Monthly Archives: January 2017

My mom was good before I was born…

Yesterday was tennis tryouts at school.

T: Mama, Ms Stuart-Findlay said I’m really good. She said my form and technique was fantastic. She wondered if you are good at tennis because it must come from you or daddy.
Me: Oh wow, that’s rad! See, I knew you’d slay at tennis tryouts. (my head swelling to three times it’s size) Awww and I’m so glad she could see the Serena Williams power and technique hidden behind my mom bod.
T: Yes, I told her we play tennis most weekends and that you were first team tennis when you were at school. She said wow.
Me: Aww, Thomas! Thank you for telling her that (by now I’m beaming so much, if I were THE iceberg, the Titanic would’ve seen me the moment it left the Southampton dock!)
T: She asked if I sometimes win matches. I told her I win most of our matches as you are not so fast anymore. I told her you were good before I was born.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha, yes my child, I certainly was good before you were born. I was a lot of things before you were born. Lolz.

Do I just have South African blood in me???

The topic of the day on the playground yesterday was lineage. Someone mentioned that they have Italian and German and Irish and BRITISH blood IN them!! Someone else was three quarter Irish and three quarter German (teachers need to work on those fractions).

From what I was able to piece together, most countries are represented on this playground.

Thomas: *a bit disappointed* They asked me what blood I have and I said just South African. Do I really just have South African blood in me though?
Elton: Well, you have a speck of German from Ma’s side. Jutzen is a German surname.
Me: And you have a speck of Malaysian from Dadda’s side. But, you’re mostly South African and you are pretty marvellous.

This was also a great time to reinforce the “your blood” does not make you superior narrative.

Me: I think it’s great that you guys were able to discover more about each other. And remember, it is not on to think or say that you are better than others because you have blood from other countries in you or for any other reason. And…
Thomas: I know, I know Mama, you always say it. All our blood is red and our poop is brown.

Hahaha, my work here is done.

At some point, my body is going to have to be MINE.

This is usually said with exasperation because his mother is too clingy.

Applying moisturizer and sunscreen every morning is one of his least favourite things to do. And when he asks why I insist on doing it every day my standard reply is: I made that beautiful body and skin (insert teeth, nose, eyes or whatever body part is in play on any given day) and it’s my job to protect it.

Ditto when I cuddle or tickle him and he’s not in the mood. Mama, stooooooop it! No. Mama!!! No, I made this body and I can cuddle and tickle for as long as I want. Depending on his mood, I either stop or slow down. Mostly fun and I have been able to use it as a lesson for body consent and privacy.

But as with all things with kids, it can also backfire rather badly. He has been able to wipe his own bottom for years now, but a few years back we use to supervise and assist as he could use an entire loo roll for one session if left to his own devices. And to save ourselves from having to deal with a clogged loo, we used to supervise and assist where needed.  On one of those supervised sessions I said: Dude, why do I still have to help you, you can do this with less loo paper, you know! His reply was priceless.

You have to do this because (mimicking my voice) “I made this beautiful body AND poop chute AND bottom and I have to protect it. You always say this is your body, well your body needs its bottom wiped!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaha, I would’ve been ROFL if I wasn’t mid wipe! KIDS!


Thomas and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad haircut

The day before school started, Thomas and his dad went for the usual haircut before school.

They’ve been doing this for years. He has his stylist and they know what he wants. He mostly comes back happy, unless he has a new stylist and things don’t happen the way he likes.

His current stylist is on mat leave, so he had to go to her stand-in.

Well, an hour after the appointment, my phone went ping and this is the WhatsApp exchange that followed:
Elton: oh boy, I screwed up big time now. Thomas not happy with the length of his hair. Did #1 on sides and back and #2 on top. Crying, won’t let me near him.
Me: What did he ask for? What does it look like? Too short or too long?
Elton: too short
Me: oops (secretly relieved that it didn’t happen on my watch)
Elton: That’s what we usually get, I think she has a heavy hand.
Me: Eish. Probs better anyway. Take longer to grow out.
Elton: He doesn’t want to go to school. Says they’re going to make fun of him.
Me: Ai
Elton: He closed his door when we got back. Told me to go away when I tried to console him. 😦

When I got home later that evening, they had sort of made up but things were still extraordinarily tense. This was a biggie and I think Elton was feeling deeply distressed as he has always been able to console Thomas. An inconsolable Thomas is not a situation he’s used to being in.

Preparation for day 1 of school was a bit tense and we stopped just short of a bribe. When we arrived at school, I started chatting to the mom of one of his closest friends and she laughed and called her son over. She made him take off his cap and showed us his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad haircut. He has straight blonde hair and after she had been at his head, there were little tufts (nests) of hair sticking out all over. Once Thomas saw his bad haircut, I think he felt better and day 2 was way  easier. Hahaha, a great lesson in perspective! We’re on day 7 and the no good, very bad haircut is almost forgotten.

Almost. Last night we did a perimeter check of our electric fence and moved the little warning boards off the connectors as that sometimes sets it off. The fence was switched off and Thomas was moving the boards with a broomstick. He asked me what would happen to him if the fence was on while he touched it with a broomstick and I said you’ll have a peculiar hairstyle and your eyes might just swivel in your head for a while. His reply: Well, thanks to Daddy not paying attention, I DO have a peculiar hairstyle and swivelly eyes sounds cool! 🙂





This is grade 3.

Big Tom started grade 3 yesterday. I know, I know. Where has the time gone and all that.

Watching this little person develop has been glorious!. Well, mostly. I’m not the primary parent so I get to do all the fun stuff like walks with the dogs, cavorting in the ocean on our boogie boards and all the physical things Elton can no longer do with him. Poor Elton gets the homework, school run and extramural juggles. The infuriating questioning of everything and exasperating pushing of boundaries. When I’m home, Elton usually taps out and I have to do my time. Thomas and I are both quite strong characters so even though Elton gets to tap out, he sometimes has to step back in the ring to separate us when things get heated.

I love that with every year that passes he is more open to reason and we can better negotiate our way around issues. I marvel at how he seems to have inherited a delicious mix of Elton and my wit and I delight at his verbal skills. And my mommy heart loves that he is still extraordinarily affectionate (albeit restricted to the privacy of our home, mostly).

And by all accounts, he is a loyal friend, kind and an all-round great guy. Also love the feedback we receive from parents who have him in their homes for play dates/sleepovers. He has a solid idea of what is acceptable and what is not and he is courageous and has a fierce loyalty towards his friends. It really is heartwarming to watch him with buddies and fascinating to listen to him recount whatever happened on the playground. When I look back at my childhood, I wish I had a friend like Thomas. I know I’m incredibly biased, but this kid is such a treat.

I know those of you who have older kids are going *snigger, snigger, wait until you get to the teens* and I suppose you’re right. Things will change, but I would like to think that his inherent kindness and courage to stand up for himself and others who are not as strong as him, will carry on through the riotous teen years when the hormones rage and it all goes to hell. That is why I am writing all of this down, so in a few years’ time when I *can’t even* and want to run away from home and join a circus, I can pop a few Prozacs, take a big gulp of wine and reminisce about what a great kid he was and hope that kid comes back soon.  🙂









Virtual friends who feel like IRL friends.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have great friends IRL (in real life or in red leggings as a funny friend prefers to say) who in turn have great friends I have got to know via their social media platforms.

I have not met any of them personally, but our interactions on social media over the years makes it feel like we know each other personally. And in many ways they are more family than family some times. Some of my best friendships started on a blog or on FB and it feels like I have known those people forever. One blog friend came to visit me in hospital with her daughters (and that is how we met for the first time).

And for all the ugliness and narcissistic mess that social media is, I love the bit about “meeting” people via friends.  I have grown to like their families, pets, extended families. Laughed with them,  grieved with them, celebrated with them and shared their disappointment.  Thank you for being my virtual friends and I am honored to share your journeys in this here life.  Here’s to you Debbie BH, Meggle, Sankie, Lize, Sanet, Camilla,  Suki, Tracy B, Tania R, PT, Jennifer, Corneel, Phillipa, Sumanda, Diane, Tracy E, Liz Heenie, and of course Ling Shepherd.


One was 40 last year and going for a mammogram was on my “now we’re 40 checklist”.

For some inexplicable reason, at my very first job, all new employees were sent for mammograms and chest X-rays back in the day. I was 19 and it was excruciatingly painful and the technology was medieval. Two HEAVY steel plates. Bugger. Damn and Arse.

It’s fair to say I was not looking forward to the 2nd mammogram of my life. Not even the most roughest man-handling back in my riotous youth or breastfeeding (sore nips, teething babe) can compare to this.

And while I was waiting for the machine to be prepped, I of course went THERE. “If they find a lump, I will book a mastectomy AT ONCE. I don’t want chemo. I don’t want IT to spread. They have done their job (gave me the best goddamn fun a girl could have and it fed my gorgeous baby), so OFF with them. I know, right?! Drama much?

The actual squishing of the boobs was not sore AT ALL. New technology and all. But what was deeply distressing, was the sight of my boobs as they were being squished. It was enormous (think skottel braai) and flat and looked nothing like I remembered. And afterwards, they just hung there rather limp and defeated.

My boobs used to be my pride and joy pre Thomas. I suspect my dad or people who know him reads my blog so let’s just say “my girls” were of great benefit to me back in the aforementioned riotous youth and when I look back and reminisce about their surpassing splendor, I want to sob.

Good news, I am lump-free in the boobage, lumps everywhere else thanks to FOOD and WINE, but where it matters, there are no lumps to be detected.

PS: If you are over 40 and have not been for a mammogram yet, because you think it will be painful, take it from ole wussy here, it’s not. And you should love your boobies enough to check them monthly AND to go for a mammogram as recommended.

PPS: If we’re ever camping and the person who was supposed to bring the skottelbraai forgot, I’ve got it covered. I reckon my “skottelbraais” can make breakfast for 10 pax easily. 🙂


The man of the house

We love watching nature doccies with Thomas and this Xmas holiday was so chilled (I desperately needed to rest, we had no money and PH came to play) so reading and vegging is all we did.)

One of the most recent ones we saw was Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry’s Last Chance to See. It retraces the steps of Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine 20 yrs ago when they travelled the world in search of endangered animals and wrote the book this doccie is based on. Extraordinary. Fascinating. A must watch. And deeply distressing to see how the numbers have dwindled to the extent that some species are now critically endangered (they number in the double digits globally). 😦

One of the doccies we also saw, covered the politics in a pride of lions. From the impossibly cute cubs to the day the young lions challenge the alpha male for the right to mate with the lioness(es).

Much like the situation in our house at the moment. We have an alpha male and a young lion trying to find his feet. Boundaries are being pushed. Limits are being tested and voices are being raised. Me? I stay out of it, unless Elton taps out and tells me to take over.

Back to the lions, we see the cute cubs, we love the cute cubs and we ooh and aah. Both Thomas and I are broody for kitties. We get to the show down of young lion vs Big Papa and Thomas goes: Daddy, that’s going to be me and you when I am older, eh? I’m going to want to be the man of the house and we are going to have to have some sort of challenge. Said with a big grin. Long-suffering Elton nods his head and says yup and  starts telling Thomas about teen rites of passage and I decide to shut this dominance talk down at once.

Me: Thomas?
T: Mama?
M: You know they’re fighting to have sex with the lioness, right?
T: Yes, I know.
M: So guess what the man of this house has to do with this lioness?

And that, folks, is how you parent like a boss and shut down any patriarchal ideas your 8 year old may entertain.

You’re welcome!