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Tag Archives: Rudi

Broken Bone

Where does one begin to write a post about your child seriously injuring themselves? Right here I guess. My 3 year old daughter broke her collarbone. Proper broke it. She also broke my heart while she was at it.

I was booked off work on Thursday and Friday with bronchitis and feeling rather shitty. This bout had a quick onset and left me completely drained. On Saturday morning at 2 AM Rudi left for work and didn’t return again till late Sunday night. I had managed to get through most of the weekend unscathed and the children were dressed, entertained and fed.

We live in a gated community. The children run around freely and play with each other almost every day, depending on the weather and if they had escaped being grounded for whatever reason. This day was no different. There is a park right across the road from our place. The road is fairly quiet and the children know to look for cars. The park has a swing set and a basic jungle gym with a slide, some monkey bars and a tyre swing. One of the monkey bars has been missing for a while, but the distance between the platform and the other side is fairly short, so the gap doesn’t render them useless. The kids were playing in the park and I was sitting on my balcony keeping an eye on them. I went inside to go to the loo and when I returned Gabby was crying and walking back home complaining about her arm. Elijah said she had been swinging on the monkey bars and he had been holding her legs (as we often do when we are near). She then slipped or let go and he didn’t have a good grip on her and she fell to the ground, landing on her shoulder. Not too long ago she had also fallen in the park and refused to use her wrist while crying bitterly. I went into a panic and we rushed to the emergency room after giving her pain meds. While waiting to see a doctor the meds kicked in and the wrist was completely forgotten. For good. Fool me once, they say. I had struggled to get Gabby to sleep the previous night so I let her skip her nap. She cried for a long time and I nursed her to comfort her (yay boobs!). She kept almost falling asleep, so I talked her into bathing so she could go to bed. She had trouble lifting her arm, but I managed to get her bathed and dressed. I had given her something for pain and she seemed better.

The next morning she still refused to use her arm and I noticed her shoulder seemed swollen. I had already been off work due to my illness and Rudi was working a later shift, so I asked him to drop me at work and take her to the doctor to make sure everything was OK. I managed to get her an early appointment and she was sent for x-rays. My worst fear was realized. She had broken a bone. Rudi muttered something about possible surgery and I got my bestie to take me to the hospital. I was met with a very brave little girl who told me “Mommy, doctor fix mine arm” with a cute sling.

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Thankfully they didn’t operate because she is still so young. I was horrified when I saw the x-rays. When you can’t actually *see* the break it’s easy to minimize the severity of it in your head, until you *have* seen it and it is all you see when you look at your baby girl in her sling, almost as if you now possess x-ray vision yourself.

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As if it wasn’t bad enough that my heart was broken because my baby was in so much pain, Rudi blamed me for the accident. I know it wasn’t my fault and even if I had been right there I might not have been able to prevent it, because shit happens. It just does. It really got my back up though and I was furious with him for not being supportive, also considering that I was ill and had been tending to the house, children and myself all weekend with no help. When she went back to the day mother I got repeated scoldings from her as well about what an irresponsible parent I am. When I told Rudi about her judgement he was more forgiving towards me than he had been the previous day. Perhaps he had sufficient time to get over the shock himself, but the words hurt and fueled my mommy guilt even further.

I have been so very impressed with how Gabby has been handling this. She doesn’t complain and insists on doing things for herself, even when we offer help. She only has use of her non dominant arm, but climbs into the car and back out by herself. She barely requests help and has even adjusted by colouring in with her left hand. The first couple of nights she woke up around the time her last administered pain meds would wear off and requested more. By the third night she slept through and was sleeping on her side, back and stomach again.

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Whenever you ask her if she is okay or if she is in pain she smiles and says “Me fine!”. The orthopedic surgeon did not tell us to come back for a check up or another x-ray, only that she would need to wear the sling for 10 days. By the looks of things she is healing quite rapidly. I was surprised they didn’t try to line the bone up, apparently this happens on its own. They did mention she might have a lump there for 6 months to a year and that it is normal.

I’m so grateful that she is doing well and seems to be better every day. It could have been worse, but I sincerely hope this is the last time we need x-rays to see if everyone’s bones are intact!

How You Know You’re Married to a Truck Driver

Hi there!

I thought I would write this in light of how our lives have changed recently*. I dreaded Rudi taking on this specific profession as all I could see was the probability of long distance driving and loose women at truck stops along the way. So here is a little insight into what it is like to be married to a truck driver.

  • You have to set the alarm for obscene hours. No time is sacred. Whether it’s midnight/2 AM or 5 PM, your body clock will never be the same again. My husband makes me set the alarm on my phone. I also have to turn it off. Thanks for that honey!
  • You suddenly have an unprecedented respect for truck drivers everywhere and allow them ahead of you in traffic.
  • You begin to understand that driving a truck is a very skilled job and not just any guy off the street can do it and do it well.
  • You cringe at the stories of daredevil escapes on mountain passes where the edge of the tire literally touched the boundary wall on the outer side of the mountain.
  • You’re very proud when your husband tells you about the amazing job he did reversing a 12 meter trailer into a very awkward spot, so awkward it drew a crowd that applauded when he got it right.
  • You laugh about and can relate to people in the CBD jumping out of their seats while dining alfresco to make sure that your husband doesn’t scrape their parallel parked cars in the narrow street.
  • You constantly worry about your husband not getting enough sleep.
  • You’re starting to understand how hard single parenting must be (bar not having a second income) because there is just nobody around to help.
  • Every time you see a branded truck on the road you rubber neck to check if your husband is driving it.
  • You are now expected to cook every day for the first time in 15 years and have no idea what you are doing.
  • You marvel at your husband’s ability to work a 22 hour shift and still have the energy to take care of (and request to take care of) husbandly duties.
  • You are grateful that your husband is safe every time he sets foot in the front door.
  • You are so exhausted from trying to keep all the balls in the air by yourself that you are not ashamed when you fall asleep with the children at 8 PM.
  • Your bed now hosts the entire family since there is often a big blank spot where your husband used to be.
  • You’ve seen (photos of) the inside of a truck for the first time in your life and wonder if you need a pilot’s license to be able to drive it.
  • You know what a splitter box is (this truck driver blog explains it, good luck understanding it!)
  • Your husband can quote the Fast & Furious movie in all seriousness by saying “I live my life a quarter mile at a time”, because he never knows what’s around the corner and whether he is going to make it o.O

I hope you enjoyed this post! I certainly enjoyed the original* 🙂

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*I was inspired by a funny post on Cindy’s blog to write this. You can read her post about being in a relationship with an architect by clicking here.

Rolling in the Deep End – Rudi’s New Job

Life has been super hectic lately. Rudi has been permanently appointed at his new job. This is absolutely great news for us! It means that we will at least have a basic salary to rely on at the end of each month as opposed to the drips and drabs we have been getting since the beginning of the year. He was supposed to be permanent from the first of June, but an administrative balls up at the office means he only signed his contract on the 16th of June. This means that all the work he did from the 1st to the 16th he was still classified as a contractor and will be paid less than he would have if his contract had been signed on time. It is so very annoying because we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, only for the light to be switched off. Not by Eskom, mind you! So he’ll likely only get half a salary this month and since the overtime cut off is the 16th of the month, any overtime he has worked while permanent will only be paid out at the end of July. Now we’ll be wishing another month away in the hopes of having some extra cash flow. He has been working so very hard. We barely see him. From the first of June he did not have one day off until the 21st where he finally got one day off, only to return back to the grindstone the next day. I have been concerned about him not having any time off and not getting enough rest, but he insists he is fine.

I don’t know who this is harder for, me or the kids. Elijah has always been very close with his dad. Since he was a baby, really and never having him around has been really hard on him. He regularly expresses sadness because his father is not home with us. Often Rudi only comes home after they have gone to bed and leaves again before they get up in the morning, sometimes days go by without them seeing him. Since Gabby is very attached to me it doesn’t seem to bother her too much, but she is still really excited when daddy does come home before bedtime. As for me…while I do miss Rudi, we chat during the day via Whatsapp and phone, so we do have constant contact. Rudi used to be very hands on when he was home. He used to cook and help out bathing the kids. Now I’m doing it all alone. Do we need something from the shop? I’ll get it. Do we need to eat? I’ll cook. Kids need to bath? I’ll bath them. The day mother needs bags packed? Sure thing (this has always been my responsibility). Dishes? Here, let me. Clean the house? I’ll get it! Kids sick? I’ll get them to the doctor, get meds and administer them. It is chaos. All.The.Time. I knew I had it easy with all the help I had before. I appreciated it then, but even more now.  Throw loadshedding into the mix and I am totally screwed some evenings. If we have the 18:00 – 20:30 slot and I don’t get home around 17:00 like we do most days, I can forget about cooking, we have to bath/shower in the dark and the kids go to sleep super early because it is dark and they are bored. If we have the 16:00 – 18:30 slot, I have to start cooking much later and that delays everything. I can’t exactly bath the kids at 17:00 and keep them indoors. Elijah wants to play with his friends outside/at their house so I have to wait. Thanks Eskom!

Sometimes my evenings look like this:wpid-img-20150603-wa0030.jpegwpid-wp-1435296954885.jpegThese 2 photos above were taken within seconds of each other. A lot of my evenings look like this at some point. Sometimes Elijah is playing with friends in the complex and they possibly look like this (if I actually have time to give them my undivided attention between the cooking/cleaning/preparing for the next day):wpid-img-20150620-wa0015.jpegRudi has migrated Elijah into our bed since he is often not there or gets home too late to go and lay down with him until he falls asleep. It’s a tight squeeze. All 4 of us in one king size bed. Although, I must admit while it is winter this is a warm arrangement. Heaven knows what we’ll do in summer. Before Elijah came over, I was able to turn around and cuddle Rudi if Gabby was content sleeping unlatched by herself. Now I turn around and am faced with Elijah, which means zero cuddle time for Rudi and I. I miss that. While I realize some people may cringe at the idea of having their children in their bed and will cluck their tongues and say “You’ll never get them out of there”, this arrangement is working for us right now. It means nobody feels left out and everybody gets a good night’s sleep. In fact, I listened to advice from people before Elijah was born and moved him into his own room when he was 4 months old. I also made sure he always slept in his cot before he moved out of our room. With Gabby co-sleeping was the only option for me as I successfully breastfed her and I’m all about that convenience. No getting up out of a warm bed for feeds for me thankyouverymuch. After co-sleeping with Gabby for a while I regretted not doing it with Elijah. I really felt like I had missed out on something special with him. My mornings look like this:wpid-img-20150612-wa0002.jpegI have been getting a lot of comments lately from people about still breastfeeding Gabby. Actually, the comments are usually directed at her. “When are you going to stop drinking boobs?” “Gabby, it’s time for you to get off the boob now”. Really? I just don’t understand how it affects anyone other than Gabby and myself. Breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing in her life and the most useful mothering tool for me. Another thing I missed out on with Elijah. No matter what crops up with Gabby, breastfeeding is the answer. Tired? Boob. Get hurt? Boob. Overstimulated? Boob. Thirsty? Boob. Bored? Boob. Tantrum? Boob. Best.Thing.Ever. When people ask ME when I plan to wean her, I usually just answer “Maybe when she is in high school”. This is normally followed by nervous laughter. I’m starting to wonder if people think I’m serious. Perhaps the statement makes them realize that nursing a 30 month old isn’t so ridiculous after all. I don’t know and I really don’t care. My circus, my monkeys – Mind your own tits.

Breastfeeding selfie…can you even tell?wpid-img-20150622-wa0026.jpegRudi’s work schedule is still completely unpredictable, so we cannot plan our lives at all. He is always at work, so if we are invited somewhere or try to make plans, I usually have to exclude him from the equation. If he is able to come along, it’s a bonus. It isn’t like we had a roaring social life before, but it is rather limiting. We cannot, for example, plan to take the kids somewhere over the weekend, or commit to popping around somewhere for a braai. I can’t even plan something for myself as we do not have anyone at our disposal that can watch the children if Rudi isn’t there to look after them if I go out. It just isn’t logistically possible. While this part is sucky, I’m sure we will adapt. It is the kind of sacrifices we’ll have to make to have more money and to progress.

Rudi has big dreams. He dreams of buying a house of our own. I have learnt to have faith in his dreams. At the beginning of this year he said “2015 is my year. I can feel it.” I didn’t believe him. He was relentless and worked extremely hard and here we are. His first goal achieved, his first dream realized. Onwards and upwards!

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Blessings Among The Trials

The strangest thing is happening in my life. We are in the tightest financial position we’ve been in since my mother put me in such a deep financial hole that we didn’t have food over 8 years ago. Wow. That sounded bad, but it is the reality of what it was at the time. We aren’t starving and the bills are paid, but there are no frills at the moment and the fact that I didn’t have a car payment completely saved our bums over these last few months, but that is all about to change.

As my readers will know I had to buy a new car, then this past week my washing machine packed up. It was like the motor just conked in and was not strong enough to pump out the water anymore.  Doing laundry was chaos. There were buckets involved and McGyver’ing of pipes. Only problem was that we had zero flexibility in our budget to purchase a washing machine, even if we put it on the budget on my credit card. The installment still needs to be paid. I was speaking to my mother about this and she said she would buy the washing machine for me. That I should put it on the budget on my credit card and she would hand over the monthly installment for me before the end of each month. Of course, I know that I cannot trust her to give me the money. I might as well draw up a contract on toilet paper, use it and flush it down the drain. That is how much it is worth. She got extremely upset with me for even suggesting that she wouldn’t hold up her end of the bargain and went on about how she needs a chance to prove herself to me again and that she can’t get me to trust her if I don’t give her an opportunity. I slept on this and then decided that I could take a calculated risk. The washing machine had to be bought, no two ways about it. I figured even if she pays it for the first month or two, by that time Rudi would have been permanently appointed and we would be able to afford the installment on our own. So I purchased the washing machine.

We bought a 13 kg Samsung top loader. Our old one had a 7 kg capacity. Upgrading to a larger one was actually long overdue since the size of our family has doubled since the first one was purchased. I found it on special at Game, but they didn’t have stock. I went to Hi-Fi Corporation, they had the same machine on special for R 200.00 more. I asked them to match Game’s price, but the manager refused at first because Game didn’t have stock. What a dick move. I said I would wait for stock or source one from another branch.  They quickly changed their minds and gave the machine to me at the same price I would have paid at Game. Sorted.

Leebeesa has just married her true love and they are emigrating to Ireland at the end of this month. Consequently they are selling all the contents of their house. Unfortunately they had already sold the washing machine by the time mine conked in, but they did have an awesome Coricraft couch they were trying to sell. Rudi and I still had a hand me down couch and a large couch we bought from my mother second hand when we moved in together. I had told Rudi that we could buy a lounge suite once we no longer had a cat, since she would just claw the crap out of it. Amber has been gone for quite some time and he has been trying to hold me to that promise. He was eyeing a 20 k leather lounge suite for YEARS. Literally. I told him about the couch Leebeesa was selling and he seemed interested and went to look at it while I was at work one day. We decided to take it. I had to suck the funds out of my savings (which have halved in the last few months), but it is a reasonably new high quality couch at a price we just couldn’t pass up.

 

On Saturday our downstairs neighbour was kind enough to help us collect the couch and washing machine. He has a nice big double cab bakkie (pick up truck) and a trailor, so we managed to get everything in one trip. When we got home we discovered that the washing machine just didn’t fit underneath our counter like our old one did. Rudi wanted to chop the counter, but I was dead set against this as we are renting. So we played tetris in our kitchen and started shifting around appliances. Our dishwasher is now standing where the washing machine used to and the washing machine where the dishwasher used to stand. The tumble dryer used to be on top of the dishwasher and obviously we cannot put it on top of a top loader, so it has been exiled into a corner in the lounge. Oh to have more space! Rudi was a great handyman getting everything reconnected and all the pipes and things sorted. The couch was also moved into the lounge and it really is a winner! It is an L shaped couch and the one part is perfect for me to lay and breastfeed Gabby, while the boys can comfortably fit on the other side. It’s wonderful! Check it out:

Coricraft L Shaped Couch

Plenty of space now!

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Just a small size difference

In other news, Rudi has been informed that as of 1 June he is permanently employed at his new job! This is a HUGE relief and hopefully means this is the last month that money is so tight. Next month is going to be really tough as Rudi hasn’t worked all week. Apparently there is very little work at the moment and I suspect the agents are giving preference to those who will not be permanently employed soon when the work does come through. At least once Rudi is permanent he will receive a basic salary and we have a guaranteed income from him. No more worrying about whether he is going to work or not. I am so grateful, it is a huge relief for me. I am a worrier by nature and I take a lot of strain when there is uncertainty in our lives.

So somehow, we have acquired all these new things, while the going was really tough. Let’s hope we can stay on the upward swing!

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When Life Gets Tough

In the last two months or so my day to day life has changed dramatically. I have a very hands on and involved husband. He helps me tremendously with the kids and running the household. He has been stuck in a dead end job for many years. He didn’t earn a bad salary for the line of work he was in, but there is just no room for growth or any opportunity for promotion or even doing something different in the company. I have always been the breadwinner in the household and he has done his best, but if the things I hear are true this kind of thing bruises a man’s ego. Apparently men have a primal instinct to provide. I don’t really know, I’m not a dude. So just over 2 years ago he decided to try and do something to get himself into a better position.

His father is a truck driver. Has been for over 30 years. He had spoken about wanting to drive trucks before, but I didn’t know how serious he was about it. Before I knew it he was writing his learners and we were booking driving lessons. He only had 3 and aced his code 14 or EC. He applied for and obtained his PrDP (Professional Driving Permit) and the job hunting began. For 18 months he hounded company after company. I would send out his applications to firms on a daily basis using details he had collected by browsing career websites and cold calling numbers on trucks. He never let up. He was turned down time and time again because he had no experience. Then he decided that his license clearly wasn’t enough and he went to get certification to transport dangerous goods and again aced the test. Rinse, repeat. He would often bring up the job hunt over a beer with whoever and not too long ago he mentioned it to someone in our complex who works for a trucking company. This guy put a good word in for him with the boss and they let him come in to drive and show what he is made of.  The week that he spent training/driving was really rough. He left the house at 5:15 in the morning and came home after 19:00/20:00 and one night after 21:00. After 4 days of driving they put him alone on the truck and even got him to come in on the Saturday and gave him a truck to complete deliveries with no co-driver. He worked from early the morning till after 17:00 that Saturday. He came home with stories about driving trucks and how scary/complicated/dangerous it is that left me cold. If there is one thing I can say about my husband it is that he is an excellent driver. I trust him with our lives. He is by far a better driver than anyone I know. So the fact that he was driving well didn’t surprise me at all, but I felt like I barely saw him all week. Some nights he made it home just in time to kiss the kids goodnight. He was informed that he could start working there and that he would be on probation for a few months. He finally got a job after all his hard work. It was hard for me and for the kids. We missed him so much.

This job never felt “right” to me. He explained to me that the truck he was driving had no working indicators and the speedometer also didn’t work. That just didn’t sit well with me considering he was driving over mountain passes! He would also only earn overtime after working for 10 hours. The company is 35 km away from home in one direction. I had to pick him up a twice late at night with the kids in the car. Not ideal. The guy that put a good word in for him also told him that he always gets his pay on time, but hadn’t seen a payslip for the 8 years he had worked there. That kind of “under the table” thing doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a stickler for rules. I shut up and sucked it up, because I knew he needed the experience and that he is chasing a dream. I knew how hard he had fought just to get a chance.

On one of his days off that he took to sort out paperwork and resign from his old job, he took a chance and drove to a huge distribution center close to home. At first they wanted to turn him away, but one of the guys there told him to come in and take a driving test. It was scheduled for a Friday, but they moved it up to the Thursday. I happened to be on leave on the same day to get my hair done and run some errands. I took him to the distribution center early in the morning and went off to go about my day. He was the only one that passed the driving test. The next thing he knew they were taking his fingerprints and making him an access disk. He had landed the job! I was ecstatic! It is only 8 km from home and is a big retail chain, so much more stability and structure than a fly by night tax evader, no? He had to start the very next day at 2:30 AM! We immediately went out and bought a him a scooter (motorcycle) so that he could get to and from work independently. We don’t even know what his new salary will be, but I’m pretty sure he is going to be earning enough overtime to bridge any gap there might be in what he is earning. I don’t know whether or not there will be more money coming in. I freaking hope so, considering how much less of him we see. Despite it not being about the money, fair is fair. Sacrifice should equal reward.

We are a little frustrated at the moment since he doesn’t get called in to work every day. He gets paid by the hour as he is not a permanent employee, so no work, no pay. He asks to work every day, but a lot of days there isn’t work for him. It looks like we’ll come up short in the budget again this month and it is really stressful. I work with the finances and I am a worrier by nature, so it really takes an emotional toll on me. Apparently they will be appointing permanent drivers really soon. We can just pray and keep the faith that he will be permanently appointed in which case he will get a basic salary plus overtime.

That aside, I now have to do the things he was doing plus whatever I did. I’ve always been against him doing long distance driving. I don’t care about the money. Money cannot buy your children’s childhood back. Money cannot buy missed events, missed memories. Money does, however, pay school fees/rent/child care/new winter clothes for the kids/groceries. Here’s hoping he will be permanently appointed very soon so that we can be guaranteed at least his basic salary as an income.

Cross all the bits please!

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Elijah’s First Cinema Movie!

On Sunday I finally took Elijah to see his very first movie in the cinema! I have been wanting to do this for the longest time and definitely wanted to be with him when he has his first cinema experience. Gosh, I haven’t been to the movies in so long myself, it was just nice to go again 😉 I was supposed to take him the weekend before as my Valentine’s date, but my Valentine’s weekend took a bad turn and it didn’t happen. I was lucky enough to have won 3D movie tickets at work and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take him. I was a bit worried about the 3D part of things. I’ve heard that young children get scared by things flying out of the screen and also that they didn’t want to keep the glasses on all the time. Rudi and I explained to him before the time that he needed to keep the glasses on to see the movie properly and that the things that looked close were not real and that he didn’t have to be scared. He was so very excited. He was almost unbearable from the time we got to the mall directly after church, till the time when the movie started.

We went to purchase our tickets as soon as we arrived at the mall and then browsed through a few shops and bought a few grocery items. Elijah simply couldn’t wait! He kept asking when we were going. Eventually I left his father and sister in the parking garage and we set off to the movies. We did a toilet run to make sure nobody wanted to get up mid movie and then went to queue for popcorn. Maybe going on a different weekend wasn’t such a bad thing as the queues were fast moving and completely bearable. If we had run into the 50 shades rush I might have wanted to stab my eye out with a straw. We went the whole 9 yards with popcorn, a blue Slush Puppy and Astros for Elijah. I had popcorn, a mixed Slush Puppy and Smarties. We went to settle into our seats. Elijah could barely wipe the grin off his face. I saw another parent fetch their child a little cushion to sit on. I didn’t even realize these things existed! I quickly left the cinema to go and fetch one for Elijah too. Elijah asked when the movie would start and a few minutes later the previews began. Elijah isn’t one for ads. He asked me again when Spongebob was going to start. Yes! I forgot to say we went to watch Spongebob Out of Water 🙂 Eventually the movie started.

Elijah was transfixed throughout the entire show. He inhaled his popcorn, Astros and Slush Puppy throughout the movie. He sat completely still, did not fiddle with his glasses or try to take them off and only near the end of the movie told me he was Plankton after seeing Plankton in all his glory at the end of the movie. I had to word that sentence so carefully to not reveal any spoilers. You never know if an adult fan of Spongebob reads here 😛

Elijah really surprised me. I thought he would chatter non stop, be disruptive or get bored during the movie. I was so happy that he enjoyed it and look forward to taking him to the movies again! 🙂

While we were at the movies Rudi had his own problems to deal with. An overtired breastfed toddler with no mommy in sight does not a happy outing make. He took Gabby to Panarottis while Elijah and I were at the movies. She ended up throwing such a huge tantrum that he was forced to leave the restaurant. Luckily they were understanding (and perhaps even glad to have him leave with her) and cancelled the food order he had placed, letting him pay for the milkshake and beer he had as quickly as possible. While he was walking around in the mall Gabby fell asleep in her stroller and stayed that way until Elijah and I caught up with them there. Movie and a pizza? Sounds like a great date to me! Elijah absolutely adores going to Panarottis, so it must have been an amazing day for him!

Have you taken your kids to the cinema? What was your experience like? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

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First Day of Grade 0!

Elijah started at a new school today. He is now attending the same primary school that I did. We took him to an open day last year and left there blubbering. I expected today to be more or less the same. I didn’t actually think I would be able to take him as I have a half day at work today as I have a gynae appointment in the middle of the day. Going to the gynae isn’t something you can do in a lunch hour, as you inevitably wait that long just to see him. I also had to drop Rudi off at work before I could go to work because I needed the car to get around. Because of this I didn’t think there was a way for me to take Elijah on his first day AND make the appointment, but Sanita (even with her porridge brain) came up with a plan. I made all the necessary arrangements and was so happy I got to take him!

At the day mother, ready to go!

At the day mother, ready to go!

Rudi insisted on getting Elijah ready for school at home before we went off to the day mother to drop Gabby. He wanted him to look nice and put gel in his hair. We went off to the day mother where the kids had breakfast while Rudi and I had some coffee and cookies that the day mother had baked. Before we knew it, it was time to go to the school. We anticipated some traffic and wanted to take more pictures, so we left a few minutes earlier. When we got there the school yard was milling with children returning to school and parents were standing around with the Grade 0 and Grade R kids waiting to walk them to class. We snapped a few pictures:

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Ready to go mom!

 

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So happy daddy!

Elijah ran into a friend from his previous school last year. They shouted each other’s names when they saw each other, ran to meet each other and hugged. It was so adorable! They were so glad to see each other again.

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Elijah and Dylan

They opened the gates and we walked Elijah to his class. He ran right in, sat down at a table and started playing with some toys that the teacher had laid out. He barely said goodbye. I really thought I was going to be a ball of snot at this point. I had cried at the open day, after all…but there were no tears. I can’t even tell you why. Maybe because I didn’t think I was going to be there and I was just happy that I had the opportunity to see him off.

Look! No tears!

Look! No tears!

 

I’m not sure if daddy is crying behind the glasses 😉

This might not be Grade 1, but for me this is the beginning of his formal schooling and his school career. I am excited. It is daunting as the flood of letters with requests for x, y, z…monies, school photos, all this begins here. We had a taste of it at play school, but I’m sure it will start becoming more labour intensive now that he is at this school.

Did any of you see your kids or family member’s kids off to school this year? Were you brave? Share your experiences with me in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Holiday 2015 – Pic Heavy

In the blink of an eye our holiday and the festive season are over. I took a week off from 5 January and returned to work on 12 January. We tried to fit in as much activity with the kids as we could during that week.

We started off the week by visiting my mother. That went exactly as I expected it to go. Nothing new to report. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but I really don’t want to get into it. She hasn’t changed, probably never will, so I have to make peace with that.

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wpid-20150107_144611.jpgOn the Tuesday we took the kids to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Darn it is expensive to get in there! We have gone every year for the past 3 years during the holiday, so it has sort of become a tradition. Elijah wanted to rush through the entire aquarium to get to the sharks. We also got stuck in the play area for a lot longer than we usually do. He momentarily forgot about the sharks. They had a great puppet show there which he REALLY enjoyed. I think it was the first one he has ever seen. He loved it! I was surprised that Gabby seemed to be very interested in the displays. When Elijah was her age he barely glanced at any of the tanks. Gabby is also a lot more fearless than Elijah. She stood right up against the glass of the shark tank as a shark swam by, whereas Elijah got so scared at one point that he rolled himself up into a ball on the floor and started to cry. Granted, his father had joked with him that he was going to throw him in the shark tank. On Wednesday we stayed home to clean as our housekeeper is ill and hasn’t been able to come to work.

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wpid-20150106_133725.jpgOn Thursday we took the kids to World of Birds. The weather was a bit miserable as it started to rain while we were there. Gabby was clingy and moody too. She had been an absolute pleasure at the aquarium, but on this day she was having none of it. She just wanted to be carried around. We went to Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay after our trip to World of Birds, but we weren’t even there for 20 minutes when we decided to leave again. The kids were super grumpy and by that time, so were we. I was pretty bummed as I was looking forward to spending some time there. I have fond memories of going there with my grandfather. He was also a keen birdwatcher so he was on my mind all day. I just knew he would have enjoyed such an outing.

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wpid-20150108_142805.jpgOn Friday I wanted to go to Butterfly World as I really enjoyed our last trip there. After seeing Elijah enjoy himself on the beach in Hout Bay the previous day, Rudi insisted we go to the beach. I had been avoiding going to the beach for a while. I figured I was being a brat and that I should just go with them. BIG mistake. The beach was freaking HORRIBLE. I am not a beach person. I have decided once and for all. It was SO windy and the wind made it cold despite the fact that it was a hot day. Half the time we were trying to prevent the new beach umbrella we had just purchased from blowing away. EVERYTHING was covered in sand. When we left every part of my body that I touched was covered in a layer of sand. We took a part of the beach home with us. I don’t even know how long we were there for, but it was too long. Gabby also hates the beach. She refuses to walk on the sand and even when I carried her to the water’s edge she seemed to be afraid of going in there (or of me going in there). The one cool thing about the beach? We got to see a lot of kite surfers setting up and going out onto the sea. The wind was definitely up for it and I’m not surprised they flocked to the beach. I would rather have watched them from the car to be honest. Can I have some cheese with my whine?

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On Saturday we had a kiddie’s party to attend which the kids thoroughly enjoyed! They had an ice cream cake at the party and I decided there and then that I want to get an ice cream cake for Elijah and Gabby’s birthday party next month. Yes. Party planning for that is in full swing as it always it this time of year. On Sunday my aunt came over with her family and we spent the day preparing to go back to work.

It was all over so quickly! Also, I need a holiday to recover from my holiday! Right now I’m focusing on getting everything ready for Elijah to go to his new school and then focus on the party planning. The kids went back to the day mother on Monday and it is also already time to potty train Gabby. I have not been looking forward to this! I’ll post about how that is going once we’re in the swing of it.

Did you have any leave over the festive season? Did you do anything fun? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Kicking the Antibiotics

Early last month I posted about trying to get my children off what felt like constant antibiotic use. The post was well received and I was happy to see I wasn’t the only one worried about this. I realize that the weather is starting to warm up and that means less illness, but it is allergy season which has meant illness and infections for us in the past.

Since that post was published I have not taken the kids to the doctor once. They have had the snots, coughs, pukes and fevers since then…but never seemed limp and unable to play, so I held out and they recovered on their own. I still make use of over the counter medication and the kids are both taking an antihistamine to try and prevent allergy related post nasal drips which become monster coughs.

Another thing that has coincided with this is that we no longer have our family pet. I suspected for a while that having our cat was contributing to the problem. The children at the day mother where my children were picking up their germs were not constantly on antibiotics, but recovered on their own. The only logical explanation to me was that something environmental was aggravating my children’s condition to the point where they develop an infection. I am not saying that none of those other children have pets at home, but I was always aware that Elijah is susceptible to chest infections and it made sense to me that something he was inhaling could cause his condition to escalate. Yes, it could also have been grass, dust and a million other things. Testing for allergies is very costly, so finding out exactly what was setting them off was not financially viable.

We had Amber for many years and she was getting old. She had lost both her canines and was struggling to jump out of the window and up onto the bed. Amber was the first in our family who knew I was pregnant. It might sound weird, but she started sleeping by my tummy before I even took a pregnancy test. This was out of character for her. She always slept with Rudi and I found it strange that she suddenly wanted to sleep with me. After I took the test and she did it again, I made the connection. Once we bought the pram, she started having behavioral problems. She urinated in the pram more than once and she started defecating in the house. Since this started happening the moment we brought the pram into the house, we thought she was not having any of this new baby. She had lived through the arrival of one baby and refused to take this news in her stride. We tried to find her a new home for over two years, but nobody wanted her. We put a sign up in the local vet with a picture of her and a short explanation of why we could not keep her. Not one person called. Rudi and I fought about this constantly. I was unhappy, the kids and myself were constantly sick, our cat was acting out, our house constantly stank of cat urine (to the point where neighbours walking past our house commented about it) and we were at the end of our tether. My grandmother suggested we contact the animal anti-cruelty league and said they would likely be able to try and find a home for her. I called them and the lady that answered said we could bring her through and they would see what they could do. Rudi and Elijah took her early the next Saturday morning. Rudi said they examined her and said she was around 12 years old (we never knew her exact age as we started caring for her when she was no longer a kitten) and there was no way they could find a home for her and that they would put her to sleep. Rudi returned home without her. We were very sad. She wasn’t just a part of our family for around 10 years, she was also Elijah and Gabby’s first pet.

So far kicking the antibiotics is going well. I think a combination of a) the medical aid being depleted b) me not panicking at the first sign of a fever c) the onset of summer d) no more pet hair/dander to contend with and e) finding over the counter medication that works for us have all contributed to it going well so far. I know it has not even been 2 months and we have gone this long without antibiotics before, so you may think it is too early to assess. You might be right.  The reason I’m posting this now already is because we have experienced scenarios in this last two months that usually resulted in a visit to the doctor and a prescription for antibiotics, yet here we are. I don’t think they will never need antibiotics again. I’m sure they will. I hope to strengthen their immunity by letting their body fight these germs. It might take them a little longer to recover and it might still be costing me a small fortune in over the counter medication to alleviate their symptoms, but I am sure as their immunity increases this will pay off in the long run.

Have you tried to kick antibiotics? How did it go?

 

Toddling Toddler

About a week and a half ago, my baby took her first wobbly steps! Of course, I had to Instagram them:

 

She is growing up so very fast. She is doing well on the immunity booster the doctor prescribed. She has had a fever that has gone away on its own and gotten a cold that hasn’t turned into a full blown infection. I actually really think the immunity booster has helped, as sceptical as I was about it.

 

Her personality has really started to blossom and come to the fore. She is mischievous and naughty! Just this morning she found one of my eye shadows, figured out how to open it and dispensed it all over herself and the carpet. In her defense, I gave her my make up drawer to play with, assuming she wouldn’t know how to open anything. My bad. She doesn’t say much yet, besides ‘ta ta’, ‘da da’, ‘mama’ and ‘dere’ (there). She points at lot of things, but not always very accurately. She is already picking up on how to throw tantrums from her brother. The other day we took something away from her and she pulled her face and started to cry. It may as well have been Elijah’s face. I-DENTICAL! I actually got a fright. I think I realized in that instant exactly what we have let ourselves in for!

 

Other than that I am still really enjoying her. We are still breastfeeding and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon. I really can’t explain it to someone that didn’t manage to breastfeed, or breastfed and hated it. Everybody has their own story. To be honest I didn’t like it in the beginning. It was hard, it was a chore, it was all me, all the time. At this point Gabby no longer has a dependency on me to be around. So if I need to go out for a day without her, or go to work on a weekend I don’t have to worry about her needing to feed. Since I’ve stopped expressing I also don’t have to worry about lugging a breast pump around or finding a place to express, or sitting with engorged breasts. It has simply become a non issue, but remained an invaluable parenting tool. For comfort and sleep time there really is no comparison.

 

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Daddy’s Girl

 

Gabby and Elijah are still getting along very well. They can be too cute and can entertain each other for short periods which is awesome. They can be really cute together while they are sleeping too. Gabby likes to throw her leg over something/someone when she sleeps, it seems Elijah is also a pretty comfy leg rest:

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On the flipside, I get asked ‘Mommy, can I hold Gabby?’ And this happens:

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*heart melt*

 

I’m enjoying being a girl mommy more than I thought I would. I especially enjoy playing dress up and adorning her in pretty things:

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Every day I am grateful for my two wonderful blessings <3

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