The Time He Told Me He Loved Me.

When my husband first told me he loved me we had been dating for about 11 minutes. I remember it as if it was yesterday. We were celebrating his birthday at the now-closed Cantina Tequila. A huge storm was coming in and we were sitting at a table outside. Everyone was hammered, especially Barry who was about 18 tequilas down and speaking fluent Mexican. When he told me, even though I knew he meant it, I laughed because it was possible the least romantic timing. Seems it was a tend, because the day he proposed wasn’t much better.

When Carter told me, he wasn’t drunk (thankfully). It happened last week during our recent bedtime ritual of: Kid in bed, bottle, book leave the room. Repeat 100 times. Night light on, off, blanket on, teddy changed, “mommy more milk“. repeat. Fetch giggling child from behind the couch, place back in bed, repeat again. Give child a vegetable of choice to cuddle with (we prefer baby marrows most nights) repeat. Guys, this kid has more stall tactic than Zuma in court. I had been playing this avid game of bedtime Olympics for about 20 minutes at this point, and was totally over it. My wine was getting warm.  So, when he called “mamaaaa” for the 20th time I grumpily stormed in the room and said “What Carter, it’s bed time boy!”. So you can imagine the subsequent guilt slash clean-up-in-aisle-five moment when – instead of asking for a root vegetable or Nesquik- he said “eyeruvyu” (I Love You). He then said it again, said “sorry penguin” rolled over, and fell asleep.

BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

So, here’s the thing. These kids can drive you to the brink of absolute insanity, and just before you feel like you’ve made a horrible mistake by having children, they bring you back down to love laden earth by doing the most incredible things.

I recently blogged about the ‘terrible twos’ and guys, no jokes, the first few weeks were a dark time for me. I felt terribly alone and worried. Nothing was going right – work stress, car accident, money stress, friendship stress and then a kid who shat in his pants instead of the toilet, urinated on the floor instead of a potty and screamed like a trapped goat everytime he had to get dressed. At one point I even seriously considered anti depressants. That was my proverbial edge, and I was about to jump.

But, since the ‘I Love You’ declaration of ’17 we have had nothing but smooth sailing. This adorable small human has whipped out all the charm cards and executed them perfectly. From glorious emoji shaped turds in the potty (apologies to everyone who’s house this has happened at) to impeccably timed hugs, cuddles and kisses. He even stayed in class last week to clean up the beanbags. Basically, he’s short one pair of angel wings.

So, if you are going through the toddler induced hell that I was just a few short days ago, let it be known that ‘this too shall pass’ And also let it be known that even if we have never met, and you live in some small corner of Uzbekistan, I’m here if you ever need to chat. Because you know whats worse than going through the bad times? It’s doing it alone. So whiles it may seems small fry to others, it isn’t to those who have been there. And to those who dismissed my dramatic appeals for help – go fuck yourself. Just joking, I hope one day when your kid sets fire to your couches in defiance of getting dressed that you remember this. Also just joking. Sort of.

With Love,

A-Temporarily-Smug-Mother-of-A-Two-Year-Old.

 

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The Un-Social Media.

This morning, in the office, a colleague was making a huge noise about filling the printer with paper. Boxes were being dumped on the floor, printer draws were being opened aggressively and grunts and sighs could be heard while she did.all.the.things. 

I caught myself rolling my eyes back into my brain and getting annoyed by her very obvious effort to attract attention – and then I realised – I am guilty (as are you, sorry) of doing this every single day.

Except nowadays we aren’t chucking red Typek boxes of paper onto office floors but rather posting ranty-ravey messages on Facebook, taking mysterious selfies and alluding to things on Twitter and Instagram. We are all basically spending our lives hiding away from people online whilst simultaneously looking for human connection.

The reason I say I am guilty of this is because – without knowing it – I have come to trust relative strangers over those closest to me.And if you are doing the same, you probably feel how I do. I write blogs, I post a lot on social media and I share my photography images on various social platforms. I do this for two reason; A) I adore writing and sharing my ideas and B) I’m exceptionally proud of my photography business, and as we all know, word of mouth is one of the biggest marketing tools there is. So, whats the problem? The problem is that the more I share the less response I get from actual physical flesh and blood friends. I get tons of compliments and likes and shares from people I have never met, but people who like my work, enjoy my writing style or simply find me interesting enough to follow. Which is superb. I am so grateful for this body of support and love that gets shown to me on a daily basis.

But. And there’s a big but. Where has the actual friendship gone? I’m talking about the mate-to-mate connection that was so much more prevalent before it became easier to watch a buddy’s life through a smartphone screen. Has Facebook made us into an insecure and jealous society? I physically ache for the acknowledgement of my peers and so, I believe, that if I post pretty photos and witty anecdotes on my socials, then those friends will respond and react. Except they don’t. I’ve become that lady in the office shoving paper into the printer hoping someone will ask if they can help.

I put this theory to the test recently when – after driving home from a shoot on Mother Day – I was in a car accident. A taxi rear ended me and what could have been a simple swopping of insurance details turned into a really frightening experience when he became aggressive and intimidating and with me fearing from my life. Normally I would have gone straight to Facebook with a woe-is-me tale of the incident – but instead I sent some friends a message telling them what had happened.

I’m no expert but I truly believe (and like to think) that it’s not a lack of love but rather an over stimulation of the senses, that has made connectivity grow but connectedness die. If you see everything you need to see on a 24/7 channel, then you become an expert in that subject matter. Admit it – without having ever met them – you thought you knew Ross and Rachel better than anyone, right? Well, just like they were or (or weren’t – #TeamRoss!), we need a break. We are watching the TV of our friends lives and because we see everything, we assume they know that we know and that we care.

So, with that in mind (and I probably wont cut down on the amount of time I spend on social media) I am going to make a conscious effort to be more involved in communication and to re-establish real and physical connections. I want these people, who’s lives are now so visible, to know that they aren’t actually invisible. I want them to remember that I genuinely care about them, am happy for their successes and want the best for their lives.

PS – This is now way means you should’t please share my blog or book me for shoots. I need to pay for all the nice things. 😉

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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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Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Superbalist.

I love my photography job. I cannot tell you the goosebumps and adrenaline I get before and after each and every session. However, there is one thing I dislike about them – and that’s how frumpy I look when I arrive for a shoot – especially as the people I’m arriving to photograph always look magnificent!  I’ve ruined enough pumps and sandals to know that only flip flops will work when leopard crawling for that perfect angle, and most of the time I simply end up barefoot. However as we approach Winter it’s pretty cold and stupid to have naked toes in 7 am frosty grass.

I also always arrive looking like a slob in the clothing and hair department (thanks partly to early mornign call times, a very bad ombre experience and the lack of enthusiasm to have it fixed for the 4th time). Just last week I said to my hubby that I wanted to invest in a new pair of funky and stylish sneakers to wear to shoots. And then we laughed and laughed because his bank account has been hacked and we had to spend elevently million on prepping my son for potty training (more on that coming soon) paraphernalia.

So, it was with serendipitous timing that Superbalist.com contacted me about their new range of sneakers that have just landed on their site.

They’ve asked me to pick my top 3 pairs from their website and envision how I would wear them. So basically, this is the couch potatoes version of window shopping and the grown up version of ‘dress-up’. Winning all round!

I have been obsessed with the Nike Roche range since it was launched. Obsessed. And have always wanted a pale pink pair for myself. And then I saw them on Superbalist. I’m so excited I could plutz and I cannot wait to order them in my size!

I’d pair these feminine beauties with a dark pair of skinny denims, rolled up to the ankle, a slim fit white t-shirt like this Annie Tee which I’d tuck in the front. To accessorize I’d keep it simple with a brown skinny utility belt  and this khaki anorak (the pockets are perfect for lenses, car-keys and a cellphone). Naturally I’d also look like a supermodel and people would stop and “ooh” and “aah” at my beauty.

Because this is my shoe fantasy I’ve selected anther Nike Roshe pair – this time in a gorgeous olive green with the distinctive Nike tick in a pale pink.

Not all my shoots involve trekking through the Suburban jungles – some require me to be a little smarter, but still be comfortable. I’d use these shoes for this sort of shoot and pair them with this gorgeous, soft and seemingly flattering dress from Noisy May. I like how the front wrap bit looks like it would hide my not-so-new-mom-but-still-very-much-there paunch and the grey and green combo would work beautifully together.

To keep track of the time, and because it’s shit-hot, I’d pair the outfit with this oversized watch from Daniel Wellington.

Lastly, and it was hard to choose a 3rd winner, I’d select these old school classic Reebok sneakers in white. You can never go wrong with white shoes and they dress really well up and down.

I’d wear them with these khaki green Pop Trash joggers and this environmentally (made from recycled plastic!) denim jacket from Raw for the Oceans.

So, now that my Winter shoe wardrobe has been decided on – what would your picks be? head on over to Superbalists site and let me know!

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Motherhood. And The Demise of Friendships.

I’ve read so many articles, written by moms, where they profess massive apologetic outbursts for ‘losing themselves’ in the first year of their child’s life and for being ‘bad friends’ during that time. And every single time I read something like that I get more and more pissed off. Because I call bullshit. Because – and it took me a while to realise this – but the demise of a friendship after one of you becomes a parent is in fact (gasp) not always the new moms fault.

When Carter was born, and in fact during my pregnancy, I tried my hardest to prove that I hadn’t changed as a person. I became the martyr of “normal-dom” and insisted on being at all the dinners and events. I sipped my alcohol free beer and sparking water and made chit chat until the last guests had left, even though many times I as so dog tired I wanted to cry. I had dinners and arranged get togethers and had people visit my home and watched them get drunk and silly and had fun while doing it.

The night after my son was born I had (non mom) friends visit with fancy red wine and cheese and we giggled in my hospital room until the nurses kicked them out.

When he was a tiny week old infant we had friends for diner and we drank champagne and I burnt the food and it didn’t matter because we were doing this. We were being parents and friends and adults and functioning members of society.

When he was a few weeks old I went back to gym – with him in tow – and met people for lunch – with him in tow again – and enjoyed every last second of my maternity leave while I could.

When he was 3 months old I went on my annual girls trip – willingly – and loved every second of it – despite my overweight body and leaking breasts.

We’ve been to friends houses for lunch and ended up staying until early hours of the next morning – with our son sleeping on a duvet nest in the room next door. We’ve gone away and strapped his car to game vehicles using cable ties and a prayer. We’ve traveled overseas with him, rocked him to sleep in fancy restaurants and bathed him in sinks and basins and Jacuzzis at braais.

And now he’s almost two, and I’ve barely dropped the ball. I’ve yet to use him as an excuse for not participating, and on the few instances I’ve left a function early to put him to sleep or arrived a little bit late because he has a routine I’ve chosen to ignore the comments and eye rolls. In fact, the reason I sometimes do decline an invite is because I’m working too hard. Which when you are child-less is heroic, but when you’re a mom is an excuse.

But I’ve also come to a realisation that some friendships have changed – friendships that I thought were rock solid. And I have spent the better part of nearly two years trying harder and making more effort and saying ‘yes’ to girls nights. And the more I tried the more disconnected I’ve felt and it’s taken all of this time to realize that I have actually done nothing wrong. And that sometimes people with no kids do not want to spend time with people with kids. And that is actually OK.

I haven’t been invited to some friends houses since the day Carter was born. I haven’t cracked the nod for an after work glass of wine or a holiday or a movie or been called for advice. Because I think that some people think that we change, and they immediately assume we will have no time for them. And perhaps we don’t, all the time, but we do some of the time, and even though my life is more structured and more-often-than-not revolves around a school run, a bath time, a feeding or a nap, and I cant just do a lot of the things I used to do pre-baby, on a whim anymore, I’m still here, and available. Even if I’m sometimes I’m only available with a plus one. And I can promise you this much, if you need me, when you need me, I will always be there. Because I am still the good same person that you fell in friendship love with all those years ago.

So to the new friends with kids who just understand broken conversation, broken sleep and broken wine glasses at dinner parties, but who welcome us anyway, I say thank you. To the friends with no kids who totally get that sometimes I just cant get out, but who come to me with wine and pizza and who bath my child while I pour more booze, I say thank you. And to the friends with no kids who don’t come to me, or let me in, or invite me over please know that I haven’t changed. I still drink as much Merlot (if not more), I still talk shit and love being social, I have interests and careers and things to talk about that I can promise you are not even close to baby related, I still need your advice and and shoulder to lean on and to bitch about husbands and work and finances. I just now have a small human, who I call my son, who is now the best part of my life. And I hope one day you will see me not just as another mom, but also as Kate, your friend.

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On Bucket Lists and Dreaming Big

I’m really stressed. Two very busy and demanding jobs, being a mom a wife a friend and a nice human being are all taking its toll on me. That and the daily financial stress of life, revolting Johannesburg traffic and wondering what the hell I’m destined to do on this earth have left me feeling severely Eyeore’ish. So much so that yesterday I even had a driz in the office after a long and frustrating phone call with my bank about home loan rates and the fact that I’m literally being bent over and rogered on a daily basis by their fees.

Speaking of traffic; my daily 3-4 hour commute and back to my offices means I have a lot of time to listen to shitty radio. So I don’t. I listen to inspiring podcasts and Internet radio stations and interviews with people who climb mountains and jump off buildings and follow their dreams. And ultimately I feel inspired for just a little bit until my actual life takes over and I’m knee deep in admin and invoices and editing and earning a salary.

The other day one of the interviews turned to a discussion on bucket lists, and while the radio crew rattled off their wish list I found myself completely stumped. The biggest thing on my agenda at the moment is ‘surviving’ so I was completely taken back by what these other folk had on theirs.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this since that day, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what really makes me tick, what my dreams are and what my bucket list would be. It’s been quite a fun time letting my mind push through the mental constraints I’ve had and to conjure up a dream book of ‘what if’s’. It’s also been very hard to let myself think big and I challenge you to do the same, come up with your own list ad share it with me.

So, what is on my bucket list?

  • A photographic safari documenting wildlife ala National Geographic style. Think the Great Kenya migration, tree frogs in the Amazon and lemurs in Madagascar. I want to get up close and personal with everything from wide-eyed bush babies to the wrinkled and calloused skins of ellies. Naturally this means using only the best equipment and gear and sleeping under a ceiling of stars with my camera set to a long slow lazy exposure to capture them as they wind themselves around the night sky

  • Speaking of photographic safaris and all things National Geographic: remember this photo? I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I painted it for a matric art class project. I adore taking photos of people and something I have always wanted to do is travel the world and take portraits of locals in small unknown towns. Black and white head shots of ladies in the dusty streets of India, solemn faces of praying Monks in Tibet, curious kids on steps in Stonetown, fresh faced ladies at Croatian festivals and thin lipped, toothless ladies in China. I would travel with a guide who could speak any language and who would help me communicate with these people so they trusted me enough to take their photos and step into their personal space.

 

  • A complete house renovation with unlimited budget. My décor, my design, my dream and my space. Glossy dark wood floors, white open airy windows, furniture found on Pinterest and a garden so lush you could lose yourself in it for days.

  • A collection of rescued and abandoned farm animals. Sheep, a cow, a chicken or two. The money and space to take them on.

 

  • To write my book. Have it published, be wildly popular. Make fuck tons of cash dollar.

 

  • To do a photo-shoot in the snow

  • To learn how to design my own logos, brochures, adverts and more.

 

  • Have a ‘yes’ day. Don’t tell anyone but agree and say ‘yes’ to every single thing thrown at me. This one terrifies me a bit as well, I mean, what I someone asks me to go camping. Or dancing. Or eat meat.

 

  • Visit the pub/restaurant I was named after ‘Kate Kearneys Cottage’ in Ireland

  • Win an award for a photo I’ve taken. Any photo, any award

 

  • On the subject of photos – have someone buy a photo of mine that they have fallen in love with. And I’m not talking a family member buying a photo that I took at their family session, I’m talking random stranger loving something I’ve created and wanting to own it.

 

  • Finding the perfect foundation and the perfect bubblegum pink blusher.

 

  • Achieve a body weight that makes me want to run around naked. Buy an expensive bikini and put it on said amazing body.

 

  • Understand a little bit about every single thing. I love learning, but to be able to contribute to a conversation on anything from politics to propagation, without reaching for Dr.Google, must be a hell of a cool feeling.

 

  • Be office and traffic less, and when I do have to be in traffic have a driver so I can find more productive ways to while the time.
  • Be the voice of a character in an animated movie.
  • Get veneers for my teeth, and transform my smile into this:

 

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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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CPR and Your Baby. Are You Prepared?

I read a story today that I don’t think I will ever forget. I got half way and had to put my phone down because – even though I knew what happened at the end – I physically couldn’t bring myself to carry on reading. A mom in Cape Town recently lost her toddler to drowning and bravely shared her very personal, very real story. Devastatingly, her, along with thousands of other parents will experience the same thing on a yearly basis. I don’t know her, I don’t know her family, but I want nothing more than to give this family a hug and try to take away some of their pain. My soul feels weighted down.

My mom-worry has kicked into triple overdrive. After reading her story I wanted to go straight to Carters school to pick him up and hug him and tell him how much I love him.

This post is nothing more than a reminder that accidents can happen to anyone. That no-one is perfect, and in a country like South Africa where swimming pools are the norm, we can never be too careful.

It seemed like fate but a few minutes ago someone shared the below video on my Facebook timeline. Its a short 2 minute cartoon based song that teaches you how to perform CPR on your baby. It’s catchy, cute and memorable. If you do nothing more today please just watch this. It could save a life.

I’ve also found a few other useful bits of information to share with you. print it out, educate your spouse, grandparents, and nanny and make sure everyone who looks after your child knows what to do in an emergency.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Nationwide Emergency Response – 10111

Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa and a call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

Cell phone emergency – 112

For emergencies, you can call 112 from any cell phone in South Africa. You will then reach a call centre and they will route you to an emergency service closest to you.

When you dial this number you will reach an automated menu. Don’t let this frustrate you. The menu acts as a form of triage (priority of treatment) control and filters out abuse of the medical and emergency system.

It’s very easy to get caught up in distress but remember to stay calm and make sure the emergency medical services team knows exactly how to reach you.

Ambulance – 10177

This number can be used in the case of a medical emergency and can be called in conjunction with both the fire and police department respectively, depending on whether or not there are casualties.

If you don’t have them stored already, we recommend that you put these three numbers on your phone. In fact, you may want to store them all under ‘Emergency’ as follows:

  • Emergency – Ambulance (10177)
  • Emergency – Cell phone (112)
  • Emergency – National (10111)

Other emergency numbers

CPR INFOGRAPHIC

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To Kate, On Your 33rd Birthday.

You know you’re getting older when you get woken up at 5 am on your birthday by your 1 year old, and instead of jumping up ready to open a hundred presets, your only wish is for 20 more minutes of sleep. Naturally that didn’t happen, and to be honest – the best part of my day will probably be snuggling with Carter while he was still drowsy and playing with my hair and running his little fingers over my eyelids, and into my nose.

You also know you’re getting old when your birthday present is an electric toothbrush. something you actually wanted. Other wish list items – apart from the ‘you’ve got to be joking’ camera lenses and other such fancy-ware include dishcloths and ‘some nice new crockery’.

Last year, on my 32nd birthday, I wrote myself a letter. I purposefully haven’t gone back to read it incase it sways the tone of this post. Hopefully, after having published this one, the message will be that life has trended upwards. Hopefully.

Celebrating a birthday in Janu-worry is rough.People are still broke, hungover and reeling from the previous year. For some, 2016 was their worst yet, and while for me it wasn’t the absolute best, it was a pretty good one. The biggest achievement I made in the last 365 days, between two birthdays, was the startup and introduction of my photography business. To think that its not even 5 months old is mind blowing. It’s done really well and people seem to actually, really like my photos, a lot. So much so that bookings are flying in and I’m having to now turn down a lot of work – which is both sad but also a lovely feeling. I love it so much. It’s so hard to explain the feeling I get when I know I’ve landed that perfect shot, or when a mom is so grateful to have memories of her with her kids (a rarity) to treasure forever. I pinch myself daily and am so so so happy, grateful and relieved I finally took that little leap of faith. So, as a side note – to each and every person ho has supported me for it – I thank you from the bottom of my overflowing heart. Your comments, likes, shares (and bookings) mean the world to me, really.

33 is an interesting age – it’s a slow creep towards 40 – and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is still a pretty scary thing. Alas, I still have pink floor tiles, no holiday home and endless amounts of bills, but I’m feeling like financially I’m going to get on top of things this year. Really. Cross my heart and hope to invest.

Body wise I’m still a shit storm in leggings. I can no longer blame hormones, but hell, I was last in line when God handed out genetics. Do you know how hard it is when your entire family are skinny as fuck? Crisis. Also, I eat my feelings. So in my 33rd year on earth I need to have less feelings. Apparently that’s the only answer.

I’m also going to look after myself more – in a long term kind of way. So, I’m planning on swopping superficial spending for long term spending. Out with the nails and in with the botox, out with the Pick n Pay clothing splurges and in with the ‘it costs how much??‘ Bodytec. It’s all about preserving, reversing and prolonging at this stage.

We recently lost Barry’s granny and it’s been a reminder to not take my two for granted. They have so much wisdom and so many stories to impart and being around them so often and having them available means one tends to not really appreciate how rare that is. Just last night, as she has done for the past 33 years, my 92 year old Oma sang a pre-birthday song to me in German. That’s pretty special and to be honest, I love it as much now as I did when I was 7. Same for all family. I want more meaningful relationships with my family. Yep, guys. Strap on the big boots, we are going to bond, hard.

We want to spend time with those who value us, and treasure us and less time with those who don’t add value and joy. Luckily we don’t have many people like that in our lives, so not much room for improvement here.

I want to be at home more. I want to decorate and DIY and make my house into a space I love. Pretty hard when you are a triathlete widow with a 1 year old clinging to you at every second, but try I will. I vow to finally knock a hole into the cottage and extend our home, get rid of our revolting floors and buy some grass. All things I’ve been told to be patient on for 3 years. It’s enough. Life’s too short for sandy patches and pink terracotta.

Then, travel. Again, very hard when weekends are spent working or training, but it is something I want to do more of. Even if we keep it local and lekker for now. I want to go out more, see more, photograph more.

And less? I want to waste less, spend less, weigh less and stress less. Less drama, less salt, less traffic and less being polite.

But first, donuts and champagne. Because, Happy Birthday to me. I love you.

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