When the third child breaks their arm

Marathon puzzle building session
Marathon puzzle building session

Last year Daniel broke his arm in a mystery accident involving a jungle gym, monkey bars, rain and boots. The details have always been a bit sketchy and the story keeps changing.

Earlier this year it was Isabel’s turn when she tripped over a chair. She broke her right arm (greenstick fracture), but it wasn’t too bad as she is left-handed. I saw her X-rays then, so I had a pretty good idea of what the fracture looked like.

On Friday evening we had an impromptu Spur date with some friends. We arrived before our friends, sat down, opened and poured some wine and I took a sip. Only to hear Mignon cry THAT cry.

You know which cry. That something-really-bad-just-happened-cry. She comes to the table with Isabel and her arm is kind of hanging at the wrist. I longingly look at my full glass of well-deserved wine and think ah shit, but say to Mignon ‘don’t worry darling, show Mommy where you got hurt.’ I didn’t really care where she got hurt, I was hoping to distract her to see how hurt she really was.

When she didn’t stop crying I pulled up her sleeves and could see that her left wrist was swollen.  My heart sank. I thought about that glass of wine standing on the table, calling my name.

I left Etienne, the other 2 kids and our friends, who had arrived amidst all the chaos, in the Spur and we hopped in the car and went down the road to our nearest Mediclinic. By the time we arrived Mignon had calmed down and was asking if she hurt her arm like Ouma Hannie (who had dislocated her shoulder a few months ago).  I suppressed a little shudder at that.

At this point I was starting to feel like a drama queen.  I mean, what if I had raced to the hospital and there is nothing wrong with the child’s arm?  And she wasn’t exactly crying hysterically, in fact she was smiling a little. Almost like she was just enjoying the attention.

The staff was very good, they ushered us in immediately, the doctor conducted a careful examination  on a rather unhelpful and unflinching child and a very calm looking Mother looking on.  They must have thought I am a prime candidate for Munchausen, but luckily the doctor elected to rather play it safe and take an X-ray.

They then wanted to roll her in a bed to the X-ray rooms and were a little surprised when I suggested that her arm is sore, not her leg, I’m sure we can walk down the passage. I was on a schedule here people, very hungry and in dire need of that glass of wine. Even then she was in high spirits, asking to play on the iPad and happily drinking her juice, not a care in the world.

I, however, was getting more and more nervous by the minute.

They ushered us in and out of the X-rays (where I gleefully pointed to the X-ray and said that is, in fact, a greenstick fracture) and back into the waiting room, which was filling up quite nicely by this stage and then the doctor came out with a rather surprised look on his face.  Goodness, yes, her arm is broken after all.

At which I had another little inappropriate giggle, yes I did.

So, exactly the same fracture as Isabel, just on the left arm, which worked out well seeing that Mignon is right-handed.

The whole hospital visit took a whopping 35 minutes (including travelling time).  It must be a record.  And I still got to have my glass of wine.

The worst thing?

We keep forgetting her arm is broken. With Daniel and Isabel we were frantic to keep the cast out of water and ran to help them get dressed and wipe their bums.  Mignon has to keep reminding us to help her and to put a plastic bag over her arm at bath time.

Aren’t we just fantastic parents?

PS: when I arrived back at the Spur with Mignon and told the Manager that my child had just broken her arm on their jungle gym and he helpfully offered her an ice cream which she gratefully accepted and grudgingly shared with her brother and sister.

PPS: If you don’t enjoy terrible images people post on FB you might enjoy this post I wrote yesterday, comments welcome as always!

Some random thoughts on the girls turning 5

5I wanted to do a whole post with pics of the girls from the last 5 years, but you see so much of them on FB and twitter I thought I would give you a break and only post this one pic of them on their birthday,

Instead I had a random little thought that’s like a thread I have to unravel, so this post is really about having a thought process more than anything else. And I need to give my head a break from thinking about Princess Party Origami Shoes* and other party arrangements that had me grinding my teeth last night.

It started with the girls’ teacher asking each of the parents to write their children a letter about the first 5 years of their life that is read to them in class on their birthday.  As you may know, I’m hardly ever at a loss for words, but I procrastinated writing my 2 letters (as you do when you have twins) until 10pm on the night before they were due.

You see, I have a lot to say about our amazing little girls and celebrating them each as an individual little person. A LOT.  It has been our life’s work to treat them as such, from dressing them differently from day 1 to encouraging different friends and interests and acknowledging that they have different emotional needs and respond differently to discipline.  But in the end I have to concede: they are very much alike in many ways, not in as many ways as they are different, but still. And it’s about time I maybe start to realise it and say it’s ok instead of pushing them away from each other in the end.

For people who don’t know them well there is the most obvious thing that they look very much alike.  Unless you look closely or know them really well they both come across as pretty boisterous (read: LOUD. No idea where they get that from by the way..), it seems like their body language is the same and they both love pink.

The thing is: they are both girls, so they will potentially both love pink.  They love Barbie and colouring in and helping in the kitchen (mostly because our household revolves around our kitchen).  They both love jumping on the trampoline and they both love bubbles in the bath.

I was lucky enough to attend their first ballet “recital” this week and was completely blown away by how much they have learnt in such a short time and how much they LOVE ballet, it made me all weepy.

They are children. They are completely and utterly awesome and we are so blessed to have them and their sweet soul of a brother that has just fitted into the mayhem that they bring with them.

So today I’m taking a moment to celebrate their alikeness instead of their differences, just a moment, because I think it’s worth doing.

*as usual I’m going OTT with party arrangements, mostly in my head, this is just one of those things I thought wouldn’t take long, but ended up being a pain in the arse more than anything else.

PS: men don’t understand parties.  Etienne and I have 2 big annual fights and they normally fall in the day or 2 before the kids’ parties because he is baffled by the amount of stressing I do about parties.  This year I got it out of the way early when I had a printer and origami shoe meltdown on Tuesday night.  At least it’s done and dusted now and life carries on.

PPS: men also don’t understand that if you have 18 of something and suddenly you only have 17 of that thing it is a big fucking deal because then you can’t have 6 rows of 3, you’ll have 2 rows of 6 and 1 row of 5 and that Just Won’t Do. But I think Etienne is on board with that now.

biscuitOh, and those star biscuits I was on about the other day? Etienne came up with the idea of painting glitter in the letters whilst I was decorating the edges.  Isn’t he awesome?

Lastly: I’m going to indulge my paranoia and take Isabel to the Ortho on Monday to have her arm checked, rather safe than sorry! Even though I was *almost* accused of being a hypochondriac like a certain member of my family we shall not mention (my Mother).

Old wives’ tales

On Sunday we decided to have a quiet day, which meant that lunch wasn’t a grand affair. But there was Weber chicken and butternut and salad (and of course the obligatory potatoes).

Isabel and Daniel were too busy colouring in, so we left them with a threat of no desert and had ourselves a lovely chat with Mignon. I love this age that they are all at now. We love to hear what is going on in their minds and we have some really fun conversations, such as extended suggestions on what to wish for when you throw money in a wishing well (real feather wings) and what Father Christmas should bring (pixie dust and a microphone* and all things Barbie). Mignon is a very earnest and caring little girl, even though everything seems to be very dramatic at the moment and life is very serious. We do sigh and roll our eyes sometime, yes.

Anyhoo, one of the things we were talking about yesterday was how, when I was a little girl my Mom told me that I had to eat all my pumpkin if I wanted curly hair and Mignon duly looked at my hair and suggested that I must have eaten a fair amount of pumpkin as a child. It was Sunday and my hair was just left to dry, always a recipe for disaster.

It made me think about all the old wives’ tales we were told as children to scare the living crap out of us, such as

  • Don’t go to bed with dirty feet, you’ll have nightmares (I still believe this btw)
  • Don’t pull your face like that, if the clock strikes 12 it will stay that way
  • Don’t walk around barefoot; you’ll have bad period pains (still trying to get my head around that one)

What were the scary stories that you were told as a child? Do you tell your kids any scary stories?

*I have it on good authority that my Mother has bought the children EACH a microphone for Christmas. I have asked for earplugs for Christmas.

Mondays suck

To say my day got off to a rocky start would be a grand understatement.

I woke up at 04h15 with a start after a terrible dream and lay there until 05h00 when I got up to walk the dogs.  Which really entails Lily (the Labby) and I being dragged around our suburb by Jack The Delinquent.  He is really highly strung (read: aggressive toward strange dogs) and very strong, not an ideal combination in a dog.  But he will be sorted out soon.

Fast forward to 07h00 when we were still battling to get everyone up and fed and tempers were fraying.  Mignon had been lying crying in her bed since 06h30 saying she wasn’t going to school and was immovable despite our best efforts at cajoling, begging, threatening or reasoning with her as she refused to tell us what was wrong.  By 07h15 she was hysterical and I eventually had her on my lap trying to figure out what the story was.  She just kept saying she wasn’t going to school.  The End.  No explanation, no reason, just NO.  This in itself freaked us out.

Etienne ended up carrying her to the car (literally) kicking and screaming.  She cried all the way to school and eventually she said that she’s upset because Isabel doesn’t play with her at school.  I then asked Isabel to play nicely with her sister and they must remember they need to take care of each other and so on and so forth and she seemed to calm down, until I pulled up at the school.  Chaos ensued.  She clung to me like a little monkey, something she has never ever done before and she was not letting go any time soon.

The three of us sat down in the classroom and the staff looked positively bewildered by this sorry state of affairs until I eventually realized that it was not going to get any better.  I was either going to have to take her away or I was going to have to remove myself from the equation and all I kept thinking was that I abandoning my child not protecting her against something.  But I had no idea what.

The staff at the school luckily got things under control very quickly and she was already calmer when I called in to check a few minutes after I left.  They had a chat to her at the school and she said it was because Isabel had made a friend and she hadn’t.

When I look back at the morning I am torn between extreme guilt, feeling that I should have taken the day off to spend it just with her (not an option) and knowing that it is best for her to fight her own battles.

But it still hurts like a bitch.

And it was the only morning in my life I fervently wished for the long commute into town so I could have a proper cry in the car and then some time to compose myself instead of sneaking into work hopelessly late wearing sunglasses and hiding in my office until I looked presentable.  On the upside I weirdly had a ridiculously productive morning as a result.

Tomorrow will be better.

First day of school – 2012

We officially survived the first day of school yesterday and I am very relieved!

Our lovely helper (I hate using the word Au-Pair as it feels like it puts us in a certain category, which could not be further from the truth as my grey hair and unmanicured nails will testify to) started on Monday so she had a chance to settle in.

We sent Daniel off to holiday camp at his new school with his BFF on Monday and Tuesday, so he had a chance to get a little aquanted with his school, but yesterday was still a big day for him.  Of our kids I worry about him the most (stop me if you’ve heard this one before), because the girls are mostly fine wherever they end up as they are always together.

First we all went to Daniel’s school so The Sussies could see his classroom and have a look around.  Here he is on the playground, thoroughly gatvol of me with the camera:

And here he is with the girls, Mignon on his right ad Isabel on his left:

As you can see, they were also rolling their eyes at me.  (which reminds me, Isabel has this little exasperated sound she makes these days, too funny)

I left Etienne in charge of The Big Goodbye and the Girls and I went off to their new school.  Here they are, humoring me in the road.  I don’t know how they put up with me 🙂

Incidentally, I had to take 6 pics to get this one, and still Mignon refused to look at me.

And finally, here they are, playing at their school.  I even managed to get both of them to look at me AT THE SAME TIME.

How did your first days go?


So. Huddled in a corner on the couch on a Friday night. All I need now is a snack and some wine and life would be perfect. To be honest, I could quite happily go to bed now. Instead we’ll watch Graham Norton and the next thing it will be 11pm. The story of my life.

When I arrived home today the girls were already in the bath and I run down the passage to take over and they promptly dismissed me, preferring that the Domestic Goddess bath them. Gmpf.

Then Etienne shows me this:


Apparently they sent cookies home for Mothers Day from school. They were finished by the time Etienne managed to get the kids to the car. Typical.

At the table tonight everyone is talking/laughing/whining/messing as usual and Isabel pipes up: ‘Mom, Daddy bought you a DVD today!’ Followed by an uncomfortable little silence. And Etienne shaking his head.

We then have a conversation about ‘Who ate Mommy’s cookies’ and Daniel says ‘But Daddy also has one in his tummy!’ He claims that he was forced to eat one. Right.

All this whilst trying to keep Mignon off my lap so I can have my supper.

Just a usual Friday night…

Things I should be doing right now

At Bookclub last night my friend Tertia said I should stop blogging recipes otherwise she’s going to stop reading.  And then she called me anal, but that’s a whole other story (pot-kettle-black, say no more) Gmpf

So, just for the record, even though I want to blog about that fabulous Chicken Pie recipe I made up all by myself (wink wink) I won’t do it and I only blog food for Meat Free Mondays.  Capisce?

Maybe it’s my own fault for being such an errant blogger lately and I apologise for this.  It occurred to me that if I spent more time blogging about life and less about food the food stuff wouldn’t seem so much.

Anyhoo, the Sussies (Mignon and Isabel) are turning 3 on Saturday and as usual I have taken on something I have never tried before: fabric painting.  No, I’m not saying what it is yet in the hope I don’t eff it up.  My parents have gone away so my Mom’s not here to help, but at least this time it’s in the afternoon. So hopefully my sister who offered to help won’t pitch up drunk again. (another long story, but at least I have my own expectations firmly in check this time)

Today I have to print out photos for the birthday posters for school tomorrow (more on that tomorrow), bake cake for school for tomorrow, go for an interview and conduct 2 of my own.  Tomorrow is bakebakebakebakebake and then decoratedecoratedecorate until the cows come home.  I’m also hoping that that won’t end in tears as I am baking the actual birthday cake for the first time EVER.  (normally I buy the sheets from Pick and Pay and just slap some icing on or I make my Mother bake and my friendly neighbour do the icing).  And inbetween I have to figure out this fabric painting thing.  And get Etienne to sort out the other odds and ends, which he’s really good at!

BUT the great news is that my dear friend Catherine has offered to photograph the party, which has taken such a weight off my shoulders.  On condition that she leaves me out most of the shots.  Just so you know how fabulous she is, here are some pics she took of the kids for Christmas last year:






(Isabel was wearing purple top and Mignon in white)

Can’t wait!!

The Sussies

When we had twins we made ourselves some promises. It was really important for us to raise them as individuals. To dress them differently, never refer to them as ‘The Twins’ and some other things we felt were important at the time.

I have a friend who used to hate that she and her sister were referred to as ‘The Girls’ and this made me even more determined to not refer to Mignon and Isabel as a collective.

I’m afraid we might have failed a little.

It started very innocently. From their arrival we spoke about ‘Sussie’ (sister) and ‘Boetie’ (brother) as part of showing love and affection. Somewhere along the way they became a Collective, ‘The Sussies’. At school they talk about the Sussies, at home we tell Daniel to say goodnight to the Sussies.

In the back of my mind I have wondered about this, but not really ever got smacked with the way other people perceive it until this past week.

Someone asked me in what context and why we call them Sussie and it was really hard to explain. We have so many names for them that aren’t their own names: Liefie, Skattebol, Pokkeloks (no idea where that came from!), Pop, Koekeloeks (once again, no idea!), Monkey. The list is endless.

So, this weekend I was thinking about how they would feel about it in the long run and if they would be mad that they are referred to as ‘Sussies’, which technically they are. And I’ve decided that for now it’s ok. Sometimes it’s just a little easier to talk about ‘Sussies’ if you are in a hurry and just need to get the words out and I am very comfortable that everyone that matters at school understands our way of thinking and celebrates their differences the way we do at home.

What do you think?