Smash & Grab

I don’t want to use the word victim.

It sounds so weak and pitiful.  But that is what I was.  When I think about it, I was a victim.  A victim of a smash & grab incident while driving home on Wednesday night.  Living in South Africa we know that things like this happen.  We put smash & grab film on our car windows thinking that it will protect us in the “unlikely” event that it happens to us.  We live our lives, we go about our daily chores and we become complacent.  We all know the “rules”… Never drive with your bag on the seat beside you… Don’t put valuables in view of possible thieves… Don’t talk/text on your phone while stationary at traffic lights… and yet we have all done one or all of the above… Yes.  We think it will never happen to us.

Until it does.

You leave the office later than normal.  You drive unconsciously on your usual route home and think to yourself “I better send my husband a message to say I’m nearly home”.  You pull up to a red traffic light.  You pick up your phone to send the message you just told yourself to send.  You focus on the phone.  You stop being alert.  You stop being conscious of what is happening around your car as you quickly tic tic tic out that message on Whatsapp.  Then you hear it.  The BWA-CRASH.  You are stunned into absolute shock for about 2.4 seconds.  Your brain finally catches up with your body and registers that there is glass all over you and that there is someone shouting at you.  Someone who you can’t quite see because he is wearing dark clothes and it’s dark outside and you are screaming at him something along the lines of “what the… what are you DOING?” He is tugging your arm trying to wrest your phone out of your hand while screaming “you stupid bitch, just give me the phone”.  You hit out at him thru the window that is somehow still hanging by a shard of glass with your elbow and he gets your phone and before you think to look behind you, he’s gone.

Your phone is gone.  Your hands are bleeding.  Your heart is pounding.  The car behind you hoots aggressively because the lights have turned green and you have not pulled off.  You come out of the reverie you’ve been part of and you realise “shit I’ve just been the victim of a smash & grab”.

Your life has changed in the space of a minute (maximum two) and your hands start to shake.

You put your car into first gear and you force yourself to be calm and drive home.  You worry about your little boy seeing you with blood on your hands, and shout to your partner to not let him run downstairs to hug you because you are full of glass and don’t want to cut him.  You slowly pull off your glass stained coat, trousers and shirt while trying not to get any more fine slivers of glass into your hands and legs.  You shake out your hair to get rid of the glass.

You answer endless questions from your 3 year old about why your hands are bleeding.  Why the man broke your car window.  Why he took your phone. Why. Why. Why.  All the while you are trying to make sense of it all yourself.

You settle your children.  You do what a mom needs to do at night.  You bath your kids.   You put them to bed.

Then and only then, you allow yourself to feel the violation.  You allow yourself to feel the hot tears prick the back of your eyelids.  You allow your hands to shake.  You try sleep but keep hearing that awful sound every time you close your eyes.  You start to remember what went down.  You start to process.

When the sun comes up the next day and you’ve slept despite the events of the night before, you sort out the insurance claims.  You get your window fixed.  You arrange for sim-swops and new phones.  You suspect EVERYONE at every intersection.  You go to work.  You drive home the next night and force yourself to use the same route.  You feel nervous but you do it.  You drive past your shattered but in tact window (thanks to that smash and grab film you had fitted) lying on the side of the road and you realise that it will take more than one asshole to make you live in fear.  That you choose not to live in fear.

You choose to heal.  You choose to forgive the man who did this to you.  Because life needs to go on.  Because life is too short to allow one incident to define your views of your country.  Because this is where you have chosen to live your life.

You heal.  More and more each day.  You heal.

Preventive Measures

I’ve got something big on my mind.

It’s something that I need to sort out and take action on, but is also something that doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  As an infertile, this subject is feeling taboo in my heart even though my head KNOWS it has to be tackled and tackled soon.

At my 6 week check after Gemma’s delivery, my gynae asked the age-old question that they ask of everyone at that appointment… “so what are we going to do about birth control?”  BIRTH CONTROL???  Holy smokes!  As someone who spent the greater part of her marriage TRYING to get pregnant, having to actively think about PREVENTING a pregnancy is just plain weird.  We discussed some options.  I left the office armed with wads of information on the mirena, mulling about vasectomy and a prescription for the mini pill as I was still breast-feeding.  I took that months worth of the mini pill, have stopped breastfeeding and am absolutely NO CLOSER to figuring out what course of action we are going to pursue to prevent another pregnancy.

We (and I mean Cliff) are sure that we (again I mean Cliff) don’t want anymore children.  We (and I mean both of us) are so absolutely grateful to have the two (TWO!!!!) children that we have been blessed with and want to give them everything we possibly can in life.  Another baby would seriously hamper our ability to give the two kids we have everything that we want to.  Our house is perfect for a family of four. Having that become a family of five would mean more renovations or another house… which is not really part of our plan.

BUT.

I just cannot wrap my head around actively preventing a pregnancy.  Not when so much of my life has been obsessed focused on achieving it.  The fact of the matter is that as much as I still think of myself as someone who is unable to conceive from having sex, the fact is that I can.  I did Twice.  So now I have to force myself so see myself as something that for so long I was not.  Fertile.  Able to conceive.  Not wanting an unplanned pregnancy…

My first instinct is to tell Cliff to get a vasectomy (he is willing).  But it seems so PERMANENT.  What if we find ourselves in a different place in a few years and want a third child (I always wanted three kids growing up)?  What if God forbid something happens to me and he remarries and his new wife wants a child with him?    What if?

The mirena sounds like a viable option too but it’s expensive to get placed (and not covered by medical aid, surprise surprise) and I’ve read that it doesn’t always agree with everyone who gets it.

I have to tell you, it’s kind of freaking me out.

So.  If you’re willing please share your experiences of preventive measures with me.  What works?  What doesn’t?

Today you’re THREE!

My Dearest Kade

Today you are THREE!

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It truly boggles my mind that you have been in our lives for three years already.  Three years have sped past and often I look at you and I just cannot believe I got so lucky.  So incredibly blessed.

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You have literally exploded this year.  I think back to how you were just a mere year ago and I have to wonder how you are the same little person.  Last year was a year of screaming/crying/vomiting school drop offs whereas this year you happily walk into school and kiss us goodbye with no qualms in the world.  I definitely think skipping you a class was the BEST thing we ever did as you are now stimulated and love interacting at school.  You love jumping!  From the stool to the couch.  On the bed.  On a trampoline.  On a jumping castle.  As a boy who just a year ago had a broken femur I cannot explain how HAPPY this movement with NO fear makes me.

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I am loving discovering how your little mind works.  The way you think about things before you talk and the way you process every little detail is fascinating.

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I love that you seem to be like your old mom and have a love for words.  You keep on asking us to give you “big words” to say and you enunciate them so, so well.  You love animals and are very keen to do our “boxes for the poor kids” again this year.  You have such a giving little heart, I worry that you will be taken advantage of as you grow older but as much as I worry, I hope that this is a quality you will never lose.

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In the last year you endured a broken leg, a stay in hospital for bronchial pneumonia, major household renovations, my pregnancy and the entry of your sister into our lives with aplomb.  You seem to take everything that happens in your life in complete stride, by first watching and evaluating the situation and then deciding to just be ok with it.  I’m not saying we’ve not had our “moments” but overall you handle life’s obstacles really well.

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You are now very nearly fully potty trained (just wearing a night nappy).  You were SO excited to wear undies and despite your persistent habit of being too busy playing/running around/watching TV to tell us you need a wee and hold it in because you are scared you are going.to.miss.something you are a champ in this department!  I cannot tell you how proud I am of you.

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You are THE BEST big brother ever.

I was worried that you would battle to adjust to Gemma and having to share us with her.  You were our complete focus for so long but you have amazed me at how fiercely you love your sister.  How accepting you are of the fact that she needs me more right now cos she is little.  Nothing warms my heart more than to see you interact with her and how proud you are of “mine Gemma”.  And let me tell you something my boy, that little girl loves you fiercely back.  Her little face lights up when she see’s you and she laughs and giggles with you all the time.  As a mother, this makes me SO SO joyful.

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My boy.  You are truly my gift from above.  God answered my hearts desires three years ago when He chose me to be your mother.  You are stubborn (just like mommy and daddy), you know what you want, you are determined, you are expressive, you are affectionate, you are loving, you are so open to living this life every moment.  You have a smile that could melt a thousand icebergs.

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I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for you as you grow and mature. I love you more than that!  To the moon and back.  Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big.

Thank you for being my boy.

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Mother’s Day…

It’s been a week since it was mother’s day.  It’s taken me a week to sort through my thoughts and feelings on MY experience on the day…

For seven years Mother’s day was a day that brought me much angst, heartache and a sense of failure that threatened to cripple me.  While I loved being able to celebrate my own mother and mother in law, it was a day I dreaded more and more with each passing year of infertility.  It represented something that at the time excluded me.  For not being able to do something that *should* have been the most natural thing in the world.

In 2010 by God’s grace we finally conceived.  I was so excited to know that once my son was born I would no longer have to look to mother’s day with trepidation in my heart.  That seeing all the mom’s being honored in church would not pierce my heart any longer because I too would be standing proud.  In 2011 I missed mother’s day as Kade was only born in June but my baby shower was hosted on Mother’s day so in a way I had the best party ever given to a mother on mother’s day.  That has been my best mother’s day so far.

Come 2012 I was literally bursting with excitement at finally, finally being in the place in my life where mother’s day would be about me as well instead of being about me doing something special for my mom and mother in law.  It did not go well.  I had expected that my man would remember the tears and desperation of previous mother’s day and that he would do something amazing for me.  I was wrong.  I was highly upset and hugely disappointed.  In 2013 things were slightly improved.  Mostly because I arranged a family get together for the day and basically sorted out my own mother’s day.  I was again disappointed.

Cue this past mother’s day.  I had stupidly agreed that my husband could go cycling with his brother on Sunday morning.  In my defense I agreed before I realised it was mother’s day.  As a result of this, my day started at 05h30 with both children needing my attention.  I cared for my babies on my own on mother’s day for several hours, making breakfasts, feeding bottles, wiping noses, getting baby to have a nap, cleaning the kitchen, washing & sterilising bottles all the while entertaining a demanding nearly 3 year old.

By the time hubby got home I had just managed to squeak a shower in and was ready for a little bit of a break and a pampering.  Maybe expecting a gift of some sort.  I got neither as he jumped into the shower after his ride and the baby woke up from her nap.  My mom and sister came to visit after serving at kids church and we had coffee and I gave my mom  her gift from us.  Through the day Cliff kept on saying your gift is on its way, it just needs to be delivered and I found myself getting more and more annoyed.  Long story short he had ordered a gift online and had set delivery for the 12th May.  The day after Mothers day.  He said it was a mistake and on the actual day I was so angry and hurt that I didn’t want to believe him.  (In fact I kind of still don’t, I have my reasons for this but don’t want to stir up another can of worms)  I couldn’t believe he had messed up a third mothers day in a row.  After all the fighting and shouting of the last two years, it was STILL a stuff up.

We ended up having a massive barney about it all. A really unpleasant, shouty, angrily tearful fight.

I asked how he would feel if I had stuffed up his Father’s day and he honestly said it would not mater to him at all.  I was so prepared to just stuff up his father’s day this year and test him on it.  I was really angry and totally fed up.  I then decided that considering I had got both children to sleep at the same time that I would give myself an afternoon nap.  Well.  THAT didn’t happen either.  Kade woke up just as I was drifting off and he wanted me and was crying snot en trane for me so all I could hear was Cliff was shouting at him that I was sleeping and… I got up and took care of my child.

I’ve been thinking a LOT about why this is such a sore point for me.  It’s just a day right?  It’s not like he messed up my anniversary (to the contrary I was SUPER spoilt) or my birthday or God forbid Christmas.  But I keep coming back to the fact that it is important to me.  I would like to be made a fuss of.  I would like to be shown that on this day I am appreciated as a mother.  I want a little bit of effort put in.  I want a badly made breakfast in bed after I’ve been allowed to sleep in.  I want a small gift that is in line with my interests (it doesn’t have to cost a lot, a kindle book will suffice!) I want to get my gift ON MOTHERS DAY not the day after.  I want to feel like I was not an after thought.

Logically I know I sound like a complete spoilt BRAT.  I know what matters most is that I finally have TWO wonderful, gorgeous children and that they are the real gift.  I know that it shouldn’t matter so much because Cliff is the best father ever.  He helps DAILY with the children, he is a very present father and partner and we share the load evenly.

But my heart wants that special day.  That all elusive mother’s day where even if I don’t get to stop caring for my kids, I get to feel like I did because a small measure of effort was made.

Do you think I’m over reacting?  What are your thoughts on mother’s day?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

… or something like that.   Laura did an interesting post on her blog about her daughter and her beauty.  Please go and read it.

I have thought about this a lot since we chatted about this topic a short while back and I have found that I actually have quite a bit to say on this subject.  Most of the mom’s felt the same as Laura did and were trying to focus their pretty daughters on their other good traits.  Trying to downplay their natural beauty because they didn’t want their children to measure their worth by their looks alone.  I do also prescribe to that, I wouldn’t want to be measured by others by my physical beauty alone – Lord knows I would not live up to what is accepted as beautiful in this day and age… But if I am honest society puts a great deal of emphasis on physical beauty and we all feel immense pressure to live up to what it is that society buys into.  And if you think I’m wrong there just look at the multi billion dollar weight loss industry, all the “Banters” out there, the anti aging creams and so on and so forth…

Now that I am a mother to a what is shaping up to be beautiful girl child, I too need to figure out how to teach her the balance of being joyful and proud of both her physical and mental traits.  But this is more than just about Gemma as a girl, why do I feel that we are more concerned about teaching balance to our daughters than we are to our sons?  My son is also really good looking, everyone comments on how handsome/good looking he is so essentially I need to teach both my children to find the value inside themselves that is more than just what is to be found on the outside.

But is allowing them to be proud of how they look that wrong?  It has been scientifically proven that people that are good looking get better reception from others and are at an advantage.  This is not something new, it is an inherently human trait that we gravitate towards those who are more beauteous/good looking.  As a child my parents focused a lot on my non physical traits.  I was told I was beautiful but my mind and my wit were much more appreciated growing up.  I lot of emphasis was (and still is) placed on my weight and control thereof.  As a result I believe that I am more of a “plain jane” and don’t have any natural physical beauty.  If someone tells me I am beautiful or highlights a physicality that attracts them to me, I get uncomfortable and don’t know how to accept that compliment.  I want my kids to to take pride in their appearance.  I want them to believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  That they are gorgeous.  Inside and OUTSIDE.

I don’t want them to take advantage of the fact that they are good looking though.  But I do want them to celebrate it.  In a healthy balanced manner.  I don’t want them to be like I am as an adult incapable of accepting a compliment about their outer beauty because I tried so hard to focus them on their inner goodness only.

I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I am going to try and teach my kids balance in all things as much as I can.

Blog, Tweet…. Meet! #JoziMeetUp

If you hang around on social media as I do, you would have noticed that in recent months both Cape Town and Durbs had some amazing blog/tweet meet ups.  I watched and thought “damn I wish I lived in CT/Dbn” and then wondered why there wasn’t an event like this in Jozi.  That said I also didn’t have the time and the energy to try to set one up myself while stewing in some serious FOMO.

Enter Laura!  I really don’t know how she does it.  She has 4 kids one of whom is a baby a tad younger than Gems and she decided to make this happen.  Enter stage left Sharon and Wenchy who helped her make this meet up a reality… Thank you again ladies for making this first #JoziMeetUp the awesome event that it was.

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I am SO glad that I rsvp’d pretty much as soon as the invites were sent out via Twitter and Facebook.  For the longest time there have been people who I’ve been super keen to meet face to face as I’ve made connections with them via social media.  If we connected so well via an online forum, surely we would connect as “real life” friends too?

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I was so excited to head to the gorgeous Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown on Saturday morning.  I didn’t know this hotel even existed but honestly it is such a hidden gem of Jozi.  They took such good care of us and put up with 50 very loud, very talkative women and their kids and babies.

I was delighted to re-connect with old friends and to make some really awesome new ones too!  Even if @Bron_stew kept on trying to steal my delicious baby ;)

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THE SWAG BAG.  Oh, be still my beating heart!  THE SWAG BAG!!!

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We were so spoilt, gifts from Le Crueset, Naartjie, Rain, Swani Day Spa, Killarney Mall, L’OrealBio-Oil and Wakaberry…all beautifully presented in a personalized tote bag from Macaroon.  It really doesn’t get better than this.

I would have been so happy to attend the event even without the Swag bags because I got to chat, laugh and connect FACE TO FACE with so many wonderful ladies who have touched me online on twitter or via their blogs.  I think all too often we can forget how important it is to be with people whilst tapping out messages of love, support, commiseration etc from behind our various technological screens (PC, tablet, smartphone!)

I cannot wait for the next one!

Back to Work part duex…

So I started back at work yesterday.

Honestly I was in serious denial about having to return to work and as the day drew closer and closer it just never quite seemed real.  Still as I sit at my desk quietly tapping this post out I cannot understand how on EARTH has four months passed in a blink of an eye.

In one way I am glad to be heading back to work.  I miss the mental stimulation and the stress (yes the stress) of hitting my budgets.  BUT I am also really going to miss being with my little princess  so, so much.  She is at such a cute stage right now, my heart skips a beat when I think about all that I am going to miss out on with her.  I was chatting to a friend on skype yesterday about returning to work and what made me the saddest was the fact that Thembi will probably be the first one to see Gemma roll over (she is SO close to doing this).  Thembi will most likely be the one to see her sit properly unaided by cushions.  And that stings my heart.

I know she will be more than fine.  Thembi is just amazing and an integral part of our family who did a wonderful job of caring for our little dude when the time came for me to return to work nearly 2 years ago.  I know I will be fine.  That we will find our new normal and that soon this sting my heart feels everyday when I have to leave her will settle and we will be a groove of sharing our parental duties as we did with Kade.

I will be honest the traffic was worse for me than actually being back at work.  It took me an hour and three-quarters to get to work yesterday morning and took me over an hour to get home.  THAT is going to take some serious getting used to again.

So ching ching to finding our new normal as I get myself back into being a working mom.

The three of us on the morning of going back to work day.

The three of us on the morning of going back to work day.

 

Mommy and her little precious Gem

Mommy and her little precious Gem