Love Letter to my Sons

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last. Things have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic and I have been busy, crazy, fun, hectic. We’ve had major milestones happen in our lives, we moved across country, Ty started Grade 1, Hayden was born, we bought a house. Like I said, busy, crazy, fun, hectic. I have dearly missed my writing, but haven’t found the time or the inspiration to write anything meaningful. This past year has been an amazing journey of self discovery, realisation, reflection, love, pain, joy and peace. I am sure that going forward I will relate all our adventures and the lessons we learned from them, but I wanted to open the floor with a letter to my beautiful boys. All the past year’s life lessons have been so important for me, for us, and these are the things I want my boys to know as they enter adulthood so that hopefully they will be able to cope with it better than I did. So here goes, forgive me if it’s a little rough around the edges, I am quite rusty!

My dear, sweet Ty and Haydi,

You both have brought such immense joy and love into my life. I cannot even begin to explain. I know you think I am annoying and that I nag, question, hug and smooch you too much. But I see you both as my little spiritual advisors and I just want to glean as much knowledge and love from you as I possibly can. Without the two of you, I would never have learnt to look within for the answers I craved so deeply. Whenever you have stood up to me or questioned my actions it has made me stop and examine my motivations and intentions. I have learnt so much from the both of you, and these are the things I want you to know and remember when you are making your way through this beautiful, wonderful, mostly confusing thing called life:

1. Love yourself first.

I spent a good part of my young adult life bending over backwards to accomodate people; “friends”, family, co-workers. I thought that if I made everyone else happy and feel loved, important and valued that they would automatically do the same for me. Boy was I wrong. While it’s obviously good to make your most beloved feel this way, don’t spread yourself too thin because all that you will feel is disappointment and hurt when your love and generosity becomes the expected norm and people turn on you when you can no longer give it. This happens when you have exhausted all your reserves of love on undeserving people that you have none left for yourself. So as hard as you try, you just can’t anymore. People won’t understand this, because you have always been about them. Be about you. Not in a narcissistic way. In a self love way. You cannot, truly, love others properly until you love yourself. And this requires making time for yourself and not saying yes to everyone all the time.

2. It is all you.

When you feel like the world is against you, it’s so easy to blame other people/outside conditions for your problems. We never want to admit that it is due to a fault of our own or our way of thinking that things have gone wrong in our lives. This was a tough pill for me to swallow, but now that I have, my life is so much happier and filled with love and light because I know that it is up to ME to make it that way. It sounds cliché, but it is so true, it’s not what happens to you that’s important. It’s how you deal with it emotionally that makes it what it is. You can take everything to heart, and cry about the unfairness of it all at night, OR you can accept it for what it is and find a way to make it work for you. The same goes for when things go right in your life. Don’t give luck the credit. It is all you! Where you are in your life at any given moment is due to your past actions. Life is not random. Everything you do (or don’t do) today affects your tomorrow. Remember that. And take responsibility for your life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

3. Practise patience. 

Following on from the above, learn to accept the things you cannot change, about people, about work, about that annoying rattle in the car that you can’t seem to find. See them for what they are and move on. You will find more happiness in the freedom that comes with this realisation and acceptance than any quick fix you try to employ to make your external conditions more bearable. Every time.

4. Make TRUE friends.

TRUE friends are people that speak to your soul. They hold a mirror up to you so that you can see yourself for who you truly are. Even during your worst times. They are people who love you for the right reasons, and will be there for you without expecting anything in return. People who don’t constantly demand your attention, but are so thankful when they get it. TRUE friends are those that feel like you’ve known them forever, just after you’ve met them. When someone says “After everything I’ve done for you”, their motivations were not pure and true. The kind of person who constantly wants affirmation for their good deeds, is not the kind of person you want in your corner, believe me. Because when push comes to shove, there will always be a bigger and better cause for them to support for the glory of it. You are no one’s charity case. Except mine <— On that note, you are always welcome home if you have run out of money and are living on two minute noodles. I will never judge you or ridicule you for coming home for a good cooked meal or to do your washing. It will be an honour to know that I am still needed in your life, even if it’s only for silly things.

5. Your mind is your most powerful weapon.

Against hurt. Against anger. Against pride. For love. For happiness. For peace. Use it for good, your own good, not others’ evil.

6. A rich life is not one filled with material wealth.

A rich life doesn’t mean status, money and power. A rich life is one filled with experience, culture, diversity, joy, love, laughter and the hard truths that hardship brings. Life is about love. Love for yourself. Compassion and empathy for others (a healthy amount – see point 1). The sound of your laughter in my home has made me rich in ways that no high paying job ever will, and I have never forgotten that.

7. Never lose your enthusiasm or childish inquisitiveness.

Approach every new experience with an unbiased mind. This is a tough one, because we are predisposed to adopt our parents’ and friends’ attitudes towards things because they are the biggest influences in our lives. Always remember that my opinions are MY OPINIONS. They are not yours. They are based on MY EXPERIENCES. Not yours. If you ask for my advice, I will give it to you. But do not let it be the basis on which you make all your decisions. Dad and I can be examples for you in certain aspects. But don’t try to emulate our lives or be like us. We want you boys to have your own lives, and your own experiences. Sometimes the unknown is scary, and most people don’t understand it and react negatively to it. Forget those people. They are small people with small minds and will just hold you back. Open eyes, open heart. Let that be your mantra.

8. Never forget that we love you (and that you love each other).

No matter what you decide to do with your life. No matter how many “mistakes” (mistakes are subjective after all) you make along the way. No matter who you love. No matter where you live. No matter how you choose to practise spirituality. If you choose spirituality at all. Our biggest hope and dream, is for you both to be happy and fulfilled, peaceful and loved. How you choose to attain these states is up to you. We will support you along the way. We may not always like it, but that is our problem remember? Don’t ever feel like you can’t come to us for help. In any aspect. If we aren’t around anymore or if we just can’t help you, don’t ever forget that you have each other. Support each other, love each other and never lose contact with each other, no matter where in the world you end up. Even if it’s only sporadic contact. Let there always be contact, and let it be loving, understanding and joyful.

I hope you managed to read all the way to here without rolling your eyes and dismissing me. If you have, I just want to finish by saying that I can’t wait to carry on with this amazing journey with you and watch you both grow into the beautiful human beings I know you will be. I am already so proud of you boys, you are my light and my love and I did not live until you came into my life.

Love you munchkins, thank you for everything.

Mom

Boys will be boys, no matter what colour their nails are

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

Tyler came home from school yesterday with painted nails. Each hand and foot was a different colour, one blue, one red, one orange and one purple – one for each ninja turtle of course! I thought it was super cute and hysterical the way he was picking up his bags with that “just painted my nails and they’re still wet” hand gesture, haha, who said you can’t have girly time with boys!

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Jeff however, made him take it off this morning. And to be honest, I thought he was a bit more open minded than that. When Tyler asked for the nail polish remover I knew that it couldn’t have come from him alone. He wanted to wear it until his birthday, because he’s having a ninja turtle party so he thought it would be part of his costume! What’s wrong with that?! So what if the other kids tease him? He’s MY child, he is strong willed and very confident with who he is, always has been, and he will be fine. He’s going through a phase, figuring out what makes boys and girls different. He actually told me yesterday that he wants to be a girl, after I explained to him that he may have to sacrifice his willy to become a girl he very quickly changed his mind. Not that I was trying to change his mind, I just wanted to give him all the information. He would make a beautiful girl, those eyelashes are to die for. And if that’s what he wants who am I to object? My job as a mother is not to control him. All I have to do is love him, encourage and support him in all that he wants – except of course if it involves the rape, abuse and / or murder of animals or humans. But he just wanted to know why girls have such pretty stuff and boys don’t? And it’s true, why DO girls get to play dress up and “mommy”, “teacher” and “princess”? Boys get to dress up, sure, as super heroes and cops and robbers. All very gender biased roles.

According to this pic, a girl can't even graduate!

According to this pic, a girl can’t even graduate!

The other day I was telling him that our doctor had told us that he was getting a little brother. I mentioned “she said that…” and Tyler promptly said “She? So that means she is a nurse not a doctor”. I very nearly slapped him. After explaining to him that men and women could be nurses or doctors, that it didn’t matter, I realised that it’s not really his fault. Look at all the books and posters aimed at teaching young children about occupations, women are portrayed in roles like “secretary”, “nurse”, “teacher” but all the “doctors”, “engineers” and “scientists” are men. Hmmmm. I am no bra burning feminist, but I do believe that we shouldn’t teach our children to put men and women in the same boxes that we were taught to put them in. They shouldn’t think that just because they’re male or female that they can only do certain things and pursue certain activities.

If your daughter wanted to play action cricket or touch rugby, you’d encourage her because it makes her “tougher” and it’s ok if your little girl is a bit of a tomboy because it will help her relate to her male counterparts better in later life. But why can’t a little boy paint his nails or play with dolls? Wouldn’t you prefer, especially as a mother, that he learns compassion for others and acquires an appreciation for beautiful things? Teaching boys, or allowing them, to participate in more “girly” activities is not something you should shy away from or teach them to be ashamed of. If you think it’s weird, that’s your problem and you need to deal with your insecurities. But don’t, please don’t, force your small minded opinions on your children. It’s just as bad, if not worse, than forcing your racist views on them.

It’s your job as a parent to let them explore this beautiful world, encourage them to try new things, give them new experiences that open their gorgeous little eyes to the possibilities that are out there. And if my son wants to paint his nails, by god I’ll paint them for him!

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you

So after what has felt like EONS to me and I’m sure to my avid fan base (hahaha yeah right, I tell myself these things to help me sleep at night) I am finally back online. Due to a VERY hectic move across country to live at the ocean I haven’t really had time or interwebs access to blog. But I’m baaaaaaaack, and boy do I have news for YOU!

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As I mentioned, we are living the dream in Umhlanga. Jeff was offered a life changing opportunity, professionally and personally, and we would have been idiots to turn it down. Within five days we’d handed in our resignations, gotten tenants for our house in Pretoria and booked the moving truck for a date six weeks from then. So as you can imagine, we were “a little” manic dealing with all the admin that comes with moving. I can’t remember it all now, but we had a Wunderlist that was at least 30 tasks long. Thank garden for task based applications that you can share with your significant others, otherwise I think we would still be dealing with unfinished tasks from 600km (+- 380 miles for my friends on that island) away.  Looking back, I can’t believe we managed to pull it off so efficiently. Within a week of driving away from Pretoria for good, with Tyler and Thunda Cat in my car and the dogs in Jeff’s car, we were moved in to our new house, and were all starting at our new jobs and schools with full uniforms and completed applications. Just goes to show, if you want something bad enough, nothing will get in your way.

But the biggest surprise of all, in between the madness of “The Move of 2013”, we discovered that I was pregnant! After all our tears and heartache at not being able to conceive naturally anymore, then hope and excitement at the prospect of finding our adopted daughter, and the inconvenient timing of it all – it was just so unbelievable and perfect that it had to be true.  The irony of it all, I was actually at an appointment with a doctor discussing sterilization options as we were going to adopt, and while he was down there having a look he said “Well I think you may want to postpone that for a while”. And lo and behold, there on the screen was a little beating blob. The SHOCK, joy,SHOCK, fear, SHOCK, excitement, SHOCK, elation and SHOCK was unbearable. My body immediately wanted to perform all sorts of ugly functions that involve excrement at the same time. But there it was, against all odds and despite everything I had been told for the last year, we had another little miracle baby proving that no matter what you have planned for your life, you better be willing and able to change it in a heartbeat – literally. I don’t believe that your life is mapped out and that there is an outcome that is predetermined and no matter what you do you will always end up at your specific ending. I believe that your life and your destiny are yours alone to control. You make your experiences, you influence the direction your life takes. But sometimes, just when you think you have it all together, life will jump in and remind you that you are but a mere mortal. I often think that we humans think far too much of ourselves, and it’s during times like these that you need to remember to be humble and grateful for everything that you have and are.

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During the last 3 months, with everything that has been going on, I have had to force myself to really relinquish control. I am a planner. Those who know me well will testify that if you want anything done, and if you want it done properly, come to me and I will wave my magic wand and make it happen. Tyler says that I’m a scientist, and I guess in a way I am. I take instruction in words and make physical things appear seemingly out of thin air. It’s an occupational hazard that carries over well into my life when it comes to party planning, organizing admin and encouraging Tyler to think creatively when it comes to problem solving and making beautiful things to stick up on the walls and our fridge. But it can be detrimental too. I found myself struggling to stay calm when during the move I couldn’t pack/unpack as fast or as efficiently as I wanted to because I was exhausted and couldn’t force myself to just power through. When after the move I would get home from work and I wanted to clean the floors, dishes, cook dinner, make lunches for the next day and do a load of laundry but I was just so tired that I could barely function. Also the back- and headaches rendering me a little less useless than a deaf dictation secretary sent me reeling. I couldn’t deal with the fact that I couldn’t do everything anymore. And it made me angry when Jeff would step in and help but then didn’t do it my way! It sounds ridiculous because it is. I’d forgotten a couple very important factors:

  1. We’d just moved across the country
  2. It has only been 6 weeks since we moved
  3. I am now five months pregnant

cleanhouseI felt like I was letting Jeff and Tyler down because I wasn’t being the perfect wife and mother. I couldn’t keep a hold on everything and I was always shouting at them because they weren’t helping, and when they were, they weren’t doing it my way! How ridiculous. After a lot of sleepless nights, soul searching and a little (ok a lot) of self loathing at my inability to be perfect 100% of the time at EVERYTHING, it dawned on me that I’d forgotten that I am only human. I can’t control everything and that there are worse things in life than the laundry being done a day later than I wanted. We don’t HAVE TO eat a perfectly balanced meal every night.  And most of all, I wasn’t letting my boys down because I can’t do everything, I was letting them down because I wasn’t appreciating what they were doing to try and help my grumpy, ungrateful self.

The guilt that came with this realization was almost too much to bear. They were trying so hard to be really understanding and I was just throwing it all back in their faces. I don’t want to be that nagging fishwife and grumpy mommy who is always shouting and never happy.  What a horrible person I am! Jeff wasn’t really around for my first pregnancy so this is all new to him, the mood swings, the exhaustion, the never ending hunger hole, having to find a bathroom everywhere we go for the marble size bladder I seem to have developed. He is trying, and I should be too. Just because I expect perfection from myself, which granted is not the way to go, doesn’t mean it’s fair to expect perfection from others either. Especially from the ones who love you the most. God he MUST love me to still want to be with me after the last three months! OR he’s just a sucker for punishment. Either way though, I was forgetting that I wasn’t the only one who’d just been through a huge move, was trying to adjust to a new job and schedule, and coping with an unexpected pregnancy on top of it all. In my quest for ultimate domestic perfection and refusal to let the move affect our home life, I forgot that had we NOT moved, our lives would have drastically changed ANYWAY due to our little sparkle. What my boys really needed more than a well oiled domestic routine minutes after relocation was love and support, and a little humanity and understanding from me. They don’t care what the house looks like, as long as it is a happy place to come home to. That’s what I need to make our home. Not a sterile environment full of chores and timelines that cannot be deviated from no matter what.

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This epiphany only came to me recently, so for the last two weeks we have really started to fall back into sync. I no longer care if we don’t sit down to eat dinner at EXACTLY 7pm. There are worse things, we could have no food to put on the table for dinner. Shoes in the hallway no longer send me into a flying rage because no one else gives a damn about having a nice house to live in. We could have NO shoes or NO house to put them in. If we don’t get home in time for me to do 30 minutes on the Orbitrek before starting dinner, it’s not the end of the world. I am lucky enough to just be able to get onto the Orbitrek at 5 months pregnant. I am pregnant at all. Oh my garden we are having another baby! It has really only started to sink in now that Tyler is going to have a little brother (SURPRISE it’s another boy!) in February. He is so excited and loving already. He loves to put his face on my belly and tell his little brother stories. The other night he got a kick in the cheek and I thought his little eyes were going to pop out of his head in disbelief! It was the most gorgeous moment and I am SO looking forward to more like those. And to think, I would have missed it all worrying about the stupid things. I’m not saying that you should throw all self respect away and live in a pigsty, but maintain a healthy balance. You can’t control everything, and you need to learn to take a step back sometimes and focus on the really important things.

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So in short, I just want to impart a little of what the last three months have taught me; –

Be willing to jump when opportunity knocks on your door – This move, despite my moodiness, has been the best thing for our family. Your fear of change will only cripple you.  Embrace it. It is never a loss. Only change.

Expect less and you will receive more – Once I lowered my incredibly high standards that no one could ever meet, I found I had more time for fun, laughter and love.

Allow yourself a break, or you will break – If you constantly maintain this domestic goddess and organizer extraordinaire façade, no one will know that you are struggling and they won’t cut you a break. Ask for help, have a little cry and / or 1.5 hour bath if you need to. You’re only human. And your vulnerability will make you all the more endearing to your loved ones.

Love the ones you’re with – No matter what happens, remember that it is not what you do that is remembered, it is how you make people feel. Love and respect make people feel far more special, safe and secure than a clean pair of socks ever will.

We’re having a GIRL!!!!

Not flesh of my flesh, 
Nor bone of my bone,
But nevertheless still my own.
Never forget for a single minute
You weren’t born under my heart 
But in it.

So, those of you who have read my previous posts know that Tyler has won the prestigious spot of being our only biological child as my female parts have given up the good fight. As much as we love being the three musketeers, Jeff and I feel that one more child will complete our crazy little family. We always wanted to give Ty a sibling, seeing as we both come from families where we were blessed to have brothers (and sister’s in Jeff’s case). Sure, medical advances have made it possible to still have a biological child, through surrogacy and egg donors etc, but neither of us want to go that route. Why force it and cost ourselves years of financial and emotional strain when there are literally millions of children who have already been born, who are waiting for their “forever families”?

mother loves her childrenNaturally, and without any hesitation, we moved on to adoption. We have always spoken about it and agreed that we would rather adopt than go the medical turkey basting route. We so desperately want a sibling close in age for Tyler, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of children just waiting for a family and a home to love them. We met with an adoption facilitator a few weeks ago, who answered a lot of our questions, explained the process and put our minds at ease about a few things. We are still going to be attending a couple of initial “Adoption Discovery” and “Journey to Adoption” seminars where all the legalities, costs, pros, cons, hoops, hurdles and joys will be covered. They will be much more intensive than our inital, informal meeting was, but we are super excited to begin our journey. We are going to be attending these with other prospective Adoptive parents so we have the opportunity to make friends and form a support group with people who are going through the same thing as us so that we won’t be alone.

Obviously, we have discussed important things like age, race, learning / physical disabilities and HIV Status, and we feel that the perfect addition to our family would be a little girl, any race, preferably around 4 years old who is HIV Negative with no physical / mental disabilities. Mostly because we can’t afford to support a disabled child financially and more than likely, emotionally. We are ok with what is known as “learning difficulties” such as ADD or ADHD (please all children are either super hyper or just disinterested in their parents!). We have briefly broached the topic with Ty, and he is SO excited, he doesn’t care if she is “brown” or that she won’t come from my tummy. He just wants to go and “rescue” her from an orphanage NOW! He has even offered to help us get her “princess” room ready, because “she will need special love and care, after waiting so long for us to love her” *tear.

I knew I loved you before I met you

Never have these lyrics made more sense to me, or been more relevant

We are not under the romantic impression that this will be easy, or that it will be a fairytale story. This decision, although the natural choice, has not been easy. But it is something we feel very passionately about, and we can’t wait to find and bring our daughter home.There are going to be ups and downs, hurry up and waits, tears of joy and frustration, celebrations and tantrums (mostly mine). But this is a road we are willing and eager to take. We would give and sacrifice anything for Tyler, so why not for our daughter? Just because she is not biologically ours does not mean that she is not OURS. I love her already, forever and always.

Honour thy Father

Leading upto Fathers Day this Sunday, June 16 2013, I had a very interesting discussion with two of my male colleagues about why they think we shouldn’t have a day dedicated to honouring our Fathers. But first, here’s a little bit of interesting history on how and where Father’s Day began…

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas.Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910.Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.After hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers. Since 1938 she had the help of the Father’s Day Council, founded by the New York Associated Men’s Wear Retailers to consolidate and systematize the commercial promotion. Americans resisted the holiday during a few decades, perceiving it as just an attempt by merchants to replicate the commercial success of Mother’s Day, and newspapers frequently featured cynical and sarcastic attacks and jokes. But the trade groups did not give up: they kept promoting it and even incorporated the jokes into their adverts, and they eventually succeeded. By the mid 1980s the Father’s Council wrote that “(…) [Father’s Day] has become a ‘Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father’s_Day

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So Tshepo, my fabulously talented User Experience Consultant, said something interesting to me this morning. “I don’t need to get cookies for doing something I’m supposed to do anyway.” After having a good laugh, I told him that perhaps when he had children he may feel differently (note: he’s 23). He doesn’t think so. I then asked him if he felt the same way about Mothers Day that he does about Fathers Day. And HE DOES NOT! He says Valentines and Mothers Day are ok by him, because it’s good to spoil women every now and then… !?!?!?!? I then called Michael (UI Visual Designer) over to ask him if he felt the same way… and he AGREED!

Both young men think that it’s a man’s duty to be a provider, a strong influence and a stoic paternal figure rather than a soft and squishy, emotional man who weeps at the arrival of Best and Brightest’s first tooth or solid poo. In their opinions, men should be strong and distant. They shouldn’t be showered with gifts and appreciation. But it’s ok to do that for women, because women are “cool”… hahahahaha! Now before all the feminists get on their high horses (fitted with all sorts of self pleasuring paraphernalia), I think this is merely just a cultural difference.

There’s a (Jewish?) proverb that goes “When a father gives to a son, both laugh. When a son gives to a father, both cry”. Tshepo has interpreted this to mean that it is not a son’s place to give to his father, that this somehow, wounds the father. Where what I take away from the quote, is that it is a beautiful and touching thing when a son can give to his father – be it a gift, or support (financial and/or emotional). Isn’t it interesting and amazing how different we all are? Now, another point I need to make here, is that Tshepo and Michael don’t think that you shouldn’t honor your father, but that you should do it out of your own accord. Not because someone or some holiday told you to. And you should do it in other ways besides buying him gifts or making him “cookies”. Which I am 100% in agreement with.

my hero my father

Me and my Daddy! Always having too much fun together 😉

My father comes from a generation of men who had to leave their families behind, whether it was because they were in the army or they were sent out on contract work to remote areas of the African continent. They did this because it was how they made enough money to be able to afford to clothe and educate us all. We didn’t see him much because he was always working, and although I’m sure we all have our regrets about how distant we were as a family back then, our bond now is stronger than ever. And we are all in contact at least three times daily, sharing experiences, jokes and insults about the ignoramuses we are forced to deal with on a daily basis. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Since having my own child, I understand the sacrifices a parent makes for their children. Even if it’s the hardest thing in the world to do, if it is for the benefit of your family, you do it. You find a way to make it work. And to be honest, I’m so thankful that this was how I grew up. I got to travel to places and experience things people double my age haven’t and probably will never have the opportunity to. Travel and experience is the ultimate education and lesson in life experience. As you all know (well if you don’t you’ll hear it here), Jeff also didn’t have the easiest introduction to Fatherhood in the world. He was 20 when I announced that I was preggers. I swear to this day, I have never seen a person break out into a total full body sweat faster than the poor boy did that evening. It was immediate green, sweat and weakness at the knees. His parents flew him back home to Uganda post haste, so that he could make a clear headed decision about his future. When he left I was still in my first trimester, when he came back, I was seven months pregnant.

Father and Son

How lucky am I!? My gorgeous boys, exchanging a naughty look.

He still had to study, and juggled working as a waiter while trying to pass first year. Obviously this didn’t work, but as soon as he made enough money to be able to afford to buy a cot he handed in his resignation and concentrated on getting his degree. He did not immediately move in with Tyler and I, as he had to focus on his studies and his parents were only going to pay for him to study a degree once. So he only saw the baby and I on Wednesday nights or weekends. He doesn’t remember the nightmare of teething the way I do, because he was only there for half of it. Despite the upside down nature of our little family relationship, Jeff was always a natural at being a father. He instinctively knew what to do with this squirming bag of snakes before I ever did. He was an amazing pillar of support, strength and patience when I needed it most. Because I was used to my dad being away, I wrapped my head around having a part-time partner quite quickly and we slipped into an easy and comfortable routine. Sure it wasn’t always rainbows and unicorn farts, but we knew we wanted to do this thing right. So that’s what we did.

Six (nearly SEVEN!!) years later, we are married, living together and enjoying the mundane life of an ordinary family. Yet he is still the most amazing, patient, loving, joyful and caring Father that I could have ever asked for for my child. He is my hero, just like my Father was before him. And I know my Dad is proud and confident to hand the baton that symbolises the caring and loving of his daughter and grandson over to Jeff. I am proud to call him my husband, and Tyler is blessed to call him Dad.

So on this soppy note, I’d like to say, that whether or not you celebrate or believe in the Hallmark holiday that is Fathers Day, take the time one day to thank that special man. Whether it be your biological/adopted/step father, or even just the first male role model you had in your life. They deserve it, for without them, we would literally not be here today.

Glass Splinters in my Feet and Sutures in my Mouth

I had my wisdom teeth removed in 2010, on the Monday after my Birthday celebration. In a drugged up haze post-op, I sent this email out to my mates to fill them in on my experience and let them know I was ok. I’ve left the punctuation and grammatical errors to make it feel more authentic and to portray the crazy that was me… Enjoy!

WOW… sounds like an awesome porno, and I’m sorry to bust your bubbles, but that subject was all about ME! LOL

Just wanted to say thanks to all you sexy bitches for making my bday so special! I had an awesome time!

drunken birthdayEddie and I ended up going to Cool Runnings in Hatfield around 22:00 to meet Nick and Ray, and after a whole day of wearing those hot ass shoes my knees caved in and I fell flat on my face after three successive tequila shots with each boy at the bar! *pukes blood in mouth*. At this point they were all kind enough to drag my drunk ass to a table with a red square and put my shoes in my bag “No worries hunny, this is HATFIELD, no one is sober enough or cares enough if you’re barefoot!” So i wondered around CR barefoot and I think that’s where i got the splinters LMAO fok… so much for distinction on your bday! Although Eddie did insist i put my shoes back on when we walked back to the car, lol and thank goodness i was able to stumble out of there in them because he was threatening to carry me on his back if i didn’t put my shoes on! HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH shit…

Anyways yesterday was quite an experience for me, I’ve never had a filling or any foreign objects in my mouth (ok that’s not entirely true… any foreign MEDICAL objects in my mouth!), so as you can imagine i was nervous as shit. We checked in to hospital at 6am, found my ward, and Jeff took Ty to school while the nurses asked me all the obligatory questions, “how much do you weigh?”, “what is your height?”, “do you smoke?” , “when was the last time you got shit faced?” etc. They insist that this is all information for the aneathetist, but then why did i have to fill this exact form in already at the admissions desk fifteen minutes ago? I think they are just digging up as much dirt on every patient so that they can silently judge you as you are wheeled passed their obnoxious little nurse’s station to theatre. then if you peg under the knife they have a compelling story for the papers “oh she seemed lucid enough when she came in, but i could tell she’d just spent the weekend crawling around hatfield on her hands and knees, that’s where the glass came from you know. And what probably had the adverse effect with the aneasthetic, drinking and crack, and not the kind you smoke.” DON’T JUDGE ME!!!

Nurse asking questions

“Don’t worry sugar, you can trust me, now… how many body shots did you say you did this weekend?”

Jeff got back just in time to walk next to me into theatre, we hung around for a while waiting for the doctor, who Jeff has decided is gay! LOL I was pretty relieved at that because at least it meant that the only foreign objects that would be going in my mouth while i was incapacitated would be medical! So the last thing i remember is the pretty little aneathetists assistant putting the gas mask over my face, and after 6 inhalations her telling me to “breathe deeper” (i was nervous ok!), and after two more inhales my fanny got super f*ckin itchy, and the last thing i did before i was completely knocked out was reach down and have a good old NOT SO SUBTLE scratch!!!!!!!!!! This one’s for you Nurse Paulina!!!!!

The next few hours are a blur, i remember looking at the clock when i was wheeled back into the ward (to check that no less than an hour had passed in theatre as that was how long i was covered for, and thankfully, the whole ordeal had only lasted 45minutes!), hearing the physio’s voice while her and jeff chatted about post operative care, opening my eyes to see Jeff sitting next to my bed reading a book, and then hearing the nurse tell Jeff that we can go whenever I’m ready as the Dr had cleared me. At this i opened my eyes and checked the time, it was 11:20am and I had to get outta there before 12! Once again I was only covered for a half day stay in hospital! So I made Jeff call the nurse and sign the discharge papers and I was outta there!

"Fresh Meat Boys!!!!"

“Fresh Meat Boys!!!!”

On the way out we bumped into Jade and Olivia, they were seeing the paed about getting Olivia’s tonsils removed! I musta looked a right sight coz Jade was like what the HELL HAPPENED TO YOU!?!??! Only after the explanation did she offer that “actually the swelling wasn’t that bad!” which i must admit, it hasn’t been. I walked out of that hospital which an itchy fanny, a swollen face and glass splinters in my feet, similar I’m sure to the prozzies who walked off the ship with Jan van Riebeek and the boys in 1652 after having had to endure drunken sailors experimenting with bottles and non-medical foreign objects to cure the boredom on the high seas!

We got home and Jeff forced a few spoons of yoghurt down my gullet before administering my anti-biotics, anti-inflammatories, painkillers and mouth wash. He has been very good about making sure that I fill my belly, or at least try to, before taking any meds. For dinner last night he made me mash potato and butternut with a half a spoon of bovril, sounds weird but damn it was good! i managed to slug down a whole bowl! then this morning he made me mushed banana and avo for breakfast. What a man, what a legend!

Husband Hero

The Jeffsta really was my hero that week!

I have been OK, just stiff and swollen pretty sore. My spirits are high though which helps. Yesterday was a blur as I was pretty zonked from the anaesthetic until I would say four o clock this morning so the pain was all right. BUT THIS MORNING!!!!!! argh!! Last night at dinner i was drinking an ice cold glass of water and i think some of the water got into one of the cuts, and with all those nerve endings down there I nearly fucken ate my own hand off right there and then. but so as not to alarm the boys, especially Tyler, I calmly put my glass down on the table and went to the main bedroom’s bathroom and clung onto the sink for dear life while emitting this guttural howl as I couldn’t open my mouth to scream or cry because the movement required to do any of that is just beyond me at the moment and too painful to bear. Jeff swooped in, put me in bed with an ice pack and painkillers and told Tyler to hold my hand and say goodnight, because i had a big eina. after that I slept til four this morning, and was awoken by the pain. Jeff once again went to get me an ice pack, a small glass of milk to drink the painkillers with, then put up with my tossing and turning until 6 o clock when his alarm went off and he had to do the school run with Tyler! shame, what a gem! Speaking of which, that’s what he’s making me for dinner tonight! LOL

I also seem to have lost all feeling on my chin, the specialist did warn me about this, as the root was wrapped around the nerve that runs along your lower jaw. He was also kind enough to remind me that seeing as I am not 16 any more, it could take up to nine months to regain feeling again, so it looks like my slurring might continue longer than anticipated! * i could make another reference to whores on ships but the painkillers are starting to kick in and cloud my mind so I’m leaving this up to your imaginations! *

The good thing is, i am finally able to breathe through my nose, I haven’t had such clear sinuses since before Tyler was born! Even though the pain is considerably worse today, I am glad the effects of the anaesthetic has worn off and I am confident that I’ll be able to attend my seminar on Thursday, albeit with a swollen face and unable to ask questions. I’ll just write them down and force Romaana to ask them! he ehehehehehe
The dissolvable sutures are annoying coz they keep scratching and I’m terrified of biting them out by accident. I have stopped getting so much blood in my mouth which is a good thing, and the strangest feeling is that my front bottom and top teeth hurt like hell. Its like they are moving back into the position they were in before the four selfish, dick head wisdom’s decided to push them outta the way!

Wisdom Teeth

Yup, that pretty much sums up what happened

I am looking forward to, after this, having a straighter smile, no sinus issues, no more tension headaches, no more run down immune system type illnesses, and hopefully more defined cheek bones!

Like Walt Disney once said:

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Getting back into a Bikini after having a Baby

I’m majoring in Trophy Wife, with a minor in Milf

Ok… so… yes… I know. I had a baby almost 7 years ago… but I am still way too self conscious to get into a bikini. I have stretch marks in unsightly places, and given my hormonal raging the last year or so, I now resemble a close relative of the Michelin Man. So I feel it is incredibly unfair and selfish of me to subject others to the disgusting site of my flabby bod jammed into a string bikini. YUCK!

Fat brazilian woman

If you want ma booody, and you think I’m seeeeexy, come on suga let me know

Granted there have been times in the last 7 years when I’ve looked fantastic, but mostly, that was mid-winter when there was no one around but Jeffsta to witness it. And let’s be honest, he is SUPPOSED to say I’m a hot piece of ass. It’s part of the requirements of being an amazing, loving and supportive husband. Another requirement, is to tell your wife when she’s better than what she has become. Which he so eloquently did at dinner the other night.

Jeffsta was going away for a few days, so he took Tyler and I out for dinner. When I went to the loo halfway through the evening, as I was washing my hands in the mirror, I realised I had grease spots down the bottom half of my top. I was shocked and disgusted til I looked up in the mirror, and realised “Meh, as a fat girl, those stains look like they should be there. It would be wrong and out of place if they weren’t!”. I rinsed them out the best I could and when I got back to the table with a sopping wet top, and Jeff’s quizzical look, I calmly explained “It’s ok, I’m fat now, this is how I look”. To which he replied “Oh no, have you gotten used to being fat?!”

At first, I was hurt. I mean, I am allowed to call myself whatever I like. But my husband is supposed to always love me, and think I’m beautiful no matter what! It was in that moment that I realised, I have a responsibility to myself AND my husband to look and feel good about myself. It doesn’t matter if I’m larger than I have been EVER, as long as I still take pride in my appearance and make an effort, that is all I need to do. But as soon as I get comfortable living and looking this way, then not only have I let myself down, but him to. That was when I decided that it doesn’t matter whether my weight gain is hormone related, I need to start exercising again. Because even if I stay this weight, if I am fit and healthy, then I will feel good about myself because I am at least trying, and THAT will make all the difference. After a life lived in the pursuit of being skinny, I have, after all my health issues this year, decided that I do not want to be thin. I want to be healthy, and fit, because:

Exercise motivation quotes

and let’s be honest, who wants to spend the rest of their lives with someone who doesn’t give a sh*t?! The perfect man/woman/partner is one who will compliment you when they need to to lift your spirits, and will tell you to get a grip and get over yourself before it’s too late. Just like that saying, “How can anyone love you if you don’t love yourself?”, – how can you expect anyone to be proud to have you if you take no pride in yourself?

Overly Obsessed Girlfriend - Ally McBeal

Sure you do, and there’s a reason you’re called “Overly Obsessed GF”

So to all those women who grew up admiring Ally McBeal, who taught you that you should wait for the man who thinks you’re perfect no matter what you look/act like, and that if things get tough, just adjust your hemlines – GROW UP! Everything that little anno moron said was total rubbish. She had NO idea. Step up, face your faults ( we all have them so please don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re perfect and everyone else is somehow wrong or stupid ), and do something about it. Crying and whinging into your drink every night at a bar is not going to get you anywhere, except maybe onto the list of people who aren’t invited to parties anymore list because they’re too annoying and draining to tolerate.

So, come along on this journey of self-acceptance and love with me. I ran my first 4km last night since January, and guess what, I didn’t die! It felt great, even though my time was so shocking I will never publish it. Nontheless, I am doing something about it, and I will struggle through, can you say that you are willing to do the same?

Getting your kids to help with chores

After years of saving and living on top of a landfill, we finally saved enough money to get our garden landscaped and suitable for human use. It took ten days, 14 bags of cement and 110m2 of instant lawn but we finally got the garden we always knew it could be! We’ve had picnics and drunken afternoons lounging on the grass, it really has been the best improvement we’ve made to our house. But with all my health ups and downs lately, we’ve stopped watering it as often as we were. Now you might be wondering how unbalanced hormones might influence the frequency with which you water your lawn, but believe me, when you’re spending the better part of your Friday afternoon in the emergency room being tested for stroke and heart attack, the garden moves down to the bottom of your priority list for the rest of the weekend.

aging cartoon

Kind of like an over ripe banana

Don’t panic, it was neither a stroke nor a heart attack. It was a migraine combined with a tension headache. So I had migraine symptoms, along with the left hand side of my body from the top of my head to my knee going numb. Scariest. thing. EVER! All blood tests came back clear for infection, and of course all dangerous scenarios were ruled out. So I have been prescribed some schedule 9 376 486 338 587 painkillers and muscle relaxants so that it hopefully never happens again. Ah the joys of getting old.

During a lucid moment on Sunday, I realised that we have been letting a few things slide because we’re basically exhausted from all the other crap we have to deal with on a daily basis. Nevermind the fact that all three of us now have a cold… Anyway, my solution to it was to create a chore chart. For all three of us. I told the boys that seeing as Tyler is SO big now, and that he’s going to be going to Grade 1 next year, it is WAY past time that he started helping out more at home and being rewarded for his efforts. We employed the use of a “Naughty or Nice” chart when he was going through his terrible tantrum stage and it worked like a charm. It basically taught him that it was better to take a breath and speak nicely to Mommy and Daddy instead of acting like a complete depraved animal when he didn’t get his way. The exercise taught us all to be more patient with each other, we are all just human after all!

Chore Chart

You really can find ANYTHING on the interwebs

The Chore Chart is basically an extension or upgrade of the Naughty or Nice chart. But we are all on it. So I have my chores, the Jeffersonian has his and Tyler has his. It is broken up into days of the week and split between the three of us. At the end of every day we tick off our completed chores, and if they’re all done we each get a smiley face, if you didn’t complete yours your spot remains blank. I wanted to have all three of us on the chart to show Ty that chores are not a form of punishment, rather that we are all working together to make our home lovely. There are rewards for 5 smiley faces in a row, and for 10 smilies we get to go out for dinner – CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!! What a treat! (Mostly for me hahaha!) But the best part, one of Tyler’s chores is to water the garden! So basically it’s a win win for me, I get some help around the house AND ensure my new garden stays healthy and hydrated. I mean, what is the point of having children if you can’t make them do shit for you!?!??! And hopefully I can teach my son something about responsibility and taking pride in where he lives in the process.

Teaching Children Respect Meme

I know a couple of grown-ass people whose parents should’ve been told this…

I am Tyler’s RAGING Mother

So I was begging Jeffsta to help me with a topic this morning, but oh boy, I should have known. As long as there are stupid people on this planet I will always have plenty to talk about! I have a couple of pet peeves, namely (and in no particular order, they are all just as equally off pissing as the next):

  • Racism
  • Ignorance
  • Busy bodies who want to always know your business
  • People who do charitable things for the wrong reasons
  • Yorkies
  • and of course, IDIOTS WHO DON’T SECURE THEIR CHILDREN IN CARS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guess which of these I experienced on my way to work?!?!?!!? Here’s a picture of the stupid cow and her poor, poor child who’s well-being she obviously cares nothing about:

Irresponsible Parent with kid in car

If you know this woman, please rescue her child and bring him to me post haste!!

I. I Just. I. I don’t even know where to start!!!!!

I hate seeing kids standing between the front seats while their parents are talking on their phones, smoking and “driving”. But THIS… wow. I hate it when dogs are allowed to lounge on the backboards. I can understand why you’d let your Yorkie lounge on the backboard and “accidentally” slam on brakes every now and then in the hope that little thing turns into a fluff ball missile. But your CHILD!??! YOUR OWN CHILD?!?!!??! That you spent 9 months (technically 10) growing inside of you, who you loved even  before you met??? That one human being that you would sacrifice your life for if it would save them?? I just don’t understand why we don’t have an exam that people need to pass before they’re allowed to pro-create. Because THIS WOMAN:

Irresponsible Parent with kid in car

She would’ve definitely failed the “Are you fit to raise another human being?” test

should not have been allowed to have any in the first place!

Adoption is SUCH a lengthy and exhaustive process. Every bit of your personality, marriage and physical health is scrutinized and put on  public display for all to judge. Your values, your morals even what others think of you! Why? Because you are going to be responsible for the upbringing, caring and moulding of another human being! It should be the same for people who want to have biological children as well!

Now before you spew about “Why did you have your phone ready? You shouldn’t be fiddling with your phone while you drive!”. Yes I know that. And no I didn’t “have it ready”. I was following this woman for a couple of blocks, and when we stopped at the robots, I had to reach for my bag and rip it out. I do not call/text while I drive. People get annoyed because I refuse to answer messages or calls while I’m driving. It still surprises me the surprise in people’s voices when my answer to “where have you been?” is “I was driving!” Anyway, I’ve gone off topic.

Common sense says that if your child is not strapped in when you have an accident, they will turn into a “child missile” and just torpedo straight out through whichever window is nearest and be smeared all over the road. Tyler is still using his Booster Seat. First of all, he is a little kid. It is MY JOB to make sure that he is safe and protected at all times. Secondly, he does NOT dictate to me how we travel. He has always known, you can cry all you like. Spit and throw things, I don’t care, you WILL be strapped in. Tough luck buddy. “Oh I just didn’t feel like fighting” is not a good excuse in this case, and will not fly with me. Sure there are times when you pick your battles with your kids, but it should never, EVER be when it comes to the matter of their safety. Be an adult. Use your brain. Think of your child, instead of having an “easy” morning with them, teach them to be responsible and show them that you believe in what you say. They will end up respecting you more for it.

 

Oh boy…

Ah the excitement and thrill of young love. I’m sure you remember the first time you fell in love. The butterflies. The nerves. The terror. The horror to discover that you had obscenely large sweat patches the whole time you were chatting up the object of your affection. And of course, the shame you experienced the morning after you got so hammered that you got up on stage at open mic night and professed your undying love for that person. No, I don’t miss that at all! At least back then though, if you did something mortifying it was only known to the lucky few who happened to be in the vicinity, or if you were super lucky, just the two of you. But these days, within a matter of seconds that video/pic is uploaded to each and every social network and BOOM! All of a sudden your desperation and heartache has 1 987 469 980 284 views on YouTube and Ellen DeGeneres is calling you to do an exclusive.

drunk baby meme

Today’s new measure of social success

Relationships have changed so much with the advent of new technologies. You no longer have to spend your afternoons and weekends hanging around at home waiting for someone to call you on the home phone. Or driving by people’s houses to make sure they are all still alive and haven’t been wiped out by an explosion of some sort. I mean, why ELSE haven’t they called yet!?!?!?

Overly Attached Friends

Yes, I didn’t reply immediately because you’re the worst person in the world and I hate you. This is allllll about you.

Even friendships have changed. People get so pissy when they see that you’ve read a message but don’t immediately respond. Bitch, I’m BUSY! All of a sardine, if you’re not immediately available to everyone at all times it’s the biggest social snub. Um, no. I have my own family, my own commitments and my own things to do. I really don’t want to have to hear about it every time you have a bad hair day. And usually, the updates are so inane that I don’t actually think they warrant a response. But hey, that’s just me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my S3, and the freedom of expression and information that the internet gives me. I could not live without it. I just want to be treated like a human, instead of a robot designed to immediately respond to your every message.

So what does this mean for the future generation and how they relate to each other? After an incredibly fun evening at Spur last night with a little friend from school who just happens to be a gorgeous little girl child, Tyler Bear brought up something I was excited and shocked to hear. His exact words were “Guys, I get nervous when I see a girl”.

O.

M.

G!!!!!!!!!

kids face paint

It appears my son has incredibly high standards when it comes to girls!

WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!!? Three minutes ago he couldn’t stand the sight of girls and very pointedly told me once that “Listen Mom, girls play with girls and boys play with boys”. It was too sweet. And of course Jeffsta and I had to seriously hold in the “Awww cute Tyler you’re in looooooooove” teases and just tell him calmly that it is perfectly normal. I then asked him if he was extra nervous when the girl was very pretty, and the gorgeous thing shyly answered “yes”. How bloody amazing is that!??! My little boy has discovered that girls are more than just annoying creatures that nag you to stop making a mess and boss you around all the time. This got me thinking about my first crush and how times have changed since then. When the monkey is big enough, he’ll have a cell phone. We already have three computers (four if you count the RaspberryPi) in the house, nevermind our mobile devices and tablets. So chances are, he will have no problem chatting online or messaging the object of his affection in years time. Without the worry of sounding like a complete d-bag over the phone when he runs out of things to say or his voice cracks a little, it is going to be so much easier for him than it was for his daddy. BUT it will also be way more mortifying for him if something goes incredibly wrong. How do we, in today’s world, teach our children to keep private conversations just that… private. And how do we help them recover if their horrible, self-recorded video of them singing a terribly off-key love song goes viral and becomes the butt of the school’s jokes?

kids-with-cell-phones

Little Daisy couldn’t wait to tell everyone how David had tried to kiss her under the swing set

I guess the answer to that is still the same as what it would have been when I was that age. It is not just how your child sees themselves that you are responsible for. How they treat others is a reflection on you as well. Teach them respect. Respect for themselves and for others. Teach them love. For themselves and others. It is the most amazing and beautiful thing to see your child treat others with kindness, patience and respect. Think about how you would want to have been treated when you were putting your heart on the line. It is of course, the time that you are the most vulnerable. If you can get your children to understand and recognise this in other human beings, then I think (in my humble opinion) that you have done the planet a world of good. We need to remember that we are all just human beings. And the sooner we do, the better off we’ll be for it.