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The Power of the “Mommy-Blogger”

January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

I like to think of myself as an unconventional gal. I prefer to be different and I loathe it when society takes it upon itself to place me in a little box according to its standards and requirements. At the same time I have certain characteristics that just can’t be argued with and in this regard it’s a pointless exercise and just a waste of energy to “fart against thunder”. This morning a good friend sent me a link to an article written by Janice D’Arcy in the Lifestyle section of the Washington Post about “Mommy-Bloggers” wherein an American consumer marketing firm defined the group known as Mommy-Bloggers “as women who have at least one child in their household and have read or contributed to a blog in the past 30 days.”

 

The response was interesting, the say the least. Some women were highly offended by being thrown into this particular little box and I imagine that this stems from the question as to whether Mommy-Bloggers are taken seriously. To them I say: “Preach it, sister, head out there and burn your extra large handbag that contains, wipes, toys, plasters and various other child-type paraphernalia.” Women have a right to be heard as women and not just one aspect of a woman as society deems fit.

 

But on the other hand, my response is a little different: I am a Mommy. And I don’t blog this in any kind of whiney, whimpery fashion. I’m PROUD to be a Mommy. I don’t always blog about parent subjects – in fact there are days when an unexpected reader may wonder why I blog on the parent24 site. But the fact remains, I am a Mom, and any attempt by me to balk against this would be a serious error of judgment on my part.

 

I believe that the marketing folk, government, and various other powers that be could learn a lot by not only reading our blogs but more importantly the comments by fellow bloggers where we are constantly recommending products, remedies, schools, medicines, party venues etc etc to each other. Marketers may be surprised to find they are missing an entire country full of women who don’t use a certain product just because of the bad experience of one or two Moms who speak to a few hundred other parents. Not to mention the gripes about lack of service delivery and similar incidents.

 

Go and have a read of the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/mommy-blogs-what-are-they-and-how-much-do-they-matter/2012/01/28/gIQA0VQUbQ_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost and then let me know how YOU feel about being labelled a Mommy-Blogger? And fellas, how does that make you guys feel? C’mon, shoot me down in flames. Smile

 

Happy Day! Cool

Vocabulary Woordeskat Vocabulary

January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Had a lovely weekend. Friday night was Jerry’s Ken-mekaar Braai (getting to know you braai) where all the kidlets, parents and teachers get together at the school for a braai. It’s always great fun. The kids race around wreaking havoc with various balls, skipping ropes and later on zillions of glow-in-the-dark thingies. The parents and teachers sit around on camp chairs and picnic blankets sipping wine and yacking. This year wasn’t as well attended as previous years but I think the PTA organised it a lot earlier than usual – in previous years its been held in late February. But a good time was had by all …. and it didn’t rain on our heads. Smile

 

Saturday morning the Gorgeous S and I tackled a project we’ve been threatening to for absolute ages – we moved our lounge around. Sjoe! What a difference! The room looks four times the size it did before. And then in the evening I had a few friends around for a fondue. We had a blast. Can’t remember exactly what time the last folk left but I suspect it was nearing dawn on Sunday. Needless to say we had a nice lazy day yesterday and didn’t achieve much except that Jerry and I built some lovely crafts out of a set she received for Christmas.

 

Last week whilst doing homework with Jerry I realised that we had encountered our first “problem” as a result of Jerry attending an Afrikaans school. She was reading to me and I must admit that I was unable to understand a lot of the words. As usual when I’m reading Afrikaans I was able to understand the gist of what was being said, but when Jerry asked me to translate and/or explain some of the words I had to refer to my dictionary. Now these are common everyday words that I’m sure are used in every Afrikaans home but they just aren’t words that I am familiar with and as a result I don’t use them ….. at all.

 

So this Saturday my visit to the library will see me taking out at least one Afrikaans book and I shall buy a nice Afrikaans magazine with a block word in it. A girl can only try, hey? But it made me wonder about all the children in our country who are educated in a language other than their mother tongue. Unfortunately it’s a very sad fact that few of their parents have the time and/or inclination to make the effort to work with them and help them to understand. No wonder grade 12 spits thousands of kidlets out each year with such atrocious marks!

 

But be that as it may, Jerry (and her Mommy) will work very hard at being the best that she can be. Any other suggestions on expanding my Afrikaans vocabulary will be greatly appreciated.

 

Happy Day! Cool

I just aged another 44 years!

January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

This afternoon I received the call we all dread. Jerry’s caregiver called me: “Is Jerry at school today?” My heart skips a beat. Me: “Yes, but she may have gone straight to SEMAS (an extramural activity on the school grounds).” Caregiver: “That finished over an hour ago.” My heart drops. Me: “Do you want me to come and help search?” Caregiver: “No, give me five more minutes – I’ll call you.” Ten minutes (felt like an hour) later I call him back. No answer. By now my heart is racing. As I’m about to leave the office my phone rings. Caregiver: “I’m still searching.” Me: “Ok (trying to sound casual) I’ll pop down and help you look.”

 

Exactly four minutes later (I went through all the red robots with hazards flashing) I pull up outside the school. The caregiver is standing outside the gate talking on the phone, surrounded by a dozen or so children. As I get to him I spot her. She and another girl are sauntering up towards the gate. By now I’m this close to tears but now my heart-stopping dread turns to blind anger. It turns out that she and this little rubbish (I’ll explain) finished their extramural and then decided to sit around in the school for some unknown reason. The caregiver had sent all the bigger boys from the aftercare to carefully search the school and one of them found the girls sitting in an out-of-the-way spot. The caregiver cr@ps them out from a dizzy height. I stand quietly listening. He also needs to vent his anger/fear/horror. Besides, if I say anything I’m going to burst into tears. She comes and gives me a hug. I return the hug and all I can manage to say is “We’ll talk about this later. But you are in BIG trouble.” The caregiver barks them both into his house (across the road from the school). I get back into my car and with wobbly legs and feeling slightly dizzy manage to drive back to work.

 

Let me explain why I call this other little girl a “rubbish”. She is in the same grade as Jerry and at some stage year before last they became friends. But after a while I discovered that this little girl is exceptionally rude (to other children and adults alike), she lies and tells stories ….. all the time, she’s nasty, and she does ugly things like spit at other kids or taunts children who are less privileged or disabled etc. I told Jerry then that I don’t want her playing with this child. And I can’t, in all honesty tell you that this child is the problem or that Jerry is the problem, but when they are together there is ALWAYS trouble.

 

So what to do? They are both in Grade 3, both go to at least one same extramural, and both attend the FABulous aftercare that is operated independently from the school. I am definitely going to ban Jerry from engaging in any form whatsoever with this child. I think I may try and change Jerry’s SEMAS class to another day. But other than that, I truly don’t know. There’s every possibility that Jerry will get a very big hiding when we get home. Sheesh – fellow parents, I need your help here. I’m feeling desperate – I can’t get Jerry away from this little being without moving her to another school and I just won’t do that. Help!

Road Rules to Live By

January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Having obtained my driver’s licence by conventional means, i.e. nervously parking, reversing and driving whilst a grumpy looking fella scribbles on a clipboard apparently oblivious to your efforts to impress him, it really irks me to see that folk just don’t adhere to the basic rules of the road. The powers that be may harp on the issue that speeding causes the horrendous multiple deaths on our road, and to a certain extent they do, but I believe that complying with the basics (and unfortunately one cannot learn the basics by handing over a few grand in order to have a “valid” driver’s licence) would cause a lot less accidents (and a lot less road rage). Here are two of my favourite soap-box road issues:

 

Stopping: it appears to have become the norm to “second gear” it through stop-streets. What’s with that? I’m not referring to the stipulated K53 ideals that require one to sit at a stop-street for half an hour whilst waving your head around like a deranged owl, just stop – look – and then drive. ‘s not difficult. In the same manner I was teaching Jerry last night that instead of just scribbling her homework down as fast as she can, she should “kyk twee keer en skryf net een keer” (otherwise she’s learnt that Mommy just rubs it out and she has to do it again …. and sometimes again …. etc).

 

Indicating: I’m pretty sure that when I took my licence (ok it was an awfully long time ago) the book said something along the lines of “an indicator is used to indicate your INTENTION to turn” – not to indicate that you are currently turning. How many inconsiderates flip their indicator on as they’re turning? Listen Dingbat – I can SEE you’re turning you don’t need to indicate that you are … your car has started heading in a different direction. ‘twould have been nice to know that you were planning to, though. In the same manner, people head through life at high speed and given the haste get agitated when other folk “can’t keep up”. Just chill, let folk know that you’re changing the subject of the conversation or heading off to do something that is spontaneous. Life’s too short to rush headlong into everything.

 

And on a funnier note: Me to the Gorgeous S: “I blogged about you.” Gorgeous S: “Oh.” This morning, whilst making coffee, I opened the drawer to get a tea spoon and was confronted by an array of sparkling, classy, up-market and somewhat bigger tea spoons. Me: “Did you buy these spoons because of my blog?” Gorgeous S (with an evil glint in his eye): “What do you think?” Hee Hee – the fella knows how to make a girl feel k*k.

 

Happy Day! Cool

Husbands, Hadedahs and Hecticness

January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m not hugely fond of getting up in the morning (hands up those that are ….. hmmmm I didn’t think so) and as a result I usually set my alarm for 05h00 so that I can hit snooze and have the satisfaction of five more minutes sleep before rushing headlong into the morning. This morning I had to giggle when I was startlingly awoken by the hadedahs that nest outside our window yelling their usual gregarious morning greeting and found myself throwing my arm out at the alarm clock in order to push snooze. Hee Hee – unfortunately the snooze button doesn’t work on the hadedahs. Smile

 

I adore my husband – you all know that. As far as I am concerned I am the luckiest woman in the universe. (And now you all know there’s a “but” coming): BUT every now and then he does something odd and quirky that can only make me smile. On Saturday, whilst making coffee, I opened the drawer to take out a tea spoon. The tea spoon that came out first was not mine. It is one of those cheapies that you buy at the supermarket costing twelve ront for six. Me: “Where does this come from?” Gorgeous S: “I bought some tea spoons.” Me (squeaking): “Why?” Gorgeous S: “Because we don’t have enough big ones.” I gently (and hopefully not too patronisingly) pointed out that the tea spoons he had bought were, in fact, the same size as the multitude of other tea spoons we had and then pointed out the ±10 tea spoons we do have that are slightly larger. So now we have six rather skanky (call me a snob, if you must) tea spoons to add to the tea spoon plethora. Gotta wonder. Undecided

 

I’ve always tried to keep Jerry’s extramural activities to a minimum but somehow she always manages to be busy most days of the week. Yesterday she came home with a letter for the needlework class at school. Sjoe! Last year she asked if she could do hip-hop this year (at the same studio at which she does ballet), which I initially agreed, but I told her that she would now have to choose between hip-hop and needlework. Firstly I cannot afford both and secondly if she did both she would have something on every single day of the week: Mon – ballet, Tues – choir, Wed – hip-hop, Thurs – SEMAS (abacus maths) and Fri – needlework. Hmmm! Far too much for a grade 3 to fit into her schedule and for a grade 3’s parents to foot the bill for. She’s decided to rather do needlework (yay! much cheaper than the hip-hop and no extra transport required) and I’ve promised her that if the school offers hip-hop we’ll have a look see if she can fit it into her social butterfly schedule. Its tough being an eight-year-old but I can assure you, it’s even tougher being an eight-year-old’s Mom (although I wouldn’t swap it for the world).

 

Happy Day! Cool

Of Epic Proportions!

January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

My splendid young nephew, Charles, just wished me an “epic” birthday. Now I like that word. Epic – noun: “A long poem, typically derived from oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of…” Sjoe! What an awesome wish!

 

And that’s exactly how I plan my year to be. Epic! Today at 14h45 I shall officially be 44 and I think that rocks! I’ve never been 44 before and I’m excited to see what I can do with this year.

 

So watch this space. Heroic or legendary I may not be but hopefully the big adventure that is my life will make for some interesting reading and/or poetry.

 

Happy Day! Cool

Feeling like a Big Shot

January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last night was the Grade 3 information evening at Jerry’s school. I parked on the field – all newly painted in lovely stripes, carefully measured out in preparation for the athletics tomorrow. I headed through the school towards the staff room, using the short cut past the swimming pool – full to the brim and sparkling blue in preparation for the gala today.

 

As I wandered along I was greeted by some of the teachers and ’naand tannie’d by all of the children and it suddenly struck me: I’m a big shot now! I watched the Grade 1 parents – all wide-eyed and unsure and saw myself two years ago, heart rate slightly elevated: Am I headed in the right direction? Am I the first parent to arrive (a big no-no) / the last parent to arrive (heaven forbid)? What are the teachers going to tell me? Are my clothes straight? Are all the other parents going to be SO much younger than me? Is Jerry adequately equipped to be in a school that teaches in a language that isn’t her home language? Am I going to make friends? It’s not only the kidlets that feel the pressure of starting “big school”.

 

But now I know the school, the teachers, the parents. I know that the gate on the field will be open and I can park on the school ground (and not a block away from the school entrance). My fellow parents and I cajole each other into signing up for the PTA (which none of us did) and I’m brave enough to confront the teachers about the merit/demerit system and its failings. (Jerry was given 45 demerits last year – mainly for talking in class and once for running through the sprinklers Laughing – and not a single merit and I believe that the carrot is far more effective than the stick!) I’ve been shown the short-cuts through the school by my “big shot” Jerry.

 

And so I left the school last night with a sense of well-being. The year ahead looks promising, I’m excited about the well balanced education, sport and culture offered to my Jerry and I’ve finally arrived – I’m not a newbie anymore. The school encourages parents to buy “ondersteunersdrag” (a golf-shirt in school colours with the school name and badge on it) to wear to school functions and outings. This year I shall buy one, and wear it with pride.

 

Happy Day! Cool

Grade Three

January 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just popping in for a quick visit – I’m actually on leave today: I always take the first day of school off so that I can settle Jerry in her new class, meet the teacher and then fetch Jerry when school ends and take her out for a fun lunch.

 

Here’s what Grade 3 looks like for her.

 

 

At first I wanted her to be in one of the longstanding Grade 3 teacher’s class but when we discovered this morning that she is in another teacher’s class I decided that it actually has to be a good thing. The teacher that I originally wanted for her teaches many extra-murals, all of which ALL the kids in her class are involved in and I wonder whether there’s time for education …. just a thought – use it, don’t use it.

 

Happy Day! Cool

The Play Date Dilemma

January 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

I make friends easily. It’s just how I am. Wherever I go I accumulate friends, be it at work, friends of family and family of friends, Blogland, FaceBook and of course other Moms at Jerry’s school or ballet studio. But sometimes this can be more of a burden than a blessing. Here’s my dilemma: as most of you know, Jerry is an only child and as the decision not to have any more children was made by me and the Gorgeous S, Jerry should not be made to “suffer” as a result of it. In the light of this I would like to set up regular play dates for Jerry on occasional Saturdays or Sundays so that she has a playmate on the weekends and doesn’t have to keep herself entertained for the entire time.

 

Now don’t get me wrong – my Jerry has a blackbelt in playing on her own and I am very lucky in that she more often than not will prefer either playing outside or inside with her toys than sitting in a trance-like state in front of the telly/computer like some kids I know.

 

The problem lies in that, when I invite other kidlets to come and play, their Moms come with …… AND STAY!!! I’m not ungrateful, I enjoy “kuiering” as much as the next girl but with Jerry fully occupied for a couple of hours engaging in huge adventures etc with a little friend I have the perfect opportunity to get on with things in my house that would otherwise remain unattended (or should that be unattended to? – all you English majors?).

 

Just this morning I bumped into one of the other school Moms and she excitedly told me that she would call me so that we could all get together for a visit. I feel a little desperate. My weekends are as limited as anyone’s and as I do my own housework time is very precious. Do I sound like a whiny cow?

 

I can’t very well tell the Moms that I won’t be there or wouldn’t be available – I wouldn’t let Jerry go to play at someone’s house if I wasn’t absolutely sure there would be an adult in attendance. So I’m appealing to all out there in Blogland. How would you handle the situation if each play date you arranged saw a Mommy also arriving to be entertained? Oh, and just before you come up with crazy ideas I’m not very good at being nasty …….. unless, of course, someone has messed with my family which really gets me the zigg in.

 

Awaiting your calm, kind ideas with huge anticipation.

 

Happy Day! Cool

Monday and Stuff

January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

So here we go again. New school skirts (Jerry outgrew her last ones), new school bags, new school stationery. And what does this all mean for me? Well tonight shall find me sitting with my purple and red spectacles perched on my nose poring over the said items marking everything in sight “J” “E” “R” “R” “Y”. The dogs had better not sit still for too long or else ………. “J” “E” “R” “R” “Y”. Hee Hee. Not that it helps much, mind you, the kidlets all seem to “share” each other’s stuff and by the end of the year I have various stationery items with other kid’s names on whilst somewhere, in someone else’s home are numerous items all called “Jerry”.

 

The Gorgeous S took Jerry to buy her new school skirts and we nearly had a catastrophe. He wanted to buy her skirts that came down to mid-calf. Ok, I know that she had grown to such an extent that her previous skirts were (quite bluntly) fanny-pelmets but let’s not get ridiculous here. The poor child would have looked so somfie! Wah ha ha ha! Laughing You know: some people’s fathers. Thank heavens he phoned me first to check.

 

And so back into the swing of things. I went onto Jerry’s school website last week (and what a jacked and fabulous site it is) and they already have most of the dates for the year posted for the parents, from the interhouse gala and athletics (all this week/weekend) and the “getting to know you braai” to exactly when the netball and rugby games are being played and against which school later in the year. Sjoe! These okes mean business. And the kidlets hit the ground running: Friday is their interhouse gala, Saturday sees ALL the kids dashing about at the interhouse athletics. I think it’s all a bit silly that these things should happen so early in the year but maybe they’re just trying to get it all out of the way so they can get on with “actual education”.

 

We finally got the go ahead from the Master of the High Court to wind up my Dad’s estate (ten months down the line) so at least we can move forward with that and get some closure.

 

Had someone questioning my ability to run my own business and get to the point where I can work from home and spend time with my Jerry in the afternoons. Well this is all I have to say: “Just try me. NO-one can stand in the way of my dream!”

 

Well I had better get back to Monday. You’ve gotta feel sorry for poor Monday who takes a lot of blame for people’s bad attitudes and lots of flack just for being after Sunday. Poor, POOR Monday – not such a bad bloke, hey?

 

Happy Day! Cool