Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dear Mama...

Dear Mama,

Now that I am one, there are some things you and I need to discuss...

1. I would like my own blog posts (which I am now instituting).  It seems only fair, given that you have been rattling on about me for the past year, without my prior consent.  I have a voice.  I have opinions.  I have a brain.

2. I would like you to stop referring to me as "Your Little Bubba".  I am one.  I am big.  I can eat two weetbix for breakfast.

3. What's with the tears every time I achieve a milestone?  You should be applauding me, not moping around the house like somebody died!  I'm supposed to grow up.  I'm supposed to learn to do things for myself.  Can you imagine if I stayed a baby forever... you would never be able to wear white again!

4. I love George.  George and I wrestle because it's fun.  I bite him and pull his hair and yank his ears because that's what boys do!  If you had a giant lion to wrestle, I bet you would. Maybe you are just jealous?

5. Dada is cool.  Why?  Just because.  Stop trying to out-cool him.  You are a girl.  You are not cool.  You are Mama.

6. I would like you to stop dressing me in girl's clothes.  I know you think nobody can tell, but they can!  They are called "tights' because they are tight!  I weigh 12kgs... do you really think it's appropriate?

7. I don't like green food.  Yuck.  Please, don't even try, I'm NEVER going to eat broccoli!

8.  Are you aware it's 2011?  We could be living in 1952 for the way you carry on!  Vintage teddies, vintage books, vintage furniture... get with the times woman!

9. I hate wearing hats.  You keep putting them on and I keep taking them off.  To save ourselves years of tedium, shall we just agree to ditch the headwear?

10.  You are warm and snuggly and soft and cuddly... but so not cool... because you are Mama!

The Monkey

Monday, July 25, 2011

Little Angel

My friend Anna recently had a baby... her third!  It got me thinking about the wonder of a newborn.  The way their little bodies are such a contradiction - so fragile yet so strong all at once.  The way their faces become transparent with divine light and beauty when they sleep, as though they are not quite yet part of our world - I'm convinced they travel to the heavens in their dreams and touch the stars.  To hold that tiny quivering body in your arms and feel a heartbeat that started as a glint in the eye of love, is the closest we might ever come to knowing the beauty of our own existence. 

... and then they wake up and cry their newborn cry, reminding us that life is a crazy, hungry business!

(this beautiful photo was taken by the gorgeous and talented Emma Durkin)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Icing on My Family

I'm back.  From where?  From the laundry, from Africa, from the vacuum of daily life!  I have been so busy blending spag bol and patting lions that I've neglected my first true love... my macbook :(  "Oh keyboard, it seems like forever since I touched you".

Today, in the the rather chilly pre-dawn hours, as I lay waiting  for the Monkey to begin his morning Hadada call (my feet resting forlornly on the cold hot water bottle - damn electricity prices!), I began thinking about all the things that have fallen off my tram lately... things that have become the victims of my over-zealous, uber-motherly prioritisation campaign.  I no longer do yoga.  I haven't picked up a paint brush in nearly a year.  My toenail polish is older than my son.  I can't remember when I last took a photo of anything vintage (in my world, this spells crisis!).  And very worst of all, I haven't written anything for such a long, long time its a wonder I can still construct sentences.

Family life is busy.  The days are so packed full with doing things, I'm in danger of morphing into a verb.  Keeping a burly ten-month old fed, clean and amused is kind of like being a cross between a zoo-keeper and a circus clown.  Trying to fit in some income-earning work on top of that, well frankly, life becomes a whirlwind of pureed pumpkin, Omo and the odd intelligent thought.

So, in a bold and slightly self-indulgent move, I've decided to reclaim the icing on my family!  I NEED to do yoga.  I NEED to paint things, my toes included.  I NEED to acquire and photograph old stuff.  And I absolutely NEED to write about it.  We all have the precious things in life that fill up the cracks and crevices of our souls with love.  It is not sinful to do these things.  Rather, it is crucial to our happiness to try to cram in as much joy as possible!  

On that note, I'm off to attempt yoga with a Monkey on my back :)


Image from here

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cabin Fever

It has been raining here for days... days spent crawling the walls of our two bedroom apartment... days spent endlessly inventing new games to play... days spent staring at the pram in the hall knowing we won't be venturing out in the gloom.

Finally we couldn't take it any longer... we rugged up and braved the heavy, sinking skies for 10 minutes of blissful, chilly fresh air!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yum Yum Mama's Magazine!

Note to self: Do not leave magazines on the coffee table... Monkey fodder!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves are scattered up and down our street like confetti and there is a chilly bite in the air that nibbles our noses and earlobes as we wander. The days have been so crystal clear... perfect weather for long walks in the sunshine!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fresh Out of The Oven

I saw a little baby yesterday that was so brand spanking new it took my breath away.  I seem barely able to recall what the Monkey was like when he was that tiny... it's the weirdest thing the way the memory works.  I know the nights were terrible and I could hardly function, but it seems so distant now.  Our boy has so much personality and is a constant side-show of clown smiles and laughter... but sometimes I wish I could jump back in time and hold my newborn again and feel the spectacular wonder of his little heart beating beneath my palm.


Image from here

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Monkey Shine

Dear Monkey,

You are refusing to sleep... yet again.  Its been six hours since your last nap, and despite countless efforts, I just can't convince you to close your eyes.  As I type you are calling for me from your cot - crying and babbling and getting more hysterical by the minute.  You are beyond tired.  The type of tired where you scratch at your eyes and start cackling like a possessed spirit when I pat your back.

I read about separation anxiety... is that the problem perhaps?  Are you afraid to shut your eyes incase I'm not there when you wake up?  My beautiful child, you are the sunniest, most wonderful gift that life has bestowed upon me... I will sit at the foot of your bed and watch over you forever.

I like to think that you fight sleep so fiercely and with such determination for the simple reason that you know that you are my sunshine.  I miss you when you sleep... its like the sun has gone behind a cloud.  But sometimes when I creep into your room, I can see the golden beauty of your dreams cast upon your face and I feel my soul being dipped in glittering light.

Finally you are quiet... peace descends around us like falling snow.  Off you go, my little boy... sleep the sleep of an exhausted angel.

Image from here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Book Eater

The Monkey has discovered books.  He loves them.  He devours them... quite literally!  I can take away all the other toys without so much as a peep, but dear God, if I dare touch his chewed, tacky and surprisingly vast collection of books, he yells like I've just whacked his head on the car door (... again!).

I like to think this fascination with the written word is the hallmark of a life-long love of reading and literature... I suspect it has more to do with his fondness for the taste of ink and cardboard rather than an underlying passion for Keates - you see, he's also quite fond of the TV guide which just goes to show that he's not exactly discerning in his tastes!


Image from here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Simple Life For Me

This morning as I sat beside my husband with my little Monkey in my arms and my own Mama across the table, it occurred to me that we really need very little in this life to be happy!  I wish you all a beautiful day with your own 'each others'.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Monkey Loves Pumpkin

The monkey has been eating like a horse... he's becoming so chubby I can barely stuff his little sausage legs into his sleep suit anymore!  I had been saving a beautiful powder blue hoodie for him to wear when the weather got cooler - I used to pull it out of the drawer when he was a newborn and try to imagine him being big enough to wear it.  Well, I tried to put it on him yesterday but couldn't even get it over his head!  I'm devastated... its supposed to be for a 1 year old and he's only 6 months!  Clearly, we are a cosmic phenomena... the dwarf who bred a giant!

Photos by me

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Early Birdie

Today I thought the Monkey woke at 6.10am
I got up
I gave him a bottle
I praised him for sleeping so well
I made a cup of tea
I sat on the carpet and sang songs
I wondered why it was still dark outside
I looked at the clock
It was 5.30 in the morning!
I need glasses


Image from here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Straight Talking

Once upon a time, I used a hairdryer.... every day!  I also used a straightening iron and owned pots of products designed to tame chaotic, frizzy hair.  I had long, blonde, straight locks that I could wear ten different ways. I developed killer triceps from wielding a hairbrush for half an hour a day. I looked polished.  I looked kept.  I most certainly didn't look like the wild African zoo animal that I occasionally see roaming the house with tufts of hair sticking out at odd angles.

I no longer blow-dry my hair.  I have embraced "the curl", which in turn means that I have embraced "my decline".  I have one look these days - which just so happens to be the exact same messy up-do I was sporting back in 1991, the only difference now being that I spend precisely 30 seconds doing it, rather than the regulation 30 minutes I used to spend back when I was thirteen... at least I have developed authenticity in my old age!

I went to the shops the other day with a wild coif that stood straight up from my head (thanks to the Monkey's monkey grip).  I didn't realise until I got home and was checking to see if I'd managed to scrub all the pumpkin vomit off my back... my humiliation knows no bounds!  No wonder I was the recipient of so many pitying looks from the 'oh so young' and 'oh so judgmental' Slavic gang of high cheek-boned check-out chicks at the local IGA!

One day I hope to have nice hair again.  I believe its possible.  Perhaps when the Monkey learns not to swing from Mama's ponytail like a.... well, like a little monkey really!  Once again I will have use for polishing milks and serums and a hairdryer so powerful it wakes the entire neighbourhood.  But until that day, I'll be the washed up, dishwater blonde with the Year 9 hairstyle!

Ha!  And you thought I was exaggerating!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Half Birthday

Dear Monkey,

You are six months old today my gorgeous, chubby, funny little man.  Six roller-coaster months filled with crazy amounts of happiness and the odd moment of utter, tearful despair.  You arrived in our lives looking like a little forest creature who had lost his way in the woods... you belong with the pixies and the elves my blue-eyed boy... you belong in the pages of a storybook.

From a mewling newborn, with funny feet and a single curl, you have grown into the most enchanting baby who sings to the dolphins from his cot in the mornings.  Your laugh is like hearing my own heart speak and your little hands wrapped around my neck are a rope to heaven.  

You love custard more than life itself and nearly fell out of your highchair in your quest for more.  You don't like carrot or cottage cheese, particularly when mixed together!  Your favourite toy is Zippy the blue elephant whom you cuddle in the night when you are all alone and trying to learn to sleep on your own.  You have just mastered snake slithering and show off ALL the time.  You like to stroke my face while you drink your bottle.  You also like to pull my hair which hurts!

I can't imagine my life without you in it.  Part of my own heart lives in your heart and will do so forever. Happy half birthday little Leo Steyn.


Favourite Monkey Moments....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Astro Boy

Doing the Monkey Crawl

Good Lordy, overnight the Monkey has learned to crawl!!!!  He literally went to bed immobile and woke up with jets strapped to his legs!  Admittedly, it's not a proper crawl... more of a commando shuffle  with a few swimming strokes thrown in for good measure but it's surprisingly fast and effective!

He spent the entire morning roaming the living room floor with a slightly wicked expression on his face. I'm sure he's convinced he can now take over the world... sucking one electric socket at a time!

If anyone is looking for me, I shall be busy baby proofing our apartment... something we of course failed to do in advance!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Constantly I try to remember to be present in the 
The moment when my little boy
falls asleep in my arms holding my hand like 
I'm going to lead him to the stars
Fly high in your rocket ship
my funny little man


Sunday, February 27, 2011

So High & Mighty

It's one thing to sit in the new high chair and act cool...

... and quite another to sit still enough to eat!

Photos by me

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Week is Done

We have had a tough old week.
We choked on a stray pea.
We didn't sleep much.
We fell off the bed.
We cried... a lot.

Poor Monkey.

Bring on a weekend full of sunshine and bunnies and Daddy at home!


Image from here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thursday's Favourites

Once upon a time a prince, a lion and a giraffe called Sophie all vied for the attention of a little monkey.  After tasting all of them, the little monkey decided that Sophie was by far the most delicious and proceeded to lick off all her spots... poor Sophie 

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Nappy Chat

When I found out I was pregnant I made a very vocal declaration that I was NEVER going to discuss poo with anyone… not even my husband.  I couldn’t stand the way new parents seemed to think their children’s bowel motions were a topic worthy of continual mention, often in the most inappropriate of circumstances.  To be told about the toxic contents of a nappy while attempting to eat a satay stick is a challenge to say the least!  

Something happens when you become a parent… you somehow forget the usual rules of polite social engagement.  The big net in your brain that normally catches inappropriate thoughts before they have a chance to escape via your mouth, suddenly develops large, gaping holes.  Yesterday I found myself telling a complete stranger that my baby suffers from such bad constipation that we have him on a perpetual diet of prune and banana.... with stunning results!  At what point did I think that was OK... or even vaguely interesting?  As I looked at the woman’s horrified expression, it occurred to me that a little censorship wouldn’t go astray.

I’m rather distressed by my new found need to share downstairs details.  My husband walks through the door in the evening and I’m a veritable stream of minutiae, describing my day one nappy at a time.  Does the poor man really need to know that the Monkey had a nappy full of chocolate sultanas or that today’s consistency was a little like soft serve ice-cream?  No, no and NO!  Zip it.  Save it. Lock it away along with the alarmingly vivid descriptions of projectile vomits that I’m just dying to share with anyone who will listen.

So I made a promise to myself that I have broken on countless occasions… I’m even writing about it, which just goes to show how obsessed I’ve become.  While I would like to think that this is the end, that I shall never again subject yet another friend to the horror story of my brush with Meconium (it was hilarious… I had it in my hair, on my face…  zippity, zip, zip!), I know that I will continue to inflict my crappy stories on those poor, unsuspecting souls who have the misfortune of making my acquaintance.  Perhaps some gaffer tape is in order?

The best I can offer is to try and limit my diatribes to those who have walked a mile in my shoes... because if I've learned anything, it's that another parent sure does love a good nappy chat. 

Photo by me 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Making Signs

For ages I have been looking for a name sign for the Monkey's room but couldn't find one that had any character or reflected his quirky nature.  The other day while out walking, I spied a skip bin full of old floor boards... perfect ... I basically had to climb inside the bin to find a board small enough, but I refused to be defeated.  One scraped shin and a torn t-shirt later I managed to get my hands on a lovely specimen, complete with nails in the back ready for hanging!  Once home, the whole process took no more than 15 minutes... here's how:

1. Take one old floor board (roughly 50cm long) and scrub clean.

2. Select tools - I chose white paint and a pointed brush for a simple look.

3. Get to work.

TIP: I bent the old nails over to form hooks that I then tied ribbon to for hanging - you could easily hammer in some nails to the back of the board if need be.

Photos by me

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Monkey Face

... today I found a monkey sitting in my chair 


Photos by me

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Weekend

May you find someone to pull you around in a cart this weekend


Image from here

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Driving Miss Crazy

Call me insane, but I just spent the past hour and a half 'trying' to drive myself and the Monkey to the local shopping centre... we didn't make it... we didn't even come close!

First of all I had to actually get us out the front door - launching a rocket-ship into outer space would surely require less planning.  I'm notorious for forgetting the basic equipment (bib, spoon, BOTTLE) so I now check, check and triple check.  This process takes a surprising amount of time and is not as fool proof as one would hope - today I left the burp cloth sitting on the bookshelf - not so handy.  I bundled us up - the Monkey, the Baby Bjorn, my handbag, the nappy bag, the re-cycling - and flung everything into the car (not the re-cycling - that was drop-kicked into the bin on the way past).  By the time I had untwisted the buckles (left handed), wiped off the straps that are eternally covered in baby vomit and positioned my (now grumpy) son into the bottomless depths of his ridiculously expensive car seat, over 40 minutes had gone by since Operation Outing begun.

We were in and away, driving down the road when the little orange petrol light came on.  A word about filling up the car with a baby on board... don't!  It is tedious beyond all stretch of the imagination.  By the time you've removed your small fry from their insanely difficult to unbuckle car seat so you can pay, you've stopped worrying about whether they're inhaling lethal petrol fumes and only care if you can make it across the tarmac without having your boobs revealed by a chubby little fist yanking your top down.  I'm sure there are mothers who happily leave their babies in the car for the two and a half minutes it takes to pay (a far more sensible option) but my imagination conjures up all sorts of images - carjackings, babynappings, faulty locking systems - I just can't do it.  So... out the Monkey came and in the Monkey went, all while the outside temperature was hovering around 35 degrees.  To say he was getting a touch tetchy is putting it mildly.  

Back in the car and the Monkey's whimpering became an all out howl - the kind a werewolf might make if it were forced to ride around in a baking hot car by it's mother.  Somewhat distracted, I turned the wrong way out of the service station and that was it... my brain was suddenly possessed by gremlins.  We were heading in the opposite direction from the shops, incapable of altering course thanks to my mind freeze.  I kept seeing places where I could stop and turn around but my foot was glued to the accelerator.  Before I knew it, we were turning into our street and pulling up in front of our home... I was stunned.  How had I managed it?  All that effort and all I'd achieved was to fill the bloody car up with petrol!  

Operation Outing aborted... yet again.

Image from here

Tuesday, February 1, 2011



Beautiful black and white photographic print (A4 size) from the Wicker & Stitch Photo collection

To be in the running to receive this gorgeous print (just perfect for a nursery wall), all you have to do is post a comment telling me your best mothering tip.  Become a follower and I will enter your name in the draw twice!


Baby Play Ideas (0-6 months)

I have been beset with a baby who believes that daytime sleeps are for sissies... as a result, we have huge chunks of time throughout the day that need to be filled in with play activities - something that sounds easy but is in fact surprisingly difficult when your baby is not yet old enough to sit up. Here are some play ideas that the Monkey enjoys:

  • Peek-a-boo - if only Mama could keep this up for as long as the Monkey wanted to play!
  • Singing silly songs - the fact that I can't hold a tune only seems to add to his delight.
  • Dancing to music - he loves to bounce around on my hip while I dance to Dr Hook.
  • Jolly Jumper - hanging one of these from the kitchen door frame has been a life saver... hours of fun just hanging around.
  • Playing with scrunched up paper - just be careful your baby doesn't end up eating it!
  • Chewing his toys - finding the right toys for your baby's age is the key... at the moment, the Monkey enjoys shoving a cloth doll into his mouth that has long, skinny arms and legs (easy for his little hands to hold).
  • Rollathon - the Monkey is mastering the art of the 'roll' and loves to be put on his quilt on the floor where he can roll away to his heart's content.

For more baby play ideas, look here.

Photos by me