Brace Yourself. The Terrible Twos’ Are Coming.

I remember watching a friend of mine battling with being a mom. Her vacant haunted eyes terrified me and I never knew how to help her. She made parenting seem awful, and hard and I was terrified that one day I would find myself in a similar situation.

Then Carter was born, 2 years and 11 days ago, and he’s been a 99% wonderful human. All conscientious charm and manners. He slept well, ate well and basically made life pretty freaking easy for us.

Until 2 weeks ago when – true to the textbooks – he turned 2. Holy hell in a hand basket, it has been rough AF. Not only did he start potty training, he moved into a new bed and also decided that to get dressed in the morning was not for him. And not in a ‘no thanks mum, this isn’t for me’ way. In a “I will beat your motherly compassion out of you with a hockey stick until you want to strangle me” way.

Guys. I am at my wits end. I spent the majority of my 90-minute (because also, fuck you traffic) drive to work in guilt-ridden state. Never mind the 2 hours this morning just trying to actually get him dressed for school. Will I ever be on time again? When I dropped him at crèche this morning I was truly happy to palm him over to anyone who wasn’t me, and up until about 10 minutes ago I would have very happily left him there for a week. Because I actually don’t even know if I’m cut out for parenting, let alone parenting a 2 year old.

Newborns by comparison are possibly the easiest you will have it. I’m sorry to break this to you. It gets really hard, like really hard. Granted, it’s adorable when they start to talk and engage and participate in real-life activities – but the down side of their newfound abilities is the realisation that they have an opinion, limbs and a really, really strong will.

Keeping him in his bed at night (which entails 4 stories, strawberry milk, 75 pickups and bed put-back-ins and about a gallilitre of wine), getting him dressed every day, taking him home from a fun environment and trying to prevent volcanic meltdowns on a daily basis – along with juggling two demanding jobs and trying to also not look like a heroin addict have me absolutely farging exhausted at the end of every single day.

It also doesn’t help that t’s been a pretty rough year culminating in my Mothers Day ending with me leaving work (because yes, money doesn’t grow on spouses nor trees) and being hit by a taxi. Not only did he hit my car but he then proceeded to verbally assault and intimidate me, along with several of his charming taxi driver buddies. It was a horrific and terrifying situation and by the time I got home from the police station, shaken and drenched in rain, I was determined to emigrate and leave this ‘hell hole’ of a country.

I am so angry lately, and I suspect that my son is picking up on my emotions. But then he screams like a hadeda with a grammar phone and wrestles me with his 18 limbs and I can’t help but get more and more stressed out. I’m surprised I’m even able to make conversation at the moment. And I have only one human, only one. How are the moms of 2 or more actually coping?

I’d like to point out – one page into this rant – that I desperately love my son and that he has only been like this for 2 weeks. And he’s also only an asshole for a few hours a day. The other 22 he’s a delight, and then I forget about the asshole phase and go ‘let’s make another one!’. So no, I’m not really going to actually take him to school naked, or throw him out with Pickitup, but I do need to know, from other well oiled and experienced moms that this too shall pass. And before you come to me with your tricks, I’ve tried them. They don’t work

  • Bribery
  • Putting him to sleep with school clothes under his pyjamas
  • Naughty corner
  • beating Smacking
  • Ignoring
  • Hugging
  • Shouting
  • Wine
  • Distraction
  • Protein laden snacks
  • Mommy groups
  • Vodka
  • Rescue Remedy (for him)
  • Xanax (for me)

Help. Please.

 

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Crushing on 22 Months

There are some days of being a parent where I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten* myself in to, and other days where it’s decidedly the absolute best thing I have ever done. I’ve had one of those days-turned-weeks recently, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve bred a #LegendChild or because he’s at a certain age, but my little human has hit champion status, and I am absolutely loving him at the moment (not to say I don’t ever love him, but he’s just even more awesome than normal lately.)

Here are a few reasons why i’m totally crushing on 22 months.

  • He can understand, comprehend and communicate. Have you ever heard a parent say to their small child “I am so proud of you“? I remember hearing moms say it and I would puke a little bit in my mouth every time. What the actual fuck could you be proud of in a toddler? Proud that they didn’t shit their nappy? Proud that they didn’t have a tantrum? Proud that they were beginning to look like small adults? I totally get it now. When your child gets to the age where they mimic, talk, learn, copy empathise and communicate, when they start acting out instructions and learning routine and doing clever things like acknowledging life, you actually think your heart might explode from the proudness. I promise. It’s real. So don’t mock charge next time you hear a mommy coo’ing over their child’s seemingly mundane behaviour, because your kid learning to put a lid back on a toy, unplug the bath, wipe up a spill, tell you who their best buddy is  or hand you a steak knife that you’d accidentally left on their plastic dinner plate (not my proudest moment) without slicing their arteries open, is pretty much the equivalent of them bagging an MBA or receiving a job offer from Richard Branson.
  • They can be bribed. Which means resisting a nappy change can be halted in one fluid sweep with the simple threat of confiscating their dummy. Giving them medicine can be easily done with the promise of a sweet (or a raisins in my sons case) afterwards. Suddenly, every day goods become bartering gold mines. As long as the bribery object in question is treated with excitement and an air of pricelessness, your child will want it, and therefore will do everything to get it.

“Carter, if you don’t stop shouting I will not let you hold this plastic comb!”

  • They do things that are hilarious and video-worthy. Like the day my son learnt to say the word ‘fuck’, see below. It is both my most and least proud moment.

(I wasn’t going to share this as we had just returned home from overseas, my house is in shambles and I still have those nightmare inducing pink tiles, but hey, what the fuck right? PS – any flooring companies out there willing to do a makeover in my home? Let’s chat.)

  • They travel well. You may or may not know that we recently returned from a week away in Mauritius (blog post on that coming soon!)  and despite the “are you batshit crazy?!” comments from other moms who couldn’t believe we would be travelling with a kid under 2, he was better behaved than most of us. He even travelled well on an aeroplane, which may or may not have had anything to do with the ice cubes he was sucking from my breakfast GnT.

 

  • They can be trained. I may have lost a set of crystal goblets along the way, but my son can now bring me a glass of wine and replace said empty glass on the table when I’m done. I mean, if that alone isn’t worth having a kid, then I don’t even know what is.

*Dad, if you’re reading this, then yes ‘gotten’ is a word and no, I shall not replace it with something more satisfactory.

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Milestones Vs. MILESTONES.

Raising humans is all about milestones. From the second you conceive to the 12 week scan, from trimesters to hospital bags. From birth to burping and rolling to sitting. From standing to walking, to running. Teething and solids and sleeping and laughing. Every single thing out child does as they grow up is checked off against an invisible board. Carter hit his milestones beautifully, like a well oiled machine, and as proud as I am that he is the smiling owner of a full set of teeth, sleeps through the night (jinx that and I will cut a bitch) and has the hand eye co-ordination of a small genius, it’s the lesser known milestones that have truly blown me away.

One such giant leap of success happened this past weekend. Keep in mind that before he was an hour old he had been handed to a complete stranger in the recovery room to be ogled over and snuggled. Before he was a day old he had been passed around like a joint at a music festival and before we left the hospital after 4 days (also known as the one time I had 24 hour help) he had been met, kissed, cuddled and pawed by 51 different visitors. And I loved it. I wanted to raise my son to be outgoing, independent and attracted to strangers (nice strangers, not men in sweetie-van strangers). Alas, Nature had other plans, and despite my relaxed parenting style my son grew up wanting no one more than a select few teachers at school, grandparents and his mom and dad. Child friendly restaurants were wasted on us as friendly minders offered to watch him while we caught up over precious conversation wine, and instead he chose to sit on our laps and cling to our legs like an octopus monkey. He didn’t want to play alone and many an hour was spent literally sitting with him as he tentatively explored jungle gyms and swings. He is in no way strange, just slow to warm up, and most social events were spent coaxing him to interact with other adults and him only obliging as we were about to leave.

On Friday however, things changed. We went fora quick bite to eat at a kid friendly restaurant across the road and as we arrived my child spotted the sandpit. Excited squals of ‘san san san’ and he happily trotted off on his own to play. A few minutes later he voluntarily ran inside to watch a puppet show and actively chose to find a minder and sit on her lap. My heart grew and broke at the same time and like any sleep deprived irrational mom I then had to go in to check on him several times and take a all the photos. Barry and I stared at each other like dumb-wits from across the table and verbally declared our astonishment. Since then he has taken to independence like a duck to water and now treats the world slash garden as his oyster. Who knew that watching your child ramp his green push bike up a stair could make you feel like you’ve won gold at the Olympics.

So, thats it really. No major epiphany except the fact that I can marvel at him daily. People always say it gets better, and I never ever believed them. I thought they were just trying to make me feel better about the fact that they were always dirty and sticky and doing dumb things. But I can personally endorse this theory now – it gets so much better. Hell, these small humans are great hey?

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Actually, It Gets Harder.

I dropped Carter off at school this morning and it was so buy that I had to park on a road down the street. It’s day one of school for all the bigger kiddies which meant hordes of smartly dressed children in oversized skirts and shorts, crisp white socks and heavy backpacks. The moms on the other hands looked like me – disheveled, eye bagged and a bit teary.

Have you guys seen how much stuff a Grade R and Grade 0 kid needs for school? Apart from 27 tubes of Pritt stick (do they inhale them that they need so many?) it’s the bags and books and uniforms and individually labeled pens and swimming towels and lunchboxes and things to go inside the lunchboxes and and and. It’s exhausting. Mothers formerly known as composed are losing their shit over A4 lined books and sew in labels for dri-macs. I’ll take my current situation of only having to remember nappies and a change of clothes, thanks.

Which leads me to the not-so-new but oh-so-true- realisation that I think we have it all wrong. Wrangling children gets harder, and actually not easier. I bumped into a social media acquaintance this morning and he was lamenting about his lack of sleep. He has a 5 week old. I hated to be that person but I gently reminded him that newborns are in fact the easiest age. Sure, they are very demanding for something the size of a large margarine tub, but if they aren’t eating they are sleeping. If my 20 month old son isn’t eating he’s either sitting in the dog food bowl, scaling an electric fence, eating a dead spider, trying to break into the pool gate, unraveling a dishcloth, cleaning up the rain with said dishcloth, taking the (still wet) washing off the fence, stealing salticrax and their accompanying weavils out of the pantry, re packing the coffee cup cupboard or yelling his chosen word of the day while zooming up the passage chasing the dog. FYI, todays word is ‘key’

You also can’t just put them down and leave them – they’re incredibly fast and incredibly sneaky. Like very small, very adorable magicians. I lose Carter, on average, once a week. They’re also incredible strong, both physically and in willpower. My newborn never kicked my uterus from the outside and my newborn also never jumped on my boobs so hard that a nipple shot out my arsehole. My newborn didn’t smear banana onto my new couches or hurl a Le Creuset mug at a flying insect. My newborn couldn’t cling onto my leg/neck/foot like a wet spider monkey and my newborn also never bit me, hit me, shushed me or smashed a wayward foot into my head.

My newborn was also dull in comparison. He couldn’t ‘help’ feed the dogs (read, drop one pellet at a time into the metal bowl because he enjoyed the sound of it). ‘help’ hang the washing or ‘help’ with other chores around the house. He didn’t communicate with me and couldn’t tell me what his needs and wants were. He didn’t stamp his little feet in a Michael Flatley impersonation when I was peeling a banana too slowly, demand all the music goes ‘off’ if it wasn’t to his liking or stop in his tracks and stare with wide-eyed-wonderment when he saw hail for the first time.

I’m both loving and despairing at this age. 20 month toddlers are tricky – they can talk but cant really communicate, they love other small humans but they don’t as yet play very well – which means there’s a lot of tugging on mom or dad for everything, and they are incredibly needy. They also don’t sleep through all that often, and don’t for one second tell me they do, because I belong to a Whatsapp group of 13 moms who will attest to this fact. They do not sleep through. Final.

So, if you are a mom to a newborn or a tiny baby and reading this, I implore you to embrace the easiness of your babies age. Get out the house, take them with you, go to dinner and parties and social gatherings. Before you know it they will be running yelling shouty things with minds of their owns and opinions of one. And then, before we know it we will be mourning the loss of our tiny little running yelling thing as we pack their oversized back pack with individually labelled pens and 27 Pritt glue sticks and sobbing into our cold coffee because our children are growing up, right before our eyes.

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Let The Shopping Fun Begin With Toy Kingdom.

If you are anything like me – still stuck at the office until the 23rd and working frantically until Christmas, then you’re probably also really stressing about how you are going to get everything done in time.

Me. 2 days before Christmas.
Me. 2 days before Christmas.

We went shopping this weekend and fought the masses as we tried to check off a million to-do items from our list. Short of the actual kitchen sink we are almost up to speed on the shopping list. The only person left to buy for is my hubby, but I can throw a pair of running shoes at his head and he will be happy. Sometimes I also throw a pair of running shoes at his head because he’s being an arse, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone else, 2 days before Christmas, looks a little bit like this:

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Luckily, shopping for the littlies will be the easiest thing you need to do this year. Because, let’s face it, they leave us fat, stretchmarked and poor, so splurging on gifts is as much for them as it is for us. If you are stuck with all the amazing choices this festive season, you can choose from the Festive Season gift guide in-store and on the Toy Kingdom website or get a Toy Kingdom gift card.

We headed off to Toy Kingdom in Sandton City a few weeks ago and my jaw literally hit the floor when I saw the goodies on display. When I was a kid my folks tied some ribbon to a stick and that was my entertainment. Growing up on a farm was tough, guys.

Carter, on the other hand, has no idea just how lucky he is. Going into Toy Kingdom to buy him a present brought back childhood memories of birthing sheep and said ribbon on sticks, and a definite lack of toy store visits, so I really had to hold myself back from buying everything I wanted (A Furby Connect and everything Barbie) and I had to rationalise (read: wrestle him away) with the husband that a Gold Hoverboard was probably a little bit too advanced for our clumsy 19 month old). Eventually we settled on something to keep help with his creativity and hand eye co-ord – so a mega-pack of ‘Bunchems’ it was, as well as something to bring out on special occasions – and something that will hopefully stop him stealing my iPad and lowering my street cred points on Youtube – a LeapPad Tablet. Then we got him something to wrap and open in a few years time – a Meccano 5 Model set car.

bunchems leappad-epic meccano

So basically, Carter is going to be living his best life come 25 December.

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It may sound like all fun and games but I have to be honest, choosing age appropriate, quality presents was actually very stressful. Barry at that stage was lost in a toy truck aisle and no amount of whistling for him could get his attention. Luckily I had the most awesome shop assistant helping me – he even went to far as to unpack several boxes of things for me to have a proper look.

I would highly recommend Toy Kingdom – there is something for everyone, and if they had top open up a wine bar next to the Build-A-Bear section I suspect I would never leave.

I can’t wait to share photos of Carter opening up his pressies on Christmas. For now they remain safely wrapped and tucked under the tree.

You can find Toy Kingdom in Jozi Town opposite Clicks in Sandton City or in Cape Town, Shop 407 in Canal Walk.

If you are really pressed/stressed for time then have a look at their ‘Top 50 gift guide‘. It helps to whittle down your choices and guarantees a great buy. It’s what we used – along with recommendation from in-store staff – to decide on what to buy. Pop in to their store and tell them I sent you – then share your purchases with me here or on their Facebook page.

PS – Next year I’m going back for a Furby. I don’t care what anyone says

PPS – I’m also going back for a Gold Hoverboard. Don’t tell my husband.

ABOUT TOY KINGDOM:

Toy Kingdom is Africa’s most loved toy store with 14 retail stores nationally, offering the latest and most recognised toy brands to families. Toy Kingdom brings together unrivalled quality toys, beautifully designed stores and friendly and knowledgeable staff who encourage children and parents to interact and play with the toys. Each store is designed not as a retail space but rather around the concept of play, creating a unique in-store experience of ‘toadally’ charming fun.

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Christmas is Sorted with Fisher-Price.

The perks of having a niece and nephew a few years older than your child are the copious amounts of free toys and hand me downs he receives. 99% of the time these hand me downs are amazing, appreciated and leave me feeling a tad less broke. The other 1% of the time, these hand me downs, well, make me want to throw them under the closest on-coming vehicle.

Not-so-fondly-referred-to-as ‘Push-Turtle’ was one such toy. Given to us by my sister in law and something which soon made me realise that she truly must hate me. Push-Turtle is, well just that. A plastic toy designed to help kids learning how to walk, walk. The problem with Push-Turtle is that he quite literally doesn’t shut up. The second problem with Push-Turtle is that he has been through two kids before him so by the time we got him the noises coming out of his creepy green body were more ‘haunted house of horrors’ and less ‘happy fun kid friendly’ ones. Turtle would often break into (creepy) song at 3 in the morning and during bouts of trying to get our son to sleep. Eventually, I found a screwdriver and removed the 2 x AAA’s that gave push turtle life. Sorry, not sorry.

Fast forward a few months later and the scars of battery-operated toys were slowly starting to fade. So it was with some trepidation when Carter received a Fisher Price Puppy Piano to play with. Because, batteries.

At first, Carter showed as much interest in his new piano as he did all other toys. The box was far more interesting. I was initially worried that it was too young for him, but it turns out, he was probably too young for it. About a month after receiving the piano he started coming home and racing to it to play all the nursery rhymes and songs – turns out he had been learning ‘dance and sing’ at school and coming home to listen to familiar music and sounds was so comforting to him.

Another perk about this particular toy is the fact that its solid, stable and doesn’t sound creepy and run down like poor push-turtle. Songs are easily identifiable and don’t sound at all murderous.

I love how you can switch between two models – so the boredom factor hardy ever sets in. It’s also light and easy to transport – always helpful when travelling with a toddler requires a 4×4, trailer and an entourage of 8.

I grew up with Fisher Price toys and they are one of those brands that are just synonymous with quality and durability. This poor pint sized piano as been dragged along tiled floors, through bushes and gone on more road trips than I can remember. It’s even narrowly missed a bath, but even then, I’m pretty certain it would have still survived.

fp-phone fp-cash-register

Fisher price have brought me fond memories since as far back as I can remember. My favourite toy from them was the cash register and I’m so exited to have my son grow up with their products as well. In fact, our Doctors rooms have one of those old school telephones in the reception area, and Carter makes a beeline for it every time we are there. I love watching him learn and grow, and I love the fact that these toys help him to do so. Especially since it frees me up to have a glass of wine and watch him learn at the end of every day.

Fisher Price Puppy Piano
Fisher Price Puppy Piano

fisher-price-2-of-3

fisher-price-1-of-3

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The Magic Of Mom Groups

About a year ago I wrote this blog post on Mommy groups, and the absolute drama that generally accompanies them. Although I was referring 99% to Mommy groups on Facebook, I still alluded to WhatsApp groups. And I now need to retract a little bit of that article.

You see, for the past 8 months, I’ve been a part of a mommy Whatsapp group that has completely changed my previous perception.

At first, I was skeptical. The constant videos and posts chewed through my precious data and I confess – sometimes annoyed me. So I changed my download-over-wifi-settings and adjusted my mindset and watched as these ladies on this group turned into friends, confidantes and trusted advisors.

When you have a child, things shift. Friendships will alter. What you once had in common (last minute after work drinks, spontaneous Saturday braais and long lazy brunches) become less and less so. I often hear child-less friends talk about friends with kids and moan about how they’ve changed and how the friendship is different. And I totally get that. But there’s also a little bit of blame that needs to be placed on the friends without kids, because they – without realising it – do pull away. I have best friends who’s house I haven’t been invited to since Carter was born, friends who don’t even think of inviting us out because they assume we will say no, and friends who just don’t understand that I’m now a permanent +1. And that’s OK. I was that friend once too, and no matter how hard you try and try, the empathy can never be there until you are there.

So the slight shifting (albeit temporarily) of one friendship means there’s room for another – and I’ve found that in a group of moms who I tell my deepest darker secrets and fears to. Some of these ladies I’ve never met. Some are younger than me, older than me, some have 1 kid, some have 3. But the one thing we all have in common? Our children. We are a group of moms who – simply by having kids at the same school – have formed the most incredible bond. These are the people who check in daily about things, remember job interviews and dietician check ups. They were the first people to jump on board and support me when I took up photography as a serious hobby and who talked me off a ledge when I sent screenshot after screenshot of before and after photos. These are the ladies who are the first to offer help and food when your baby gets sick, who cheer on your child’s milestones and who have your back when you’re going through a rough time. These ladies know more about my son than friends of 25 years do. They share recipes and milestones charts, photos of cellulite and memes on motherhood. They smuggle Pick n Pay animal cards into your sons backpack and scour the shelves for swimming nappies for everyone an hour before the lesson is about to begin.

I’ve spent the last 2 days in hospital with a very sick baby, and the hourly messages of support and gestures from these ladies have meant the world. We laugh over post baby vaginas and cry over virtual glasses of wine whilst we share out lives through a smartphone screen. They have become an invaluable part of my life, and I’m forever grateful for the empathy and love they show not only me and my son, but each other as well.

So, whilst I treasure each and every friendship I have, it’s these ladies who have seen me through a few bumpy patches lately and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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On This Sickness Thing.

Everyone is a perfect parent when they don’t have kids. Then you have kids, and everything you thought and said pre-spawn files right out the window and hits some poor unsuspecting low flying duck in the face.

When I was a non-mom, one of the biggest ‘my child will never be like that’ thoughts I had was around sickly, snotty kids. Everywhere I looked there were babies and toddlers with runny noses, unwell children, coughing children and people bailing on social events due to said snotty coughing unwell children.

When Carter was born I handed him around to everyone within sight like a bad scene from the Lion King. “Touch him” I would screech, “hold him” I proclaimed “let him be exposed to all the germs” I yelled. And he did, and he was, and he was fine.

Even when I sent him to crèche at the tender age of 119 days I was met with disgust from most people, people horrified at just how many germs he would be exposed to. Steadfast in my belief that my child was a Kearney, and therefore healthier than a pot of organic yoghurt, I insisted that crèche would be the best thing for him. “immunity building” I think is what I said. And for the next three months it was great. I had a healthy, happy contented kid. Until one day – when he was seven months old – school phoned. Carter had a temperature. I was more panicked than Trump on a windy day, I raced to the crèche, fetched my utterly miserable child and spent the rest of the day wondering how he could have gone from farting and happy to 40-degreed and miserable in the space of a few hours. A few days later he was A-Okay, back at crèche and everything was just dandy. Except his immune system seemed to have been activated – like breaking that wee seal at a night club – and suddenly the crèche calls were more frequent. Not to say he was always sick (in-fact, he’s more healthy than not) but if there was a bug or virus doing the rounds, then my kid was bound to catch it.

We had our fair share of colds, eye infections and UFBD (Unidentified Filthy Baby Disease). In June he got gastro turned dysentery and in the past week he’s been off school with sinus infections and semi-bronchitis. Yes, that’s a thing.

He’s not alone, kids are foul creatures, and all the spitting, drooling, toy swopping and face touching means that germs will spread faster than a gossip session at ladies night. So, is my child more healthy or sickly than his peers? Absolutely not. Around 98.7% of my phone data is used up on mommy chats discussing our small humans bloody stools, projectile vomit and gunky eyes.

I already have game plans for illnesses that don’t exist. His medicine box is stocked for everything from a sore toe to a tsunami, Life hospital will be my destination of choice should he ever need to be admitted (they have beds and food for parents!) and bedtime vitamin administration is a mini assembly line.

Not that any of this will work, because they’re kids, man. And their small little bodies mean that they have much weaker immune systems. What might make us sneeze four times could cause them to need an antibiotic drip and a 5 hour nap. We have to remember that essentially they need to get exposed to everything at least once – so whereas you and I are revolting tainted grownups, our pink footed little munchkins still have a long way to go.

So, whilst Winter may be a hell pit of sickness and snot, at least I know his immune system is getting an excellent workout, and slowly building itself up to Kearney standards.

PS – If you are looking for a list of medications to stock up on for your little one, for those ‘just in case’ moments, may I suggest using this handy list I’ve complied, below.

Sally 6/5/9 126

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Babies, Bank Balances and Brain Failure.

There are so many things I love about having a baby. I’m not going to get into that now, but consider this my disclaimer:

I hereby declare my undying love and adoration for my son, and no children were hypothetically harmed in the making of this blog post.

Right, now that that’s off my chest, there are times when having a child makes life damn near impossible.

Yesterday, while driving to friends for champagne brunch, we realised that we had left Carter’s nappy bag at home. We were too far gone (read: lazy) to turnaround and go back to retrieve it, so I had to go into Pick n Pay and buy a whole tin of formula and a new bottle. Thank god the friend we were visiting has a baby of her own, so she didn’t actually die of gagging when Carter shat in his nappy, with such velocity, that the turd spilled out of his bum, into his clothes, then travelled out of said clothes, smeared onto their kid’s Bumbo seat and all the way up his body. Of course we had no cloths or towels on us, so I cleaned him up using spit, a wet wipe and a fleece blanket. Have you ever seen shit on a fleece blanket?

So yes, parental error and in no way my 5 month old child’s fault, but having a baby means remembering 40 hundred things all of the time. And when – 5 months prior – you could be as selfish as Eskom’s electricity supply, suddenly remembering all of these things comes as a massive lifestyle change.

This got me thinking – and silently applauding – every other parent out there, for there are things that become just plain impossible when you have a child.

Dating. Single parents OHMYGODHOWDOYOUDOIT? A friend was telling me about a lady she works with, single mom to an 8 year old, who has recently started dating again. Can you even imagine if I was single and had to go out and meet people? First of all, I would have to go out. As in willingly leave the house when the TV was mere meters away. What, do I leave my child alone with a bowl of water and bag of snacks? What would I wear? I still rely heavily on maternity leggings and nursing bras. Would I have to shave my legs? Now, imagine the conversations on this imaginary date:

Him: “So, read any good books lately?”

Me: “No. But I sometimes Google “Is this much wine bad for me” and “How to effectively drug your baby to sleep”

Him: “Er, Ok… what are your hobbies?”

Me: “I adore napping, but am generally too busy washing and sterilising items around the house. Sometimes I take long walks… with a screaming infant and 2 lazy bordering-on-obese-hounds”.

Then, there’s exercise. I posted a casual ‘Hey, I’m interested in yoga class’ on my Facebook page the other day, and berated myself almost immediately for doing so. What was I thinking? When on earth do I think I have time to Namaste when I should home pureeing butternut and bathing my baby. At this stage of my life I’m more ‘mama’ than ‘meditation’.

Then there’s money. Or lack thereof.  My savings account has had a life size nose Frida inserted into it, and been sucked dry. I’ve spent my money on fun things like crèche, working mom guilt gifts and high chairs. Don’t even get me started on the pool fence quote I got last week. *Signs up to sell an organ*.

Sleep. This is possibly the one I miss the most. Yes, laugh away, I realise that for the first 4 months of my babies life when I gushed about “how easy it was” and “how much he slept” that you sat there thinking “just wait”. Gloat away people, for I now have egg (and dried snot, tears and drool) on my face. For my baby who shall be named, no.longer.sleeps. I have narrowed the list down to a small 65 reasons as to why this could be happening.

This then means that at work I become the biggest fucking bumbling idiot. People walk in a wide berth around “Crazy Kate” in the corner. Some days I have such brain failure that I’m surprised I don’t wee in my skirt because I’ve forgotten to go to the loo. Just last week I tried to use my computer mouse for close to 10 minutes before realising that it was my makeup compact.

Lastly, and I think this is a universal biggie – is that having a baby means you love something more than anything, yet hate yourself. I avert my eyes when I see myself in the mirror, I moan about the bags under my eyes, I joke about my stretch marked limp boobs and I starve myself to the point of tears to try and lose a little bit of the flab. I would never talk to a friend the way I talk to myself, so why is it OK to talk to myself that way? I should high-five myself while yelling “Well done lady, you made a human!”

However, for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction (FYI – that really should be Newton’s first law, it totally trumps the others). Just as the tide comes in during the day, you can bet your broke fat ass that it will also go back out.

Carter will start sleeping again, I will lose the weight, single parents will meet someone so wonderful that they will want to introduce their kid to them and slowly but surely your bank balance will fill up.

But those bags under the eyes? Those will never go. Because, fuck you genetics.

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Must Love Dogs

A friend asked me the other day “Why do people have dogs?”. She doesn’t like dogs, and when I jokingly reminded her of this she replied “I do like them, I just don’t want them near, or touching me”.*

I get that. Dogs are generally filthy, wet, sharp nailed, muddied creatures of mass destruction.

I mean, my once cream couches look about a million years old and my rug in my lounge is never ever straight. My dining room floors are constantly covered in swimming pool water and sand, and there’s hair on pretty much everything.

If I had a nice standing floor lamp, it is long gone, and most of my wooden furniture has Boston terrier sized bit marks in the legs. My Persian carpet is missing a large chunk and my shower is always filled with tell-tale brown footprints.

New linen? Forget about it – anything lighter than black looks dirty within minutes, and the more expensive the throw, the more chance there is of a crusty piece of dog poo being stuck to it.

Love your garden? Learn to love it a little less – anything even vaguely expensive gets eaten or chewed. Case in point – A year ago my husband’s Granny passed away, and as a token of sympathy my folks bought us a Wild Olive tree to plant in our garden. The dogs took one look at the newest flora addition and decided it was an enemy that needed abolishing – needless to say they left us with a twig. Twig was subsequently replanted and dubbed ‘Big Granny’. Twig turned into longer twig which turned into leaf which then turned into something resembling a very small, happy and thriving tree. On Saturday, our new gardener assumed it was a failing weed, pulled it out, and threw it away.

Dogs take up your time and dogs take up your money. It’s very common for us to leave a function early to go home and feed the dogs, but where we can the dogs come along and gate crash dinner parties and braais. My boy dog has even weed in someone else’s house (you can immediately tell who the dog lover is by the way they react when your “I’msosorrymystupidfuckingdogjustpissedinyourkitchenandIswearheneverdoesthis” comment gets met with a “Shame look how remorseful he looks, he didn’t mean it, he was so excited, here Rupert, have a treat”.

Thank god for friends like this. I’m talking about you “my dogs kiss you when your mouth’s open and you love it, Clair”.

When girl dog was 9 months old, she was bitten by a puff adder. In Fourways. We are hard-core like that. 10 days and 20 thousand rand later we had her home with us, somewhat battered and missing a good chunk of knee, but she was home. For the 10 days she was in hospital we visited her every day – taking turns doing morning and evening shifts. At one low point, when we weren’t sure if she was going to make it, I sat with her on the floor of the vet, and she wrapped her limp weak body around mine, drip tubes, bandages and all. She had no control of her body and by the end of it I was covered in urine and vomit. All over my work clothes. You know what, I didn’t care. All I wanted was for my little girl to get better. When she eventually was released, we built her a fort bed in the bedroom and slept with her there (on the floor) for 2 nights to make sure she stayed breathing.

A few nights ago, I was having a very bad night. Sadness weighed upon me like a ton of bricks and nothing could get me out of my funk. Until my 2 hounds, who never (despite all evidence to the contrary) sleep on the bed, wormed their way out of their bed into mine, and lay with me for the entire night. The more I cried, the closer they spooned against me, until at one point I had Boston fart touching my nose and another Boston snore reverberating against my back. Dogs know, they just know.

When I get home, and I could have been gone anywhere from 5 minutes to 8 hours, there they are practically doing somersaults in the driveway. They jump up, scratch my car and try and absorb every part of me. They do this every single time they see me. Now you tell me, what human is ever that enthusiastic?

A few other reasons dogs are just so awful:

They are very needy. 

They are messy drunks

bad drunk messy drunks

They are never happy to see you

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They take up all the duvet

They are absolute sluts.

They always use your things

They are very bad at roadtrips

roadtrips

They are awful with children

bad with kids bad with kids 2 bad with children

really bad with kids

And even worse with other dogs…

pitbull

idiotic smiles confrontational

They’re not terribly well read

not very well read

Capture 2

They can never pose nicely for a photo

not photogenic

And they are so unfeminine

not feminine

Dogs are so nosey. Jeez.

nosey

And SO needy!

needy

They’re terribly lazy

lazy

Not terribly good at hide ‘n seek

hide and seek

hide and seek

They don’t look good in anything.

dog blog

nothing looks good on them

They can never just pose nicely for a photo

Capture

They hate extra mural activites

Capture 4

And group photos? They want NONE of that!

Capture 3

boston tea party

They despise shower time

bathtime

Capture

In fact, they’re hardly pat of the family at all.

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announcements

But in all seriousness, my absolute worst thing about dogs? It’s that I don’t have more of them.

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*Disclaimer, I in no way hold any grudges against my friend for not liking dogs. I don’t like many things, including people who suck their toothbrushes and centipedes, but our differences are what make us unique and lovely, don’t you think?

PPS – I would however hold a grudge against a non-dog lover who owns dogs. It’s one of my pet peeves. But that’s a whole other story.

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