My Werewolf Has Arrived

I just galloped down the stairs and whisked this delectable beauty from the hands of an unsuspecting mailman. Isn’t it gorgeous?

It is so soft, has so much space inside, plenty of clever storage compartments, is perfect Mum-Size for all Parental Emergencies and it has a werewolf on the front.

P.S. Sorry about poor focus but “real” camera’s battery is dead.

My life is complete.

The First Film

Today we went to see Toy Story 3. It was Squidge’s first movie ever! Well, by first movie I mean actual going to a cinema, buying popcorn and sitting in the dark. She was initially quite apprehensive and didn’t like how loud it was.

I summoned the courage to go and ask them to turn it down a notch, after all the cinema was full of kids and it isn’t good for any of them, and even my ears were ringing a bit.

Yes, I am a total paranoid mother. Yes. I won the award.

Toy Story 3 was a success! She cuddled in my lap the entire time and loved every minute. I loved every second of the cuddles and contact. Total win-win brilliant morning.

The afternoon was spent with S and her two tots, H and M. S is a total breath of fresh air (if you’re reading this S, I already told you this today!). She’s from Barbados and she’s straightforward, easy to get on with, and so darn chilled. When I’m with her I feel completely relaxed. It’s rare for me as I’m usually quite, well, paranoid.

It was on this lush afternoon of relaxing on the beach, pootling through Brighton, and meandering through the mall that two other lovely things happened. Well, three actually.

The first was the purchase of a Buzz Lightyear toy exactly the same as the movie toy. He does all the same things! I’m not entirely sure who I bought Buzz for because the two of us have been playing with him ALL afternoon. Shooting his laser at each other, making his wings pop out and flying him around, saving each other from the evil pink teddy. Awesome. Pic above is Squidge flying him around after supper.

I had decided this morning that I had to cave and visit Schuh. They’re having a sale and I adore, adore, adore their shoes. This is the same place I got my Zombie Shoes I mentioned before. And you’ll NEVER guess what I found. Oh yes. I found MORE ZOMBIE SHOES. Except these ones are pumps. These Zombie shoes I can wear every single day. The other ones are reallllly high and I can’t wear them for long stretches, which is obviously gutting.

Now, oh oh oh, NOW I can wear them as often as I want. It took me all of ten seconds to buy them. How often does that happen? And the other great part? They’re called Zombie Stompers. I actually can’t stop laughing.

And then I found another pair of shoes. A pair that have a moderate heel and just delightful design. I slipped them on and my feet finally understood what it was like to be wrapped in a curtain. They are incredibly soft and clutch my feet perfectly.

Obviously I bought those too. All the pics you see here are of these amazing shoes. Thank-you Schuh for being in existence. I heart you.

P.S. This is finally completing another step in the 31DBBB challenge!

Make Lemonade

There’s a saying, I’m not sure where from, that goes, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” and today I read a story that made me realise how lucky I am. How I should stop whining and stressing when things in my life are tough, because there is someone who’s always got it harder.

 This story is about a mother. A mother who’s life was turned upside down by the earthquakes in Haiti. Her two month old daughter had been trapped in the rubble of the hospital where she was receiving treatment for burns, and Marie Seignon had been told that she died. I can’t even imagine how horrific that must have been for Marie.

 Today, in the news, Marie Seignon was reunited with her daughter six months later. A charity, called Facing the World, had whisked the child to London, to the Great Ormond Street Hospital (a charity I support) where she was treated for burns. 

You see, there had been another baby found in the ruins of that Haitian hospital, which is why Marie was told that her child was killed. She spent the last six months of her life unaware that her child was still alive. How unbelievably heart breaking is that? 

Facing the World then went on to track down Marie using documents found in the rubble and DNA tests. 

Marie had been sitting at home when her friend heard them asking about Marie on the radio. The friend had raced across to her house and told her, “Please sit down, This may sound like something out of the movies but sometimes movies do come true. I need to tell you that Landina is alive.” (source)

If you have dry eyes reading this then you are a tougher person than me, because I am sobbing just writing this (I look like I right wally on the train). I can’t imagine the horrific time Marie endured for the past six months as she attempted to come to terms with her child’s death. 

If Squidge were taken from me I honestly do not know how I would go on. This is one of those moments that makes me think, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

 And now, Marie has been reunited with her little girl and somehow this little moment of magic seems to lift just a little more of the tragic cloud that hangs over Haiti. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to somehow fix the damage I have done to my make-up.

Mums are doing it for themselves

Today, in my ambles across the wonderful web, I encountered a site that is just fantastic. One mum has taken it upon herself to help other mums get their heads around the complexities of WordPress. She’s got help topics, advice, expert tips and more, all there for free.

I have to say that I have lost several happy hours to her blog and, as a result, have uncovered some great stuff to improve mine. She said that lately people have been demanding loads of free help and sounded pretty down so I decided to let the world know about her hard work. I hope it cheers her up.

Bravo Blog Mum!

Gender [Non]Specific

Thanks Garrettc

I have an issue. One that has just been reignited by this post from one of my favourite bloggers. It appears that in spite of our best efforts, things continue to go full circle in the gender debate/divide.

She’s objecting to the fact that a popular UK children’s store has now become the seller of plastic tat and, not only that, advertising that continues to gender stereotype our kids.

This is not the first time I’ve been enraged by this issue. Not at all. This very evening I started to read a story to Squidge. It was from the Orchard Book of Magical Tales, retold by Margaret Mayo. I started seething from the first story and haven’t bothered to read any further. In fact, the book has been removed from her libary and is to be burnt ceremonially (kidding!).

The first story is called the Lemon Princess and starts off by saying that the Prince needed to find a wife, but no woman was good enough for him because he wanted the most beautiful woman in the world. No normal babe would do.

He gets told where to find her from an old crone (oh, fabulous), he finds her but loses her thanks to the machinations of an ugly servant girl with coarse hair and dry skin [insert irate bad word here], but beauty wins out in the end because our magical princess is not only super stunning, but she can cook, weave, clean, and serve her man too.

This book is written by a woman! What on earth? I was fuming. Then I read Vonnie’s post above and sighed. After all the hard work that the original women did to get us equal rights, it appears that it has all sort of stopped and started stagnating.

Partially dressed women are still used to promote “male” items such as cars/computers/gadgets. Youth is more important than the funny wisdom of the older woman. And women who want to stay at home and care for their families are attacked and vilified by their own gender. What’s that all about? I thought feminism was about giving us a choice? Not about deriding each other for not being some kind of ideal. That’s just slapping another stereotype onto us.

It is something I ponder a lot. My daughter is hugely into pink. She loves Disney princesses, she loves froofy dresses, she loves all girly things. All on her own bat. I never said, “You is girl. You play Barbie,” she just loves pink. She also loves Doctor Who, Toy Story, climbing and other such pursuits that should, theoretically, clash with her girliness. But why should they clash? Can’t she be a princess who likes computers? I have (I hope) allowed her to be whoever she wants to be and I’ve done my best to let her know that she’s capable of anything.

But, one day (not now obviously), should I tell her that all things are not created equal? That mummies don’t get the same pay as daddies? That many men (and women) will judge her on her looks and not her brains? Or do I hope that, by then, things will have oozed outed of the stone age and that women will have stitched the gender divide right up?

And just to leave you with something to ponder, apparently a study held in 2008 shows that toys are more gender specific than ever before.

The Party

So yesterday was Squidge’s birthday. She turned an adorable four and my heart sat in my chest as prepared for the big day. This time four years ago she was struggling with me to come into the big wide world. A ten day labour that ended in an emergency C-section at 3.10am on Sunday night.

In the course of my musing I also had a side note – if she was born at three am on a Sunday night it’s also 3 am on a Monday morning so is she Monday’s child (fair of face) or Sunday’s child (full of grace) or is she both?

Anyway, I am ambling off topic here, a side-effect of post-party exhaustion I think.

So, in my previous posts I mentioned that I’d bought a bunch of Doctor Who goodies to theme up her party and that we held it upstairs at a lovely little coffee shop. I positioned the life-sized Doctor Who and Amy cutout just at the top of the stairs so everyone could see it. The effect was fantastic.

Her little face when she saw it was a complete picture and made every moment of anticipation worth it. Towards the end of the party her and M (the little boy she plays Doctor Who with – she’s Amy), were standing by the cutout and acting out their own version of the show. It was to die for. The fuzzy image above is a quick snap I got of Squidge under the cutout.

Anyway, what I didn’t mention before was that I did not know any of the parents coming to the party. We’ve only just moved to the area and so this was one trial by fire I was nervous about. Since I’ve moved to the UK I’ve struggled a bit with the other mums. They either ignore me, look horrified by me, or don’t really care one way or the other. For someone desperate (yes, desperate) to make other mum friends and get my daughter lovely playdates, this is not a great thing.

Obviously this isn’t all mums! I have some truly dear friends in my old town and my Person. But in this town there is nobody and my track record in the UK isn’t great. Basically my personality isn’t quite ideal for the reserved British human. They either love it or look terrified. I can be a little bit like an overenthusiastic and slightly damp puppy.

So, this remarkable inability to strike the right tone with the natives and a natural propensity for paranoia have left me somewhat twitchy. And this party was looming like a trial by social torture. If I messed up then it would be Squidge who suffered. How could I explain to her that the reason T or E couldn’t meet up for a playdate was because their mums didn’t like me?

Post party mayhem

Needless to say, it turned out that none of the mums knew each other either. The room was oozing with social awkwardness, a sharp counterpoint to the bouncy excitement of children on a sugar high. I have never felt so stressed. I did manage to chat to some of the mums and ultimately landed four playdates (result!) but there were moments I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

Unlike last year’s party that had many parents I knew attending, the last hour dragged a bit and I was absolutely gutted when everyone left at ten to 5. The last party I held lasted quite a bit longer and I didn’t really notice people going because I had family and friends there. Although having a grand total of two parties under my belt hardly makes me an expert on the etiquette of it all, I wondered if my party was so kak that everybody couldn’t wait to leave?

I tried to make it fun and exciting! We had cookies and veggies with dips on Doctor Who plates, two coloured juices in Doctor Who cups and dalek masks to growl through. Then it was pass the parcel and everybody won a prize. Although one tot (who’s parents just left her with us and went to the beach) just kept opening the layers on her one when I wasn’t looking and one tot (who’s mum was so standoffish her nose could probably have propped up Big Ben) kept crying whenever he didn’t win.

Then it was time to do pizza making (an activity provided by the coffee shop owner) and they LOVED that. Then it was musical statues which saw me reduce two tots to tears – my own and Standoffish Mum’s child – because they moved and I had to tell them they were out. I felt horrible! Nobody told me that musical statues could be so fraught!

I felt really awkward about making the child cry. Twice if you count that he didn’t win the Best Dancer competition either and that he thought he HAD won because the parents were calling out the winner saying “blond boy!” and there were two of them. Good thing that childcare is not my chosen career path I think.

So, other than feeling utterly miserable about everyone leaving the second I cut the cake and worried that the other parents think I am a complete idiot, the party went well… Squidge loved it. She loved every single minute (except the bit where I made her cry, obv) and is so excited about her playdates.

Birthday girl

I hope that the mums I suggested playdates to weren’t just being nice because I am SO excited about being able to offer Squidge the company of other children on weekends.

I spent most of last night plotting this post and how I would write it. I wanted to share the funny and sad moments of the party. The fact that I felt like it was a huge flop. The squirly nerves I suffer from whenever I’m in a social situation nowadays (I used to be so comfortable with meeting new people but the coldness of some of the people here has really changed that). And in the end it has, I think, been a bit of a deranged ramble.

Funny moments: Three kids sneaking up on Doctor Who cutout in case he started talking to them, all the kids wanting to go for a wee at the same time and me being the only one who could do it, M arriving in a Doctor Who bowtie (melt).

Sad moments: Child from foster family just left alone and becoming increasingly quiet and withdrawn throughout (I was gutted by how old her eyes looked)

Dark funny moments: Making children cry because I told them they had moved in musical statues. Stand-Offish Mum telling me that her son doesn’t know who Doctor Who is because, “We don’t approve of him”. Oh, well, have a Dalek mask…snort.

Idiot moments: Forgetting the two glasses of iced water for the heavily pregnant mums (gulp), giving Doctor Who stickers to Stand-Offish Mum’s child as compensation for his losing musical statues and then remembering what she said (above).

Happy moments: Looking at my child dancing with her arms outstretched, a huge smile on her face, in complete abandon, inhibitions to the wind. Every last moment of stress gone in that instant.

The 31 days to building a better blog challenge (31DBBB), Day 1

I joined in a blogging challenge last night, one I hope I find the time to maintain. Am already behind by one task. Ha! The first task is to create an elevator pitch. A short, sharp and sassy description of my blog that defines what it’s all about.

Er.

Um.

Hmmmmm. Here it is…

Are you dreading the approach of the big 40? Yeah. Me too. Read on to uncover the daily ramblings of a nearly 40 South African mom as she attempts to get to know the UK natives, stop her face from falling off, and figure out the madness of being a working mum. I share my take on the latest news, my turbulent journey through motherhood, and my struggle to make the ends meet financially before it’s too late to have another child.

Basically just a mommy blog that has a Saffa penning the words as she eyeballs the British weather nervously and tries not to get too depressed when the sun disappears for six months.

P.S. That’s a really long title. Am now just calling it 31DBBB. If you’re interested. Which you may not be. But that’s ok too.

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