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Family

So you had a bad day

Did you know that the word ‘mom’ upside down spells ‘wow’…coincidence? I think not! You see every mom is an amazing woman, and the glue that holds the family together. But we all know that being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, rewarding, yes, but very difficult and we all have our bad days.

Some days you will serve roast chicken and vegetables for supper, other days it may be toasted cheese sandwiches (cut into triangles of course). Some days your child will go to school with a perfect plait in place, other days just clips will hold back her tangled hair. Some days their tummy will be filled with freshly made porridge, other days just some box cereal will do the trick. Some days just a quick bath will wash off the grit and grime from your child’s grubby hands and feet, other days you’ll indulge them with bath crayons and bubbles, and then there are those days when just a quick face cloth wipe will be deemed enough.

Some days you’ll remember to pack the change of clothes, extra nappies, dummy, bib, toy, and wet wipes, along with blankets for being out and about. Other days your nappy bag will be leaner but you’ll make a plan. Some days you’ll do an exercise routine with your baby, other days the activity mat will keep him entertained so you can put the washing on and get supper on the stove.

I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to have your bad days, its normal in fact. Well at least I think it is. So you had a bad day? So what…have a hot cup of tea, maybe indulge in some chocolate (recommended) and do better tomorrow.

We all have bad days, even the best of us do. It’s just that sometimes we don’t see other people’s bad days. But they are there, I can promise you that. The really great news is that tomorrow is a new day and your little people are very quick to forgive and give another chance at this whole mom thing.

Not too long ago I was trying to survive what had been a very long day with a headache. I was impatient with Amy and I could see she was confused at this. I told her I was sorry and she said “It’s ok Mom” and gave me a hug. I didn’t feel deserving of the hug and I didn’t hug her back tight, and for that I was reprimanded and told to hug her properly. Considering myself chastised, I did for the second hug and was rewarded with a warm feeling from the love and care this little girl has for me.

Some days that hug can take away all the exhaustion in the world.

Family

Looking back, a different season

We visited the airport this past weekend, it was a family outing of sorts. Even though my husband was off on a business trip and Jenny was sad about him leaving us for a little while, she has wanted to visit the airport for a long time now. Unfortunate,ly the times that we live in mean there isn’t a viewing deck anymore, but she did catch a glimpse of one plane taking off and see a few parked on the runway too which she thought was pretty awesome.

As we checked his bag in and got his boarding passes, a flood of memories of my own trips came back to me. I am so blessed to have traveled to quite a few different countries when I was a videogame journalist, adventures that I had such fun on and will treasure forever. That traveling came to a screeching halt when I was pregnant with Amy, and since then collecting stamps in my passport has been sidelined.

Having children changes your life so dramatically, in so many different ways, and it’s so hard to describe all of those ways until you’re a parent yourself. Of course I wouldn’t change any of it, it goes without saying that I love my two children with all my heart. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss those more carefree days…days when I could just throw some clothes into a suitcase and add another stamp to my passport.

We have different seasons in our lives, and each season has its up and downs. While I have enjoyed the different seasons in my life, including the current one of looking after my two children, I do still sometimes catch myself looking back wistfully and remembering the seasons that have past. Some days it feels as if I will never have seasons like that again.

While we may travel again (and hopefully soon), we will have kids with us this time, and that will change everything. Yet while it will no doubt make many things much harder, it will also give us the chance to experience things in different ways, and through the eyes of little people who have yet to experience these things in their lives. Jenny was excited just to see the luggage moving onto the conveyor belt, can you imagine her level of excitement when we actually board a plane? The mind boggles!

And so a new season will begin, a season to share our past life experiences with our children, and build new memories together. This new season scares me a little, but I also can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Family

Childhood memories

Think about your childhood for a minute. Close your eyes and let those memories of your younger days come flooding back. What do you remember? Roast chicken for Sunday lunch, listening for Santa’s reindeer at Christmas time, searching for hidden Easter eggs in piles of hay. Bottle feeding calves, riding a horse even though he’s a bit wild, a gang of giggling girls, freshly baked pancakes with my Gran. These are just a few of the memories I have, the treasured experiences that helped to shape me into who I am today.

Of course not all of our memories are fond, I remember not liking minestrone soup and cabbage, foods that to this day I dislike. I remember being naughty and running away from my Mom, that one time I was sent out of the classroom for talking in primary school, falling off a motorbike.

Now think about your children. What will their memories be? Both good and bad. We must always remember that we are shaping their memories. I want Amy to remember candles at dinnertime, fun tickles when she wakes in the morning, hugs in the evening, splashing in the pool on a hot summer day, snuggling with the dogs when she was sad…I want her to remember fun times at home, love, laughter and happiness.

Of course she will no doubt also remember that I made her try and eat a tomato, just once to make sure she actually didn’t like its taste, and that I always tried to smuggle a pea or two into her mouth hidden amongst the mashed potato. She’ll remember those times she didn’t want to nap, but I insisted it was best for her, that time she had bronchitis and she needed an X-ray but I couldn’t come in with her because I was pregnant, when she was naughty and had a time-out.

But even though she may have memories of some tough times too, I want her life to be overflowing with memories of the good times. I want those memories to wrap her up and engulf her so tightly that they will make the others seem small and insignificant.

And if one day she can say that she had a happy time growing up with Mom and Dad, that she has happy memories of triangle cheese toast after school, reading funny Hairy Maclary rhymes, dancing to silly songs, sharing hot chocolate on a cold day, hidden marshmallows after bathtime, learning to share toys with her brother, then we would have done a good job and can sit down to finally enjoy a (hopefully hot) cup of tea.

Family

Artwork is hard work from the heart

Amy loves to paint and craft. Every day she spends time in the craft room and comes home with an assortment of different creations. After class she proudly tells me that she made artwork that we need to collect before hometime. And if we ever forget to collect said artwork…well, let’s just say our little artist can be a little temperamental.

Our little girl pronounces it as a combination of “heartwork” and “hardwork.” Even though I do correct it with her, I have to admit I find this pronunciation pretty cute and it still makes me smile. Isn’t it so true that art is actually both of those things combined…its hard work that comes from the heart!

But as any parent knows all artwork isn’t created equal. We do get some beautiful art projects that are done with a bit more supervision from the teachers. These ones are proudly displayed on the fridge or pinned up on her board in her room. I find she really enjoys seeing her art out in the house and it brings us all a little smile on dreary days. When I get a new one to stick up I make sure to tuck the other one away safely for her record book (which I still promise myself I will get around to some day).

So, the question is, what do we do with the other artwork? The paint splattered drips (future Jackson Pollock?) and pieces constructed from recycled material are a bit of a nuisance not only to display but to store later too. And to be honest not all of them are worth saving for the record book either! Yet knowing how much heart and hard work she puts into her art, and seeing how proud she is of each of the art creations, I find it difficult to throw them out. Often I will take a photo of the art and then secretly pop it into the recycling bin outside. Less chance of it being discovered, I hope.

Do any of you have budding artists, and what do you do with all of the art that comes home from school?

Family

Support World Rhino Day, purchase a Rhino Coin Bank!

The Rhino is one of Africa’s most iconic and endangered wild creatures. Tomorrow is World Rhino Day, a day for us to remember the war that is being fought daily against poaching, and a day for us to stand together and to help make sure the rhinos are still here for our children to see in the future.

Prima Toys and Wildlife ACT have joined forces again to help raise funds and support the care of orphaned baby rhinos. Prima Toys and Pick ‘n Pay have raised over R500 000 for Wildlife ACT in the past through the sales of their Baby Rhino and Wild Pals soft toy promotions.

This year Prima Toys will launch 20 000 Rhino Coin Banks into South African toy retailers and supermarkets in support of World Rhino Day. The soft toy rhino ‘piggy banks’ will feature a plastic interior and removable stopper to hold coins and cash inside the rhino’s belly.  For every Rhino Coin Bank purchased Prima Toys will donate R10 to Wildlife ACT.

“Prima Toys hopes to raise awareness of the plight of rhinos among younger generations, and have guaranteed a contribution of R200 000 to this very worthy cause,” said Chiquita Patrizi, Marketing Executive at Prima Toys.

 

You’ll also be able to donate any money your children save in their Rhino Coin Bank back to the Wildlife ACT here. In addition to teaching your little ones the importance of saving and being a part of this cause, and how they can help, they could win one of ten toy hampers from Prima Toys if they donate through the GivenGain website.

“Despite a small drop in poaching numbers announced by the Department Environmental Affairs recently, our rhinos are still under threat,” said Johan Maree from Wildlife ACT. “Not only do we need to keep up the fight against poaching, we desperately need to ensure that the baby rhinos that are orphaned as a result, are rescued and adequately cared for. Without their mothers, orphaned rhinos would sadly die without our assistance.”

Head over to the Wildlife ACT website to watch a video detailing the amazing work this organisation does, and you can even hear what a baby rhino sounds like!

In the words of the great Nelson Mandela, “It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done.” Let’s work together and get it done South Africa!