Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And thus endeth the lesson.

Dear readers of this blog,

I guess it's no secret that I am not writing here anymore. I keep coming back to try again, but frankly, this just doesn't feel like home to me.

What started as a record of the strange and wonderful people I've encountered in my corner of the world soon morphed into an attempt at mommy-blogging. It's not surprising that so many first-time moms start blogs, because truly, becoming a parent is full-on as far as life experiences go. But what rapidly becomes apparent is that it's very hard to share any unique experiences as a parent, even if you've got (what you're certain must be) the smartest kid in the world living under your roof. (And also, moms are kind of bitchy. Or maybe it's just that women are kind of bitchy. I include myself in this assessment.)

When Layla was born, I realized that I was done with child-bearing. No more pregnancy. No more birth stories. No more agonizing over name choices. In the last year I've learned that bringing up your second child is really just a matter of tweaking parameters you defined when you had your first. You don't have to wonder about your stance on sleep training or bottle feeding or baby led weaning. You don't feel the need to engage in debate about nappies or nannies or what temperature constitutes a fever. This is all stuff you now know. So, apart from some serious work on time management in our house, and including a new personality in the mix, having a second child has been... easy. Which is wonderful, but not exactly noteworthy in the context of mommy-blogging.

(As an aside, another thing about being a second time mom is that I no longer feel that having a child of the same age as someone else automatically gives us common ground. It might give us five minutes worth of chit-chat at a birthday party or in a doctor's waiting rooms, but we're not going to become besties because we've both got February babies. No. I forced a few relationships with women in the first years of Ezra's life under this illusion, and I'm pleased to report that I have learnt the error of my ways. This realization might also be to do with the fact that I'm now setting an example for a daughter. A girl. Who will one day be a woman, and may have to learn so much of this for herself. I dearly hope that I have my shit sorted out before she starts paying close attention.)

So, whilst I am still a mom, and am still loving it, I find it largely mundane to write about.

The best writing I've done on this blog (to my mind, anyway) is actually the stuff that I probably should have kept anonymous. It's the stuff that, when taken at face value, would likely be hurtful to the people involved. I don't like to be hurtful. What I like, is to be funny. And the way I know I'm funny is by treating those around me as caricatures, exaggerating and oversimplifying for the purposes of getting a laugh (or cringe). But I don't know how to do that here and live in real life with people I'm spoofing. We live in a small community. Those closest to me know that my observations are just that, observations. Not judgement. Not name calling. Not any sort of character attack. Just observations. The trouble is that I have a very limited group of folk I'd consider close to me, so there's plenty of room for misunderstanding and misguided offense-taking. Meh.

The short solution to this overstated problem is this - I'm going undercover. Back to where I started, anonymously observing people for my entertainment and (hopefully) yours. My new blog has been up and running for some months now, and I'm feeling good about it. Really good, in fact. I'm not going to point you to it from here, since that defeats the point entirely. But maybe you'll stumble across it one day and think of me. I hope you do.

With love and thanks,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Growing up is hard, watching it happen is harder.

I've been trying to work my way through a backlog of paper for what feels like forever (it's amazing how productive I can be at everything else when I'm avoiding work). The thing that's keeping me away from it this morning is my son's fluffy dog, who is sitting on my lap and keeps prompting me to dissolve in floods of tears. I didn't know I was such a sap.

When Ezra was around nine months old he started getting picky about who and how he was put to sleep. Specifically, he would only fall asleep in my arms, with his little fat fingers knotted into my hair. My back ached, my scalp felt bruised and eventually my temper flared. Enter (the imaginatively named): Doggie.

Doggie was chosen from a host of (previously ignored) stuffed animals for the texture of his ears, which was fairly similar to my hair. I started tying my hair back before bedtime and Doggie became the thing that my boy fondled as he drifted off. Soon enough, Doggie was his thing of comfort and bedtime went back to being an easy thing. When Ezra started to talk he often reversed his consonants and so Doggie became Goddie (pronounced Gordy) which was hilarious, if not somewhat irreverent.

Goddie has wiped away tears, ridden on bikes, been part of dance moves, cleaned spills off of floors. He has had both hind legs removed and reattached, been entirely unstuffed and inside-outed, lost his internal bean bag and been resurrected. He has endured Prestik, Fizz Pops, vomit and having his name corrected by well-meaning teachers. I have washed him enough times that his once-silken fur is coarse and dreadlocked, with Ezra whimpering in front of the washing machine and under the wash line each time, waiting for his "best friend" to be back in his hands. In short, people, the kid loves his damned Dog.

"Mom, is it tomorrow today?" I was asked in a tiny voice this morning. Knowing there was some expectation attached to 'tomorrow', I nodded. And my little boy broke in pieces. It turns out that, as of today, the children of the Fishes (yes, really, Fishes) class are no longer allowed to bring 'soft toys' to class. So all these little people with security blankets/toys/dogs are officially being told to grow up during school hours. I want to strangle the teacher who thought this was a good plan.

In fairness, I knew it would happen sometime. Over the last couple of months Ezra has "lost" three dummies at school. (Yes, we're still doing dummies.) I have been suspicious and annoyed about it, firstly, because it's an inconvenient and expensive pain in the arse to replace them (no such thing as Size 3 Nuk dummies in Howick, thus a trip to Pietermaritzburg is necessitated) and secondly, because he is not careless with his things. He has been going to school for over a year and faithfully returns every snack box, juice bottle, shoe and sock to his bag every day. And his dummy, like Dog, is way more important to him than Tupperware and clothing. Eventually we had a discussion with his teacher who suggested to Ezra that he leave his dummy at home "so that it doesn't get lost". He agreed. And then I noticed that most of the other kids who have dummies were going without too. (Sorry, but having just read that I'm beginning to wonder if this wasn't some stupid, expensive ridiculous plan to get all the kids off their dummies. The world doesn't really work like that, does it? Surely my imagination is in overdrive..? Surely.)

Then a few weeks ago, their blankets were sent home. (We had to supply a little blanket at the beginning of the year to cover them during their naps.) The reason given for this was that not every kid had a blanket and so it was unfair for some to have and some not. I'm dubious about this explanation. Where did half of the blankets disappear to? Everyone had one in January. And it's going into winter right now, goddammit, and my kid is lying on a cold classroom floor. I wasn't happy. Ezra was indifferent.

And now, today, no more soft toys. No notes in his school book to warn me this was coming, no mention from the teacher as we left school yesterday. Just a heart-broken little boy at seven in the morning, wishing it was yesterday so he could keep his friend with him. I put him into his car seat with Dog on his lap, and told him that I was sure Mrs Spencer wouldn't mind if Dog came with just one more time. "No Mom," he sobbed, "Dog isn't allowed anymore. But please look after him for me." It just about ripped my heart out of my chest. That he could do what was expected of him, even though he wanted the opposite so badly.

And that, folks, is why I'm still sitting here in my pajamas, snotty-nosed and red-eyed, clutching Dog to me the way I wish I could hold onto the little boy I thought my son still was. I know he's going to grow up, and I know he will "put away childish things". I just didn't think that seeing it happen would make me cry. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Turn! Turn! Turn!

I've had this stupid song in my head for weeks now. (And, what's worse is that it generally morphs into that godawful Age of Aquarius song-mess too - earworms are KILLING me, people!) I suppose it's apt though, given the state of my affairs.

It's all change around here. Some big, some small. And hopefully, all for the good.

Shane wrote his last professional exam a few weeks back, and with that comes some serious decisions. Does he continue as an employee of the firm who has taught him so much, but within which he seems to have reached a ceiling in terms of remuneration? Does he strike out on his own and give up the security of a fixed monthly income? Or is there a middle road, maybe a consulting role with a retainer of sorts? We don't know yet. But something has to give.

Our tent business has grown exponentially in the last few months, tomorrow is the first of five consecutive weekends of hiring, which both thrills me and gives me the jitters. Our site manager, Ben, has moved on to full-time employment in the field he has studied for, leaving us bereft in the middle of wedding season. I'm happy for him, but for me it means having to be back on site Mondays and Thursdays and Fridays, setting up and dismantling marquees, climbing ladders, managing staff, driving everyone around. Layla's first site visit was at the tender age of just eight days old, and it looks like she's going to be doing her growing amongst canvas and poles for the next while. Right now, Shane is taking time off work to do this with me, because we need an extra set of hands, and I'm still literally holding the baby.

Sidebar: I owe my darling daughter an official introduction. I wrote her birth story months ago, but was so out of practice at putting down my thoughts that her beautiful arrival reads like a maths text book. I'm working on a rewrite. 

Tomorrow is the last day that we will have a maid for a while. We've been trying to mesh with the lady we had employed, but the role we originally appointed her for has changed. And it seems she's not willing to change with us. I hope she finds somewhere more suited to her. And I hope we find someone less concerned with maintaining professional distance from us. Part of me is sad, and part of me is relieved. And part of me is shitting herself at the prospect of being the person wielding the mop and buckets in this house again. We'll be looking for a replacement, but I refuse to be rushed into it. Because I'm not just looking for a cleaner anymore. I'm looking for someone to be a part of our family. And that's a big thing.

My mom has been staying with us for the last month, house hunting and settling into her new job in the midlands. She's moved up from Durban to be closer to her grandkids, and to return to the rural lifestyle that she loves. I thought we would kill each other within the first week, but in truth it has been an absolute pleasure having a third adult in the house, someone else to hold the baby or read a bedtime story or stop the rice from boiling over. I'm not sure if I've mellowed or she has, or maybe both, but I'm going to miss her. She moves into a little farm cottage about 15 minutes drive from here this weekend. I think that having the luxury of a support system (read: babysitter) just a few minutes up the road is going to have a profound influence on our lifestyle. I look forward to it.

Ezra. Ezra, Ezra, Ezra. The boy is testing us in a billion different ways. We are about six weeks into a stage of hysterical crying every time we say no. Every. Fucking. Time. And then, just when our patience reservoirs are about to collapse in on themselves, he amazes us. Or amuses us. Or astounds us. And it wipes his slate clean. It's like living with a schizophrenic. Or how I imagine it would be, at least. The thing that really has me muddled is how he can behave so horrendously and it just makes me love him more. I see this frustrated, angry, grumpy little shit in front of me and I just want to pick him up and protect him from whatever he can't cope with at that moment. Even when I'm the thing in question. He adores his little sister (and she him), more than I realised a child would be capable of. He dashes to her cot the minute he hears her stirring from a nap, climbs into it with her, winds up her mobile and sits there grinning at her while she grins at him. It is impossibly cute.

Layla is a ray of pure sunshine in all of our lives. She is sweet-smelling and smiley and wonderfully chubby. I wished Ezra's infancy away, waiting impatiently for him to meet his milestones, move on to the next thing, learn, grow, become a child. And now, I find myself wishing time would stand still so I can just watch my baby be a baby. I know it's a cliche, and I know it's been said by so many, in so many ways. I guess I just finally see the truth behind it. I feel that her arrival has gathered all the ends I left to the wind when Ezra arrived and turned the world I knew on its head. He forged the path and she has smoothed it over. Or something like that. I am loving being this little person's everything.

I thought a lot about my last post. I even went off and started a new blog. And then I thought some more. And I realised that maybe it's time I stopped trying to start afresh every time I don't like the way something goes. Starting from zero again seems daft, actually, because at some point I'll need to provide some sort of backstory and then I'll be back here. So I don't know, maybe evolution doesn't really suck. Maybe I just need to accept it for what it is. Sounds like a grown-up thing to think, eh? There may be hope for me yet.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Evolution sucks.

Meh. I'm battling to express my thoughts about a few things.

When I started this blog my intention was to tell the stories of the people I meet and the more ridiculous moments I've been part of. I started this blog in an isolation of sorts, with no idea of what it meant to be a blogger, with no notion that people beyond my own circle of friends would be interested in reading what I wrote. And maybe, with not a very clear sense of my own personality in this context.

As I wrote, I started to read other blogs, I experimented with aspects of other people's styles that I enjoyed reading, a little bit of comedic dialogue (even though I despise writing dialogue), a little bit of deep introspection, a whole lot of tongue in cheek. And then I started paying a lot of attention to the content of other blogs, and found mine maybe a little frivolous by comparison, and so tried to add a bit more gravitas. And then somewhere along that route, this whole blogging thing became bloody hard work and I started to hate it. 

And then I joined a bunch of parenting forums and got entirely too focused on that aspect of my life and made a whole collection of superficial 'friends' who aided and abetted my withdrawal from my version of normal, and then depression and then blah. (I'm so bored of that part of my life. I hope I never have to talk about it again.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this blog has evolved, but not the way I intended it to. Frankly, I don't like the way it's gone at all. And I don't like the weight of that evolution on my shoulders every time I sit down to write a post. (My drafts folder is bursting at the seams and yet I keep walking away before I can hit "Publish") So I'm thinking it's time for a fresh start. A new blog. One I can start with a clear sense of self, and one where I can feel happy again about doing this thing that I love.

Have any of you that have done this? Did it work for you? Am I copping out? Should I care at all whether you think I'm copping out? Hmmm?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

All for the love of fun.

It's barely 10am as I write this and I'm chugging a can of Coca-cola. Barf. I don't generally drink much in the way of fizz, but I'm low on breastmilk and this is a last resort. Seems that being a total milk cow first time around isn't any guarantee of the same with baby number two. (When I had Ezra, I couldn't possibly fathom how people could need such things as Jungle Juice and Lactation Cookies (for realsies!) to keep up with their babies' milk demands. Instead, I wondered why they didn't also need a spare shirt and bra, and a billion breastpads, in their baby bag at all times.)

Second time around, well, my milk supply seems to be exactly enough, and not a drop extra. On the up side, I am comfortably wearing normal bras, I am able to stay in the same outfit all day, and I don't get puked on at every feed. The downer is that, with no extra milk, it's difficult for me to express any feeds without thoroughly pissing off the person relying on me for sustenance. Any time I pump out more than 50mls without immediately feeding it to Layla, she keeps me up all night trying to make up for it. Which makes me tired, obviously, and also, infuriatingly, reduces my milk production the next day.

The logical thing to do would be to abandon the attempts at expressing milk. But you see, I'm trying to keep a few feeds available in my freezer. Because this little person is not interested in formula, and this mother is not interested in never being allowed to go more than four hours without whipping out a boob. It's not that I don't like feeding her, it's that I like to think I've learned something from having already done this once. So I know that as much as expressing feeds is a total pain in my arse, I'm going to do it for at least one feed (and hopefully a few mls extra) a day. Because this time, I'm not going to spend two months trying to convince my child to drink from a bottle, and I'm also not going to wait until my sweet second baby is a 17-month-old toddler before I spend a night away from her.

Actually, she was just a day over four months old when I left her in the care of my mom and aunt and headed up to Johannesburg to watch the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform last weekend. (Tiny, I know. Amazing what the second child will live through...) Naturally, I spent half my time away checking up on both her and my boy, and by the time the concert was over I was about three cup sizes larger and in agony. (I don't know how women who work away from the home can sustain breastfeeding, but props to you if you're doing it.) Again, it's not that I want to be away from my kids. It's that I know I need to be. Even just for a few hours, or a night, now and again. (And, it's the Peppers, people!) I don't want to go down that icky road of feeling shite (or worse, feeling nothing) for months on end. And I don't want to have so little to say to my friends that I can't tell them if something starts feeling wrong. I've been repeating this sentiment ad nauseum, but experience trumps instinct wholly in the matter of raising children, and certainly in the process of becoming parents. It's that I just know myself better this time.

On a related train of thought - I am finding my head a pretty boring place to explore. Definitely, definitely true, that all work (and sorry, children, but I count a large part of parenting as work) and no play makes for dull Jacks and Jills. Shane and I (while cheerfully drunk last Saturday night) decided to stop being such parents and start being lovers again. And I'm not purely speaking of sex here. I'm talking lovers of each other. Outside of our responsibilities, within our choices, I don't know how to word it. On a complete whim just before Christmas, I bought us front row seats to a Rodrigues concert and a hotel room at Carnival City next week, even though I had to borrow the cash from my business account and we've just been away and it's the middle of the week and my mom's having to take leave from work to babysit for us and Shane's having to take leave that he doesn't really have to go and, and, and.. it's the kind of stupid, irresponsible, hedonistic thing that I love to do. And it feels like a step towards who I was, who I am, who I want to be. Also, it's just fun. What's the point of working this hard if you can't have fun? Right? Right.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Silence, self-imposed or otherwise.

There's been a lot going on in our little bubble, obviously.

Sigh. I used to relish saying things like that. I'd follow it up with a carefully thought out bullet-point list of 'things' designed to impress my listener - things to do, things being done, things no sane person would willingly take on. I'd pick out the more absurd moments and create anecdotes, charming little stories of how I overcame and carried on, hanging on by tooth skins and pants seats. I'd lie in bed in the early morning and review those lists of things I needed to do and give up on my day before it started. Anyone daft enough to ask how I was doing would hear all about my busy-ness, how I was parenting one-and-a-half or two children, running two businesses, overseeing renovations and still trying to be a wife and find time for myself. I'd cry or yell or wail or sigh about how I couldn't believe I was actually managing to carry on under the weight I was bearing. Delusional, people. I was delusional. Because I wasn't managing any bloody thing.

It's easy to say you're too busy to start anything, new or otherwise. It's easy to let go of the reigns and blame it on sick or grumpy kids, unproductive staff, unreliable contractors and endlessly frustrating internet connections. It's easy to spend days doing nothing because you're trying to figure out how to keep on top of everything.

What's hard, is to admit you've put too much on your own damned plate.

You see, I haven't been blogging, not because I haven't had stuff to say, but because somewhere in my subconscious I've known that I've been bullshitting myself with all this 'busy'. It's not to say that I haven't had work to do. It's that, before this, I've never been overwhelmed by having to do work. It's that I'm not the type that flaps around stressing about details and forgetting the basic agenda. Except that I was that person, for most of last year. I had a call back to reality with the advent of a monumental squabble with my brother. I'm not spilling details, suffice it to say that he declared me selfish and self-absorbed. And he wasn't entirely wrong.

I did need to step back for a bit. And what I think I'm learning is that perhaps living away from daily contact with the 'real' world inclines one to become self-absorbed. Certainly, it has given me the chance to discover my convictions. (Though, that could simply be a part of growing a little older?) I have also discovered that all that awkwardness, that self-doubt, that anxiety about how I am perceived by others is waning. Living here, I get to play by my own rules. It's 2013 and I couldn't tell you how to switch on an iPad, but I do know the business end of an angle grinder. And I'm okay with that.

But silence? The kind that stops me thinking about things critically? No. I think I've had enough of that. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

August 2012? Really?

That's the last time I blogged, people. (I've just stopped myself from dropping in a few wisecracks about what an undisciplined shmuck I've been, because it's far from true.) Since a picture's worth a thousand words and I'm on a limited time budget, let me catch you up on some fun from the last few months. Ready? Go!

First, in August, this...

...turned into this, overnight.

It was exciting, for the first few hours. Then we realised our driveway was too steep to drive up when covered in snow, and that even if we had been able to get up it, the umpteen trees that had fallen under the weight of white had us trapped. Then the electricity went off. For three days. And we pump our own water, with an electric pump. Fun, hey?

In September, I took my nesting instinct to the extreme and hired one of these...

... to do this to our garden.

Ezra got involved in taking down some of the trees that were in the way, much to the absolute hilarity of our staff. Note the real chainsaw operator on the left displaying excellent health and safety policy - no gloves, ear muffs or goggles. That's how we roll, apparently.

On the weekend our little person was due to make his / her appearance, we had managed to hire out every inch of tent we own, spread over three seperate functions. Looks like we almost know what we're doing, hey?

A whole week went by without any sign of action from Die Lomp, our wonderful friend filled one of those extra days by following us around on the farm waiting for us to look vaguely photogenic.

October started with a bang!

The lovely Miss Layla 

From there it all blurred into November and then it was Christmas and New Year and January and in less than a month my little dude is going to be three. Crikey.

Do you feel reasonably in the loop now? Huh? Do you? Well, good. Let the real blogging resume...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bat-shit crazy. Or, welcome to the last stretch.

You know, I was quite sure I loved being pregnant. And in some ways, I still do. All that extra blood in my system and fat in my skin makes me rosy-cheeked and less wrinkly. My nails and hair grow and grow, and they shine with health. My eyes are sparkly, my teeth look whiter and my bust line goes from a modest B-cup to a beautifully voluptuous D. Physically, pregnancy suits me.

But, whilst I'm all glowy and smug on the outside, the inside of my head is a mess. Last night, I picked up my Bio-Oil, unscrewed the lid, tipped the bottle and then realised it wasn't toothpaste. On Monday, in a fit of domestic goddess-ness, I rustled up a batch of Jumbo Oat Crisps. Sans oats. Last week, I drove 22 kilometres to my husband's office to deliver a hard drive he had left at home only to discover that I, too, had left it on the bookcase near the front door. So, when people ask me if I'm ready for this baby to arrive, I have to fight really hard to keep a twinge of hysteria out of my voice.

It's not that I think we won't be able to make it work. I'm good at crisis management. We'll adjust to the big stuff. It's that I'm not sure if we're going to get home with this baby and discover that I've imagined the stockpile of nappies in the spare room cupboard. Or that I'll have forgotten some basic skill, like how and when to wind a baby. Or how to dress them without letting their heads flop around too much. I'm quite certain I remember putting on three different babygrows in one sitting with Ezra, because he would pee on one as I got his nappy off and then vomit on the next one as I got it over his head. I don't know if I've got enough dinky-sized outfits for that kind of body fluid output. I don't know how much of our tiny newborn stuff I gave away. And if this baby turns out to be a girl, well, she's in for a few blue outfits until I can restock. Ugh. I went shopping with Ezra on the way home from hospital, I can do it again, right? (Just nod and smile and tell me lies, please)

My mom-in-law gave me the follow-up to the book I found so helpful in the early days of getting to know Ezra. This one focuses on how to introduce a sibling, how to coincide their routines so each child gets a fair share of Mom, and obviously how to ensure that each child gets fed, washed and cared for adequately. All this, while also not allowing the mother to die of sleep deprivation, starvation or poor personal hygiene. Hopefully. I read through the first few chapters a while ago and remember thinking it was all solid advice. Things like teaching your older child to dress themselves, so you can simply supervise them while feeding the new baby. Or purchasing cards and gifts for birthdays / weddings etc that will occur in the first month or two of your baby's life, so you don't have to brave the mall if you don't feel ready. Maybe having a few of your toddler's favourite meals made up and frozen, so he'll always be catered for, even if your guests (and husband) won't necessarily be. Sounds great, doesn't it? Positive. Doable. Idyllic, even. A lovely, soft-focused picture of how gentle this transition could be.

Transition. A fairly innocuous word. Unless you've delivered a baby naturally. In which case you'll know it's the time when every ounce of self-doubt you possess comes screaming to the fore and all you want is to climb out of your own skin and go hide in a safe, dark place. Fek.

I'm not ready to run and hide yet, but I do feel nervous when so much of my common sense appears to have deserted me. Yesterday morning I decided it was time to shave off the winter growth on my legs. (You can judge me, I don't care) And since I despise sitting in a bath full of hair, I did as I normally do and climbed into the shower with my razor. I leant back against the cubicle wall, lifted and braced my left foot against the opposite wall and shaved my left leg. No drama. Business as usual. I was actually quite chuffed with myself. So I switched legs, and instantly got a cramp in my hip, which made my leg drop. Washed my face while waiting for the cramp to ease. Tried again. Cramp. Stretched a little, tried again, cramp. Tried leaning down, cramp. Bugger. So, I sat down, on the shower floor, and successfully and painlessly defuzzed my right leg. Very enterprising of you, Tammy. Here, have a pat on the back.

And then I tried to get myself (and my 34-weeks-pregnant belly) standing up again. Ugh. I am not going to tell you how may stupid things I tried, how many ways that slippery, glass-enclosed, square metre of torture made me hate it. Highlights include the hot water running out, me nearly pulling a tap off the wall and the final karate-chop that got the door open. I crawled out onto the bathmat and laughed like a loon. Once on my feet again, I wrapped a towel around my (unintentionally soaked) hair and leaned in to switch off the taps. Hmm? Switch off the taps? Yes, you read that right. Switch off the taps. Because at no point in the war of balance between me and my cerulean mosaic tiles had it occurred to me to stop the effing flow of water which was causing all the trouble. Now darlings, how the dickens am I to be trusted with a newborn? Huh? Huh? HUH?

Last weekend, a rare opportunity to sit and really talk to my husband arose. Ezra obligingly took himself off for a three hour nap, and Shane and I sat in our garden, remembering that we have more than our child(ren) and home-life in common. We actually like each other. We can make each other laugh. We can help each other find breathing space. I've been so wrapped up in how much I don't seem to be coping with, and in how much I'm solely responsible for, that I'd forgotten I have a partner to share all this with. I've been looking at him as another responsibility, another set of expectations to meet, another ten items on a never-ending to-do list. I don't know if that's how husbands and wives start to lose touch, but I'm glad he's out of the mental box I'd tucked him into. And everything, even my anxiety about the future, seems a little less weighty with his arm around my shoulders again.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happiness is...

... being thrown in the air by your mom. 

Love this kid way too much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why two's not so terrible

The other day I came across a post on a parenting forum, where a mom had remarked in exasperation that she finally understood the adage of children being seen and not heard. Having a very vocal child in my life, I found myself nodding agreement. There are days when I wish dearly for a soundproof screen between my office and the rest of my house, or even between the front and back seats of the car. I have honestly entertained thoughts of buying earplugs. Anything to give me some respite from having another human being's every thought process streamed constantly into my head. As an example, a typical 20-minute drive from home to town usually sounds something like this:

Ezra: "Where we going, Mom?"
Me: "To town, Boy" (while strapping him into the car seat, and having already answered this six times between locking the front door and unlocking the car)
E: "What this town called, Mom?"
Me: "The town's called Howick, Boy"
E: "Don't like going backwards, Mom. You must go forwards, Mom. You must NOT go backwards anymore!"
Me: "I have to go backwards to get out of our driveway Ezra, if we go forwards we're going to drive into the wall"
E: "We going to Howick, Mom?"
Me: "Yes, Boy"
E: "What we going do in Howick, Mom?"
Me: "We're going to the shops, Boy, to get some coffee and some dog food, and to the petrol station to get diesel for the car and petrol for the brushcutters." (giving a detailed answer in the hopes of avoiding further questions. Snort. As if.)
E: "The ladies need petrol for they brushcutters? They brushcutters not working? They brushcutters need petrol, Mom?"
Me: "Yes boy, the ladies (our staff are all female) want to cut the grass next to the road with their brushcutters and our petrol was finished so we're going to get some more."

*Brief moment of silence while this information is digested and thankfully found satisfactory. Then, a low groan from me as we come up behind a tractor pulling a baling machine*

E: "Hey, what this machine called, Mom?"
Me: "It's a big yellow tractor, Boy"
E: "What this tractor got on the back, Mom?"
Me: 'It's a baling machine, Boy"
E: "What this baling machine do, Mom?"
Me: 'It makes hay bales, Boy. You know, like those big ones in Kevan's field? For the goats and cows to eat in winter."
E: "Goats like eating hay, Mom? And cows? (fake laugh) That's funny!"
Me: ...
E: "What all other animals like to eat hay, Mom? Maybe Jack and Buell?"
Me: "No, not Jack and Buell, dogs don't like to eat hay boy. (more fake laughter from the back seat) They like to eat meat and dog food. (more fake laughter) Horses like to eat hay. And goats and cows and sheep like to eat hay too."
E: "And elephants, Mom?"
Me: (sigh) "Ja, Boy, maybe elephants too."

At this stage we would hopefully have travelled the two kilometres of dirt road between our gate and the highway. I desperately start fumbling for a CD of sing-a-long songs, in the vain hopes that he will be content to listen to it instead of asking another nineteen thousand questions about the contents of every goods vehicle we see on the 22km stretch of highway before turning off into Howick. He usually talks over the CD. I usually find myself saying random shit that pops into my head in response. We take the correct off-ramp, at which point we start the usual questions about the smoke from the local sawmill chimneys, the cattle at pasture in the local stockowners fields, and the names of all the shops we pass. There will be a discussion about going to school as we pass that turnoff, and about NOT sleeping on his boat pillow at school, and about Girlie changing his nappies. There will be an enquiry about the post office, about the butchery, about the hardware shop. Something broken will be seen and need to be fixed, I will be ordered to go home and fetch his tool box and some glue and some cable ties so he can attend to the problem. I promise to pack them into the car the next time we come to town. By the time we arrive at the petrol station it is all I can do to grunt instructions about filling fuel containers in between discussing which vehicles use which fuel type and what the fire extinguishers are used for. Whilst chatting about how long the man will take to wash the windscreen I am mentally calculating how many more cups of coffee I can get out of the jar at home, and wondering if my dogs will survive on hay after all. The reality of a narrated walk around Pick n Pay right now is going to probably push me over the edge. All seems lost, until the petrol attendant leans in the window to say goodbye to Ezra, and he responds with a thumbs up , a grin and "Cheers bru" in his high, clear two-year-old voice. I could just eat him up on the spot for that sort of cuteness.

Monday, May 21, 2012

See that excited face? That's what school feels like when you're two :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

WARNING: Angry pregnant lady on the loose

Darling Reader. I can't do the whole catching up on my life thing - I've tried, and it ruins my mojo. Therefore, please try to piece together what's going on for yourselves. Questions are permitted. M'kay? Tx


This morning, as Shane and I went tearing out of our driveway in convoy, much too late for getting the kid to his second day of school on time (how useless are we, really?!) and for getting one vehicle into the workshop on time (thank heavens the owner is a friend) so that I could drop Shane at work on time (they gave up on that happening a long time ago) - I glanced briefly at my staff, weeding diligently in my front garden, and sighed with relief that at least one aspect of my life was running to schedule.

Naturally, dropping Ezra at school was not fun, (the boy is already adept at seeing through the strained veneer of calm we try to exhibit for him), so when we walked in the door he said to me in his sweetest pleading tone: "Mommy, you not going bank? Mommy stay and play with Ezra? Please stay, Mommy. (cue heartbreaking, squish-eyed smile) Please?" (This in direct contrast to his first day, on Tuesday, when he could barely turn his head towards me to say goodbye, so engrossed was he in everything new) Shane, at this point, was hanging back near the door, overwhelmed by his first visit to the school which was absolutely heaving with about sixty or seventy two-, three-, four-, five- and six-year-olds in various states of early morning excitement or tears as they kissed their mommies and daddies goodbye and skipped along to their respective classrooms. Which left me to be the parent that does the goodbye, watching the teacher watching us, waiting for the meltdown that she clearly knew was coming. I tried being sweet and understanding and firm with my little monkey, but tears erupted quickly and I had to leave him, sobbing in the arms of his teacher so I could go and sob in the arms of my husband outside. It is the most despicable I have felt in a very long time.

Racing around our little town in a blur of tears, I stopped being sad and started being angry. At Shane, mostly, for not grasping how anxious it makes me feel to leave my boy in the arms of (obviously well-trained, thoroughly qualified and undeniably nice) strangers, and for therefore leaving me to do the yucky goodbye on my own. And that's where the rational part of my anger ended. The irrational part started with me being angry at myself for not managing to be a full-time-stay-at-home mom AND a full-time-work-from-home mom. Being angry at myself for desperately needing this time alone to work (though so far I have spent my time panicking about how Ezra is and not much else). Being angry at my maid for not being the maternal figure I hoped she would be for Ezra and thereby forcing me into sending him out of our home. Being angry at my mother-in-law for comparing her stay-at-home child-rearing years with my work-at-home arrangement. Being angry with my friends for being able to balance this better than I appear to be. Being angry with my mom for not being closer and for still having to work for a living. This really can't be everyone's fault, can it?

I got home from town and found that my hard-working staff had all but evaporated. Neat little piles of weeds left exactly where I noted them on my way out. Not a whisper of humanity. I parked outside our gates, walked down to the house and heard gleeful cackles accompanying  loud music coming from our maid's room. You can just imagine the scene - me, eyes swollen and red, ringed with smudged mascara, snot dripping from my left sleeve and enough bottled-up fury to blow a stadium into orbit, gate-crashing an early morning tea party in the servants' quarters. Lawdy lawdy. Sparks did fly.

The happy outcome was that it turns out I actually CAN speak a fair amount of Zulu. Either that, or these woman are fluent in Hormonal Bitch. I prefer to imagine the former.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

That post. You know the one.

I think that in order for me to get on with normal, everyday blogging, I need to fill in a few blanks from, oh, the last nine months or so. Where I left off telling you normal stuff was around the time I found myself abnormally unhappy and in possession of a six month prescription for anti-depressants. (Also, whingeing about how this diagnosis was interfering with my breeding schedule. Eejit.)

So, the happy pills worked. I let go of the alternating bouts of blind rage and utter apathy, and replaced it with intense focus on anything unrelated to my mental state. I also woke up feeling hungover every morning, lost the ability to belly laugh and packed on a good few kilos despite my doctor's assurances that the opposite would happen. A mixed bag, but the overall outcome was as desired.

Around September, I finished up my drugging and sweet Lady Fate handed me my 30th birthday and the loss of my grandmother just to see how interesting things could get. I survived. We all did. And since my schedule was looking vaguely under control (flowers being farmed, child being raised, communications being studied, dogs and house mostly intact) Shane & I thought we should start a new business. Enter the bedouin-tent-hire era.

For those of you not familiar with my part of the world, have a peek over here. See all that natural beauty? Slow pace of life? Rural charm? City slickers eat that shit up. (Don't get me wrong, it really is beautiful and restful and charming. It's also 25kms in any direction if I need a doctor or a school or a fekkin' loaf of bread. I digress..) As a result, we have loads of local tourism in our area, and a huge amount of that tourism is the weddings & functions market.

Whilst there are many perks to getting married in the Midlands, local service providers are not something you find easily. Need a photographer? Try Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Hairdresser? Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Dancefloor? Durban or Pietermaritzburg. Marquee hire? ... You get my drift. Spotting the gap, we splashed some cash on a couple of bedouin tents and started talking to our neighbour, the wedding planner. Cue revolution in the local wedding industry. We are steaming along, with almost zero marketing efforts. Fantastical, isn't it?

Naturally, as that was gathering momentum, all my flowers began blooming. And let me tell you, a hectare of bearded irises, in full show, is pretty spectacular. With only a short flowering season and no inventory records to speak of, we got down to the business of identifying all of our lovelies. We managed to name around 50 varieties, of which there were in the tens of thousands of individual plants to be labelled. To call it time-consuming is to grossly understate the task. It was the bane of most of our daylight hours for October and November. We would take a day or two off from this task on occasion, only to spend it practising a myriad ways to rig our tents. (Urgh, or in my case, on one particular day, writing a diabolical exam and later feeling grateful that needing to write a supplementary exam in May is not an outright fail...eep.) Our farm staff, a team of four women, are now thoroughly versed in the art of the event tent. As am I. Shane continues with his day job, and will do until we're earning pretty solid regular income from my little projects. 

And that sort of brings us to now. Somewhere in the middle there was December, a dervish of a month, including 20-something people sleeping over for Christmas night, and 30-something visiting for Boxing Day. We had not a single weekend to ourselves from mid-September until the second half of January. Naturally, when we realised we should be seeing our tent manufacturers, we jumped at the chance to get away from home (and all the work it presents us with) and spent a week driving down to Cape Town and back again. It was sublime. Very rushed, every minute filled with tourist activities, but a total mental break. Desperately needed.

This year, I expect, will be much of the same. I predict some fraught moments mid-year, as we try to live through a home renovation, which includes partly re-roofing the house. In the middle of winter. In a climate that regularly experiences snow. Yuck. For fun, we thought we'd give the whole second-child thing a spin too. And tomorrow, my darling little boy graduates officially to the realm of the two-year-old, hopefully not so much of the "terrible" to go along with that. The year ahead has got me seriously excited. Excited indeed.

Cool, ne?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Any love is good love

I'm going out for dinner with my husband tonight. Just the two of us. And while every cynic out there is  bemoaning the obviousness (is that a word?) of this Hallmark holiday, I, personally, am thrilled to have a half decent excuse to spend a bit of time alone with the man I love.

I realised last night that the last time Shane and I went out for dinner, on our own, was last March when we celebrated our second wedding anniversary (and my mom was conveniently visiting for a few nights). Before that was New Years Eve 2010 (Shane's folks whisked Ezra off to a braai with friends and we were left at a loose end). And before that, it was the night I was admitted into hospital to have Ezra's birth induced. Three evenings to ourselves in two years. Pretty dismal, right?

We were in Cape Town a couple of weeks ago and managed to fit in a few hours (between me freaking out on the cable car ride up Table Mountain and me turning green on a boat out to Seal Island - Shane & Ezra loved both completely) of visiting with a school friend of Shane's who has recently fathered twin boys. These little munchkins, all of four months old, spend every Wednesday night in the company of a local midwife whilst their parents go out for drinks, dinner, movies - whatever they want, actually. They kindly offered to include Ezra in the babysitting programme so we could join them for a few hours of adult company. I said no. Not because I didn't want to go, but because our boy would, in all likeliness, simply not cope. Not because he's a ninny, but because I've just never really put him in that sort of situation before.

I've got to admit, I felt like a bit of a fraud having all this angst over my almost-two-year-old's welfare in the face of two cheerful and clearly thriving infants. The reality is, however, that we don't really have a support structure here that includes friendly neighbours or midwives or grandparents that offer to spend a night in our home while we going skipping off on our own. Our parents are all very keen but live far enough away that it would have to be a special occasion to ask them to get involved.

Chorina, our maid / domestic worker / char / nanny / whatever-the-correct-term-is, lives with us from Monday to Friday. It would seem logical to ask her to babysit, since she is a person that Ezra knows well, and who, conveniently, is on the premises when we want to be out. I struggle with the fact that she is not particularly maternal in dealing with him. Not that she is in any way unkind, she just doesn't seem all that interested in him, as a person. I don't know if that's exactly what the issue is, I just don't really have a sense of him being cared for by her, although she does everything she is expected to. This could, of course, simply be paranoia or delusional parenting at work. We're leaving Ezra with her tonight, and we'll see how it goes. I'd love to have a standing arrangement to get out once a month with Shane, particularly if our plans to increase our family this year come to fruition.

If you're wondering where I've been or why I haven't been blogging, I've been here, watching, waiting. I'm getting my daily work / mother / work / cook / work / eat / veg / sleep routine sorted out, I'm making time for myself. I'm making time to be energetic for myself. So, out with the excuses, in with me and my 2012.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

For Billie (24 September 1929 - 07 September 2011)

Dear Reader, below is a much abbreviated story of my gran's life, as told by my aunt Susan, at my gran's funeral last month. I don't know if this seems morbid, I only post it because I think I'd like a summary of my life out there in the world one day when I head off to whatever's next. If it offends you, please skip it, and come back tomorrow for something more mundane. Thanks, Tammy.

"Mum was born on the 24th September 1929, on a farm at M’sinede in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. She was the youngest of four children and, although christened Anne Isobel, she was nicknamed “Billie Boy” by her father – a name that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

As a young baby her family moved to Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, where her father worked at the copper mines and after that he managed various hotels.

Her family bought a farm in the south of Northern Rhodesia in a farming district called Mazabuka and the family still live and work that farm today. Living far out on a farm meant having to go to boarding school – which Mum did and said that she loved.

In 1946, a gentleman arrived on the scene, who was later to become our Dad. He was posted to the veterinary Research Station just three miles outside Mazabuka, as a veterinary research officer. And soon the courtship began – Dad cycling the 14 miles out to the farm on a regular basis. The timing of his departure for home at the end of every visit was always left as late as possible, for obvious reasons. Then Dad had to cycle home at top speed. Cycling in the bush at sunset in Africa is not to be recommended. This simply provides nothing more than an early evening snack for the local prowling wildlife!

However, all went according to plan and, on the 20th February 1949, Mum & Dad were married on the farm. With this new status in life Dad now progressed to owning a car.

A year after they were married Mum developed severe abdominal pain and the fear was a possible ectopic pregnancy. As no medical facilities existed in Mazabuka, Mum was bundled up and put into the back of a little bi-plane, then flown to Lusaka hospital. Dad immediately left for Lusaka by car but the journey involved crossing various rivers which became impassable during the rains and then he had to negotiate a pontoon crossing of the Kafue river. This journey could take the best part of a day – depending on the weather! Fortunately, Mum’s problem turned out to be nothing more than an unhappy appendix – which was promptly removed!

Just two years after their marriage, Mum’s eldest sister Pat was killed in a car accident, leaving three children aged 7, 6 and 3. Mum & Dad stepped in and took the two older children, Tony and Lesmeri and the  baby Chalan was taken in by my grandmother. And thus Mum & Dad began their family - as legal  guardians to my two cousins.

We lived on the Research Station for 17 years and during that time the five of us arrived, bringing the family to seven children!

In 1965 Dad was made Director of the Veterinary Service and this necessitated a move to Lusaka. All of us, with the exception of Penny, who was just a toddler, had to go to boarding school. I think Mum must have suffered from “Empty Nest” syndrome as she promptly registered with the local adoption society as a foster mother. Her greatest love has always been babies and she fostered them between birth and adoption. And so the “Baby Boom” began........ Mum’s talents were put to full use as she was often given abused, malnourished or premature babies. Her greatest love and challenge was little “Moses”, named after the biblical Moses who was found in the bulrushes. Mum’s little Moses was found thrown away in a cardboard box in the municipal rubbish dump and barely weighed 4 lbs. The hospital staff handed him over to Mum saying that they couldn’t give him the Time and care he needed and that his best chance of survival was with Mum...... Well – this was a challenge Mum couldn’t resist!! She fed this little mite with an eye dropper, every 2 hours, day and night, with Dad helping through the nights. A weight gain of an ounce was cause for a family celebration...... But gain weight he did and almost a year later Mum very proudly handed him over to his adoptive parents!

In 1973 Mum & Dad left Zambia and Dad went to work in Swaziland. He had been getting progressively ill for a long time and finally retired in 1975. They moved to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in  1976, where Dad died just 4 months later.

Apart from Penny, who was in high school, the rest of the family were working and had left home. Now Mum REALLY moved into top gear........... She served as a telephone counsellor for Lifeline, often sleeping at the call centre overnight. She became a carer for Hospice, visiting and caring for her terminally ill patients with great compassion. Every year she volunteered her services at the Royal Agricultural Show, working in the Arts and Crafts Hall. She did a painting course and ended up painting each of us a picture she thought we would like. Then it was wood carving – which kept her busy until she couldn’t think of any more gifts to make for her children and grandchildren. All her life she had been an avid Scottish Country dancer and a tennis player – until her knees could no longer take the strain.

Mum never sat with idle hands – there was ALWAYS something she could be making, sewing or knitting. When we were young, all of our clothes were made by Mum – right down to our swimming costumes. She could turn her hand to any sewing challenge and making bridal outfits was quite a common favour she did for family and friends.

But life has thrown her more than her share of challenges as well. Apart from nursing Dad for a very long time and finally losing him, she also lost 2 of her own children and my cousin Tony. Throughout her whole life Mum’s faith has been very important to her. In her usual way she has contributed in the ways she knew best. The church she went to in South Africa had all its Hymn books covered in a rich red material and all the Prayer books in a deep blue material, each one carefully hand sewn. She looked after the church’s garden for  many years, satisfying her second greatest love – that of flowers and gardens. Whenever we couldn’t find Mum we simply went out into the garden..........

Her compassionate heart has seen us all through our own trials and yet she had the most amazingly sensible head. She was wise beyond measure and yet always cheerful, warm and caring. No challenge was too great and still she had time for everyone. She has accumulated friends wherever she has lived and has kept in touch with them all – right to her last day. What a unique person she was, how blessed we were to have had her as a Mother (and Grandmother) and we will miss her terribly.'

Monday, July 18, 2011

On losing a parent.

My friend Laurel lost her mom recently. I've wanted to reach out to her, give her a little bit of space where it's okay to not be okay. I remember needing that, a lot, when my dad died. It was like the window for me to grieve publicly was closed so quickly, and I wasn't finished being sad yet. But talking about my dad just seemed to make everyone feel awkward, and my mom was in a heap on the bedroom floor, and my siblings needed clean clothes and a hot meal, so I sucked it up. And no-one really told me not to.

Earlier this year, a girl I know lost her husband unexpectedly. I tried to reach out to her. But instead of just letting her be okay, I felt like I was forcing her to open up to me, and that's just not the kind of thing you want to be doing to someone dealing with grief. (Lara, if you find your way here, I'm sorry for getting it wrong.)

You see, I keep forgetting the most basic truth about being human. Which is that we all experience common things in unique ways. I was embarrassed by my grief when my dad died. Fitting, I suppose, since he was the one who taught me that to show weakness was unacceptable. That notion is a heavy cross to carry, and I do what I can to be more human about my weaknesses than my father could be about his.

The thing I've always been good at is giving words to define situations. So often, people can't find their way out of a place if they can't name it, or put into words the way something makes them feel. That's the thing I do, to help people feel better. But Laurel can do that all on her own. And far better than I ever could have done it for her. Which is why I'm sitting here feeling redundant and unable to make a meaningful connection. Her blog is only weeks old, yet I have visited it more than many that have been around for years. It has been cathartic, to say the very least.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This is not an update.

I'm giving mobile blogging a go. Not because I'm unable to do this on my laptop, but because my office is roughly seven degrees below zero and I'm trying really hard not to cart said laptop all over the house with me. (I have actually realised that this makes the most basic feature of a portable computer redundant. Ah well.) I've been draft blogging, which I guess isn't really blogging at all, for weeks now but I keep catching myself summarising my activities since my last post. There's no bloody life in a list like that.

This past weekend I had my very first night away from Ezra, two nights away, in fact. My mom just about peed herself with excitement when I asked if she would consider having him for a sleepover. She's cool like that. He was not particularly put out by our absence, my mom chose to hide his nursery rhyme book though, following his repeated missions around the house with it, calling for his Dad and Mama to read to him. Too sweet.

And while he was behaving like a completely well-adjusted child, I was a blubbering idiot all weekend. I cried thinking about him, I cried at pictures of him on my phone. I cried in case he was missing me, and more when I realised he wasn't. I took back all those times I had wished for a day off. I wished my weekend away so I could get back to him. It really was quite as melodramatic as it sounds. Gawd.

Fortunately, my husband and dear friends found ways to distract me. We went out for a nice, boozy dinner, indulged in a little retail therapy and hit the beach at sunset for some rad homegrown tunes at the Mr Price Pro. And since our dreams of sleeping 'til noon were shattered by our traitorous internal clocks (which have been bullied into adulthood by 16 months of early morning wake-ups), we borrowed a few helmets and a motorbike and joined in on a breakfast run. It was frikking fantastic. I'm actually thinking of getting my license, although I've got to admit that hanging onto Shane at high speed appeals to me in a way that going solo never could. It's sexy, I won't deny it.

So, what's going on in your worlds?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Untitled. For lack of a better title.

It occurred to me at some point this week that I should probably stop rolling my eyes at every bit of psycho-babble that my sister-in-law espouses. There are valid points made periodically. It also occurred to me that I should really stop hero-worshipping my late father, that cynicism is really not that attractive a trait, and that my mother's eternal optimism is perhaps not quite as naive or as unworthy of my admiration as I like to imagine.

Also this week, I fired (imagined, not real) all of our weeding team in a fit of irritation (real, not imagined), got fighting drunk with my husband, cast my vote in the local government elections, dropped a grand in the vet's pocket, had my meds wildly mis-dispensed by the pharmacist and helped a Telkom technician poison the nest of ants which has rendered us internet-less for at least the past fortnight.

I've watched myself wake up from the haze of depression and accept that I am, in fact, an outrageously emotional creature when not in the grips of neuronic imbalances. I have had squabble after squabble with my darling husband, all in the name of coming to terms with how little of anything I have felt for the last few months. I know this man loves me, because he lets me say horrific things to him whilst I'm belligerently blotto without so much as a raised eyebrow, and he accepts my stiff apologies with grace and not a hint of bad feeling. It's as if he knows that I need to get this all out, although I don't think he would have actually thought as far as that, it's doesn't appear to be a conscious effort on his behalf. The guy gets me, what more can I say?

I got interviewed by one of my favourite online friends as part of a new feature on local mommy-bloggers on her website - thanks Lisa, the most Mommalicious of them all ;) Naturally, three minutes after the feature went live, my internet went down and so a bunch of new folk finding their way here are reading old news, which annoys me more than I can express. Sorry new people. I was better at this last year.

Amends, making amends, it's all I seem to be doing of late. People who know me in real life - please could you remind me not to fall this far down a hole again? It's bloody hard work getting out of it. Thanks.

The only other thing I really need to say right now is this - how gorgeous is the late morning sun burning off the mist outside my bedroom window?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where smugness gets you

Purple crayon in left hand - thanks for vindicating me, sweetheart. Eat that Shane.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Once in a while I have a sleepless night. And before you start telling me it comes with the parental territory, let me qualify - it's not related to my child, my relationship, my finances, or anything else of substance. It's my imagination, running wild, ripped out of the harness I keep it in and spinning like a dervish, miles above me and completely out of my reach. You're going to laugh at what set me off. It's those damned vampire stories. Perhaps I should explain?

I've been battling against a lack of focus for sometime. I've picked up at least ten different novels in the last ten months with the intention of reading them, and I haven't been able to get beyond the first few lines. I have never had this problem before and it's been freaking me the hell out. Normally, I can happily read a book a night, will gladly go without sleep just so I can absorb those last few chapters. It was one of the warning bells for me, my inability to partake of something I adore as much as reading. The fact that my meds have given that bit of joy back to me is glorious. And I have all but consumed anything that vaguely resembles literature in my house since, making up for lost time I guess.

So, after finishing a couple of half-read novels I had lying around, I thought I'd move swiftly on to a series my little sister has been harping on about for a while now. Years even. Yes folks, I'm talking about the Twilight saga, Edward and Bella and werewolves and pale skin and red eyes - the whole schtick. It's taken me roughly a week to get up to speed on what apparently has taken teen romance to a whole other level.

I can understand why people are so taken in with these stories. How could they not be? It's first love and first kisses, it's the delicious agony of protracted foreplay that is sexual awakening, it's about good and evil and a hundred shades of grey in between. I don't care who you are, there's no way you could have passed into adulthood without at least a taste of all of those things.

It makes me nostalgic, makes me smile for the girl I was once, the dear little wretch with crappy self-esteem and not an inkling that she might be considered attractive to certain members of the opposite sex. There are memories from that era that carry profound humiliation for me, things that I've only recently been able to examine from other perspectives. There are memories that carry so much confusion, so much ecstasy, so much of everything really - moderating emotions really is a difficult concept to grasp with so little life experience.

Truthfully - as much as I envy my younger self her smooth skin and perky breasts, as much as I sometimes itch for the thrill of a first kiss, as much as I pine for dreams I left behind - I wouldn't go back to being seventeen again by choice. I like how well I know myself now.

There's more to say, so much more, but my eyes are heavy and my brain is slow. An imagination is a beautiful thing, but so very tiring to keep up with, particularly while conscious. I'm just really happy to have found my voice again, albeit a slightly deranged and over tired voice tonight. It's worth smiling about.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Ezra,

I wanted to write to you on your birthday, but things haven't been quite as straight forward as I'd like around here lately. Still, as the saying goes, 'better late than never', and you'll find out in your life that I take that notion quite seriously. (It's not that I don't realise the importance of marking an occasion, rather that I prefer to be sincere in my wishes instead of hammering out another cliche for the sake of good time-keeping - you understand, don't you?)

Your lifetime to date totals fourteen months and a day. I almost can't believe a life can be so short and still have as much impact as yours has had.

You are a source of much hilarity, Little One, mischief has found you and made you its willing servant. You are regularly found wandering down the passage from the bathroom, merrily unrolling five bucks worth of two-ply as you go. I closed the bathroom doors for a few weeks to try to discourage you (unsuccessfully), and soon you found that lifting up whole sections of parquet flooring could be just as fun. And almost as fun as the fireplace and its never-ending supply of soot. Almost as fun as the booze cabinet and all those sparkly, smashable glasses it holds. Almost as fun as unpacking bookshelves, drinking the dogs water, switching the washing machine on and off midcycle, and climbing up everything.

You say a few words perfectly now - 'shoes, Gogo, Homer, Dad'. You refuse to say anything that sounds like Mom, though you can point me (as well as your grandparents, aunts and uncles) out in a room full of people. The rest of your communication arsenal is baby sign language and sound effects. Jack the Labrador and Buell the Rottweiler are known as woof woof. Our cars are vroom vrooms, the birds are whoo hoooos (the owl sound Dad taught you), food is mmmmm mmmmmm combined with tapping your hands to your tummy in an approximation of the hand signs we've been teaching you. You eat your meals at the table with us, breakfast and lunch with me, dinner with Dad included. You eat almost everything, and in healthy amounts. You love to sit on the kitchen counter while I cook or bake, passing the time by stirring, sampling, and generally fidgeting with whatever I'm busy with.

You like to follow Chorina around the house as she goes about her day, sweeping when she sweeps, wiping when she wipes, running off with the toilet brush when her back is turned. You like to sing, and accompany most of your mischief with song. You frequently stand in front of the radio, pointing and singing and dancing in an effort to get us to switch it on for you. Bob Dylan, The Offspring, The Beatles and Suzanne Vega are high up on your list of singalong tunes. Dad's been trying to teach you to chant Oompah Loompah while marching around the house, and I laugh each time you get closer to mastering it. We always know you're unpacking my handbag or shoving something into the video machine when you're silent.

I've tried to show you how to draw, but for now you appear content to eat the crayons. You're very right handed in most things, a little victory for Dad. He likes to pretend that I am inferior for being a lefty. It's still early for him to be getting smug about that though. You love to look at books, your favourite being a book of shapes as told by the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. I don't know where the book came from, but it is a seriously stupid story. I can't wait for the day when you're as bored of it as I am. We read it at least seventeen times a day.

You are healthy my love, almost never sick. You figured out that sleeping was best done for long periods, at night, not long after you were born, and I thank you for that. You rarely interrupt our sleep patterns, the exception being the one or two nights before your new teeth arrive. Those nights you snuggle up in our bed, the rest of the time you sleep in your own bed, curled around your favourite furry dog. The cot didn't get as much use as I expected it would. Then again, my expectations have hardly been accurate. And you have exceeded every one of them anyway.

It's been an eventful year and a bit. I never imagined that I actually would forget what my life was like before you, even though so many people said it would happen.

Thanks, Little Guy, for being all that you are.

I love you more than I knew I could.

Mom x

Friday, April 8, 2011

Navel gazing

Sometime in the next week or so I need to go back to my GP to assess how I'm doing on my drugs, and to be given the repeat prescription for the next five months. Sounds simple enough, right?

"Hi doc, it's me again. Yes, yes - all singing, all dancing, smiley-faced and dry-eyed. Side effects? Well, a touch of dry mouth in the morning, but that I can live with. None of the weightloss you promised. I was hanging a few hopes on that. Mmm. Ezra? He's fine. No, no more thoughts of strapping him to a rocket and sending him skywards. Yes, quite right you were, quite right, not an ideal solution to a parenting crisis. Committed to completing my course of treatment? Of course. As I said I would be. Repeat my script? Erm, sure. No, no problem. No, not at all.. Well..., there is the one thing. It's just, ....well, ...about that commitment you want..."

Could someone just explain to me what the deal with human nature is? Because in my newly clear and rational mind, I know, that the right thing to do is to go on with the drugs as planned, wean myself off sometime after September and wait to see if the problem is resolved once and for all. If not, reassess treatment and get on with getting on.

Instead, what I'd like to do is, either scrap the drugs entirely (okay, I don't actually want to do that) or be changed onto something that is safe in pregnancy so we can go ahead with the original (read: pre-depression) plan to start trying for number two sometime soon. If I'm not okay in September and I'm going to have to stay on pills forever then why change our plans, right? You see, if we leave it until after September to start trying, then we're going to have a baby born in winter, and getting up in the middle of the night will be yuckier than necessary. And if we wait until the next year, well, a three year gap is too big for my ideals, and it's an uneven number, and I don't want it.

I am fully aware of just how inane the 'want' side of my argument is and even more so, I am amazed to see that the 'need' side of my brain is still entertaining the debate. Because really, what is important in the long run, is not the mental health of their mother, but the perfect two year gap between our children. Right? Groan.

And while I write this, Reality stands up and slaps me on the ear. "So you think all that stands in your way is a fistful of pills and a timing problem? How about the miracle that is successful conception? And a healthy pregnancy? A perfectly formed set of hands and ears and toes? Dry your eyes little girl, and be grateful for what you've got. You've got more choices than most."

Thanks for that Reality. Always nice to know someone is waiting in the wings to piddle all over my pity party / parade.

The real concern for me is this: I am completely smitten with my little boy, and I wouldn't change a thing about him. But as his cuteness grows (and grows and grows), so does his anti-cuteness. And I am rapidly chickening out of doing this all over again (yes, I hear you laughing, those of you whom I had assured that I wanted at least three children. Laugh it up, I know where you live). I know that this testing stage will get worse before it gets better, I know it will get a lot worse, and I know that it will get a lot better. But if I don't get myself pregnant soon, I think the worse part will get the better of me before the better part arrives. And by then I'll be way too scared to start with a brand new baby all over again. Thinking about it is already bringing me out in a light sweat.

Is that a really crappy reason to want to try for another one right now? I'm trying to make myself feel that I'm being selfless (*cue violins* putting aside her need for anti-depressants, one mother fights her doctor and her demons to provide an appropriately planned two-years-younger-sibling for her son...) but I'm damned sure that I'm really just being idiotic for the sake of argument. Shane's take on this: 'Well, we'll just wait'. End thought process. Infuriatingly reasonable. I flushed the toilet while he was in the shower the other night to punish him for it. Swine.

You know, I really thought I was going to skip all the angst about parenting. Truly I did. For now I'm putting it down to the last few months of zero navel-gazing and hoping it'll leave me in peace, instead of in pieces.

Until that happens I'll be in the pantry, sucking down gin and hot cross buns. All visitors welcome.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On a more interesting note

I've been on my happy pills for almost two weeks now, which is just long enough to feel their effects. Turns out I'm on the good stuff, I really do feel remarkably better. Better enough, in fact, to rethink drudging through my archives and boring you with how crap it is to be miserable and a mom and a wife and... blah. Enough bloggers doing that schtick methinks.

This week my sister-in-law decided to visit for a couple of nights, and so did my mom. Gawd. My mom (Barbs) is a bit of an awkward guest in our house at the moment. I'm not sure why, but recently she seems to be deathly afraid of irritating Shane and goes to extreme lengths to avoid doing so. Which irritates the living bejeesus out of me, particularly since my darling husband is the most innocuous son-in-law that anyone could ask for.

On Thursday morning, Barbs got up at the crack of dawn to drive two of our staff to a farm 200kms away, where they would spend the day digging up the balance of our newly purchased iris stock. It was an enormous relief that I didn't have to go myself, the last two trips were a nightmare of extreme sleepiness on the road, and I was starting to think I was being reckless with other people's lives. So, when my alarm went off at 5:45am I should have woken up feeling grateful that all I had to do was help pack the car and see them off. Instead, my gentle cellphone alarm was overridden by a loud, incoming phonecall from my mother which first confused, and then panicked, me.

As I answered her call she hung up, so I leapt out of bed, charged out of our room and ran down the passage to investigate what could only have been an emergency to warrant such an early morning call. I found Barbs standing in the kitchen, staring serenely out of the window at the dawn while her tea was brewing. I asked if she had phoned me intentionally, she said yes, she wanted to get the front door keys but she didn't want to wake Shane by knocking on our bedroom door. I don't know what her idea of knocking on a door is, but apparently it's a damnsight louder than any ringtone I possess and twice as intrusive. Wisely, she left at speed.

A few hours later, the sister-in-law (SIL) decided to get out of bed. Having completed her degree last year, she is now trapped in a sort of limbo, willing to work but unable to commit to any job while she waits for news of her boyfriend who is off fighting someone else's war in Afghanistan, and who has promised her happily ever after when his tour of duty is completed at the end of April. The SIL is something of a mystery to me. When there is fun to be had she is the life of the party. But when things slow down she is either an extreme hypochondriac or the most unhealthy person I know. My beliefs tend towards the former.

Her ailment du jour is tension headaches, aggravated, naturally, by sub- and not-so-sub- conscious stressing over the war and the possibility of a not-alive-anymore boyfriend. Mmmm. A bit of a stretch to my mind, but I will give her the benefit of doubt and assume she is extremely sensitive. Since The Headache is apparently the cause of crippling pain, a preventative treatment plan has been mapped out which includes thrice weekly visits to a physio, a course of treatments with a body stress release practicioner and any number of appointments with her GP to keep the muscle relaxants flowing. This will be continued until The Headache surrenders, or until a new ailment takes precedent, or until there is a party going on.

After breakfast and a brief cuddle with Ezra, SIL announces that The Headache is starting to niggle and retreats to her room for a dose of pain relief, followed by a three hour 'nap'. She surfaces again to shower, another cuddle, a spot of lunch. Three words into our first actual conversation and I am interrupted by the lurking of The Headache, which must, of course, be remedied before it becomes Serious. Another handful of pills, another 'nap'. Late afternoon, SIL surfaces once again, bemoaning the strange jelly-like feeling in her legs. Must be her Low Blood Pressure, of course, no chance if could be the excessive muscle relaxants drifting around in her blood stream. Dinner, a bit of chit chat, and then, to bed with another dose of whatever-the-hell tablets, just in case The Headache tries to ambush her in her sleep. Thank heavens it didn't, because if this is prevention protocol, I don't think I want to be around for an actual attack. Miraculously, upon accepting an invitation to breakfast with an old friend the next morning, all traces of The Headache have disappeared. A lucky thing, indeed.



Friday, March 18, 2011

Drum roll, please

My friend Bird remarked the other day that my 2011 blog archives and the film The Highlander shared the same tagline - 'there can be only one'. Point taken, and thanks for a much needed giggle.

Yesterday morning I had what can only be described as a complete meltdown over something so trivial it makes me cringe. I've been feeling lacklustre of late, detached and disengaged from the people I love, and finding it hard to see the lighter side of anything. So I scuttled off to my GP, expecting a prescription for a magic multivitamin and a dose of pull-yourself-together-ness. I left with a diagnosis of clinical depression and six month's supply of happy pills. Phwoar.

I don't like to admit that things are not okay. I don't like to be sick. But more than that, I don't like to be trudging through life searching for a catalyst to make me happy again. So I'm going to take those pills and I'm going to give myself a break. At the beginning of this year a friend asked if I had made any resolutions, and I replied that my only plan for this year was to be kinder to myself. Less angry at the things I don't necessarily enjoy about who I am. I'm hoping that this is the start of that.

You're going to be seeing a bit of retrospective blogging going on here for the next couple of weeks while I clear out my drafts folder of all the little thoughts I wanted to share but didn't. Maybe you'll see the pattern that got me to where I am now - apparently I missed it. A hundred brownie points to the person who can pinpoint the start of my downhill slide. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another misty day

We're almost a month into the new year already - can you believe it? So far, I've learnt a few things.

1) When your friends are talking about getting divorced, the smart thing to do is go far away and stay there until the dust settles. The stupid thing to do is blog about it and send them the link. All three of you who actually read this blog might notice that the offending post has been removed. Mmm.

2) When babies start pretending they can walk, they tend to fall over a hell of a lot. And bash their heads. And bruise themselves. If you happen to see me and my black and blue baby walking the streets, know this: We are not a domestic violence situation. We are toddler-, and parent-of-toddler-, -in-training.

3) Sometimes friendships are just put on hold. Intentionally or not. And sometimes you just need to leave them that way until you have a reason to revive them. My Spoon - this one's for you. I think about you often.

4) Lightning really can strike you through the kitchen and bathroom taps in your house. Apparently I began to doubt my father's authority (he was hit twice) on this subject somewhere along the line. Lesson learned. My faith in his wisdom has been restored, as of roughly 6pm last Saturday evening.

We've been a-farmin' we have, these last few weeks. Our little spot was allowed, by former owners, to become horrendously overgrown and undermaintained, as well as being a study in the art of the 'quick fix'. As a result, everything that needs doing around here generally needs undoing and then redoing. Extremely frustrating and time-consuming. Still, we've managed to swop a few services with our neighbours and are slowly starting to see the bones of what could be a very beautiful little patch of paradise. Our neighbours are an interesting bunch, I think I'll have to introduce them to you sometime soon...

There is a big year ahead of us, milestone birthdays, a new business venture, perhaps another little superhero in the mix. This year my father will have been dead for exactly half of my life, and though I think of him and miss him always, I don't feel ripped off by fate anymore. If I think of the life my father had tentatively mapped out for me, I very much doubt that I would be where I stand today, holding the hand of the man I love while our child plays at our feet. He would always have wished me happiness, just perhaps not have approved of the course I have taken in getting it.

I did something last week that I am intensely proud of. Without going into too much detail, I stood up for someone who was unable to defend herself. I was terrified, sitting in the car, waiting to go into that meeting. I sucked down half a bottle of Rescue Remedy, nearly brought up my breakfast, and was shaking so badly that I couldn't even turn my cellphone off. Every teeny little nerve in my body was firing madly as I stood in an empty boardroom trying to quell the instinct to flee. The lawyer walked in, followed by his client, and as I met their eyes and shook their hands I realised that a) they could only frighten me if I let them and, more importantly, b) I was allowed to be in control of myself. And I was. Spectacularly so. If you look up 'calm, collected and in control' in the dictionary you'll find a picture of me in a wood-panelled boardroom in Durban last week. And I will be kicking ass for the little people. Yessirree!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Toughen up or shaddup. Really.

I'll confess to being a bit of a social networking junkie. In particular, I waste many hours of my life on Facebook. I like to watch people, the way they present themselves, how they interact. You can understand then, the kind of appeal that these websites hold for me, to be able to watch without having to set up a reasonable, real, social situation in which to do it. I know that does sound vaguely sinister, it really isn't. I am, simply, quite fascinated by human nature. 

Recently though, I'm finding myself more and more annoyed at the way certain people behave. I don't know if that's just something you go through as you grow up, losing tolerance for things and people that don't fit into the way you think life should be. Maybe it's because my spare time is now quite precious that I don't want to have to trawl through the drivel that is the minutae of other people's virtual lives. Maybe it's because, when you've watched a loved one (or two, or ten) battle against legitimate and merciless illness (the usual suspects - cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, stroke), you stop feeling anything remotely like sympathy when the same person starts whining about the same headache that they've been whining about for the last five years. Or maybe it's just that there are some people you really can't remove from your circle, real or virtual, however annoying you may find them. One hundred brownie points if you've guessed that I'm talking about family.

I don't know exactly how or when it happened, but things are not the same between my family and I right now. My brother has a girlfriend, and spends what little free time he has with her. Fair enough. My sister and I have never really been close, so not much has changed. My mom and I, who tend to butt heads, found ourselves getting close during the weeks immediately after Ezra arrived - only to find ourselves pushing each other away again. I ended up in tears on Friday and found myself telling Shane that the best solution would just be for my mom to move far away and come visit once every two years. For a week at most.

I seem to be learning things in twos at the moment. The first thing I learned, or rather - realised, this week was that I have been brought up by extremely secretive parents. And as a result, I am an extremely secretive person. And I don't like it. I don't like that I have to find dark little places inside myself to hide how I feel about things. It feels like cancer. And I've had enough of that for ten lifetimes.

The second thing that I learned, or again - realised, is that no amount of feeling wounded or hurt or betrayed by anyone is going to change how they behave. My mom is far, far beyond the point of parenting. I've been an adult in her eyes for as long as she's been a widow. I have just never made the adjustment in my eyes from mother to - Friend? Relative? I don't know what she's supposed to be to me. I'm going with Ezra's Gran for the moment.

It's been a tough week, it's been an emotional bogwash. But I feel lighter, like someone cracked a window and all the stale air got the fuck out.

I started this post with the intention of bitching about a bunch of hypochondriacs that I know, and ended it with something that sounds vaguely like a fart joke.. amazing the way a mind can wander.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hello world

In the days BE (before Ezra), I naively imagined that this little person was going to slot right into my existing life. That I would make no changes barring adding a bit of pint-sized furniture, that he would come with me wherever I roamed, that I would feed him in restaurants and change him in public bathrooms, that people would look at me with amazement, wondering how I did it, as I continued to work full-time, study part-time, do my own housework and keep up socially with all and sundry whilst balancing a baby on one hip and a bowl of homemade, homegrown-veggie soup on the other. Stupid, stupid little twit. 

I didn't go back to work. I packed up my studies. I got a maid. And honestly, I had no idea that there were miners trapped in Chile until three days after they were freed even though it was apparently splashed all over the global news. No surprise to hear that I haven't a clue what is going on in the lives of my friends either.

When I thought about being a stay-at-home-mom, I really didn't think that I would racking up endless days of almost zero productivity. I didn't think that I would have to wait for my son to nap before I could have a shower or hang up the washing or vacuum the lounge. Or that I would have choose between those chores some days. I didn't think that my weekends would never really feel like time out, that I would be desperate for someone to babysit for a day, an hour, even just five minutes while I go to the loo!

I thought I would resent my son for any pieces of my life that were stolen from me, but I was wrong. Instead, I resent my husband for going out to work and leaving me here alone. I resent him and his parents for saying that this would be best for us all. I resent my mother for promising to spend weeks with me so I can get on top of things and then never arriving. I resent my maid for not coming to work regularly. I resent the dogs for barking, the birds for singing, the grass for growing too fast. I resent my couches for not matching, my car for not staying clean, I resent Facebook for its 'Lose your belly fat' adverts even though my baby weight is long gone.

And then I realise that being happy means there is no place for resentment. That I'm not the only mom that has ever felt this way. That I wanted this baby and this life.

Two very important things happened this week. The first was an ass-kicking and a vote of confidence from an unexpected quarter (thank you Sheldene). The second was that I gave myself a break from analysing my life and just lived it. And it was wonderful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

For the women I adore

My darling friends - B, C, D, F & K

When I started this blog, I had in mind the group emails that have gone between us. I had in mind the laughs, the truth, the ridiculousness. As is my tendancy (and well you know it) - I have gone and got myself all bloody confused. Instead of just putting out what I have, I've gone and looked at everyone else's blogs and got myself an alarming case of penis envy mixed with stage fright. Fuck.

I miss you guys. There are oceans between most of us, and highways between the rest of us. Sure, there are phonelines too, but it's just not the same. I've had to make new, everyday-type friends. Ones that have children the same age as my boy, ones that don't live faraway, ones that are kind of ticking along at the same pace of life that I am. It's fine. It's nice. But it's not any of you.

My mom has landed herself in a hideous mess. The stupid fuckwit moron she works (worked) for has declared himself bankrupt -ish. I say 'ish' because he's not. He's hiding money all over the show. Away from creditors and the taxman, that sort of thing. I believe the word for it is fraud, yes? My mom does his books, you'll recall, and has recently become aware of much dodgy dealings. Anyhoo, I don't remember what the last straw was for her, but she resigned, she was sort of forced into resigning. She saw a lawyer, and is owed compensation in the amount of some lovely six digit number. Ex-boss denies ability to pay, mom offers to show account balances to the contrary, ex-boss throws tantrum and tries to sue her for holding his personal info, she goes to creditors and offers them info in exchange for payment of amount due to her. Ex-boss starts all sorts of stupid intimidation-type crap including regular drive-bys of her home, appearances at 'private' court hearings, intimating phone calls are being monitored. I'm finding all of this pretty hard to take and not just for the obvious reasons. I half expect a bloody horse head to be thrown into the mix next.

Shane is my most favourite guy in the world ever. I think I might have told you that before, and I still mean it. He's great. He has his quirks, of course, which keep things interesting. Last week I found him wearing socks and slops, and swiftly walloped him across the ear for it. He went on to explain something about slippers being too hot and slops being too cool and this being the perfect solution. I scoffed and threatened everlasting chastity if he didn't sort it out pronto. He ignored me entirely and continues to dress like a chop. I suspect these quirks will only intensify with time, I was looking forward to it, but socks and slops are just too far. Too far. (Shane, I know you read this blog, and now everyone else does too. Sort it out. Seriously. And please bring home takeaways on Friday nights. You will score brownie points and I might even show you a little leg for your troubles. Thanks love x)

Ezra is my most favourite little boy in the world ever. He's getting his two front teeth right now, yip, Christmas came early for him. He's smart, ladies, he is so smart. He has started mimicking our actions, waves goodbye, shakes his head, sings along when I do. He tries to feed himself, he's desperately pretending he knows how to crawl, and his newest trick is pulling himself up to a standing position on our couches. I wish he wouldn't do that, because he hasn't yet learned to put his hands out in front of him when he falls so seems to be continuously face-planting into the floor. His sense of humour is developing rapidly - sneezing, bouncing a ball or twiddling my toes can all send him off into fits of giggles. If I ever figure out how to use youtube I'll send you a link. Too flipping cute.

I am, well, a little bit icky actually. Better than I have been, but still not okay. I thought maybe I was dealing with depression, but honestly, I think there's just a hell of a lot going on and it's all just a bit too close for me to be rational or practical about it. Well, that and the fact that I just really don't have the time to sit down and process the things that are going on. You all know I need a fair amount of me-time. My total time without Ezra since he was born is hovering around 10 hours at the moment, and most of that was spent flying around grocery stores with a trolley, flinging things in at random and hoping I would be home in time for his next feed. I have just stopped breastfeeding (like, three days ago) completely and am finding it quite a relief. Not that I ever minded breastfeeding, I quite enjoyed it actually. But Oh!, to be able to put my boy down on the floor and give him his bottle and to sit back and enjoy a cup of (still hot) coffee without him grabbing for my mug or pulling my hair or yanking on my nipple... Well, let's just say that my pleasures are very simple these days.

I have so much to say ladies, so much that I want to tell you. You are the ones I write to when I open the page that says 'New Post' - but it's hard when I don't get feedback. I'm not complaining or trying to guilt you into anything, it's just really not all that easy to carry on a one-sided conversation. Know what I'm saying?
I hope you don't mind that I've played catch up with you on such a public forum, but if I reverted to email this blog would fizzle and die. And I don't want that.

I have great intentions of making this a weekly event. Kick my ass if I don't, will you?

BEEG love to you all,