Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not for the feint hearted!

Wow! This has been a life changing week! It started with the celebration of Abbi's 5Th birthday and ended with me finally tackling my last remaining vice: eating(unhealthy food that is....).

You see, since I can remember, I have always had a crutch. In my teens it was food and then I left home and became a PARTY GIRL! Magically, I lost all my weight and became an abuser of alcohol. At nine or ten Captains and two packs a day, I felt as confident as ever...not a care in the world...and then I got into trouble. Nearly losing everything, including my life, I left my circle of friends. Thanks to a very kind employer (I'll always be so grateful to you, Mr Mike Smith) I exchanged my forced resignation letter for a gym contract. I dealt with my drinking by running on that treadmill...away from my pain, away from my insecurities....just me and that treadmill. Moving on a couple of years, I stopped smoking (three years now) and sadly, gymming...and grew into this babyweight-zilla!

The sacrifices we, as moms, make to have our precious little darlings can never be measured....there's the obvious ones like time, money,energy. But no-one really stopped to share with us (thanks alot, Mom!) the sheer beating our bodies take...the stretchmarks, incontinence, the abdominal muscles that will never, ever defy gravity ever again(!!!), increased facial hair (Waxing hurts, dammit!), sagging boobs and that our metabolisms could join the funeral brigade and still be faster than it is right now! So, I did what most young moms do...sat on the couch, eating a suitably healthy breakfast (just enough to make us feel like we're attempting to solve our ever increasing girth.) When, out of the blue on E!, they mentioned this group called Sparkle People and its free! What a revelation! Suspicious, though I was...I checked it out and lo and behold...there it was...the promised land of all who have taken a bite out of the apple of obesity and can't seem to swallow.

Its a system that's a cross between Facebook and MS Outlook. It has all the required ingredients needed for an effective lifestyle program: "my nutrition", "my fitness" and "weighing in". Added to this is the principle that people who go it alone have less chance of success...thus it builds an entire network of like minded people. The eating plans they offer are excellent and combines tasty with healthy and you can customise to your taste. I highly recommend a peek!

And of course there was my little girl's birthday celebrations...Easy, you say? Whahaha! What an epic job that was... You see, I'm not like those super mom's you hear about who has three kids and one on the hip and the other one on the hip....I'm more like a Volkswagen beetle up a hill...easy does it... I started with the preps two months ago. And still it was almost a disaster! First selecting the theme and then discovering that everyone is out to make a bucket load of money all for the sake of FUN. Well, I searched my friend Google for Madagascar 2 graphics, determined to do this on my own. I went to the website (you can find the link at the very bottom of the blog page) and wow! Under the "activities" tab they have an entire party section...decor, banners, hats, masks, stickers (which came in quite handy for the goody bags and general decorations), colouring & activity pages...everything you need as well as suggestions for games and food. I was stunned...not only at the fact that all this was free but that there are so many people who are willing to rip people off when they can get some of the products for free! But I digress...

So, for two months, I cut out (boy, did I cut out!) a lifetime of masks, banner lettering, stickers, hats and even created hundred of flowers and leaves to staple to the green streamers for the "jungle effect". Prince Charming, of course did help with the preparation...with packing the goody bags and covering the place mats...however, he informed me that he did not cut. Thanks a lot!!! The biggest job...but that's marriage for you!

On the day, we overslept, got held up in the cake shop and effectively only started decorating an hour before the scheduled pressure. We were like troopers...hit the ground running. That wonderful man...he did most of the decorating...he blew up balloons in record time, he hung streamers, stapled flowers, set the tables, placed the cups and serviettes. Superman would have run scared, I tell you! My mom had everything all set up...and all I was doing was the food! (Easy does it...) But the biggest pay off came, when that little girl's face lit up when she saw her cake..the candles...the food...everything. This was her day and she knew it. She looked at me, gave me a hug and thanked me in her best angel-voice. And then ran off to play...Needless to year its Mickey D's!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're going to the zoo....!

I have always considered myself a nature loving, freedom for all, world peace kind of gal'. It was in this politically correct spirit that I took my eldest daughter, Abigail(5) for her very first visit to the zoo. I wanted to pass on this legacy of loving all creatures as Adam was expected to do. With great excitement, we awakened at the crack of dawn on Saturday, had a quick breakfast and then we were off! We all felt like zoo pioneers, braving the great, polluted outdoors....traffic, hooting cars and road rage.

Upon our arrival we agreed to follow the 'Feeding Schedule'. Now, everyone who knows me, will tell you I have an uncanny ability to put my foot in 'it' and then dig even further...even the zoo was no challenge for me. So there we were, watching the cougars, armadillo's and spider monkeys. I spotted a couple, whom we had seen at our little feeding tour and subsequently we started chatting about our impressions of the zoo and zoo's in Africa.

At this point, I think I should explain a few things about myself: I am a farm girl in flesh and bone i.e I know how that piece of meat or chicken ended up on your plate (enough said). I am also an avid animal lover who believes that, even though co-habitation with wild creatures is a most challenging philosophy, they deserve to have the best quality of life possible no matter what that might entail. Couple that with a very opinionated nature and yes, a recipe for diplomatic disaster ala Bill Clinton.

So, there we were, talking about how we think that zoo's could improve an already well organised machine when the lady mentioned how appalled she was at the cougar enclosure and how they seemed to just lie around. Yes, I agreed, in fact my husband and I had seen the three packs of lions just lying about, seemingly uninterested, with nothing in their enclosure but grass and tree stumps when I said it: "Why don't they toss a live sheep in there every once in a while, so they can practice their hunting skills or put a couple of carps in the Polar Bear's enclosure to keep them active and stimulate them" Complete silence. I realised that I had said something wrong but what exactly? "You know?" I was hoping to glean some explanation of exactly what offence I had committed when the husband stepped in. "I don't think that would go down well with us city slickers, we can barely eat a fish if we saw it alive", he giggled nervously, while his wife regained her composure. "Sorry, I meant no offence. I come from a farm where I used to raise calves and chickens for my father and some of them used to end up in the I suppose...." I was digging and with every vein pulsating on that woman's forehead, I knew I was!

"That's like eating your own children!", was all she could muster, walking off with her husband apologetically glancing at me and waving goodbye. I had done it did it all go so wrong? I suddenly knew what men felt like when they did not notice their wives new haircuts...

These people, who visited the Kruger National Park regularly and watched Animal Planet, could not handle the truth about the basic circle of life? I was puzzled and told my darling husband who, sensing the impending danger, had quietly left for a smoke break. One look was enough. "What did you do to those poor people?", he inquired with a strict smile. I explained how such an intelligent conversation turned into a complete disaster,when he started laughing at me. Being from Johannesburg, I was hoping he could reveal the secrets of the City Dweller and here he was, laughing at me? By now, confusion was taking hold and there was nowhere to run! "Baby, you would never make it in politics" and then he walked to the bear enclosures.

As I stood there, I suddenly felt so very sorry for those people. They would never fully appreciate the prowess of a lioness or the stealth of a tiger. They would never understand the pure majesty of a creature being truly wild, as God intended.

"In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." - Baba Dioum, Senegalese poet

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fevers and tantrums...

What a week this has been!!! Abigail (5) has just started pre-school and Adrianne (almost 8 months) had her first proper cold....and you know what that means!!! Yip! No sleep for Mommy!! Lets face it! Being a stay at home mommy is the bravest thing you'll ever do...let me explain:

Despite what happened the night with the baby (teething problems/flu/niggles/lost pacifier etc), I wake up at 5 AM every morning to see Abigail off to school...not because I am super-mom, but because I know that I am going to be woken up anyway by the screams of torture and the tears that tantrums bring...being a very non-morning type of person...I would much rather get up myself and feel like I chose to get up (and thus, feeling more like I am the driver of my life, you understand). You would think that after the storm has been packed off to school, I would get back into bed,right? Wrong!!!!

I have to pump my engorged least until they decide to stop producing milk...hoping and praying that Adrianne does not wake up during. And wouldn't you know it...? She normally wakes up at exactly the wrong time...because kids have the darndest sense of timing, don't they? Ask any parent and they could tell you about that one time when, "you were only going to be away from the house for 5 minutes", you had to turn back half way to change the sodden clothes of a three year old in potty training...or the one time when, after noticing that you never use the diaper bag for an hour long shopping trip so you don't pack it because you've just changed the diaper, only to realise that you are going to have to choose between going all the way home or add diapers, wet wipes and rash cream to your ex-short shopping list. Yes, these little tykes are not to be underestimated for their timing abilities.

After giving Adrianne her breakfast(cleaning her eyes, ears, hair, nose, fingers...because the food goes everywhere but the right place), its diaper change, getting dressed and entertainment. Nap time follows and then its dishes, cleaning the house and washing her bottles. She wakes up in an hour or two...again with the whole timing thing! Repeat the above minus the dishes, because these little things can mess a house up like nobody's business and before you know it, its nap time again...and then dinner's next. Meanwhile, princess Abigail has come home and is in need of reassurance and understanding and oh yes! "School's very nice and I have fun there but I am not going again, Mommy!"

By the time my prince charming comes home, I am barely hanging onto sanity when its dinnertime,bath time, bedtime. And concepts like 'meaningful conversations' and 'foreplay' are far away words I USED to know the meaning of. ..

Wouldn't you know it? The baby wakes up at 2AM all ready for her night time feed(despite all the books AND the internet stating otherwise when ingestion of solids begin) and I remember what I used to do this time of night. As I finish the diaper change and get ready to feed her, she looks up at me ....our eyes meet...and then she gives me this incredible smile that says:"You ROCK my world, Mommy" Thats when you know that all of it is so worth it...