can sell the Q20 on the gate we are so close.

5:18 – Puppies. MOTHERFUCKING PUPPIES. Two of the adorable bastards. When did the school allow this sort of child heroin into its grounds? Christ almighty we must now stop and play with the most adorable jack russel siblings you have ever laid eyes on.

5:25 – Dogs thoroughly tackled and tickled and assaulted we are finally on the home stretch. People, I am so close that my pregnant bladder lets forth a drop or two.

5:26 – Aand we are at the gate. My god I have never been so excited to see these maroon bars. Excited high fives for all the guards and it’s next stop motor vehicle time. Yes, you baby!!

5:27 – Crap. He has my car keys. It must now unlock the vehicle and enter the front seat at a speed a sloth would find agonising. I’m-A-Big-Boy-Mommy must now insert key into keyhole and start the car. Very clever, praise, well done, go you go. Now get the fuck into your car chair.

5:29 – Again, with the sloth dance, it crawls from my chair to his chair in a ground breaking speed of minus kilometres per hour. We are now actually going against the speed of light. The earth has officially stopped moving. Winter is coming.

5:35 – Realises it doesn’t actually want to be in his chair. It wants to be back in the sandpit.

5:35 – With the strength of Grace Mugabe in a hotel room with an extension cord, I pin him down under my heaving bosom and sweat lined face and try to strap him – a 12 armed rubber toy fuelled by Red Bull, into his car seat. Both now crying.

5:36 – Reverse car at rapid pace with music so loud. Never has Highved Stereo sounded nicer than it has drowning out my sons screams as he unleashes the wrath of his mothers meanness on the world.

5:41 – The 2.1 km commute home has been filled with despair and decibels of glass shattering proportions.

5:42 –  Ironically, in a last minute plot twist, it now doesn’t want to get out of its car seat and starts clawing me with tiny toddler finger nails to stop the unbuckling of his chair. I attempt few hard klaps but end up hitting myself twice instead.

5:43. Leave him in chair and walk into my house which is currently a construction zone. Place myself under the sound of a metal grinder and breathe in the sweet sweet sound of something other than a 2-year-olds-tantrum.

** Disclaimer **

No children were harmed in the making of this episode

The child was removed for the vehicle by his first-favourite parent

Mom only sniffed tasted the wine that night.

 

 

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