An Aftercare question and Poll

As is usual for this time of year I have been angsting about childcare for next year.

Daniel is going to Grade R at the school down the road and we are working on a plan for the girls for next year that could potentially be spectacular.  But it’s still in the works.

It’s around Daniel’s aftercare that Etienne and I have had many arguments disagreements heated discussions debates conversations.  See, it’s like this: Etienne had a stay-at-home Mom all his life.  In fact, he only went to any kind of school when he was 5, which certainly had it’s own set of challenges.  I, on the other hand, had 2 parents that worked full-time.  (I’m not whining about it, I totally get that they both had to work.)

The reality of my after-school life was that I was at various stages at home in the afternoons with a domestic worker, a latch-key child, in aftercare and with a lady who had a really creepy husband.  The only time my Mom was at home was the 3 months she was on Maternity leave with my sister and I was in Grade 1 at the time.  So, understandably I am really worried about what would be the best for Daniel, especially knowing that he leans toward his Dad’s introverted personality type.

Right now it is just not possible for me to not work full-time as sucky as that is, so we need to make a plan.

So here’s a little poll and I would very much appreciate it if you could vote and leave a comment if there is something I didn’t cover.

Please note:  I want to know what your reality is and would welcome any advice you could possibly give.  Even if you tell me to just suck it up.

A little whine















I am not a morning person.  There.  I said it.

I need to wake up quietly without being hassled and love eating my breakfast in peace and quiet whilst hovering over twitter.  I don’t want to talk to anybody.  I just want to be.  Not for long, just a few minutes.  But those few minutes of peace and quiet are VERY VERY important minutes.

In reality all 3 kids are awake at 06h15 and not fast asleep until 06h30 when I have to drag them out of bed.  And all 3 kids want demand breakfast.

This one wants a ceramic bowl: Daniel.  I can’t watch when he takes one out of the cupboard as he unpacks them one by excruciating one until he finds one he wants that looks like all the others in the cupboard.  I try not helicopter him.

And then the girls fight over the last Barney plastic bowl.

And the last Oatees.

And who puts the Oatess in the bowl.

And who pours how much milk: Daniel.  As you will see by the pic he built himself a fort so he could sulk in private as he felt he needed more milk, even though he had already emptied half a carton of milk into his bowl and his cereal was at sea.

And the ones that are not whining are talking happily.  Loudly.

I don’t do mornings well at the best of times.  Even though I had the Little Mommy Voice of Sanity screaming in my head:  It’s ALL your shit!  Don’t take it out on the kids!

I know I shouldn’t complain and I’m not really.  I’m just processing.

And I’ll do better tomorrow.


The African Way

If you grew up in a middle-class household in South Africa you would be familiar with the idea of Mothers sending their children to rural areas to be raised by Aunts/Grannies/Extended Families.

This doesn’t happen because they are bad Mothers (or Fathers), it is an unfortunate fact of life in South Africa that many women are single parents, work very long hours, travel very far to and from work every day and simply cannot afford childcare. They also have virtually no support structure or often even have the luxury of living in a brick house.

As South Africans we have become very desensitised to this reality, myself included. I simply accepted it as the norm instead of the exception in families that barely live on the breadline until I had a Mother crying in my office today.

A Mother that had to leave her job in a fastfood restaurant because her baby had pneumonia and she had no-one to help her take care of him when he was in hospital for 2 weeks. Similar stories play themselves out in my office every single day of the week. (Yes, I do know when someone is trying to manipulate me)

I keep toying with the idea that we have become a very intolerant society and that we forget that we deal with human beings. Yes, there are many lazy buggers out there, but if we take the time to know people that work for us, wouldn’t we be more tolerant and understanding? Or am I just a bleeding heart liberal?

I’m not exactly covering myself in ash and beating my head against a wall lamenting that there is something wrong with society because there are so many single parents and too many people are having babies for the wrong reasons at the wrong age.

I really just cannot accept our country for what it is, as much as this is our reality.

Is the concept of the traditional family changing?

Would I be incredibly naive in wanting for children to grow up secure with the love of both their parents?

When did parenting become transient and part-time?

Saturday morning

Saturday morning was one of those few Saturdays that we didn’t have to rush off anywhere, so I thought it a good time to go back to bed for a little snooze after all the kids were up and (mostly) fed.

I had just snuggled in and was drifting off after reading a couple of pages of my book when I get rudely awoken by Isabel shouting from the loo: “Paaaapppaaaa, vee my booouuuude af!!!” That girl has a set of lungs on her, let me tell you.

Doefdoefdoef Etienne comes down the passage, the rest of the circus children in tow.  At this point I could still block out the noise. I could even block out Daniel jumping on the trampoline right outside our bedroom window, but I couldn’t block out his frantic screams followed by Etienne trying very hard not to laugh hysterically.  Funny how I know his way of laughing by now.

Doefdoefdoef down the passage Daniel comes, “Mamma? MAAAMMMMAAA daar was ‘n spinnekop op die trampolien!!” (Mom, there was a spider on the trampoline!)  Apparently he was jumping on the trampoline and must have disturbed a little rain spider that must have gotten the fright of his life and dashed across the trampoline for cover.  I asked him how big the spider was:

This big Mom

Then Isabel came into the room to show me how big the spider was:

THIS big Mom

And JUST as I thought the children were simmering down, I had to deal with this little face up close:

Love me!

All this before 08h00 on a Saturday morning..

ps. Daniel is normally very into bugs etc and he had some Millepedes in a jar the other night.  The next morning through the din of the girls I vaguely hear him say he is going to put his Shongololo under the tree for the day. A minute later he is back, completely distraught and crying: Jack (the dog) ate the Shongololo!  He cried all the way to school where they thankfully distracted him very quickly.  Poor boy!

pps. Don’t you just love the word Shongololo?  It’s such an awesome word.


Pic share and catch-up

We had a weekend of such absolute cuteness, I just have to share some stories and pictures.

Before I start, just a reminder that you will find this week’s Meat-free Monday post here.

Daniel has started whispering in our ears. Mostly sweet nothings, but often “I’ll be your Bestestbestest friend if..” I have been waiting to see if/when this was going to happen and am handling it better than I thought I would. So cute to see him whisper to his sisters.

We went to a kiddy birthday party on Saturday and my friend Chloe always has the BEST parties. She’s one of those Moms who always has the most amazing ideas of stuff to do with kids, always has home-baked cookies and has a legendary spread at each party.

As you can see our children played very nicely with all the other kids..


The girls watching the candles being blown out on the cake:


The cupcakes my friend made:


Watching tv:


Taking the dogs for a walk, love the light in this picture, I didn’t filter this at all:


Mignon playing with a branch against the tree:


Etienne had them today and will have them tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. To be honest, I expected grimness and chaos when I got home and instead he told me how much fun they had today. I’m a little (read: a lot) jealous. And lucky. And blessed.