Son1 had a birthday recently

He turned 14.

I must say that it affected me a bit. I can’t really put my feelings into words without sounding completely ridiculous.  I am also having a fair amount of vulnerability issues which doesn’t help matters at all.

On the one hand I am enjoying him more than I have ever enjoyed him, and on the other hand he is driving me completely and utterly NUTS! I suppose that’s the story of all relationships, yes? Anyway. He’s postponed his birthday party. It’s happening in December during the last week of school. We still need to finalise the details but it will either be a swimming party like last year OR a surfing party – I checked and there are some cool party packages at the Surf Schools in Muizenberg that include a lesson and a wet suit and the use of a board and hot showers. No food included, but this is no big deal. They can just get fish & chips or something afterwards.  Is it just me or are boy parties like the easiest thing EVER??

On Tuesday evening they had their  Science Expo at school. We’ve been putting in A LOT of hours these past few days to get this thing sorted.  I took a step back, even though it was REALLY hard for me. HE is just NOT as perfectionist as I am when it comes to presentation of work.  I am working hard at accepting him 100% for who he is. His work (as far as I’m concerned) looked fairly untidy, but I do realise that my standards are sometimes impossibly high and I am trying to relax them a bit.  It was his own attempt though and his very best – I am proud of his effort, even though his approach was/is generally VERY different to mine. And oh my goodness. I watched him from a distance, engaging with people walking past his display. Answering their questions. Talking animatedly and excitedly about his process and his findings.  He didn’t even consult his notes!  He is SUCH a natural and I was VERY  proud of him. What was the last thing that your child did that made you SUPER PROUD??

Son1 is having a lot of fun at school which does actually make me very happy.  I was thinking about Grade 10 and subject choices this past week. I know, right? This is one of the reasons that I am contemplating the shutting down of this blog. I have a kid who is nearly choosing subjects! Most people in the blogosphere are worried about their children’s bowel movements and how much (or how little) sleep they are getting.  I just can’t relate anymore and in all fairness, I can’t expect anyone to relate to me. Anyway. I decided that he can do whatever subjects he feels like doing.  School is hard enough and we may as well do subjects that interest us, yes? My only condition is that Maths is not negotiable. I feel comfortable with this. I am also phoning around and googling some kind of vocational testing for him – I hope to repeat this annually throughout high school.

He had his first shave over the weekend. Our agreement is that if I EVER need to tell him to shave, then THAT will be the day that I take him for a wax. He was sooooo excited.  I took him along to buy what he needed and his Dad helped him. I wanted to photograph it.  My DH said NO, because not EVERY SINGLE THING needs documenting. Sometimes the memory in your mind needs to be enough. It was a private moment between a Dad and his Son. And it was a bittersweet one for me. He came to show me when he was done and was thrilled! No cuts or anything. I just couldn’t stop staring at him and I had flashbacks of when I first met and fell deeply and madly in love with him. Sjoe. We have come SUCH A long way  and I kind of feel like we grew up together.

So yes. LOTS going on in his life. And deep down I am kind of enjoying this journey with him. Of course it’s a fairly challenging journey. I am forced to change. I am forced to parent differently.  There is more coaching and A LOT of letting go. A lot of fret. A fair amount of anxiety. But. So far, we are coping.  Seriously. If you think that Junior School is hard, then wait until your kids get to High School. And if you think that the sleepless nights and tantrums and body fluids are terrible to deal with, then wait until you hit the teenage years. It’s like NOTHING you have ever experienced before and there is just no preparation. Except your own experiences as a teenager.

So. How are you?  What are you HATING about parenting right now?  

 

Thank you for the music

I often wonder which actress could play the movie of my life – there are a few who would do it justice.

I also wonder if it would be weird to have a white actress play in the movie of my life. Then I think that it would probably not be a train smash.  When I ask people who they think should play me then they always say Halle Berry or Kerry Washington.  No one has ever suggested that I commission Charlize or Meryl or the other Julia.I suppose no one else thinks that there can be a white Julia! 

After a lot of thought about this, I decided that the movie of my life would be played by Sophie Okonedo.

Not sure if you know her – she’s the actress in Skin and Hotel Rwanda and she’s also in The Secret Life of Bees.

I think she’s BEAUTIFUL and VERY talented. I LOVE her big hair and I  definitely think that she would do the role justice.

I like that she’s not as in-your-face as the Halle Berrys and the Kerry Washingtons. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of her in the People Magazine and she’s not on the red carpet every 5 minutes. Nothing is really known about her. THIS is the kind of celebrity that I like. The one who just does her job to entertain, keeps her clothes on when she’s in public  and keeps her private life private.

So now that we have that out of the way I need to think about a plot for the movie about my life. Again, after considerable thought, I came to this conclusion:

A movie about me would overwhelm anyone. I am intense and all over the place at times. I am happy and sad at the same time. I am a good Mommy and yet I can be quite nasty and selfish. I am a feeler and yet there are times when I am clinical. I am organised and disorganised. I think big picture and yet I don’t have the current picture under control.

Gosh, can you imagine all these emotions in ONE movie? I have no doubt that Sophie can pull it off but I do think that Sophie would do A LOT better if we had a Julia series as opposed to a Julia movie.

Maybe we could take each aspect of my life (growing up, men, motherhood, special needs, marriage, knitting, swimming in the ocean or whatever) and turn that into a movie? Like a few movies as opposed to one?

Not sure what we could call it. If it was ONE movie then we could call it something like “Thank You for the Music”. Because I ADORE that song and I do consider every single aspect of my life as a bit of a song and dance. Sometimes it’s a happy song, sometimes it’s not.

However, if it’s a series or a series of films then each one (or rather each chapter) would have a name.

So. Which actress would play your movie? What do you think your movie would be called?

 

I haven’t really been blogging about Son1

There are various reasons for this, the main one being that  I don’t quite know how to blog about him now that he is pubescent and all.

I know that it’s an awkward time for him and I am trying to give him the space that he needs for it without actually giving him too much space if you know what I mean. I am STILL all over him like a VERY bad rash and of course  I am trying to be VERY respectful of his privacy as well.  I don’t put pictures of him online unless I have his permission and he also doesn’t want me talking about him.  Completely understandable. It does help that I am a FEELER and that it’s easy for me to put myself in his shoes. Also that I remember VERY CLEARLY how awkward those teenage years were.

There has been a fair amount of attitude from him which I suppose is to be expected. I DO NOT tolerate it at all. Sorry for him but he must deal with his issues in therapy. While he’s living in my house he WILL toe the line and remember who the adults are and that there are ONLY two of us. Not three.  It helps that he’s still very childish, and so far I can see that setting proper boundaries for him as a little kid is now paying off – even though he occasionally pushes the boundaries (as everyone does from time to time) he DOES know what our expectations are. 

Some days it feels like there’s another MAN in the house. Which technically, there is. The bathroom AND his room smells of deodorant and I practically choke when I walk past.  I now have to take him along when we go shopping for clothing – he no longer trusts my style advice. In fact, I have to consult him about a lot of things because I can no longer take it for granted that he will still like the things that he liked last month  this time.

I should talk to him about not overdoing it with the deodorant but I think I will leave it – I would rather have him smelling like too much man than smelling like stinky guava.  It has taken us a while to get to the point where we found something that WORKS for him. Some free advice? Not all male deodorant is made equally – you actually DO get what you pay for.  And of course, that voice that is so DEEP. Sjoe. It freaks me out in a way. My little boy with the puny voice is no more and I have to kind of remind myself that this boy is becoming a strapping young man. It’s almost unbelievable. I look at him and I see how good looking he is. And I think about the fact that females are going be finding him hot and I just can’t cope! I just feel completely unprepared for all this. 

So yesterday we got a note from the school to say that he needs to shave. Let me just say that again. His school wants him to shave!!!!!!

Oh my hat. I wasn’t even mortified. I was more annoyed that they saw the need to make my child more adult than he’s ready for. I may or may not have had a small cry.

He has a small amount of moustache (I don’t think it’s enough to warrant a proper shave!) and no beard at all. Seriously! He is 14 and must shave! My DH was contemplating and thinking about which razor would be best for him and I was like NO WAY. This is not happening!

I am VERY tempted to take him for a lip wax so we can delay this for at least another year. Seriously. He has A LOT on his plate and we can’t still add shaving!  Ugh. And of course my DH thinks I am being absolutely ridiculous to even THINK of taking him for a lip wax.  Can he not see that I’m just being practical?

Anyway. We haven’t resolved this yet – we have until this weekend to get it sorted. Perhaps I should ask Son1 if he would be open to a lip wax? Ugh. Somehow I don’t think he’ll go for it but it’s worth a shot to just ask.

Do you think I am being OTT? Everyone that I talk to about the lip wax thinks so!

How would you cope in this situation? How does one navigate the minefield of your child becoming an adult?

I was asking Laura the other day if there are magazines for parents of older kids and she told me that there were NONE – once your kid can eat proper food and sleep through the night then you’re on your own.  Why is this though? Does parenting stop once your kid acquires these skills? Is there some kind of illusion that things get easier after babies learn to walk/talk/use the toilet/sleep through the night/eat properly?

 

The cliques are everywhere!

I have blogged before on my feelings about cliques.

Somehow I thought that I had kind of moved on from the clique stuff.

Turns out that I’m have not!

Lately I have been seeing a lot of clique setups in my space. Like EVERYWHERE.

Perhaps I’m just being sensitive, but just so you know, one of the easiest ways to break my heart would be to exclude me. 

Seriously though. The cliques are in the workplace.  And at church.  There are even cliques within families!

They are on IG. And on twitter. And in blogging circles. They are in the yoga studio. They are in the fitness industry. They are within the running community.  They are with the “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle” types. I am sure that they are on FB too but I haven’t been on there so can’t say for sure at the moment.

They are with the Mom groups.  They are with the kids on the school play ground. They are in HIGH SCHOOL! Ugh. They are EVERYWHERE.

Generally I don’t like cliques. I don’t like ANYTHING that has the potential to cause exclusion and I certainly don’t like the “exclusivity” that cliques tend to promote.

I usually float around and if the clique won’t “accept” me then it’s fine too. I am in a clique – my husband and my two kids are part of my clique so I technically don’t need anyone else – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting when the exclusion takes place. At the end of the day I am still a girl!

I think that deep down we all have a desire to fit in and to belong. Which is fine and perfectly natural, I guess. I also think that cliques have probably been around forever and a day. I just kind of wonder if it’s something that will ever disappear completely. Mmmm….probably not. 

How about you? What do you think about cliques? Are you a “clique-er”? Do cliques affect you and are you bothered by them?

I am not generally bothered by them. Except now. Because PMS.

 

50 shades of g.r.e.y.

Believe it or not, I have never coloured my hair before. I never ever needed to because I was NOT grey and I actually loved my pitch black hair. My hair has faded over the years which is to be expected – chemicals do strip the hair of its colour. But it still wasn’t grey or anything and I was fine with it.

I have done those foil highlights a few times. I LOVE those – such a small and inexpensive thing thing makes a HUGE difference to your appearance,  and about 2 weeks ago I was actually thinking about going for them again.

So yesterday I visited my in-laws and my BF was taking pictures of me. I noticed that he was practically on top on my head taking pictures but didn’t think much of it. He does sometimes show off in front of his Mom. Until he showed me how grey I am! Oh my hat. I was mortified. So many grey hairs! I am sure the people are gossiping about my grey already!

So. I have decided that the grey needs to go. I am not ready for it yet. I know that it looks flattering if the hair is styled in a certain way but I think colouring the grey away is a rite of passage, yes?

So. This is what I need to know from you.

Are you grey?

Do you embrace the grey like the hippies and the lalala people say you should, or do you colour in the grey strands?

Do you do a DIY job or do you go to a salon?

If you are doing a DIY job then what do you use to colour?

How often are you colouring?

When did you start with hiding your grey hair?

To be honest, I am really worried about the cost implication of this. I don’t mind spending money on chemical hair treatments (people DO judge you by your looks and I need to look proper) but to ADD this to hair straightener treatments and and and??? Oy. My wallet is not coughing. It’s puking!!

Monday Stuff

My weekend was kind of busy.  So busy that I had to bow out of the CT Meetup at the last minute because the times just wouldn’t have worked out properly. Am bummed, but there’s always a next time. Am hoping that Cindy and her ridiculously good-looking family will go on a date with me and my family in the next few weeks. Hint hint!

Son1 has a birthday this week. His birthday always causes me A LOT of anxiety, mainly because he wants ALL THE THINGS and ALL THE PEOPLE to come.  I have told him that he will get something smallish (and not that cheap!) from us and that we’ll do a family dinner with his favourite foods.  He’s happy with that and wants to have a summer party again like he did last year which suits me fine, because if we did what we did last year then it will be easy and dirt cheap!

I’ve been in a fog for the longest time. Can you tell by the lack of decent blog posts?. Many things that I can’t write about have been happening behind the scenes and it’s been an emotionally draining time for my family. Today I woke up feeling OK. Actually, I woke up feeling really good! Maybe it’s because it’s not as dark in the mornings anymore. Maybe because the sun has been showing up a lot more lately.  Maybe it’s because it feels like things are settling down. Maybe it’s because I had a long nap yesterday and feel rested.  Either way. Feeling OK is AWESOME and NOT to be underestimated. Like EVER. 

I am kind of annoyed at not being credited for something. The person who took the credit for this something (it’s not a blogger) should DEFINITELY know better. Now I could smile and wave and brush it off, or I could actually say my piece. But. It may cause a bit of strain. Sigh. One just can’t win sometimes. Have you ever NOT been credited for something? How did you deal with it?

Last month I made a DIVINE vision board for craft group session and I had sooooo much fun doing it! Then I realised that I’ve kind of being doing the same thing over and over (knitting) and that I need to jazz things up a bit because it does get boring.  I have decided that I am going to challenge myself to a different crafting medium at least every 2 months, just to keep it fresh.  Part of that challenge is to use what I have and NOT to buy any new materials. Right now I am trying to decide what to do for tomorrow night’s session. What’s the last thing you created?  Any ideas for me? I am out of washi tape so that changes things A LOT.

Anyway. That’s it for the moment. How are you? Did you have a good weekend? What did you get up to? How was your Monday?

 

 

Link love – career things

So I’ve never really had this fantasy of being a big-shot career woman climbing up the corporate ladder.

In all my fantasies I am working in a very creative environment, I am doing work that nurtures and feeds my soul, I have wild hair and tattoos on display and I wear jeans. Sometimes wide skirts. No idea where all of that comes from.

I work  in a corporate environment so my soul is not exactly being fed at the moment, my hair is neat and in place, if I had tattoos they wouldn’t be visible and I most certainly don’t wear jeans and wide skirts.

I never really read career-related articles. More often than not, I just cannot relate to them. I also find that those who write career-advice type articles are VERY black and white in their approach and life in the workplace (from where I’m sitting) is just NEVER that simple!

Lately, I’ve been clicking into a TON of career-related and “how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-bad-manager” type articles. Co-incidence? I DEFINITELY think NOT!

I thought I’d share a few that I  enjoyed recently.

I find networking VERY hard and it doesn’t come naturally to me. In real life, I’m a shy person and I’m an introvert. Small talk irritates me. I am not in the habit of just going up to people and introducing myself to them and chatting them up. I LOVED this piece  that gives good guidelines on networking if you’re an introvert. Do you struggle with networking?  Please share a tip or two that seems to work for you?

Then I found this article on career things that I should have done BEFORE I turned 30 already. Eish. I am clearly in trouble! Tell me what you think about the article? I DO think that this kind of stuff needs to be taught in high school OR that it needs to be a compulsory module at tertiary level. This article DID inspire me though. I am currently working on the “what do you really want to do” question that has been raised as one of the points.

And then there’s this article that a friend sent me a few days ago that just affirms for me that I don’t belong in a corporate work environment – corporate and I are like fire and ice. I simply CANNOT do the games because I am just way too classy for that nonsense.

I LOVED this particular article AND the illustrations! It’s basically where I’m at in my current workplace right now. Basically, my brain needs a bit of a workout. 

Did you find any of these links interesting and do they speak to you in any way? Are you happy in your current work environment? Do you LOVE your manager?? And if you are currently the manager do your employees LOVE you??

 

Did you get a push present?

So a few months ago, someone that I know put up a pic of her new car on FB.

This person happened to give birth a few weeks (or months maybe) before that and she called it her “push present” from her husband. I didn’t immediately twig what a push present was. Then last week I read this article on “push presents”. 

Basically, it’s a gift that your partner gives after you give birth and can be anything from a car to jewelry or whatever you want really.

I have no real opinion on the “push present” and whether it’s OK or not. I say people must do whatever makes them happy. In fact up until last week I had NO IDEA that something called a “push present” even existed! There are even websites dedicated to helping your partner to find the perfect “push present” for you!

I was thinking about it this weekend actually and I realised something –  old news but still. Pregnancy and the subsequent birth (whether you push or get cut) is hard on the body. Your life basically slows down,  you can’t do what you used to be able to do and in the process you do lose a few brain cells that you don’t really get back after the birth. So as far as I’m concerned, a push present is not a bad idea. It doesn’t bring you back your lost brain cells and your figure OR all the sleep that you’re missing, but it can make up for whatever else you need to make up for.

I then realised that I had OBVIOUSLY missed out on this trend. My DH bought me flowers and chocolates after the births of my sons. There were no expensive gifts! So I told him that he now owes me TWO push presents and I gave him a list!

He then told me that our sons were his present to me.  I told him that I LOVE and ADORE my sons and that I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but that my push present needed to be something shiny that doesn’t emit any bodily fluids and odours or make crying/whine-like sounds.

Obviously women have mixed feelings about this and some of them are outraged at the materialism/shallowness/vanity/high expectations/ blah blah blah.  Go look at the comments over on this article.

Me? I think that some people are just too serious about everything.

What do you think about the “push” present? Do you like the idea? Did you get a “push” present? If so, what was your “push” present?

 

Historical events that I would have LOVED to witness in the flesh.

There was a conversation on the twitters the other day where people tweeted about events in history that they would have LOVED to have been witness to. Those who answered the question gave very serious answers.  I guess we all have different ideas of what constitutes history and this is all fine.  I am in no way denying that things like the Berlin Wall collapsing and the WW2 ending are not historical events, but I  must be honest, I can ONLY think of fun (and interesting) things in history that I would have loved to have witnessed in the flesh.

For example:

My parents falling in love. They have slightly different versions of the same story! I ADORE listening to the story and I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall at the time. Do your kids know how you and your partner met and fell in love? I think that ALL kids need to know the story of how their parents met and  fell in love.

Michael Jackson doing that moonwalk for the first time. Can you imagine being in that audience? I think I might have fainted!

Freddy Mercury and Montseratt Caballe singing Barcelona for the first time. I get goose bumps just watching it  – I think that if I had to witness it live then I might possibly have forgotten to breathe!

Obama’s acceptance speech the first time he won the elections. Can you imagine the electricity and the excitement and the awe in that stadium??? Sjoe.

 

The red sea being parted when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.  I must be honest – I do wonder about this A LOT.  It just sounds unreal and even OTT! My DH watched a documentary about this a few years ago where it was suggested that a tsunami may have taken place. Either way – I would have loved to have actually been present when this happened.

The Last Supper.  Can you imagine the intimacy in that room? Can you imagine the heaviness in that room? I always feel sooooo emotional when I think about it because seriously. Jesus has his very last proper dinner with the people who HE  KNOWS are going to turn on him and run away when the sh*t hits the fan. THAT, my friends, takes a lot of class. I would have told all of them to Eff Off and leave all my food already!

These are only a few things that I can think of off-hand and I know that I will come up with MANY more if I give this a proper think, but which “historical”  event would you have loved to have witnessed in the flesh?

 

My current favourite escapism blogs

So I am ALL about the content and the words and it is important to me to feel a connection with a blogger. Otherwise I just won’t read a particular blog.

To be honest, I like the words more than the pictures.  It truly does NOT bother me if someone publishes a blog post without a picture. OR if they NEVER share any pictures.

I have loads of pictures. I am too lazy to publish them.  I am also too busy to be bothered.  I allocate myself only 10 minutes on this blog every night so there ain’t no time to prettify. 

I am currently working through photographs on my computer  and I am in the process of putting pictures in a folder, specifically for blog posts –  I got the idea from Organising Queen.

I am hoping that this will help because I really don’t have the patience to hunt for the right picture.  Actually it will help, mainly because it’s a time-saver.

Having said all of this, I am a clean lines and spaces kind of girl. White background. Black text. White space. Paragraphs. I don’t want anything to distract from the words. That’s who I am,  so I REALLY admire people who take the time and effort to make their blogs visually appealing.

Lately I have needed A LOT of escapism and whimsy and vanilla and pretty and so I’ve been drawn to visually beautiful blogs that are light reads.

Like Cupcakes and Cashmere.  And The Glamouri. And What I Wore. And Pink Peonies.  

I love the picture overload in these blogs. I love the minimal amount of text which is a bit weird for me because I usually  LOVE a lot of words. I love that I don’t actually have to do any thinking or processing and that I can just get lost in the pretty. I kind of love that I feel ZERO emotional connection to any of these writers – probably because I am all “emotioned-out” for the moment.

What’s your current favourite visually beautiful, escapist blog? What (to you) is good content? Do you need A LOT of pictures or rather do you need pictures on a blog post in order to enjoy a blog? Do you ignore all the visuals so you can get to the text? How important is it for you to feel a connection with a particular blogger/writer?